FRIDAY DISCOURSE

AKRA FM, March 24, 2000

Prof. Dr. Mahmud Es'ad COSAN

AS THE DAY OF RESURRECTION DRAWS NEAR

As-salaamu Alaikum wa Rahmatullahi wa Barakatuhu

My Dear Audience, May Allah's peace, mercy, and blessings be with you all.

I pray for you near the Masjid of the Prophet (pbuh) in Madina al-Munawwarah.

Traveling for Hajj and performing it along with an Umrah makes bodies tired and feel weak. Consequently, the pilgrims could get common cold easily. My throat is sore; and my voice, hoarse. I am not complaining, though. Perhaps I could keep this week's discourse short.

a. Allah's Wrath on General Public

It is reported by Anas and recorded by Hulwanî that the Prophet (pbuh) said:

RE. 503/2 (Ya'tî alan-nâsi zamânun yad'¯ fîhil-mu'minu lil-àm-mati fayaq¯lullàh: 'Ud'u lihàs-sati nafsika astajib laka, fa-am-mal-àm-matu fa an-nî alayhim sâhitun) Sadaqa rasûlullàh, fî mâ qàl, aw kamâ qàl.

This is a hadith that I quote every now and then to my brothers during the discourses. We have read the Arabic text from the hadith collection Ramuz -ul Ahadith. According to this hadith, the Prophet (pbuh) is informing us:

(Ya'tî alan-nâsi zamânun) "Long years will pass and a time will draw near for people..." The Prophet pointed to a time that would be after his time and mentioned an event. (... yad'¯ fîhil-mu'minu lil-àm-mati) "A believer will pray for the general public."

As you know a person may pray for himself and for his own family, relatives and friends. Yet a person may offer prayers (du'a) for his Muslim brother in his absence; such a prayer is accepted and answered right away because it originates from the love for his brother. One believer loves another one and asks Allah to bestow something for him. Such a prayer is very favorable to Allah. That is why Muslims offer supplications for other Muslims, their brothers and for the entire Ummah in their absence.

Offering supplications for the entire Ummah of Muhammad is very rewarding. Our Prophet had taught us some prayers:

(Allàhummarham ummata muhammeden rahmeten âm-mah) "My Lord, have mercy on the entire Ummah of Muhammad and bless them all." With this prayer, one would be praying for the wellness of general public, of the entire Ummah. There is also another prayer:

(Allàhummaghfir lil-mu'minîne wal-mu'minât)

"My Lord, have mercy on believing men and believing women, and bless them." It is stated by the Prophet that if a person offers this prayer, he will receive rewards as many as the number of all believing men and women. There is such a generosity in this because the prayer is for the general public, the entire society. In Islam, it is very important to consider the benefit of the society first.

In all times, there will be people who has high spiritual manners so that they think about society first. Our Prophet had the same manners. He asked good things, mercy and blessings from Allah for his Ummah. Those who would like to have the manners of the Prophet would do the same and pray for the wellness of the society.

Coming back to the first hadith, we see an interesting case. "There will be a time that a believer offers prayers, supplications, for the entire society." He may say, "My Lord, forgive Muslims their sins. Bless them all. Save them from calamities, disasters and chaos." He prays for the public, yet (fayaq¯lullàh) "Allah SWT responds: ('Ud'u lihàs-sati nafsika) 'You pray for yourself. Ask me whatever you wish for yourself, for your own good; (astajib laka) I will accept your prayers and grant you your wishes. However, (fa-am-mal-àm-mate) when it comes to the entire society, the general public, (fa an-nî alayhim sâhitun) I am angry at them. Do not offer prayers for them.'"

