Dear brothers and sisters, the vityue of patience is one of the best gifts we have received from Allah SWT. The prophet SAWS said:
And whoever remains patient, Allah will make him patient. Nobody can be given a blessing better and greater than patience.
The topic this week has been chosen as it is imperative that we demonstrate this virtue in our worship of Allah SWT. Unfortunately some Muslims are caught in the trap of poor attitude towards worship which manifests into laziness in worship. An example of this is the blind following of others without understanding of what the correct path is.
We need to understand that patience and perseverance in worship means to perform the acts of worship as Allah SWT instructed us through the Prophet SAWS. It also means that we do not take short cuts but in fact take the time and effort to perform each correctly.
Allah SWT has instructed us to do this and as Muslims we are left in no doubt as is reminded to us by the imam in Sura Al-Maryum, ayat 65 and Sura Al-Hijr, ayat 99 which is translated to say:
Lord of the heavens and the earth and whatever is between them – so worship Him and have patience for His worship. Do you know of any similarity to Him?”
And worship your Lord until there comes to you the certainty (death).
Dear brothers and sisters, we can further separate the virtue of patience in that which is acted upon through choice versus that which is required as a result of a trial. Scholars have stated that the act of showing patience through choice holds a higher status than that through a trial.
One example of this comparison can be found in the Glorious Quran. The patience of the truthful Prophet Yusuf – May the peace of Allah SWT be upon him, when he was put in the well, because this patience is patience that you do because you are in the situation – but the patience of saying no to the wife of the king – that’s a choice he made, and that has higher reward and status. Allah SWT knows best.
We can also reach this conclusion through the meaning of the ayats in the Glorious Quran. The imam mentioned the 144 ayat of Sura Al-Imran which is translated to say:
Muhammad is not but a messenger. [Other] messengers have passed on before him. So if he was to die or be killed, would you turn back on your heels [to unbelief]? And he who turns back on his heels will never harm Allah at all; but Allah will reward the grateful.
Dear brothers and sisters, the context of this verse is after the battle of Uhud. This was a time of great trial and tribulation and yet, the verse speaks not of patience during the trial but of those who will be grateful and thus rewarded. Scholars state that those that are worshiping and carried on worship Allah despite the huge tribulations are the ones being mentioned here.
Patience is a gift but not everyone has the same amount of patience. Some people are known for their patience and you probably can think of someone in your life that is known by this trait. Equally so, we can probably think of someone that has a short fuse and the opposite is true. We need to appreciate that we are all on different levels but that we do not use this fact as an excuse. We need to work on our level of patience and improve it – as the prophet peace and blessings be upon him said:
“Whoever tries to be patient, Allah will give him patience, and no one is given a better or vaster gift than patience.”
Dear brothers and sisters, our reminder today was on the act of patience and perseverance in worship. Each and every one of us can improve on this and nobody is perfect. However, we need to assess ourselves to see if this lack of patience and perseverance is falling to a level that is dangerous for us.
If one finds themselves in a habit of taking shortcuts in worship and the idea of performing it with time and effort as it warrants, causes a feeling of annoyance then the matter is one of concern and needs to be remedied quickly. One needs to assess the root cause of this and fix the underlying disease and not it’s symptoms.
It’s easy to blame modern life. However, to blame life is to look at it wrong. Who is it that gifts us life? Who is it that gifts us energy? Who is it that gifts us time? By short-cutting the connection back to Allah SWT, one is short-cutting themselves inevitably as the problem of life getting in the way will only get worse. This disease of the heart will continue to spread until we have no patience left or our acts of worship have no blessing to them.
One practical tip is to expose the lie of Shaytaan telling us life is too busy. Write out your day yesterday and see how much of it was spent on the phone, on the TV or on other things which have replaced sincere worship. Recent studies state that an average of 3 hours per day is spent on smartphones. Such an audit ought to be done to see if we are falling into the trap of no time but yet lots of wasted time.
Next, we ought to reconnect to Allah SWT through remembrance, supplication and repentance. Make the extra time to perform salah as it is deserving, make the extra time to carry out our deeds with sincerity and focus. Understand that life is about priorities and nothing is greater than worship.
