I am really honored and also kind of weirded out that you guys waited this long Alhamdulillah. Jazakumullahu khairun. If I sound a little out of it , that’s probably because I actually am… its eight hours of lectures straight but InshaAllah I will share some very brief thoughts with you about an important matter, something that doesn’t come under much discussion nowadays but it needs our attention. It certainly needs our attention InshaAllah.
The thing I want to talk to you about is a culture among young Muslims who go on a certain religious journey especially in Western society. A lot of times, Muslim youth live a life of..lets just say partying..ok..and then they have an epiphany sometimes in life and they turn towards religion. A lot of youth, brothers and sisters, have this change of heart sometime in their life and they become more serious gradually about religion but then what happens is ; when they become more serious about religion over time , they become very SERIOUS about religion, very very serious and they find themselves, a teacher.
Sometimes that teacher is a person, sometimes that teacher is a series of Mp3 or lectures, sometimes that teacher is a website, sometimes that teacher is a blog, sometimes that teacher is an anonymous screen name but whatever it is, in the end they find for themselves a source that they associate as ‘THE’ authentic source for taking knowledge and when they do and they become very passionate about it, slowly what starts happening is that they become very rigid, become very tough and they notice that people around them aren’t the same way as they are. . They don’t acknowledge the same teacher that they acknowledge. They are not understanding the deen the way they understand it themselves. So what starts happening is that first they become frustrated with people around them especially their family. So the youth starts changing and the first people they become frustrated with is their own family. “Why don’t you understand?”“ This is the right way to following the religion” and there is more and more friction.
This happens even within a Muslim family. Its even more so when you are Muslim and your family is not a Muslim but certainly even within your family when your family is Muslim too but now you are kind of rediscovering religion on your own right. So this friction develops. This is not limited to the family either. What happens is that you have friends and you have always been friends but your friends didn’t take this religious journey that you did and if they did, they didn’t take the SAME journey that you did.. Their understanding is a little different or they are not as rigid about certain things as you are. They are not as tough about it as you are and it becomes harder and harder for you to tolerate that. You start questioning them a lot more and you come in contact with people that don’t see things the way you do, then you make it a point to let them know that they are wrong; that you are right. That this is the way they should do things and that there is no other way to do it etc etc. An attitude develops and especially among youth.
There are many reasons for this attitude. The youth himself/herself thinks that what they are doing is called Amr bil ma’ruf wa nahi Anil munkar. They think they are commanding the good and forbidding evil. After all they are telling their brother/ sister a Hadith or an ayat. They are doing the good thing. This is what they should be doing… This is what is going on in their head. What they don’t realize, however, is that there is something more going on, there is something else going on. You know, before you become religious, you maybe the centre of attention among your crew. You are a thug, you are a gang, you are whatever..You are the centre of attention and when you turn to the religion, you no longer have that but you need something still. There is an urge inside you to want to show your domination over others..There is an urge inside you.. I want to show people that I am in some way, shape or form superior and in this devious way without even realizing it most of the time, they are telling people their religious opinion while expressing their superiority. They want to make sure that the other person feels that they don’t really know the religion.
“I know the Religion, let me tell you how it is supposed to be. Let me teach you the ayah. Let me teach you the hadith. Don’t you know it’s this way, that way or the other way?”
So religion itself becomes a mean by which you promote your own ego.
Its ironic because religion was revealed so we humble ourselves. The deen came so we humble ourselves and now we are using that very deen to express our arrogance. This is not something that happens only in our youth, by the way. It happens amongst our elders too. You know Iblees? On what occasion did he refuse Allah (swt)? He refused to make sajdah right. What job was Adam (as) going to get? What high salary was Adam (as) going to receive? What promotion was Adam (as) getting that Iblees said No no no!I am more qualified for that job..What was the job? Allah (swt) created the human beings for what purpose? Worship! right? and Adam (as) was told
inni jailo fil ardhi khalifa.
He was going to be placed where? On the earth. And what was his responsibility? Service to Allah (swt) . It’s a religious title. In other words, I am putting it in simple terms; Adam (as) was given a religious; honor not a Worldly honor. He wasn’t given a high salary, a big house.. none of that stuff. He was given a religious honor so if you think about it, its kind of weird. Iblees was jealous of Adam (as) over a religious honor. His ego manifested because he thought he was more qualified to serve Allah’s deen than Adam (as);
“I am more qualified in this religious capacity”.
This arrogance manifests itself when somebody says I should be President of the masjid.
“I am the right MSA president, why did they pick him??” “Why did they pick her for this test? Why didn’t they pick me??”
