Interaction with one another

Dear brothers and sisters, the khutba this week was on a particular hadith of the Prophet SAWS and as with all hadith’s, they are best understood when analysed with context and thought.

This one in particular though is self-explanatory so we will begin by translating it as was mentioned by the imam earlier:

On the authority of Abu Hurayrah (may Allah be pleased with him), who said that the Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) said:

Allah (mighty and sublime be He) will say on the Day of Resurrection:

O son of Adam, I fell ill and you visited Me not. He will say: O Lord, and how should I visit You when You are the Lord of the worlds? He will say: Did you not know that My servant So-and-so had fallen ill and you visited him not? Did you not know that had you visited him you would have found Me with him?

O son of Adam, I asked you for food and you fed Me not. He will say: O Lord, and how should I feed You when You are the Lord of the worlds? He will say: Did you not know that My servant So-and-so asked you for food and you fed him not? Did you not know that had you fed him you would surely have found that (the reward for doing so) with Me?

O son of Adam, I asked you to give Me to drink and you gave Me not to drink. He will say: O Lord, how should I give You to drink when You are the Lord of the worlds? He will say: My servant So-and-so asked you to give him to drink and you gave him not to drink. Had you given him to drink you would have surely found that with Me.

Dear brothers and sisters, the hadith is a long one and there are three main lessons to derive from the hadith but alongside that the theme of this reminder will also be commented upon.

The first reminder was of visiting the ill. This is a communal obligation and so if we hear of someone being unwell, it is an obligation upon at least one of us to visit the sick. In this city, we even have a local Muslim charity that visits the sickest of us all in hospices and care homes. Google the Myriad Foundation and you will see every day Muslims fulfilling this obligation to the next level.

However, we ought to remind ourselves of some pointers when doing this so that we keep etiquette even with a task as rewarding as this one.

Firstly, we should notify them before we come over. This is to avoid times when they are asleep, receiving medication or general courtesy.

Secondly, a small gift. It acts as charity and it’s even more rewarding if it assists in the emotional wellbeing of the sick.

Thirdly, whilst some patients enjoy the company, we don’t want to overburden the unwell and so keep the visit short and sweet. 20-30 minutes should suffice.

Fourthly, engage your brain. That means a couple of things. For example, if you are unwell then avoid the visit so you don’t pass it on. It means when you are there don’t focus on what’s wrong with them and it also means reflect upon your own self and be thankful to Allah SWTfor your own health and pray for the ill person.

The second and third part of the hadith was about feeding others food and drink. Dear brothers and sisters, we don’t live in a time where we know of our neighbourhood’s plight and that is a shame. It is often the case that if our neighbour in the street is going hungry then we are at risk of being caught out as mentioned in this hadith.

However, Salahadeen Masjid, alongside countless others in the county, have a system in place where we can avoid this transgression. On the stairs coming into the main hall we have a food box which is directly connected to your hungry neighbour. Let’s make it a habit each Friday to come to this masjid with one item of food. Even if it is a Smart Price can of beans for 23p, if we all brought one thing each week, the box would be overflowing and the food banks of this city would be catered for by the Muslims of this city. Surely, a habit worth establishing insh’Allah.

Dear brothers and sisters, these were the lessons of this hadith but by giving three examples, there is an overall theme and lesson to remember.

By mentioning these three things, the hadith reminds us that Islam is not about performing the actions of our faith only. It is not about the 5 prayers, fasting and giving the annual zakah only and thinking that is the end of it.

Of course, these things are needed from us, but by thinking this way, it is a narrow viewpoint and we need to remind ourselves that through this hadith, Allah SWT is speaking to us of collective responsibility.

A great example of this was the atrocity that fell upon this city last month during Ramadhan in the Arena. As Muslims, we automatically acted upon the lesson of todays hadith.

There were stories of taxi drivers who stopped charging money for the victims. There were stories of the local residents opening their homes in the middle of the night so that strangers had somewhere to sleep in the emergency. There were stories of off duty nurses and doctors passing by and giving up their spare time to help the wounded, offering critical first aid to those whose lives could still be saved.

