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Obedience is the Goal of Worship, not the Act Itself

Shaykh Nour Kabbani

17 July 2015 Burton, Michigan

Jumu`ah Khutbah at As-Siddiq Institute & Mosque (ASIM)

[Opening du`a.]

As-salaamu `alaykum wa rahmatullaahi ta`ala wa barakaatuh. Congratulations, it’s a happy day, it is `Eid. `Eid Mubarak for all of us, inshaa-Allah! May Allah forgive all our sins. On this day Allah (swt) asks the angels, “What are My servants doing, what do they want from Me?” After we fasted Ramadan, we come to celebrate and, inshaa-Allah, Allah (swt) forgives all of our sins, and Allah (swt) is saying, “Know this is a favor from Me on you. Thank Me for the favor I have given you.”

He has given us the power to fast, to pray, to make dhikr, to give charity, and if He wanted, Allah would not have wished that for us: it’s His favor. Allah (swt) is the All-Powerful, Almighty, so if He wants, He does not give this favor, and we would not have fasted or prayed, so we say, “Thank You, O our Lord! Praise to You, O our Lord! You have given us this opportunity to fast and now we are here praying `Eid, and we are praying Jumu`ah now, and we ask forgiveness.

In a Hadith from Abu Ayyub al-Ansari (r), the Prophet (s) said:

مَنْ صَامَ رَمَضَانَ ثُمَّ أَتْبَعَهُ سِتًّا مِنْ شَوَّالٍ فَذَلِكَ صِيَامُ الدَّهْرِ

Whoever fasts Ramadan, then follows it with six from Shawwal, then that is (equal in reward) to fasting every day. (Tirmidhi)

Nabi Kareem (s) said, “Who fasts Ramadan and follows it with six from Shawwal (the month we are in), it as if he fasted the whole year.” So inshaa-Allah we have that intention to comply with Sayyidina Muhammad’s recommendation. Inshaa-Allah Allah gives us the power to please Him, but subhaanAllah, today is different than yesterday: if we look at what we were doing before sunset, we were all fasting and it was haraam for us to eat or drink, and we would have sinned if we did not fast and would have been susceptible and subject to Allah’s Punishment! Then look at today: it is `Eid and today had we fasted we would have sinned as Shari`ah does not allow fasting on this day. Yesterday Allah (swt) said, “Don’t eat, fast!” and today He is saying as our Prophet (s) is telling us, “Don’t fast today, eat!”

Fasting is worship, so what changed? Allah’s order! We must pay attention to what we do and Allah’s order is what we follow, not the particular act of worship. He said to fast July 16th, Thursday, and we all fasted, and Nabi Kareem (s) said no fasting today, July 17th, and whoever obeys Rasoolullah (s) obeys Allah (swt), which means Allah (swt) said, “Don’t fast today”, so by not fasting on July 17th we have obeyed Allah (swt). That means the point of worship to Allah (swt) is the obedience to His commandment, which is the utmost priority, not the act. So an act of worship without the approval of Allah (swt) and His Nabi (s) is a sin; therefore, don’t pay much attention to the act, but pay attention to the order.

Shaytan was kicked out of Heavens because he disobeyed the order. Allah (swt) told him, “Make sajda,” without question, because it’s the order, so let’s not miss the point: obeying the order of Allah (swt). He said, “Make sajda to Adam (a),” and sajda is an act of worship, but Allah (swt) has given an order, so today we cannot fast. And Allah’s order is:

أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُواْ كُتِبَ عَلَيْكُمُ الصِّيَامُ كَمَا كُتِبَ عَلَى الَّذِينَ مِن قَبْلِكُمْ

O you who have believed! Decreed upon you is fasting as it was decreed upon those before you.

(Surat al-Baqara, 2:183)

“O you who believe! I have written fasting for you as I had written it for the people before you.” So obeying Allah’s commandments (swt) is the utmost priority, because the day can change.

