الحَمْدُ للهِ، الحَمْدُ للهِ الذي جعل الدنيا دارَ الفتنةِ والبلاءِ، ليمتحنَ بها قلوبَ المومنين والفقراء، ويرى من كان منهم يُلقَّاها بالصبرِ والرضا، نَحْمَدُهُ تعالى ونستعينه، ونشكره تعالى ونستغفره ونستغيثه، نعوذ بالله من شرور أنفسنا ومن سيئات أعمالنا، مَنْ يَهْدِ اللهُ فلا مضل له، ومَنْ يُضلِلْ فَلاَ هَادِيَ لَهُ، ونَشْهَدُ أَنْ لاَ إِلَهَ إِلاَّ اللهُ وَحْدَهُ لاَ شَرِيكَ لَهُ، له الملك وله الحمد، يحيي ويميت، بيده الخير، وهو على كل شيء قدير، ونشْهَدُ أَنَّ سَيِّدَنَا ومولانا مُحَمَّداً عَبْدُه وَرَسُولُهُ، وحبيبه وصفيه، بلغ الرسالة وأدّى الأمانة ونصح الأمّة، النبي الأمي الذي أرسله الله بالهدى والدين الحقّ، بشيرا ونذيرا بين يدي الساعة، صلى الله عليه وسلم وعَلَى آلِهِ وأَصْحابِهِ ومَنْ تَبِعَهم بإِحْسانٍ إِلَى يَوْمِ الدِّيْنِ. أَمَّا بَعْدُ، فَيَا عِبَادَ اللهِ اتقوا الله حق تقاته ولا تموتن إلا وأنتم مسلمون، يا أيها الذين آمنوا اتَّقُوا اللَّهَ وَقُولُوا قَوْلًا سَدِيدًا، يُصْلِحْ لَكُم أَعْمَالَكُمْ وَيَغْفِرْ لَكُمْ ذُنُوبَكُمْ وَمَنْ يُطِعِ اللَّهَ وَرَسُولَهُ فَقَدْ فَازَ فَوْزًا عَظِيمًا، يا أيها المسلمون اتقوا الله فيما أوصى وأمر، وانتهوا عما نها عنه وزجر.قال الله تعالى في كتابه الكريم أَحَسِبَ النَّاسُ أَنْ يُتْرَكُوا أَنْ يَقُولُوا آَمَنَّا وَهُمْ لَا يُفْتَنُونَ
Allah says in His Noble Book, the translation of which is, “Do people truly think that they will be left to say, ‘We believe,’ without being tested?” We are deep into the month of Sha‘ban, a month beloved to our Messenger, and are approaching its middle, a night known as the Laylat al-Bara’a. Much is said about this night and much is said about this month, but its true significance relates to qadar and qada, destiny and decree. It is the month in which our destinies for the coming year are determined, when what has been decreed for us in the time before time is brought into the zone of created forms. The Prophet said, in a hadith transmitted by as-Suyuti, describing the nights during which Allah opens the gates of goodness,
وليلة النصف من شعبان ينسخ فيها الآجال والأرزاق ويكتب فيها الحاج
“And the night of the middle of Sha‘ban during which people’s lifespan and provision is written down as well as those who will make Hajj that year.” And he said, describing the month of Sha‘ban,
إن الله يكتب فيه على كل نفس ميتةٍ تلك السنةَ
“During it, Allah writes down the death of everyone who will die during the coming year.” These hadith clearly indicate that everything that happens to us, everything that befalls us is written down before it comes to pass. Everything that befalls each and every one of us in the course of each and every year, in the course of our lifetime, is preordained and decreed, and nothing happens by chance or accident. This is a central tenet of our belief. Indeed, when the Prophet was asked what belief was by Jibril, he said among other things that it was believing in the qadar, the good of it and the bad of it. And in another transmission, what is sweet in it and what is bitter, thereby encompassing the full gamut of human experience.
