Archive for October, 2011

10/28/11 – Khutbah – Visions of Paradise (36:55-60)

Saturday, October 29th, 2011
bismillahir rahmanir raheem

Bismillahir Rahmanir Raheem

السلام عليكم

Continuing in the signs of Sura Ya Sin. What of those that are obedient in this life? What do they have to look forward to?

إِنَّ أَصْحَابَ الْجَنَّةِ الْيَوْمَ فِي شُغُلٍ فَاكِهُونَ36:55

Inna as-haba aljannati alyawma fee shughulin fakihoona

Surely, on that Day, the companions of the garden will be busy with their joy;

A Garden, but not just any ordinary garden, this one is special and eternal. Those that go there enjoy the highest of pleasures and are treated with such refined goodness. As is described in the next ayah.

هُمْ وَأَزْوَاجُهُمْ فِي ظِلالٍ عَلَى الأرَائِكِ مُتَّكِئُونَ36:56

Hum wa azwajuhum fee thilalin ‘ala al-ara’iki muttaki’oona

they and their spouses will be in shady groves reclining on soft couches.

And not alone but accompanied by friends and spouses. And here shade can be thought of as a metaphor for happiness and relaxing on soft couches brings to mind a state of peace and inner harmony – the very essence of the meaning of the root salama.

لَهُمْ فِيهَا فَاكِهَةٌ وَلَهُمْ مَا يَدَّعُونَ 36:57

Lahum feeha fakihatun wa lahum ma yadda’oona

They will have all kinds of fruit and they will get whatever they call for;

So just in the physical real, remember cool shade and fruit and being treated in a dignified way, who would not want that. We all can appreciate the blessing of the shade in the searing heat of the dessert, and the abundance of food. And the personal blessing of a dignified existence, sitting on a throne, no longer subject to the whims and vagaries of the world and all it can do to drag one down. And what else?

سَلامٌ قَوْلا مِنْ رَبٍّ رَحِيمٍ36:58

Salamun qawlan min rabbin raheemin

“they will be greeted with the word “Salaam (Peace)” from the Lord of Mercy (Allah).

And the ultimate blessing, a greeting (salams) from the lord himself.

وَامْتَازُوا الْيَوْمَ أَيُّهَا الْمُجْرِمُونَ36:59

Wa-imtazoo alyawma ayyuha almujrimoona

And to the sinners He will say: “Get aside today, you criminals!

أَلَمْ أَعْهَدْ إِلَيْكُمْ يَا بَنِي آدَمَ أَنْ لا تَعْبُدُوا الشَّيْطَانَ إِنَّهُ لَكُمْ عَدُوٌّ مُبِينٌ36:60

Alam a’had ilaykum ya banee adama an la ta’budoo alshshaytana innahu lakum ‘aduwwun mubeenun

Did I not enjoin you, O children of Adam, not to worship Shaitan, who is your open enemy,

So those that did not act truly and with faith and good actions are separated not only from their loved ones and from their friends but also from Allah (SWT).

Part 2

These signs are of extreme value to us. On one level we must take them literally as a description of what will happen to us on that last day. Those who have been obedient, who have had Taqwa and have been true to their faith and their rabb will enjoy the benefits. Those who have had faith and have done righteous deeds. They will dwell with their spouses and their families and close friends in a beautiful place where they will be cared for in every way. In addition they will have the blessing of Allah (SWT) greeting them with salaams. And those that do not will be separated from then and from their lord because of their disobedience.

But on another level we must look at this as a message about our condition in this life as well. Remember that rassul Allah (saw) said that each of us takes into the afterlife, that which we gained here so why not start now to become the best we can?

The dwellers of the garden are better than those who are not.

إِنَّ الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا وَعَمِلُوا الصَّالِحَاتِ وَأَخْبَتُوا إِلَى رَبِّهِمْ أُولَئِكَ أَصْحَابُ الْجَنَّةِ هُمْ فِيهَا خَالِدُونَ 11:23

Inna allatheena amanoo wa’amiloo alsalihati waakhbatoo ila rabbihim ola-ika as-habu aljannati hum feeha khalidoona

Truly, only those who attain to faith and do righteous deeds and humble themselves before their sustainer – only they are destined for paradise, and there they shall abide.