يَسْأَلُهُ مَن فِي السَّمَاوَاتِ وَالْأَرْضِ كُلَّ يَوْمٍ هُوَ فِي شَأْنٍ

Every day He shines in (new) splendor! (Surat ar-Rahman, 55:29)

“Every day He is on a different order, different commandment, different situation.” For example, look at our prayer. We can always do two raka`ats nafl, but there are certain times of the day you cannot, such as right before the sun reaches high noon we cannot pray. Why? Worship is prayer, but you cannot at that time, again, because of the order.

So when some people say, “Oh, you know, in the medical literature wine is beneficial, it prevents heart disease”, then some people say, “Why not drink a little bit of it? It’s beneficial, as proven by medicine.” Again, don’t look at the action, look at the order. Allah (swt) says, “Don’t!” so we don’t use our mind anymore, finished! We don’t say, “It’s beneficial, it can help this, it can help that.” No, the order is not to drink it, even if a little is beneficial as proven by medicine! Following the order of Allah (swt) is what human beings have to do.

Nowadays, a lot of people give opinions, “This is beneficial, this is good, so why did Allah (swt) prevent it?” Okay, why didn’t Shaytan go into sajda? Because he saw himself [instead of Allah]. When somebody sees himself or herself, they are no longer seeing what is in front of them. Asta`eedhu billah:

كَلَّا إِنَّ الْإِنْسَانَ لَيَطْغَىٰ أَنْ رَآهُ اسْتَغْنَىٰ

No! (But) indeed, man transgresses, because he sees himself self-sufficient. (Surat al-`Alaq, 96:6-7)

When the human being sees itself, they think, “I don’t need guidance from Heavens anymore.” So when people say, “Fasting is harmful because it can make you starve, become dehydrated, it can make you this and that”, we don’t fast because of that, we fast to obey Allah’s order, because each day Allah (swt) has a different Manifestation, Tajalli, a different order: yesterday we were supposed to fast, today we are not supposed to fast. By eating today you are worshipping Allah (swt); by eating yesterday you sinned against Allah (swt). Similarly, by not eating today you are sinning and by not eating yesterday, you are worshipping. The ‘criss-cross’.

Why is wine permitted in Paradise? Some people say, “It’s something you drink in Paradise, so it shouldn’t be bad if we drink it here.” The criss-cross! It’s not the action, it’s the obedience to Allah’s order, which is thanking. We obey Allah (swt), that’s the way to thank Him; it’s not only by saying, “Thank you, O our Lord,” but by actually completing the thankful action, as Allah (swt) says:

قَالَ رَبِّ أَوْزِعْنِي أَنْ أَشْكُرَ نِعْمَتَكَ الَّتِي أَنْعَمْتَ عَلَيَّ وَعَلَى وَالِدَيَّ وَأَنْ أَعْمَلَ صَالِحًا تَرْضَاهُ وَأَصْلِحْ لِي فِي ذُرِّيَّتِي إِنِّي تُبْتُ إِلَيْكَ وَإِنِّي مِنَ الْمُسْلِمِينَ

O my Lord! Grant that I may be grateful for Your favor that You bestowed upon me and both my parents, and that I may work righteousness that You approve of, and be gracious to me in my issue. Truly, I have turned to You and truly do I bow (to You) in Islam. (Surat al-Naml, 27:19)

“O my Lord! Inspire me, allow me, make me thank You for Your favor on me and on my parents. wa `amal saalihaan tardaa, and make me do goodness in a manner that pleases You!” That means when Allah (swt) gives us the body, we use it in a manner that is pleasing to Him, just as Iblees should have done, which was pleasing his Lord by making sajda, but he wanted to please himself, and to do that he disobeyed and said, “No, You are mistaken!”

So when Allah (swt) says these pious servants are among us and they are from the thankful, grateful people, that means they are using their bodies in a way that is pleasing Allah (swt). When the order is, “Fast today,” we fast today, and when the order is, “Don’t fast today,” we don’t fast today. “Pray now,” we pray now, but, “Don’t pray at this time,” then we don’t pray at this time. We use Allah’s favor in the way He is pleased with, not in the way our nafs, the ego is pleased with.

