Jumu`ah Khutbah at Masjid al-Huda
(Tafsir Surat al-Mu’minoon, 23:96)
A`oodhu billahi min ash-Shaytani ‘r-rajeem. Bismillahi 'r-Rahmani 'r-Raheem. Allahumma salli `alaa Sayyidina Muhammadan an-Nabi ’l-ummiyy wa `alaa aalihi wa sahbihi wa sallam.
Al-Qur'an al-Kareem is not only stories about previous nations, about the people of Sayyidina Musa (a), Ibrahim (a) or Nuh (a), it also contains manners that Allah (swt) taught the Prophet (s), about which He said:
وَإِنَّكَ لَعَلى خُلُقٍ عَظِي
You are of the most exalted character. (Surat al-Qalam, 68:4)
That means Allah (swt) pays attention to khuluq, characters, manners and He revealed in the Holy Qur'an how to perfect our manners. What should we do to make ourselves turn from a beast, an animal to a human being? When the angels saw Sayyidina Adam (a), they said to Allah (swt), “Are you creating somebody that will shed blood on Earth, that will spread corruption?” That means the characteristic of human beings is to shed blood and spread corruption on Earth.
Allah (swt) sent the Holy Qur’an full of guidance in how to perfect our manners. In Surat al-Mu'minoon, 23:96, Allah (swt) mentions to Prophet (s) a teaching for Ummat an-Nabi (s), his followers. What Allah (swt) reveals in the Holy Qur'an we have to accept it and understand it fully, we cannot read sentences, pages and juzs, and then say we did Khatm al-Qur'an. Where is the thinking, contemplation, the tadabbur and tafakkur of the Qur’an? How many of us pass over this verse and don't know what it is? I did not know until my teacher taught me how to understand it and, of course Qur’an cannot be limited to only one understanding or perception. Allah (swt) has revealed Holy Qur’an to the Prophet (s) and only he can understand it fully. We can understand a little bit according to our level, so let's look at this verse:
ادْفَعْ بِالَّتِي هِيَ أَحْسَنُ السَّيِّئَةَ
[But whatever they may say or do,] repel the evil [they commit] with something that is better.
(Surat al-Mu’minoon, 23:96)
“Repel evil with something better.” These five words can correct the entire Nation of Muhammad (s), they can correct all humanity! Idfa'a, push away, counter, repel what? Billatee hiya ‘ahsanu as-sayyiaat, with what is good or best. We must repel evil with what is better, which is goodness. If somebody who is angry confronts you, starts yelling and screaming, what should you do? Let's think, everybody know's what they do! Very few of us are patient, most of us will attack them back. Allah (swt) is saying, “Counter with what it is better.” He is saying “ahsan” not “aswaa.” Nor does it say, idfa`a billatee hiya aswaa, “Counter badness with what it is worse,” no! He said, “Counter badness with what is good,” because when we counter a bad action and do good to that person, of course we have to be good ourselves or else how will we know how to react? So what we need to do is to look inside ourselves and see what kind of characteristics we have to show this person that is coming against us. It can be your boss, your wife, your husband, your brother, your sister, your parents, your friend or it can be someone on the street who is aggressive with you. They might be agitated and want to make a problem and fight with you. So Allah (swt) is teaching us in the Holy Qur'an to look at what is better and best, and counter that evil with goodness.
Why? Because, if we encounter evil with goodness, that person in front of us might feel regret and remorse. If that person is a Muslim, a mu'min or has faith, believes in Allah (swt), and sees that he has behaved badly toward somebody or us (and we are not bad to them, but are good to them), if they have imaan they will feel regret, remorse, and will repent to Allah (swt). If your brother comes to you yelling, screaming, cursing, whatever he wants to do, and you counter him with goodness, by saying,“O my brother! I love you, let's see what's wrong.” if he sees that from you, what will he do? He will regret and start to repent, make tawbah, saying, “O my Lord, O Allah, astaghfirullah! I wronged myself.” They made tawbah because we found a way to counter badness with goodness.
When we counter badness with goodness, peace might happen, but if we counter badness with badness, what will happen? If somebody evil is coming towards you yelling, screaming, and you yell and scream back, it will escalate, anger and aggression increase, and what happens after that? The perfect example is road rage. Somebody cuts you off, you cut them off, he cuts you off, you cut him off, and at the end they come out of their cars and we heard about bad things that happen. When we counter bad with bad, it's only going to escalate, but on the other hand, when we counter badness with goodness, it will die down if that person in front of us has imaan in his heart. So Allah (swt) is teaching in Holy Qur'an to counter and repel bad with what it is good, ahsanu as-sayyiaat. When we counter the saya'ah, badness of a person with goodness, what happens?