مَثَلُ الْفَرِيقَيْنِ كَالأعْمَى وَالأصَمِّ وَالْبَصِيرِ وَالسَّمِيعِ هَلْ يَسْتَوِيَانِ مَثَلا أَفَلا تَذَكَّرُونَ 11:24

Mathalu alfareeqayni kaal-a’ma waal-asammi waalbaseeri waalssamee’i hal yastawiyani mathalan afala tathakkaroona

These two kinds of man may be likened to the blind and the deaf and the seeing and the hearing, Can these two be deemed alike in their nature? Will you not then keep this in mind?

And Allah (swt) knows best.

10/14/2011 Khutbah – Ya Sin 49-54 Yawm ad-Deen

Friday, October 14th, 2011

السلام عليكم 

bismillahir rahmanir raheem

Bismillahir Rahmanir Raheem

 

What does the judgment day look like? We see perhaps a glimpse of it in Sura Ya Sin when Allah (swt) talks about those people who have doubted the messengers. They asked for proof of this last day and asked when will it come. The section (36:49-54) begins –

(36:49) مَا يَنْظُرُونَ إِلا صَيْحَةً وَاحِدَةً تَأْخُذُهُمْ وَهُمْ يَخِصِّمُون

Ma yanthuroona illa sayhatan wahidatan ta/khuthuhum wahum yakhissimoona

In fact what they are waiting for is a single blast, which will seize them while they are yet disputing among themselves in their worldly affairs.

It is only a moment, only a split second of time, but in that split second that single blast, all things come to a stop. Time exists no more and what can we do about it?

(36:50) فَلا يَسْتَطِيعُونَ تَوْصِيَةً وَلا إِلَى أَهْلِهِمْ يَرْجِعُونَ

Fala yastatee’aoona tawsiyatan wala ila ahlihim yarji’aoona

Then neither they will be able to make a will, nor be able to return to their families.

There is no going back, we have no chance at that time to return for any reason. Our balance sheets are closed and our debts are due to Allah (swt) no returning for any reason.

(36:51) وَنُفِخَ فِي الصُّورِ فَإِذَا هُمْ مِنَ الأجْدَاثِ إِلَى رَبِّهِمْ يَنْسِلُونَ

Wanufikha fee assoori fa-itha hum mina al-ajdathi ila rabbihim yansiloona

The trumpet shall be sounded, when behold! from the graves (people) will rush forth to their Lord!

This is as it is described by Allah (swt)

(36:52) قَالُوا يَا وَيْلَنَا مَنْ بَعَثَنَا مِنْ مَرْقَدِنَا هَذَا مَا وَعَدَ الرَّحْمَنُ وَصَدَقَ الْمُرْسَلُونَ

Qaloo ya waylana man ba’aathana min marqadina hatha ma wa’aada alrrahmanu wasadaqa almursaloona

They will say: “Ah! Woe unto us! Who hath raised us up from our beds of repose?”… (A voice will say:) “This is what (Allah) Most Gracious had promised. And true was the word of the messengers!”

So while they were arguing about what was true and what wasn’t, the day came and then they are surprised!? And they wonder, confusedly, what is going on – then they are told and how can they not believe it now, but it is too late for them.

(36:53) إِنْ كَانَتْ إِلا صَيْحَةً وَاحِدَةً فَإِذَا هُمْ جَمِيعٌ لَدَيْنَا مُحْضَرُونَ

In kanat illa sayhatan wahidatan fa-itha hum jamee’aun ladayna muhdaroona

It will be no more than a single blast, and then they will all be gathered before Us.

(36:54) فَالْيَوْمَ لا تُظْلَمُ نَفْسٌ شَيْئًا وَلا تُجْزَوْنَ إِلا مَا كُنْتُمْ تَعْمَلُونَ

Faalyawma la tuthlamu nafsun shay-an wala tujzawna illa ma kuntum ta’amaloona

On that Day no soul will suffer the least injustice and you shall be rewarded according to your deeds.

But remember that Allah’s mercy outweighs his anger and his judgment is not like that of men. He knows every thing about our lives The judgment will be on the highest standard of justice and grace. Not the least merit will go unrewarded. No penalty will be exacted but that which the doer himself by his past deeds brought on him or herself.

Part 2.

