Hajj [Pilgrimage]

Dear brothers and sisters: My talk to you today is Hajj and its benefits. Allah says in the Qurâ??an: â??And proclaim to the people the Hajj (pilgrimage). They will come to you on foot and on every lean camel. They will come from every distant pass that they may witness (i.e., attend) benefits for themselves and mention the name of Allah on known (i.e., specific) days over what He has provided for them of (sacrificial) animals. So eat of them and feed the miserable and poor.â? (Al-Hajj: 27-28)

Dear brothers and sisters: Hajj is one of the greatest signs of Allah that what Muhammad brought is, in reality, the religion of truth; for no human power can gather pilgrims every year from all parts of the world with hearts full of yearning and love, who experience difficulties yet rejoice at leaving their homes and families, feeling that the hours of performing Hajj are the greatest of their lives and spending generously for this purpose.

Ibn â??Abbaas said, â??When Allah commanded the Prophet Abraham to proclaim Hajj amongst the people, he said, â??My Lord, how can I convey the message to the people when my voice cannot reach them?â?? Allah said, â??You call; it is Our duty to make it reach them,â?? so he stood in position and said, â??O you people! Your Lord has chosen a house, so perform pilgrimage to it.â?? It was said that the mountains were levelled and his voice reached all parts of the earth. All that were in the wombs were made to hear the call and everything that heard it responded. So those for whom Allah has decreed Hajj until the Day of Judgment responded, â??Labbayka Allahumma Labbayk (Here I am at your service, O Allah, here I am).â??â?

In this regard, I would like to say that Allah has mentioned it clearly that there are benefits for mankind. These types of benefits are indefinite in number. These benefits are not restricted to one particular area, or time of history. The benefits one may get from the performance of hajj are much more than to be counted. These benefits are good for people in this world and in the hereafter.

Dear brothers and sisters: let me mention some of the benefits for the individuals and for the Muslim society.

As far as the individual benefits are concerned, the following is a partial list of these benefits:

Renewal of the remembrance of Allah and strengthening the relation between the individual and the Creator. The chanting of the pilgrim is nothing more than a confirmation from the creature to Allah, i.e. by saying: Lab-bayk Allahum-ma Lab-bayk, Lab-bayk laa sharika laka Lab-bayk

Remembrance of the Day of Judgement. During Hajj the presence of few million peoples gathering at Arafat in one place, at one time for one purpose, is an indication and a sign of a hereafter. The dress of white towels and clothes are sign of coffins. Such type of remembrance is very important in making a person to remember death and the resurrection.

The performance of Hajj wipes out the sins of a pilgrim. This is a type of a new beginning that helps a person not to lose hope in this world. On the contrary he would strive effectively to please Allah after his sins and mistakes are wiped off. In this regard Abu Hurairah (ra) narrated that Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) said: â??whoever performs pilgrimage without uttering immodest speech or abusing others, he returns just a new-born ( Muslim)

A person sacrifices through the performance of Hajj. He leaves his family, business and country. He spends lots of money, time, effort and energy; and he bears lots of difficulties due to travelling; all of these are for the pleasure and love of Allah. This type of sacrifice helps the individual to overcome all his difficulties in his daily life. The person who strives and sacrifices is amore successful person than a one who does not strive and sacrifice.

The performance of Hajj is a theoretical and practical training course for the individual on the following habits and manners: Patience, Perseverance, humility, organization, management, tolerance, co-operation, kindness, sympathy, politeness, affection, concern, helpfulness etcâ?¦

Dear brothers and sisters: We hope and pray that every Muslim make an effort to perform Hajj at least once in his life-time and let your Hajj be an act of repentance from sin. Finally, we ask Allah for forgiveness and to accept our deeds and prayers.

Friday Khutbah: Muslim Identity – His Aqheedah

Friday Khutbah: Muslim Identity – His Aqheedah

Brothers and Sisters in Islam: Firstly, I welcome you all to a new academic year especially the new comers and the ones who are starting their university life as of this year. The official Islamic society welcomes you and we pray to Allah (swt) that your studies at City University will be a cause of your success in this life and hereafter.

