Dear brothers and sisters, one of the most fundamental lessons that our prophet SAWS was sent with was purifying one self. Ayat 2 of Sura Al-Jumma translates in reference to this to say:
It is He who has sent among the unlettered a Messenger from themselves reciting to them His verses and purifying them and teaching them the Book and wisdom – although they were before in clear error.
When we think of purifying oneself, it can be interpreted in different ways. It can be physically and we know this through ritual cleansing we do before each salat called ablution or wudu.
However, the topic of today’s reminder is more of a spiritual purification and this is achieved through Taqwa or the awareness of our Creator, both in seclusion when we are alone, as well as in the midst of the hustle and bustle of everyday life around others.
If we look at the word ihsan, a core trait we need to have as Muslims, scholars have agreed that the definition of this word can be such that it is:
‘To worship Allah as you see him and if you don’t see Him then He sees you’
However, it is one thing saying this and another to apply it oneself. Ihsan is being acutely aware of our actions and intentions even if we are able to conceal it from every other human being.
As Allah SWT says in the 5th ayat of Sura Al-Imran:
Indeed, from Allah nothing is hidden in the earth nor in the heaven.
So what is the benefit or wisdom to having this mindset? To make oneself acutely aware of the presence of Allah SWT in and around everything they do has it’s blessings and these are mentioned in today’s reminder.
Firstly, the most obvious, is that to be consciously aware of the presence of Allah SWT will keep us away from transgressing against Him. It will prevent us from committing sin.
Another benefit of being conscious of Allah SWT at all times is that we are likely to perfect our worship. If we look at the example of when we are in the presence of the teacher as they walk around the classroom, we consciously work harder when we know the teacher is watching us, yes? The same ought to be applied to when we are performing salah, doing ablution or any other act of worship, we should remind ourselves that Allah SWT is directly watching us and how we are doing this act of worship. This in turn will lead us to want to improve that action to the point of perfection for the sake of Allah SWT.
And that leads us on to the third blessing and that is when we are mindful of the presence of Allah SWT then it keeps our intentions pure and correct. For example, if we come to the night prayers during this month for the intention of meeting up with friends and socialising before and afterwards then the danger is that the act of worship will be wasted. However, if we remind ourselves before we enter the masjid each evening that we are entering the house of Allah SWT and that He is here and watching us directly, it resets our intention to the correct mindset and that is performing the night prayers for His sake. Of course, we can still meet up with each other afterwards but it highlights in our minds the real primary purpose of our evening visit to the masjid.
On the flip side, we also have negative impacts of not being God-conscious. A couple of them were mentioned in todays reminder.
Firstly, there are those who are two-faced, in that they behave hypocritically. These are those people who look pious on the surface, but privately commit sin in the hope that it escapes accountability.
The imam mentioned a hadith in relation to this which said:
“I certainly know people of my nation who will come on the Day of Resurrection with good deeds like the mountains of Tihamah, but Allah will make them like scattered dust.” Thawban said: “O Messenger of Allah, describe them to us and tell us more, so that we will not become of them unknowingly.” He said: “They are your brothers and from your race, worshipping at night as you do, but they will be people who, when they are alone, transgress the sacred limits of Allah.”
May Allah SWT protect us from this trait. Secondly, there are those who are those openly share their sins with others, may Allah SWT protect us from them also. The imam mentioned the following hadith in relation to this which is translated to say:
I heard Allah’s Messenger (ﷺ) saying. “All the sins of my followers will be forgiven except those of the Mujahirin (those who commit a sin openly or disclose their sins to the people). An example of such disclosure is that a person commits a sin at night and though Allah screens it from the public, then he comes in the morning, and says, ‘O so-and-so, I did such-and-such (evil) deed yesterday,’ though he spent his night screened by his Lord (none knowing about his sin) and in the morning he removes Allah’s screen from himself.”
Dear brothers and sisters, we have identified the blessing of gaining Taqwa, or awareness of Allah SWT and we also know of the dangers if we do not have Taqwa. The reminder concludes with 2 ways in which we can achieve God consciousness.
- By knowing Allah SWT through His names and his attributes as described in the Quran. For many of us, we are conscious that the Quran speaks of the 99 names of Allah SWT but we can become God conscious by talking to Allah SWT in our supplications and use those 99 words in context. For example when we are speaking to him as our protecting friend in duas, we can refer to then name Al-Wali or when we are supplicating for our wealth, we can refer to the name Ar-Razzaq.
