4th December 2015

Summary of Khutba

Friday Khutbah – Stanmore – 4 December 2015 – 21 Safar 1437

يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا اتَّقُوا اللَّهَ حَقَّ تُقَاتِهِ وَلَا تَمُوتُنَّ إِلَّا وَأَنْتُمْ مُسْلِمُونَ

‘Ya ayyuha–l-lazina aamanu-t-taqul-Laaha haqqa tuqaatihi walaa tamootunna illa wa antum muslimoon.”

‘’O you who believe ! fear Allah as He should be feared  and die not except in a state of Islam, that is, in a state of submission to Allah(swt).’’

(Surah Aale Imran 3:102)


We continue this week with the subject of Taqwa ( Piety or God-Consciousness)which  we should strive to cultivate to get closer to Allah(swt).

Taqwa our protection and our shelter :

Taqwa is the only asset that  gives us protection in this world and save us from the punishment in the Hereafter, the Day when the consequences of our deeds in this world will become apparent.

In this regard, Allah(swt) states :

وَاتَّقُوا يَوْمًا لَا تَجْزِي نَفْسٌ عَنْ نَفْسٍ شَيْئًا

‘’And be on your guard against the Day when no soul shall avail for another soul in the least’’.  

(Surah Al-Baqarah 2:123)


In sermon 191 in Nahjul Balagha on the subject of  ‘’ الوصية بالزهد والتقوى  in which Imam Ali(a.s.0 gives advice on abstinence(self-denial and God-Consciousness’’, Imam Ali(a.s.) says,

أُوصِيكُمْ عِبَادَ اللهِ بِتَقْوَى اللهِ

I advise you, O’ servants of Allah that you should have fear of Allah

 

فَإِنَّ الْتَّقْوَى فِي الْيَوْمِ الْحِرْزُ وَالْجُنَّةُ،

Surely,  Taqwa is a protection and a shield for today,

 

وَفِي غَد الطَّرِيقُ إِلَى الْجَنَّةِ،

‘’And for tomorrow, it is a Path to Paradise.’’


Definition of the ‘muttaqeen’ (the God-fearing)in the Qur’an

Let us see the definition of ‘muttaqeen’ in the Holy Qur’an.

Allah(swt) in the very beginning of Surah Al-Baqarah says,

 

ذَٰلِكَ الْكِتَابُ لَا رَيْبَ ۛ فِيهِ ۛ هُدًى لِلْمُتَّقِينَ   الم

 

‘’Alif Laam Meem,  that  Book in which there is no doubt in it, is a guide for the ‘Muttaqeen’ i.e. those who are God-fearing,’’ (2:1/2)


The consequence of holding onto ‘Taqwa’ :

This ayah makes it very clear that the Holy Book of Allah is a Book of Guidance for those who observe Taqwa.  The consequence of observing Taqwa is that when you undertake any work or business, you will definitely be guided and directed by Allah(swt) what course of action you should take, that is, He guides you in His ways.  This is the assurance that we are given in the last ayah of Surah Al-Ankaboot (29:69)   Allah(swt) says,

وَالَّذِينَ جَاهَدُوا فِينَا لَنَهْدِيَنَّهُمْ سُبُلَنَا ۚ وَإِنَّ اللَّهَ لَمَعَ الْمُحْسِنِينَ

And (as for) those who strive in Us, we most certainly guide them in our ways.  Surely, Allah is with those who do good.     This is the most promising assurance for those who strive in the way of Allah(swt).


Knowing how to acquire Taqwa :

How to do we go about acquiring knowledge to be able to attain Taqwa.  The answer is the Qur’an and Ahlul Bayt(a.s.).   It is by studying and following the teachings of the Holy Qur’an and the ‘Ahla-z-Zikr’ the Ahlul Bayt(a.s.).

Reciting the Qur’an and memorizing it no doubt carries ‘thawaab;.   But what is more important is to understand, reflect upon its aayaat and apply them in our daily lives.


Qur’an rebukes some people who recite the Qur’an :

There are people who recite the Qur’an and the Qur’an curses them.

