الحمد لله، الحمد لله الذي جعل بحسن الظن به النصرَ والرحمة، وجعل بحسن الظن بخلقه الألفة والمحبة، 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.

 

Last week in the khutba we talked about the mercy of Allah. Our Lord’s mercy and generosity extends to all of creation – everyone and everything is a recipient of some part of it. It is freely given and He requires nothing of us in return, as is proven by the fact that the worst criminals and biggest unbelievers continue to receive their provision and live their lives in full. The signs of His mercy and fadl are everywhere for those who see, but sometimes our sight fails us and all we can see around us is decay and corruption. We see the endless wars and the neverending atrocities. We see crippling poverty and nations brought to their knees by usury and greed, we see whole populations enslaved and imprisoned and pollution destroying our skies and seas, we see a world where exploitation and injustice have become the norm. Allah says,

ظَهَرَ الْفَسَادُ فِي الْبَرِّ وَالْبَحْرِ بِمَا كَسَبَتْ أَيْدِي النَّاسِ

 

the translation of which is, “Corruption has appeared in both land and sea because of what people’s own hands have wrought.” But we must not feel bitter and victimised. We cannot let any of this dominate our world view. We cannot let despair take root in our heart. We cannot let of this find a way into our hearts. For all of it is zabad – the insubstantial froth and scum that rises to the top and covers the rivers or sea in a thin layer, but when a wave comes is swiftly swept away. Allah says,

 

أَنْزَلَ مِنَ السَّمَاءِ مَاءً فَسَالَتْ أَوْدِيَةٌ بِقَدَرِهَا فَاحْتَمَلَ السَّيْلُ زَبَدًا رَابِيًا وَمِمَّا يُوقِدُونَ عَلَيْهِ فِي النَّارِ ابْتِغَاءَ حِلْيَةٍ أَوْ مَتَاعٍ زَبَدٌ مِثْلُهُ كَذَلِكَ يَضْرِبُ اللَّهُ الْحَقَّ وَالْبَاطِلَ فَأَمَّا الزَّبَدُ فَيَذْهَبُ جُفَاءً وَأَمَّا مَا يَنْفَعُ النَّاسَ فَيَمْكُثُ فِي الْأَرْضِ كَذَلِكَ يَضْرِبُ اللَّهُ الْأَمْثَالَ

 

the translation of which is, “He sends down water from the sky and river-beds fill up and flow according to their size, and the floodwater carries with it an increasing layer of scum; a similar kind of scum comes from what you heat up in the fire, when you desire to make jewellery or other things. That is how Allah depicts the true and the false. As for the scum, it is quickly swept away. But as for that which is of use to people, it remains behind in the ground. That is a metaphor which Allah has made.” The reality of this existence, of this world is the substance, the life-giving water, an abode full of possibilities and huge potential. The corruption is not a barrier. The merest breeze, the slightest ripple of water, will shunt it aside. We must not let it distract us or colour our perception. We must look beyond it. We must focus on the best that this world has to offer and have confidence and trust that our Lord will bring it to us. We must maintain a good opinion of our Lord, remembering that is dhu fadil adhim and karim, and keep our hopes and our expectations high. For He will give to us according to those expectations. The Prophet said that Allah says in a hadith qudsi,

 

أنا عند ظن عبدي بي إن ظن خيرا فله وإن ظن شرا فله

 

“I am according to My slave’s opinion of Me. If he thinks good then he will have it, and if he thinks bad then he will have it.” The greater our expectations, the better our opinion of our Lord, the greater our success. All we need to do is put our trust in Him and have taqwa. If we do that, He has promised to give us a way out of every situation, no matter how hopeless. Allah says,

وَمَنْ يَتَّقِ اللَّهَ يَجْعَلْ لَهُ مَخْرَجًا

 

the translation of which is, “Whoever has taqwa of Allah, He will give him a way out.” This is tried and tested, and we have examples of it in the Book of Allah. When Abu Bakr was with the Prophet in the Cave and their enemies were but metres away, he said to him, “Messenger of Allah, were any of them but to look downwards, they would certainly see us,” And the Prophet replied,

ما ظنك يا أبا بكر باثنين الله ثالثهما

 

“What is your opinion, Abu Bakr, of two when Allah is their third.” In other words, Allah is with us, so do not worry but instead place your hopes in Him and He will protect us.”

