Take advantage of five before five (part 2)

September 29th, 2010 | Khutbah Jumat | 1 comment

Dear Brothers in Islam rahimakumullah,
As we left this congregation last week, we were listening to a concise yet comprehensive reminder from Rasulullah SAW about taking advantage of five matters that we all posses, before five other matters come to visit us inevitably. As we recall, this famous reminder is narrated by ibn ‘Abbas radiyallahu anhu and reported in many books of our pious scholars of the past, including Al Mustadrak of Imaam Al-Haakim, also in the Musnad of Imam Ahmad, and in other accounts, with an authentic chain of narration. The Messenger of Allah SAW said to a man while he was advising him:
"Take advantage of five matters before five other matters: your youth, before you become old; and your health, before you fall sick; and your richness, before you become poor; and your free time before you become busy; and your life, before your death."
This time, dear brothers, let us continue to ponder over this reminder, given by our beloved Messenger of Allah, sallallahu ‘alaiyhi wa sallam for all of us, particularly about richness before becoming poor, free time before becoming busy, and life before death.
Dear Brothers in Islam, take advantage of your richness before poverty.
One day we might not have anything, and the other day we might have much more than we need. One day, a person might have the best of jobs and the largest of salaries, yet, the next day, something happens and he does not have that job anymore and loses his source of income. So the wise person uses his richness before he becomes poor. He invests for his future.

As for the investments of this dun-ya, the Muslim and non-muslims are both the same; they both do that. Even the Prophet sal Allaahu alayhi wa sallam would store staple food items for a whole year for his family. We too, should make sure we have enough money for our family and our children and ourselves, so we are not poor and we are not beggars. There is no doubt that this is a part of our Shari'ah as well.

But while doing this, let us not forget that we also need to invest for the Akhirah. Should we not think about investing this money so we can pick it and pluck it in the Hereafter when we need it far more than we need it in this world? We need to invest for the real future, our real life after our death.

The Messenger sal Allaahu alayhi wa sallam once asked his companions, "Who amongst you loves his inheritors' money more than his own money?"
The Sahabah said in answer, "Yaa RasulAllah, all of us love our own money more than we love the money of our inheritors. We all love our own money. We guard it and protect it more than the money of our inheritors."

Then He said, sal Allaahu alayhi wa sallam, "Verily, the money that you spend in charity is your money, and the money that you leave behind is the money of your inheritors."

Ponder over that hadith for a while, how true it is. As for the father who loves his own money more than the money of his son, does he not realize that one day his son will take that very money of his and he will have nothing to do with it? All that is left of his money is what he spent during his life for the sake of Allah, if there was any such money. Any of it spent in charity for the sake of Allah, is money that will be yours permanently. The Arabic word for charity includes zakah, sadaqah, waqf, and any type of monetary good that you did. Everything besides this will go into the hands of your inheritors.

Remember that feeding your family is an ibaadah if you are doing it for the sake of Allah and you will be rewarded. The Prophet sal Allaahu alayhi wa sallam said that, "one morsel of food, one handful of food, "if you feed your wife with it, there will be a reward for you on the Day of Judgment." Now everybody, Muslim or non-Muslim, feeds his family. But will everybody be rewarded for that? No. Because only the one who does it remembering Allah, thinking about Allah, and doing it for the sake of Allah will be rewarded.

Ask ourselves the last time we went shopping, was Allah in your mind? Did you think of doing this for Allah? When you picked up the milk and the bread, was your heart thinking, "Oh Allah, I am buying this food through halaal money, and this is halaal food, because I want to feed my family and this is an obligation that You have put upon me, therefore, I am doing it for your sake." Who amongst us has this in his mind? This means thinking of Allah, spending for the sake of Allah, and having the intention of pleasing Allah subhaanahu wa ta ‘aala.

This is the third of the five things: "your richness, before poverty."

Beloved Brothers, rahimakumullah, take Advantage of Your Free Time Before You Become Busy
This is yet another great treasure that every single one of us possesses. Every one of us must use our free time before we become busy. How much free time do we have and what do we waste it on? Think about it. Think about how much free time all of us have been blessed with. We have hours and hours every day and they go by. What do we waste it on? Regrettably, we see many muslim and perhaps we're among them, waste time on things of which there is no benefit whatsoever for this world nor the hereafter.

In another hadith, Rasulullah sal Allaahu alayhi wa sallam has warned us about the two blessings, i.e. health and free time, that most people have been deceived by. In other words, they don't realize their blessings of health and free time.

Spending time wisely does not necessarily mean spending it in purely religious deeds. But spending time wisely can even be something in this world. Learn a trade. Learn something that can benefit you in this world and that can benefit other people as well. Islam is a complete way of life, a complete code. Do not forget that all of the acts a mu'min does can be transformed into acts of worship if, and only if, he does them for the sake of Allah subhaanahu wa ta ‘aala.

When we have some free time, let us take advantage of it. The greatest thing that we can do in this free time is to worship Allah. And one of the greatest acts of worship is to seek knowledge. Take a book out to read, listen to some cassettes, or listen to some CD's. Do whatever you can do to increase your 'ilm. Attend some classes or even visit one another for the sake of Allah subhaanahu wa ta ‘aala. Visit your Muslim brothers with the proper Islamic etiquette and ‘adab. This is an act you can do that will pass your time away, and be worthwhile.

This is the fourth of the five matters: "take advantage of your free time before you become busy."

Finally, dear brothers, take advantage of your life before your death.
This one phrase summarizes it all. Every one of us has a life. That is why we are here right now. Every one of us without a doubt will die. Allah says:
so say, ‘The death you run away from will come to meet you and you will be returned to the One who knows the unseen as well as the seen: He will tell you everything you have done

And it is as Allah said, the Messenger sal Allaahu alayhi wa sallam passed away and so did the people that opposed him and believed in him. They all have passed away. And the turn came for those after them, and then those after them, until it is our turn.