In a Hadith, the Prophet(saw) says,

رسولُ اللهِ‏ِ (صَلَّيَ اللهُ عَلَيهِ وَ آلِهِ): رُبَّ تالِ القرآنِ والقرآنُ يَلعَنُهُ.

The Prophet(saw) said, ‘’ Many recite the Qur’an and the Qur’an curses them.’’  (Bihar al-Anwar, v. 92, p. 184, p. 19).

 

1)   Those who recite the Qur’an without paying attention to pronunciation and rules of recitation :

These are the reciers who recite the Qur’an without due regard to the way it should be recited.  Reciting the Qur’an correctly and observing the rules of recitation is not a speciality of expert reciters alone, rather it is an obligation upon each and everyone of us whenever we recite the Qur’an.  We must bear in mind that the Qur’an is the word of Allah and every single syllable is from Allah(swt)  and so we must take its recitation seriously and observe the correct pronunciation of every letter.   Sometimes we make some serious mistakes in our pronunciation thereby changing the whole meaning of a word.

2)Reciting Qur’an hurriedly

The Qur’an also rebukes those who recite it  hurriedly as if they are in a race  and do not pay any attention to  ‘makharij’ of letters and the rules of Tajweed.


3)Those who recite the Qur’an but act contrary to its teachings :

Another group of people the Qur’an severely condemns are the reciters and memorizers of  Qur’an whose conduct and behaviour is completely  against the teachings of the Qur’an.    During the Umayyad and Abbasid rule, for example,  there were so many ‘huffaz’ of Qur’an but they committed the most heinous crimes against Ahlul Bayt(a.s.) and their followers.

We see the most horrible crimes today committed by the same type of people, the  likes of ISIS and other extremist salafi groups who distort and  pervert the sacred teachings of the Qur’an and commit the most horrible crimes against anyone who does not agree with them or who  does not conform to their beliefs.    We pray to Allah(swt) to rid the world of these depraved and deviant people.


The qualities of  the muttaqeen according to the Qur’an :

The next two aayaat. No. 3-4   identify the qualities of  ‘muttaqeen’.   It says,

الَّذِينَ يُؤْمِنُونَ بِالْغَيْبِ وَيُقِيمُونَ الصَّلَاةَ وَمِمَّا رَزَقْنَاهُمْ يُنْفِقُونَ

‘’Those who believe in the unseen and  establish the prayer and spend out of what We(Allah)  have given them.’’ 

The three qualities of ‘muttaqeen’ in this ayah are  those who believe in the unseen, those who are steadfast in their prayers and those who spend out of what Allah(swt) has provided them.

 

First Quality,   Belief in ‘Ghayb’ :

Let us examine the first quality of a ‘muttaqee’ , that is,  belief in the ‘Ghayb’ the unseen.

‘Ghayb’ means those things that we do not know or understand either through the five senses or through reason but which have been made known to us by the Qur’an and the Prophet(saw).   These include belief in the existence of Allah(swt), in his essence and attributes, in the Angels who we cannot see, belief in the Hereafter, in Hell and Heaven which we cannot see.


Second quality, Establishing Prayer :

The second quality of the God-fearing is that they are steadfast in their prayer.   The verb used her is ‘yuqimoona’ which comes from the word ‘Iqamah’.    Allah(swt) does not say ‘allazina yusallon’ they who say their prayers.  There is a differrence between saying prayer and observing all the prescribed conditions of prayer such as regularity, concentration and humility in the performance of prayer.

Third Quality : Alms-giving (Infaaq) :

The third quality of the God-fearing is that they spend out of what Allah(swt) has provided them.    The simple

phrase  ‘wa mimma razaqnahum’ ‘’spend out of what We have provided them’’ in a way inspires us to spend in 

the way of Allah.  It draws our attention to the fact that anything and everything that we possess is a gift from Allah(swt). The next ayah mentions about three other qualities of a ‘muttaqee’ .

