Channel: Zaid Shakir
In his farewell sermon, the Prophet (s) called on us to abandon racial prejudice and gender inequity, reflecting the Qur’anic message of diversity and oneness. The Rev. Dr. King made the same appeal 50 years ago at the height of the civil rights movement. Today, we as a community and society continue to struggle with these divides. How far have we come and how far do we have to travel in realising the Prophetic vision for a perfect unity?
Imam Zaid Shakir Talks about a vision for harmony and cooperation between the many different races and cultures that make up the American Muslim fabric.
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hamdulillah. So great honor to be here and share this stage with Dr. Henry Maillard reward her for wise words and her very effective and much needed work. Both on the academic front, the legal front, and many other fronts that
I was that.
I was just saying that we pray that Allah subhanho wa Taala continues to bless Dr. hembree. With the work she's doing on so many different fronts legally, academically, socially, culturally. And
an Allah tala bless all of you who've come from places far and wide to be here this evening. Historically, this was the time at the isno conference were not too much was happening. People usually took naps and ate dinner to get ready for tomorrow. But Hamdulillah, the organizers have had to put endeavored to put these sessions together, I have a brief presentation, I think that the technical people are working it out. So I'll just start. My understanding was that we were tasked with talking about the farewell address of the Prophet sallallahu alayhi wa sallam and to link that with our own society, generally, and specifically with the struggles of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
As you all know, this past Wednesday, August 28, it was the 50th anniversary of the I Have a Dream speech. And the March on Washington, which is a very momentous event in the history of this country. Dr. King in that speech, talked about his hope for the children, we I had the opportunity, the convocation for zaytuna College to talk about this. So I won't elaborate on it. But he talked about talking about his dream that his four children would grow up in a country where they will be judged by not by the color of their skin, but by the content of the character. He talked about.
His dream that one day on the Red Hills of Georgia that the sons of former slaves and the sons of former slave owners would sit down at the table of brotherhood. And he has several references to the children, I think is very important for us to focus on that and not to forget that because collectively,
our generation could well be the first generation that and this isn't an indictment against anyone here, I'm sure it's not applicable. But generally, if we look at what's happening to humanity, but particularly in this country, we can see that short the quest for short term gains short term profit, short term material, comfort is leading us to sacrifice the interest of our children, we talk about the national interest. And to me that can be an extremely perverse
right now it's in the national interest for the United States to to bomb Syria, something I don't agree with. I don't definitely don't agree with the Assad regime. But I don't think bombing Syria is going to do anything to make that regime go away. I think it'll make it more vicious, more desperate, more bloodthirsty, and will exponentially increase the sum total of death and destruction. And that, then that's just my personal belief. I don't believe that
American militarism, does anything to advance the interests of future generations, and I think is something we should challenge rather, it is something we might deem beneficial to our interest in the short term are detrimental. We as an oma
are an oma that increasingly, and again, this is a generalization
In our being moved away from our principles
we say and I'm going to talk about this hopefully in the context of the presentation. We say that we're against killing innocent lives.
random went from death and destruction that leads to innocent lives being slaughtered every time someone who says learn Hello Allah Muhammad Rasulullah puts a bomb in the mosque or the marketplace have a faction of Muslims they don't agree with there are Muslims. And this is shameful in my estimation as the the innocent people in Egypt were being shot in the streets like dogs. There were people actually clapping and applauding, who say lol Hello, Muhammad Rasulullah Am I making this up?
There are people who say la ilaha illAllah, Muhammad Rasulullah who go to the masjid to pray Hassan happy
and happy these people we're trying to take over the country.
There's too much of that.
There are people because Muslims we don't agree with. We're on the receiving end of the bombs. We're happy when the American War Machine rolled over Iraq,
rolled over Afghanistan.
They were happy.
No, either we either we affirm the sanctity of innocent life. And this is one of the critical points that our prophets Allah lohani alayhi wa sallam made in his farewell address
the sanctity then volatile, inviolable nature of human life.
kurama is an organization that does a lot of wonderful work. those rules count on that
our words are formed the basis of a word that appears in the Quran when Allah subhanho wa Taala says while Akaka Romney, Benny Adam, I have no book the human being. And one way that a lot of time is and know both the human being he's made human life precious,
not talk to enough, sell at horombo, low in level,
don't kill the life that Allah has made sacred that Allah has made invalid.