Secondly, I enjoin you and myself to fear Allah, the way He should be feared. And truly the ones who have taqwa of the Allah (swt) have acquired a great treasure from Allah and live under the pleasure of Allah (swt). It is only through Allahâ??s (swt) fear that one may attains salvation. The true success in this life and Hereafter. Allah (SWT) Says:

Know that indeed the Auliaya of Allah no fear shall come upon them nor shall they grieve.

Those who believed (in Allah and Islamic Monotheism) and used to fear Allah much.

For them are glad tidings in the life the present world and in the Hereafter. No change can there be in the Words of Allah. This is indeed the supreme success. (Yunus, 62-64)

Brothers and Sisters: The most important issue in the life of every individual and every society is its identity. It is only the identity that characterises the value and status of a person and a nation as a whole. And at this time and place there lies many confusions around the realities of the affairs. One may not be able to find the true identity and the truth of many things easily, because the truth is been concealed or covered with falsehood and the falsehood is been beatified. One may even feel confused about his own identity.

The news provides us with an insight into the world around us. A world, where the Straight Path is called â??Islamic extremismâ??, and where all Muslims are â??terroristsâ??, and the Arabs are â??women beatersâ?? and Islam is a â??barbaric religionâ??. So we are told by writers, thinkers and intellectuals around this country and the Globe.

And hearing these slogans of falsehood over time, it creates a feeling of shame if constantly the word Muslim is used synonymously with everything bad in the world. When a Muslim no longer feels pride in Islam, and the Muslim is isolated and looked down upon by the rest of the society.

And the poor confused young Muslim who has probably started university may feel he has to blend into the society and take an apologetic approach for his faith which constitutes the essence of his soul and body. He/she would sometimes compromise his deen for his friends that he hangs out with, because feeling like you do not fit in with the majority can make a person feel very lonely. So, to combat this loneliness, the brother or sister sometimes can end up doing things we normally do not do and sometimes, even things we know we should not – just to help to fit in a little. After all who wants to be alone and isolated?

Have you ever wanted to just â??fit inâ?? or just go with the flow? There is so much social pressure on you to fit in, especially in the university where the day-to day life is about who has a boyfriend or girlfriend and who did what at so and soâ??s party and pub discussions.

It is never easy to be the one who stands out in a crowd all the time. But I say to you and myself stand out of the crowd. Be different. Be unique. Be the one who is identified as being a Pious, Righteous, Honest, Truthful, practising Muslim unlike many. Be a good student. Be the best in all that you do. Because you have been given the light of Iman, that most of humanity are deprived of. And you deserve to be the best even though the protectors of Devil may hate that.

Allah (SWT) Says:

â??Is he who was dead (without Faith by ignorance and disbelief) and We gave him life (By knowledge and Faith) and set for him a light (of Belief) whereby he can walk amongst men – like him who is in the darkness (of disbelief, polytheism and hypocrisy) from which he can never come out? Thus it is made fair-seeming to the disbelievers that which they used to do.â?? (Al- Anam, 122)

And know that the true Glory can never be achieved in the absence of true faith, Islamic Monotheism and high moral values. And all other faiths and beliefs are nothing but a mirage and a fantasy with no true and pure identity.

Allah (SWT) Says:

â??Then as for the foam it passes away as scum upon the banks while that which is good for mankind remains in the earth. Thus Allah sets forth parables for the truth and falsehoodâ?? (Ar-Rad 17)

And whatever is identified as unislamic and goes against the natural state of being -Fitrah, Islamic Monotheism – will surely be destroyed for the falsehood is created to be banished.

â??Say: Truth has come and falsehood has vanished. Surely falsehood is ever bound to vanish.â??

Brothers and Sisters! What is Islamic Identity that we have to strive to acquire and maintain? Is it just a Muslim name that you may have or you wear the Hijab or keep a beard?

The Islamic Identity is taken to mean the Aqeedah of a Muslim that manifests itself in the way a Muslim lives his life – an all-encompassing set of beliefs, and actions as derived from the Qurâ??an and the example of Muhammad (s.a.w). The Islamic identity is that which separates us from the Non Muslims.