First, we will have obeyed Allah’s (swt) Order: it’s in the Qur'an, we can't say we read Qur’an and don't understand. We might have an excuse if we don’t know Arabic, but nowadays there are translations everywhere so that we may understand. Still, the Arabs have to understand their mother tongue and they don’t. Allah (swt) is saying, “Encounter badness with goodness,” but they don't understand. So when do that, we obey Allah’s (swt) Order. Second, you will have controlled your self, your ego, your anger. The Prophet (s) is saying, Laa takda, “Don't get angry,” so you will be obeying the Prophet (s) by countering badness with goodness. Third, you defeated Shaytan, who is in your ears and heart whispering to do bad: “Be worse than them because they are unjust, so show them what you can do!”
You have to disobey Shaytan and obey Allah (swt). First, you obey Allah (swt) by being good to whoever is bad to you. Second, you obey Prophet (s). Third, you control your anger, your ego, as you have defeated Shaytan and from that you become haleem, as Allah (swt) said to Sayyidina Ibrahim (a):
فَبَشَّرْنَاهُ بِغُلَامٍ حَلِيمٍ
Whereupon We gave him the Glad Tiding of a very gentle boy-child. (Surat as-Saffat, 37:101)
“We have given him the Glad Tiding of ‘ghulaamin haleem,’ one very forbearing, very tolerant.” That means when something wrong comes to him, he doesn't tremble or show his anger quickly, he takes things smoothly, slowly, in a rational manner. So haleem comes first. When we do this, we have acquired the virtue of hilm, haleem, and we become `aleem, because now we know what is written in the Holy Qur'an, we act acting according to that, we have settled in obedience to Allah (swt) and disobedience of Shaytan. So what happened? You have gained rewards, hasanaat, and what happened to the brother in front of you? If he repented, he also got rewards, because whoever makes istighfaar:
التائب من الذنب كمن لا ذنب له
The one who repents from a sin is like the one who has no sin. (Ibn Majah)
Whoever repents from masi`ah, sin, is as if he has no sin (Allah forgives him). So first you got your rewards, your brother or sister got theirs, so then you have double rewards because you are the reason they repented to Allah (swt); however, if we counter evil with evil, the evil escalates. We are evil ourselves, they are evil themselves, and evil flourishes! That is why Allah (swt) says in the following verse:
وَقُل رَّبِّ أَعُوذُ بِكَ مِنْ هَمَزَاتِ الشَّيَاطِينِ
And say: “O my Sustainer! I seek refuge with You from the promptings of all evil impulses.
(Surat al-Mu’minoon, 23:97)
Allah (swt) says in continuation of the previous verse, “Be aware of the whispering of Shaytan,” which means, “Know evil is there, Shaytan is there to increase that evil!”
ادْفَعْ بِالَّتِي هِيَ أَحْسَنُ السَّيِّئَةَنَحْنُ أَعْلَمُ بِمَا يَصِفُونَ
[But whatever they may say or do,] repel the evil [which they commit] with something that is better. We are fully aware of what they attribute [to Us]. (Surat al-Mu’minoon, 23:96)
“Encounter, repel what is bad with what is good or better, because nahnu `alamu bimaa yasifoon, We know best about what they are saying!” So if a brother yells at you, Allah (swt) is saying, “I Know what he is doing!” If we think Allah (swt) is absent, not seeing, that is ghaflah, heedlessness. He is seeing, hearing, and checking what we are going to do, and here He is ordering us in the Holy Qur'an, “Do good to the evil one in front of you, because We know best what they are saying.” That person deserves to be punished and we want to say it! However, Allah (swt) knows the person attacking you deserves punishment, He will punish him on your behalf, and He is stronger than you in punishing him, He is stronger than anybody! But if Allah (swt) wants to forgive that person, He will.
وَآخَرُونَ مُرْجَوْنَ لِأَمْرِ اللّهِ إِمَّا يُعَذِّبُهُمْ وَإِمَّا يَتُوبُ عَلَيْهِمْ وَاللّهُ عَلِيمٌ حَكِيمٌ
And [there are yet] others [people whose cases are] deferred until Allah wills to judge them. He will either chastise them or turn again to them in His mercy, for Allah is All-Knowing, All-Wise.
