Prof. Dr. Mahmud Es'ad COŞAN
AKRA FM Friday Discourse
April 28, 2000
HELPING A MUSLIM
(The ahadith in this discourse are the same as those of the discourse of February 11, 2000.)
As-salaamu alaikum wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuh
Dear Brothers and Sisters,
May Almighty Allah bless you with all good things and happiness in this world and in the hereafter. May Allah help all of our brothers living in all parts of the world with their difficulties. May He give remedies for their problems, and have them attain their goals.
a. The Rewards for Visiting the Sick
Today's first hadith is reported by Hadrat Ali RA, and recorded by Ibn-i Hibban. The Prophet SAS has said:
RE. 380/4 (Ma min imri-in muslimin yaûdu muslimen il-labte-asallâhu seb'îna elfe malakin yusallûna alayhi fî ay-yi sâ'atin-nahâri kâna hat-tâ yumsiya wa ay-yi sâ'atil-layli kâna yusbiha.) Sadaqa rasûlullàh, fi mâ qâl aw kamâ qâl.
This hadith is about the spiritual rewards of visiting the sick. We often remind you about not forgetting our brothers and sisters who have ailments, visiting them and offering nice words for them. They need love and affection more than they need medicine. Visiting them is beneficial for them as much as the medical care they receive. Visiting them especially on a Friday is more beneficial for the visitors.
Fridays are the feasts of Muslims. Fridays are very precious days, Friday Prayers are very important events. One who misses three consecutive Friday Prayers with no excuses will have his heart, his feelings, sealed. Without the the feelings, the heart becomes like a rock. It is something terrible to have the heart sealed. May Allah SWT save us from that.
There are special activities on Friday. Taking a ghusl bath, putting on fresh clothes, going to the mosque early are recommended. It is also recommended to read the Kahf chapter of Qur'an. These causes the forgiveness of sins committed over the preceding ten days.
Then, visiting the sick on Fridays has so much rewards. Visiting the graveyard has rewards, too. Giving charity on Friday is very good. There are many ahadith reminding us about these good deeds. Specifically this hadith is reported by Hadrat Ali RA. I read these ahadith with a special care because I love him and I expect my brothers and sisters who love him, too, listen to these ahadith and put the advice into practice. Now I will explain it word for word:
(Ma min imri-in muslimin) "There is no Muslim servant (yaûdu muslimen) who visited another Muslim servant who had an ailment (il-labte-asallâhu) that Allah did not appoint (seb'îna elfe malakin) seventy thousand angels for him." The meaning of the words here is that when a Muslim visits a sick person, Allah sends seventy thousand angels to the visitor. (Yusallûna alayhi) these angels pray for the visitor. (Fî ay-yi sâ'atin-nahâri kâna hat-tâ yumsiya) From the time of the visit in the day until the evening, they pray for the person. (Wa ay-yi sâ'atil-layli kâna yusbiha) From the time of the visit at night until the morning, these angels pray for him."
Mâ is a proposition for a negative statement; il-lâ is also a proposition for a strong negative statement. Double negatives make a positive sentence: "There is no Muslim servant who visited a sick Muslim that Allah did not appoint him seventy thousand angles for him." We can paraphrase it as follows: If a person visits a Muslim who has fallen sick, Allah SWT appoints seventy thousand angels for him. The other words describe the angels.
Imru-un is an Arabic word meaning "a person, an individual." The feminine form of the word is imra-atun. This is an interesting word. Depending on the form of the last syllabus, the middle syllabus changes form as in imra-an and imri-in. The phrase should read as "Ma min imri-in muslimin" which is the proper pronunciation.
Ibte-asa comes from the root ba-asa which means appointing somebody to do something. The commissioning of our beloved Prophet by Allah is referred as bi'satun-nabi. When A person visits a sick Muslim, Allah appoints seventy thousand angels for the person.
How are these angels? What are they for? What do they do? (Yusallûna alayhi) They pray for the person who visited a sick Muslim (fî ay-yi sâ'atin-nahâri kâna hat-tâ yumsiya) from the time of visit in the day until the evening. How nice it is to receive the prayers of seventy thousand angels.
If the person visited the sick Muslim at night --which is unlikely if the person is in the hospital, yet not every sick person is hospitalized, some may stay home--then these seventy thousand angels pray for him until the next morning.
This means that we have some responsibilities for the sick. Our Prophet SAS recommended that we visit them. Visiting the sick is an important rewarding deed. We should not miss such a good deed.
On Fridays, if possible, or on Saturdays or Sundays, we should carry out these good deeds such as visiting the sick, visiting the graveyard, attending the Friday Prayer, giving charity, and attending a funeral prayer and burial. There are ahadith recommending these deeds.
