Well, today I returned to the UIC MSA Jummah. I will start off by saying... well, how the khutbah started off.
I walked into the basement, removed my shoes and tried to make my way into the prayer room.
Anyway, I sit down, pray my 2 rakats, BEFORE the khutbah, mind you. I was early, only a few people were there, then a steady stream of "brothers" started settling inside. Soon the room was about 50% full when a young "brother" in a hoodie got up and stood behind the podium. I was intrigued, because he looked utterly confused, not sure when the right moment to say something was. For a second I thought he was going to make an announcement until he started talking about Islam, oh... this is the khateeb and what I am currently listening to is the khutbah. Got it. It was unfortunate since it wasn't clear when or how the khutbah was going to start so for the first five minutes of his talk, which I fail to recollect, you hear more chatter from the shoe room than words of the khateeb. I pondered this and thought of how rude these "brothers" were being. But soon came to the realization that they had no idea the khutbah was going to start when it did, although, I am not a fan of people just idly conversing in or near a mosque when there is ample room for that elsewhere. Where exactly? Anywhere that's not a mosque or place of worship A.K.A. 99% of the Earth.
On to the khutbah itself. This young "brother" came from IFS, I should have known, I am quite familiar with the type of Muslims being ground out of that place. Let's just say that enlightenment for those people is a myth. Literally, HA!
Moving on, there will be many more tangents by the way, this "brother" from IFS wanted to depict how amazing the Sahabahs were, saying they were "The best of men!" He did not make exception for the Prophets either, so assuming this was just a misstep on his part and not an implied statement, I will let it slide. He said that each Sahabah had the strength of 30 men. That's how they won in the Battle of Badr. He then spouted off several contrasting numbers of Muslims vs. Kaffir in some supposed battles that he failed to name or date. He didn't sound very convincing but I think his goal was trying to distract everyone from facts with his emphatic gestures and yelling. Seriously, this bro was yelling, I still don't see why this is necessary. I can hear you just fine when you speak normally into a microphone that plugged into speakers that reach the entire room i.e. your audience.
My main complaint with this part of the khutbah was that he was emphasizing the physical strength of the Sahabah, which I am certain was not equivalent to 30 men, and even if it was, how is this important? Is this something we should aspire to? Should we all hit the gym and inject steroids? Because as far as I know, there is no way to be as strong as 30 men without supplements, illegal or otherwise. Rather, their Iman and Yaqin (Certainty) may have been that strong, if not stronger. For they were seeing Reality whilst in the presence of the Beloved Messenger of God (S).
He praised the Sahabah all the while maintaining a tone that was reminiscent of how my father would correct me in times of disobedience as a child. They all tend to sound like that when conveying a point [specifically the Desis who try so very hard to be "Arabized"]. Now, we can delve deeper and imagine that this is the only way a point was ever conveyed to them, in lecture form, which always maintained a condescending tone and demeanor by the lecturer. So, sure, your father scolded you, you learned your lesson, now you scold others so they learn theirs. Brilliant, why didn't I think of that? Ha, I guess my critique is similar in that sense, it seems to be the most effective method of teaching in our confused community. Are you all learning something? Or taking offense? Either way, thanks for reading!
The Khateeb then mentioned a story he heard about a Saudi police officer (why am I not surprised?) who witnessed a car crash. The result was several dead bodies and one young man, in his late 20s, who was sandwiched between two cars, his legs detached from the torso. He was alive though, amazingly. The police officer ran to him and yelled at him to recite the Shahadah before he dies. The young man looked at him and recited the verses of the "dirty song" he was listening to right before the crash. "Clearly this man died a bad death," said the Khateeb.
That's an incredibly dramatic story, and to be quite honest, I don't believe it. Let me tell you why. First, look at the facts, the young man pinned between two cars which collided into each other had his legs detached from the rest of his body. Yet he remained alive and even more amazingly, conscious. I am no doctor, but as an individual that possesses some understanding, it would appear to me that if my legs were both ripped off, I would bleed out almost immediately, and if not that, then at the very least I would have collapsed and fallen out of consciousness. Am I right? Secondly, the police officer was attempting to force the young man to recite the Shahadah before death. Okay, I can believe that since it's Saudi Arabia and many of the people who are openly Wahabi are so asinine, this is actually plausible. But, what I don't believe is the next part, where the young man recited the verses of a dirty song he had just been listening to. How did whoever narrated this story orignally know that the young man was just listening to that song? Did he interview the man before he died?
You simply have to analyze the facts and make your own judgement on how believable a story is, unless you are gullible and accept everything you hear, if that's the case, you deserve to be fooled. So don't blame anyone except yourself.
You know how people make up stories to prove a point and claim it was a real story? Well, if that's the case here, what was the point? I think the khateeb was emphasizing that this man was a bad Muslim and therefore incapable of saying the Shahadah, the underlying note was that music is haram. Which I disagree with, ardently disagree with.
Right after this, the khateeb asked everyone to close their eyes and reflect on the words he would now say. He basically had everyone listen to him describe death as he saw it, including some Quranic evidence for how death will be. He took the verses quite literally it seems. He yelled a few times during this recital, it was really cheesy and unnecessarily dramatic. I would have started laughing if I didn't respect that fact we were there to pray to God.
He focused on guilt the whole time, not mentioning God's mercy at all. I was disappointed by this since God is the All Merciful. How can one overlook that?
Yada yada yada, he said a lot that bored me and is definitely not worth mentioning. Trust me, you aren't missing anything.
Then, the khateeb said something I did not expect. He finally brought the khutbah back from sounding condescending and demeaning to actually uplifting. After ranting about our flaws, he said not to forget God's mercy. I was really pleased to hear this. He also said, "Just make sure you do your part." And he is right, God's mercy is for everyone, but we shouldn't use that as an excuse to do wrong or do nothing. Good one khateeb.
Hmm... yeah, that was it. Comments?