The Prophet sal Allaahu alayhi wa sallam therefore reminded us, "Take advantage of your life before your death." This is the greatest of foresight. Hence the Prophet sal Allaahu alayhi wa sallam concluded the hadith with this phrase.

How are we going to use this life before death comes? As for the people who do not receive Guidance from Allah, they will totally waste it because they will make this life their goal. He will live only to appease and satisfy every desire of his. Then on the Day of Judgment, he will beg Allah to send him back to this life. Allah describes this in the Quran:
and he says, ‘My Lord, if You would only reprieve me for a little while, I would give in charity and become one of the righteous.'

All of a sudden, when his Lord sends him his death he remembers Allah. Whereas throughout all of the years that he lived, Allah was nowhere near him; Allah subhaanahu wa ta ‘aala was the furthest thing from his death. On the Day of Judgment when he is resurrected, he will say:

Allah obviously will say, "no". You have only been allowed one life and you will not be able to go back and change that life. For every good you do you will be rewarded, and for every evil you do you will be punished.

Everyone has only one life. That is what Allah has given and this is what we must make the best of in this world so that we are compensated accordingly in the Hereafter.

These are the things that the Prophet sal Allaahu alayhi wa sallam told the man to do. He advised him to take advantage of five matters before five others: your youth, before your old age; and your health before you fall sick; and your wealth before you become poor; and your free time before you become busy; and your life before your death.

This hadith deals with responsibility, wisdom, foresight, long-term planning, and good strategy. Every one of us has been blessed with these five blessings. There is no one amongst us who has not been blessed with these five things. So how do we utilize them? What do we utilize them for? Why do we utilize them?

The wise person is the one who strives to achieve the pleasure of Allah subhaanahu wa ta ‘aala and then expects the best from Allah. We ask that Allah subhaanahu wa ta ‘aala makes us amongst those who can can seize these five things, who can take advantage of them before the other five will come. These first five matters will inevitably be taken away from us, and substituted by the others that the Prophet sal Allaahu alayhi wa sallam mentioned.

Aquulu qawli hadzaa, astaghfirullaha al-'adziim, lii wa lakum. Innahu huwa al-ghafurun al-rahiim. Fastabiqul khayraat.

Take advantage of five before 5 (part 1)

September 29th, 2010 | Khutbah Jumat | 2 comments

Take Advantage of Five Before Five (1)

Dear Brothers in Islam, as we all understand, the Prophet sal Allaahu alayhi wa sallam has been blessed with jawaami' ul kalim, the most concise, or precise, speech. In one of the ahadith, he was recorded to say, "I have been blessed with concise speech." Therefore, when we look at the precious pearls that came out of the Prophet's mouth, sal Allaahu alayhi wa sallam, we find that many of his ahadith are in fact treasure chests of wisdom. The words might be small, but the meanings behind them are great. The speech might be succinct, but the benefits and the blessings that can be derived from them are innumerable.

And of the ahadith that are jawaami', or comprehensive in nature, that I would like to share for our benefit this time is the hadith of ibn ‘Abbas radi Allahu anhu, as reported in the Mustadrak of Imaam Al-Haakim, also in the Musnad of Imam Ahmad, and in other accounts, with an authentic chain of narration. In this hadith the Prophet sal Allaahu alayhi wa sallam said to a man while he was advising him:

"Take advantage of five matters before five other matters: your youth, before you become old; and your health, before you fall sick; and your richness, before you become poor; and your free time before you become busy; and your life, before your death."

The first original word used in this advice is, ightanam. It comes from same root that signifies sheep - ghanam. Sheep, in Arabic, means ghanam, and ightanam is from the same root that also signifies sheep. What exactly is the meaning of ightanam? Ightanam is used to indicate any good that can be obtained without much effort. Just like sheep, they can easily be caught if they go astray. This is why the war booty that is found on the battlefield after the army has fled is called ghaneemah. It is easy to take, just like the sheep. You can grasp it without much effort. Ghaneemah, ightanam, and ghanam are all from the same root.
So in the above hadith, it is as if the Prophet sal Allaahu alayhi wa sallam is pointing out that these five matters are very easy to obtain. They are easy to prey on and catch, and very simple to benefit from. That is because they are treasures that everyone possesses but few people appreciate.

Now for the time being, let us ponder over the first three out of the five matters that our Nabiya Karim asks us to consider in the abovementioned hadith, namely our youth before our old age, our health before our sickness, and our richness before we become poor.

Dear Brothers in Islam, The Prophet sal Allaahu alayhi wa sallam started off and said syabbab or syab, a youth or young person. Our Nabiya Karim said, "Take advantage of your youth before your old age. It is an age in which the person does not have the power or mental faculties that he had while he was a youth.
Youthfulness is a time when a person is the most energetic, when he lays out the foundations for his future, and when he plans for his life. So the Prophet sal Allaahu alayhi wa sallam said to take advantage of this time before the time comes when you do not have that enthusiasm, when you do not have that zeal, or that outlook. The enthusiasm and energy that you have been blessed with will never again be given to you after this age. Therefore, the Prophet sal Allaahu alayhi wa sallam said to seize the moment and take advantage of it. A person should exercise this energy for the sake of Allah by procuring knowledge of Allah, obtaining halal sustenance, and worshipping Allah through acts that he might not be able to do later on in life.
Youth here does not mean the western concept of youth that youthfulness finishes when someone is eighteen or nineteen years old. In the Islamic viewpoint, a man's life can be divided into a number of sectors or stages. Syabbab or syab, according to the strongest opinion, means before reaching the age of forty. This is because forty is the prime of life, when mental and physical capabilities have reached a peak, and after that they start to go down.

