Mechanics of Prayer

Read More

Hajj

Allah SWT says in Sura Al-Hajj, ayat 26:

And mention O Muhammed, when we designated for Abraham the site of the house, saying “Do not associate anything with Me and purify My House for those who perform Tawaf and those who stand in prayer and those who bow and prostrate.”

Dear brothers and sisters, this ayat and the ones that follow it outline the Hajj pilgrimage as ordained by Allah SWT for every able adult, male or female.

However, as with everything in our religion, it is with intentions and with meanings. Nothing is by chance nor is it for superficial reasons.

So, the pilgrimage of Hajj is required by us Muslims but what does it mean to perform Hajj. As Muslims, not only do we need to perform the pilgrimage but we also need to understand its purpose.

Firstly, to express the experience in words is an impossible task. It’s not something that can be truly explained unless you are there in person.

Alternatively, most people are accustomed with the rewards associated with the Hajj and that is outlined in the following Haidth in which the Prophet SAWS said:

Whoever goes to Hajj and does not engage in any acts to invalidate the Hajj (i.e. sexual acts, bad words, argumentation with people, etc) then this individual comes back home just like the day he was born”.

Dear brothers and sisters, if we think about that for a moment. To return with a slate that is clean, a clear page and past sins and faults cancelled is something we all need and want.

However, there is often a skewed perception of what this reward means. Often this is interpreted as:

“I want to enjoy my life now, and then when I go Hajj in later life and come back, I will have that transformation and clean slate and will come back and not do the bad things in dunya”

However, does anyone have a contract with Allah SWT to give us life until the next Hajj? Does anyone have a guarantee that they are going to live until they fulfil the obligation of Hajj?

We need to ensure that we aim to fulfil this part of our faith as soon as we are capable of doing so and not leave it to a date that may never arrive.

So what are the experiences of performing Hajj? What does it bring to the individual that is embarking upon this amazing journey?

This khutba concludes with just a few points to ponder on its magnificence:

  1. You see the glory and greatness of Allah SWT

How is that? Well, you see all of these people coming from all over the world. People come from all over and you even lose a sense of direction and place when around such diverse people and cultures. It truly is a magnificent site.

  • You see no status amongst the people other than them being servants of Allah SWT

Specifically when you put on your ihram and start performing hajj, no one will recognize you if you are a labourer, engineer or director of a global corporation. People will not call you by your title or your world life. You are just one servant amongst millions all there for the same reason.

  • You see the unity of the Muslim ummah.

In our communities we have differences of opinion and disagreements even though the cause is the same. When it comes to Hajj, regardless of the issues we have with each other, when it comes to making tawaf around the kabah for example, nobody is walking against the flow. We all look the same, perform the same rituals, make the same call, the same number of tawaf etc. This is unity in action.

  • This is a reminder for the Day of Judgement when you are all standing in front of Allah SWT carrying nothing.

Dear brothers and sisters, in many ways this is the most poignant part of the experience. When performing Hajj you carry nothing with you. And that is how you will be in front of your Lord so what better reminder of your final destination than performing Hajj. It truly is a humbling experience.

Hajj is an amazing spiritual experience. It’s not about the rituals and rites and coming back again with a shaven head. Hajj is more profound and deeper than that. It penetrates your heart and your soul.

That’s why it is so difficult to put into words and that is exactly why we should plan to go, whenever that may be. Hajj will test your patience to limits you may not have seen before but ask those who have gone with the provisions of righteousness and piety and you will discover that is an experience that is loved and craved for once completed.

Read More

Conditions of Prayer

Today we continued the series on salah and this time the topic was the condition of Salah.

