Violence is not the solution to any conflict. Justice is.
In Surat al Qasas, Allah Almighty tells us about Firaun, who has appeared in the Quran 70 times as a symbol of tyranny, oppression, and corruption etc.
إِنَّ فِرۡعَوۡنَ عَلَا فِی ٱلۡأَرۡضِ وَجَعَلَ أَهۡلَهَا شِیَعࣰا یَسۡتَضۡعِفُ طَاۤىِٕفَةࣰ مِّنۡهُمۡ یُذَبِّحُ أَبۡنَاۤءَهُمۡ وَیَسۡتَحۡیِۦ نِسَاۤءَهُمۡۚ إِنَّهُۥ كَانَ مِنَ ٱلۡمُفۡسِدِینَ ٤
Indeed, Pharaoh had become high-handed in the land, and had divided its people into different groups; he used to persecute a group of them, slaughtering their sons and keeping their women alive. Indeed he was one of the mischief-makers, (Al-Qaṣaṣ 28:4)
The Quran talks about the leaders and their followers. In management leaders are commonly classified by about ten types:
1. Autocratic Leader
2. Democratic Leader
3. Transformational Leader
4. Practical Leader
5. Paternal leader
What style of leader was Firaun?
There is no doubt that Firaun was an autocratic, stubborn, oppressive, and tyrannical leader. The Quran tells us the consequences of being such a leader on the leader himself as well as the impact on the community at large.
Firaun is a sign of corruption and self-indulgence in egoism, he can’t see anyone but himself and he can’t hear anyone but himself and this is so dangerous. This is why Allah gave us the description of Firaun as the one who forces people to take his ideas and not think outside the box.
قَالَ فِرۡعَوۡنُ مَاۤ أُرِیكُمۡ إِلَّا مَاۤ أَرَىٰ وَمَاۤ أَهۡدِیكُمۡ إِلَّا سَبِیلَ ٱلرَّشَادِ
Pharaoh said, “I do not give you an opinion unless I myself believe it to be correct, and I do not direct you to anything but to the right way.” [Ghāfir 40:29]
His opinion is the only one allowed, as Pharaoh said, “I do not show you except what I see, and I do not guide you except to the way of prudence.”
Allah sent Musa with signs to Firauan and his people:
وَلَقَدۡ أَرۡسَلۡنَا مُوسَىٰ بِـَٔایَـٰتِنَا وَسُلۡطَـٰنࣲ مُّبِینٍ
إِلَىٰ فِرۡعَوۡنَ وَمَلَإِی۟هِۦ فَٱتَّبَعُوۤا۟ أَمۡرَ فِرۡعَوۡنَۖ وَمَاۤ أَمۡرُ فِرۡعَوۡنَ بِرَشِیدٍ
And We sent Mūsā, with Our signs and with clear proof, to Pharaoh and his group. So, they followed the command of Pharaoh, while the command of Pharaoh was not right. [Hūd 11:96-97]
When the magicians accepted Islam which annoyed Firaun and he was angered that they did this without his permission. He could not believe that they would choose something he had not dictated upon them and punished them for it.
قَالَ ءَامَنتُمۡ لَهُۥ قَبۡلَ أَنۡ ءَاذَنَ لَكُمۡۖ إِنَّهُۥ لَكَبِیرُكُمُ ٱلَّذِی عَلَّمَكُمُ ٱلسِّحۡرَۖ فَلَأُقَطِّعَنَّ أَیۡدِیَكُمۡ وَأَرۡجُلَكُم مِّنۡ خِلَـٰفࣲ وَلَأُصَلِّبَنَّكُمۡ فِی جُذُوعِ ٱلنَّخۡلِ وَلَتَعۡلَمُنَّ أَیُّنَاۤ أَشَدُّ عَذَاباً وَأَبۡقَىٰ
He (Pharaoh) said, “You have believed in him before I permit you. This man is in fact your master who has taught you the magic. So I will certainly cut off your hands and your legs from opposite sides, and will crucify you on the trunks of palm-trees, and you shall know whose punishment, out of us, is more severe and more lasting.” [Ṭā-Hā 20:71]
قَالُوۤا۟ ءَامَنَّا بِرَبِّ ٱلۡعَـٰلَمِینَ
They said, “We believe in the Lord of the worlds,
رَبِّ مُوسَىٰ وَهَـٰرُونَ
The Lord of Mūsā and Hārūn.”