The Prophet sal Allaahu alayhi wa sallam said in another occasion:
"Seven are the people that will be sheltered on the Day of Judgment, the day in which there is no shade except the shade of Allah subhaanahu wa ta ‘aala."
One of the seven people, the Prophet sal Allaahu alayhi wa sallam mentioned was a youth who grew up in the worship of Allah subhaanahu wa ta ‘aala. Remember, the youth is up to forty. So this young person, whether he is twenty or thirty or right before reaching the age of forty, he has grown up and has been raised or has raised himself busy in the worship of Allah subhaanahu wa ta ‘aala.

Likewise, the Prophet sal Allaahu alayhi wa sallam said in an authentic hadith describes that Allah subhaanahu wa ta ‘aala is pleased with and amazed at the youth who does not have any evil inclinations. This means he does not do evil. Allah subhaanahu wa ta ‘aala loves such a youth who is straight in the worship of Allah and does not turn left or right to the paths of Shaytaan. Allah loves this person and is amazed at him because in general it is the youth, due to their virility and strong desires, who swerve left and right away from the path of the worship of Allah subhaanahu wa ta ‘aala. So this is the first of the five: "your youth before your old age."

Dear Brothers, the second of the five matters is, "your health, before you fall sick."
The fact that one lives a normal life and is not afflicted with diseases and plagues, represents a person's health. Take advantage of this before diseases and plagues come because mankind, being mankind, will fall sick. Everyone falls sick. If we did not fall sick, we would not be humans, we would be divine.
There will come a time when we will fall sick. Some of those times the sicknesses will be more severe, and for certain people even more severe. So the Prophet sal Allaahu alayhi wa sallam is reminding us that we do not know when we will have full possession of our faculties, of our strength, of our mental powers, before we will fall sick. Therefore, take advantage of it before that time comes.

Our Nabiya Karim said which means: "There are two blessings the majority of mankind have been deceived concerning." The majority of mankind do not appreciate these two blessings. They are "health," good health, "and free time."
Once a person came to Yunus ibn 'Ubayy, one of the scholars of the Salaf. This person complained of extreme poverty as he had not been blessed with much. Yunus ibn Ubayy asked him, "Would you be willing to give away your sight for a certain amount of money?" The man said, "No, of course not." Then he asked him, "Would you be willing to give your hands away?" He said, "No, of course not." He asked, "Your feet?" He said, "Of course not." When he finished he said "I see that you have hundreds of thousands of millions of blessings, yet you are complaining of poverty?"

We have, Alhamdulillah, our full faculties, we can see and hear. Look at someone who Allah subhaanahu wa ta ‘aala has tested with blindness. It is a very severe test, and that is why the Prophet sal Allaahu alayhi wa sallam has said in an authentic hadith:
"There are two things if Allah subhaanahu wa ta ‘aala takes them away from a person and he is patient, he is guaranteed Jannah. These two things are the two eyes."
In other words, if a person is blind, and we seek Allah's refuge from the physical and the spiritual blindness in this world and in the hereafter, then Allah subhaanahu wa ta ‘aala is testing him. And if he is patient, then Allah will reward him with Jannah.

How about one who has been blessed not just with eyesight, but with hearing, health, arms, limbs, energy, vitality, enthusiasm, and many other things. Should we not appreciate the blessing from Allah subhaanahu wa ta ‘aala? Do we not realize how sweet health is? It can be used for the worship of Allah. When we are blessed with these bodies, why do we not use them in the worship of Allah?
The least we can do, dear brothers, is the faraa'id (obligatory actions) such as salah five times a day, fasting in Ramadan, and going for the Hajj. All of these require that we use our physical bodies. That is the least that we can do, the bare minimum. Of course, the more that one does, the better it is for him.
This is the second of the five matters: "your health before you fall sick."

Brothers in Islam, the third matter reminded by Rasulullah sallallahu alaihi wa sallam is, "your richness, before poverty." One day we might not have anything, and the next we might have much more than we need. One day, a person might have the best of jobs and the largest of salaries, yet, the next day or another day, something happens and he does not have that job anymore and loses his source of income. So the wise person uses his richness before he becomes poor. He invests for his future.
As for the investments of this dunya, then the kafir and the Muslims are both the same; they both do that. Even the Prophet sal Allaahu alayhi wa sallam would store staple food items even up to a year. Sometimes he would store barley and grain for a whole year for his family. So this is obviously something halaal as our Prophet himself did it, and we should do it too. We should make sure we have enough money for our family and our children and ourselves, so we are not poor and we are not beggars. There is no doubt that this is a part of our Shari'ah as well.

But while we are doing this, let us not forget that we also need to invest for the Akhirah. Should we not think about investing this money so we can pick it and pluck it in the Hereafter when we need it far more than we need it in this world? We need to invest for the real future, our real life after our death.
The Prophet sal Allaahu alayhi wa sallam once asked his companions, "Who amongst you loves his inheritors' money more than his own money?" The meaning of this hadith is that the Prophet sal Allaahu alayhi wa sallam is asking for example, does the father love the money of his son or does he love his own money? Of course, the father loves his own money than his son's. Likewise, every person will love his own money more than he loves the money of other people.

