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What Happens When We Say “La ilaha illa-Llah”

Shaykh Nour Kabbani

26 June 2015 Burton, Michigan

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

(Recites opening du`a of Khutbah.)

`Uthmaan ibn `Affaan (r) narrated that `Umar ibn al-Khattab (r) said that the Prophet (s) said:

وعن عثمان بن عفان عن عمر بن الخطاب قال: قال رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم: "إني لأعلم كلمة لا يقولها عبد حقا من قلبه فيموت على ذلك إلا حرمه الله على النار: لا اله إلا الله", رواه ابن حبان في صحيحه.

Verily, I know a phrase which no servant (of Allah) utters truthfully from his heart except the Fire is made unlawful for him: the witnessing that there is no god but Allah. (Ibn Hibban)

As-salaamu `alaykum.

Allah (swt), our Lord, the Lord of everyone, the Lord of Creation, has told us what the purpose of life is. Nowadays people ask, “What’s the purpose of my life, my living, why am I here, why are we all here?” Allah (swt) is al-`Aleem, The All-Knower, and Holy Qur’an is `ilm, knowledge that came to the heart of our Beloved Prophet Muhammad (s), as well as Holy Books that came to the other Messengers Allah (swt) sent. Allah (swt) tells us the purpose of our life:

الَّذِي خَلَقَ الْمَوْتَ وَالْحَيَاةَ لِيَبْلُوَكُمْ أَيُّكُمْ أَحْسَنُ عَمَلًا

(He) Who created death and life to test you (as to) which of you is best in deeds.

(Surat al-Mulk, 67:2)

Allah (swt) has created death and life to test you, li-yaboowakum, to send balaa’, tests and trials to check us out and see how we do, li-yabloowakum ayyukum ahsanu `amalaa, who is amongst us that is best in deeds. Allah (swt) is checking all humanity, every single human being, man and woman that He created, to see who is going to do the best of deeds, the best work, and Allah (swt) has sent this Message through all His Messengers.

Now when we look at balaa’, the trials and tribulations, most of it is suffering, and suffering can be in a lot of forms: if physical, Allah (swt) can send an illness, disease; or it can be spiritual, Allah (swt) can take away his mind, intellect or other things like finances and family. He tests us, and in that test we have to succeed. How? How do we get the pleasure of Allah (swt)? If we do good work in these tests, trials and tribulations, then Allah is pleased with us. How do we do that? How do we turn our suffering into a pleasure for our Lord?

Sayyidina Muhammad (s) told us how to do that in his Holy Hadith, how we can turn our balaa`, into seeking the pleasure of our Lord. Mu`adh ibn Jabal (r) said that the Prophet (s) said:

وعن معاذ بن جبل رضي الله عنه قال: قال رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم "مفاتيح الجنة شهادة أن لا اله إلا الله" رواه أحمد

The keys to Paradise are the witnessing that there is no god but Allah. (Ahmad)

“The keys to Paradise is to say, ‘Laa ilaaha illa-Llah’.” When somebody attains the pleasure of their Lord they go to Paradise, Jannah.

So to attain the pleasure of Allah (swt) we must have “Laa ilaaha illa-Llah” planted firmly in our minds and hearts, and then, when we are going through a difficult situation or matter at hand and we pull ourselves together and say, “Laa ilaaha illa-Llah,” what are we thinking? When we are going through a difficult time and we say, “There is no god besides Allah (swt)”, we acknowledge He is The One in full control, we are saying, “O my Lord! You are our God, The One in full control, laa ilaaha illa-Llah, I cannot do anything!”

So as the Prophet (s) said, when we are going through a difficult situation and Allah (swt) is testing us and we want His pleasure, we have to say, “Laa ilaaha illa-Llah,” and truly know there is no god but Allah (swt). Why? Because He is in full control:

وَمَا يَعْزُبُ عَنْ رَبِّكَ مِنْ مِثْقَالِ ذَرَّةٍ فِي الْأَرْضِ وَلَا فِي السَّمَاءِ

And not absent from your Lord is any (part) of an atom's weight within the Earth or within the Heaven. (Surah Yunus, 10:61)

Allah is saying, “Nothing escapes Me!” not even the weight of an atom in Heavens and on Earth. So when we say, “Laa ilaaha illa-Llah” during a test or or trial, we are really saying, “O our Lord, nothing escapes You! You are seeing, hearing, knowing what I am going through, and I want Your pleasure, so if You deem this necessary, for this to happen to me, I am submitting.”

So when we say “Laa ilaaha illa-Llah” in the middle of a disaster, we enter the Fort of Allah (swt), as the Prophet (s) told us:

ففي الحديث القدسي عن علي بن أبي طالب رضي الله عنه قال: قال رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم:" يقول الله تعالى لا إله إلا الله حصني فمن دخله أمن عذابي"؛ مسند الشهاب.

