FRIDAY DISCOURSE

AKRA FM, April 7, 2000

Prof. Dr. Mahmud Es'ad COSAN

CLOSE FRIENDS OF ALLAH

As-Salaamu alaikum wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuh!

a. New Hegira Year: 1421

Dear brothers and sisters, I would like to wish you a blessed and happy new Hegira year, 1421. Last Thursday was the first day of Muharram, the first month in the Hegira lunar calendar. So, Muharram 1 was the new year's day.

The Hegira calendar must be followed and referred by Muslims often because Ramadan is one of the months of this calendar. The pilgrimage is performed according to this calendar. The special nights are determined from this calendar. The birthday of the Prophet Muhammad is also based on this calendar. There is also the Day of Ashura, the tenth day of Muharram, an important day on this calendar. These make the Hegira calendar very important in the life of Muslims.

I wish the Hegira year 1421 to be a good year for the Muslim world and for all mankind. In this year I hope that Muslims will be free from all kinds of injustice, oppression, sorrow, material and spiritual problems, and disasters. I also hoped that all mankind believe in Allah as their only deity, and become good servants, and earn the happiness for the hereafter.

This is very important for us, and we must work toward this goal. We have declared the year 2000 as a turning point for people to change their lives to comply with what Allah loves. All of our brothers will try explaining the Unity of Allah, the beauties of Islam, and the fundamentals of Islam to the whole world beginning from the nearest circles. They will work hard and convey the message the best way possible, for there are those with ill intentions who are spreading misinformation about Islam.

Think about the beauty of Islam: A Muslim is a servant of the Creator of the heavens and earth and tries to live a life beneficial to every creature on the face of the earth. Compare it with some other ways of life: In Africa, thousands of people committed suicide in the name of a religion. How wrong it is! In Islam, committing suicide is a major offense, a tremendous sin. The life is a trust from Allah; man has no right or permission to end it. The trust must be protected, not breached.

We must learn the beauties of Islam and tell other people about these beauties. While Islam protects the life and humanity, other corrupted beliefs take people to suicide. These has to be expressed. We all must tell people that man should not worship man. Worshipping idols is also wrong. God is one and unique, also merciful, mercy giving, generous, the provider of sustenance for all. We should explain his attributes just like Yunus or Mawlana Jalal-ad-din Rûmî.

In this aspect, I hope that the Hegira year 1421 becomes an action year foe each of us to point the beauties of Islam just like pointing the precious gems, pearls, and diamond on ornaments. We must compare and contrast Islam with other beliefs.

Some people hoard a fortune through stealing, robbery, exploitation, and injustice. Then they receive reverence and means to spread their false ideologies and beliefs as though they were the truth.

I repeat my wish for this new year. May it be a good year for all of us. May Allah give us a good life to live many more new years with our loved ones.

b. Polish for the Hearts

Today's first hadith was reported by Abdullah ibn-i Omar. It is about dervishood, tasawwuf, and spiritual training. Our beloved Prophet, Muhammad Mustafa (pbuh) said:

RE. 134/1 (Inna hâdhihil-qulûbe tasde'u kamâ yasde'ul-hadîdu idhâ esàbahul-mâ'i. Qîla: Yâ rasûlallah, wa mâ jilâ'uhâ? Qàla: Kethretu dhikril-mawti, wa tilâwatil-qur'ân.)

Here is the meaning: (Inna hâdhihil-qulûbe tasde'u) "Verily, the hearts get tarnished spiritually (kamâ yasde'ul-hadîdu idhâ esàbahul-mâ'i) just like the rusting of iron which has been exposed to the water and moisture."

As you know, the word "qalb" in Arabic corresponds to the word "gnl" (spiritual heart) in Turkish. The Turkish one originates from a verb indicating a change from one state into another state. The Arabic one, also indicates a change from one shape into another shape. A persons "gnl" changes states and moods; sometimes it feels sad, sometimes happy; it cries sometimes, it also laughs every now and then. Some time it will be full of hope, some other times it will lose all hopes. There will be "one thousand one" feelings in the spiritual heart of a person. That is the meaning of the word "qalb."

The word "qalb" has another meaning in Arabic: It is the organ in the body that pumps the blood and works like a clock. It is the physical heart. So, the same word is used for both spiritual and physical heart.

These spiritual hearts get tarnished, the darkness falls on the spiritual world of a person. The Prophet (pbuh) stated that these hearts get tarnished spiritually just like the iron exposed to moisture. (Qîla:) Upon this the companions asked: (Yâ rasûlallah, wa mâ jilâ'uhâ?) "O Prophet of Allah, what polishes them? What is their polish? How do we polish them?"

When a piece of iron rusts, some mineral oil is used to loosen the rust. Then some protective polish is applied to keep it shiny. The parts of an old machine could also rust, and they can be made functional after the rust is removed and the parts are polished. A pair of scissors will rust if it is left near the sink. Some oil will remove the rust.

