This week’s khutbah was on responsibility over others
The imam spoke of a hadith in which the prophet SAWS said:
“Everyone of you is a guardian, and responsible for what is in his custody. The ruler is a guardian of his subjects and responsible for them; a husband is a guardian of his family and is responsible for it; a lady is a guardian of her husband’s house and is responsible for it, and a servant is a guardian of his master’s property and is responsible for it.” I heard that from Allah’s Messenger (ﷺ) and I think that the Prophet (ﷺ) also said, “A man is a guardian of his father’s property and is responsible for it, so all of you are guardians and responsible for your wards and things under your care.”
Dear brothers and sisters, we all have a responsibility in our lives. It starts at an early age, for most of us being told to be responsible in front of a younger sibling for example, or at school in front of younger children to adulthood where we become role models in work or as parents to our children.
The people in front of who we set an example may change in age or number but the concept is still the same and that is that we are always being assessed, whether we are conscious of it or not, in how we are behaving in any given situation.
We have been set the task as guardians by Allah SWT and He mentions this in the Glorious Quran in Sura Tahreem, ayat 6 as referenced by the imam today in which it says:
O you who have believed, protect yourselves and your families from a Fire whose fuel is people and stones, over which are [appointed] angels, harsh and severe; they do not disobey Allah in what He commands them but do what they are commanded.
Dear brothers and sisters, we are being told of the weight of responsibility on our shoulders and this isn’t something that ought to be taken lightly.
We ought to remind ourselves that if we are given this task of being a custodian over others then the flipside also can have an effect.
Often one is not conscious of the fact that their wayward behaviour is not only detrimental for their own soul but it may also be having an effect on others. For example, a lot of my generation to speed around in our cars when we were younger and it was something we never gave thought to. We even sometimes had younger siblings in the car when we did so. Now those kids have grown up and have developed the same bad habits but if we ask them about it they reply that we did the same when we were their age.
Bad habits tend to have a rippling effect on others and often it’s more potent than the good habits as shaytaan encourages others to look at the bad habits and to mimic them.
The imam reminded us of a hadith of the Prophet SAWS in which he said:
“Any governor in charge of Muslim subjects who dies while acting dishonestly towards them will be excluded by Allah from Paradise.”
Dear brothers and sisters, this is reminding us that the importance of being a good guardian, role model and authoritative figure is not just about doing the right thing but being vigilant against doing the wrong thing.
This reminder concludes with 3 principles on being a good custodian over others.
- Every person has the potential to be good. As parents, for example, if we see a child doing something that they should not be doing then the instinct is usually to tell the child off or administer some form of punishment. However, we ought to take a step back and remind ourselves that the child is imitating or applying what it has seen, heard of felt from its enivironment. Maybe it could be that the example being set by the guardians around it is contributing to the behaviour? Look at the environment for the cause before the person and act accordingly to change it.
- Being transparent and consistent with one’s boundaries. Allah SWT has given us boundaries to keep within and without rules, society would be in chaos as people could do as they please and infringe on the rights of others. The same applies in being a good leader, whether it is in the home or out in the world, it is important to set rules and boundaries and to stick to them. It will harbour respect from others as they will recognise someone of principles and also by being able to explain the rules and boundaries with reasoning, it will provide others with an incentive to obey them and follow in the same footsteps.
- With very responsibility comes an opportunity. We need to remind ourselves that for every soul that looks to us as a figure of responsibility, it is a blessing and an opportunity to learn. It is a blessing because for each good habit or experience they take from their interaction from us, we will be rewarded insh’Allah by Allah SWT in this life and the next. And it also means that for each person that is placed under our care, it is an opportunity for us to grow into better people and better Muslims. A perfect case again is one of a parent. There is no greater jump in behaviour for most than when they realise that there is this pure soul looking to them for guidance and as a role model. That in turn causes personal growth in the parent in behaviour and mannerisms.