Allah the Exalted says, Laa ilaaha illa-Llah is My fortress; whoever enters My fortress is safe from My punishment. (Ibn Najjar)

Allah (swt) is saying, “The phrase ‘Laa ilaaha illa-Llah’ is My Fort and who enters My Fort is safe from My punishment,” which means, “they are in My pleasure.” All we need to do is say, “Laa ilaaha illa-Llah” in the middle of a test or a trial; then you are pulling yourself together, saying that only Allah (swt) is in control of the situation. It means, Allah (swt) is in control of the person in front of me, Allah (swt) is in control of me, Allah (swt) is in control of the circumstances around me, nothing escapes Allah (swt).

That is imaan! The Messengers and the Seal of the Messengers, Sayyidina Muhammad (s) came to teach us imaan! Alladhee khalaqa ‘l-mawta wa ‘l-hayaata li-yabluwakum, it’s Allah’s Promise, it’s the rule on the Children of Adam (a) that Allah (swt) put al-balaa’, tests on Earth for us. None of us should be comfortable as that’s not the rule. Don’t say, “I want a comfortable life, family, job, back accounts, comfortable this or that.” No, Allah (swt) is saying, “I created death and life to test you,” and tests are comfortable. Something will come to us that we truly won’t like: that’s a test!

Nobody likes to go through university testing. Who wants to sit down for three or four hours answering hundreds of questions and studying for weeks? It is difficult. This is university testing. How about Allah’s balaa’, suffering? So when Allah (swt) says, “I created you to test you,” we have to be ready because it’s going to come: if not from your co-worker, then from your wife, husband, brother, sister, and so forth. Testing will come, why? Because Allah (swt) wants to see ayyukum ahsanu `amalaa, who is the best among you in deeds.

Allah (swt) is The All-Wise, Who knows all about us and about what’s going on around us. That’s why scholars have said, “The true, pious servant must have three things,” which stem from ‘Laa ilaaha illa-Llah’, it’s in that Ocean.

1. The first thing is dependency on Allah (swt), tawakkul. When we say, “Laa ilaaha illa-Llah” we are really saying, “O our Lord! You are in full control of what’s going on, I am depending on you.” That is tawakkul: you leave the matter to Allah (swt), we depend on and trust in our Lord, which is from the ocean of “Laa ilaaha illa-Llah,” of that submission to Allah’s Lordship and Godship.

2. Second, when we say “Laa ilaaha illa-Llah”, we are taking ourselves away from people and gathering ourselves with Allah (swt), as He said, “I sit with him who remembers Me.” (Hadith Qudsi. Ahmad, Bayhaqi) “I am with the one that mentions Me.” That means when we say, “Laa ilaaha illa-Llah” during tests and trials we are leaving people and are now with our Lord, Allah (swt). So the second thing is fleeing from people, we have to leave people alone.

3. And the third thing when we say, “Laa ilaaha illa-Llah”, from the meanings of that ocean, we are saying that whatever is happening around us is from Allah (swt), which means we don’t have any more hatred in our heart towards anyone, and that means we do the least harm to everyone. We don’t harm anyone anymore because we know that Allah (swt) declared and deemed this action necessary. So we are saying, “Laa ilaaha illa-Llah! You are in control, O our Lord! I am not going to harm anyone around me.” We do the least harm and better yet, we do no harm. By submitting to Allah (swt)’s Decree and acknowledging that He is in control and we depend on Him, we do the least harm or no harm to others and we flee from people to His Presence. That is mafaateehu ’l-jannah, the keys to Paradise, to Allah’s pleasure!

The Prophet (s) and all the Messengers have come with the same Holy Message, starting from Sayyidina Adam (a) up to Sayyidina Muhammad (s), the Last of Messengers: they all came to teach humanity, “Laa ilaaha illa-Llah.”

Allah (swt) will test us, so we go to His Fort and say, “Laa ilaaha illa-Llah.” We depend on Him, and inshaa-Allah we succeed in seeking His Pleasure and acquiring His Pleasure. May Allah (swt) grant us His Pleasure and the key to Paradise and make us enter Paradise with the Holy Ones: the Nabiyyeen, Prophets; the Siddiqeen, Truthful; with the Martyrs, Witnesses and the Pious:

مَعَ الَّذِينَ أَنْعَمَ اللَّـهُ عَلَيْهِم مِّنَ النَّبِيِّينَ وَالصِّدِّيقِينَ وَالشُّهَدَاءِ وَالصَّالِحِينَ وَحَسُنَ أُولَـٰئِكَ رَفِيقًا

With those upon whom You bestowed blessing, among the Prophets, the Truthful Ones, the Martyrs and the Righteous Ones, how great a companion they are! (Surat al-Nisa, 4:69)


[End of Khutbah.]


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