Sunday, September 19, 2010


Surah 9 verses 111-115 Al Tawba

111. Verily, Allah has purchased of the believers their lives and their properties; for the price that theirs shall be the Paradise. They fight in Allah's Cause, so they kill (others) and are killed. It is a promise in truth which is binding on Him in the Taurat (Torah) and the Injeel (Gospel) and the Qur'an. And who is truer to his covenant than Allah? Then rejoice in the bargain which you have concluded. That is the supreme success .
In a business deal Allah offered to purchase from the believers their lives in this world in return for giving them lives in Heaven, provided they were willing to fight in His cause in this life.
It is just a method of communicating. It is Allah who gives life and it is Allah that takes it. It is simply a test of the belief of the believer. It is also a standard of seriousness imposed upon the believer. Sometimes the mission is so serious and the outcome so important that one should be willing to risk one’s life in order to achieve it. The task here was the protection of the prophet of Allah so that he could complete his mission.
It was not necessary that the life of the people who entered into this deal would be lost but it was a risk that they should be prepared to take. The task could involve not only the prospect of being killed but also may involve killing others who attacked the prophet. As a job, the job description was complete and the compensation deferred. Many might reject such an offer for they would value the life of this earth but if this offer was coming from your creator it was the deal of a life time. How many of us can say that Paradise is guaranteed to them even if they tried hard to lead virtuous lives. Here there was the certainty of Paradise. How many of us can say how long their lives would be? After all this was up to Allah. For Good measure Allah also says that He is good for His word. He has a long history when He has promised this deal before as evidenced in the Bible and the Old Testament.
112. (The believers whose lives Allah has purchased are) those who repent to Allah (from polytheism and hypocrisy, etc.), who worship Him, who praise Him, who fast (or go out in Allah's Cause), who bow down (in prayer), who prostrate themselves (in prayer), who enjoin (people) for Al-Ma'ruf (i.e. Islamic Monotheism and all what Islam has ordained) and forbid (people) from Al-Munkar (i.e. disbelief, polytheism of all kinds and all that Islam has forbidden), and who observe the limits set by Allah (do all that Allah has ordained and abstain from all kinds of sins and evil deeds which Allah has forbidden). And give glad tidings to the believers.
This is not a deal for everyone. I must warn you that the promise of Paradise should not be abused. It should not be regarded as a short cut to Paradise. It is possible for people to set up shop and offer Paradise for getting yourself killed in some cause or the other. Only God can decide who will go to Paradise and this is not always clear to those who offer Paradise or those who accept their offer.
You must prequalify for it and the qualifications are clearly stated. You are not ready for Jihad unless you already doing the following;
1. Believe in one God and worship Him.
2. Are regular in prayers
3. Keep your fasts
4. Talk about the oneness of God.
5. Avoid what has been forbidden and urge others to avoid.
6. Remind the believers of the day of judgment.
This is a very summarized explanation and not to be taken literally but it is intended to give you the sense that before fighting in the cause of Allah you must already be in a state of Jihad of the Nafs. You must be practicing both in a spiritual and a worldly sense what has been demanded of you. The oft repeated mention of “glad tidings”, was also part of the affirmation that to be a Muslim was to believe of the afterlife. The life of this world is but a small part of a soul’s total existence, nevertheless it is the more important part. What you do in this brief interlude will determine whether you are awarded a Doctorate or a graduation or just a pass or count as a failed and wasted life.
Part 2
It is a given that Allah would protect His Prophet until the message was completed but it was also important to involve the Muslim Ummah in this project because there was here a message for all times. No one died because of the migration, but they treated it as if their life depended on it. The wars that were fought between the Meccans and the people of Medina were fought after the migration. So what does it mean for us today?
To me it means that every worthwhile task and mission has to be embarked upon as if one’s life depended on it. To achieve anything meaningful one has to go through a lot of anguish and stress and tension. To give ones blood is to give one’s life energy.
If you look at the environment today, you see an environment that is hostile to Muslims. The dignity, the self respect, even the lives of Muslims are threatened. It is an environment when in many parts of the world Muslims threaten other Muslims. It is a time when Muslims are confused and frequently divided. Confused and divided by the blaring propaganda being orchestrated against Islam. It is not possible to be a true Muslim today without being confident that yours is the right path. That what you have to offer is superior to anything else that is on offer. If you are not convinced about this then meditate on it and discuss and ponder. Islam is not for the weak of conviction.
In this country, it is easy and it is difficult to be a Muslim. Easy because you have the freedom to worship and difficult because you have a very comfortable life style and you may be called upon to choose between putting your life style at risk and standing up for your rights. Having said this, our challenge today is nothing as compared to the challenge of those people who took an oath at Aqabah 1400 years ago. If you are concerned, if you are in doubt, if your friends and family are in doubt, I want you to read the verses from Al Touba that I have quoted today and be inspired. What is the worth of your life whether it is 40 years or 80 years? We all need to have a cause beyond raising our families and being good citizens. We all need to have something that we feel so strongly about that we can invest our combined physical, emotional and psychological energy in. What we should be most afraid of is being superficial Muslims, or half hearted Muslims or reluctant Muslims, especially today when Islam needs our whole hearted commitment.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010


