Prof. Dr. Mahmud Es'ad COSAN

AKRA FM Friday Discourse

August 4, 2000

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WOE TO SOME PEOPLE!

As-salaam alaikum wa rahmatullàhi wa barakâtuhû!..

Dear Brothers and Sisters!

May Allah's peace, mercy, bounty, and grace be with you. May He place you among His beloved servants. May He instill His love in our hearts. May He provide means for you to lead a life in accordance with His pleasure. May He keep you away from committing faults, wrong deeds or sins.

a. Woe to the Rich!

In the first hadith for today's discourse, the Prophet said:

RE. 461/9 (Waylun lil-aghniyâi minal-fuqarai yawmal-qiyâmah, yaq¯lûn: Rabbanà bahilû bihuqûkinallatî faradta lanâ alayhim fi amwâlihim. Fayaq¯lullàhu teàlâ: Wa izzatî wa jalâlî la-uqarribannakum wa la-ubâ-idannahum.) Sadaqa rasûlullàh, fi mâ qàl, aw kamà kàl.

This hadith was narrated by Anas RA and included in the collections of Tayâlisî, Ibn-i Murdawayh and Askarî. Our beloved Prophet said: (Waylun lil-aghniyâi minal-fuqarai yawmal-qiyâmah) "Woe to the rich on the Day of Resurrection because of [their negligence of] the poor. (Yaq¯lûn) The poor will complain, (Rabbanà bahilû bihuqûkinallatî faradta lanâ alayhim fi amwâlihim) 'Our Lord, they were stingy towards us in carrying out the duties such as zakah and charity that you made obligatory on them.' (Fayaq¯lullàhu teàlâ) Allah Almighty will respond: (Wa izzatî wa jalâlî) 'By My Dignity and Glory, (la-uqarribannakum) I will bring you closer to Myself, (wa la-ubâ-idannahum) and I will keep them away from Myself and My Mercy.'"

The word wayl is a particle in Arabic grammar. It is also the name of a valley in Hell which has intense torment. An abyss is also mentioned with this name. It could also be used as an expression of lamentation. There is also the 83rd surah Tatfif in the Qur'an that starts as Waylun lil-mutaffifîn [Woe to the stinters . . . .]

Waylun lil-aghniyâi means, "there will be intense torment for the rich." We wonder the cause: (Minal fuqara') "for their negligence of the duties towards the poor." (Yawmal qiyamah) "On the day of Resurrection." The poor then will say: (Rabbanà) "O our Lord! (Bahilû) They were stingy (bihuqukinâ) with our rights. They did not give the due amount (allatî faradta lanâ alayhim fî amwâlihim) that you made it obligatory on their wealth and belongings."

There is also another verse in the Qur'an:

(Walledhîne fî emwâlihim haqqun ma'lûm. Lis-sâili wal-mahrûm)

"...whose wealth comprises an acknowledged responsibility towards the beggar and the destitute." That means the rich has to apportion for the poor, and give it. When he gives the due amount to the poor, his wealth is purified. Only then he will not be using something that belonged to other people.

One may object saying, "I earned this by myself." Yes you earned it; however, Allah says that a portion of it belongs to the poor. The Creator of the heavens and the earth, your Creator gave you the health, intelligence and the means to earn what you have. He also made it obligatory for you to give a portion of your wealth to the poor.

Some people turn the beggars down saying, "May Allah give it to you." They are not aware of the hadith: "When somebody begs something from you, give it even if it is half a date fruit even if the person rides a horse. He may have a horse, yet he may not have anything to eat. Give him a sip of water, a bite of food or alike. If you do not have anything to give, then pray for him." One could say, "I am sorry brother; I do not have anything to eat either. May Allah give something for you and for me, too."

Some rich man lean back and turn the beggar down: "May Allah give it to you." They also add, "Brother, I work and earn." They imply that the beggar should work and earn too. This sounds logical yet, what if Allah had not given you the health, could you still work and earn bread? If you had the lack of intelligence, would you bring your business to this level? What if Allah did not send you any customers, what would you do?

Some time ago in Turkey, the cabinet took some decisions. Due to these decisions, two thirds of the wealth of each person effectively diminished. Some people realized the seriousness of the decisions, yet many people did not even notice it. A decision like this could make a person lose his wealth, and he cannot do much to get it back.

