Leadership

FACE OFF! Face it!

The early morning fajir on 22 Mar. 04 adhan rings the air as Sheikh Ahmed Yaseen wheeled his way into the mosque, whilst in another part of the world Pakistini forces aim their guns at suspected Al-Qaeda sympathisers/fighters/loyalists, reeling out of slumber a quarter of the rest of the muslim ummah shoddily prepare themselves for salaatul fajir and; woken to salaah by another bomb in Iraq makes the preparation of wudu difficult and suddenly! Missiles from a gunship interrupt this Godly hour in Palestine when Sheikh Ahmed Yaseen leaves the mosque after salaah to meet his martyrdom! His wheel chair split asunder with the impact mincing his body into pieces enshrouding him for martyrdom! Face off! Face it – the world carried on and justice was never served.

The world looked aghast when the late Sharon manifested his plans to pull out from settlements in Gaza yet, maintaining a policy to promote majority population of Jews in the West Bank where water is abundant. In all of this Sheikh Ahmed Yaseen’s grave envelopes him with love because of his tawqa which calls upon the wedding of the martyrs to ring the air in anticipation of the next prayer! Palestine will be free: home to Al-Aqsa – the first qiblah/direction of prayer and the power of the Mi’raj. Sadly, when we turn attention to our life of learning we find our hearts attached to a world of materialism. Materialism and Consumerism have overtaken us and we have shelved our moral character for the material world and, academic prowess has led us to become earners and not learners. Face it, this is the truth and know when you are in denial you are ‘face off’. Why?

Muhammed (S.A.W) has been sent to perfect good character because it is good character that enhances the quality of life. This said, we have moved so far from the reality of good character that we have lost the quintessence of leadership therefore, we are so fragmented that we, as an ummah, cannot defend our integrity as Muslims never mind our lands. The years tarry on and we are witnessing even more destruction.

The year 2004/5, was an excruciating test on Muslims globally in that we tried as an ummah to make people aware of the Islam as a pristine and pure faith. The world, that is facing us daily, and begging a response of truth and justice is left face off. Why? Face it. Our environments are such that our children are numb and generally unmoved in the face of these  world crises because, we have become to cushioned in our lifestyle of individualism, extravagance, self-indulgence and ostentation. Daily we speak to our youth about the world outside the school and the response is shattering! Shattering because, too few of our good ummah know that they have a role to play in our society, in South Africa, in Africa and in the world. Face it, our good ummah know more of the complaint of the unanswered cell phone than the number of unanswered calls to prayer so much so that disrespect to a teacher is considered to be an art form and deceiving and causing disunity a trait of greatness! In the face of all of this, leaders like Sheikh Ahmed Yaseen, revived the Islamic spirit to guide the budding youth in the ummah for they are the leaders of tomorrow. 

Face the Facts!

The year is 2020 what has changed? The shrewd modus operandi on how diplomatic ties are normalising with Gulf States and KSA with the Israeli occupation of Palestine is vexatious. It is such because the plight of the people of Palestine, the Ummah of the Holy Prophet (s), is going to be marginalised more faint than the crescent. This would lead to the normalisation of oppression and concretising Israel as an Apartheid State. As an Ummah, we don’t have political will and influence to make a difference. Due to the lack of us giving Islam a glowing and radiant face of justice and peace, we are further maligned by a lack of impact and an omnipresent face of truth in the media. In face of this, what should we do?

In an effort to stem the tide of negative media influences on Islam, we should harness our talents and respond to ludicrous statements made in the media about Islam. We should pen letters to the media, phone in on talk shows that reflect a true view of Islam. At a micro level our dealings must reflect fairness and justice crowned with compassion. In this way we should link ourselves with local social groups, advocacy groups and lobby groups to do work and feel the pulse of the weak, the poor, the distressed, the imprisoned, the old and those so disillusioned to be Muslims – Allah guide this lot. Face it, this realisation came with the ideal of making the ummah aware that the life of serving humanity is the real “A” and the life of ENSLAVEMENT are the 7 A’s – the 7 deadly sins: Gluttony, Avarice, Envy, Sloth, Pride, Lust and Anger. We are “A” performing in one or more of the 7 above. Face it, we are attempting to make a difference in our splinter organisations and not as a unified ummah. Therefore, we need to muster up the courage to work as a unit and not to derail other efforts of the ummah in their noble ideal of enjoining in good and forbidding evil.

