Khutbah #4 – On the Messenger

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Freedom of Speech –The Importance of Community – Creation and Love – Ayat al-Nur and Guidance – My Personal Existentialism – Islamic Existentialism – Forgive Me

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[In]al-hamdu Lillaahi [nahmaduhu wa] nasta’eenahu wa nastaghfiruhu, wa na’oodhu billaahi min shuroori anfusinaa [wa min sayi’aati a’maalinaa]. Man yahdih Illaahu falaa mudilla lahu wa man yudlil falaa haadiya lahu. Wa ashhadu an laa ilaaha ill-Allaah [wahdahu la sharika lahu] wa ashhadu anna Muhammadan ‘abduhu wa rasooluhu

[Verily] all praise is for Allah, we seek His help and His forgiveness. We seek refuge with Allah from the evil of our own souls [and from our own bad actions]. Whomsoever Allah guides can none misguide, and whomsoever Allah misguides can none guide. I bear witness that there is no god but Allah, [alone and without any partner] and I bear witness that Muhammad is His slave and Messenger.

 “Yaa ayyuha’lladheena aamanu-ttaqu’Llaaha haqqa tuqaatihi wa laa tamootunna illaa wa antum muslimoon” [3:102]

“O you who believe! Fear Allah (by doing all that He has ordered and by abstaining from all that He has forbidden) as He should be feared. [Obey Him, be thankful to Him, and remember Him always], and die not except in a state of Islam (as Muslims) with complete submission to Allah.” [3:102]

 “Yaa ayyuha’n-naas uttaqu rabbakum alladhi khalaqakum min nafsin waahidatin wa khalaqa minhaa zawjahaa wa baththa minhumaa rijaalan katheeran wa nisaa’an wa’ttaqu-Llaah alladhi tasaa’aloona bihi wa’l-arhaama inna Allaaha kaana ‘alaykum raqeeban” [4:1]

“O mankind! Be dutiful to your Lord, Who created you from a single person (Adam), and from him (Adam) He created his wife [Hawwa (Eve)], and from them both He created many men and women and fear Allah through Whom you demand your mutual (rights), and (do not cut the relations of) the wombs (kinship). Surely, Allah is Ever an All-Watcher over you.” [4:1]

 “Yaa ayyahu’lladheena aamanu-ttaqu’Llaaha wa qooloo qawlan sadeedan. Yuslih Lakum ‘A’maalakum Wa Yaghfir Lakum Dhunoobakum Wa Man Yuti’i Allaaha Wa Rasoolahu Faqad Faaza Fawzaan ‘Azeemaan” [33:70-71]

“O you who believe! Keep your duty to Allah and fear Him, and speak (always) the truth. He will direct you to do righteous good deeds and will forgive you your sins. And whosoever obeys Allah and His Messenger (sal Allaahu alayhi wa sallam) he has indeed achieved a great achievement (i.e. he will be saved from the Hell-fire and made to enter Paradise).” [33:70-71]

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Asalam wa alaikum beloved brothers and respected sisters, inshallah today I will talk about loving Prophet Muhammad (S.A.W) and some of the things I realized in order to develop a relationship with our Nabi. If you were like me you probably had a hard time understanding why we are supposed to love a man whom we have never met and moreover love to the extent that we place him in greater standing than even our own mothers and fathers as narrated by Hazrat Uns (RA) that Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) said

“No one of you can be a true Muslim until he/she loves me more than his/her parents, children and all other people.”

Maybe you have more taqwa than me and this thought never crossed your mind, but I imagine that I am not totally alone in this regard and there is a brother or sister who has had similar thoughts.

I actually saw a Facebook video that kind of talked about this. The video is set shortly after the Charlie Hebdo scandal and features a teacher telling her students to draw our Prophet. One student raises his hand but the teacher says “no questions”. So the student starts scribbling down a letter on his blank piece of paper. What he wrote was:

“Dear Beloved Prophet,

Today at school the teacher asked us to draw you. I like to draw but I never saw you. So I closed my eyes and I saw a tear in the eye of my mother while reading your story. I saw my father praying all night. I saw my elder sister smiling even though she just got insulted in the street. I saw my best friend asking for forgiveness, even though I was to blame. I want to draw all these images. Here, people want to see everything, to watch everything. But I closed my eyes and saw you coming towards me. With the most perfect smile. How could I draw a perfect smile? The teacher would not let me speak when I wanted to explain to here. She probably never learned to love someone she doesn’t see. But me, I love you without seeing you. I am not good at drawing but I like to write. I like to write to you ya-rasoolullah. If you could only come back amongst us for a few hours, a few seconds, a few moments, she would understand eventually.”

