From the news desk

Arafah khutbah: Call for Muslims to forge unity and end injustice

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By Yaseen Kippie

In his hajj sermon from Masjid-e-Nimra on Thursday, Shaykh Dr Saad Bin Nasir Al-Shatari has urged the Muslim Ummah to forge unity in its ranks for addressing common challenges. The annual Arafah Khutbah was rendered today in the Makkan Province of Saudi Arabia. Approximately 2 million hujjaj were gathered for this leg of the Hajj, the pinnacle of the revered pilgrimage.

Shaykh Shathri, a Saudi royal advisory scholar, commenced the Khutbah with an appeal to Muslims to uphold Taqwa (God consciousness) followed by the importance of the Islamic concept of Tawheed (monotheism) while referencing numerous Quranic verses.

The khutbah also emphasized the reconciliation of social injustices in the form of upholding the family, preventing bloodshed worldwide, and maintaining the security of the intellectual tradition of Islam as well as its political standing in the world. It comes while Saudi Arabia is under immense political strain with other Middle Eastern countries such as Qatar, upon which it has imposed a blockade.

Shaykh Shatri asked Muslims to play their role to establish peace in the world and not to commit excesses against each other and against non-Muslims. He said Muslims should contribute to establish a society based on equality and free from ignorance and heresy. He said a Muslim society is based on discipline, which is the only way for progress and prosperity.

Shaykh Shatri called on Muslims to act upon Shariah and follow the teachings of Holy Prophet (Peace Be Upon Him) for their salvation. He prayed for the return of Masjid-ul Aqsa to Muslims and freedom of Palestinian people.

In his analysis of the khutbah, Cape Town scholar Shaykh Ihsan Taliep, the principal of IPSA, was struck by the brevity and shortness of the address.

“This delivery was remarkably shorter than what we are accustomed to in the past. The structure of the Khutbah was very typical, yet steered away from very particular references as done by his predecessor, Shaykh Abdurahman al-Sudais – who had given the Khutbah last year,” said Taliep.

Shaykh Shathri went on to prioritize the importance of social, political and intellectual security in protecting the Muslim community worldwide from heretic violent ideologies and sectarianism.

Political security and social justice, with reference to the Muslim community in Palestine and Masjidul Aqsa by Shaykh Shathri, should be extended to include Myanmar, Kashmir and other oppressed Muslim communities across the world, said esteemed scholar Moulana Ihsan Hendricks in his critique.

Hope reigns supreme across the responses to the Khutbah, but not without criticism. A number of critics questioned the motivation behind the prayer made for the King of Saudi Arabia, Salman and his son Muhammad.

The sermon concluded with a general prayer for the Muslims of the world and the Hujjaj to rejuvinate their own lives and the lives of their Muslim communities. VOC

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