Khutbas by Hajj Abdalhaqq
Salat Khutba (28th April 2006)
First Khutba Friday 28th April 2006
Establish salat at each end of the day and in the first part of the night.
Good actions eradicate bad actions. This is a reminder for people who pay heed. 11:114
When you are safe again do salat in the normal way.
The salat is prescribed for the muminun at specific times. 4:103
You who have iman! when you are called to salat on the Day of Jumu‘a, hasten to the remembrance of Allah
and abandon trade. That is better for you if you only knew.
Then when the salat is finished spread through the earth and seek Allah's bounty
and remember Allah much so that hopefully you will be successful. (62:9-10)
We have a great treasure, a gift which Allah has given us which is beyond any price and yet it is something which, because of our familiarity with it, we tend not to give the rank and respect it deserves. That jewel beyond price is the salat. Look at how it came to us. It was what the Prophet, salla’Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, brought back for us from the Lord of the worlds when he was taken up through the seven heavens on his Night Journey and then went on into the very presence of Allah. We know that on that occasion he was given fifty daily prayers which were gradually reduced to the five we now perform – five which by the generosity of Allah receive the reward of the original fifty.
So our salat, which we all but take for granted and frequently treat in a most haphazard fashion, embodies the secret of the absolute pinnacle of all possible human experience, the face to face meeting of the Prophet, salla’Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, with Allah tabaraka wa ta‘ala, and many people do not realise that the words of the tashshahud we recite in the sitting position are a record of the communication which took place between the Prophet, salla’Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, and his Lord during that awesome encounter. Each time we do the prayer, therefore, we are, in a way, reconnecting with that supreme human possibility and opening ourselves to the highest potential of our own individual consciousness.
It is the greatest of the means which Allah ta‘ala has given us to ensure that we remain on the path of Islam, the path which leads to His mercy and forgiveness and to every good thing in both the worlds. It is the greatest of the pillars of our deen after the two shahadas. The position it holds in our deen is comparable to the main pole in a tent – if it is there the tent can be used and all the other poles, guy ropes and pegs will find their place; if it is not there then the whole structure is collapsed and useless.
In this context it is important to remember that Allah ta‘ala does not merely command us to do salat but rather instructs us to establish it, which, as all the mufassirun are agreed, implies much more than simply performing the necessary number of rak‘ats at a given time. It firstly includes all the preconditions of purity, place, dress, direction etc. But it also includes the social and political dimensions which are integral to the performance of salat. These are, of course, most evident today, on the day of jumu‘a when it is an obligation for all the men of the community to attend the prayer. Indeed, it could be said that the political dimensions of any Muslim community are defined by the attendance and behaviour at its jumu‘a salat. So we should remind ourselves of some of the aspects of the fiqh of Jumu’a mentioned by Shaykh Muhammad over the last two weeks so that we are absolutely clear about them.
Firstly it is an individual obligation for every healthy man resident in the community and all of them must attend unless prevented from doing so by an excuse considered valid in the shari’a. Travellers and women are recommended to attend and it is a confirmed sunna for all who participate in the Jumu’a to have a ghusl before they come. It is recommended to carry out the fitri acts of personal grooming before attending jumu’a, which include cutting the nails and trimming the moustache. Also recommended is wearing good clothes and for men to perfume themselves. It is further recommended to walk to it if you can and to arrive as early as possible.
There are several things which are definitely disliked in connection with the Jumu‘a prayer and they include:
- Stepping over people before the khatib sits.
- Not working on Friday because that entails imitating the Jews and Christians with regard to their Sabbath and Sunday.
- Doing nafila after the prayer until people have left the mosque.
- Travelling on the day of Jumu‘a after dawn up until midday. It is not disliked before dawn.
Finally there are certain things which are categorically forbidden with respect to the Jumu‘a prayer:
- Travelling at midday on the day of Jumu‘a, except out of a necessity which is not unlawful.
- Stepping over those sitting after the imam has sat on the minbar.
- Speaking in the mosque during the khutbas or between, even by people who cannot hear the khutba due to distance or deafness.
- Greeting someone who enters or someone sitting during the khutba.
- Returning a greeting, even by gesture, while listening to the khutba.
- Blessing a sneezer and his responding.
- Forbidding someone from talking by saying to him, "Stop that talking,” or the like.
- Indicating to such a person to refrain from talking.
- Eating and drinking.
- Beginning a nafila prayer after the khatib has come out for the khutba.
- Selling or any other commercial activity during or after the second adhan. The prohibition continues until the end of the prayer. Any transaction conducted during that time is null and void.
