Posted by: HifzanShafiee | April 13, 2014

Maqasid Syariah In Education

wps_clip_image-11073

Dear blessed Friday Jemaah,

Let us heighten our sense of takwa towards Allah s.w.t. wherever we are; carrying out the commands Allah has prescribed upon us and avoiding what Allah has prohibited upon us. May Allah s.w.t. place us among those who are filled with takwa.

Dear Jemaah,

Islam highly emphasises education and the pursuit of knowledge. Knowledge is the light that enables one to distinguish between Truth and falsehood (or Haq and Batil). Knowledge allows humankind to learn about “Al-Khaliq”, The Creator. Knowledge will lift the status of humankind and allow him to attain nobility. And it is also through knowledge that a person remains humble, because the person is fully aware that Allah s.w.t. is the source of all knowledge.

Allah s.w.t. teaches humankind of how the angels attest to this fact, proven by the fact that Prophet Adam a.s. has knowledge of Allah’s creations beyond what the angels knew. Allah says in surah Al-Baqarah verses 31-32:

wps_clip_image-26767

Which means: “And He taught Adam the names of all things; then He placed them before the angels, and said: "Tell me the names of these if ye are right. They said: "Glory to Thee, of knowledge We have none, save what Thou Hast taught us: In truth it is Thou Who art perfect in knowledge and wisdom.”

Jemaah,

One of the hadith that talks about the importance of education is the hadith narrated by Al-Bazzar, Prophet Muhammad s.a.w. said, which means: “Be a person of knowledge (alim) or a person seeking knowledge or a person who listens (to the teachings) and you should not be the fifth which makes you perish”. [Hadith narrated by Al-Bazzar]

In this hadith Rasulullah s.a.w. praised the four groups of people who are linked or connected to knowledge. However, the fifth category of people are those who display hatred towards ulama’ (scholars and jurists) and belittle the ulama, and are not interested in seeking knowledge. Thus, it is clear that only when we have truly learned and understood the teachings of Islam, then we would become a noble ummah.

Dear Jemaah,

Knowledge helps us to appreciate our deeds, whether they are acts of worship (ibadah) or daily actions. It is feared that a Muslim who does not have enough knowledge of his religion may become easily influenced and taken by all sorts of information that he comes across, from questionable sources.

Through our understanding of Islam, we can develop individuals who are able to make the right considerations when they are faced with challenging life choices, and also able to make the best and most accurate decisions affecting their religious life. For example, today we see how the Internet and the easy access of information have exposed the young to various religious opinions that may at times not be in line with the opinion of the majority of scholars. There are many irresponsible rulings or fatwa that are flying around over the Internet. How do we ensure that those under our care and responsibility continue to be rightly guided by Allah, and are not easily influenced and affected by this challenge? It is only possible through an accurate, deep and comprehensive understanding of Islam.

Thus, as parents we must ensure that we and our family members receive proper Islamic knowledge and teachings that are true and accurate. We must be aware of activities that are questionable. We must aim to seek knowledge from accredited asatizah at the mosques or at Islamic education centres, conducted in an open manner.

Blessed  jemaah,

Knowledge will help us to contribute to the prosperity of the Singapore community. This will ensure that the development of our religious life is taken care of and further improved; our economy flourishes and our prosperity maintained. In fact, it is knowledge that can help us to move forward in developing civilisation.

wps_clip_image-14776

This is in line with the azan, the call to prayer, which we hear five times a day, where the words: are called out to us loud and clear. It means: “Let us strive to success” or “Rush to success”. We know that Islamic teachings encourage every believer (mukmin) to work hard to achieve success, both in this world and the hereafter.

Let us continue in our efforts to develop our community, by contributing diligently. Do not forget that every bit of knowledge that we learn is part of our effort to expand our contributions to the ummah, in developing humankind and the society.

Let us cultivate the spirit and the desire to regain the excellence of the Muslim community and the glory of Islam. We should not just be at the receiving end; instead, we should be key players globally, contributing to the world community. We should live as individuals who truly understand the value of time and appreciate the goals in life. We should develop a family with a clear vision. We should become seekers of knowledge who are diligent and will excel, and then contribute to the development of humanity.

