الحمد لله، الحمد لله الذي بعبدِهِ ليلًا مِن المسجدِ الحرامِ إلى المسجدِ الأقصَى أسرَى، ثم عَرَجَ به إلى ما قاب قوسَينِ أو أدنَى، حيثُ أراهُ من ءاياتِهِ الكبرى، وأوحى إليه ما أوحى، 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. قال الله تعالى في كتابه الكريم: أَفَلَمْ يَسِيرُوا فِي الْأَرْضِ فَتَكُونَ لَهُمْ قُلُوبٌ يَعْقِلُونَ بِهَا أَوْ آذَانٌ يَسْمَعُونَ بِهَا

 

Allah says in His Noble Book, the translation of which is, “Have they not travelled in the land? Do they not have hearts with which to understand or ears with which to hear.” Each and every one of us has been granted the capacity and the tools to know and understand the world in which he lives. This capacity is one our Lord instructs us to make use of, not to ignore it, not to remain oblivious, not to shut our eyes and ears to all that is going on, not to cut ourselves and our communities off and become insular, removed and apart. We are a part of this world, and more than that, we are its custodians. Allah says in the end of Surat al-An’am,

وَهُوَ الَّذِي جَعَلَكُمْ خَلَائِفَ الْأَرْضِ

 

the translation of which is, “It is He who appointed you khalifs on the earth” We are charged with keeping this dunya on an even keel, preserving justice and balance upon the earth. And to do that, we have to acquire knowledge of the state of the world around us and knowledge of where it is going wrong and how to put it right. Knowledge of when to act, when to speak and when to remain silent. And when we act, we must know what to do, and when we speak, we must know what to say and to whom. Hikma is a necessary part of the Muslim’s armoury, the aqil does not throw himself needlessly in harm’s way. In these trying times, when every politician and every reporter is waiting eagerly to pounce, misquote and misinterpret everything that comes out of the mouths of anyone professing to be Muslim, it is even more important that we weigh our words and await our moment. But, you must know, that even when everything appears against us, truth will always win out over falsehood, no matter the numbers or apparatus behind it. Allah says,

 

‫وَقُلْ جَاءَ الْحَقُّ وَزَهَقَ الْبَاطِلُ ۚ إِنَّ الْبَاطِلَ كَانَ زَهُوقًا

 

the translation of which is, “Say: ‘Truth has come and falsehood has vanished. Falsehood is always bound to vanish.’” Pharaoh was the most powerful force of his day, and his magicians had left his people awestruck and totally under his spell with their magic. But one act from one man who trusted fully in Allah, the Prophet Musa, was enough to shatter that spell and expose their magic for the empty trickery and deception that it was. This story is recounted in many places in the Quran.

So do not despair. Allah’s deen will be victorious and you will be on the winning side. All we must do is live our lives as He has commanded us, and as the Prophet and his Companions have shown us. Lives lived in the here and now, in the moment, knowing who we are and where we are going. Wakeful lives, not oblivious ones, aware and ready to seize the moments and take advantage of any and all opportunities that present themselves to further the cause of the deen and advance ourselves along the path towards our Lord. Those opportunities, whether they be dunyawi or ukhrawi, are fleeting and are within our grasp for but a short time, so take firm hold and do not think their time will come again. Those who put things off always come to regret it. The Prophet said,

هَلَكَ الْمُسَوِّفُونَ

“The musawwifun – those who procrastinate are destroyed.”

It is important to be aware that not every moment is the same nor is every place. The weight of an action varies depending upon where it is done and when – the prayer in the mosque far outweighs the prayer at home, while the prayer in the mosque of the Prophet outweighs that prayed anywhere else by many thousands of times. Similarly, the nafila prayer in the dead of night outweighs that prayed in the daylight hours, as does that done at various designated times throughout the year. During these special days and special months, the effects of everything you do is magnified, they are like downhill sections on the path to Allah where it is possible to make swift and unerring progress in one’s journey to Him. We are currently in the midst of one such month, the month of Rajab, one of the four months that Allah Himself declares haraam/sacred. Allah says,

 

إِنَّ عِدَّةَ الشُّهُورِ عِنْدَ اللَّهِ اثْنَا عَشَرَ شَهْرًا فِي كِتَابِ اللَّهِ يَوْمَ خَلَقَ السَّمَاوَاتِ وَالْأَرْضَ مِنْهَا أَرْبَعَةٌ حُرُمٌ  ذَلِكَ الدِّينُ الْقَيِّمُ فَلَا تَظْلِمُوا فِيهِنَّ أَنْفُسَكُمْ

