Khutba on the Paris Killings ~ Imam Habib Bewley, Jumua Mosque Cape Town.
الحمد لله، الحمد لله الذي أرسل رسوله على خلق عظيم، وجعل محبتَه الطريقَ الوحيدَ إلى النعيم، الحمد لله، الحمد لله الذي آذن بالحرب على الربا، وحفِظها في المدينة المنورة، نحمده تعالى ونستعينه، ونشكره تعالى ونستغفره ونستغيثه، نعوذ بالله من شرور أنفسنا ومن سيئات أعمالنا، من يهد الله فهو المهتد ومن يضلل فلن تجد له وليا مرشدا، ونشهد أن لا إله إلا الله وحده لا شريك له، له الملك و له الحمد، يحيي ويميت، بيده الخير، وهو على كل شيء قدير، ونشهد أن سيدنا و مولانا محمداً عبده ورسوله، وحبيبه وصفيه، بلغ الرسالة وأدى الأمانة ونصح الأمة، النبي الأمي الذي أرسله الله بالهدى والدين الحق، بشيرا ونذيرا بين يدي الساعة، صلى الله عليه وسلم وعلى آله وأصحابه ومن تبعهم بإحسان إلى يوم الدين.
أما بعد! فيا عباد الله اتقوا الله حق تقاته ولا تموتن إلا وأنتم مسلمون. يأيها الذين ءامنوا اتقوا الله وقولوا قولا سديدا يصلح لكم أعمالكم ويغفر لكم ذنوبكم. ومن يطع الله ورسوله فقد فاز فوزا عظيما. اتقوا الله فيما أمر وانتهوا عما نها عنه وزجر.
The supposed justification for these killings are the magazine’s insults against the Messenger of Allah. And while it is true that insulting the Prophet is a heinous and unforgivable crime, as I will make clear in the second khutba, that does not justify their exaggerated and indiscriminate response. Justice is the bedrock of the deen, it is one of its chief concerns. Allah says,
إِنَّ اللهَ يَامُرُ بِالْعَدْلِ وَالإِحْسَانِ
the translation of which is, “Allah commands to justice and ihsan.” Whatever the circumstances, whoever is involved, maintaining justice in the primary concern. Allah says,
يَا أَيُّهَآ ٱلَّذِينَ آمَنُواْ كُونُواْ قَوَّامِينَ للَّهِ شُهَدَآءَ بِٱلْقِسْطِ وَلاَ يَجْرِمَنَّكُمْ شَنَآنُ قَوْمٍ عَلَىۤ أَلاَّ تَعْدِلُواْ ٱعْدِلُواْ هُوَ أَقْرَبُ لِلتَّقْوَىٰ وَٱتَّقُواْ ٱللَّهَ إِنَّ ٱللَّهَ خَبِيرٌ بِمَا تَعْمَلُونَ
the translation of which is, “You who believe! show integrity for the sake of Allah, bearing witness with justice. Do not let hatred for a people incite you into not being just. Be just. That is closer to taqwa. Have taqwa of Allah. Allah is aware of what you do.” However heinous their crime, however far they go, that should not stop us from treating them justly, from dealing with them according to the laws of Allah and the example of His Messenger. We never let our emotions get the better of us, we never let our anger cloud our intellect. Collective punishment never has any justification in the deen. Al-Qurtubi says in his tafsir of this aya,
ودلّت الآية أيضاً على أن كفر الكافر لا يمنع من العدل عليه، وأن يقتصر بهم على المستحق من القتال والاسترقاق، وأن المُثْلة بهم غير جائزة وإن قتلوا نساءنا وأطفالنا وغَمُّونا بذلك؛ فليس لنا أن نقتلهم بمُثْلةٍ قصداً لإيصال الغمّ والحزن إليهم
“The aya also proves that the fact that a person is an unbeliever does not prevent him being treated justly, and that the only ones who should be killed or enslaved are those who merit that treatment. It is not permissible to make an example of them or mutilate them even if they kill our women and children and bring us great grief. And we do not then have the right to deliberately kill them as an example in order to bring grief and sadness to them.”
The deen calls for the burden of proof, and and only those who meet those standards are considered guilty and are therefore liable to punishment. Only those who can be proven to have committed a wrong action are punished and no one is killed or punished by hearsay or through association. When the Prophet commanded the death of Ka’b ibn al-Ashraf, he did not command that all those who listen or associate with him also be killed – he did not command that all the unbelievers of Quraysh be held accountable for the actions of the one. On the contrary, he commanded that only the one responsible be killed. And the guilt of that one was well established through ample witnesses and confession. Whereas, in this case, the gunmen killed all those they found in the offices, regardless of whether they had been party to the crime or not, including a Muslim policeman who clearly had nothing to do with the original.
