The Sunna: the Means for Social Transformation
In this age of the disappearance of the human project where mankind has given his spirit over to the “willed destruction” and “volunteer slavery” of the technological society – it is expedient that the people who have embodied the reality of Islam, Iman and Ihsan make manifest a renewed dynamic thinking which is intrinsically connected to the “Way” or Sunna of the perfect man, Muhammad, may Allah bless him and grant him peace. In spite of the severity of such a task and the spiritual indolence that characterizes this age, there will always be men and women capable of manifesting the Way of Muhammad, may Allah bless him and grant him peace. It has been related by Imam al-Bukhari and Imam Muslim that the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, said: “There will always remain a group from among my Umma clearly manifesting the religion until the command of Allah comes (meaning by that the Hour).” This prophetic tradition is sufficient in delineating the project, plan and program for revitalizing Muslim activists. Our task is clear, simple and easy. And if for reasons of our own enslavement and capitulation to kaafir systems we fail to activate this project- then Allah ta’ala has promised in no uncertain terms that He WILL replace us with those who CAN and WILL accomplish the task. Allah ta’ala says,
“O you who believe! Whoever from among you turns back from his religion, then Allah will bring a people, He shall love them and they shall love Him, humble to the believers, powerfully arrogant against the disbelievers. They shall make the jihad in the way of Allah and will not fear the criticism of the criticizer.” Allah ta’ala also says, “O you who believe! What excuses have you that when it is said to you: Go forth and fight in the way of Allah, you should incline heavily to the earth; are you content with this worlds life instead of the Hereafter? But the provision of the life of this world compared to the Hereafter is little. If you do not go forth and fight, He will chastise you with a severe punishment and bring in your place a people other than you.” And finally Allah ta’ala says, “Behold! You are those who called upon to spend in the way of Allah, but among you are those who are niggardly, and whoever is niggardly is niggardly against his own soul. Allah is independently Rich and you are the poor, and if you turn back He will bring in your place another people, then they will not be like you.”
It is clear from the above verses that Allah does not need us to accomplish His will. However, His will shall be accomplished by those with whom He is pleased. The project which every Muslim man and woman should be occupied with is the same mission which was given to the last prophet and messenger, Muhammad, may Allah bless him and grant him peace. Allah ta’ala has repeated in three Qur’anic verses, “He it is who sent His Messenger with the guidance and the religion of truth that He may make it prevail over all religions, though the idolaters may hate it.” Thus, the Muslim people have been given the Sunna of Muhammad, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, and the religionof Truth, which by its very nature is empowered to establish a power system designed to make them the masters of affairs. This mastery and will to power, has been guaranteed by Allah and His Messenger. It has been related by Imam Ahmad ibn Hanbal in a sound tradition that the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, said: “At the head of every century Allah will raise up a scholar from my Umma who will renew the religion for them”. This individual or group of individuals must of necessity be inheritors of the inward and outward light of Muhammad, may Allah bless him and grant him peace. That is to say, they must embody his noble character and adhere to his outward practices. They must be people who join the realities of the inward and the outward in a precise balance. They should not be veiled by the inward from establishing the outer limits of Allah, nor should they be veiled by the outward from being firmly established in witnessing Allah. They should embody what Imam Malik said, may Allah be merciful to him: “Those who join the two together will have realization.” That is, realization in the inward by their spiritual openings and direct witnessing of their Lord and realization in the outward by experiencing the victory, establishment, governance over their affairs, and exalting the word of Allah ta`ala.
The author of this book, Shehu Uthman Dan Fuduye’, was a perfect example of a scholar who embodied the inner and outer Sunna of Muhammad, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, to such an extent that Allah gave him and his follower’s vast spiritual openings and extensive governance and political power. The key to their success was their adherence to the Sunna of Muhammad, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, and the vitality, energy and conviction to renew it for the Umma of Muhammad. The Shehu said in his renown Ihya as-Sunna wa Ikhmad al-Bid ‘a:
“Realize that which saved the Umma from discord was the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, being among them. And nothing will save them from the appearance of discord after him except the revival of the Sunna. Thus, the revival and adherence to his Sunna is obligatory upon you forever. And you should avoid innovation because all good is contained in adherence, while all evil is contained in innovation.”
