Let us practice Taq’wa (piety and righteousness) in our daily life, and let us revere Allah and obey His Divine Commands. Let us be heedful of our choices in this life and the likely consequences of such choices in the hereafter. May Allah provide us all with the spirit of righteousness by way of His Divine obedience as our means of salvation.
Allah tells us in Surah 3 (Aali Imran), Ayah 102:
يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُواْ اتَّقُواْ اللّهَ حَقَّ تُقَاتِهِ وَلاَ تَمُوتُنَّ إِلاَّ وَأَنتُم مُّسْلِمُونَ
“Oh you who believe! Take heed of Allah with the degree due Him, and do not die but as Muslims.”
We must ask then, how to understand Islam? Who is a Muslim? In what does a Muslim believe? What must he or she do? How does someone become Muslim?
Allah informs us in this specific Ayah about two issues, one is Taq’wa (piety) and the other is Islam. Allah wants from people to put themselves in the way of Islam and to practice Taq’wa (piety) to the fullest extent. Islam and piety are not separable. If a person wishes to practice Taq’wa and be a pious man, he must perform all the orders revealed from Allah, and by so doing he becomes a Muslim in a real sense.
The Arabic word “Islam” simply means “giving in, or submission” and derives from a word meaning “peace”. In a religious context Islam means “willful and complete submission to the Will of Allah”. Allah as we all know is the Arabic name for God, the Creator, the Almighty, a name used by Muslims and Christians Arabs, and other divine religions alike.
Islam is not a new religion, for it is the same truth that God had revealed through all His Prophets, and from them to every person. Allah instructs us in Surah 2 (al-Baqarah), Ayah 136 as follows:
قُولُواْ آمَنَّا بِاللّهِ وَمَا أُنزِلَ إِلَيْنَا وَمَا أُنزِلَ إِلَى إِبْرَاهِيمَ وَإِسْمَاعِيلَ وَإِسْحَاقَ وَيَعْقُوبَ وَالأسْبَاطِ وَمَا أُوتِيَ مُوسَى وَعِيسَى وَمَا أُوتِيَ النَّبِيُّونَ مِن رَّبِّهِمْ لاَ نُفَرِّقُ بَيْنَ أَحَدٍ مِّنْهُمْ وَنَحْنُ لَهُ مُسْلِمُونَ
“Say [O People]: “We believe in Allah and in what has been revealed, and in what was revealed to Ibrahim, Ismail, Ishaaq, Ya'qoob and the Tribes, and in what was given to Musa and Isa, and in what was given to the Prophets from their Lord; We make no distinction between them and to Allah we do submit (as Muslims)”
Allah also mentions in Surah 2 (al-Baqarah), Ayah 133, the answer given to Prophet Yaqoob when he asked his sons while dying, “What will you worship after me?”
قَالُواْ نَعْبُدُ إِلَـهَكَ وَإِلَـهَ آبَائِكَ إِبْرَاهِيمَ وَإِسْمَاعِيلَ وَإِسْحَاقَ إِلَـهًا وَاحِدًا وَنَحْنُ لَهُ مُسْلِمُونَ
We will serve [worship] your God and the God of your fathers, Ibrahim, Ismail, and Ishaq; One Lord only, and to Him we do submit [as Muslims]”
We must mention that Islam is both a religion and a complete way of life. Muslims follow a religion of peace, mercy and forgiveness. About 1½ billion Muslims can be counted these days, they range from vast array of races, nationalities, and cultures. They can be anywhere across the globe, from the southern Philippines to Nigeria, and from Russia to America. All are united by their common Islamic faith, a faith that is sturdy, enriching, and very rewarding.
As Muslims we all believe in One Unique Incomparable God, and in the angels created by Him, as well as in the Prophets who received God’s revelations, which they brought forth to mankind. In addition, as Muslims we believe in the Day of Judgment and the individuals’ accountability for their own deeds during their earthly lives.
Yes, Muslims believe in the chain of Prophets including Adam, Noah, Abraham, Moses, Jesus and others. But God’s final message to man was revealed to Muhammad (pbuh), the Prophet of Islam. This message was a reconfirmation of the eternal message and a summation of all that has gone before.
