Canadian Imam Ahmed Khalil warned in a March 3 Friday sermon that it was not acceptable to stereotype all Jews, telling his listeners that a sermon delivered in Toronto had been "skewed" and "taken out of context" and portrayed as antisemitic. "We need to be specific about whom we make du'a against," he said, adding that prayer should be made against the Zionists. "These are the people that we should fight with our pen, our logic, and even, I should say, with the sword," said Khalil. In a Friday sermon delivered on July 7, Sheikh Khalil said that the Muslims need to reclaim the concept of jihad from the terrorists who have "hijacked" it and that jihad for the sake of self-defense is one of the pillars of Islam. His sermons were delivered at the mosque of the Vancouver branch of the Muslim Association of Canada, where he served as youth director until he left for a position at another community. It should be noted that British Columbia Governor Judith Guichon paid a visit to the Vancouver MAC branch on April 7.
Sheikh Ahmed Khalil: "One such topic, or one such concept, that we often set aside and we neglect is that which is considered sometimes by some people as taboo: the concept of jihad. The concept of jihad. You say: 'No, no, no, we don't talk about jihad.' Right? 'Let's not talk about that. We are peaceful loving creatures, just like every other human being.' And yes, we are, but jihad is a concept in Islam. It is a concept in Islam. Some even go out to say that jihad could even be considered one of the pillars of Islam, subhanallah [glory be to Allah], giving it importance. Giving it importance.
"Jihad is for this verse, because of this verse, considered to be very important. But we often neglect it. We often don't talk about it. We shy away from it. Because unfortunately there are those around the world who use it as an excuse for their political aims. They say they are performing jihad and doing jihad, but all they are doing is things that are horrendous. Transgressing against other Muslims, killing them. In the name of Islam, they say. But, subhanallah, they are destroying lives of many people. Islam and the word 'jihad' has been hijacked by these people.
"We need to reclaim it. We need to say that yes, jihad is part of our belief. But it has nothing to do with the crimes that they are doing. What they are doing, they are just using the word. But they are not really doing anything about it. They are not really performing, they are not really defending the world, or defending believers. They are just killing believers, subhanallah. The most victims of terrorism around the world are actually not non-Muslims, or Europeans, or Americans. No, the most victims and numbers are Muslim, subhanallah. These people claim that they are able to judge these other Muslims as lesser Muslims and then they perform these attacks wa al'iyathu billah [refuge is sought in Allah].
"Jihad is a concept in Islam that we need to reclaim and we need to hold dear to, and not shy away from. We have no reason to shy away from. Jihad comes to raise the word of Allah subhanahu wa-ta'ala [may He be glorified and exalted], to raise the path of to Allah subhanahu wa-ta'ala, ensure that Allah subhanahu wa-ta'ala is worshipped in the lands, to defend ourselves against tyrants that want to steal the wealth of the land and the property of the land and take it away. This is what jihad is all about, plain and simple. Are we not allowed to defend ourselves? In any law of the land in any country in the world there is self-defense laws where people are allowed to engage in self-defense to the extent that if somebody were to have an intruder in their house, they are allowed to shoot them.
"So if you are in your house and you fear for yourself and somebody is intruding on your house, you are allowed to shoot that person. You are allowed to defend your house from this intruder. All around the world, self-defense is legitimate. But when it comes to Muslims and when they come to use it and when they come to say and use the word 'jihad,' unfortunately, the tyrants don't want that to happen. They want us not to even mention the word or talk about it. They want us to have a version of Islam that doesn't use that concept or promote that concept of self-defense. Let's be docile. Let's be quiet. Let's bow down to the tyrants. Let's allow them to do whatever they want to do because they are the rulers and we're commanded in some places to obey the ruler.
"In the last khutbah [sermon] we talked about 'aulou al-himma or having a strong and powerful zeal to face off the immense pressures and anxieties and the enemies of Islam that attack us left and right from all spectrums. We also mention briefly how a du'a [prayer] that was made in a masjid [mosque] in Toronto was skewed and taken out of context and used to portray Islam in light of and kind of calling Islam and calling Muslims antisemitic and preaching hate. It so happened that the khatib [one who delivers a sermon] or the imam at that masjid at that point in time and it was one of the prayers in tarawih [extra prayers performed by Sunni Muslims during Ramadan] he made du'a against the transgressors. And he made du'a against Jews. Specifically referring to the Jews that happened to occupy Palestine. But his words, this is what he meant, this is what we all mean when we make that du'a most of the time. But what he said was taken out of context and made to show that he is calling against or preaching hate against all Jews regardless of where they may be.