For justice to be carried out appropriately, a number of steps must be followed. First, for there to be a hukm, there must be a hakim, for there to be a ruling there must be a ruler. If we have no rulers and no courts, there can be no charges nor punishments. A fatwa of a scholar is not a hukm, the hukm only comes from an empowered qadi, one who has an amir behind him to implement his rulings. No hadd punishment or even lesser form of punishment may be carried out until such a system is in place.
If the deen is not established and there is no functioning amirate, such as was the case in Makka, then all we can do is act on the Command of Allah,
وَجَادِلْهُم بِالتِي هِيَ أَحْسَنُ
“Argue [and speak] with them with that which is better,” until such time that it is.
And if the deen is established, but the perpetrators are beyond the reach of the Muslims, then the carrying out of the sentence is left until such time that they fall within their reach. There were a number of people who continued to insult the Messenger of Allah for years, such as Ibn Khatal, but the execution of their sentence was postponed until the conquest of Makka when they finally fell into the hands of the Muslims and it became feasible. It is a matter of amr and should only be carried out at the behest of an amir. There is no place for vigilante justice.
Second, as I mentioned earlier, the guilt of the accused must be established beyond any reasonable doubt. And guilt is only established by one of two things – witnessing or confession. Confession includes putting your name to something and acknowledging that it was your work. This too must be witnessed.
Third, again as I mentioned before, only the one or ones guilty of the act may be punished, no one else, not his family, nor his associates nor his nation. And the only one permitted to carry out the punishment are those who have been appointed to do so, especially if it involves taking a life. No life may be taken without a haqq, and that haqq is only given through hukm and appointment.
Fourth, the sentence must be carried out in a way and at a time that is most effective and beneficial, not at a time or in a way that might bring harm to the Muslims. Actions of the type done by these gunmen, far from strengthening the deen and the position of the Muslims, weaken the deen and the position of the Muslims. They bring harm to the entire Muslim umma and often lead to reprisals and the reoccurrence of the original offence for which the killing was supposedly retribution. Allah says,
وَلاَ تَسُبُّواْ ٱلَّذِينَ يَدْعُونَ مِن دُونِ ٱللَّهِ فَيَسُبُّواْ ٱللَّهَ عَدْواً بِغَيْرِ عِلْمٍ
the translation of which is, “Do not curse those they call on other than Allah, so that they then turn around and curse Allah in animosity and without knowledge.” Al-Qurtubi says,
فيها دليل على أن المحقّ قد يكفّ عن حق له إذا أدّى إلى ضرر يكون في الدِّين
“There is proof in this aya that those who have a right must give up that right if it ends up bringing harm to the deen.” The actions of these gunmen have nothing to do with Islam and it is incumbent on us to distance ourselves from them. They are outlaws and criminals, nothing more. This great deen does not condone such behaviour. We ask Allah to cure this umma of this disease that has infected parts of it, and guide us all back to the sirat al-mustaqim. And we ask that He restore justice to our lands, give us leaders who rule only by what Allah has revealed, and give them hikma and understanding of the age in which we live.
أقول قولي هذا وأستغفر الله لي ولكم ولسائر المسلمين من كل ذنب فاستغفروه إنه هو الغفور الرَّحيم
الحمد لله الحمد لله رب العالمين، وأشهد أن لا إله إلا الله وحده لا شريك له وأشهد أن محمداً عبده ورسوله، صلى الله وسلم وبارك عليه وعلى آله وصحبه، والتابعين وتابعي التابعين ومن تبعهم بإحسان إلى يوم الدين.
أما بعد! فيأيها الذين ءامنوا اتقوا الله ما استطعتم واسمعوا وأطيعوا وأنفقوا خيرا لأنفسكم. يا عباد الله أوصيكم وإياي بتقوى الله وطاعته وأحذركم وإياي عن معصيته ومخالفته.
This killing took place supposedly in response to insults against the Messenger of Allah. While it is clear that this was merely a pretext for these men to sate their bloodthirsty cravings and give expression to their hatred, and we condemn their actions as a result, that does not mean that we condone any disparagement whatsoever of the Messenger of Allah. On the contrary, we condemn it unreservedly and consider it to be one of the worst crimes that any human being can commit.