This alone is the key to the success for the Muslims in this age and in every age until the end of time. This activist method is diametrically opposed to the pseudo-religion redefined by the pacifist “imams” who deny the obligation of jihad and who have deluded their followers into the fruitless activity of supporting democratic constitutional government. It is also opposed to the barren esotericists who render the living Sunna of Muhammad, into useless metonymy. A single prophetic tradition stands as a proof against them and all that they claim. It has been related in the Mushari’il-Ashwaaq that the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, said: “There is coming upon man a time when some of the religious scholars will say, ‘this is not a time for jihad.’ For whoever comes upon that time, then know that the most blessed action during that time will be jihad”. The Companions asked, “Will someone say that, O Messenger of Allah?” He, May Allah bless him and grant him peace, replied: “Yes, he whom Allah, His Angels and people all together have cursed!”
It is clear that through the Way of Muhammad, may Allah bless him and grant him peace the individual, the family, the jama`at and the entire Umma can achieve success in this life and the Hereafter. The Sunna of the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace is like the spring of Musa, upon him be peace, tough it emerges from a single source: “Each tribe knew its place of drink.” This means that the people of the outward must realize that the source of their jurisprudence and external behavior must spring from the Living Sunna of Muhammad, may Allah bless him and grant him peace. The people of the inward must realize that real gnosis of their Lord can never be attained except through following the Tareeqa or Way of Muhammad, may Allah bless him and grant him peace. This was one of the key objectives in composing the Sawq’l-Umma Ila Ittiba` as-Sunna.In 1808 when Shehu Uthman Dan Fuduye’ was blessed to manifest one of the last of the central upright and just Khalifate on earth; all forms of government other than that of Islam were rejected completely. Even the terms used to define the offices of the state were rejected and replaced with those consistent with the Sunna of our Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace. It was because of the pure intention of the Muslim activists of that time that the promise of Allah ta’ala was made true for them. Allah ta’ala says:
“Those are they, who should We establish them in the earth, they will establish the prayer, pay the zakaat, command the good and forbid indecency. And with Allah is the end of all affairs.”
The project of reviving the Sunna of Muhammad is a program of victory and success, socially as well as individually. It is the only true positivistic movement that ennobles and dignifies the one committed to it. The project of negating the Sunna of Muhammad and attempting to level it is a program of the hypocrites of the religion, whom Allah has promised humiliation in this world and the next. Theirs is a plan of capitulation, humiliation and collaboration with the enemies of Allah, His Messenger and the believers. These corrupt “leaders” have become like the Jews who claimed that they believed in Allah but rejected Muhammad. Allah ta’ala says about them: “Surely those who disbelieve in Allah and His Messenger and seek to make a separation between Allah and His Messenger, saying ‘We believe in one and disbelieve in the other; and desire to take a course between this and that. These, truly are disbelievers and We have prepared for the disbelievers a disgraceful punishment.” Here every committed Muslim should know that these corrupt leaders among the Muslims, will not obtain the status and acclaim that they crave for from the disbelievers, except as a means for ‘PR’. They have sold the religion for the life of this world and have destroyed themselves and their followers. Theirs is a program of humiliation from which there will be no rising.
Humiliation and annihilation to the Sunna of Muhammad, on the other hand, is a lowering from which there is nothing but elevation and exaltation. Allah ta’ala says, “Obey the Messenger so that you may receive mercy.” In fact the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, was the very source of mercy and the means for His mercy impacting the worlds. For that reason Allah ta’ala revealed, “We have not sent you except as a mercy to all the worlds.” The adherence to the Living Sunna produces a mercy which extends from the individual who humiliates himself to it, and extends to the whole of creation. The adherence to the Sunna is the restructuring of the inner man and leads to the restructuring of the society. It was this which enabled the Shehu to lay the foundations for the Sokoto Uthmani Caliphate, which eventually became the dome of Islam in Africa during the 18th to 20th century. His brother and chief advisor, Abdullahi Dan Fodio, said in praise of him;
“Uthman! Who has come to us in darkness! And has removed from us every intense gloom. He called to the religion of Allah and did not fear in that The criticism of a critic or their gossip. People answered when his voice was raised, And renown rose up for him above the stations of the moon, Good tidings to the Umma of Ahmed in our land Of the Sudan in this most joyous of times. Many a Sunna have you brought to life, Many an error quenched while it was a live coal blazing fiercely. You rose up in a land whose customs had become excessiveAnd which conflicted with the Sunna of the joyous Prophet. Their followers thought them great, and they became as lions And they slammed the door of entry into the face of the religion, And their small birds became as eagles, Their rats became like tigers. They cast a long slender spear. He who desires the religion of Allah blots out their might. You Uthman overcame them as a strong man overcomes, Like a stallion. You broke them with the swords of His Qur’anic Verses And with the spears of the Sunna of the dark-eyed Prophet, May Allah bless him as long as the east wind shakes The tips of the branches in pleasant meadows. For every Pharaoh who acts tyrannously, a Moses Overcomes him, For every legal question that is difficult, an Ali springs up. The face of the religion has become white after its decline, And the face of disbelief has become gloomy after dawning brightly The religion is mighty, and on a straight way. Disbelief is in disgrace, and in worn clothes, And the splendid SUNNA is like a bright morning revealed!”