For some, even among the Muslims, such as the qadariyya sect, this has proved problematic. It is not uncommon to hear people saying, “How could God allow such and such to happen?” or “How could God allow such a thing to exist?” or “If there really was a God, then how could such and such a situation come to pass.” This form of rant is typical of self-righteous atheists. They consider disease and extreme poverty, disability and tragedy, indiscriminate natural and unnatural disasters, to all somehow be proof of absence of the Divine. They somehow think they have understood the workings of existence well enough to pass judgement on the world and everything in it, and determine what is fair and just and what is not, what is right and good and what is not. They think that for a Creator to be just and good, He must act in a manner that corresponds exactly to what they perceive to be just and good, forgetting or ignoring the truth that those perceptions themselves are created and are limited by the form in which they are created and have no capacity to comprehend the full scale or wisdom of the plan of the Creator. Allah says,
لَا يُسْأَلُ عَمَّا يَفْعَلُ وَهُمْ يُسْأَلُونَ
the translation of which is, “He is not asked about what He does but they are asked.” He is not asked about what He does – He is the absolute king of all He surveys and free to do as He so wishes. It is His Domain. A child is not asked by his toy soldiers why he caused this one to be victorious and that one to be defeated. And the child did not even create them. Allah is our Creator, and unlike the child, Allah is not capricious – everything He does is just. Allah says in a hadith qudsi,
يا عبادي إني حرمت الظلم على نفسي
“My slaves, I have made injustice forbidden for Myself.” And He says in the Quran,
إِنَّ اللّهَ لاَ يَظْلِمُ النَّاسَ شَيْئاً
the translation of which is, “Allah does not wrong people one bit.” Just because we cannot see the benefit, wisdom or justice in what happens does not mean it is not there. For example, viruses used to be considered universally bad, but now there is research showing how vital some of them are to our good health. And the same is true of many other things we used to consider to be pointless and without benefit such as wasps, which in fact play a vital role in maintaining the delicate balance of the ecosystem. Indeed, the presumption of man that he knows best what is good and what is bad has proven to be one of the biggest threats to that ecosystem, and has brought us to this juncture where it is close to collapse. It is truly we who are ignorant and unjust, not the One who created us. Allah says about man,
إِنَّهُ كَانَ ظَلُومًا جَهُولًا
the translation of which is, “He is indeed wrongdoing and ignorant.” Even those to whom the greatest portion of knowledge was given, the Messengers, were never given an understanding of the full picture. The story of Musa and al-Khidr is ample demonstration of that. Sayyidina Musa was a man of extraordinary knowledge, having received the Shar‘ firsthand from his Lord, and according to what he knew and had been taught, the three acts that al-Khidr did were blameworthy and reprehensible, sinking the boat of a poor fisherman, killing an apparently blameless child and fixing the wall of a rude and inhospitable people for free. But in reality, each and every one of those actions was just and good, as al-Khidr explains when they part company, it was Musa’s knowledge that was lacking. The sinking of the boat stopped it being confiscated by the king for his war effort, the boy was headed for a dark and destructive path that would have brought great grief to both himself and his parents, and the wall protected the treasure of a couple of poor orphans and ensured that it would remain intact until they came of age. When we as human beings, even the very best among us cannot comprehend the wisdom or justice behind the acts of another human being, then how can we doubt the wisdom of our Lord. Allah says,
عَسَى أَن تَكْرَهُواْ شَيْئًا وَهُوَ خَيْرٌ لَّكُمْ وَعَسَى أَن تُحِبُّواْ شَيْئًا وَهُوَ شَرٌّ لَّكُمْ
the translation of which is, “You might very well hate something that is good for you, and you might very well love something that is bad for you.” Allah often shrouds what is good for us in what seems to us to be hateful and vice versa – that is part of the test of existence. The Prophet said,
حفت الجنة بالمكاره
“The Janna is surrounded by hateful things/ by difficulties.” We must remain aware of this and aware that whatever befalls us in life is by the Will of Allah, and Allah only wants good, only wants the best for His slaves. In a hadith from Umar ibn al-Khattab, he narrated that a number of prisoners were brought before the Messenger of Allah, amongst whom was a mother anxiously searching among the other prisoners for her child. When she found him, she lovingly clasped him to her breast and started to breastfeed him. When he saw this, the Messenger turned to his Companions and said,
أَتَرَوْنَ هَذِهِ الْمَرْأَةَ طَارِحَةً وَلَدَهَا فِي النَّارِ
“Could you see this woman tossing her child into the fire?” They replied, “No.” So he said,
اللهُ أَرْحَمُ بِعِبَادِهِ مِنْ هَذِهِ بِوَلَدِهَا
“Allah has more compassion for His slaves than this woman has for her child.” We may have no control over His decree, but we also have no cause to worry about it.” For no matter how things seem, our Lord wants the best for us. If we strive to make the world submit to our will, but events always seem to get away from us, if we rail against our fate, and complain about the injustice of life, and see only the bad in what comes our way, then we will ever feel bitter and ingratitude will fill our hearts, and we will be ranked amongst the losers in this world and the Next. For loss is as much a state of mind as it is a state of circumstance. But if we let go and realise our powerlessness, if we deal with what comes our way with equanimity and sabr, and are grateful for and content with our lot in life, then we will be the great winners in this world and the Next. The Prophet said,
إن الله جعل الروح والراحة في الرضا واليقين
“Allah places solace and rest in contentment and certainty.” This is a promise to the believers. And not only will our times on this world be enjoyable and relatively stress-free, but the dunya will follow, and we will have of it whatever we need to put this world’s affairs in order, and it will bend to our will. And that is because the more acceptance we have of our Lord’s Decree, the more we submit to His plan and His commands, the more aligned become our desires and wishes with His own. His Will will be our will. Allah says,
وَمَا تَشَاؤُونَ إِلَّا أَنْ يَّشَاءَ اللهُ
the translation of which is, “You will not want except that Allah wants.” He will become the mouth with which we speak, the foot with which we walk and the hand with which we strike. The seemingly impossible will become possible. We will see wonders and nothing will stand in our way. Allah says in a hadith qudsi.
