Friday Sermon by Alban Fejza on 03.02.2023
Praise be to God! There is no other god except God.
In previous video about Penalty Zakat, under point 17, I said that, if you publicly mention or admit a bad deed which you did after joining the submitters, you should contribute an equitable charity for it. Now, of course, it should not be the job of any religious leader to catch you doing something wrong. In fact, they should try not to see your faults, if they have an option. However, there is something, which if they did their job right, and if you are a proper submitter, they would always notice. It’s something which you shouldn’t hide, and something which they would definitely know. It has to do with who you live with. They have the right to know that, for many reasons, and one of them is to know whether you are in a life situation where you need help as a submitter, so they can tell the other submitters to send their Zakat to you, and you don’t have the right to hide it, because in a perfect society, that could actually put you in legal trouble. For example, you are obliged to tell people that you are married. These days, many people get married and keep it a secret. Well, how is that different from adultery? If marriage was allowed to be kept a secret, then all the adulterers, anytime they got caught, they could just claim that they are married but they kept it a secret. Or let’s say that you are single, and you say that it’s private information whether I am single or not. Well, that attitude is not as harmless as it seems. Let’s say someone sees you with your sister going in the same house, and given that they don’t know whether you are single or not, they are forced to assume that she is your wife, because you never told them who your sister is, and then no one will be interested to be married to your sister, because the word might spread in the community that she is your wife. Therefore, you would be harming your sister by being more private than the Quran allows you to be. See, you can not pick and choose what information you share and what not, when it comes to some definite things in the Quran. Unfortunately today, people reveal their bodies which should be private, but they all of a sudden are concerned about their privacy in matter which should be public. Ridiculous! I mean what happens in a house is private, but who lives in a house is not private. Obviously, I am not saying that you should go and tell that to your enemies, but you should not hide it from your friends, if they ask you about it, and our best friends are the other submitters. So, it’s definitely not reasonable, and it’s not natural to hide from other submitters who you live with. At the same time, it’s not reasonable for a Congregation Director not to be interested about that. He is there to help the community, maybe help you find someone to marry, or see if you need Zakat, or things like that, and he can not know that unless he knows the basics, where do you live, who do you live with, do you work? And so now, given that in a perfect group of submitters, the Congregation Director always in one way or another ends up knowing who you live with, he will know whether you live with a submitter or a non-submitter. Now, when you live with someone, they end up being your protector and you are their protector. For example, they have the key to the house and you have the key to the house, or you have to get their key, or if there is a house fire, and you are sleeping, they might wake you up, or if a burglar enters the house, they might wake you up, and things like that. Basically, they become your protectors. The Arabic term for it is avlia, which means protector. So, if you live with a non-submitter, you have accepted them as your protector. Now, what does the Quran say when you have accepted a non-submitter as your protector? In verse 5:51, in the Arabic, it says, “O you who believe, do not accept the Jews and the Christians as protectors. Some of them are protectors to the others. And whomever among you accepts them as protectors, then you are from them.” And this means that, if you live with Jews, you are also a Jew, if you live with Christians, you are also a Christian, if you live with Muslims, you are also a Muslim, if you live with Quranists, you are also a Quranist, and so on. But it’s not the end of the world, because since the internet it is possible to be both from among the Jews and a submitter, and from among the Christians and a submitter, and so on. And we can also find this at the beginning of Rashad’s English Translation of the Quran. In the Proclamation. there at the beginning, he says that you can be a Jewish Submitter, or a Christian Submitter, or a Muslim Submitter and so on. And by the way, this does not make you hypocrite, because you are not hiding it. This simply makes you a person who has mixed his good deed with his bad deeds, and for that you have to give to charity, according to verses 102 and 103 of Sura 9. There is a distinction between hypocrites and those who mix good deeds with bad deeds. The hypocrites are disbelievers who are stuck with submitters, but the Christian Submitters or Muslim Submitters, or Jewish Submitters are believers who are stuck with non-submitters. And if you are stuck with these people, because God has not given you strength yet to be fully financially independent, or because of your past sins, especially today when it is almost impossible to buy your own house until the very late years of your life, or not at all, or maybe you rushed into a marriage, or for whatever reason, you can still be a believer, and you can still be a submitter, but you inadvertently, unintentionally bring problems in the community of submitters, and for this you should be willing to pay. And if you are in that situation, you yourself know that you encounter problems when you want to be fully with us, and you know that it is holding you back to fully give your support in the cause of God, and you now that your non-submitter cohabiter is going to bring you contagious diseases, and God knows how they got them, which then you will get from them and spread among us. Therefore, you should pay for it, in accordance with what God tells us in verses 102 and 103 of Sura 9. But how much should you pay? Well, for example, since you are a Christian Submitter, then for the Christians, we charge a tax according to verse 9:29. It’s not specified in English translations what type of tax, but in the past, in Arabic, when this verse was revealed, everyone knew what it meant, and it meant one and only one thing. A