â??He named you Muslims before (in former scriptures) and in this (revelation) that the Messenger may be a witness over you and you may be witnesses over the people. So establish the prayer and give zakah and hold fast to Allah. He is your protector and excellent is the Protector, and excellent is the Helper.â?? A-Hajj

Brothers and Sisters: Creed or aqeedah is what forms the identity of a Muslim or a believer and an Islamic society as a whole. This belief is the basis of life for a believer. Tawhid is what a Muslim lives for and dies for. Because the correct belief in Allah will liberate the Muslimâ??s mind and his heart from confusions and diseases. And if this Aqeedah be spread in the society it will establish the rule of Allah upon the earth and the blessings of Allah from the skies and the earth is showered upon them.

Allah (SWT) Says:

â??And if the people of the town had believed (meaning in At-Tawhid) and Taqwa (piety), certainly We should have opened for them blessings from the heaven and the earth, but they belied the Messengers. So We took them for what they used to earnâ?? (Al-Araf, 96)

The call and Dawah of all the Prophets and that of the Muhammad (SAW) was to Allah alone and to His worship with no partners. And this is what the prophets and the followers were identified as. Pious believers who called to Allah. And this is what differentiates the Muslims from non-Muslims. The followers of the prophets from their opponents. And finally the people of paradise from the people of Hell.

Allah (SWT) Says:

â??Say (O Muhammad) this is my way, I invite unto Allah with sure knowledge, I and whoever follows me. And Glorified and Exalted is Allah. And I am not of the polytheistsâ? (Yousuf, 108)

Ibadallah! Know that the path to the paradise is one and one only. And only one type of identifications will be accepted by Allah (swt). And this identification is nothing but the Kalimatu taqhwa, Kalimatu Taieabh, Kalimatun Baqhiah, Kalimatu Tawhid nad this And this is what the civilisation of ours is founded upon. Islam

Allah (SWT) says:

â??And whoever desires other than Islam as religion – never will it be accepted from him, and he, in the Herafter, will be among the losers.â?? Al Imran 85

The noblest civilization the human history has ever known is that of Islam. The greatest quality of this religion is its pure Islamic monotheism aqheedah that encourages knowledge, recognises reason, takes care of man and aims at benefiting mankind and save them from harm. It also protects manâ??s fundamental rights, preserves his religion, honours and nurtures his mind and positively elevates his soul.

A religion that encompasses all the benefits to mankind. In its acts of worship, laws of transaction, legal punishment and disciplinary laws lies what purifies the individual as well as the community, and protects the society from anarchy and disturbance and prevents people from committing sins and heinous crimes and evils acts. This is how the Islamic civilisation is identified.

And know that all of this is achieved because Islam is from Allah (SWT) and it is based upon the creed of Monotheism and Oneness of Allah.

And a member of this civilization i.e. Muslim is identified as the one who makes his worship only to Allah and that includes that all supplications, sacrifice, vows, seeking aid, utmost fear, love, hope and all other acts of worship which must be solely done to Allah. He does this under the guidance of The Messenger of Mercy (saw)

Allah (SWT) Says:

â??Say (O Muhammad) truly, my Lord has guided me to a Straight Path a right religion of Ibrahim Hanifa and he was not of the Polytheists.

Say indeed my prayer, my sacrifice, my living and my dying are for Allah, the Lord of the Worlds. He has no partner. And of this I have been commanded, and I am the first of the Muslimsâ??

Unfortunately, some Muslims think that they have a perfect and complete identifications i.e. the aqeedah because they simply utter La ilah illa Allah or that they have read an article or a booklet in Aqeedah or that they have read an Aqheedah book in ten minutes. But, the reality is that correct and comprehensive Aqeedah is not attainable in ten minutes reading or uttering something which you do not even know in detail and have not grasped its contents.

Brothers and Sisters! First and Foremost issue that a Muslim should understand is to find out from where he takes his Aqheedah from. The belief must be taken from the correct source and firmly grounded into the hearts of the people and put into practice.

