Khutbah: Friday 22 March 2019: International Day for the Elimination of Racism and Discrimination by Cassiem Khan

Khutbah: Friday 22 March 2019: International Day for the Elimination of Racism and Discrimination by Cassiem Khan

All praise be to Allah Who is a refuge for those who live in fear,

الْحَمْدُ لِلّهِ الَّذِي يُؤْمِنُ الْخَائِفِينَ،

Who comes to the help of those who are upright (saaliheen),

وَيُنَجِّي الصَّالِحِينَ،
Who promotes the cause of the oppressed, وَيَرْفَعُ الْمُسْتَضْعَفِينَ،

annihilates the oppressors, وَيَضَعُ الْمُسْتَكْبِرِينَ،
Who destroys the monarchs and appoints others in their place.
وَيُهْلِكُ مُلُوكاً وَيَسْتَخْلِفُ آخَرِينَ؛
The aide of the seekers of aid, صَرِيخِ الْمُسْتَصْرِخِينَ،
And the support of the-the faithful believers.مُعْتَمَدِ الْمُؤْمِنِينَ.
O Allah: (please do) send blessings upon Muhammad, Your servant, and Messenger, اللّهُمَّ صَلِّ عَلَى مُحَمَّدٍ عَبْدِكَ وَرَسُولِكَ
And Your confidant, friend, and beloved intimate, وَأَمِينِكَ وَصَفِيِّكَ وَحَبِيبِكَ

Respected elders, brothers, sisters and especially our beautiful children, Assalaamu Alaykum

I thank and praise the Almighty Allah swt for making it possible to address you here today. Thank you, Imam Rashid, for affording me the opportunity to share some thoughts with the CMRM community.

My topic today is about the International Day for the Elimination of all forms of Racism and discrimination. This in the context of the Sharpeville and ChristChurch massacres and the Killing of Imam Haron. I will discuss these three events by reflecting in an attempt to better understand.  Racism, fear, mobilisation, corruption and some share thoughts on aspects of the life of Imam Haron.

When we attend public gatherings we have become accustomed to hearing greetings that start like this…Mr President, the Deputy, the ulema, etc and then we get smart and say all protocols observed. I would like to greet you with a Hadith…known as the Hadith on the Virtues of Gatherings in Remembrance of Allahswt

No people gather together in one of the Houses of Allah, reciting the Book of Allah and studying it among themselves, except that sakeenah (tranquility) descends upon them, and mercy covers them, and the angels surround them, and Allah mentions them amongst those who are with Him by name. Hadith 36 in the collection of Imam Nawawi The compendium is that of Imam Muslim

I am honoured that Allah swt has mentioned your name and my name. There is no greater honor for us and this makes Jumuah the blessed Mubarak day that it is.  The racist murderer who walked into Al Nur Masjid last week Friday in Christ Church did not know how Mubarak and blessed day this is. One of the characteristics of these racists and white supremacists is that you are not viewed as the individual, they don’t even regard you as human. They are not interested in your name. Allah swt by His athuma, his greatness, recognises us by name. He provides us with our every breath and knows our every thought. He is Rahma. Racists is the antithesis of what Allah wants for his creation. Whilst we are at it. The killer did not ask what the Mathhab, or school of thought or nationality of the musallees were. Being Muslim was enough for him a reason to kill. He did not distinguish between, men and women and children, and certainly not between white or black. The irrational fear of Islam and Muslims is a form of racism because you are discrminated against just by being Muslim

We pray that Allah swt grant all those killed, in ChristChurch, a high place in Jannah, we pray that all those injured are fully healed and recovered, we pray that Allah grants solace in the hearts of the families of the deceased. We pray for all those people who came out in support of those killed, that Allah reward them abundantly for their compassion and for their bravery. We thank Allah for the Sakina, the tranquillity that he granted us to be here in His presence, in safety.   I wanted to say that these are indeed dark days, but I am comforted by the fact that Allah swt takes us from oppression Thulm to Nur.

Yesterday the International Community through the United Nations observed the International Day for the Elimination of all forms of Racism and discrimination. Let us remind ourselves of what this racism is and how it manifests itself. It is when there is prejudice, discrimination, or antagonism directed against someone of a different race based on the belief that one’s own race is superior. In 2001 the World Conference against Racism declared that:  ‘We recognize that racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance occur on the grounds of race, colour, descent or national or ethnic origin and that victims can suffer multiple or aggravated forms of discrimination based on other related grounds such as sex, language, religion, political or other opinion, social origin, property, birth or other status’. Clearly the murderer of the worshippers in Christ Church did not make time find, study and reflect on these this definition and include it in his murderous manifesto.