The Sahabah then answered, "Yaa RasulAllah, all of us love our own money more than we love the money of our inheritors. We all love our own money. We guard it and protect it more than the money of our inheritors." Then the Prophet sal Allaahu alayhi wa sallam said, "Verily, the money that you spend in charity is your money, and the money that you leave behind is the money of your inheritors."
Ponder over that hadith for a while, how true it is. As fathers who loves our own money more than the money of our children, do we not realize that one day our children will take that very money from us and that we will have nothing to do with it? All that is left of our money is what we spent during our life for the sake of Allah, if there was any such money. Any of it spent in charity for the sake of Allah, is money that will be ours permanently. The Arabic word for charity includes zakah, sadaqah, waqf, and any type of monetary good that you did. Everything besides this will go into the hands of our inheritors.
Remember that feeding our family is also an ibaadah if we are doing it for the sake of Allah. If you are doing it for the sake of Allah, you will be rewarded. The Prophet sal Allaahu alayhi wa sallam said that, "A morsel of food," one morsel of food, one handful of food, "if you put it in your wife's mouth, this will be a reward for you on the Day of Judgment." Now the case is everybody, Muslim or non-Muslim, feeds his family. But will everybody be rewarded for that? No. Because only the one who does it remembering Allah, thinking about Allah, and doing it for the sake of Allah will be rewarded.

Ask ourselves if the last time we went shopping, was Allah in our mind? Did we think of doing this for Allah? When you picked up the milk and the bread, was our heart thinking, "Oh Allah, I am buying this food through halaal money, and this is halaal food, because I want to feed my family and this is an obligation that You have put upon me, therefore, I am doing it for your sake." Who amongst us has this in his mind?
When we say, "That is spent for the sake of Allah," we are not just talking about money, zakah, sadaqah, and charity. Of course, giving in charity is the best thing we can do with our money. But do not forget that the majority of income that we spend, and in fact for the mu'min, all of the income that he spends, can be for the sake of Allah as well. This means thinking of Allah, spending for the sake of Allah, and having the intention of pleasing Allah subhaanahu wa ta ‘aala. Dear Brothers, so this is the third of the five things: "your richness, before poverty."

Aqulu qouli hadza. Astaghfirullaha al-‘Adzhim, li wa lakum, wa li saa iri al-muslimina wa al-muslimat, wa al-mu'minia wa al-mu'minat. Wa qul, rabbighfir warham, wa anta khairurrahimin.

Very few of My servants are thankful

September 29th, 2010 | Khutbah Jumat | 1 comment

Dear Brothers in Islam,
If there is ever an aayat in the Quran that is heartbreaking, that should put us in a shame when it's recited, it is where Allah SWT says in the Quran: "wa qaleeloom min ‘ibaadiyash shakoor", "and few of My servants are thankful". There are so many blessings that Allah SWT blesses us with. By night and by day, Allah A.J is providing for us and protecting us, and pushing away so many harms and giving us so many bounties; and yet, very few people thank Allah SWT. And this is sad because Allah SWT describes His blessings in the Qur'an as countless, saying: "wa in ta'udduu ni'matallaahi laa tuhsuuhaa", "and if you were to try to enumerate the blessings of Allah A.J, you will not be able to count them".

And those who do thank to Allah A.J., they normally thank Him for the usual things. Very few of us hardly ever remember to thank Allah A.J for specific things, and there are so many things we take for granted. Who remembers to thank Allah A.J. for the teeth, for example? If just one tooth gives you a head-splitting pain, you rush to a dentist. And after the dentist pull it for you out and throw it to the trash, you thank him for doing that. What about thanking Allah A.J. for all the teeth we've had for hours and days and minutes that they never cause any pain or any problem?

Who remembers to thank Allah A.J. constantly for this great blessing of having eyesight? We know the greatness of this particular blessing from the hadith of Rasul Allah SAW where he described a man in the Day of Judgment who comes with good quality and quantity of worship that he did for 70 years. He then asks Allah to judge him not based on Allah's mercy but based on his good deeds. Allah SWT out of His wisdom then gives him that option and tells the angels to take just one of the so many blessings, which is the blessing of the eyesight, and then put it on one side of the balance against all his good deeds. This just one blessing of eyesight then outweighs all the 70 years of excellent worship. With this hadith hopefully we begin to understand the aayat, wa qaleelum min ‘ibaadiyash shakoor, "and few of my servants are thankful".

Dear Brothers rahimakumullah,
A man came to Ibrahim ibn Ad-ham rahimahullah and told him, I've been committing sin constantly against Allah. So give me some advice that will help me in this. Ibrahim ibn Ad-ham told him, you can continue to disobey Allah if you want to do so, but do not use any of the wealth that comes from Allah A.J. So he replied, how can I do that while everything belongs to Allah SWT? He says, so does it make sense that you use the wealth given by Allah A.J while you disobey Him? He says, no. Then Ibrahim ibn Adham says again, when you disobey Allah A.J while you're taking His provisions for you, at least you should do it outside the land of Allah A.J. The man said this is even more difficult because all the land belongs to Allah SWT. So Ibrahim ibn Ad-ham said, does it make sense then, that you use the wealth of Allah A.J. and then you disobey Him on His Land? He says, No.

Then he says, so if you're going to use the wealth of Allah A.J. while disobeying Him in His land, then at least go where He SWT can't see you. The man realized that it's even more difficult, because Allah A.J. knows what we conceal and what we reveal. So then, Ibrahim ibn Adham tells him, if you're going to use the blessings of Allah, His provisions, and disobey Him on His land, and disobey Him while He sees you, at least when the Angel of Death comes to you, tell him to give you time to repent to Allah SWT. He says, he won't allow me. He then says, when the angel is commanded to throw you to the hellfire, tell him that you won't go. He says, they won't let me. So finally the man realized the value of the admonition given to him by Ibrahim ibn Adham. Many people would fall into that category, so we ask Allah SWT to not make us from those people whom Allah SWT gives all His blessings, and He provides for them, and yet they disobey and sin by day and by night, and they hide the sins from humanity and make sure that no human being will catch them, but they do not care in the least that Allah A.J. sees everything.