The poor have some rights on the property of the rich because it is Allah who gave the wealth to the rich. Allah provided the means. He creates everything, He gives life to the living beings. If He takes away the life, nobody could bring it back. If He gives an illness to a person, nobody could cure it. Accidents happen: A person could lose a ship in open seas, an eighteen-wheeler on the highway, or a car on the street. There may be disasters, floods, fires. One has to realize that it is Allah who gives the property and who takes it away.

Allah gives the wealth to a person and then He tests him by ordering him to give a portion to the poor. Each of us must realize this and act accordingly.

You may wonder how the poor are treated in developed countries. If I am to compare them with Turkey, people are treated much better in the developed countries. For instance, there is the unemployment benefits in those countries. The poor do not have to beg if they are unemployed. In Australia, Europe and Germany people who do not work get paid some unemployment salary. They get free medical care as well. The rents for housing also low so that it is not too difficult for the unemployed to rent an apartment or a house. The governments consider taking good care of their people as an important duty. They have also thought about the disabled citizens and issued regulations to make the life easier for them.

There are other nice things that the governments provide in these countries. For instance, when the mother of one of our friends grew old and needed a nurse constantly, the government asked our friend to retire and take good care of the mother.

People who do not have a house can also get assistance from the government. That means there are many possibilities.

People themselves are also very nice, and they love to participate charitable activities. You can see charitable establishments, churches, schools, and hospitals all over the cities. Definitely they spend on charities more than Muslims do in Turkey. Their governments support such activities and provide better service to their people. That makes people happy.

In these countries, the basic services, such as water, electricity, sewer lines and paved roads, are already provided. The basic needs for life are quite inexpensive. For instance, milk is cheaper than the bottled water. Meat is also inexpensive. People do not suffer from hunger in these countries.

The rich have become rich with the means that Allah provided for them. Allah provided them with health, intelligence and opportunities. In return, Allah wants a portion to be given to the poor.

On the Day of Resurrection, the poor will complain: "Our Lord, they did not give us our portions. They were stingy." Upon this complaint, Allah will say, "By My Dignity and Glory, I will bring you closer to Myself, and I will keep them away from My Mercy."

If waylun is an abyss with intense torment in Hell, the rich who failed to pay zakah and due charities will be punished there.

May Allah make us self-sufficient that we do not need to get charities. Being in need of charities to be given by the servants of Allah is very difficult. Me must be aware of the suffering of those who are destitute. We must reach out and help them. If we do not, then the torments would be waiting for us in the hereafter. If we do, then we will benefit from it both in this world and in the hereafter.

I feel sorry for the people of Africa which is close to Turkey. We must extend a helping hand to Africa. We must start from somewhere be it be Sudan, Somalia, Mauritania or Senegal. We have to maintain the good relations and send them technical and financial help.

Here I see television programs, fund-raisers. They show the poor and ask for money to spend on them. Then they show how they feed them, clothe them, educate them, and how they bring civilization for them. They do have missionary work. They preach their religion on the poor. Then, they collect the fruits of their work.

We must have an aid program in Turkey and outside of Turkey as well. We could start with the Turkic nations. We must provide all kinds of technical support for these countries. We have to establish cooperation with them. Then comes the Balkans. Bosnia is our fortress. There are many Muslims living in Bulgaria, Macedonia, Albany, and Romania.

The other day I met a brother who helped with the construction of a mosque along the Danube river in Bulgaria. The mayor of the town received them well. They realized that they must cooperate. Their president will visit Turkey. We must cooperate, too.

Dear Brothers and Sisters, we must try our best to help the poor.

b. The Harms of the Bad Deeds

The second hadith concerns the scholars. Allah Almighty entrusted the ummah with the scholars. The scholars are the heirs of the prophets. They must guard the Muslims. Unfortunately, some scholars neglect their duties. They must be told about their duties.

The hadith was narrated by Anas RA and included in mustedrek of Hâkim. The Prophet said:

RE. 461/10 (Waylun li-ummatî min ulamâ-is-sû-i, yattakhizûna hâdhal-'ilma tijâratan yabtagh¯ne min umarâ-ihim zamânahum ribhan li-anfusihim lâ arbahallàhu tijâratahum) Sadaqa rasûlullàh, fî mâ qàl, aw kamâ kàl.

On the side of the page there is a note: "The wording should be min umarâ-i zamânahum instead of min umarâ-ihim zamânahum."

(Waylun li-ummatî min ulamâ-is-sû-i) "Woe to my ummah because of the bad scholars." Here the ummah is not faulty but the scholars are. This means that the Ummah will have difficult times and hardship like a torment because of the bad scholars.

