الحمد لله، الحمد لله الذي آخى بين المومنين، وألّف بين قلوبهم وجعلهم في ربهم متحابّين، 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 وأدٌى 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 three founding principles of modern secular society are said to be liberty, equality and fraternity, for that was the slogan of the French Revolutionists, whose revolution marked the start of the modern era. The American President recently said, “The bonds of liberte, egalite, fraternite, are not just the values French people share, but we share.” But despite their emotional heft and rhetorical weight, these are but empty words, without substance or reality.

Take the first, liberte, freedom. Freedom has become limited to matters of the flesh – you are free to copulate with whomsoever you choose, but in every other avenue of life, our lives are more regulated than at any point in our history. To go anywhere or do anything requires special permits and licences that we have to apply for and pay to acquire. And until those permissions are granted – a process that sometimes takes years, mothers are kept separated from their children, families are left to starve, houses are possessed and people are left homeless. Yes there is no slavery in the sense of people owning people, but for most the only way to survive in this society is to give up your life to constant work, and not work that is fulfilling or affirming but work that is often hated and despised. A person spends most of the waking hours of his life doing a job he hates for another human being in exchange for enough to allow him to just about subsist and offset his costs, and he considers himself free? And often one such job is not enough, so he and his wife must both do the same and leave their children to grow up in the hands of a stranger or a third party. A life of constant toil without much in the way of meaningful human interaction. This is modern-day freedom for many, and that is to say nothing of the erosion of privacy whereby states are able to snoop on their citizens at all times of the day and night and arrest and incarcerate them almost on a whim.

Take the second, egalite, equality. Equality has simply become the means of making people, especially women, feel guilty if they are not productive members of the work-force. And it is clearly a lie as we can see whenever we pick up a newspaper, or pass through border control. Prejudice is rampant. People are treated differently on the basis of their faith, wealth or colour, as much today as they were at any other time, if not more so. Look at the descriptions of those who are searched at airports or held back from their flights as a precaution, look at the regular stories of police racism in the US, look at the way that bankers who stole billions are allowed to walk free with not even so much as a slap on their wristswhile those who rob an atm get tens of years in prison. Equality is simply a tool to create a single form of consumerist unit, that is more easily programmed, controlled and disenfranchised.

And then take the third, fraternite, brotherhood. This is perhaps the biggest lie of them all. People are more disconnected from one another today than at any time in their past, despite living in ever greater numbers in ever closer proximity than ever before. Family has been eroded by laws that call into question what family even means, and friendship and companionship weakened by a corporate world in which people no longer work for one another but rather for some nameless entity to which they have no sentimental attachment whatsoever. Today, more people are lonely than ever before, more people in need of some form of meaningful human contact – the proof of that can be seen in the boom in online dating agencies and friendship agencies. You go out your door and every one is a stranger to you, even the people you have been living next door to for the last ten years. ‘Good morning’, ‘Good evening’ is the extent of your relationship. There is no longer even the comfort of interacting with the proprietor of your local shop, because local shops are slowly becoming a thing of the past, with soulless, faceless supermarkets taking their places. Many people have more meaningful relationships with their computers and tv sets that their fellow man. For them, their most meaningful interactions with other human beings are on internet forums, and who is to say if those interactions truly are meaningful, given that you are conversing with avatars and have no real way of knowing if the people are who they say they are. Even marriages and business transactions are now often performed over the phone and not face-to-face.

Even basic friendship is lacking, so how can there be a claim to brotherhood. The links that bind people together in this world are of this world and so are transitory and bound to fade. The bond that linked the French revolutionaries together seemed profound and unbreakable, but within a few short years had morphed into hatred, distrust and betrayal. The link that binds work colleagues often disappears the moment one of them is promoted and the other is not. And the same is true for any relationship not based on something true, on something real, even when it appears to us to be completely solid, like that which links the Jews together. Allah says,

تَحْسَبُهُمْ جَمِيعاً وَقُلُوبُهُمْ شَتَّىٰ

 

the translation of which is, “You consider them united but their hearts are scattered wide.”. They might appear to be united and to be part of a single body, but they are not. Their hearts are not truly united, for that which binds them is baatil, no more real or substantial than the froth of the sea, and no matter how rich or influential they are or how much they spend, they never will be. In the end, they will end up betraying each other and stabbing each other in the back, as we have witnessed throughout history. True unity is only possible for those whose hearts have eschewed falsehood in favour of truth. True brotherhood is only possible between those whose hearts are linked by Allah and who hold firm to the rope of Allah. Allah says,

 