Hopefully, Allah will accept our sincere efforts in continuing and appreciating this tradition of knowledge, as well as our resolve to place much emphasis on our children’s education. May Allah ease all our affairs insyallah. Amin Ya Rabbal ‘Alamin.

wps_clip_image-2037

Majlis Ugama Islam Singapura
Friday Sermon, 11 April 2014 / 11 Jamadilakhir 1435

wps_clip_image-9014

Dear Friday Jemaah,

Let us continue developing our takwa towards Allah s.w.t. by inculcating a deep sense of piety, obeying all of His commands and avoiding what He has prohibited upon us. May Allah open our hearts to accept beneficial knowledge, for our success in this world and the hereafter.

My dear jemaah,

From the beginning, Islam has always placed importance on women’s affairs. The importance of women in Islam can be seen in a hadith of the Prophet s.a.w. where a young man asked Rasulullah s.a.w. as to whom he should treat well, and the Prophet s.a.w. firmly replied that he should first treat his mother well. And Rasulullah s.a.w. gave the same response thrice, and only after that he mentioned that the father should be treated well. [Hadith narrated by Imam Bukhari and Muslim]

Perhaps when we first heard this hadith, we would have assumed that it only meant that the mother has priority over the father. However, the fact that it was mentioned thrice by the Prophet s.a.w. signals that the role of women is far more important compared the men in educating and nurturing the younger generation. This is because, a pious woman will give birth to and groom her children to become a pious doctor, a pious engineer, a pious architect, a pious entrepreneur, a pious judge and so on, until a civilisation is developed. Indeed the hand that rocks the cradle shapes the world.

Islam acknowledges the important role played by women, and thus Islam places much importance on education for women. This is because a mother is the first source of knowledge for her children, and thus her descendants. The first message from Allah to mankind through the Quran was the command for us to read. Allah says in the Quran in surah Al-Alaq:

wps_clip_image-90

Which means: “Proclaim! (or read!) in the name of thy Lord and Cherisher, Who created-. Created man, out of a (mere) clot of congealed blood: Proclaim! And thy Lord is Most Bountiful,- He Who taught (the use of) the pen,- Taught man that which he knew not.” (Surah Al-Alaq: 1-5)

These verses are enough to impress upon us the importance of seeking knowledge and the importance of intellectual thought for the Muslim ummah. The importance of seeking knowledge is not just obligatory upon men but also for women as well. If we study Islamic history, we will learn about leading Muslim women who contributed vastly to the development of the ummah and towards civilisation. For example, an esteemed female scholar who made many contributions to the ummah of her time was Sayyidah Nafisah Binti Al-Hasan, the great-granddaughter of Sayyidina Ali Bin Abi Talib r.a., and Sayyidatina Fatimah binti Rasul r.a.

My dear brothers,

When she was in Madinah, Sayyidah Nafisah learnt from leading scholars of Hadith and Fiqh, and was given the title “Nafiisatul ‘Ilmi” (which means the most valuable gem in the field of knowledge). This despite the fact that she was still very young at that time. When she moved to Egypt with her husband, Sayyidah Nafisah became a well-known and influential figure within the society. Many students came to her to learn Al-Quran and the Hadith of Rasulullah s.a.w. In fact, Imam As-Syafi’i rahimahullah himself once studied from her.

Much can be said about the life and contribution of Nafisah, but I believe that we should reflect upon the valuable lessons which we can learn from the life of this distinguished female scholar.

First: The support of the father, as the leader of the family, and the support of the family when it comes to the children’s education especially that of the daughters’; is a crucial factor.  We have to encourage our daughters to emulate the life of Sayyidah Nafisah, and ensure that the home environment is one that promotes reading and creates the drive to pursue education. The first verse of surah Al-‘Alaq underscores the fact that reading should be a culture of the Muslims, no matter the era or the place. A successful community is one that reads.

Second: There needs to be a culture of knowledge within the Muslim community, and it has to be one where women are encouraged to seek knowledge.