Dear brothers, rahimakumullah
It would be beneficial for us, therefore, to understand and to nurture in ourselves the five characteristics of those who are grateful to Allah SWT. When you're grateful to Allah A.J, the first thing that comes naturally is that you submit to Him. This is something that comes naturally, especially when you realize that your wealth, your income, your sustenance comes to you and linked to Allah SWT. This is not something strange to us, because our employers, when they tell us to do something even if we disagree with it, we do it and submit to them to a certain degree because you recognize them and we link them to our source of income. So, if we link Allah SWT with every good that comes to us, then we would naturally submit to Allah SWT.

Secondly is the love of Allah SWT. Love comes naturally when any human being or anything brings you much blessing or much good. You will naturally have the affinity towards that object or that person. So when you recognize that all the good we have comes from Allah SWT, we then naturally begin to love Allah SWT. And the love of Allah SWT is not something that we proclaim every now and then, or that we boast with. Rather, it is proven or expressed by how much we praise Allah SWT. This leads to the third characteristic, that is constant remembrance, constant dzikr to Allah SWT. We realize that whatever we love in this dunya, it is constantly on our mind or we constantly talk about it with our companions or family. Those who love car will talk about car, those who love football will talk about football, and those who love Allah will talk about Allah SWT.

The fourth, is to acknowledge that the blessing comes to you by way of Allah SWT. The blessing does ultimately come from Allah SWT, not from somewhere else. And the fifth is that when Allah SWT gives you a blessing, you use it in obedience to Him SWT.

Our scholars then add the sixth characteristic of being grateful to Allah SWT. That is when a blessing comes to you through a human being, you must also show gratitude to that person. Messenger of Allah SAW said, laa yasykurullaah man laa yaskurun naas, "he who does not show gratitude to people does not show gratitude to Allah SWT. The Prophet SAW also showed us the best way to thank one another, saying: whoever has something good done to you, and then you say to the one who does it ‘jazaakallahu khairan' then you have given him his due praise.

Dear brothers, ghafarakumullah,
Allah SWT has distributed his blessings among His servants according to His wisdom. So some of us may be blessed with more wealth but some others have better physical strength. Some people have better intellectual understanding in natural phenomena or in social cultural aspects, while others are blessed with beauty, etc. Allah SWT says in the Quran (Az Zukhruf 32),

"Are they the ones who share out your Lord's grace? We are the ones who give them their share of livelihood in this world and We have raised some of them above others in rank, so that some may take others into service: your Lord's grace is better than anything they accumulate"


Realizing this fact, we then must be conscious and prepared that someday in the hereafter, everyone of us will be asked about how we have spent the blessing given to us by Allah.

Dear Brothers, in order to draw ourselves closer and closer to Allah's Mercy, we should develop different attitudes when dealing with worldly related blessings as compared to blessings related with religious life. So when it comes to the things of this dunya, you do not look to those who have more blessings than you, because that way you would feel to have less, and this will lead you to be less appreciative to Allah. Look to those who have less than you, and you would feel to have a lot. So when you're driving your car, for example, you do not look to those who drive a better car than yours. But look to those who are walking. Similarly, if you have a home, a small home, for example, you do not look to those who live in mansions or palaces because this way would make you feel that you're less blessed. Look to those who don't even have a house and have to live in the streets so that you can appreciate what Allah has given to you.
The opposite is when it comes to religion. With religion, you look at those who are more than you. Who're more religious, who have more taqwa, who are more committed to do good deeds. You don't look to those who have less than you so that you feel what you have is enough. Look at those who have more so that you're aspired to become like them. Because Allah says in the Quran: wallahu yuhibbul muhsineen. "Allah loves those who are excellent in their deen".

My dear brothers, rahimakumullah,
Lastly, let us draw some lessons from a story of Abdullah ibn Muhammad, a pious man of the past, as mentioned by Imam Adz Dzahabi rahimahullah in his book, Seerul a'lam an nubala. Abdullah ibn Muhammad once got lost in the desert during one of his travel. While looking for a man to ask direction to go back, he saw and old tent from the hillock. Then he went towards this tent which he found to be an old, broken and torn one. He then looked into the tent and saw and old blind man, with no hand, paralyzed, and no wealth whatsoever sitting on the floor. The unusual thing about this old man was that he kept on saying, alhamdulillahilladzee tafdhalanee ‘alaa katseerin min ‘ibaadihee tafdheelaa. "all praise is due to Allah, who has preferred me over so many of His servants". So Abdullah ibn Muhammad was surprised, gave him salaam went closer to the man. The man said, "who is that". He said, "I'am a lost traveler, but I have one question for you". The man replied, "I will respond to your question but you must do a favor for me". So he agreed.

He said, "why that I see you in this miserable situation that you're in, not able to walk, you don't have hand, you cannot see, and don't have any wealth whatsoever, but you thank Allah for preferring you over so many of His servants?" The old man said to him, "Do you not see that I am of sane mind?" He said, "yes". "How many of the servants of Allah are insane?" He said, "many!" "So Alhamdulillah, who has preferred me over His insane servants".

He said, "Do you not see that I am able to hear?" He said, "yes". "How many of the servants of Allah are deaf?" He said, "many". "So Alhamdulillah, who has preferred me over His so many deaf servants".
And then the man mentioned his speech, and asked how many people are mute. And he mentioned Islam, and how many people are worshipping idols, and believe that Isa AS is the son of Allah, or worship trees. So than Abdullah ibn Muhammad said, "You have spoken the truth. So what is this request that you have?"

The blind old man told him to find his small boy, the only person he had after all his family died. The boy was the one who served him for food and everything else he couldn't do it himself. But he has not come back to him since the day before.

