Feb 3 2009, 05:53 PM
SIFFIN: LESSONS NOT EMOTIONS
With Allah's assistance and with the information that He has entrusted us with the book of records, the Holy writ- we begin by quoting His words
Our Sustainer give us in this world the deeds of perfection and the rewards of perfection there-of and give us in the life to come or the end life the results of those good deeds in this world and spare us the torment of the fire (Surah Al-Baqarah verse 201)
Oh our sustainer grant us a break through with our own people and you are the best to do so (Surah Al-Khaf verse 18)
Committed brothers and sisters- as a reminder, when we express the ideas in these khutbahs, we do so factoring in the issues and themes that are meant to divide us. We remind ourselves of the truth and validity of what we are concentrating our minds on while we take notice of the bloodshed and warfare that are meant to capitalize on our ignorance of our own selves. For that reason we pursue the information that we have, to dispel this ignorance and therefore to abort the plans and programs that are causing us hundreds of lives almost on a daily basis. They, meaning the militaries and governments that belong to Ash-Shaytaan and have no relationship to Allah, want to stir in the midst of the Muslims a war that will consume the potential that we have not only to extricate ourselves from what we are in and have been in for a long time but to extend a hand of support to those who need it. Where is this area that they are trying to fish for trouble in? This has been our concentration for the past year or more and we will continue. Don't think that we are saying this because we get a kick out of turning these pages of history. These are times of trouble and those were wars that cost us many lives. It may be hard to focus our minds on these developments in our past, but it's only hard for those who are not in the company of Allah and His Prophet. We pick up where we left off the last time around- that was when both Muslim sides were gearing up for a war.
Feb 3 2009, 05:59 PM
Initial Stages of Siffin
We realize that Muawiyah, the governor of Ash-Shaam, preceded with his troops to a place called Siffin. This happens to be an area on the right hand side of the Euphrates river, Al-Furaat. The army of Muawiyah sets camp there in this particular area- in other words they reached what is going to become the battle field before the army and the camp of Ali (radi Allahu anhu) and it was a short time later and then Ali and those who are with him arrive. I want you- brothers and sisters- to listen with your minds please place your emotions to the side; you can emotionalize about this as much as you want on your own but when this issue is potentially a divisive issue among the Muslims, what is required here is our full attentions and minds. When both of these opposing blocks of people arrive at this particular area called Siffin, Muawiyah and his side were intent on denying excess to the water to the side and the camp of Ali. Obviously, water is a vital element especially if a war or skirmishes are going to extend for the time period that they did- we're talking almost 3 months. This was the 38th year of the hijra and there was an attempt to solve this water issue. Ali sends some interlocutors or spokespersons to try to convince the other side that all warriors, everyone needs to have equal excess to water. Let me remind you, if you have forgotten, that water is not a simple issue. Water has a little background history to it because this side that is with Muawiyah are now trying to take revenge for the denial of water to Uthman (radi Allahu anhu) in his final days. If you recall, in previous khutbahs we explained how when Uthman and his family were under siege, they were denied water-now Muawiyah and his camp are trying a tit-for-tat; you denied Uthman water- now we are going to deny you water. Of course, the spokespersons returned to Ali with the answer that they, meaning Muawiyah and his side are non negotiating on this matter; they want to block excess to water. On Muawiyah's side there were two elements at work. There was a shuraa element; even though that was only a mechanism and there was the assabiya element, the element of nationalism that was always at work. It was at work in Makkah when the Prophet was there; it was at work in Al-Madinah when the Prophet was there; it was at work during the time of the successors to the Prophet Abi Bakr, Umar, Uthman (radi Allahu anhum) and now it is at work within Muawiyah's camp. In opposition to this opinion, one of Muawiyah's lieutenants, Amr ibn Al Aas, advised Muawiyah that you should not deny the other side access to Al-Furaat to the water because this encounter between us and them- meaning between Muawiyah's side and Ali's side- may take a long time and we don't want to begin a war with them immediately but if you deny them this water you'll be forcing them to go all out against us very quick. But still, putting this shura aside, Muawiyah adopted the Asabiya of Bani Umayyah around him which said we insist and are dead serious about preventing the other side from having access to water. What happened here was is a very serious skirmish between the two sides- this was in the last month of the 37th year of the hijra,in dhul hijjah, and as a result the camp of Ali managed to take control of the water access of Al-Furaat. Now, the whole issue was reversed- the camp of Ali had access to Al-Furaat and Muawiyah and his camp did not have any access to it. There were those on the side of Ali who took a hard position saying that now we are in control we are not going to have them draw from this water. But Ali as a matter of principle said then what's the difference between us and them?! This water is for all and we will have access to it and they will have access to it. Then the month of