Asabiyyah is a Diseases that weakens the Muslim Ummah Part II
(Friday speech delivered by Imam Mohamed Baianonie at the Islamic Center of Raleigh, NC on August 7, 1998)
We learned last Friday that asabiyyah is a deadly disease that has weakened the Muslim ummah. We also learned the meanings of asabiyyah, what causes it, and we now know its kind and harms of it. We also learned that asabiyyah is not suitable as a framework for human societies because it is a form of corruption, transgression and oppression.
Today, we shall continue this topic to explore the stance of Islam toward asabiyyah, why Islam has fought it and warned us against it. We will also present how we can rid ourselves of it.
So what is the stance of Islam toward asabiyyah?
There are many authentic ahadith that warn us against the ignorant asabiyyah with all its types and forms.... All of these are strong warnings from which the heart of a believer trembles because he believes that he will stand accountable before Allah (S.W.T.) on the Day of Judgment. Among these ahadith are:
Imam Muslim reported that the prophet (S.A.W.) said, "And whosoever fights under a blind (rayah) pannier (it is not known whether this flag represents the truth or falsehood), gets angry along with his group of people, or calls to a group of people, or supports a group of people, and is subsequently killed because of that, then this killing is a jahili (sinful) killing."
In another narration by Imam Muslim, "......And whosoever is killed under a blind (rayah) flag, gets angry along with his group of people, and fights for the sake of his group of people, then he is not from my ummah."
In both narrations, there is a strong warning from the prophet (S.A.W.) to the one who is triggered by asabiyyah to call for it, or to get angry for it, or to support it.
In the first narration, it clarifies to us that if he gets killed because of asabiyyah, then his killing is a jahili (sinful) killing.
In the second narration, the prophet (S.A.W.) excludes the one who carries asabiyyah from his ummah. Both of these warnings indicate how serious and great the sin of asabiyyah is. Imam Abu-Dawud reported that the prophet (S.A.W.) said, "He is not of us if he calls to asabiyyah, and he is not one of us if he fights for the sake of asabiyyah, and not one of us if he dies on asabiyyah."
Also when two men one from Muhajireen and one from Ansaar differed, each one called to his group for help, so each group got ready to support their man, then the prophet (S.A.W.) said what was reported by Imam Muslim, "What is this? Are you calling the call of the people of Jahiliyyah? Leave it, for surely it is filthy."
Imam Abu-Dawud reported in an authentic hadith that the prophet Muhammad (S.A.W.) said, "Whosoever supports his group of people not on the truth, he is like a camel that fell from a high peak into a deep valley where it only could move its tail." The prophet (S.A.W.) gave the example of the one who fights wrongfully for the sake of his group of people with the camel that fell from a high peak into a deep valley; it is helpless, scolded, humiliated, and can not do anything except move its tail uselessly at the bottom of the valley.
In another authentic narration by Imam Abu-Dawud, the prophet (S.A.W.) said, "Allah (S.W.T.) took away the asabiyyah of jahiliyyah from you, and your boasting about your fathers. So, man is either a righteous believer or a corrupted non-believer. You are the children of Adam, and Adam is from dirt; let men quit their boasting of their own people, they are nothing but coal from the coal of Hell or they will be more humiliated in the sight of Allah more than the dung beetle that pushes dung with its nose."
We need to ask ourselves, why Islam has fought asabiyyah and warned us against it?
Simply because gathering and mutual support on the basis of asabiyyah contradicts the fundamentals of Islam and its teachings. The Muslim who believes in Allah (S.W.T.) has his heart that filled with love of Allah and love toward those who are loved by Allah, and hatred toward those who are hated by Allah.
The relationship between true Muslims and other people is based on this perspective only; he supports and allies himself with those who are loved by Allah and supports them when they are right even if they are the farthest people from him (in blood, ethnic background, race, birthplace, or nationality….).
And on the other hand, a true Muslim hates the enemies of Allah and shows animosity towards them even if they are the closest people to him (in blood, ethnic background, race, birthplace, or nationality….)
This is the true stance of a believer and he adopts no other stance. Allah (S.W.T.) gave us a good example of this kind of believer in Ibraheem (S.A.W.). Allah (S.W.T.) said in surat Al-Mumtahinah, (verse 4), what can be translated as,
"Indeed there has been an excellent example for you in Abraham and those who believe with him, when they said to their people: "Verily, we are free from you and whatever you worship besides Allah, we have rejected you, and there has started between us and you, hostility and hatred for ever, until you believe in Allah alone."
The society that Islam wants is the kind of society where people gather on the basis of Islam and Islam alone. So that the believers will have one united ummah despite their differing colors, languages, ethnic backgrounds, tribes, so that this one ummah becomes like one body.
We must keep in mind that Islam does not cancel races, languages, and regions, but makes them members and parts within this one body; they move when the body moves towards a common goal, in a way that none of the roles of any parts of the body is canceled.
The scale of being better in this society is not the race, language, national origin, ...; it is righteousness and good deeds, Allah (S.W.T.) says in surat Al-Hujurat, (verse 13), what can be translated as, "Verily, the most honorable of you in the sight of Allah is that (believer) who has At-Taqwa"
So how do we rid ourselves of Asabiyyah?
This is clarified in the Qur'an. Allah (S.W.T.) commanded us in surat Al-Emran, (verse 103), what can be translated as, "And hold fast, all of you together, to the Rope of Allah, (Islam) and do not be divided among yourselves."
Holding tight and assimilating on the deen of Allah (S.W.T.) and no other deen, and assimilation on the basis of anything else is an unIslamic, ignorant, and a rejected assimilation. This holding tight and assimilation on the deen of Allah should be done by all Muslims with no exception. If some do not do this, the cure from asabiyyah will not be complete.
Also, it is a must that Muslims unite regardless of the factors that suggest differences, like skin color, languages, regions, national origins...... because unity is obligatory.
The cure is also with purifying the soul from the traces of jahiliyah and purifying it from arrogance, and looking down on people and planting the virtue of humility and respect of others.
The cure is also with the total awareness that asabiyyah is from the works of Iblees and a means of destruction in the hands of the enemies of the Muslim ummah from within and from outside. Asabiyyah is a sharp knife that has cut the veins of the Muslim ummah and is still bleeding and dying.
We ask Allah (S.W.T.) to protect us all from all forms of Al-asabiyyah Al-Jahiliyah and make us true believers. ( Ameen )