Or when the armies of Firawn were almost upon Musa and his people, and the people despaired saying,

إِنَّا لَمُدْرَكُونَ

 

the translation of which is, ‘We shall surely be overrun!’ But Musa maintained a high opinion of his Lord and said,

كَلَّا إِنَّ مَعِيَ رَبِّي سَيَهْدِينِ

 

the translation of which is, “Never, my Lord is with me and He will guide me.” And with one inspired strike of his staff, the sea parted, the way before them opened up and they were saved, while their enemies were drowned. It was because of his husn adh-dhann that he was given this, because he saw only the good and trusted fully in his Lord to bring it about. This is the example of the Messengers and this is the way of the people of Allah. No people have ever had true success without having a high opinion of Allah. It is the mumin’s greatest tool. Ibn Masud said,

 

وَالَّذِي لَا إِلَهَ غَيْرُهُ مَا أُعْطِيَ عَبْدٌ مُؤْمِنٌ شَيْئًا خَيْرًا مِنْ حُسْنِ الظَّنِّ بِاللَّهِ، وَالَّذِي لَا إِلَهَ غَيْرُهُ لَا يُحْسِنُ عَبْدٌ بِاللَّهِ الظَّنَّ إِلَّا أَعْطَاهُ اللَّهُ ظَنُّهُ؛ ذَلِكَ بِأَنَّ الْخَيْرَ فِي يَدِهِ

 

“By the One whom there is no god by Him, no believing slave has been given a gift better than good opinion of Allah. By the One whom there is no god by Him, no slave has good opinion of Allah except that Allah brings about what he hopes for. And that is because all good is in His hands.” It is all in the hands of Allah. Nothing happens except by His Will. If we trust that He will restore our strength and give us victory, then He will do so. But that implies that we trust in Him fully, that we have complete good opinion of Him and all His Names and Attributes, all of His Commands and Prohibitions, all of His Revelations and Words. It is not possible to truly have good opinion of Allah without following His deen. For part of good opinion of Allah is believing that His design for us is the one that best fits us. That all good lies upon the path towards which He has guided us and all bad lies outside its borders. True good opinion is only possible for those who combine belief and right action, otherwise it is simply false hope and wishful thinking. al-Hasan al-Basri said,

 

المؤمن أحسن الظن بربه فأحسن العمل وإنَّ الفاجر أساء الظن بربه فأساء العمل

 

“The believer has a good opinion of his Lord and so makes his action good, while the faajir has a bad opinion of his Lord and so makes his action bad.” If you truly have good opinion of Allah then it comes out in your action. And if you are sincere in your efforts to obey your Lord, then He will grant you the gift of good opinion. The more you obey Allah, the better your opinion of Him, and the better your opinion of Him, the more you obey Him. You are lifted ever upward, getting closer and closer to Him. This is Allah’s gift to His right acting slaves. Allah says,

 

إِنَّ الَّذِينَ ءَامَنُواْ وَالَّذِينَ هَاجَرُواْ وَجَاهَدُواْ فِي سَبِيلِ اللَّهِ أُوْلَئِكَ يَرجُونَ رَحمَتَ اللَّه

 

the translation of which is, “Those who believe and make hijra and do jihad in the Way of Allah, it is those who expect and hope for the mercy of Allah.” It is they who have good opinion of Him. We ask our Lord to give us good opinion of Him, and to realise that good opinion so that we receive His help and find success in this life and the Next.

 

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.

