#MiddleGroundPodcast: Self Criticism – A Khutbah

I delivered the following khutbah at the Claremont Colleges on Friday, February 8th, 2019.

“Be self-critical, not in anticipation of a particular result, but self-critical of what you are doing now in relation to the goal you wish to accomplish.”

وَمِنَ النّاسِ مَن يُعجِبُكَ قَولُهُ فِي الحَياةِ الدُّنيا وَيُشهِدُ اللَّهَ عَلىٰ ما في قَلبِهِ وَهُوَ أَلَدُّ الخِصامِ

وَإِذا تَوَلّىٰ سَعىٰ فِي الأَرضِ لِيُفسِدَ فيها وَيُهلِكَ الحَرثَ وَالنَّسلَ ۗ وَاللَّهُ لا يُحِبُّ الفَسادَ

وَإِذا قيلَ لَهُ اتَّقِ اللَّهَ أَخَذَتهُ العِزَّةُ بِالإِثمِ ۚ فَحَسبُهُ جَهَنَّمُ ۚ وَلَبِئسَ المِهادُ

وَمِنَ النّاسِ مَن يَشري نَفسَهُ ابتِغاءَ مَرضاتِ اللَّهِ ۗ وَاللَّهُ رَءوفٌ بِالعِبادِ

يا أَيُّهَا الَّذينَ آمَنُوا ادخُلوا فِي السِّلمِ كافَّةً وَلا تَتَّبِعوا خُطُواتِ الشَّيطانِ ۚ إِنَّهُ لَكُم عَدُوٌّ مُبينٌ

“Among the people there is someone whose words about the life of this world excite your admiration, and he calls Allah to witness what is in his heart, while he is in fact the most hostile of adversaries. When he leaves you, he goes about the earth corrupting it, destroying crops and animals. Allah does not love corruption. When he is told to have regard for and fear of Allah, he is seized by pride which drives him to wrongdoing. Hell will be enough for him! What an evil resting-place! And among the people there are some who give up everything, desiring the good pleasure of Allah. Allah is Ever-Gentle with His slaves. You who believe!, enter Islam totally. Do not follow in the footsteps of Satan. He is an outright enemy to you.” Qur’an 2: 204-208

#MiddleGroundPodcast – Salah (Prayer) Is Islamic Spirituality

Do you desire a close(r) relationship with God?

  • What do you imagine that relationship will look like?
  • What do you bring to the relationship?
  • How much time are you willing to invest?

Given that God doesn’t “talk” to anyone directly, how will you have a relationship with Him?

  • The importance of the physical rituals in Islam.
  • Without them, the relationship will not have a routine.
  • While intellectually we may desire that we should read the Quran every day for a certain amount of time, in the physical reality of human life, this desire alone is not sufficient. There is a missing ingredient; we need something to subdue the body to make it come along for the ride, every day.

Salah (Prayer) – the perfect combination of body and spirit.

  • You cannot maintain a daily Qur’an reading, with consistency, without also integrating it with your prayer.

Tahajjud – the great Islamic mystical ritual

  • Tahajjud allows and enables us to always remain close to God. How? Because it’s on His terms, not ours.
  • It is a reliable means to renew our relationship with Him daily.
  • The nature of that relationship is going to primarily rotate around forgiveness of sins, reorienting ourselves away from the worldly life’s pull and stress, and encouraging us to live a far simpler life, living in the blessed realm of walking with God through life.

