By Dr Muzammil H. Siddiqi


Muslim Ummah: The Real Challenge

(Khutbah at ISOC – Dhul Hijjah 16, 1435/ October 10, 2014)

Last week was the week of huge gatherings of Muslims all over the world. Millions were in Makkah, Mina and Arafat, performing Hajj. They glorified Allah, praised him, asked for His forgiveness and pledged to follow the right path. May Allah accept their Hajj and return them safe, sound and blessed to their homes and families. All over the world Muslims also gathered in large numbers for Eidul Adha prayers and during the days of Tashriq we repeated together Takbirat after every prayer. Many people offered the sacrifices in remembrance of the Sunnah of Prophet Ibrahim. May Allah accept these prayers and sacrifices. May He bless this Ummah and may He increase our faith, our devotion and our good deeds.

We must continue doing good things. This is our duty as believers and this is our mission as the Ummah of Muhammad –peace be upon him. Allah says in the Qur’an:

كُنْتُمْ خَيْرَ أُمَّةٍ أُخْرِجَتْ لِلنَّاسِ تَأْمُرُونَ بِالْمَعْرُوفِ وَتَنْهَوْنَ عَنِ الْمُنْكَرِ وَتُؤْمِنُونَ بِاللَّهِ ... (آل عمران 110)

You are the best community ever raised for mankind, you enjoin what is good and forbid what is evil and you believe in Allah… (Al ‘Imran 3:110)

When this ayah was revealed, it addressed primarily the Companions of the Prophet. Before Islam they were nothing but after accepting Islam they became the best community, because they did not only pray; they took the challenges of their time seriously and worked hard to fulfill their mission. We have to do the same things. We have millions of very pious and devout Muslims, but as an Ummah we are not fulfilling our purpose and our mission now. We do have the potential and we have enough spiritual, moral and intellectual resources to improve ourselves and to benefit the humanity. Gatherings of Hajj and large gatherings of Muslims in prayers and devotion fill the hearts of the believers with hope and expectations. We wish that these gatherings bring unity and harmony and help us to take right direction and fulfill our mission.

The world is facing many challenges: increasing gap between the rich and poor, new ailments and diseases, climatic changes, draughts and floods, family breakdowns, immorality, violence and wars. There are economic problems, environmental problems, social problems and political problems. There is corruption all over. The Qur’anic term for corruption is al-Fasad. It means spoiling the order, disturbing the balance of justice and equity. It means greed, self-interest, deception and double talks. The Qur'an has used this word about 50 times. Al-Fasad could be in beliefs, in morals, in social order, in family system, in educational policies, in economics, in politics or in environment and echo system.

Al-Fasad appears when people follow their lusts and vain desires, when they try to twist the truth and distort the facts. Instead of following the Truth and the Guidance of their Lord and Creator, they ignore and turn away from His message.

وَلَوِ اتَّبَعَ الْحَقُّ أَهْوَاءَهُمْ لَفَسَدَتِ السَّمَوَاتُ وَالْأَرْضُ وَمَنْ فِيهِنَّ بَلْ أَتَيْنَاهُمْ بِذِكْرِهِمْ فَهُمْ عَنْ ذِكْرِهِمْ مُعْرِضُونَ(المؤمنون 71)

If the Truth had been in accord with their desires, truly the heavens and the earth, and all beings therein would have been in confusion and corruption! Nay, We have sent them their admonition, but they turn away from their admonition. (Al-Mu’minun 23:71)

Al-Fasad comes when people tell lies, break promises and do not care for the family ties and relations.

وَالَّذِينَ يَنْقُضُونَ عَهْدَ اللَّهِ مِنْ بَعْدِ مِيثَاقِهِ وَيَقْطَعُونَ مَا أَمَرَ اللَّهُ بِهِ أَنْ يُوصَلَ وَيُفْسِدُونَ فِي الْأَرْضِ أُولَئِكَ لَهُمُ اللَّعْنَةُ وَلَهُمْ سُوءُ الدَّارِ(الرعد 25)

Those who break their confirmed agreements made in Allah’s name, who break apart what Allah has commanded to be joined and who spread corruption on earth: theirs is the curse and the dreadful home (Al-Ra’d 13:25)

Al-Fasad happens when people cheat and deceive in business, deprive others of their rights and act in unfair and dishonest ways. Allah mentions Prophet Hud telling his people:

وَيَا قَوْمِ أَوْفُوا الْمِكْيَالَ وَالْمِيزَانَ بِالْقِسْطِ وَلَا تَبْخَسُوا النَّاسَ أَشْيَاءَهُمْ وَلَا تَعْثَوْا فِي الْأَرْضِ مُفْسِدِينَ(هود 85)

My people, in fairness, give full measure and weight. Do not withhold from people things that are rightly theirs, and do not spread corruption in the land. (Hud 11:85)

When the political order becomes unjust and people’s rights are denied then the cities and townships become corrupt and are filled with mischief and mischief-makers. The life then loses its meaning and purpose. People kill each other for no reason. The agricultural land, the livestock and the environment all suffer the evil of corruption and mischief.

