Summary of khutbah given at Masjid As-Salaam in Detroit, Michigan on 8/12/12:
1) The last ten days during the blessed month of Ramadan have the most symbolic importance of the month. In the final ten days on the odd nights is when we look for Layltul Qadr, the Night of the Decree. This is the night in which Allah (SWT) said is better than 1,000 months (surah 97, ayah 3) and is the night in which the entire Qur’an was revealed to the Angel Jibreel (AS) and which the first 5 ayaat were revealed to Prophet Muhammad (SAAS).
Prophet Muhammad (SAAS) did not take retreats into the cave for his (SAAS) own individual spirituality alone. Prophet Muhammad (SAAS) was a sinless person before the revelation. He (SAAS) never gambled, drank alcohol, broke his contracts, cheated or lied. He (SAAS) was looking for solace and a solution for the ills that troubled his society such as tribalism and male chauvinism, such as the burying of female babies alive.
Within the first ayaat given to the Prophet (SAAS), Allah (SWT) states that He created man from congealed blood/’alaq (surah 96, ayah 2). The ‘alaq to the Arabs was not understood to mean congealed blood as they were not a people of science. ‘Alaq to them meant anything that stuck together such as moist dates that clump together on the date-palm tree. From the earliest revelation on the Qur’an, Allah (SWT) spoke to humankind that He was the Creator, and that humankind stems from one source, that humans have their own tribal bodies and klans just like dates have their own forms, but these forms should stick together based upon their common origin.
Thus the Prophet (SAAS) was later told by Allah (SWT) that He (SWT) found him (SAAS) wandering then He (SWT) guided him (SAAS), meaning not guiding him away from individual vices but towards a path/shari’ah that can cure his (SAAS) people of their social dysfunctions (surah 93, ayah 7).
2) On the 20th of Ramadan during the time of the Prophet (SAAS) was the event of Opening of Makkah in which Muslims were able to return to Makkah peacefully signifying the triumph of Islam in the Hijaz. Upon entering Makkah, the Prophet (SAAS) with Bilal Al-Habashi (RA) proceeded to enter the Kab’ah to cleanse it of false gods in the forms of idols and pictures. The Prophet (SAAS) then commanded Bilal (RA) to climb the Ka’bah and call the adhaan. One of the Arabs in the vicinity then referred to Bilal (RA) as the “Ethiopian slave…the black crow,” in which the ayah was then revealed to the Prophet (SAAS) that Allah (SWT) made us into different nations and tribes that we may know and learn about each other and that the most honorable of us with Allah (SWT) are those who are more reverent. (surah 49, ayah 13).
The companions (RA) were triumphant in Makkah because they were able to set aside the tribal mindset of the Arabs in the Age of Ignorance. The symbolism of Bilal (RA) being the companion to enter the Ka’bah with the Prophet (SAAS) and the only companion to ever call the adhaan on top of the Ka’bah in which Allah (SWT) revealed an ayah about is very profound.
In this current era, Muslims are suffering difficulties partly because of tribalism and racism amongst us. Allah (SWT) stated in the Qur’an, “And obey Allah and His messenger, and do not dispute with each other lest you lose courage and your strength leaves you, and be patient. Surely Allah is with the patient people” (surah 8, ayah 46). Prophet Muhammad (SAAS) stated, “He is not from us who calls towards tribalism, and he is not from us who fights based upon tribalism, and he is not from us who dies based upon tribalism” (hadeeth hasan). The mindset of ethnic superiority has nothing to do with Islam and is in fact one of the hallmarks of the Era of Ignorance. Prophet Muhamamd (SAAS) specifically tried to undo this mentality, which included him promoting inter-ethnic marriages such as the freedman Abu Hind with a lady from Bani Bayaadah (hadeeth hasan).
The tribalism mindset is something that must also be resisted in our masaajid and Islamic organizations. At the time of the Opening of Makkah, there were no Malikis, Shafi’is and Zaydis, and there were no Tijanis, Qadiris and Naqshabandis. These schools of thought and paths are not Islam to the exclusion of others; they are methodologies to follow the way of those who were successful as the companions were successful when they re-entered Makkah.
3) On the 21st of Ramadan in Kufah, Iraq during the era of the rightly-guided khaleefah, Imam Ali bin Abi Talib (KW) departed this earth due to a blow from a sword on the 19th of Ramadan. Imam Ali (KW) was assassinated by one of the Khawaarijj named Abdur Rahman bin Muljam Al-Muradi. Bin Muljam had declared Imam Ali (KW) to be a sinner and disbeliever, which he reasoned made him worthy of death. In this time, we have Muslims, who pronounce other Muslims as deviants due to difference of opinion to the point that they become considered disbelievers. This leads to hostilities and even violence, which has been seen in the past decade with tragic consequences in Iraq and Pakistan.
In the final days of Ramadan, let us commit ourselves to our worship to Allah (SWT) and recognize our common origin as humans. Much of the hostilities that we have in our society and in the world could be fixed if we recognized our common human worth under Allah (SWT) through truly embracing the universal message of Prophet Muhammad (SAAS).