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Friday Khutba Prepared by MWL

In the name of God, Most Gracious, Most Merciful …..

May God guide us to the right path and give us the strength, wisdom and foresight to act in the most wise way and with compassion for others, seeking His grace.

God reveals in the Quran, the verse: re: the creation of Adam and told the angels to give him the due respect. We were created as vicegerents on Earth to be responsible representatives and carryout the necessary steps to protect the Earth and humanity to enjoin what is right and to shun what is evil. We are to act in the best possible manner and to constantly reflect on God’s signs and think of Him to avoid evil. Our 5 prayers are reminders of Him and what He has bestowed on us in terms of Divine Revelation, - the Quran. The Quran is our source of guidance and
gives us direction in general and also outlines specifics as well. The Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) was the last of the messengers sent as a role model for the believers and he was quoted by Aisha to have been the embodiment of the Quran.

With this, I begin the topic of today, that we as Muslims, as believers have a responsibility to God first and foremost and in turn our kin including our parents, families and then the needy/wayfarer/poor. We are responsible for our communities, neighborhood, society and world as torch bearers of peace, justice and promoting the truth……..

God admonishes us in verses of the Quran to pray and follow up our prayer with good deeds (works of righteousness) and what could be more righteous than to be good to others, bring people together (as a  peacemaker) and have compassion for our kin, neighbor, the needy etc as well as to give charity.

The Quran reveals, “Let there arise out of you a band of people inviting to all that is good enjoining what is right and forbidding what is wrong: they are the ones to attain felicity.” (3-104)

As Muslims, we try to strive to be close to God (become God-conscious) through our daily actions and God in turn gives us guidance and outlines how we can become not just Muslims but believers (a higher degree of
faith) in the following verses:

He also details our creation in the beginning of men and women by the following verses:

“O Mankind reverence your Guardian Lord, who created you from a single person, created of like nature, his mate and from them twain scattered (like seeds) countless men and women; reverence God, through whom ye
demand your mutual rights, and reverence the wombs (that bore you): for God ever watches over you) (4:1)

And outlines how men and women should relate to each other in the following verse:

“God hath promised to Believers Men and women, Gardens under which rivers flow to dwell therein, and beautiful mansions in gardens of everlasting bliss. But the greatest bliss is the good pleasure of God: that is the supreme felicity” (9: 72)

Diversity began with the creation of gender:

“O human beings! We have created you all out of a male and a female, and made you into (various) peoples and tribes so that you may come to know one another. Surely, the most honored of you in the sight of God is the
one who is most conscious of Him. Behold, God is All-knowing, All-aware” (49:13)………

Yet in this current day and age, approximately half of our fellow believers suffer oppression because of cultural restrictions that are not Islamicly justified. This must come to a stop. We must start to dialogue about these oppressions that occur not only around the world but here in our own communities.

Women have suffered for thousands of years even from before the time of the prophet and continue to suffer until today – with female infanticide marking the attitude of Arab society to females which led tribes to
treat women as subordinates (like property) to the cruel treatment of women with regards to marriage and divorce etc.

It was not until the Quran was revealed that female infanticide was considered a crime and laws regarding marriage and divorce were outlined to give woman the rights that they had been denied. But even so, a
cultural attitude towards women has persisted throughout the years, we see in practice even here in our own communities whereby certain Islamic centers/mosques discourage or even restrict women from attending and
some women are intimidated by fear of rejection and humiliation to enter God’s house of worship. Some mosques do not allow women to enter the mosque from the front doors etc.

In a 2001 CAIR study of 416 American mosques - 2/3 of mosques women were not allowed to pray in the main hall, 1/4 of the mosques did not offer programs for women, 1/3 did not allow women to sit on the governing
boards. This is in sharp contrast to the time of the Prophet whereby there was no segregation of sexes, women were encouraged to participate at all levels including voting ("bayeh") etc and the Prophet was not known to have denied a woman participation because of her gender.

Women until today still are not educated as to their Islamic rights in marriage (their rights to include various conditions in a marriage contract etc). There have been cases where marriages are not registered
with the state and thus denying the woman the legal right of protection in cases of divorce.

Some women are restricted from higher education which is contrary to what the teachings of the Prophet. Women are discouraged from education because the families fear this will decrease their ability to marry and
others who are even less fortunate are restricted from even a basic education in other countries. A young woman living in Florida at the time was told she could not pursue a medical education because that
would restrict her ability to get married. Some women are restricted to pursue careers as well. This is in contrast to the Prophet himself who married a successful business women and was not known to discourage her from that pursuit.

