Khutbas by Hajj Abdalhaqq
Thankfulness Khutba (16th June 2006)
First khutba Friday 16th June 2006
Today I have perfected your deen for you and completed My blessing upon you
and I am pleased with Islam as a deen for you. 5:4
Because we are so close to it, we often tend to take for granted the very thing that is overwhelmingly more important than anything else in our lives. The mere fact that we are sitting here in this mosque out of obedience to Allah and His Messenger, worshipping Allah in the way that His Messenger showed us how to – the simple fact of our being Muslims – is in itself so wonderful, such a blessing from Allah, such a privilege, that nothing any of us could ever say or do would be adequate to express the true significance it has for the lives of every single one of us. Just to be a Muslim in this darkest of times is in itself a gift beyond price. To be able to know and worship the Lord of existence and follow His Messenger when such a large percentage of the human race is floundering about in the darkness of shirk and kufr is already in itself the great victory. One of the people of Allah of our time said, "In this time of ours, if a man goes to sleep having prayed his five prayers for Allah, he has won." And it is true. We often say:
Praise be to Allah for the blessing of Islam. It is blessing enough.
And this is quite literally true, because whatever happens in our lives, if we die as Muslims everything will have been worthwhile whereas for the kuffar no amount of success in this world will have been any use whatsoever.
There is only one course open to us and that is to give thanks to Allah and even then that thanks is itself a further blessing, for as Allah Himself says,
If you are thankful I will give you increase. 14:7
The question is how can we possibly thank Allah for what He has given us. One answer is that it is quite impossible! One of the people of Allah of the past used to say, "O Allah, You know that I cannot possibly thank you sufficiently for all the gifts You have given me so I ask You to thank Yourself on my behalf!" However, in His Mercy Allah has given us the means to thank Him and the people of knowledge have said that that thankfulness should be expressed with the heart and tongue and with the limbs.
Thankfulness of the heart consists in actually being consciously aware of the immeasurable gifts and blessings of Allah and in attributing them to Him and no one else. It lies in understanding that existence in all its varied manifestations, whatever they may be, is a continuous outpouring and overflowing from a compassionate and generous Creator.
So it can be seen from this that thankfulness of the heart is directly connected to a particular way of seeing and experiencing existence but the problem for us is that we have been brought up and educated in a world where a quite opposite view of existence is the norm and, more than that, we have been actively indoctrinated into taking on that world view. The kafir world view – and it is worth noting that as well as meaning to reject Islam, the word kafara also means to be unthankful – which has been drummed into us from an early age, is that the human being is a mind isolated and trapped in a body looking out onto a basically hostile and untrustworthy outside world which he must overpower and control. It is you against the world. If you don't get it, it will get you.
This attitude has unfortunately infected the Muslims along with everyone else and the result is that our dominant approach to other Muslims tends to be one of suspicion and criticism rather than the open welcome and joyful acceptance of others that have always been the hallmark of flourishing Muslim communities. Many of the difficulties being experienced by the Muslims in the world today can be traced back to this warped view of existence.
The true mumin sees himself not so much as observer but as observed, under the eyes of his All-powerful yet All-merciful Creator, who desires nothing but good for him. Everything outside of himself is, therefore, rather than being something threatening or hostile, simply the means for him to come closer to his Lord. The Prophet, salla'llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, said, "How marvellous is the affair of the mumin! If good comes to him, he is thankful and Allah gives him increase and if bad comes to him he has sabr, acts with patience and fortitude and steadfastness, and Allah rewards him for that." A mumin, if he experiences difficulties and problems, does not blame them on anything external but rather attributes their cause to himself. As our Lord tells us in His Book:
Any bad thing that happens to you comes from yourself. (4:78)
Since existence is the compassionate outpouring of a benevolent Creator there can be nothing wrong with it. If we find something a problem, then the source of the problem must lie in our own perception, not the thing itself.