So, Where do the codes of belief or Aqheedah come from? Where should the Muslim take his creed from? What book is the best for the issues of Aqheedah?

Now Inshallah, I will try to explain to you the source that the correct Aqeedah should be taken from and studied and put into practice. The source of such knowledge is of utmost importance because it forms the identity and the basis on which the Islamic nation is existent upon.

Know, brothers and sisters that first and foremost import point of reference is Book of Allah and the Sunnah of the Messenger of Allah (SAW).

Allah (SWT) says regarding the Quran:

â??Indeed, this Quran guides to that which is most just and right and gives glad tidings to the believers who work deed of righteousness, that they shall have a great rewardâ?? (Al-Estra 9)

Allah (SWT) says:

â??This is a book which We have revealed unto you in order that you might lead mankind out of darkness into light by their Lordâ??s Leave to the Path of the All-Mighty, the Owner of all Praiseâ??(Ibrahim 1)

Allah (SWT) says:

â??A Book whereof the Verses are explained in detail – a Quran in Arabic for people who knowâ?? (Fusselat 3)

Allah (SWT) says regarding the high status of Prophet (saw) and the fact we must follow his way:

â??There has certainly been for you in the Messenger of Allah an excellent example to be followed for anyone whose hope is in Allah and the Last Day and (who)remembers Allah oftenâ?? Al Ahzab 21

â??And whatsoever the Messenger gives you, take it, and whatsoever he forbids you abstain from itâ?? (Al-Hashr, 7)

Allah (SWT) says:

â??And he (Muhammad SAW) does not speak of his own desires. It is only a revelation revealed.â?? (An-Najm 3,4)

The second source is the tool for understanding the Book of Allah and the Sunnah of the Prophet (SAW). And it cannot be anything except the understudying of the Salaf or the first three blessed generation of Muslims. For they understand the religion better than any other one person or group. They were the ones who witnessed its revelation and understood its meanings, practiced it, taught it and lived by it and died for it.

Allah (SWT) says:

â??And whoever contradicts and opposes the Messenger after the right path has been shown clearly to him, and follows other than the path of the believersâ?? We shall keep him in the path he has chosen and burn him in the Hell – what an evil destinationâ?? (Al-Nisa, 115)

Imam Al-Awzaaee saidâ?? So make yourself patient upon the Sunnah, and stop where the people (Salaf) stopped and say what they said and refrain from what they refrained from. Travel upon the path of your righteous salaf for verily sufficient is what was sufficient for them.â?? (Al Hujjah)

Sheikh Abdulghadir Al-Jeelani (rh) was once asked â??Has there ever been a Wali of Allah upon a creed (aqheedah) other than that of Ahmad ibn Hanbal? He said â??No, there has never been and there will never be.â??

The Third and final source Brother and Sisters, for the acquisition of Aqeedah is the Ijma of the Ummah. And by Ijma we mean the consensus of the companions of the Prophet (SAW). Some may say that the consensus is only for the issues of fiqh and not Aqeedah but the reality is that their consensus in both matters of fiqh and belief. And its proof is the verse we recited earlier.

These are the three main sources that Muslim must refer to for his Aqeedah and should believe it inwardly and outwardly.

Indeed this is the great guidance from Allah (swt) that has been sent to save the humanity from filth of ignorance and disobedience to the knowledge and obedience built upon pure monotheism.

Allah (SWT) says:

â??Then if there comes to you guidance from Me, then whoever follows My Guidance he shall neither go astray, nor shall be distressed.

But whosoever turns away from My Reminder indeed, for him is a life of hardship, and We shall raise him up blind on the Day of Resurrection.

He will say O my Lord Why have you raised my up blind, while I had sight before.

Allah will say Like this Our signs came unto you but you disregarded them so this Day you will be neglected.â?? (Ta-Ha, 123-126)

So there is a lot more to being Muslim than a having a Muslim name. It is something you were born with, a natural state of your being. Nothing will ever change that except you. And to preserve that you would have to strive hard especially at your young age and in this society.

