Prof. Dr. Mahmud Es'ad COSAN

AKRA FM Friday Discourse

January 19, 2001


Es-selâmu alaykum wa rahmatullàhi wa barakâtuhu!..

Dear Brothers and Sisters,

May the peace, mercy, bounty, and all kinds of blessings of Allah be with you. May He please you and grant you happiness both in this world and in the hereafter.

a. Allah Answers Prayers

The first hadith for today's discourse was narrated by Anas RA and recorded by Hâkim Rh.A in his Mustedrak. Prophet Muhammad said:

RE. 87/13 (Innallàha azza wa jalla rahîmun hayyiyun karîmun, yastahyî min abdihî an yarfa'a ilayhi yadayhi thumma lâ yada'u fîhimâ khayrâ.) Sadaqa rasûlullàh, fî mâ qàl, aw kamâ qàl.

This hadith has a good news for us. The Prophet said: (Innallàha azza wa jalla) "There is no doubt that Almighty Allah--may He be honored and glorified--is (rahîmun) merciful; He is the most merciful of all merciful ones." His mercy in this life is about one percent of His mercy. He saves the ninety-nine percent for the hereafter. He loves His servants and has mercy on them.

(Hayyiyun) He Has modesty and respect; (karîmun) He is the most generous, (yastahyî min abdihî) and He respects and feels ashamed towards His servant (an yarfa'a ilayhi yadayhi) if the servant lifts his hands up in prayer and supplication (thumma lâ yada'u fîhimâ khayrâ) and if He does not give His servant something good." Subhanallah! Almighty Allah feels ashamed when He does not give anything good for a servant who lifts his hands and prays to Allah.

This means that Almighty Allah is so generous and merciful that He does not reject the prayers of His servants. He grants something for each person. This could be in several ways. For one, He may grant exactly what the servant wants. For example, today we visited a pure-hearted sister who used to live in a small old house. She always wanted a large house. One day they passed by a construction site in their neighborhood. She pointed the new building and said, "I want a house just like this." Of course, she did not have much money to buy such a large house. Later, Almighty Allah instilled the idea of selling that house in the minds of the owners. The owners were an Italian couple who had some family problems, and they decided to sell the house. Somebody informed the sister about this house for sale. She said, "We do not have much money; we cannot pay more than ..." Her offer was much less than the value of the house. The owners heard the offer and accepted it. Thus this sister got the house for a price which is unexpectedly low. It was like a gift from Almighty Allah.

Sometimes, Almighty Allah gives just as the servant wants. The servant says, "I want this house," and He grants him. Sometimes, Almighty Allah gives the servant something better than what the servant wants in this life. And sometimes, He grants the person tremendous rewards in the hereafter. He does not turn the servant down; he gives him something for sure. The Prophet points here three attributes of Almighty Allah--in addition being honored and glorified: "Verily, Allah is (Rahîm) the most merciful, (Hayiy) the most respectful and modest, and (Karîm) the most generous." He is the most merciful towards His servants. He is modest and respectful, and He is the most generous. He feels ashamed for not giving anything when a servant wants something from Him. He honors and answers the prayers of His servants.

Of course, Almighty Allah is the Lord of the Universe; everything belongs to Him. We are His servants. All the attributes are stated above are used to describe His grace and generosity for us. It is impossible for the mankind to have a complete understanding of "personality" of Allah and His attributes because (laysa ka mithlihî shay'un) "there is nothing comparable to Him." There is nothing known to mankind that resembles Almighty Allah. Everything that belongs to Him is unique and matchless. Each one of His attributes is much above the attributes that we observe and comprehend. We infer from the words of the Prophet that our Lord is the most merciful towards us, the servants.

Once two groups of captives were brought after a battle during the time of the Prophet. A woman from one group ran to the other group and got her child, hugged and kissed. The Prophet and the companions observed the event. The Prophet turned to the companions: "O my companions! What do you think? Would this woman, a merciful mother who just hugged and kissed her child, throw her child into a fire?"