- By knowing Allah SWT through the direct connection of the Quran. Dear brothers and sisters, we have been sent a direct communication from Allah SWT. Surely, we ought to then make the effort to ponder over what has been said. Whether it is recitation or the study of it’s ayats, our attempts to become more aware of Allah SWT can only be helped through the effort we make in understanding the message He has sent us.
Dear brothers and sisters, todays reminder is key to our success in life. Let’s use these blessed days to improve in our connection with Allah SWT and our conscious awareness of Him with us at all times.Read More
Dear brothers and sisters, the khutba this week is on being aware of Allah SWT. This is something that we can easily say, after all we are all here today and we are performing an important commandment of Allah SWT in praying the Friday prayer.
However, being mindful of Allah SWT does not come just by performing weekly actions such as this or indeed more frequent actions such as the five daily prayers alone. No, this is a subtler point being made on our overall awareness of Allah SWT.
However, before we embark on how we can achieve this practically, it is worth mentioning a hadith of the Prophet SAWS in which he is reported to have said:
“O boy! I will instruct you in some matters. Be watchful of Allah (Commandments of Allah), He will preserve you. Safeguard His Rights, He will be ever with you. If you beg, beg of Him Alone; and if you need assistance, supplicate to Allah Alone for help. And remember that if all the people gather to benefit you, they will not be able to benefit you except that which Allah had preordained (for you); and if all of them gather to do harm to you, they will not be able to afflict you with anything other than that which Allah had pre-destined against you. The pens have been lifted and the ink has dried up”.
Dear brothers and sisters, if we analyse, this is telling us about being watchful of Allah means being watchful of any action that is expected of one, and to follow the correct actions and to avoid the sinful ones.
It is also telling you of the direct consequence of doing this and that is that in doing so, Allah SWT would look after you, in this world and next.
What follows then are 3 points that we can all follow that will enable us to practically achieve this.
- Clinging to the Quran. The Quran is the rope of Allah. Whoever clings to it then Allah SWT will prevent him or her from slipping. Make it a part of your life. Through recitation, listening and understanding it through translation, it will provide you with a connection to the author and creator of the book unlike anything else.
And it does not matter if you are a newcomer to the language as both online courses and courses run in this very masjid can assist you in connecting with the book of Allah.
- Dua or Supplication. Keeping mindful of Allah SWT is essentially a matter of the heart dear brothers and sisters. How often is it the case that we are on fast forward in our prayers but our supplications after the prayers are even faster or on complete auto-pilot.
As Muslims, we are people who believe in Allah SWT then why is it that we cannot communicate with Him in a manner that has been taught to us? We are blessed that we have a private counsel with Him 5 times a day in which there is no middleman, no other soul that needs to hear our pleas, our thoughts, our worries and our wishes.
By understanding that the salat is a two-way process, the prayer followed by the supplication (which by the way for those who can’t otherwise can be in your own native tongue) is the perfect way for us to keep mindful of our Lord as by communicating with him personally 5 times a day how can you be anything other than mindful of Allah SWT?
- Live this life to please Allah SWT via interaction with His creation. Whether it is a moment to contemplate the vast miracles of nature around us in our everyday lives or whether it is helping your brother and sisters in Islam and the wider community, it is through helping and doing good to others that the heart feels peace and the remembrance of Allah SWT is manifested into positive action. An example of this is actively participating in the various projects running in this city assisting in the lesser fortunate amongst our community or spreading the word of positive events taking place such as the first of many free drop-in NHS sessions such as the one next Friday.
Dear brothers and sisters, in a world where people are chasing everything the world has to offer in the hope of being happy, we are shown more so thanks to media that this world doesn’t provide happiness in money or power or the material things of this life. In fact, we are told by Allah SWT in the Quran that it is in the remembrance of Him will hearts find peace.
Therefore, with lack of mental wellbeing now the primary ailment of our time and place, we ought to remind ourselves that the solution is simplicity itself and that it is by remembering that all that we are, will be and are blessed with is from Allah SWT and that by remembering Him we can achieve happiness in this life and success in the next.Read More