هُوَ الَّذِي أَيَّدَكَ بِنَصْرِهِ وَبِالْمُؤْمِنِينَ وَأَلَّفَ بَيْنَ قُلُوبِهِمْ لَوْ أَنْفَقْتَ مَا فِي الْأَرْضِ جَمِيعًا مَا أَلَّفْتَ بَيْنَ قُلُوبِهِمْ وَلَكِنَّ اللَّهَ أَلَّفَ بَيْنَهُمْ

 

the translation of which is, “It is He who supported you with His help and with the believers, and unified their hearts. Even if you had spent everything on the earth, you could not have unified their hearts. But Allah has unified them.” The proof of that is readily apparent if we look at the Ansar. Most of us think of them as a single entity, the people of Madina who welcomed the emigrants from Makka into their city and homes, but the truth of the matter is that they were made up of two tribal groupings, the Aws and the Khazraj, who had hated and fought each other for generations. So great had been their hatred for one another that the smallest slight was often enough to cause them to take out their arms and make for the battlefield. Their ‘asabiyya to their respective tribes had made them implacable enemies, but Allah gave them a new ’asabiyya, one formulated not on any familial ties or pre-existing tribal alliances but on a mutual love of Allah and His Messenger. And, instead of enemies, they became brothers in the true sense of the word, ready to drop everything to help one another. Allah says,

 

وَاذْكُرُوا نِعْمَةَ اللَّهِ عَلَيْكُمْ إِذْ كُنْتُمْ أَعْدَاءً فَأَلَّفَ بَيْنَ قُلُوبِكُمْ فَأَصْبَحْتُمْ بِنِعْمَتِهِ إِخْوَانًا

 

the translation of which is, “Remember Allah’s blessing to you when you were enemies and He joined your hearts together so that you became brothers by His blessing.” This bond that Allah places in the hearts of the believers is so powerful that it even supersedes that of family. Your fellow Muslim is more a brother to you than a man who shares the same parents but has not entered the deen. For the link between members of a family often feels strained in times of trouble and strife while that between Muslims ever grows stronger. And that is especially true in the modern age when dysfunction has become the rule rather than the exception, and the looking after of ones parents has become for many a burden and not an honour and a joy.

Family bonds are important, and maintaining family ties is a key element of the deen, but not if that be at the expense of one’s ties to Allah, His Messenger and fellow believers. When Nuh asked his Lord to save his son who was a staunch unbeliever, Allah said to him,

 

‫يا نوح إنه ليس من أهلك

 

the translation of which is, “Nuh, he is not part of your family.” Your true family are the believers, and saving him in these circumstances would be detrimental to them and your situation. The Companions of the Messenger of Allah are one of the clearest proofs of the brotherhood of belief trumping that of blood. Despite the great love that many had for their blood brothers and blood parents, that did not stop them from facing them on the field of battle and protecting their fellow Muslims from them, fighting and even killing them if necessary. Indeed Abu Bakr said that were he to have met his own beloved father, Abu Quhafah on the battlefield, he would have fought hard against him. For the love Allah had placed in his hearts for Allah, the Messengers and the believers was far greater. Allah says,

 

وَالَّذِينَ آَمَنُوا أَشَدُّ حُبًّا لِلَّهِ

 

the translation of which is, “Those who believe have greater love for Allah.” They knew that the only brotherhood, the only friendship that would be of benefit to them in the long run, was that based upon love of Allah. They knew that their fellow believers had their backs, even on that day when each and everyone stands alone before our Lord and our blood brothers, mothers, fathers, partners and children all run away from us. For Allah says in surat az-Zukhruf,

الْأَخِلَّاءُ يَوْمَئِذٍ بَعْضُهُمْ لِبَعْضٍ عَدُوٌّ إِلَّا الْمُتَّقِينَ

 

the translation of which is, “On that Day the closest friends will be enemies to one another – except for those who have taqwa.” Your friendship with those who have taqwa, those who believe, this bond that Allah has placed between us, will be the only one that lasts into the Next Life and does not fade when everything else of this world fades away. And the more we love Allah and His Messenger, and the more we work together to obey Him and put His commands into practice, the stronger that bond becomes. Until once again we become that unstoppable band of brothers that swept aside Roman and Persian empires that had stood for centuries in a short number of years and lived to see Islam established across a land mass stretching from Morocco to China. Until once again we see Allah’s deen uppermost in the land.

 

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.