This is a religious task. You don’t get money when you become MSA president. You don’t get a new car when you run the masjid but yet you see across this country, people fighting tooth and nail over what? Religious titles! Who is incharge of the masjid?? Whose opinion should be heard?? WHY??
This is a disease that started where? It’s pretty old.. That virus started with Iblees. He also wanted this religious authority. At the heart of it, this is a disease and one has to identify that disease if it exists inside himself. You know when the attitude seeps inside you;
“Thank god for me because if it wasn’t for me, these people would be soo deviant. At least I am here to set em’ straight!”
If that’s your attitude, you have got a serious problem. You REALLY have a serious problem because now you think that deen depends on whom? Yourself.. Deen doesn’t need us ; we are in need of Allah’s deen but Allah’s deen is in no need of us.
“Wallahu ghaniun hameed “. Allah (swt) is free of need.
He doesn’t need us and we have to humble ourselves. This ego, I am talking about in a religious context but even in a family,
“If I die, who will take care of the family? Who is going to pay the bills? If I don’t do it who is going to do it?”
That thought comes in your mind right? But you know our time of death is written whether you think you need to save this much money or that much money or you need to get that promotion or you know, whatever you need to do. You think what you need to do but if Allah (swt) decides I go tonight; if its written, its written! And you know what, after I am gone, my kids, my wife, my husband, whoever ; Allah (swt) has already taken care of them. I should never have thought I was taking care of them to begin with. I wasn’t the one taking care of them, Allah (swt ) was and has been all along. I was deluding myself into thinking that it depends upon me, nothing depends upon me; NOTHING depends upon me! I am not the source of any good. Allah (swt) is the source of all good.
When ego is the root problem, where does ego come from? Ego comes from the starting point when someone doesn’t truly appreciate who Allah (swt) is. When you don’t appreciate who Allah (swt) is, you replace it with an appreciation of yourself; that’s where it starts. That’s really what the root of the problem really is so the first point I wanted to make inshaAllah is that people wear the façade of the religion. They look religious, they talk religious , they have knowledge. May Allah (swt) protect us from this. This is a very serious problem. They look more practicing than the other guy who doesn’t have a beard. She looks more taqiaa’ than the other sister who doesn’t wear hijab. They look more religious from the outward but on the inside there is an ego. On the inside there is an urge to show your supremacy. You are more righteous, you are more qualified, you are in a better position than the other and in your heart if you look down upon another muslim no matter what their condition..if you look down upon another muslim, if you do that, then you have this thing inside your heart called kibr, arrogance.
We learn from the advice of Prophet Mohommad (pbuh) that the one who has, a mustard seed, which is basically an atom, ok? A molecule, nothing.. that much of arrogance in their heart what is not open to them ? Jannah is not open to them, Jannah is not open to them so what I am trying to say is that you have a Muslim who does bad things like you know a guy who drinks , whatever, he does some really bad stuff . His evil actions are outwardly but your evil action is what? Inwardly! On the outside you look good. You look like you are doing alright. His action is punishable for sure, you don’t think yours is?? And if you are to compare, even though nobody is condoning his behavior… which is a bigger problem that is harder to fix? Think about that!!
His arrogance is a bigger problem to fix and you know why it is a bigger problem?? Because you can’t even see it! At least his drinking problem you can see it. You can do something to address it but this problem in here (heart ) is a hard thing to fix because it is deep down inside and the only one who can sense it is who? Yourself. Nobody can tell you it’s in there. If it’s in there its there. We can’t judge each other. While I am giving this lecture you can’t just say:
” I can think of someone who is pretty arrogant right now who should be listening to this.”
Don’t think of anyone else. That in itself is a sign of arrogance .Who should you be thinking of? Yourself.
The council of religion is not for anyone else first. Who is it for first? Yourself. We become so desensitize that the council of Qur’an and the council of the great words of the Messenger (pbuh), that council is for EVERBODY ELSE.
“Wait till I tell them what I just heard”.
Who is supposed to hear it first? Who is supposed to internalize it first? Yourself. You gotta think about that. We become very selfish, self centered and self serving when it comes to Allah’s (swt) religion. You know the husband hears a hadith regarding the rights of a wife or the rights of a husband ; what is the first thing he says,
“Hey, you know what I heard today? Let me tell you….”
The parent; what is the first ayat he tells his child??
“ Wa bil walidain ehsana”. Be the best to your parents.