The companions responded: "No, O Prophet of Allah. She would not. We just witnessed that the mercy and love of a mother just runneth over. She has so much love and mercy for her child as she displayed it when she hugged and kissed the child. Such an intense love and mercy will not let her throw her child into a fire."

Then the Prophet said: "Almighty Allah is much more merciful and lenient towards His servants than this mother towards her child."

Almighty Allah sent prophets and scriptures to point and teach His servants the paths and deeds that would take them to Paradise. It is stated in the Qur'an, bismillâhir-rahmânir-rahîm:

(Wallàhu yad'ù ilâ dâris-salâm) "Allah invites His servants to the abode of peace, 'O My servants, come to My Paradise!'" Some people disregard this invitation out of their stubbornness, obstinacy, transgression and rebellion.

Going back to the hadith, if we turn to Allah with prayers and supplications, if we ask something from Him, He answers our prayers. He does not let us be empty-handed. Thus we must turn to Allah often. We should repeat the words of supplications at every opportunity, for offering supplications is a form of worship (ibadah) just like dhikr and meditation (tafakkur).

We should remember this hadith and offer supplications at every opportunity for ourselves, our friends and relatives and for the Ummah. We should make du'a for the improvement of our life in this world and in the hereafter. We should ask for the good things because Almighty Allah answers the prayers. This is great news from our beloved Prophet.

b. Allah is Beautiful and He loves Beauty

In the second hadith, the Prophet said:

RE. 87/11 (Innallàha taàlâ jamîlun yuhibbul-jamâl, wa yuhibbu idhâ an'ama alâ abdihî ni'matan an yarâ atharahâ alayh, wa yubghidul-bu'sa wattaba'us, walàkinnal-kibra an tasfahal-haqqa wa tubghidal-khalq.) Sadaqa rasûlullàh, fî mâ qàl, aw kamâ qàl.

In this hadith the Prophet said: (Innallàha taàlâ jamîlun) "There is no doubt that Almighty Allah is beautiful; He has the endless beauties. (Yuhibbul-jamâl) He loves beauty." That is He loves everything to be beautiful and every deed to be carried out beautifully. That means we have to be beautiful Muslims in all senses. We have to beautify our deeds, our behaviors, our work, our body and our spirit just as we have to be sincere and pure-hearted. Our words, our deeds, our thoughts, our character, our clothes, our smile ... They all should be beautiful because Almighty Allah loves beauty.

(Wa yuhibbu idhâ an'ama alâ abdihî ni'matan) "And when Almighty Allah provides something good, a blessing, for a servant, (an yarâ atharahâ alayh) He loves to see the sign of that blessing on that servant." If, for instance, Almighty Allah gave a person wealth, He loves to see the manifestation of this wealth on the person. (Wa yubghidul-bu'sa wattaba'us) "Allah does not like the display of poverty and the imitation of poverty while the person is not poor." That means Almighty Allah loves the order in appearance because He loves beauty and the manifestation of the blessings on His servants.

Suppose a wealthy person has the appearance of a poor person. Almighty Allah would not approve of this. He would say, "O My servant! I gave you all this wealth and blessings. Why don't you have a sign of it? Why do you conceal it? Why do you act like you never had all of these blessings? Why do you have this attire of a poor person?"

Putting on a nice dress and a beautiful appearance, combing the beard and the hair, having a pleasant appearance are lovable deeds to Allah. Almighty Allah does not like disorder and shabbiness. He does not like a rich person to look like a poor person.

Putting on nice dresses is not a sign of (kibr) haughtiness and pride. (Walàkinnal-kibra) "The actual haughtiness is (an tasfahal-haqqa) the failure of the acknowledgment of the truth." That is, you keep telling the truth, explaining the truth, yet the person does not accept the truth. That is the kibr. In addition to this, it is (wa tubghidal-khalq) anger at people." Not liking people, getting angry with them, considering them inferior, and rejecting the truth originate from ignorance. These are the signs of kibr.

