الحمد لله، الحمد لله الرحيم الرحمان، الذي جعل الإسلام دينَ الرحمة والرفق واللطف والغفران، 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 وأدى 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.

 

In recent times, it feels as if the media narrative portraying Islam has been exclusively negative, painting Muslims as merciless harsh creatures, prone to indiscriminate acts of murder and violence. We even hear and read many Muslim commentators and columnists towing this same line, blaming much of the recent violence on Islamists or extreme Muslims. Now, while it may be that in their own minds, they disassociate these guys from the main body of Muslims, by describing them thus, they associate Islam in the minds of uninformed readers with the violent and deadly acts they describe. For many, harshness and violence have become synonymous with Islam. But it is not their connection to Islam that drives such people to these acts – for as has become clear, these people’s links to their deen were often tenuous in the extreme – it is their anarchic and criminal tendencies, it is their deep-seated resentment and hatred of the states and governments that have made them feel unwanted and unwelcome in their own lands. And so they latch on to the flimsiest of justifications and lash out. But that is not the act nor the response of the Muslim, it is the act of the psychotic, nihilistic anarchist, the one who wants to break rather than fix, and destroy rather than build. There is no justification for such acts, even when on a war footing, for the deen of Allah does not condone indiscriminate killing or killing for the sake of killing even in the heat of battle. When Sayyidina Abu Bakr sent his army out to fight, he gave them a set of instructions, among which were,

 

ولا تمثلوا ولا تقتلوا طفلا صغيرا أو شيخا كبيرا ولا امرأة ولا تعقروا نحلا ولا تحرقوه ولا تقطعوا شجرة مثمرة

 

“Do not mutilate [bodies], do not kill children, the elderly or women, do not burn palm trees or render them sterile, and do not cut down fruit-bearing trees.” Jihad was never about killing, it was always about opening up the lands to the deen of Allah.

And when the Muslims were being oppressed in Makka, the Prophet never encouraged them to lash out violently, but instead told them to do as their Lord instructed,

 

ادْعُ إِلِى سَبِيلِ رَبِّكَ بِالْحِكْمَةِ وَالْمَوْعِظَةِ الْحَسَنَةِ وَجَادِلْهُم بِالَّتِي هِيَ أَحْسَنُ

 

the translation of which is, “Call to the way of your Lord with wisdom and fair admonition, and argue with them in the kindest way.” To respond to their ignorance and harshness with kindness and mercy. And although we are living in a post-Madinan world, in many ways the situation of many of us is analogous to Makka, living as a minority in lands where our religious expression is severely curtailed. And so it befits us, until such time that circumstances change, to act as our example and guide did when he found himself in that situation. To ensure that while we never compromise on the haqq, all of our interactions and transactions are coloured by lutf and rahma, by kindness and mercy, and that that is the face of Islam that most people see. For it is that side of Islam that will attract them, and bring them to us in their droves, not the opposite. Allah says,

 

فَبِمَا رَحْمَةٍ مِنَ اللَّهِ لِنْتَ لَهُمْ وَلَوْ كُنْتَ فَظًّا غَلِيظَ الْقَلْبِ لَانْفَضُّوا مِنْ حَوْلِكَ

 

the translation of which is, “It is a mercy from Allah that you were gentle with them. If you had been rough or hard of heart, they would have scattered from around you.” Human beings are attracted by kindness and sincere compassion – it sows the seeds of love. There is an amazing recent story of a woman in America who went to join a protest against Islam outside a mosque but was the only one to turn up. So one of the woman in the mosque came out and gave her a big hug and invited her in, and her perception of Islam and the Muslims changed in the moment.

So even when people are apparently implacable in their rejection of Islam, we do not show them harshness or completely give up on them. Instead we treat them as the Messenger of Allah treated them. When the Jews greeted him with the words as-samu alaykum, ‘Death be upon you’, and Aisha heard them and replied, ‘Rather, upon you be curses and death,’ he said to her,

يا عائشة! إن الله رفيق، يحب الرفق في الأمر كله

 

“O Aisha, Allah is kind, and He loves kindness in every part of the affair.” And he told her not to reply with curse or deprecationss but simply to say, ‘wa alaykum’ instead. Or when they greeted with rocks and stones, and curses and rejection, as in at-Taif, he made dua for Allah to guide them.

Or Ibrahim, who when his father said to him,

 

أَرَاغِبٌ أَنتَ عَنْ آلِهَتِي يَا إِبْراهِيمُ لَئِن لَّمْ تَنتَهِ لَأَرْجُمَنَّكَ وَاهْجُرْنِي مَلِيًّا

 

“Do you forsake my gods, Ibrahim? If you do not stop, I will stone you. Keep away from me for a good long time.”, Ibrahim replied,

 

سَلَامٌ عَلَيْكَ سَأَسْتَغْفِرُ لَكَ رَبِّي إِنَّهُ كَانَ بِي حَفِيًّا

 

“Peace be upon you. I will ask my Lord to forgive you. He has always honoured me.”

