Jumuah lecture on Friday 24 January 2020 (28 Jamadil Awwal 1441)
Mowlana Syed Aftab Haider
Ahlul Bait (a.s) Masjid, Ottery, Cape Town
Almighty Allah (SWT) mentions the qualities of Mu’mineen (believers) in his Holy Book, in verses 57 – 61 of Surah Mu’minoon (chapter 23):
إِنَّ الَّذِينَ هُمْ مِنْ خَشْيَةِ رَبِّهِمْ مُشْفِقُونَ
“Verily those who live in awe for fear of their Lord;
وَالَّذِينَ هُمْ بِآيَاتِ رَبِّهِمْ يُؤْمِنُونَ
And those who believe in the revelations of their Lord;
وَالَّذِينَ هُمْ بِرَبِّهِمْ لَا يُشْرِكُونَ
And those who ascribe not partners unto their Lord;
وَالَّذِينَ يُؤْتُونَ مَا آتَوْا وَقُلُوبُهُمْ وَجِلَةٌ أَنَّهُمْ إِلَىٰ رَبِّهِمْ رَاجِعُونَ
And those who give that which they give with hearts afraid because they are about to return unto their Lord;
أُولَٰئِكَ يُسَارِعُونَ فِي الْخَيْرَاتِ وَهُمْ لَهَا سَابِقُونَ
These hasten to good things and they are foremost in (attaining) them.”
Verses 57 – 59 beautifully defines the true believers (Mu’mineen) as fearing Allah (SWT), and having faith in His signs, and staying away from associating partners with Almighty Allah (SWT).
TRUE BELIEVERS GIVE WITH UTMOST HUMILITY
A very important quality of believers is explained in verse 60 ie. they give naturally with a heart filled with humility, afraid of the reality that they will be returning to their Lord (SWT). They realise that whatever assets they have in this dunya is not eternal. They have to return to their Lord (SWT), and they give with this consciousness. This means that the only motivation when they give is that they must return to their Lord (SWT) one day.
They will receive the rewards of what they give, once they return to their Lord (SWT). They are not looking for popularity or worldly rewards, because their hearts are consumed with worries of the day of return to Almighty Allah (SWT).
TRUE BELIEVERS HASTEN TO DO GOOD DEEDS
The second quality associated with the giving nature is that they do not deliberate or ponder when it comes to performing good deeds. They do not become double-minded. They do not think about it 20 times before deciding to give a R5!!!
As explained in verse 61 above, they hasten towards good deeds. They do not delay because they know that Satan will then interfere and the love of Dunya will intervene. The key point is the end to verse 61, which explains that the believers are those who are at the frontline of good deeds, in the form of reaching out to the poor and service to humanity at large. They do not hang back to first see what everyone is doing before they act.
It is unfortunately very sad that the reality of this Ummah (Muslim nation), which believes in this Quran and claims to be a follower of this Quran, is not in this direction.
BOUNTIES FROM ALLAH (SWT) COMES WITH A RESPONSIBILITY TOWARDS THE LESS FORTUNATE
Our beloved Prophet Muhammad (SAWA) is recorded to have said in a Hadith narration that a Mu’min is not a true believer until he loves for his brother what he loves for himself, and he hates what he hates for himself.
Furthermore, Almighty Allah (SWT) expresses in a Hadith Qudsi that a person cannot claim to have accepted Him or declare any faith in Him if he spends the night with a full stomach with full knowledge that his neighbour is hungry. Therefore, this quality of true believers is that they give what they have been given. They see it as their responsibility.
Along this same trend, we find that Imam Ali (a.s) says that Almighty Allah (SWT) does not bless His servant except when he is bound with this responsibility from Him. So, if Almighty Allah (SWT) was kind to someone and granted him power, then the responsibility of Allah (SWT) on this person is that he stands for those who cannot defend themselves.
Similarly, Imam Ali (a.s) says that if Almighty Allah (SWT) has granted someone a blessing in the form of excess rizq (sustenance more than he needs), then the responsibility from Allah (SWT) on such a person is that he cares for the needy.
So, the point is that whatever blessings we receive from Almighty Allah (SWT) comes with a responsibility attached. This includes physical strength, excess material resources, knowledge, etc. Even having a respected position amongst the people comes with the responsibility of being in the service of those who are in need.
These are the qualities of true believers, as exemplified in the life of our beloved Prophet Muhammad (SAWA) and his purified Ahlul Bait (a.s). As recorded in history, it is their tradition to not turn back anyone, even if they are only asking for a grape or half a date.
One day, someone saw our beloved Prophet Muhammad (SAWA) with this approach, and asked Rasulullah (SAWA) whether the same people begging from him repeatedly are truthful or if they are con artists? Rasulullah (SAWA) gave a most thoughtful reply, saying to the one asking the question “are you not afraid that they are truthful”? Both possibilities are there – lying and being truthful, and we should give people the benefit of the doubt.
