الحمد لله، الحمد لله الذي أمرنا أن نَفِيَ بالعقود، ونفعَلَ ما نقول، ونعاملَ الخلقَ بالصدقِ والأمانةِ سواءً كان صَديقاً أو خصماً لدود، نحمده تعالى ونستعينه، ونشكره تعالى ونستغفره ونستغيثه، نعوذ بالله من شرور أنفسنا ومن سيئات أعمالنا، من يهد الله فهو المهتد ومن يضلل فلن تجد له وليا مرشدا، ونشهد أن لا إله إلا الله وحده لا شريك له، له الملك و له الحمد، يحيي ويميت، بيده الخير، وهو على كل شيء قدير، ونشهد أن سيدنا و مولانا محمداً عبده ورسوله، وحبيبه وصفيه، بلغ الرسالة وأدّى الأمانة ونصح الأمة، النبي الأمي الذي أرسله الله بالهدى والدين الحق، بشيرا ونذيرا بين يدي الساعة، صلى الله عليه وسلم وعلى آله وأصحابه ومن تبعهم بإحسان إلى يوم الدين. أما بعد! فيا عباد الله اتقوا الله حق تقاته ولا تموتن إلا وأنتم مسلمون. يأيها الذين ءامنوا اتقوا الله وقولوا قولا سديدا يصلح لكم أعمالكم ويغفر لكم ذنوبكم. ومن يطع الله ورسوله فقد فاز فوزا عظيما. اتقوا الله فيما أمر وانتهوا عما نها عنه وزجر.
The Muslims are brothers, they are a single body, they are an umma – there is a strong bond that links and ties them together, and there is very little that can weaken or destroy it. This bond is largely impervious to differences of opinion – there have been multiple madhhabs in fiqh and the recitation and reading of Quran since the beginning of the affair, since the time of the Companions, and this bond is even able to withstand a healthy dose of mututal dislike – it is well-documented that Sayyidina Umar and Sayyidina Khalid ibn al-Walid, for example, could not stand each other. But there are certain things that can weaken and even destroy it, and they effect that by weakening and destroying the bedrock upon which it is built – mutual trust and reliance. All great societies are built on trust, the trust between the leader and the people, and the trust between the people themselves. But as soon as that is replaced by mistrust, the whole thing swiftly unravels and falls apart. There are a number of reasons mistrust can take hold, but in essence it can be boiled down to two things: people actually failing to fulfil their contracts and keep their word, and people being perceived by others as failing to fulfil their contracts and keep their words. The first is a failure in terms of action and means that there is just cause for mistrust as people are not trustworthy, the second is a failure in terms of perception and means that bad opinion dominates good. A society in which either of these things is prevalent cannot hope to succeed unless they are swiftly nipped in the bud.
The second, bad opinion, can rear its ugly head in even the best and most tightly-knit of societies, which is why our Lord constantly warns us against it, as our khateeb mentioned last week. Allah says,
يٰأَيُّهَا ٱلَّذِينَ آمَنُواْ ٱجْتَنِبُواْ كَثِيراً مِّنَ ٱلظَّنِّ إِنَّ بَعْضَ ٱلظَّنِّ إِثْمٌ
the translation of which is, “You who believe, avoid most suspicion/bad opinion. Indeed some suspicion is a crime.” Indeed, in the greatest community this world has seen, that established by the Messenger of Allah in al-Madinat al-Munawarra, it was suspicion and bad opinion that posed one of the greatest existential threats, almost succeeding where huge enemy armies and extended sieges had failed. For the suspicion and bad opinion that accompanied the calumny and slander against Sayyidatina Aisha spread by the hypocrites almost led to civil war and almost caused the two tribes of Aws and Khazraj, who had been united by Islam, revert to their jahiliyya state of constant enmity and hostility. In response to these events, Allah revealed the aya,
لَوْلَا إِذْ سَمِعْتُمُوهُ ظَنَّ الْمُؤْمِنُونَ وَالْمُؤْمِنَاتُ بِأَنْفُسِهِمْ خَيْرًا وَقَالُوا هَذَا إِفْكٌ مُبِينٌ
the translation of which is, “Why, when you heard it, did you not, as believing men and women, have a good opinion of yourselves and say, ‘This is clearly a lie’.” A Muslim cannot afford to allow unsubstantiated negative thoughts about his brothers and sisters enter his head, he cannot afford to think or speak badly about them. His primary response must always be to think the best, no matter how damning the circumstantial evidence. Umar ibn al-Khattab said,
لا تظنَنَّ بكلمةٍ خرجتْ من مسلمٍ شرا وأنت تجدُ لها في الخير محملا
“Do not have a bad opinion of any word that comes out of a Muslim’s mouth if you can find some way to interpret it in a way that is good.” And the same applies to their actions. Do not assume that it is they who are at fault or they who have broken their word, unless there is clear and unambiguous evidence to that effect. And it is this that brings me to the second of the two issues about which I wanted to speak – the fulfilling of contracts.