Muharram arrives- the 38th of al-hijra- and there were mutual feelings on both sides to try to talk this thing through- let us try to settle this issue short of war. During this month of Muharram, the whole month was spent in intensive, nervous hard talk between both sides, arguments, flaring up of nerves- there was no warfare, it was just a serious back and forth verbal war between both sides and it wasn't going anywhere. Both sides into the month of Safar- after Muharram- realized that this is becoming a stalemate, there's not going to be a decisive decision that's going to come out of this through this medium of both sides clinging to the positions that we outlined in the previous khutbah or two. No one wanted to budge an inch on their positions- positions summarized in one side being al-fia' al-baghia and i.e. Muawiyah and the other side being the one that is failing to apply the qisaas to the killers of Uthman i.e.the camp of Ali. These were the two bedrock, hard rock positions of the two antagonized sides. Then, when Ali exhausted the means of trying to solve this issue short of an all out military encounter, he put his army on a war footing in combat formation to take on the other side.
Feb 3 2009, 06:03 PM
Battle of Siffin Begins
Muawiyah realized that his opponents were ready for the real thing, meaning the all out military encounter between both sides so he also put his forces in warfare formation. The 1st day that they began this war- it was one tribe on this side against another tribe on the other side or one man on this side against another man from that side or one squadron from one side against another squadron from the other side and war continued like this for the 1st day. Remember, we're almost two or two and a half months since both sides encamped at Siffin- this is a long period. Then, on the second day both armies met enmasse and they began dueling. This is very sad to comment upon- when we are speaking about tens of thousands of Muslims who now are going to be killed but there is a matter of principle here (we remind you) and there's a matter of political expedience in here. In the 2nd day of fierce warfare the right flank of Ali's forces caved in, meaning there was a gap in the right flank and the forces of the other side began to move into this gap and Ali was forced to go from the middle of this armed force to the left flank but then the fighting intensified and it intensified and what was managed during these critical times was the regrouping of the right flank of Ali under the command of Al Ashtar An Nagh'i. who in today's word was a hard core military personality who didn't see any grey areas in this affair. As the day went on the camp and the armed forces of the Imam solidified their positions and then the war continued throughout the night. This is unusual. We don't know of any warfare extending from the 1st day to the 2nd day and then from the 2nd day into the 2nd night and then from the 2nd night into the 3rd day and the causalities were tremendous. On that 3rd day the camp or the armed forces of Muawiyah felt that they are going to be defeated. Brothers and sisters- before we go on, we're trying as conscientiously as possible to express these delicate historical affairs. Does anyone feel any hatred? You can see someone's right and you can see someone' wrong, but can anyone see any hatred towards another Muslim because of this? We think the answer is obvious. On the 3rd day, when the rowdy or the defeat of the counter Ali forces was eminent, then all over sudden they raised the masaahif or the written Qur'an on their spears and swords- most of it was on the spears and they called for arbitration. These were the exact words that were expressed during this military maneuver. What was the impact of this on their opposing side? Many of the warriors on the side of Ali took (maybe what can be described as) an emotional response to this. They said now our enemies want to arbitrate this difference and they want to do so according to the Qur'an why should we refuse this offer? That was the majority opinion among those who we with Ali. There was a lesser opinion that said no! We are sure of our position. We have been sure of our position from the 1st day as else we wouldn't have been in this war that we are in now. We are sure that our leader is Ameerul Mu'mineen and we are sure that our opponents are al-fia' al-baaghia the offending aggressive category of people and then this became (listen brothers and sisters with your emotions aside) a divisive issue inside the camp of Ali. It became so divisive that some of Ali's own people threatened him because he didn't agree with the idea that there should be an arbitration. He said raising the mushaf is nothing new. Remember, when the clash in Al-Basra took place at Al-Jamal and when Ali asked (we mentioned this in the previous khutbah) for a volunteer who would go and raise the Qur'an to arbitrate this affair according to the book of Allah but before the war began. There's a difference here. He wanted the arbitration of this affair in Al-Basra before Al-Jamal, the causalities, victims and war dead at Al-Jamal; but these are raising the masaahif not because they are sincere about an arbitration but because they see that they are loosing. It's a trick that most of those who were with him could not reconcile to themselves. They couldn't see this as a trick so they insisted and some of them even told Ali if you are not going to accept this arbitration we ourselves are going to turn you over to Muawiyah. What do you do when most of the people who are with you see that the best thing to do is to refer this whole issue to the book of Allah when those who are asking for this referral are not sincere but are doing this to escape an eminent military defeat? Ali was "forced" (more or less) into this arbitration.