The world observes this Day because of the massacre of 69 of our compatriots at Sharpeville on the 21st March 1960. It is because of our suffering under Apartheid laws that racism is high on the agenda of the International community. Racism, sadly, is on the rise, led by Donald Trump, across the united states, Western Europe and now even in New Zealand. 25 years into our democracy, Unfortunately, racism is recorded by the SAHRC as extremely high in South Africa. Rreceiving the highest number of Human Rights complaints at a staggering 68%.

Let us no forget that it was The Pan Africanist Congress of Azania under the leadership of Prof Mangaliso Robert Sobukwe that launched and led the anti-pass law campaign. The Pass Laws was the most humiliating of the Apartheid laws. They sought to control the movement of Africans in the land of their birth. Every African adult had to carry this badge of humiliation with them at all times and had to produce it when asked by the racist police. The anti-pass law campaign was simple. All Africans were asked to take their passes and hand them back at police stations across the country. The police at Sharpeville opened fire and killed 69 and wounding a further 180.

The international community and markets reacted to this massacre, the Apartheid state was shaken to its core. As much as this was a period in which the brutality of the racists became more evident, I am of the view that our forebears were not all cowed and intimidated into silence by the killings. The events in Sharpeville gave people the courage and the determination to continue to resist. Much has been written about the acts of sabotage by MK as armed resistance to the Apartheid state that followed the killings of Sharpeville. Much less has been written about the actions of POQO the armed wing of the PAC. The states reaction to POQO became known as the POQO raids in which close to 5000 members of POQO were arrested, beaten, tortured and killed. The Racist regime did crack down, but the resistance did not stop. The crackdown was particularly harsh in Langa and Mbekweni during the period 1960 -66.  

I have deliberately chosen to link the events in Sharpeville and Langa with the murder of Ash Shaheed Imam Abdullah Haron. Today, the 15th of Rajab is the Islamic Date on which Ash Shaheed Imam Abdullah Haron was killed. We know, that Imam Abdullah Haron and many of the politically conscious people of his time were greatly moved to intensify their activities after this watershed moment of the massacre in Sharpeville. South Africa after Sharpeville would never be the same.  We have learnt from our elders some of whom are still with us in this masjid that Imam Haron was well known in Langa. Yesterday, I addressed a Sharpeville massacre commemoration in Langa and I can assure you that Imam Haron is still well known in Langa. He was called Mfundisi and this he was, a religious leader. As students of our political history, we should not be lazy, when we research the lives of our leaders and our martyrs and our struggle to dig deeper. We always remind Musallees that we should look at the text in context when we study the Quran. Our history text and textbooks, our records of our history are very thin on explaining the context of Langa and Sharpeville from our perspective. Our scholarship is weak as we tend to glorify our struggle through our party political preferenses. We must ask the critical questions, and explain the context. If Langa, was such a hotbed of armed resistance at the time, was Imam Haron really just dishing out Wilson Rowntree sweets and making the children happy when he visited the area. What did Imam know about this type of arm resistance activity? Who did he meet, who did he support, who from amongst his students were involved in these resistance activities? Did he visit Langa in the Day or the Night, were there checkpoints etc. Barney Desai in his book the killing of the Imam, reconstructed from his own knowledge, from discussions with detainees what could have happened. This book was banned, but it was a important attempt to understand that period and context and what the role and activities of Imam Haron was.

Our research should be a lot more rigorous and we should not let our own political affiliations and the current political milieu influence what it is that we are ready to research, to write and to publish. In this regard we as community workers, activists, researchers and scholars should redouble our efforts to demand that the SA Police and Intelligence services begin to declassify the files, photos, records and yes, even list of informants from the Apartheid era. We should also demand that the quality of responses that we get by completing a Public Action to Information Act form be improved and that the records is not tampered with. That DACS be awarded more funding in this regard to strengthen the National Archives. There are too many unanswered questions, there are too many gaps in our history.

FEAR

Ash Shaheed Bantu Steve Biko said that fear is an important determinant in SA politics. The state runs a network of spies. Spies who sit in masjids, who go on hajj, perform athkaar etc.  Biko teaches us that spies don’t only report on what they hear and see. They invent stories to curry favour with the special branch.

Because of the absence of information, let us go to that place of fear that captured the Cape Muslim communities imagination following the Killing of Imam Haron. Let us re-imagine it and gain lessons and strength from it and to deal with the fear .

I want us to think about Imam Haron in the presence of Spyker van Wyk and Genis.

One of the first things the security police would have attempted to do was to see if they could corrupt him, if they could convince him to work for them. This is usually done by coercion and based on the vast amount of information that they had already collected on him from their spies within the Muslim community.

This coercion involves applying pressure on activists such as Imam Haron on broadly four potential weaknesses or vices that all human beings have. The ego, illicit out of wedlock affairs, the use of intoxicants and money matters. All those things we don’t want people to know about us.