This present concise and comprehensive work, SAWQ ‘L-UMMA is a study of the individual obligations (fard’l-‘ayyan) from the perspective of the Living Sunna of the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace. The people in this neo-paganistic technocratic age will find this book extremely liberating because it presents the whole of the religion of Islam in the words of the Best of Creation, may Allah bless him and grant him peace. The Muslim of this age will find it organic and free of the dialectical tyranny and intellectual decadence of the pseudo-imams and modern mullahs who have changed the religion of Islam and abandoned the Sunna of Muhammad, may Allah bless him and grant him peace. This work is a picture of the primal Islam, the original model as exemplified by the most perfect of created beings, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, as seen through the eyes of his noble family and companions. This work is a grid for those slaves who desire annihilation in the inward and outward states of the Sunna of the seal of the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace. It contains everything that the new Muslim needs to understand the responsibilities that Allah has obligated upon him. It is a call to establish the prayer, to re-establish zakaat and a real wealth exchange system, to fasting and spiritual development, to hajj and unity, and to jihaad and governance. It is a work of mobilization for all Muslim activists under the banner of success and victory, written by one of Africa’s most erudite and pious scholar/warriors-Shehu Uthman Dan Fuduye`, may Allah engulf him in His mercy and benefit us by his Baraka.
We at the Sankore` Institute of Islamic-African Studies International (SIIASI) are honored to present the reader with this blessed book. We have prefaced the text with a study of the life of the Shehu based upon his famous Fulfulde` poem called Yimre` Tanasabuge` (The Song of Comparison) where he thanks Allah for permitting him to conform to the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace and resemble the Awaited al-Mahdi. I have named the biography Raf`u Manaar’l-Haqq Bi Dhikr Seerat Manaasibat Li Sayf’l-Haqq (The Raising of the Lamp of Truth by Mentioning the Harmonious Biography of the Sword of Truth). We have also included in the footnotes of the text a complete commentary which I named: Tawq’l-Lum`a wa Itmaam’n-Ni`ma Fi Sharh `Ala Sawq’l-Umma Ila Ittiba` as-Sunna (The Desire for Illumination and Completion of Blessings Through A Commentary Upon the Mobilization of the Umma Towards Following the Sunna), drawing from the opinions of all the schools of thought in Islam, since this was the pattern established by the Shehu in his tajdeed movement, and was the reason for composing this blessed text. I recognize the age in which we live, so I do not expect that this text by the Shehu will be given the attention that it should be given. What the text calls to do not tally with what Muslims today are being goaded to by the media savvy and technically sophisticated Muslim preachers or their handlers in this age. However, we present the text as evidence against those who have subsumed to the mega trends of this age, but also as consolation and support for those few who are far superior to us, who have the tenacity, resolve and high spiritual enthusiasm to hold to the Sunna, as if holding on to red hot embers. Our hope is that we be forgiven, pardoned and raised up in stations to the extent that others benefit from it. Ultimately, our desire and prayer is the prayer of its author – Shehu Uthman ibn Fuduye`. Whatever he asked for, we ask for. Whatever he sought refuge from, we seek refuge from – by the rank of our master Muhammad, may Allah bless him and grant him peace. O Allah we ask You to protect and assist everyone who gives life to the Sunna of Your Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, in this age. And we ask You to protect the Muslims all over the world, and wherever Muslims are struggling to establish what You have ordered them to establish. O Allah we ask You to make us conquering with Your religionin these lands of the disbelievers by the immense station which Your Prophet Muhammad has with You. O Allah be merciful to the Umma of Muhammad, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, with a universal mercy. Amen!
Shaykh Muhammad Shareef
Director of SIIASI
4th Rajab 1431 (June 16, 2010)