Three other qualities of a muttaqee

وَالَّذِينَ يُؤْمِنُونَ بِمَا أُنْزِلَ إِلَيْكَ وَمَا أُنْزِلَ مِنْ قَبْلِكَ وَبِالْآخِرَةِ هُمْ يُوقِنُونَ

‘’And those who believe in that which has been revealed to you and that which was revealed before you and they are sure of the hereafter.’’

(2:4)


Then Allah(swt)  after mentioning these qualities of a ‘muttaqee’, says,

أُولَٰئِكَ عَلَىٰ هُدًى مِنْ رَبِّهِمْ ۖ وَأُولَٰئِكَ هُمُ الْمُفْلِحُونَ

‘’These are on the true guidance from their Lord, and these it is who are successful.’’(2:5)

 

Thus Allah(swt)   gives us the definition of the people of ‘Taqwa’, people who are on guidance from their Lord. They are  those who believe in the unseen, those who are steadfast in their prayer, those who  spend out of what Allah has given them, those who believe in what Allah has revealed to the Prophet(swt) and to the apostles before him , and lastly, those who are certain of the Hereafter.  The fruit of all these good qualities put together is ‘Taqwa’.


‘Taqwa’’ not just for the select group of religious people :

Taqwa is not just for a select group of religious people. Rather, every believer has to strive to become a muttaqi for his own salvation in the Hereafter.

Islam’s belief and requirement of Taqwa differs from that held by   Hinduism, Budhism and Christianity(especially the Roman Catholic and Eastern Orthodox  Church).  They stress ‘’separation, even polarization, between the life of a person who has a sacred vocation like a priest and the life  of an ordinary man.’’   This is not the case with Islam.   Islam dismisses separation and polarization.   A Hindu may say that certain rules of his religion ( for example not eating meat) do not apply to him because he is not a Brahmin whreas a Muslim cannot say, ‘’ I don’t have to do this or that because I am just an ordinary Muslim.   I am not a religious person. ’’  This point is emphasised in the Qur’an, where the word taqwa and attributes associated with Taqwa which appear more than two hundred fifty times is addressed to  all Muslims regardless of their positions in the society.

Allah(swt) in Surah Al-Hashr 59:18) says,

يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا اتَّقُوا اللَّهَ وَلْتَنْظُرْ نَفْسٌ مَا قَدَّمَتْ لِغَدٍ ۖ وَاتَّقُوا اللَّهَ ۚ إِنَّ اللَّهَ خَبِيرٌ بِمَا تَعْمَلُونَ

’O you who believe! be careful of (your duty to) Allah, and let every soul look to what provision he has sent for tomorrow.  And observe your duty to Allah for Allah is well aware of what you do.’’ (Al-Hashr, 59:18)

 Wa aakhiru da’waana anil hamdu Lillahi Rabbil ‘aalameen.


 

Second Part of the Khutbah –  Current Affairs – Situation in Yemen

The last five paragraphs pertain to the efforts by the World Federation to provide assistance to the 108 Khoja families who are currently temporary settled in Djibouti.

 

The entire world is currently focussing its attention on the recent shooting of Russian warplane by Turkey, the killing of innocent people in Paris  by Daesh and the Syrian refugee crisis. The BBC, Sky, CNN and so many channels around the world have been featuring these events.   Sadly, these and other channels have completely ignored a humanitarian  catastrophe unfolding in Yemen as a result of  air strikes carried out by unlawful air strikes by Saudi Arabia on a heavily populated sites in Yemen since the 26th of March this year. The so-called custodian of the haramain shareefayn did not care to observe the sacred months of Ramadhan and Muharram and continued to destroy the most impoverished nation in the Arab world, Yemen, one of the oldest civilizations in Islam.  Cluster bombs, bunker bombs and other forbidden missiles are raining down on innocent civilians day in and day out. The destruction of hospitals, health facilities, schools, airports, ports and Yemen’s infrastructure have left millions stranded.  These s-called Muslims have not even spared mosques.  Saudi Arabia is well known in history for the destruction of the most historical and holy sites.  There is no electricity, no fuel, no gas for cooking, no water, no food, no hospitals.  Why the destruction of the only oxygen producing factory in Yemen ? Why the destruction of 35 hospitals and clinics ?  Yemenis are dying in hospital for lack of medicine because of Saudi Airstrikes and sea blockade.  Thousands of people have died as a result of Saudi bombing.   People have lost their families, their homes, their businesses, children have lost their parents and their future.  With the closure of schools, colleges and Universities since the 26th of March, five million students have lost the whole year of their education.