Think about your friends. Is there anybody sick? Try visiting them so that Allah gives rewards for you and for the person you visit. As you know when a sick person prayers, his prayers are accepted. Illness makes the person important in that sense. Allah gives him the troubles as well as rewards. Illness is a test from Allah.
Life is a test in Islam. The illness is a test for the patient. The patient is to be tested with the problem on his health. He has to be aware that it is from Allah SWT and remain patient. That will get him rewards.
One of the privileges of the sick is that their prayers are answered and accepted. That is why a person should visit the sick, and try to receive his prayers. He should please the sick with his visit and expect a a prayer" "May Allah be pleased with you." One can take some flowers, fruit, food or another gift for the patient, and say: "Here, I baked this cake just for you. I made this fresh juice, perhaps you would like to try. Enjoy it." That is how we should get the prayers of the patient.
b. A Person Who Faces a Calamity
The second hadith is recorded by Dâra Qutnî and Ibn-i Asâkir. It is reported by Zuhrî. The Prophet SAS said:
RE.380/6 (Mâ min imri-in muslimin tusîbuhu musîbetun tuhzinuhu feyarji-'u il-lâ qalallâhu 'azza wa jalla li malâikatihî: Awj'atu qalba abdî fasabara wahtasaba ic'alû thawabahû min hal-jannata wa mâ dhakara musîbatahû farraj-ja'a il-lâ jad-dadallâhu ajrahâ) Sadaqa rasûlullàh, fî mâ qàl, aw kamâ qàl.
This hadith is instructing us about an important matter:
(Mâ min imri-in muslimin) "There is no Muslim servant (tusîbuhu musîbetun) has faced a calamity (tuhzinuhu) that made him sad and (feyarji-'u) the servant uttered the words, "In-na lillahi wa inna ilayhi raji'ûn -- Surely we belong to Allah and to Him is our return," that (il-lâ qalallâhu 'azza wa jalla) Almighty Allah has not said (li malâikatihî) to His angels: (Awj'atu qalba abdî) 'I filled my servant's heart with sorrow, and (fasabara) he remained patient.'"
As you know, the calamities and troubles are in our destiny; they are tests from Allah SWT. We must be patient about them. There are also good things in this world which are blessings from Allah; we should be thankful about these blessings. Being patient and being thankful will bring rewards for the Muslim.
Here, there is "the double negative" structure to emphasize the positive meaning: "If a Muslim remains patient and accepts it when he faces a calamity, Allah SWT tells His angels that He filled His servants heart with sorrow and the servant remained patient (wahtasaba) expecting rewards from Him.
The word wahtasaba comes from the word ihtisab which means "to calculate, to allocate, to expect." It also means the utterance of the words "Hasbunallahu wa ni'mal wakîl--I forward this matter to Allah, and He is my guardian, my attorney." Utterance of these words would bring great rewards for a person.
Before continuing with the rest of the hadith, let me remind you about some nice words:
1. La ilâha il-lal-lah-- "There is no deity but Allah." Allah is the only one true god; other deities are false. Worshipping false deities is wrong, deviation from the truth.
2. Allàhu akbar--"Allah is the greatest of everything." These days in Turkey some people utter similar words for soccer players and singers such as "The greatest is Mr. X, nobody is greater than him." One has to be extremely careful about who is the greatest. "Allah is the greatest."
3. Subhànallàh--"Allah has no deficiencies or shortcomings; He has all perfections. He is the best of all."
4. Alhamdu lil-làh--"All praise is due to Allah. We thank Allah." This is uttered for the blessings of Allah regardless of whether we have it or not because Allah is worthy of thanks.
Actually, all praises go to Him. When we praise the color of the lake, it actually refers to the Creator. When we say, "What a great view," we would be praising its Creator. The fragrant of a rose, the intelligence of a child, the taste of an apple, and other endless beauties and marvels, all are created by Allah.
5. Among the nice words is the salawat for the Prophet SAS. Reciting salawat on Friday is more rewarding than it is on other days. Out late teacher Mehmed Zahid Kotku RhA recommended me to recite the following salawat one thousand times on Fridays:
(Allàhum-ma sal-li alâ say-yidinâ muhammedin wa âlihî wa sal-lam) [May the prayers and peace be upon our master Prophet Muhammad and his family.]
6. Another sentence is the following:
(Hasbunallahu wa ni'mal wakîl) "Allah suffices for me. I put my trust in Him. I appoint him as my guardian. He will provide me protection. I have no fear of any creatures. Nobody could inflict any harm on me."
7. Yet another nice sentence is this:
(In-nâ lil-lâhi wa in-nâ ilayhi râji'n.) "We all belong to Allah; He created us, He provides sustenance for us, and our destiny is in His hands. We are his servants, He does what ever He chooses to. Our return is to Him. We will go back to Him eventually."
