Prof. Dr. Mahmud Es'ad COSAN

AKRA FM Friday Discourse

October 13, 2000



As-Selâmu alaikum wa rahmatullàhi wa barakâtuhû!

Dear Brothers and Sisters,

May Allah's peace, mercy, grace, blessings and bounty be with you all. May He grant you happiness and elevate your ranks in this world and in the hereafter.

a. Rewards for Remembrance in Bazaar

I would like to start today's discourse with a hadith narrated by Hadrat Ali RA. It is in the collections of Daylamî -- May Allah be pleased with them. Prophet Muhammed said:

RE. 214/12 (Essûqu dâru sahwin wa ghaflah, famen sabbeha fîhâ tesbîhatan kataballàhu lahû bihâ alfa alfi hasanatin, wa men qàla fîhâ lâ hawla wa lâ quwwata illâ billâh kâna fî jiwârillâhi hattâ yumsiya.) Sadaqa rasûlullàh, fî mâ qàl, aw kamâ qàl.

This hadith is about a marketplace, (sûq) the bazaar or the fair. People gather these places, and the vendors display their goods for sale. Some people sell their goods while others exchange certain items.

The Prophet said, (Essûqu dâru sahwin wa ghaflah) "The marketplace, the bazaar is a place of mistakes and unawareness. It is an abode of errors and neglect." Why is it a place of errors? The reason is that there are rules concerning the trading and the business transactions. Both the vendor and the buyer have to observe these rules. The vendor has to be truthful and fair. He should not hide the defects of the goods if there are any. He should not allure the customers by placing the better products to the front and hiding the rest behind them. He has to weigh or measure correctly. The buyer also has to observe certain rules. Violation of these rules makes the marketplace a place of errors.

While ruling the country, Omar Ibn-i Khattab would go to the market place and question the vendors: "What transactions are lawful? What transactions are unlawful? What is riba interest?" He would penalize the vendors who fail to answer these questions.

All Muslims, especially those who do trading, must know the rules of business transactions. We all go to the market and buy goods. We have to be particular about observing these rules; otherwise, there will be errors committed. The vendor wants to earn more, while the buyer wants to save more. There is a conflict of interests. Each side may have strong ambitions for money which is something of this world. These ambitions could overtake the awareness of the rules. Then, both parties could commit errors. They could lie or use counterfeit money. The bazaar is such a place.

When a Muslims enters a marketplace, he should be aware that he is entering a dangerous place like a mine field. He could err and be in a state that is not approved by Allah. He should be very careful so that he does not do anything against the consent of Allah. He should try staying away from sin.

If a believer enters a marketplace, he should seek refuge with Allah and remember Him. (Famen sabbeha fîhâ tesbîhatan) "If a person in the marketplace recites tasbîh, (kataballàhu lahû bihâ alfa alfi hasanatin) Almighty Allah writes one thousand times one thousand, i.e., one million rewards."

Here, tasbîh means subhànallàh i.e., "glory be to Allah." There are many verses of the Qur'an that start with Subhàna. These verses can be found in the Sunday section of the Ewrad-i Sharîfa book that we read daily. There are various forms of tasbîh which are recited by Adam AS, Noah AS, and Yunus [Jonah] AS. For instance here is the tasbîh of Yunus AS:

(Lâ ilâha illâ anta subhànaka innî kuntu minez-zàlimîn) [There is no deity except You! Glory be to You! I have been a wrongdoer.] We recite "Subhàna rabbi al-azîm" and Subhàna rabbi al-a'lâ" when we pray.

Subhànallàh means Allah, the Lord of the Universe, our Creator, is free from any limitations, shortcomings, imperfections and alike. He is perfect in all senses; He does nothing imperfect.

