Status Quo – A Khutbah

Islam is more than a religion. According to Cicero, religion comes from “relegere” or “to go through again/read again.” From “re” + “legere”.

But Islam is a way of life, a way of living your life, of seeing, of acting, all tied together. It can even be classified as civilizational, though this can sometimes be problematic when certain groups or races of people are seen to be indistinguishable with that civilization.

This way of life touches on every aspect of human existence: the personal, the public, the private; even the political. But in today’s world, where so much emphasis is placed on the political, Muslims have often lost sight of where in the grand scheme of things does politics fit. What about our principles? What happened to that simple piety of “doing the right thing”? We cannot wait-list our morals and principles until we achieve certain (perceived) political goals. What if we do not have the capacity to do so? Being Muslim isn’t always about what you’d like to be able to do but about what you ought to do with what you’re given.

إنكم في زمان من ترك منكم عشر ما أمر به هلك ثم يأتي زمان من عمل منهم بعشر ما أمر به نجا

“You live in a time that one will be destroyed if he does not fulfill a 10th of what he has been commanded to do. Then there will come a time when fulfilling a 10th of what you have been commanded will be salvation.” al-Tirmidhi, hasan.

Getting our community back to basics: morality, compassion, God-fearing and God-consciousness (warning people):

فَإِنْ أَعْرَضُوا فَقُلْ أَنْذَرْتُكُمْ صَاعِقَةً مِثْلَ صَاعِقَةِ عَادٍ وَثَمُود

Qur’an, Fussilat, 41: 13.

Even out theology connects belief in God to feeding poor people. This is not contingent upon any political aspirations:

إِنَّهُ كَانَ لَا يُؤْمِنُ بِاللَّهِ الْعَظِيمِ – وَلَا يَحُضُّ عَلَىٰ طَعَامِ الْمِسْكِينِ

Qur’an, al-Haqqah, 69: 32-33.

Current state of heedlessness: we are only jolted awake and into action when there’s a crisis. We live from crisis to crisis:

مَثَلُهُمْ كَمَثَلِ الَّذِي اسْتَوْقَدَ نَارًا فَلَمَّا أَضَاءَتْ مَا حَوْلَهُ ذَهَبَ اللَّهُ بِنُورِهِمْ وَتَرَكَهُمْ فِي ظُلُمَاتٍ لَا يُبْصِرُونَ – صُمٌّ بُكْمٌ عُمْيٌ فَهُمْ لَا يَرْجِعُونَ – أَوْ كَصَيِّبٍ مِنَ السَّمَاءِ فِيهِ ظُلُمَاتٌ وَرَعْدٌ وَبَرْقٌ يَجْعَلُونَ أَصَابِعَهُمْ فِي آذَانِهِمْ مِنَ الصَّوَاعِقِ حَذَرَ الْمَوْتِ ۚ وَاللَّهُ مُحِيطٌ بِالْكَافِرِينَ – يَكَادُ الْبَرْقُ يَخْطَفُ أَبْصَارَهُمْ ۖ كُلَّمَا أَضَاءَ لَهُمْ مَشَوْا فِيهِ وَإِذَا أَظْلَمَ عَلَيْهِمْ قَامُوا ۚ وَلَوْ شَاءَ اللَّهُ لَذَهَبَ بِسَمْعِهِمْ وَأَبْصَارِهِمْ ۚ إِنَّ اللَّهَ عَلَىٰ كُلِّ شَيْءٍ قَدِيرٌ

Qur’an, al-Baqarah, 2: 17-18.

We don’t read the Qur’an with a sense of fear and awe. We think these “stories” are about “other people”. Why would Allah inform us of what they did wrong if not then to warn us to avoid the same pitfalls?

Are we committed to delivering Allah’s message and to doing good works? Or are we here just to enjoy this life? But then suddenly we find ourselves victims of this heedlessness as well:

أَحَسِبَ النَّاسُ أَنْ يُتْرَكُوا أَنْ يَقُولُوا آمَنَّا وَهُمْ لَا يُفْتَنُونَ

Qur’an, al-Ankabut, 29: 2.

