11 Sha'ban 1436AH Khutbah (May 29, 2015CE)

bismillahboatThinking about and trying to understand meanings of the Glorious Qur’an, which Allah (SWT) has sent down for His slaves to clarify all things and as a Light that He gives to whom He wills among His slaves. Indeed, the Qur’an contains tremendous medicine for all ills of the heart, as Allah said,

 وَنُنَزِّلُ مِنَ الْقُرْآنِ مَا هُوَ شِفَاءٌ وَرَحْمَةٌ لِلْمُؤْمِنِينَ وَلا يَزِيدُ الظَّالِمِينَ إِلا خَسَارًا

” And We sent down from the Quran that which is a healing and a mercy to those who believe”  [Qur’an 17:82]

The Qur’an contains the deen; Allah’s promises, warnings and commandments; stories of previous nations; and codes of the best conduct and behavior.

These various subjects in the Qur’an have different effects on the heart. Some Surahs (chapters) of the Qur’an are more frightening than others.

Rasul Allah (SAW) said,  “Hud and its sisters have brought me white hairs before their due time.” Hud and its sisters brought white hairs to the Messenger of Allah because of what they contain of matters of Iman (faith). These Surahs, and the rest of the Qur’an, showed their effect on the Messenger of Allah and his companions, because they deeply believed in the message of the Qur’an,

فَاسْتَقِمْ كَمَا أُمِرْتَ وَمَنْ تَابَ مَعَكَ وَلا تَطْغَوْا إِنَّهُ بِمَا تَعْمَلُونَ بَصِيرٌ

So stand (ask Allah to make) you (Mohammad) firm and straight as you are commanded and those  who turn in repentance (to Allah) with you. [Qur’an 11:112]

The companions would also be deeply moved with emotions when they recited the Qur’an. Abu Bakr, for example, who was a soft-hearted man, used to cry while reciting the Quran when leading Muslims in prayer.

On another occasion, Umar wept when he was reciting the Ayah,

قَالَ إِنَّمَا أَشْكُو بَثِّي وَحُزْنِي إِلَى اللَّهِ وَأَعْلَمُ مِنَ اللَّهِ مَا لا تَعْلَمُونَ

I (Prophet Jacob) only complain of my grief and sorrow to Allah. [Qur’an 12:86],

and his weeping was clearly heard by those who were standing behind him.

Furthermore, Uthman Ibn Affan said, “If our hearts were pure, they will never have enough from reciting Allah’s Speech (the Qur’an).”

As for later generations, Ayyub said, “I heard Sad Ibn Jubayr recite the Ayah,

 وَقَالُوا لَنْ يَدْخُلَ الْجَنَّةَ إِلا مَنْ كَانَ هُودًا أَوْ نَصَارَى تِلْكَ أَمَانِيُّهُمْ قُلْ هَاتُوا بُرْهَانَكُمْ إِنْ كُنْتُمْ صَادِقِينَ

And be afraid of a Day when you shall be brought back to Allah. [Qur’an 2:281], repeating it more than twenty times.” This is the last Ayah that was revealed to the Messenger of Allah, and it ends with, Then every person shall be paid what he earned, and they shall not be dealt with unjustly. [Qur’an 2:281].

Also, Ibrahim Ibn Bashshar said, If you could but see where they will be held over the (Hell) Fire! They will say, ‘Would that we were but sent back (to the world).'” [Qur’an 6:27], was the Ayah that Ali Ibn al-Fudhayl died while reciting. “I was among those who prayed the Janazah (funeral) prayer on him, may Allah grant him His Mercy.” Furthermore, when our Salaf would reach a portion of the Qur’an were Sujud (bowing down) is warranted, they treated this incident different than ordinary people. A man once recited,  And they fall down on their faces weeping and it adds to their humility. [Quran 17:109], and then fell in Sujud. Then, he said to himself, “Here you are, you do the Sujud, so where is the crying?”

…..Ibn Al-Qayyim said with regards to what one should do to cure his weak Iman using the Qur’an, “First you should remove your heart from the life of this world and settle it in the Last Life. Then, pay your full attention to pursuing the meanings of the Qur’an, and try to comprehend and understand them and what they were sent down to accomplish. Then, offer these meanings to the sickness that your heart feels, and when they touch the disease, they will cure the heart, Allah willing.”

Part 2

Today, in remembering ayat 66-70 of Surah Ya Sin we are reminded that if God had not given us the power of sight we would stumble about blindly searching for the path (truth). This is a metaphor for our inner sight. God has given us sight in the form of our intellect and our insight, it is up to us to choose to use it or not.

The Qur’an then goes on to say that if God had wanted, we would be beings that could not change and evolve, that if we made a wrong turn in our lives that we could not back up and decide on a better course. This again, of course, is a metaphor for our lives in which we gain knowledge of the path as we go along it, we evolve as we learn and we are able to turn away from those things which, at one time we had found attractive, when we know that they are wrong for us.

These abilities have been given to us, but it is up to us to use them. Many ayah in the Qur’an end with a reminder to use our intellect to discern the right path. But it is up to us to take the responsibility and find out what that right path is. It is said that no one can follow the path without a teacher, we do not do this independently, but rather with a guide.

The great Sufi Saint, Hazrat Inayat Khan reminds us about change with a metaphor that after all else has melted away, what is left is gold. But although gold is precious it is a dead thing, and it can ensnare us rather than be a tool that we use. Are we not after the golden heart rather than the metal gold. And gold in this sense can be a metaphor for whatever shiny thing, attracts us of the path. Then we stand still and our evolution stops until we can turn back from it.

Lastly about two important things to remember in this month Sha’ban, the following Ahadith:

“Yahya related to me from Malik from Abu’n Nadr, the mawla of Umar ibn Ubaydullah, from Abu Salama ibn Abd ar-Rahman that A’isha, the wife of the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, said, “The Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, used to fast for so long that we thought he would never stop fasting, and he would go without fasting for so long that we thought he would never fast again. I never saw the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, fast for a complete month except for Ramadan, and I never saw him do more fasting in any one month than he did in Shaban.'”

And for making up fast for last year’s Ramadan

“Yahya related to me from Malik from Yahya ibn Said from Abu Salama ibn Abd ar-Rahman that he heard A’isha, the wife of the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, say, ‘I used to have to make up days from Ramadan and not be able to do them until Shaban came.'”

Wa allahu alim.

And Allah knows best.

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