When we witness something great and amazing, we say "Subhànallàh" or "Allahu akbar!" For instance when the surah that begins with "Wad-duhà" was revealed, the companions of the Prophet exclaimed "Allahu akbar!" i.e., "Allah is the greatest of all!" upon hearing the good news in the verses. Our forefathers would use these words to express their feelings as well as to avoid individual selfish comments. When they get angry at something or disappointed, they would say "Lâ hawla wa lâ quwwata illâ billâhil-aliyyil-azîm" or "Lâ ilâha illallah." When we go for Pilgrimage or Umrah, we witness some Arab brothers arguing. When one raises his voice the other one says: "Sallû alen-nabiyyi!" i.e., "Say prayers on the Prophet!" Of course, the one who raised his voice says: "Allàhumma salli alâ sayyidinâ muhammed." Therefore, both sides calm down and avoid a fight. They do not give a chance to Satan.

In the hadith we read, the rewards for saying "Subhanallah" in the marketplace is described. If we recite tasbîh and do dhikr as we enter the marketplace, by the Will of Allah, we will be protected from mistakes, wrongdoings and deceptions of Satan.

The last part of the hadith is here: (Wa men qàla fîhâ lâ hawla wa lâ quwwata illâ billâh kâna fî jiwârillâhi hattâ yumsiya.) "If a person says 'Lâ hawla wa lâ quwwata illâ billâh' in the marketplace, he will be under the protection of Allah until the evening." These word mean, "There is no power or force except for Allah's. All powers and forces belong to Allah. He has the absolute ability to do whatever He wills. If He allows, other things can happen; If he does not allow, nothing happens." This is a very important statement. This is known as "hawqala."

A person who recites hawqala in the market place will be under the protection of Allah. He will be saved from unawareness, wrongdoings, deceptions and loss. This protection continues until sun goes down. When sun goes down, the bazaar will be over. The vendors gather their goods and leave.

The lesson we learn from this hadith is that we should recite tasbîh when we go for shopping. We can say "Subhànallah" or "Subhànallah walhamdulillâh wa lâ ilâha illallàhu wallàhu akbar." Then, we add "Lâ hawla wa lâ quwwata illâ billâh." These are the words we recite after the prayers: "Subhànallahi walhamdulillâhi wa lâ ilâha illallàhu wallàhu akbar. Wa lâ hawla wa lâ quwwata illâ billâhil-'aliyyil-azîm." If we say these words, we will be rewarded and protected from the evils of the market and shopping.

b. Winter is the Spring of a Believer

The second hadith I am going to read is one of the most pleasant ahadith. It was narrated by Abû Saîd RA. It is included in various authentic hadith collections. The Prophet said:

RE. 215/15 (Ash-shitâ-u rabîul-mu'min, qasura nahâruhû fasàmahû, wa tàla layluhû faqàmah.)

How nice, how pleasing! Insha-Allah, our calligrapher brothers make a design of this to frame and hang it on a wall. We are in autumn; soon winter will arrive. We are in October, in about a month and half, it will be winter.

Shitâ is Arabic for "winter"; Sayf is "summer." You remember the surah that begins as "Rihletash-shitâ-i was-sayf." The word Rabi means "spring." The Prophet brought these two words together to make a statement.

(Ash-shitâ-u rabîul-mu'min) "The winter time is the spring of a believer." How nice! It will be cold, not so pleasant, yet it is like the spring time for a believer. We all like springtime because that signals the end of the cold and freezing days we experience in winter. It will be hard without wood, coal or fuel for the heater. The water will be cold and crack the skin. It will be hard to make wudu. People who live at higher elevations will have harder time in winter. That is why the arrival of the spring will be welcomed by all.

When the spring arrives, the weather warms up, and ewes give birth to baby lambs. Also, butterflies come out of their cocoons; birds chirp on trees and bushes. The mother nature puts on a green dress; meadows turn into beautiful carpets. Flowers come out everywhere. Clouds carry rain, and creeks run gently. It is a season of inspiration for poets. Consequently, everybody likes spring time.