وَمِنَ النَّاسِ مَنْ يُعْجِبُكَ قَوْلُهُ فِي الْحَيَاةِ الدُّنْيَا وَيُشْهِدُ اللَّهَ عَلَى مَا فِي قَلْبِهِ وَهُوَ أَلَدُّ الْخِصَامِ(204)وَإِذَا تَوَلَّى سَعَى فِي الْأَرْضِ لِيُفْسِدَ فِيهَا وَيُهْلِكَ الْحَرْثَ وَالنَّسْلَ وَاللَّهُ لَا يُحِبُّ الْفَسَادَ(205)وَإِذَا قِيلَ لَهُ اتَّقِ اللَّهَ أَخَذَتْهُ الْعِزَّةُ بِالْإِثْمِ فَحَسْبُهُ جَهَنَّمُ وَلَبِئْسَ الْمِهَادُ

(البقرة 204-206)

There is [a kind of] person whose views on the life of this world may please you, he even calls on Allah to witness what is in his heart, yet he is the bitterest of opponents. When he leaves, he sets out to spread corruption in the land, destroying crops and livestock—Allah does not like corruption. When he is told, ‘Beware of Allah,’ his arrogance leads him to sin. Hell is enough for him: a dreadful resting place. (Al-Baqarah 2:204-206)

The rulers who rule their people without any care and consultation, they also make mischief. Pharaohs’ system in ancient Egypt was the paradigm of this mischief and corruption. Some of the Pharaohs used to mistreat their people and exploit one group against the other. Allah says:

إِنَّ فِرْعَوْنَ عَلَا فِي الْأَرْضِ وَجَعَلَ أَهْلَهَا شِيَعًا يَسْتَضْعِفُ طَائِفَةً مِنْهُمْ يُذَبِّحُ أَبْنَاءَهُمْ وَيَسْتَحْيِي نِسَاءَهُمْ إِنَّهُ كَانَ مِنَ الْمُفْسِدِينَ (القصص 4)

Pharaoh made himself high and mighty in the land and divided the people into different groups: one group he oppressed, slaughtering their sons and sparing their women—he was one of those who spread corruption (Al-Qasas 28:4)

Al-Fasad brings violence, death and destruction. Allah warns people about the consequences of corruption here in this world before the Day of Reckoning in the Hereafter. He gives chance to people to repent, turn back from their evil ways, improve their condition and become better human beings.

ظَهَرَ الْفَسَادُ فِي الْبَرِّ وَالْبَحْرِ بِمَا كَسَبَتْ أَيْدِي النَّاسِ لِيُذِيقَهُمْ بَعْضَ الَّذِي عَمِلُوا لَعَلَّهُمْ يَرْجِعُونَ (الروم 41)

Corruption has flourished on land and sea as a result of people's actions and He will make them taste the consequences of some of their own actions so that they may turn back. (Al-Rum 30:41)

We are at a time of severe corruption in the world. The world needs sincere and honest reformers:

  • Those who care for all people; those whose interests are not racial, parochial or nationalistic
  • Those who follow the path of justice and fairness towards all people
  • Those who know how to work with wisdom and love, not with irrationality and hate.

We are not required to bring all the changes at once but we all must involve in this great and blessed task of reform. We should remember what Prophet Shuaib –peace be upon him- said to his people:

... وَمَا أُرِيدُ أَنْ أُخَالِفَكُمْ إِلَىٰ مَا أَنْهَاكُمْ عَنْهُ ۚ إِنْ أُرِيدُ إِلَّا الْإِصْلَاحَ مَا اسْتَطَعْتُ ۚ وَمَا تَوْفِيقِي إِلَّا بِاللَّهِ ۚ عَلَيْهِ تَوَكَّلْتُ وَإِلَيْهِ أُنِيبُ

{هود 88}

I do not want to do what I am forbidding you to do; I only want to put things right as far as I can. I cannot succeed without Allah’s help: I trust in Him, and always turn to Him. (Hud 11:88)


Hajj Akbar, Qurbani, Taharah and Zakat
Islamic Names for New Muslims, Mother’s Inheritance
Seven Great Characters
Woman Imam Leading Men and Women in Salat
Questions of Life and Death
Hajj During Íddah, Marriage without Financial Obligations, Urinating in Standing Position

Issues and Questions
Prayers with Pictures in the Room, Madhahib and Unity

Prophet Muhammad as a Humanitarian Leader
Du'a after the Fard Prayers, Fasting in Shawal, Nikah through E-mail
Zakat, Umra, Settlement Money in Car Accidents
Ten Principles of Success in the Light of Sirah

