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Khutba  #34

The Essence and the Core of Islam


I advise you and myself in piety, respect and obedience of Allah (swt) and his divine rules, paying careful attention to our choices and the rules of our action. 


Islam is not only: a religion as the West understands, but Islam is a socio-political order, a world-view, and a way of life.  In Islam all aspects of man's physical, mental and spiritual needs are considered and met. Moreover, Islam is a tradition, which contains many levels of meaning and degrees of application.


Islam is a religion based upon giving in to Allah’s Will, in other words it is surrender (Tasleem) to the Will of God [Allah], based upon knowledge of His Unity (Tawhid).  Islam is the reli­gion of subservience to Allah, the Supreme Reality, from whom all orders or reality issue forth, and to whom everything returns.  Allah is the Origin, the Creator, Ruler, and Sustainer and to Him is the End.  Islam means living according to the Will of Allah Almighty in order to gain peace within, in this world, and felicity in the world to come (the hereafter).  The Holy Quran says in Surah 4 (al-Nisaa), Ayah 69:


وَمَن يُطِعِ اللّهَ وَالرَّسُولَ فَأُوْلَـئِكَ مَعَ الَّذِينَ أَنْعَمَ اللّهُ عَلَيْهِم مِّنَ النَّبِيِّينَ وَالصِّدِّيقِينَ وَالشُّهَدَاء وَالصَّالِحِينَ وَحَسُنَ أُولَـئِكَ رَفِيقًا

And all who obey Allah and His Messenger [Muhammad], are with those upon whom Allah has bestowed favors, of the Prophets, and the Truthful ones, and excellent are these as companions.”

This is a reminder about the belief in and obedience to Allah and His messenger as the essence of Islam.  Those who truly believe and obey Allah and His Messenger are truly strong in their servitude and submission, not only in words but also in deeds, and not only in public but also within their selves.  Such superb believers shall be placed in the rank of those upon whom Allah has bestowed favors —the straight path.  The Straight Path is the Path Muslims implore the Almighty to grant them, be it in their daily prayers or in their supplications.  This is affirmed in Surah 1 (al-Fatiha), Ayah 6-7:


اهدِنَــــا الصِّرَاطَ المُستَقِيمَ   صِرَاطَ الَّذِينَ أَنعَمتَ عَلَيهِمْ غَيرِ المَغضُوبِ عَلَيهِمْ وَلاَ الضَّالِّينَ

“Guide us to the Straight Path,

the path of those upon whom thou hast bestowed favors, not of those inflicted by thy wrath, nor of those gone astray.”

There is a difference between the straight path and the ways, however. The ways may coexist with polytheism, since each of the ways has some distinction or some deficiency, but it is distinguished from the other ways. This may be inferred from the above-mentioned verses as well as from others.  For example, Allah says in Surah 36 (Yassin), Ayah 61:


وَأَنْ اعْبُدُونِي هَذَا صِرَاطٌ مُّسْتَقِيمٌ

 And that you should worship Me; this is the Straight Path


Allah also says in Surah 6 (al-Anaam), Ayah 161:


قُلْ إِنَّنِي هَدَانِي رَبِّي إِلَى صِرَاطٍ مُّسْتَقِيمٍ دِينًا قِيَمًا مِّلَّةَ إِبْرَاهِيمَ حَنِيفًا وَمَا كَانَ مِنَ الْمُشْرِكِينَ َ

Say [O Muhammad]: " As for me, my Lord has guided me to the straight path;  an established (right) religion, the faith of Ibrahim, the upright,

and he was not of the polytheists."

From the above verses it may be concluded that Straight Path is a sort of controller of all aspects of our lives in this world and in the hereafter

Islam is life itself and it incorporates: a) what we do, b) what we make, c) what we think, and d) what we feel, e) and it addresses the question of where we come from and to where we will go.

Imam al-Saadiq (a.s.) said:[1]


هی الطریق الی معرفة الله  وهما صراطان:  صراط فی الدنیا    وصراط فی الاخرة

فامّاالصراط فی الدنیا فهو الامام المفترض الطاعة  من عرفه فی الدنیا واقتدا بهداه  مرّ علی الصراط ( الذى فىالاخره) الذی هو جسر جهنم فی الاخرة،  ومن لم یعرفه فی الدنیا زلـّت قدمه فی الاخرة،  فتردی فی نار جهنم.

"The Straight Path is the path to the knowledge of Allah. 

There are two paths however, one in this world and the other in the next. 

  1. As for the one in this world, it is the path toward the Imam whose obedience is obligatory; whosoever knows him in this world and follows his guidance, shall proceed on the Siraat [Path during Day of Judgment] in the next world;

  2. As to the one who does not know him in this world, his foot shall slip (over that bridge) in the next world, and he shall fall down into the fire of hell."



To an English-speaking audi­ence, Islam is often advertised as a "monotheistic religion in the tradition of Judaism and Christianity” but there is difference between this attitude and Islam’s concept of monotheism.  It is not that there is only one God and that is that. What makes us different from Judaism and Christianity is that we believe in One God (Allah), and believe that only Allah is to be worshipped and, further­more, we must try to provide a good field upon which we establish our lives: individual life, family life, and social life.


Islam emphasizes the fact that Allah is al-Ahad, the One, that He is transcendent vis-a.-vis everything.  That is why the Central Truth of Islam is contained in the Shahaada or testimony of Islam, which among other things means that there is only one God (Allah); there cannot be a like to or a partner unto Him.  This doctrine is so central to Islam that Allah will for­give all sins except the sin of shirk, or of taking a partner unto Him [God].