So what is the inner meaning of this? It is just that the deeds you do today, both good and bad, both in obedience and disobedience, in belief and in disbelief are the ones that Allah (swt) is talking about in these ayah! Do we give in to our lusts and complacency or are we rising above the worldly desires and practicing that which brings us closer to our spiritual self? Are we building up the merits that will reward us? Or are we bringing the cares and woes of the world upon us? Are we surrendering our life to our creator, or are we fulfilling the desires of our ego?

We are given some choices in how we live our life here on earth. Some call it a probationary life. If we use it for good and for the worship of Allah (swt) then not only are we guaranteed eternal life in the most pleasant of surroundings. But our life here becomes a pleasure to us and a beacon to those around us. It becomes more fulfilling for us when we complete our worship, prayers, helping the needy, and most of all, remembering our creator with all our hearts and souls and with all our might. But if we do not then we are given the punishment that we deserve in this life and the next. Our lives become sterile, lonely, meaningless. How many times have we heard about people who, although it looks like they are happy, have inner turmoil, inner sadness and anger. Look at what they have made important in their lives and you will see the root cause.

But friends – the good news is that we have some control over this! Do we want to be rewarded in this life and in the next? Or do we opt for a life of inner torment and the eventual punishment in the hereafter?

We must think about our lives even now in this period of probation. Do we feel better when we do good or when we do evil? If we view our lives with the eye of our heart what does it tell us? Are we happy with the way we behave? Are we happy with our commitment to our deen? Do we practice every day to increase our knowledge and our worship? Or are we wasting this time? The choice is ours in this case. We cannot control when that blast will come, when that split second arrives and the books of our lives are closed. And rest assured that it will come. But we can control in what condition we greet that time. This is jihad al akbar – the greatest struggle, which is with our own self to put away worldly desires, disobedience and disbelief and attain the highest knowledge. To put away the false ego, the nafs which is subject to the influence of shaitan and to return, turning towards the light of guidance, the source of all. Today’s readings from Sura Ya Sin may be a hard message to hear, no one wants to think about them, but we, as belivers must think on this and ponder the meanings and take it personally!

Let us go from here pledging ourselves to that cause in our lives.

Wa allahu alim.

09/30/2011 – Khutbah – Reflections on the Qur’an

Saturday, October 1st, 2011

السلام عليكم 

bismillahir rahmanir raheem

Bismillahir Rahmanir Raheem

 

وَقُلِ الْحَمْدُ لِلَّهِ سَيُرِيكُمْ آيَاتِهِ فَتَعْرِفُونَهَا وَمَا رَبُّكَ بِغَافِلٍ عَمَّا تَعْمَلُونَ

waquli alhamdu lillahi sayureekum ayatihi fata’rifoonaha wama rabbuka bighafilin ‘amma ta’maloona

Say: “Praise be to Allah (swt). He will show you His Signs and you will recognize them. Your Lord is not heedless of anything you do.” (Surat an-Naml: 93)

In today’s society, people assess the Qur’an very differently from the real purpose of its revelation. In the Islamic world, in general, very few people know the contents of the Qur’an.

Some Muslims often hang the Qur’an on the walls of their rooms within a decorative cover and elderly people read it from time to time. They assume that the Qur’an protects those who read it from “misfortune and trouble”. According to this superstition, they consider the Qur’an a sort of amulet against misfortunes.

The Qur’anic verses, however, inform us that the purpose of the Qur’an’s revelation is entirely different from what is mentioned above. For instance, in the 52nd verse of Surah Ibrahim, Allah (swt) states:

هَذَا بَلاغٌ لِلنَّاسِ وَلِيُنْذَرُوا بِهِ وَلِيَعْلَمُوا أَنَّمَا هُوَ إِلَهٌ وَاحِدٌ وَلِيَذَّكَّرَ أُولُو الألْبَابِ

hatha balaghun lil-nnasi waliyuntharoo bihi waliyaaalamoo annama huwa ila-hun wahidun waliya-ththakkara oloo al-albabi

“This is a communication to be transmitted to mankind so that they can be warned by it and so that they will know that He is One Allah (swt) and so that people of intelligence will pay heed.”

In many other verses, Allah (swt) emphasizes that one of the most crucial purposes of the Qur’an’s revelation is to invite people to ponder.

In the Qur’an, Allah (swt) invites people to reject blind acceptance of the beliefs and values society imposes on them and to ponder by pushing aside all the prejudices, taboos and constraints on their minds.