Contracts lie at the very heart of this affair. Indeed, for us, it all began with a contract, a contract to which we all agreed even before we were born. Allah says,
وَإِذْ أَخَذَ رَبُّكَ مِن بَنِي آدَمَ مِن ظُهُورِهِمْ ذُرِّيَّتَهُمْ وَأَشْهَدَهُمْ عَلَى أَنفُسِهِمْ أَلَسْتَ بِرَبِّكُمْ قَالُواْ بَلَى
the translation of which is, “When your Lord took out all their descendants from the loins of the children of Adam and made them testify against themselves, ‘Am I not your Lord?’ they said, ‘We testify that indeed You are!’” Every success that we hope for from our Lord in this life and the Next is contingent upon us fulfilling this original covenant and keeping our side of the bargain. Allah says,
وَأَوْفُوا بِعَهْدِي أُوفِ بِعَهْدِكُمْ
the translation of which is, “Honour My contract and I will honour your contract.” The basis of this original contract is one of acknowledgement and worship between the slave and the master. Hence all of the ibadat can be said to be a contract, but the contracts about which I primarily want to speak are those that are made between people, those that form the basis of all muamalat and all social interaction, for it is this form of contract that makes up the connections and forms the basis for the ties that hold a society together. And if they are formed on shaky ground, or often ignored and left unfulfilled, or made only to be broken, then there can be no community or society. It is not for nothing that the first qualities for which the one whom we are commanded to emulate, the Messenger of Allah was known, both as a man before prophethood, and as a Prophet, were sidq and amana, truthfulness and trustworthiness, the fulfilment of verbal and physical contracts. We ask Allah to make our community one which embodies those characteristics.
أقول قولي هذا وأستغفر الله لي ولكم ولسائر المسلمين من كل ذنب فاستغفروه إنه هو الغفور الرَّحيم
الحمد لله الحمد لله رب العالمين، وأشهد أن لا إله إلا الله وحده لا شريك له وأشهد أن محمداً عبده ورسوله، صلى الله وسلم وبارك عليه وعلى آله وصحبه، والتابعين وتابعي التابعين ومن تبعهم بإحسان إلى يوم الدين.
أما بعد! فيأيها الذين ءامنوا اتقوا الله ما استطعتم واسمعوا وأطيعوا وأنفقوا خيرا لأنفسكم. يا عباد الله أوصيكم وإياي بتقوى الله وطاعته وأحذركم وإياي عن معصيته ومخالفته. قال الله تعالى في كتابه العزيز: يَأَيُّهَا الذِينَ ءَامَنُواْ لِمَ تَقُولُونَ مَا لَا تَفْعَلُونَ، كَبُرَ مَقْتًا عِندَ اللهِ أَن تَقُولُواْ مَا لَا تَفْعَلُونَ.
