الحمد لله، الحمد لله الذي وعد المومنين بالتوفيق والفلاح، إذا اتّصفوا بأسباب النجاح، 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.

 

Despite what commentators and proponents of the theory of social evolution might tell us, the state of the world and mankind is not following a constant upward trend, our wealth does not grow and grow and our knowledge does not become more and more expansive and profound.  To make such a claim is to deny history and the cyclical nature of things. Things rise and fall – expansion alternates with contraction. Night, and with it the darkness, follows day and day, and with it the light, follows night. This is the way of the world and the way of existence.

The narrative of constant progress in all aspects of life does not hold up to scrutiny, even when we look at things in the most basic and material of ways. Are we truly wealthier than our grandparents, are we truly better educated? The answer to the first is clearly no, for they were able to afford to buy their homes and raise their families with a single breadwinner. Today, only the tiniest minority can do the same. And as for the second, just compare your vocabulary and mastery of your language with that of theirs to see the truth – we are being more uneducated and ignorant as time goes on.

We are at a low point in the history of our race, the light has faded and the gloom is deepening. Allah says,

ظَهَرَ الْفَسَادُ فِي الْبَرِّ وَالْبَحْرِ

 

“Corruption has appeared in the land and sea.” And many can no longer see a way out. They have lost their will and their capacity to resist. They can see no alternative but to prop up and maintain the status quo. It is all that they know, and in a sense all that they are prepared to know. And when they do look for a way out, they turn in all the wrong directions, seeking solutions in all the wrong places. But solutions are never there to be found – all that happens is they find themselves let down. Things worsen rather than improve. And so it continues, and hopelessness and ennui take over. They go through their day-to-day lives like robots on automatic pilot, functioning but never living, fulfilling their civic duty but never satisfying their immortal soul. They seek enjoyment and release in the realm of the sensory but it only touches the surface and sometimes even deepens the malaise. For where is the meaning in something which is so fleeting? So they despair and think existence to be ultimately meaningless. But that is only because they have become blind and denied their most essential natures and innermost selves. They have forgotten their Lord, their Sustainer, the One who gave them everything they have and continues to provide for them at every turn. They have forgotten why they were put here and where they are going. They have forgotten how to use their intellects.

The blueprint for success lies with their Creator, the One who assembled them in the best of forms and knows what is best for them. All that He requires from us in exchange is that we believe in Him and His Messengers and follow their guidance. So mankind, in the words of the adhan, hayaa ala-l-falaah. Come to Success!

The path to success is no secret – our Lord shows it to us again and again. There is no shortage of guidance for those who look – the straight path is well sign-posted. Indeed, it is described in great detail, time after time. Let us look at one of those places where it is described in the Book of Allah, the initial ayats of Surat al-Muminun. Allah says,

 

قَدْ أَفْلَحَ الْمُؤْمِنُونَ الَّذِينَ هُمْ فِي صَلَاتِهِمْ خَاشِعُونَ وَالَّذِينَ هُمْ عَنِ اللَّغْوِ مُعْرِضُونَ وَالَّذِينَ هُمْ لِلزَّكَاةِ فَاعِلُونَ وَالَّذِينَ هُمْ لِفُرُوجِهِمْ حَافِظُونَ إِلَّا عَلَى أَزْوَاجِهِمْ أَوْ مَا مَلَكَتْ أَيْمَانُهُمْ فَإِنَّهُمْ غَيْرُ مَلُومِينَ فَمَنِ ابْتَغَى وَرَاءَ ذَلِكَ فَأُولَئِكَ هُمُ الْعَادُونَ وَالَّذِينَ هُمْ لِأَمَانَاتِهِمْ وَعَهْدِهِمْ رَاعُونَ وَالَّذِينَ هُمْ عَلَى صَلَوَاتِهِمْ يُحَافِظُونَ أُولَئِكَ هُمُ الْوَارِثُونَ الَّذِينَ يَرِثُونَ الْفِرْدَوْسَ هُمْ فِيهَا خَالِدُونَ

 

the translation of which is, “It is the believers who are successful: those who are humble in their prayer; those who turn away from worthless talk; those who pay zakat; those who guard their private parts – except from their wives or those they own as slaves, in which case they are not blameworthy; but those who desire anything more than that are people who have gone beyond the limits – those who honour their trusts and their contracts; those who safeguard their prayer: such people are the inheritors who will inherit Firdaws, remaining in it timelessly, for ever.” A number of qualities are mentioned in these ayas for those who would attain success. And it all starts with belief – imaan. There can be no success without it, for by denying Him you have closed all the doors and put out the only source of light. So do not be deceived by the apparent success of those who are open in their enmity – it is merely imlaa – they are being led on and nothing useful or beneficial will result from it. True success, whether it be in this world or the Next, is dependent upon belief in Allah.