Prophet Muhammad: Allah’s Mercy to the Worlds and Favor to the Faithful
Zakat, Tattoos, and Movies
Zakat and Ramadan Issues
Wudu, Shab-e-Barat and Observance of Ramadan
Sajdah, Meaning of Makruh, Women and Jannah
Culture in Islam
Prenuptial Agreements, Non-practicing Parents, Zakat
Facial Plastic Surgery, Bell, Feet Covering, Fasting
Terrorism: A Crime against Allah and Humanity
Partition for Women inside the Masjid
Distribution of Sadqah Money, Non-Muslims Relatives, Wudu
Martial Arts, Court Marriages, He for Allah
Issues and Questions
Are Marriages Made in Heaven? Nawafil Prayers
Number of Prophets, Qada Prayer, Women in Cemetery
How to Welcome the Month of Ramadan
Wudu, Salah, and Dawah
Preparing for Death, Marriage, Wearing T-Shirts in Masjid
Hands in Salat, Translation of Qur’an, and Student Loans
Areas of Cooperation between the Muslims in America and the Muslim World
Issues and Questions
Thanksgiving in Islam
The Natural and Man-made Disasters and Our Response: The Message of Eidul Fitr 1426
Importance of Islamic Environment
The Makkah Declaration of Muslim Heads of State
Disability Insurance, Madhahib and Migration
Husband and Wife Fighting, Hijra & Muharram
14 things to remember for Eid day
Engagement, Poetry, and Qada' Prayers
Women Imams, Circumcision, Non-Muslims in the Masjid
Islamic Worldview: An Invitation to Proper Thought and Action
New Year of Hijrah 1427: A Time of Reflection and Renewal
Freedom of Expression or Freedom to Abuse
Natural Disasters: Punishment or Test from Allah (SWT)?
Al-Istihza’bi al-Din: Mockery or Making Fun of Religion
Sad and Painful News from Iraq Relations between Sunnis and Shi‘is
Love of Prophet Muhammad – peace be upon him
Burial, Visiting Spouse's Relatives

The Last Sermon of the Prophet
Working for Peace in This World
True Wisdom: The Source of Abundant Fortune
Prophet ‘Isa (Jesus) –peace be upon him - and the Controversy around the Da Vinci Code
Truth, Honesty and Good Relations
Workers Justice in Islam
A Clash of Civilizations or A Civilization of Clashes?
Is there Fascism in Islam?

The Spiritual and Moral Health of the Heart
Respect of Nature and Natural Resources
From Ignorance to Enlightenment: The Achievement of Prophet Muhammad – Peace be upon him
Working Together: A Human Necessity and an Islamic Mandate
Ihsan: The Art of Living in Islam
Ethical Judgment in Islam
The Role of Masajid and Islamic Schools in Muslim Life
Pure Faith and Righteous Actions: Muslim Character
Building Alliances: Promoting Goodness in the World
Metamorphosis of a Culture: Being Muslim Americans
Salat: The Key to Good Life

The Makkah Appeal for Interfaith Dialogue
Bridging the Generation Gap
Avoid Corruption, Seek Mercy and Be Merciful
Concept of Human Dignity: Its Implications and Applications
Independence Day: A Day of Celebration and a Day of Responsibility
Dealing with the Financial Crisis
Marriage and Family Life in Islam
Some Comments on Proposition 8 and Domestic Violence

Participation in the Society and Voting for Muslims in America
Domestic Violence: A Crime and a Sin
The Ten Commandments: Allah’s Universal Message
Fatwa and Its Importance in Islam
Ummah: Characteristics of a Model Community
Brotherhood and Sisterhood in Islam
Faith and Morality: Two Interconnected Aspects of Islam
Welcoming the Month of Ramadan
The Pillars of Islam: The Shahadah and Its Affects
Dealing with Others: The Islamic Perspective

Prophet Muhammad: A Rahmah for the Worlds
Sources of Dynamism in Islam

Prophet Muhammad: A Rahmah for the Worlds
Prophet Muhammad: The Good News
Basic Commitments of Muslims
What It Means to Be a Muslim Today?

Basic Philosophy and Objectives of the Shari'ah
Can Muslims Be Good Americans?
Prophet Isa (Jesus) - Peace Be Upon Him: His Mission and Message
Righteous Actions and Righteous Activism
'You Are the Best Community'
9/11 – Some Reflections
Tazkiyah: Purifying Our Souls
Islamic Values in Action

Dealing with Mockery, Ridicule and Hate: The Prophet’s Way
Newtown Tragedy: A Wakeup Call
Time: A Blessing and a Trust
Prophet Muhammad’s Message: Common, Unique and Relevant
Al-Fatihah: The Prayer and the Message
Muraqabat Allah – Observing Allah
Being a Muslim: What Does It Mean?
The Real Believers: Some Parables of the Prophet
Breaking the Ethnic Barriers: The Islamic Way
Worship: The Life of the Faithful People
Responsible Living
Ramadan: The Month of Grace and Enlightenment
Ten Special Features of Ramadan
Zakat: The Meaning and Purpose
Hajj Akbar, Qurbani, Taharah and Zakat


Editor: Akhtar M. Faruqui
2004 . All Rights Reserved.