Believers in the Face of Adversity: Jumma Khutba

Jummah Khutba given on April 19th, 2013 at Tawheed Center, Farmington Hills

As of late, we have been exposed to the news of several tragic events across the globe. Among them include the Boston bombings, the manhunt, the Texas fertilizer plant explosion, the massive thunderstorms that caused floods and sinkholes in Chicago, the enormous earthquake last week in Pakistan and Iran, and of course, the ongoing devastating violence in Syria, Burma, and all around the rest of the world. It is natural for many of us to wonder: what is this world coming to?
Shaykh Abdul Karim Yahya gave a timely khutbah at the Tawheed Center in Farmington Hills addressing this question. He reminds us to view recent events through the lens of Taqwa.

“Those who respond to Allah and His Messenger (S.) even in difficulty and are people of ihsan, people of goodness, people of taqwa – and from goodness is demonstrating his (S.)’s character. Forgive those who are insulting, forgive those who are ignorant. Someone says something out of pocket, rather than being fearful, rather than being stiff, rather than being reactionary and angry, smile and explain to them. Sit down and have a cup of coffee and give them an opportunity to understand what we really think.”

Transcript of the Khutbah

بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم

My fellow servants of Allāh, I counsel all of you as well as myself to have taqwā of Allāh, obey His Commands and refrain from His prohibitions inwardly and outwardly out of awe, fear and love of Allāh.

Taqwā is the quality in which there’s all good of this world and the next. taqwā is the quality that’s a means of escape and deliverance from any hardship. Allāh ﷻ said that if someone has taqwā of Allāh, He will make for him a way of deliverance; a way of escape, and provide for him from where he did not expect.

For instance, in current times and current events, and it is not unusual that in the end of time that difficulties occur and that confusion occurs and that wrongful killing occurs and that earthquakes and disasters occur and all of that—for a person of taqwā and iman—shouldn’t be a cause of wavering; shouldn’t be a cause of confusion, but rather a cause of increase in conviction that the one that he/she is following is the Best of Creation ﷺ because he predicted for you and I these events 1400 years ago. He informed us of the likes of what we see today and the likes of what we’re faced today.

So, we should understand that that same one, the Beloved of al-Raḥmānﷺ, who informed us of these events, that deliverance lie in following his sunna, and through these events and through these changing times and circumstances, it should remind us of that.

Bukhari narrates from Abu Hurayra that the Prophetﷺ said, “The Final Hour will not come until many things happen [and we’ve seen these things happening before our eyes so that tells us the truthfulness of the one who conveyed these things to us], knowledge is taken away [as we’ve seen before] and there will be plentiful earthquakes and time will become close; meaning that there won’t be a lot of benefit in a given time, and there will be trials; fitn, disruptions and chaos and discord and sedition, and there will be much killing and your wealth will be abundant.”

That’s a difficult time, it’s a difficult time and the Prophet ﷺ predicted it. And the news if we were just to view it this week, someone could view it and say, “Oh no, what am I gonna do as a Muslim in an environment like this?” and someone else might read it with an eye of faith in Allāh and His Messenger, and confidence in the oneness of Allāh and the Messenger and his sunnah and say, the Prophet has spoken the truth. I have to work harder, then, on my Islam, harder on my connection to the Beloved of al-Raḥmān, harder, then, on inviting to that way of Allāh and the Beloved of al-Raḥmān ﷺ.

One might see a lot of indiscriminate killings and earthquakes in the same week, and that tells him, “The Prophet had spoken the truth.” He ﷺ put it in one Prophetic tradition narrated by al-Bukhari and we see it happening before our eyes.

The believer has to understand the time in which he/she finds him/herself in through the prism of a connection to Allāh ﷻ and His Messengerﷺ. And the Messenger also demonstrated how to confront difficult circumstances and how to confront hostile entities, and we confront that and deal with that with taqwā of Allāh. If someone has taqwā of Allāh, Allāh ﷻ will make for them a way of deliverance; a way of escape from many harms.

Ibn Abbas said even if the sky fell on the earth, if the sky; the heavens, collapsed flat against the earth, the person of taqwā would be given a way out because Allāh ﷻ said so. And the Prophet ﷺ said the weightiest thing that is placed on the scale is taqwā of Allāh and good akhlaq. And that’s how he was,ﷺ. He was the person of the most taqwā and he was the person of good akhlaq.

If we were to represent him in a place where we’re surrounded by those who are looking at us—and perhaps we are being accused of things that many of us know we have no connection to nor does it have any connection to Islam—the best way that we can engage that situation is by being people of taqwā, of adherence to Allāh ﷻ’s command because they will be delivered, and people of good character, because that is how the Prophetﷺ dealt with the circumstances that surrounded him during the battle of Uhud.

He was wounded, his uncle was martyred, many of his Companions were martyred, he was bloodied, his face was cut, his tooth was split, his helmet was smashed, his chain-mail was driven into his cheek; and they say, “pray against them”, and he said, “I was not sent as a curser [and he became angry at the suggestion], I was sent as a mercy and an inviter. Oh Allāh guide my people for verily they know not!”

The best response to the wretched, evil actions that are attributed at times to members that are claimed to be of this community is that we demonstrate the bright and beautiful face of the Messenger ﷺ when his own face was wounded; he prayed for the guidance of those who did so, he tried to avert punishments from them, he tried to preserve as much life as he could. He was angered when someone ask him to be the cause of their destruction. He went—according to al Uzay—to the extent that he began drying the blood from his face out of fear that a drop of his blood would touch the ground and Allāh would take revenge on those who harm the Prophetﷺ by causing punishment to befall them and then for them to die. So he would endure harm himself to try to avert harm for others and try to avert others being killed and annihilated.