And we reject utterly the contention that is incumbent to allow such insults to protect free speech. There is no such thing as, nor has there every been anything, called free speech. Not in any society in the history of mankind. Certain forms of speech have always been proscribed, even now in the liberal west. Just look at the lists of criminal offences and you will find perjury, incitement to terrorism, revealing national secrets, obstruction of justice, conspiracy to outrage public decency, conspiracy to corrupt public morals, holocaust denial (in many European countries including France), and public incitement against a segment of the population. In Germany, this is defined as any speech that assaults the human dignity of others by insulting, maliciously maligning, or defaming segments of the population. This is only a small portion of the crimes that relate to speech, so it is most certainly not legal to say anything that you want.
And there are few things worse than speaking against the Messenger of Allah. For he is the yardstick against which every other human being is measured, the standard by which all human undertaking is judged. He is the example to be followed, the template for human existence. It is most certainly conspiracy to corrupt, in fact destroy, public morals. For, to call any aspect of his example into question, is to call the entire affair into question. If the yardstick is faulty then everything it measures is thrown into doubt, and suddenly the human being is left adrift and rudderless without any means of knowing what is right or wrong. The Messenger of Allah is our guide in every aspect of our lives, the sirajun munir, and the only way we can confidently go through our lives on our paths towards Allah is when we are sure he is without fault, blemish or deviation. A compass that even has the slightest fault will lead us to the wrong place and take us off the path that we need to follow. To disparage the Messenger of Allah is to disparage the whole of creation and the Creator, and attack the hopes and aspirations of every sound-hearted human being on this planet. It is an attack on the individual and an attack on society, and that is why our Lord prepares the most painful and humiliating of punishments for those who do it. Allah says,
إِنَّ الذِينَ يُوذُونَ اللهَ وَرَسُولَهُ لَعَنَهُمُ اللهُ فِي الدُّنْيَا وَالآخِرَةِ وَأَعَدَّ لَهُمْ عَذَابًا مُهِينًا
the translation of which is, “Those who harm Allah and His Messenger, Allah has cursed them in this world and the Next World. He has prepared a humiliating punishment for them,” And He also says,
وَالذِينَ يُوذُونَ رَسُولَ اللهِ لَهُمْ عَذَابٌ اَلِيمٌ
the translation of which is, “Those who harm the Messenger of Allah have a painful punishment.” It is truly terrible in the eyes of Allah.
So severe, so serious is this matter that Qadi Iyad dedicates a whole section, one quarter part of his great book, the Shifa, to discussing it. Part four is entitled, “The judgements concerning those who think the Prophet imperfect or curse him”, and in it he states that any disparagement of the Messenger merits death, no matter how minor or mild it might appear. Qadi Iyad says,
“Know that all who curse Muhammad, or blame him or attribute imperfection to him in his person, his lineage, his deen or any of his qualities, or alludes to that or its like by any means whatsoever, whether in the form of a curse or contempt or belittling him or detracting from him or finding fault with him or maligning him, the judgement regarding such a person is the same as the judgement against anyone who curses him. He is killed as we shall make clear. This judgement extends to anything which amounts to a curse or disparagement. We have no hesitation concerning this matter, be it a clear statement or allusion. The same applies to anyone who curses him, invokes against him, desires to harm him, ascribes to him what does not befit his position or jokes about his mighty affair with foolish talk, satire, disliked words or lies, or reviles him because of any affliction or trial which happened to him, or disparages him because of any of the permissible and well-known human events which happened to him. All of this is the consensus of the ‘ulama’ and the imams of fatwa from the time of the Companions until today.”
He is killed as a hadd punishment without possibility of repentance. Malik said, “Anyone who curses the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, reviles him, finds fault with him or disparages him is killed, be he Muslim or unbeliever, without being asked to repent.” This applies no matter how minor the slight. Ibn Wahb related that Malik said, “Anyone who says that the Prophet’s cloak was dirty, thereby intending to find fault with him, should be killed.” And Abu Muhammad ibn Abi Zayd gave a fatwa to kill a man who was listening to some people discussing what the Prophet looked like. When a man with an ugly face and beard walked by, he said to them, “You want to know what he looked like? He looked like this passer-by in physique and beard.” For that, he was ordered to be killed.
This ruling is clear from the Quran, Sunna and ijma. As for the Quran, we have already mentioned the ayat that they are cursed in this world and the Next, and part of that curse in this world is being killed. Allah says,
مَلْعُونِينَ أَيْنَمَا ثُقِفُواْ أُخِذُواْ وَقُتِّلُواْ تَقْتِيلاً
the translation of which is, “Cursed they will be. Wherever they are found, they are seized and all slain.”