Dear brothers and sisters, we live in a time that can feel that its headed towards the increasing irresponsible nature of others. However, Islam was spread due to the beauty in what it teaches and the beauty of those who followed its principles. By becoming conscious of our responsibilities and becoming aware that we are guardians over others, we can fulfil the obligations upon us for our families and friends as well as serve the role of positive ambassadors for our faith in the wider society.
May Allah SWT enable us to positive guardians over others. May Allah SWT enable us to be a good example to others and may Allah SWT reward us for our efforts in being positive guardians.Read More
This week’s khutbah was on the second ayat of Sura Al-Maida
Before we embark upon the lessons and reminder from this ayat, it is worth mentioning first of all what is said in the ayat mentioned by the imam today.
It is translated to say:
And now it is time for you to cooperate in good and pious things. And do not cooperate with each other in sin and animosity. And be fearful of Allah. Certainly Allah is intense in taking vengeance and in giving consequences out to you.
Dear brothers and sisters, this selection of the ayat is reminded to us by the imam but it is only part of the ayat and so it is first necessary to give a background on this passage from the Quran.
This Sura is one of the last to be revealed to mankind and so it comes at a time in the life of the Prophet SAWS when the Muslims had already overcome the biggest obstacles of the mission of Islam and were in control of Makkah.
If we look at the context in which this ayat was delivered, this was the ayah where Allah SWT reminds the Muslims that they are in a position of power now and those who were their enemies are now in a position of weakness.
Why is this explanation of context important? Human nature tells us that victors are often the source of corruption. They rob and kill others. So Allah (swt) is reminding them to not let power get to their heads and thus do good and things that remind them to be fearful of Allah SWT
Dear brothers and sisters, besides the lesson of cooperating on the good things and not on the sinful, there is a deeper lesson on the mindset of someone who is in a position of weakness versus someone of power.
For most of us, being part of the UK today may bring it’s challenges but it is nothing compared to the challenges faced by our brothers and sisters in the countries from which our heritage and ancestry belongs.
We have wealth that sets us in top percentile of the planet, we have all of life’s essentials catered for such as safety from war, healthcare, shelter and essential provisions.
However, instead of bringing one another to piety and good, i.e. holding on to the values of our faith and belief, there are some who are bringing one another away from the right path.
Whether that be through the conduction of sin that just happens to fit in with society’s norms or through the forgetting of those who are still in a position of weakness overseas, this reminder serves to jolt our memory to how good we have it and what we ought to be doing as a result of it.
The imam reminds us that in one hadith, the messenger of Allah SWT said:
“The believers in their mutual kindness, compassion and sympathy are just like one body. When one of the limbs suffers, the whole body responds to it with wakefulness and fever”.
Dear brothers and sisters, we have a responsibility to one another in a time when we are in a relative position of power being in the UK. We need to remind ourselves how fortunate we are to be in a position such as this and what that inevitably means, and so the reminder concludes with two practical tips for achieving this.
Firstly, we need to assess if we are of those who have remained steadfast to our Lord in a time of prosperity. Are we co-operating with good or are we co-operating with the lost?
We need to be sure that we are not following the trend but setting the trend. We need to ensure that we are the ones leading others in setting the correct examples. Unfortunately, we live in a time and a place where the norms of society in which we live contradict the teachings of our faith.
A good way to think of it is, if you can’t pray in it, don’t wear it, if you don’t want to die doing that action, don’t do it, if you don’t want those to be your last words, don’t say it and if you don’t want to be standing with them on the day of judgement, stay clear of them.
The second tip is to keep oneself grounded when in a relatively privileged position we are in today. This can be done through charitable donations to our brothers and sisters, we have for example Human Appeal regularly coming to this masjid to collect for our brothers and sisters overseas. But alongside that, there is a more powerful method to humble oneself and that is charitable actions that require time and effort. Dedicate some time to a charitable cause, they are all desperate for people to help them and a perfect example is our local charity Myriad Foundation who run projects ranging from helping the elderly, homeless and sick in Manchester to the collection and distribution of food to the poor and needy in Manchester.