إن قامت الساعة وفي يد أحدكم فسيلة فإن استطاع أن لا تقوم حتى يغرسها فليغرسها

al-Adab al-Mufrad, sahih.

Religious Dispatches – Qualities of a Believer Part 2

How do we progressively move from Islam 101, to 201, and maybe even 301? Start with submission:

كَلَّا لَا تُطِعْهُ وَاسْجُدْ وَاقْتَرِبْ

No indeed! Do not obey him, but prostrate and draw nearer to Allah.

After you make the intention to submit, start to draw closer through what is made obligatory on you, not just through what is optional. Then, know that what will give you assistance in this is good character:

وَإِنَّكَ لَعَلَىٰ خُلُقٍ عَظِيمٍ

And you Muhammad are of an enormous character.

From here, you must learn to deal with tension, learn to deal with those who disagree or conflict with you and begin to acquire the attributes of belief:

قَدْ أَفْلَحَ الْمُؤْمِنُونَ
الَّذِينَ هُمْ فِي صَلَاتِهِمْ خَاشِعُونَ
وَالَّذِينَ هُمْ عَنِ اللَّغْوِ مُعْرِضُونَ
وَالَّذِينَ هُمْ لِلزَّكَاةِ فَاعِلُونَ

For a complete reading, see Surah al-Mu’minun (23), roughly the first 15 ayat.

Islam 201

“If you want to change the people outside during the day, change your relationship with Allah at night.” – thanks to @HamidTS for the Twitter love.

Here are few tips of taking one’s practice to the next level:

  • Operationalize your Islam. Personalize your Islam. Deepen your relationship with Allah.
  • You want to change the world that you see in the daytime? Then change your relationship with God in the Night Time.
  • Distinguishes that not everything is an intellectual effort. Standing for tahajjud is not an intellectual endeavor.

Allah says:

يَا أَيُّهَا الْمُزَّمِّلُ
قُمِ اللَّيْلَ إِلَّا قَلِيلًا
نِّصْفَهُ أَوِ انقُصْ مِنْهُ قَلِيلًا
أَوْ زِدْ عَلَيْهِ وَرَتِّلِ الْقُرْآنَ تَرْتِيلًا

O you wrapped up in your mantle!, Stand vigil through the night, except a little, a half, or reduce a little from that or add to it, and recite the Qurʾān in a measured tone.

And lastly, some encouragement from a hadith related by A’isha, may God be pleased with her, that she heard the Prophet say:

إِنَّ الْمُؤْمِنَ لَيُدْرِكُ بِحُسْنِ خُلُقِهِ دَرَجَةَ الصَّائِمِ الْقَائِمِ

By his good character a believer may attain the degree of one who prays during the night and fasts during the day.

Regret Is Repentance – A Khutbah

The following is khutbah I delivered at Drexel University on November 16th, 2012.

بِسْمِ الله الرَّحْمَٰنِ الرَّحِيمِ

“‘No one dies except that he has regrets.’ They said, ‘and what is their regret, Messenger of God?’ He said, ‘If they were a good person, they regretted not doing more good, and if they were a bad person, they regretted no stopping what they did wrong’.” Recorded in Imam Ahmad’s Musnad.

ما مِن أحَدٍ يَموتُ إلَّا نَدِمَ قالوا وما نَدامَتُهُ يا رسولَ اللهِ قال إن كان مُحسِنًا نَدِمَ أنْ لا يكونَ ازْدادَ وإنْ كان مُسيئًا نَدِمَ أنْ لا يَكونَ نَزَعَ

Enjoy.

Islam – Religion of Action Not Just Philosophy

Islam is a din of action not just philosophy. It is more than the decadent acquisition of knowledge. Many times we as Muslims describe the key tenets of our faith as abstracts: taqwa, ihsan (for a definition of taqwa, see the Glossary), etc. And yet, these two words, as they are used in the Qur’an are often in the imperative form: in other words, taqwa and ihsan are things you do, not simply think.

