Friday Khutbah (May 21, 2004) delivered by Shaykh Muhammad TaherDISCLAIMER: This reminder was originally delivered in Arabic. Any meanings lost in translation are not to be attributed to the speaker as reminders are translated by volunteers. The mosque has no official translater and volunteers often have no formal qualifications to translate on the day. Please forgive any errors as they are from our human weakness and any right guidance is from Allah.
Allah, Exalted is He, has commanded us to compete with one another in good deeds, and has directed us to seek noble things, and has called us to turn away from the lowlands of the earth and raise our heads to everything that is lofty and exalted, that is appropriate for one who believes in Allah and is connected with the heavens and the angels. Allah says:
“Race with one another in hastening towards forgiveness from your Lord, and Paradise the width whereof is as the width of the heaven and the earth, prepared for those who believe in Allah and His Messengers. Such is the Bounty of Allah, which he bestows on whom He wills, and Allah is the Possessor of Great Bounty.” (Al-Hadid: 21)
Allah also says:
“Indeed the pious will be in Delight. On thrones, looking out. You will recognize in their faces the brightness of delight. They will be given to drink of pure sealed wine. The last thereof will be the smell of Musk, and for this let all those strive who strive for bliss.” (Al-Mutaffifin: 22-26)
And our Messenger, may the peace and blessing of Allah be upon him, was seeing refuge from weakness and laziness, and taught us to be from those who have high ambition and exalted pursuits, for he said: “When you ask of Allah, ask for the highest Paradise.”
“Indeed, those who believe and do righteous works, for them are the Gardens of Paradise, wherein they will abide forever, with no desire to be removed from thence.” (al-Kahf: 107-8)
Therefore, when the pious predecessors (al-Salaf al-Salih) knew the value of the Pleasure of Allah the Almighty, and knew the reality of the eternal blessings in the gardens of the Lord of The Worlds, it became clear to them the reality of this life, and they knew that it was only for enjoyment, that it would all come to an end. It would not guide those who took pleasure in it, as opposed to seeking the Pleasure of Allah and His Paradise, except to ruin and perdition. How could it be otherwise? They had the Noble Quran, which they read, reflected over, and it informed them of Paradise and gave them examples to take heed from. Allah says:
“And put forward to them the example of the life of this world: it is like the water which We send down from the sky, and the vegetation of the earth mingles with it. Then it becomes dry stalks, scattered by the wind. And Allah has power over all things. Wealth and children are the adornment of the life of this world but the good and righteous deeds that last, are better with your Lord for rewards and better in respect of hope.” (al-Kahf: 45-6)
The life of this world, which people cling to and hold fast to its ropes, and fall into its traps, Allah has likened it to the water that comes down from the sky, and this water does not find enough time to run and flow. Instead it mixes with the vegetation of the earth, and these plants do not grow, nor do they ripen. Rather, they become dry stalk that is scattered by the wind. Within these three short phases the long string of life comes to an end. How short is this life! How worthless is this life! Souls cling to it, who do not have any ambition, or aspiration or purpose.
Wealth and children are the adornment of the life of this world. They are blessings from Allah, Exalted is He! And Islam does not prohibit enjoying the good and lawful things that Allah has created, but it does demand that we avoid going to excess and that we not incline entirely to one side, and forget the reality of our existence in this life. The eternal everlasting worth, which will benefit you oh human being, possessor of exalted ambitions, is the good lasting deeds, from actions, words and worship.
The good lasting deeds are the best in terms of reward, and the best in terms of hope: when the hearts become attached to them, and the exalted ambitions demand them, and they are hoped for, and the believer anticipates their results and fruits on the Day of Recompense.
The Messenger of Allah, may the peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, was a model and an example for those whose who have exalted ambitions, from his followers, his companions, and the believing generations that come after him. For he was the man who carried the burden of calling people to Allah, on his own, with a small group of his companions. All the people stood in his way, those close to him and those far from him. None of this caused him to have reluctance or indecision. Instead, he continued for his faith, with the truth of his call, the soundness of his intention, and the clarity of his way. He went out carrying this heavy burden, propagating the call of the Lord of the Worlds. His concern was to make this din enter every heart, and have every soul believe in it, and by means of it bring the dead to life. He struggled and strived, and stood up, firm, for his conviction, with patience, seeking Allah’s pleasure, certain of the Promise of Allah and His victory.
The Prophet Yusuf, peace be upon him, far away from his family and his homeland, when released from prison, asked for a high position in the government. He had great ambitions, seeking Allah’s pleasure. The Prophet Moses, when Allah spoke to him, asked for more, he asked to see Allah! He had high demands and aspirations. Muslims should always have high ambitions. Ibn Abbas, when he was a boy, was once sitting on the right side of the Prophet, peace be upon him, and on the left were the great Companions. The Prophet, peace be upon him, was drinking something and when he finished he asked Ibn Abbas if he should offer it to the companions first. Ibn Abbas said no, because he wanted to be the first to drink from the Prophet’s cup, peace be upon him. Ibn Abbas, at that moment did not take into consideration the greatness of the companions. He was seeking the best.
‘Umar bin ‘abd al-‘Aziz said: “Indeed I have a soul that yearns. It does not stop yearning to be an amir. When it attains that it yearns to be a khalifah. When it attains that it yearns for Paradise.”
It is only worthy for the believer to attach himself and his ambition to great and glorious things, in all aspects of his life (work, studies, recreation etc.) through knowledge and action and so forth. He should strive to be far above all vile and paltry matters.
Indeed the great history of Islam was written and recorded and built by people who had exalted ambitions. They were not frightened by the forces of falsehood, ruling over the east and west. They encountered it with complete firmness, certainty, strength and reliance on Allah, confident in the promise of Allah. Allah says:
“Say: ‘He is the Most Gracious, in Him we believe and in Him we put our trust. So you will come to know who it is that is in manifest error.’” (al-Mulk: 29)
It is upon the Muslim today to raise himself above petty matters, to raise himself and his ambitions, his aspirations, and his objectives to everything that is high and exalted, with obedience to Allah and fear of Him, seeking His pleasure and forgiveness. Let the affair of Islam be, with you oh Muslims, that you have faith in it, act according to its rulings, call to it, and strive for it, so that this din can return to its place in this life, to rule over it with truth, justice, and the Oneness of the Lord of the Worlds. And know that the righteousness of nations, and their elevation and progress and glory; their secret lies in the great aspirations of their children, yearning for that which is exalted and lofty, raising themselves above that which is small and petty. Allah says:
“Would you exchange that which is better for that which is lower?” (al-Baqara: 61)
How has our condition today distracted us from lofty things, removed virtue from us, and taken us far from noble qualities. We have become please with apathy and weakness. With our knowledge of the state of the Ummah, and its need to wake up from its sleep, to pick itself up from its stumble, and with our knowledge of its wounds and afflictions and anxieties and brokenheartedness, why not wake up ourselves and our Ummah? Why don’t we protect ourselves and our ummah from every evil and oppression and enmity? Are we not the children of a great ummah, and followers of a great din? Why are we satisfied with ease and inadequacy? The attacks on our ummah continue constantly, the catastrophes come one after another, and there are worse things, that are hidden from us. There is no power and no strength except in Allah, the High, the Mighty.