Isn’t that self serving? Are we here to serve ourselves? Is the religion here to serve our needs? Or are we here to serve Allah’s deen. This is a change of attitude. It is a completely different attitude so this is the first problem, EGO, that I wanted to bring to your attention. Something that only you can gauge in yourself. Nobody else can gauge that for you but if that’s there no matter how much good is there on outside, does it amount to anything? No because the heart is not sound and Allah (swt ) says on the Day of Judgement :
“ illa man Atallaha bi Qalbin Saleem” . None except those who come to Allah (swt) with a sound heart
so we have to fix this thing on the inside; this ego on the inside.
Before we go to the second point, let me give you some tips on how you know you have an ego problem. Just some basic tips. If somebody corrects you and you get really offended, REALLY offended like:
“How could you say that to me bro? Why did you say that to me? Who do you think you are? Who does he think he is for correcting me like that “?
If that is your first reaction, then you have an ego problem even if that guy is being…I don’t want to use bad language..ok , he isn’t right. He shouldn’t have said what he said to you. Your first reaction should not be who is he to talk to me? You know what your first reaction should be? Maybe, through this inappropriate comment, Allah (swt) is telling me something that I should take heed of. Maybe there is some truth in it. It may not be hundred percent truth but is it a little bit truth? Is it one percent truth or half a percent truth? Whatever of it is true, I should take it on myself. I should save myself instead of worrying who is he to talk to me that way? Don’t develop that attitude in yourself. Take the good even out of a bad advice, a nasty advice. Take the good and leave the rest. It’s ok.
If you feel the need to interject in every conversation, if you feel the need to have your opinion heard no matter what. If you get really offended that your opinion was not taken in the end. You gave your opinion, someone gave another opinion but your opinion was not the final one taken; someone else’s was and you walk away offended. You GOT AN EGO PROBLEM especially in matters of religion. The MSA, , the masjid. Some people get together, they take some shura’: “what should we do”?
And you give your opinion, someone else gives their opinion and in the end, this shura’ is for the sake of Allah or no? When you are doing work for MSA, masjid or whatever so you gave your opinion for who’s sake? For Allah’s sake. You didn’t give it for your own sake or to serve yourself.
“Let’s see if my opinion comes out on top “.
That’s not why you gave it. If you did, then you have got a serious problem. You gave it for Allah’s sake and now if you gave it for Allah’s (swt) sake, then has it already been counted in your favor? If you did that for Allah’s (swt )sake, sincere opinion, sincere council for the sake of Allah(swt), its already counted in your favor. You got credit for it already whether the people take it or not, you already earned your credit so the fact that it’s taken or not taken is no longer meaningful to you because you already got what you wanted, you understand? But if your intention wasn’t for the sake of Allah (swt), guess what? You are going to get offended. You are going to say:
“No I gave my opinion so it will be the supreme opinion and that didn’t come out so I am offended.”
This is an easy way to check yourself. If you felt bad, you can check yourself. You have to check yourself. These are exercises that are difficult to engage in but we have to engage in them so the first real problem is the Hidden ego. The outward is religious and the inward is, basically, egotistical; this urge to show supremacy over others.
The second problem that’s again the outward is religious, the outward is good, the outward is knowledgeable, the outward has good speech, the outward has good clothing, everything looks like “ this guy, man , such a good brother” ,right? The outward is great but you know what happens on the inside? The first thing was the heart became egotistical and the second problem is that the heart became hard.
You are no longer moved by Allah’s (swt) words, you are no longer moved when you hear Qur’an. Its been a loooong time since you cried in salah, its been a looong time since your heart felt something. You hear it all the time and the thing that crosses your mind is that “I already know this. That is what crosses your mind. I don’t need to hear this, I already heard this stuff. I already know what he is going to say”. The only thing that is going on in your mind during salah is:
‘that qalaqala could have been a little better, that madd wasn’t long enough, that ghunnah, I don’t know about that one.”
That’s all that’s going on in your salah. You know what that is an indication of? You have good tajweed but a tough heart. You got good tajweed right but you are not.. The words of Allah (swt) are not enough to shake you. They don’t move you like that. You just pass by them and then the knowledge keeps increasing and in the public eye , you look very devoted to the religion but in your private life, when nobody else sees you, this really evil person comes out. A person who has certain behavior, who does certain things that you would never imagine that this person would be doing those things. When you look at their peers, when you look at their public face, you would never think that this person is like that in their private life but in their private life they almost turn into someone else. When they are by themselves, they turn into someone else. Someone you wouldn’t even recognize so there is this monster inside who has these serious issues but on the outside it’s a great person. No body can fix that for you because nobody knows it exists. Its all inside you !
