9 February 2013 Chicago, Illinois
`Asr Suhbah at Private Residence (1)
A`oodhu billahi min ash-Shaytaani 'r-rajeem. Bismillahi 'r-Rahmaani 'r-Raheem.
Nawaytu 'l-arba`een, nawaytu 'l-`itikaaf, nawaytu 'l-khalwah, nawaytu 'l-`uzlah,
nawaytu 'r-riyaadah, nawaytu 's-sulook, lillahi ta`alaa fee haadha 'l-masjid.
أَطِيعُواْ اللّهَ وَأَطِيعُواْ الرَّسُولَ وَأُوْلِي الأَمْرِ مِنكُمْ
Atee`oollaha wa atee`oo 'r-Rasoola wa ooli 'l-amri minkum.
Obey Allah, obey the Prophet, and obey those in authority among you. (Surat an-Nisa, 4:59)
You want to pray, so what do you do before prayer? Wudu. Why? To clean yourself from anything that might affect your prayer from sins that you have done before praying. We cannot say that everyone is perfect and does not do any mistake or a sin between one prayer and another prayer. And also if you want to read Holy Qur'an you need to be clean, and Allah (swt) ordered us in Holy Qur'an:
فَإِذَا قَرَأْتَ الْقُرْآنَ فَاسْتَعِذْ بِاللّهِ مِنَ الشَّيْطَانِ الرَّجِيم ِإِنَّهُ لَيْسَ لَهُ سُلْطَانٌ عَلَى الَّذِينَ آمَنُواْ وَعَلَى رَبِّهِمْ يَتَوَكَّلُونَ
Fa idhaa qaraat al-Qur’an fasta`idh billahi min ash-Shaytani 'r-rajeem. Innahu laysa lahu sultaanun `alaa alladheena amanoo wa `alaa rabbihim yatawakaloon.
Now whenever you read this Qur’an, seek refuge with Allah from Shaytan, the Accursed. Behold, he has no power over those who have attained faith and who in their Sustainer place their trust.
(Surat an-Nahl, 16:98-9)
Listen well, you and me. (Allah is saying,) “When you want to read the Holy Qur’an then seek refuge in Allah from Shaytan. He has no power over the those who have taqwa and those who are mu’min--he cannot come to them--and tawakkaloo, trust in Allah.” That means whenever you want to do an action, something, say, “A`oodhu billahi min ash-Shaytaani 'r-rajeem. Bismillahi 'r-Rahmaani 'r-Raheem.” You are saying, “I am seeking refuge in Allah (swt) and in His Name I am beginning this action.” So it is going to be a successful action or a failing action? Is it a failure action or a successful action? Of course it is giong to be successful, because Allah said that. So every `amal has its door and the door of every `amal is (to say), “A`oodhu billahi min ash-Shaytaani 'r-rajeem. Bismillahi 'r-Rahmaani 'r-Raheem.” When you sleep, you say, “A`oodhu billahi min ash-Shaytaani 'r-rajeem. Bismillahi 'r-Rahmaani 'r-Raheem. Ash-hadu an laa ilaaha illa-Llah wa ash-hadu anna Muhammadu ‘r-Rasoolullah.”
The last word before you sleep has to be Shahadah. If someone didn’t wake up it means died and his last word was Kalimatu ‘sh-Shahadah. You don’t sleep without saying the Shahadah. So you sleep saying, “A`oodhu billahi min ash-Shaytaani 'r-rajeem. I am seeking refuge in Allah (swt) and I am saying, ‘Bismillahi 'r-Rahmaani 'r-Raheem,’ in His Name I am beginning the action of sleeping.” You are now bayna yadayyi Rahmaan, between Allah’s Hands. If you wake up or you don’t wake up, you don’t know.
And it is recommended have wudu. Now some people might have wudu and some people might not, whatever, but it’s best to have wudu because the soul when you recite that, Allah (swt) will take it under `Arsh to make sajda when in this situation. When you wake up, open your eyes with (saying), “A`oodhu billahi min ash-Shaytaani 'r-rajeem. Bismillahi 'r-Rahmaani 'r-Raheem. Ash-hadu an laa ilaaha illa-Llah wa ash-hadu anna Muhammadu ‘r-Rasoolullah.” You begin your day with such thing. Allah (swt) will not let:
كل أمر ذي بال لا يبدأ فيه ببسم الله الرحمن الرحيم فهو أقطع أو (فهو ابتر)
Kullu `amalim lam yabdaa bismillahi fa huwa abtar.