Don't do it. And so either we believe in that as a principle. And if we believe in that as a principle,
then we don't selectively apply the principle because when we selectively apply apply principles, not principles, anyway, they're justifications for our action.
I believe innocent lives should be spared.
Unless it's those people I don't like or agree with.
And then we're justifying their deaths.
Oh, if we say we don't support it, we don't support it. And it doesn't matter. There are Muslims, who have visual fatwas, that you can kill innocent Americans.
You can go online and find them.
An innocent person who never did anything to anybody who might well be a Muslim, who might be a Muslim in the making.
Every time I read that, I said, Allah forbid.
I wasn't always a Muslim, I converted to Islam.
And so that's that's what was against me.
Before I converted,
so, we have to be people who affirm in the support of our principles. So they have the, this is the just some points from the farewell address of the Prophet sallallahu alayhi wa sallam said, Oh, people hear me well. I shall teach you.
The Prophet sallallahu alayhi wa sallam.
He described himself in the my birth to more alleman I was sent as a teacher. And then following his way all of us should see ourselves as teachers.
But as the Prophet salallahu alayhi wa sallam he taught more with his state of being than he did with his words.
He taught more with this state of being than he did with his words, and each and every one of us should see ourselves as one who teaches with his or her state, before they open their mouth because a person can look in your face
They, they looked at the face of the Prophet sallallahu alayhi wa sallam said that this is not the face of a liar shadow unless Hello Masha. Allah Rasulullah if he said it is truthful because this isn't the face of a liar, so they became Muslims not based on in some instances on what he said they became Muslims based on who he was and what he embodied in the very essence of his being. And so we should be people who embody something in the very essence of our being. One of our co teachers is Shay
Mustafa Turkmen. Rahim Allah is passed on now, when I was in Syria in better times, in that country. He would often say to us, Rajan, vous Han, you Ethier Allah elfy Rosalyn,
WA l for Rosalyn Villa Han Yu Fei Runa Allah wa head is a single person with a strong spiritual state can affect 1000 people, but 1000 people who have no refinement, and no real depth to this state can affect cannot affect a single person.
So each and every one of us should be striving to refine ourselves so that we are that one person who can affect 1000 or 10,000, or a million, or whatever the case may be. So the Prophet sallallahu I need to send them he caught our attention.
And and he said, I can't read it too well, here, the angles too sharp, that I may well not meet you again in this place where I now stand after this year of mine. And so he's reminding us, amongst other things, tomorrow is promised to no one.
Tomorrow, tomorrow was promised to no one. So don't wait to tomorrow to do some good.
Beer a person who dedicates his or her life to good.
Be a person who dedicates his or her life to good be a person who tries to increase in the good that they extend to others every opportunity that he or she might have. Don't wait to tomorrow Tomorrow is promised to no one. confit dunya, Canada Calgary, Abu Dhabi will be in the world as if you're a stranger or wayfarer and you never know when that journey through this world is going to end do good now.
The Prophet sallallahu Sallam one of my favorite I had these he said sallallahu alayhi wa sallam uploadable Hira Dara konkola see good every moment you spend on this earth openable hiera Dara konkola see good every moment you spend on this earth. And if the multitude of us approach life in this fashion, we won't have to worry about countering the stereotypes and the bigotry because we will be creating so much positive positive energy, that negativity will be drowned out.
Because it's all about energy at the end of the day, that negativity will be drowned out. So he says the lohani was seldom
and we've interspersed This is the mother of a Muslim American soldier
And she said he says some of the law send them oh people your lives and your property until the very day you meet your Lord.
Ours invaluable to each other as the inviolability of this day you are in now or you are now in
and this month you are now in.
So he emphasizes we said the sanctity of life
inviolable, you cannot violate it.
