الحمد لله، الحمد لله الذي الحمد لله الذي أمرنا بالإيمان، القول والعمل والإقرار باللسان، 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.
It is an all too common phenomenon in the present age to limit belief to the intangible – something that is thought or felt, a conviction that is in the heart, and disconnect it totally from outward practice and action. Did not the Messenger of Allah say,
“Taqwa is here,” and place his hand over his heart? As a result of this statement, they relegate the importance of action, and consider belief alone to be enough. It does not matter what you do – so long as you accept Allah and His Messenger, you will achieve salvation. It is true that judgment is in the hands of Allah, but it is equally true that He has provided us with guidance and direction. And for someone to think that that guidance is unnecessary and unimportant is arrogant in the extreme. They are like Shayṭān – he knows that Allah exists and believes in Him and accepts that His Messengers exist, but he wilfully disregards them and seeks to subvert His Lord’s commands. Is he ranked among the believers? Īmān is not what they think – yes, its seat is in the heart, but its expression is found on the tongue and on the limbs. And if any one of those three elements is missing, then a person is not a believer. This is the ijmā‘ of the people of knowledge of the Muslims. Abu Zayd al-Qayrawani of the Malikis said,
الإيمان قولٌ باللسان، وإخلاصٌ بالقلب، وعَمَلٌ بالجوارح، يزيد بزيادة الأعمال، وينقص بنقصها
“Iman is words on the tongue, sincerity in the heart, and action with the limbs. It increases when a person’s good deeds increase, and decreases when they decrease.” And Imam ash-Shafi’i said,
وكان الإجماع من الصحابة والتابعين من بعدهم ومن أدركناهم يقولون الإيمان قول وعمل ونية لا يجزئ واحد من الثلاث إلا بالآخر
“It was the consensus of the Companions and the Followers who came after them as well as all [the men of knowledge] I met that iman is words, action and intention, each one of the three as essential to its validity as the others.” And Ahmad ibn Hanbal said,
الإيمان لا يكون إلا بعمل
“Iman cannot exist without action.” And al-Fudayl ibn ‘Iyāḍ said,
الإيمان عندنا داخله وخارجه: الإقرار باللسان، والقبول بالقلب، والعمل به
“Amongst us, iman is considered to have an inner aspect and an outer one – it is confirmation on the tongue, acceptance in the heart, and the action that is entailed by that acceptance.” You will not find any of the great men of knowledge of the deen who exclude action from their definition of iman, for in reality, the inward and the outward are not separate, are not exclusive. What is to be found in the one indicates what is to be found in the other, and influences it. The Messenger of Allah indicated this reality in a famous hadith, which I am sure all of you have heard:
ألا إن في الجسد مضغة إذا صلحت صلح الجسد كله وإذا فسدت فسد الجسد كله ألا وهي القلب
“In the body there is a lump of flesh which, if it sound and healthy the whole body is sound and healthy and if it is corrupt and diseased the whole body is corrupt and diseased. That lump of flesh is the heart.” And the reverse is also true as Abu Zayd al-Qayrawani indicated in his statement we just quoted. The implication of his words are that, “Wrong actions increase the level of fasād in the heart while right actions increase the level of ṣalāḥ.”
Iman is active not passive – it is not something that remains immutable in the background and colours your choices and your actions – it is your choices and actions. The Messenger of Allah said,
الإيمان بضع وسبعون شعبة، فأفضلها قول: لا إله إلا الله، وأدناها: إماطة الأذى عن الطريق، والحياء شعبة من الإيمان
“Iman has seventy-something branches, the greatest of which is the statement, “There is no god but Allah” and the least of which is removing something harmful from the road. Shyness is one of the branches of iman.” This Prophetic definition of Iman includes words that are said, feelings that are felt and actions that are done, and these actions are not just what are normally termed ‘ibādāt but good action in general. Indeed, our Lord usually pairs good action – ‘amalun ṣāliḥ with belief. You may think this means they are separate, but that is not necessarily the case, for it is a common grammatical practice in Arabic to use wa in an explanatory manner or for clarification. In other words, what comes after the waw explains and clarifies what comes before it. So man āmana wa ‘amila ṣāliḥan means ‘those who believe, that is to say, those who do right action’. The ayat does not list two components of success, but rather a single one – a belief that is activated. Allah says,
