الحمد لله، الحمد لله الذي نزع خوف الدنيا من قلوب أوليائه المومنين، وجعل مكانه خشية السميع العليم، 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, we talked about futuwwa and good character and how it is not something abstract and intangible, but something eminently practical and achievable. Good character is not something you either have or do not have, it is something you nurture and develop. The Messenger of Allah famously said,
إنما العلم بالتعلم، وإنما الحلم بالتحلم، ومن يتحر الخير يعطه، ومن يتق الشر يوقه
“Knowledge only comes through learning and hilm only comes by practising and cultivating it. Whoever aims for good will receive it and whoever seeks to evade wrong will be protected from it.” We do not begin the path to knowledge as men of knowledge, we do not begin the path to hilm as men of hilm. Similarly, if we desire to be generous, we must engage in acts of generosity, if we desire to be compassionate, we must engage in acts of compassion and so on. This is not to say that some people do not have a higher base level of these qualities than others – they do. Nobility comes to some more easily and more naturally than to others, whether that be through reasons of upbringing, blood or nature, but it is not beyond anyone. We all have that capacity. And we are all commanded to spend our days working to perfect it. Manners maketh the man.
Good character is a combination of different praiseworthy qualities, such as modesty, clemency and compassion, but there are certain qualities, that on their own, fast-track a person to the highest echelons of society. Courage is one of these. In every society and every culture, outstanding bravery is celebrated and lauded, especially on the field of battle. We even sing the praises of our enemies when they display it, as well as criminals who have no other redeeming characteristics. It is a remarkable trait, and one that the Muslims today, more than at any other time are in need of.
Its link to futuwwa is clear from the Quran from the story of Ibrahim and the destruction of the idols mentioned in surat anbiya. In this story, Ibrahim is referred to as a fataa. Allah says,
قَالُوا سَمِعْنَا فَتًى يَذْكُرُهُمْ يُقَالُ لَهُ إِبْرَاهِيمُ
the translation of which is, “They said, “We heard a fataa mentioning them whose name is Ibrahim.” His act was an act of incredible courage, a young man going on his own to the holiest place of his people and destroying their false gods. And not only that, but he did it openly so that he would be discovered and he could then use what had happened to teach them the folly of their ways, aware of how they would react. He was not afraid to go against the dictates of his society when he knew they were wrong and misguided. He was not paralysed by fear of people or fear of loss of reputation from acting and speaking out, but at the same time he was not hotheaded nor antagonistic purely for the sake of it. It was not an act of bravado or provocation, it was not a futile gesture, a foolhardy act, it was an act of teaching. He wanted to make them reflect and question themselves, to come to their own conclusions in seeing the folly of their ways. And it almost worked, but their cultural and social programming was too strong and they closed ranks against him.
We live once again in a time of strong social programming, a time when many blindly believe in the idols of the age, the structures that their forefathers have set up and which seemingly provide for all their needs, the secular laws, governmental infrastructure and banks. And it is once again a requirement for people to step up and demonstrate to the rest of mankind the futility and stupidity of their ways. The message may not get through, but it needs to be said. But who is there to say it? For this is not an age of Prophets, the last Prophet, our Messenger ﷺ, no longer walks this earth. So who is there is to step up? The answer is us, the umma of the last Messenger, the inheritors of his light and knowledge. Just as he was commanded to transmit the message to us, we are commanded to transmit it to our peoples. We cannot be reticent, we cannot let the fear of what people will think of us or do to us hold us back. The Messenger of Allah said,
لَا يَمْنَعَنَّ أَحَدَكُمْ مَخَافَةُ النَّاسِ أَنْ يَتَكَلَّمَ بِحَقٍّ إِذَا عَلِمَهُ
“Do not let fear of people prevent you from speaking the truth when it is known to you.” Yes, our deen has been demonised, and many of its practices have been vilified in public or subjected to a media smear campaign. Yes, there are those who commit shameful and heinous acts and claim that it is in the name of our deen. Yes, there is huge public pressure on us to feel ashamed and backward, alien and isolated, to set portions of our deen aside to assimilate and fit in, to feel that our deen is a barrier to progress. But we know that it is not. We know that it is the only possible path to progress, that without it we will inevitably destroy ourselves and everything around us, as is becoming more and more apparent every day. The truth is that the world needs us, not just the Muslims. Ignorance begets ignorance, and stupidity begets stupidity. And the human being, left to his own devices and ignoring the guidance of Allah, is the most ignorant and self-destructive of creatures. Allah says,
وَحَمَلَهَا الْإِنْسَانُ إِنَّهُ كَانَ ظَلُومًا جَهُولًا
the translation of which is, “Man took it on. He is indeed wrongdoing and ignorant.” We must not let the fear of that dhulm and jahl stop us. Yes, we must never recklessly and needlessly endanger ourselves, and must always act and speak with wisdom and foresight, but a large part of what we fear is in our heads. It has no substance and reality. The anticipated fires of our enemies will not burn us. It is the fear that is the true barrier. When we cease to give that fear power over us, that is when we will see the breakthrough. The proof is in history, the proof is in experience, the proof is in the Book of Allah. In the stories of Ibrahim and of Musa, in the stories of our own Messenger of Allah and his Companions. Fear is Shaytan’s way of weakening our resolve and keeping us weak and subservient. Allah says,
إنما ذلكم الشيطانُ يُخَوِّفُ أولِياءَهُ فلا تَخافوهم وخافونِ إن كنتم مؤمِنينَ
the translation of which is, “That is only Shaytan frightening you through his allies. Do not fear them – fear Me if you are believers.”