The next quality of the people of success is that they are people of prayer. The prayer is our sila, our connection with the Divine. It is both our supply line and our lines of communication, and as any soldier will tell you, no expedition can hope to succeed with either of those broken. The prayer keeps us rooted and reminds us of the reality of existence, and keeps us present. No one who is truly humble and aware in his prayer can ever stray too far from the truth in the rest of his life. Allah says, as we say every week in the khutba,

 

إِنَّ الصَّلاةَ تَنْهَى عَنِ الْفَحْشَاءِ وَالْمُنْكَرِ

 

the translation of which is, “Prayer precludes indecency and wrong-doing.” Prayer keeps them at bay, keeps them out of your life and helps keep you away from them. So important is the prayer that Allah mentions it twice in the course of these ayats, emphasising the need both for khushu‘ and for them being safeguarded. In other words, the prayer must also be your constant companion throughout life, not just someone you visit from time to time. You share your most important moments with it and take refuge with it in your times of difficulty and strife. You honour its times and structure your day around it, not making it just an afterthought. Such people are the people of prayer, like Moulay Hasan al-Majdhub whose excitement levels would grow and grow the closer the time of the prayer came. He would refresh his wudu, straighten his clothes, lay out his prayer mat and sit facing the qibla, eagerly awaiting the muaddhin’s call. May Allah give us such understanding and such appreciation for this great gift.

 

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.

 

The next two qualities are turning aside from worthless talk and paying zakat. Zakāt is the sister of ṣalāt, the one needs the other. The inward cannot be purified if the outward remains impure. If you sit in a bath of filth, the filth will inevitably permeate your skin and enter every orifice and organ of your body. The only remedy is to wash it away. That is what zakat accomplishes, at both an individual and a societal level. It clears the way to enable you to truly pray.

As for turning away from worthless talk, that means the avoidance of pointless debate, and taking refuge in the truth. We say the truth even when it is hard to say, and we call to Allah even when people are oblivious and refuse to listen. But we must have the wisdom to know when our words will bring benefit or harm, and use them correctly. We do not let ourselves get dominated by self-righteousness or puritanical zeal, but look at who is in front of us and speak accordingly. Otherwise, our words could be worthless and indeed detrimental. We do not speak worthlessly and we do not listen to worthless talk. Allah says,

 

وَإِذَا سَمِعُوا اللَّغْوَ أَعْرَضُوا عَنْهُ وَقَالُوا لَنَا أَعْمَالُنَا وَلَكُمْ أَعْمَالُكُمْ سَلامٌ عَلَيْكُمْ لا نَبْتَغِي الْجَاهِلِينَ

 

the translation of which is, “When they hear worthless talk they turn away from it  and say, ‘We have our actions and you have your actions. Peace be upon you. We do not desire the company of the ignorant.’” Only keep the company of those who talk uplifts you and has worth. Do not engage in pointless debate and do not be a party to rumour or slander.

The next quality relates to our bodily actions and our earthly desires, especially those of our private parts. The one who will have success is the one who is the master over his body, not the slave to it . He does not let his private parts, and by extension any of our other appetites, dictate to him, he keeps them in check and only utilises them in a manner that he knows is pleasing to his Lord. That is freedom. Modern society has things inverted – pandering to every sexual desire – no matter how perverse – is the ultimate enslavement. It is sometimes even called bondage. The intellect must govern the body, not the body the intellect.

The final quality that is mentioned here is the honouring of contracts, for how can a person be true to Allah when he is false to His creation. Deceit breeds deceit, treachery breeds treachery, and falseness breeds falseness. If you are habitually false in your outward transactions, then you will be become habitually false in your inward transactions. You open yourself to hypocrisy, and there no worse people on this earth than the hypocrites. The Prophet said,

 

أربع من كن فيه كان منافقًا خالصًا ومن كانت فيه خصلة منهن كانت فيه خصلة من النفاق حتى يدعها، إذا اؤتمن خان، وإذا حدث كذب، وإذا عاهد غدر، وإذا خاصم فجر

 

“There are four traits that characterise the hypocrite: whoever has them all is a complete hypocrite and whoever has any one of them has an element of hypocrisy in his being until he leaves it: that he betrays his trusts; that he lies when he speaks; that he breaks the promises he makes; and that he acts in an underhand manner in his disputes.” As believers, our word must be our bond. We must have the qualities of amana and sidq. This is not an area where we have to return like for like – just because others cheat us does not mean we must cheat them, just because we live in a society where deceit and unfairness in the transaction are endemic does not mean that such things must become a part of our own affair. The Prophet said,

أدِّ الأمانةَ إلى مَن ائتَمَنَك ، ولاَ تَخُن مَن خانك

 

“Return the things you hold on trust to those who entrusted them to you and do not cheat those who cheat you.” If we are not true with our contracts, regardless of who they are with, then we cannot expect success. We cannot expect our Lord to fulfil what He has promised to the believers for we will have put aside that belief in favour of hypocrisy. Allah says in surat al-Baqara,

وَأَوْفُوا بِعَهْدِي أُوفِ بِعَهْدِكُمْ

 

the translation of which is, “Honour My contract and I will honour your contract/promise.” Honour your contract with Me and I will honour My contract with you. Every contract we enter into is part of our contract with Him, and so we must ensure that we honour them correctly. We have to take great care, and only ever enter into them in good faith and with sound intention. And because we are by nature forgetful creatures, we must make sure that everything is done before witnesses and is, if possible, written down. Nothing is too  insignificant – the greatest of disputes and the most bloody of wars often have the most seemingly trivial of causes. The deen is muamalat and every muamalat is agreed upon on the basis of a contract. As soon as we give in to perfidy and those contracts cease to be worth the paper they are printed on, the whole affair collapses, and any hopes we had for success fade with them.

We ask our Lord to realise in us all of the qualities of the believers and grant a strong and lasting success to this community and 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.