قَالَ فِرۡعَوۡنُ ءَامَنتُم بِهِۦ قَبۡلَ أَنۡ ءَاذَنَ لَكُمۡۖ إِنَّ هَـٰذَا لَمَكرٌ مَّكَرۡتُمُوهُ فِی ٱلۡمَدِینَةِ لِتُخۡرِجُوا۟ مِنۡهَاۤ أَهۡلَهَاۖ فَسَوۡفَ تَعۡلَمُونَ
Pharaoh said, “You have believed in him before my permission. Undoubtedly, this is a plot you have designed in the city, so that you may expel its people from it. Now you shall know (its end).
لَأُقَطِّعَنَّ أَیۡدِیَكُمۡ وَأَرۡجُلَكُم مِّنۡ خِلَـٰفࣲ ثُمَّ لَأُصَلِّبَنَّكُمۡ أَجۡمَعِینَ
I will cut off your hands and your legs from opposite sides. Then I will crucify you all together.”
قَالُوۤا۟ إِنَّاۤ إِلَىٰ رَبِّنَا مُنقَلِبُونَ
They said, “We have surely to return to our Lord.
وَمَا تَنقِمُ مِنَّاۤ إِلَّاۤ أَنۡ ءَامَنَّا بِـَٔایَـٰتِ رَبِّنَا لَمَّا جَاۤءَتۡنَاۚ رَبَّنَاۤ أَفۡرِغۡ عَلَیۡنَا صَبْراً وَتَوَفَّنَا مُسۡلِمِینَ
For what fault would you punish us except that we have believed in the signs of our Lord when they appeared to us? O our Lord, pour out patience upon us, and cause us to die as Muslims (those who submit to you.)” [Al-Aʿrāf 7:121- 126]
Unfortunately we have leaders like Firaun in the world today. In the UN General Assembly 153 countries voted for a ceasefire in Gaza, but the oppressive leader voted ‘no’ in the UN Security Council and said no one can choose something other than what they want, even if that is to see people killed and children massacred. Leaders who think no one can stop them are the Firauns of the 21st century.
All Firauns end up in Hell with their followers
The Quran said that all Firauns will lead their people on the Day of Judgement to hell, which is the worst place to reside.
وَٱسۡتَفۡتَحُوا۟ وَخَابَ كُلُّ جَبَّارٍ عَنيد
They sought final decision (by demanding the divine scourge), and (thus) every stubborn tyrant failed. [Ibrāhīm 14:15]
یَقۡدُمُ قَوۡمَهُۥ یَوۡمَ ٱلۡقِیَـٰمَةِ فَأَوۡرَدَهُمُ ٱلنَّارَۖ وَبِئۡسَ ٱلۡوِرۡدُ ٱلۡمَوۡرُودُ
He will lead his people on the Day of Judgement, and make them descend into the Fire. And it is the evil descending place. [Hūd 11:98]
Allah allows people to do what they want but bear in mind that there is a Hereafter. Life does not end here, but continues in the Hereafter, where all the followers of their leaders will be called by the name of their leader. Just as the followers of Muhammad (peace be upon him) will be called so will the followers of leaders who chose to kill people. They will face judgement in the Hereafter.
يَوۡمَ نَدۡعُواْ كُلَّ أُنَاسِۢ بِإِمَٰمِهِمۡۖ فَمَنۡ أُوتِيَ كِتَٰبَهُۥ بِيَمِينِهِۦ فَأُوْلَٰٓئِكَ يَقۡرَءُونَ كِتَٰبَهُمۡ وَلَا يُظۡلَمُونَ فَتِيلاً
On the day when We call every group of people by their leader, then whoever is given his record in his right hand—those will read their record, and they will not be dealt with unjustly by as much as the hair upon a date-stone.
[Surah Al-‘Isrā 17:71]
In every century we see Firauns, and those who follow them will be with them in Hell.
