DISCLAIMER: This reminder was originally delivered in Arabic on Friday, 4 Apr 2014. Any meanings lost in translation are not to be attributed to the speaker as reminders are translated by volunteers. The mosque has no official translator 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 God.
All praise is due to Allah, and Allah's peace and blessings be upon His final Messenger, his pure family, his noble companions, and all those who follow them with righteousness until the Day of Judgement.
Allah (SWT) says:
Has the time not come for those who have believed that their hearts should become humbly submissive at the remembrance of Allah and what has come down of the truth? And let them not be like those who were given the Scripture before, and a long period passed over them, so their hearts hardened; and many of them are defiantly disobedient. Quran - Al-Hadid (57:16)
This is an admonition, a warning and a clarification of the rust that covers the hearts when long period of time passed over them without being filtered and purified. It is a description of the situation of hardness that the hearts might reach when they become heedless of the remembrance of Allah (SWT) and when they stop being submissive to the truth! Your heart - O human being - can quickly alternate and forget so fear Allah (SWT), obey His commands and submit to His orders.
Abdullah ibn Mas'ud said, "Since our acceptance of Islam and the revelation of this verse in which Allah has shown admonition to us "Has the time not come for those who have believed that their hearts should become humbly submissive at the remembrance of Allah" there was a gap of four years". It seems like the noble companions needed that reminder only four years after their acceptance of Islam so how much care, clarifying, purifying do our hearts need! The length of time usually weakens the soft feelings, makes a person forget some of his values and changes the heartfelt sentiments - unless that person maintains his heart in order to remain vigilant in his heart, intellect and inner consciousness.
The quality of being lenient and compassionate is a noble quality that stems from a soft heart. We reflected upon how Allah (SWT) admonished the noble companions when He (SWT) saw some change within their hearts so if we really seek Allah's satisfaction and wish to be rescued from Hellfire then we can attain this from being lenient, not by being harsh. As the Hadith narrates: "Prohibited to Hellfire is every Muslim who is lenient, easy going and close to people" [As-Sahih Al-Jamei']. Islam teaches us to adopt some acts which lead us to have lenient hearts as it was narrated that a man complained to the Prophet (SAAW) about the hardness of his heart. The Prophet (SAAW) said to him, "If you want your heart to soften, (affectionately) rub the orphan's head (with your hand) and feed the needy." [Musnad Ahmed].
Shaytan often causes hostility between Muslims even when they stand up for prayer by making some go back or forward or leave gaps in their lines. The Prophet (SAAW) used to instruct Muslims before the prayer with "Straighten your lines, and align your shoulders, and yield your hands to your brothers, and close the gaps, for indeed Shaytan comes between you through them, just as the small lamb does". That is because straightening the lines and closing the gaps is required for everyone, responding to your brother eliminates stubbornness that causes hostility.
Being lenient is a form of mercy that Allah (SWT) puts in the Muslim's heart as He (SWT) says:
So by mercy from Allah you were lenient with them. And if you had been rude [in speech] and harsh in heart, they would have disbanded from about you. Quran - 'Ali `Imran (3:159)
The merciful, lenient and compassionate person is the most worthy of Allah's mercy as the Hadith narrates, "Those who are merciful will be given mercy by the Most Merciful. Be merciful to those on the earth and the One above the heavens will have mercy on you." That is why the Prophet (SAAW) was the most merciful of people towards the young as he (SAAW) warned, "He is not of us who does not have mercy on young children, nor honour the elderly". He (SAAW) commanded us to show mercy to all creation and considered that as a reason for Allah's mercy in the Hereafter in his saying "Whoever shows mercy even when slaughtering a bird, Allah will have mercy on him on the Day of Judgement". So be easy and lenient - Oh Muslim - with your family, your children, your neighbours, your friends and all people; Muslims and non-Muslims.
This noble quality has its effect in all aspects of life which requires forgiveness and gentleness in your dealings with people and if you do so while seeking the reward from Allah (SWT) then you will be rewarded with His love. The Prophet (SAAW) said to Aisha the mother of believers (May Allah be pleased with her), "Aisha, verily Allah is kind and He loves kindness and confers upon kindness that which he does not confer upon severity".
The mere appearance of the one who is harsh and violent is an image that keeps people away from him while the image of the one who is lenient and kind sends comfort to peoples' hearts as the Prophet (SAAW) also said, "Kindness is not to be found in anything but that it adds to its beauty and it is not withdrawn from anything but it makes it defective". Islam encourages you - Oh Muslim - to purify your heart and soul by exercising this noble quality - so do so and adopt this quality which Allah (SWT) loves and rewards for.
Second Khutba O Muslims, you are living in a community where the majority of people are non-Muslim so use the quality of being lenient and kind as a means to call people to Islam and make it your tool in attracting them to this religion. You should also realise that the message of Islam is a universal one for all humanity and it is a mercy for all Mankind. All people are brought together by the bond of human brotherhood and by the same equality in origin and human dignity. Islam commands us to always observe these principles as the Prophet (SAAW) said in his sermon during the farewell pilgrimage:
"All people are offspring of Adam and Adam was made of clay" and he (SAAW) continued, "O people, your Lord is one and your father Adam is one. An Arab has no superiority over a non-Arab nor a non-Arab has any superiority over an Arab; also a white has no superiority over black nor a black has any superiority over white except by consciousness (taqwa)." Prophet Muhammad (SAAW)
With those words Islam confirmed these great principles and clarified that it is a message that descended from Allah (SWT) as a mercy for all Mankind seeking the good of people and to achieve their mutual interests and benefits in order for them to live in safety, security, peace and harmony which can only be achieved with such a noble character; being lenient and kind.