The reason for the utterance of this hadith could be the following. Once, the Prophet said: "One who has the slightest amount of kibr in his heart will not enter Paradise because Almighty Allah does not like those who are haughty, who think that they are superior to other people."

Hearing these words, the companions of the Prophet -- May Allah be pleased with them all--got worried very much. One of them asked: "O Prophet of Allah! We like to wear clean and beautiful clothes and eat good meals. Would this be kibr?" Then the prophet responded: "No, Allah is beautiful and loves beauty. You can wear clean and nice dresses; it is not kibr. If Allah gave you some wealth and blessing, He would like to see that in the way you dress and conduct. You shall not conceal your wealth or look like you are poor. Display of the wealth is not kibr. Allah does not like for you to conceal your wealth. The kibr is the rejection of the truth, failure to accept the facts, anger and hatred towards people, and feeling of superiority."

There are many lessons to be drawn from this hadith. First of all, we must accept the truth no matter who tells the truth. Even if it is our worst enemy who tells the truth, we should be able to acknowledge it. That could even end the animosity. Everybody will realize that accepting the truth is a sign of good character. It will instill love in people's hearts. The second lesson is that we should not get angry at people, practice patience towards them. We should be tolerant towards them. We should not consider them inferior to us. If a person is poor, we should realize that Almighty Allah did not give him the wealth. If a person is not good looking, we must know that Almighty Allah created him that way. These are some blessings of Allah. Allah knows best to whom He grants these blessings. You should be thankful for all the blessings you receive and do not get angry at others. You have no right to consider other people to be inferior to you.

Another lesson is that we should be humble and aware of the fact that all is from Allah and that He could take them away. One may feel like a lion with his physical power right now, yet he may be paralyzed and bedridden for the rest of his life. The beauty of the person could be taken away with a disease, too. As the proverb goes: "Do not count on your wealth and mansion, for a spark could take it away. Do not feel proud with your beauty, for a pimple could take it away." You never know if you will keep these for long. We have to be thankful to Allah for all we have.

Yet another lesson is that we must be thankful to Allah when we see someone who is not as well of as we are: "My Lord! This person is in a difficult state. Praise be to You for all You have given me." When we see somebody sick, disabled, or with an unpleasant appearance, we should silently say:

(Alhamdu lillâhilladhî àfâni min mabtalâka bihî) "I praise Almighty Allah for saving me from the troubles you have." In other words, we should realize the blessings that Allah bestowed upon us, acknowledge them and be thankful.

One more lesson: We all shall have a sense of beauty. We shall try to do everything the best way possible because (Innallàha taàlâ jamîlun yuhibbul-jamâl) "Almighty Allah is beautiful and He loves beauty." When we beautify ourselves, our environment and our character, we earn the love of Allah. That is why we have to pay attention to do everything beautifully and the best way possible. We have to purify and beautify our words, our character, our practice of Islam, our faith, our sincerity, and our worship. We must keep our clothes, our hair and beard, our teeth, our nails and everything else clean, orderly and beautiful.

A person could live in a small shabby building, yet it is possible to get some lime, mix it with water and paint the walls in white. It will turn that shabby building into a cute home. Some paint would do wonders.

You should keep the area around your house clean. If it is not concrete or asphalt, you can plant grass to have a beautiful lawn. If you also plant some flowers, it would be even better. If you plant the best flowers, it will get better. There is always a better one, and we should try to get it. Everything we do must be beautiful and carried out the best way possible. A believer must be the symbol of beauty.

c. Getting Along Well With People

The third hadith for today's discourse was narrated by the mother of believers A'isha-i Siddîqa RA. It is recorded in the Muthnad-ul-Firdaws of Daylamî and in the Nawâdir of Hakim-i Tirmidhî. The Prophet SAS said:

RE. 87/2 (Innallàha azza wa jalla amaranî bimudârâtin-nâs, kamâ amaranî biiqàmatil-farâid.) "There is no doubt that Almighty Allah--may He be honored and glorified--has ordered me with mudârât towards mankind."

