The imam began this week by reminding us of a hadith in which the Prophet SAWS said to one of the companions:
“The Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) came out to us when we were speaking of poverty and how we feared it. He said: ‘Is it poverty that you fear? By the One in Whose Hand is my soul, (the delights and luxuries of) this world will come to you in plenty, and nothing will cause the heart of anyone of you to deviate except that. By Allah, I am leaving you upon something like Bayda (white, bright, clear path) the night and day of which are the same.'”
Dear brothers and sisters, there is no doubt that poverty can be stressful and worrying times for those who experience it, and it’s a test that has its challenges. One of the main focuses of anyone, or government, is to tackle poverty, and to allow everyone to live above the line of poverty.
Our religion in unique in that it has a solution to poverty in the form of both the mandatory charity, i.e. zakat that we give to those in need, as well as recommended voluntary acts of charity i.e. sadaqa that we are often reminded of.
However, we are missing the point if we regard richness as being rich financially. In fact, the imam reminded us of this via a hadith which is translated to say:
Abu Darda’ said: “The Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) came out to us when we were speaking of poverty and how we feared it. He said: ‘Is it poverty that you fear? By the One in Whose Hand is my soul, (the delights and luxuries of) this world will come to you in plenty, and nothing will cause the heart of anyone of you to deviate except that. By Allah, I am leaving you upon something like Bayda (white, bright, clear path) the night and day of which are the same.'”
Dear brothers and sisters, we need to recognize that the material wealth is part of the test of this life and that there is nothing material of this word that we gain that will benefit us in the actual life of the hereafter. Often, one can forget the purpose of this life is that of a test and the real wealth is acquired in the hereafter based on our deeds and actions.
In fact, we know that the Prophet SAWS used to seek refunge in Allah SWT through the following supplication which is translated to say:
“O Allah! I seek refuge with You from the affliction of the Fire and from the punishment in the Fire, and seek refuge with You from the affliction of the grave, and I seek refuge with You from the affliction of wealth, and I seek refuge with You from the affliction of poverty, and seek refuge with You from the affliction of Ad-Dajjal.”
Dear brothers and sisters, we need to understand that the acquisition of wealth, both material and financial is part of a bigger plan to keep us fixated in this life and not to focus on the next. It’s a subtle trick of shaitaan that we compete with one another, we judge one another on what car we drive, where we live, where our children are taught etc.
This is not how we ought to be and this requires a shift in the way that we are thinking. In fact, Allah SWT has taught us to compete with one another in this world but only in the level of worship of Allah SWT. To compete with one another for wordly wealth makes no sense as the wealth is governed by Allah SWT, it is only He who determines the wealth we experience in this world.
In fact, for most of us, the wealth or lack thereof, will be part of the test that we endure in this life. We know this due to the hadith of the Prophet SAWS in which it says:
The Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings be upon him, said, “Take advantage of five before five: your youth before your old age, your health before your illness, your riches before your poverty, your free time before your work, and your life before your death.”
Dear brothers and sisters, for some it is a difficult test to endure. Such is the pressure of competition amongst this society in wealth that it becomes ingrained in the heart and mind to earn and become wealthy.
This reminder therefore concludes with three practical steps that we can take in order to reset our mindset to one that is focused on the real goals we should be aiming for.
- We should live life in both the moment but also with time of contemplation. By giving ourselves time to ponder and think of the life we have, we have the opportunity to react to the test that may present itself. Should that test be one of poverty, then we ought to use it as an opportunity to return in prayer back to Allah SWT. The imam reminded us of this via our teacher SAWS who said:
Strange are the ways of a believer for there is good in every affair of his and this is not the case with anyone else except in the case of a believer for if he has an occasion to feel delight, he thanks (Allah), thus there is a good for him in it, and if he gets into trouble and shows resignation (and endures it patiently), there is a good for him in it.
- We should seek above all else, a halal means by which we gain. The time and place presents many opportunities for illicit gain but we should be mindful that we will be answerable to this and it will cost us dearly in the long term. And even from the smallest income, we ought to return in the form of charity as we know this does not decrease wealth as the imam reminded us the Prophet SAWS said:
And whatever you spend for Allah’s sake will be considered as a charitable deed even the handful of food you put in your wife’s mouth.
- Lastly, we ought to remember that with wealth comes great responsibility. It ought to be considered a loan from Allah SWT as we will held accountable for every penny we spent in this life. In that regard, those who have less to account for, will not feel the test as severely as those who have been given greater wealth. We need to ask ourselves, are we going to be able to justify how we spent our wealth when there are those living within giving distance of our wealth in a state much worse than us?
Dear brothers and sisters, in a time and place where money if often the primary purpose of life, we need to be mindful that we do not fall into this trap. The consistent pondering our blessings alongside the purification of our wealth through charity ought to enable us to remain steadfast and pursue the true richness that is the pleasure of Allah SWT.Read More
In Islam, it is understood that the real owner of all wealth is Allah SWT. Mankind only owns wealth by proxy as guardian and hence will be accountable for the way in which it is spent.
