Dear blessed brothers,
Last week’s sermon reminded us not to forget to be grateful for all the nikmat (blessings) that Allah s.w.t. has bestowed upon us. Let us embark on a journey to become better servants of Allah, who are in constant gratitude to Him by renewing our intention and strengthening our resolve to be people of takwa towards Allah s.w.t. Obey all of Allah’s commands and avoid what Allah has prohibited upon.
Allah s.w.t. says in the Quran, in surah Ibrahim verse 5:
Which means: “And We certainly sent Musa with Our signs, [saying], “Bring out your people from darkness into the light and remind them of the days of Allah.” Indeed in that are signs for everyone patient and grateful.”
According to scholars of tafsir such as Imam At-Tabari, what is meant by the days of Allah are the blessings or nikmat from Allah. In short, this verse encourages us to remember the blessings that Allah s.w.t. has granted us.
Among the blessings that Allah has given to us, whether we realise it or not, is the birth of our beloved Prophet Muhammad s.a.w. His presence brought the light of faith to the world. In the midst of the deterioration of akhlak, immorality, injustice and oppression, Allah s.w.t. sent His servant who would bring hope to the community and eventually spread that ray of hope to all of mankind.
It is through Prophet Muhammad s.a.w. that we learn who is Allah and His Might. It is through the presence of Prophet Muhammad s.a.w. that we learn of Allah’s messages, revealed to the Prophet, and now eternalised in the Holy Quran. It is through the beauty of Rasulullah’s good manners and noble akhlak that we learn about the importance of good akhlak and being well-mannered. In fact, the presence of Nabi s.a.w. and his courage helped to raise the standing of all humankind. When the philosophy of man in those days were to value a servant nothing more than just a good that could be traded, Nabi s.a.w. taught humankind that the only servitude is servitude to Allah s.w.t. Moreover, Nabi s.a.w. granted the honour to make the very first call to prayer to Bilal bin Abi Rabah who was once a slave. And so it was Bilal bin Abi Rabah who made the first azan, calling upon all of mankind to pray to Allah Lord of the Universe.
At the same time, Nabi s.a.w. brought the message on the importance of knowledge, and the opportunity for seeking knowledge was made available to all. At that time, reading, writing and pursuing education was limited to those who were from the elite class within the community. But the message that Nabi s.a.w. taught to his followers was one that demanded them to read and to attain knowledge, no matter what their standing in society and their lineage was. In short, Nabi s.a.w shook the world with his good manners, his guidance, his courage and the message that he brought.
The akhlak of Rasulullah s.a.w. has never failed to impress his friends and enemies. His good manners and how he treated others, his qualities of being trustworthy and honest, impressed everyone who dealt and interacted with him. This is what we should remember every year at the start of Rabiulawal. We hope that by truly understanding and appreciating the life of our dearly beloved Prophet Muhammad s.a.w., our love for him will continue to blossom just like the love and affection felt by his Companions, who were blessed to have seen the beautiful face of Rasulullah s.a.w. and fought alongside our beloved Prophet s.a.w.
In a story narrated by Imam Muslim transmitted from Anas r.a. that an Arab Bedouin met Rasulullah s.a.w. and asked: “Ya Rasulullah, when is Kiamat (Day of Judgement)”? Rasulullah said: “What have you prepared for it?” The man replied: “Love for Allah and His Messenger!” Rasulullah then replied with these beautiful words: “You will be with those whom you love!” Anas r.a. who heard the words of the Prophet s.a.w. said: “We have not felt happier than this, since the coming of Islam, when we heard the words of Rasulullah s.a.w. I love Allah and the Messenger of Allah, Abu Bakr and `Umar, and I hope that Allah will resurrect me with them, even though I did not perform actions similar to theirs.”
Allah! This is indeed good news from Rasulullah s.a.w. for all of us who sincerely strive to love Allah and the Prophet. My brothers, imagine when you are in love with someone. Every time you hear the person’s name mentioned, most of the time your heart will skip a beat in happiness and this happiness is mixed with the feeling of missing that person. We are willing to do anything to make the special person in our life feel happy. Maybe some of us would go to the extent of watching our expenses to save for a special present for that special someone. There may be those who are willing to give up a bad habit when the person we truly love and care for asks us to do so, right?
Do we feel that way when we hear the words of Allah and the hadith of Nabi Muhammad s.a.w. being recited? Are we willing to make the same sacrifices when Allah s.w.t and Rasulullah s.a.w. have asked us to leave behind what is bad for us and to enjoin each other in goodness? If the answer is yes, then Alhamdulillah we must continue to be grateful and uphold this. If we are not there yet, then we should strive to learn more about the Prophet s.a.w. and learn about him as a father, husband, friend, and neighbour and how he was as an opposition.
There is a Malay saying that goes, “If you don’t know, then you won’t love”. Make it a habit for us and our children to read about the character of Rasulullah s.a.w. Today, there are many books and resources in both Malay and English which tells us about the Prophet s.a.w. There are also various ‘ilm events all around Singapore which discuss the sirah (history) of the life of Rasulullah or teach the book of “Syamail Muhammadiyah” collection of hadith by Imam Tirmidzi regarding the character and life of Rasulullah s.a.w.
My brothers, even if we may be more interested in the rulings of fiqh fardhu ain which is practical in nature, we must learn the character of the person who conveyed the rulings that Allah has laid upon us. This is important because if we only learn Islamic rulings without learning the adab from Rasulullah s.a.w. then this will give rise to a community that is more religious but uphold less adab in their interactions and mannerisms with others.
For example, we learn the ruling or hukum that praying in the front saf is strongly encouraged. Thus, even if we have arrived at the mosque late, some of us will still try to make it to the front saf by stepping over and disturbing the jemaah that have arrived earlier. However, if we truly understand the sunnah, Rasulullah s.a.w. taught us that when we are late we should not disturb the other jemaah and step over their shoulders. Thus, this is an example of why we have to complete our understanding of Islamic rulings with the adab taught in Islam. This is to ensure that our religious practices can be understood and appreciated by those around us.
Thus, as we usher in the month of Rabiulawal, let us strive to at least read more hadith regarding the akhlak of Rasulullah s.a.w.
Furthermore, if we truly and sincerely love Rasulullah it will be reflected in our actions and our character. Just reflect upon the story of Sayidina Anas in the hadith we shared earlier. He was known as a companion who was always of service of the Prophet s.a.w, but this did not make him arrogant at all. In fact, he was being humble (tawaduk) when he said his actions where nothing like Abu Bakr and Umar r.a.
Thus, we should not become people who claim that they love Rasulullah s.a.w. but do not maintain good relations with Allah and one’s own family. Do not claim to uphold the sunnah of Rasulullah s.a.w. when our words or actions may still hurt others.
If we truly and sincerely love Rasulullah s.a.w., then we should be kind and compassionate to all, not just to all of mankind but all of Allah’s creations should be treated with care, respect, and should benefit from our co-existence. Our scholars show their love through their deeds and adab. Our scholars reflect their love for Rasulullah by striving hard to compile, memorise and then explain the hadith of Rasulullah s.a.w. Their love for Rasulullah s.a.w. was not limited to words and dressing. It is not simply claiming to uphold the Quran and Sunnah, but is founded on a strong understanding and knowledge; applying the sunnah of Rasulullah in various aspects of our lives within the family and the community, and to touch the lives of others.
May Allah grant us our desire to be among those who truly love Allah and Rasulullah. May Allah make us among those who truly deepen their knowledge of Islam together with their families, and are able to apply what they learn with good manners (adab) and ethics.