Khutbas by Hajj Abdalhaqq
Transformation Khutba (5th May 2006)
First Khutba Friday 5th May 2006
As for him who overstepped the bounds and preferred the life of the dunya, the Blazing Fire will be his refuge. But as for him who feared the Station of his Lord and forbade the lower self its appetites, the Garden will be his refuge. (79:37-40)
That is because Allah would never change a blessing He has conferred on a people until they had changed what was in themselves. Allah is All-Hearing, All-Knowing. (8:54)
The second ayat is repeated twice in the Qur'an and is usually quoted in the context of improvement, in other words: Allah will not make things better for us until we better ourselves. But in fact, although it clearly can mean this, the meaning both times it is used is the opposite: that Allah will not make things worse for us unless we change for the worse. The change can be in both directions. The important thing for us to grasp from the ayat is that everything in existence is in a state of constant change and that this also applies to Muslims both as individuals and communities. Islam is dynamic, it is a process, it is an organic patterning. It is not a fixed, solid structure, a rigid legal framework which you somehow get hold of and fit yourself into. It is vital to understand this if we want Islam to spread and become fully established and implemented in the world again. Islam is all about change, about growth, about transformation on the one hand or – and we seek refuge with Allah from it happening – about the opposite of this, about stasis, shrinkage and deterioration.
When someone is truly a Muslim, they change. The change can be seen in their faces. Their lives are transformed. This is absolutely inevitable and if it does not happen, it means that they are not really being Muslims, their Islam is not truly genuine. The transformation is the inevitable result of the heart's exposure to the light of Divine guidance and when we speak of the heart it must be understood that we are not speaking figuratively. There is in the breast of every human being an organ of perception which is our access point to the subtle worlds of meaning, angelic energy and Divine power which interpenetrate with this world of physical appearances which we inhabit. The root meaning of the arabic word for heart, qalb, is turn over, change, transform, convert, transmute. Being a Muslim entails turning one's heart upside down, away from this world and its transitory pleasures, towards the pleasure of Allah which lasts forever. Allah ta’ala tells us in Surat an-Nahl:
“What is with you runs out and what is with Allah goes on forever.”
And the Prophet himself, salla’Llahu alayhi wa sallam, made this matter clear for us when he said at the end of the famous hadith about the halal and haram:
“In the body there is a lump of flesh. If it is sound the whole body is sound. If it is corrupted the whole body is corrupted. And that is the heart.”
Although we commonly talk about inward and outward it must be understood that there is no hard and fast line between them; they are interpenetrating realms. Therefore inward transformation inevitably manifests itself outwardly, so that being Muslim involves our lives in inexorable and irreversable change. What happens is that we begin to take on the Muhammadan form. This connects with the ayat in Sura Ali ‘Imran:
Say, 'If you love Allah, then follow me and Allah will love you…' (3:31)
Being Muslim means being drawn to all those things that the Prophet, salla'Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, did and taught his Companions to do. First the basic practices of the deen and gradually those qualities of character, such as taqwa, generosity, fortitude, courtesy and other virtues, which found their perfection in the Messenger of Allah, salla'Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam. Inseparable from this, in our situation, must be the desire to share the invaluable gift of Islam we have been given with as many other people as possible.
There is never any room for complacency. Being a Muslim means being willing to undergo a never-ending process of self-transformation. The transformation process is endless because perfection belongs to Allah alone and is a goal which can always be approached but never attained, but we can never give up trying. If you settle for the status quo it means you are losing your deen. As we have said Islam is dynamic; there is no such thing as stasis. If you are not going forwards, you are going backwards. If you are not gaining ground, you are losing ground.
We seek refuge with our Lord from that and ask Him to give us success in drawing closer to Him and in following His Messenger inwardly and outwardly and in establishing His deen and the sunna of His Messenger within ourselves and our families and the society which surrounds us.
Second Khutba Friday 5th may 2006
An evil generation succeeded them who neglected the salat and followed their appetites. They will plunge into the Valley of Evil – except for those who make tawba and have iman and act rightly. They will enter the Garden and they will not be wronged in any way: (19:59-60)
We have up to now been talking about the individual Muslim but there is no doubt that what applies to the individual also applies to the community as a whole. Just as Islam transforms every aspect of the life of the individual, so it also inevitably makes itself felt in the life of society at large. If there is a genuine growth of Islam this is bound to happen. What this means is that the kafir society within which this occurs will either welcome it and adopt Islam or, and this is far more likely, reject it and try to spit it out. If neither of these things happens, it can only mean that what is being presented is not a genuine expression of Islam or, at best, Islam on the retreat.
This is particularly pertinent in the case of Muslim communities who live in a non-Muslim environment and yet have had no real impact on their host countries. It might be argued that Islam in Cape Town is in a healthier state than is the case with many other similar Muslim communities. Certainly it has been here longer and the manner of its introduction at the hands of men of Allah who were brought here precisely because they were fighting to protect their deen and who died and were buried here without giving up their struggle, has given Islam in the Cape a true legitimacy enjoyed by very few other minority Muslim communities in the world. There is no doubt that the light and baraka which still emanates from their tombs continues to pervade the Cape peninsular down to the present time.
We cannot, however, take the continued presence of the Muslim community here for granted. We should take salutory warning from the fate of those previous significant Muslim minorities in Australia and South America and other places who have disappeared without a trace. As with individuals, if the Muslims are not dynamically expanding on a communal level, it inevitably means that they are in the process of disappearing. There is no third option. The moment the Ottoman khalifate agreed the border between itself and the Austrian empire, it sealed its fate and doomed itself to diminution and eventual destruction. The Dar al-Islam has no fixed frontiers. We must continually strive to increase our numbers and extend the influence of Islam in our society or we will suffer the same fate as those who failed to do so in the past.
Authentic Islam, the Islam brought to us by the Messenger of Allah, salla'Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, can only be re-established in the same way as it was established by him and his Companions, radiya'Llahu ‘anhu, first in Makka and then in Madina al-Munawwara. They were people who truly recognised Allah and followed his Messenger. They vigorously took hold of the guidance they were given outwardly and inwardly. They purified and transformed themselves by implementing it in every part of their lives. Then, like a benign virus, they infected other people with it, dedicating their lives and energy to an unremitting and successful struggle to see Allah's deen implemented among them and definitively established on the surface of the earth. This was what Allah required of them. It is also required of us if we are to succeed in attaining the same result. There is no changing the sunna of Allah.
I ask Allah to bring our hearts to life and to fill them with love for Allah and His Messenger so that, like the Companions and all who have followed in their footsteps, our own lives may be transformed and we may in turn transform our society by implementing Allah's deen and calling all the non-Muslims around us to it. The Muslims of the Cape, because of their unique history and their numbers and the proven strength of their faith are in an almost unique position to take on this task and succeed in it. Then this will truly be a Cape of Good Hope for the Muslims here and indeed the Muslims of the whole world. And all guidance and success are from Allah and by Allah.