Prof. Dr. Mahmud Es'ad COŽAN

AKRA FM Friday Discourse

May 19, 2000


As-salaamu alaikum wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuh

Dear Brothers and Sisters,

May Allah be pleased with you all. May your Friday be blessed. May Allah give you all the good in this world and in the world to come. You be beloved servants of Allah and attain happiness.

a. Chapters of Qur'an that Made the Prophet Aged

According to Hadrat Abubakr RA and Ibn-i Abbas RA, the Prophet said:

RE 306/10 (Shayyabatnî hûdun wal-wâqi'atu wal-mursalâtu wa 'amma yatasâ'alûn, wa idhash-shamsu kuwwirat.) This hadith is included in the collection of Tirmidhî and in the Mustadrak of Hàkim. The Prophet said: (Shayyabatnî) "The following made me aged." Here "shayba" means having gray hair. "Shayyaba" means causing somebody to grow gray hair and beard. It is a sign of aging. Another cause of growing gray hair is extreme sorrow and sadness. There are cases in the medical school books that the hair may turn gray overnight upon receiving a terrible news. Here, these words could mean "the following made me aged" or "the following gave me great sorrow."

What could give the Prophet gray hair? What could cause the Prophet to be aged? (Hûdun) "The Surah Hûd (Chapter 11) of the Qur'an." Here, it is not stated as "Sûratul Hûd," but it is meant. (Wal-wâqi'atu wal-mursalâtu wa 'amma yatasâ'alûn, wa idhash-shamsu kuwwirat) "And sûratul wâqi'a (Chapter 56 The Inevitable), sûratul mursalât (Chapter 77 Winds Sent Forth), sûratul 'amma yatasâ'alûn (Chapter 78 The Announcement), and Suratul idhash-shamsu kuwwirat (Chapter 81 The Darkening)."

The Prophet Muhammad SAS is the most beloved prophet and servant of Allah. He is also loved by people. He is the most honorable; he had the best qualities. He is the owner of the Maqam-al Mahmûd--the highest position in the Paradise. About him was the verse:

(Innâ fatahnâ laka fathan mubînâ. Liyaghfira lakallàhu mâ taqaddama min dhanbike wa mâ te-akh-khara wa yutimma ni'matahû aleyka wa yahdiyaka sirâtan mustaqîmâ.) [O Muhammad! We have opened up a clear victory for you, so Allah may forgive you for any offence of yours you have committed previously or whatever you may do later on, complete His favor toward you and guide you along a Straight Road.] With this verse, the Prophet was given good tidings that any offense he may commit would be forgiven and that he was given a clear victory. He is the most beloved Prophet of Allah.

Why would such a Prophet worry? What would such a perfect human being worry about? What would make his hair turn gray? It is the messages in these surahs and their importance that made him aged. Besides, he always wanted to be a better servant of Allah:

(Efalâ akûnu abdan shakûrâ?) "Should not I be a servant who praises Allah the most?" His zeal in becoming a good servant could also give him the worries. He could also worry about his Ummah, for there is evidence in the Qur'an that he loves his Ummah, protects them and feels sad about calamities that would fall upon them.

A famous Turkish poet, Sulayman Chelebi, has a long poem about the life of the Prophet. Certain sections of this poem is recited often. There are other sections that not everybody has heard of. In the description of the birth of the Prophet, he says that people heard the Prophet saying "Ya Rabbî, ummatî, ummatî--Oh my Lord, my Ummah, my Ummah!" Sulayman Chelebi adds:

Ol beshikte diler idi ummetin;
Sen kojaldin, terk edersin sunnetin!

"When he was in the cradle, he asked for his Ummah,
You have become a grown-up, yet you neglect his sunnah."

It has a very effective wording. Every Muslim should try his best to follow the Sunnah of the Prophet SAS. Those who neglect the sunnah are subject to these harsh words.

We all are familiar with the love of the Prophet towards his Ummah, and how he protected his ummah. We are also familiar how he will be an intercessor on the Day of Judgement. In surah Tawbah, it is stated:

(Laqad jâ-ekum rasûlun min anfusikum 'azîz, alayhi mâ anittum harîsun alaykum bil-mu'minîne raûfun rahîm) [A Messenger has come to you from among yourselves; he takes it seriously how you have come to grief, is anxious about you, compassionate, merciful towards believers.]

