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Imam Khomeini Memorial Lecture

Palestine:
An Islamic Approach

Lecture by Imam Muhammad al-Asi
2 June 2002

He is the elected Imam of the Islamic Centre in Washington DC,
Senior member of the Institute of Contemporary Islamic Thought,
Advisor to the Islamic Human Rights Commission,
and he regularly writes for Crescent Newspaper.

 

Imam Al-Asi shares with us Imam Khomeini's insights and understanding of the real world and his solutions to the problems based solely on Quranic injunctions and with faith in Allah, rather than political or diplomatic games with reliance on earthly powers.

An Islamic approach to the issue of Palestine today is central to this, and is discussed in detail - a very thought provoking lecture which reflects on where we are and where we need to be and how to get there and what will happen if we don't. A must for every Muslim.

The audio is split in to three segments: the 70 minute lecture, 30 minute QA and finally a short but relevant 2 minute prayer. A few quotes from the lecture are provided below.

 

 

Imam Khomeini was once asked:

"Amongst your demands is the annihilation of the state of Israel, if this leads to Israel's destruction and victory for the Palestinians, what will be the fate of the Jews?"

He replied:

"The issue of the Jews is quiet separate from that of the Zionists, if the Muslims are victorious over the Zionists, the latter will meet the same fate as the deposed shah. However the Muslims will do nothing to the Jews for they are a nation like other nations, they will carry on with their lives and they will not suffer dispossession."

 

... but how do we liberate Palestine if we encounter a general Muslim psychology that is not prepared to identify an enemy and then to take corrective measures against that enemy which will mean warfare and combatant duties - how do you do something like that?

Is the way to liberating Palestine by begging the United Nations for resolutions? The United Nations has issued scores of resolutions and condemnations of the Israeli nation state, telling it, it has to withdraw to the borders of 1967 or it has to withdraw from the occupied areas of southern Lebanon, or it has to do this that and the other and it hasn't done any of that. The Israeli nation state jumped all of these resolutions, threw them in the trash can.

 


Let us take the Egyptian government and its sponsorship of the Palestinian Authority. Every time Mr. Arafat wanted to embark on a particular local policy in the West Bank or Gaza he would go to Cairo and consult the Egyptian president or the Egyptian government - they more or less micro-managed in Egypt on behalf of the United States and Israelis the Palestinian Authority. Where did that get them - virtually no where - actually it caused them to loose ground, they went from having a moral high ground to having now virtually no ground at all in this issue.

Now juxtapose that with the Islamic leadership in Iran and how its relationship with the Islamic Resistance in Lebanon which identified this area of a pronounced belligerency and warfare by the Israeli zionists against the people of southern Lebanon. How did it deal with this? Did the chairman of Hizbullah shuttle around the area and all around the world asking for understanding of the issue? No, what they did was they consolidated their rank and file, they identified and designated the enemy and then they countered enemy aggression with force. And what happened? For the first time since 1948 the Israeli offensive force was defeated and had to retreat humiliated from territories they wanted to hold on to.

There is a difference here, if we wanted to take a look at these two parallel policies through out the years - the relationship between the Islamic Resistance in Lebanon and the Islamic State in Iran, and the relationship between the Palestinian Authority in the West Bank and Gaza and the Egyptian client regime....

 

 

The Imam spoke about the Palestinian issue early - way before the Islamic Revolution. In February 6th 1971 he sent a message to the pilgrims in Mecca, in it he said:

".. Unite and cooperate for the sake of independence and elimination of the cancer of imperialism. Listen to the Muslims of each land explain their problems and then neglect no measure necessary for the solution to these problems. Consider the poor and needy in the Islamic lands. Turn you attention to the liberation of the Islamic land of Palestine from the grasp of zionism, the enemy of Islam and humanity. Do not hesitate to assist and cooperate with those heroic men who are struggling to liberate Palestine ..."

So what happened? Just because a few volunteers of the Imam read this message in Mecca, they were imprisoned , iron chains were put around their feet and they stayed in detention months or a couple of years - finally it took the intervention of the Saudi ambassador in Tehran at the time to speak to his government to release these people.

..if we are hurting then they are hurting like we are, but we have this confidence and we have this hope in Allah which they don't have. They want life because we want shahada. But we have to continue at this - this doesn't come from Muslims who are sitting on the fence and watching all of this - we have to be involved.

Remember after the first world war when the European powers took the middle-east. A French general, Gouraud , went up to the grave of Salah-u-din who had liberated Palestine 900 years ago. He went up to the grave and he kicked that grave and he said "It is now that the crusades have come to an end!".(*)

So the demilitarization of the Muslims made it possible for the crusaders to come back to the holy land and tell a commander who defeated them 100s of years ago "now the crusades have come to an end" and if we continue to be demilitarized along diplomatic and political lines the way the opponents of the line of the Imam [Khomeini] in the region beginning with the land of the Haraamain [Saudis] are trying to take the Muslims, if we continue then don't be surprised if an Israeli general or even Sharon himself goes to Al-Medina in Hijaz and he stands just like Gouraud stood next to the grave of Salah-u-din, he stands next to the grave of the Prophet (SAW) and he kicks it with his foot and he says "Now Gazwath Khaybar has ended!". (**)

 

(*) This event occurred in July 1920 when the French general Henri Gouraud took charge of Damascus, he strode to Salah-u-din's tomb next to the Grand Mosque, kicked it and exclaimed, 'Awake Saladin, we have returned. My presence here consecrates the victory of the Cross over the Crescent.'

(**) Gazwath Khaybar means the military campaign of Khaybar, and refers to the victory of the Muslims at the time of the Prophet (SAW) against the Jewish power base on the Arabian peninsula which was located in seven strong forts in the valley of Khaybar. The Jews of Khaybar had previously betrayed the Muslims and financed the polytheists from all over the peninsular to come and attack the young Muslim state of Medina resulting in the battle of Ahzab. After the victory at Khaybar, the Prophet (SAW) was merciful and allowed the Jews to continue living in the valley and to practice their religion unhindered. Their treachery continued and eventually during the period of the second Caliph after they tortured and murdered the Caliphs son they were finally expelled from Khayber.


 

In answer to a question on unity amongst Muslims:

The reason many Muslims feel they are divided is because they are not action oriented. If some of these divisive Muslims went to the war front - there is many war fronts around Muslim countries - they can take their pick, let them go to one of these war fronts, scare them for a couple of weeks over there and then have them come back. Their tendencies for division will decrease I assure you that... What I'm trying to say is that the more action oriented we are then the less these issues of division are going to come about. But the more we are withdrawn from action, then the more trivial issues become so divisive...

 

 

Additional Resources

The Unknown Prophet: Forgotten Dimensions of the Seerah, Imam Al-Asi's paper on the political dimensions of the life of the Prophet of Islam (SAW)
Imam Khomeini, internal links to our pages on Imam Khomeini - from a visit to his house, a look at his lifestyle, his views on unity of Muslim, etc.

THIS PAGE URL:
http://www.inminds.co.uk/imam-khomeini-memorial-by-imam-al-asi.html