The US used its veto against the UN Security Council’s demand for humanitarian ceasefire in Gaza. Though the non-binding, symbolic resolution passed with 153 votes in favour, 10 opposed it and 23 abstained. When Russia invaded Ukraine, it was called an invasion, but when Israel invaded Palestine it has been condoned. This is not fair. Allah commands justice without double standards. The Prophet (peace be upon him) said that if his own daughter were to commit theft she would face the penalty of having her hand chopped off. It is one rule for everyone.
عَنْ عَائِشَةَ ـ رضى الله عنها أَنَّ امْرَأَةً مِنْ بَنِي مَخْزُومٍ سَرَقَتْ، فَقَالُوا مَنْ يُكَلِّمُ فِيهَا النَّبِيَّ صلى الله عليه وسلم فَلَمْ يَجْتَرِئْ أَحَدٌ أَنْ يُكَلِّمَهُ، فَكَلَّمَهُ أُسَامَةُ بْنُ زَيْدٍ، فَقَالَ “ إِنَّ بَنِي إِسْرَائِيلَ كَانَ إِذَا سَرَقَ فِيهِمُ الشَّرِيفُ تَرَكُوهُ، وَإِذَا سَرَقَ الضَّعِيفُ قَطَعُوهُ، لَوْ كَانَتْ فَاطِمَةُ لَقَطَعْتُ يَدَهَا ”.
Aisha said, “A woman from Bani Makhzumiya committed a theft and the people said, ‘Who can intercede with the Prophet (ﷺ) for her?’ So nobody dared speak to him (i.e. the Prophet) but Usama bin Zaid spoke to him. The Prophet said, ‘If a reputable man amongst the children of Bani Israel committed a theft, they used to forgive him, but if a poor man committed a theft, they would cut his hand. But I would cut even the hand of Fatima (i.e. the daughter of the Prophet) if she committed a theft.” [Bukahri]
Peace and justice not violence is the solution
۞ إِنَّ ٱللَّهَ یَأۡمُرُ بِٱلۡعَدۡلِ وَٱلۡإِحۡسَـٰنِ وَإِیتَاۤىِٕ ذِی ٱلۡقُرۡبَىٰ وَیَنۡهَىٰ عَنِ ٱلۡفَحۡشَاۤءِ وَٱلۡمُنكَرِ وَٱلۡبَغۡیِۚ یَعِظُكُمۡ لَعَلَّكُمۡ تَذَكَّرُونَ
Indeed, Allah commands to justice and excelling in doing good and bringing (charity) to the relative, and He forbids obscenity and what is deplorable and oppression. He exhorts you, that you may be mindful. [An-Naḥl 16:90]
Justice is the solution. Not violence. The more you allow violence, the more violence it creates. The violence does not end. Stop the violence against the people of Palestine. Stop massacring the people. Stop the genocide because you are creating terrorism through violence. However violence is not the solution. Justice is the solution in this world and in the Hereafter. We need to support justice and keep pushing in the right direction for justice and fairness for the people fo Palestine. They have the right to decide their own fate. They have the right to their independence. It is the right of any occupied country to resist occupation according to international law. They have the right to defend themselves. The right to resist is closely related to the principle of self-determination. It is widely recognized that a right to self-determination arises in situations of colonial domination, foreign occupation, and racist regimes that deny a segment of the population political participation.
We have to side with the truth and justice and we try our best to change our reality in every legitimate legal way. But to be an agent of evil through our silence is not acceptable. Those who are agents of evil by supporting oppression will face the consequences in the Hereafter.
The Prophet (peace be upon him) warned that if you do not stop oppression you will be punished.
عن أبي بكر الصديق، رضي الله عنه ، قال: سمعت رسول الله، صلى الله عليه وسلم، يقول: “إن الناس إذا رأو الظالم فلم يأخذوا على يديه أوشك أن يعمهم الله بعقاب منه”
Abu Bakr As-Siddiq (may Allah bepleased with him) reported:
“I have heard Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) saying: “When people see an oppressor but do not prevent him from (doing evil), it is likely that Allah will punish them all.” [Abu Dawud and At-Tirmidhi]
We need to deliver justice and be agents of good not evil.
Based on the Khutbah of Shaykh Haytham Tamim 15th Dec 2023
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