Allah says in His Mighty Book, the translation of which is, “Why do you say what you do not do. It is very hateful to Allah that you should say what you do not do.” A contract is an agreement between two or more parties, regardless of whether it is merely spoken or written. Simply telling someone that you are going to do something is tantamount to a contract and something to which you will be held, so you should never make promises or give guarantees lightly. That is not the quality of the believer. Rather, it places you at risk and gives nifaq the opportunity to gain a foothold in your heart. The Prophet said,
أربعٌ من كنّ فيه كان منافقاً، ومن كانت فيه خصلةٌ منهن كانت فيه خصلةٌ من النفاقِ حتّى يدعَها: إذا حدّث كذب، وإذا وعدَ أخلف، وإذا جاصم فجر، وإذا عاهد غدر.
“There are four characteristics which distinguish the hypocrite. If a person has one of these characteristics, he has an element of hypocrisy in his being. When he speaks, he lies; when he makes a promise, he breaks it; when he enters into a dispute, he acts in an underhand manner; and when he forms a trust, he betrays it.” In other words, habitual breaking of contracts is a sign of being a munafiq, the very worst form of human being, the one whose whole identity is based on portraying an outward image of himself that is in direct contradiction to his inward reality. Such people can talk about deen all they want to, but they will never have it and never establish it until they become more careful and more honest about their dealings. The Prophet said,
لا إيمانَ لمن لا أمانةَ له، ولا دِينَ لمن لا عَهدَ له
“The one who has no amana (i.e. does not return what has been entrusted to him), has no iman. And the one who does not keep his promise has no Deen”.
Yes, people forget and people say things in haste without thinking, but that is why we are instructed to be careful about what we say, that is why we are instructed to know the ruling before embarking upon anything and enter into things with our eyes wide open, that is why we are taught to write things down. Allah says,
يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آَمَنُوا إِذَا تَدَايَنْتُمْ بِدَيْنٍ إِلَى أَجَلٍ مُسَمًّى فَاكْتُبُوهُ
the translation of which is, “You who believe, when you take on a debt for a specified period, write it down”. Although this aya refers specifically to debts, its ruling applies to all types of transactions – trade agreements, marriages, peace treaties, waqfs, anything you can think of. And because of that, a whole branch of knowledge came to be, called watha’iq, the science of formulating and writing up contracts. And, indeed, this science continues to be taught and studied until the present day in the great institutions of learning such as the Qarawiyyin in Fes and the Azhar in Cairo.
The second important thing with relation to contracts is the dimension of time. Often, it is not the failure of a party to fulfil a contract that causes bad blood but his failure to do so in what constitutes a reasonable period of time. Excessive delay, indeed any delay, is harmful in the extreme. Look at the way our Lord describes those who do the prayers but delay them outside of their times. He says,
فَوَيْلٌ لِلْمُصَلِّينَ الَّذِينَ هُمْ عَنْ صَلاتِهِمْ سَاهُونَ
the translation of which is, “So woe to those who do the prayer, and are forgetful of their prayer.” Allah uses the word wail – woe, a term reserved for those engaging in particularly reprehensible practices, a term that has been interpreted by some of the mufassirin to refer to a valley in the Hellfire. According to the mufassirin, being forgetful of their prayer means delaying it outside of its time without a valid excuse. The same applies to our contracts with each other. If we delay them beyond their appointed time without a valid excuse then we have wronged the other party and weakened the bonds of trust that tie us together. And it is even worse when a contract is made without a time being agreed for its fulfilment, for that is often taken as a carte blanche to delay it indefinitely. Such a contract cannot fail but to cause friction and ill feeling except in the rarest of cases. So every contract should be written down and every contract should have a time appointed for its fulfilment, even if it is merely a loan of fifty rand or something small of that nature.
And the third important thing is to conduct every transaction in front of witnesses, so that neither of the parties can later turn around and claim that they agreed no such thing.
If these three simple things are adhered to in our dealings with ourselves and others, and we make sure to always maintain a good opinion of our fellow creatures, then we will find that many of the issues we have with others will disappear, and the weakness and lethargy which has settled on our Umma will evaporate and be replaced with strength and vitality. And the mistrust with which many view us will be transformed into respect, and they will come rushing to Islam in their droves.