The Prophet [s] said: Any action which does not begin with “Bismillahi 'r-Rahmani 'r-Raheem” is cut off; it has no continuity. (Ahmad, al-Musnad)
Every `amal that does not begin with ‘Bismillahi 'r-Rahmaani 'r-Raheem’ is cut off, with no benefit. Do you need benefit in dunya and Akhirah? Then mention “Bismillahi 'r-Rahmaani 'r-Raheem” there. So why are such associations like these meetings so beneficial; why are we coming to these meetings? Are we coming by ourselves or is there someone pushing us to come? There is a push, we are being pushed. If you want to go by yourself, you will never try to come to such meetings and there are many other places that you can enjoy. Here, you are coming and listening, all of us. Anyone can speak--you can speak, he can speak or he can speak--but we listen as it is for Allah and His Prophet (s).
There are two ways: either association for Allah and His Prophet or association for dunya. The one for dunya is supported by Shaytan and the one for Akhirah is supported by Rahmaan. So it’s up to us to choose which way we want. So do we have sins? Yes, we do. How to erase them, how to take them away? In how many associations do we sit for dunya, speaking nonsense and might be making sins, watching TV and doing all kind of things that Allah and His Prophet (s) does not like? We are not saying that you are perfect or we are perfect. No, you will fall, you will do that, but what is important is that you need a cleansing process. This association is a cleansing process.
And look how much Allah (swt) has given you from attending such associations of dhikrullah what you will get, and when you attend associations with no dhikrullah what you get. For the association that doesn’t have dhikrullah, it only for dunya to play for Shaytan--and I am sorry to say, but all of us have this problem--it will be written for you that you committed sins. Now committed one sin, two sins, three sins, ten sins from an association that you went to. For example, a place where people meet, you will be seeing all kinds of different sins: the way people are acting, they way people are dressing and behaving there. You took yourself to such an association, so it is going to be written that you did a sin in one association. For hasanah Allah will write it ten times, but for sin He will write it one time. So such associations for dunya are going to be written a sin. Now it can be written five, ten, one-hundred or two-hundred sins. Allah will not overwrite more than what you deserve. If what you deserve is five, ten, one-hundred or two hundred sins, that is what will be written, but look for the associations of attending dhikrullah, like these association, what you will be given.
Prophet (s) said, as narrated by Imam Ahmad in his Musnad:
الـمجلس الـصالـح يـكـفر عـن الـمؤمن الـفى الـف مـجلس من مـجـالس السوء
Al-majlisu ‘s-saalihu yukaffiru `ani ‘l-mu’min alfayya alfa majlisin min majaalisa ‘s-soow.
“Al-majlisu ‘s-saalih” is the pious gathering, like this gathering. People are leaving everything and coming here, but what are they gathering for? For a good gathering, to benefit. Even if they are not doing anything, only sitting and remembering Allah (swt) silently, in silence, still you are written in majlisu ‘s-saalih, a pious gathering, which takes away yukaffiru `ani ‘l-mu’min, all sins from the shoulders of a mu’min and erases from his life sins from one-thousand multiplied by one-thousand (1000 x 1000) bad gatherings! One good association like this association, if we did it once in our life, it will take away from us one-thousand times one-thousand bad gatherings that we have sat in dunya, which means one-million bad gatherings!
How can you reach one-million bad gatherings? Even if you do sins of bad gatherings and you live for one-hundred years, which, if you multiply that by 365 days would be 36,500 days that you will live. If every day you had a bad gathering, one good gathering will erase the 36,500 and the balance will be written for you as good gatherings, because it erases one-million and no one can do one-million! So Allah is saying to you, “Sit for Me in one good gathering and I will erase from you one-million bad gatherings!” So this is a reward that Allah gives for those who are sitting and benefiting, but benefitting what? What are they remembering? They are remembering the good manners and the good behaviors, sitting together nicely and happily, remembering each other and remembering things you did in the past in such gatherings.