So the first problem is ego and the second problem is the heart that becomes hard. These are both spiritual problems, problems of the heart aren’t they? And the only one who can gauge this is who? Yourself . Now towards the end some tips on how to fix this stuff, that will be towards the end. I want to wrap up the second point really quick Insha Allah ta’ala, of the heart becoming hard.
Allah (swt) says, that’s the ayah that I recited in the beginning Surah Hadeed. Allah (swt) is talking to the People of the Book and then He talks to us and says:
Alam ya’neei lilladhina Aamanoo
“Isnt it time for people who claim to believe yet?”
An takhshaa’ quloobohum li dhikrillah
that their hearts should be filled with awe, they should be overpowered, they should become numb. You know when your muscles becomes loose or weak, that’s khushu’ actually . Your muscles feel weakness in them. You feel like an overwhelming sense, an over powering feeling. Allah (swt ) says, their heart should feel overpowered and weakened by the fear of Allah (swt ) , by the remembrance of Allah (swt) . Isn’t it time that the believers should feel like that because of remembering Allah? (swt)
Wa ma nazala min Al haqq
And isn’t it time that their hearts should feel like that for what came down from the Truth on them? What is that? What came down from the Truth. It’s Qur’an. He is referring to the Qur’an.
Then Allah (swt) gives a warning in the same ayat .
Wa la yakoono kalladhina ootul kitaba min qabl
They better not become like those who were given the Book before them, much before them.
Fa tala alaihimul amad
A looong period passed over them . Meaning they were holding onto the Book for a loooong period of time but as they were holding onto the Book, You know when you first turn to the religion, you are very excited about it, that excitement went away and all that remained was the outer shell so what happened to those people.
Fa qasat quloobuhum
Their hearts became hard. After a long time, religion just became routine, something they just do. Something that is just there. .It is just there and you are just doing it because you are used to doing it but its not something that moves their hearts anymore. Their hearts have become hard and once your heart becomes hard, its easy for you to become corrupt.
Therefore the next part of the ayah
Wa katheerum minhum fasiqun
Much of them are corrupt, a good number of them are actually corrupt. The ayah ended with the people of the Book but where did it start?
Alam ya’neei lilladhina Aamanoo
The discussion is really about those who actually claim to Believe and how their hearts becomes hard and if that’s what you sense in yourself and no one can gauge that for you. Once again I repeat no one can gauge that for you because the only one who can gauge that for you is yourself, no one else. How humble you are before Allah (swt) , how humble you are before others. You can’t gauge that, you know, except that by yourself.
Allah (swt) says if you find yourself in a hopeless state where you feel your heart has become hard and you have developed this sort of a problem where you know , sometimes, the religious personality or the appearance of a religious personality is very intimidating. Its hard to talk to them. Its hard to be.. you are scared to be around them because you know they are going to talk down to you about something. You are afraid of them. A lot of time, sisters who wear hijab and sisters who don’t wear hijab, they cross the street and go the other way.
“Oh, there she comes again! Hijab police!! Now she is going to tell me something, she is going to say something, make me feel bad”. Right?
Now on one hand that’s paranoia but on the other hand sometimes, it is true. There are people who are very condescending to others. They are arrogant towards others. Tell me this; weren’t you a party animal not too long ago? And when people tried to tell you, how did you behave towards them. You forget where you came from, how far Allah (swt) brought you? People forget where they used to be and how far Allah (swt) brought them and when years later, they see someone who is a party animal, they say , “Astaghfirullah, how can it be like that.”Where were you? That guy should remind you of yourself. You were exactly like that so you should remember Allah’s favors upon you.
Wa kuntum ala shafa hufratum minan naar
” You used to be at the very edge of the fire”.
Fa ankadakum minha
“He pulled you out of it.
And in that same ayah Allah (swt) says,
Fa Allafa baina Qulubikum
Right, same ayah, “ He put love in your heart “
To have love in your heart you need to remember that you used to be at the fire’s edge yourself and you got pulled out and it was not because of you. Is that because you are a smart person and you deserve to be pulled back? Whose favor was it to you? It was Allah’s favor to you. How dare you look at someone else and think like that?
This arrogance is a horrible thing. It will wipe out all the goodness out of you. It will wipe all the goodness out of you. Most of the time our youth, who end up into heated debates about whatever, whether it is theology issue , it’s a fiqh issue, it’s a MSA presidency issue.. I don’t care what the issue is..doesn’t really matter. You know what the root problem of the debate is? Its ego .Really it’s a BIG ego, that’s all it is.