How do we resist those whisperings? How do we loosen fear’s grip on our hearts? How do we overcome the paralysis that has taken hold of us and prevents us from being open about our love for Allah and His Messenger and speaking out about the injustices of the age. This aya provides us with both the treatment and cure. Allah says, ‘Fear Me if you are believers.’ To have true fear of Allah is the only way to rid ourselves of our fear of creation. What is fear of Allah? Qurtubi says in his tafsir,
ليس الخائف الذي يبكي ويمسح عينيه، بل الخائفُ الذي يترك ما يخَافُ أن يُعذَّب عليه
“The fearful person is not the one who weeps and rubs his eyes, the fearful person is the one who leaves what he fears he will be punished for doing.” The one who truly embodies fear of Allah is the one who does what his Lord commands and avoids what he prohibits, the one who is aware that he is being watched at every moment and takes great care to conform to what is required of him. And to do that, he makes sure he learns the rules and knows the limits and boundaries. For, in reality, true fear of Allah is only possible for those who have knowledge – direct knowledge of their Lord and knowledge of his ahkaam. Allah says,
إِنَّمَا يَخْشَى اللَّهَ مِنْ عِبَادِهِ الْعُلَمَاءُ
the translation of which is, “Only those of His slaves with knowledge have fear of Allah.” That knowledge and the fear it brings cure them of all other fears. For they know that if they obey Allah, He will be with them and enough of a protection against anything and everything that comes up against them. Allah says,
وَكَفَى بِاللَّهِ وَلِيًّا وَكَفَى بِاللَّهِ نَصِيرًا
which translates as, “Allah suffices as a Protector; Allah suffices as a Helper.”
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.
A small group of people equipped with fear of Allah can accomplish anything, for they view the world in a different way. They are nothing like the hypocrites whom Allah describes as,
يَحْسِبُونَ كُلَّ صَيْحَةٍ عَلَيْهِمْ
the translation of which is, “They imagine every cry to be against them.” No, those who fear Allah do not see obstacle after obstacle, they do not see enemy after enemy, they do not see failure after failure, danger after danger, they see opportunity after opportunity. They do not see a hopeless situation or closed doors, but a sea of endless possibility. They have a courage placed into their hearts by a Lord who strengthens them at every turn and weakens all who conspire or work against them. And it was that courage, that unparalleled bravery that enabled the Prophet and his Sahaba to conquer and overcome two great empires that had endured for centuries in but a few short years.
This quality of courage about which we speak is a stage further than lack of fear, for it implies action – standing firm in the face of great odds and not turning one’s back and fleeing but instead confronting them head on. This is no easy thing, for there is a certain level of frightenedness that is imprinted onto the human being, an impulse that comes to us all to flee when the going gets tough, an impulse that feeds upon itself and grows until outright panic can ensue and an entire army can turn on its heels. It is not necessarily a conscious fear but an unconscious reaction. The ability to withstand this is rare and is called courage. Amongst the Arabs it was one of three characteristics that alone were enough to make a man great, and it is a characteristic that every Muslim must acquire and cultivate. It is a part of our heritage and a part of our deen. As we mentioned, those whom we take as guiding stars, the Companions of the Messenger of Allah, conquered the known world with it, defeating armies up to ten times their size and many times better equipped. And chief among them was the Messenger of Allah himself. At the battle of Hunayn, when the fighting grew fierce, some of the Companions retreated, leaving the Prophet alone surrounded by the enemy. But the Prophet himself did not falter or retreat, but continued to fight on, proclaiming,
أنا النبي لا كذب أنا ابن عبد المطلب
“I am the Prophet and that is no lie. I am the son of Abdal-Muttalib.” When the Companions heard his words, they immediately came back to him and fought on until victory was theirs. The Prophet was the bravest of men in all circumstances. When the Muslims were beset and impoverished and his own life was threatened in Makka, he never held back from speaking the truth and never held back from calling to Allah. Even when a mushrik surprised him while he was sleeping and took his own sword and held it to his neck. The mushrik said, “Who will protect you from me now?” The Prophet calmly replied, “Allah”, and the man found himself unable to use his hand and the sword dropped from it.
This courage stems from complete reliance upon Allah and a conscious and unconscious realisation that the outcome is in His hands and so long as we have done what He requires of us, we will be safe. And it is not limited to war or fighting, but applies to every aspect of our lives. Without it, nothing can be accomplished and we will not obtain success, not in business nor in our family lives. Without going to extremes or recklessness, we must be prepared to stand up and do what needs to be done and say what needs to be said.
We ask Allah to place that courage in our hearts and free us of worry, fear and cowardice. We ask Allah to place us at the forefront of the Muslim umma and re-establish the deen through our efforts. We ask that He return us to a position of strength and place us above the unbelievers. We ask that He give victory to all of those who are struggling and fighting in His way and that He free the tongues of the ulama in those lands so that they can speak the truth and champion 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.