 

the translation of which is, “There have been twelve months with Allah in the Book of Allah, from the day He first created the heavens and earth. Four of them are haram (sacred). That is the true deen. So do not wrong one another during them” Do not wrong one another and do not wrong yourselves in them by failing to take advantage of them, by remaining oblivious to the immensity of these days and moments. They are truly exceptional in themselves and are the start of a segment of the year that is without parallel, culminating with the month of Ramadan. Be aware. Take advantage. Stock up on right action. Don’t let the opportunity slip through your fingers. Approach your life with a heightened sense of clarity and vigour, and do not let your intention and resolve become muddied or diluted. Seek your Lord’s aid and ask His forgiveness. Fill your moments with what is pleasing to Him, and He will your lives, in this world and the Next, with what is pleasing to you. He is the most generous of Lords.

We ask Allah to protect us from our laziness, listlessness and incapacity, and our tendency towards self-harm. We ask Him to make us people who live in the here and now, not people who dwell in the past or sit and wait for a future saviour, a people of action, a people who appreciate what they have been given and put it to use in the manner most pleasing to their Lord, a people that take full advantage of every special moment that presents itself,  -and every moment is special for those who go through life ‘alaa bayyinatin min-al-amr – with full awareness of what is going on. We ask Allah to make this a month of increase and forgiveness for each and every one of us and keep us from what is haram and displeasing to Him.

 

أقول قولي هذا وأستغفر الله العظيم لي ولكم ولسائر المسلمين من كل ذنب فاستغفروه إنه هو التوّابُ 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 قال الله عز وجل في كتابه العزيز: سُبْحَانَ الَّذِي أَسْرَى بِعَبْدِهِ لَيْلًا مِنَ الْمَسْجِدِ الْحَرَامِ إِلَى الْمَسْجِدِ الْأَقْصَى الَّذِي بَارَكْنَا حَوْلَهُ لِنُرِيَهُ مِنْ آَيَاتِنَا إِنَّه هُوَ السَّمِيعُ الْبَصِيرُ

 

Allah says in His Mighty Book, the translation of which is, “Glory be to Him who took His slave on a journey by night from the Masjid-al-Haram to the Masjid al-Aqsa, whose surroundings We have blessed, in order to show him some of Our Signs. He is the All-Hearing, the All-Seeing.” According to the strongest narrations regarding the matter, the month of Rajab is host to one of the most significant nights in the year, the Laylat al-Isra wa-l-Mi’raj, the night upon which the miraculous journey referred to in the ayat above took place, when the Messenger of Allah was taken by his Lord from the Masjid al-Haram in Mecca to the Masjid al-Aqsa in Jerusalem, and from there up through the seven heavens to beyond the Lote Tree of Furthest Limit and an audience with his Lord. Both stages of this journey are considered significant enough to be mentioned in the Quran, the Night Journey to Jerusalem in the ayat I just mentioned, and the Mi’raj/ the Ascent in the beginning of surat an-Najm where Allah says,

 

وَلَقَدْ رَآَهُ نَزْلَةً أُخْرَى عِنْدَ سِدْرَةِ الْمُنْتَهَى عِنْدَهَا جَنَّةُ الْمَأْوَى إِذْ يَغْشَى السِّدْرَةَ مَا يَغْشَى مَا زَاغَ الْبَصَرُ وَمَا طَغَى لَقَدْ رَأَى مِنْ آَيَاتِ رَبِّهِ الْكُبْرَى”

 

“He saw him again another time by the Lote-tree of the Furthest Limit, beside which is the Garden of Refuge, when that which covered the Lote-tree covered it. His eye did not waver nor did he look away. He saw some of the Greatest Signs of his Lord.”

So what was it about this journey that made it so significant, that made it worthy of being mentioned in the Book of Allah? Why have so many of the men of Allah and men of knowledge dedicated so much of their writing to describing it and unravelling its mysteries and lessons? What is there to learn from it? Well, the reality is that a large part of the affair is there for those who reflect. All the ingredients for getting truly close to Allah.

