THE ISLAMIC AWAKENING: ISLAMIC STRUGGLE, CORRECT PATH TO LASTING SUCCESS.
IN THE NAME OF ALLAH, THE BENEFICENT, THE MERCIFUL. PEACE AND BLESSINGS UPON THE PROPHET AND HIS HOLY PROGENIES.
By Zeenah Ibraheem
Brothers and Sisters, Assalamu alaykum warahmatullah.
I wish to start by reminding us briefly of the purpose of our existence in this world. In other words, why has Allah created us and place us on the earth? This is a fundamental question which every reasonable person should ask. Alhamdulillah, we as Muslims only need to refer to the Holy Qur’an and the Traditions of our Noble Prophet to get the answer to our questions. Allah the most High stated in the glorious Qur’an that: “ I HAVE NOT CREATED MAN AND JINN EXCEPT TO WORSHIP ME”. We have also been reminded by Allah the most High in another part of the glorious Qur’an that this worship was not imposed on us but was in fact an offer made to all creations by Allah which they respectfully decline to accept and instead opt for absolute obedience to Allah with no ability to disobey. But Man, in his lust for power, enjoyment and everlasting life promised to take on the ‘Trust’. In a nutshell, the life span of Man from the time he is created to the time he returns back to Allah is a journey from Allah back to Allah. Man is responsible to Allah and would definitely account for his actions in this world and be rewarded accordingly.
In the first stage of our journey, a very great assembly was held by Allah the Almighty, which involves all forms of creations. At this great assembly, Allah offered a trust to all creations, and promise that whoever fulfils the trust shall be rewarded with paradise (jannah) and whoever shall abuse the trust shall be rewarded with hell (jahannam). The trust is: to be placed on earth as vicegerents of Allah, to act according to the will and commandments of Allah, and rebel against anything or anyone contrary to the will of Allah. In a nutshell to make one’s will submissive to the will of Allah.
All other creations except man, begged to be relieved of this great trust, for fear of not fulfilling it. All other creations implored Allah to set them firm on the path of obedience and to deprive them of the freewill which they fear may lead them to disobedience. But man, having heard of the great bliss and glory awaiting anyone who fulfils the trust, implored Allah to be given the trust and promised to uphold it. This episode is related in the glorious Qur’an in the following verses:
"We offered the trust to the heavens, to the earth and to the mountains, but they refused to bear it, and were afraid of it. Man undertook to bear it, but he has proved unjust and foolish.
Allah will surely punish the hypocrites men and women, and the unbelievers, both men and women; but Allah pardons believing men and believing women. Allah is Forgiving and Merciful" (Ahzab: 72 and 73)
In some other verses of the glorious Qur’an, Allah related concerning another smaller assembly which involves only mankind.
Allah Ta’ala says: "When your Lord brought forth descendants from the loins of Adam’s children, and made them testify against themselves, (He said) Am I not your Lord?" They replied: "We bear witness that you are ." (This He did ) lest you should say on the Day of Resurrection : ‘We had no knowledge of that, or: ‘Our forefathers set up partners with Allah; but will you destroy us, their descendants, on account of what the followers of falsehood did?’
Thus We make plain Our revelations so that they may return to the right path. (A’araf: 171-172).
The above verses of the holy Qur’an are references to another assembly which involves the descendants of Adam alone in which Allah reaffirm to mankind the fact that He is our Lord and that we will be brought to earth to represent His will. There and then Allah the Almighty made us realize what that implies in detail. That we shall act according to His Will. That we shall make our wills submissive to that of Allah. That our lives shall be governed according to the dictates of Allah’s rules. And that we shall not attribute this kind of status to any other than Allah our Creator. We all promised solemnly to be obedient to Allah and disobedient and rebellious to any other will or authority other than Allah’s. It is in fact after reaffirming this to Allah that mankind were being sent generation after generation to be tried and tested as to how sincere each individual was when he took the trust and promised to uphold it. All the above assemblies took place while man was still in the form of spirit (Ruh).