How do we remove the tarnish and the rust from our hearts? How do we bring light into our spiritual world? (Qàla:) The Prophet Responded, (Kethretu dhikril-mawti, wa tilâwatil-qur'ân.) "Plenitude of remembering the death and reciting Qur'an." The prophet gave two remedies: The first one is to remember death often. Yes, we eventually will experience the death. Every living creature will face death. There is no escape from it forever. Yet, the death scares people. The thought of death and the talk of death frightens people. You can almost hear people talking: "Oh no! We are going to die some day!" Te response would be, "Sure. Naturally." The first person objects: "How can you calmly say that naturally we are going to die? It frightens me so much. I get goose-bumps and lose my appetite when I hear the word death. You talk about it as if it is something ordinary."

Even if it makes us upset, the death is real. It is our end in this world. This knowledge takes us to preparation for death. It is also expressed as "dying before death" in the literature. Although it is found in the literature, people are not familiar with its meaning.

"Dying before death" means readiness for death. It means doing everything in time, not leaving matters incomplete, not owing any material things to anybody, and being ready to meet Allah. It means that a person has prepared himself for the Day of Judgement. He has left nothing to worry about. He can justify every action he has committed. He has no fear of death. He considers death as a transformation to the eternal life with the beloved.

The sages, the awliyaullah, the close friends of Allah has such feelings. They offer prayers every night, "My Lord, please take my soul away so I can be reunited with my loved ones, and this separation ends."

If a person remembers death often, he will stay away from theft, immorality, insolence, laziness, and disobedience. He prepares himself for the hereafter. He gets himself ready for the trial in the colossal court on the Day of Judgement. That is why the Prophet (pbuh) advised us to remember death often. It is mentioned as the polish for hearts. It is the cure for tarnished hearts. Remembering death often, a person cleanses his heart, stays away from jealousy, enmity, hostility and alike. He tries to live as a good Muslim. He tries to be a virtuous person, like an angel, and a good samaritan.

On the other hand, those who never remember death enjoy all the entertainments their soul desire as if they would never die. Yet suddenly the death comes to them. As the poet Yahya Kemal said, "one strings breaks off, and the harmony is lost forever," their life will end suddenly, and they will be quite unprepared for it. A disaster awaits for them in the hereafter.

The second remedy for the tarnished hearts is (tilâwatil-qur'ân) reciting Qur'an. With a sincere belief and a respect for the word of Allah, if a person recites Qur'an and ponders about its meaning, his heart will be freed from the spiritual tarnish. His zeal for becoming a good servant of Allah will increase, his soul and body will be illuminated with the light of Qur'an. Reciting Qur'an and studying its meaning will take a person to salvation.

I receive questions via e-mail. I look at the questions from people who consider themselves as Muslims -- I have no doubts about that--yet their questions reveal that they do not know the message of the Qur'an. They state an opinion and support it with verses of Qur'an; however, they are not aware that the verses actually contradict their opinions. They insist, "This person uttered such a statement; shouldn't he offer repentance for such an utterance?"

Often the answers is, "No, he does not need to offer repentance because you are wrong. He said the truth. You do not know the meaning of that verse." Often people put a strong argument with hearsay. They have their own way of interpreting the sources of Islam. When they see something more advanced, more sincere, and more virtuous, they get confused because it does not comply with their superficial religious lifestyle. They are on the wrong track.

Such an approach originates from not knowing the Qur'an. That is why a Muslim must recite and study Qur'an. A person may love Qur'an and Islam and declare that he is a Muslim. We accept it. However, when a Muslim is unaware of the meaning of the Qur'an or the fundamentals of Islam, and when he has ideas in contradiction to the path of the Prophet (pbuh), he should stay silent and not say anything on matters that he has no knowledge of.

Would anybody consider opening the back cover and looking into it when a television set or a computer monitor is out-of-order? Of course, nobody would because it requires special training to repair the electronic devices. It has to be taken to a specialist. The specialist, the repairman, will open the case, compare it with the circuit diagram, take some measurements, and figure out the problem and fix it. An ordinary person does not dare opening the case.

The religious issues must be handled with a similar care. A person who lacks information about Islam, should not talk about Islamic issues. First he must study and learn, then he can make a statement. Being a Muslim is a great blessing; having interest in the religious matters is a sign of being alive. Then only one thing is left: Read the Qur'an and learn the truth. It is the main source of our belief; our knowledge, our foresight, our manners, and our spirituality originate from the Qur'an. Those who hold tight onto the Qur'an, recite it and understand it will attain salvation.

