Today's khutbah at MEC was an interesting one.
The khateeb, an older Arab man, began the khutbah by informing us that he changed the topic of his khutbah last minute due to some recent news he heard about a killing in France. The man who was charged with the murders was a Muslim named Mohamed.
So the khateeb began delivering a discourse on justice. He made it clear that justice is for everyone, that includes all human beings, all animals, and even inanimate objects.
He told the story of Salman Al Farsi and Abu Darda. Abu Darda's wife came to Salman Al Farsi requesting help because Abu Darda was not fulfilling his rights towards his wife and she was concerned with the amount of worship he engaged in. Salman told Abu Darda's wife that he would come stay with them for three days. When it was time to eat, Abu Darda offered Salman some food but himself did not take any, when asked why by Salman, Abu Darda replied that he was fasting, Salman told him to eat with him and break his fast, so he did.
Later in the night, Abu Darda awoke to pray and Salman asked him what he was doing, Abu Darda explained to him that he was going to pray, Salman told him, no rest now, go back to sleep, so Abu Darda listened. Salman told Abu Darda that his body and his family have rights on him. That he must first fulfil his rights to his family, then to himself, then to God. When Rasulullah (S) was asked about this, he said that Salman Al Farsi had spoken the truth.
The khateeb didn't go into such detail explaining this story but it's a good story and one which I felt was necessary to explain in full detail.
The khateeb then quoted a saying on justice by Imam Ghazali, he said it too quickly and his accent made it difficult to comprehend what he said, unfortunately. I am sure it was good.
He then told a story about some sahabahs that came to the Prophet (S) with a complaint about someone stealing another's property. The man accused blamed a Jewish citizen of Madinah, although the Jewish man was totally innocent. In the end it was determined the man lied to save his own skin and the Jewish man was not bothered. Justice is everyone's right.
Now the khateeb switched gears back to what he started the khutbah with, talking about the shootings in Toulouse. He reminded us about the Norway shootings in which not 7 but 77 people were killed. He compared the media coverage of the two incidents and pointed out how only the Muslim man's religion was used to identify and brand him, but the Norwegian man was identified as simply that, not by his religion. The khateeb made the good point that whenever a Muslim does something wrong, all Muslims have to share in the blame for it, while when a Christian does something wrong, no other Christians feel the heat for it. The bias of the media, this is nothing new, but I guess the khateeb thought it important to share, and it was.
The khateeb made another useful comparison. He mentioned how in history books, Muslims are always depicted as holding the Qur'an in one hand and the sword in the other and this is a negative depiction. Supporting the idea that Islam was spread by the sword. While, today, America is holding democracy in one hand a gun in the other, forcing other countries to accept democracy, and this is seen as liberating and not at all imposing. I guess killing those thousands in Afghanistan and Iraq was what inevitably lead to freedom and democracy in those countries.
The khateeb said that if you are going to make an accusation, you must be fair, you cannot leave out what suits you and keep in what suits you. He made the comparison with the recent killings in Afghanistan by the American soldier with the Fort Hood Massacre. He noted how words so easily twist the understanding and connotation behind different events. The killing of 17 innocent civilians in Afghanistan, including women and children, was described as a tragedy while the Fort Hood killings or soldiers was described as a massacre. Very subtle but significant differences.
He finally told the story about Abu Bakr Al-Baqillani who was asked by Christian priests about Aisha (R) and the accusation made against her for committing adultery. The Christian priests were attempting to mock him and Islam in general by bringing this up. Abu Bakr responded with saying that there were two righteous women who had the charge of adultery laid against them and one of them was with child (the evidence of adultery), yet God exonerated both of them. The other righteous woman was Mary (A) the virgin mother of Jesus (A). Abu Bakr showed the Christian priests they had the exact same issue in their religion.
The point of this story being that you mustn't accuse others of something you yourself can or have been accused of, more or less. Essentially, try to foster justice in every situation. Be fair in your criticisms.
This khutbah was a very decent one, I will note that I had trouble understanding the khateeb at several points simply because of his accent, but from what I did understand, the message was good. It was also nice to see that even though the khutbah had political undertones, he did not let his opinions or his sentiments block him from his overall theme of justice, nor was he emotional or yelling, something I really appreciated.