People talking about scholars like they are talking about some athlete.
“You know that guy, I don’t like what he says.”
Excuse me!! Do you know what journey he made for Allah (swt)? Even if you disagree with him, the fact that he left his home, whoever that scholar is, and travelled half way across the World to seek knowledge and spend nights and nights and nights praying and studying. You are just going to pass a comment on him and say:
“Ohh! I don’t like what he says, I think he is deviant.”
How dare you? What have you done? What puts you in that position to be able to say that? You know if you disagree with a Muslim and you think they are wrong, what should be your first attitude towards them?? You should you pass a verdict on them that they are headed to hell or should you genuinely be concerned for them? And if you are genuinely concerned for them, you wouldn’t talk to anybody else about them. Who would you talk to? Themselves. You would go and talk to themselves. If there was sincerity in you, you would address your concerns to them; not to anybody else. But this shows lack of sincerity; this shows ego. This shows you have got your team and you are rooting for your side and you are just going to make comments about other. That’s just immature, arrogant, egotistical; that’s what it is.
Now if that’s the stage we have reached, we are coming a little bit to the remedies. First of all the remedy is hope itself. Hope isn’t lost. Allah (swt) in the next ayat, so beautiful !! Subhan Allah!
He says :
Ya’lamoo (you had better know) Innallaha yuhyil Arda ba’daa mau’tiha
“ You better know that, no doubt, Allah (swt) gives life to the earth after it had died.”
Allah (swt) was talking about hearts in the previous ayah, what is He talking about now? Giving life to the earth. Allah (swt )is telling you that if Allah (swt) can give life out of the dead earth; He can give life to your heart again. Your heart can become soft again. It’s not beyond hope.
Qad bayyannal Ayat liqaumin Yaqiloon la allaqum ta’qiloon
“We are clarifying the miraculous ayah so you can understand”.
You get the point, there is hope for you. You can get your heart cleansed , it is possible. You know Allah (swt) can bring the heart back to life so the remedies now. How do you fix yourself? How do you fix the ego problem that you have?
The first big problem that helps you cleanse the heart is the remembrance of Allah (swt) , that’s the first thing you have to address. How often do you remember Allah (swt) and remembering Allah (swt) is not just saying the cliché’ things you know. Just the adhkar that you memorize, SubhanAllah, Alhamdulillah, Allahu Akbar, La ila ha illallah Allah u Akbar and you do some dhikr. These are incredible adhkar. They are from the sunnah of the Prophet (pbuh) but if they are thoughtless, if you didn’t put any thought in them. If you just don’t reflect upon them, then it is not dhikr, that’s just good review. That’s all that is.
Do you know what Alhamdulillah means? “All credit goes to Allah; All Praise is for Allah (swt)”. Allah (swt) should be thanked and He should be praised for everything. So you are having a tough day, what do you say? Alhamdulillah! Not only do I thank Allah (swt) I also praise Him. Whatever is happening must be good and so good that I thank Him for it and not that I just thank Him, I also praise Him for it. What an awesome thing you did!. Despite your troubles, you say Alhamdulillah but when you mean it, its something else. Now you are really remembering Allah (swt)
This hamd of Allah (swt), giving credit to Allah (swt), what does that teach you about yourself? You think you accomplished something good, what are you supposed to say? Alhamdulillah ! Who did you actually give credit to? Allah (swt) but you do that to..somebody comes upto you and says:
“ brother, great khutbah!”You say “Alhamdulillah” (patting your back). “Yes, I know!”.That Alhamdulillah is really not Alhamdulillah. That’s more about yourself than anybody else right?
You have to learn to be uncomfortable with praise. You should be uncomfortable with praise. You should be quick to give credit immediately to Allah (swt) and at the same time, put yourself down.
“You don’t know brother, you don’t know. I don’t think you should say that. You don’t know what I am really like, Allah (swt) knows. Just make dua for me that’s it. I don’t need your praise, I need your dua. I don’t need you to thank me.”
The other sister says, “ You are such a good sister”. No, I don’t need to hear that from you. That doesn’t help me, that really hurts me because when somebody tells me how good I am, what does that boost ? My ego! right? And that’s the biggest problem you can ever have so nobody is doing anybody a favor by praising them.