A good understanding of Qur'an requires the study of the traditions of Prophet Muhammad (pbuh). We have already seen in the hadith above that the Prophet (pbuh) recommends studying the Qur'an. When you study the Qur'an, you will see verses referring to the Prophet and his Sunnah: "If you want to understand the Qur'an well, go and study the Sunnah of Prophet Muhammad (pbuh). His Sunnah is the application of Qur'an." Verses like this will increase the respect for the Sunnah. A Muslim holds on to the Qur'an as he studies the Sunnah, and understands Qur'an better as he studies the Sunnah. The Qur'an and the Sunnah are interpenetrated to form a complete unit. One is the application of the other in an expanded form.

c. The Disguised Friends of Allah

The second Hadith is also from the same page of Ramuz al-Ahadith:

RE. 134/4 (Inna yasîrar-riyâ'i shirkun. Wa inna man àdâ waliyyen lillâhi faqad bârazallàhi bil-muhàrabeh. Innallàha yuhibbul-abrâral-atqiyâ'il-akhfiyâ', alladhîna idhâ ghàbû lam yuftaqadû, wa in hadarû lam yud'aw, wa lam yu'rafû, masàbîhul-hudâ, yakhrujûna min kulli ghabrâ'e muzlimah.)

Ibn-i Majah quoted from Mu'az RA. You must have heard of other reports of the same hadith in other hadith collections. The Prophet begins with a statement: (Inna yasîrar-riyâ'i shirkun) "Verily even a small amount of riyâ is shirk." [Shirk: Association of partners to Allah, a major offense in Islam.] The word riyâ comes from the root re'â meaning "to show." Riyâ means performing a religious act not with sincerity and for the sake of Allah but for show off and for attracting other people's attention. Even a tinge of riya is not acceptable. All religious duties and worship are performed for Allah, for His pleasure. This is called ihlas. Ihlas and riya are opposites. Ihlas is accepted while riya is rejected.

Even a tinge of riya is shirk because a person who commits riya acts as though he is not afraid of Allah; instead, he is afraid of the people that he is trying to get their approval and acceptance. He values people's appraisal more that that of Allah. This means he is associating partners to Allah.

When there is riya, there is also shirk. That is why a Muslim has to be sincere and pure in intentions. He has to do everything for Allah's pleasure. He has to stay away from riya. This is very important. That is why our teachers have taught us these words:

(Ilâhî anta maqsdî wa ridàke matlûbî) "My Lord, you are my purpose; I am seeking your pleasure in everything I do." This is very important. You should have this written in nice calligraphy and hang it on the wall where you can see it often. You can also carry it as a pin with you.

(Wa inna man àdâ waliyyen lillâh) "If a person displays enmity or hostility towards a Walî (a close friend) of Allah, (faqad bârazallàhi bil-muhàrabeh), it would be tantamount to challenging Allah in a battlefield."

During the ancient times, armies would line up on the battleground before a war. A brave person would step forward and challenge the opposite side. He would seek one person to fight one-to-one. Someone would respond to the call, and they would start a fight. Everybody from the both sides would watch them. It was a tradition. The hostility and enmity towards a beloved servant of Allah would be same as challenging Allah on the battle ground. It would be such a deadly offense. We all should seek the precious servants of Allah, respect them, love them, avoid offending them. Our elderly had paid utmost attention to this matter.

Nowadays, there is a widespread, severe enmity towards such sincere and devout servants of Allah. The evil powers have united to belittle and discredit them. On the other hand, thousands of people commit suicide in the forest, yet nobody questions their leader. Are there anything like this among Muslims? Has any sincere and devout Muslim committed such a crime?

We offer our thanks to people for things of little significance, yet we fail to offer our thanks to our elderly who brought running drinking water to the neighborhood, who built a mosque, established a charitable foundation, opened a school, or built a caravanserai for travelers with the expectation of receiving rewards from Allah. The good works has to be acknowledged, appreciated, and thanked for. Everybody who benefits from such services owes thanks to the provider of such services.

In our time, many people consider the friends of Allah as enemies and attack them. They take a position against the religion of Allah and attack. Perverted thoughts, false ideologies, wrong paths are commended. In Australia, I turn on the television and see nothing but vulgarism. Nobody criticizes these tendencies. They have unlimited tolerance towards such lowest of the low shows. Yet they always attack the good behavior of Muslims. All the good things Islam ordains, and a life in accordance with Islam are considered enemies. This is also important.

It is a must for us to find the good servants of Allah. You may wonder how we can identify them. A jeweler can tell the real value of a gem. Ordinary people can be mistaken by imitation jewelry. Likewise, a person must be an expert to recognize the close friends of Allah. A true wali is a person you remember Allah when you see him. His behaviors comply with the Qur'an. He follows the path of the Prophet (pbuh). He is a complete Muslim. He loves for Allah, he gets angry for Allah. He will not be silent at all times, he will act bravely when necessary.

May Allah keep all of us in the company of the good servants. May He also keep us away from the bad ones.

