Khutbah: Thanking Neighbors for Supporting Muslims in Tough Times

In light of the recent support for Muslims across the United States in light of President Trump’s Muslim ban, the following khutbah was prepared by Shaykh Abdool Rahman Khan, Chairman of ICNA Sharia Council.

Indeed, Allah orders justice and good conduct and giving to relatives and forbids immorality and bad conduct and oppression. He admonishes you that perhaps you will be reminded.

This verse is recited in the end of the second Khutbah at almost every Friday Jumu’ah. It is a reminder of the very fundamental will of Allah SWT that justice is enjoined on every human being. It is an intrinsic component for the peace and security of any society whether they believe in Allah SWT or not.

So often we see this quality of standing up for displayed by human beings in various societies and at various times. Today in the USA we see how many non-Muslims are making so many sacrifices and are standing up for Muslim rights. The question is how do we put all this together from an Islamic perspective? Is there guidance from The Qur’an or from the Sunnah of Rasoolullah SAS that will help us understand this phenomenon? Should we just accept all this support and move on? Is this what is expected of us?

At least we should remember the Hadith of Rasoolullah SAS who said:

“Whoever is not grateful to the people, he is not grateful to Allah.” And in another narration: “He is not grateful to Allah if he is not grateful to people.”

There are several ways of interpreting this Hadith:

  1. The one who is in the habit of ignoring the kindness of people will be in the habit of ignoring the kindness of Allah SWT.
  2. Allah SWT does not accept the gratitude of His servant for His kindness to him if the servant does not show gratitude to people for their kindness.
  3. A third meaning is who does not show gratitude to people as if he has not shown gratitude to Allah SWT.

This Hadith is evidence that it is praiseworthy to thank people for their kindness while at the same time it is blameworthy to ignore people’s kindness. The word “Naas” refers to mankind in general both Muslims and non-Muslims alike.

In another Hadith Rasoolullah SAS:

Whoever does a favor for you or an act of kindness, then repay him in a similar manner. But if you cannot find that which you can reward him with, then supplicate God for him continuously, until you think you have repaid him.

The issue is that there are those who have misinterpreted certain Quranic verses and Hadith reports try to promote this sense of guilt when Muslims show gratitude to non- Muslims for defending them and standing up for them in moments of crisis. But this is exactly what Shaitaan wants us to do. He wants us to be ungrateful!

Allah SWT mentions in the Holy Quran 7:16-17

“And You will not find most of them grateful to You.”

Then they are those who claim that Rasoolullah SAS preached hatred for and unrelenting conflict with, non-Muslims. Some even argue that Muslims are not allowed to have good or friendly relations with people of other faiths. But on the contrary Rasoolullah SAS not only wished to have good relations with non-Muslims but he made deliberate attempt to engage with non-Muslims following the Quran’s injunction:

Allah does not forbid you from those who do not fight you because of religion and do not expel you from your homes – from being righteous toward them and acting justly toward them. Indeed, Allah loves those who act justly.  (60:8).

Throughout the Makkan period Rasoolullah SAS invited to Islam with his Uncle Abu Talib’s protection. He never abused that privilege but showed tremendous respect and kindness to his uncle. He was extremely sad at the passing of Abu Talib. And on the Day of Judgment he will seek intercession for him. Obviously his Uncle did not become a Muslim but he supported him to his very last breath and Rasoolullah SAS was always appreciative for his help and support.

His other uncle Abbaas was not a Muslim yet when the people of Al-Madinah were meeting with Rasoolullah SAS in the valley of ‘Aqabah in preparation for the Hijrah.  Rasoolullah SAS took his uncle with him to meet them. Jabir said: Abbaas came to check out the situation and said to Rasoolullah SAS: “O my nephew I don’t know any of these. None of these are amongst the senior people I know”.

He wanted to make sure that everything was fine for his nephew. Then Abbaas turned to the people and said: “O Khazraj you know the status amongst us although we don’t believe in him…if you are sure you are going protect him then let him go but if you cannot then let him remain…”

Perhaps one of the greatest moments in the life of Rasoolullah SAS was his return from Taif rejected by its people and returning to Makkah where Abu Lahab his uncle was now its leader and refused to give any protection to Rasoolullah SAS. It is like revoking the citizenship of Rasoolullah SAS from Makkah.

This was very important because what this means is that if Rasoolullah SAS was attacked by anyone in Makkah or elsewhere no one from his tribe would come to his assistance. This was how security worked in those days. At this point he asked Usaama ibn Zaid (RA) to go the Mut’im ibn ‘Ady a non-Muslim tribal chief of Makkah and seek his protection for him for which Mut’im did with pleasure.

Rasoolullah SAS did not forget such kindness even after the victory of Badr and he had the POW’s of Makkah. He was enquiring if Mut’im ibn Ady was present. He said: “If Mut’im bin Adi was alive and had uttered one word to release them I would release them.”

The it was King Negus a Christian king in Abyssinia that granted asylum to the new Muslims when they were persecuted. Later on he invited him to Islam to which he accepted and when he died Rasoolullah SAS told his Sahaabah (RA) that your brother died and they prayed Salaatul Ghaib for him.

Another crucial moment was when Rasoolullah SAS took the assistance of Abdullah bin Uraiqeet, a non-Muslim Bedouin, to lead him and Abu Bakr (RA) during the Hijrah away from the main path to Al-Madinah and to take them to Ghaar Thaur. To this level he trusted this non-Muslim Bedouin that one disloyalty from him meant instant death.

Today there are forces that seem to be propelling a clash of civilizations, but let us build a bridge of cooperation in what is good and just. And when non-Muslims aid Muslims we must be first to show sincere gratitude and say thank you. Let us be reminded that helping any human being against injustice is a command from Allah SWT. Society functions well with peace and harmony when we stand up for each other against the evils of injustice. They do not have to believe in what we believe in but engaging with each other against injustice is among Islam most cherished values.

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