Back Home Next  Back to Home Page  


Khutba  #9

Sacred Duties of Muslims


May I ask you to hold fast to Taq’wa, which means piety and righteousness, and to revere Allah and obey His Divine Commands.  Let us choose wisely in this life and heed the consequences of our choices for the hereafter.  Let us be aware of our eventuality and departure into the everlasting life.


Allah (swt) says in Surah 8 (Al-Anfaal), Ayah 24 about the importance, effects, and remuneration of answering the call of Allah:


يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُواْ اسْتَجِيبُواْ لِلّهِ وَلِلرَّسُولِ إِذَا دَعَاكُم لِمَا يُحْيِيكُمْ

وَاعْلَمُواْ أَنَّ اللّهَ يَحُولُ بَيْنَ الْمَرْءِ وَقَلْبِهِ وَأَنَّهُ إِلَيْهِ تُحْشَرُونَ...

“Oh you who believe, respond to Allah and His Messenger when he calls you to what will give you life [enliven you], …”

Besides the above Ayah, there are other verses in the Holy Quran so directed to the believers.  While responding to the call of Allah is addressed to the believers, these Ayahs are not exclusive for a specific time or place.  They are addressed to:

  1. all people,

  2. of all places, and

  3. at all times.

In other words, these verses are addressed to us, nowadays, and to others in the future.


God Almighty wants us to respond positively to His invitation as well as His Messenger’s invitation, for by doing so we enliven our lives, be in the right, and in security in this life, as well as in the life to come.  Faith is a source of life, if not the main source of life.  An important aspect of Islam, as recently emphasized, is that Islam is a living religion.


Today Islam is spreading out, growing all over the globe, be it Asia, Africa, Europe, the US, or even Australia.  This includes the rapid growth of Islam in Western countries, especially among the educated individuals, be they academicians, scientists, or university professors.  Nowadays we witness Islam spreading from person to person and from group to group.  At the same time great personalities of different braches of science are studying the Holy Quran and its related sciences.  We hear repeatedly about international conventions, publications of books and articles in this regard all attending to the interest in Islam.  These are pointers telling us that Islam continues to energize and challenge, to guide and enliven, and it always has new things to offer.  By offering a thought, a notion on life, or pointing to a socially related matter with possible solution, Islam can deeply influence solving our problems and answering our questions.


Now we can ask what is our role and responsibilities?   Is Islam growing spontaneously, all by itself, or do we have a role to play too?   Allah Almighty informs us in Surah 15 (al-Hij’r), Ayah 9:


إِنَّا نَحْنُ نَزَّلْنَا الذِّكْرَ وَإِنَّا لَهُ لَحَافِظُونَ

“Verily!  We [Allah] have sent down the Reminder [the Quran];

and We shall certainly be its Guardian.”

No one doubts this fact, yet we know that Allah (swt) has given this responsibility to the Prophets, and the trustworthy and educated people throughout history.   Thus we are responsible to reach out and spread the Word of the Almighty.  There is a narration from Imam al-Ridha (a.s.) that makes our responsibility very clear, he says:[1]


  رحم الله عبدا أحیی أمرنا.           قلت وکیف یحیی امرکم؟      

قال یتعلم علومنا  ویعلمها الناس

Blessed be the one who revives our teachings,

and teaches them to others


Thus every Muslim must strive to revive Islam, enliven and invigorate its teachings.  Obviously, this saying is not limited to people of that time, rather it is a principle addressed to humanity throughout the centuries.  When al-Ridha was asked how could we accomplish the task, he replied:


Through studying and learning our knowledge,

and teaching it to others


In fact learning the divine knowledge prescribed by the Prophet (pbuh) and his family (Ahlul Bayt) is an essential obligation for all of us.  But teaching and spreading this knowledge is of an immense importance for each Muslim too.


Observe that the Imam’s statement did not specify or limit teachings of Islam to a specific group of people.  This means we are all responsible to lay the educational ground-works for interested people wherever they are, regardless of where they live, whether in the east, west, or in Islamic or non-Islamic countries.  Islam does not recognize boundaries.  Islam deals with mankind, its growth, development and perfection.


In Islam, there is no difference between blacks and whites, north and south, east and west.  In the Holy Quran in Surah 49 (al-Hujuraat), Ayah 13 Allah points out the following:


يَا أَيُّهَا النَّاسُ إِنَّا خَلَقْنَاكُم مِّن ذَكَرٍ وَأُنثَى وَجَعَلْنَاكُمْ شُعُوبًا وَقَبَائِلَ لِتَعَارَفُوا

إِنَّ أَكْرَمَكُمْ عِندَ اللَّهِ أَتْقَاكُمْ إِنَّ اللَّهَ عَلِيمٌ خَبِيرٌ

“O’ ye men! Surely We have created you of a male and female,

and made you into tribes and nations,

that you may know one another…”

Based on this Ayah, all humans enjoy equal rights in the sight of God.  But, as always, the criterion and basis is practicing Taq’wa (piety, righteousness), and avoiding committing evilness or sins.  Piety is the very criterion to distinguish the degree and scale of the person’s closeness to Allah.  People from different countries, with different backgrounds, may all differ in color, features, language, or social status, but none of these features can be used to lower or modify anyone’s rights with the Almighty (according to Islam.)