Our love for Imam Haron grows exponentially as our role model, when we analyse the pressure the security police could have put him under using these vices.  

  • Imam had his EGO issues under. He never behaved in an arrogant manner. He was known for his humility. He was known for praying and thikr in solitude at the karamats.
  • Imam had no Illicit affairs. He knows that Allah swt would not be pleased with that type of behaviour.
  • Imam had no interest in intoxicants, here is a man that knew how to abstain. He is the Imam who loved fasting.
  • Imam did not have an interest in money. He refused to be paid by his Jamaah, he gave their donation back to the mosque, he was always giving.

Let us examine ourselves. Can we be easily coerced? How do we fair on these points of ego, money, intoxicants and illicit affairs. Just from his character we know that  Imam Haron could not be co-erced, or bought. That is why he was not afraid. The violence, beatings, torture began because they could not co-erce him. Despite all their threats and violence, they, Spyker and Genis and their spies were the losers. Imam Haron built up his strength through years of solaah, fasting, thikr in solitude and in his relationship and Journey towards Allah swt. Every beating, torture abuse brought him closer to the destination. His strength is the protection of Allah to his awliya. Fa innaka awliya illa ghawfun alayhim wa la hum yahzanoon. No fear no sorrow, no regrets.

SIT

I wish to advise myself and advise you towards Taqwa.

Towards Total obedience of Allah swt

Towards those actions that will develop in our relationship with Allah swt, our final destination. 

فَقَدْ قَالَ اللّٰهُ تَعَالَى فِى كِتَابِهِ الْعَزِيْزِ،

أَعُوْذُ بِاللّٰهِ مِنَ الشَّيْطَانِ الرَّجِيْمِ،

بِسْمِ اللّٰهِ الرَّحْمٰنِ الرَّحِيْمِ

وَمَا لَكُمْ لَا تُقَاتِلُونَ فِي سَبِيلِ اللَّهِ وَالْمُسْتَضْعَفِينَ مِنَ الرِّجَالِ وَالنِّسَاءِ وَالْوِلْدَانِ الَّذِينَ يَقُولُونَ رَبَّنَا أَخْرِجْنَا مِنْ هَٰذِهِ الْقَرْيَةِ الظَّالِمِ أَهْلُهَا وَاجْعَل لَّنَا مِن لَّدُنكَ وَلِيًّا وَاجْعَل لَّنَا مِن لَّدُنكَ نَصِيرًا – 4:75

And what is [the matter] with you that you fight not in the cause of Allah and [for] the oppressed among men, women, and children who say, “Our Lord, take us out of this city of oppressive people and appoint for us from Yourself a protector and appoint for us from Yourself a helper?”

the Hadith of the Prophet report on the authority of  Abu Saeed Al Khudri

 عَنْ أَبِي سَعِيدٍ

 الْخُدْرِيّ رَضِيَ اللهُ عَنْهُ قَالَ سَمِعْت رَسُولَ اللَّهِ صلى الله عليه و سلم يَقُولُ: “مَنْ رَأَى مِنْكُمْ مُنْكَرًا فَلْيُغَيِّرْهُ بِيَدِهِ، فَإِنْ لَمْ يَسْتَطِعْ فَبِلِسَانِهِ، فَإِنْ لَمْ يَسْتَطِعْ فَبِقَلْبِهِ، وَذَلِكَ أَضْعَفُ الْإِيمَانِ” . 
[رَوَاهُ مُسْلِمٌ]

On the authority of Abu Sa`eed al-Khudree (may Allah be pleased with him) who said:

I heard the Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) say, “Whosoever of you sees an evil, let him change it with his hand; and if he is not able to do so, then

[let him change it]

with his tongue; and if he is not able to do so, then with his heart — and that is the weakest of faith.” [Muslim]

In the first part of this khutbah, we spoke about

  • Racism
  • The Sharpeville Massacre linking it with the killing of Imam Abdullah Haron
  • The need for more rigorous scholarship
  • Demanding that the state declassifies information and for a more way of accessing historical records.
  • We spoke about fear and Learning from Imam Haron how to prepare ourselves for that glorious destination.

Racism

Let me return to the subject of racism. This week that passed marked anti -racism week.  We must Prioritise racism as one of the activities of this masjid and we certainly will as the Imam Haron Foundation.  This includes joining the ARNSA. Downloading the App – One of the tools that we should consider applying the Social Cohesion Index in this Jamaah to test where we are and then report on it every year during the Anti-Racism Week on how we have progressed to achieve greater equality in our communities.