Alhamdullilah, this kid must have had some baseerah, because he speaks about how a few seconds in the company of the Prophet could change an entire person’s outlook. Most famous of such converts was the chief rabbi of the Jews of Madina – Abdullah ibn Salam. When the Prophet went to Madina, this rabbi came to see who this person was. He describes his experience in first person, “As soon as I saw him, I knew that this cannot be the face of a liar.” This was not uncommon throughout the life of Prophet Muhammad (P.B.U.H).

It is narrated by Yazid ibn Yabnus who said, “We went to ‘A’isha and said, ‘Umm al-Mu’minin, what was the character of the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, like?’ She replied, ‘His character was the Qur’an. Can you recite the sura entitled “The Believers”?’ She said, ‘Recite:

قَدْ أَفْلَحَ الْمُؤْمِنُونَ

Qad aflaha almuminoona

It is the believers who are successful:

الَّذِينَ هُمْ فِي صَلَاتِهِمْ خَاشِعُونَ

Alladheena hum fee salatihim khashi’oona

those who are humble in their prayer;

مُعْرِضُونَ وَالَّذِينَ هُمْ عَنِ اللَّغْوِ

Waallatheena hum A’ani allaghwi mu’aridoona

those who turn away from worthless talk;

وَالَّذِينَ هُمْ لِلزَّكَاةِ فَاعِلُونَ

Waallatheena hum lilzzakati fa’ailoona

those who actively pay zakat;

وَالَّذِينَ هُمْ لِفُرُوجِهِمْ حَافِظُونَ

Waallatheena hum lifuroojihim hafithoona

those who guard their private parts.

She said, ‘That was the character of the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace.'” His character was the Qu’ran is the important bit here. What this means, along with the specific ayat Hadrat Aisha points us towards, is that the Prophet’s aqidah was of utmost perfection. We often hear about how he serves as a model for mankind and indeed it is the Prophet himself who says:

“I have only been sent to perfect moral character”

This is how I started to understand how to love someone you haven’t seen. I never met the Prophet, but I’ve seen some of his character whenever I saw someone do good deeds or show kindness. One example that specifically stands out to me was a couple of years ago, Imam Atef was giving a halaqa and there were a lot of children running around and making noise. A lot of us were getting annoyed because of the distraction, including Imam Atef. But after the end of the Halaqa Imam Atef addressed us and told us the “the Children are citizens too, and they have a right to be here (at the ICP) also, even if they aren’t matured enough to understand what that means.” This reminded me of a story about how Prophet Muhammad (S.A.W) was giving a khutbah and either Hassan or Hussein were running around like kids do. Instead of getting upset, Prophet Muhammad (P.B.U.H) took the child and set him in his lap and continued to give the khutbah as though nothing happened.

I’ve seen his character through the little of the Qu’ran that I know if the Prophet is indeed a walking Qu’ran. And this is also an important point, the role of the Qu’ran in aqidah. The more you read of the Qu’ran the more it changes you[1]. For those of you who were there, Imam Suhaib Webb spoke about developing a personal relationship with the Qu’ran in order to achieve excellence. I think there are many ways to understand this statement, but the way I understood it was that one should be able to implement what the learn in the Qu’ran to their lives. The saying goes: “Sow a thought, reap an action. Sow an action, reap a habit. Sow a habit, reap a character”. The Qu’ran is divine revelation, the purest thought on earth so it stands to reason that sowing such a pure thought will reap a pure character. But of course this is an easier said than done proposition. Even implementing the word sabr is a lifelong endeavor.

Nevertheless, internalizing the Qu’ran is extremely important to cultivating a personal relationship to Islam and the Prophet. One of the signs of the end of times is according to Imam Ad-Daarimi who narrated that Abdullah ibn Masood said:

“Recite the Quran much before it is taken away.” They said, “These Mus’hafs will be taken away?! What about that which is (memorized) in the hearts of men?” He said: “Something will come and take it one night, and in the morning they will wake up without it. They will forget the phrase ‘laa ilaha ill-Allah’ and they will start to recite the sayings and poetry of the Jahiliyyah. That is when the Word will be fulfilled against them.”

And this is important because as we saw, the Qu’ran is central to understanding aqidah and loving Prophet Muhammad (S.A.W). The deeper implication is not only the loss of cerebral knowledge, but the knowledge and intuition of how to behave.