Also, it is said by Prophet (s) and narrated by Imam Ahmad:
إن أهل الذكر ليجلسون إلى ذكر الله وإن عليهم من الآثام مثل الجبال وغنهم ليقومون من ذكر الله ما عليهم منها شئ
Inna ahla ‘dh-dhikri la-yajlisoona ilaa dhikrillaahi ta`ala wa inna `alayhim min al-aathaam mithla ‘l-jibaal wa ghanahum la-yaqoomoona min dhikrullahi maa `alayhim minhaa shayy.
The Prophet (s) said that people sit in good gatherings, like dhikrullah gatherings, they remember Allah (swt) and on their shoulders they have mountains of sins. With this gathering, la-yaqoomoona min dhikrullahi maa `alayhim minhaa shayy, “They walk out from this gathering clean, all their sins having been erased.” Those two hadiths are enough for us to understand how much Allah (swt) is rewarding His Servants for a small `amal and by this small `amal, it will erase big and bad `amals.
Do you know yourself? No.
من عرف نفسه فقد عرف ربه
Man `arafa nafsahu faqad `arafa Rabbah.
Who knows his self knows his Lord.
When you know yourself, that you need such gatherings, then you know that Allah (swt) wants you to go to such gatherings. You might find them in masaajid, you might find them in homes, you might find them anywhere, only if you look for them. But what do we look for? Bad gatherings. We want to be with bad people. What did the Prophet (s) say?
اللهم أحيني مسكينا، وأمتني مسكينا، واحشرني في زمرة المساكين
Allahumma ahyinee miskeenaa wa amitnee miskeenaa wa ’h-shurnee fee zumrati ’l-masaakeen.
O Allah! Make mine a miskeen (poor) life and let me die miskeen and resurrect me in the gathering of the miskeen.
This is the Seal of Messengers (s), the one about whom as human beings we cannot (fully) speak about or describe, as that is impossible. Only Allah can, not only can, but only Allah describes His Prophet (s), no one else! Sometimes out of respect and love to Prophet (s), we put his sandal on our jubba or on top of our turban. All of that, alhamdulillah you are doing it and it’s okay, but no one can praise the Prophet (s) except Allah (swt). What did he say? Look at what the Prophet (s) said. This is the taste of Islam and if we don't feel the taste of Islam, if we cannot feel it, if it is dry, and religion is not dry, if you go to places where you are only hearing, “Don’t do this, don’t do that! You are going to Hell, you are going to Hell!" then people will go in either two ways: either they become extreme or they become depressed, they don’t know what to do.
If you have a ruler who is a tyrant, you immediately become depressed and you don’t know what to do as you are under a tyrant, but if your leader is not tyrant, if he is merciful with you, you run to him. So what do you think about about the Creator of this universe, Who is The Most Merciful, The Absolute Merciful?
وَرَحْمَتِي وَسِعَتْ كُلَّ شَيْءٍ فَسَأَكْتُبُهَا لِلَّذِينَ يَتَّقُونَ وَيُؤْتُونَ الزَّكَـاةَ وَالَّذِينَ هُم بِآيَاتِنَا يُؤْمِنُونَ
Wa rahmatee wasi`at kulla shayin fasa’aktubuhaa lilladheena yattaqoona wa yu’toona ‘z-zakaata wa ‘Lladheenahum bi ayaatina yu’minoon.
My Mercy encompasses everything. That (mercy) I shall ordain for those who do right and practise regular charity, and those who believe in Our Signs. (Surat al-`Araaf, 7:156)
“My Mercy has encompassed everything and I will write it for those who are mu’min, I will dress them with it,” which means, “I will dress those who come to such gatherings.” And look what the Prophet (s) is saying. “O Allah! Ahyinee miskeenaa,” meaning, “When you give me life, give me life as a miskeen.” Miskeen is a person who is in need, he is needy, but here, as scholars have explained it, it is humbleness: to be miskeen is to be humble. The humble one is always miskeen and you always see him miskeen because he humbled himself. You look at him and say, “SubhaanAllah! This one is pure, he is humble, miskeen.” Miskeen also means he has nothing of dunya. So the Prophet (s) said, “Yaa Rabbee! Create me as miskeen in this dunya, I don’t want to own anything from it. Wa tawaffanee miskeenaa, and take my soul miskeen, take my soul when I have nothing, yaa Rabbee! Don’t give me, I don’t want dunya. Wa ’h-shurnee fee zumrati ’l-masaakeen, and resurrect me with the group of miskeen.”