Mercy and compassion have always been at the heart of what it means to be Muslim. Indeed, every time we embark upon an action, we invoke our Lord’s Name, the All-Merciful. It is the only one of His Divine Names that is considered completely interchangeable with His Name, Allah, and is used thus in the Book of Allah. Allah says,

 

قُلِ ادْعُوا اللَّهَ أَوِ ادْعُوا الرَّحْمَنَ

 

the translation of which is, “Call on Allah or call on the Rahman.” And it is the quality with which He describes His Messenger, calling him, rahmatun li-l-alamin and ra’ufun rahim. As human beings, we rely on the mercy of Allah, and the only way that we can expect to receive is if we give it. The Messenger of Allah said,

من لا يرحم الناس لا يرحمه الله

 

“If you are not merciful to people, Allah will not be merciful to you.” And he said,

 

الراحمون يرحمهم الرحمن، ارحموا من في الأرض يرحمكم من في السماء

 

“The merciful will be shown mercy by the Rahman. Have mercy on who is on earth, and you will be shown mercy by who is in heaven.” And he said,

لن تؤمنوا حتى تراحموا

 

“You will not believe until you have mercy for one another.” The Companions replied, “But every one of us is merciful.” The Messenger of Allah replied,

 

إنه ليس برحمة أحدكم صاحبه ولكنها رحمة العامة

 

“I do not refer to the mercy each of you has for his close companions, but rather his mercy towards the general population.” Our default position with everyone and everything should be one of kindness and compassion. That should be what they see of us and the first thing that comes to mind when they think of us, not its opposite. That is not to say we accept their positions or let stand whatever they say against us or our deen, but we speak out against their positions and misconceptions, we do not strike out randomly and indiscriminately against whoever happens to be in the way. And we do not curse the people directly or curse what they believe in, for that would be detrimental and counterproductive to our cause. Allah says,

وَلَا تَسُبُّوا الَّذِينَ يَدْعُونَ مِنْ دُونِ اللَّهِ فَيَسُبُّوا اللَّهَ عَدْوًا بِغَيْرِ عِلْمٍ

 

the translation of which is, “Do not curse those they call upon besides Allah, in case that makes them curse Allah in animosity, without knowledge.” Instead, we call them to what is right and demonstrate to them the excellence and superiority of the deen of Allah by our good character and noble action. That is the only way when we are in a position of weakness and the best way when we are in a position of strength.

 

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.

 

As I mentioned in the first khutba, mercy is the defining characteristic of the believer, but that does not mean that we accept kufr and leave it unopposed. That does not mean that we set aside the principles of our deen when they are seen to be offensive to modern sensibilities. We must be strong and unwavering in our defence of the truth – we cannot allow our deen to be neutered and corrupted until it can no longer be described as millat al-Islam. Being kind and merciful does not mean kowtowing to millat al-kufr and reforming our deen to fit in with their principles – it is quite the opposite. What sort of mercy are we showing them and ourselves if we disobey our Lord and open the way to an endless torment. That is the ultimate cruelty. Our deen is not divisible, we cannot pick and choose which parts to take and which parts to leave. It is all haqq. And if do do that, we will still never be fully accepted, we will remain downtrodden and humiliated in this world while reserving the same for ourselves in the Next. Allah says,

 

أَفَتُؤْمِنُونَ بِبَعْضِ الْكِتَابِ وَتَكْفُرُونَ بِبَعْضٍ ۚ فَمَا جَزَاءُ مَن يَفْعَلُ ذَٰلِكَ مِنكُمْ إِلَّا خِزْيٌ فِي الْحَيَاةِ الدُّنْيَا ۖ وَيَوْمَ الْقِيَامَةِ يُرَدُّونَ إِلَىٰ أَشَدِّ الْعَذَابِ

 

the translation of which is, “Do you, then, believe in one part of the Book and reject the other? What repayment will there be for any of you who do that except disgrace in the dunya? And on the Day of Rising, they will be returned to the harshest of punishments.” Although the Messenger of Allah always used kind words with Quraysh and always treated them well, he did not compromise on his beliefs nor his promise to his Lord. And he continued to practice the deen of Allah and call them to the deen of Allah even when all he received in return was violence and curses, even when his close Companions were being targeted and killed. He never stopped and he never faltered. Kindness and mercy does not mean acceptance and does not mean appeasement. It simply means that we deal with the rest of creation as we would our own children and our own loved ones – we want the best for them, and we use the most compassionate means at our disposal to get them there, even if they are the most arrogant and corrupt. We follow the example of Musa and Haroun, sent to one of the most implacable of enemies to the believers who had enslaved them and killed a large proportion of their male children, and yet what did Allah tell them.

 

فَقُولَا لَهُ قَوْلًا لَّيِّنًا لَّعَلَّهُ يَتَذَكَّرُ أَوْ يَخْشَى

 

the translation of which is, “Speak kind and gentle words to him so that perhaps he might be reminded or come to fear Allah.” None of this is to say we never fight, but fighting can only be done in the right circumstances and with the right leadership, and following the basic principles as laid out by Sayyidina Abu Bakr in the previous khutba. And when fighting is done in that way, it is the ultimate act of mercy, for it is done with the purpose of giving the largest amount of people the greatest access to the one thing that will grant them eternal bliss, the deen of Allah.        We ask Allah to place mercy and compassion in our hearts, and kind and gentle words on our tongues, words that when we say them bring people flocking to Islam in their droves. And we ask that He strengthen our intention and resolve, and allow us to hold firm to the truth in these difficult and troubling times. And we ask that He guide the misguided of our communities back to the Sirat al-Mustaqim and once again make the Word of Allah uppermost in the land and place it over the word of kufr. We ask that He protect the Muslims and join their hearts together and give them the hikma to take the right steps to bring success to this Umma.

 

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