One last thing to add about humility; when someone comes and talks real nasty to you right and they are condescending to you, it’s a good way to put your ego down so they may have even done you a favor. They may think they have run over you but that maybe a message from Allah (swt), maybe that’s a gift from Allah (swt), that maybe a gift of humility. Maybe that’s what it is. This is what Ibn e Taimiyyah (r.a) used to say,”
“ When someone offends me, I think it is a gift from Allah (swt) that He is teaching me humility”. SubhanAllah ! It is a different attitude.
Then learn to serve people for the sake of Allah (swt). You know a lot of times people get burned out and this is the last thing I am going to say about religious folks especially youth. They do so much activity. They join an organization, they join a group, they join a masjid, they join whatever program and they are fired up, burning themselves out running after the programs left right left right and eventually what happens is that they get burned out. They get completely burned out and when they get burned out, they are never able to recover from that again. Keep a balance, take it easy. You don’t have to do everything in one weekend. You don’t have to do everything in one summer. Its ok. Keep it gradual, keep up with it Insha Allah.
When you do things for the sake of Allah (swt) and you get frustrated that you are not seeing results like you know, this talk..I was invited and I said ok ok I will come Sunday night, no problem..”Why don’t I come Saturday night”?” No body is going to be here..”. “So?”I am not coming here for you. Why am I coming here? THE BIGGER REASON! You are not paying me. Who is paying me? (Finger pointed upwards)right? So if there is one person here, or a hundred people here or no one here, did I already get my credit if I had the right intention? I did ! If I had the right intention.
Why did you come here? If you came here because your friends are coming, because you got nagged into coming, because your ride is not leaving so you are stuck here..(ha ha), then you got nothing! But if you were here and your intention was that :
“ I am going to remember Allah (swt ) tonight”, “ I am going to come closer to Allah (swt) tonight”.
Even the wait when there was nothing going on, even did that count in your favor. Change of attitude, change of intention. It will help you sooo much in life because when you do things like you pass out the flyers and you will invite people and nobody will show up and you are like “ AAAGH! (anger) people don’t listen!!” You won’t be frustrated. You know why? Why were you passing out the flyers? Why were you sending the invitations? Where did you put the expectations with? (finger pointed upwards). Your job is the effort, His job is the results. You are not incharge of the results.
When you internalize that, life becomes so much easier. It becomes..and you become more satisfied with yourself. You don’t become frustrated, “ No there were only a few people, there could have been more”. Yes , there could have been more but that’s in the hands of Allah (swt) . Did i do my part? Did I make enough effort? That’s the only question to ask and were my efforts seriously for the sake of Allah (swt) ? That’s the question to ask.
These things I bring up because intentions are not something you make once. There was one time in your life when you made the intention you are going to serve Allahs religions, that you are going to become a better muslim. You made that intention but that intention can get rusty so you gotta keep going back.. You gotta keep fixing it and you know everyone else is thinking that your intention is strong because they only see the outside..what don’t they see? The inside! And because they see only the outside, they tell you,” You are pretty good man!!”and you start believing them too so you are only making the problem worse for yourself.
The first remedy was remembering Allah (swt). The second remedy; find better company. Find company of people that are better than yourself. The third remedy, important remedy, Learn to keep your mouth shut. Learn to keep your mouth shut. If you see something really bad, find a humble way of giving advice to a Muslim. Think,
“Are the words that I am going to say to them, are they going to make him even more averse to the religion or should I find some loving, soft way of slowly pulling them back without compromising on the principles but can I bring them closer to the deen.”
Maybe change their company, maybe change of scenery, maybe if they heard a little bit of advice..You don’t want to change their behavior first, you want to change what first? Their heart! Once the heart changes, behavior will change automatically. Most of the time we go after peoples what? We go after their behavior. You can’t change people’s behavior. You can only remind them and hope that Allah (swt ) changes their heart. Your job is to remind right
The Messenger sees people doing shirk, people doing kufr and Allah (swt) is telling him year after year after year,
Fadhakkir, innaka fa Atiz dhikra, Fadhakkir, innaka fa atiz dhikra
“Remind them, Reminder will have benefit”.
The man, Prophet Mohommad (pbuh) is doing dawah to the same bunch of really bad people for ten years and Allah (swt) keeps telling him; remind, its gonna happen, Remind…its gonna have benefit. You remind someone, it doesn’t have benefit, you know what you are going to say,
” I reminded him, he didn’t listen huh! That guy is not gonna benefit from reminder.”
Look at the seerah of the Messenger (pbuh), how often does he remind? And Allah (swt) keeps telling him you may not see the benefit but is there still benefit? There is. And who is the first person who benefits from sincere reminder. The one who gives the reminder.. Who is it benefitting first? You, yourself because you are accepting that the words are coming from you but the effect will come from where? From Allah (swt) and if your words didn’t have any effect, then maybe there was something wrong with who? You.