In fact the core of Islam is wrapped in the message of La Ilaaha illallah: There are no deities but Allah.  In other words, we turn away not only from idols of wood and stone, but also the idols of ideology and grand industrial temples.  Today, humanity, spurred by Western cul­ture, worships many things, but above all it worships itself.  Secularism as the ideology of Western countries emphasizes material life.  In other words they are being sacrificed in the grand material temple. This new shirk tells people to worship themselves.  Everyone is a god!


Islam is not just a part of life; it contains the whole of it.  In fact, Islam incorpo­rates what we do, what we make, what we think and what we feel, and it addresses the question of where we come from and where we are headed.  That is why the Islamic religion always uses the term al-deen as embracing all facets of life, leaving nothing outside its dominion, for it is all-inclusive.  In the traditional Islamic perspective there is nothing secular, nothing outside the realm governed by the religion as ordained by Allah.


Western dream is to be a society in which everyone is his or her own god, and does what he or she wants to do, regardless of consequences.  This may prove to be attractive to many.  In other words, do what you want, do what you feel, and you are going to be right!  Each man is his own judge and jury.


But in Islam a man's role is honorable, because of his sacrifice and responsi­bility. A virtuous man is a pious one, a noble man who works hard, provides for his family, goes out of his way for his wife and is faithful to her.  It is very difficult for Muslim mentality to even understand atheism, to understand how people can live without religion, or to conceive how people can go through life without awareness of the presence of the Transcendent Reality, which is Allah.  Allah tells us in the Quran, Surah 51 (al-Thariyat), Ayah 56 that:


وَمَا خَلَقْتُ الْجِنَّ وَالإنسَ إلاّ لِيَعْبُدُونِ

“[Allah says:] And [tell them O’ Muhammad]:

I have not created the Jin and mankind except to worship Me

So, rather than worshipping God, some people worship ideas and they attribute powers to these ideas. They may believe that gov­ernments are all-powerful, or flags, ethnicities, tribes or languages hold mystical powers, and may take the place of God in their consciousness.


But we, as Muslims, reject all of this, because we know that this is no more than shirk (partnership with God), and shirk is the unforgivable sin.  And why is it unforgivable? Because the essence of Islam is that we believe in Allah, worship Him, and He is the Center of all our efforts.  It is this open-ended link, as an ever-present Path, which exists between man and the Creator that counts; otherwise we would cor­rupt the purity of our beautiful faith.


When Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) came with a Message from God, the Arabs of that time were not atheists.  They believed in Allah, they believed that He was the Supreme deity and, most inter­estingly, they believed He could not be represented by a physical idol.  However, they also believed that many idols interceded on their behalf (over three hundred lesser gods, in fact!).  In other words, the pagans believed that there were channels between the individual and God and that these idols needed to be wor­shipped.


For the end of the 1st part of the Khutba, read Surah Al-Asr, take a short intermission, then start the 2nd part of the Khutba with a short Du’aa.


When forty years old, Muhammad (pbuh) was appointed as Prophet.  One day, while at the Cave of Hiraa, Angel Gabriel brought him revelation from God and informed him that the Almighty had chosen him as the Prophet.  The Quran says in Surah 96 (al-Alaq), Ayah 1:


اقْرَأْ بِاسْمِ رَبِّكَ الَّذِي خَلَقَ

“Read in the name of thy Lord who created…”

After the revelation Muhammad (pbuh) went home, shaken by the experience.  But once again archangel Gabriel descended and revealed another revelation commanding him to reach out to people and deliver the Message.  In the beginning the Prophet propagated the Islamic Message in confidence, and a few men embraced Islam.  At first his wife, Khadija, and then Ali (the 10 year old) accepted his Prophethood.[2]  Then other people began to embrace Islam slowly but surely, all being circumspect about the new faith, but quite enthusiastic among themselves.  For three long years, the Message continued to be confidential but highly magnetic.


By then God commanded Muhammad (pbuh) to invite people to Islam in the open. This was a perilous job because the leaders in Mecca, almost with ranks of Rulers, vehemently opposed the Message.  They preferred to continue with the status quo, even though the silent majority was in poor conditions of harsh local customs, mores, and traditions.


But the Prophet of God has received a Message from God to be conveyed to mankind, notwithstanding how people felt or desired.  The Message was a religion (deen) that is a magnificent way of life with human duties that guarantee the real salvation of man.  It was to free mankind from its shackles and to be its salvation in the earthly life as well as in the Hereafter.


Revealed religion in general consists of two parts: 1) doctrine and 2) practice or methodology.  The doctrine consists of three universal principles: a) unity (Tawhid), b) Prophethood (Nubuwwah), and c) eschatol­ogy (Ma’ad).


As to the practice part of religion, it consists of two kinds: a) morals (akhlaaq), and b) actions (a'mal). The morals and actions related to the person are of two kinds:  first, the quality of faith, sincerity, surrender to God, contentment and humility; and second, the daily prayers, fasting, and sacrifice. The morals and actions related to society are also of two kinds: first, the quality of love for other men, wishing well for others, justice and gener­osity; and second, the duty to carry out social intercourse, trade and exchange, etc.


We pray Allah to help us deliver the message of Islam, share it with others, to be faithful advisors, and grant us the opportunity to achieve both knowledge and piety.  We ask Allah to forgive us and forgive our fathers and mothers, and grant us salvation in this world and in the hereafter.


Finally, let us read Surah Al-Nasr with a short Du’aa to close the Khutba.


[1] Ma’ani al-Akhbar, Shaikh Mufeed, Page 254, Look at the word: Al-Siraat Al-Mustaqim.

[2] Tarikh Abi al-Fida, Vol. 1, Page 116.  Also Seerah of Ibn Hisham, Vol. 1, Page 240.

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