We ask our Lord to enable us to fulfil our contracts. We ask Him to make us people of our word and people who appreciate the importance of time. We ask Him to make us people who do what they say they will do. We ask Him to make us people who change themselves and we ask that He give us the promised victory. We ask Him to re-establish the deen in its full glory in our time and make us among those who are at the vanguard of its re-establishment.
إِنَّ اللهَ وَمَلَائِكَتَهُ يُصَلُّونَ عَلَى النَّبِيِّ، يَا أَيُهَا الذِينَ آمَنُواْ صَلُّواْ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلِّمُواْ تَسْلِيماً.
اللَّهُمَّ صَلِّ وَسَلِّمْ وَبَارِكْ عَلَيْهِ وَعَلَى آلِهِ وَصَحْبِهِ أَجْمَعِينَ. وَارْضَ اللَّهُمَّ عَنِ الْخُلَفَاءِ الرَّاشِدِينَ أَبِي بَكْرٍ وَعُمَرَ وَعُثْمَانَ وَعَلِيٍّ، وعن أم المومنين عائشة التي أمرنا الله في سورة النور أن ندافع عنها، وَعَنْ سَائِرِ الصَّحَابَةِ أَجْمَعِينَ، خُصُوصاً اِلأَنْصَارَ مِنْهُمْ وَالمُهَاجِرِينَ، وَعَنِ التَّابِعِينَ وَتَابِعِي التَّابِعِينَ وَمَنْ تَبِعَهُمْ بِإِحْسَانٍ إِلَى يَوْمِ الدِّينِ.
اللَّهُمَّ اهْدِ وُلَاةَ أُمُورِ المُسْلِمِينَ لِمَا يُرْضِيكَ وَلِاتِّبَاعِ سُنَّةِ نَبِيِّكَ صَلَّى اللهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ، وَثَبِّتْ أَقْدَامَهُمْ عَلَى الصِّرَاطِ المُسْتَقِيمِ، وَأَصْلِحْهُمْ يَا رَبَّ الْعَالَمِينَ.
اللَّهُمَّ بَارِكْ عَلَى شَيْخِنَا، وَعَلَى أَمِيرِنَا، وَعَلَى جَمِيعِ أُمَرَاءِ وَزُعَمَاءِ المُسْلِمِينَ.
اللَّهُمَّ بَارِكْ عَلَى المُسْلِمِينَ فِي هَذِهِ المَدِينَةِ، وَوَفِّقْهُمْ لِمَا تُحِبُّهُ وَتَرْضَاهُ يَا أَكْرَمَ الأَكْرَمِينَ.
اللَّهُمَّ أَعِزَّ الإِسْلَامَ وَالمُسِْلمِينَ، وَاخْذُلِ الْكُفْرَ وَالْكَافِرِينَ، وَانْصُرِ المُجَاهِدِينَ فِي سَبِيلِ اللهِ. وَاجْعَلْ كَلِمََتَكَ هِيَ العُلْيَا وَكَلِمَةَ الْكُفْرِ هِيَ السُّفْلَى.
رَبَّنَا ءَاتِنَا فِي الدُّنْيَا حَسَنَةً وَفِي الآخِرَةِ حَسَنَةً وَقَِنَا عَذَابَ النَّارِ.
إِنَّ اللهَ يَامُرُ بِالْعَدْلِ وَالإِحْسَانِ وَإِيتَاءِ ذِي الْقُرْبَى، وَيَنْهَى عَنِ الْفَحْشَاءِ وَالمُنكَرِ وَالْبَغْيِ، يَعِظُكُمْ لَعَلَّكُمْ تَذَّكَّرُونَ، وَلَذِكْرُ اللهِ أَكْبَرُ وَاللهُ يَعْلَمُ مَا تَصْنَعُونَ. وَقُومُواْ إِلَى صَلاتِكُمْ يَرْحَمُكُمُ اللهُ .