At first this may prove to be difficult as our heart is used to telling us excuses, but as we persevere in repairing our hearts through remembrance of Allah SWT, this will become easier and our patience and perseverance will improve which will in turn make our acts of worship improve.
Dear brothers and sisters, patience and perseverance in worship is an ongoing battle we will all face. From coming to the masjid for Fajr prayer to Zakat payment, we will all have times when things feel difficult to do. However, if we remind ourselves that the source to cure is a healthy heart then we can begin it’s repair through acts of remembrance which will in turn enable us to improve in our patience and perseverance in worship.
Dear brothers and sisters, our religion, our life is composed of three parts. In order to understand the meaning of the word ihsan, it is important to understand this concept first.
The first of the three parts of our religion is Imaan. When our Prophet SAWS first began conveying the message, it was about becoming conscious of Allah SWT and sincerity in faith.
After the roots of Imaan are firmly in place, the next stage is the stage called Islam and this is when we can begin practicising the various tenets of our faith. Things like salah, fasting and other acts of worship as we now have passed the stage of believing or Imaan.
This leads us onto the topic for today and it is the final third and often the neglected third which is Ihsan. Like so many Arabic words, the translation to English does not do it justice. Ihsan is excellence. It is perfection. It is beauty. It is balance, harmony, discipline, good character, softness, gentleness, improvement, drive, will power. Ihsan is a human reflection, a human attempt to achieve a high level in the areas covered by the revealed 99 beautiful names of Allah (swt).
This concept is mentioned in a rhetorical question by Allah SWT in the Glorious Quran. In ayat 60 of Sura Rahman, Allah SWT asks the rhetorical question:
Is the reward for good anything other than good?
As you can see, the direct translation does not provide the reader with the richness of understanding it’s original form. When you understand that the word good is translated to ihsan, and recall the earlier meaning of this word, you can begin to appreciate the message being conveyed here by Allah SWT.
There are many interpretations of this ayat in the Quran and each has more lessons than a reminder like this can give, but just to touch upon this a little, there follows three examples of lessons from this ayat.
Firstly, those who sincerely strive in Allah’s Cause and attain ihsan in both their worship and their everyday activities will be rewarded for this level of excellence by being blessed by Allah (swt) with the sweetness of faith.
They will be some of the few people who have walked the face of the earth and tasted this level of faith. God-consciousness will be continuous, and everything these few do will be geared for a higher purpose. They will have attained ihsan and in return, they will feel ihsan in their hearts.
Secondly, those who sincerely strive in Allah’s Cause and attain ihsan in both their worship and their everyday activities will be rewarded for this excellence by being blessed by Allah (swt) with success in this dunya (life of the world).
This can be seen in our history, in our Golden Age. The Muslims of that time attained ihsan in their rituals and in their other activities. Allah rewarded this ihsan with ihsan – the excellence in this dunya that we read about – the amazing art, architecture, philosophy, medical advances, etc.
And thirdly, those who sincerely strive in Allah’s Cause and attain ihsan in both their worship and their everyday activities will be rewarded for this excellence by being blessed by Allah (swt) with the ultimate success, the ultimate ihsan – that of jannah (heaven) in al-akhira ( hear-after).
The imam mentioned the 78th ayat of Sura Al-Haj in todays’ reminder. It’s translated to say:
And strive for Allah with the striving due to Him. He has chosen you and has not placed upon you in the religion any difficulty. [It is] the religion of your father, Abraham. Allah named you “Muslims” before [in former scriptures] and in this [revelation] that the Messenger may be a witness over you and you may be witnesses over the people. So establish prayer and give zakah and hold fast to Allah . He is your protector; and excellent is the protector, and excellent is the helper.
Dear brothers and sisters, by this we can see that we ought to strive to this third level Ihsan and thus it is not befitting our purpose in life to make do with what we have achieved. Life is geared in such a way that it takes over our consciousness and distracts us from what is truly it’s purpose. After all, if it wasn’t this way then it wouldn’t be a test.
However we run a risk here because we are in danger of going backwards in our attaining Ihsan because we are constantly looking for shortcuts which results in slipping of standards in the way we perform our acts of worship or our remembrance of Allah SWT.