Abdullah ibn Muhammad rahimahullah then went out to a top of a small hill and noticed in the horizon some birds circulating. Shortly he went to that area only to see that a dead body of the small boy was there, attacked, killed, and partly eaten by wolves. He then said to himself, "How would I go back and tell that poor man about this". He said, "I even thought to not go back to him, but I couldn't do that to him". He said, "On the way back to him, I remembered Prophet Ayyub AS".

Arriving at the old man's tent, the man asked him as if the boy was with him, "where did you find the boy". Abdullah ibn Muhammad took a deep breath and said, "Let me ask you first, who is more beloved to Allah, you or His Prophet Ayyub AS?" the man said, "no doubt is prophet Ayyub". "Then who has had a more difficult test, you or His prophet Ayyub? He replied, "no doubt, His prophet Ayyub". He tells him then, "seek the reward with Allah, I found your boy at a top of the hill, the wolf had attacked him, it had killed him, and eaten him".

He said, "when I said that, the man lower his head and started to say laa haula wa laa quwwata illa billaah, inna lillahi wa innaa ilayhi raaji'oon, asyhaduallaa ilaaha illallaah, he kept on repeating these phrases and then he started to take a deep breath like he's going to die". "So then I took his head, and I kept giving him water, he kept saying asyhaduallaa ilaaha illallaah, inna lillahi wa innaa ilayhi raaji'oon, until he died".
Abdullah ibn Muhammad then waited for a group of travelers that might pass to ask them assistance in the man's burial procession. After that he then went on his journey. He said, "That night I saw the old man in my dream, looking good, with excellent health and condition. So I asked him in dream, how did you get to this situation and you've changed so much?" "So the man told him, my Lord entered me into His paradise and it was said to me, salaamun ‘alaykum bimaa shabartum, fa ni'ma ‘uqbaddaar. Peace be unto you for what you have been patience upon, and what a good end you've got in the end".

Dear brothers in Islam,
Finally, let us ask Allah SWT, may Allah SWT make us of His servants who are thankful, who have patience, and realize that all blessings truly come from Allah A.J. Prophet Sulayman AS asked in his beautiful du'aa, and with this du'aa we join him in asking Allah SWT: Rabbee awzi'nee an asy kuraa ni'matakallatee an'amta ‘alayya wa ‘alaa waalidayya, wa an a'mala shaalihan tardhaahoo, wa adkhilnee bee rahmatika fee eebaadikash shaaliheen

Psychological & epistemological lessons of Isra' Mi'raj

September 29th, 2010 | Khutbah Jumat | 12 comments

Jumu'ah, 25 June 2010
MSA-AIT Masjid

Dear Brothers rahimakumullah,
This month Rajab about 14 hundred years ago, witnessed a very important event experienced by our Nabiya Karim SAW. Event that can be described as an act of active mercy, or rahmah, from his Lord SWT to him, and through him SAW this rahmah is also for his ummah including all of us sitting here today. This event is very well known as Isra Mi'raj, or the miraculous night journey followed by the ascension to the heavens. The Quran Karim, preserves this blessed event for our remembrance. In Surah Bani Israil, Allah says about the Isra:

"Glory to Him who made His servant travel by night from the sacred place of worship (Al-Masjid Al-Haram) to the furthest place of worship (Al-Masjid Al-Aqsa), whose surroundings We have blessed, to show him some of Our signs: He alone is the All Hearing, the All Seeing".

And the event of Miraj is preserved in Surah An Najm (53:13-18), where Allah describes:

"A second time he (SAW) saw him (Jibril AS): by the lote tree beyond which none may pass (Sidrat-ul-muntaha), near the Garden of Restfulness, when the tree was covered in nameless [splendour]. His sight never wavered, nor was it too bold, and he saw some of the greatest signs of his Lord".

Dear brothers, as we all know, this miraculous event bears numerous significances for Rasulullah SAW personally, for his da'wah of Islam, and in turn for all of his ummah. These include among many others, the gift of salaah 5 times a day, the most important act of worship which facilitates our direct communication to our Lord SWT. The scholars of Islam throughout the history have pondered and tried to extract various important lessons from Isra Miraj for the benefit of this ummah. And in this khutbah, I would like to share with you insha Allah, two out of those many lessons, namely psychological significance and epistemological significance of Isra Miraj.

Dear brothers in Islam, in order to appreciate the psychological or strategic significance of the miraculous event we must look to the exact moment when it took place. The most authentic sources indicate that this event took place of the night of 27th Rajab in the eleventh year after the commencement of his mission, when the Prophet (pbuh) was 51 years of age. Shortly before this event the Prophet (pbuh) had, at age fifty, suffered the two greatest blows he had ever suffered since the announcement of his prophethood ten years earlier.
Firstly, Abu Talib who, because of his position as leader of an important clan of the tribe of Quraish (Banu Hashim) and as the Patriach of Makkah, was able to offer security and protection to the Prophet (pbuh), now died, and the Prophet (PBUH) was left in a position of grave insecurity. Shortly before this the Prophet (pbuh) suffered another serious blow when his beloved wife and life-long companion, Khadija (RA), died. To the intense grief and the loneliness of a widower were now added the grave burden of the Prophet's (pbuh) insecurity.

But the darkest day of his life and of his mission was yet to come when, shortly after, he ventured to the city of Taif with the hope of extracting some form of support from Banu Saad Bin Bakr (in which tribe he was suckled) and other tribes in that city which would alleviate his perilous insecurity. The tribal chiefs not only rejected his approach but ordered the street urchins to stone him out of the city. With blood flowing from his wounds, his heart lonely and forlorn with grief, and his enemies closing the noose around him and his small band of followers, it appeared as though the end was in sight.

