Over the past two weeks we have been reminded that Allah SWT is most merciful and that our religion is one of hope with Allah SWT gifting us with the Prophet SAWS who delivered good news and news of hope for mankind.
We were told over the past two weeks that there are many ways for us to achieve the forgiveness of Allah SWT and to be in paradise in the hereafter.
From associating no partners with Allah SWT to performing Hajj, there were many examples given and this week we continue with others to help foster hope into the hearts of us all.
The first this week is having Patience. Allah SWT speaks of the beautiful trait of patience in many places in the Quran. From Sura Insan to Sura Asr, patience is mentioned and the imam reminded us of Sura Ra’d, ayat 24 which is translated to say:
“Peace [i.e., security] be upon you for what you patiently endured. And excellent is the final home.”
Dear brothers and sisters, to have patience is a valuable trait in this life and in the sight of Allah SWT and so we should all aim to develop this. However, it does not come to everyone easily and so one practical tip on how we can achieve this is something that was mentioned last week.
In the final point we spoke last week of having Taqwa or being conscious of Allah SWT in our thoughts and in our heart. To have the presence of Allah SWT in our thoughts leads to us improving our manners and conduct in this life and one of those improvements can be of patience.
Next time the feeling of patience is wearing thin, remind yourself of His presence, remind yourself that this life is there to test us and remind yourself of the amazing reward you will be receiving if you are able to practice patience in that moment.
The second one this week is of Fasting. The imam reminded us of a hadith in which the Prophet SAWS is reported to have said:
“In Jannah there is a gate which is called Ar-Raiyan through which only those who observe Saum (fasting) will enter on the Day of Resurrection. None else will enter through it. It will be called out, “Where are those who observe fasting?” So they will stand up and proceed towards it. When the last of them will have entered, the gate will be closed and then no one will enter through that gate.”
Dear brothers and sisters, we have the beautiful month of Ramadan in which we are all given the opportunity to achieve this reward. Alongside this, we can take it up a level and observe fasting throughout the year for extra reward.
Many of us fast on Mondays and Thursdays for example and with the days growing shorter now, what better time to see if you can take it to this next level and begin to observe the optional fasts as well as those in Ramadan?
The third reminder was on being someone of integrity. From being truthful in speech to maintaining your chastity, this reminder is again on the personality that is representative of a Muslim and it is something for which a great reward is promised.
The imam reminded us of a hadith in relation to this point in which the Prophet SAWS said:
“Whoever can guarantee (the chastity of) what is between his two jaw-bones and what is between his two legs (i.e. his tongue and his private parts), I guarantee Paradise for him.”
Dear brothers and sisters, this also links back to patience and perseverance as it’s this trait that will help you be someone of integrity. We live in a time and a place where this is increasingly difficult to do but we remind ourselves that the life we are living is a test and so for every occurrence that we remain chaste then we are ever closer to obtaining the reward as is conveyed by the Prophet SAWS.
And finally, we were reminded today that there is great reward for the recitation of the supplications or duas after each obligatory prayer.
We often find ourselves rushing through the prayer as our busy lives demand that we return to it, but this is also part of the struggle of the test. Our salah ought to continue past the performance of Salaam and aim to sincerely complete the list of supplications that were taught to us by the Prophet SAWS.
In this very masjid, and often in others, the supplications are written either on the wall or on some kind of hanging as we have in this main hall. Make the effort to bring these into your salah, not only to take your salah to the next level but also so that you can benefit from the great reward of reciting these after each prayer.
Dear brothers and sisters, our focus the past few weeks has been on ways we can enter Paradise. What should become clear now is that there are many different ways in which we can achieve this. Therefore we should take from this reminder that we are to be hopeful, to remain optimistic and to never fall into the trap that we are beyond Allah SWT’s mercy.