And as for the Sunna, the ruling is clear from both the actions and words of the Messenger of Allah. The Prophet said,
من سب الأنبياء قتل ، ومن سب أصحابي جلّد
“Whoever curses a Prophet, kill him. Whoever curses my Companions, beat him.” This is the ruling of the deen regarding this matter, but like all rulings is only to be carried out once all the precepts of justice have been met. There is no vigilantism – we do not find someone stealing from our store and cut his hands off, or flog every drunkard we come across in the street, or stone every self-confessed adulterer or homosexual. No, we leave such rulings to those whose right and duty it is to make them.
But that is not to say we stand idly by while such insults are made, and accept them. That would not be possible for anyone who loves him. If you do not feel anger when the Messenger of Allah is insulted, then your heart is dead. It is the natural impulse of the healthy Muslim to want to leap to his aid and punish the perpetrator. Any form of disrespect towards the Prophet filled the Companions with ire. How many times in the seera, for example, do we read of Umar ibn al-Khattab leaping to his feet and demanding to cut a person’s head off for what he perceived to be a slight towards his beloved Prophet.
No, we must respond, but the response must be made with wisdom. It must be made in a way that minimises the effect of the insult and the influence and reach of the perpetrator, not accentuates and propagates it. We must remember that we are all, each and everyone of us, a representative of the Messenger of Allah, and what people see of us is what they see of the Messenger. Hence, the best way to respond and repudiate insults in a world where we do not have hukm is to try and embody what he has taught and shown us to the fullest, to act as he would have acted in every situation, to bring his sunna to life. We will tell them with our words, by praising him and recounting his greatness, and show them with our deeds, of how great he was and how great this deen that he brought. That way we can turn their attempts to belittle into an opportunity and an opening.
We ask Allah to increase us in love and respect for the Messenger of Allah, and make us among the first who leap to his defence when he is disparaged. And we ask that He gives us the hikma to make that response beneficial for us and the Muslim umma, and be the cause of our solidarity and guidance for those who are lost. We ask that He guide us back to the sirat al-mustaqim and restore us to the Prophetic Madinan model. And we ask that He punish those who disparage or demean him in any way in this world and the Next. And make their attempts to destroy the deen and sully the name of the Muslims fail and instead become a means to the re-establishment of His deen in our time.
إِنَّ اللهَ وَمَلَائِكَتَهُ يُصَلُّونَ عَلَى النَّبِيِّ، يَا أَيُهَا الذِينَ آمَنُواْ صَلُّواْ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلِّمُواْ تَسْلِيماً.
اللَّهُمَّ صَلِّ وَسَلِّمْ وَبَارِكْ عَلَيْهِ وَعَلَى آلِهِ وَصَحْبِهِ أَجْمَعِينَ. وَارْضَ اللَّهُمَّ عَنِ الْخُلَفَاءِ الرَّاشِدِينَ أَبِي بَكْرٍ وَعُمَرَ وَعُثْمَانَ وَعَلِيٍّ، وعن أم المومنين عائشة التي أمرنا الله في سورة النور أن ندافع عنها، وَعَنْ سَائِرِ الصَّحَابَةِ أَجْمَعِينَ، خُصُوصاً اِلأَنْصَارَ مِنْهُمْ وَالمُهَاجِرِينَ، وَعَنِ التَّابِعِينَ وَتَابِعِي التَّابِعِينَ وَمَنْ تَبِعَهُمْ بِإِحْسَانٍ إِلَى يَوْمِ الدِّينِ.
اللَّهُمَّ اهْدِ وُلَاةَ أُمُورِ المُسْلِمِينَ لِمَا يُرْضِيكَ وَلِاتِّبَاعِ سُنَّةِ نَبِيِّكَ صَلَّى اللهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ، وَثَبِّتْ أَقْدَامَهُمْ عَلَى الصِّرَاطِ المُسْتَقِيمِ، وَأَصْلِحْهُمْ يَا رَبَّ الْعَالَمِينَ.
اللَّهُمَّ بَارِكْ عَلَى شَيْخِنَا، وَعَلَى أَمِيرِنَا، وَعَلَى جَمِيعِ أُمَرَاءِ وَزُعَمَاءِ المُسْلِمِينَ.
اللَّهُمَّ بَارِكْ عَلَى المُسْلِمِينَ فِي هَذِهِ المَدِينَةِ، وَوَفِّقْهُمْ لِمَا تُحِبُّهُ وَتَرْضَاهُ يَا أَكْرَمَ الأَكْرَمِينَ.