Determination is what we need to make a difference with the ummah. Sheikh Ahmed Yaseen was determined to establish the struggle against oppression like predecessors of the South African spirit –  Nelson Mandela, Yusuf Dadoo, Steve Biko, Mohammed Abdullah Omar, Ismail Meer and many others. Therefore, we look at our youth in the ummah with rays of hope that we would produce leaders who are determined to enjoin in good and forbid evil. Face it, the challenges upon the youth are tremendous and if we notice a glimmer of hope, know we have a leader in the making. This hope has to be harnessed. The hopeful youth should be equipped through our own schools and institutions of higher learning.

Understandably, we have to see the face of Muslim Schools as institutions that would develop into institutions of higher learning such that environments of morality are established. They will have problems save to say that we, as an ummah, will embrace them as challenges. We know Allah will help us because from the raised platform in Medina the greatest teacher received the Quran, taught it and today, the world over institutions are teaching the same word. Face it! We tend to forget this reality of the first ‘Muslim School’.

Morality does not develop in isolation and it is not only that which we consider being right and wrong, halaal or haraam but, it is the life pattern we choose for ourselves. The assassination of Sheikh Ahmed Yaseen illustrates a warped moral life pattern of his assassins who believe they have done a noble deed and are proud about it. The question before us is clear: ‘How can we hide our faces when Allah has taken us out to be best of people whose sole objective is to enjoin in good and forbid evil?’ We are not a chosen race, rather we a people with a task to be Allah’s vicegerents on earth and we will be accountable for our task. Face it, we are missing the mark.

We hide our faces because we have not given ourselves role to play in the world outside our shops, classrooms, houses, cars, cell-phones, DVD’s etc. Therefore, our akhlaaq (character) has to be developed so that people who look upon us must desire to be Muslim. When they interact with us, they feel it correct to want to be Muslim thus, how we take on the reigns of change depends on our attachment to salaah, the mosque, dawah –ililah (propagation of Islam), taqwa (piety) and sincerity of intention for every action and love for one another. Therefore, we have to build bridges of sincerity and face the reality of our greater masters – our deeds. Face it, the majority of us are lacking in this because we love this world more than death.

The adhaan when it sounds at any time will be that invitation we would answer to even though our death lies close by it. Take example from all the companions (R.A.) whose answer to the call of prayer was the answer to their desire to meet with Allah. This noble desire makes us face the reality of the day and it will save us from been face off on that day when ‘faces will be blackened because of sin’, when Allah will roll up this world like a scroll.

This article is therefore dedicated to the 65 years (1955-2020) of the Freedom Charter in South Africa because it shows how oppression ceased, Sheikh Ahmed Yaseen, the Palestinian cause, the strive for world peace, cessation of hostilities in Iraq and to the quest for global Mulsim unity. This is done to make it a concern of the whole Muslim ummah to face up to the reality that – with the those against us as our ally we would appear face off before Allah! Face it, Allah says that we should not take non-Muslims as our bosom friends as they are friends amongst themselves especially when it comes to issues relating to our religion – Islam and geopolitics (Globalisation) or world dominance. See the current realities in Iraq, Afghanistan, Palestine so on and so forth – Can you deny the truth of Allah?

Face it, Islam is the truth, it will remain the truth and Islam will be the criteria to distinguish the truthful from the mischief mongers. The question remains:’ How Islamically linked are you with the world outside your world?’ Face it – YOU have not given it thought! Do so now for a moment later will leave you FACE OFF! 

The ink did not dry from writing the obituary of Sheikh Ahmed Yassin when on 17 April 2004, Dr.Abdul Aziz Rantisi, the leader of Hamas after the assassination of Sheikh Ahmed Yassin, was brutally killed in the same manner – F-16 missiles on his car killing him and two of his bodyguards. Face it, the word from the White House was that Israel has the right to defend itself and it was expected. 