Our Prophet praises the winter saying, "The winter is the spring time of the believer." In other words, a believer enjoys winter just like everybody enjoys springtime. Then he explains, (qasura nahâruhû) "the days in winter are short, (fasàmahû) so he can fast easily." You can compare the short days of winter with the long days of summer. Imagine a summer day that people have to work under the burning heat of the sun. It makes a person feel thirsty and long for a brief breeze to cool off. Fasting during the hot and long days of summer is much more difficult than the fasting during the short and cool days of winter. A believer can do voluntary fasting in winter easily and earn rewards. (Wa tàla layluhû) "the nights of winter are long, (faqàmah) so the believer can spend part of the night in prayers." He can go to sleep right after the Isha prayer, and gets up after he has slept enough. With no difficulty, he gets out of his bed, makes wudhu, offer prayers and do dhikr, recite tasbîh, and read Qur'an. He turns to Allah, repents for his misdeeds. All these happen in the latter part of the night, before dawn.

Yunus said nicely:

Along with the mountains and the rocks,
Let me call You my Lord.
Along with the birds in the dawn,
Let me call You my Lord.

In winter, a believer could fast during the short days and do night prayers during the long nights. That can earn him rewards because the Prophet said:

(Rak'atâni minal-layli khayrun minad-dunyâ wa mâ fîhâ) "Two units of prayers at night is better than this world and everything in it.."

In contrast, in summer fasting will be hard, and nights are short making it difficult to get enough sleep before getting up for the night prayers. One may miss the time of this voluntary night prayers. A person could even miss the Fajr prayer time, and feel sorry for the entire day.

Dear Brothers and Sisters, in the northern hemisphere, fasting during this time of the year is not difficult. Besides, we are in the blessed month of Rajab. Our beloved Prophet used to fast in Rajab often. You, too, try fasting during the day and spend parts of the nights in prayers. Earn all of these rewards and remember us in your prayers.

c. Hidden Shirk

Today's third hadith was narrated by the Mother of Believers, Aisha RA. It can be found in the collections by Tirmidhî, Hakîm and Hulwânî. It deals with several issues. The Prophet SAS said:

RE. 215/16 (Ash-shirku akhfâ fî ummatî min dabîbin-namli alas-safâ fîl-laylatiz-zalmâ', wa adnâhu an tuhibbu alâ shay'in minal-jawri aw an tubghida alâ shay'in minal-adl, wa helid-dînu illal-hubbu fillâh, wal-bughdu fillâh. Qàlallàhu teàlâ: In kuntum tuhibbûnallàha fattabi?nî yuhbibkumullàh) Sadaqa rasûlullàh, fî mâ qàl, aw kamâ qàl.

The first issue in this hadith is about shirk. The Prophet points out that the shirk is a hidden danger.

(Ash-shirku akhfâ fî ummatî min dabîbin-namli alas-safâ fîl-laylatiz-zalmâ') "For my Ummah, the shirk is more hidden than the walk of an ant on a black rock in a dark night." It is not something obvious and clear-cut. Without a light, the walk of an ant on a black rock in a dark night will not be detected. A person may slip into the shirk without noticing it. It is a warning: "A Muslim may commit the shirk without noticing, so be careful!"

The Prophet explained the lowest form of the shirk in the continuation of the hadith. We must remember the the most obvious and clear form of the shirk: attribution of associates or partners to Allah, polytheism. Worshipping to idols, to the cross, to a man, to a mountain, to an ox, to an alligator or a crocodile, or to Namroud or Pharaoh. A person has a belief, yet he attributes godly powers to other beings such as the sun the and the moon. He spoils his belief by doing so. The shirk is not approved by Allah. Almighty Allah points in the Qur'an:

(Innad-dîna 'indallàhil-islâm) "The true religion with Allah is Islam."

We know the most obvious form of the shirk. It is unlikely that a Muslim commits such form of the shirk. What would be the hidden form of the shirk? How can we avoid it?

(Wa adnâhu an tuhibbu alâ shay'in minal-jawri) "The lowest of the shirk loving any form of injustice, wrongdoing."