From the fruits of having the right Muslim identity or correct belief in Allah (SWT) and soundness of oneâ??s Tawhid is that it purifies the intention and the worship for Allah alone, since He is the Creator who has no partner. And He (SWT) is the only deity that deserves worship. A Sincere believer in Allah (swt), frees his heart from superstitious beliefs and fortune tellers

A Muslim with a true Muslim identity would put his complete trust and reliance in the One who can be totally and completely relied upon meaning Allah (swt). Because it Allah (swt) who has full knowledge and ability for everything therefore you put your complete reliance upon Him.

A true Muslim will fight despair and feeling of uncertainly. True belief and Iman, gives a believer certainty, confidence and power to persevere. If he is in bliss and happiness, he will not be arrogant, but will rather praise his Lord and thank Him and if he is afflicted with calamity, he will not despair, but will rather have patience and be satisfied with that which was decreed for him. He believes in Ghadha wa Qhadar and knows that all the things that he does is from the decree of Allah and that his actions would cause him to go to Paradise or to Hell. So nothing will then be able to divert him from his faith and his seeking for the pleasure of his Lord. He will rather increase in purity, sincerity, truthfulness, patience and firmness.

The Messenger of Allah (SAW) said,

â??The affair of a believer is wonderful; all his affairs are good for him and that is for none except the believer. When he gets happiness he thanks Allah for that, and that is good for him and when a calamity befalls him, he is patient and that is also good for him.â?? (Muslim)

On the contrary a slave with doubtful faith or a faith built upon ignorance and not knowledge is a weak creation. In this weakness, when he is inflicted with harm, he gives up in despair. If he receives good, he becomes stingy. In both situations, he is worried and fearful.

True belief in Allah will cause determination and seriousness in affairs, meaning that no opportunity will arise to do a righteous deed, except that the believer undertakes it, hoping in Allahâ??s reward. He would do his utmost to be empowered by acquiring knowledge first and foremost about his deen and the knowledge he would need to live an honourable life. He will enlighten his heart by being righteous and pious.

The Prophet (SAW) said:

â??A strong believer is better and more beloved to Allah than a weak believer, but in both there is goodness. Persist in what brings benefit to you, seek Allahâ??s aid, and do not weaken. If ant calamity befalls you, do not say: â??If only I had done such and suchâ?? but say: â??Allah decrees whatever He willsâ??. For indeed â??ifâ?? is an opening for the devils actions. (Muslim)

And as Sheikh ul Islam Ibn Taymiah said in his famous saying:

â??What can my enemies do to harm me? If they imprison me it is privacy and solitude, and if they kill, then I am a martyr, (Shaheed), and if they expel me, then it is travelling for the sake of Allahâ??

Belief in the Allahâ??s decree causes mental relief and tranquillity of the heart No one has a healthier life, or a stress-free soul, or a greater sense of tranquillity, than a person who truly believes in the Divine Decree. The soul experiences no anxiety and the mind is free form confusion. So the person is pleased with Allah as his Lord and Maintainer, and his Judge and Legislator. Hence his heart is at peace and his breast opens up to Islam. And he would not exchange his state for anything else in this universe. Allah (SWT) says:

â??Those who believed (i.e. Islamic Monotheism), and whose hearts find rest in the remembrance of Allah, verily in the remembrance of Allah hearts find restâ?? (Ar-Rad, 28)

Allah (swt) only required you respect yourself by choosing to practice your religion, and for doing that, He offers you Ever lasting peace and happiness. You see, He has already fit you into the â??inâ?? crowd by making you a Muslim, so respect that by respecting yourself and never, ever sell out for less than Paradise.

Brother and Sisters, if one perfects his true Muslim identity through fulfilling the conditions of La ila illa Allah, He will Attain true happiness in this world and in the Hereafter. Some people, who are deluded and deceived, try to find happiness through something that has no reality to it, nothing but an imagination. The rich amongst them, thinks that happiness is, his health and his wealth. And the poor of them, thinks, that it is in gaining more money, garments and wealth. And the politician of them thinks that it is, achieving his goals and the smartness of making injustice appear like justice. And, the one in love thinks that, happiness is the reunion with his beloved one, and fascinations through illusions. The truth is O Servants of Allah, that such people are ignorant, and deceivers. They all live their lives with fear, uncertainty, humiliation and misery while having no true identity or individuality. But true believer, O Servants of Allah, is the one who sees the reality of happiness, the eternal happiness.