The imam relayed a hadith in which the Prophet SAWS is reported to have said:

The Prophet (ﷺ) appointed Mu’adh (May Allah be pleased with him) as governor of Yemen, and at the time of his departure, he instructed him thus: “First of all, call the people to testify ‘La ilaha illallah’ (there is no true god except Allah) and that I (Muhammad) am the Messenger of Allah, and if they accept this (declaration of Faith), then tell them that Allah has enjoined upon them five Salat during the day and night; and if they obey you, tell them that Allah has made the payment of Zakat obligatory upon them. It should be collected from their rich and distributed among their poor.”

Dear brothers and sisters, if you ponder over the hadith it becomes clear that the first point after declaration of faith for the people was one of prayer. This is the level of importance that is placed upon this act of worship.

However, our religion is also one of ease and not overburdening us and so we have the following hadith reminded to us by the imam in which the Prophet SaWS is reported to have said:

“There are three whose actions are not recorded:a sleeper till he awakes, a boy till he reaches puberty, and an idiot aka mentally ill person till he is restored to reason.”

Dear brothers and sisters, we can deduce from this hadith that those who are impaired mentally are not to be held accountable.

For most of us, we are not in a position to judge if someone is mentally sound but it is a reminder that we are not to judge on others if we see them not praying. A polite and gentle reminder in the best of manners is enough and then we leave it to Allah SWT for we don’t know the private reasons behind anyone else and so must not judge them ourselves.

Another condition of prayer is that of the age of the individual. This is resolved today by the imam relaying the following hadith in which the Prophet SAWS is reported to have said:

“Command your children to perform Salat (prayer) when they are seven years old, and beat them for (not offering) it when they are ten, and do not let (boys and girls) sleep together”.

Dear brothers and sisters, we can conclude from this that our children are encouraged to pray whilst they are still in Primary School. This contrasts with the standards set in the society in which we live as usually children have very little to account for in school at that age.

We need to be mindful that Islam is the standard that we must adhere to. Everyone and everything else is inferior in comparison as the standards of our deen are delivered by Allah SWT through the best of all creation SAWS.

We need to therefore reset our mindset if we think that this age is too young because Allah SWT is our designer and our creator and He knows what exactly we are capable of and what our youth is capable of.

And for the sisters who enquire about the requirements to pray all year round, the imam relayed the following hadith in which the Prophet SAWS is reported to have told Aisha, may Allah SWT be pleased with her:

Mu’adha al-‘Adawiya said that when she asked ‘A’isha why one who has been menstruating must make up for her fast but not for her prayer, she replied, “That happened to us, and we were ordered to make up for the fast, but were not ordered to make up for the prayer.”

Dear brothers and sisters, our salah has exceptions and guidelines just like any other aspect of our faith. We need to be mindful that we offer salah in the correct manner and so this reminder concludes with 5 quick points to follow in order to make your salah accepted.

  1. Purity – Spend time performing wudu aka ablution correctly.
  2. Cover – Make sure your private parts are covered and for the brothers, make sure that your clothing is long enough so that when you go into sajada i.e. head on the floor that no part of your lower back or backside is showing as this invalidates the prayer.
  3. Qibla – Face the Qibla when praying. Apps on phones help when travelling and also a quick tip, all Sky satellite dishes in this country coincidentally face in that direction so just see where one is pointing to get an idea of Qibla.
  4. Make Intention – Begin your salah by making intention
  5. No Interruptions – That means, no phone sounds, no talking, no yawning, no fidgeting and remain still except for the actions of the salah.

Dear brothers and sisters, our salah is that important it stands besides the declaration of faith. Let’s use this series on Salah to remind ourselves and perfect our most important of acts of worship.

Read More

Focus during Prayer

Dear brothers and sisters, we dive deeper into last week’s topic and focus today’s reminder on establishing the focus. This resonated with many people last week and so today’s reminder will serve as a lesson on how focus is established and why it is so important.

The imam spoke regarding this topic and mentioned first the ayats 4 and 5 from Sura Ma’un which is translated to say:

So woe to those who pray but who are heedless or neglectful of their prayer.

As well as ayat 238 of Sura Baqara which is translated to say:

Observe the ˹five obligatory˺ prayers—especially the middle prayer—and stand in true devotion to Allah.