Your first reaction shouldn’t be that there is something wrong with him. He didn’t listen to me. That’s not the first reaction. You know the Messenger (pbuh) ( and this is the last comment from me) , when he gave advice to people and they didn’t listen to him, one of the thoughts that crept into the mind of Messenger (pbuh) was maybe I am not doing my job right. Maybe I could have said it better and Allah (swt)reminds him,no no no! You are doing your job right. You are doing what you are supposed to do. You just keep warning. You just keep reminding. Don’t worry about the results. Just keep doing what you are supposed to d . Do what you are supposed to do.
Along these lines, the last ayah that came to my mind, I should share it with you because it is important in this issue Insha Allah. Two ayahs, one from Surah Shura, surah number 42 and another ayah in which the Messenger is given advice so two ayahs.
In Surah Shura:
Wa ma tafarraqoo illa mim ba’dee ma jaaa uhum min ilm, baghwam baina hum
“They didn’t disagree with each other until after knowledge came”.
So who is disagreeing now? Knowledgable people! Knowledgable in what? Knowledgable in Science, Physics, Chemistry, Biology, what are they knowledgable in ? In religion! Knowledgable in The Book, Knowledgable in Sunnah and what are they doing after that knowledge? Falling into disagreement. Why? Allah (swt) gives reason too.
“Baghyam bai na hum” ( Out of an urge to dominate over each other).
They had this urge and they wanted to feel superior and what is this weapon by which they feel superior. Knowdge of religion. ..They turn that into a means by which they inflate their ego. Subhan Allah !What a horrible crime ! and its that ayah where Allah (swt) by the end, He says,
Wa lao la kalimatun sabaqat ila rabbika musamma la qudhiya baina hum
“Had it not been that a time had been appointed for them from ahead of time,( meaning had it not been that Allah (swt) had already decided when they will be punished), their matter would have been dealt with immediately.”
They would have been punished right away. This is a high crime. This is a high crime that they are doing using deen as a weapon to disagree. Their knowledge is a weapon to disagree with each other not for any other sincere reason except, ego!. May Allah (swt) protect us from this crime especially our youth,man!
Youth culture in this country, you are playing ball; somebody blocks your shot , what happens? In the next play, you better avenge and revive your dignity because the tribe will look down upon you right? There is this culture; How dare you against me? Its not just a sport, it’s a test of ego right.
Some body cuts you off on the road, what gets enraged? You !! with your Honda Civic pass me by!! Me with the M5!! No No I will show you . I will express my supremacy very very spoon. I am gonna floor you and show you how that’s done.”
What is that a show off? Ego ! Constantly in our culture we are being sent the message, inflate your ego. It all about YOU . The song writer, the singer,
My chain, my hat , my shoes, my socks whatever..
All about me , me , me. You cant touch Me, you cant look at Me, you cant look at Me in the eye. I am going to do this to you, then I am going to do that to you. Whats this about? Whats the whole message? Ego!Worship of the self.. That’s all it is . That’s really what it boils down to. And this deen is only a deen for those who humble themselves before Allah (swt) right so that’s very very important message of this ayah.
The last ayah, Al e Imran , and especially for those who are in a position of leadership. Those of you that others look upto, those of you who know or think even, that you know more than others. Allah (swt) tells His Messenger (pbuh):
Fa bi ma rahmatim min allahi lin talahum wa lao kunta faddun azizan qalb lan fadoo min haolik
It is by the special favor and Mercy of Allah (swt) that you (pbuh) are lenient towards them (meaning the sahabah). If you were tough ( harsh of the heart, if you were stiff with them or arrogant towards them even if , you know like, rough around the edges when you talk to them, you know atern with them ) , they would have dispersed away from you
They? Who is they? The sahabah.The sahabah would have ran away from you and who is you? The Messsenger! Can you imagine the sahahba running away from the Prophet (pbuh)?Allah (swt) didn’t say if you didn’t call to the truth, they would run away, If you stop teaching them Qur’an they would run away, If you didn’t present the wahi, they would run away. What would the Messenger do that would make them run away? He is still teaching Qur’an, still giving the Truth, everything is the same .Whats the only thing that’s changed in the ayah that would make them run away? He is tough with them. He is harsh with them.. that would be enough and they would run away SubhanAllah. What a message Allah (swt) is teaching His Messenger (pbuh).