(Surat at-Tawbah, 9:106)
Allah (swt) is saying that He either punishes them or grants them tawbah, He makes them say istighfaar, so if that person in front of us is yelling, screaming, fighting, attacking, burning, maiming, killing, stealing, robbing, hurting or harming, Allah (swt) is saying, “I know what they are about and I will take care of them for you! I will punish them if they deserve to be punished, but I will forgive them if they deserve to be forgiven.”
If people nowadays just follow this one order of Allah (swt), then on the Day of Judgement we would all be in a better position; otherwise, we have no excuse, we cannot claim, “O Allah, we fought because we didn’t know!” How you did not know? Look at all the Qur’ans on the shelves and even online where it is published in hundreds of languages! So we will have no excuse when Allah (swt) asks, “Didn’t you read My Holy Book?”
We will answer, “Yes.”
Allah will ask, “How many times?”
“I made ten khatm’s.”
“Mashaa-Allah, didn’t you come across this one verse, “Counter the badness with what is better.”
What excuse do Arabs have? Astaghfirullah al-`azheem wa atoobu `alayh, tubna wa raj`ana illa-Llah. Let's keep that in our mind. We cannot advise everyone, we only advice our listeners and sometimes what we hear does not enter our hearts; we might leave the gathering and not remember anything!
Just remember this one verse, Surat al Mu'minoon, 23:96, go home and read the translation, it is just five words. If we keep them, all of dunya will be at peace, if everybody just countered evil with the goodness they find in themselves. Now if somebody is bad, there is no goodness in them, so how you are going to find it? If somebody is good, if he has imaan, Islam, he will find goodness in himself,then he has to bring that goodness out, he has to counter, repel badness with goodness.
But what if somebody is Shaytan? Do you expect rahmah, mercy from Shaytan? You expect even more Shaytan from Shaytan, the worst evil! Yet, if somebody has good, especially mu’mins and Muslims, they should bring it out. Those who say, “I am Muslim,” should read Surat al-Mu’minoon, 23:96, “Repel what is bad with goodness.” That means bring yourselves together and find a good solution, you can't just burn, kill and bomb, you have to come to your real selves. Holy Qur’an is a Guidance, but who listens, hears, who reads and understands? They are not, they only want to get what they think is a big reward, but they’re wrong, as Allah (swt) says:
وَقَدِمْنَا إِلَى مَا عَمِلُوا مِنْ عَمَلٍ فَجَعَلْنَاهُ هَبَاء مَّنثُورًا
And We shall turn to whatever deeds they did (in this life) and We shall make such deeds as floating dust scattered about. (Surat al-Furqan, 25:23)
“We will come to their deeds and throw them in their face, and scatter them like dust.” This applies to Muslims, mu’mins, Arabs, non-Arabs, whatever deeds they bring on Judgement Day, “We have made it dust in the wind [zero value].” Don't say “I made ten Hajj,” and then harm others, because Allah (swt) will throw that in your face!
We must hear and read these five words in Surat al-Mu’minoon, 23:96. O our Lord, make us understand Qur’an, make Muslims unite. Yaa Ranbee, take this heaviness away from Ummat an-Nabi (s). Yaa Rabbee, make our hearts come together in peace. Make all Muslims live peacefully, without harming, hurting, killing, or burning. O our Lord, give us guidance in this holy month of Muharram for the sake of the pilgrims who came back from Hajj as their du`a is maqbool.
Find a Hajji and ask them to make du`a for Ummat an-Nabi (s), for their hearts to come together again in Islam. We are all Muslims, we are all following Prophet (s), all of us love him, but still we fight. What is the Prophet (s) saying?
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
As the Prophet (s) said to Sayyidina Abu Hurayrah (r), “You must keep good character,” and he asked, “What is the good character?” And the Prophet (s) said [three things]: “To connect with the one who disconnected from you, to forgive the one who oppressed you, to give to the one who blocked you from getting what you like.” (Bayhaqi)
In other words, forgive who is unjust to you! Look at how the Prophet (s) is compliant, compatible with the Holy Qur'an, as his khuluq is the Qur'an. Who is hearing his Hadith? “Forgive the one who is unjust to you, forgive those Muslims who hurt you, connect with the one who disconnects from you.”
وأحسن إلى من أساء إليك
Be good to the one who is bad to you. (Bayhaqi, Tabarani)
The Prophet’s (s) order is compatible with the Qur'an. We ask Allah (swt) to make us understand Qur’an and Hadith and do what Prophet (s) and Allah (swt) ordered.
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