Feb 3 2009, 06:08 PM
Causalities from Each Camp
What are the armed forces that we are talking about on both sides? Anyone who comes to you with a firm answer on this- dismiss it. The books of history give different numbers. Some of them say the forces of Ali numbered 100,000 and Muawiyah's army numbered 75,000 and then you have the numbers going up or down; and then you have the causalities. Brothers and sisters- this is sad they among us, Muslims. The causalities were (again, we different numbers but we can put out a number that we feel somewhat comfortable with; you may add or take a little from it), those who were killed from Muawiyah's side were about 45,000 and those who were killed from Ali's side were around 25,000. We have a total causality figure of around 70,000 Muslims give or take some thousand depending on the historian you are reading, but in that area who were killed during this military encounter at Siffin. What is important to realize is that this was a war unlike other wars. Remember, they spent months yelling or shouting their impressions or ideas against each other. Even during the nights when they were discussing this affair in the month of Muharram both sides would meet during the evening and late into the night speaking to each other and formulating poetry but the out come of all of this was a sad blood letting in our history. No one can deny this and some of the most prominent people were killed in this war. Only to mention one from each side- one of those who were killed on Muawiyah's side was Ubaidullah ibn Umar, the one who killed Al-Hurmuzaan. Remember when Umar was assassinated in the Masjid and his son took the law into his own hands and in revenge killed those he said were responsible for killing his father- this Ubaidallah ibn Umar was killed at Siffin. On the other side we had Ammaar ibn Yassar (radi Allahu anhu) who was killed at Siffin. Ammaar ibn Yassar demands some minutes of our time because he's critical because of the Prophet in defining the right side from the wrong side. All Muslims agree that the Prophet said to Ammaar pity you the son of Sumayyah you are going to be killed by the offending side. What happened in the course of this war? Obviously Ammaar was on the side of Ali. Ammar was over 90 years old- those were his physical years, but his mental, spiritual and motivational years were very young. He didn't show any feature of being an elderly person as he came voluntarily with his own initiative to this encounter. There was a person by the name of Khuzaimahibn Thabit al Ansaari who tagged on- listen to this- he tagged on to the camp of Ali. He was just there as a person and he didn't want to fight. He was watching Ammaar very closely and when Ammaar was killed this Khuzaimah al Ansaari ibn Thabit said now the truth is obvious and at that moment he took arms and he fought until he was killed and the killing of Ammaar became a problem to Muawiyah because Muawiyah and those who were with him obviously knew the Prophet's hadith concerning Ammaar and it was an embarrassment to them so they tried to look the other way. They tried to make believe that this whole thing didn't happen, but no one could bury an issue like this so it was brought to the attention of Muawiyah. They said the Prophet said pity you the son of Sumayyah you are going to be killed by the offending side- how do you explain the Prophet's words? He said did we kill him?! This is a question that infers negating the killing of Ammaar, he said the ones who killed him are the one's who brought him to the warfront. No-one brought Ammaar. Ammaar wasn't forced into a war. He came there of his own volition and free will and if Muawiyah's logic stands then we could say that the Prophet was the one who killed Humza because it was the Prophet who was instrumental in bringing Humza to the war fronts. Obviously that's a contorted twisted logic- that doesn't stand the truth of the matter. Ammaar was the one upon seeing Amr ibn Al Aas on the other side of the battlefield said that this is not the 1st time I encounter him in war this is the 4th time there were three other times that we fought on different sides of the warfront. It was Ammaar who said during the Prophet's time, we were fighting them because they were denying the Qur'an, now we are fighting them because they are misinterpreting it. It was obvious at this time by any standards that there was an offending, aggressive and violating camp- that was the camp of Muawiyah- but brothers and sisters, even if we say this and the truth has to be said this doesn't generate any hatred towards Muslims. You can disagree with someone all the way to the warfront, but does that mean you are going to hate the rest of the Muslims? Where did this come from? How did this occur?
