Monday, February 18, 2008

Thursday, February 07, 2008

Eid Fitr (End of Ramadan)

• Beginning:
-Praise the attributes of Allah
-Testimony of Faith

• ‘Eid is a day of joyous celebration and sweetness for the believer
-In fact if one understands the reality of Eid it is even more joyous than the birth
-Because through the month of fasting we experience the rebirth of our souls through the purifying spiritual discipline of fasting
-We experience the reform of our character and personality as we grow in God consciousness
-We experience the renewal of our primordial covenant with Allah
-And a recommitment to dedicate our lives to seeking Allah’s pleasure

• And, so, as we look forward to the coming year, it is important for us to remember today, tomorrow, and everyday the great lessons of Ramadan, and what it taught us both as individuals and as a community.
-As individuals Ramadan is a proof of the great spiritual and moral heights that we as human beings can reach when we make Allah the number one priority in our lives.
-Suddenly we found the time and energy to not only perform our daily prayers, but also to spend a portion of the night in devotion.
-Suddenly we found the ability to restrain ourselves from the sins that were so difficult to ward off earlier.
-Suddenly our sense of generosity, kindness, and compassion increased manifold.
-And, therefore, Ramadan comes every year to show us the spiritual and moral heights that we can achieve if we only put our hearts into it.
-So, even if we maintain half or a third of the immense spiritual and moral strides we made in Ramadan, we will find an enormous improvement in our lives, and the lives of those around us.

-As a community, Ramadan teaches us that as the condition of our souls change, so does the condition of our ummah. Ramadan is a proof of Allah saying: “Verily, God does not change the condition of a people until they change what is within themselves.”
-And, so, suddenly our masjid became filled with people day in and day out.
-Our homes became palaces of dhikr for our family and friends.
-We found the time and energy to host, and to visit our neighbors, to maintain good relations with others.
-We discovered the greatness of sharing our wealth, and our food so that no member of our community would have to go hungry due to a lack of financial resources.
-So, Ramadan is a proof of the great heights we can reach as a community if we make a commitment to community, and if we maintain the spirit of hospitality and generosity that naturally comes with Ramadan.

•We have many things to improve upon as a community in order to gain the good pleasure of Allah, from the activities we put together for the youth in our community to the way we treat the stranger who visits our masjid.

*And we have much to improve upon so that we can become that model community that calls our fellow Americans to the path of Allah, and the path of goodness.

*But, it has to begin with unity…It has to begin with us coming together, irrespective of our ethnicity, age, and gender, to build for a stronger tomorrow. We need the efforts, and the sacrifices, and the energy of everyone, including the silent majority which is primarily made up of the youth and the women in our community. “And hold tightly to the rope of Allah, and be not divided among yourselves.” Perhaps, that is the greatest thing that Ramadan has to teach us as we look ahead.

* And we can immediately put this into practice by greeting as many people as we can among those we know and those we do not know, and asking each other for forgiveness of our shortcomings as we embrace a better tomorrow together, as one community.

• Dua’
• Jazakam’ullah khayr
• Quloo ‘aam wa antum bi khayr
• Eid Mubarak
• WaSalamu’alaykum wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuhu

Unity and Ethics of Disagreement

“You are indeed the best community that has ever been brought forth for humanity: You enjoin the doing of what is right and forbid the doing of what is wrong, and you believe in Allah…(3:110).”

• We face an enormous task and responsibility as a Muslim community
• We are challenged to be the model community that guides people from darkness to light

And hold fast, all together, unto the rope of Allah, and do not draw apart from one another (3:103).

• In order to fulfill our task, we need unity
• Unity does not mean uniformity
• Differences among my ummah are a mercy
• Diversity is part of the design of the universe
• Diversity is what makes the world beautiful
• But this can turn ugly when it becomes a source of anger and hatred between people

And obey Allah and his messenger. Do not differ, because if you do you will fail and the strength or force that propels you forward will dissipate; And be patient for Allah is with those who are patient (8:46).

• One of the greatest challenges we face, if not the greatest, is unnecessary argumentation.
• Argumentation is prohibited among people and disliked among the scholars.
• Hadith: If a man avoids disputing when his in the wrong, God builds for him a mansion in the middle part of paradise; if a man avoids disputing when is in the right, God builds for him a mansion in the highest part of paradise.