He said in another context, specifically addressing Muslims kolomoisky Muslim and non Muslim haram every Muslim life is sacred to their fellow Muslim In other words, Matt demo who and then who will do his life, property and honor in other words, to violate any of those to transgress in any of those ways against the life the property or honor of a Muslim is as forbidden as eating pork cool Muslim, Allen Muslim
ROM is like eating pork, it's like drinking alcohol. It's like fornicating, committing adultery is forbidden.
It is forbidden. And we have to internalize that meaning because as we can see, throughout the Muslim world, how sometimes other Muslims how cheaply they hold the lives property in honor of other Muslims.
This is something we cannot accept brothers and sisters, and believe me the same forces, because at the end of the day, the enemy is the police, the enemy a pawn.
And that enemy is not confined to the Middle East.
The same forces that have torn apart Muslims in the Muslim world can tear apart our community right here. The same sectarian divisions can take root right here, if we're not vigilant, we have to be vigilant. And one way that we are vigilant is being mindful of the words of our Prophet sallallahu wasallam and internalizing those meanings, so that they influence and impact on our behavior so that they form an integral part of our consciousness that we don't even think at any level of doing anything that will harm our fellow Muslim or harm an innocent human being, regardless of their religion.
When we lose touch with our principles, this is a image of Dresden after it was firebombed.
By the forces of the Allies by the Americans and the British, primarily,
primarily the Americans, aerial bombardment, were whole cities of innocent people become targets of warfare.
Most of those people didn't do anything to anybody.
But the same people who told who wrote the lofty words that we read in our declaration of independence in our Constitution, and the spirit of the laws, and all of these other foundational documents that were instrumental in bringing about the current so called democratic order. They were the people that did this, not the fascist forces, not the Communist forces of Stalin, not the fascist forces of Hitler and Mussolini.
These were the forces of democracy.
This is what happens when we lose touch with our principles. And this is what our Prophet is warning us against. This is Hiroshima.
After the nuclear bombing of Tokyo, one bomb brought about all of that destruction, and the accompanying death 100,000 people
killed in an instant. And those who didn't die immediately poison radioactive poison.
Again, this wasn't Mussolini. This wasn't Hitler.
This wasn't Stalin.
This was Truman.
This was the United States Air Force.
This is what can happen when we lose touch with our principles. And Muslims are not immune from that.
There are some Muslims who if they could get their hand on an atomic bomb would like to see that be Washington DC, or New York City.
And all of the hundreds of 1000s of innocent people residing there in it's unacceptable.
This is what we have the power to unleash on the world.
The dreaded mushroom cloud
The only thing that will prevent this this is Hiroshima. I think the previous image was Tokyo after was firebombed. How many of you know anything about the firebombing of Tokyo.
At that point,
Tokyo was largely constructed of wooden houses
with specially designed and senior ri bombs.
To ensure that as much fire damage as possible could be done. This is why it's called the firebombing of Tokyo the dropping of incendiary bombs on Tokyo.
between these three events, Hiroshima you see here after a single bomb was dropped on Nagasaki and Tokyo over 300,000 human beings, most of them, the overwhelming majority of them, innocent civilians were murdered.
We have the power to wreak more destruction than this upon the world. And this is why it's absolutely essential that each and every one of us commit ourselves to the preservation and the protection of human life that Allah tala has made sacred.
Don't kill the life that Allah has sanctified.
This is Vietnam
chemical weapons. There's a city in Vietnam Danang,
where it to this day, a large percentage of babies are born with birth defects from Agent Orange. What is Agent Orange is a chemical defoliant based on dioxins, that strips the leaves off of trees, so there wouldn't be anywhere for the enemy soldiers to hide
an area the size of the state of Connecticut was defoliated
in Vietnam, and the ground the water and some instances of poison to this day.
This is what human beings can do. And this is what we must commit ourselves not to do.
Because again, that the agents the napalm has been replaced by white phosphorus.
The atom bomb has been replaced by thermonuclear bombs, exponentially more destructive.
And if we do not have a set of principles, our ability to spy has outstripped the constitutional protections of our privacy.
So we have to elevate the foundation
of our social contract. If we're going to live in a world of peace and harmony, where it's possible, this is Beirut, cover of Time magazine 1892, the Israeli bombardment of Beirut
to chase out a few 1000 Palestinian fighters 25,000 people dead.
