First of all, when times are tough, remember, Don’t Panic, be Islamic. That’s not just an empty slogan. What does it mean to be Islamic and not to panic? It means to accept that whatever happens, good or bad, as it comes from Allah, with His permission. Even If the whole world is in chaos, He is still firmly in control. He allows things to happen for a purpose.
Last week Br Essam gave us an excellent khutbah on the core values, the almost forgotten qualities that a good Muslim’s character is built on. Today I want to deal with our response to the huge problems of poverty, greed, violence and injustice around us. How should we Muslims cope with these challenges? Around the world there are natural and manmade disasters. At any given moment, there are numerous floods, famines and fires. There is war, invasion and oppression in Gaza, Iraq and Afghanistan. Closer to home, at a more personal level, many of us face uncertainties about our jobs and our homes. Will I still have a job next month? What if I’m made redundant? Will my business survive? What if I lose my home? What of the future? How does a Muslim deal with these issues? What is the Islamic answer?
Yesterday there was a big media story about the Dutch MP Geert Wilders who was refused entry to the UK. He made a film about the Quran, claiming it promotes violence and terror against non-Muslims. Anyone can take selective verses from any book and try to prove a point. There are verses in the Bible that can be misused this way. But we Muslims have no time for that kind of mischief. We should refute these false allegations calmly, with dignity and rational argument. I think it was a mistake to ban this man from coming to Britain. It gave him more publicity, just like Salman Rushdie had. We should let these people say what they have to say, and then put down their arguments with calmness and wisdom. The Quran says that unbelievers will try to extinguish Allah's light, by blowing on it with their mouths. But Allah will never allow His light to be extinguished, even though the unbelievers detest it. We must keep calm, we must keep our integrity as Muslims. If we trust Allah, He will instil sakina, a serene state of inward tranquillity in our hearts. That is the best way to deal with the madness of the world outside.
We must work hard within the limits set by Allah, serving others, protecting the weak and trusting in Him. At the end of our endurance test, Allah promises relief. Fa inna ma al usri yusra; inna ma al usri yusra. [Sura 94:5-6] “With every hardship comes relief. Truly, with every hardship comes relief.” Always remember, that we can do nothing without Allah’s help. So whenever we face difficulties, we should turn to Allah for His help and His guidance. In the Holy Quran, we find many words of comfort, of reassurance. In Sura Al Baqara, verse 153, we read: Ya ay yuhal latheena aamanus ta’eenoo bis-sab’ri was-salaah. Innal-Laaha ma’as sabireen.…. O You who believe! Seek help with patient perseverance and prayer, for Allah is with those who patiently persevere. And further on in another verse, we read: 155: Be sure, we shall test you with something of fear and hunger, some loss in goods or lives or the fruits of your hard work, but give glad news to those who patiently persevere, 156: Who say, when they are afflicted by some calamity: Inna lil-Laahi wa inna ilayhir Raaji-oon: From Allah have we come, and to Him is our return! Ulaa-ika ‘alayhim salawaatun-mir-Rabbihim wa Rahma, wa ulaa-ika humul muh-tadoon. 157: They are the ones on whom [descend] blessings from their Lord, and they are the ones that receive Guidance.” Brothers and sisters, these deeply reassuring words of Allah must strengthen us and give us hope, even when things look hopeless.
A true believing Muslim should never give in to despair. Everything is under Allah’s control, all of the time. Everything happens with His permission. Even the most cruel, ugly, sinful atrocities, can only happen with Allah’s permission. The Gaza war crimes happened with Allah’s permission. to test us. What will we do about it? If we cannot stop it with our hands, we must at least awaken the moral consciousness of people everywhere.
We must do all we can, within the law, to uphold justice and human rights. Allah gives us life and causes us to die. He gives us the freedom to choose a life of sin or a life of saintliness. Virtue and vice are equally accessible to us. We choose, and we enjoy the rewards or suffer the consequences of that choice. No matter how difficult our circumstances might be, remember that it won’t last. Nothing lasts, except for Allah, whose Face will remain when everything else has perished. [Sura Al Rahman, ch55.v26-27] There’s a lovely verse often repeated in the Friday Khutbahs: Fath-kuroonee, ath-kukum, wash-kuroolee, wala takfuroon! [Quran 2:152] Remember Me, I will remember you. Be grateful to Me, and do not reject faith. Such power; such beauty; such brevity! A short, simple promise and a stern warning.
If we remember Allah gratefully, He will remember us. He will never forsake us. We, in turn must have faith. Without faith we are absolutely nothing. When we were born, no one could guarantee us a life of uninterrupted happiness, with no pain, no hardship. It’s humanly impossible. But the difference between a believer and a non-believer is this. When the non-believer is distraught, distressed and close to despair, the believer is calm and serene. He knows that this hardship is only a test from Allah. It’s a test to see whom do we turn to when we are in need, and whom do we thank when we are safe and sound.