The word mudârât comes from Dâra-yudarî-mudâratan. It is also related to derâ-yedrî-dirâyatan. Yet another form of the word edrâ-yudrî is used in the Qur'an in many verses such as:

(Wa mâ edrâka mâ yawmud-dîn). Derâ-yedrî-dirayat means doing something with reason and careful planning. Edrâ means to have somebody ponder about something.

Mudârât means having a good understanding by both parties. Having mudârât towards people means treating them with a good understanding, practicing tolerance towards them. Man is powerless sometimes; some other times he is too old or too young to do things properly.

The Prophet said: "Almighty Allah ordered me to be understanding towards mankind for their shortcomings." In other words, the Prophet was ordered not to get angry at people when they did something improper. He had to be tolerant and forgiving. He had to direct and manage people by winning their hearts.

If a leader or an administrator is hot tempered and rude, and if he lacks understanding, then people withdraw their support for him. In the Qur'an, this is stated:

(Fabimâ rahmatin minallàhi linta lahum) "O My Prophet! As a grace of Allah, You were lenient towards your companions in this matter of disobedience [in the Battle of Uhud]. (Walaw kunta fazzan) If you had been harsh and (ghalîzal-qalbi) cruel-hearted, (lanfaddù min hawlika) they would have dispersed from around you." (Âl-i Imran: 159)

Almighty Allah ordered our beloved Prophet to be encouraging and understanding, so people around him support him and have high spirits in serving Allah. The meaning of having mudarât towards people must be this.

In fact, throughout his life, the Prophet was very lenient even during the battles. His life was full of struggle; nevertheless, he was forgiving and merciful. He was a prophet of wisdom, mercy and jihad. He had jihad against the pagans, infidels, Jews and Christians. He sent troops and armed units to various tribes in the desert. Despite all of the battles, the number of people who were killed did not exceed 150. These were the aggressors and stubborn ones that deserved the wrath of Allah. There was no case of mass killings. For instance, when they conquered Mecca, the Prophet declared: "Those who seek refuge in Ka'abah will be in safety." He also honored the chief of Quraish, Abû Sufyan: "Those who gather in the house of Abû Sufyan will not be harmed. They will be in safety." During this event, only few pagans who insisted in fighting got killed. Earlier, a commander uttered these words: "Now we are going to get even with the infidels. We will take revenge and show them how it feels to be tortured." Hearing this, the Prophet removed him from his position and sent him to ranks in the back to prevent him from acting in anger.

We understand from the verses of the Surah Victory in the Qur'an that Almighty Allah did not order mass killing or total destruction: "He is the One who fended off their hands from you and your hands from them in the center of Mecca after He let you vanquish them. Allah is Observant of anything you do. They are the ones who disbelieved and blocked you from [reaching] the Holy Mosque so the offerings were hindered from reaching their destination. If it had not been for some men who believed and some women who believed whom you did not recognize and would have trampled down, an outrage would have afflicted you because of them without [your] even knowing it, so that Allah will show anyone He wishes into His mercy. ..." (Qur'an 48:24-25).

The Prophet lived his life with understanding, gentleness and forgiveness. "Almighty Allah ordered me to be understanding and forgiving towards mankind for their shortcomings (kamâ amaranî biiqàmatil-farâid) just as He ordered me to establish the obligatory worship." As it is clear from the second part of the hadith, the Prophet never hesitated in establishing the (farâid) obligatory worship as ordered by Allah. He carried it out to the letter. He abstained from the prohibitions and had people abstain as well. He was not tolerant towards those who violated the prohibitions or neglected the obligations. He was very particular about earning the consent of Allah. He tried with all his might to please Almighty Allah.

Because Almighty Allah ordered him not only to carry out the farâid and abstain from the prohibitions but also to be merciful, understanding and forgiving, the Prophet spent his life doing so. He was just and fair; he did not go to the extremes, as he was ordered not to:

(Wa in àqabtum faàqibû bimithli mâ ùqıbtum bihî, wa la in sabartum lahuwa khayrun lis-sàbirîn.) "And if you should punish them, then do the punishing to the same extent as you have been punished. Yet if you are patient, well [things go] better for the patient." Almighty Allah ordered not to go beyond the fairness, and He recommended forgiveness. Consequently, the Prophet did so.