And also followed up by mentioning the hadith of the Prophet SAWS in which he is translated to have said:

“The one who commits the worst theft is he who steals from his prayer.” When asked how one could steal from his prayer he replied, “By not performing his bowing and his prostration perfectly.”

Dear brothers and sisters, we can learn from these sources that the focus of prayer and the performance of it is so important for us. We must strive to bring back a sense of occasion and a sense of pride to performing salah and not just see it as a tick-box exercise that we all perform almost as an inconvenience to our day.

In fact, the rest of the day should be considered as something to be moved around the anchors that are our five daily prayers.

For many of us, this is a challenge and we first need to look at our mindset before we put into action a plan to bring our prayers back to the level of worship they need to be at.

The imam mentioned the importance of mindset and specifically of the heart by reminding us of a warning that Allah SWT send us in the Quran.

The imam referenced the 142nd ayat of Sura An-Nisa which is translated to say:

Surely the hypocrites seek to deceive Allah, but He outwits them. When they stand up for prayer, they do it half-heartedly only to be seen by people—hardly remembering Allah at all.

Dear brothers and sisters, we can contemplate from this ayat that the word hypocrite is being mentioned in the same ayat as those who are performing their prayers with half-heartedness or lack of heart. May Allah SWT save us from these group of people!

And so, we need to reset our hearts, our minds and then through practical actions, bring ourselves back from the abyss of praying zombie-like and instead get to a point with Salah where we yearn to return in front of Allah SWT five times a day.

And so this reminder offers some practical ways in which we can try and achieve that. Remember, if this is a problem that resonates with anyone listening today then the remedy comes from Allah SWT and the first step is to acknowledge the problem and be patient as the solution may take time to accomplish.

  1. Awareness – As mentioned last, week one of the main points worth implementing is to remind yourself of the occasion. You are stood in front of your Creator, the Creator of everything you see and know and so this should over time prompt you into rising to the occasion and remaining focused, humbled and dedicated to this act of worship.
  2. Punctuality – Try to make each prayer towards the beginning of it’s allotted time. Better still, in congregation. By leaving the prayer in the final moments before the next is due, you are already rushing to make it on time and this then jeopardizes the quality of it.
  3. Knowledge – Again, as mentioned last week, invest some time to understand what it is that you are reciting. Once understood, take your time to pray, read each ayat with a slow pace, low voice and pause between them as you contemplate what you have just recited. This may take time but will be a precious habit formed for this worship.
  4. Seek refuge in Allah – Seek refuge in Allah SWT by reciting it at the start and if needed, recite during the Salah so that your mind comes back to the prayer. Remember, it is the intention of Shaitaan to distract you from the prayer so use all tools at your disposal to rid him from your worship.
  5. Could be the Last – Remember, dear brothers and sisters, nobody knows which prayer of theirs could be their last. If you knew for sure this was to be your final salah to Allah SWT, what would you do different? And then ask yourself why is it that you aren’t maintaining or trying to achieve that level in all of your prayers?

And so dear brothers and sisters, lets start with the Jummuah prayer and begin to establish the correct heart and mindset to our prayers so that we can be included in the group of people mentioned by the Prophet SAWS when he was reported to have said:

“When the time for a prescribed prayer comes, if any Muslim observes proper ablution, humility and bowing, it will be an expiation for his past sins, so long as he has not committed a major sin; and that means for all time.” 

Read More

Prayer

Dear brothers and sisters, the Salah is the first thing we will be asked about on the day of Judgement. The prayer itself is a worship of Allah SWT and its benefits in this life also are many as is mentioned by Allah SWT in the Glorious Quran.

The imam mentioned Sura Baqara, ayat 43 which says:

Establish prayer, pay zakat and bow down with those who bow down.