Argumentation and division is the result of a lack of knowledge about ikhtilaf and about the adab of ikhtilaf (difference of opinion among scholars and the proper courtesy in differing).

• Difference of opinion does not have to mean belligerence and division
• The incident with the companions and their journey to Bani Quraydah
-Lessons: Discuss, decide, remain cordial.

• Ikhtilaf after the Prophet’s death:
-Qur’an collection (ijmaa)
-Prophet seeing Allah (ikhtilaf)—Ibn Abbas and Ayesha
-Dead punished for weeping (ikhtilaf)—Ibn Umar and Ayesha
-Maintenance after divorce (ikhtilaf)—Umar and Fatimah Ibn Qayys

Unity is not found in uniformity, but rather in the acceptance of legitimate differences of opinion

• The genius of the madhab system of classical Islam

Conclusion: Seek knowledge, commit to mutual consultation, and work together

• Imam al-Maqari said, “Learn the differences of the ulema and allow your breasts to expand.”
• 42:38 Those who hearken to their Lord, and establish regular Prayer; who (conduct) their affairs by mutual Consultation; who spend out of what We bestow on them for Sustenance;
• “Let there arise from among you a band of people who invite to righteousness, and enjoin good and forbid evil” (Qur’an, 3:104).



“And when my servants ask you about Me, I am close indeed—I hearken to the prayer of the supplicant when one calls on Me; so let them hearken to Me, and let them believe in Me, that they may go the right way.”

*Trials, tribulations, hardships, and anxieties are core part of the human experience.

*Sometimes this is a result of experiencing some loss, such as temporary unemployment or the loss of a loved one.

*Other times we experience some uncertainty about the future, such as concern for the well being of our children, and other such things that may lie ahead.

*And yet other times we may feel a sense of despair about the world around, world events, social conditions, even though they may not be affecting us directly.


*Regardless of what it may be, know my dear brothers and sisters, that as a believer in Allah (swt) you have a most powerful and beautiful gift in the form of dua’—supplication, petitioning, asking of Allah (swt) for all that you need and hope for.

*The Prophet Muhammad (s) taught us that dua’ is the weapon of a believer—a weapon against anxiety, despair, and tribulation. It is an act of placing one’s trust in the only One who posses in reality the power to help or hinder any one. It is to affirm with one’s heart and tongue the reality of the Prophet Muhammad (s) telling us that “if all human beings gathered together to benefit us, they would not be able to do so unless it was the will of the Allah (swt); and if all of humanity gathered together to harm us, they would be unable to do so unless it was the will of Allah (swt).”

*The Prophet Muhammad (s) said that dua is ‘mukh al-‘ibadah’—that supplication is the core or essence of worship—because it is when we spread our hands as beggars before the Majestic that we display the ultimate truth—Allah is ghanee (rich, generous, bountiful) while we are fuqarah (poor, humble, and meek). And this goes to the heart of tawheed, which is the act placing our full belief, trust, and submission in no one and nothing else, other than Allah (swt). It is an act of realizing that Allah (swt) is the Master and we are his servants and devotees.

*The gift of dua’ is a mercy from Allah (swt) who is always kind and loving toward his creatures and particularly toward his devotees.

* We have tried nothing if we have not tried dua.

* Particular dua need to be memorized, such as ayat al-kursi or last ayats al-baraqara: dua al-hajah and dua al-istikhara. Not doing so is oppression.


*For dua’ to be accepted one must be sincere, and sincerity means right action—doing things as best as one can in accordance with divine will and law.



*Building a masjid is only the beginning, it is the people inside of it that really matter and can really make a difference.

*We need to focus on our youth—where have they gone?

*We need to start placing our investment in human resources who will look after the welfare of the community—imams, teachers, counselors, youth directors, etc.


لَن تَنَالُواْ الْبِرَّ حَتَّى تُنفِقُواْ مِمَّا تُحِبُّونَ وَمَا تُنفِقُواْ مِن شَيْءٍ فَإِنَّ اللّهَ بِهِ عَلِيمٌ

“You will not attain righteousness until you give of what you love for; and whatever you give, surely God knows it.”

