Taraweeh Lecture at Masjidul Quds, Gatesville, Cape Town.
Uploaded May 29, 2017
Transcribed on 30/05/17 and 01/06/17
Asalam alaikom wa rathmathullahi wa barakatu
Bismillah irahaman irahim wal hamdulillah rabbial amin “… …”
All praise is indeed due to Allah, subhana wa t’ala. Blessings and salutations upon Mohammed sallahu alaihi wa salam, his household, his companions. May Allah, subhana wa t’ala, bless them all and bless every one of us. Amin.
My brothers and sisters we know that it is important for us to visit one another, especially when one of us is not doing too well. So, on this day, we remember those from amongst us who are ill, sickly, who could not make it here this evening, or where ever they are across the globe, whether they are listening right now, or listen later or may not listen, we ask Allah to grant them cure.
Remember, when a person’s heart is softened, it is actually when they are not doing too well. When they are in need of prayers, when they are in a condition that may not be 100%, generally their heart is ready to receive any goodness. This is why it is important for us to make it our business to go out to visit those who are not doing too well. A good word can go a long way in not only boosting their morale, making them feel better but even in drawing them closer to Allah, subhana wa t’ala. So therefore we always remember one another, we always pray for one another. I receive so many messages on a daily basis, please pray for this person, that person, sometimes by name, sometimes without a name. I’m sure it happens to a lot of us. Let’s pray that Allah grants them shifaa. May Allah, subhana t’ala, grant them good health. Remember, when you pray for someone else, the angels are making the same prayer, for you! So, it’s actually du’a for your own good health.
The same applies to those who are incarcerated, those who are in the prisons at the moment. I actually receive e-mails and letters from the inmates who listen to this program, live and even later on. It’s amazing! I wouldn’t have guessed this, but for a few years it has been happening. My brothers, my sisters, we remember you. Our hearts are with you. No matter what has happened, we are not really too interested in what has happened, the fact that the correctional services are taking care of you, we are quite confident that, by the time you come out of there, you will have corrected yourself and we are ready to accept you back in society, and community. Amin.
My beloved brothers and sisters, the reason I start this way, is because sometimes, even if there is nothing wrong, it’s important for us to visit one another. You maintain family relations. You go for a reason, that purpose is in order to boost the relationship. We have something known as al Rahim or the will, Qoorba, those who are related to us through the womb, those who have a relationship through blood with us, we should be keeping some ties with them. It does not have to be so much that they get irritated with us. Nor should it be so little that we don’t even know who our relatives are and we cannot fulfil their rights. If we don’t know who our family members are, if we have not introduced our children to the broader family, how then would we be able to fulfil the great act of worship known as “maintaining family ties” when we don’t even know who they are? So, it is important.
A lot of the older people used to take pride in the family unit. I hope it is not done in order to draw ‘tribal lines’ or lines in terms of ‘caste’ etc because those lines are the lines of the period of ignorance. They mean nothing in the eyes of Allah, subhana wa t’ala. How many families are suffering because the parents think that they are above the others because they come from a family that belongs to a caste, audhu billah, that they claim is higher, yet the Prophet, sallallahu alaihi wa salam, says … …”There is no virtue of an Arab over a non-Arab or a non-Arab over an Arab or a White over a Black except by piety” which is known by Allah, subhana wa t’ala. So you treat your brothers as equals, and your sisters as equals, and you never ever use this because if you DO you will never be able to save yourself from the wrath of Allah, subhana wa t’ala, when it descends. Imagine, when Allah’s punishment comes it will be too late! May Allah subhana wa’tala grant us the ability to understand.