Who are the people of taqwa? God says:

لَّيْسَ ٱلْبِرَّ أَن تُوَلُّوا۟ وُجُوهَكُمْ قِبَلَ ٱلْمَشْرِقِ وَٱلْمَغْرِبِ وَلَٰكِنَّ ٱلْبِرَّ مَنْ ءَامَنَ بِٱللَّهِ وَٱلْيَوْمِ ٱلْءَاخِرِ وَٱلْمَلَٰٓئِكَةِ وَٱلْكِتَٰبِ وَٱلنَّبِيِّۦنَ وَءَاتَى ٱلْمَالَ عَلَىٰ حُبِّهِۦ ذَوِى ٱلْقُرْبَىٰ وَٱلْيَتَٰمَىٰ وَٱلْمَسَٰكِينَ وَٱبْنَ ٱلسَّبِيلِ وَٱلسَّآئِلِينَ وَفِى ٱلرِّقَابِ وَأَقَامَ ٱلصَّلَوٰةَ وَءَاتَى ٱلزَّكَوٰةَ وَٱلْمُوفُونَ بِعَهْدِهِمْ إِذَا عَٰهَدُوا۟ ۖ وَٱلصَّٰبِرِينَ فِى ٱلْبَأْسَآءِ وَٱلضَّرَّآءِ وَحِينَ ٱلْبَأْسِ ۗ أُو۟لَٰٓئِكَ ٱلَّذِينَ صَدَقُوا۟ ۖ وَأُو۟لَٰٓئِكَ هُمُ ٱلْمُتَّقُونَ

“Goodness does not lie in turning your faces to the East or to the West. Rather, those with true devoutness are those who believe in God and the Last Day, the Angels, the Book and the Prophets, and who, despite their love for it, give away their wealth to their relatives and to orphans and the very poor, and to travellers and beggars and to set slaves free, who establish prayer and pay zakah; those who honor their contracts when they make them, and are steadfast even in poverty, illness, or duress. Those are the people who are prove truthful. They are the people who have taqwa.” Qur’an, 2: 177.

Likewise, regarding ihsan, God says:

وَٱبْتَغِ فِيمَآ ءَاتَىٰكَ ٱللَّهُ ٱلدَّارَ ٱلْءَاخِرَةَ ۖ وَلَا تَنسَ نَصِيبَكَ مِنَ ٱلدُّنْيَا ۖ وَأَحْسِن كَمَآ أَحْسَنَ ٱللَّهُ إِلَيْكَ ۖ وَلَا تَبْغِ ٱلْفَسَادَ فِى ٱلْأَرْضِ ۖ إِنَّ ٱللَّهَ لَا يُحِبُّ ٱلْمُفْسِدِينَ

“Seek the abode of the Next World with what Allah has given you, without forgetting your portion of this world. And do good as Allah has been good to you. And do not seek to cause corruption in the earth. Allah does not love corrupters.” Qur’an, 28: 77.

A lack action, something we are guilty of as a community, is one of the things the Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم warned us about:

النبي صلى الله عليه وسلم قال‏:‏ ‏”‏ خيركم قرني، ثم الذين يلونهم، ثم الذين يلونهم‏”‏ قال عمران‏:‏ فما أدري قال‏:‏ النبي صلى الله عليه وسلم مرتين أو ثلاثاً ‏”‏ ثم يكون بعدهم قوم يشهدون ولا يستشهدون، ويخونون ولا يؤتمنون، وينذرون ولا يوفون، ويظهر فيهم السمن

The Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم said: said, “The best of you, are my contemporaries, then those who follow them, then those who will come after them. (‘Imran said, I do not know if he said this twice or thrice). Then, they will be followed by those who will testify but will not be called upon to testify; they will betray the trust, and will not be trusted. They will make vows but will not fulfill them, and obesity will prevail among them.” Related by ‘Imran bin al-Husayn as well as Ibn ‘Umar from Ibn Hibban amongst others.

Truthfulness is not simply a state of mind but also what one does. Both the Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم and Abu Bakr رضى الله عنه had titles, based on their actions:

  • Abu Bakr was “al-Siddiq” because he did actions of trustworthiness and came to be known by them/كيف سمّى أبا بكر “الصديق”؟ قد تصدق
  • The Prophet was called “al-Amin” because he was reliable, trustworthy and saw to others/كيف سمّى النبي صلى الله عليه وسلم؟ قد أمن وأمّن

And with God is all success.

20120817-185756.jpg