A person therefore who spends their wealth without balance, or in inappropriate areas, they will have to explain for it when they are presented before Allah SWT on the Day of Judgment.
And this excessiveness is not only limited to financial wealth. It can also be regarded as excessiveness in other areas which are a blessing unless one exceeds the norm in which case they become a test. A perfect example of this is food and drink.
The imam mentioned the 31st ayat from Sura Al Araf which is translated to say:
O children of Adam, take your adornment at every masjid, and eat and drink, but be not excessive. Indeed, He likes not those who commit excess.
We can all be guilty of this on occasion. Good food and drink can lead to excessiveness and we need to be mindful of this so that we do not fall foul of this directive of Allah SWT.
We are also taught that spending, even if it is a minute amount, in something that is impermissible is also regarded as excessive and therefore we must avoid this at all costs.
Another example that we must guard ourselves against is the dining culture we have in our homes. Whether it is through love, showing off or some other reason, we tend to over do it when guests turn up in our homes.
Of course, we are commanded by Allah SWT to look after our guests, but not to be excessive, as the hadith records:
The prophet peace and blessings be upon him forbade us for being excessive for the guests
Another example of bad use of wealth is to give money to those who are not capable of spending it well or have control over their finances.
The imam mentioned ayat 5 in relation to this from Sura An-Nisa which is translated to say:
And do not give the weak-minded your property, which Allah has made a means of sustenance for you, but provide for them with it and clothe them and speak to them words of appropriate kindness.
A common example of this in action is the homeless in city centre who sometimes appear intoxicated when asking for money.
There is no harm with offering charity to those who need it but there is a way in which this can be achieved without waste. One example is to spend an extra few minutes and purchase food or drink for them thus guaranteeing that they are not going to spend that on anything that is harmful to them.
Dear brothers and sisters, we shouldn’t take this reminder as a reason to be stingy in our spending though. In fact, to spend, to eat food and drink is a blessing and a right given from Allah SWT to us and therefore there is good in it.
The imam mentioned sura baqara’s ayat 168 which translates to say:
O mankind, eat from whatever is on earth [that is] lawful and good and do not follow the footsteps of Satan. Indeed, he is to you a clear enemy.
And so we follow the middle ground with this and enjoy what is lawful without being excessive.
Another very common problem is excessiveness when doing ablution, as we waste too much water. We have the following hadith which is translated to say:
The Messenger of Allah passed by Sa’d when he was performing ablution, and he said: ‘What is this extravagance?’ He said: ‘Can there be any extravagance in ablution?’ He said: ‘Yes, even if you are on the bank of a flowing river.'”
Dear brothers and sisters, in this country we can be guilty of this. Especially if we are doing ablution at work or school. We tend to keep the tap running in between the steps and this is waste. Even if it takes longer we must aim to minimize water wastage.
We are blessed to live in a part of the world where extravagance and luxury is available to us. Things that we take for granted are considered luxury for most living in the world today. We mustn’t forget this fact because it will result in excessiveness becoming easy to us.
And so, this reminder concludes with three practical examples that we can take away to help us with this.
- To recognise if we are excessive. The first step is recognition. Whether it’s looking in the mirror and recognizing excessive food consumption or taking a long hard look at the outgoings on the bank statement, we need to have steps in place to constantly self-audit to make sure that we do not fall foul of this warning and not even realise it.
- To remember the poor – We all have desire to acquire more. This is human nature. However, if we are ever in a position of complain for what we have or in a position of excessive spending then we need to remind ourselves of how blessed we actually are. Simply reading the projects of charities we all know of such as Human Relief allows us to understand and appreciate the position that we are blessed to be in and thus reset ourselves from becoming excessive.
- To practically humble ourselves away from excessive behaviour. The best way in which we can achieve this is through charitable acts. Whether that’s helping the elderly neighbour or something structured like getting involved in food banks, group feeding of the homeless or visiting the sick, we have the Myriad Foundation who are always on the lookout for volunteers. Details are on them can be found online or on their collection boxes in the stairs.
Dear brothers and sisters, Allah SWT has blessed us with wealth and prosperity here, let us use this reminder to audit our behaviour and eliminate that which is excessive and a waste.Read More
The word Shariah is thrown around a lot in the media and so it is worth mentioning a few introductory points on this topic as part of the reminder.
Shariah is the law of the Quran and literally it means “A path to life giving water”. In fact the word Yarrah in Hebrew from which the word Torah is derived, means exactly the same thing and so this concept is Abrahamic and is applied to all three monotheistic faiths.
Shariah is the right to protect the rights of 5 areas. They are: Religion, Life, Family, Sanity and Wealth. It is designed so that it can create a society based on justice and equity for each member of that society.