Some women are beaten in the name of Islam by their male counterparts when we know these were not behaviors modeled by our dear Prophet Muhammad (PBUH). One woman living in the San Fernando valley was punched
in the head causing her to be rushed to the Emergency Room because of blood coming out of her ear. Another woman was forcefully shoved out of a room while she was instructing her son to work on his homework
apparently because her husband wasn't able to listen to his television program. In another case, a man used the Qur'an in a court of law to explain to the judge why abusing his wife was a right afforded to him by
the religion. In other scenarios, some religious leaders have advised women not to report the abuse to the authorities or blame the woman for breaking up the family. Islam is often used to justify the abuse or
blame the victim.

God created mates for the following reason:

“And among His wonders is that He created for you mates from among yourselves that you might find restfulness (and satisfaction), and he has engendered between you affection, and tenderness; surely, in that are signs for people who think….” (30:21)

Let our Prophet be our example of behavior as detailed in this hadith:

Narrated Anas ibn Malik: “I have never seen anyone more kind to one’s family then (the Prophet Muhammad) Sahih Muslim, Hadith 1077

Our prophet was a man of character, honesty and integrity – he treated his family with kindness and his wives in specific with justice and wisdom - Let us remember the example of Aisha (riding with the man on the camel) the Prophet was not harsh with his wife despite the prospect of not knowing Aisha’s innocence during a time when members of the Ummah spread gossip accusing Aisha of “adultery” at that time.

The prophet was known to have listened to advice from his wife and to address women’s questions/issues with patience and knowledge of the Quranic revelation – across the board the Prophet was not known to say a
word of contempt or physically strike any person family or non family member. How many of us believers strive to be like the Prophet – the essence of his behavior (his soul) – some of us emulate his physical characteristics and may grow a beard or use the miswak etc but it was his character that made him what he was with the guidance he received from God.

Muslim women around the world are suffering because many are raising children single-handedly in the war torn countries and are struggling to make ends meet. Others suffer oppression at the hands of the system in
cases of rape where there is no just legal recourse to this crime for them or from unjust family laws that leave a woman high and dry without any support

In the last sermon, the Prophet advised us on treating women in most kind manner:

“Do treat your women well and be kind to them for they are your partners and committed helpers.”

As believers, men and women, we have a responsibility to counter this oppression and right the wrong. Even the smallest of good deeds will not go unrewarded if we have good intentions.

Take it upon yourself to encourage your mothers/sisters/nieces to attend the mosque and help to make your mosque “women friendly” – make it a point to ensure the prayer facilities are up to standard with the
facilities that the men pray in and that women are welcome to participate on every level. Greet your sisters in Islam with the best of greetings when they enter the mosque and facilitate the Islamic education starting with your daughters/sisters of their rights especially when it comes to marriage and divorce. The leadership has a
responsibility to educate the community about affairs of marriage and divorce and provide access to samples of marriage contracts. The leadership also should encourage couples to discuss important issues prior to marriage to encourage healthy communication as part of community building process. The Ummah must realize the importance of brotherhood/sisterhood and support each other especially in the United
States where there is a lack of extended family - this will ensure stability of families and provide the necessary psychological/moral support that many families need living in a society as a minority.

Women as well have a duty to educate themselves and their offspring and know that their participation in mosques and Islamic activities is their duty. We need to combat domestic violence occurring in our communities
by participating in awareness campaigns and advising these families to seek professional help to avoid the tragic consequences that result and passing this behavior down from one generation to another. The Islamic
leadership including the Shura council must realize the necessity of professional training by experts re: the handling and recognition of domestic violence in the community. In one of the Los Angeles mosques - two brothers on the religious council doubted the fact that domestic violence exists. We need a public discourse and a forum to hear the concerns of Muslim women and to express our outrage at oppression when we witness it.

If we struggle together, men and women to combat oppression against our fellow believers around the world – internal and external oppression – we will be the victors and our Ummah will be a stronger one for that………

God reveals:

“And their Lord hath accepted of them, and answered them: “Never will I suffer or be lost the work of any of you be he male or female; ye are members, one of another………” (3:195)

The vision of our Ummah is one of men and women, sisters and brothers, male and female believers side by side, working for the cause of God to bring justice and peace to the rest of mankind. Men and women acting as
vicegerents to fulfill our responsibility to God in the best possible manner, inviting those to the truth, spreading good and working for justice around the world.

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