At times, we forget that learning is supposed to be a lifelong process. . We take for granted the importance of reflecting and thinking, and thus this weakens us and makes us less resilient in facing the various challenges today. There are also those who are "backward" in their thinking, and are of the opinion that women do not need to pursue higher education because she will "ultimately remain in the kitchen".

If this sort of thinking continues to permeate in our society, especially among parents, then our concern is that the future generation will be robbed of the opportunity to be well-educated and groomed into future leaders and thinkers, simply because they lack the education – be it religious education or otherwise.

If we look back and reflect upon history, we will realise that even during the time of Rasulullah s.a.w., the Prophet himself strongly encouraged women to seek knowledge. Despite his busy schedule as a Prophet, Rasulullah s.a.w. would dedicate one day where the women could learn from him. Nabi s.a.w. was very concerned about the women, and took pains to entertain all their queries. In fact, his wives, including Sayyidatina A’isyah r.a; were among those who narrated many of the hadith of the Prophet s.a.w. and became one of the sources of reference of hadith for the companions and the generation after them.

Dear jemaah,

InsyaAllah, if we adopt a more open-minded attitude and continue our support for Muslimahs to pursue their studies in whichever field they are interested in and give them the opportunity to share the knowledge, then our Muslim women will definitely be more successful and not only will they contribute to their families and themselves, but also to the society and country.

We should grab the various opportunities that are readily available to us today to encourage our children to follow their dreams to pursue their education. May Allah Subhanahu wa Ta’ala put barakah in our efforts to educate and raise our children and grandchildren, to be knowledgeable with a deep sense of takwa towards Allah Subhanahu wa Ta’ala and the pride of Nabi Muhammad Sollallahu ‘Alaihi Wasallam.

wps_clip_image-2997

Majlis Ugama Islam Singapura
Friday Sermon, 28 March 2014 / 26 Jamadilawal 1435

Posted by: HifzanShafiee | April 9, 2014

Protecting The Environment And The Maqasid Syariah

wps_clip_image-32497

Dear blessed Friday Jemaah,

Takwa is a very important aspect for every servant of Allah. It guides our actions and behaviour to obey what Allah has commanded upon us and avoid what He has prohibited upon us.

Blessed Jemaah,

In principle, all the laws and rules prescribed by Allah s.w.t. are intended for the preservation of our life in this world and the hereafter. Thus, Allah s.w.t. commands His servants to reflect upon the wisdom or hikmah behind everything that He has prescribed for us. Allah s.w.t. says in surah Saad verse 29:

wps_clip_image-24078

Which means: “[This is] a blessed Book which We have revealed to you, [O Muhammad], that they might reflect upon its verses and that those of understanding would be reminded.”

The matters that Allah s.w.t. intends to preserve through His guidance and laws are known as “Daruriyat Al-khams”, which refers to the five basic needs to ensure safety and continuation of humanity.

These five basic needs are: Preservation of deen or religion (hifz al-din), life (hifz al-nafs), intellect and reason (hifz al-aql), lineage (hifz al-nasb) and wealth (hifz al-mal).

My dear brothers,

The Maqasid of the preservation of these five elements are among the considerations that we have to take into account when we live our lives, as well as in the practice of our religion.

We need to realise that as time passes and changes in circumstances occur, a matter which was previously not considered as pertinent and important could now require urgent addressing; especially when aspects of the preservation of life and health are concerned.

For example, caring for the environment. Previously, it may not be regarded as a matter that requires much attention. However, because of irresponsible actions by man in pursuit of material wealth and development, environmental sustainability is often overlooked. Consequently, it leaves harmful effects for us and the future generations. Recently, there were reports in the media about climate change that has adversely affected many countries. The report quoted experts who are of the opinion that the situation will worsen and become more complicated if remedial measures and preventive actions are not taken immediately. It would even threaten the lives of humans and creatures.

Thus, based on the aim of the syariah which emphasises the preservation of life (both human life and that of the creatures on earth), preserving our environment is an important aspect of today’s life and in fact it should become a religious obligation. It is the responsibility of every one of us to play our part in protecting this earth. Allah s.w.t says in surah Ar-Rum verse 41:

wps_clip_image-10980

Which means: “Corruption has appeared throughout the land and sea by [reason of] what the hands of people have earned so He may let them taste part of [the consequence of] what they have done that perhaps they will return [to righteousness].”