 

Yemen is cut off from the world by radio, media and internet and instead, Saudi Arabia have installed their own channels to broadcast their propaganda against the Houthis.

 

 

Citing the disastrous humanitarian consequences of the crisis in Yemen, the United Nations special envoy on the situation told the Security Council on 23 October that the ongoing violence has left the country “bleeding and its cities collapsing,” and he added that peace talks are the only way to restore the hope of Yemeni people “after all the suffering…crisis they have been victims of.”

In his briefing to the Council, UN Special Envoy Ismail Ould Cheikh Ahmed said the ongoing fighting has levied a heavy toll on Yemen’s civilian population.    Alhamdu Lillah, our Khoja Shia Ithnasheris have been safely evacuated by the WF from Yemen’s war zone to a temporary destination in Djibouti.   Many had lived in Yemen for years and are now waiting to be resettled.  These families have lost everything, their homes and their businesses.  Many of them were professionals holding good positions but are now destitute. There are 456 refugees (108 families) registered with the UN High Commission for Refugees under the care of the WF in Djibouti.

Among the elderly are 80 to 90 years old and living with very limited facilities.  They are in urgent need of medical assistance.   Our youth who have left schooling half way are now left without any educational institution to pursue their studies.  There is also a crisis of new born babies and children waiting to be moved to secure homes and schools.

Alhamdu Lillah the World Federation is doing whatever  it can to alleviate the problems of our brothers and sisters in Djibouti but their success largely depends upon your help and support.    Our brothers and sisters need your support.  We must act urgently and act now to protect them from the dangers of war, disease and hunger.   Please give whatever you can to this very noble cause.     Allah(swt) says in the Holy Qur’an

الَّذِينَ يُنْفِقُونَ أَمْوَالَهُمْ بِاللَّيْلِ وَالنَّهَارِ سِرًّا وَعَلَانِيَةً فَلَهُمْ أَجْرُهُمْ عِنْدَ رَبِّهِمْ وَلَا خَوْفٌ عَلَيْهِمْ وَلَا هُمْ يَحْزَنُونَ {274}

‘’As for those who spend their wealth by night and day, secretly or openly, they shall have their reward from their Lord and they shall have no fear, nor shall they grieve.  (Surah Al-Baqarah 2:274).

We pray to  Allah(swt) save the people of Yemen from the most brutal and savage war waged against them by Saudi Arabia(aameen).

27th November 2015

Summary of Khutba

Friday Khutbah – Stanmore – 27 November 2015 – 14 Safar 1437

Signs of Piety :

Introduction :

يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا اتَّقُوا اللَّهَ حَقَّ تُقَاتِهِ وَلَا تَمُوتُنَّ إِلَّا وَأَنْتُمْ مُسْلِمُونَ {102}

”Ya ayyuha–l-lazina aamanu-t-taqul-Laaha haqqa tuqaatihi walaa tamootunna illa wa antum muslimoon.”
O you who believe ! observe your duty to Allah with right observance, and die not except in a state of Islam.

(Surah Aale Imran 3:102)

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The Nature of Man :

Man is quite a complex and sophisticated being. Despite all the research and study done to unravel the mystery surrounding man and unveil his true nature, we hardly know him. His intellect, ideas, emotions, passions, desires and ambitions, always present a mystery to us. We might live with an individual for many years and hardly know him. Let alone knowing him, we do not know our own selves completely. Sometimes in our life incidents occur and we react in a way that takes us by surprise and we see our real nature, our true self coming to light.