Today, I was… I received a clip of a young boy from the Gambia reading the Qur’an. There were actually 3 or 4 boys. Each one wanted to read the Qur’an and their Qur’an was so melodious. I chose the smallest or the youngest person and I posted it up on Instagram with a caption encouraging us to do more regarding our connection with the Qur’an. Who would have guessed, that in West Africa there are thousands of people who only speak the Arabic language? Did you know that? And it is not their mother tongue. They have ensured from a young age that they speak Arabic. And, they have memorized the Qur’an better than you and I can imagine from a very early age. They have competitions and contests in Sierra Leone, in the Gambia, in Ghana, in Nigeria, in so many places subhan Allah, in Mali such that our little competitions would actually be dwarfed by the size of theirs. They have stadiums filled with hundreds of thousands of people, subhan Allah. They are serving Allah. They are worshipping Allah, subhana wa t’ala, and we, sitting comfortable here, think that we are a big deal sometimes. And when we look at them, sometimes, shaytain makes us think that we are better. Never ever. Never. We are not better. In fact it is Allah, subhana wa t’ala who knows the level of piety. Those who are struggling in the townships, in the villages – only Allah knows their struggle – yet they are dedicated to worshipping Allah, subhana wa t’ala. May Allah make it easy for us. This is why we say there is no room for pride and arrogance. You never know where you are going to be the minute you close your eyes. May Allah, subhana wa t’ala, grant us Jennaht al Firdous.
May Allah open our doors.
So, when we visit each other we should be visiting for the right reasons. But, there is an etiquette, or, there are rules and regulations governing how you visit someone. Allah subhana wa t’ala in Surat al Nur makes mention of some of these rules. In verse 27 Allah says “… …” “Oh you who believe! Do not enter homes that are not yours until you have done something known as ‘Istinass’ you have made your presence known.” You have actually sought permission to enter a house that is not yours. Now, this happens in so many ways. Sometimes, a long time back, we used to get to the door, sometimes clear the throat a little bit maybe, maybe people can hear you as you’re talking a little bit loudly and you knock the door so that they know there is someone at the door. They would then ask you who you were. It is important to answer that with a correct, straightforward answer. Don’t say “it’s me” because “me” – every one of us is a “me”, isn’t it? So if I say “me”, you say “me”, we all me “me”s. May Allah, subhana wa t’ala, grant us goodness. So you say your name, loud and clear. They should know, and thereafter, guess what? They have a right to tell you to go back home. Did you know that? Allahu akhbar!
Imagine you have arrived at someone’s house. You knock the door and they say “Brother, we’re a little bit busy now. Please can you come back later?” And you say “But I came from so far!” Well Allah has made it easy for us. You know in the Qur’an in verse number 28 Allah says “… …”…“If you are told to go back then go back, it is purer for you. It is better for you. They might be busy. They might be having an intimate moment. They might be having for example another plan. They may have decided to lay the table and this brings me to the point.
Some people, it seems, intentionally go for a free meal. So they arrive at the time of a meal. Knock the door. Where are we going for lunch today? “Eh! Let’s go to Butta Mohammed there, man! You know. We’ll go to his house. There is some nice food all the time. Arrive at his house at exactly 12:29 because at 12:30 they lay the table. Then open the door, we’ll have a chow and we’ll come back.” That’s how some people think! (Well, I hope not, but that’s what it seems like, right?) People go at the wrong time. So learn to go at the right time. Today Allah has made it easy for us. We have technology. Phone! I think it is against the etiquette of a Muslim to actually go without communicating, without phoning, without making prior arrangements. Before we needed an appointment for a doctor, now you need an appointment to visit your brother’s house on a Sunday morning. It’s not so difficult. But you communicate. They might have had a plan, they might want to go out. So as you enter the door everyone is edgy. “Salam alaikom” “wa alaikom salam”. They are waiting for you. Ok. What are you going to say? “How are you doing?” “Fine.” That means “Get lost. Please leave. Can you please go. We were planning an outing. You have spoiled our morning”. Remember this, my brothers and sisters, it’s a reality. Allah speaks about this in Surah tul Noor in a different way, but I’m giving you a current day example. It’s a reality. Send a message. “Can we please visit you on Sunday morning 10 o’clock?” They’ll tell you “No. Visit at 3 in the afternoon” But my brothers and sisters, something even more interesting than the visit…
