Prof. Dr. Mahmud Es'ad COSAN

AKRA FM Friday Discourse

July 28, 2000



As-salaamu alaikum wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuh!..

Dear Brothers and Sisters,

May Allah's peace, mercy and blessings be with you both in this world and in the hereafter. May he grant you and your loved ones happiness.

a. A Repenting Young Person and An Old-Aged Sinner

Today's first hadith was narrated by Salman RA whom I love very much.

RA 383/9 (Mâ min shay'in ahabbu ilallàhi azza wa jalla min shâbbin tâ'ibin wa mâ min shay'in abghadu ilallàhi min shaykhin mukîmin alâ ma'âsîhi, wa mâ fil-hasanâti hasanatun ahabbu ilallâhi min hasanatin tu'malu fî laylati jumuatin aw yawmi jumuatin, wa mâ minez-zunûbi abgadu ilallàhi min zanbin yu'malu fî laylatil-jumaati aw yawmil-jumuah.)

Our beloved prophet said: (Mâ min shay'in ahabbu ilallàhi azza wa jalla) "There is nothing dearer to Allah Almighty (min shâbbin tâ'ibin) than a young person who has repented and turned to Allah." The hadith continues: (wa mâ min shay'in abghadu ilallàhi) "There is nothing that attracts the wrath of Allah more than (min shaykhin mukîmin alâ ma'âsîhi) an old person who insists on his rebellion towards Allah."

This is the first half of the hadith. Imagine a young person--be it a man or a woman--who feels sorry for his or her wrongdoings and asks for forgiveness. He or she intends not to commit the wrong deeds again. This person is the most beloved servant for Allah. The second sentence is about a gray-haired old person who insists on committing sins. He does not repent or regret. He is a person at whom Allah gets angry the most.

If our young people abstain from committing sin and repent for the sins they might have committed earlier, then they will be among the most beloved servant of Allah. It is because the desires of a young person would be strong, and he or she would be full of energy. He or she would be tempted often. Without much experience, and with strong feelings, a young person may find himself in the middle of an offensive act. If the person stays away from the sin, or if he repents and abstains from the sin, turning to Allah to beg forgiveness, then he would be the most beloved servant for Allah.

This means that the young adults must pay attention in observing what is lawful and what is unlawful. They must obey the commands of Allah. It is not easy to become a beloved servant of Allah, yet the young adults could attain that state easier.

My audience consists of young adults, both male and female, and college students mostly. They will be in the service of Allah in future. May Allah be pleased with them. I have great respect for them, and I pray for them often.

Unfortunately, the young children receive an improper education is schools. For instance, the literature books have samples of poems that would praise the wine and illicit relationships while belittling those who obey the commands of Allah. The Office of Religious Affairs should request the Ministry of Education remove the improper or offensive samples from the textbooks and replace them with good samples that would encourage students to follow the straight path, observe the rights of individuals, and become hard-working good individuals.

In contrast to the obedient young, there is the old sinner. He insists on committing sins despite his advanced age, experience and accumulation of knowledge. He continues to be a bad example for the youth and a menace to the society. That is why Allah gets angry at such a person. Because of this, everybody must question himself: "Look at yourself! Your children as well as your grand children has grown. Your hair turned gray long time ago. Where are you leading your life? What is your destination?"

Of course the mere questioning does not do any good; one has to abandon the false paths and offensive deeds and try becoming a beloved person of Allah by observing His commands and following the traditions of His Prophet.

b. Deeds on Friday

Let us look at the second part of the hadith which is very interesting. I had planned to read three ahadith today, yet only one will suffice. In this part of the hadith, the Prophet says: (Wa mâ fil-hasanâti hasanatun ahabbu ilallâhi min hasanatin tu'malu fî laylati jumuatin aw yawmi jumuatin, wa mâ minez-zunûbi abgadu ilallàhi min zanbin yu'malu fî laylatil-jumaati aw yawmil-jumuah) "There is no virtuous deed more lovable to Allah than the one that was carried out on Friday or Friday eve. There is no sin that incurs the wrath of Allah more than the one committed on the eve of Friday or on Friday." That means that Allah favors the deeds that are carried our on Friday or Friday eve. My beloved brothers and sisters, I would like to point out that these discourses are held on Fridays. Once you hear this, you should ask yourselves: "What kinds of good deeds can I carry out today to receive the love of Allah?" Then, of course, do some good deeds.

This is the blessings of Friday. We should all try to live the Fridays or Friday nights [i.e., the night that joins Thursday to Friday] in full with the awareness that Allah loves the good deeds carried out on Fridays. Even if it may look like an insignificant act for us.

This reminds me another saying of the Prophet: "Do not consider any of the good deeds insignificant." It is possible that one deed may cause a per son to receive the Mercy of Allah. One may be saved from hell-fire just because of one deed. There is also a similar proverb: "One nail saves a horse shoe; a horseshoe saves a horse. A horse saves a warrior; a warrior saves a country." A missing nail on a horseshoe should not be overlooked. The small details could lead to major catastrophes. Small deeds could earn major rewards; they could comfort a person unexpectedly.