The Imam also spoke of the following hadith in which the Prophet SAWS is reported to have said:

“The first thing for which the Muslim will be brought to account on the Day of Resurrection will be the prescribed prayers. If they are complete, all well and good, otherwise it will be said: ‘Look and see whether he has any voluntary prayers.’ If he has any voluntary prayers, his prescribed prayers will be completed from his voluntary prayers. Then the same will be done with regard to all his obligatory deeds.”

Dear brothers and sisters, we live in a time and a place where it is becoming increasingly difficult to carry out Salat. The temptations are ever present and they tempt us to spend our time away from this important act. How many of us say to one another that there simply isn’t enough hours in the day. And yet, it is a question of priority and this is to be placed at the top.

We ought to remind one anther that the first step to rehabilitation from the temptations of this life comes from returning to the Salah. This is the SOS that our souls are giving out being answered, it is the mechanism that our Creator has given us to keep steadfast on the right path and to both avoid evil and leave evil if we have fallen foul to it.

Dear brothers and sisters, the prayer is vital to our success and happiness in this life and the next.

However, there is another part of salah that needs to be addressed in this reminder as it is something that people, especially those born in the west, are part of and that is the quality of prayer.

For a lot of people who pray the act of prayer is a tick in the box and it is a cardio exercise but it lacks a secret ingredient and that is the “khushoo” in Arabic which is humbleness in prayer.

And for those unsure whether they have khushoo or not in prayer, it’s one of those things that if you don’t have it, when you are in salat, your mind does not switch off and your worldly thoughts still continue as you pray. This causes us to lack focus in our prayer and thus risking it’s validity.

This reminder concludes with 4 practical tips we can all take away to help us gain focus in prayer.

Preparation. Give yourself 60-90 seconds before the start of each prayer to flush all your thoughts out of your head. Whether this is about work, wife, kids or something else, your brain is one of those things which betrays you in prayer so get into the habit of leaving no thought outstanding before prayer begins.

Visualisation. Always try to remind yourself that you are standing in front of Allah SWT. Another way to look at this is, if you are standing in front of your boss or your teacher then you don’t fidget, yawn or mindlessly think of anything else but the meeting you are having. You give that person the respect because they are a position of authority over you. The same applies here. You are stood in front of your Creator, the Creator of everything you know and He can see you at that very moment and is aware of your Salah. Use that knowledge to maintain etiquette and focus as you recite in front of Him.

Persistence. During the salat, you are in a constant battle with your mind to remain focused on what you are doing. It is the role of Shaitaan to distract you away from this focus so counteract this by doing things that keep your focus. One example is staring on the ground in the same square inch roughly where your head touches when you are in sujood. Don’t close the eyes or let them wander onto what coloured socks the brother next to you is wearing. Another is learning the word-for-word meaning of Sura Fatihah and at a minimum the couple of ayats you read after Sura Fatihah so that when you read each and every word, you can hear it’s meaning in your head and again visualise what you are saying to your Lord.

And lastly, you should pace your recitation, it’s not a race to the finish and by the way the difference between the fastest recitation of salat and the normal-paced, pleasant and focused recitation is only a minute or two, surely your time isn’t that precious outside of your meeting with Allah SWT that you can’t spare that extra minute to recite with a good pace and focus?

Dear brothers and sisters, Salah is the mechanism through which we connect with connect to Allah SWT. By perfecting this correctly we can impact the rest of our lives and be a testimony to the call to prayer which testifies “come to prayer” and “come to success” insh’Allah.

Read More

Steadfastness after Ramadan

Dear brothers, the month of Ramadan is one that leaves the believer with a renewed feeling of Imaan, with a desire to be a better version of themselves and do carry on the standards set in the month.

We need to work hard in achieving this and the task is not an easy one. As we ask Allah SWT to keep us on the Straight Path in every prayer we read, we need to be able to arm ourselves with the means to be able to do this.

The imam referenced the 112th ayat of Sura Hud which is translated to say:

So remain on a right course as you have been commanded, [you] and those who have turned back with you [to Allah], and do not transgress. Indeed, He is Seeing of what you do.