A believer utters these word when he faces calamities or difficulties as recommended in the Qur'an:
(Elledhîne idhâ asàbet-hum musîbatun qàlû in-nâ lil-lâhi wa in-nâ ilayhi râji'n.) "When they are visited by an affliction, say,'surely we belong to Allah, and to Him we return.'" Reciting these words is called "tarji'a" which ends with the letter "'ayn" and comes from the word "ruju'a."
When facing a calamity, if a person turns to Allah, and says, "In-nâ lil-lâhi wa in-nâ ilayhi râji'n," Allah SWT tells His angels, "I filled my servant's heart with grief, and he remained patient and expected rewards from Me. Hence, (ic'alû thawabahû min hal-jannah) make his reward paradise! Let him go to paradise."
(Wa mâ dhakara musîbatahû) Suppose that the troubles are over, the disease has been cured, and the servant is in peace and comfort. He remembers the days of suffering and (farraj-ja'a) says, "Once I had such and such difficulties. Alhamdulillah, they are in the past. In-nâ lil-lâhi wa in-nâ ilayhi râji'n." Upon this, (il-lâ jad-dadallâhu ajrahâ) Allah SWT rewards him once more.
My brothers and sisters, remember these words. It is even better to think about its meaning, to love Allah SWT and accept the destiny with calm.
Accepting the destiny is a stage in tasawwuf which is called "rida" stage. It is one of the highest stages in the spiritual advancement. It is accepting everything from Allah whether it is pleasant or unpleasant for the nafs.
With these meanings, write these words down so that those who are unfamiliar could learn. This is recommended by the Qur'an, by the ahadith. We learn from this hadith that servants who overcome the difficulties and hardship with patience without loosing any love and trust towards Allah SWT will be rewarded with the paradise.
In this life we face some difficulties, yet we spend most of our time in peace and comfort surrounded by the ocean of blessings. Our breath is a blessing; having no pains is a blessing from Allah. We have food and shelter as blessings. We should remember that there are many people who are suffering from various kinds of difficulties. Alhamdu lillah, we are fine and comfortable. However, there may be a calamity instead of blessing. Then screams of disapproval, lamentation, rebellion, nasty words towards the destiny would be improper behavior. It would be a shame not to acknowledge the blessings of Allah and complain about the difficulties. It is a test, and we should try our best to pass it with flying colors.
A Muslim must be patient and enduring towards the calamities and turn to Allah saying, "In-nâ lil-lâhi wa in-nâ ilayhi râji'n--verily we belong to Allah and to His is our return." This would be the most proper behavior.
We recommend our brothers to bring their children to the mosque. They come to the mosque with the children for the fajr prayer, yet the children are not quite awake. While we have some discourse after the prayer, the children fall asleep. I still encourage them to come to the mosque. We need to teach our children how to be patient. We need to tell them that coming to mosque for the fajr prayer is giving up some sleep, yet they get rewards for congregational prayers and for being patient.
Some cannot leave the warm and comfortable bed to come to the mosque early in the morning, so they miss the rewards. We need to learn how to sacrifice from our comfort and do things which are unpleasant for the self. This is possible with learning how to be patient.
That is why we need to teach our children gently how to be patient. We bring little gifts for them. We open the bags after the prayer and give them little things, chocolate, candy, lolly-pop and alike. They enjoy them very much.
Nowadays, the number of children in our mosque is greater than the number of grown-ups. They love coming to the mosque. The stay calm, without giggling or staring at all sides. We tell them how to behave in the mosque. They listen to us. We encourage them with nice words and gentle approach. We do not scare them off with threats or anger.
We have to find proper ways to encourage them about carrying our our obligations towards Allah. It is a special training which also requires patience and perseverance on the part of the parents.
c. Helping a Muslim in Need
Here comes the third hadith. It is reported by Jâbir RA and recorded in sources including Ahmed ibn-i Hanbel, Tabarânî, Abû Dawûd, Buhkàrî and Ibn-i Ebid-Dunya. It is an authentic hadith. The Prophet SAS said:
RE 380/7 (Mâ minimri-in yakhzulumre-en muslimen fî mawtinin yuntakasu fîhi min irdhihî, wa yunteheku fîhi min hurmetihî, il-lâ khazelehullàhu fî mawtinin yuhibbu fîhi nusratehû. Wa mâ min ehadin yansuru muslimen fî mawtinin yuntakasu fîhi min irdihî, wa yunteheku fîhi min hurmetihî, il-lâ nasarahullàhu fî mawtinin yuhibbu fîhi nusratehû.)
I read the Arabic original text of the hadith and wish that authors include the Arabic originals in their books. There may be some people who have a better understanding of the original messages. By including the original text, the author would imply that what he has written is what he understood. The readers would have a chance to make corrections if necessary.
