In the Name of Allah, the Most Kind, the Most Merciful
Jum’a Khutba 22/2/2019 – video here
‘Where do I go for my knowledge? Whom do I trust when there are so many opinions out there?’
Part 3: Whom are we prohibited from taking knowledge from and why?
2 + 2 = 4
Water boils at 100`c
Grass is green
Mixing red and blue makes purple
The world was created 6,000 years ago
Angels are present in the Majlis of Ahl al-Bayt (a)
Liverpool will win the Premier League this season
Each of these statements represent a different type of claim. Where are they rooted? One claim is from mathematics, one is from physics and chemistry, others are by trial and observation. One is from the Bible, one is from the books of Ahadith and the last is a belief.
But what makes us claim these and why should they be believed? What happens when the Bible tells us the world is 6,000 years old but archeology or carbon dating may tell us the world is 4 million years old, for example. Whom do we believe, when do we create a hierarchy of beliefs and why?
In our previous two Friday Sermons we addressed the question: ‘Why is there a problem finding sound knowledge?’ This is because firstly, there are so many people claiming expertise yet all claiming different positions and secondly, because we live in a time when truth is purposefully convoluted with falsehood.
ابْنَ مَسْعُودٍ ، إِنَّ مِنْ أَعْلَامِ السَّاعَةِ وَأَشْرَاطِهَا أَنْ يُؤْتَمَنَ الْخَائِنُ ، وَأَنْ يُخَوَّنَ الْأَمِينُ. و ان يُصدِّق الكاذب و ان يُكذِب الصادق
O Ibn Mas’ood, from amongst the signs and conditions [of the end of times] will be that people will trust treacherous people and consider trustworthy people treacherous and the truthful one will be called a liar and the one telling the lie will be called truthful.
This week, I will present the first set of verses in which the Qur’an provides us with categories of people we are forbidden from taking our knowledge from – whether this be religious knowledge or political knowledge – because they are not qualified, worthy or trustworthy in order for us to lend them our ears. Each of these categories mention qualities of people who should be abstained from.
وَمِنَ النَّاسِ مَن يُجَادِلُ فِي اللَّهِ بِغَيْرِ عِلْمٍ وَيَتَّبِعُ كُلَّ شَيْطَانٍ مَّرِيدٍ
And among men there is he who disputes about Allah without knowledge and follows every rebellious Shaitan. (Qur’an 22:3)
In this verse it mentions there is a person who a) himself has no knowledge and b) also follows the opinions of every rebellious devil. These are two characteristics that tell us because he is devoid of knowledge, he will be willing to follow any and every type of devilish idea. What happens if we follow such a person?
كُتِبَ عَلَيْهِ أَنَّهُ مَن تَوَلَّاهُ فَأَنَّهُ يُضِلُّهُ وَيَهْدِيهِ إِلَىٰ عَذَابِ السَّعِيرِ
Against him it is written down that whoever takes him for a friend, he shall lead him astray and conduct him to the chastisement of the burning fire (Qur’an 22:4)
If we follow such a person, they would a) lead us astray and b) to the chastisement of God.
وَمِنَ النَّاسِ مَن يُجَادِلُ فِي اللَّهِ بِغَيْرِ عِلْمٍ وَلَا هُدًى وَلَا كِتَابٍ مُّنِيرٍ
And among men there is he who disputes about Allah without knowledge and without guidance and without an illuminating book (22:8)
This verse begins identically in that he too does not have any knowledge, but instead of him following every rebellious satan, the person a) neither is grounded in proper guidance nor b) has a divinity such as the Qur’an from which to work. Who is such a person?
ثَانِيَ عِطْفِهِ لِيُضِلَّ عَن سَبِيلِ اللَّهِ لَهُ فِي الدُّنْيَا خِزْيٌ
Turning away haughtily that he may lead (others) astray from the way of Allah (Qur’an 22:9)
An evidence of knowing his character is that he is a) arrogant and b) is clear in leading people astray. Allah does not need to repeat the outcome of following such people as it is the same as mentioned in verse 4.
مِنَ النَّاسِ مَن يَعْبُدُ اللَّهَ عَلَىٰ حَرْفٍ فَإِنْ أَصَابَهُ خَيْرٌ اطْمَأَنَّ بِهِ وَإِنْ أَصَابَتْهُ فِتْنَةٌ انقَلَبَ عَلَىٰ وَجْهِهِ خَسِرَ الدُّنْيَا وَالْآخِرَةَ ذَٰلِكَ هُوَ الْخُسْرَانُ الْمُبِينُ
There are among men some who serve God, as it were, on the verge: if good befalls them, they are, therewith, well content; but if a trial comes to them, they turn on their faces: they lose both this world and the Hereafter: that is loss for all to see! (Qur’an 22:11)
The third category of people not to be listened or bought into are those who themselves are without conviction or certainty. They live “as it were, on the verge”, an edge, teetering this way or that, blown in any direction. When goodness comes they are satiated for a while; when a test comes they turn away.
If they do not have conviction nor know how to respond to life events, how can we take them as our guides?
يَدْعُو لَمَن ضَرُّهُ أَقْرَبُ مِن نَّفْعِهِ
He calls (one) who – his harm (is) closer than his benefit (22:13).
So not only is he living a life of indecision and internal apprehension, he calls out to he who will actually harm him more than benefit him! A real example of this was Boris Johnson, who on the eve of the Brexit Referendum had written two articles ready for publishing in the Telegraph; one to Remain and one to Leave. Was it political expediency that guided his decision as to which to choose? And what about those who trusted him when he himself was so indecisive?
These are the first three categories of whom we are obliged to refrain from trusting and should refuse to entertain their views on religion or politics according to the Qur’an.