Alongside this, the imam reminded us of the following hadith of the prophet SAWS in which he said:

“Fear Allah wherever you are, do good deeds after doing bad ones, the former will wipe out the latter, and behave decently towards people”

Dear brothers, we need to remember that the world is designed to veer us off this straight path. From the events around the world that tug at our hearts, to the everyday worries that distract us from worship and remembrance of Allah SWT.

We need to remain steadfast but also remember that this isn’t a challenge to overburden ourselves either. For many this has been a tough month and so the right course is to maintain a steady state of worship.

The imam reminded us of the following hadith to emphasise this point. It is translated to say:

“The religion (of Islam) is easy, and whoever makes the religion a rigour, it will overpower him. So, follow a middle course (in worship); if you can’t do this, do something near to it and give glad tidings and seek help (of Allah) at morn and at dusk and some part of night”.

And so what do we do to keep the imaan strong? The reminder concludes with 3 short practical tips which have been proven to keep the faith strong.

  1. Recite the Quran daily. Whether it’s a single ayat or a whole juz. Your journey is your own and its not to be compared to anyone else. Manage what you can and remember, Allah SWT loves consistency over everything else.
  2. Keep the masjid as your second home. Attend as many congregational prayers as possible. The strength of the congregation is a key part of keeping the faith strong. The reward of attending Isha and Fajr congregation is as if you prayed the whole night so the incentive is there.
  3. Fast sunnah fasts. Start small if you find this daunting but aim to get to a point where you are able to fast the sunnah prayers as often as possible. This affects the physical, mental and spiritual state in the best of ways. Begin with the 6 fasts of this month as the reward for fasting 6 in Shawwal is as if you fasted the whole year.

Dear brothers, the incentive for keeping the faith strong is many and the imam mentioned a few of them. Three of those are as follows:

  1. The main one is having a connection with Allah SWT at all times which leads to peace and tranquillity in the mind and heart.
  2. It will prevent you from falling into the traps of Shaitaan and adopting bad habits that you quit in the month of Ramadan.
  3. The highest of reward which is that Allah SWT will be pleased with you and grant you into Jannat insh’Allah.

Dear brothers, the month of Ramadan is now over and we are beginning our long stretch of 11 months before our blessed month returns back to us. Let us be of those people who are mentioned by Allah SWT in the 30th ayat of Sura Fusilat which is translated to say:

Indeed, those who have said, “Our Lord is Allah” and then remained on a right course – the angels will descend upon them, [saying], “Do not fear and do not grieve but receive good tidings of Paradise, which you were promised.

Read More

The Night of Decree

Dear brothers and sisters, we are now at the pinnacle of the blessed month of Ramadhan. We have reached the final 10 days and nights of this month, of which one of the nights is worthy of extra worship and consideration.

The imam reminded us of the following hadith which is translated to say:

The Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) used to seclude himself (in the mosque) during the last ten nights of Ramadan. He would say, “Search for Lailat-ul-Qadr (Night of Decree) in the last ten nights of Ramadan.”

This is the time where we begin to feel the sadness of this VIP guest leaving us for another year. Only Allah SWT knows if we will be here to witness another Ramadan and so we need to make on final push in the remaining days to do all we can for our souls.

In these last 10 days we have the Night of Power or Night of Decree. It is mentioned in the Glorious Quran and the imam referenced it in the reminder today.

In Sura Al-Qadr, Allah SWT tell us:

Indeed, we have sent the Quran down during the Night of Decree. And what can make you know what is the Night of Decree? The Night of Decree is better than a thousand months. The angels and the Spirit descend therein by permission of their Lord for every matter. Peace it is until the emergence of dawn.

The Night of Decree, which is in one of the last ten nights has the potential for providing us with the reward of 1000 months. That’s about 83 years worth of reward. To put that into some sort of perspective, that exceeds the average life expectancy of people living in the UK today. Therefore, logic dictates for any rational person to pursue this reward with all their worth.

