Prof. Dr. Mahmud Es'ad COSAN

AKRA FM Friday Discourse

July 21, 2000



As-salaamu alaikum wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuh!..

Dear Brothers and Sisters,

I am with you for another Friday Discourse.

a. Mischief as the Darkness of Night

According to Abu Hurayra, Prophet Muhammad SAS said:

RA 243/2 (Bâdirû bil-a'mâli fitenen keqita'il-laylil-muzlimi yusbihur-rajulu mu'minen wa yumsî kâfiran, wa yumsî mu'minen wa yusbihu kâfirâ. Yebîu ahaduhum dînehû bi'aradin mined-dunyâ qalîl.)

Imam Ahmad ibn-i Hanbal (Rh.A), the imam of one of the major schools of thought, Imam Muslim, the author of the famous hadith collection, and Imam Tirmidhî included this hadith in their hadith collections. Our beloved Prophet said:

(Bâdirû bil-a'mâli) "Try your best to carry out deeds that are favored by Allah, and hurry up to do them." Badera-mubâdaraten means running after some action, to hurry to do something, and to try hard. The noun a'mal does not have any modifiers; however, it is meant to be the righteous deeds that would earn the pleasure of Allah. The following word fitenen could mean li ajlil fiten, i.e., "there will be mischief, and you should protect yourselves with righteous deeds." This could also mean, "When there is mischief and trouble, you try your best to protect your belief and religion."

What could be the mischief? What could be these tests? What are these things that confuses people? (keqita'il-laylil-muzlimi) "they are like the pieces of night that makes everything dark." It is like "pieces of darkness."

When it is daytime, there will be light and people can see where they are stepping. Thus, they can avoid potholes and obstacles. However, at night, in the dark a person may stumble on something or run into something unpleasant. The night makes it difficult to find the way.

Now we all wonder what the mischief is.

(Yusbihur-rajulu mu'minen wa yumsî kâfiran) "A person gets up as a believer in the morning and becomes an unbeliever by the evening. (Wa yumsî mu'minen wa yusbihu kâfirâ.) A person may be a believer in the evening, but he may get up as an unbeliever in the morning. (Yebîu ahaduhum dînehû bi'aradin mined-dunyâ qalîl) "One of them sells his religion for a small worldly gain." That means he destroys his hereafter.

I consider this hadith as a serious warner. Especially at our times, it is also important to let people know about this hadith. We do have people, organizations and establishments to protect Islam, yet the "kufr" has been very strong and cannot be overlooked. Also, the enemies of Islam has widespread organizations. They have political powers; they could pull the strings. They are financially strong; they have so much manpower.

While we are having a hard time in meeting the needs of people, providing city services, they invest money in unimaginable fields. They send their people to even the most remote locations of the world. They send missionaries to Muslim countries. They send people to Middle Asia, Turkic Republics, India, and China. They have undertaken very serious missionary work in all countries. On the other hand, our not-for-profit organizations are under pressure and and close follow-up in our countries. The hands of our organizations are tied by the regulations and laws. We may not carry out Islamic activities, yet the organizations of kufr is free to carry out anti-Islamic missionary work. Then you see people, even your neighbors, relatives or children, are affected by them through the media, radio, television, or internet. They are constantly bombarded with anti-Islamic messages.

It is not possible to respond to each and every attack because the number of attacks is so large that we just do not have the means to respond. Just like the World War II--Bombs rained on Germany, and Germans could not respond to them.

Carrying out Islamic work and defending Islam requires resources of all kinds from a well-developed plan to financial resources. When nations can not protect themselves spiritually, then they undergo a transformation to lose their beliefs and code of ethics. A foreign custom or a disturbing behavior becomes widespread affecting people to change them into selfish individuals or slaves of their lust and of Satan.

In the past certain behaviors were avoided because they were banned by the Qur'an or by the society, and yet nowadays the very same behaviors have become very common. They grin and say, "So what?" Such a reaction cannot come from a believer, but from a non-believer. That will take away the respect and fear towards Allah. The life in the hereafter would also becomes meaningless for them.