The Prophet could be worried about himself to become a better servant to Allah SWT. The messages in these chapters could have had him worried about his own servitude. For instance, in Surah Hûd, Allah SWT orders:

(Fastaqim kamâ umirta wa men tâba ma'aka) "Carry on just as you have been ordered to, as well as anyone who repents along with you." The beloved servants of Allah SWT will try their best to follow the straight path as they are ordered. There are verses in this surah about the stories of earlier prophets. Each verse of the surah is special, yet this one has a specific significance.

In the Surah Waqi'a, people are classified into three classes: 1) The beloved and preferred servants who are close friends of Allah SWT, 2) As-hàbi Yamîn, the believers, and 3) As-hàbi Shimàl, the unbelievers and sinners. Their rewards or punishments in the hereafter are explained in this surah. The Prophet SAS wanted to save his Ummah from the hellfire and lead them to the Paradise; that is how he got aged and got gray hair.

The next surah, Al Mursalât, has verses about the hereafter, paradise and hell. They explain what is awaiting for people there. For instance in the 15th verse, people who deny the verses of Allah are warned:

(Waylun yawma idhin lil-mukazzibîn) "Woe to those who rejected the verses of Allah." It will be too bad for rejectors on that day. They will taste the torments.

The next surah is 'amma yatasâ'alûn. In the end of this surah is the following verse:

(Fayaqlul-kâfiru yâ laytanî kuntu turâbâ.) "In the hereafter, the unbelievers will say, 'If I were only dust!'" They will wish that they were not born as human beings. They will wish that they were only dust, sot they would not have committed offences to incur punishment in the hellfire. It will be too late for such regrets.

In the surah that starts as Idhash-shamsu kuwwirat, the dangers and fears about the day of resurrection and hereafter are described. This surah and the other ones mentioned above made the prophet worry about his Ummah and his own servitude. Some nights he would be in prayers until his feet were swollen.

While the Prophet SAS was worried about the hereafter so much, and spent his nights in prayer despite his being the most beloved servant and messenger of Allah, imagine our state as we commit sin almost as often as we inhale and exhale, and consider how much effort we have to put to have our sins forgiven. We must worry and work more than the Prophet did because we commit countless sins. There is a warning for us in this hadith.

We read Qur'an; unfortunately, we fail to comply with what we read. Nobody seems to change his way of life. Everybody continues to indulge in offenses, and bad deeds became a habit for all. Nobody is heeding the Qur'an, and understand its message.

I recommend my brothers and sisters to study Qur'an on a daily basis. Have all of your family members participate in the study. Study several verses at a time. Then apply what you learn to your life.

It is full of dangers out there. They target the faith of each person. We have to learn and teach our children what happens if a person dies as an unbeliever. What will await for him in the hereafter? We should explain all of these to our children, other family members, and neighbors. If we do not explain all of these, then we would not be good Muslims.

If the prophet is aged and if his hair turned gray upon reading the surahs mentioned above, we have to repent and shed tears from the morning to the evening and from the evening to the morning. We have to listen to our conscience and try to be a good servant.

May Allah Almighty awaken us from the sleep of heedlessness and unawareness. May He place us among the servants who deserve His pleasure.

b. Martyrs and the Trustworthy (Ameen) of the Ummah

In another hadith, Prophet SAS says:

RE 306/7 (Shuhadâullàhi fil-ardi umenâullàhi alâ khalqihî qutilû aw mâtû.) Ahmad bin Hanbal RhA, the founder of the madh-hab of Hanbali and a great scholar of hadith, related this hadith from Prophet (pbuh):

(Shuhadâullàhi fil-ardi) "Allah's martyrs on the earth are (umenâullàhi alâ khalqihî) those whom Allah SWT assigned as murshids (guides) for people and to whom He entrusted Muslims. (Qutilû aw mâtû) They are considered as martyrs regardless of whether they are killed in a battle or died naturally in beds. We often suppose that only those who are killed in a war are martyrs, but Allah ST will regard those special people as martyrs even if they die in bed. Those are the (shuhadâullàhi) Allah's martyrs (fil-ardi) on the Earth, hence beloved servants upon whom Allah ST bestows martyrdom in this world.

