As-Salaam alaykum wa rahma tu’ala wa barakatu. Eid Mubarak! Allahu Akbar – Allahu Akbar – Allahu Akbar wa lillah ilhamd!
Brothers and sisters we must not loose sight of our identity as believers. From where do we draw this identity? Do we draw it from the culture we are in? Those of us living in the western culture are constantly bombarded by messages urging us to all kinds of actions away from love. We are constantly prodded to live for materialistic things and things that take our heart and mind from Allah (swt). And most sad of all, constantly, everyday people treat each other badly. We see rudeness and impatience and anger and enmity, even murder and mayhem. What kind of society are we following? I heard a while ago that a study was done where it was estimated that we are exposed to 90 thousand advertisements every day. Violence is prevalent, and not just wars and things far away, but in our own lives and the lives of people close to us. People bicker and mistrust one another, and people do cheat and steal and lie. But, by merciful Allah (swt), we are human and we do make mistakes and stray from the path of love. So where do we turn for help? How do we realize our inner life and be the kind and compassionate people we are supposed to be as believers? How do we remember the path of love?
We have an ever present guide and ideal to live up to, a perfect exemplar of behavior. And it is that ideal and example of Rasul Allah (saw) that we should be drawing our identity from.
Rasul Allah (SAW) is described in hadith as
“Al-Mutawakkil” (who depends upon Allah). You are neither discourteous, harsh nor a noisemaker in the markets and you do not do evil to those who do evil to you, but you deal with them with forgiveness and kindness. Allah will not let him (the Prophet (saw)) die till he makes straight the crooked people by making them say: “None has the right to be worshiped but Allah,” With which will be opened blind eyes And deaf ears and enveloped hearts.’ “
And about how to behave when on a journey.
Malik related to me from Abu Ubayd, the mawla of Sulayman ibn Abd al-Malik from Khalid ibn Madan who attributed it to the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, “Allah, the Blessed and Exalted is kind and loves kindness. He is pleased with it and helps you with it as long as it is not misplaced. When you ride dumb beasts, stop them in their stopping places, and quicken their pace when the land is barren. Travel by night, because the land is traveled faster at night than it is during the day. Beware of pitching tents on the road, for it is the path of animals and the abode of snakes.”
My friends we are all on this journey every day in this life. Should we not then behave just as well to those around us in our every day life as we would towards beasts?
Towards each other especially and even more importantly in these hard conditions of today’s world.
Allah’s Messenger (peace be upon him) said, “One should do six acts of kindness to another: he should salute him when he meets him, accept his invitation when he gives one, say ‘Allah have mercy on you’ when he sneezes, visit him when he is ill, follow his bier when he dies, and like for him what he likes for himself.”
And in another hadith
Allah’s Messenger (saw) said, “Every act of kindness is “sadaqah (charity), and kindness includes meeting your brother/sister with a cheerful face and pouring water from your bucket into your brother’s/sister’s vessel.”
We must stop doing things to each other that nullify our identity as believers. We must treat other people with kindness and with the charity that Rasul Allah (saw) has shown us and has described to us.
Allah (swt) has shown us just one tiny part of the divine kindness that awaits us in the afterlife.
Rasul Allah (saw) said: There are one hundred (parts of) mercy of Allah and He has sent down out of these [only] one part of mercy upon the jinn and human beings and the insects and it is because of this (one part) that they love one another, show kindness to one another and even the beast treats its young one with affection, and Allah has reserved ninety-nine parts of mercy with which He would treat His servants on the Day of Resurrection.
And this kindness, this path of love is not necessarily easy. Especially with all the examples around us of harshness and cruelty, and the people encouraging us to the “easy path” the path of rejection and doubt in Allah (swt)
Allah (swt) talks about this in the Holy Quran, he tells us that many times we choose not to take this righteous road al aqaba, the road that is correct but sometimes harder but listen, there is good news in taking that road! (90:12-17)
وَمَا أَدْرَاكَ مَا الْعَقَبَةُ
Wama adraka ma al’aqaba
And what will explain to thee the path that is steep?
(It is:) freeing the bondman;
090.014 أَوْ إِطْعَامٌ فِي يَوْمٍ ذِي مَسْغَبَةٍ
Aw it’a-amun fee yawmin thee masghabat
Or the giving of food in a day of privation
090.015 يَتِيمًا ذَا مَقْرَبَةٍ
Yateeman tha maqraba
To the orphan with claims of relationship,
090.016 أَوْ مِسْكِينًا ذَا مَتْرَبَةٍ
Aw miskeenan tha matraba
Or to the indigent (down) in the dust.
090.017 ثُمَّ كَانَ مِنَ الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا وَتَوَاصَوْا
بِالصَّبْرِ وَتَوَاصَوْا بِالْمَرْحَمَةِ
Thumma kana mina allatheena ‘amanoo watawasaw bialssabri watawasaw bialmarhama
Then will he be of those who believe, and enjoin patience, (constancy, and self-restraint), and enjoin deeds of kindness and compassion.
‘A man walking along a path felt very thirsty. Reaching a well he descended into it, drank his fill and came up. Then he saw a dog with its tongue hanging out, trying to lick up mud to quench its thirst. The man saw that the dog was feeling the same thirst as he had felt so he went down into the well again and filled his shoe with water and gave the dog a drink. God forgave his sins for this action.’ The Prophet (saw) was asked: ‘Messenger of God, are we rewarded for kindness towards animals?’ He said, ‘There is a reward for kindness to every living thing.’
The Prophet Muhammad (peace by upon him) said: “Charity is prescribed for each descendant of Adam on every day the sun rises.” He was then asked: “From what do we give charity every day?” The Prophet Replied: “The doors of goodness are many…enjoining good, forbidding evil, removing harm from the road, listening to the deaf (until you understand them), leading the blind, guiding one to the object of his need, hurrying with the strength of one’s legs to one in sorrow who is asking for help, and supporting the feeble with the strength of one’s arms — all of these are charity prescribed for you.”
Brothers and sisters, we should pledge ourselves to be among those that choose that difficult path of love. That in spite of what we see around us we should hold on to our identity of peace bringers and believers, lovers of Allah (swt). And we must teach our children to do that as well. That we should follow the example that Allah (swt) has given us in the Quran and the acts of Rasul Allah (saw) who is an exemplar of this behavior. Treat each other and other people with kindness and patience and sincerity in these things. After all, we do not know when we die or why we die but we can choose to die as believers, secure in our aman and our iman, in our tawaqqil and our taqwa allah.
As an addition I would also like to remind you that it is considered to be recommended to fast 6 days in Shawwal based on Hadith. The example of Rasul Allah (swt) is there for us to follow.