Almighty Allah informed our beloved Prophet about this, and our Prophet warned his Ummah. There will be some mischief that a person will not be able to decide which direction he should take just like a person trying to walk in the complete darkness of the night without any light. The mischief will be so intense that it will make a person change his mind and belief from morning to evening. The words he hear, the events he witnesses, the conversations with other people throughout the day make him lose his belief, and he becomes an unbeliever by the evening. If he keeps his belief despite all, he may be affected at night--the words on the radio, the pictures on the television, a speech at a meeting could affect him. He may leave the straight path and become an unbeliever. It is a major mischief for a person to abandon his correct path and take up a wrong path believing that it is the truth.

I believe that this has already started in our time, for there are many irresponsible people or oppressors putting an immense effort with stealthy schemes to lead people to the wrong paths.

The sources of this hadith are very reliable, so this hadith is an authentic hadith having this important warning. The hadith continues with another important sentence: (Yebîu ahaduhum dînehû) "These people will sell their religion, their belief, (bi'aradin mined-dunyâ qalîl) for a small amount of worldly gain--some money, some property, or some advantage."

These are the signs of the end of this life. The life gets very difficult during that time. Before that time arrives, we must try our best to do righteous deeds.

When the good deeds are carried out, the society will be in peace, and the Day of the Resurrection will be postponed. Allah revealed in the Qur'an that he would shower us with blessings if we were good. Prophet Muhammad also said in various ahadith that the time of the day of resurrection depends on people. As long as there is one person declaring La ilaha il-lal-lah, i.e. there is no deity but Allah, this life will not come to an end. As the evil increases, the Doomsday will draw nearer.

You may question, "Isn't everything predetermined?"

Well, yes it is predetermined, yet it is the Divine Mystery. The knowledge of it rests with Allah. We may not know how it is. There are ahadith indicating, for instance, that the supplications prevent some of the predetermined calamities. It is beyond our comprehension.

The destiny has secrets and mysteries. Only those who attain the spiritual knowledge may understand these mysteries. If our prophet informed us about something, that is to be taken as is. If people are good, if they behave well, if they treat one another well, then the Doomsday will be delayed. Almighty Allah is able to create time within time, days within a day; then, people live happily. If people indulge in evil activities, the end of this world will draw nearer. In fact when a person dies, he will experience his own doomsday. Our efforts and zeal in doing righteous deeds will postpone disasters and mischief.

There is another way of interpreting this hadith: "When such mischief occurs, do not stay idle but work hard. Abandon the empty talk and concentrate on the action." Here, it is not specified as (a'mâli saliha) the righteous deeds, but only (a'mâl) the action. "Try harder, work hard." In any case we must work hard, do righteous deeds that Allah is pleased with, and also do action to protect the society, to clean it from physical and spiritual contamination and to beautify it.

There is also the terrible matter of "selling the hereafter for a small amount of worldly benefit." We can see the examples in the society. With their weakened belief, un-Islamic purposes, love for this temporary life in their heart, some people do not mind giving up their religious life for a small worldly benefit. Once they start doing that, they do not mind "selling" their national interests for selfish benefits even if it is to the great disadvantage of the society.

It is the duty of the society not to give such people any opportunities. Every society has some people with such ill intentions. They do not like to work to earn a living, but they prefer the shortcuts and opportunities even if they are illegal and ethically incorrect. The society should be able to keep them away from important duties, and make the righteous people dominate. The society is like a body, and such people are like germs. A healthy body could get rid of germs; otherwise, the germs would dominate and weaken the body. If people with ill intentions dominate in the society, the society collapses.

We must study our history especially the last two hundred years and ponder about it. "Who were we? What happened to us? What went wrong?" Some may think that it is over and that everything will be fine. They are mistaken. This trend has been going on and may get worse. That is why we must try harder and do action.

b. Giving Charity Prevents the Calamities

Here is the second hadith for today's discourse:

RA 243/5 (Bâkirû bis-sadaqati fa-innel-belâ-e lâ yatahattas-sadaqah.)

