Saturday, August 4, 2012

Khutbaaz (Sermons)

Below you will find summaries of Friday prayer sermons given this month that encourage people to oppose systems of oppression and establish social justice. Why? See my post: Preaching Justice.

Summaries will resume the weekend of September 7, God willing.

"Foil 'Divide & Conquer' By Forging Unity, Ending Fanatacism"
By Imam Muhammad Asi of the Islamic Center of Washington
Friday, August 24, 2012

If humanity wants to prosper, people should celebrate their differences and not allow mischief-makers to turn them into forces of division, bigotry and bloodshed.

A growing number of countries (most recently Syria) are on fire as those seeking to maintain hegemony over the world and its resources aim to do so by exploiting religious divisions (Sunni vs Shia, Muslim vs Christian/Jewish) and inciting hatred and mayhem.

"No one is telling you, me and the public that there are common enemies, intelligence agencies, mercenaries, informers, paramilitaries and even special operations forces in the thick and thin of what they want to become lasting divisions among the Muslims," Imam Muhammad Asi told his congregation.

But God and Prophet Muhammad (S) warned us of these obstacles to progress and instructed us to stay calm, collected and united.

God: "And hold fast, all of you all together, to the rope of God and be not divided amongst yourselves." (Quran 3: 103)

Prophet Muhammad (S): "All people are God's family. The most beloved by God is the one who is of most service to His family."

"If we can't acquire accurate information and immunize ourselves by what God and His Prophet are telling us, then we are going to fall into the abyss they have prepared for us--all of us," Asi warned.

Asi said there have always been fanatics and extremists in every generation of mankind and they cannot be supported and allowed to destroy society through their false interpretations of Divine scripture.

"Differences? We have differences," Asi said. "We are not carbon copies of each others."

"It's part of our creation to acknowledge differences. But these differences should never-ever become a matter of justification for wars and bloodshed and mayhem and divisions in society."

Asi said the scholar most Muslim extremists refer to, Ibn Taymiyyah of the fourteenth century, actually demonstrated love for and unity with others.

For example, he took offense when the Mongol invaders only agreed to free the Muslim prisoners.

"Ibn Taymiyyah said, 'No, if you are going to release the prisoners you are going to release all of them, the Christians and Jews along with the Muslims,'" according to Asi.

Asi said there is no room in the world nor basis in Scripture for "ill-tempered, trigger-happy, insular" people. On the contrary, the strong Muslims are those who stay committed to God and principled (as revitalized by fasting in the previous month of Ramadan) regardless of the pressures around them.

God says: "And the servants of The Merciful are the ones who walk with ease on earth and if they are addressed by the ignorant they say, "Peace!" (25:63)

"This is the epitome of confidence that comes from a will power that doesn't negotiate, that doesn't hide, that doesn't apologize for its principles," Asi said.

Asi said Muslims should be building these types of personalities and not just structural buildings. After all, Prophet Muhammad (S) did not build any mosques for the first 13 years of his mission.

"He wasn't concerned with the types of issues today's Muslims are concerned with," Asi said. "Look how many mosques we have in the world. But do we have strong Muslims who can walk into these mosques?"

Click here to listen to Imam Asi's complete sermon.

Meet Imam Asi, author of The Ascendant Quran, the first exegesis (tafsir) of the Holy Book directly into English, at the ISNA Convention in Washington on Labor Day weekend (Aug. 31-Sept. 3). Booth #215


"Uprooting Zionism Will Bring Justice For All"
By Imam Muhammad Asi of the Islamic Center of Washington
Friday, August 17, 2012

After fasting for four weeks to gain proximity to God, Muslims should emerge from the month of Ramadan with the courage to speak the Divinely-ordained truth to power: The Zionist occupation of Palestine must end for social justice to prevail on earth.

"Justice cannot be done in this world as long as the Zionist, racist, expansionist occupation of the Holy Lands persists," Imam Muhammad Asi said in his sermon on Al-Quds Day, commemorated worldwide on the last Friday in Ramadan to express  solidarity with all those suffering under oppression, in particular, the Palestinians.

Asi said it is God who exposes the Zionists as the source of world-wide oppression (social injustice, political scheming, military wars, economic plundering).

"And we conveyed to the Children of Israel in the Scripture that, 'You will surely cause corruption on the earth twice, and you will surely reach [a degree of] great haughtiness.'" (Quran 17: 4)

"God speaks about a topic humans don't have the courage to speak about," Asi said. "Our Scripture has not been corrupted. Our problem is God's words are there but our minds are corrupted."

"God revealed His words to be hidden?" Asi asks. "I hide it? I don't say it? I don't explain it? I don't expose the crimes against humanity?"

Asi said Zionism is not confined to the Holy Lands but "has its tentacles stretched throughout the world," thanks to the support of the governments in Washington and Saudi Arabia and the Zionist control of religious institutions, whether Jewish, Christian or Muslim.

To prevent the people of the Middle East from rising up against it, adherents of Zionism (including the regime in Saudi Arabia) are stirring up sectarian strife in country after country, most recently in Syria, according to Asi.

"These Zionists pit Muslim against Muslim and spread this fitna (disunity and infighting) through the Muslim world so Muslims kill Muslims," Asi said. "And they can sit back and watch this scenario and laugh all the way to the military-industrial-banking complex out of which they are making a killing out of our killings."