If that’s the message to the most amazing leader, you don’t think it applies most to us? It applies enormously..if you were in any position of leadership and if I was to ask for a show of hands , don’t raise your hands; rhetorically, if I was to ask for a show of hands, how many people are in a position of leadership? You know what? All of you should be raising your hands. You are all in a position of leadership. You are all in a position where you should be able to give council to someone and that’s fine but how do you give that council? Especially if they are Muslim? Instead of making them more averse to the religion, learn to be more tolerant. Don’t justify wrong behavior, that’s not what I am saying. If you see some haram, call a spade a spade
”Look, this is haram. I am worried about you.”
There are ways of saying this right?
“You know you are going to hell for doing that right?”That’s one way of saying it.
“Man you should be ashamed of yourself” That’s one way of saying it.
” Bro I am really worried about you seriously. You know that’s bad and I love you man. Why do you do it? Do you need help? I mean why, really, just stop. Lets talk about it”. Sincere!!
(somebody sneezes in the audience, Brother Nauman says Yar hamu Kullah )
Sincerity, it shows you know. The way you talk to people, it shows whether you are sincere or you are just trying to pass comments on them to, you know, just put them down. There is a difference. There is a difference in how you talk to them
Azillatin alil Mo’mineen
They are humble, powerless when they present themselves to Believers.
That’s the attitude in Qur’an but then finally how do you know for sure you are sincere? Its in the ayah and we are done. That same ayah:
Fa’foo anhum fas taghfir lahum wa shawirhum fil amr
After they mess up and you are lenient towards them, if they mess up, number one, forgive them lovingly. Fa fu anhum.
Then ask Allah (swt) to forgive them You know asking Allah to forgive them is not.. you know some brother does something and you say:
“ hey by the way may Allah (swt) forgive you”
That’s not fastaghfir lahum. When should you ask Allah to forgive them? When you are asking Allah to forgive yourself , in private because private dua is what? Sincere. That’s sincere. In front of everyone..
”By the way brother you are pretty messed up but may Allah (swt) forgive you. I will make dua for you”
That’s not what the ayah says. That’s actually a show of what? Arrrogance, ego. Make sincere dua for them in private, fastaghfir la hum
And to make them feel like you think of them as a decent person, wa shawir hum fil amr. Consult them, take their opinion. Ask their opinion. Treat them like a decent person. The Messenger (pbuh) doesn’t need anybody’s shura. He makes decisions based on Revelation but Allah (swt) commanded him to consult them in decision making. Why? So they would feel what? Included, dignified. This is the characteristics of a leader right? He makes those who are under him feel dignified
Wa shawirhum fil ardh fa iza azamta fa tawakkal al Allah
When you make a decision, place your trust in Allah (swt) because your decision is not the key to success. It is Allah (swt) that’s the key to success.
Inn Allaha yuhibbul mutawakkileen
Allahumma ja’alna minal Mutawakkileen
May Allah (swt) make us those who place our trust in Allah (swt) and not allow our hearts to become hard.
May Allah (swt) make us a people sincerely of dhikr to Allah (swt)
May Allah (swt) grant us the gift of better company than ourselves that keeps our ego in check.
May Allah (swt ) give us the ability to give advice to those around us, the people of La ilaha illAllah, the people who share this wonderful kalimah with us are more beloved to us , closer to us than even the bond of blood. La ila ha illallah brings us closer than the bond of blood .
May Allah (swt ) make us share that love and affection and humility with the other muslims and show them that sincerity from the bottom of our heart.
May Allah (swt) penetrate good advice into the hearts of those who need it.
May Allah (swt)make us capable of taking advice and taking the best of it and not allowing the advice to become a means by which our egos are inflated.
May Allah (swt) keep us humble before hHIm, forgive our shortcomings that have occurred in the past.
May Allah (swt), from here on, make us of those whose hearts are perpetually being cleansed and finally I ask Allah (swt) to accept all of our gatherings including this one and to accept, you know ,all of our good deeds and the acts of worship that we do for Him with all their short comings and all of our flaws, even our salah, our wudhu, our dua and all of the shortcomings aside.
May Allah (swt) accept whatever patchwork we do. May Allah (swt) just overlook all of our shortcomings and just accept from all of us.
Rabbana taqabbal minna innaka antas same ul aleem wa tub alaina ya ma’ulana, innaka anta Tawaabu raheem wa Sallalahu Ta’al Ala khairee khalqihi wa Alihee Wa ashabihee Ajmaeen
Assalam o Alaikum Wa rahmatullaheWa barakatuhu
Jazakumullahu khairun for listening