Last week we were reminded of the beauty of our faith in that we were given hope from our beloved Prophet SAWS that this life is temporary and that those who believe in Allah SWT and His Messenger SAWS will enter Paradise for eternity.
We spoke of ways in which this could have been achieved. The three points last week were on worshipping Allah SWT alone, following the Sunnah of the Prophet SAWS and focusing on the prayer.
This week we continue the reminder with other ways.
The imam began with reminding us that Repenting is a key component for entering Paradise. As was mentioned last week, Shaitaan will attempt to fill us with despair by making us think that our mistakes in this world are unforgivable by Allah SWT and that we are therefore destined for Hell.
On the contrary, this first point of repentance is backed by references in the Quran and the Sunnah. The first of these is the 60th ayat of Sura Maryum in which the earlier ayat spoke of those who did wrongdoings in this life. Allah SWT then reminds us that despite those wrongdoings, there is a way to recover from that and it is translated to say:
Except him who repents and believes and does righteousness; so those will enter the Garden and they will not be done injustice in anything.
Alongside this we have the Hadith of the Prophet SAWS saying:
One who repents from sin is like someone without sin.
The next way is those who seek knowledge for the sake of Allah SWT. Dear brothers and sisters, it’s important here to note that it’s not just Islamic knowledge, for those here who are still studying, any form of study where your intention is to work and provide for your family or even to share good knowledge with others afterwards, falls into this category and therefore intention is everything when we set out to seek knowledge.
To Build a Masjid is another one. The imam reminded us of the hadith of the Prophet SAWS in which he was reported to have said:
Whoever built a mosque, Allah would build for him a similar place in Paradise.
The next one mentioned today was on manners. Again, the imam reminded us of a hadith to emphasise this point. It is translated to say:
I guarantee a house in the surroundings of Paradise for a man who avoids quarrelling even if he were in the right, a house in the middle of Paradise for a man who avoids lying even if he were joking, and a house in the upper part of Paradise for a man who made his character good.
Dear brothers and sisters, the foundation of our behaviour is manners and the starting point of perfecting your manners is from the Prophet SAWS and then from your parents, your teachers, your elders. We live in a time and a place where bad manners is considered funny and normal and we mustn’t fall into this trap of being OK with that. Instead, we strive to go against the tide and have impeccable manners in all areas of our lives.
Which leads us nicely onto the next point of Jihad. The word, despite what media will tell us, means to strive and to struggle, and this is all about continuously moving to the next level of our manners and our worship. To do jihad is to go out of your comfort zone and perform that next level of worship you talk yourself out of doing. Whether it’s more optional prayers, fasts or something else, the point is about continuous improvement as a Muslim and this is what it means to perform Jihad.
Other points mentioned by the imam were to perform Hajj as it wipes your record clean, to perform congregational prayers in the masjid and to look after an Orphan. All these examples carry great reward and should be adhered to wherever possible.
And finally, the imam spoke of having Taqwa. Dear brothers and sisters, this is a topic in itself and we have had whole reminders on the topic of Taqwa as it’s that important. To summarize for today, it is to be aware of Allah SWT. Obviously, our five senses cannot assist us here, but to have Taqwa goes beyond your senses, it is feeling Allah SWT in your heart, seeing Him through the blessings all around you and communicating with Him through worship and conduct in life.
The imam reminded us of Taqwa by relaying the 133rd ayat of Sura Imran which is translated to say:
Race with one another towards Forgiveness from your Lord and towards a paradise the width of which spans the heavens and the earth. It has been prepared for the God-fearing,
Dear brothers and sisters, we are blessed to belong to the Ummah of the Prophet SAWS. Through his teachings and from the Glorious Quran, we have at our disposal optimism and real practical steps on how to tread this life and return back to Allah SWT with hope that He will admit us into Paradise.
Let us use the reminders of these past couple of weeks to both become the best that we can be and to become role models for those around us as well.