To go is one thing. But to know when to leave is more important. Allahu akbar! Sometimes, we enter the house subhan Allah, we sit there for hours on end. I know of cases where family members dread the coming of a certain Granny because she doesn’t know when to go. So they say if she comes she is going to sit all afternoon, so now when she knocks the door she’s not welcome, not because we are busy, but because she doesn’t know when to leave. Well, sometimes, we need to be kind enough to say “Mam, my sister. You know what? You’ve overshot here. We’ve made you 3 cups of teas, we’ve fried you 3 sets of savouries, it’s about time you left.” May Allah subhana wa t’ala forgive us. Obviously, we would not do that. We would not do that, but sometimes, within the heart, we feel this. Why do we become hypocritical? Because people force us sometimes to do that. Let’s not be from among those who make it difficult for others. Imagine here Allah is saying ‘When you want to visit someone, when you enter a home make sure that you are known, everything is known about your visit.’ Look I’ll visit you at 10, insha Allah by half 10 I’ll be away. And this is why it is better to be shorter than longer because it’s better for people to say “But you didn’t even sit!” They expect you next time, than for them to think you know what this went on for a little bit too long. The same applies to this particular lecture. Before, I used to speak for one hour, then I chopped it to 45 minutes, and now half an hour. Perhaps next year it might be 15 minutes. Why? The reason is: People’s concentration span becomes less and less. The more technology advances, the less they want to hear a person live. Subhan Allah, especially when it runs through 30 days, or the whole of the month of Ramadan. I’d rather you leave from here saying “You know what, it was so interesting and it ended so abruptly, I didn’t even know how the time finished!” than for you to sit here an hour later and say “I’m not going back tomorrow! That man he can tune, you know he can speak”. May Allah subhana wa t’ala forgive us. May Allah subhana wa t’ala forgive us.
So, for this reason, we need to be short, to the point. It’s ok! We don’t need to complete the entire Qur’an; we need to be disseminating good, beautiful, teachings that we can practise upon, and that’s what’s important. So this message I started with is absolutely important. Let us understand that when we enter the homes, we should make sure we do so with the right reasons and we should make sure that we do not overstay. Even if you are to visit someone for a few days, make sure that they are comfortable with you. Remember, when you are very close to someone, the rules can change a little bit because you know they really want you there. They really want you there. But still, if you are there for a shorter period they will appreciate you more than if you were there for a longer time.
And I want to say one last thing before I move on. It seems like the more modern we’re becoming, the less hospitable we are becoming. A long time ago our mothers, our grandmothers, (I hope – some we may not have seen them but) the stories we hear is they were so happy, so excited. They used to welcome the guests. The guests used to stay. They used to put up the dishes and everything else as soon as the visitors came in. They would stay for a meal. 20-50 people. It’s becoming less and less common. Nowadays, masha Allah, Allah has made things easy, you know you have Spur around the corner and you have various others around the corner. What happens? Well, we’ll eat together. You know what? Just go and buy something from around the corner, masha Allah. May Allah, subhana wa t’ala, help us. May Allah, subhana wa t’ala, help us to be hospitable.
“Mankana… …” The Prophet, sallahu alaihi wa salam, says if you believe in Allah and the last day you should honour your guest. You should honour your guest. That having been said, don’t go to someone’s house and say “Look, I’ve come to you with a hadith that you need to honour the guest”, you know. Don’t say that, because you need to know that, at times, you know we abuse the religion in order to suit us and this should not be the case. May Allah, subhana wa t’ala, guide us, forgive us and grant us such goodness that others are encouraged when they see us. They are so happy and delighted, rather than those who see us, and they run away. They don’t even want to greet because they know how much of their time we’re going to waste.
Then, there is a beautiful verse.