Why would the scholars be bad? What are their characteristics? (Yattakhizûna hâdhal-'ilma tijâratan) "They use their knowledge as a source of income, like a business." They use their knowledge to obtain worldly gain. We also read in the Qur'an about previous nations that they had given up the good things in the hereafter in exchange for things of this life. (Yabtagh¯ne min umarâ-ihim zamânahum ribhan li-anfusihim) "They obtain personal benefits from the rulers of their times. (Lâ arbahallàhu tijâratahum) May Allah not let their business prosper."

These words are tantamount to condemnation. The reason for such a strong warning is that the scholars are expected to guide the masses. If they neglect their duties and go after their own worldly benefits by being close to the rulers, then the society will be at a loss. The corruption will dominate in the society.

When the scholars and sages guide and rule the society, the society will prosper. "The wolf and the lamb become friends." Then, all kinds of exploitation, oppression, cheating, and alike will disappear.

Once the scholars become corrupted, the society gets corrupted, too, because they guide and educate the society. In the absence of the proper guides, the society will follow the selfish, materialist, and opportunist people. Everybody would consider how he can cheat, embezzle, or get bribes. That would be an indication of the corrupted society.

In a hadith, the Prophet said that first the scholars get corrupted and then the Day of Resurrection comes. Allah Almighty takes the scholars away, then the ignorant people start giving advice to the society. They ruin the society. The calamities and disasters fall on such a society.

May Allah Almighty elevate all of us in knowledge. You must try to raise your children as scholars. When I am consulted, I recommend the fresh graduates continue seeking education. They should get master's degrees and doctoral degrees. They should become professors in their fields.

Sometimes I tell them to invent something in their fields. I know it is not easy, still I suggest they try.

A person should be skillful in all aspects. If a person uses his mind, his logic, his judgment, he can discover new things.

You are familiar with the safety pin. It is made of a piece of wire. The wire is folded in special way, and a simple mechanism is attached to one end to keep the other pointed end in place. The inventor of the safety pin became rich. The pin, too, is an interesting example of a simple device. To prevent the needle from sliding, a "head" is added to one end.

We have a repair work going on in the mosque. We go to hardware stores here. I am amazed at the variety of nails, screws, bolts, boards, wood, and other building materials. They have advanced so much and developed such details. Once we needed some paint with a special color. It was composed from the ingredients before our eyes to give the exact color we wanted. They work hard and advance in all fields.

We must work hard, advance in knowledge. The scholars must use their knowledge for good, not for evil. Especially the scholars of Islamic knowledge must state what is in the Qur'an and in the tradition of the Prophet without altering it. They must state the truth and uphold the truth. They must not sell their knowledge in exchange of some worldly gains.

c. Woe to the Rulers!

I would like to complete my discourse with the third hadith:

RE. 461/4 (Waylun lil-wâlî minar-ra'iyyeti illâ wâliyan yah¯tuhum min warâ'ihim bin-nasìhah)

The Prophet Said, (Waylun lil-wâlî minar-ra'iyyeti) "Woe to the rulers because of the people they rule (illâ wâliyan) except for those (yah¯tuhum min warâ'ihim bin-nasìhah) who rule people with sincerity, protect them from dangers, and serve them well."

The rulers will have a hard time because of their treatment of people they rule. They will suffer torments in the hereafter. However, if they observe the rights of people and if they serve them properly, then they will be not only exempted from such suffering but also rewarded well in the hereafter. If a person does not fulfill his responsibilities, does not carry out his duties, abuses the powers of his position, then he will face the wrath of Allah.

I am sure you all remember the hadith of the Prophet:

RE. 343/1 (Kullukum râ-in wa kullukum mes'ûlun an ra'iyyetihî) "You all are like shepherds; and all of you will be held responsible for the protection of your flock." For instance, man is responsible for his members of the family; woman is responsible for the home and the honor of the family. The administrators have more responsibilities; their negligence could lead to great disasters. That is why their punishment for misconduct will be severe.

Because of this fact, the companions of the Prophet refused to be appointed to ruling positions. They accepted the positions after people insisted very much.

May Allah almighty give us the vision to see the truth, and the power and the opportunity to do good deeds. May He keep us away from all kinds of bad deeds. May He give us a successful life full of rewards. May He make us individuals useful to the society.

May Allah give us the means to obey the Qur'an and to follow the path of the Prophet Muhammad. May He bless us all and shower His mercy on us. May He honor us with His Beauty in His paradise. May your Friday be blessed. May Allah give you life to live many Fridays, too.

As-salaamu alaikum wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuhu.

August 4, 2000 -- AUSTRALIA