Man must think on how he came into being, what is the purpose of his life, why he will die and what awaits him after death. He must question how he himself and the whole universe came into existence and how they continue to exist. While doing this, he must relieve himself of all constraints and prejudices.

By thinking, while isolating his conscience from all social, ideological and psychological obligations, the person should eventually perceive that the entire universe, including himself, is created by a superior power. Even when he examines his own body or any other thing in nature, he will see an impressive harmony, plan and wisdom at work within its design.

At this point again, the Qur’an guides man. In the Qur’an, Allah (swt) guides us as to what we should reflect on and investigate. With the methods of reflection given in the Qur’an, he who has faith in Allah (swt) will better perceive Allah (swt)’s perfection, eternal wisdom, knowledge and power in His creation. When a believing person starts to think in the way shown in the Qur’an, he soon realizes that the whole universe is a sign of Allah’s (swt) power and art, and that, “nature is a work of art, not the artist itself”. Every work of art exhibits the exceptional skills of the one who has made it and conveys his messages.

In the Qur’an, people are summoned to contemplate numerous events and objects that clearly testify to the existence and uniqueness of Allah (swt) and His attributes. In the Qur’an, all these beings that bear witness are designated as “signs”, meaning “tested evidence, absolute knowledge and expression of truth”. Therefore, the signs of Allah (swt) comprise all the beings in the universe that disclose and communicate the being and attributes of Allah (swt). Those who can observe and remember will see that the entire universe is only composed of the signs of Allah (swt).

This, indeed, is the responsibility of mankind; to be able to see the signs of Allah (swt)… Thus, such a person will come to know the Creator who created him and all other things, draw closer to Him, discover the meaning of his existence and his life and so prosper.

Each thing, the breaths a human takes, political and social developments; the cosmic harmony in the universe, the atom, which is one of the smallest pieces of matter, is each a sign of Allah (swt) and they all operate under His control and knowledge, abiding by His laws. Recognizing and knowing the signs of Allah (swt) calls for personal effort. Everyone will recognize and know the signs of Allah (swt) in accordance with his own wisdom and conscience.

Undoubtedly, some guidelines may also help. As the first step, one can investigate certain points stressed in the Qur’an in order to acquire the mentality that perceives the whole universe as an articulation of the things created by Allah (swt).

Allah (swt)’s signs in nature are emphasized in Surat an-Nahl:

هُوَ الَّذِي أَنْزَلَ مِنَ السَّمَاءِ مَاءً لَكُمْ مِنْهُ شَرَابٌ وَمِنْهُ شَجَرٌ فِيهِ تُسِيمُونَ

huwa allathee anzala mina al-ssama-i maan lakum minhu sharabun waminhu shajarun feehi tuseemoona

It is He who sends down water from the sky. From it you drink and from it come the shrubs among which you graze your herds.

يُنْبِتُ لَكُمْ بِهِ الزَّرْعَ وَالزَّيْتُونَ وَالنَّخِيلَ وَالأعْنَابَ وَمِنْ كُلِّ الثَّمَرَاتِ إِنَّ فِي ذَلِكَ لآيَةً لِقَوْمٍ يَتَفَكَّرُونَ

yunbitu lakum bihi alzzar’a wa az-zaytoona wa an-nakheela wa al-a’naba wamin kulli al-ththamarati inna fee thalika laayatan liqawmin yatafakkaroona

And by it He makes crops grow for you and olives and dates and grapes and fruit of every kind. . There is certainly a sign in that for people who reflect.

وَسَخَّرَ لَكُمُ اللَّيْلَ وَالنَّهَارَ وَالشَّمْسَ وَالْقَمَرَ وَالنُّجُومُ مُسَخَّرَاتٌ بِأَمْرِهِ إِنَّ فِي ذَلِكَ لآيَاتٍ لِقَوْمٍ يَعْقِلُونَ

wasakhkhara lakumu allayla wa an-nahara wa alsh-shamsa wa alqamara wa an-nujoomu musakhkharatun bi-amrihi inna fee thalika la-ayatin liqawmin ya’qiloona

He has made the night and the day subservient to you, and the sun, the moon and the stars, all subject to His command. There are certainly signs in that for people who use their intellect.