This, dear brothers and sisters, that was the theme and lesson of today’s hadith and reminder. What today’s reminder tell us is that it doesn’t need an atrocity to bring out the best of Muslims, we have a need for heroes every single day. Through food banks and through visits to the sick, we have opportunities to demonstrate compassion for each other and thus be of those on the Day of Resurrection that are not posed the questions as stated in today’s hadith.

May Allah SWT fill our hearts with compassion. May Allah SWT instill into our hearts the need to look after others. And may Allah SWT reward us for our kind actions towards others.

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Rights of the Neighbour in Islam

Allah SWT says in the glorious Quran in Sura An-Nisa, ayat 36:

Worship Allah and associate nothing with Him, and to parents do good, and to relatives, orphans, the needy, the near neighbor, the neighbor farther away, the companion at your side, the traveler, and those whom your right hands possess. Indeed, Allah does not like those who are self-deluding and boastful.

Dear brothers and sisters, the neighbour holds a special status in Islam. From this ayat we can deduce that a Muslim should maintain good relations with his neighbours.

Looking towards the hadith of our beloved Prophet SAWS, we find that the status of neighbours has been held in high regard here also. The Prophet SAWS taught us that the neighbour is not just someone next door to us, but up to 40 houses away! SubhanAllah.

When one reflects on this, it becomes clear that there ought to be a sense of belonging in the community and a sense of responsibility too. It’s not just about the next door neighbour, or the street in which you live. We owe it to the neighbourhood in which we live.

But does this apply to Muslim lands only? Answering this question comes from another Hadith of the Prophet SAWS in which he is reported to have said:

The neighbour is 3 types: one who has one right over you, one that has two rights over you and one who has three rights over you.

Dear brothers and sisters, the scholars conclude that this hadith talks of the following group of people.

Those neighbours who have three rights over you is the one who is also a relative and a Muslim. Those neighbours who have two rights over you may be Muslim but not related or a relation but not Muslim.

Which leaves that neighbour with one right over you and he is neither a relation nor a Muslim.

That means no Muslim is exempt from the rights of the neighbour.

Dear brothers and sisters, a lot of us have come from either parents who migrated here or those who have migrated themselves. Our parents have many stories to tell of difficulties that they endured when moving to this land.

However, we live in a different time now. And our tests are different. We have tolerance within our communities and although problems will never totally disappear, the neighbourhood is a different place to past times.

The neighbour is now only too acutely aware of a Muslim, thanks to our media. And as a result our test is different because we no longer have to deal with ignorance but with misinformation on Muslims.

And it is our duty as Muslims to make our community feel safe with us as part of it. We need to be able to integrate into the community and be responsible for it. It is our responsibility to show them that the news does not represent us.

The Prophet SAWS said:

He is not a true Muslim who’s neighbour does not feel safe with him

Dear brothers and sisters, we already have the news telling our neighbours bad things in the name of Islam, it is therefore our personal responsibility to counteract that so that they do feel safe in our presence.

So to conclude, here are 5 tips that we can all practice in order to be better Muslims in our communities:

  1. Introduce yourself and your family to your neighbours when you move into a new place or when they move to a neighbouring home.
  2. Care for them. If you know of a neighbour that is elderly or unwell then take some time out of your schedule to visit them.
  3. When socialising with them, present your religion in the best way. Don’t be ashamed to say if you don’t know the answer to a question they may have. Instead, go find the answer so that you can both be educated on the answer.
  4. Don’t be arrogant with them. Be considerate in parking your car for example. If the choice is there, park further away so as not to inconvenience them.
  5. When socialising with them, be conscious of your boundaries. For example, a trip to the local pub is out but they will respect you for your principles as a result.

Dear brothers and sisters, how Muslims interact with their neighbours is key to resetting the mind-set of a society that is being fed distorted perceptions of Islam. The responsibility is ours by being that front-line in changing their mind-set with our behaviour towards them.

May Allah SWT help us be better neighbours. May Allah SWT enable us to be examples within our communities and may Allah SWT reward us in our efforts to be better neighbours. Ameen wal hamdullilahi rabilalameen.

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