الحمد لله، الحمد لله الذي جعل منفعة العلم في الأعمال، ونجاح العمل بالإخلاص فيه لله الواحد الفعال، 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. اتقوا الله فيما أمر وانتهوا عما نها عنه وزجر. يأيها الذين ءامنوا اتقوا الله وقولوا قولا سديدا يصلح لكم أعمالكم ويغفر لكم ذنوبكم. ومن يطع الله ورسوله فقد فاز فوزا عظيما.

 

Allah says in His Noble Book, the translation of which is, “You who have iman! have taqwa of Allah and speak words which hit the mark. He will put your actions right for you and forgive you your wrong deeds. All who obey Allah and His Messenger have won a mighty victory.” Every week, in every khutba, we call on people to have taqwa of Allah. Every week, we recite this aya, and others like it. Every week I counsel you and myself to have taqwa of Allah, and no better counsel could be given to any man or woman, for it is the counsel and instruction that Allah has given to every human being who ever walked this planet. Allah says,

وَلَقَدْ وَصَّيْنَا الَّذِينَ أُوتُواْ الْكِتَابَ مِن قَبْلِكُمْ وَإِيَّاكُمْ أَنِ اتَّقُواْ اللَّهَ

 

the translation of which is, “We have instructed those given the Book before you and you yourselves, to have taqwa of Allah.” And it is the first instruction given by every Prophet to his people. It is that which ennobles the human being and raises him up above his fellows, for the Prophet said,

من أحب أن يكون أكرم الناس فليتق الله

 

“If you want to become the noblest of people, then have taqwa of Allah.” And Allah says,

إن أكرمكم عند الله أتقاكم

 

the translation of which is, “The most noble of you in the eyes of Allah are those with the most taqwa.”

But what exactly is this taqwa upon which so much emphasis is placed? What is this quality that every Muslim should have, this quality which raises up the slave in the eyes of his Lord? It is typically translated as fear of Allah, and indeed that is a central part of it, but fear of Allah is not a paralysing fear, it is not dread, it is an activating fear, one that leaves no space for laziness and inertia. For to fear Allah means to know Him. Allah says,

 

إِنَّمَا يَخْشَى اللَّهَ مِنْ عِبَادِهِ الْعُلَمَاءُ

 

the translation of which is, “Only those of His slaves with knowledge have fear of Allah.” And when you know your Lord, that means you know Him by His Names and His Attributes. You know that He created you and He sent you guidance and Messengers. You know that He is the only Judge and He possesses the Attributes of Majesty as well as those of Mercy and Beauty. All power is His and He determines what is and what will be. Your fate and final destination, indeed every moment of your life is in His hands, and He has no obligation to you. You cannot take Him for granted and cannot assume for one moment that you are safe and guaranteed a spot in His ridwan, His pleasure and His acceptance. Instead, you must have khawf, a khawf that is balanced by raja’/hope, for fear without hope is despair, but fear nonetheless. It keeps you on your toes, and makes you careful and aware in everything that you do, lest that action bring down your destruction upon you. If you speak to animal handlers, especially those dealing with dangerous animals such as bears and lions, they will tell you that maintaining a certain level of fear and respect is necessary, and when you lose it and become reckless, that is when accidents happen. Well, that is much more true with a Lord who has complete and not just temporary power over you. As soon as complacency strikes and you lose your fear, that is when you are in the greatest danger. Allah says in a hadith qudsi,

 

وَعِزَّتِي لاَ أَجمَعُ على عَبْدِي خَوفَين وأَمْنَيْن إذَا خَافَنِي في الدُّنيَا أَمَّنْتُهُ يَومَ القِيَامَة، وإذَا أَمِنَنِي في الدُّنيَا أَخَفْتُهُ يومَ القِيَامَة

 

“By My Might, no slave of mine will combine two fears or combine two feelings of safety. If he fears Me in this world, I will make him feel safe on the Day of Qiyama, but if He feels safe from Me in this world, I will fill him with fear on the Day of Qiyama.” No matter how much you worship, no matter how much prayer, fasting and dhikr you do, you must never feel that you are safe and have arrived, you must never abandon your fear of your Lord or your awareness of the fragility of your position. The greatest of us, who was immune to wrong action and whose worship was constant and continuous, even through the hours of his sleep, near lost that fear. Indeed his fear of his Lord was greater than the rest of his Umma. He said,