poll tax. Only poll taxes were called a tax back then. A poll tax is tax which is the same for everyone, when you poll the people, when you count the people, everyone who is counted pays the same amount – the same amount for each individual, regardless of their circumstances. One tax per person, the same amount. This is a poll tax, and it was implemented by the Roman Empire which consisted of Christians and Jews when the Quran was revealed, and then it was adopted by Muhammad also, because that was the only tax which existed among the people of the scripture, just a poll-tax. The Quran calls it the tax of the people of the scripture, which means that it was already in existence in their scripture. And sure enough, we find it in the Bible. In the book of Exodus, chapter 30, from verse 11 until 16, here is what it reads: Then the Lord said to Moses, “When you take a poll of the Israelites to count them, each one must pay the Lord a poll tax for his life at the time that he is counted. In this way, no plague will come on them when you count them. Each one who is counted should give half a shekel. This half shekel is an offering to the Lord. Anyone above 20 years old should give this offering to the Lord (they lived longer then). The rich should not give more than a half shekel and the poor should not give less than a half shekel (everyone the same), and you should use the money for the service of the tent of meeting, which was their tent mosque in the desert. They had a moving mosque, a tent, which they carried with them wherever they traveled in the desert, just like we have an online mosque. So, the poll tax is given in the Bible and it is half a shekel per person. And the historians have discovered a shekel from those Biblical times, and it turns out to be about 11 grams of gold. So, half a shekel is about 5.5 grams of gold, but the gold in the past was not as pure as now, so just to be on the safe side, let’s say 4 grams of gold. So, the poll tax for the people of the scripture should be 4 grams of gold. So, if you live with the people of the scripture, you belong with them, and you should pay 4 grams of gold as a poll tax, each year. In US dollars, today, in 2023, it’s about 240 US dollars. So, in our congregation today, for the year 2023, God willing, in our yearly report, for all of you who live with non-submitters, I am going to write a debt of 240 dollars, which you will have to pay when needed in the cause of God. By the way, you might wonder, for example, why am I not taxing the Christians, but only the Christian Submitters. Well, actually the rule is the same for every Christian in e democracy, and here is the rule: If you are a Christian, you either pay the poll tax, or you are not counted among us. It just happens that the Christians today don’t care to be counted among us, but you should care to be counted among us, according to verse 18:28 and verse 5:83. You should strive to be among the submitters. We love and respect you for being a submitter, and not for being a Christian, but for being a Christian, you have to pay the poll-tax, and the same thing applies if you are a Jewish Submitter, or a Muslim Submitter, or a Quranist Submitter, and so on. What matters is that you are a submitter. If you happen to also be from among the Christian, or Muslims, or whatever, because you live with them, that’s just circumstances. By the way, just because you paid the poll-tax, that does not give you permission to break the other rules in the Quran. For example, if you are a male, you can not say that you are living with a Christian friend who is a female, and you are not married. That’s not allowed. Here, I am talking about obeying all the other Quranic rules, and still paying the poll-tax, just because you happen to break the specific rule in the Quran which tells you not to live with people of the scripture. One more thing, if you have children who are less than 18 years old, they are automatically counted as submitters – dependent submitters – but once they become 18, and you tell them to join the submitters, and they do not join, then you either remove them from your house, or you keep them, in which case you are also from among them, and therefore you should pay the poll-tax. So, it benefits you financially to educate your children as submitters while they are growing up. By the way, regardless with how many non-submitters you live, you only pay one poll-tax. You are only paying it for yourself, for living with non-submitters, which makes you from among them. Again, you are still a submitter, but also from that other group at the same time. This is possible today, because of democracies and online communication. So, you might live with a non-submitter, and at the same time be connected online with submitters, and therefore also belong with submitter. And verse 102 in Sura 9 confirms it by calling it a mixed deed. A deed with both good and bad in it. A good deed for the fact that you are probably treating your family member nicely (living with them) but a bad deed because you are living with a non-submitter. Therefore, a good deed and a bad deed at the same time – a mixed deed. By the way, even in cases when you are not living with a non-submitter, if you live in his or her property without rent, then you should still pay the poll tax, because he or she is protecting you with his property. For example, let’s say that your non-submitter father decided to give you an apartment, and you live in it. You are being protected by him, which means that you belong with him, in which case you pay the poll-tax. If you receive the apartment after he dies, that’s another issue, you have to give that 20% which I explained in another video, but if he gives you that apartment before he dies, you don’t pay that 20%. But, you pay the poll-tax for as long as he lives, which is an amount of money equivalent to 4 grams of gold, each year. And finally, let me explain with an example why you should pay a poll tax when you are protected or living with non-submitters. Verse 29:41 says, “The example of those who accept other protectors beside God is that of the spider and her home; the flimsiest of all homes is the home of the spider, if they only knew.” So, if you are being protected by a non-submitter, then you are being protected by other protectors beside God, in which case it is like being protected by a spider’s home, which is the weakest possible form of protection. But, if you are being protected by a submitter, he himself is being protected by God, in which case all of you together are being protected by God.