The final ten days should be regarded as the home-straight, a final push to achieve the most that can be achieved in this month. So in preparation for this grand finale, here is a checklist of 4 things that we can all do to make the remaining days of Ramadhan work to our advantage:

Firstly, make every moment count. Whether it is in prayer, remembrance, charity or good deeds. These are the days which we should push these habits to another level.

The Prophet (SAWS) set the example as is narrated in the following Hadith:

He would strive hard in worship during the last ten nights of Ramadhan as he did not do at other times.

Secondly, get a Quran and recite as often as you can. There is immense reward for each letter that is recited and there is more reward for those of us who struggle and strive to recite, more than those who are fluent in being able to recite. Alongside that try to ponder over the verses, download or obtain a translation if need be and reflect.

Thirdly, this is the time to get your past sins forgiven. So repent to Allah SWT with sincerity in these final days and inshAllah the repentance of all His sincere creation will be accepted. Make your supplications to Allah SWT detailed, lengthy and without restriction.

Dear brothers and sisters, we must not forget that this is the month of forgiveness and we should use this time to recite the following dua as was advised to us by the Prophet SAWS. It is relayed in the following hadith which is translated to say:

‘Aishah (May Allah be pleased with her) reported:I asked: “O Messenger of Allah! If I realize Lailat-ul-Qadr (Night of Decree), what should I supplicate in it?” He (ﷺ) replied, “You should supplicate: Allahumma innaka ‘afuwwun, tuhibbul-‘afwa, fa’fu ‘anni (O Allah, You are Most Forgiving, and You love forgiveness; so forgive me).”

And lastly, it’s to give to charity if you haven’t done so already. Make small consistent acts of charity in these remaining days so that you are guaranteed to have done it in the Night of Power and therefore insh’Allah have it registered and magnified in reward.

Dear brothers and sisters, with this month now nearing it’s end, now is the time to step up in the efforts before the celebration of Eid. Let’s aim to be of those people who are included in the following hadith which is translated to say:

“He who fasts during Ramadan with faith and seeking his reward from God will have his past sins forgiven; he who prays during the night in Ramadan with faith and seeking his reward from God will have his past sins forgiven; and he who passes Lailat al-qadr [Night of Decree] in prayer with faith and seeking his reward from God will have his past sins forgiven.” 

Read More

Ramadan and its relation to forgiveness

Todays reminder is about the month of Ramadan and its relation to forgiveness.

We are almost at the half way point in this blessed month and there is still plenty of opportunity to make the most of this blessed month.

One of the blessings of this month is that it has the potential to rid us from our sins and to save us from the Hellfire.

The imam reminded us of a number of hadith that highlight this point. The first of these are translated as the messenger of Allah SAWS saying:

“At every breaking of the fast Allah has people whom He frees (from the Fire), and that happens every night.”

Dear brothers and sisters, we can see from this that the month of Ramadan holds potential even for those who are thinking that they are beyond Allah SWTs mercy. Allah SWT instead teaches us through his messenger SAWS that in fact, even those who are destined to reside in the Hellfire are saved from doing so in this blessed month.

Alongside this, the imam also mentioned the following hadith in which the Prophet SAWS is reported to have said:

“He who fasts during Ramadan with faith and seeking his reward from God will have his past sins forgiven; he who prays during the night in Ramadan with faith and seeking his reward from God will have his past sins forgiven; and he who passes Lailat al-qadr [Night of Decree] in prayer with faith and seeking his reward from God will have his past sins forgiven.”

Dear brothers and sisters, the hadith reminds us that we shouldn’t feel despair at transgressing the commands of Allah SWT. Nobody is without sin as this is human nature and Allah SWT designed us this way and He knows us better than we know ourselves. However, our purpose in life is not to avoid sinning but in fact, its to avoid forgetting Allah and it’s to remember to turn back to Him in humility and to ask for forgiveness often.