Here, "fil-ard" means "on the earth." The word "dunya" is not used in the meaning of Earth in Arabic language. "Dunya" is best matched by "world" and means "the life we enjoy at the moment", the opposite of the Hereafter. There are two lives: The first is "al-hayatud'dunya," the one we live at the moment and the second one is "al-hayatu'l akherah," that is the life we will be living in the Hereafter.

In the Turkish language we use the word "dunya" in the meaning of "earth" as well, though it is never employed in this meaning in the Arabic; when the Earth is meant, the word "Ard" is used.

Who are the martyrs who live among people in this world? Who are the martyrs of Allah on this Earth? They are the ones Allah ST has assigned to be in charge of and as trustworthy for His people.

As you know, our beloved Prophet SAS was trustworthy, too. He was also called "Al-Ameen--The trustworthy." Who are, after him, the ones who will call people to the Qur'an and Islam, who pay effort to watch over the Muslim Ummah, correct them when they deviate and preach them to take them to the right path as Prophet SAS did and ordered to do so? These are the ones to whom the Ummah has been entrusted. Allah ST says to them "I have commissioned you! You look after the Ummah of Muhammad, watch over them! Tell them their mistakes, lead them to the correct path, prevent them from deviating and be diligent." Thus, such people are martyrs. Those may also be taken as the murshid-i kâmil (the perfect guide), the friends of Allah and those who have been assigned for irshâd (enlightenment) of people. Of course this meaning depends on the expression and the interpretation of the hadith.

These are trustworthy servants, but the special ones to whom Allah SWT entrusted His servants. (Qutilû)Whether they have been killed while doing jihad, thus martyred, (aw mâtû) or died naturally. Even if they die in beds, or at a hospital or walking on the street, for example of a heart attack, or in a battle, they are still regarded as martyrs.

This honor and degree is granted to those people because they want to protect the Ummah. They tell them the ways to lead them to the Paradise, trying to drag them there. They warn about the dangers. They preach them. They work in parallel to the practice and advises of Prophet SAS in order to be beneficial to the Ummah. Hence, they are the real martyrs.

Of course a martyr is a very important person, for he has sacrificed himself for Allah SWT. Would any Muslim who is killed in a war become a martyr? Nobody, but only Allah SWT knows it. He knows the belief in His servant's heart. If the servant fought for something other than the pleasure of Allah, he can not be regarded as a martyr. From what we see, we may conclude that he is a martyr but only Allah SWT knows the real situation, and He may not give him the honor of martyrdom. This is portrayed in a hadith from At-Targheeb wa't Tarheeb and other hadith collections:

In the Grand Court, one will cry : "Oh Lord, I am a martyr, I joined a fight for you and was killed by the enemy." But Allah SWT will scold: "You liar! (kazabta) You lied. You didn't fight for my pleasure but for such and such purpose."

Some fight for spoils, some fight for fame and some, for revenge. In one incident which took place during a battle between Muslims and the pagans, Hadrat Ali RA let a man be free when he was just about to kill it. When the man, by the fear of death, did something degrading to him and made him angry, Ali RA suddenly left him and moved away. The man asked: "Why did you leave me as you had raised your saber and was going to kill me?"

Ali (RA) replied: "Until now, I was fighting to gain the pleasure of Allah, and for this purpose I was going to kill you. But now, I am angry with you and if I kill you because of my anger, this will not be for Allah's pleasure. That is why I let you go." When the man heard that, he embraced Islam.

Thus only the ones who fight for Allah SWT become martyrs. Should it not be for Allah's pleasure but with other motives, the honor of martyrdom can not be attained. On the other hand, even one is not killed in a battle, if his intention is to help the religion of Allah, to protect Muslims and watch over them, thus if he is a proper scholar to whom Allah SWT has entrusted Muslims, then he becomes a martyr. In fact this is a true martyr.

Muslims of this quality also testify the existence and the oneness of Allah SWT when they are alive. When you look at their face, you remember Allah SWT. Even a glance at their face changes the heart, warms the inside. Many even repent, leave misdeeds and turn to be good servants when they see these beloved ones. How does this happen? This happens due to their spirituality and precious essence. Then they become the witnesses of the existence and the oneness of Allah SWT (shâhid) as well as martyrs (shaheed).