Aqoolo qawli hadha wastaghfirullaha li wa lakum

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So this wouldn’t be a  typical Khutbah without some superfluous fictitious story meant to illustrate some abstract idea that confuses everyone, myself first and foremost. So this story has absolutely no chance of happening, will never happen and should not be thought of as fact. There was a man and he was setting up to relax and watch some TV with his wife when he hears his doorbell ring. He goes to check who it is and he sees a man at his door. His face was luminous like a full moon. He was taller than medium but not excessive in height. He had wavy hair, which he parted and it never went beyond his shoulders. He was light-skinned with a high brow. He had full eyebrows and a small space between them. His beard was full, his eyes black. His physique was supple and lithe, with a full chest and broad shoulders. The husband instantly recognized this man as Prophet Muhammad (S.A.W) as he had heard rumors that the Prophet had returned to help the believers out of their current state.

The man reached down to his doorknob to let the Prophet in when he looked around and realized that the place was a mess and that cleanliness was half his deen. So he started cleaning when his wife came down. She asked what he was doing and he told her the Prophet was at their doorstep. The wife realized she was dressed immodestly and ran back to change. There was a second knock at the door. As she ran up the man realized that the TV show they were going to watch also featured something haram and ran to shut it off. As he closed the program he realized that he poured out wine and that his father said alcohol was haram, so he quickly drained the alcohol. A third knock at the door sounded. As the man finished cleaning, he thought to himself “how I wish I were ready” and his wife came down. Both of them went to the door to let the Prophet in, but by then he was already gone. They were both disheartened that not only had the Prophet left, but that they were not ready and had done such a poor job in doing a simply task. The husband said “The Prophet is gone, but we still have a chance to prepare to meet our Rabb” and began to change their ways.

So I think the lesson is obvious and feeds well into the sign of Qiyamah I already discussed. But I want to end again on the description of Prophet Muhammad because I believe that is important. He was taller than medium but not excessive in height. He had wavy hair, which he parted and it never went beyond his shoulders. He was light-skinned with a high brow. He had full eyebrows and a small space between them. His beard was full, his eyes black. His physique was supple and lithe, with a full chest and broad shoulders. And his face shone with a light like that of the moon. This light is important. Imam Atef related a story of how Abdullah ibn Muttalib (R.A) would often be sought after for marriage by many noble women. One woman in particular was very insistent but Abdullah (R.A) would always play it off. After Abdullah and Aminah (R.A) had the Nabi, Abdullah was walking and met this particular woman. He talked and after a while asked “Aren’t you going to ask me the question you usually ask me?” and she said “No, what you had is gone”. What she was referring to was the noor that was now upon Prophet Muhammad (S.A.W).

Al-Hasan, son of Ali [May God be pleased with both of them] said: “I asked my uncle Hind, son of Abu Hala about the hilye [description] of the Prophet of God, my peace and blessings be upon him. Hind was known to be a prolific describer of the Prophet, and I wished him to relate some of it for me so I might hold fast to it.” Al-Hasan said to Hind, “Describe to me the way he spoke.” Hind said,

“The Prophet of God, peace and blessings be upon him, was continually full of concern. He was constantly deep in thought. He had no rest, and would not speak without a reason. He would be silent for long periods of time. He would begin conversations, and end them clearly and distinctly and would speak in a way that combined many meanings in few words. He spoke with excellence, and there was no excess in it, nor unnatural brevity. He was gentle by nature and not coarse, nor was he contemptuous of anyone. He would extol the favors he received, even when they were few and small. He never found fault with them. He never criticized the food or drink that was prepared for him, nor did he overly praise it. No one would stand against his anger when matters of the Lord’s truth were opposed, until he had triumphed, but he would never get angry for his own sake, nor would he ever seek to win such an argument. He would gesture with his whole palm, to point. When he was astonished, he would make his palm face upwards. He used his hands frequently as he spoke, and would strike his left palm with his right thumb. When he would get angry, he would turn away and avert his gaze, and when he was full of joy he would lower his eyes. Most of his laughing was as smiling; when he did laugh, it was not loud, and he would show his teeth a bit like they were hailstones.”

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[1] There is a story that goes: “A young child asked his grandfather how reading the Quran does anything if he cannot understand. The Grandfather gives him a woven basket he used to carry coal and said, “Go bring me water from the river in this basket” The Child dutifully did so, but of course the water fell through the holes. His Grandfather kept sending him back until the Child was tired and then said “Why carry the water even though it never made it here? Look at the basket now” And the once black basket was now clean. “This is what the Quran does to your heart, even if you don’t understand ”

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