Charity and helping others is a means of drawing closer to God

“O son of Adam, I fell ill and you visited Me not.” He will say: “O Guardian-Lord, and how should I visit You when You are the Lord of the worlds?” God will say: “Did you not know that My servant so-and-so had fallen ill and you visited him not? Did you not know that had you visited him you would have found Me with him?” [Then God will say]: “O son of Adam, I asked you for food and you fed Me not.” He will say: “O Guardian-Lord, and how should I feed You when You are the Lord of the worlds?” God will say: “Did you not know that My servant so-and-so asked you for food and you fed him not? Did you not know that had you fed him you would surely have found Me with him?” [Then God will say]: “O son of Adam, I asked you to give Me to drink and you gave Me not to drink.” He will say: “O Lord, how should I give You to drink when You are the Lord of the worlds?” God will say: “My servant so-and-so asked you for drink, and you gave him not to drink. Had you given him to drink you would have surely found Me with him.”

Charity and helping others is a key to purification and paradise

The Messenger said, “Give charity, even if all of it is but a date, for that will keep a poor man alive and removes sins as water extinguishes fire.”

Ibn Masud, may God be pleased with him, says: “A man worshiped God for seventy years; then he committed a great sin which voided all of that worship. Then he passed by a poor man and gave him a round loaf of bread. He was forgiven for his sins and the deeds of seventy years of his obedience were restored to him.”

And Luqman, the wise sage, said to a boy: “Whenever you commit a sin, give alms.”

Charity is a means of gaining freedom and happiness

Imam Al-Qushayri said, “When the Sufis speak on freedom [hurriya], they mean that the servant is not under bondage to any created thing, neither the contingencies of worldly life nor those of the Hereafter…Nothing enslaves him, whether it be the desire, wishes, requests, intention, needs, or wealth.”

“Know that the greatest kind of freedom comes from serving the poor…God instructed David, If you encounter one who seeks Me, serve him.”

Charity Requires working together across faith communities

“Vie with one another in good deeds.”

“Help each other to kindness and God consciousness and do not help each other to oppression and animosity.”

On Being a Believer

Happiness is prevented and obstructed when a person is attached and makes the object of adoration something that by its nature is fleeing and imperfect; And, unable to cope with hardship and loss, falling into despair and depression.

Kad aflahal Mu’minoon.

The station of a mu’min is greater than the station of muslim.

Mu’min is one whose heart is completely filled with La illah illa Allah
-the path to happiness
-wretched is the slave of dinar and dirham

How is this achieved? Outward and inward obedience of Allah (swt) and the Messenger of Allah.
-dhikr Allah [Indeed in the remembrance of Allah do hearts find tranquility]

-We hear and we obey (samana wa ata’na).

Mu’min is one who has complete trust [tawakkul] in Allah (swt).
-Never despair
-The heart sees loss as a way of coming closer to Allah
-Inna lillahi wa inna illahee rajioon

Migration of Mind. Body, and Soul

Those who believe, and migrate, and struggle in the cause of God with their possessions and their beings have the highest rank in the sight of God, and it is they, they who will achieve success. (Tauba 9:20).

Story of Suhayb al Rumi
-from slavery to riches to the great sacrifice

-Prophet said, “You have indeed made an excellent transaction, O Suhayb!”

-And there is a type of man who gives everything to earn the pleasure of Allah. And Allah is full of kindness to His devotees. 2:207.

Hijra today: Mind, Soul, and Body

-Migrating one’s focus and attention from worldly concerns and pleasures, to Godly concerns.

-Migrating to higher stations in the soul, reaching for the highest station which is muhabah, a station of love. Migrating from a station of ingratitude to a station of gratitude, a station of impatience to a station of patience, a station of disobedience to obedience. Migrating from outward obedience, to inward and outward, to a complete devotee.

-Migrating from one place to another, to forsake the domain of evil for the domain of good and virtue.

“Behold those who the angels gather in death while they are still sinning against themselves, will be asked, ‘What is wrong with you?’ They will answer, ‘We were too weak on earth.’ [The angels] will reply: “Was, then, God’s earth not wide enough for you to migrate [or forsake the domain of evil]?”