After this, Allah placed man on earth to test him, and reward those who are trustworthy and punish the liars.
But, Allah in His infinite mercy, sent a long chain of noble Messengers to remind mankind at different intervals as to the purpose of their creation. This trend continues until the last and noblest Messenger, Muhammad (S.A.W.A) was sent and along with him the last revelation. The Prophet (S.A.W.A} was given a perfect way of life which is meant to lead man from darkness into light, from ignorance into awareness and from servitude into true freedom. Had man followed this way of life, which is Islam, to the letter, he would have achieved the loftiest ideals of life, both here and the Hereafter. Every gift Allah Has bestowed on us in this world, ranging from oxygen to any other thing you may think of, is just so that we may be able to fulfill our trust to Him. This means, they are unlawful to us as long we are rebellious to Allah
Having stated the above background, we should realize that we as Muslims have no option except to follow the path of Allah.
The Islamic Awakening started many years ago. It started when Allah blessed this Ummah with people like Shaikh Hasanal Banna, Maududi , Sayyid Qutb and Imam Khomeini. For these great strugglers played very important roles in their different ways of creating awareness among the Muslims .They make them realize that Islam is not confined to rituals alone. And that it is a complete way of life. They also taught the importance of struggling against oppression. But above all, the last two made the greatest impact. Sayyid Qutb made his impact ideologically, for he was executed by the tyrants before he could practicalise his theory. As for Imam Khomeini, he is a unique personality in the history of mankind. For he came to change the status-quo at a time when changing it has become very difficult and appears to many as almost impossible due to the sophistication of the world order. The impact his struggle had on the world and on sincere Muslims is also unique. This is partly because the Islamic revolution in Iran came at a time when all hopes were almost lost. It came at a time when, even though there were Muslims here and there in the world, who are worried about the prevalent conditions of Muslims in the world, and who feel that going back to the teachings of the Holy Qur’an is the solution, but they have different methods of materializing it. Some feel, the best way to change the situation is by penetrating the oppressive systems prevalent in different Muslim countries and after gaining power, change the systems into Islamic ones. Others feel we should camouflage under different ideologies or isms in order to lessen opposition to our struggle. We may, according to them; after gaining power declare that we are for the Islamic system. Others declare that although, Islam is the solution, but in this age of advances in science and technology, it’s not practicable. Few people like Shahid Sayyid Qutb and Imam Khomeini believe that Islam is the only way out. And that we have to openly struggle to establish it and be patient for the sake of Allah no matter what tribulations affects us. This, they declare is the path of Allah and the path treaded by the Holy Prophet (S.A.W.A). Had there been a simpler and less dangerous path, Allah would have led His Prophet (S.A.W.A) on it. And would not have subjected His most beloved one to the tribulations he suffered. Shahid Sayyid Qutb paid with his life. As for the Imam in Iran, he was the real embodiment of this call. Despite the tribulations and hardships he and his sincere followers and students faced at the hands of the tyrannical Shah, he remained steadfast like rock. And Allah in his infinite mercy to us established His system in Iran.
The success of the Islamic revolution in Iran is truly the greatest blessing Allah bestowed to the world (especially the Muslim world) in this century. And the person of the great Imam Khomeini is the most wonderful gift to the Muslims of the world in this century. And surely we would be accountable to Allah as to how thankful we are to Allah for this blessing. For this blessing came to reassure the strugglers in the path of Allah that, contrary to what most have been made to believe, Islam is capable of making a come-back to rule and organize societies according to the tenets of the Qur’an and Sunnah of the Holy Prophet (S.A.W.A).