This is a very important hadith for us to ponder about. A good deed for a Muslim is to ask for the well being of the society; however, Allah is angry at the society and responds to the believer: "Do not offer supplications for the society because I am angry at them and will not grant them good things. Meanwhile, ask anything for yourself and I will grant it because I love you." We may wonder why Allah SWT is angry at the society. How did the society fall into a state to deserve the anger of Allah? What changed their state? The main reason are the negligence of Islam, demoralization, disobedience, indulgence in sins and abandoning the duty of "amr bil ma'ruf and nahy anil munkar." In other words, the good people did not do whatever was necessary to uphold and maintain the good deeds while the evil people worked with all their might to maintain and spread the evil. That is why Allah SWT is angry at the society and will punish them.

How can we save the society from Allah's wrath? Is there a way to take the society out of this miserable state? Renewing the belief (imân), upholding Islam, fulfilling what Allah ordered, avoiding what Allah prohibited, and learning the details of the lawful and unlawful hence living a life accordingly will provide a way out. Only then Allah will forgive the society. Allah accepts the repentance when the servants abstain from the wrong deeds. If they insist on committing offensive deeds and sins, Allah will be angry at them. If they utter words of repentance yet continue indulging in sins, they commit mockery.

That is why everybody should realize that this life is a test for all. When the time comes, our creator, the Lord of the universe, will summon us in the Divine Court and interrogate us about our deeds in this world. The result of the test we all take in this world will be announced there. That is why we should keep in mind that this world is a test ground and that we have to take Allah's orders seriously, avoid the unlawful, and be attentive about the worship.

May Allah SWT grant us a sound and sincere belief. Let us do everything for the sake of Allah. Let us avoid everything which is against the orders of Allah. Let us earn attain the pleasure of Allah by doing so.

b. Corruption in the Intentions of the Pilgrims

The second hadith is about the Pilgrimage. This is reported by Anas RA and included in the collections by Khatib-i Baghdâdî and Daylamî. I had read this hadith in the past years to pilgrims here; nevertheless, I want it to be heard by all who listen to the radio.

RE. 503/8 (Ye'tî alen-nâsi zamânun yehujju aghniyà'u ummatî lin-nuzheti wa awsatuhum lit-tijârati wa qurrâ'uhum lir-riyâi was-sum'ati wa fuqarâ'uhum lil-mes'eleh) Sadaqa rasûlullàh, fî mâ qàl, aw kamâ qàl.

In this hadith, the Prophet informed us of a time in which the quality of the Muslim Ummah will deteriorate, the values for the society will change, the behavior of people will be corrupted.

When and why does one perform Hajj (Pilgrimage)?

(wa lillâhi 'alan-nâsi hijjul-beyti manistetà'a ilayhi sebîlâ) [Pilgrimage to the House is a duty imposed on mankind by Allah, for anyone who can afford a way to do so.]

It is an order from Allah for a Muslim to visit Baytullah--the House of Allah in Mecca-- once in a lifetime. Any healthy, wealthy and able Muslim is required to fulfill this duty just for earning the pleasure of Allah. Yet, when the moral of the society deteriorates, the purposes change.

"There will be a time for people that (yehujju aghniyà'u ummatî lin-nuzheti) the rich among my Ummah will perform pilgrimage for touristic purposes and for entertainment."

The pilgrimage is to be performed for Allah only. The purpose must be to earn the pleasure of Allah. But in the time mentioned above, the pilgrimage will be performed as a touristic trip and entertainment. The hadith continues: (Wa awsatuhum lit-tijârati) "The middle class will perform the pilgrimage for business." We do see some pilgrims setting up a counter and sell goods. I must say that the conditions of the world has changed, and living in certain parts of the world became harder. Pilgrims from Caucuses and from the Middle Asia have hard time getting international currencies. They have no choice but travel in old busses and face countless difficulties in the way. They buy certain goods and bring them here to sell so they can make enough money to perform the pilgrimage. Allah knows what their intentions are. May He accept their pilgrimage.

Unfortunately some will do the pilgrimage without considering the pleasure of Allah; instead, they will make business plans: "There will be millions of people there. Each has to do some shopping. If I go there and sell such things, I will make great profit out of this journey." Some from the middle class will perform pilgrimage for business.