Some might make an excuse, “Oh, I cannot fast today because it’s too hard for my ego,” or, “I can’t pray five times a day because I can’t wake up for Fajr.” No, you have to use the body in the way that pleases Allah (swt), not in the way that it pleases yourself. That is why Shaytan didn’t even see Allah’s Greatness, nor Sayyidina Adam (a), he only saw himself. He said, “I”, but when he argued with Allah (swt) he could have said, “He is not better than me!” which would mean he acknowledged someone else in front of him. It means he did not even see Adam (a), just as he did not see Allah’s order, nor His Grandeur and Majesty; he did not see Adam in front of him, he became blind, he saw only himself.

قَالَ أَنَا...

Qaala ana, “He said, ‘I am...’” (Surat Saad, 38:76)

The first thing he saw was himself. So, when we use our body or Allah’s favor in a way other than what pleases Him, we are pleasing ourselves, as Sayyidina Luqman (a) said to his son, asta`eedhu billah:

وَإِذْ قَالَ لُقْمَانُ لِابْنِهِ وَهُوَ يَعِظُهُ يَا بُنَيَّ لَا تُشْرِكْ بِاللَّهِ إِنَّ الشِّرْكَ لَظُلْمٌ عَظِيمٌ

And (mention, O Muhammad), when Luqman said to his son while he was instructing him, “O my son, do not associate (anything) with Allah. Indeed, association (with Him) is great injustice."

(Surat Luqman, 31:13)

Luqman, the wise servant of Allah (swt) said, “O my son, laa tushrik billah! Don’t take a second one besides Allah (swt)!” That means, “Don’t put yourself beside Allah (swt).” Shaytan put himself beside Allah (swt) and said, “No, I want to obey my thoughts, I want to please myself, not You!” So, Luqman is saying, “O my son, don’t make partners with Allah (swt).”

Our biggest enemy is ourselves. When we use our body in a way other than what is pleasing to Allah (swt), we are committing a big, big oppression, zhulm. We have to be aware of that. Just as we could not fast today, ny using Allah’s favor in His way by not fasting, so we did yesterday by fasting. Inshaa-Allah Allah (swt) keeps us on the Straight Path and paying attention to the orders of Allah (swt), as Sayyidina Khidr (a) said to Sayyidina Musa (a):

وَمَا فَعَلْتُهُ عَنْ أَمْرِي

And I did it not of my own accord. (Surat al-Kahf, 18:82)

When Sayyidina Khidr (a) did all that he did with Sayyidina Musa (a)--and as we said, don’t pay attention to the action, pay attention to the orders of our Lord as it changes from day to day--Sayyidina Khidr (a) did three actions with Sayyidina Musa (a), who always objected, and at the end Sayyidina Khidr (a) said, “I have not done what you see because I want to please myself,” meaning, “I did it according to the order of my Lord.”

We are not in that situation, so let’s not get it wrong: we can’t do as Sayyidina Khidr (a) as put hole in ship or kill a boy, or this and that; it’s not for us, it is a teaching that Allah (swt) ordered some of His servants to do things in a manner in which we do not accept. But again, Shaytan saw sajda to Adam (a) as not acceptable to him, so it is not according to our mind to accept or not accept Allah’s order: we must accept, there is no in-between, so let’s pay attention to His orders and let us not question why Allah (swt) wanted this or that.

Some ask, “Why did He restrict this or that, what is the purpose? It’s good, it’s bad!” Let’s not go there, let us not be shaytans. May we always follow the commandments in Holy Qur'an and Sunnah, and try to follow the Pious Ones, because Allah (swt) is saying at the end of the verse:

وَأَنْ أَعْمَلَ صَالِحًا تَرْضَاهُ وَأَدْخِلْنِي بِرَحْمَتِكَ فِي عِبَادِكَ الصَّالِحِينَ

And admit me by Your mercy into (the ranks of) Your righteous servants. (Surat an-Naml, 27:19)

“And make me enter, with Your Mercy admit me among Your pious servants!” So we ask Allah (swt) to admit us among His pious servants and to make us always follow His commandments, the orders of Shari`ah and of Sayyidina Rasoolullah! (s).

[Closing du`a.]


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