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Reaction to a difficult situation :

There are many levels of man’s personality. Sometimes, some traits of his personality remain hidden for a long time without him realizing it.. That part of his personality which remained hidden for some time all of a sudden surfaces when he is confronted with a difficult situation. You find that the same person who gave an impression of being a very quiet and composed person, snap when faced with a minor incident or a bad experience in his life.

Example of a pool :

When we look at any pool, it normally looks clean, still and and sort of tranquil. We do not see the dirt which settles on the bottom of the pool. But as soon as you start playing with it and run your fingers through the water, the dirt that accumulated on the bottom comes to the surface and so is the case with man’s character. That dirt in his personality that remained hidden for a long time comes to light when he is involved in a fight or argument with his fellow being. One of the places where you sometimes witness from unexpected quarters a flaring up of tempers at the slightest inconvenience is Hajj. I am sure some of us have noticed this happening in Hajj.

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Our impressions of our fellow human beings :

Another aspect of man’s personality. You find that sometimes a person comes across as a very kind and pious person assuming all the good qualities you would normally expect to see in a person. It is only when you start having some business dealing with him that you discover the true his true face and you realize that he is not the person you thought him to be.

On the other hand, someone comes across as a proud and selfish person. One day you happen to travel with him on a pilgrimate to Hajj or ziayarat and all that negative impression that you had about him changes. You come to find out that he is in fact a very good person, kind and helpful. Hence, we cannot and should never form a negative opinion of a person.

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Evaluating but not being Judgemental :

When we talk of evaluating people, it does not mean that we should pry into other people’s affairs or be judgemental for the sake of it or find faults with one another. The final judge to make judgement is, of course, Allah(swt). Finding faults or defaming or humiliating your fellow brother is highly condemned by Allah(swt) as we see in Surah Al-Hujuraat (49:11). Allah says,

وَلَا تَلْمِزُوا أَنْفُسَكُمْ do not find faults with one another. You must understand that when you disgrace your fellow brother, you are in fact disgracing yourself.

We must therefore have ‘husne zan’, good impression of others. However, to be judgemental or defame other people is one thing but to be fooled or to be taken for a ride is another matter. We need to be on guard and careful and not be carried away when people put on a show of being good and honourable by the way they talk or the dress they wear. We need to be on guard and make sure that we are dealing with or associating with the right type of people.

For example, when you want to get married or somebody sends a marriage proposal to your daughter, you should make sure that you are giving your daughter away in marriage to a person who is of good character, a God-fearing person. When you want to enter into a business dealing with someone, you must make sure that you are dealing with an honest person so that you benefit from any undertaking that you make. Also, when you choose a leader, make sure that the one who is going to lead you possesses all the qualities of a good leader. Trusting anyone blindly can put you in great difficulties.

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‘Taqwa’ the first and foremost sign of evaluation :

In the Holy Qur’an Allah(swt) has given us many signs of a God-fearing person.

In this and future sermons we shall Insha Allah examine the signs that we should look for when evaluating a person. However, to begin with we must first evaluate our ownselves, do our own introspection and accounting to see whether we meet this necessary criteria ourselves or not and what is our status in the sight of Allah(swt).

Definition of ‘Taqwa’ :-

The first and foremost criteria is ‘Taqwa’ , Piety, God-Consciousness.
‘Taqwa’ is a term used to mean piety, and al-Muttaqeen refers to those who practice ‘Taqwa’. It is also variously translated as fear of God, God-Consciousness, Wariness, Self-restraint, to be on guard against wrong action, being eager to do things which earn the pleasure of Allah(swt), being mindful of your duties to Allah(swt), not indulging in things that Allah forbids, being conscious of Allah’s presence, obedience to Alllah(swt), performing righteous deeds and avoiding forbidden activities, it means safeguarding oneself with awareness of the boundaries(physical, moral and spiritual laws) laid down by Allah so as to keep clear of sins and transgression and so on.

‘Taqwa’ and terms associated with ‘Taqwa’ appear more than 250 times

in the Qur’an. The Qur’an also mentions a number of virtues that cultivate ‘Taqwa’.