Corruption

I would like to address this subject of corruption as the Thulm of our timeI want to relate it through a story from the righteous and god-fearing Sahaba. Ali Karamallahu wajha reports that a few of the sahaba were walking behind Umar al Khattab whilst Umar was the Khalif. The head of state of the ever-expanding Islamic state. Umar was angrily confronted by Salman in the market place. Salman is so empowered by this Islam that he can confront the ruler. He asks Umar, where did you get the money to buy that nice looking cloak. Imagine, we asked President Zuma, where did you get that rolex. What happens next is even more beautiful. Umar does not call Salman a Persian, he does not question his origin, he does not have his security to beat up Salman, there is no Sahaabi twitter or social media to hound and destroy his character. He he does not have an intelligence service to fight his factional battles. Umar, calls his son Abdullah who confirms that he, Abdullah bought the cloak for his father with his own money and gave it as a gift to his father. Abdullah explains further that the cloak that Umar wore was torn, and because of the size of Umar, the cloak that he could buy from his salary would have been too small for him to wear. This explanation satisfies Salman. Ali, says they depart as brothers.  Salman was not afraid. Salman understood that his rizq and protection is already set out for him. I urge myself and you to speak out and act against the rampant corruption.

Mobilisation

We are fortunate that this community at CMRM is from amongst the few in this country this is already mobilised and sensitised around issues of gender inequality, poverty, racism and corruption. We are informed by that saying of Imam Ali that we should infuse our hearts with mercy, love and kindness as our fellow human beings are our brothers and sisters in faith and our equals in creation. We must intensify this behaviour and never become complacent in this regard.

In mobilising his community Imam Abdullah Haron analysed what the problems were in Claremont, the Muslim Community and in the greater South African society. He deliberately and correctly chose a path of resistance to challenge those using their political and economic power to oppress and exploit the people. Because of this effort, this ability to exert himself to the utmost, because of his Jihad , Allah swt rewarded him with martyrdom. We say with absolute Yakeen, with certainty that he is a martyr, he is our martyr. He came to give light and life to this community by mobilising them. He completely understood that working in the path of Allah meant working in the path of the oppressed to establish justice.

He understood and implemented Wa ma lakum laa tu kaatiluna Rabbana aghrij na was understood and implemented. He understood and implemented Man ra a munkaran. The cause of Allah and the cause of the oppressed is not separate. Just like Zakah and solaah is understood together. You cannot do one without the other. Khamr wal maysier go together. Don’t stay away from one whilst doing the other. Fighting in the cause of the oppressed is standing up for justice.

Now let us be clear. 27 April 1994, is not the date when you had to stop standing up for justice in South Africa. Racism, Islamophobia, xenophobia,  Income Inequality, hunger homelessness, poverty, the abuse of women and children and rampant corruption remains. Let us start by asking ourselves if we are contributing toward racism, in our homes, in our masaajids, whilst on haj etc.

I keep on hearing that the death of an Imam Haron was a missed opportunity, that the ulema did nothing, that the Muslim community could have done more. In this Khutba I ask myself and I ask you. What am I doing right now? If I am doing nothing now to fight corruption, racism, abuse etc. Am I ready to act Am I mobilised. Would I have done anything then if I am not prepared to do anything now?

Last week the Ummah and all of humanity was attacked. Our committee hear responded admirably. This solidarity continued  joining other at a gathering outside of St Georges Cathedral Sunday evening. A community mobilised does not need to look over its shoulder to ask why others are not doing anything. We ACT we lead until someone better comes along, then we follow but we continue to ACT. We are also clear and focussed on what is the priority, What comes first. Standing up for Justice is the priority, it is the main goal, the main aim.

During the time of Imam Haron there were people who were also obsessed with their personal triumphs over the daily rituals as their main goal. They missed the point that the rituals are their training for the bigger task of standing up for justice. People speak of my solaah, my Khatam, my zakaah, my fasting and my pet hate, my haj, usually said with that air of arrogance because it cost them an arm and both legs. The rituals are not a badge of honour or an achievement, it is not the end in itself it is fuel for the journey, why do we want accolades and awards and rewards when the task is not done. Please do pray, fast, go for hajj, make thikr, ….in abundance as train ourselves.  Allah rewards us abundantly because e of His Mercy and Love for Us. Remember, the end goal, the destination is meeting Allah having completely and selflessly and yes even cheerfully, like Imam Haron did, given yourself in establishing a just world.

I encourage you and myself to Live simply so that others may simply Live

May Allah swt make all our efforts a success as we strive to establish justice, and in so doing we Ask Allah swt as his Beloved did…Please show us the way the world really is and not the way we want to see it.

Allahumumma Ah yini miskina

Wa amitni miskina wahshurni  fi

Zumrati masaakim

 Rabbana aghrijna minhazihil qaryatizalimi ahlu ha

Waj allana milla dunka waliya

Waj allana milla dunka nasira.

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