إِنَّمَا الْمُؤْمِنُونَ الَّذِينَ إِذَا ذُكِرَ اللَّهُ وَجِلَتْ قُلُوبُهُمْ وَإِذَا تُلِيَتْ عَلَيْهِمْ آَيَاتُهُ زَادَتْهُمْ إِيمَانًا وَعَلَى رَبِّهِمْ يَتَوَكَّلُونَ الَّذِينَ يُقِيمُونَ الصَّلَاةَ وَمِمَّا رَزَقْنَاهُمْ يُنْفِقُونَ أُولَئِكَ هُمُ الْمُؤْمِنُونَ
the translation of which is, “The believers are those whose hearts tremble when Allah is mentioned, whose belief is increased when His Signs are recited to them, and who put their trust in their Lord; those who establish the prayer and give of what We have provided for them. They are in truth the believers.” Those who do, who act – they are the the true believers, those who say, but do not do, they are fooling no one but themselves. I am not saying that someone who leaves one of the actions of Islam is not a believer, but someone who completely abandons all practice and considers inward belief alone to be enough, he is not of them. He may be classified as a Muslim due to his having uttered the shahādatayn, but he is no Mumin. It is harder to be Mumin than Muslim – to be a Mumin, your inward and outward must be in tune. Allah says,
قَالَتِ الاَعْرَابُ آمَنَّا قُل لَّمْ تُومِنُواْ وَلَكِن قَولَواْ أَسْلَمْنَا ولَمَّا يَدْخُلِ الاِيمَانُ فِي قَلَوبِكُمْ
the translation of which is, “The desert Arabs say, ‘We believe.’ Say, ‘You have not believed. Rather say, ‘We are Muslims,’ for belief has not yet entered your hearts.” Why is it so important to be Mumin – why is Islam alone not enough? Because it is only the believers who will be able to set things rights – it is only the believers who can restore the deen of Allah. How does our Lord address the people of this umma in His Book? Does He say, yā ayyuha-l-ladhīna aslamū. No, rather He says, yā ayyuha-l-ladhīna āmanū – You who believe. Every command, every instruction, every recipe for success is addressed to the believers – they are the only ones who can deliver on what has been asked of mankind and attain success. They are the only ones who can repair this world and one again set it aright. All attempts by any one else are doomed to failure. For our own wellbeing and the wellbeing of the world over which we have been made responsible, we must sync our outward with our inward and our inward with our outward and activate our belief in Allah with intentions, words and actions that correspond to what His Messenger brought. When a band of believers step together on that path, nothing can stand in their way.
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.
When you look to your bookshelves and see the books of Fiqh and the books of Ahadith and the books of Tafsir, their sheer size can seem daunting. There are so so many actions that must be put into practice, so where do we start? It can leave us bewildered and in ḥayarān so that we end up vacillating between all the options and sit there and do nothing. Do we focus on ‘ibādāt, we ask ourselves, or on mu‘āmalāt, on setting ourselves right or our societies right? To decide on and take that first step is often the hardest thing. So what should we do? The answer lies in the prayer, for the prayer is the microcosm of life. It is the ultimate expression of our reality as slaves of Allah. What is the first thing we do when we want to pray? Allah says,
إِذَا قُمْتُمُواْ إِلَى الصَّلَاةِ فَاغْسِلُواْ وُجُوهَكُمْ…
the translation of which is, “When you stand to pray, wash your face…” The starting point for the prayer is purification, and that is the starting for all ‘amalun ṣāliḥ, for all activated belief. The Prophet said,
الطهور شطر الإيمان
“Purification is half of belief.” It is only when you are purified that the rest of what makes activated belief becomes possible – it is the prerequisite for action, it is the prerequisite for a believing heart, it is the prerequisite for acceptance from Allah. The Prophet said,
إن الله طيب لا يقبل إلا الطيب نظيف لا يقبل إلا النظافة
“Allah is Good and only accepts what is good and Pure and only accepts what is pure.” To do any of the actions of the deen, and thus to truly be believers, we must start from a position of purity. We must have purity in our bodies, purity in our hearts, and purity in our instruments and means. So the start of the path to Allah is purification – that must be our first step.
Physical purity is the easiest – all it requires is an understanding of what is pure and what is impure, the knowledge of how to remove what is impure and access to the means of its removal – namely, unadulterated purifying water.
