Jumuah lecture on Friday 6 August 2021 (26 Dhul Hijja 1442)
Mowlana Syed Aftab Haider
Ahlul Bait (a.s) Masjid, Ottery, Cape Town
Once again brothers and sisters, in this sacred hour of Jumuah, especially in this final Jumuah of the Hijra year 1442, I wish to remind about exhorting towards Taqwa (God-consciousness).
In various books of duas (supplications) and recommended deeds for the last days of the year, Sayyed ibn Tawus has recommended a two rakat salaah and after completing it, we should recite the following dua which is worth deep reflection, as recommended by the Imams of Ahlul Bait (a.s) for the last day of the Islamic year.
اَللَّهُمَّ مَا عَمِلْتُ فِي هٰذِهِ ٱلسَّنَةِ
allahumma ma `amiltu fi hadhihi alssanati
O Allah, as for any act that I have done in this year
مِنْ عَمَلٍ نَهَيْتَنِي عَنْهُ وَلَمْ تَرْضَهُ
min `amalin nahaytani `anhu wa lam tardahu
but You have warned me against doing it and You have been displeased with it,
وَنَسِيتُهُ وَلَمْ تَنْسَهُ
wa nasituhu wa lam tansahu
I have forgotten it but You have not,
وَدَعَوْتَنِي إِلَىٰ ٱلتَّوْبَةِ بَعْدَ ٱجْتِرَائِي عَلَيْكَ
wa da`awtani ila alttawbati ba`da ijtira’i `alayka
and You have called to repent after I have dared to challenge You,
اَللَّهُمَّ فَإِنِّي أَسْتَغْفِرُكَ مِنْهُ فَٱغْفِرْ لِي
allahumma fa’inni astaghfiruka minhu faghfir li
O Allah, I am now praying You to forgive it to me; so, please forgive me.
وَمَا عَمِلْتُ مِنْ عَمَلٍ يُقَرِّبُنِي إِلَيْكَ
wa ma `amiltu min `amalin yuqarribuni ilayka
As for any act that draws me near to You,
فَٱقْبَلْهُ مِنِّي وَلاَ تَقْطَعْ رَجَائِي مِنْكَ يَا كَرِيمُ
faqbalhu minni wa la taqta` raja’i minka ya karimu
please accept it from me and never cut off my hope in You, O All-generous!
TIME TO REPENT, REPAIR AND REFORM THROUGH REAFFIRMING OUR HOPE IN ALMIGHTY ALLAH (SWT)
There is a such an important message emanating from this dua. This dua on the last day of the year is an indirect reminder to us, that the end of the year is an opportunity to review what we have done in the year that passed.
In this dua, our a’maal (actions/deeds) are basically divided into three categories to measure ourselves against for the past year:
1. Disobedience – where we performed acts which are forbidden by Almighty Allah (SWT).
2. Things I forgot – perhaps not deliberate, but rather the result of my negligence.
However, He does not forget as it is well-recorded in His account!
3. Those actions which will take us closer to Allah (SWT) – however, they are hanging in His court awaiting His acceptance, so we humbly implore Him to accept these good deeds.
Then, there is also a reminder, that amongst these categories of actions over the past year, Almighty Allah (SWT) is granting us the opportunity to repair ourselves, repent and reform, after we broke the limits against Him. Despite having crossed the red lines, He still gives us a chance! So, this is the very important reminder, and the question to ask ourselves is, how much benefit have I taken from this gracious allowance to repent and reform?
Then, in the last part of the dua is our plea to Almighty Allah (SWT) to never sever His relationship with us. We keep our hope in Him, since He is the Honourable and Generous, whereas we are the opposite due to our sins.
THE YEAR-END IS THE TIME TO TAKE ACCOUNT OF OURSELVES LIKE A BUSINESS DOES
You can see this is a deeply reflective and thought-provoking dua. Our beloved Prophet Muhammad (SAWA) and his purified Ahlul Bait (a.s) basically used any opportunity to remind us about one very important responsibility, namely Muhasiba-tun-Nafs (taking account of ourselves).
There are Hadith narrated from the Ahlul Bait (a.s), encouraging us to take account of ourselves when we go to bed, awaiting to fall asleep. If you cannot do it every night, then try once a week. If once a week does not work out, then try once a month, and if that does not even work then at least try at the end of the year, as that is the perfect time to take account, the same way that businesses have a financial year-end to take account.
There is a very clear Hadith which says:
Take account of yourself before you are going to be held accountable.
Weigh yourself before others come and weigh you.
And prepare yourself for that great testing ground on the Day of Judgement.
The end of the year is an opportunity to sit back and reflect on what one has accomplished after yet another complete year has passed.