APPRECIATING THE LIFE OF WILFRED ALCOCK
I would once again like to remind myself and all of you to observe Taqwa of Almighty Allah (SWT). Taqwa is expressed in various forms, and indeed in the form discussed in the first khutbah, where Almighty Allah (SWT) says that the qualities of true believers are that they rush towards giving and good actions. This is the manifestation of inner Taqwa.
They are there for the communities and those in great need. In this Jumuah, I would like to mention one very good name of a really great human being. He was unfortunately not Muslim, but this spirit of caring and giving, and being in the forefront of good deeds was evident much more than what we would see in so-called Muslims.
Yesterday, we lost a GREAT leader in Cape Town, Wilfred Alcock, whose heart was dedicated to others. He wasn’t a rich person, but his nature was to give. He was a trade unionist, but ready to share whatever little he had. He shared his leadership skills and ploughed his network of contacts and influence in the community towards serving the poor and downtrodden.
WILFRED ALCOCK – PIONEER OF THE OPPRESSED MASSES
Wilfred Alcock started this movement last year, under the name of the Cape Flats Interfaith Religious Forum. This was in response to the horrible violence which occurred in Winter last year, in the townships and across the Cape Flats.
What is truly amazing about this man is that he was not a religious leader. He was not a priest, but he was able to magnetize a large number of religious leaders across the spectrum on one platform and lay out the challenge of how our people are crying out for help. The scourge of crime, gangsterism and drugs have taken over. This was his appeal especially in Winter last year when violence in townships and the Cape Flats reached its peak.
Yes, it was this non-Muslim trade unionist who practically demonstrated verse 61 of Surah Mu’minoon (chapter 23 of the Holy Quran), by being the frontrunner to spearhead relief efforts to calm down the chaotic scenes in the townships and on the Cape Flats:
أُولَٰئِكَ يُسَارِعُونَ فِي الْخَيْرَاتِ وَهُمْ لَهَا سَابِقُونَ
“These hasten to good things and they are foremost in (attaining) them.”
WILFRED ALCOCK MAGNETIZED THE POLARIZING RELIGIOUS FORCES
It was Wilfred Alcock who mobilised the religious leadership, including the Muslim clergy. What was truly remarkable was that he was able to pull people from those churches on the Cape Flats who do not believe in interfaith initiatives. They believe that only Jesus is the solution and everyone else is in hell! That is the approach of these Pentecostal and Evangelical churches.
Wilfred Alcock brought these people on board, along with other churches such as the Catholic and Anglican. Different mosques also joined his noble effort, and we were also proudly part of this movement. We all went to these areas which were worst hit by gang violence and walked along with the whole clergy. It had an amazing effect in Kewtown, Delft, Parow, Mitchells Plain and other areas which were burning from gang violence.
He motivated us by saying that if we cannot do anything, then at the bare minimum, our mere presence says a lot! Our sacred presence when we would stand together on the hotspots and make dua, together with the victims and those who are affected. We would make dua, the Catholic priests who do the same and then also throw the holy water.
These are important symbolic acts which demonstrate the unqualified support of the religious leadership, which had an amazing effect.
We pay our respects to this great man of our community, who cared genuinely about peace, and deeply about people, particularly the most vulnerable who are the target of injustice and crime in our community.
SOUTH AFRICANS MAKE A STRONG STATEMENT IN SUPPORT OF IRANIAN NATION AGAINST USA AGGRESSION
We would also like to acknowledge the ANC, SACP and COSATU and other organisations who yesterday gathered in front of the American Embassy in Pretoria to show their solidarity with the people of the Islamic Republic of Iran against the aggression from USA. Their stance is really commendable, for the people once again, in support of justice and in opposition to aggression, imperialism and the authoritarian regime of USA which is to enslave the whole world.
IRAQIS UNITE AGAINST OCCUPATION AND USA IMPERIALISM
Alhamdu Lillah, despite all the confusion and wrong messages which emerged from Iraq in recent days, we witnessed today that millions of people came out in the streets of Baghdad saying that they want to end occupation and the presence of American and foreign forces in their country, and that they want to defend the sovereignty of their country.
We heard people getting very confused messages, which created the impression that the majority of the people of Iraq have unfortunately fallen in the trap of imperialist American policies, thinking that they cannot achieve anything without American help. Today, the people of Iraq came out in their millions to show their solidarity for their own sovereignty, independence and self-respect. They sent out a strong message that after dependence on Almighty Allah (SWT), they depend on themselves and not the foreigners to liberate them from their challenges.
I hope this message goes out loud and clear to the occupiers. Unfortunately, as I always say, a small firecracker in a corner makes headlines in the mainstream media, but this march of millions of people is hardly reported on by them. People are shouting for the end of the American presence in Iraq and in the region. May Almighty Allah (SWT) grant them success and victory, and clarity of vision (Baseerat) to overcome the challenges which this nation has suffered continuously for decades upon decades from dictatorship to corruption to occupation. You name it, it is there unfortunately.