And often in this blessed month we overlook those who cannot fast in this blessed month. It may be that through illness, travel, pregnancy or other permissible reason someone may not be able to fast. However, this doesn’t mean that the blessings of this month are excluded for them.

The imam confirmed this point through the following hadith of the Prophet SAWS which is translated to say:

“He who provides a fasting person something with which to break his fast, will earn the same reward as the one who was observing the fast, without diminishing in any way the reward of the latter.”

And for those of us who are fortunate enough to be given the invitation from Allah SWT to perform Umrah in this blessed month, the hadith in relation to this is translated to say:

“(The performance of) ‘Umrah during Ramadan is equal to Hajj (pilgrimage).” Or said, “Equal to the performance of Hajj with me.”

Dear brothers and sisters, the month of Ramadan is clearly full of breakfast and mercy. Let us make the most of this blessed month and reap the reward that Allah SWT has set aside for us in this month.

Read More

Zakat

Our khutba today is about a financial act of worship which protects the soul from its greed and purifies it from stinginess. It is about Zakat.

The imam speaks of the following hadith in which the prophet SAWS said:

“Islam is built on five pillars; the Shahada that there is no god except Allah and Muhammad is the Messenger of Allah, establishment of Salat, payment of Zakat, Hajj and the fasting of Ramadan.”

It is very important that every believer in Allah should not underestimate and neglect this significant pillar of the religion and that he/she should happily pays his/her Zakat. One should remember that it is Allah Who has blessed one with the money he has, and He only obliged him to pay a small fraction of it (2.5%) as Zakat. Compare that to the tax we pay on income of around 30%. One should also remember that Allah SWT gives great reward for the payment of Zakat on the Day of Judgement.

The imam mentioned the 110th ayat of Sura Baqara in reference to this reminder. It is translated to say:

Establish prayer, and pay alms-tax. Whatever good you send forth for yourselves, you will ˹certainly˺ find ˹its reward˺ with Allah. Surely Allah is All-Seeing of what you do

And the imam also referenced the 103rd ayat of Sura At-Tauba which is translated to say:

Take from their wealth ˹O Prophet˺ charity to purify and bless them, and pray for them—surely your prayer is a source of comfort for them. And Allah is All-Hearing, All-Knowing.

Dear brothers and sisters, we can see from the ayat referenced that Allah SWT places a great reward on this act and therefore we should strive to make sure we aren’t neglectful in this act of worship.

Alongside this, the imam made a number of interesting observations on the mention of zakat in the Quran.

The first of these was that the mention of Zakat is around 30 times in the Quran but of these, almost of all them are next to the word for prayer, salat, around 27 times. This goes to demonstrate to the one who ponders over the words of Allah SWT, how much emphasis and importance He placed in Zakat as it is mentioned alongside the act of prayer itself.

Another point to note is that the Quran mentions that Zakat is important for many of the social constructs we are blessed with. From the blessing of brotherhood that our Ummah enjoys to the impact it has on the community, Zakat is more than just an individual act of worship, it’s benefit impacts far and wide and offers blessings on our dunya as well as the reward we will receive from Allah SWT in the next life.

In fact, the very masjids we pray in are directly impacted from this act of worship. The imam reminded us of this point by referencing the 18th ayat of Sura At-Tauba which is translated to say:

The mosques of Allah should only be maintained by those who believe in Allah and the Last Day, establish prayer, pay alms-tax, and fear none but Allah. It is right to hope that they will be among the ˹truly˺ guided.

Dear brothers and sisters, the act of Zakat is not just for us and it’s not just for the next life. It’s impact is significant and widespread in the world in which we currently reside.

This reminder concludes with 5 individual benefits of the act of Zakat.