There will be other violations of the spirit of the Pilgrimage. (Wa qurrâ'uhum lir-riyâi) "Those who recite the Qur'an well, and are knowledgeable about Islam will perform Hajj for show-off and fame." They will not seek the pleasure of Allah; they will be after the title "Hajji" before their names.

While the rich perform the pilgrimage for entertainment; the middle class, for business; the scholars, for show-off, (was-sum'ati wa fuqarâ'uhum lil-mes'eleh) "the poor performs the pilgrimage for begging." The main purpose of the Pilgrimage, seeking the pleasure of Allah, will be replaced by the purposes of entertainment, trading, show-off and begging. This would be horrible.

May Allah make us sincere servants so that we all seek the pleasure of Allah in everything we do. Our teachers taught us these words:

(Żlâhî anta maqs¯dî wa ridàke matlûbî.) "My Lord, You are my purpose, and Your pleasure is what I desire. I have no other intentions or thoughts. I am following Your orders just because You ordered them." May Allah be pleased with them. We must do everything with this intention and earn rewards.

c. Stripping off Belief (Imân)

Here is another hadith:

RE. 503/11 (Ya'tî alan-nâsi zamânun yuslabur-rajulu imânahû wa mâ yash'uru yusallu minhu kamâ yusallul-kamîs.)

In this hadith, which was related by Daylamî from Abud-Darda (RA), Prophet (pbuh) says: "A time will come to people, i.e. when the end of this world approaches, and a person's belief (imân) will be stripped off him as he stays unaware of this. The belief is taken off him, and he doesn't even understand or notice it. The belief is pulled out of him as a sword is pulled out of its sheath. It is taken off like a shirt."

In our time, this is just what I am most afraid of, and probably it is one of the issues you are worried about. Why does a man still consider himself a believer while he is unaware that belief is being stripped off just like a shirt is taken off, that imân is leaving him? This could be because of his ignorance, arrogance and carelessness about the religion.

When a person is involved with an official state matter or a difficult examination or a trial at a court, he takes it very seriously. As long as worldly affairs are considered, everybody takes them seriously. However, when it comes to Allah's orders, His pleasure and His decree, many people don't care. They disregard, forget and do not get involved.

In fact man is sent to Earth for examination. But he doesn't know what he should do in this world. He doesn't know how he was created, nor does he want to remember that he will die. After he dies, he will be questioned for all his actions in this world. Whoever has done an atom's weight of good will be rewarded for it, and whoever has done an atom's weight of evil will be punished for it. He is engaged in daily routines unaware of this fact. Because of his actions and words his belief leaves him. For societies, this is one of the signs of corruption and deviation from the right path.

In the Hajj season, I see many Muslims from all places around the world. In mosques, visitors for Hajj can be differentiated from local people whose many actions I appreciate very much. For example, they come to mosque early, open the Qur'an and keep reading it. They could recite a considerable part of Qur'an from their memory. They perform the prayer in tranquillity without hurry. They close down their shops at the prayer times. Wherever they are, be it a government office or an airport, they perform salah in congregation. Thus they take the religion, the Qur'an and prayer seriously. I like this very much.

In contrast, consider another Muslim country, Turkey. The people are the children/grand children of great people who worked for Islam and did not mind giving their lives for Islam. The attitudes of people in Turkey and in Saudi Arabia towards Islam are totally different. For instance, when prayer time comes, few people comes to mosque in Turkey. Some shopkeepers don't turn down their radios while adhan is called. People who do not fast do not mind eating in public in Ramadan. Comparing the two societies, we can see that as the foreign customs and practices, bad habits and debauchery becomes widespread, our people get corrupted and ignore Islam.

