#MiddleGroundPodcast – Contentment With the World is the Enemy of Success


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إِنَّ الَّذينَ لا يَرجونَ لِقاءَنا وَرَضوا بِالحَياةِ الدُّنيا وَاطمَأَنّوا بِها وَالَّذينَ هُم عَن آياتِنا غافِلونَ

أُولٰئِكَ مَأواهُمُ النّارُ بِما كانوا يَكسِبونَ

“Those who don’t look forward to their meeting with Us, who are satisfied with the life of this world and who disregard Our Signs (verses) they’re going to have their home in the Fire on account of what they’ve earned for themselves.”Qur’an, 10: 7-8

قال الحسن: والله ما زينوها ولا رفعوها ، حتى رضوا بها وهم غافلون عن آيات الله الكونية فلا يتفكرون فيها والشرعية فلا يأتمرون بها

Ibn Kathir relates in his Tafsir: “They adorned this life and praised it until they became completely satisfied with it.  They were unconcerned with God’s signs in the universe, nor did they ponder over them.  They were also unconcerned with God’s commandments, nor did they adhere to them.  Their resting place on the Day of Resurrection will be in the Fire; that’s their reward for what they earned in their worldly lives through all their sins and crimes, and that’s in addition to their rejection of God, His Messenger and the Last Day.” — Hasan al-Basri

Never Being Satisfied With One’s Character

من قرأ القرآنَ فقد استدرج النُّبوَّةَ بين جنبَيْه غيرَ أنَّه لا يُوحَى إليه لا ينبغي لصاحبِ القرآنِ أن يجِدَّ مع من وجَدٍّ ولا يجهلَ مع من جهِل وفي جوفهِ كلامُ الله تعالى

Narrated ‘Abdullah bin ‘Amr:

The Messenger of Allah ﷺ said, “Whoever recites the Qur’an, they have approached prophethood, the only difference being they do not receive Divine Inspiration. It is not appropriate for the Companion of the Qur’an to act hastily with a hasty person nor be ignorant with an ignorant person while having the Word of God in his breast”. — al-Mundhiri, al-Targhib wa al-Tarhib

عَنِ ابْنِ عَبَّاسٍ قَالَ قَالَ رَسُولُ اللَّهِ صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ

اغْتَنِمْ خَمْسًا قَبْلَ خَمْسٍ شَبَابَكَ قَبْلَ هَرَمِكَ وَصِحَّتَكَ قَبْلَ سَقَمِكَ وَغِنَاكَ قَبْلَ فَقْرِكَ وَفَرَاغَكَ قَبْلَ شُغُلِكَ وَحَيَاتَكَ قَبْلَ مَوْتِكَ

The Messenger of Allah ﷺ said, “Take advantage of five things before another five are taken from you: [1] youth before old age; [2] health before sickness; [3] wealth before poverty; [4] free time before becoming busy; and [5] life before death”. — Narrated by ’Abdullah bin ’Abbas in al-Bayhaqi’s Shu’ab al-Iman

Satisfaction With The Creator vs. Created Things

إِنَّ الَّذينَ آمَنوا وَعَمِلُوا الصّالِحاتِ أُولٰئِكَ هُم خَيرُ البَرِيَّةِ

جَزاؤُهُم عِندَ رَبِّهِم جَنّاتُ عَدنٍ تَجري مِن تَحتِهَا الأَنهارُ خالِدينَ فيها أَبَدًا ۖ رَضِيَ اللَّهُ عَنهُم وَرَضوا عَنهُ ۚ ذٰلِكَ لِمَن خَشِيَ رَبَّهُ

“However, those who believe and do what’s morally right are the best of creatures.Their reward lies with their Lord: everlasting gardens beneath which rivers flow — and there they shall remain — God well pleased with them and they with Him.  This is what’s in store for the one who adored his Lord.”Qur’an, 98: 7-8

 

Your Relationship with Allah Cannot Be Separated From Your Worship of Him – A Middle Ground Khutbah


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Your relationship with Allah cannot be separated from your worship of Him. For you have had a relationship with your Creator, your Lord, for a very, very long time.

Am I not your Lord?

وَإِذ أَخَذَ رَبُّكَ مِن بَني آدَمَ مِن ظُهورِهِم ذُرِّيَّتَهُم وَأَشهَدَهُم عَلىٰ أَنفُسِهِم أَلَستُ بِرَبِّكُم ۖ قالوا بَلىٰ ۛ شَهِدنا ۛ أَن تَقولوا يَومَ القِيامَةِ إِنّا كُنّا عَن هٰذا غافِلينَ

“When your Lord took out all their descendants from the loins of the children of Adam and made them testify against themselves ‘Am I not your Lord?’ they said, ‘We testify that indeed You are!’ Lest you say on the Day of Rising, ‘We knew nothing of this’.” Qur’an, 7: 172

This is the issue of putting too much stock in identity and not enough in substance. When your relationship with Allah is based solely on your experience as a physical body in the here-and-now (hayāt al-dunia) and not balanced with not just the concerns of the Life To Come, but its reality, then one will consistently be riddled with disappointments and doubts.

Islam, as a way of being and living, certainly includes using one’s mind, it should not be confused for being a religion of intellectualism. When one feels overwhelmed, go back to a point of simplicity and sincerity.