To give you an illustration. Say you are walking on a field with full of thorns on it. You will make sure that you tread on it with utmost care so that your feet do not lend on the thorns and get yourself hurt. That is ‘Taqwa’. It is protecting yourself fromthe harmful effects of sins as you go on a life’s dangerous journey so that you successfully complete the journey unscathed by sin.

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The Holy Qur’an and the ahadith give us indications or signs which help us realize the qualities which one must possess in order to observe ‘Taqwa’.

A true servant of Allah(swt) is all the time worried about himself or herself if he meets the qualifications of ‘Taqwa’ or not. The more pious ones are more worried whereas those who think of themselves as being virtuous and pious, such people have have problems. As long as we are in this world we cannot afford to be lax thinking that we have passed the test of self- purification. How many times do we cry to Allah(swt) to save us from His punishment and anger. How many times do we cry for that Day of Reckoning when we have to give account of our deeds before Allah(swt) the day when neitherwealth nor sons will be of avail. يَوْمَ لَا يَنْفَعُ مَالٌ وَلَا بَنُونَ A true servant of Allah(swt) cries all the time. The Ahlul Bayt(a.s.) cried every night.

One day one of the wives saw the Prophet(saw) in a state of ‘ibadah’ crying. She said to the Prophet(saw), ‘’ Why are you crying so much. You are the Prophet of God and Allah(swt) says that he has forgiven all your sins,

لِيَغْفِرَ لَكَ اللَّهُ مَا تَقَدَّمَ مِنْ ذَنْبِكَ وَمَا تَأَخَّرَ (Surah Al-Fath 48:2) ‘’Then, why are you worried ?’’ The Prophet said,

‘‘afalaa akoonu ‘abdan shakura’ ? Should I not be an ‘abd’ who is grateful to Allah(swt)? Just because I am a Prophet does not mean that I should see myself as a special person. I am the most needy person.’’ Its only when you feel that you are the most needy person before Allah(swt) that you can be called the richest person.

Fear and Hope :

However, we must never lose hope in the mercy of Allah(swt).

This fear of Allah(swt) should always be accompanied by hope. We should be able to strike a balance between fear and hope.

As we read in du’a Abi Hamza Thumali

يْتُ مَوْلاَيَ ذُنُوبِي فَزِعْتُ إِذَا رَا

‘’Whenever I look at my sins, I am terrified, I panic. ’’
يْتُ كَرَمَكَ طَمِعْتُ وَإِذَا رَأَ

‘’But when I look at your generosity I am filled with hope.’’
فَحَقِّقْ رَجَائِي

‘’So, make my hopes materialize.’’
وَٱسْمَعْ دُعَائِي

‘’and answer my prayers.’’
In another du’a of Imam Zaynul ‘Aabideen(a.s.) which we invoke,
إِلَهِي كَيْفَ أَدْعُوكَ وَ أَنَا أَنَا

My God how can I call on You (for help) while I am what I am (a sinful servant)?

وَ كَيْفَ أَقْطَعُ رَجَائِي مِنْكَ وَ أَنْتَ أَنْتَ

And how can I cut off hope in You when You are who You are (the kind and merciful lord)?

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And in another verse in Du’a Abi Hamza Thumali, we read

إِنَّ لَنَا فِيكَ رَجَاءً عَظِيما

‘’O Allah, indeed we have great hope in you.’’

Therefore, if there is one thing in this world which gives us hope is that we have a very kind, merciful and generous Lord.

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While we should not lose hope in the mercy of Allah(swt) we should also make sure that we do not engage in activites which invite the wrath of Allah(swt). It is therefore important that we go through the difficult process of self-accounting and self-examination

Insha Allah in the next Friday Khutbah, we shall discuss about the signs, the indicators of piety so that if we do possess them we should be thankful to Allah(swt) and try to protect them and if we don’t have them we should do something about it urgently before it is late. If after doing self-examination, I find that I do not possess these signs of piety, we should start the process of reformation and healing.

We pray to Allah(swt) to forgive us our sins and bless us and give us ‘Tawfeeq’ to be Ahla-t-Taqwa, the people who follow ‘Taqwa’(ameen).

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