However, it is worth noting that it forbids it to be imposed on any unwilling person. Our Prophet SAWS demonstrated that Shariah may only be applied if people willingly apply it to themselves and never through forced intervention by the state. Since Shariah is based on absolute justice, there is even an example we can take from history where the jewish King Solomon ruled as a just monarch based on this fundamental principle of Shariah law, namely justice.
So, let’s go into the next part of this reminder and a breakdown of the 5 areas based on importance.
The first is religion. To protect the religion of Islam in this time and place is paramount to us all but what does it mean? Unfortunately we have lunatics that have an extreme interpretation of this but for us it means to protect our religion through providing the correct narrative on our religion. It means to communicate with our colleagues, neighbours and friends and tell them or show them the correct meaning of Islam. It means to show them the beauty of Islam through charitable acts, friendly acts and act of humanity. This is the best way to protect our religion and to fight in the cause of Islam is to go against the tide and insist that despite what the media may sometimes portray Islam as, this is a religion of peace, compassion and contentment.
Besides the external threats, we need to protect this religion internally, that is to remind ourselves of the dangerous threats that present themselves internally. Distractions of the 21st Century that take us away from this religion such as entertainment, smartphones, social media etc. Looking up to false role models such as entertainers, sportsmen etc are all falling under this category and need to be recognised and avoided so that we don’t fail on the most important of areas.
The second area of importance is the protection of self. There are the obvious points to note here such as the forbidden acts of killing unjustly, persecution of others, protection of the needy such as the poor and the orphans etc. However, it is worth mentioning here some of the more subtle areas of the time and place and how we must protect ourselves from it. One of the biggest sins is backbiting, slandering and gossiping about others. This is also an area that has recently reached epidemic levels through social media and other forums where the anonymity that comes from not being face-to-face means that the fingers on the keyboard replace the tongue in performing these hurtful and sinful acts. Be mindful of the behaviour that one is conducting both in person and online and remember that anonymity that may be enjoyed online is still accountable on the Day of Judgement.
The third area to mention is that of family. Obvious examples that fall under this category are fornication before marriage which damages the body and mind as well as the soul and the grave sin of adultery that destroys whole families and generations.
Other points to mention under family that are more subtle is the need for protecting the vulnerable in the family. The women and children need to be protected not only from the obvious threats of our time and place but also from the subtle threats that come from popular culture, from classmates and from the parts of society that are damaging to the family unit. The protection of this comes in the form of befriending our family and educating our family. Don’t be the patriarchal parent who just lays down the law to others. Show your human side too and the family will relate better and thus be in a position to understand and respect your guidance towards them. If the family unit is strong in communication and interaction with one another then nothing can penetrate that barrier that is created through love and respect for one another insh’Allah.
The next one is the protection of the mind. Shariah not only encourages us to protect our wisdom, our intellect and our sanity but also protects those who do not possess this element of themselves. For example the imam mentioned the hadith in which the Prophet SAWS said:
A woman who had committed adultery was brought to Umar. He gave orders that she should be stoned. Ali passed by just then. He seized her and let her go. Umar was informed of it. He said: Ask Ali to come to me. Ali came to him and said: Commander of the Faithful, you know that the Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) said: There are three (people) whose actions are not recorded: A boy till he reaches puberty, a sleeper till he awakes, a lunatic till he is restored to reason. This is an idiot (mad) woman belonging to the family of so and so. Someone might have done this action with her when she suffered the fit of lunacy.
Dear brothers and sisters, we indeed are protected if we don’t possess our minds but we also need to protect our minds from becoming ill. Obvious examples of this are the prohibition of drugs and alcohol as they affect the mind and impair the wisdom and good judgement. However, alongside this are again more subtle things we need to protect ourselves from. Tools of shaitaan that may look appealing but are damaging to the mind. Adult videos which are proven to cause brain damage or even news of distress all designed to affect the mind, sadden the heart and cause despair which can lead the person to becoming lazy in their worship or worse still move away from religion altogether. We need to be conscious of protecting our mind and that comes from surrounding ourselves with happiness through family, pious people and through the remembrance of Allah and recitation of the Quran.
Lastly, the protection of wealth. The imam reminded us of ayat 46 of Sura Al-Kahf which translates to say:
Likewise, wealth and children are an attraction of this worldly life; yet honorable deeds that last forever are better rewarded by your Rabb and hold for you a better hope of salvation.
Dear brothers and sisters, the obvious examples of this are protection against wasting money on items that have no value and actions such as gambling your money away. However, there are more subtle examples that we overlook and those are such as dealing in usury or interest as its mechanism is designed to steal your wealth in the long-term, it is things like addictions to tobacco and vaping that serve only to addict the person to part from their money. We need to remind ourselves that the money we possess is a trust between us and Allah SWT and we will be asked how we spent our money on the Day of Judgement.
Dear brothers and sisters, we live in a time and place where the fundamentals of our faith are being spun into taboo subjects and it needn’t be so. By education ourselves on these subjects we can both pass on the knowledge, dispelling misconceptions and protect our religion in the process, thus fulfilling the first and most important area of this reminder.Read More
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.