ذكر عبد الله بن بسر أن رجلا قال إن شرائع الإيمان قد كثرت علي فأخبرني بشيء أتشبث به قال لا يزال لسانك رطبا من ذكر الله تعالى

‘Abdullah bin Busr mentioned that a man said to the Prophet ﷺ ‘O Messenger of God, the rules and regulations regarding faith are too numerous for me so inform me of something I can hold on to’. The Prophet replied ﷺ ‘Never allow your tongue to cease being moist in the remembrance of God the Exalted’.” — Related by al-Tirmidhi in al-Targhib wa al-Tarhib

“In the original American populistic dream, the omnicompetence of the common man was fundamental and indispensable. It was believed that he could, without much special preparation, pursue the professions and run the government. Today he knows that he cannot even make his breakfast without using devices, more or less mysterious to him, which expertise has put at his disposal; and when he sits down to breakfast and looks at his morning newspaper, he reads about a whole range of vital and intricate issues and acknowledges, if he is candid with himself, that he has not acquired competence to judge most of them.”Tom Nichols, How America Lost Faith in Expertise.

What Is Our Place in Society? – A Middle Ground Khutbah


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Who are the believers? I sometimes wonder if we know more about disbelief than we do belief.

We claim to know what’s wrong with society, but do we know what’s right with it? What does a good society look like? What part or role do we play in that?

If the society is to be good, if the world is to be made a better place, than what is our place in that society? In that world?

Read the rest of the notes here.

Absent Minded Faith – A Khutbah

This khutbah/sermon takes up from last week’s khutbah:


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سَبَّحَ لِلَّهِ ما فِي السَّماواتِ وَما فِي الأَرضِ ۖ وَهُوَ العَزيزُ الحَكيمُ
يا أَيُّهَا الَّذينَ آمَنوا لِمَ تَقولونَ ما لا تَفعَلونَ
كَبُرَ مَقتًا عِندَ اللَّهِ أَن تَقولوا ما لا تَفعَلونَ
إِنَّ اللَّهَ يُحِبُّ الَّذينَ يُقاتِلونَ في سَبيلِهِ صَفًّا كَأَنَّهُم بُنيانٌ مَرصوصٌ
الرَّجُلُ عَلَى دِينِ خَلِيلِهِ فَلْيَنْظُرْ أَحَدُكُمْ مَنْ يُخَالِلُ

“Everything in the heavens and everything in the earth glorifies God. He is the Almighty, the All-Wise. You who of faith!, why do you say what you do not do? It is deeply abhorrent to God that you should say what you do not do. God loves those who fight in His Way in ranks like well-built walls.” Qur’an, 61: 1-4

We said that Islam (religion) is sound advice (nasihah).

We said that one only takes advice if:

  1. One is ignorant of something and needs assistance/clarification.
  2. One trusts the one giving the advice.

The Messenger of Allah ﷺ said,

“Allah the Exalted says: ‘I am as my slave expects me to be, and I am with him when he remembers Me. If he remembers Me inwardly, I will remember him inwardly, and if he remembers Me in an assembly, I will remember him in a better assembly (i.e., in the assembly of angels).”

عن أبي هريرة، رضي الله عنه، أن رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم، قال ‏يقول الله تعالى‏ أنا عند ظن عبدي بي، وأنا معه إذا ذكرني، فإن ذكرني في نفسه، ذكرته في نفسي وإن ذكرني في ملإٍ ذكرته في ملإٍ خير منهم‏

What does Allah mean, “I am to my slave as s/he thinks of me”?, or, “I am, according to the thought of my slave, with him”?

Are we merely creatures, who are acted upon by the outside world?

What if we are dispassionate about God, about Islam?

One of the things that leads to this dispassion is becoming routine/becoming ossified.

How many of us recite the Fatihah, and only begin to pay attention to its meaning by the fourth or fifth verse?

Imagine skipping over the beginning (al-Hamd…) and then saying, “Guide us to the Straight Path…?

And we’re even told to thank people as a means of ultimately being appreciative of Allah:

لاَ يَشْكُرُ اللَّهَ مَنْ لاَ يَشْكُرُ النَّاسَ

The Prophet ﷺ said,

“He who does not thank the people is not thankful to Allah.” Sunan Abu Dawud, #4811

We recite the same surahs, for the same prayers. We become routine.

Being routine leads to laziness and cynicism.

Just look at this prayer from the Prophet:

اللَّهُمَّ إِنِّي أَعُوذُ بِكَ مِنَ الْعَجْزِ وَالْكَسَلِ وَالْجُبْنِ وَالْهَرَمِ، وَأَعُوذُ بِكَ مِنْ فِتْنَةِ الْمَحْيَا وَالْمَمَاتِ، وَأَعُوذُ بِكَ مِنْ عَذَابِ الْقَبْرِ

“O’ Allah! I seek refuge with You from helplessness, laziness, cowardice and feeble old age; I seek refuge with You from afflictions of life and death and seek refuge with You from the punishment in the grave.”

“A person is one religion of their confidant – therefore let each of you consider who he takes for his confidant.” Sunan Abu Dawud, #4833

الرَّجُلُ عَلَى دِينِ خَلِيلِهِ فَلْيَنْظُرْ أَحَدُكُمْ مَنْ يُخَالِلُ