(Bâkirû) means "attempt early!" (Bâkirû bis-sadakati) "Hurry up in giving charity," for a person is loved by Allah when he gives charity. (Fa-innel-belâ-e lâ yatahattas-sadaqah.) "The calamities do not overcome the barrier of the charity." The charity will be like a firm wall to protect the person against calamities. That is why a person should hurry up in giving charities.

One has to spend from his wealth for charitable causes. In the first hadith, we have been recommended to act on good causes. That also requires financial sources. Some physical work may be needed. People may work for a limited short time period without any wages, yet they can not continue working forever. They may have a family to feed. So, they need to be paid some salary. There will be a need of money for supplies, for rent and alike. We have to turn to those who are financially better off than the rest of the congregation for help.

Our prophet indicated in a hadith that Satan sends the most skilful among his army to those who want to spend money for the cause of Allah. They will try to have them change their mind about spending money. As a matter of fact, no matter how well you explain the need and problems, those who are not so well off financially contribute better for charitable financing. Few of the rich also contribute; nevertheless, a large majority do not contribute for charity as much as they would spend on a new-years' eve entertainment or on a football game. When there is a football game, they can find money for the plane ticket, stadium ticket, the hotel bill and other expenses. Yet, when it comes to a charitable cause, they do not even contribute one tenth or one hundredth of it. We observe these all often. It is the work of Satan.

Our prophet stated clearly, "spending on charity does not make a persons wealth diminish; on the contrary, it makes it increase." Trimming the branches of a tree does not make the tree produce less fruit; on the contrary, it makes it produce better. When a person spends on charity, it may appear that the wealth is decreased. This will be a temporary decrease. One gives zakah because Allah ordered Muslims to do so. It is a test. Allah gives a person more wealth and abundance when he spends on charity and when he pays his zakah due. On the other hand, Allah will cause the wealth of a person who does not pay zakah diminish through some calamities or disasters. That is why we must be aware of the need of spending on charitable causes and allocate money for it. We also need to hurry in doing so.

There were similar problems during the time of Prophet Muhammad. Great personages brought all of their wealth and give them to the order of the Prophet. That was how the poor society was fed; armies, formed and equipped; and victories, won. That was how Islam grew.

c. Prevent the Evil!

The third hadith:

RA 243/7 (Bihasabil-mar'i idhâ ra'â munkaran lâ yastatî'u lahû taghyiran an ya'lamallàhu an'nahû lahû kârihun)

This hadith was narrated by Abdullah ibni Mas'ud RA and included in the collections of Imam Bukhari and Tabarânî.

Bihasabil-mar'i means "it suffices for a person..." Sometimes we say, hasbun-Allah "Allah suffices for us," and hasbi-Allah "Allah suffices for me." The hadith continues: (idhâ ra'â munkaran) "... when he sees something wrong (lâ yastatî'u lahû taghyiran) yet he is unable to correct it or change it ..."

We observe the wrongs in the society, yet we may not be able to correct it. We are only one; we have one vote. We may not be effective individually. We point the wrong, and say something about it, yet we may not have the sufficient power to correct it. A person sees the wrong and tries to correct it yet he is unable to correct it. It suffices for the person (an ya'lamallàhu an'nahû lahû kârihun) "to know that Allah does not like the wrong." That is he will not be held responsible for not changing it. Allah says, "O my servant! You have acknowledged that what you saw was wrong. You tried to correct it, yet you could not do it. The bad ones overpowered you. You warned them and did your best." Allah does not hold him responsible. It suffices for the person's salvation.

The society has come a strange state. Those who had higher education at religious institutions have started issuing permissions for violation of Islamic rules. I was reported about some incidents that I could not believe! What a shame! Did you seek a religious education to violate the religion? Their abode in the hereafter will be a terrible place; their punishment, severe. How could a person whose duty is to convey Allah's message and invite people to the straight path be so irresponsible and issue permissions for violation of the Islamic rules?

May Almighty Allah save us all from all kinds of mischief, danger, and confusion. May He give us a life in accordance with Islam, the Qur'an and the traditions of the Prophet. May he honor us with His beauty in His paradise.

As-salaamu alaikum wa rahmatullàhi wa barakâtuhû!

July 21, 2000 - AUSTRALIA