But Asi says Zionism will eventually face defeat.

"It is going to take the free souls that are liberated from the shackles of their lies and fabrication, souls that can breathe freedom, dignity and justice with every breath that is taken to bring an end to the problem that seems unable to go away."

Click here to listen to Imam Asi's complete sermon.

Meet Imam Asi, author of The Ascendant Quran, the first exegesis (tafsir) of the Holy Book directly into English, at the ISNA Convention in Washington on Labor Day weekend (Aug. 31-Sept. 3). Booth #215


"Freeing Ourselves This Ramadan"
By Imam Muhammad Asi of the Islamic Center of Washington
Friday, August 10, 2012

True freedom can only be achieved by taking control of our carnal desires in conformance with God's rules so we can free our societies from oppression.

By abstaining from food, drink and other pleasures while fasting in Ramadan, Muslims receive annual training on the strengthening of will power over animal instincts, which is needed to establish just societies in accordance with God's dictates.

"Are we ingesting hunger, thirst and deprivation so we can expel them from our societies?"  asked Imam Asi during his Friday sermon.

Only by keeping our individual selfish desires in check can we build a society that is prosperous for all.

Prophet Muhammad (S) demonstrated the importance of this by relating a story of the traveler on a boat. This passenger was barred from drilling a hole under his seat to obtain water more efficiently because it would have brought the whole ship down.

"This is not a jungle," Asi said. "If you want to do something that is easy for you but is going to destroy society you don't have the freedom to do that."

While trying to establish justice in society, those seeking it will face resistance.

According to the Quran, it is only those able to overpower their base desires who will overcome the enemy:

On his way to fight the oppressive Goliath, for example, Saul (Talut in Arabic) forbade his soldiers from drinking water from the river. Just a handful who had control over their desires complied, and it was this small cadre who went on to defeat Goliath with God's help.

"When Saul set forth with the enemies, he said: 'God will test you at the stream. If any drinks of its water, he goes not with my army. Only those who taste not of it go with me. A mere sip out of the hand is excused. '

But they all drank of it except a few. When they crossed the river, he and the faithful ones with him, they said, 'This day we cannot cope with Goliath and his forces.' But those who were convinced that they must meet God said, 'How oft by God's will, has a small force vanquished a big one? God is with those who steadfastly persevere." (Quran 2: 249)

"When we deny our lower instincts, we invite the company of God," Asi said. "And if you are out to defeat an enemy, the enemy will be defeated."

Those opposed to the freedom, independence and prosperity of countries in the Muslim world are currently focused on inciting sectarianism and violence in countries like Syria.

"The Imperialist Zionists have bleeding hearts now for Syria?" Asi questioned. "Remember, they are responsible for the carnage in Iraq and Afghanistan and other places. They are on both sides. They want this bloodletting to continue."

Asi said the Saudi government (in cahoots with the American and Israeli governments) is funding the terror in Syria, and Sunnis and Shias must get to know one another, cooperate with one another and through unity defeat their enemies.

"Let's grow out of  this individualism and let's take care of our social character," he concluded.

Click here to listen to Imam Asi's complete sermon.

Meet Imam Asi, author of The Ascendant Quran, the first exegesis (tafsir) of the Holy Book directly into English, at the ISNA Convention in Washington on Labor Day weekend (Aug. 31-Sept. 3). Booth #215

"Breaking Our Fast As One"
By Imam Muhammad Asi of the Islamic Center of Washington
Friday, August 3, 2012

Those who observe their fasts correctly this month should develop the affinity, will power and determination to together tackle the worldwide epidemics of hunger and starvation.

"If we are fasting as we should be fasting, we should be concerned with those billions of people with whom we are now sharing their life (of hunger)," Asi said during his sermon.

To challenge the unjust systems that perpetuate widespread deprivation, much resolve is needed and fasting helps us attain it.

During the competition between one's physical prowess and spiritual/motivational powers (morale, will power, determination) in Ramadan, it is the latter that gains strength and ought to become the guiding force.

"Our fasting is supposed to take us into the mess in world affairs so that we can sort it out when we qualify. We don't qualify by virtue of our muscular or military or material strength. We qualify because we have liberated our intentions. We have freed our will power and we can step into these world affairs and straighten them up."

That means we cannot be satisfied with feasting and gorging on fancy meals at the end of the day while others still go hungry.

"You want to fill your stomach and [the stomachs of] all those around you," Asi said. "We live in a human family and a worldwide neighborhood."

"Hunger becomes one. Thirst becomes one. Deprivation becomes one. And the breaking of this fast becomes one."

Unfortunately, too many Muslims fast in a traditional way, concentrating only on the individual benefits of daytime abstinence while neglecting its social aspects, according to Asi.

"It is ironic that some Muslim centers understand that they are required to defeat their desires and lusts and greed in their own selves but when we expand their horizons they can no longer see the lusts of people in power and the machinations of people in finance."

Asi says this is mainly because their mosque leaders hold wealth and power but neither merit nor virtuous characteristics. Too many are funded by the Saudi regime, which benefits from maintaining the status quo and is even planning "wars that will make rivers of blood flow in Muslim countries," says Asi.

Asi has a few parting words for them:

"Our combined will being nurtured in this month of Ramadan shall overcome your swords, your bombs, your militaries and your intelligence agencies."

Click here to listen to Imam Asi's complete sermon.

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