So how does this relate to us right here, right now? Whether it’s in study, work, amongst family or somewhere else, it means that every day, when you are presented with the next actrivity be it work, responsibilities, study, etc – that you stop…that you stop the immediate negative reaction that we’ve been trained to play over and over again when it comes to these sorts of things and do the right thing, which is to remain positive and do it to the best of our ability and to strive to improve how we do it.
We do this by realizing that this is our opportunity for ihsan. That this is another opportunity for us to make our intentions for Allah SWT and to please Him. That this is a chance for us to add something to our Life’s Book that Allah SWT will open on the Day of Judgment and look upon us with joy and be proud of us.
A practical example of this is the prayer we are all going to perform at the end of this reminder. We all know the steps to salah but how many of us strive to improve our salah? To know that to be at that level of Ihsan it is to perfect the prayer, it is to improve both internal concentration and intention, it is to perfect the external action of each step of prayer, to remain still in each stage of prayer, to focus the eyes on one spot in prayer, to recite each ayat, each word with clarity and understanding in prayer.
This one action in our day has so many areas where we can improve and so it goes to show that Ihsan isn’t restricted to one thing but can be applied to all facets of life. It’s a point on attitude and sincerity.
Dear brothers and sisters, we have been blessed with the religion of Islam. So when you are going by your day, aim to do it with ihsan! Don’t just “be,” don’t just get by, don’t just pass. Be EXCELLENT, strive for PERFECTION, be the BEST you can be and show the world how Islam inspires you to attain Ihsan!
We are given just a few moments in this dunya. Each breath is a priceless jewel and when it passes it never returns…make this moment, this breath, this heart beat one that resounds with ihsan (Excellence)!
Dear brothers and sisters, we have discussed this topic before and the oneness of Allah SWT is a foundation of our belief. However, in today’s reminder, the topic is expanded further into three sections.
The first is how the Oneness of Allah SWT is in relation to the one who is worshipped, the second is the meaning of Allah in that who sustains and finally it is on the attributes of Allah SWT which are mentioned in the Quran.
The first part is in relation to one who must be worshipped. The imam mentioned the 21st ayat of Sura Baqara which is translated to say:
O mankind, worship your Lord, who created you and those before you, that you may become righteous –
Dear brothers and sisters, if we analyse the first point then we are being told that through worship of Allah SWT we will become righteous.
Could it be that one can demonstrate righteousness in any other way? Of course this is possible. After all, we live in a society where the majority do not worship Allah SWT. And yet they show examples of righteous behaviour.
So what can we learn from this ayat? One of the lessons here is that the definition of what is righteous or what is deemed as good behaviour comes also from Allah SWT, the Creator and not the creation.
When we take the Creator and what He defines as righteous then we not only demonstrate we are worshipping Him but we are also contributing to a stable society and way of living.
For example, if tomorrow the act of stealing became lawful. The media, teachers, neighbours, friends etc all started saying stealing is absolutely fine. On top of that those who steal began to be praised by the media and revered in our society and those who didn’t steal were picked on for being backward. How would be react?
It’s a silly example but its deliberately stated to demonstrate that to put the definition of what is right, what is good in the hands of the creation is submitting to our nafs, our desires and would only lead to examples like this one which would make our society chaotic.
It makes logical sense that only the Creator can ever set the guidelines on what is right and wrong. It is only through following His commandments that we become righteous and good. And by doing so we not only function as He made us to function but we demonstrate worship of Him by following his commandments.
Second point made by the imam was of Allah SWT being one who sustains. The imam mentioned the following ayat 95 from Sura Al-Anam which is translated to say:
Indeed, Allah is the cleaver of grain and date seeds. He brings the living out of the dead and brings the dead out of the living. That is Allah ; so how are you deluded?
Dear brothers and sisters, if we analyse this ayat it is warning us of a delusion. An incorrect way of thinking. And what is that incorrect mindset? It is the belief that we are in charge of our sustinence. That our physical, mental and emotional wellbeing is independent of our Creator.
It seems like a simple point. After all, we here are all believers and so why could this point be relevant in today’s reminder?
It is about the practical application of this point. An example here is if one of us loses their job. We can become sad, despondent and depressed at our misfortune. This is an example of failing to rely on He who is in charge of our sustinence. We ought to use this opportunity to thank Allah SWT for our change in fortune as we ought to have faith that something better will come from this change in direction in our lives.