Another reason for reading the Arabic text is that we repeat the words uttered by our beloved Prophet SAS. I also give some details of Arabic which will be useful for those who would like to advance in Arabic. Perhaps in future we could held an Arabic course with examples from the Qur'an and from the ahadith for everybody.
Here is the meaning: (Mâ minimri-in) "There is no person (yakhzulumre-en muslimen) who leaves a Muslim brother without any help..." Khazele-yakhzulu means leaving a person without help when he is in need of help.
"There is nobody who leaves a Muslim helpless when he needs help (fî mawtinin) at such a place or situation (yuntakasu fîhi min irdhihî) where his dignity or honor is attacked, (wa yunteheku fîhi min hurmetihî) and he is disrespected (il-lâ khazelehullàhu) unless Allah leaves him helpless (fî mawtinin yuhibbu fîhi nusratehû) when he needs the help from Allah the most." That would be a punishment for him for leaving his brother without help when the honor and dignity of the brother is attacked physically or verbally.
A Muslim has to help another Muslim because they are brothers. He would be always ready to offer his help when needed. This is the proper manners Islam teaches. If one fails to help his brother in need, Allah does not help him when he desperately expects help from Allah.
(Wa mâ min ehadin) "And, there is no person (yansuru muslimen) who helps a Muslim (fî mawtinin) at a place or situation (yuntakasu fîhi min irdihî, wa yunteheku fîhi min hurmetihî) where his dignity or honor is attacked or he is disrespected (il-lâ nasarahullàhu) unless Allah helps him (fî mawtinin) at a place or situation (yuhibbu fîhi nusratehû) where he sincerely expects the help of Allah."
This would be a reward for the person because he helped a Muslim brother or he defended him physically or verbally, in his presence or in his absence. In our tradition, the weak is protected against the strong and the oppressor-- may Allah bless our ancestors and enlighten their abode. They had excellent customs which were originated from Islam as we notice from this hadith. Cleanliness, hospitality, caring for neighbors, hosting the travellers, and generosity are some of our national characters that originate from Islam. Our forefathers were introduced to Islam in the seventh and eighth century. They became accepted Islam en masse in the ninth century. Hundreds and thousands of tents of people entered Islam. As soon as they accepted Islam, they started studying it. Some great scholars were raised among them. Imam Buhkari was from Bukhara which is in Uzbekistan, and Imam Muslim was from Nishapur. Imam Serahsî, too, was from Uzbekistan. Zamahsharî was from a region which belongs to Turkmenistan now. They all are from the lands that our forefathers inhabited.
They learned Islam well and applied to their lives well. The children imitate the parents, so many practicing Muslim children were raised among them.
Dear brothers and sisters, I travel often and observe people in different parts of the world. I am sure you follow the news on television and newspapers. You see how people from different parts of the world behave. You hear about people who are bloodthirsty, who are murderers, who are oppressors and alike. We do not approve of their atrocities. One may wonder how come these people are so inhuman. The reason is basically lack of Islam in their education. In countries which are neighbors to Muslim countries, the effects of Islam can be noticed.
One could also find good people in South America, North America, and other places. This is due to the fact that the origins of Islam, Christianity and Judaism are the same. Allah SWT sent messengers, prophets to communities and nations. Prophet Moses, Prophet Jesus, Prophet Abraham, Prophet Noah and other Prophets taught people good manners and code of conduct that Allah is pleased with. Some of the teachings of these prophets are still practiced. That is what we observe.
In countries Islam is not practiced, we observe the lack of mercy, fairness, love and affection. The materialism has dominated such places. People create wars for material benefits, and do anything just for money. We are different from them because we believe in the hereafter. We are aware that we must treat people right, behave justly and maturely. Our approach is based on the teachings of Islam.
May Allah keep us in this world as Muslims, increase our perfection in all dimensions, and allow us to be perfect human beings. May He give us the best manners and code of conduct and make us lovable people just like Yunus Emre and Jalal-ad-Dîn Rûmî. The whole world knows these personages and organize meetings about them. I have seen many Europeans who accepted Islam and became a sufi in the Jalal-ad-Dîn Rûmî's path. They wear Mawlawî clothes and study Mathnawi. They engage themselves with the remembrance of Allah SWT.
These are the people the whole world loves. However, the first duty of an individual is to become a servant that Allah loves. Once Allah SWT loves a person, He lets all other servants love him.
May Allah SWT make us servants that He loves. May he let us do deeds which are the most favorable to Him. May He gather us on the day of resurrection free of wrong deeds or sins. May He place us in His paradise with His grace and honor us there with His beauty. May He keep us honorable and happy in this world and in the world to come, for we love and esteem His beautiful names and His beloved Prophet Muhammad.
May the peace, mercy and bounty of Allah be with you all. As-salaamu alaikum wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuh.
April 28, 2000 -- AUSTRALIA