One may have good intentions and consider himself a sincere believer, but if he lacks knowledge about Islam, the words he unknowingly utters, the ideas he adopts and the mentality he carries may strip off his belief. If you should ask him, he would still declare that he is a Muslim. He isn't even aware that his belief has gone. Thus, his paralyzed heart doesn't see anything. May Allah (ST) save us from falling into such situations.

Our belief is our most precious essence, value, wealth and treasure. We must protect it as a treasure. Think about it! Even a bag full of money is carried in armored vehicles to a bank and protected by guards. One's belief is his most valuable asset, which will make him earn the Paradise in the Hereafter. The belief attracts many thieves such as Satan, unbelievers, and hypocrites pick on. There are many who try to push the man off track and take him away from the religion. We, therefore, should stick to our religion very firmly. We should live Islam at home with our family.

Today, a brother came to me and said: "Please make supplication for my children so that they start performing salah." "How old are they?" I asked. They are twenty-nine, twenty-four, twenty something, thus not too young. They are capable of deciding by themselves what to do, but they do not perform salah. The brother said: "Perhaps, they behave like this because they live in a non-Islamic environment in a foreign country." I replied: "I have met many Muslims in non-Islamic countries like Australia or others who brought up their children as religious people who even memorized the whole Qur'an. They never give up salah even in the absence of their fathers. They make the best attendees of mosques." It is because their parents have trained them well. May Allah (ST) be pleased with them.

Family is the most important medium for a child to grow and be trained. If his parents instill him good attitudes, teach the duties well, place the good into his heart and mind, without pressure and punishment but by convincing and making it lovable, he will be well raised. Of course, guidance is from Allah, but we should do our best to raise our children as sincere Muslims without pressurizing but by convincing. Because even a pagan may become a Muslim by persuasion and a non-believer may repent and come to Islam. When Islam is not told well and taught properly, our children may get lost under foreign influences. It is essential that they are not lost and it is our duty to protect them. Thus, we have to be extremely conscious about our children. We must cooperate with other brothers and sisters to raise the young properly. A brother is saying: "I have hired a tutor for my children. I make him teach them this and this." This is possible, so is to form training groups. By all means, we should be able to raise the young properly.

d. Murder of Scholars

I would like to complete today's discourse with another hadith:

RE. 503/12 (Ya'tî alan-nâsi zamânun tuktalu fîhil-ulemâ'u kamâ tuktalul-kilâbu, fayâ layta 'ulama'u fî dhâlikez-zamâni tajâme'¯.)

This is an important hadith narrated by Daylamî from Ibni Abbas. It is related to scholars who work in religious areas.

(Ye'tî alan-nâsi zemânun) " As the day of judgment nears, there will be a time in which scholars will be killed like dogs."

As you know in many places the stray dogs are killed by the city officials in order to prevent the spread of diseases. We have seen this many times in Istanbul. The prophet is comparing the murder of scholars to the killing of dogs.

Scholars are the inheritors and the successors of the Prophets; they continue to carry out the duties of prophets. They teach the religion, they show the way to Heaven, they show how to protect from hellfire. Why would they be killed? Killing scholars means destroying the religion.

Then, what has to be done during that time? The Prophet (pbuh) said: (Fayâ layta ulama' fi dhâlikez-zamân) "I wish scholars are united at that time when the enemies want to remove the faith, destroy the Islam. He wishes that scholars work together to protect Islam against enemies.

Allah subhanahu wa ta'ala assigned scholars the duty of protecting and teaching Islam. Therefore, scholars have to work together to protect Islam, to teach Islam, to help people to raise righteous children, to prevent people from deviation from the true path, and to warn people when they make mistakes. This is what prophet (pbuh) advises us.

May Allah protect scholars and increase their motivation. May Allah make scholars do useful things for the Ummah. May Allah be pleased with all of you.

My dear brothers and sisters, find the real scholars and join with them, study the Qur'an and ahadith. Learn Islam from those who are knowledgeable so that you will be successful and earn the pleasure of Allah.

Peace and blessing of Allah be with you.

March 24, 2000

Madina