Friday Sermon on the 24th Anniversary of the Srebrenica Genocide against Bosniak Muslims

By

Shaykh Husein Kavazovic

Grand Mufti and Raisul-Ulama, Bosnia-Herzegovina

Delivered at Gazi Husrev-Bey Mosque, Sarajevo – Friday 5th July 2019

All praise and thanks to Allah, the Lord of all known and unknown worlds. We thank Him for sending to us His Messenger Muhammad (peace be upon him) and for bestowing His numerous blessings upon us. It is our duty to constantly remind ourselves of His blessings and to think about his ayat (signs) and learn from them.

Dear brothers and sisters,

On this blessed day, we perform the Friday Jumu’a prayer and we glorify Allah the Almighty. We ask Him to accept our deeds and to forgive our sins and to protect us from going astray.

In our ad’iya (supplications) today, we remember the martyrs of Srebrenica and Podrinje and all the martyrs of Bosnia and Herzegovina. We do that in all our congregations and all our mosques. There are only a few days left until 11 July, the day when we will pray janaza (funeral) for the martyrs of the genocide against Bosniak Muslims in Srebrenica and Podrinje -- the day the world would mark the 24th anniversary of this gruesome crime.

A few days later, in another part of our country, where by the same hand of evil the most heinous crimes during the aggression against our country were committed, we will pray janaza for the martyrs of Prijedor and other places in the valley of the Sana River.

These are difficult days for us. We stand silent before so much evil that had fallen upon us. But we also pray sincerely: Dear Lord, grant them the most beautiful gardens of the Hereafter; and to their executors, the worst criminals this world has seen, that which You had prepared for them.

Allah is the Almighty and the Creator of everything. He created the Heavens and the Earth and all that lies between, as well as all the diverse creatures on Earth. This is a demonstration of the greatness of His might and His endless wisdom. The Creator created all people as different from each other.

Dear brothers and sisters,

The differences between people, and the differences that exist among all the worlds He created, are a given fact that is not linked to the will of man, but to the will of God. The role of humans is to accept those differences as an act of God’s will and to form appropriate attitudes about them. It is often emphasised that diversity is in fact wealth and that it should be viewed in positive light, but, because of their weaknesses, people are often not able to understand that correctly and accept it.

Many differences between people are taken as reasons for negativity, suspiciousness and malice, which ultimately lead to hatred and open enmity.

In a world of diversity where positive and civilised relations are maintained, people communicate with each other with respect and mutual agreement. They make agreements and build strategies that offer a promising bright future, and they keep their word.

They stand behind their signatures and are consistent in fulfilling their promises. They are ready to support the principles upon which their common interests are based.

In a world of diversity where negative relationships have been a long-standing norm, people become distanced from each other precisely because they misunderstand diversity and because they are prone to communicating with others in a rude and inappropriate manner on a daily basis. In such a world, attempts at establishing a basis for constructive agreement are often followed by numerous prejudices. Such relations necessarily lead to mistrust and constant anticipation of negative consequences, which are manifested in pessimism and fear in everyday lives of people.

All this bears a much greater weight if such consequences are possible for a nation that has deep wounds caused by the genocide committed against it in the recent past. Although this crime of such a huge scale against Muslims was committed before the entire world and although the highest international courts have given the final human verdict of truth on the Genocide in Srebrenica, the victim is still traumatised and hurt by those who want to cover-up their responsibility, and who continue to make the victims’ lives hard in any way they can. The verdict on their actions was given a long time ago in the Truth revealed by God Almighty: “And when it is said to them, "Do not cause corruption on the earth," they say, "We are but reformers." Unquestionably, it is they who are the corrupters, but they perceive [it] not. (Al-Baqarah, 11-12).

Dear brothers and sisters,

This planet of ours is set up perfectly and Allah the Almighty and the Most Wise has subjected everything on it according to the needs of man. All its potentials are in the service of mankind: soil, water, air, and numerous animals on land and in the sea, natural laws... The blessings we have been given cannot be counted. However, instead of being grateful and using these gifts for the greater good, modern man chooses to destroy these gifts and pollute the soil, air and water and destroy animal and plant life to the point where it leads to his own self-destruction. It is no wonder, then, that when such a person meets the Other, someone different from himself, he immediately perceives him as a source of danger to his comfortable lifestyle and his material goals and chooses to fight against him. No doubt, that same person will ultimately also sacrifice someone who is no different than himself, even those closest to him, to make more space for his own selfish self.

So, what is the way out? What is the solution? As easy as it may seem, we must never stop believing in the root of the goodness of God, which he has planted in all people. When we start doubting the strength of truth and justice, the possibility of human kindness and generosity – that will be our undoing.