The teachings of Islam are not limited to the above principles, since besides that Islam has many teachings that involve our actions, whether individual or of social affairs. Allah says in the Quran Surah 2 (al-Baqarah), Ayah 177:
لَّيْسَ الْبِرَّ أَن تُوَلُّواْ وُجُوهَكُمْ قِبَلَ الْمَشْرِقِ وَالْمَغْرِبِ وَلَـكِنَّ الْبِرَّ مَنْ آمَنَ بِاللّهِ وَالْيَوْمِ الآخِرِ وَالْمَلآئِكَةِ وَالْكِتَابِ وَالنَّبِيِّينَ وَآتَى الْمَالَ عَلَى حُبِّهِ ذَوِي الْقُرْبَى وَالْيَتَامَى وَالْمَسَاكِينَ وَابْنَ السَّبِيلِ وَالسَّآئِلِينَ وَفِي الرِّقَابِ وَأَقَامَ الصَّلاةَ وَآتَى الزَّكَاةَ وَالْمُوفُونَ بِعَهْدِهِمْ إِذَا عَاهَدُواْ وَالصَّابِرِينَ فِي الْبَأْسَاء والضَّرَّاء وَحِينَ الْبَأْسِ أُولَـئِكَ الَّذِينَ صَدَقُوا وَأُولَـئِكَ هُمُ الْمُتَّقُونَ
“It is not righteousness that you turn your faces simply to the east or west [in prayers], but righteousness is that one Believes in Allah, the Last Day, the Angels, the Book, the Prophets.
And to give of his wealth [despite his love for it] to the kinfolk, the orphans, those who beg, the wayfarer, those who ask, and to emancipate the captives, and the ones who keep up prayer, pay the Zakat, fulfill the promises [when a promise is made], and who are patient in distress and affliction. Such are the People of Truth, [verily] they are the Pious [Muttaqeen].”
Islam as a complete religion guides our lives, as individuals, as a family, or as groups, it also guides our social affairs. If we want to be true Muslims we must not only learn the great teachings of Islam but also perform them well. By this we can attain a truly good life and realize salvation in this world and in the hereafter.
Imam al-Saadiq was once quoted as follows:
I ask Allah to help us in applying these guidelines and forgive us our sins and efface our bad deeds and take our souls in the company of the righteous.
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.
In Nahjul Balaaghah, Sermon 104, Imam Ali says:
الحمد لله الذی شرع الاسلام فسهل شرائعه لمن ورده، واعز ارکانه علی من غالبه
فجعله أمنا لمن عقله، وسلما لمن دخله، وبرهانا لمن تکلم به
وشاهدا لمن خاصم عنه، ونورا لمن استضاء به، وفهما لمن عقل
ولبا لمن تدبر، وایة لمن توسم، وتبصرة لمن عزم، وعبرة لمن اتعظ ، ونجاة لمن صدق، وثقة لمن توکل
وراحة لمن فوض، وجُنة لمن صبر
فهو ابلج المناهج، واوضح الولائج
مشرف المنار، مشرق الجواد، مضیء المصابیح، کریم المضمار، رفیع الغایة، جامع الحلبة، متنافس السبقة، شریف الفرسان
التصدیق منهاجه، والصالحات مناره، والموت غایته
والدنیا مضماره، والقیامة حلبته، والجنة سبقته
“Let the Praise be to Allah, who established Islam and made it undemanding for those interested, who gave it strength against anyone who tries to overpower it.
Then Ali continues:
▪ So Allah made it [Islam ] a source of peace for the one who understands it,
▪ A safety for the person who enters it,
▪ An argument for the person who speaks about it,
▪ A witness for the person who defends it,
▪ A light for the person who seeks light from it,
▪ An understanding for the person who seeks its guidance,
▪ A wisdom for the person who studies it,
▪ A means of guidance for the person who perceives it,
▪ A sight for the person who fetches it,
▪ A lesson for the person who seeks its advice,
▪ A salvation for the person who applies it,
▪ A confidence for the person who trusts it,
▪ A pleasure for the person who entrusts it, and
▪ A shield for the person who endures it.
Imam Ali continues:
“Islam is the most bright of all paths and the clearest of all passages. Islam has dignified the beacons and brightened the highways of understanding. Islam has prestigious fields of activity and high objectives. Islam has a collection of knights who approach it eagerly and whose riders are honorable.
▪ The testimony to Allah and the Prophet is Islam’s way,
▪ the good deeds are Islam’s beacons,
▪ death is Islam’s terminal,
▪ our earthly world is Islam’s testing grounds,
▪ and Islam’s recompense is during the Day of Judgment,
▪ while Paradise is its point of approach.