Friday Khutba May 21 2010

I will talk today taking Surah 16 ( bees) Al Nahl as my inspiration for this talk. The sura focuses on how God has not only given life to a human but also the means to live that life. There is an abundance in nature for man to exploit and live life to the fullest. The example of the Bee is a good one, in that it collects nectar from nature and then produces a liquid which is beneficial for all mankind.

Having said that my talk today is about two other aspects from the Surah, one our relationship with Allah which is what life is all about and secondly how affluence can be a curse if we take God/Allah out of our affairs.
Surah 16 Verse 51
Allah has said: Take not ( for worship ) two Gods: For He is just One God: Then fear Me and Me alone.
Verse 52
To Him belongs whatever Is in the Heavens and on Earth. And to Him is duty due always : Then will ye fear other than Allah?

When there is a mention of two Gods, One is the One who has created everything and the other is the one that we have created, whether in the form of an idol or wealth or some other product of our imagination or superstition. This must be obvious to all those who profess to believe in One God, but even those who believe in One God take this belief for granted. This belief in one God defines our whole relationship with our creator.
What is our relationship with our creator? Our relationship with our creator is defined by submission. Submission means acceptance. Acceptance means acceptance with gratitude of all that has been given to us including a lifetime. Submission does not mean submission to the will of others. That is where one takes on others as partners of God. When Allah says Fear Me and me alone, He is not only saying fear me, He also saying that you need not fear anyone else.

We live in a world where we are full of fears, fears for our safety, and our future, fears for the safety and future of our loved ones, fears for our livelihood and fears of not being loved enough. If we are so full of fears then where is our trust in God, what is the meaning of our belief that there is only one God, that whatever is in the heavens and on earth belongs to him and that He has created us for a purpose. Why are we so fearful and what will make us fearless?
Our relationship with Allah should be such that it fills us with confidence and hope and not with fears and anxiety. Confidence is not something that comes from success, it is a sign of the strength of our relationship with our Creator.

Verse 53
And ye have no good thing But is from Allah: and moreover when ye are touched by distress , unto him ye cry with groans.
Verse 54
Yet, when He removes the distress from you, Behold! Some of you turn to other gods, to join with their Lord-

Our relationship with our creator needs to be independent of the world. It cannot be a see saw where we forget Him when we are well fed and remember him when we are in pain.
What is the meaning of an independent relationship? So what of this world which takes up all our time and energy? This is precisely the confusion that comes from serving two Gods. If the world is a test, then it must be a test of our belief that He who has created us, only created the world for us as an accommodation and not as a distraction. It is we who are easily distracted. We say we believe in God and yet we behave as if we equally believe in other things also. We kill, lie, cheat, usurp the property of others, create injustices and do everything that is in defiance of what Allah has ordered of us and we still say that we believe in one God.

Verse 57
And they assign daughters for Allah!-Glory be to Him!- and for themselves ( sons-the issue) they desire!