اللَّهُمَّ أَعِزَّ الإِسْلَامَ وَالمُسِْلمِينَ، وَاخْذُلِ الْكُفْرَ وَالْكَافِرِينَ، وَانْصُرِ المُجَاهِدِينَ فِي سَبِيلِ اللهِ. وَاجْعَلْ كَلِمََتَكَ هِيَ العُلْيَا وَكَلِمَةَ الْكُفْرِ هِيَ السُّفْلَى.
رَبَّنَا ءَاتِنَا فِي الدُّنْيَا حَسَنَةً وَفِي الآخِرَةِ حَسَنَةً وَقَِنَا عَذَابَ النَّارِ.
إِنَّ اللهَ يَامُرُ بِالْعَدْلِ وَالإِحْسَانِ وَإِيتَاءِ ذِي الْقُرْبَى، وَيَنْهَى عَنِ الْفَحْشَاءِ وَالمُنكَرِ وَالْبَغْيِ، يَعِظُكُمْ لَعَلَّكُمْ تَذَّكَّرُونَ، وَلَذِكْرُ اللهِ أَكْبَرُ وَاللهُ يَعْلَمُ مَا تَصْنَعُونَ. وَقُومُواْ إِلَى صَلاتِكُمْ يَرْحَمُكُمُ اللهُ
One Tweet Perfectly Sums Up the Big Problem With How We Talk About Terrorism ~ Elizabeth Plank, World.Mic, January 7, 2015.
If a terrorist attack took place right here in the U.S., wouldn’t it be a national story?
Terrorism may be defined as “the use of violence and threats to intimidate or coerce, especially for political purposes,” but if you asked most people, the term conjures one image: brown people with beards and bombs. Nothing has made that profoundly racist misunderstanding clearer than the news coverage of two violent attacks that happened within roughly 24 hours.
On Tuesday morning, the NAACP offices in Colorado Springs, Colorado, came under attack when someone who is believed be a balding white man in his 40s dropped an explosive device that went off a few feet from the building. And on Wednesday morning, news broke of a horrifying mass shooting at satirical newspaper Charlie Hebdo in France that left 12 dead and several wounded.
Both acts were motivated by radical ideology, but only one of them is being covered by the 24-hour news cycle. What gives?
According to Ebony senior digital editor Jamilah Lemieux, it’s because we rush to label attacks carried out by non-whites as “terrorism,” but when the perpetrator is white, we view those cases as isolated acts of violence.
“We are comfortable with the image of Islamic terrorists, but unable to recognize the actions of Americans — white Americans, specifically — as terrorism,” Lemieux told Mic. The fact that there (thankfully) were no casualties doesn’t preclude us from labeling the act for what it is.
“A planned bombing at an office of one of the nation’s oldest civil rights groups … what could possibly come to mind aside from ‘hate crime’ and ‘terrorism?'” Lemeiux said. “The lack of injuries is a miracle, not a reason to downplay the horrific implications of this crime.”
There’s a long list of examples that support Lemieux’s claim. For instance, after a white man in Texas purposely crashed his plane into a building known to house IRS staff and left a note describing his plans for mass murder in 2010, a police chief described his acts as “a criminal act by a lone individual” rather than terrorism. When Elliot Rodger espoused his radical anti-woman ideology and killed six people near the University of California, Santa Barbara last year, newspapers like the Santa Barbara Independent , described him as a “lone gunman.” And Santa Barbara County Sheriff Bill Brown said Rodger’s acts were “the work of a madman.”
As Brittney Cooper at Salon noted, the terms we use to describe the violent actions of men are incredibly racialized.
Ethnicity doesn’t just impact the way we categorize these incidents, it also impacts whether the media covers them at all. As Daily Kos reports, it took CNN 16 hours to report what happened at the NAACP on Tuesday and “the incident wasn’t mentioned on national nightly news broadcasts.”
So if you heard about this attack, you should thank Black Twitter because its reporters and activists took it upon themselves to have a conversation about the attack that wasn’t happen in traditional news media. As Mic‘s Derrick Clifton writes, it was “only after #NAACPBombing became a worldwide trending topic on Twitter did the incident start to become a national news story late Tuesday night.”
The chilling violence that took place in France needs and should be all over the news. But that shouldn’t take away from reporting on the terrorism that takes place here at home. Let’s call a spade a spade, and finally recognize that white people can be terrorists, too.