That is what the Prophet (s) is saying. What about us? We always want the top, we have to be recognized. Don’t you see them when you are in an official meeting and some official leaders are there, they say, "O! We recognize Mr. Senator so-and-so, we recognize Mr. MP so-and-so." To recognize for what? Put yourself under the dirt, under the soil, like what Sayyidina `Umar (r) said, “If my `amal tomorrow is not better than today, then it is better for me to be underground than to be above ground! If my `amal is better tomorrow than today, then I am okay, but if it is not...” which means he wants to be improving all the time. Are we improving all the time? No, we are eating each other, we are biting each other like wild animals! At least domestic animals do not bite you. Sometimes a horse or a donkey may kick you, but that’s it, but wild animals will eat you! “O Allah! Create me miskeen,” means, “Yaa Rabbee! Create me not interested in dunya.”
That is why the Prophet (s) said, “I have been sent to complete and perfect the characters of human beings, their behaviors.”
انما بعثت لاتمم مكارم الاخلاق
Innamaa bu`ithtu li utammimu makaarim al-akhlaaq.
I have been sent to perfect the best of conduct (your behavior and character). (Bazzaar)
That is because Allah (swt) taught him that, and He perfected him:
أدبني ربي فأحسن تأديبي
Adabanee rabbee fa’ahsana taa'deebee.
My Lord perfected my good manners and conduct.
(The Prophet is saying,) “Allah (swt) has disciplined me and perfected my manners and I want to reflect this perfection on the ummah!” Don’t think that you can do anything without the support of Prophet (s) in dunya and in Akhirah! Every moment of your life needs the support of the Prophet (s) and we have to learn:
وَلَوْ كُنتَ فَظًّا غَلِيظَ الْقَلْبِ لاَنفَضُّواْ مِنْ حَوْلِكَ فَاعْفُ عَنْهُمْ وَاسْتَغْفِرْ لَهُمْ وَشَاوِرْهُمْ فِي الأَمْرِ فَإِذَا عَزَمْتَ فَتَوَكَّلْ عَلَى اللّهِ إِنَّ اللّهَ يُحِبُّ الْمُتَوَكِّلِينَ
Wa law kunta fazhan ghaleezh al-qalbi la-anfadoo min hawlik. Fa`fuw `anhum wa astaghfir lahum wa shaawwirhum fi 'l-amr.
And had you been severe and harsh-hearted, they would have broken away from about you; so pass over (their faults) and ask (Allah's) Forgiveness for them, and consult them in the affairs.
(Surat Aali-`Imraan 3:159)
Allah (swt) is saying, “(Yaa Muhammad!) If you were fazh, rigid, vulgar, harsh and ghaleezh al-qalbi, a tough, heavy-hearted person, if you were tough, what would happen? Everyone would run away from you.” Allah is saying to the Prophet (s) in the Holy Qur'an, wa law kunta fazhan ghaleezh al-qalbi la-anfadoo min hawlik, “If you were,” but he is not, wa law kunta, “If you had been,” but he is not, “then people would run away from you.” Instead, people are running towards the Prophet (s)! The example is those who don’t have sins: they are running toward the Prophet (s)! Who does not have sins? Angels have no sins and they are running toward the Prophet (s). What are they doing? Making salawaat on the Prophet (s), because he is pure. Wa law in kunta fazha ghaleetha al-qalbi la anfadoo min hawlik, “They would have run away from you, but they did not.”
When the Prophet (s) was on a journey passing through mountains and deserts, he said he was hearing the tasbeeh of mountains and the animals speaking to him. If he was not humble and soft, they would have run away. Even wild animals came to the Prophet (s) and we are wild animals in our characters; every person has wild characters in him. Allah (swt) said, “If you were rude to people and had a heavy heart, then people would run away.” Why people likes to run after you, all of you here? Because you have that humbleness, like (mureed). Look at him, mashaa-Allah.