يا عبدي أنا أقول للشيء كن فيكون أطعني أجعلك تقول للشيء كن فيكون
“My slave, I say to something, ‘Be!’ and it is. Obey Me and I will make it that you say to something, ‘Be!’ and it will be.” The Prophet and His Companions said, ‘Persia will be ours’ and it was. They said that the Byzantines would be defeated and they were. They said that Islam would spread to every corner of the earth and it did. And this has been repeated time and again throughout history. Every time the Muslims returned to their Lord, the reins of the world were restored to them and seemingly unbeatable enemies melted away. The key was obedience, following the deen of Allah, implementing His commands and avoiding His prohibitions. Nothing more and nothing less. The dunya is the riding-beast of the believer, as the Prophet said, so fulfil your contract of belief and it will take you where you need to go. But do not try to carry it on your own shoulders and bend it to your whim, for it will exhaust you and tire you out and leave you stranded in the middle of nowhere, unhappy, uncertain and unfulfilled.
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.
We have mentioned that everything about our lives is decreed and preordained, our lifespan, our level of provision, the moments of triumph and the moments of tragedy, whether we believe or disbelieve, but that does not mean that we wash our hands of responsibility and view our lives in a fatalistic manner. The Decree is a truth that is beyond our perceptions, part of the Affair of our Lord, and is not something that we should concern ourselves with other than to believe in it and acknowledge it as a fundamental part of existence. The Prophet famously said,
إذا ذُكر القدر فأمسكوا
“If the Decree is mentioned, refrain from delving into it.” In other words, do not involve yourself in asking why things happen, do not dedicate yourselves to trying to understand how it works, for you will not encompass its reality and you will drown. Rather, accept it as a reality and then live your lives according to the limits of our form. We do not know what the future will bring, what will come our way or when we will die or when this existence will cease to be. Allah says,
إِنَّ اللَّهَ عِندَهُ عِلْمُ السَّاعَةِ
the translation of which is, “Allah alone has knowledge of the Final Hour.” We do not, so we live as if we had complete choice, and we have hopes and aspirations for our future, and we make plans and have goals. Indeed, high himma is a necessity, and planning ahead is a requirement for this life. In this existence, we get according to our opinion of our Lord, and if that opinion is low and our expectations narrow, then that is all we shall receive. But if we recognise His abundant and overflowing generosity and have high expectations, high himma, then there are no limits, and whatever good things we need will be ours. Sayyidina Umar said,
لا تصغُرنَّ همَّتُكم؛ فإني لم أرَ أقعدَ عن المكرُمات من صغر الهِمَم
“Do not have low aspirations, for the only ones I see failing to get the good things are those whose aspirations are low.”
As for planning ahead, is not niyya one of the fundamental preconditions for ibada and indeed for life as a whole? The Prophet said,
إنما الأعمال بالنيات
“Actions are only by intention.” And what is a niyya, an intention, if not a plan for the future, an anticipation of something yet to come to pass. We must plan ahead and are instructed to plan ahead, And that act of planning ahead, that intention, is often more significant than the deed itself, and more weighty in the eyes of Allah. The Prophet said,
نية المؤمن خير من عمله
“The niyya of the believer is better than his action.”
And do not be fooled into thinking this only relates to ibadat. Intentions and planning ahead are equally important in what are known as dunyawi matters, such as trade, business or marriage. Indeed, it is one of the cornerstones of our lives on this planet. We do not simply react, we are proactive. We use the faculties and intellects that Allah has given us. The Prophet said,
التدبير نصف العيش
“Planning ahead is half of living.” But all of those plans and intentions must be made on the right basis. As soon as we give precedence to our own whims and opinions over the commands of Allah, it becomes a plot, an act of makr, rather than a plan and brings confusion and destruction in its wake.
The outcome is ever in the hands of Allah, and need not concern us. All we must do is live our lives according to what He had commanded and plan our lives in the light of what He has directed. If we do that, we will have success, and our time on this planet will make sense to us. If we do not, confusion and discontent will be our only reward.
We ask Allah to increase us in knowledge of Him, and purify our intentions. And we ask Him to protect us and give us the best of outcomes and the best of seals.
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.