وَمَا ذَرَأَ لَكُمْ فِي الأرْضِ مُخْتَلِفًا أَلْوَانُهُ إِنَّ فِي ذَلِكَ لآيَةً لِقَوْمٍ يَذَّكَّرُونَ
wa ma tharaa lakum fee al-ardi mukhtalifan al-wanuhu inna fee thalika la-ayatan liqawmin yaththakkaroona

And also the things of varying colors He has created for you in the earth. There is certainly a sign in that for people who pay heed.

وَهُوَ الَّذِي سَخَّرَ الْبَحْرَ لِتَأْكُلُوا مِنْهُ لَحْمًا طَرِيًّا وَتَسْتَخْرِجُوا مِنْهُ حِلْيَةً تَلْبَسُونَهَا وَتَرَى الْفُلْكَ مَوَاخِرَ فِيهِ وَلِتَبْتَغُوا مِنْ فَضْلِهِ وَلَعَلَّكُمْ تَشْكُرُونَ

wahuwa allathee sakhkhara albahra lita/kuloo minhu lahman tariyyan wa tastakhrijoo minhu hilyatan talbasoonaha watara alfulka mawakhira feehi wa litabtaghoo min fadlihi wa laa’llakum tashkuroona

It is He who made the sea subservient to you so that you can eat fresh flesh from it and bring out from it ornaments to wear. And you see the ships cleaving through it so that you can seek His bounty, and so that perhaps you may show thanks.

وَأَلْقَى فِي الأرْضِ رَوَاسِيَ أَنْ تَمِيدَ بِكُمْ وَأَنْهَارًا وَسُبُلا لَعَلَّكُمْ تَهْتَدُونَ

wa-alqa fee al-ardi rawasiya an tameeda bikum wa anharan wa subulan la’allakum tah-tadoona

He cast firmly embedded mountains on the earth so it would not move under you, and rivers and pathways so that perhaps you might be guided, and landmarks.

وَعَلامَاتٍ وَبِالنَّجْمِ هُمْ يَهْتَدُونَ

wa ‘alamatin wa bian-najmi hum yahtadoona

And they are guided by the stars.

أَفَمَنْ يَخْلُقُ كَمَنْ لا يَخْلُقُ أَفَلا تَذَكَّرُونَ

afaman yakhluqu kaman la yakhluqu afala tathakkaroona

Is He Who creates like him who does not create? So will you not pay heed?

Part 2

In the Qur’an, Allah (swt) invites people of understanding to think about the issues which other people overlook, or just dismiss using such barren terms as “evolution”, “coincidence”, or “a miracle of nature”.


إِنَّ فِي خَلْقِ السَّمَاوَاتِ وَالأرْضِ وَاخْتِلافِ اللَّيْلِ وَالنَّهَارِ لآيَاتٍ لأولِي الألْبَابِ

inna fee khalqi as-samawati wa al-ardi wa ikhtilafi allayli wa an-nahari laayatin li-olee al-albabi

In the creation of the heavens and the earth, and the alternation of night and day, there are Signs for people of intelligence:

الَّذِينَ يَذْكُرُونَ اللَّهَ قِيَامًا وَقُعُودًا وَعَلَى جُنُوبِهِمْ وَيَتَفَكَّرُونَ فِي خَلْقِ السَّمَاوَاتِ وَالأرْضِ رَبَّنَا مَا خَلَقْتَ هَذَا بَاطِلا سُبْحَانَكَ فَقِنَا عَذَابَ النَّارِ

allatheena yathkuroona allaha qiyaman waqu’aoodan wa’aala junoobihim wa yatafakkaroona fee khalqi as-samawati wa al-ardi rabbana ma khalaqta hatha batilan subhanaka faqina ‘aathaba an-nari

those who remember Allah (swt) standing, sitting and lying on their sides, and reflect on the wonders of the creation of the heavens and the earth (with the thought) “Our Lord, You did not create this for nothing. Glory be to You! So guard us from the punishment of the Fire. (Surah Ali-‘Imran: 190-191)

As we see in these verses, people of understanding see the signs of Allah (swt) and try to comprehend His eternal knowledge, power and art by remembering and reflecting on them, for Allah’s (swt) knowledge is limitless, and His creation flawless.

For people of understanding, everything around them is a sign of this creation.

Wa allahu alim.