Duties of Muslims in the West

Friday Sermon; May, 9th. 2008 Imam of Duncanville Islamic Center

Duties of Muslims in the US

(1) For Muslims to know their obligations, their responsibilities and their accountabilities as citizens living in the US, they need to return to the source and root of the Muslim Ummah, they need to return to the way of Rasul Allah (salla Allahu alia’hi wa sallam<!–[if !supportFootnotes]–>[1]<!–[endif]–>). All scholars agree on this concept. Imam Malik (one of the great early scholars of Islam) mentioned that this Ummah would never be reformed except with what reformed its first part, its beginning part. So Muslims need to look at the teachings of Rasul Allah (salla Allahu alia’hi wa sallam) to understand their obligations and duties as citizens living in the US.

(2) Every Muslim has to know what is meant and what the implication of his saying that Rasul Allah (salla Allahu alia’hi wa sallam) is the best of creation (khairu khalqih). When Muslims say that Rasul Allah (salla Allahu alia’hi wa sallam) is the best of creation, they must realize and believe that none of the creation of Allah (Sub’hanahu wa Ta’aala<!–[if !supportFootnotes]–>[2]<!–[endif]–>) can be better than Rasul Allah (salla Allahu alia’hi wa sallam) in any aspect of life.

(3) When the Muslim community started out in Makkah they were a minority, much like the Muslims are a minority in this country today. The number of Muslims present in this Masjid every Friday is more than the number of Muslims that took part in the battle of Badr, it was more than the number of Muslims that pledged their oath of allegiance to Rasul Allah (salla Allahu alia’hi wa sallam) at Aqabah (a place close to Madinah), it was more than the number of Muslims that Rasul Allah (salla Allahu alia’hi wa sallam) had a consultation with before the battle of Uhud. It has to be clear in our mind that being a minority doesn’t mean that you have to be weak and incapable of accomplishing great feats. When the Muslims started out, they were a minority, but in a few decades of time after following the teachings of Rasul Allah (salla Allahu alia’hi wa sallam), they were able to bring about a revolution that spanned almost the entire globe. The companions of Rasul Allah (salla Allahu alia’hi wa sallam) responded to the challenges that they were face with.

(4) How did Rasul Allah (salla Allahu alia’hi wa sallam) guide the early community of Muslims?

There were three important pillars that Rasul Allah (salla Allahu alia’hi wa sallam) directed the early community of Muslims with:

(A) The community’s relationship with their Creator, Allah (sub’hanahu wa Ta’aala):

As Muslims we have to ponder upon our relationship with Allah (Sub’hanahu wa Ta’aala). We have to realize that just because we are few in numbers doesn’t mean that we are weak. The belief that an individual has in Allah (Sub’hanahu wa Ta’aala) changes this weak individual into a powerful human being. That’s why Sayiddina Bilal (ra’diya Allahu an’hu<!–[if !supportFootnotes]–>[3]<!–[endif]–>) (another great companion of Rasul Allah) endured the punishment and torture of the Quraysh. He was dragged on hot burning sand with a heavy rock on his chest and the manifestation of his Iman (faith in Allah) was his uttering the words “Ahad, Ahad.” (God is One, God is One). His belief in Allah (Sub’hanahu wa Ta’aala) was so strong that he would not give into the demands of the Quraysh no matter how harshly they tortured him.

(B) Individual interaction within the community:

As Muslims are we truly brothers and sisters? Can we live this statement in our lives. When the companions of Rasul Allah (salla Allahu alia’hi wa sallam) left Makkah for Madinah, they left everything in Makkah, the Ansars (Muslims living in Madinah who were permanent residents) received them in Madinah. Rasul Allah (salla Allahu alia’hi wa sallam) appointed a specific family with a specific family, a specific individual with a specific individual. The Ansar divided whatever they had and shared their belongings with the companions who had migrated.

As Muslims we should not think of what others are doing, we should look at what we are doing individually, we need to show respect and love even to those Muslims who treat us badly. Rasul Allah (salla Allahu alia’hi wa sallam) would have never hated anyone who had said La Ilaha Illa Allah Muhammad Rasul Allah. The Prophet never distinguished amongst the sahabah in the way he treated them.

There were thousands of sahabah. Rasul Allah (salla Allahu alia’hi wa sallam) would treat each one of the Sahabah<!–[if !supportFootnotes]–>[4]<!–[endif]–> in such a manner that made each particular sahabi think that he was the most favourite companion of Rasul Allah (salla Allahu alia’hi wa sallam). Muslims today can and should adopt the same attitude and we can start in our own homes. Parents should treat each child such that they say I’m the most favourite son or daughter of my father/mother. Each sibling should say I’m the favourite brother of my sister, sister of my brother.