Why are martyrs given the name of "shaheed", a word which has an origin with a meaning of witnessing? It is because they testify the existence and the oneness of Allah SWT, fight for Him and become the witnesses of His Holy attributes. Friends of Allah SWT on the other hand, tells about the might, power, punishment, torment and love of Allah SWT, which are of great importance. Thus this makes them both witnesses and martyrs of Allah SWT owing to both qualities. They are blessed servants of Allah SWT in these two aspects.

May Allah SWT increase number of such people and protect them. May Allah bestow upon them opportunities and means to carry out their responsibilities. May He protect Muslims from slipping up and deviating; their minds, from confusion; and their hearts, from darkening.

c. Martyr on the Land and in the Ocean

Here is the next hadith on the subject of martyr (Shaheed):

RE 306/8(Shaheedul-berri yughfaru lahû kullu dhenbin illad-daynu wal-amânatu wa shaheedul-bahri yughfaru lahû kullu dhenbin wad-daynu wal-amânatu) You will find the meaning of this hadith very interesting. You will be amazed if you have not heard it before:

(Shaheedul-berr) "The person who becomes a shaheed while fighting on the land (yughfaru lahû kullu dhenbin) will be forgiven his sins and his misdeeds (illad-daynu wal-amânatu) except his dept to a person and the responsibility of trust." With the exception of his debt and the amânah, his sins will be forgiven. He has to pay for them in the hereafter.

(Wa shaheedul-bahri) "The person who becomes a shaheed in the ocean (yughfaru lahû kullu dhenbin) will be forgiven all of his sins and misdeeds (wad-daynu wal-amânatu) including his debts and amânah." This means that one who becomes shaheed in the ocean has a higher rank than that of the shaheed on the land. Both shaheeds have very high ranks, yet the rank of the shaheed of the ocean is still higher. This indicates the importance of the seas. There is encouragement for the Muslims to turn to oceans and dominate there.

The Prophet SAS has instructed us to teach our children swimming, reading and writing, and using arms. Muslims have to be ready and well prepared for all kind of possibilities. Swimming, water, ocean, activities in the sea are very important.

Muslims had to be well equipped for the battles on the sea from the very beginning. They had to have all kinds of cruisers, destroyers, mine sweepers, airplane carriers and other vessels in the disposal of the navy. If it was neglected in the past, it has to be completed now. Muslims have to be the most advanced nation to dominate the oceans. This is what the Prophet SAS wanted.

If we study the ahadith of the Prophet, we can learn what we must do to get the pleasure of Allah and to receive the intercession of the Prophet. A country which is surrounded by oceans had to be number one in all matters regarding the ocean and navy because there are ahadith o this matter. We all should have learn how to swim because the Prophet recommends us to teach our children how to swim.

I mentioned earlier that in Australia, swimming courses are required for all students. It is very important for them. There are many styles that a student has to get a passing grade. If the student fails, he has to take additional courses. Consequently, all children in Australia learns how to swim. We should do the same and prepare our children in all fields.

I also noticed in Australia that men, women, youth, and elderly are trying to maintain a healthy body. They pay attention to physical fitness. When they walk, they display a strength of their bodies. Even when women walk, it feels as though the ground is shaking. They take good care of their body. We, too, must take good care of our body. We have to exercise our body and stay fit. We must teach our children how to swim, how to hike a mountain, and how to fly an airplane.

I have a license for the boats; I am a captain. I have a driver's license. If I had time and means, I would become a pilot and an underwater diver. I could go through all of these because each activity may be considered as a preparation, a skill. The more skillful a person is, the better the service he can provide.

I would like to have you look at yourselves, my brothers and sisters. Look at your life style. Do you protect your body, or do you fill it up with nicotine and tar by smoking? Do you exercise regularly, or do you have pains all over your body? Do your bones make all kinds of sounds when you walk? Do you go to the mosque or not? Do you walk or not? Do you fast on special days or not? Well, pay attention to what you do from now on.

Arrange your life according to the advices of the Prophet SAS. I see that some of these advices are practiced by non-Muslims, and neglected by Muslims.

May Allah almighty awaken us and make us good Muslims, good people. May He make us perfect beings. May He keep us in this world as beloved servants doing righteous deeds. May He grant us arrival to His presence as servants whom He is pleased with.

My Dear Brothers and Sisters, as-salaamu alaikum wa rahmatullah wa barakatuh.

May 19, 2000 -- Australia