The Imam started this struggle alone against the tyrants of the time despite all odds. He knew that fighting the Shah means fighting against the then so-called world super-powers (U.S.A and Soviet Union) and their barking dog, ‘Israel’. He realized how difficult and dangerous the task was. He knew he had to pay dearly. But, the beloved Imam has already given his heart to Allah and was ready to sacrifice everything to gain Allah’s acceptance. He stated right from the beginning of the struggle that it is an Islamic struggle and the aim is to fight oppression and establish an Islamic system. He neither camouflage under socialism or capitalism or communism, which were then the systems, reigning in the world nor hide under the guise of democracy or any other man-made ideology. He did not deceive himself by playing the game of gaining influence in the tyrannical system and later using it to bring about a change. He openly declare that ‘LA ILAHA ILLALLAH, MUHAMMADUR RASULULLAH’!
He and his students and followers were subjected to tortures, imprisonment and executions, but that did not deter the Imam. He remained very firm and placed his trust only in Allah the most High.
The most common slogans we heard from them is, ‘ALLAHU AKBAR, FREEDOM, LIBERTY AND ISLAMIC REPUBLIC!’
Even after the success of the revolution, when the referendum for or against the Islamic Republic was to be held and some people suggested that one of the options should be “Islamic Democratic Republic” , the Imam advised that the phrase democratic should be avoided. Islam is a complete way of life designed by The Creator of Man and does not need any man-made ideology to complete it. The Imam was true to the description by Allah in the glorious Qur’an, suratul Fussilat, verse 32:
“Who could say anything better than someone who
Summons to Allah and acts rightly
And says, ‘I am one of the Muslims’?
The success of the Islamic revolution in Iran brought great joy and hope to the Muslims of the world. It especially brought assurances to those who are already engaged in struggle against oppression that what they are targeting is possible. It dismissed the pessimism of those who doubt the come-back of the Islamic system in this modern age. It also breaks the age-long idea imprinted even in the minds of most Muslims that religion is one thing and politics is another.
But however the revolution was greeted with different plots both internal and external. It faced different plots both during and after the success of the revolution. But the plots were all thwarted due to the fact that the revolution is based on a solid foundation, which is; Islam and also due to the guided and pious leadership of the great Imam.
What we are witnessing now in the Muslim world, (Islamic Awakening) is a direct result of the struggle of Imam in Iran. This is because before the success of the Islamic revolution, most Muslims are very apologetic to the west about Islam. Some are even ashamed to be known as Muslims. And almost all except very few have surrendered to the status-quo and claim an impossibility of a return to the Islamic system of life.
The success of the revolution sent shockwaves throughout the world to the enemies of Allah. For they believed they were successful in convincing Muslims that their religion is outdated and not good for them. But to the great shock of the arrogant powers of the day, especially the U.S.A., here is Islam making a strong come-back in a place they list expected! So therefore, they fought vigorously against it and admit they have made mistakes and vowed never to allow such uprising to re-occur again anywhere in the Muslim world. They can tolerate uprisings against their different agents as long as their interests are not at stake. They realize that the only uprising that can be dangerous to them is the one based on Islam. Because, the aim of such uprising is to free man from servitude to any authority except that of Allah. We can rightly say; the struggle of Imam is what resulted in the final disintegration of communism. For communism, claims that; ‘religion is the opium of the people’, but contrary to this assumption, here is religion actually acting as the incentive for people to rise against injustice and oppression. We can also rightly assert that the struggle of the Imam is what has led to the imminent fall of capitalism and hypocritical democracy represented by the western countries especially America.
A personality such as that of Imam is not easy to get. For this reason, it is not something we should hope for in our different countries. After all these, demarcations namely countries are artificial. They are designed to serve the interests of our enemies and the enemies of Allah. Muslims are one Ummah. Like I have often heard the leader of the Islamic Movement in Nigeria, Shaikh Ibraheem Zakzaky declare; that to change the current oppressive status-quo in the world, the world only needs one Khomeini and Alhamdulillah, Allah has given us that Khomeini. All we need to do is to recognize him as our leader and follow his examples.