We pray to Allah to help us learn the teachings of Islam and the Traditions of Prophet Muhammad, we also ask Allah to help us put in practice our Islamic knowledge so that we keep ourselves and our society on the straight path, thus obtain salvation in this world and in the hereafter.


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 the first half of this Khutba the discussion was about the sacred duty of Muslims to acquire Islamic knowledge and try to teach it to others.  It is well worth to remember that Islamic teachings are not limited to ritual worship matters.  Islam is far more than rituals; it is for the well-being, guidance, and prosperity of mankind, not only in this world but also the hereafter.   Islam as a religion deals with all aspects of life; it provides important directions of vital nature.


Man cannot attain salvation by himself without the benefit of Revelations from God and proper consideration.  Man is in need, extremely so, of the Revelation as well as the proper thoughts and judgments. Learning Islamic knowledge and teaching it to others is a public responsibility of the highest caliber, it includes all individuals, especially those in religious authorities.  We all heard this Hadith[2]


کلکم راع    وکلکم مسؤول عن  رعیته

“Muslims are responsible for each other,

be they the rulers or the ruled.”


Based on this Hadith we can say that generations are responsible for each other as well, in other words, each generation is responsible for the next generation, so the religious heritage and guidance can be protected and safely transferred to the next generations.


Basically guidance and training of one individual or any given generation is a very serious subject, requiring a lot of planning and in-dept thinking.  In Islam, there are two categories of religious responsibilities:

In the first category the Islamic decree and details are specific, therefore we know the exact procedures and how to perform them.  This pertains to the ritual worship as a category, rituals like daily Salat, Fasting, and Haj, among others.

The second category is the non-specific, whose final results have been specified by Allah (swt) but for the procedures to achieve it Allah has left it optional for us.  In other words, based on a given time and situation one has the option to chose a suitable method or direction.  An example of this is when a person is a leader, thus responsible to guide others.  For this, while the methodology and procedure necessary for the given time and place have not been specified, it is left for the leader to choose his own way and formulate his own decision.  Thus, a new plan or method may be necessary for the new situation.


Again the Holy Quran commands us in Surah 16 (al-Nah’l), Ayah 125 the following:


ادْعُ إِلِى سَبِيلِ رَبِّكَ بِالْحِكْمَةِ وَالْمَوْعِظَةِ الْحَسَنَةِ وَجَادِلْهُم بِالَّتِي هِيَ أَحْسَنُ

إِنَّ رَبَّكَ هُوَ أَعْلَمُ بِمَن ضَلَّ عَن سَبِيلِهِ وَهُوَ أَعْلَمُ بِالْمُهْتَدِينَ

“[O Muhammad] Invite to the way of your Lord

 with wisdom and goodly discussion,

and argue with them in a manner that is best ….”

From this Ayah we understand that there are three different ways by which one can invite or guide others to Islam.   Each of these is believed to be good for a specific situation:

  1. In the above Ayah Allah (swt) wants us to invite people to His path, the path that will train people and keep them on the straight path.  What instrument is to be used?  The instrument may be wisdom (Hikmah), for it is the powerful knowledge that cannot be changed or doubted.

  2. Another method is the Good Discourse (Mow’idha Hasana); it means to invite people to their Lord by using the kindest, nicest and best if not the most fit phrases.  Since some people do not have the necessary knowledge, they may easily be confused when exposed to scientific or logical explanations.  For these people any Islamic advice or guidance can be given in the form of stories or examples that suit their understanding.

  3. The third way is what Allah says in the phrase (and argue with them in the best manner).   This means that if you are faced with a person not really interested in searching the truth, and his aim is to talk and argue either with ill intent or in vain and without reason, you should converse with him but in the best possible way.  In your discussion, however, you should not cross the boundaries of the truth and fairness.  Therefore from this Ayah we learn of the three main ways of inviting man to his Lord, they can be achieved with proper methods depending on the time and place.


May Allah (swt) help us all to better understand the verses of the Holy Quran, Hadith, and the narrations of Ahlul Bayt; and may Allah help us take advantage of new discoveries and advancement of science in order to identify and practice the most suitable and practical methods of guidance and leadership to provide maximum benefit to ourselves and our families.


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


[1] Wasa’il al-Shi’a, Vol.  18, Page  102.

[2] Al-Jami’ al-Sagheer, Page 95.

Back Home Next  Back to Home Page  go to top of page