Our only problem is that we are people of this time, indoctrinated by a world view very far removed from this understanding, and very few of us have managed to protect our hearts completely from the aspect of kufr it represents. So we must first of all realise how this undermines our ability to fully comprehend the immense blessing Allah has bestowed on us by making us Muslims and see how this, in turn, impedes our hearts from thanking Him for it as they should. Then we must free our tongues from criticism and blame and busy them with praise of Allah, remembrance of Him and the uncountable gifts He has given us, and with good words about our brothers and sisters in the deen. This is so that both our hearts and our tongues may truly express our thanks to Him Who has given us existence and Who, in spite of ourselves, has given us the incomparable and incalculably precious gift of Islam.
Second khutba Friday 16th June 2006
Give thanks to Allah. Whoever gives thanks only does so to his own good.
Whoever is ungrateful, Allah is Rich Beyond Need, Praiseworthy. 31:12
We spoke in the first khutba about thankfulness of the heart and tongue but, as the people of knowledge have made clear, our gratitude to our Lord must extend beyond these into the sphere of action, into thankfulness of the limbs. The essence of thankfulness of the limbs is illustrated perfectly by the Prophet, salla'llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, who, upon being asked why he stood at night in prayer so that his feet became swollen, when all his past and future wrong actions had been forgiveness, replied, "Should I not be a thankful slave?"
It is clear from this that thankfulness to Allah entails wearing out our bodies in His service. In practical terms this means first and foremost obedience to all the commands of Allah and avoidance of what He has prohibited and following the Sunna of the Messenger of Allah, salla'llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, and treading in the footsteps of his Companions, radiya’Llahu ‘anhum ajma’in, in every single way we can. Their gratitude to their Lord for what He had given them was demonstrated by the fact that, as we know from both the historical record and from the geographical legacy they left which survives to this day, they all wore themselves out to the utmost in their scrupulous taking on of Allah's deen, as its parameters become clear to them, and then in their implacable struggle to see it spread throughout the world of their time.
We are once more in a situation which is very similar to theirs in that there is now nowhere on the surface of the earth where the reality of Islam – that total life practice which the Prophet, salla'llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, transmitted to us from His Lord and which he and his Companions lived and died to establish – still exists. Therefore our thankfulness to Allah tabaraka wa ta‘ala for the greatest of His blessings, that of guiding us to Islam, can only be truly expressed in our also taking on to the utmost, the job of establishing Allah's deen in its totality in the world once more.
This will undoubtedly involve a fierce struggle. There is no changing the sunna of Allah and the Prophet, salla llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, made it quite clear that the obligation of Jihad would go on until the Last Day. However, whereas the kuffar struggle for this world, which is the limit of their aspiration and all they know, the struggle of the Muslims, although it is to establish Allah's deen in this world, is not of or for this world but for something which lies beyond it. Even the kuffar know this as is evinced by the words of the British general confronted by the Muslims of the North West frontier when he said, “How can I fight a people who, when faced by the mouths of our big guns, see the gates of paradise open in front of them.” This Muslim perspective is wonderfully illustrated by an incident that took place on the day of Badr.
The Messenger of Allah, salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, said that day to the Muslims, “Rise up for a Garden whose breadth is that of the heavens and the earth.” ‘Umayr ibn al-Humam al-Ansari, radiya’Llahu ‘anhu, said, “Messenger of Allah, a Garden whose breadth is that of the heavens and the earth?” He said, “Yes.” ‘Umayr said, “Excellent! excellent!” The Messenger of Allah, salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, said, “What made you say, 'Excellent! excellent!'" He said, “By Allah, Messenger of Allah, nothing but the hope that I will be among its people!” He said, “You are among its people.” ‘Umayr took some dates from his quiver and began to eat them. Then he said, “If I live long enough to finish these dates, it will indeed be a long life.” He threw down the remaining dates, joined the battle and fought until he was killed.
So may Allah make us people who are truly thankful to Him and people whose lives are infused with the certainty of ‘Umayr so that wherever the struggle to establish Allah's deen is taking place, whether it is in the mosque or in the market-place, in our homes or out in the world, in township, suburb or city centre, our hearts may be free from the captivating delusion of this world and full of desire for the reality of the Garden and the vision of His Face. I ask Allah ta‘ala to fill our hearts with the reality of thankfulness to Him and that it may be accompanied by the words and actions that naturally and inevitably flow from a grateful heart.