The Here-After: An Inconveniencing Truth

In our discussion group at Middle Ground, lately we have discussed one the maladies plaguing modern western civilization, namely the selfish pursuit of happiness. In reflecting on how this has influenced modern attitudes towards belief — and doubly so religion — we were reminded of a quote from the 20th century Polish poet, Stanisław Lec,

“Pity that the only way to paradise is in a hearse.”1


1. Márquez, Jesús Silva-Herzog. Trans. Tanya Huntington. The Idiocy Of Perfection. Houston, Literal Publishing, 2017.

The Importance of No god But God (La Ilaha Ill’Allah)

The following khutbah was delivered at Middle Ground Muslim Center on December 11th, 2015.

[Direct download]

The importance of taking a stance, of taking a side, of making a declaration. La ilaha ill’Allah is a major declaration.

It is also prioritizing God’s opinion.

We cannot imagine the importance of what this phrase means to God.

أتيتُ النَّبيَّ صلَّى اللهُ عليهِ وسلَّمَ وهوَ نائمٌ . عليهِ ثوبٌ أبيضُ . ثمَّ أتيتُهُ فإذا هوَ نائمٌ . ثمَّ أتيتُهُ وقدِ استيقظَ . فجلستُ إليهِ . فقالَ : ما من عبدٍ قالَ : لا إلهَ إلَّا اللهُ ثمَّ ماتَ على ذلكَ إلَّا دخلَ الجنَّةَ قلتُ : وإن زنى وإن سرقَ ؟ قالَ : وإن زنى وإن سرق قلتُ : وإن زنى وإن سرقَ ؟ قالَ : وإن زنى وإن سرق ثلاثًا . ثمَّ قالَ في الرَّابعةِ على رغمِ أنفِ أبي ذرٍّ قالَ ، فخرجَ أبو ذرٍّ وهوَ يقولُ : وإن رغمَ أنفُ أبي ذرٍّ .
الراوي : أبو ذر الغفاري | المحدث : مسلم | المصدر : صحيح مسلم

So we often start to make our own stuff up (bid’ah). We will say so-and-so is going to Hell for x, y, and z.

So is it that simple? Just sin and then say la ilaha and do whatever you like? Sins can often lead to precarious situations:

بَادِرُوا بِالأَعْمَالِ فِتَنًا كَقِطَعِ اللَّيْلِ الْمُظْلِمِ يُصْبِحُ الرَّجُلُ مُؤْمِنًا وَيُمْسِي كَافِرًا أَوْ يُمْسِي مُؤْمِنًا وَيُصْبِحُ كَافِرًا يَبِيعُ دِينَهُ بِعَرَضٍ مِنَ الدُّنْيَا

“Be prompt in doing good deeds (before you are overtaken) by turbulence which would be like a part of the dark night. During (that stormy period) a man would be a Muslim in the morning and an unbeliever in the evening or he would be a believer in the evening and an unbeliever in the morning, and would sell his faith for worldly goods.” Sahih Muslim, #118

We saw an excellent example this week of people rushing to do good in raising money. Surah al-Hadid:

وَما لَكُم أَلّا تُنفِقوا في سَبيلِ اللَّهِ وَلِلَّهِ ميراثُ السَّماواتِ وَالأَرضِ ۚ لا يَستَوي مِنكُم مَن أَنفَقَ مِن قَبلِ الفَتحِ وَقاتَلَ ۚ أُولٰئِكَ أَعظَمُ دَرَجَةً مِنَ الَّذينَ أَنفَقوا مِن بَعدُ وَقاتَلوا ۚ وَكُلًّا وَعَدَ اللَّهُ الحُسنىٰ ۚ وَاللَّهُ بِما تَعمَلونَ خَبيرٌ