Not once, not even at such a hopeless moment, did the faith of the Prophet waver. He relied on none but Allah. He turned to none but Allah. Regardless of the hopelessness of the objective situation in which he now found himself, there was no thought of any compromise with the forces ranged against him and his followers. It was at precisely this moment, not sooner and not later, that the miraculous journey (Miraj) took place. And it marked the turning point in his mission (apart from being the greatest honor ever bestowed by Almighty God on any of His creation). Through his steadfast commitment to 'Truth' and to the mission of struggle for establishing the supremacy of 'Truth', and through his noble patience in the face of unrelenting adversity, the Prophet (Pbuh) earned the Grace of divine intervention (al-Isra wal Miraj) which then charted a course to victory.

Four and a half months after the Miraj (i.e. the month of Zil Hajj in the same 11th year of the Call) the tide began to turn and a way was provided for the Prophet (Pbuh) and his followers to escape from the perils of Makkah. The opening was from the city of Yathrib (later to renamed Madina) and was grasped in the first pledge of Aqaba. By the time of the second pledge of Aqaba one year later (Zil Hajj in the 12th year of the Call) the way was clear for the migration to Madina (Hijrah) which took place three months later (Rabi-ul-awwal) in the 13th year of the Prophet's (Pbuh) mission). Hijrah was followed by the successful establishment by the Muslims of the city-State of Madina with the Prophet (pbuh) as supreme authority. This was followed by military victory at Badr and diplomatic and political victory at Hudaibiyah until, finally, complete victory over the Quraish at Makkah in the year 8 A.H. (eight after Hijrah).

Thus Isra and Miraj, in marking the turning point in the Prophet's (Pbuh) mission, also ordained a psychology of da 'wah (inviting people to God), to the effect that it is the obligation of the believers to persevere in the mission of truth despite all adversities, and no matter how long the struggle may last (the Prophet was aged 51 and had, by then, pursued the mission for 11 long years), and to be steadfast and patient until Divine intervention charts the course of victory. Thus the strategic factor for success in the process of the Islamic revolution lies in the spiritual domain of Divine Grace. Revolutionary forces cannot invoke this Grace. They must earn it.

Dear brothers, secondly is the epistemological significance. For those of us who are not familiar with the word, epistemology means knowledge that studies knowledge. Allah has explained in the Qur'an that the purpose of the al-Isra was "to show him (i.e. the Prophet) of Our Signs". Now since the Signs of Allah are basically pregnant with knowledge, which is intended for the benefit of mankind (and this is why the verses of the Qur'an are also called Signs or Ayat), it should be obvious that Allah showed those Signs for the purpose of imparting some special knowledge to the Prophet (Pbuh). This fact is clearly reinforced by the use, at the end of the verse, of the divine attributes al-Sami (He Who hears) and al-Basir (He Who Sees). Since it is He, Allah, Who really Sees and Really Hears, Real knowledge is with Him. Al-Miraj, therefore, was to the world of Real knowledge.

This is a matter of such supreme importance for the modern world that it could usher an intellectual revolution. The modern scientific method insists that only that which can be an object of observation and experimentation can be admitted into scientific knowledge. That which cannot be observed cannot be admitted as knowledge, because only scientific knowledge is real knowledge. Everything else belongs to 'dreamland'. The result has been that the secularization of knowledge has delinked knowledge from the sacred and the transcendental. And since the essence of things are located in their transcendental substance, modern scientific man can sees things only as they 'appear' to him. As a consequence he is like a ship without a pilot, sailing the wide sees without a clue as to where he is going.

There can be no doubt whatsoever that this so-called age of ‘progress' is, indeed, the age when these signs of the Last Day have appeared. This is the age of secularism. Even the state is secular, and so too politics, the economy, education, the market, the media, sports, entertainment, etc. The dining room and the bedroom are today also secularized. Secularism begins by ‘excluding God', and culminates by ‘denying Him'! How so? When knowledge is secularized it leads to the belief that knowledge comes from only one source, i.e., external observation and rational enquiry. The implication of the adoption of this epistemology is as follows: since this material world is the only world we can ever ‘know' in this way, it follows that this is the only world that really ‘exists'.

Thus it is that secularism leads inevitably to materialism, i.e., the acceptance, for all practical purposes, that there is no reality beyond material reality. And materialism has led, naturally so, to a world of greed, lies, promiscuity, injustice, oppression, godlessness, and great betrayals since the moral foundations of society cannot be sustained without the spiritual heart of religion. And such a world is not bothered in the least with such things as the ‘remembrance' of Allah Most High.

All human knowledge comes to man through the medium of the senses and the intellect, both operating inter-dependently within the framework of space and time. Man is, under normal circumstances, imprisoned within this framework of thinking and living. But through the Prophet's (Pbuh) Miraj Allah demonstrated, in as spectacular a manner as possible, that there is another world of knowledge which transcends space and time. Man can partake of that knowledge if he can pierce the spatio- temporal barrier. If and when he does, he will be able to acquire the knowledge of things 'as they are' in contrast to the prevailing knowledge of things 'as they appear to us'.

The Miraj, therefore, established the existence of transcendental knowledge, and the learned man (Alim) is he whose knowledge is enriched with transcendental knowledge. But the further significance of the Miraj into the world of transcendental knowledge is that it did not take place until the Prophet (Pbuh) had first spent long years learning from the Signs of Allah "here-below", i.e. in this world. Transcendental knowledge thus appears to be the fruit which is earned after prolonged struggle in the quest for knowledge. The epistemological significance of the Miraj, therefore, is that it affirms the existence of, and draws our attention to transcendental knowledge. It also provides us with the methodology which must be adopted if the acquisition of that knowledge is to be possible.