Feb 3 2009, 06:14 PM
Imam Ali forced to accept the Arbitration
Finally, we reach the issue of At-Tahkeem, the arbitration and we will find the way this arbitration went when Ali sent some emissaries to Muawiyah and said OK what is it that you mean by this arbitration? Ali reluctantly accepted this because most of the people who were with him accepted it, now he had to clarify what the other side wants from this arbitration. Muawiyah says to these emissaries we appoint one interlocutor or arbiter from our side and you do the same from your side and they will solve this issue in reference to the book of Allah. What we will see in the coming khutbahs is how this arbitration unfolded and how, even though Muawiyah appointed Amr ibn Al Aas to represent his side, on the side of Ali it wasn't Ali per se who appointed the arbiter. It was public opinion on his side that agreed that Abu Musa Al Ash'ari should represent that side even though Abu Musa Al Ash'ari was not a participant in this war between the Muslims. We will take a closer look at these unfolding events just as we have taken a look at the preceding events and we will realize out of it that there's not a matter of hatred or animus among the Muslims. This hatred and animus comes in the outsiders. Let us remind you that at time there were outsiders. Do you think the Byzantines and the Persians who were in the process of losing their empires, both of them, were not looking at those Muslims consuming their own lives- and not any lives, the 1st and 2nd generation of Muslims? They had their military plans and they were working and watching for a comeback if the Muslims gave them that opportunity. If the hatred and the animus would have consumed the Muslims at that time the foreign enemies would have had a chance to make a military combat against the Muslims. They didn't do it at that time and no Muslim should think about doing it today. We are Muslims in this all together and there is no room for this division that is being instigated from the outside and verbalized from the inside.
Feb 3 2009, 06:15 PM
Brothers and sisters committed Muslims…
It is very difficult (believe us), for a Muslim to recount and recall the
details of those defining times. It is very sad to think about what had
happened but the fact is that it did happen. There shouldn't be any
hostility that turn into warfare because of what happened at that time.
Are we not able to learn from ourselves? Can you learn when you are
agitated, nervous and emotionally unstable? You can't! They were there
to help us learn. The side of Ali that we were talking about,
before the division that we are going to be looking at, were the ones
at that time in the middle of these battles repeating and recalling the
Prophet's statements am I not a priority that supersedes the selves of the committed Muslims? And they all responded affirmatively, and then they took the hand of Ali and then he said whoever's Mawla I am, then Ali is his mawla. This hadith we think is known by every Muslim. OK- so you Muslim, whoever you are,
when you say this, do you feel any animus towards another Muslim?
Remember, these people who are fighting with Ali who are saying these words and who are saying the ayah in the Quran
The Prophet is closer to the Mu.minin than they are to their own selves (Surah Al-Ahzaab verse 6)
and who are saying
if your fathers, sons, brothers, spouses, children, wealth that you
acquired, commerce that you fear a decline in and dwellings that you
delight in are more dearer to you that Allah and His Prophet and a
struggle in Allah's cause, then wait for Allah's decree. And Allah does
not guide a degenerate folk (Surah At-Taubah verse 24)
They were repeating these words, they were meeting with their (let's call them) "enemies" and they were heated in their discussions but they
didn't show any hatred or animosity- where did this come from? It
doesn't belong in the Muslim heart or mind then and it doesn't belong
in the Muslim heart or mind now. There is something that is right
and there is something that is wrong; we identify what is right and we
identify what is wrong and we move forward all together- this is the
correct character of a committed Muslim not the type of Sunnis and Shi'is
today who are stalking the fires of sectarianism. It appears that one
of the qualifications for a Muslim scholar to come to the United States
if he is a Sunni to speak against Shi'is if he is a Shi'i to speak against Sunnis this is where we find ourselves now- so who is behind this Sunni/Shi'i sectarianism- we leave it to your common sense.
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