Dear brothers and sisters, we are living in a time and a place which is perfectly captured by the title of todays reminder. Living as Muslims in today’s day and age is often akin to trying to hold on to a hot volcanic rock because it is painful to do so.
We are bombarded with the narrative of a Muslim through the media that couldn’t be further from the truth. Only negative words are associated with our religion and our way of living.
Indeed, society is now being set up through both government and institutions such that the effect is to remove Islamic principles and values. This in turn leads to many Muslims falling outside of what is acceptable or permissible in our faith.
The imam mentioned the following hadith which summarizes our time and place perfectly, it is translated to say:
“I went to Abu Tha’balah Al-Khushani and said to him: ‘How do you deal with this Ayah?’ He said: ‘Which Ayah?’ I said: ‘Allah’s saying: Take care of yourselves! If you follow the guidance no harm shall come to you (5:105).’ He said: ‘Well, by Allah! I asked one well-informed about it, I asked the Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) about it.
He (SAWS) said: “Rather, comply with (and order) the good, and stay away from (and prohibit) the evil, until you see greed obeyed, desires followed, and the world preferred, and everyone is amazed with his view.
Then you should be worried about yourself in particular, and worry of the common folk. Ahead of you are the days in which patience is like holding onto an ember, for the doer (of righteous deeds) during them is the like of the reward of fifty of those who do the like of what you (i.e. the companions) do.”
Dear brothers and sisters, if we analyse this hadith and ponder over the advice given by the best of creation SAWS then we can see that a time was being spoken of when holding onto the faith is like holding on to a red hot stone.
It’s so much easier to let go of the hot stone and similarly in times like this, it is so much easier to just follow the crowd and let go of the values that tie us to the faith of Islam. However, it is the strength of faith, the strength of imaan that keeps us holding on firm to Islam, even if it becomes painful to do so.
Our action plan, should therefore be split into 4 steps in order to keep firm to our faith. This reminder concludes with each of the four points, broken down.
- The problem is that the ways in which trials and tribulations come is not in a simple obvious way, but in all forms and all types. These days those include innovations such as the latest of technologies.
The best methods employed are so subtle that it takes some real thought and pondering to recognise them as tactics designed to move the Muslim away from their faith.
Alongside that, those that attempt to try to follow their faith and walk the correct path are laughed at and are fought, in all sorts of different ways – both directly and otherwise.
As Muslims, we need to be a people who are always switched on, always pondering, always mindful that we are not falling foul of these strategies drawn to drive us away from the path of Allah SWT. We cannot therefore be complacent and instead always be looking to self-assess and improve ourselves as Muslims.
Therefore, believers must try to find other believers who are also steadfast, to ensure they help each other and support each other. Build communities from institutions such as the masjids, maddrassahs, parents circles at schools, neighbourhood groups or community centres. Use the same tools such as technologies and social media to communicate, support and look out for one another just like the same tools are being used to distract us from the right path.
- We should be aiming to avoid falling in the trap through the decisions we make in our worldly life. Of course, this does not mean segregation because we must promote inclusion into the society in which we live. This is important if we are to portray the correct image of Islam. No, by avoid it means to stay clear of things we know will be difficult. For example, going out to work events in bars and clubs. Choosing career choices that will put us in a difficult position or even social events where we know there will be drinks and drugs present. Some things cannot be avoided but where we have a choice, we ought to pick the safest path open to us.
- By this it means to have patience, not to lose hope, be tolerant of others and to show mercy towards those who choose a different path to travel. All the while we do our best to perform good deeds and to set an example for others to aspire to. The imam mentioned a hadith in relation to this which says:
Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) said, “Be prompt in doing good deeds (before you are overtaken) by turbulence which would be like a part of the dark night. A man would be a believer in the morning and turn to disbelief in the evening, or he would be a believer in the evening and turn disbeliever in the morning, and would sell his Faith for worldly goods.”
- And finally, teach. We need to support one another to the truth and what is the correct faith of Islam. And no single group is more important than our youth. We are all responsible for this, parents or otherwise. We are responsible for showing them the correct path of Islam otherwise the alternative is for them to be steered towards something which is false and will lead them to loss. So, share knowledge, share advice. Set an example for yourself, a standard for your family and stand proud as ambassadors for the truth so that it is counted for you in front of Allah SWT and so that it is passed on to others through example and teaching.
Dear brothers and sisters, we are living in a time and place where the temptations and strategy of shaitaan has manifested in a way never before seen through the tools and technologies of today. We need to understand that it is imperative on each and every one of us to live with our eyes open, our minds switched on and with a constant remembrance of our Lord and the path of Islam.