Another reaction to this example is the opposite behaviour. Those of us who take a job loss and plan to bounce back. Obviously this is a good reaction in theory, they brush up on their CV, start applying for new jobs etc. However, they focus their effort on the physical act of reacting to the situation. They fail to recognise that even all this positive behaviour will only manifest into a change of fortune with the permission of Allah and so they miss out on this important point.
Dear brothers and sisters, each day we are given examples in our lives of reasons to thank Allah SWT and to recognise that He is the sustainer. Let’s not forget this, regardless of how we react and thus avoid the warning of delusion mentioned earlier.
Thirdly, the oneness of Allah SWT is about the 99 names or attributes of Allah SWT. But why do we have 99 attributes?
To answer this question we need to ask ourselves, how is one introduced to someone they don’t know? For example, if I am introduced to someone for the first time, they may say my name and then say this Adeel, he is half-decent at talking in front of people. What is that doing to the other person? It’s giving them a picture of me before I have even had a chance to say hello. It’s allowing their mind to paint a picture of me and understand the kind of person I am.
Dear brothers and sisters, we can’t see Allah SWT. Not in this life. But by having 99 attributes, it is allowing us to create a complete picture of who our He is. For most of us, we can’t even list 99 characteristics to describe ourselves but in the Quran, Allah SWT is listing 99 attributes of Himself. This is so there is no ambiguity in our minds as to who our He is. By understanding them all, we paint in ourselves a perfect picture that eliminates the need to see Him. With these attributes we know exactly who Allah SWT is.
And alongside knowing the 99 names, we can then use the one that is applicable to us when talking to Him. Whether it is Al-Wali which means the protecting friend when we are feeling vulnerable to Al-Razzaq which means the sustainer when we are having money problems, there is a name or attribute for all our problems and needs.
Dear brothers and sisters, today’s reminder on Tawheed or the Oneness of Allah is focused on us opening our eyes to the blessings we have in our lives. Lets not overlook the fact that all that we have, have had and will have comes from He who is worthy of our everlasting thanks and our everlasting praise.
Dear brothers, we carry on from last weeks khutba about direction of the Qibla to the actual act of travelling.
By travelling, this is not only long travels such as holiday destinations or family visits but travels such as daily commutes to work and trips to the shopping malls.
Dear brothers, we have an obligation as slaves of Allah SWT to make remembrance and worship a part of everything that we do.
Allah SWT has mentioned in Sura Al-Furqan, ayat 62:
“And it is He who has made the night and day in succession for whoever desires to remember or desires gratitude”
This ayat is reminding us that no time can go amiss where we cannot put it towards being mindful and grateful towards Allah SWT.
Dear brother, travelling has evolved in recent times. If you look at public transport these days there is a common image associated with the traveller. That look is normally head down and oblivious to the world around him. Not through remembrance of Allah SWT but through the interaction of the mobile phone.
Most people these days, as soon as the journey begins, bring out their mobile phone and begin social networking or surfing the web. And who can blame them? It’s a powerful distraction away from the mundane task of travelling.
However, those people are forgetting a very important hadith of the prophet SAWS in which he said:
Three duas or supplications will not be rejected (by Allah (SWT)), the supplication of the parent for his child, the supplication of the one who is fasting, and the supplication of the traveler.
In other words, travel is the best time to ask from your Lord according to this hadith so why not take advantage of this blessed time?
For those of us wishing to travel further than our local neighbourhood, Allah SWT has even blessed us with ease in regards to our prayer as mentioned in Sura Nisaa, ayat 101:
“And when you travel throughout the land, there is no blame on you for shortening your prayer”
The specifics of this have variations amongst the scholars but for the sake of this khutba, the most popular opinion of each of the points have been mentioned:
Firstly, the distance travelled before one can offer a shortened prayer is around 48 miles or 77 kilometres.
Secondly, we can shorten the prayer for around 2 weeks if we are travelling. There is even a hadith stating 19 days duration during which time the muslims we considered to be travelling and thus offered shorter prayers.
Thirdly, the journey starts and ends from our point of origin. So, for example if the travel began from our home then it does not end until we reach our home.