The first thing we realise from the account is how truly exalted is the rank of the Messenger of Allah. Not only did this Prophet, in whose umma we have all been honoured to be placed, not only did he lead all the other Prophets and Messengers in prayer while on earth, but went above and beyond all of them, even past Ibrahim in the seventh heaven, the man whom Allah took as his khalil, and past the mala’ al-a’la, the highest assembly of angels, creatures who never do wrong and never disobey and spend every millisecond of their existence in worship, past them all to to a station no other being had ever seen let alone occupied, and there spent time in intimate contemplation of and conversation with his Lord. This demonstrates beyond a shadow of any doubt that he is the greatest of all creation and the most beloved to his Lord, and that everything, and I repeat everything, he brought is pleasing to Allah. The best way to please Allah is to emulate him and establish his Sunna, and the swiftest way to His anger is to denigrate him and belittle his way. The Messenger of Allah is the key to this affair – no good can come to any human being in this age except through an activated acceptance of Muhammad rasulullah.

The second thing we realise is the primacy of prayer. It is the bedrock, the central support around which the Muslim builds the rest of his life. It was the one message the Messenger of Allah brought back to his umma from his intimate of conversations with his Lord, the one instruction. Every other act, obligatory or otherwise, was revealed to the Messenger of Allah while he was on terra firma, on earth. Do the five prayers, do not be neglectful of them or absent in them, and structure your day around them. Do not just consider them inconveniences to be fitted in when your busy lives allow. Do this, give them the importance that is their due and you will be amazed at the baraka you start to see in your time and the amount you will be able to get done.

A third thing we realise from the account is the quality of the people the Messenger of Allah had gathered around himself. His Companions were truly the best of generations, they truly embodied all the best qualities of the human being. When the unbelievers of Quraysh came to Sayyiduna Abu Bakr to try to shake his faith in the Messenger of Allah, and said to him, “Your companion has lost it. He is claiming to have travelled all the way to Jerusalem and back in a single night, something every rational mind knows is impossible. What do you say to that?” Their words did not have the desired effect, however, for instead of feeling doubt, Abu Bakr felt an increase in certainty. And he replied to them, “If he says it, then it is true!” This unhesitating acceptance of the words of the Messenger of Allah and capacity to see the truth was what gained him the epithet, as-Siddiq – the true. When we hear these stories of the great men of the Sahaba, our love for them cannot help but grow, and we cannot help but gain the greatest clarity as to where and through whom the path to Allah passes. For their love for the Messenger and his love for them was beyond dispute. And the rank they gained as a result with their Lord and Creator was unsurpassed. The Messenger of Allah said,

 

إِنَّ اللهَ اخْتَارَ أَصْحَابِي عَلَى جَمِيعِ الْعَالَمِينَ سِوَى النَّبِيِّينَ وَالمُرْسَلِينَ، وَاخْتَارَ لِي مِنْهُمُ أَرْبَعَةً: أَبَا بَكْرٍ وَعُمَرَ وَعُثْمَانَ وَعَلِيّاً، فَجَعَلَهُمْ خَيْرَ أَصْحَابِي، وَفِي أَصْحَابِي كُلِّهِمْ خَيْرٌ.

 

“Allah chose my Companions over everything else in existence except the Prophets and the Messengers. He chose four of them for me: Abu Bakr, ‘Umar, ‘Uthman and ‘Ali and made them the best of my Companions, although in all my Companions there is good.” So do not pay heed to those who speak badly of them or dishonour their names, and avoid their company like the plague. Their words are poison and all they will do is make you  feel sick and unwell.

These are but a handful of things we realise from hearing the account of the Night Journey – the benefits of its study are beyond count for all with a healthy heart. And that night is but one of the gifts of this sacred month. Accept those gifts, rejoice in them and obtain their full benefit. And show your gratitude to a generous Lord who continues to shower His blessings on us in every moment. We ask Allah to give us the presence and the hikma to take advantage of the opportunities that He sends our way, and we ask Him to grant us understanding of the true significance of what happened to the Messenger of Allah on the blessed night of the Laylat al-Isra wa-l-Mi’raj and give us access to its secrets and its fruits. We ask Him to increase us in love of His Messenger and in appreciation of the blessing that He bestowed upon us by making us part of his umma. And He ask that He once again unite this umma and join our hearts together.

 

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.

اللهم اسق عبادك وبهائمك، وانشر رحمتك وأحي بلدك الميت (3) اللهم اسقنا الغيث ولا تجعلنا من القانطين (3) اللهم اسقنا غيثاً مغيثاً مريئاً نافعاً غير ضار، عاجلاً غير آجل (1) اللهم أغثنا، اللهم أغثنا اللهم أغثنا

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.