Finally, I pray to Allah SWT may Allah SWT bless us with the best gift of all, namely shabr, so that we are able to stay istiqamah in His deen for the rest of our life, regardless of the heavy and stealth challenges of the dunya. And may Allah SWT enable us to see with two eyes, i.e. the external and more importantly the internal eyes of the heart, so that we can see the transcendental reality behind the great and lethal deception of the material worlds. Ameen.

Untuk yang suka kebut-kebutan...

February 24th, 2009 | Transportation issues | 2 comments

Ada teman kirim e-mail yang dia dapat dari milist-nya. Saya repost di sini.

Untuk para pembalap jalanan.
Ditilang Polisi , dan Polisi itu temenku

Dari kejauhan, lampu lalu-lintas di perempatan itu masih menyala hijau. Jono segera menekan pedal gas kendaraannya. Ia tak mau terlambat. Apalagi ia tahu perempatan di situ cukup padat, sehingga lampu merah biasanya menyala cukup lama. Kebetulan jalan di depannya agak lengang. Lampu berganti kuning. Hati Jono berdebar berharap semoga ia bisa melewatinya segera. Tiga meter menjelang garis jalan, lampu merah menyala.Jono bimbang, haruskah ia berhenti atau terus saja. "Ah, aku tak punya kesempatan untuk menginjak rem mendadak," pikirnya sambil terus melaju.

Prit!

Di seberang jalan seorang polisi melambaikan tangan memintanya berhenti. Jono menepikan kendaraan agak menjauh sambil mengumpat dalam hati. Dari kaca spion ia melihat siapa polisi itu. Wajahnya tak terlalu asing. Hey, itu khan Bobi, teman mainnya semasa SMA dulu. Hati Jono agak lega. Ia melompat keluar sambil membuka kedua lengannya. "Hai, Bob. Senang sekali ketemu kamu lagi!"
"Hai, Jon." Tanpa senyum.
"Duh, sepertinya saya kena tilang nih? Saya memang agak buru-buru. Istri saya sedang menunggu di rumah."
"Oh ya?"
Tampaknya Bobi agak ragu. Nah, bagus kalau begitu.

"Bob, hari ini istriku ulang tahun. Ia dan anak-anak sudah menyiapkan segala sesuatunya. Tentu aku tidak boleh terlambat, dong."
"Saya mengerti. Tapi, sebenarnya kami sering memperhatikanmu melintasi lampu merah di persimpangan ini."

Oooo, sepertinya tidak sesuai dengan harapan. Jono harus ganti strategi.

"Jadi, kamu hendak menilangku? Sungguh, tadi aku tidak melewati lampu merah.. Sewaktu aku lewat lampu kuning masih menyala."

Aha, terkadang berdusta sedikit bisa memperlancar keadaan.

"Ayo dong Jon. Kami melihatnya dengan jelas. Tolong keluarkan SIM-mu."

Dengan ketus Jono menyerahkan SIM, lalu masuk ke dalam kendaraan dan menutup kaca jendelanya. Sementara Bobi menulis sesuatu di buku tilangnya. Beberapa saat kemudian Bobi mengetuk kaca jendela. Jono memandangi wajah Bobi dengan penuh kecewa. Dibukanya kaca jendela itu sedikit.
Ah, lima centi sudah cukup untuk memasukkan surat tilang. Tanpa berkata-kata Bobi kembali ke posnya. Jono mengambil surat tilang yang diselipkan Bobi di sela-sela kaca jendela. Tapi, hei apa ini. Ternyata SIMnya dikembalikan bersama sebuah nota. Kenapa ia tidak menilangku. Lalu nota ini apa? Semacam
guyonan atau apa? Buru-buru Jono membuka dan membaca nota yang berisi tulisan tangan Bobi.

"Halo Jono, Tahukah kamu Jon, aku dulu mempunyai seorang anak perempuan. Sayang, ia sudah meninggal tertabrak pengemudi yang ngebut menerobos lampu merah. Pengemudi itu dihukum penjara selama 3 bulan. Begitu bebas, ia bisa bertemu dan memeluk ketiga anaknya lagi. Sedangkan anak kami satu-satunya sudah tiada. Kami masih terus berusaha dan berharap agar Tuhan berkenan mengkaruniai seorang anak agar dapat kami peluk. Ribuan kali kami mencoba memaafkan pengemudi itu. Betapa sulitnya. Begitu juga kali ini. Maafkan aku Jon. Doakan agar permohonan kami terkabulkan. Berhati-hatilah. (Salam, Bobi)".

Jono terhenyak. Ia segera keluar dari kendaraan mencari Bobi. Namun, Bobi sudah meninggalkan pos jaganya entah ke mana. Sepanjang jalan pulang ia mengemudi perlahan dengan hati tak menentu sambil berharap kesalahannya dimaafkan... ....

Tak selamanya pengertian kita harus sama dengan pengertian orang lain. Bisa jadi suka kita tak lebih dari duka rekan kita. Hidup ini sangat berharga, jalanilah dengan penuh hati-hati.

Drive Safely Guys..

Pembunuh terbanyak ke-3

August 1st, 2008 | Transportation issues | 5 comments

Pernahkah kita membayangkan betapa hebohnya liputan media dan reaksi masyarakat jika saja di negeri ini setiap hari sepanjang tahun terjadi satu kecelakaan pesawat terbang? Paling tidak, satu hal bisa diperkirakan jika hal ini terjadi: penduduk Indonesia akan berkurang sekitar 30 ribu jiwa pertahun. Kecelakaan pesawat memang tidak terjadi sesering itu. Namun bahwa Indonesia kehilangan 30 ribu jiwa dalam setahun adalah suatu kenyataan. Dan penyebabnya tiada lain adalah kecelakaan lalulintas jalan raya! Continue reading