The reality we have to face is that adversity unites and desperation confuses and breeds hatred so, look into the so called Muslim states and see their desperate alliances with USA and Israel creating so much more confusion. Face it they are face off as far as the wider ummah are concerned because they do not represent truth. “Their similitude is that of a man who kindled a fire; when it was lighted all around him, Allah took their light and left them in darkness. So they could not see.” (Quran: S.2.17) The commentary explains our condition if we make mockery of our concern for the ummah. 

“The man wanted light: he only kindled a fire. It produced a blaze, and won the applause of all around. But it did not last long. When the flame went out as was inevitable, the darkness was worse than before. And they all lost their way. So hypocrisy, deception, arrogant compromise with evil, cynicism, or duplicity will win temporary applause today. But the true light of faith and sincerity is wanting, and therefore it will destroy all evil in its path. In the consternation they cannot speak or hear each other, and of course they cannot see; so they end like the deliberate rejecters of Faith, wildly groping about, dumb, deaf and blind” [1]

Face the facts and know the facts to save your face on that day when all will be judged by Allah – the Master of the Day of Judgement. 

Lyndie England is now ‘face off’ after her ordeal with Iraqi prisoners in the Abu Guraib prison such that it has brought the war in Iraq to show the shamble of US, UK and non-Muslim foreign policy. Therefore, when you read penned articles by concerned Muslims to national newspapers urging a response from people who stated many things wrongly about Islam, we find that those letters take good space. Sadly, to few of these kind of letters are written but, the point made is to reveal that Muslims are not face off nor voiceless because in penning those letters we fulfilled the hadith of Muhammed (S.A.W) regarding fighting oppression i.e. having the power to do something and using that power and not remaining silent in prayer though it be the weakest expression of faith. We know that reviving one sunnah in times of great sin the reward is that of 100 martyrs therefore, those Muslims earned a reward to save face on that day when all will be turned into dust. 

The point made here is how do we present a true face of issues facing the ummah when we remain silent and lethargic to respond to the media frenzy on Muslims. For a moment consider the events of 7/7/05 (The London Bombings.). The case study by the National Institute of Justice of the USA on the London Bombing is an interesting read. The report made the following finding :

Responding agencies faced challenges during and immediately after the attacks, but major problems in emergency coordination were minimized because London officials had established relationships with one another and had practiced agreed-upon procedures. Consequently, everyone knew their roles and responsibilities; a command and control system was up and running quickly; and mutual aid agreements — planned out in advance — were successfully initiated and applied.

https://nij.ojp.gov/topics/articles/interagency-coordination-case-study-2005-london-train-bombings

Why have we not studied the reasons for the whole ISIS saga or on why so many young men and women became radicalised or why we have so many reverts to Islam and why would a number of them take up arms? Like the NSJ, we need to publish reports too that would combat propaganda. The excerpt from the report above shows that systems were in place that worked which in essence reflect a plan of actions that had been practiced many times. Where do we fare as a people under constant scrutiny and observation? We do not fare well at all. In fact, we find ourselves in so much of splintered groups and mud slinging matches amongst our scholars that it gives food for researchers to identify why Muslims fight so much amongst themselves. Please make a note of the recent groups that have split the ummah under the COVID protocols and where it has left the Muslim on the street. We need to have a very credible face in the media, in our schools, in our civic associations and in our communities to become worthy again.

Our communities have Muslim Schools that in many ways reflect pristine Islamic practice but with immense challenges too. In all of this we need to know that we cannot appear ‘face off’, we need to face the situation head on and respond responsibly in ways that are Shariah compliant. Our schools can leverage this responsibility.