Then we have purity of the heart – this is achieved through pure tawḥīd, sincere tawba and dhikrullāh. Shirk, associating anything with Allah, is the ultimate impurity. Allah says,
إِنَّمَا الْمُشْرِكُونَ نَجَسٌ
the translation of which is, “Those who associate others with Allah – the idolaters – are impurity.” Not just impure but the very essence of impurity. It is important to know that Allah is One and has no partners and no intermediaries. Nothing is worshipped alongside Him, there is no power except with Him. The medicine does not heal, the fire does not give warmth, the food does not nourish. Allah heals, gives warmth and nourishes, and, if He willed it, none of those things, which are but means, would have any effect. There is proof of this in the Qur’an in the story of Ibrahim and the fire – it did not burn him but instead brought him safety and coolness. Allah simply said to it,
كُونِي بَرْدًا وَسَلَامًا عَلَى إِبْرَاهِيمَ
“Be coolness and safety for Ibrahim” and it was. One of the best prescriptions for how to purify oneself from shirk is found in the great diwan of Shaykh Muhammad ibn al-Habib in his poem that begins,
فَإِن شِئْتَ تَطْهِيرًا مِنَ الشِّرْكِ…
“If you desire purification from shirk…” As for sincere tawba, it is leaving wrong action for the sake of Allah. Not just leaving it, but leaving for Allah’s pleasure. All wrong action is filth, and our Lord frequently describes it as such, For example, Allah says,
يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا إِنَّمَا الْخَمْرُ وَالْمَيْسِرُ وَالْأَنْصَابُ وَالْأَزْلَامُ رِجْسٌ مِنْ عَمَلِ الشَّيْطَانِ
the translation of which is, “You who believe, wine and gambling, stone altars and divining arrows are filth from the handiwork of Shaytan.” So it is incumbent that we remove that filth in order to become pure. Tawba is the means to do that. Allah says, pairing tawba with purification:
إِنَّ اللهَ يُحِبُّ التَّوَّابِينَ وَيُحِبُّ الْمُتَطَهِّرِينَ
the translation of which is, “Allah loves those who make frequent tawba and those who purify themselves.”
And as for dhikrullāh, it is the cleaning product for the heart – it washes it clean of aghyār – other than Allah, and allows the knowledge of Allah to settle in it. Without it, the heart would be a muddied and perturbed place. Allah says,
أَلَا بِذِكْرِ اللهِ تَطْمَئِنَّ الْقُلُوبُ
the translation of which is, “It is only with dhikr of Allah that hearts find tranquility.” And Imam an-Nawawi said,
ذِكْرُ اللهِ…يُطَهِّرُ الْقلب ويُذهب رجز الشيطان
“Dhikr of Allah purifies the heart and removes the filth of Shaytan.”
And then we have purity of the instruments and the means. A lot of people limit this to clothing, housing and food and drink, but, in reality, it applies to everything with which we come into contact and everything of which we make use in the course of our lives. This is often the place where our efforts to establish the deen come grinding to a halt – we purify our bodies and purify our hearts, we even purify our food, clothes and places in which we pray, but then we leave the means of transactions impure, our kasb – our earnings and our wealth.
We are lax with our zakat which purifies our standing wealth. Allah says,
خُذْ مِنَ اَمْوَالِهِمْ صَدَقَةً تُطَهِّرُهُمْ وَتُزَكِّيهِم بِهَا
the translation of which is, “Take zakat from their wealth to purify them and cleanse them by means of it.”
And we are lax with our income, using means that are awash with impurity, indeed are the very essence of impurity. This applies equally to the instruments – the money that we use, and to the types of transaction, nearly all of which are based wholly on ribā or what is forbidden by Allah. Allah says,
يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا أَنفِقُوا مِن طَيِّبَاتِ مَا كَسَبْتُمْ وَمِمَّا أَخْرَجْنَا لَكُم مِّنَ الْأَرْضِ وَلَا تَيَمَّمُوا الْخَبِيثَ مِنْهُ تُنفِقُونَ
the translation of which is, “You who believe! give of the good and pure things you have earned and some of what the earth produces for you, and do not give of what is bad and filthy…”
Do not be fooled and think that your transactions are pure so long as you have avoided buying pork or wine or not used interest. Rather, open your eyes to the reality of the modern financial system, and that upon which it is built. Impurity upon impurity. Only when you have seen the impurity can you purify your transactions. It is only when the purification of these means and instruments is properly underway that we can take the next steps to establish the deen of Allah. And those next steps will be far easier than the first. As the Messenger of Allah mentioned in a hadith qudsi, Allah says that when a slave takes one step towards Him, He takes ten towards him. Purification is the key to this whole affair. Make that your focus, and by the Help of Allah, the rest of the deen will fall into place.
We ask Allah to make our hearts pure, our bodies pure and our actions pure. We ask us to surround us with what is pure. We ask Allah to give us the strength to take this first step and by means of it give us an īmān that is fully activated and which enables us to set our affairs and the affairs of our societies right. We ask that He establish the deen in us and by us and let us live as Muslims and die as Mumins, pure and purified and worthy of His acceptance.
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.