Dear brothers and sisters, it is is a condition on every Muslim to have fear and awareness (Taqwa) of Allah SWT, at all times, and to avoid all that has been forbidden.
This is not specific to certain group of people only, no it is on every man and woman, to ensure they keep away from what Allah SWT has forbidden, and to ensure the commandments of Allah SWT and the prophet SAWS are followed.
And this is to be the way of life, while travelling or at home, while in difficulty or ease, while healthy or otherwise, in all conditions.
The imam mentioned a great hadith in todays khutba from the hadith of the prophet SAWS, and it is a great example of depth of meaning in few words. He said:
“Who will take these statements from me, so that he may act upon them, or teach one who will act upon them?” So Abu Hurairah said: “I said: ‘I shall O Messenger of Allah!’ So he (SAWS) took my hand and enumerated five (things), he said: “Be on guard against the unlawful and you shall be the most worshiping among the people, be satisfied with what Allah has allotted for you and you shall be the richest of the people, be kind to your neighbour and you shall be a believer, love for the people what you love for yourself and you shall be a Muslim. And do not laugh too much, for indeed increased laughter kills the heart.”
Dear brothers and sisters, we conclude then by outlining the 5 points from the hadith and thus providing 5 lessons on today’s subject.
Firstly, guarding against wrongful acts. This means to guard against sins both big or small, as has been advised to us in the Quran and the Sunnah. Examples are such as worshiping or associating other than Allah as the biggest of sins, killing, stealing, fornication, backbiting, lying, taking or paying interest, not listening to parents etc.
If we can aim to avoid all of the bad deeds then we are on course to being the best of slaves, as it is a constant battle with the self to show restraint, especially in the time and place in which we live.
Number two is to accept what Allah SWT has decided for him. It is a blessing to be content with what Allah SWT has decreed for oneself. And this is a precious trait as we all know people who think they are hard done by or deserve more.
The imam reminded us of a hadith to illustrate this point in which the Messenger of Allah SAWS said:
“Look at those who are lower than you (financially) but do not look at those who are higher than you, in case you belittle the favours Allah gave to you.”
Number three was to be kind to the neighbour. The prophet SAWS has made it one of the signs to be high in status of imaan with this point. And that is to be good to the neighbour.
Being good to neighbours can be easily achieved by doing the simple acts, such as giving greetings and replying to greetings, fulfilling any neighbourly requests, not to harm them, and to be patient with their harm, to help them, and advise them. This applies to both our Muslim and Non-Muslim neighbours and in the case of the latter it serves also as dawah by showing that act of kindness.
Fourth point is to be happy for others. Happy for their success, sympathetic to their problems and a desire for them to be free from problems or issues. To be able to do this we need to be free of jealousy and envy.
Dear brothers and sisters, being competitive is human nature. As children we compete with friends in school and with siblings at home. It is an emotion that can either propel us towards Allah SWT or away from Him. We ought to remind ourselves that everything comes from Allah SWT whether it is a blessing or a test on others, and so use that knowledge to supplicate to Allah SWT for yourself and for the others around you too thus cleansing your heart from ill feeling towards the other person.
Lastly, point 5 was too much laughter being the reason for death of the heart. Dear brothers and sisters, laughter is human speciality, as animals do not laugh, and it is a reaction to an action or a saying. Islam does not discourage laughter, it is core to being happy. Islam does encourage a healthy balance, like with everything else and in this case it is on laughter.
The Prophet SAWS used to joke and laugh, and would join his companions in laughter and happiness. However, he had boundaries with this and unfortunately we see that today these boundaries are overstepped a lot in the pursuit of humour. Things like not lying, not laughing at someone’s expense, not laughing at serious matters.
This is a hard one to quantify, however the best way to look at this is to remind ourselves of the purpose of our life. Laughter and happiness helps us to keep a positive outlook on life and assist us through the hard times but it should not distract us from life itself. Finding that balance helps us to be content with life without overstepping the limits of it.
Dear brothers and sisters, the hadith mentioned listed five things that we should all be aiming to achieve. However, by doing so, we are not only following the advice of the Prophet SAWS but we are actively and practically achieving Taqwa or being aware of Allah SWT too.