(C) The Muslims communities’ view of the rest of the humanity:

The way of Rasul Allah (salla Allahu alia’hi wa sallam) was to treat the Non-Muslims with kindness, love and mercy. Time and time again he did it. A beautiful story was mentioned about how Rasul Allah (salla Allahu alia’hi wa sallam) treated a particular elderly Non-Muslim woman in Makkah! Everyday, before Rasul Allah (salla Allahu alia’hi wa sallam) left his house to go to the Ka’bah, this elderly woman would throw trash in front of the path of Rasul Allah (salla Allahu alia’hi wa sallam) out of disrespect and because she didn’t like the message that Rasul Allah (salla Allahu alia’hi wa sallam) was preaching. One day, Rasul Allah (salla Allahu alia’hi wa sallam) was leaving his house and he didn’t notice any garbage in his path and so he thought that maybe the old lady was sick, and that is why she was unable to throw her garbage this particular day, and so he went and visited her.

When this elderly lady first saw Rasul Allah (salla Allahu alia’hi wa sallam) she was scared, because she knew what she had been doing. She asked why he had come. Rasul Allah(salla Allahu alia’hi wa sallam) responded by saying that he knew that everyday she would throw garbage in his path, and today he didn’t find any garbage in his path, so he thought she might’ve been sick and that’s why he came to visit her. This response of Rasul Allah (salla Allahu alia’hi wa sallam) softened the heart of this Non-Muslim lady and she was convinced that Rasul Allah (salla Allahu alia’hi wa sallam) is truly a messenger of Allah, and she uttered the shahadah.

What is the Muslim communities’ view of the rest of humanity? How do we think of our Non-Muslim neighbours, co-workers, and friends? The way we think about them would determine the way we treat them.

If we see them as a Non-Muslim, that’s how we will deal with them but if we look to them as potential Muslims we would treat them in a special way. Rasul Allah (salla Allahu alia’hi wa sallam) would treat every Non-Muslim as a potential Muslim.

Some important concepts that would form the cornerstone for a plan of action for Muslims living in the US:

(1) We need to be men and women of spirituality. We must reflect spirituality in our outlook, character and personality. Let’s spread Iman and Taqwa. Muslim cannot be someone who spreads hatred for everyone. Spirituality is what this society needs and this is what we can offer them.

(2) Education is extremely important for all Muslims. As a community we need to be educated.

It is very unfortunate to read the annual UNESCO report from UN about rate of illiteracy in the world. Most of the countries with the highest rates of illiteracy are all Muslim countries. How can the Muslims let this be when Rasul Allah (salla Allahu alia’hi wa sallam) elevated the acquisition of knowledge to being an act of worship of Allah (Sub’hanahu wa Ta’aala). If we don’t reclaim this prophetic heritage, we can’t expect to make any significant change in this world. All aspects of education, for all Muslims should be considered to give us strength in Deen<!–[if !supportFootnotes]–>[5]<!–[endif]–> and Dunya<!–[if !supportFootnotes]–>[6]<!–[endif]–>.

(3) Muslim families need to be strong. Our families must be a reflection of what Islam teaches. There are many Muslim families that are in disarray. There are many examples of children leaving homes, problems between husband and wife in the Muslim community. How can this be when Islam puts a great emphasis on a good family life! Each and every member of us has to have some program with his family every day. A Muslim family should try to pray together; pray with your spouse and your children. A Muslim family should always eat together. A family that prays together and eats together stays together. Many of Muslims don’t do that. We are too caught up with other things, and we are always telling our spouses/children that we are busy. And the consequence of the neglect of family rights is the straining of the relationship between husband and wife, between parents and children.

Many children tell their parents that they love them, but they tell them this when it is too late. They only care to do this at their parent’s funeral, when they truly realize how important a role their parents had played in their lives.

Why don’t children tell that to their parents when they are alive and the parents can hear them?

Wouldn’t it make the parents happy to hear something like that?

(4) Public awareness; the Muslim community should be publicly aware of what is happening around us. Muslims should not live in a vacuum in society. We need to overcome our cultural/linguistic barriers. After deciding to choose USA to be our home, then we should treat it as if it is our home. Too many Muslims think of back home. If we think that the US is our home, we will behave in a way to make it our home, to make its atmosphere Islamic. But if we think somewhere else is back home, then we will live like strangers in this land and we will die as strangers in this land.

A famous Islamic poet said, “If you cannot add anything to society, you are a liability on society.” We as Muslims cannot be a liability we must be an asset to society. We must be an asset to ourselves, our spouse, our children, our Muslim community and the wider Non-Muslim community, must be an asset to everyone. The nature of the Iman of a Muslim should be like the scent of a perfume. A person who puts on a perfume or cologne, cannot say that this is my cologne/perfume and only I will smell it. Any other person who comes into contact with this individual will also smell the scent. Such should be the nature of Iman. If we live the true nature of Iman, anyone that we come in contact with should be touched by our Iman.

That is our obligation and responsibility as Muslims living in the US.

 

 

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