It is also stated in this hadith that, Allah gets angry the most at the sins that are committed on Friday or on the eve of Friday. It is a blessed day, and preceded by a blessed night. Each of us should do good deeds during these times instead of committing sins. Each of us should control our nafs and prevent it from following the path of Satan. We should be aware at all times.

Unfortunately, the sins are attractive and easy to commit. They have surrounded all of us. One has to be brave to abstain from them. We must be very careful, for Satan deceives a person at the weakest time, from the most attractive aspect. As a poet put it, "watch for the gold cup; they don't serve the poison in a tin cup." Satan presents the sin in a lucrative and attractive way. Then the person lets himself go with the flow and finds himself at the bottom of an abyss. For these reasons, the nafs needs to be trained.

There are various ways of training the nafs. The great awliyaullah, the perfect guides, such as Mawlana Jalalud-din Rumi, Yunus Emre, Ashrafoghlu Rumi, Haji Bayram-i Wali, and Ibrahim Haqqi Erzurumi, trained many people who served the society. Each of them is the founder of a spiritual training path.

The spiritual training paths are called "tariqa." Nobody should abhor these spiritual paths. The founders of such paths were great scholars; their conduct was exemplary. They became famous throughout the world. Their students, too, educated the masses and elevated the spirituality in their societies.

When the spiritual training is neglected, the society collapses. When there is bribery, when there are illicit relationships, exploitation, selfishness, obedience to the commands of Satan, the society collapses. To save the society, good people have to be raised. The first condition for raising good people is stated in the Qur'an:

(Qad aflaha man zakkâhâ. Wa qad khàba man dassâhâ.) [Anyone who purifies himself will prosper while whoever neglects to do so will be disappointed.] If the nafs of the person is trained, he or she will prosper. A person whose nafs is not trained will be a harmful person both in this world and in the hereafter. As the Qur'an states this, it will not be proper for anybody to abhor or belittle the spiritual training paths or tariqa.

Our prophet suggested we seek knowledge. The institutions for studying and seeking knowledge are the schools. Our prophet also says "train your nafs." Where would one go to train his nafs? There must be institutions for the training of the nafs. The trainers are respectable people, and the place of training is also a pleasant please. We are proud of such places and people. For instance, Mawlana Jalaladdin Rumi belongs not only to people of Turkey but also to peoples of Pakistan, Iran, Europe, and the whole world. I have seen many German Mawlawi dervishes in Germany. They follow his path and live a life accordingly. I have sen many Englishmen and Americans who did the same.

Today I saw a person in hijab while we sat at the store of a friend in Australia. I inquired if they knew the person. The store owner said that the person is a twenty-two year old Australian woman. She became a Muslim and she is trying to convey the message of Islam to her parents and family.

It is a noble attitude. I told my brothers to be in touch with her. They brought a copy of my book in English, and I signed it to present to her. I appreciated her work. May Allah subhanahu wa ta'ala let us see the truth as truth and follow it.

c. Good Deeds to be Done on Friday

Having read the hadith above, we ought to try harder to do good deeds and avoid misdeeds on Fridays. We have to respect Friday.

Let us try to remember the good deeds to be done on Fridays. Although I am a professor of theology, I abstain from stating my own ideas about this matter. Instead, I would like to convey the messages from the verses of the Qur'an and from the ahadith of the Prophet. I will list some of the good deed that we can do on Fridays.

First of all is the cleanliness. The best way of this cleanliness is taking a Friday (ghusl) bath. One would have intention for the Friday Ghusl, and cleanse his or her body thoroughly to get rid of the grease and sweat. The soap would take away the dirt and leave a fresh feeling on the body. The hair would become silky--not like some glass fiber or sticky. The nails would be clipped; the tooth, brushed; the armpits, cleaned. These are practiced by Muslims for hundreds of years. If a Muslim cleanses himself on Friday, his misdeeds for the past seven days plus three days, i.e., ten days, will be erased. If he repeats this for every Friday, he will be free of sins. Also, the Friday prayer is an expiation for the wrong deeds that had been committed since the preceding Friday.

You may ask, "What about women? They do not go to the Friday prayer. Do they miss all of these rewards?" Thy could, too, get the rewards by taking the Friday Ghusl. If they read the surah Kahf [the Cave, 18th surah] of the Qur'an, their misdeeds for ten days will be wiped off.

The cleanliness comes the first. After the bath, the person will come to the mosque with clean clothes.