Dear Brothers and sisters, what exactly does the Quran mean by patience, perseverance and prayer? Does it mean that we simply have to wait passively, hoping and praying that Allah will change our conditions for us, without any real effort on our side? Certainly not! Sitting idly will get us nowhere. If we think we can be lazy and just depend on our prayers alone, without any serious hard work, we contradict the very spirit and history of Islam. Our illustrious and noble predecessors sacrificed their lives and property in serving Islam. The Quran refers to the saabireen, those who patiently persevere, as people who work tirelessly and tenaciously, with every sinew and every last drop of energy, until they have exhausted themselves. Then and only then do they step back, leaving the results to Allah. When they’ve done their best, they graciously accept whatever Allah has decreed. This is real patience and real perseverance. May Allah help us to cultivate the virtuous character of the prophets and their noble companions. May Allah teach us how to accept good fortune and misfortune with equal grace, gratitude and detachment. Everything in this life is a test, and may each test bring us nearer to Allah, nearer to His rid’waan, His good pleasure. This is the goal we all seek. May Allah help us to attain it.
Wamay-yat-taqil-laha yaj’al-lahu makhrajaa, wayar zuq’hu min khaythu la yahtasib, wamay-yatawak-kal ‘alal-Laahi fahuwa hasbu. Innal-laaha baalighu amri. Qad’ ja-alal-Laahu likulli shay-in qad’raa [Sura Talaq 65:2-3] “And for those who have taqwa, [i.e. those who regard Allah with an awesome mixture of love and fear and hope], Allah [always] prepares a way out for them [from their difficulty], and He provides for them from [sources] they could never imagine.
And if anyone puts his trust in Allah, sufficient is Allah for him. For Allah will surely accomplish His purpose.” Brothers and sisters, let us be counted among those who put their trust in Allah completely. Let us be counted among those who strive with all their energy, their wealth and possessions to serve others. innalláha wa malaaikata yusallúna alan nabi. Yá ay yuhal latheena ámanu sallú alayhi wasalli mú tas leema. Allahumma salli alá Muhammad, wa ala áli Muhammad, kama salayta ala Ibrahim, wa ala ali Ibrahim. Allahumma barik ala Muhammad, kama barakta ala Ibrahim, wa ala ali ibrahim. Fil ála meen, innaka hameedun majeed. Second Khutbah: Sub’ hanallahi wal hamdu lillah, wala hawla wala quwwata illah billah yu althi yual theem
Dear Brothers and Sisters in Islam, One of the most difficult things to bear is the death of a loved one. Be sure that every one of us will lose a loved one, sooner or later. Kullun nafsin tha ikatul mawt, says the Holy Quran, “Every soul will have a taste of death.” Recently my wife lost her youngest sister, and earlier this week Br Kevin and his wife Halima lost her father. We pray that Allah will accept Halima’s father and Mariam’s sister, accept all their good deeds, forgive their sins and admit them to His garden, insh-Allah. For the families they leave behind, this can be a very difficult time.
We ask Allah to give them strength to endure the loss. O Allah, please strengthen them in their patient perseverance and prayer. Ya ay yuhal latheena aamanus-t’eenu bis sab’ri was salaah! Innal laaha ma’as saabireen! O you who believe! Seek help with patient perseverance and prayer, for Allah is with those who patiently persevere.
Let us all work tirelessly to please Allah by serving others, being good to our families, be good neighbours and good citizens. Let’s work hard to make this country a better place for future generations. Let us through our own good living example, change the fear and hatred of Islam to respect and love. With Allah’s help, anything is possible.
Brothers and sisters, to conclude our khutbah: InnaAllaha, Yamuru bil adel, wal ihsaan, wa eetaa-i zil qurba; wa yanha anil fuhshaa-i, wal munkari walbaghi; ya-idzukhum lallakum tathak-karoon. (Sura 16:90), "Surely Allah commands justice, good deeds and generosity to others and to relatives; and He forbids all shameful deeds, and injustice and rebellion: He instructs you, so that you may be reminded." Fadth kuroonee adth kurkum, wash kuroolee walaa tak furoon [2:152]. “and remember Me: I will remember you. Be grateful to Me, and do not reject faith.” wala thikrul-Laahi akbar, Wal-Laahu ya’lamu maa tasna’oon.” [29:45]. “and without doubt, Remembrance of Allah is the Greatest Thing in life, and Allah knows the deeds that you do.” Ameen! Aqeemus salaah!