 

We live in an age where our opinions are manufactured for us and we are told what we should think and what we should not think. But the providers of that information are not people who should be trusted and their reports should not always be taken as fact, especially when they relate to people. A bit of scepticism in such instances is healthy, especially when they are reporting something negative about our brothers and sisters. Allah says,

 

يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آَمَنُوا إِنْ جَاءَكُمْ فَاسِقٌ بِنَبَإٍ فَتَبَيَّنُوا أَنْ تُصِيبُوا قَوْمًا بِجَهَالَةٍ فَتُصْبِحُوا عَلَى مَا فَعَلْتُمْ نَادِمِينَ

 

the translation of which is, “You who have iman! if a deviator brings you a report, scrutinize it carefully in case you attack people in ignorance and so come to greatly regret what you did.” That is not to say we succumb to conspiracy theory, or that we declare it all to be lies, but rather that we do not accept what is reported as fact until it has been confirmed by sources which are trustworthy and known to us. The aya above was revealed when a man reprted that a group of people had left Islam and joined the enemy, but instead of attacking them, the Messenger of Allah sent a group of trustworthy people to check if that was true, and they discovered that it was not. The people remained Muslim. We have to be careful. Our default position, especially with our brothers and sisters, must be always one of good opinion – we never automatically believe the worst.

Good opinion of people is almost as important as good opinion of Allah, for it is the glue that binds families and communities together, while its opposite, suspicion and bad opinion is the thing that rips them apart the most swiftly. It was the abandonment of good opinion that always brought about the first civil war among the Muslims, when the two tribes of Aws and Khazraj almost took up arms against each other when the slander against Aisha was making its rounds. The situation was defused when Allah revealed the Words,

 

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, think well of yourselves and say, ‘This is clearly a lie’.”

If you hear something negative about one of your brothers, or even see something negative, do not allow bad thoughts about him to enter into your heart, but instead look for a way to exonerate him and clear his name. Your first reaction should be to protect him, whether from your own doubts and suspicions, or from the slander of others. Umar ibn al-Khattab said,

لا تظنَنَّ بكلمةٍ خرجتْ من مسلمٍ شرا وأنت تجدُ لها في الخير محملا

 

“Do not think bad a word that comes out of a fellow Muslim’s mouth when you can find a way to interpret it favourably.” And even if you can find no way to interpret it favourably, you still look for an excuse for him. Ibn Sirin said,

 

إذا بلغَكَ عن أخيك شيءٌ فالتمِسْ له عُذرا، فإن لم تجدْ فقل: لعلَّ له عُذرا لا أعرِفُه

 

“If you hear something about your brother, make some sort of excuse for him. If you are unable to find an excuse, then say to yourself, “Perhaps he has an excuse that I do not know about.” Leave judging to those who judge – crimes of the outward to the amir and qadi, and crimes of the inward to Allah. You have no part in the matter, and it is not your place to hold somebody to account for things above which you have no knowledge, only surmise and suspicion. You cannot see into their hearts. There is a well-known hadith about Usama ibn Zayd. While he was on the battlefield, one of the enemy combatants who was about to be defeated said, Ashhadu an la ilaha illa-llah wa ashhadu anna Muhammadan rasulu-llah, but Usama ignored him and went ahead and killed him anyway. Then, when he went back to the Messenger of Allah and the Messenger of Allah asked him if he had killed the man despite saying the shahada, Usama replied that the man had only said it to avoid being killed. So the Messenger of Allah said,

أفلا شققت عن قلبه حتى تعلم أقالها أم لا

 

“Did you split open his heart so that you could see if he said it sincerely or not?” In other words, you cannot see what is people’s hearts, so we must make our assumptions on the basis of ascribing the best intention, not the worst. We judge by what is known and seen, not what exists in the inward. The inward is between the slave and His Lord.

Hold fast to good opinion of the Muslims and never let it go. Be slow to condemn and be quick to defend, and you will find that you will be safe and protected too, and your life will be sealed with good. Imam ash-Shafii said,

 

“من أحب أن يختم له بخير فليحسن الظن بالناس

 

“If you to have a good seal, have good opinion of people.”    We ask Allah to give us a good opinion of one another and a good opinion of Him. We ask Him to unify our hearts and support us with His help. We ask Him to forgive us, overlook our wrong actions and guide us along the Sirat al-Mustaqim. And we ask Him to give the promised victory to His deen.

 

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