  1. It is a way of cleaning and purifying our income and ourselves.
  2. It makes us closer to one another, our community, our brotherhood and our humanity.
  3. It is a reason for us to enter Paradise
  4. It is a source of our success in this life also. This is directly instructed to us in Sura Muminoon which has the first 4 ayats translated to say:

Successful indeed are the believers: those who humble themselves in prayer; those who avoid idle talk; those who pay zakat.

  • It separates the believers from the hypocrites.

Dear brothers and sisters, zakat is a compulsory charity as instructed by the giver of our sustenance. It would be non-sensical to ignore this duty that is placed upon us. And by using this month as the financial end of year, we can fulfil the duty placed upon us as well as earn the extra reward of performing this great deed in the month of Ramadan.

Read More

Forgiveness

Growing up we are told that Allah SWT has 99 names. As we grow older we understand that these are more like attributes of Allah SWT. And when we contemplate the Quran and Allah SWT we realize that these attributes are there so that we can grow to understand who our Creator is through the 99 names or attributes He has taught us about Himself.

One of the attributes, Al-Ghaffar is translated to be the Most Forgiving and the Repeatedly Forgiving. Allah SWT mentions this attribute of His in various places in the Quran. The imam reminded us of His attribute in the 133rd ayat of Sura Imran which is translated to say:

And hasten to forgiveness from your Lord and a garden as wide as the heavens and earth, prepared for the righteous

Dear brothers and sisters, todays reminder addresses one of the primary attacks of Shaitaan in that he is consistently trying to convince us that we are unforgivable.

By addressing the attribute of the Most Forgiving, we are able to recognize that the thoughts or feelings that Allah SWT won’t forgive us is not accurate. To think and feel this way is falling to feelings of despair which are all tactics employed by Shaitaan.

Despair then leads to hopelessness which inevitably leads to the Son of Adam moving away from asking Allah SWT for mercy and help. This is the reason why we must be wary of this tactic and steer clear of it.

And the level of mercy and forgiveness shown by Allah SWT is for the whole of mankind. The imam reminded us of the following hadith in which the Prophet SAWS is translated to have said:

None, or nothing, is more patient about the offensive statements he hears than Allah. Verily, they ascribe a son to Him, yet He still grants them good health and sustenance.

Dear brothers and sisters, we can see from this that the level of blessings and mercy shown to each and every one of us is greater than what we can ever repay in our good deeds and worship.

However, this lesson on Allah SWT’s forgiveness is both a lesson on His mercy on us but also a lesson on how our conduct ought to be with others.

The imam referenced the 40th ayat from Sura As-shura to highlight this point. It is translated to say:

And the retribution for an evil act is an evil one like it, but whoever pardons and makes reconciliation – his reward is [due] from Allah. Indeed, He does not like wrongdoers.

Alongside this the imam also mentioned the following hadith to highlight this point. It is translated to say:

“Sadaqah does not decrease property and Allah increases the honor of him who forgives and no one will humble himself for Allah’s sake except that Allah raises his status.”

Dear brothers and sisters, we should make the most of this lesson and learn to forgive those who have wronged us. Let us be of those who can forgive so that we can earn our reward and forgiveness in turn from Allah SWT.

And so with the month of Ramadan approaching us, we are looking for ways to achieve the most from this blessed month. One of the greatest achievements we can hope for is for our sins to be forgiven by Allah SWT.

And so, this reminder concludes with the following hadith from Aisha, may Allah SWT be pleased with her who narrated, ‘I asked the Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) ‘O Messenger of Allah (ﷺ), if I know what night the night of Qadr is, what should I say during it?’ He said, “Say: “Allahumma innaka ‘afuwwun tuhibbul ‘afwa fa a‘fu anni”
O Allah, You are the Pardoner and You love to pardon, so pardon me.”

Dear brothers and sisters, the month of Ramadan is nearly here. This is the month by the end of which we can aspire to have the sins of a new-born. We can achieve this by asking the One who is Most Forgiving and Repeatedly Forgiving so let us use this month to achieve this for ourselves by asking it of Him regularly.

Read More