Verse 58
When News is brought to one of them of ( The birth of ) a female ( child ) his face darkens, and he is filled with inward grief!

Such is the faith of man that he rejects the favors of Allah whatever form those favors take. So the two step approach to denying the existence of God is one to completely forget Him when all your needs have been taken care of and secondly to reject any favors that with our limited intelligence we have no understanding of.
Little do we realize that the more that we disassociate Allah from the affairs of our life the more we become limited in comprehending what is truly good for us. We start taking credit for our good fortunes and we swagger around full of false wisdom and arrogance in our own abilities. There can be no greater curse on us than to be affluent. I pray that Allah make us all affluent and at the same try I pray that we remain grateful to Allah for providing us with that affluence and by gratefulness I do not mean thanking Allah. By gratefulness is meant sharing your affluence with others. For who are you that Allah should give you more than you need. Allah only gives you greater than your need because He has chosen for you to be an agent for the needs of others. If you spend on yourself what was not meant for you, you are as good as a thief.

Verse 4
He has created man from a sperm drop and lo this same ( man) becomes an open disputer.

I want to talk to you today about the curse of affluence.

1. The biggest curse is that it makes us forget God. It creates worldly distractions. People flock to us for our favors. We are distracted by all the pleasures that we can now afford.
2. The second biggest curse is that it destroys our children. They become spoiled and dependant on the good things of life. They have no motivation to strive as everything is available to them.
3. The third biggest curse is that it creates waste. We will eat more than we need, we will live in larger houses and spend our resources keeping them furnished, warmed, cooled, cleaned and secure, we will have closets full of clothes that we will never wear more than once and we will buy and throw away things at great speed.

The US is today the most affluent country and we can see around us the creeping curse of affluence. There is an unbelievable arrogance that the US today is what it is because of its hard work, better systems and superior planning. No one recognizes, not even most of the people sitting in this congregation today that the US inherited a land so rich and full of natural resources that no nation in the world can ever hope to match it. The native American inherited the land and did nothing with it. The European settlers exploited its resources to the full and created a thriving nation but now you see evidence of a fatal disease. As the great consumer society intent on living it up, the US Is fast becoming a burden on the world. It has accumulated debts that it will never be able to pay and it has amassed an army to threaten people who want their money back. It represents 5% of the population of the world and it consumes 25 % of the world’s resources.
It is not my intent t run down the US. We all have a vested interest in making sure that it is a fit place to bring up our children but it provides a spectacular example of what can happen to each one of us if we lose our bearings with God.

Affluence does not lead to a satiation of our desires it creates an insatiable need to become more affluent, we become more addicted to the so called good things of life rather than less. We lose our relationship with God, we lose our children and we become wasteful, lazy and self indulgent.

Verse 9
And unto Allah leads straight the way but there are ways that turn aside: if Allah had willed. He could have guided all of you.

I am not advocating poverty but I am advocating poverty of the soul. When one day we stand before our Lord and account for what He gave us and what we did with it, How will we explain our excesses, how will we account for eating out of that which was given to us for others, how will explain how we refused guidance and lost our way and then committed even greater sins then we would have had we not taken the road prohibited to us.

It is the subject of another Khutba, where I can dwell upon how to be poor and dependant can be a curse greater than to be rich and affluent. I am not therefore saying choose the middle path be neither rich nor poor. We must all strive to do the utmost with our energies but we cannot give ourselves any credit for our worldly successes. All that we have is provided for us by our creator.

Verse 8
And (he has created ) horses, mules and donkeys for you to ride and use for show. And He has created ( other) things of which ye have no knowledge.

One day you will be given credit for not foolishly taking the credit that only belongs to God. Why do we wish to cheat God. He does not need the credit but He would wish us to be wise enough to know that the surest way to lose our way is to delude ourselves.
Let us pray that we remain humble enough to continue receiving the guidance that will allow us to be good human beings, that we fulfill our duties without fear of others and that we remain poor in spirit even when we are rich and patient and committed even when we are poor.