Consider a person who wrongs people, deprives them of their rights. Having affection or love for such a person is the lowest form of the shirk. Likewise, (aw an tubghida alâ shay'in minal-adl) "hating any form of justice" is, too, a form of hidden shirk. Again, disliking a person who does the right thing and who treats people right is hidden shirk.

Then the Prophet asked, (Wa helid-dînu illal-hubbu fillâh, wal-bughdu fillâh) "And, is this religion something other that loving for Allah and disliking for Allah?"

If a person likes the injustice and dislikes the justice, he will be contradicting Islam. If he loves something or somebody, he should love it for the sake of Allah. He should love it just because Allah loves it, too. Similarly, when he dislikes something or hates somebody, he should do it for the sake of Allah. He should hate it just because Allah hates it, too. This is called al-hubbu fillâh wal bughzu fillâh.

All Muslims should be well aware of this fact. They should learn it as they learn how to perform salat, fasting and hajj. To emphasize its importance, the Prophet asked it: "Is this religion something other that loving for Allah and disliking for Allah?"

A true believer loves for the sake of Allah and hates for the sake of Allah. When the love and hatred are not for the sake of Allah, they become the shirk.

This brings up an important question: "How would we know what Allah loves and what He dislikes?"

Almighty Allah chose Prophet Muhammad as His messenger to mankind and revealed him the Qur'an. We must study the Qur'an and the ahadith, the words of the Prophet. Then we can find out what is loved by Allah, what is hated, what we must do, how we treat people, what is lawful and what is unlawful.

I asked a Swedish brother why he embraced Islam. He said, "I studied the Qur'an and realized that I had no other choice but embrace Islam."

Dear Brothers and Sisters, we inherited Islam from our parents and grandparents. That is, we had been born in Muslim families. Our grandparents were good Muslims; they worked hard for Islam, for the sake of Allah. They earned rewards--may their abode be in Paradise. Islam has been handed in to us. The places we live are also from our forefathers. All of these are entrusted with us. This puts responsibilities on our shoulders. We must learn not only the essentials but also the details of Islam. We must study Qur'an; we must learn Arabic. Often we become fluent in western languages such as English and German, yet we fail to speak or understand the language of the Qur'an and the language of the Prophet.

I met many Muslims who were the natives of Europe. First thing they did after becoming a Muslim was to learn Arabic. The figured that it was necessary to learn the detatils of Islam. Likewise, we should learn arabic, and read the Qur'an with love and eagerness. Even a non-Muslim embraces Islam after studying the Qur'an.

The Swedish brother said, "I told my family that I embraced Islam." I asked, "What was their reaction?" He said, "It was like a bomb in the house." Despite the severe reaction, this brother chose Islam. When a person opens up his heart to the love of Allah, he does what is is supposed to do. He thinks of the pleasure and consent of Allah. He does not mind the reactions from other people as long as he is doing what is right.

As the Prophet indicated in this hadith, one has to love what Allah loves and dislike what Allah dislikes. Anything in contradiction to this fine rule means hidden shirk. This hadith should be memorized and told to everybody.

In the end of the hadith, the Prophet recited a verse from the Qur'an: (Qàlallàhu teàlâ) "Almighty Allah said: (In kuntum tuhibbûnallàh) 'If you love Allah, (fattabi?nî) follow me (yuhbibkumullàh) so that Allah loves you.'"

There are many people in the world who have claims that they love Allah. Unfortunately their claims are nothing but a mere rhetoric. If you love Allah, you should love and obey the Prophet and follow his path. You must love Allah's words, too. You must love the Qur'an, study it and practice the orders of Allah. You must also love those whom Allah loves.

May Allah give you the vision to see the truth as truth. May He grant each one of us a life in compliance with His consent. May He make us sincere and true Muslims. May He give us the opportunities to serve Islam and Muslims. May He take us from this life to hereafter with a perfect belief. My He honor us with His Beauty in His Paradise. May He make us neighbors to His Prophet in the Hereafter.

As-salamu alaikum wa rahmatullàhi wa barakâtuhû, dear Brothers and Sisters.

October 13, 2000 -- Sweden