And lastly, the prayers that can be shortened are Zuhr, Asr and Isha prayers. These are 4-unit prayers normally and they are shortened to 2-unit prayers.
Optional prayers are not offered during travel and this is also in line with the hadith of the prophet SAWS.
Dear brothers, it is clear to see that we have the potential to seek great reward during travel and we have been blessed with ease during travel. It is our responsibility to ensure we make the most out of each and every journey we embark upon.
May Allah SWT grace us all with safe travel. May Allah SWT accept our travel prayers. And may Allah SWT accept our supplications during travel.
Ameen wal hamdullilahi rabilalameen.
Our religion or deen is complete in every aspect of life and Allah swt created humans in the perfect shape and form.
Allah swt knows what the human needs and has sent us guidelines to help us to achieve happiness and balance in all aspects of our life. To stray from this guidance will lead us to unhappiness, discontent and a poor quality of life now and in the hereafter.
What is beneficial and what is not has been decided, and what is permissible and what is not is set within our religious guidance.
As we approach the spring and summer seasons the opportunities for recreational activities such as the enjoyment of holidays present themselves with both halal and haram options available.
Fun and recreation is encouraged in our deen by maintaining a balance between worship, family and relaxation. However, we have to remain mindful of the limitations of seeking such fun, holidays and recreation within the confines of Shariah or (Islamic law).
We have obligatory holidays such as Eid-ul-Fitr and Eid-al-Adha, recreational activities such as visiting friends and families, and visiting other places to gain knowledge of the world, contemplate the greatness of our creator and reflect on our blessings.
This kind of holiday, within the boundaries of Shariah and led by good intentions can be worship to Allah SWT in itself.
The simple act of assessing your intention to your forthcoming course of action, whether that is a holiday or visiting family, can all be turned into worship of Allah if we intend for it to benefit our understanding of each other, our Deen and Allah’s blessings upon us.
Allah swt in surah Al-Ankabut ayah 20 said
‘Say, oh Muhammad, travel through the land and observe how He began creation’.
Contemplate the beauty of Allah’s creation as you enjoy the relaxation of your holidays,
Surah An-Naml ayt 60 reminds us,
‘ whatever you have been given is a provision for this world and its glitter, but that which is with Allah is better and more enduring, do you not use your intellect?’
As you contemplate the beauty of Allah’s creation, be mindful of the fact that there is better to come in the next life for us all. Be grateful for what you have been blessed with in this world and remember Allah SWT, the creator of it all.
In Surah Al-Hajj Ayat 46 Allah SWT says
‘have they not journeyed in the land that their hearts might understand and their ears might listen? For indeed it is not the eyes that are blinded; it is rather the hearts in the breast that are rendered blind’
Do not take for granted that the purpose of everything that has been created for us is for us to remember Allah SWT and his mercy and blessings upon us. The beauty that surrounds us, the temperature of the sun, the texture of the sand, the taste of the foods we enjoy on our holidays, etc.
Taking all this for granted would be an act that will lead to blindness of the heart. The eyes may see but the heart, and thus, the soul would receive no benefit if the rememberance of who created all this was not sought.
Brothers and Sisters as spring and summer approaches and the holiday seasons begin let us consider the benefits of intending our relaxation and travels into an act of worship to Allah swt, and do so with our families and friends, including them in our recreation.
In Sahih Muslim, it is narrated that the Prophet, peace be upon him said:
‘That Paradise is surrounded by hardships and the Hell-Fire is surrounded by temptations.
Desire is short lived brothers, so enjoy your holidays but know that loosing yourself in the glitter of this dunya could lead you to neglect your worship of Allah. Protect yourself by keeping such enjoyment short and surround yourself with good people, the right travel companions and with activities that encourage and promote permissable acts.
Surah Al-Anfal ayah 29 says:
‘ Oh you who believe, if you follow the path shown by Allah, He will give you a standard (of right and wrong), and overlook your sins, and forgive you. Allah is abounding in benevolence.’
May Allah SWT grant us safety on our journeys. May Allah SWT accept our intentions to seek His Mercy and His Blessings. May Allah SWT grant us the ability through these intentions to know him and to gain closeness to him.
Ameen wal hamdullilahi rabilalameen.