The Prophet said in a hadith that there will be about thirty Dajjals towards the end of this world. Each of them will consider himself as a messenger of Allah. They will be against the religion of Allah, yet at the same time they will consider themselves as Prophets. What a terrible state to be in. They will even fool themselves as well as others.

(Innallàha yuhibbul-abrâral-atqiyâ'il-akhfiyâ') "Verily, Allah loves His good, god-conscious yet hidden servants." Ebrar means good people who help everybody and are obedient towards their parents. Atqiyâ means people who are afraid of the wrath of Allah, who avoid the unlawful and doubtful, and who try not to get close to the hellfire. These good servants have one more characteristics: they will be hidden. They will not advertise themselves, nor will they show off. The "expert" can recognize them. Yet there are public announcers. They are the robbers of the spiritual path. They mislead people. Then we hear in the news, "One thousand people committed suicide in the forest." We have to be alert not to be misguided.

Allah loves good people who abstain from the unlawful and who stay hidden. Allah does not like show off.

(Alladhîna) "These are such people that (idhâ ghàbû lam yuftaqadû) they will not be looked for when they are absent." When a popular person is absent everybody would ask about him. Yet these good servants are not noticed; they remain disguised. Nobody would know that they are special servants of Allah. They are the hidden friends of Allah. Nobody asks their whereabouts.

(Wa in hadarû) "If they are present at a place, among people, (lam yud'aw) they will not be invited." Nobody would ask them to attend a wedding, a meeting, a dinner or alike. (Wa lam yu'rafû) "Their value is not appreciated; they remain silently in their place." In fact, they should be invited and respected because they are the good servants of Allah, close friends of Allah. However, they are not appreciated.

(Masàbîhul-hudâ) Although they are disguised, they are the candles of guidance." They illuminate their environment. They follow the straight path, and also they guide people and illuminate their path. One who sees their life, actions, behaviors, words, and advice would say, "This is the path that Allah loves."

(Yakhrujûna min kulli ghabrâ'e muzlimah) "They come out at turbulent times from dusty and dark places." When people are confused, when teh cannot distinguish the truth from the falsehood, they come out and provide guidance for people. Allah makes the the candles of guidance. You see the truth with them, in their behavior. If you go to them, you will be a winner. If you oppose them, you will be a loser. Such are the beloved servants of Allah. Allah SWT has bestowed them these characteristics. We must love them. Enmity or hostility towards them will result a terrible end.

d. Not Talking with a Brother Prevents Forgiveness

The third hadith in today's discourse is reported by abu Hurayrah and included in the collection of Ibn-i Majah. The Prophet (pbuh) said:

RE. 134/5 (Inna yawma-ithnayni wal-khamîs yaghfirullàhu fîhimâ likulli muslimin illâ muhtajirayni yaqlu da'humâ hattâ yaslahà.)

"Surely, Allah forgives each Muslim on Mondays and Thursdays." These days are the days of forgiveness and mercy. While explaining the reason for fasting on Mondays and Thursdays, the Prophet (pbuh) said "I want to be in a state of fasting while my deeds are presented to Allah SWT."

So, fasting those days are very good because Allah loves and rewards generously those who fast. Therefore, we should keep in our minds that these days are forgiveness days, and we should try to fast as much as possible on Monday and Thursdays.

Fasting is an excellent deed; it not only helps us to have better health, but also cleans our hearts. It is very useful whichever way you look at. Allah SWT gives special rewards to those who are fasting. I strongly recommend you fast in order to get those special rewards.

Prophet (pbuh) is pointing out an important issue in this hadith. He said, Allah forgives everyone (illâ muhtajirayni) "except those who cut relationship with each other." In other words, those who do not talk to each other (due to some fight or quarrel) are not forgiven. (Yaqlu da'humâ hattâ yaslahà) "Allah says to angel who is appointed for registering the forgiveness, 'Do not write these two people's forgiveness until they start good relationship.'"

As we said before, Mondays and Thursdays are the days of forgiveness. Allah forgives us, yet we should try to fast these days to earn this forgiveness. However, He does not forgive those who are not talking to each other.

In this case, what should we do my brothers and sisters? If we have problem with someone we should resolve it as soon as possible.

We hear some complaints such as, "I want to start talking to him but he does not talk to me." Then, since you want to have good relationship, you will be forgiven as well. The other party will take the whole responsibility. You should just go and tell him to have a better relationship. If he does not accept, he will be forgiven, too. If he does not accept your peace offer, it will be his problem. At least, you did your duty.

May Allah SWT, make us among those who are victorious over their nafs and obey Allah at all times. May Allah give us all the good things in this life and in the hereafter regardless of whether we know them or not. May Allah make us join with those whom we love. May he give us the happiness in this world and in the hereafter.

My dear brothers and sisters, as salamu alaikum wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuhu!

April 7, 2000 -- Australia