بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم
Nafsiya Reflections: A Question of Loyalties, Al Walaa
Assalaam u alaykum - welcome to today's episode, a question of loyalties, Al Walaa.
Whether it is in family debates, political discourse or moral dilemmas in life we are all expected to stand firm in one camp or another. Loyalties and allegiances occur for humans as we are social beings, we group together with certain people as we feel something is worth standing up for.
Islam also has a concept of loyalty. This is termed in Arabic as, Al Walaa. This idea is mentioned in the Quran where the alliances of the Believers is set as the goal above any other kind of loyalty.
The bond of Islam transcends the normal base loyalty one may have with the land, the flag, the race, the tribe or the family.
This loyalty or alliance is shown by how we behave. The Seerah of the Prophet (saw) has many examples of how the Islamic bond leads to a unique sense of loyalty to Allah (swt), the Messenger (s) and the Muslims.
One such example comes when we see how Jafar ibn Abi Talib (RA) stood firm in the court of Negus. Despite the delicate nature of this situation, where the Muslims had sought asylum in Abyssinia due to the harsh situation of Makkah this example shows us that Jafar (RA) was not shy to state what Islam said about Isa (AS). There was a difference between how Islam and Christianity viewed Isa (AS) but Jafar (RA) did not seek to change the message of the Quran or pacify the ruler who had given sanctity to the Muslims.
Hence, we see how the Muslims of previous generations set the example for us in their steadfastness.
Despite the strong sense of al walaa, that is part of our Islamic legacy, today we find that as an Ummah living under capitalism our loyalties are continually questioned.
These challenges can come in many forms such as pledging allegiance to a flag. Oftentimes schools in the Muslim lands practise this on a daily basis, the flag symbolising the land and often a bloody struggle that could have nothing good to celebrate for us as Muslims since these flags bear testimony to division rather than unity.
Other examples are commemoration of wars. Often in Western countries a symbol such as a poppy can be seen worn by TV presenters, political figures, and the general public. Those not bearing this symbol are seen as not supporting a common cause of the nation.
When everyone is geared up to particular events or activities that symbolise loyalty and affiliation, the voices of dissent can be termed as ‘disloyal’. Even if these are non-Muslims who question some aspect of that action.
Recently in the US, sports players seen taking the knee during the national anthem has divided opinion. On one hand it is a constitutional right of freedom of speech and on the other, the flag and anthem are held to be sacred.
So, how easy is it for us, as Muslims, to stand out and not fall into false loyalties?
What actually determines where our loyalty lies?
We must realise that the concept of Al Walaa means there is no middle ground or ‘here and there’ when it comes to where our allegiances lie. Despite the challenges of muscular capitalist policies, where the policies of integration are focused on forging a particular type of identity that is loyal to king, crown and country, Muslims need to be ready to rise to this challenge.
How we can do this is with reminders of what our unique Islamic identity means.
First and foremost, this idea is linked to our belief so is not optional nor can it be a loose affiliation that we use for some parts of our lives, where we may identify as Muslim or we may feel unity with other Muslims on certain occasions.
The prophet (s) said
مَنْ أَحَبَّ لِلَّهِ وَأَبْغَضَ لِلَّهِ وَأَعْطَى لِلَّهِ وَمَنَعَ لِلَّهِ فَقَدِ اسْتَكْمَلَ الإِيمَانَ
“Whoever Loves for the sake of Allah and hates for the sake of Allah, gives for the sake of Allah and withholds for the sake of Allah, he will have perfected his faith.”(Abu Dawud).
In another version it is stated that the prayer, fasting and other acts of worship will not allow one to taste the sweetness of imaan if this loyalty does not exist.
This loyalty means we love for Allah’s sake and we love what He loves and we focus on the relationships we have as Muslims. Alongside this our relationships with those that are not Muslim are governed also by Allah’s akham, this too is part of Al Walaa. So we are at peace with those that Islam allows and we are friends with those that Islam allows and we view every situation with the lens of islam. This way there is no internal confusion or conflict for us on how we need to behave. Being clear on this idea of al Walaa means we need to be ready to act according to this concept.
Today, that would mean that we speak out against attacks on our noble Prophet (SAW) or on the Quran even if it seems like the better option is to remain silent in the name of being ‘tolerant’.
It would also mean we present the Shariah as the correct code for human behaviour, despite the dominant view of Shariah as backward and oppressive.
Whilst secular liberal standards push a view on male female interaction, we should not feel shy in showing the problems this raises and how islam offers justice in all its systems, when they are implemented together.
We should not feel reluctant to support the right of Muslims to defend their land in places under military occupation; even though today this action is deemed as ‘insurgency’ or ‘terrorism’.
Feeling confident in the idea of where our loyalties lie means we should uphold our identity as part of the worldwide Muslim Ummah and as part of this we should wholeheartedly support the work to re-establish the Khilafah in Muslim countries which alone will restore the honour of Islam.
Islam demands loyalty from us and it is not ok to sit on the fence and be swayed where there is only one clear cut rule from Allah SWT.
This is the unique alliance or loyalty that Allah has commanded to be developed in the heart of the believers and its cultivation strengthens our imaan to unimaginable levels. This will then strengthen our ability to sacrifice and support one another in testing times and when our loyalties are questioned.
JazakAmullah khairan for joining us, till next time.
Wasalaam u alaykum wa rahamatullahee wa barakthu hu.