Whose Side Are You On?

During the month of Muharram, people remember and talk about the incidents that took place between Yazeed and Husain Radhiyallaahu 'Anhu. Let us reflect on some key questions that arise: Why did Yazeed win over Husain? Did he have mysterious power over people? Could he say, like God himself, "Be" and what he desired would happen (Na'oodzubillaahi min Dzaalik)?

No, the only reason Yazeed succeeded is that people cooperated with him and did what he asked. Without the help of people, he would not have survived. Conversely, Husain failed because people did not help him; in fact, some of those who were supposed to help, instead betrayed him. If people had helped Husain, he would have been the victor.

Then why did people support Yazeed and not Husain? There are several reasons. Some were tempted by the material benefits of siding with Yazeed, while some feared reprisals if they opposed him. Others went along with good intentions, hoping they could become close to Yazeed and influence him to make the right decisions, supporting him in "good things only." Many more chose to remain "neutral," or "apolitical." And the rest of the people simply did not care what happened.

Husain and many members of his family were brutally murdered. And regardless of their motives, those who co-operated with Yazeed in any way, shape, or form, in effect participated in the crimes committed by Yazeed and his army. If they had not co-operated, even passively, Yazeed would have been unable to accomplish the evil things he did. Even those who called themselves "neutral" or "apolitical," or did not care what happened were indirectly responsible for his crimes. Had they actively practised non-co-operation, they could have weakened Yazeed enough to render him ineffective.

Afterwards, many felt sorry over what had happened. Many who had betrayed Husain beat their chests in shame. But did the people of the Ummah learn anything from this? Not at all, it seems.

Shortly after Yazeed, one of the most vicious and tyrannical dictators, Hajjaaj bin Yousuf, appeared on the scene. And why did he succeed in his evil ways? Because, just as before, people helped him for self-serving reasons, were terrified of reprisals, or remained "neutral" moral cowards.

Sadly, the same false logic and attitudes that brought worldly success to Yazeed and Hajjaaj are still with us today, enabling illegitimate usurpers of power to remain in control of many Muslim communities. Locally, it is the main reason why inept and inappropriate people have successfully held power in our Mosque committees, Islamic societies, and community organizations. On a global level, it is a key contributing factor in why one superpower can dictate to and rule all the world's billion-plus Muslims, like sheep herded by a single dog. It is why the Qaddafi's, Sabah's, Saudi's and Musharraf's remain in power, all the while betraying fellow Muslims.

The fact is, whatever your rationale or excuses, if you are not actively working to oppose these unjust leaders through intentional non-co-operation and democratic struggle, you too share a personal responsibility for the crimes they are committing, and Allaah will hold you accountable for it.

Reflect on the following quotations from the Qur-aan:
Those are the ones who have bought the life of this world at the cost of the Hereafter, so the punishment will not be lightened for them, nor will they be aided. Al-Baqarah 2:86

Co-operate in righteousness and piety; do not co-operate in sin and aggression. And fear Allaah; indeed He is severe in punishing. Al-Maaidah 5:2

Who took their worldly distractions and amusements as their lifestyle (Deen) and whom worldly life duped; hence, today We will forget them as they forgot they forgot meeting of this Day of theirs and for having disregarded Our verses. Al-A'raaf 7:51

O believers, what is the matter with you that when you are told to go out in the cause of Allaah, you adhere heavily to the earth? Are you [more] satisfied with the life of this world, rather than the Hereafter? At-Towbah 9:38

Also consider the following sayings of the Messenger of Allaah:
"Help your brother, whether he is the oppressor or oppressed." A person asked, "O Messenger of Allaah, I can help him when he is oppressed; but how can I help him if he is the oppressor?" The Prophet responded, "You stop him from [doing] the oppression and that is your help for him." Reported from Anas in Bukhaari and Muslim

Do not call a hypocrite a leader, because if you do so, you anger your Lord. Mishkaat

I entrust you in the refuges of Allaah, O Ka’ab Ibn ‘Ujrah, from the leaders that will grab the power after me. Whoever will go to their doors (seek to establish contacts with them), support and justify their lies and help them in their injustices, he is not from me and I am not from him and he will not be come to me on the Pond. If someone goes or does not go to their doors (seek to establish contacts with them), but does not support or justify their lies and does not help them in their injustices, he is from me and I am from him and he will come to me on the Pond. Reported from Ka’ab in Tirmidzi

Allaah has not sent any prophet in any Ummah before me except that he had helpers and companions who adopted his way (Sunnah) and followed his mission. Then, they were replaced by such successors who claimed credit for what they did not do and did what they were not supposed to do. So, whoever actively struggles (performs Jihaad) against them, he is a believer; whoever verbally performs Jihaad against them, he is a believer; whoever performs Jihaad against them by his heart, he is a believer; however, beyond this a person does not have faith even equal to a mustard seed. Reported by Muslim from ‘Abdullaah Ibn Mas’ood

Many people in Muslim countries say that their leaders, not themselves, are the culprits. But leaders do not get into power or retain power without public support. If you co-operate with them in any way, you are just as guilty as they are, and therefore subject to Allaah's anger and punishment. Thus, if you are not actively involved with local Islamic movements to proactively change the government of your country, you are a major part of the systemic problem.

Similarly, if the leadership of your local Masjid (Mosque) is not acting in a morally good and responsible manner and you are passively accepting the situation, you are at least indirectly responsible for their misdeeds.

In both of these cases, you are their hand and their tool. So do not blame the leaders for the wrongs they are doing. Instead, blame yourself; for regardless of what you claim to profess, your inaction has placed you on Yazeed's side.

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