 

This brotherhood, this ‘ukhuwwa’, of which we speak, this brotherhood that existed among the Companions cannot be just some concept to which we pay lip service. Just like a plant, love and brotherhood must be tended and cultivated lest it shrivel up and wither away. Somebody does not become your brother simply by you calling him that while disregarding all the duties that brotherhood entails. And that is the trap that too many of us have fallen into in a superficial age where labels have become all important, in an age where what you are called is more important than what you do. Go into any Muslim community and see for yourself. How often do we hear people address one another as akhi or ukhti while failing to do anything significant for them when the chips are down? How is that brotherhood? It is totally artificial and unreal.

True brotherhood lies in preferring your brother to yourself. And not just when it comes to the opinion you hold of him, but also to your material possessions and even your life. His well-being is just as much if not more of a concern for you than your own. This was best demonstrated by the Ansar, who when the Muhajirun arrived from Mecca with nothing to their name, shared everything they had with them, even to the extent of giving them a choice of their wives. Indeed, the Ansar preferred to let themselves and their families go hungry rather than to see any of their Muslim brothers go without. Abu Hurayra narrated,

 

أن رجلاً بات به ضيف فلم يكن عنده إلا قوته وقوت صبيانه؛ فقال لامرأته: نَوِّمي الصِّبية وأطفئي السراج وقَرّبي للضيف ما عندك؛ فنزلت هذه الآية وَيُؤْثِرُونَ عَلَىٰ أَنفُسِهِمْ وَلَوْ كَانَ بِهِمْ خَصَاصَةٌ

 

“A guest spent the night in the house of a man who only had enough food to feed himself and children, so he said to his wife, ‘Put the children to sleep, put out the light, and put whatever you have in front of our guest.’ Thereupon, the aya was revealed: “and they prefer them to themselves even if they themselves are needy.”

The true brother constantly looks out for his brothers and safeguards their well-being. He feels their hardship more keenly than he feels his own and offers them his aid and support without ever having to be asked. When his Muslim brother died, a man of the salaf saw to the needs of his family, making sure they had everything they needed for the next forty years. In his eyes, they were no different to his own family.

The true brother only speaks well of his brothers, and stands up for them when others speak badly. He seeks seventy excuses for him, and when even that is not enough, he still refrains from speaking against him. We all have our faults and if that is what we choose to focus on, that is all we will find. We speak of our brothers only when we have something good to say. As the Prophet said,

من كان يؤمنُ بالله واليومِ الآخر فليقلْ خيراً أوِلْيصمُتْ

 

“Let whoever believes in Allah and the Last Day say something good or remain silent.” But that does mean that we overlook wrong action. Our concern for them extends to the Next World, so if we see them doing something that jeopardises their deen, we are duty bound to tell them. But always with wisdom: always in a way that criticises the act and not the man,  and always in private, not in the presence of other people. Imam Shafi‘i said,

 

من وعظ أخاه سراً فقد نصحه وزانه ومن وعظه علانية فقد فضحه وشانه

 

“Whoever reminds his brother in secret has given him nasiha and honoured him, but whoever reminds him in public has disgraced and dishonoured him.”

This is the brotherhood that Allah has placed between us, the connection that nothing can rend asunder so long as we remain with Allah and His Messenger. A brotherhood that cuts through the barriers of race, culture, wealth and minor differences of opinion, a brotherhood such as that you see when on the hajj where rich and poor, white and black, Hanafi, Shafi’i and Maliki, carry out their rites side-by-side with a shared intention and a common purpose. We must recover this in our communities and stop making our cultural backgrounds a barrier. The muhajirun did not come to Madina and establish their own mosque or community, instead they integrated fully. The Messenger of Allah, in fact, made their brotherhood with the Ansar official and concrete, pairing men of the Ansar with men of the muhajirun. They were a single unified umma. Today, we have Indian mosques, Cape Malay mosques, Arab mosques, Turkish mosques, mosques where all the cultural baggage of our emigrant forefathers is preserved. What we need are mosques such as this that are not defined by a place or a people, but solely by the great deen of Allah. It is the only true basis for brotherhood.

Our doors must ever be open to our fellow Muslims. We must invite them regularly to our dinner tables, and make them our partners in play and business. We must look after them, and constantly check on their wellbeing, physical, financial and mental, and be ready to rush to their aid when they need us. This is the brotherhood that made the early Muslim community so strong, and which will turn us into an irresistible force for the restoration of the deen.

We ask Allah to join our hearts together and make us once again a single body. We ask Him to strengthen the ties between us and to increase our love for one another inwardly and outwardly. We ask Him to bless all our brothers who are struggling and give them victory, and all our brothers who have died and fill their graves with light and baraka. And we ask Him to join us with those whom we love in the Garden, and place in the company of His Noble Messenger.

 

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.