#MiddleGroundPodcast: Jumu’ah May 25th “Why We Need Allah – Why We Need One Another”

إِنَّ اللَّهَ لاَ يَظْلِمُ مِثْقَالَ ذَرَّةٍ وَإِنْ تَكُ حَسَنَةً يُضَاعِفْهَا وَيُؤْتِ مِنْ لَدُنْهُ أَجْرًا عَظِيمًا

‘Surely, Allah wrongs not even of the weight of an atom, but is there is any good, He doubles it, and gives from Him a great reward’.”Qur’an 4: 40

عَنْ أَبِي سَعِيدٍ الْخُدْرِيِّ، قَالَ قَالَ رَسُولُ اللَّهِ صلى الله عليه وسلم ‏

إِذَا خَلَّصَ اللَّهُ الْمُؤْمِنِينَ مِنَ النَّارِ وَأَمِنُوا

فَمَا مُجَادَلَةُ أَحَدِكُمْ لِصَاحِبِهِ فِي الْحَقِّ يَكُونُ لَهُ فِي الدُّنْيَا أَشَدَّ مُجَادَلَةً مِنَ الْمُؤْمِنِينَ لِرَبِّهِمْ فِي إِخْوَانِهِمُ الَّذِينَ أُدْخِلُوا النَّارَ

قَالَ يَقُولُونَ رَبَّنَا إِخْوَانُنَا كَانُوا يُصَلُّونَ مَعَنَا وَيَصُومُونَ مَعَنَا وَيَحُجُّونَ مَعَنَا فَأَدْخَلْتَهُمُ النَّارَ

فَيَقُولُ اذْهَبُوا فَأَخْرِجُوا مَنْ عَرَفْتُمْ مِنْهُمْ

فَيَأْتُونَهُمْ فَيَعْرِفُونَهُمْ بِصُوَرِهِمْ لاَ تَأْكُلُ النَّارُ صُوَرَهُمْ فَمِنْهُمْ مَنْ أَخَذَتْهُ النَّارُ إِلَى أَنْصَافِ سَاقَيْهِ وَمِنْهُمْ مَنْ أَخَذَتْهُ إِلَى كَعْبَيْهِ

فَيُخْرِجُونَهُمْ فَيَقُولُونَ رَبَّنَا أَخْرَجْنَا مَنْ قَدْ أَمَرْتَنَا

ثُمَّ يَقُولُ أَخْرِجُوا مَنْ كَانَ فِي قَلْبِهِ وَزْنُ دِينَارٍ مِنَ الإِيمَانِ

ثُمَّ مَنْ كَانَ فِي قَلْبِهِ وَزْنُ نِصْفِ دِينَارٍ

ثُمَّ مَنْ كَانَ فِي قَلْبِهِ مِثْقَالُ حَبَّةٍ مِنْ خَرْدَلٍ

قَالَ أَبُو سَعِيدٍ فَمَنْ لَمْ يُصَدِّقْ هَذَا فَلْيَقْرَأْ

It was narrated that Abu Sa’īd al-Khudrī said, “The Messenger of Allah ﷺ said:

When Allah has saved the believers from Hell and they are safe, none of you will dispute with his companion more vehemently for some right of his in this world than the believers will dispute with their Lord on behalf of their brothers in faith who have entered Hell. They will say: “Our Lord! They are our brothers, they used to pray with us, fast with us and perform Hajj with us, and you have admitted them to Hell.” He will say: “Go and bring forth those whom you recognize among them.” So they will come to them, and they will recognize them by their faces. The Fire will not consume their faces, although there will be some whom the Fire will seize halfway up their shins, and others whom it will seize up to their ankles. They will bring them forth, and will say, “Our Lord, we have brought forth those whom You commanded us to bring forth.” Then He will say: “Bring forth those who have a dinar’s (a small coin) weight of faith in their hearts, then those who have half a dinar’s weight in their hearts than those who have a mustard-seed’s weight.”

Abu Sa’īd said, “He who does not believe this, let him recite,

إِنَّ اللَّهَ لاَ يَظْلِمُ مِثْقَالَ ذَرَّةٍ وَإِنْ تَكُ حَسَنَةً يُضَاعِفْهَا وَيُؤْتِ مِنْ لَدُنْهُ أَجْرًا عَظِيمًا

‘Surely, Allah wrongs not even of the weight of an atom, but is there is any good, He doubles it, and gives from Him a great reward’.” — Qur’an 4: 40

Taken from Sunan Ibn Majah Vol. 1, Book 1, Hadith 60