In praise of Muslim schools, the AMS conference in June 2005 at the Orient Muslim School in KZN (Durban) host to 400 plus delegates from across South Africa, parts of Africa and other international guests from as far as Sarajevo discussing the future of Muslim schools within the global sensate culture it came clear that Muslim Schools internationally must not become insular. It made us aware that we have role to play and we should not marginalize ourselves. This sentiment was expressed by the Mufti Menk from Zimbabwe, who said to the effect that we should become more dynamic in our Muslim schools to meet with the moral and hedonistic challenges facing the world by having to form effective Muslim awareness joint ventures with other schools in our communities such that, we show Islam as the perfect religion. In this way we would dispel false perceptions of Islam. This reflection captivates how as Muslims we need to be proactive in all domains and focus on our institutions as bastions of moral regeneration. In effect, we have to encourage our children to explore the diversity of careers as Muslims to meet the challenges facing the ummah – if we don’t: We will be face-off when dilemmas/problems/challenges face the ummah from all angles!

Face the reality!  To cite as an example the many Muslim Schools nationally and many internationally can impact on the global culture. Therefore, don’t appear face off when you are part of a Muslim endeavour rather, be prepared to assist in uniting all of the Muslim establishments like SANHA, Jamiat Ulema, Gift of the Givers, Tabligh Effort, Al-Imdaad, Media Review Network so on and so forth with a common mission to serve Islam and to produce people who would be benefactors of humanity. Therefore, Muslim schools, as a case in point, need to take the stance to promote youth leadership within existing Muslim endeavours in all facets so that we do not become insular and do not tunnel-vision ourselves with a narrow understanding of Islam. In doing this, we would save face and more importantly, the face of Islam. Why? If we don’t save the face of Islam, Allah will use other people from the human race to do so because, Allah will not change the condition of a people if they don’t change what is in their hearts.

Think of the ummah and know that you have a role to play. Begin with yourself. Look into the mirror and make the dua “O! Allah you made me perfectly therefore, make my character perfect and save my face from burning in the fire of hell.” When you do this you will, inshallah, take on the day never to be deceived by the face value of this world. You will work with our future – our children! Face it – To Allah is our return! Seize the day by serving Islam to produce benefactors for humanity with the face of a Muslim and the heart of a Mu’min . 

Hadrat Ali (R.A.) said to the effect that live life in threes i.e. yesterday is gone forever, tomorrow is not here and the present is in your face therefore, go forth and face the reality.

Face it, this is the truth and know when you are in denial you are ‘face off’. The year is 2020 and what is the difference? If you take look at the list of wars from 2003 to 2020, you will be left shocked and numb. The wars number more than 20! The horror of the wars in Yemen and Syria are raging on and the ravages are beyond what the mind can imagine and what the face can withstand. Rewinding events from 2005 is just an illustration of the fact that things have got worse despite our great technological leaps and deeper understanding of world politics. Today more than ever, politicians have got no face in public and UN Resolutions and peace efforts are all faceless because there is no real drive for justice. The upside in all of this is that people like you and I are becoming more aware, more interested in the geo-politics and the world at large.

The face of reality!

Face it, the future is not so bleak when you know there is Jannah, that Allah’s mercy outweighs HIS anger, Allah Forgives entirely and HIS attributes are such that HE gave peace to Mariam (A.S.) on the birth of Isa (A.S.)  such that the infant testified of his noble mother’s purity. So face it, in Allah there is hope and in mankind there is fear when there is no hope in Allah. Face it! You and I need to become leaders within the circle of influence we have. The leadership we establish must be able to address the need to change our mindsets and to make us proactive. In the face of all issues strong personal leadership will give you the anchorage to change one heart and mind at a time. Face the world and take the steps to lead. You will you have a different face not wired to the other peoples views but, your own. Be the face of change.

Abdullah Sujee


 1.Translation and commentary, Mushaf Al-Madinah An-Nabawiyah, revised and edited by the Presidency of Islamic Researchers, IFTA, Call of Guidance(adapted).

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2 thoughts on “FACE OFF! Face it!”

  1. Subhanallah. Daily we awake with entangled thoughts regarding the suffers Muslims around the world go through,thought has to be put into words and words have to be put into action.Amazing read.

    Jazakallahu khairan.

    1. Thank you a response that got me action oriented too. It is true, the Ummah is going through great suffering. Our words give hope too.

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