You should remember the famous incident: Two people were fighting in a battle. One was a pagan while the other one was a Muslim, a close companion of the Prophet. The Muslim overpowered the pagan and laid him on the ground. As he lifted his sword, the pagan uttered the words "Lâ ilâha illallah--there is no deity but Allah!" In the atmosphere of the battle, the Muslim killed the pagan. The Prophet was informed about the incident. The Muslim defended himself: "He uttered these words because he was afraid of death. Moments ago he was fighting with me." Upon this, the Prophet asked: (Hal lâ shaqaqta qalbahu) "You did not open up his heart [and see his intention], did you?" That is, "You should have find out about his intention, first. Since you cannot see the intentions of the person, you should not have killed that man. You should have taken his words and let him go. I wonder what will happen to you in the hereafter. You have killed a person who said 'Lâ ilâha illallah.'" The Prophet repeated his words several times.

That means, even if it is at such a moment in a battle, Muslims should let those who declare to be Muslims be free. This is the advice of the Prophet. He never had a grudge against anybody; he preferred forgiving. When some poets seek refuge with him, he treated them with kindness and gave one of them his cloak despite the fact that the very same poets recited improper poems about him. Likewise, when people, who had mistreated him in Mecca in the past, accepted Islam, he welcomed them.

The life of the Prophet was full of manifestation of love, forgiveness, mercy, affection, and understanding. His character, manners and code of conduct are examples for us to follow. We ought to have the same code of conduct.

The verse in the end of the Surah Tawba describes him:

(Laqad jâ-akum rasûlun min anfusikum azîz, 'alayhi mâ anittum harîsun alaykum bil-mu'minîna ra-ûfun rahîm.) "Now there has come to you a Messenger from among yourselves; grievous to him is your suffering; anxious is he over you, gentle to the believers, compassionate" (Tawba: 128).

He was very gentle and softhearted; he was very compassionate towards believers. He protected them, defended their interests, and wanted them not to be sad. That is what he did throughout his life.

Once at the funeral of a believer he said: "I am the guardian of those who leave nobody behind who will be responsible for the payment of their debts. I will pay their debts. If he leaves some property, his heirs will share it." We see that he tried his best for people to have a good life in the hereafter by freeing them from their debts and other burdens.

The Prophet was so generous that when he gave, he would not give little but plenty. Once he gave a flock of sheep to a person, and that person and his tribe accepted Islam upon witnessing the generosity of the Prophet. His life was exactly how it was described in the Qur'an and in the ahadith.

We have an obligation to equip ourselves with the same code of conduct, for the Prophet was sent to us as an example to follow. We have to study the character of the Prophet and understand it. Then we should try to change our character and follow his exemplary path. May Almighty Allah help us acquire the manners and code of conduct of the Prophet as it was described in the Qur'an.

Once Hadrat A'isha, the Mother of the believers, was asked about the (akhlâq) character and conduct of the Prophet. She responded: "Haven't you read the Qur'an? His character and conduct was the glorious Qur'an." That is, he was the leading person who would ponder about each verse of the Qur'an, reflect it to his life, and arrange his life according to the verses of the Qur'an. His code of conduct was the Qur'an.

We can learn about the conduct of the Prophet by studying the Qur'an and the books written about him. There are so many books describing his life, his character, and his conduct in great detail. We shall read those books and improve our character and conduct. We must abandon ill characters and misconduct and acquire good characters and conducts, for Allah Almighty loves those who has good characters and rewards them greatly.

May Almighty Allah equip us with good characters and good conduct. May He place us among His beloved servants. May He honor us with His Beauty in His Paradise.

Es-selâmu alaykum wa rahmatullàhi wa barakâtuhu, dear brothers and sisters!

January 19, 2001 -- AUSTRALIA