Dear brothers and sisters, Allah SWT said in Sura Rahman, ayat 60:
Is the reward for good anything but good?
This rhetorical question should remind one another that we have a responsibility to co-operate with another as is instructed by Allah SWT but also that by doing so we will be in a position where we will be rewarded good for our actions as well as receiving mercy from our Lord.
May Allah SWT enable us to be those who co-operate in good things. May Allah SWT protect us from those who co-operate in sinful things and may Allah SWT reward us for our efforts in co-operating in good things.Read More
The Holy Qur’an, in many verses, addresses man as an individual and makes it clear that everyone will be responsible for his own deeds and will be blamed or credited for what he did.
The codes of Shari’ah (Islamic Law) give the Muslim essential character traits in order that he may obtain a general, correct notion of himself and everything around him, and a proper conduct and behaviour.
The process of establishing an upright society begins with the individual. We cannot blame society for the mess it’s in since we are part of society and therefore have the power to change it.
Once the individual attains the quality of righteousness, the family will undoubtedly follow suit, which eventually affects the society as a whole. Everyone is responsible for his or her role in this effort. And each person must act in accordance to his position.
The Muslim has several responsibilities and duties to fulfil in his or her life. These responsibilities are directed towards The Creator, one’s own self, people in general, nature and other creatures.
And undoubtedly, it is this conduct that Allah SWT will question us on as is mentioned in Sura Al-Hijr,ayat 92&93:
So by your Lord. We will surely question them all.
About what they used to do.
So, dear brothers and sisters, what does this mean for us practically?
What follows then are 5 key areas that we must all look towards when talking about personal responsibility:
- Responsibility towards Allah SWT
It is our responsibility as We, His creatures, are obligated to worship and believe in Him based on the teachings of Islam.
Otherwise our belief or worship is in danger of not being accepted and will be wasted.
- Responsibility towards Oneself
Man is created in his mother’s womb without knowledge or control. It is totally down to the blessing and mercy of Allah SWT that we are here today. As a result we have a responsibility to take care of ourselves. That means physically, mentally as well as spiritually.
- Responsibility towards Other People
We have a responsibility to live in harmony and work together. Allah SWT has established rules and laws to facilitate people in their relations with each other. In Islam, the individual is honoured with special rights as a child, parent, brother, sister, young, old, relative, neighbour etc. It’s our responsibility to respect these rights.
- Responsibility towards Other Creations
Every living thing in this world is a creation of Allah SWT. In Islam we have a responsibility to show them mercy by not causing them unnecessary harm. We are advised, if given the opportunity, to care to their hunger or thirst.
- Responsibility towards Nature and the Environment
And lastly we are expected to be responsible to the environment around us. By nature it means the features of the world surrounding us. Everything has been designed for a purpose by Allah SWT.
It is therefore our responsibility to conduct in proper use of natural resources and not abuse the environment through pollution, destruction, or misuse.
As Allah SWT says in Sura Al-Hashr, ayat 18:
O you who have believed, fear Allah. And let every soul look to what it has put forth for tomorrow – and fear Allah. Indeed Allah is acquainted with what you do.
Dear brothers and sisters, the concept of responsibility can appear to be a vague concept to visualise but that doesn’t mean that it doesn’t have importance attached to it.
In fact, to emphasise the point being made, the khutba concluded with a mention of the following hadith in which the prophet SAWS said:
“A servants two feet will not move on the Day of Judgement until he is questioned about four (things): His youth, how he spent it, his knowledge, how he acted upon it, his wealth, how he earned it / spent it and his body, how he used/wasted it.”
May Allah SWT enable us to understand the significance of responsibility. May Allah SWT enable us to behave responsibly and may Allah SWT reward us for our efforts in responsibility.
Ameen Walhamdullilahi Rabilalameen.