فَوَاللَّهِ إِنِّي أَخْشَاكُمْ لِلَّهِ وَأَحْفَظُكُمْ لِحُدُودِهِ

 

“By Allah, of you all, I am the one who has the most fear of Allah and the one who guards His boundaries most carefully.” He never took anything that His Lord promised or gave Him for granted, but was constant in his turning to Him. He continued to make supplication even after the Promises came, because He knew the reality of existence and wherein all success and failure, all benefit and harm, lie. Look, for example at the battle of Badr, where his earnest supplication  to his Lord continued right up to the start of the battle. This was not fear of the enemy but fearful awareness that the determination of the outcome lay solely in the hands of Allah.

Or look at those who were promised the Garden. Look at Abu Bakr who would regularly shake and tears would flow copiously from his eyes due to his fear of his Lord. The Prophet said,

 

لَيْسَ شَيْءٌ أَحَبَّ إِلَى اللَّهِ مِنْ قَطْرَتَيْنِ…، قَطْرَةٌ مِنْ دُمُوعٍ فِي خَشْيَةِ اللَّهِ وَقَطْرَةُ دَمٍ تُهَرَاقُ فِي سَبِيلِ اللَّهِ،

 

“There is nothing more beloved to Allah than two drops…: a teardrop out of fear of Allah, and a drop of blood spilt in the way of Allah.” Or look at Uthman, who would sometimes be found standing by the graves with his beard wet from tears, saying,

 

لو أنني بين الجنة والنار لا أدري إلى أيَّتُهما يُؤمر بي، لاخترت أن أكون رمادا قبل أن أعلم إلى أيَّتُهما أصيرُ

 

“If I were standing between the Garden and the Fire not knowing to which of them I should be sent, I would choose being reduced to ashes over learning my final destination.” Weeping was not the main result of their fear – it was simply a side effect, an outpouring. The main result of their fear lay in their lives and their achievements on this earth, their expanding the boundaries of Islam and safeguarding the Muslims and the deen of Islam.  The ridda wars, wherein apostasy and false prophethood were quashed, were due entirely to Sayyidina Abu Bakr’s insistence on the Commands of Allah being carried out as they had been in the time of the Messenger – no debate and no compromise, despite the Muslim army having already been sent north, and the enemy seemingly much stronger militarily in that moment. His fear of Allah left no space in his heart for fear of people. It cured him of all other fears – it freed him. Indeed, it is only the fear of Allah which truly frees you – for as soon as you realise that you have no control over your own destiny, even at the most basic and intimate of levels, you realise that no created thing has any control over your own destiny, nor any capacity to truly bring you benefit or cause you harm. As Sayyidina Ibrahim said, as reported by Allah in His Book,

 

وَسِعَ ربّي كلَّ شيءٍ علماً أفلا تتذكَّرونَ وكيف أخافُ ما أَشْرَكْتُم ولا تَخافونَ أنَّكُم أَشْرَكْتُم باللهِ ما لَمْ يُنَزِّلْ بِهِ سُلْطاناً فأَيُّ الفَريقَيْنِ أَحَقُّ بالأَمْنِ إن كنتم تعلمونَ

 

the translation of which is, “My Lord encompasses all things in His knowledge so will you not pay heed? Why should I fear what you have associated with Him when you yourselves apparently have no fear of associating with Allah partners for which He has sent down no authority to you? Which of the two parties is more entitled to feel safe, if you have knowledge?” Allah provides the answer,

 

الذين آمنوا ولَمْ يَلْبِسوا إيمانَهُم بظُلْمٍ أولئك لهم الأمْنُ

 

the translation of which is, “Those who believe and do not mix up their belief with any wrongdoing, they are the ones who are safe.” There is nothing to fear in this world so long as we fear Allah, no power that trumps His, indeed no power except His. And all rizq comes from Him, and none can deny us that provision if He has written it for us. The only thing that holds us back from success, the only danger we truly face is that fear of creation which is anathema to fear of Allah. The heart, the seat of taqwa cannot be home to both, and the human being cannot have two hearts in his breast.