So for that reason, I will mention this hadith and I will finish. The Prophet (s) said:
وأوصى النبي صلى اللّه عليه وسلم أبا هريرة بوصية عظيمة فقال: يا أبا هريرة! عليك بحسن الخلق. قال أبو هريرة رضي اللّه عنه: وما حسن الخلق يا رسول اللّه؟ قال: تصل مَنْ قطعك، وتعفو عمن ظلمك، وتُعطي من حرمك
Awsaa ‘n-nabiyyu sall-Allahu `alayhi wa sallim Aba Hurayrah bi-waseeyyati `azheematin fa-qaala: yaa Aba Hurayrah radiAllahu `anhu, `alayka bi-husnu ‘l-khuluq. Qaala Abu Hurayrah: wa maa hasana ‘l-khulqi yaa Rasoolullah. Qaala: tasila man qata`k, wa ta`foo `amman zhalamak, wa tu`tee man haramak. (Narrated by Bayhaqi)
“Yaa Abu Hurayrah!” Prophet (s) is mentioning to Abu Hurayrah (r), who is one of the biggest muhaddith, confirming and affirming to him, `alayka bi husnu'l-khuluq, “You have to carry the good manners, the good characters in you, you have to be good, your personality has to carry good manners.” Abu Hurayrah (r) said, man ahsana ‘l-khulqi yaa Rasoolullah, “What is the best of characters, yaa Rasoolullah?”
Now I am asking you: what is the best of characters that is always between people? We have something in common, all of us. What is that in common? It is a character that if you get upset with someone, you cut your relationship with him, is it not? What is the Prophet (s) saying first? An tasila man qata`k, “To reconnect with someone who cut you off.” If you have a problem with him or he has a problem with you, one of you has to find a way to reconnect with each other. So the Prophet (s) said, an tasila man qata`k, you are ordered to reconnect with the one who cut you off, not the one who cut you off to connect with you back. No, you have to go to him and bring him back to connect with you by asking forgiveness, although you did not do anything, he did it, he disconnected you, he cut you off. Islamically, from (standards of) good manners as the Prophet (s) described, you are the one to come first. If he cuts me off, although he cut me off, I have to go to him and say, “Please let’s go back. Forgive me if I did something wrong,” and we reconnect.
Then? Ta`foo `amman zhalamak, “And to forgive the one who oppressed you, harmed you.” How many people harmed you? Too many, too many! But what is the order from the Prophet (s)? An ta`foo `amman zhalamak, “To forgive those who harmed you.” Don’t say, “They harmed me,” but forgive them for Allah's Sake. You forgive from here and they beat you up more from here; you forgive more and they beat you up more, until Allah (swt) is testing your patience: are you going to surrender or not?
How much was the Prophet (s) harmed! He said, “Not one prophet was harmed as much as my tribe and family harmed me!” yet he was always extending his hand, always extending his hand!
So first, “an tasila man qata`k,” second, “ta`foo `amman zhalamak.” First, to connect with the one who cuts you off, second, to forgive the one who harmed you, and third, tu`tee man haramak, “To give for...(to return blessings for harm).” (For example,) I own a property with you. What did you do? You forged my signature and ran away with the property, then you sold it and put the money in the pocket. What do I have to do? If you come to me for help, I have to help you. This is what the Prophet (s) is saying: an tu`tee man haramak, “To give something to the one who prohibited you from what you were supposed to get.”
Allahu Akbar! Who can do that? Especially between families you see that a lot, between brothers and sisters: they cut each other from inheritance and they take everything. What did the Prophet (s) say? Let them take everything, give them more and tell them, “Take! If you are hungry, I am giving to you more. I want to see where it ends with you.” Shajaa` wa ‘t-tama`a, greediness and shajaa`, too bad characters. Shajaa` is too much greediness and tama`a is greediness. So if you do that, you will be safe.
So what is the advice? Yaa Waladee! O my son! Useekum an tajtanib bal aqdaal wa ahli ‘l-fasaad wa ‘d-dalaal. So what you need to do now then? If you are unable to fix these, to do what Prophet (s) mentioned of the good manners, the best is to avoid making friendship with bad people, to pull yourself out; don’t meet with them because they will reflect their bad characters on you, because everyone reflects his bad energy on you. You have a good energy, because such good association will give a good energy, but if you go out, you associate yourself with bad people and they give you bad energy. That’s why when you go out to malls, supermarkets and so on, lots of bad energy is flying around and you will be affected.
May Allah forgive us and bless us. Wa min Allahi 't-tawfeeq, bi hurmati 'l-Fatihah.
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