Many times people speak about women, and the way they should cover, and the way they should be placed in a closet and the way they should be ‘this and that’ not realizing that the rules of the Shari’ah are not concerning women alone. No! And some of that is a little bit ridiculous. What I say is some of what people create is far beyond what Allah has dictated. Why do we go beyond what Allah has dictated? When Allah has given honour and dignity to a female. When Allah has given her such respect that, when it comes to the lowering of the gaze, in Surah tul Noor Allah starts with the males. And then the females are spoken about later on, regarding covering. First, the males! Allah says in verse number 30 of Surah tul Noor “… …” “Tell the believing males to lower their gazes.” This is way before the women were told anything. “Tell the believing males to lower their gazes, and to protect their chastity, to protect their private parts.” Subhan Allah! Clear terms in the Arabic language. You know Allah, subhana wa t’ala, uses clear cut terms. And Allah says “tell the men” to look after themselves, ‘be modest in your dressing, my beloved brothers. It doesn’t mean that just because you are muscular you know, you can have your mini-skirt on your bicep. Do you know what that means? (Laughter) You have your shirt and you are showing your body, and you are intentionally creating a disaster because you are parading in front of all the women, and you think that no, the rule is for the women. They should lower their gaze. My brother! Take it easy. You also need to put all of this into clothing that is fitting correctly. Fitting correctly, not 2 sizes too small, such that your shirt is tearing! And as a woman passes you actually flex your muscle and dah!… it tears, you know – like you’re a hulk! If that is the case, wallahi, what you’ve done is wrong, my brothers and sisters. Don’t you agree? It’s wrong. You need to also relax, cool down. You’ve got the muscle. The idea is you need to be powerful, that’s what it is. You want to be a strong person. What’s the point of a person who is like a feather? But, he’s got big muscles and he’s frightened of a fly or a mosquito in the room!? It happens! You see a huge person, and there’s a cockroach…”Aaagh! Cockroach!” and he wants to run away! What were all the muscles about? Those muscles were actually for the wrong reason. May Allah, subhana wa t’ala, forgive us. So much comes to the mind, my brothers and sisters. We are guilty. We need to learn to cover. We need to learn to cover correctly.
I want to also address the issue of the trousers today. Please let’s wear trousers. It should be called “a trouser” insha Allah, you know. Not something, whereby you go into sujood, and the man behind you doesn’t know whether to go into sujood or to finish his salah there. May Allah, subhana wa t’ala, forgive us. It’s happening! And it’s happening more! Yesterday, here in Cape Town, I saw someone, I presume he wasn’t a Muslim and, look they are free to dress how they wish, and I saw him literally with his underpants, they were on, but his pants were below his backside. Well below his backside. And I was – shocked! I couldn’t tell anyone “Did you see that?” They would tell me “What were you doing? Looking there?” But I couldn’t help but notice that this is where the condition has gone. My brothers and sisters, I want to tell you, we are living in a community and a country that permits you to wear whatever you want to wear. So, as a Muslim, you wear what you are supposed to wear and leave the others to do what they have to. You do what you have to, leave them to do what they have to! You don’t have to get upset, and angry, and excited. Consider yourself. You are living in a country that permits people to wear what they want. Because of that rule you are actually allowed to dress in whatever way you wish. So, if you did not like that rule, then perhaps they may not allow you to cover in the same way that they are doing that in other countries. May Allah, subhana wa t’ala, help us appreciate the freedom in our countries. There are countries that claim to boast freedom but using the word freedom they are taking away the freedom of people to actually cover themselves. So, therefore, I’m telling you: You do what you’re supposed to! Let the others do what they want to, whatever they have to. It’s OK. Those in authority have permitted them to do that. You’re a Muslim. You need to know you are governed by a modest dress code and the term modesty is interpreted differently by different religions and different inclinations. May Allah, subhana wa t’ala, guide us to understand the meaning of modesty according to us, and to fulfil it in the best possible way. Amin. So, while we are fulfilling our own duty, we are allowing the others their right to fulfil whatever they believe is correct, because we are living in a free nation. Let’s understand this. Never misunderstand it.