There is no doubt that this gathering of the Muslim community for the Jumu’a prayer is a pivotal event in the life of the jama’a and it is vital for us that it is conducted in exactly the way that has been passed down to us without any change from the lifetime of the Prophet, salla Llahu alayhi wa sallam, and his noble Companions in Madina al-Munawwara. There can be no doubt that establishing salat in the way it was established by the first community is the essential first step to establishing the deen in its entirety and without it no further step is possible. Unless we erect the main tent pole properly it is wishful thinking to suppose that the rest of the structure of Islam can be put into place.
We ask Allah to make us people who follow in the footsteps of our glorious forebears regarding the establishing of salat so that we may then have the chance of following them in seeing Allah's deen victorious in our time as it was in theirs.
Second Khutba Friday 28th April 2006
1090. Al-Bara' ibn ‘Azib said, "The Messenger of Allah Lgs , Idgu Iggh Xgw used to go between the rows from one end to the other, pushing our chests and shoulders. He would say, 'Do not be disunified or your hearts will become disunified.' He used to say, 'Allah and the his angels bless the first row.'"
1091. Ibn ‘Umar reported that the Messenger of Allah Lgs , Idgu Iggh Xgw said, "Make the rows straight, stand shoulder to shoulder and close up the gaps. Give way to your brothers and do not leave any openings for Shaytan. Allah will connect with anyone who connects up the row and Allah will break off from anyone who makes a break in a row."
These hadiths and a number of similar ones do not only tell us how to behave in salat – although they certainly do that – but also clearly indicate that the way we do salat is a kind of benchmark for our lives as a whole both as individuals and as a community. As we pray so we live. If we really reflect honestly on the way we do salat we can learn a great deal about ourselves.
We should look at whether we do it on time and if not why not; at our physical comportment in it, whether we are too rigid or too sloppy; at our level of concentration in it and what tends to distract us most. These and other things we might notice will tell us a lot about our lives as a whole. And more than simply giving us insight into our own state and, indeed, that of the whole community, it also gives us the chance of doing something about things which are not as they should be. If we correct any defects or imbalances we have noticed at the microcosmic level of the prayer, not superficially but by going to the source of the problem and addressing it, we will inevitably find that at the macrocosmic level of our daily lives that same defect or imbalance which manifested itself in our salat will fade away there as well. This is yet another benefit among innumerable others we derive from this incalculably precious gift Allah has given us.
There is no end to the things which might be said about salat and many lengthy books have been devoted to it but I would like to end with quotations from two great scholars.
Shaykh Moulay al-‘Arabi ad-Darqawi, may Allah have mercy on him, says in one of his letters:
Whoever desires to save himself, to make himself happy, to have his faults veiled, to gain the pleasure of his Lord, to have his inner eye opened, to have gifts given to him and have his heart brought to life should show proper regard for his Lord and not delay salat from its proper time and not permit himself any indulgence in doing so. Nor should he perform salat alone when he is able to join a jama‘a prayer. Yet we see many people delaying their salat and praying by themselves when they are able join a jama‘a. How evil is what they do. . .
We see them immersed in anxiety, sorrow, hardships and adversity. By Allah the source of what afflicts them is their laxity in the deen. We also notice that they see no difference between prayer in the first row and and prayer in the last row. This is not because they do not know; it is just their lack of concern for the deen. They are not scrupulous about purity either. But the truth is that if anyone has any impurity on him, he has no wudu. If he has no wudu, he has no prayer. And if he has no prayer he has no good at all.
Finally Shaykh al-Akhdari says in a moving passage in his small treatise on salat:
There is an immense light in salat which shines in the hearts of those who establish it and only comes to those who are humbly concentrated during it. So when you come to salat, free your heart of the dunya and everything in it and busy yourself with concentrating on the presence of your Lord to whom your salat is addressed. You should know that the essence of salat is humble concentration and submission to Allah by standing, bowing and prostrating before Him, and esteem and exaltation of Him by takbir, tasbih and dhikr.
So safeguard your salat. It is the greatest of all the acts of ‘ibada. Do not allow Shaytan to play with your heart and distract you from it so that your heart is devastated and you are deprived of the sweetness of the lights of salat. You must always strive to be humbly concentrated in it for it keeps you from indecency and wrongdoing according to the extent of your concentration in it. And ask Allah for help. He is the Best of Helpers.
We ask Allah, tabaraka wa ta‘ala, to make us people who fully appreciate the treasure He has given us in the great gift of salat. We ask him to increase our humility and concentration in it so that we become people who plumb its depths and experience its lights. We ask him to bring us together in it and multiply the number of our rows and strengthen us by it so that we may go out from it nourished by it determined to see the whole of Allah's deen established in our time.