May the best ones among us work harder to have a stronger influence and make the world we live in a better place. Why would it be impossible for us to be more understanding towards each other and to stand together as human beings?

History shows us examples of virtues that led nations towards their common noble goals. The golden pages of human history are those written about the missions of messengers of God. The Qur’an says of Ibrahim (peace be upon him): “Indeed, Abraham was a [comprehensive] leader, devoutly obedient to Allah, inclining toward truth, and he was not of those who associate others with Allah. He was] grateful for His favors. Allah chose him and guided him to a straight path. And We gave him good in this world, and indeed, in the Hereafter he will be among the righteous. Then We revealed to you, [O Muhammad], to follow the religion of Abraham, inclining toward truth; and he was not of those who associate with Allah.” (An-Nahl, 120-123).

 Despite being a common-place in the long course of human history, Hatred, the sister of Evil, has never succeeded in killing Mercy and Kindness amongst people.  Sometimes it seems to people that Hatred and Evil are winning the battle, but this is only because of their tunnel-vision perception of the world. If they could see the whole picture, they would regain their trust in the fact that the desire to build and create always has its place in the real world.

Therefore, we must look up to the best of Adam’s sons, the messengers of God, messengers of faith and bearers of glad tidings that truth and justice, honesty and kindness indeed are possible among the people of this Earth. Let’s strengthen our love for God, our faith and our country, people and nature. From that love and choice to be, first and foremost, we as humans, will grow a desire to actively resist destructive attempts that attempt to jeopardise the world we live in.

Let’s actively strive to make Good shine brighter in our reality today. This world, that is but a brief stop on our journey, is worth fixing. It is up to us to invest effort and to serve humanity through our words and our actions as much as we can. Allah the Almighty tells us:

“So whoever does an atom's weight of good will see it (and will be rewarded for it), and Muhammad (peace be upon him) says: “The best of people are those who are most beneficial to people.”

But, there is the other side of the coin, too. The Creator warns: “And whoever does an atom's weight of evil will see it (will be held responsible for it),” and the Messenger (peace be upon him) continues: “And the worst of people are those who do harm (and evil) to others.”

Therefore, the evil committed by the people around us will be left to their conscience. They cannot escape it, they can only repent for it. It is a law higher than man. Such people can never escape the truth. Justice, on the other hand, is a different story. Though slow, it too is inevitable. We will not lose faith in justice and we will never stop fighting for it. Let that be known both to those who share our love of justice, and to those who dishonor both the judgment of God and worldly courts and who are trying to escape justice.

Dear brothers and sisters,

In a few days, we will be faced with a difficult ordeal, a day when we all in our own way remember the martyrs of the Srebrenica and Podrinje Genocide and all innocent people killed in this country. We do it out of respect for them, who gave their lives to protect our freedom and security, and out of deep compassion with their families. We invite you to fulfill this great duty on Thursday, 11 July, and to pray janaza for our brothers and sisters at the Memorial Center of the Srebrenica and Podrinje Genocide in Potočari near Srebrenica. For all of us, and especially for families who will say their final goodbyes to their loved ones, this is a painful moment and a difficult day. For all people, this is a day to learn a great lesson and heed a warning. It is truly incredibly important for all mankind to learn from Srebrenica about what evil people of our times are capable of. Not just for the sake of learning a lesson, but to prevent any criminal from doing such evil again, especially those who had already done it.

            Our Lord, You are the Almighty, so expand our chest and lighten our burden. Let Truth rise until it suppresses Lies. Plant into our hearts a revitalising hope that after hardship there is ease, because You decreed it so. Bless our good and sincere efforts and bring us closer to You through them. (Al-Inshirah, 1-8).

Our Lord, the Owner of All Power and Might, the Creator of everything, The Ever-Living, Who does not die. We ask You by the brightness of Your face that shines upon all parts of Your Throne to accept the prayers of all those who pray to You.

Our Lord, You will verily gather all people to individually witness with their own eyes the Day of Your full account and Your just and final judgment, of which there is no doubt!

Our Lord, do not place upon us burdens which we are too weak to carry; erase all of our sins and grant us forgiveness – shower us with Your mercy.

We ask You to bestow Your forgiveness upon all our martyrs and enter them into their beautiful final abodes through Your mercy. Strengthen their loved ones with patience. Show all people the path of truth and justice.

You are our Lord, so help us against those who deny the truth.

Our Lord, grant us goodness in this world and in the hereafter and protect us from hellfire!

Ameen.

Sermon distributed in the UK by:

Bosnia Heritage Foundation www.bosniaheritage.com

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