So, my beloved brothers and sisters, only after that, in the next verse, Allah, subhana wa t’ala, tells the women “… …” Amazing verse, similar wording! Allah says “And then tell the believing women to lower their gazes, to protect their modesty, their chastity and to conceal their beauty.” This is a verse of the Qur’an. This is Allah, subhana wa t’ala, speaking to us, verse number 31 of Surah tul Noor. And this is why we say, my brothers and sisters we need to know, we’re talking about saving ourselves. To save yourself from the calamities of this Earth you need to cover yourself modestly. If you don’t the wrong people may be attracted to you and your life may turn upside-down. Say you are happily married, and you go out on the street, and you go out into the mall, and you’re showing every droplet of your beauty and there is a wealthy man, or a mischievous boy, or anyone else and they start becoming obsessed with you. They follow you. They stalk you. They harass you. They trouble you. What may happen? You might incline or you may not incline. If you incline it spells disaster. You have a wonderful husband, you have a beautiful home, you have lovely children, but Shaytain will come and make beautiful that which is haram, because it is outside of the fence. You can be having the best mangos but when you see the tree next door, for some reason, those mangos look brighter than the ones in your basket. May Allah, subhana wa t’ala, grant us ease. Don’t let that happen to you! Mangos are mangos. And the man will go, (laughter… OK that was just off the cuff, by the way) but it is a reality. You cannot allow the man to come. You have to let him go, in the sense that, you need to realize who you are allowed to let into your closed circle and who, from a distance, there is just a greeting, if anything. You need to know this. So, if you are to show and expose it is going to affect people. I know people might say “Well I am free to do what I want”. Well, that’s a way people look at it, but there is a price to pay for it, so it’s OK. Do what you have to, but remember there’s a price. If you want to pay the price, well we’ve told you about the price. You’re going to probably be paying about 10 million dollars, for example, in loss, and it’s ok. If you can afford that go and enjoy it. Astaghferallah! Astaghferallah! A mumeen and a muslim realizes ‘you know what, the price to be paid is too severe. Lose my family, lose my children, lose a lovely spouse.’ And this goes either way. It is not just for women. It’s for men as well. You know sometimes, may Allah, subhana wa t’ala, grant us forgiveness, sometimes we want to show off everything we have. Showing it off! Yes, a man perhaps might be a little more public sometimes, but no excuse! Women also have a role to play in community and society. That role shall be played respectably and respectfully, and the clothing, in both cases, will be modest.
Not only that. The way you speak to one another should be respectful. Not everyone is after that which is immoral. No! There are a lot of clean people out there. There are a lot of people who might speak to you in the best possible way, without bad intention at all! Subhan Allah. Sometimes, when we are dirty in our minds we think everyone else is dirty. That is also a sickness. May Allah, subhana wa t’ala, grant us protection. So, if a person exposes their beauty there will be a price that they perhaps would pay. We need to understand that that price we may not be able to afford it. It might be so expensive that we become socially bankrupt. That means we lose everything in our social circle. It can happen. It has happened. And only later on do people realize.
Now, before I continue, let me say one more point. And that is, beloved brothers and sisters, when you are married, Go Out Of Your Way to make sure that your spouse is reassured HUNDREDS of times a day, that you adore them, you love them. You…They mean everything to you. And, to you, they are the most beautiful human being, and try and be that, for them. Remember this! Because, many people take it for granted. You marry, you know, there is a honeymoon for a little while and once the moon is out of sight what happens? The honey disappears. (Laughter) Where does she go? Only Allah knows. The problem is YOU have been ignoring her! You haven’t been talking to her. You don’t look at her. You come back from work, you’re on your phone. You turn on the telly. You’re busy, here. You’re tired. You read a few things, you are with your friends. Come back at 12. Who are …? Who are you to do that to her?! You’re supposed to be a spouse! So, fulfil the rights of one another because if you don’t, my brothers and sisters, the very fabric of society shall be crumbling, because a home is broken. One broken, 2 broken, so many homes are broken because we don’t realize the responsibility is great. You are married! Come on that’s it, it’s over. Now you concentrate on what you have. Your children need you. They need to grow up. They need you to be a figure there for them Mother or Father! Remember this, my beloved brothers and sisters. So, if you’re married go out of your way to make your spouse feel special. Not just tonight, but every night. And not just in Ramadan or Eid. No. Every day go out of your way to make your spouse feel special. It is an act of worship to ensure that your spouse feels that you are very closely connected to her or to him. May Allah, subhana wa t’ala, grant us ease. Let’s move on.