There are two very important issues to remember here, from the teachings of our beloved Prophet Muhammad (SAWA) and his holy Ahlul Bait (a.s), regarding the end of the year:
– First is Muhasiba-tun-Nafs (taking account of ourselves), as noted earlier, like the financial year-end.
– Second is the value of time, and time management, which is also the key highlight in the first and second verse of Surah Asr (chapter 103 of the Holy Quran):
1. I swear by the time,
إِنَّ الْإِنْسَانَ لَفِي خُسْرٍ
2. Most surely man is in loss.
TIME – THE MOST PRECIOUS RESOURCE OF 24 HOURS PER DAY GRANTED TO ALL OF US
Very important point we learn from this verse is that there is a very close connection between time and loss. The reason why Almighty Allah (SWT) first takes the oath by time, and then highlights humanity’s state of loss, is because profit and loss, success and failure depends on how effectively you use your time!
Verse 3 then explains to us what the criteria is for ensuring that this time is being used in a beneficial manner:
إِلَّا الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا وَعَمِلُوا الصَّالِحَاتِ وَتَوَاصَوْا بِالْحَقِّ وَتَوَاصَوْا بِالصَّبْرِ
Except those who believe and do good, and enjoin on each other truth, and enjoin on each other patience.
What we learn here is that this time is to be spent with Imaan (faith) together with Amal-e-Salih (good deeds) in order to be successful. It cannot be one or the other, it has to be faith and good practical actions, combined.
Hence, these are crucial performance indicators to evaluate ourselves against at the end of the year, and the dua noted earlier is directly or indirectly reminding us to reflect as the years go by. Else, before we know it, we will already be in our old age!
Let us take a step back to think of what did we achieve? What do I have to offer in the court of Almighty Allah (SWT) tomorrow? This pandemic for the past 18 months has once again opened our eyes that there is no guarantee for this life. Nobody knows when it will be our time to pack up and depart this world. The question is, what do we have to pack and take along with us??
IMAM ZAINUL ABIDEEN (A.S) EXPLAINS OUR APPEAL TO ALLAH (SWT) WITH OUR PERFORMANCE REVIEW
I would like to conclude this first khutbah (sermon) by drawing your attention to this most beautiful statement from Dua Abu Hamza Thumali by our 4th Imam of Ahlul Bait (a.s), Imam Zainul Abideen (a.s):
إِلٰهِي ٱرْحَمْنِي إِذَا ٱنْقَطَعَتْ حُجَّتِي
ilahi irhamni idha inqata`at hujjati
O my God, have mercy on me when my argument is proven nil,
وَكَلَّ عَنْ جَوَابِكَ لِسَانِي
wa kalla `an jawabika lisani
when my tongue can no longer find any answer,
وَطَاشَ عِنْدَ سُؤَالِكَ إِيَّايَ لُبِّي
wa tasha `inda su’alika iyyaya lubbi
and when my mind scatters as soon as You start interrogating me.
Amazing nature of us human beings is that we are always positive and optimistic about ourselves. We can commit the worst of deeds but will still come up with some sort of justification.
Here, Imam Zainul Abideen (a.s) is saying to Allah (SWT) to have mercy on us when we will not have a justification for our actions and our tongues will be locked to reply, and when the brain will freeze and not be able to think of a justification for our wrongdoing. Imam Zainul Abideen (a.s) is asking for Almighty Allah (SWT) to have mercy on us when we will not be able to find excuses for our every wrong action we committed!
Even if we have done lots of good, how much of it was sincerely for Almighty Allah (SWT). Did I really do it with utmost sincerity, or did I do it to establish myself or show off? How much was really for Allah (SWT)?
There is a Hadith which explains that “every person knows him/herself, and there is a layer on the top which justifies”. This means that the inner self can see everything naked. We know ourselves very well, and what the reality of our actions are. Our inner self knows very well what we did and what our motivation was.
Similarly, in that very beautiful Dua Makarimul Akhlaq, Imam Zainul Abideen (a.s) beautifully says:
“Oh Allah (SWT), don’t give me a life which will be spent in your disobedience and I do not even realize!”
This is a humble reminder to myself and everyone. Let us take even a few minutes to go back and check how did we use this extremely fast passing time of our life and let us do Muhasiba-tun-Nafs (take account of ourselves). What did we accomplish? What was our intention?
Let us all take this opportunity at the end of the Islamic year to review and take account, to realize that these opportunities may pass very quickly and then ultimately, what state we will be departing this world in. This is the very serious challenge facing us all.
May Almighty Allah (SWT) grant us the Taufeeq to prepare ourselves for the next Islamic year, with good intentions and good actions, and may He forgive our shortcomings and wrongdoings from the past year, Insha Allah.