Someone who engages in indiscriminate killings, that person is a sign of the end of times, that person is a sign that if they are attributed to the Umma; as the Prophetﷺ said, he is a sign that knowledge has been taken, tarbiya is little, there’s not much education and character is weak, and that means those of us of taqwā and good character would have to work that much harder to demonstrate the message that he came to deliver: “I was sent as a mercy and a caller [to Allāh]”.

And from the greatest of the tools that heﷺ had in that mercy and in that da`wa was noble character, so that’s what we should show to the people—we should take to the streets, to the schools, to those of us who partake in discussions with people of other faith communities, or discussions in the media, or on the job or what have you. We should all be demonstrating—and we should have been demonstrating—the character of the one who was sent as a Mercy to the Worlds, the character of the one who said to those who harmed him, “Oh Allāh guide my people for verily they know not.” The character of the one—when Allāh allowed the Angel to take permission from himﷺ [for revenge] , “Should I smashed them between the mountains?” He ﷺ said “No, but rather I hope Allāh will bring from their loins a people who worship Allāh alone, associating no partner with Him.”

Without doubt the circumstances are somewhat severe and the circumstances are a cause for concern, and one might even say a cause for some amount of alarm or fright, however, the way believers deal with this is we have to understand what Allāh is telling us. All of us have to ask ourselves this: how long do we believe Allāh’s going to allow us to enjoy ourselves in a place where the dominant condition is disbelief when we’re not there trying to change this condition? How long do we believe Allāh’s going to allow us to be somewhere for our material or personal gain when the surroundings are screaming to the Umma that they need someone to guide them and to share this blessing with them. So Allāh is telling us something: it’s not a time to be comfortable and get cozy. It’s a time to work extremely hard to properly represent the message of the one who was sent as a mercy to the creation.

And then when we’re in difficult circumstances, we have to look to the example of the Messenger and those who were with him who were true in representing Allāh ﷻ and His Messenger ﷺ and how they were and how Allāh ﷻ dealt with them, and deal with our circumstances and our fear in that manner.

In Sura Al Imran verses 172 to 174, Allāh described a perilous condition in which the believers found themselves before and described how they dealt with it: in faith and in obedience and in seeking Allāh’s pleasure and in a strong connection ultimately to Allāh and His Messenger, and in du`a and in dhikr.

Allāh said those who respond to Allāh and His Messenger ﷺ even in difficulty are people of iḥsān, people of goodness, people of taqwā, and are promised a magnificent reward. And from goodness is demonstrating his character ﷺ. Forgiving those who are insulting, forgiving those who are ignorant. Someone says something out of pocket—rather than being fearful, rather than being stiff, rather than being reactionary and angry—smile and explain to them. Sit down and have a cup of coffee and give them an opportunity to understand what we really think.

And Allāh goes on: those to whom the people have said, “The people have gathered against you, so fear them,” their faith increases and say, “Our sufficiency is Allāh and He is the Best Custodian of our affairs.”

These difficult circumstances should be a cause of increase in faith; increase in conviction and not in a way that one goes out defensively or harshly, but a way that one goes out humbly and wisely with noble character and demonstrate the character of the one in whom he has believed.

What are the result of those who respond to Allāh and His Messenger, who are people of iḥsān, who are people of taqwā, who are people who are increased in faith by the signs Allāh shows them of the truthfulness of Allāh and His Messenger around them and who return their affairs to the One, and make them their custodian and guardian?

Allāh said, “They went away with the blessing of Allāh and with bounty, and no harm befell them, and how they are continuously in gratitude for Allāh for this protection and this guidance, and they continue to seek out Allāh’s good pleasure by obedience, by love, by taqwā, by character, by da`wa to Allāh and the likes of these works, and Allāh is the One of Magnificent Grace.”

If we’re fearful; we’re in difficult circumstances, one of the best things that we could do is be people of these attributes; people with a strong connection to Allāh and His Messenger, the Qur’an, taqwā, character, people who demonstratessss and are mirrors of this beauty in the face of the ugliness of the world in which we find ourselves in, demonstrate the face of the one whom when his face was bloodied, he tried to wipe it off to prevent harm befalling those who wounded himﷺ and we should make du`as, particularly this du`a, and we should teach it to our women and our children, and the people of our home: “ḤasbunAllāh wa ni`ma’l-wakīl”. We’re going to say, “ḥasbunAllāh wa ni`mal wakīl” seeking the same protection that Allāh gave His Messenger and the Companions when they were in more difficult circumstances than ours.

And we should also remember the conditions of the believers of Mūsā, who stood alone in the face of absolute disbelief and tyranny—in the face of Fir`aun. And what did he (Mūsā) say to his people? After he invited them to Allāh and they invited him to the Fire, and they plotted against him and he was alone against disbelief and tyranny…he said, “I turn my affair to Allāh. I make Allāh my wakīl; the Custodian of my affair, verily Allāh sees His servants.”

So what was the result? The result was Allāh protected them from the wickedness of their plans. They plotted against him as a single believer in the face of what would appear to be unsurmountable odds and he turned his affair to the One in Whose Hand is sovereignty over the Heavens and the earth, and Allāh protected him from the evil of their plots and evil befell those who plotted against him.

That’s another invocation that we could say. If we feel that the odds are against us, if we feel that we’re in difficult circumstances, “ḤasbunAllāh wa ni`ma’l-wakīl”, and “Wa ufawwiḍu amrī ilallāh, innallāha baṣīrun bil `ibād.”

The result that they came away with is the ni`ma of Allāh, and the result [of these prayers] is that Allāh protected him [Mūsā] from the evilness of their plot. And those who plotted against him, a wicked punishment befell them.