"We need to be fair. We need to condemn those that attack us. We need to fight them with our words, with the pen, with our logic, but it cannot be a stereotype that we categorize everybody, all Jews, all Christians, that is not acceptable. And sometimes we find people that make that du'a. We make the du'a against all Jews and all Christians. Sometimes the du'a is like, you know, 'make their women become widows, make the children become orphans, destroy them, cut them in half,' right, sometimes these powerful du'a that you find and you hear sometimes, Sheikh Yusuf Al-Qaradhawi says 'this is not befitting of a Muslim to make such a du'a. It is not befitting of a Muslim to make such a du'a. Because among the Christians and the Jews there are those that are kind to us. There are those that are neighbors to us. There are those that are colleagues. They may even be related to us by blood. And they have not attacked us. They have not transgressed against us. So we need to be very specific in who we make du'a against. There is a very big difference between a Zionist and a Jew.
"So our du'a should not be against Jews specifically. It should be about Zionists that claim the occupied territories in Palestine. These are the people that we should actually make du'a against. These are the people that we should fight with our logic and with the pen and even, I would say, with the sword. The people that come to us and occupy our lands. The people that attack us, as the verse says: 'Those that attack you,' 'Those that fight you,' and this concept, exists in numerous places in the Quran. But unfortunately, those that are on the extreme amongst Muslims, they ignore that concept. They try to take verses out of context and they just paint everybody in the same brush. Every non-Muslim is an enemy. Some of them even go to the extent that any Muslim that even deals with a non-Muslim is also an enemy, subhanallah, subhanallah. They judge people as such, and they stereotype people as such.
"And on the other side of the spectrum, you find people that say: 'You know what, it doesn't matter if they are Zionists, they are not really hurting me myself, or my family here in Canada. They are just hurting people, you know, in Palestine. So, it's a very different thing.' And they kind of dilute the whole essence of people that attack you that we need to create barriers between. So we need to be very mindful of what we say and how we say it, inshallah rabb al-alameen [God, Lord of the Worlds, willing] and very careful of the words that we say, because it really matters, it really matters. Because subhanallah when you paint all the Christians and all the Jews in one way or all the non-Muslims in one way, when you say all non-Muslims are horrible, all Christians are horrible, everybody is going to hellfire, when you say things like that, what are you doing? You are doing anti-da'wa [anti-preaching], anti-da'wa.
"And subhanallah instead of being the reason why someone would become a believer and we would get the much better for you than the best of blessings, instead of being the reason for the guidance of one person, as the hadith says, we become the reason for the misguidance of people. We become the reason for their misguidance, wa al'iyathu billah, subhanallah. We become a barrier for them to come closer to Allah subhanahu wa-ta'ala, a hindrance, a reason for them, or an excuse for them to turn away from Islam and to turn away from Allah subhanahu wa-ta'ala. A very powerful verse in the Quran talks about this. And it says: 'Don't curse them.' 'Don't curse them.' Why? 'So they would curse Allah subhanahu wa-ta'ala in return.'
"What you say is heard and recorded and posted online, somewhere else. What happens in a small town or village in the south of Egypt will be heard across the globe. We no longer can say that we are just talking amongst ourselves and nobody is hearing us. No. We have to be true to our words, what we say needs to be a true reflection of our beliefs, and our understandings. We need to be not just mindful of recordings or wary or scared of being recorded, we need to be true. We can't be hypocrites. We need to be true to what our belief says. What Islam is all about.
"'Ya Allah, be with them, be with those that attack us, ya Allah be with the mujahideen that fight against the tyrants, those that imprison, those that torture, those that persecute, whether they be Jews, or Christians, or Muslims, be against all of them for their tyranny and for their transgression. Be against them all, ya Allah, be with those that fight them, inshallah rabb al-alameen, against all Zionists, against all those that attack the, and occupy our lands wherever they may be. May Allah subhanahu wa-ta'ala enable us all inshallah rabb al-alameen to be gathered together in the hereafter in jannah [paradise] rabb al-alameen, jazak allah khayran [may Allah reward you with goodness], baraq allahu fiqhum [may Allah's blessings be upon you]."