So choose taqwa: Taqwa, the fear that brings action, the fear that causes a person to take precautions, to take the steps necessary to protect himself and his future. In the analogy made by Umar, your life is a path full of brambles and thorns. In order to avoid them scratching you or snagging your clothes, you step carefully and roll up your trouserlegs. That act is the essence of taqwa. That carefulness with which you traverse is the carefulness you must show on the path to Allah. You take precautions to avoid what is displeasing to him, and do what is pleasing to Him. That path is representative of our life, and so this taqwa must be our constant companion – every action we come to in our lives must be viewed through that lens: Is it pleasing or displeasing to Allah. And by every action, I mean every action, no matter how big and no matter how small. Our Lord sees them all and they all form part of our reckoning. Allah says,

إِنَّ اللَّهَ لَا يَخْفَى عَلَيْهِ شَيْءٌ فِي الْأَرْضِ وَلَا فِي السَّمَاءِ

 

the translation of which is, “Nothing in the heavens or earth is hidden from Allah.” Make sure each action measures up, so that if your fate catches up with you, you will not be caught out. As one of the men of Allah said, taqwa of Allah is that He not see you where He has forbidden you from being and not fail to find you where He has commanded you to be.

 

أقول قولي هذا وأستغفر الله لي ولكم و لسائر 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.

 

Taqwa is our shield and our protection, our libas, taqwa is our path to honour and nobility. Taqwa is what guarantees us salvation and a high station with Allah, the Jannaat an-na‘eem, the Gardens of Delight. Taqwa is what nourishes us and keeps our hearts vibrant and alive. It is the fuel of the heart. Allah says,

فَإِنَّ خَيْرَ الزَّادِ التَّقْوَى

 

the translation of which is, “The best provision [for the journey] is taqwa.” Without it, everything we do is pointless and without benefit. Without it, our lives are meaningless, for a life without acceptance is a life not worth living. And the key to acceptance is taqwa. Allah says,

إِنَّمَا يَتَقَبَّلُ ٱللَّهُ مِنَ ٱلْمُتَّقِينَ

 

the translation of which is, “Allah only accepts from people who have taqwa.” But its effects are not just felt in the Next World, but equally in this, worldly success, wealth and openings. Allah says,

وَٱللَّهُ وَلِيُّ ٱلْمُتَّقِينَ

 

the translation of which is, “Allah is the Friend and Protector of those who have taqwa.” One of the Companions of the Messenger of Allah, an exceptionally poor man named Awf bn Malik al-Ashja’i, came to the Messenger of Allah for advice after his son was taken captive by the idolaters. So the Messenger told him to have taqwa and say la hawla wa la quwatta illa billahi al-aliyi al-adhim – there is no power and no strength except for Allah the High, the Great’ as often as possible, and command his wife to do the same. So Awf went back to his wife and they did as the Prophet suggested, and not long passed until their son succeeded in slipping away from his captives and taking all their sheep, some four thousand of them, back to his parents. Allah says,

 

وَمَن يَتَّقِ ٱللَّهَ يَجْعَل لَّهُ مَخْرَجاً وَيَرْزُقْهُ مِنْ حَيْثُ لاَ يَحْتَسِبُ

 

the translation of which is, “Whoever has taqwa of Allah – He will give him a way out and provide for him from where he does not expect.” No difficulty is too difficult to surmount, nor problem too tricky to solve for the people of taqwa.  Their enemies break apart in front of them and their barriers and obstacles dissolve. For all things that matter, they are confronted with ease. Allah says,

وَمَن يَتَّقِ ٱللَّهَ يَجْعَل لَّهُ مِنْ أَمْرِهِ يُسْراً

 

the translation of which is, “Whoever has taqwa of Allah – He will make matters easy for him.”

This is the fruit of taqwa, the quality of the true believers. Such a people cannot be defeated and cannot be stopped. The dunya is their riding-beast and the world their oyster. Their time has been and their time will come. And we must rank among them. We must be people whose hearts are submitted to Allah, whose beings are infused with fearful awareness of Him, and whose limbs act only in obedience to Him. Therein lies our success. We ask our Lord to place taqwa in our hearts and upon our limbs. And keep us always in the company of the muttaqin. And make the establishment of the deen in these times easy for us and open up all those doors that are currently closed to us.

 

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.