There is an ayat, ayat 9 in the Quran in Sura Nisa which is translated as follows:
And let those [executors and guardians] fear [injustice] as if they [themselves] had left weak offspring behind and feared for them. So let them fear Allah and speak words of appropriate justice.
Dear brothers and sisters, if we study what the scholars tells us about the meaning behind this translation then one of the opinions of this ayat is about inheritance unfairly being kept by some that was entitled for others.
However, to go into the tafsir of any ayat is more than a single khutba and certainly more than this summary so the point of this is about justice. More importantly it’s about the realisation within the wrongdoer.
Dear brothers and sisters, one cannot avoid the news informing us of an increase in disease, death and other reasons of stress. In times like this, how do we handle the information thrown at us without being stressed or in despair?
What the ayat earlier is teaching us is to be God-conscious or to have Taqwa. And it is Taqwa that will provide true protection of the self, family and other things of value.
So what do we mean when we say Taqwa? And how do we belong to the Muttaqeen or those who are God-conscious? And when does this time begin?
First of all, the concept of being concious of a God is there within us from when we are born. An Oxford University study performed a few years back in the Centre for Anthropology and Mind concluded that young people have a default setting to believe in a supreme being because they assume everything in the world was created with a purpose.
Therefore the concept of Taqwa isn’t something that we inherit. It’s actually something that we are born with. And it is the dunya that erodes it away over time.
The Quran mentions the need for this in various places and one is referenced today in Sura Alahqaf, ayat 15 in which Allah SWT says:
And We have enjoined upon man, to his parents, good treatment. His mother carried him with hardship and gave birth to him with hardship, and his gestation and weaning [period] is thirty months. [He grows] until, when he reaches maturity and reaches [the age of] forty years, he says, “My Lord, enable me to be grateful for Your favor which You have bestowed upon me and upon my parents and to work righteousness of which You will approve and make righteous for me my offspring. Indeed, I have repented to You, and indeed, I am of the Muslims.”
Dear brothers and sisters, man is being told by Allah SWT the timeline of life. From being dependant on his Parents, to reaching adulthood. The point here is that man is told to ask Allah SWT to make him grateful. To make him aware of what Allah SWT has done for him up to that point, to make him aware and thankful for everything that was done before he was even born into this world. And before he was independent and self-reliant on his living.
Dear brothers and sisters, this is the meaning of being conscious of Allah SWT and it is with this understanding that you can get true protection of the self, of one’s family and of your life’s worth – be it wealth, health or anything else.
We live in a world that is designed to make us forget this. How often is it that we see something on TV and we ask ourselves, has this person forgotten Allah SWT? Is he not fearful of his return to his Lord?
Dear brothers and sisters, we need to strive to not be of those who have forgotten Allah SWT and so in conclusion, this khutba outlines 3 things we can all do to achieve this:
- Recite the Quran with feeling. It should be the aim of everyone to read the Quran with understanding of what Allah SWT is telling us. We should aim so that we can contemplate and ponder over the meanings of the verses of the Quran and act upon what we learn.
- Be with Good Company. It is very important to be associated with good people because who we are is who our friends are. If we involve ourselves in the wrong crowd then whether we like it or not, their bad influence will rub off on us and we will end up like them.
- Learn religious knowledge. A person without knowledge is like someone walking along a track in complete darkness. Most likely the steps he take will cause him to wander astray. Our greatest danger lies in our ignorance of Islamic teachings and in our unawareness of what the Quran teaches and what guidance has been given from the Prophet SAWS.
Dear brothers and sisters, we are only too aware of the challenges that these practical steps may pose. However, there is a solution that addresses all three of the points raised and that is the very place in which you are sat listening to this khutba.
This masjid has been blessed with teachers, scholars and volunteers all working hard to bring knowledge, understanding of Quran and a place for good company for each and every one of us.
Speak to one of us or look at the notice board in the masjid or on our website and you will find classes tailored to your needs. And if you find that there is a class that is missing then tell us and we will work to deliver that class to you.
Protection of self, family and worth comes through connecting with Allah SWT and that connection can begin today with intention and steps towards attaining Taqwa.
May Allah SWT protect us all. May Allah SWT give us Taqwa. And may Allah SWT reward us for our efforts in attaining Taqwa.
Ameen Walhamdullilahi Rabilalameen.