PRESIDENT RAISI OFFICIALLY SWORN IN TO OFFICE
Important news from the past week is the inauguration of the new President of the Islamic Republic of Iran, Hujjatul Islam Sayyed Ibrahim Raisi. We congratulate our brothers and sisters in the Islamic Republic of Iran on achieving another milestone in their history of struggle and resistance against the hegemony of the West and powers around the world.
May Almighty Allah (SWT) grant them the continuous spirit to stand firm on this very challenging path of resistance.
What is really remarkable is that, despite all the opposition and pressures which they face every day, they continue on the path which they adopted with the Islamic Revolution in 1979, namely the path of Islam and public participation. This is what makes this country a model, in the form of the Islamic Republic ie. Islam and public participation combined!
This election of President Raisi is the manifestation of the trust and confidence of the people. After four decades since the Islamic Revolution, people still trust in this system, coming forward to the polling stations to cast their votes.
This is something to reflect on, especially given the propaganda machinery working in full force to discourage people from voting, because it supposedly makes no difference who comes into power according to the opposition forces at play with their deliberate misinformation campaign.
OPPOSITION PROPAGANDA CONTINUES TO FAIL THE STOIC RESISTANCE OF THE ISLAMIC REVOLUTION
Would you believe it, there are more than 100 Persian channels supported and funded by US Congress aid officially, to support the opposition! This is their job, day and night!
The people of the Islamic Republic of Iran are facing serious challenges. Life is terribly hard living under the most suffocating sanctions. During the Trump era, there was nothing left to invoke sanctions on! Sanctions were even placed on their right to import medicine! Even Covid vaccines – unbelievable! This pushed Iran to make their own vaccines, but it is not sufficient.
Would you believe it, that in Iran, 35,000 people were infected by Covid in one day, and 400 people died! All in one day! This is the terribly difficult reality in Iran, but despite this, these people continue the path of resistance. They are not ready to surrender.
Medication is not available, nor is medical apparatus available.
Something happens to a ship in the neighbouring ocean and Iran is immediately blamed, without any evidence! It is a mobilization to target Iran on all fronts. Whichever way we turn our heads, anti-Iran machinery are working overtime!
This is the reality that people in Iran are faced with, and one election after the other, we see the Islamic Republic still able to stand strong through the hostile aggression from the enemies. Weaknesses, shortcomings, internal challenges are indeed there. Nobody denies this, but the principal path of the Islamic Revolution continues.
We therefore congratulate this nation for their truly courageous stand. May Almighty Allah (SWT) grant them success and victory over all the difficulties they are faced with from the sanctions.
President Raisi is of course no stranger to us, for those who can remember his visit to South Africa and our community a few years ago. We hope and pray for his success in his endeavour to lead this nation, Insha Allah.
AFRICAN UNION COMMITS A GHASTLY ACT BY ACCOMODATING ZIONIST ISRAEL
Another very important point to highlight is the terrible news of the African Union granting Zionist Israel observer status. Quite shocking and appalling! Africa is a symbol of resistance and the most notable victims of injustice committed in the history of humanity.
There is no continent more oppressed from imperialist hegemony than Africa! That is why it is so sad that some African countries have unfortunately compromised. At the same time, we commend those countries who have spoken out against this decision by the African Union, including our country South Africa, Botswana and a few others, while the rest are simply passive conformists.
This is really an eye-opener, to notice the how the Zionist influence infiltrates even in Africa!
DEADLY THIRD WAVE OF COVID HITS ITS PEAK
We are going through a very difficult Covid phase with this third wave. According to all the information, the Western Cape is currently going through its peak. I can therefore not emphasize enough about all the precautions which should be taken, as well as vaccination!
People do not realize that WhatsApp posts and Facebook videos are not going to rescue you when you are battling for your life due to this terrible virus! At this moment, there are no beds available in the ICU across all public and private hospitals in the Western Cape!
Our dearly respected resident medical expert, Dr Ali Esmail, who is leading research and a specialist in this field was saying that there are times when young people die waiting for a bed to become available in ICU! The strain on the hospital system is immense with this third wave, to the point where hospitals are unable to take in sick people above the age of 50 into ICU!
The only solution currently is to get vaccinated and to take the necessary precautions.
MUHARRAM – TIME TO RENEW OUR ALLEGIANCE TO THE HUSAINI REVOLUTION OF GLOBAL REFORM
Our major annual Muharram program will start in the coming days. Unfortunately, this will be the second year where we will be commemorating this very important event in our calendar under very difficult conditions.
We will have live programs in the mosque, with extremely strict protocols and precautions. Our programs start Tuesday night, 10 August onwards, Insha Allah, whereby we will pay our respects to Imam Hussain (a.s) and the martyrs of Karbala for the supreme sacrifice on the plains of Karbala.
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