In the home, it is important for us to liven it up. The children will learn. The house is filled with blessings of Allah, subhana wa t’ala, and Allah, subhana wa t’ala’s mercy descends in the home. Allah makes mention in Surah tul Noor Verse 36 of the men who actually praise Allah in their homes. “… …” Allah speaks about the homes and how there are men who praise Allah, morning and evening in the houses they praise Allah. Who are those men? ”… …” They are the men whom their businesses and their buying and selling does not distract them from the remembrance of Allah subhana wa t’ala. They fulfil their salah, they read their Qur’an, they engage in the Dhikr of Allah, subhana wa t’ala. They liven their houses with the remembrance of Allah, subhana wa t’ala, they are never distracted by business dealings or by buying and selling, not at all. Allah, subhana wa t’ala, says they are the ones who fear the Day of Judgement. They are the ones who are conscious of the day that the hearts will be turning and the eyes, the vision will be turning. The Day of Judgement. If we are conscious of the Day of Judgement we will prepare for that day because we want to save ourselves on that day by doing what? Liven the home. Sometimes, and I promise you, people call in saying, you know what? “I can hear sounds in the house. I can hear noise. I can hear voices.” A lot of the times, probably your child on the internet in the other room, but, sometimes, yes I do agree – you are hearing things, you are seeing things, you are smelling things. Perhaps you need to get up and clean your home. Clean it two ways – physically and spiritually. There is no salah in your house. There is never adhan that is called in your home. There is no Qur’an that is read in your house. It is a house of Doom! May Allah, subhana wa t’ala, forgive us. Do you know what is a house of Doom? “Doom!” is the name of a spray that kills cockroaches! (Laughter) Trust me, we wouldn’t like to try that trick here. May Allah, subhana wa t’ala, forgive us. We don’t pray in the home. Our families, our children have never seen us in sujood for Allah and we expect that house to be livened? No. It won’t happen my brothers and sisters. Remember, Allah, subhana wa t’ala, has told us clearly that there are men who liven their houses. No amount of worldly gain will distract them from engaging in the remembrance of Allah.
Brothers and sisters, I’m very, very touched by this beautiful city of Cape Town. People ask me “Why do you keep on going there?” Well actually I’ve gone to so many places but it seems like I kept on coming here, although I’ve given it a break. One of the reasons is – take a look at the keenness to learn the Deen in this beautiful city, the keenness to be connected to the Qur’an and those of knowledge. May Allah accept it from all of you. And may Allah, subhana wa t’ala, grant us something similar. I’ve been to other cities that I’ve seen something similar. I went to the city of Kano, for example, in northern Nigeria. What I witnessed was actually amazing! Unique! Thousands of people may Allah, subhana wa t’ala, keep them steadfast. All interested in the Deen, connected to the Deen, and amazingly we have that here in Cape Town and people come and they are dedicated, and they don’t mind sitting for hours on end although the half an hour that I’m supposed to be speaking for today has just come to an end. We ask Allah, subhana wa t’ala, to bless us all and insha Allah we’ll continue tomorrow. “… …”
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About Mufti Menk
Dr Mufti Ismail Menk is a leading global Islamic scholar born and raised in Zimbabwe. He studied Shariah in Madinah and holds a Doctorate of Social Guidance from Aldersgate University.
Mufti Menk’s work has gained worldwide recognition and he has been named one of “The Top 500 Most Influential Muslims in the World” since 2010.
He has millions of followers across his social media platforms. Mufti Menk’s personable style and down to earth approach has made him one of the most sought after scholars in our time. He has endeared himself to people with his much loved lecture series, a Mufti Menk hallmark.
He travels the world spreading a simple but profound message: “Do good, help others while preparing for the Hereafter”.
He is active in the international arena and is a strong proponent of peace and justice, speaking up against all forms of terrorism.