At this juncture, I would like to say we in the place presently called Nigeria are lucky to have the person of Shaikh Ibraheem Zakzaky, who recognize and accept the leadership of our dear Imam Khomeini (right from the beginning of the success of the Islamic revolution in Iran) as our leader. For even though, Shaikh Zakzaky started his activities years before he came to know anything about the Imam, he immediately recognize this great gift of Allah (Imam Khomeini) and gave his allegiance to him as his leader. And after attending the first anniversary of the success of the Islamic revolution in Iran, February of 1980, he came back home to spread the call of the great Imam. The success given to the Imam by Allah, in Iran encourage our dear leader, Shaikh Zakzaky that what he has been calling to is practicable now like before since we are living witnesses to Allah’s Victory at the hands of our dear Imam Khomeini (Q.S.)
Since, then the Islamic Movement has gone from stage to stage and faced great tribulations and persecutions. Shaikh Zakzaky himself has been jailed many times by successive tyrannical governments of the country and many attempts has been and still been made on his life at different times. Many of his students and followers have also been subjected to persecutions ranging from tortures, imprisonment and killings etc.
But the Shaikh has been consistent in his call that the future of this country is Islam just as the past has been Islam. Islamic system was once established in most part of what is now known as Nigeria and even beyond under the great revolutionary; Shaikh Uthman bin Fudy. This was brought to an end by the colonialists after great resistance and after massacring our forefathers just like they did in many parts of the Muslim Ummah.
Since this is a ladies conference, I must state the fact that, at the beginning of the Islamic Movement in Nigeria, that is about 34 years ago; women in our society are considered as tools to be used by their husbands and are not allowed to participate in religious gatherings. Some even claim that from the Islamic point of view, women do not even have to perform prayers as long as they are obedient to their husbands and serve their husbands. They claim that the paradise lay under the feet of husbands. But the Shaikh made it categorically clear that this is wrong. He encourages Sisters to participate actively in the struggle. He emphasizes that the struggle can never be successful without the active participation of Sisters who are the most important half of the population. He honors Sisters a lot. He has been particularly criticized by his detractors for his honorable views about Sisters. His encouragement has been the greatest incentive to us Sisters in the Movement and has led to great achievements. It has also taught our people that women should be very active in Islamic activities, to the extent that it has now become a norm in our society.
Another fact is that due to the guidance we receive from the leader of the Islamic Movement in Nigeria, we consider our movement to be the movement of Imam Khomeini. The Imam is the pillar of this Movement and will continue to be because the examples of Imam are as relevant to us now as they were when the Imam was with us physically. And Alhamdulillah, the Imam is still alive since Allah in his Mercy has given the Ummah a successor to Imam in the honorable person of Sayyid Khamene’I who is firmly following the footsteps of the Imam.
Finally, my advice to my dear brothers and sisters who are struggling against the prevalent oppression in the world now is to realize that the root cause of this oppression is the distancing of ourselves from Islam and the Islamic way of life which Allah has approved for us. We should realize that the only way to real and lasting freedom and true success is to return to Islam. We should struggle under the banner of Islam. We should discard all manmade ideologies because we do not need them. If we want a definite end to oppression, we must follow the footsteps of the Prophet (S.A.W.A). The reason why the Imam was successful is because he followed the footsteps of our Holy Prophet (S.A.W.A). We should realize that Allah Has not created us in vain. We should declare openly that we are for Islam and the Islamic system. We should stop hiding under the guise of democracy, for it is a different system entirely and a manmade one for that matter.
We should also realize that we can only achieve success both in this world and the hereafter when we struggle against oppression under the banner of Islam.
Finally, contrary to what most people often say, we do not lack leadership or ideology. Our calamity lies in not recognizing the ideology or the leadership.
I pray that Allah The Most High hasten the reappearance of the one whose reappearance would bring about the total destruction of tyranny, oppression and blasphemy and make us among his true and sincere helpers.
ISLAMIC MOVEMENT OF NIGERIA