As Walter Cronkite famously commented,
when the bombing reaches its height, it looks like hell on earth.
We have to do our part brothers and sisters, we have to do our part. This is New York 911.
We can debate who was behind this, but we know someone did it. Someone who had no regard for innocent human life.
over well over a million people dead, a million innocent people.
Because of this conflict, which goes on to this day, places like Rwanda, Congo, the Darfur, Darfur, and Africa, the Congo has witnessed more death
than Iraq, Afghanistan and all of that combined. And that conflict is still going on. Massive rapes were girls from six years old, to elderly women 60 years old, then in some instances, gang rape, tied to a tree
and repeatedly raped. These are the depths of depravity a human being can think to and what our prophet of Palestine from 1948 to who knows when
one operation after another, innocent people killed and slaughtered
these words from a poem
I can read the top are the only way to a pet the path to peace, a peace lasting and real.
Peace based on a simple word mankind Thou shall not kill.
Thou shall not kill.
And as Muslims and I'll stop here, my time is up. And we'll leave it here. But brothers and sisters I firm
that as a community, we are here for purpose. We're not just here to make money. We're not just here for education.
We're here for higher purposes. And one of those purposes, is in the voice. And to come back to Dr. King, Dr. King left the Mall in Washington, in frustration.
And he moved on to wage a war against what he described in this country as the three evil triplets of racism, militarism and poverty.
He went from the mall to the south side of Chicago, where he was stoned and spat on and Marquette Park
almost lost his life
fighting against racism. Then he went to Memphis where he did lose his life. What was he fighting in Memphis, he was fighting poverty,
sanitation workers, the garbage men, he was fighting on behalf of the garbage men in Memphis, Tennessee.
Helping them to to get a living wage.
He was fighting for the poor. He was fighting against militarism. He was fighting against racism.
That's what he was doing. And he lost his life. And I firmly believe as a community, we are here to take up that fight.
That we're here on the basis of our Islamic principles,
to take up the fight against racism, militarism, and poverty, not just here in this country, throughout this world.
To do that, though, we have to equip ourselves with the weapon of lofty principles, we have to equip ourselves with a healthy dose of realism and reality, and to realize that violence is not going to accomplish anything positive. When violence the means at our disposal are so destructive.
And to take that message to our fellow citizens to take that message to the world, if we can do that, we will be a great community, we'll be a meaningful community will be a strong community. And we will be a community that has divine providence, filling ourselves as we move forward, a Solomonic Rama
comes. So we're going to close in just a minute. I just wanted allow doctors easy to have one comment. Before we conclude.
I'd like to make two quick comments. One of them is to mention your remarks about Vietnam and the defective children that were born there and continue to be born. We don't hear for example, about the fact that after the Iraqi war in the whole Gulf area now we have defective children and stillborn children. I'm sure there is something comparable in Afghanistan and parts of Pakistan, there must be where these shells are being exploded. If we now encourage military invasion in Syria in that area, we're not just talking about the regime. We're not just talking about the country. We're talking about that whole area of Muslims, again, having defective children, I'd like to know
where are the Muslim wholesome children going to grow. The second note, I'd like to give you the historical one, we are celebrating today the 50th anniversary of I Have a Dream speech. And there is a major absent figure in this discussion, because we have been presented with the history of civil rights movement as one where there, there were adversarial leaders. We had King on one side teaching peaceful change, and then our brother Malcolm teaching violence, and that is we are the ones here to stand up and say, that is wrong. And I was honored to meet a brother Malcolm Melaka shabbas in the 60s in Beirut, Lebanon, and we had a chat about Martin Luther King. And he told me, he said we're
not far apart at all. We've met once and we're about to meet again. And we are both coming into a conversions because we see the economic issues, poverty as you have highlighted it, racism and a few other things. We're seeing it and we have to work together. So we need to celebrate
Actually, the fact that those leaders work together and not allow the media to present us with a vision which has been sanitized in certain ways to preserve certain interests. And one day, one day I dream that we will celebrate a day for America shabbas in this country was Solomonic