The second good deed to do on Fridays is the dhikrullah. It is an easy form of worship that is strongly recommended in the Qur'an and in the ahadith of the Prophet. We must do dhikrullah, i.e., the remembrance of Allah, often. It is very easy to do dhikr, even for a bedridden person. One can do it by heart, without uttering a word. It is not only an easy form of worship but also a very rewarding worship. In general, the more difficult the task is, the higher the reward, yet the dhikr is an exception.

As the dhikr of the Friday, one could recite 100 or 1000 times salawat on the Prophet. There are also blessed words that can be recited one hundred times each:

"Subhânallàhi wal-hamdu lillâhi wa lâ ilâha illallàhu wallàhu akbar, wa lâ hawla walâ quwwata illâ billâhil-aliyyil-azîm."

"Subhânallàhi wa bihamdihî, subhânallàhil-azim, wa bihamdihî astaghfirullah."

"Hasbunallàhu wa ni'mal-wakîl."

"Allàhum-marham ummata muhammadan rahmatan âmmah."

"Astaghfirullàh al-azîm wa atûbu ilayh."

These are recommended by the Prophet, so we must practice them.

I hear some of you asking, "When am I going to do all of these? You have said so many words." Well, as you go to work or to school, you can recite them on the way. While you do not have any customer in the store, you can recite them. While you are free, you can do it. [You do not have to be in the mosque to do dhikr.] These are very rewarding and honorable deeds because when a person remembers Allah and mentions his name as in the dhikr, Allah mentions the persons name:

(Fadhkurûnî adhkurkum) [Remember Me, I shall remember you...] For this reason, the dhikrullah is the primary action of our path, the spiritual path, the path of Tasawwuf. It has great rewards.

On Fridays, after taking a bath, we will spend our time with dhikrullah. Then we should try going to the mosque early. One who arrives in the mosque the first gets rewards as if he sacrificed a camel. That is equivalent to sacrificing seven lambs. One who goes to the Friday prayer and arrives in the mosque the second gets the rewards of sacrificing one lamb. The third person to arrive in the mosque gets less rewards. The other ones get less and less rewards. Once the imam starts his sermon, the angels close their record books and listen to the sermon. So, the latecomers miss some rewards. One must go to the Friday prayer early and perform the prayer. Meeting the friends after the prayer and congratulate their Fridays are also good deeds.

Another good deed to do on Fridays is the visiting the graves of the relatives, teachers, and friends who passed away. If it is not possible because of the distance, for instance, one can recite the surahs Yâsîn, Tabaraka and other ones, and present them the rewards.

Yet another good deed on Friday is visiting the sick. Once a Muslim visits the sick in a hospital and comfort them with his words, he will conquer their hearts. Giving them morale is rewarding just like restoring the Ka'bah, the House of Allah. Being rude and hurting people's feelings are tantamount to the destruction of the Ka'bah. That is the essence of our faith. One has to be careful not to offend Muslims, but make them happy.

On Fridays, we should remember the poor and needy. We should help them pay their rent, buy groceries, pay utility bills, and give them money as charity. We should also visit our relatives and attend their needs. we should also offer help to people who may need special help. For instance, I see some brothers here in Australia helping the newcomers who lack a running knowledge of English. They go together and do what needs to be done. These are good deeds, too. If a person helps a Muslim to meet his needs, Allah will help him with his needs on the Day of Judgement. If a person makes a Muslim happy in this world, Allah will make him happy on the Day of Judgement.

There is another deed one can do on Fridays: If the parents of a person are alive, he can visit them, attend their needs and get their blessings. There is a hadith on this: "Imagine a grown-up person whose mother or father is alive. If he fails to earn the paradise [by not serving them, not attending their needs and not getting their blessings], may Allah punish him the way he deserves." This is a very serious warning. Hence, brothers and sisters whose parents are alive should go to their parents, offer their respects, attend their needs and get their blessings.

One may object saying, "My parents have such and such bad deeds..." It does not matter. As long as they do not ask you to commit an offense, you must be a good child for them and treat them right. No matter how they treat you, you must treat them properly. That would lead to attaining the pleasure of Allah.

Of course, there are other important people in our life that should be dearer to us than our parents are. They are the teachers, spiritual guides. They teach us the proper manners; they point us the path to paradise. These are the practicing scholars, blessed servants of Allah. They deserve the respect and love just like our parents do. We have to love and respect them, too.

With one hadith, I used up my time. We have seen important points, and lessons to be learned in this hadith. We should try to earn all of the rewards mentioned above. I would like to let those who want to study this hadith in depth know that it is listed as the 9th hadith on page 383 of the book Ramuz al Ahadith. [The book was compiled by Professor Ahmad Ziyaeddin Gumush-khanawi (1813-1893), a great scholar and spiritual guide.]

May Allah be pleased with you all. May He let you get the intercession of the Prophet on the Day of Judgement. During the present time of mischief, darkness, and shirk, may He keep you on the path of Qur'an and Sunnah, so you may earn great rewards.

As salaamu alaikum wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuh.

July 28, 2000--AUSTRALIA