A true Muslim is identified as the one who fears of Allah so that he does not feel safe from the punishment of Allah, therefore he keeps his duties towards his Lord. He also has deep love for Allah (saw) as well as the people of Allah. He also puts his Hope in Allah so that Allah (swt) would forgive him and admit him to the paradise.

A true Muslim is content with whatever he has and he is patient, believing in Allahâ??s (swt) Divine Decree. Even if the Decree goes against his wishes, as Allahâ??s Decree can never be averted. Gratification lies in receiving the decree of Allah with contentment whilst acknowledging that all things come from Allah and that He has the ultimate command and absolute power over His creatures.

A true Muslim gives Thanks to Allah (swt) and shows his gratitude to his Lord.

A Muslim with true Muslim identity shows humility to Allah (swt) even after you acquires status, wealth etc because this mercy is from Allah (swt), his Lord.

A Muslim with true Muslim identity would give dawah to all in his community and where he studies i.e. university especially his classmates. He knows that the best speech is inviting people to Allah (swt), with wisdom and best manners. He also knows that the best dawah can be his own deed. So he perfect his own self first and foremost. Allah (swt) says:

â??And who is better in speech than one who invites to Allah and does righteousness and says: â??I am of the Muslimsâ?? Al Fussilat 33

A true believer is Courageous salve of Allah (swt), because the believer knows that his death is already written and it will not miss him.

A true believer is charitable and he helps the needy from his fellow human beings. And he only wishes Allahâ??s pleasure in his action, nothing else, not even a thanks.

Tawhid (Islamic Monotheism) is the only belief capable of salvaging mankind from its misery and despair it is the only guarantor of its happiness. As it was experienced by one of the pious people of the past who said â??If the people of paradise live like I am right now, then indeed they live in a kind life, and a happy lifeâ?.

The faith that the Prophet (SAW) established its pillars is the source of all good and felicity for those who follow its guidance. This faith is the pure tree with ripe and everlasting fruits. Allah (SWT) says,

â??See you not how Allah set forth a parable? – A goodly word as a goodly tree, whose root is firmly fixed and its branches (reach) to the sky. Giving its fruits at all times by the leave of its Lordâ?¦â? (Ibraahiem: 24).

A nation that is established upon the correct Islamic creed and its life is controlled by the realities of faith is a powerful nation in itself; a completely independent nation that has natural immunity that enables it – with permission of Allah – to overcome all hardships and trials. A nation that calamities and trials only increases it in good, reform and constructive life. And this Aqeedah nurtures the best rules of conducts and moral values to the nation. This Aqeedah teaches every individual the best of Akhlaq and the best ways to deal with people and to be just even to the sworn enemies of the nation.

Allah (SWT) says:

â??O you who believe, Stand out firmly for Allah as just witnesses, and let not the enmity and hatred of others make you avoid justice. Be just, that is nearer to piety, and fear Allah, Allah is Well-Acquainted with what you doâ?? (Al-Maidah, 8)

It is a nation that has been promised a clear victory as mentioned in Surah An-Noor Verse 55 on the condition that the believers must keep their identity fully which is to worship Allah without any associating any partners with Him. And if they maintain this condition it also is the cause of peace and security in this life and hereafter

Allah (SWT) says:

â??It is those who believe and confuse not their belief with Zulm, for them only there is security and they are the guidedâ??

And Prophet (SAW) explained that Zulm is to be â??shirk or ascribing others beside Allahâ??

And finally brothers and sisters, the correct belief in Allah is the cause of your saviour on the day whereon neither wealth nor sons will avail except the one who brings to Allah a clean heart (clean from shirk and Nifaq hypocrisy), and the example for this clean heart, is that of Ibrahim (AS) the leader of Muahedeen.

â??When he came to his Lord with a pure heartâ?? (Saffat, 84)