A related subject to be discussed is: Unity among the Muslim Community. Surah 3 (Aali Imran), Ayah 102-103 says:
يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُواْ اتَّقُواْ اللّهَ حَقَّ تُقَاتِهِ وَلاَ تَمُوتُنَّ إِلاَّ وَأَنتُم مُّسْلِمُونَ
وَاعْتَصِمُواْ بِحَبْلِ اللّهِ جَمِيعًا وَلاَ تَفَرَّقُواْ وَاذْكُرُواْ نِعْمَتَ اللّهِ عَلَيْكُمْ إِذْ كُنتُمْ أَعْدَاء فَأَلَّفَ بَيْنَ قُلُوبِكُمْ فَأَصْبَحْتُم بِنِعْمَتِهِ إِخْوَانًا وَكُنتُمْ عَلَىَ شَفَا حُفْرَةٍ مِّنَ النَّارِ فَأَنقَذَكُم مِّنْهَا كَذَلِكَ يُبَيِّنُ اللّهُ لَكُمْ آيَاتِهِ لَعَلَّكُمْ تَهْتَدُونَ
“Oh you who believe be heedful of Allah as He should be heeded, and die not unless you are Muslims. And hold firmly to the Rope of Allah, altogether, and be not divided. And remember Allah’s favor on you, when you were enemies but He joined your hearts together so by His Grace you became brethren, and you were on the brink of a pit of fire, then He saved you from it…”
The Muslim community is founded on a number of sublime principles. A very basic principle is unity, this unity is not just an association with people on the basis of color, race, or tribal affiliation, but it is a revolutionary concept. The unity in Islam is an association in faith. Persons who believe in Allah, the hereafter, the angels and the chain of Prophets are in the Ummah of Islam, no matter their nationalities, color, or other parameters, since the criteria consist of faith and doing good deeds.
Prophet Muhammad describes the Ummah of Islam as closely compacted edifice. This description actually refers to the unity of the persons in struggle in the way of Allah.
In another Hadith the Prophet describes the true Ummah of Islam as a body, which suffers with fever, and fatigue if any of its members is ailing. The Hadith says:
The question is: How can we unite the Muslim Ummah in the present time. As you know one of the big achievements that our Prophet (pbuh) accomplished during his lifetime was establishing the brotherhood between Ansaar and Muhajiroon. After this event the Arab inhabitants linked as friends and brothers and they were successful to help the Prophet in reaching his goals.
In Islam’s point of view all Muslims are brothers in spirit. The Holy Quran says in Surah 49 (al-Hujuraat), Ayah 10:
إِنَّمَا الْمُؤْمِنُونَ إِخْوَةٌ فَأَصْلِحُوا بَيْنَ أَخَوَيْكُمْ وَاتَّقُوا اللَّهَ لَعَلَّكُمْ تُرْحَمُونَ
“Lo! the Believers are as brothers, so make reconciliation among your brothers, and fear Allah that you may receive mercy”
If you help your brother in this life, Allah will help you ten times in the other life. To show them that there is no difference between Muslims, the Prophet took many of his meals with his own servants.
Bilal al-Habashi can be taken as a big example for even-handedness in Islam with no discrimination, be it between Arab and non-Arab; white and black, or rich and poor. Bilal was a black slave from Africa, and he was chosen exclusively to call for the Athan for prayer. A 2nd example was Salman the Persian, whom the Prophet (pbuh) made along with Bilal in the status of Islamic brotherhood. The Prophet (pbuh) even changed the name of Salman al-Farsi to Salman al-Muhammadi; for such was Salman’s status in Islam. A 3rd example of non-discrimination was when Muhammad (pbuh) arranged for Zulfa, the famous rich lady, to marry Jowaibir, the black man of poor means. The Holy Quran tells us about this matter in Surah 48 (al-Fat’h), Ayah 29:
مُّحَمَّدٌ رَّسُولُ اللَّهِ وَالَّذِينَ مَعَهُ أَشِدَّاء عَلَى الْكُفَّارِ رُحَمَاء بَيْنَهُمْ
تَرَاهُمْ رُكَّعًا سُجَّدًا يَبْتَغُونَ فَضْلاً مِّنَ اللَّهِ وَرِضْوَانًا
“Mohammad is the Messenger of Allah, and the ones with him, are severe against the disbelievers, compassionate amongst themselves.
You see them in Rukoo and Sujood, seeking the favor of Allah and His Good Pleasure…”
Therefore, as Muslims we are to obey the orders of Allah individually as well as in our social life, for this will attain us salvation, comfort and success in the true sense. We have responsibilities towards other people, brothers, parents, relatives, neighbors and the weak ones in the community, and that is part of the faith. We ask Allah to grant us what He promised us by way of His Messengers and save us from the ordeals of the Day of Judgment. Verily Allah never fails to fulfill His promise.
Finally, let us read Surah Al-Nasr with a short Du’aa to close the Khutba.
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