We have recently experienced how the haze and prolonged dry spell made it challenging and difficult for us. Let us pray that we do not get to the level where we are tested by Allah with a more severe test, because of our failure to take actions to remedy the current situation. Thus, in caring for the environment we can start by reducing the amount of plastic bags that we use. This can be done by bringing our own reusable shopping bags when we go to the supermarket or the market.

We also need to reduce using materials made of Styrofoam which can lead to serious problems for the environment as it takes a long time to break down. Thus we should opt for bio-degradable tableware when we have gatherings so that we do not harm the environment. We should also ensure that we do not waste other resources such as water, electricity and so on, and use only what we need. Remember the Prophet s.a.w. reminded us: “Even if the end of time is upon you and you have a seedling in your hand, plant it.” [Hadith narrated by Imam Ahmad, Al-Musnad]

Remember my brothers, Allah has bestowed upon us the earth and it is our responsibility to care and protect it. The hadith that I have shared is a reminder that we should ensure that we contribute to the preservation of nature, helping it to thrive, and not the cause of its destruction. No effort or contribution is too small in the sight of Allah. Thus, let us instil the determination to play our part in preserving Allah’s bounties. May Allah s.w.t. protect us and the earth that He has bestowed upon us.  Amin. Ya Rabbal ’Alamin.

wps_clip_image-21835

Majlis Ugama Islam Singapura
Friday Sermon, 4 April 2014 / 4 Jamadilakhir 1435

Posted by: HifzanShafiee | April 9, 2014

Developing The Strength Of Each Individual

Dear blessed Friday Jemaah,

Let us boost our sense of takwa towards Allah, by increasing our knowledge as we continue on a journey of lifelong learning. Hopefully by doing so, our sense of remorse (insaf) will deepen and it will be easier for us to continue to obey His commands and diligently avoid what Allah has prohibited upon us.

My dear brothers,

Due to His wisdom and justness, every person that Allah s.w.t. created has different strengths and abilities. The idea behind this is to allow us to mutually strengthen one another, and to reinforce the awareness that we each have our weaknesses and thus are in need of one another. Let us reflect on what Allah says in surah Al-Qamar verse 49:

wps_clip_image-17036

Which means: “Indeed, all things We created with predestination.”

This is indeed the wisdom of Allah, whereby each person is given his or her own strength. As parents, what is important is that we identify the strengths and weaknesses of our children. We should then help them develop their potential further to the best of their abilities. Know that none of Allah’s creations are created in vain, thus do not ever give up on trying to be the best that we can be.

Just look at the story of a famous scholar, Ibnu Hajar Al-Asqalani. He was an orphan who came from a very poor family. Despite his extremely humble background, he had a very positive attitude in life. He worked hard, he was dedicated, consistent and never gave up. Ibn Hajar Al-Asqalani was initially identified as a student with average intelligence, and in fact, it was said that he often forgot what was taught to him. However, according to a report, things changed after he witnessed how droplets of water could carve out a hole in a piece of rock.It was then that he became inspired and reached the realisation that if he worked hard he would eventually attain success.

Due to his sheer diligence, hardwork and earnestness, Allah s.w.t. granted him with extensive knowledge such that he became an ulama (scholar). His writings were sharp and extensive, producing works in various fields including Quranic sciences, As-Sunnah, Fiqh and so on. One of his well-known works is ”Fathul Baari – Syarah Sahih Bukhari”.

Because of his knowledge, he continues to be revered as an ulama whose works are referred to until today. Allah s.w.t. says in surah Al-Mujadilah verse 11:

wps_clip_image-26189

Which means: “ Allah will raise those who have believed among you and those who were given knowledge, by degrees. And Allah is Acquainted with what you do.”

My dear brothers

The story of Ibn Hajar holds many valuable lessons for us. Among them:-

First: All of us, especially those with children, need to understand that our children, and also ourselves, have unique abilities. And we need to also understand that these are special gifts bestowed by Allah s.w.t. We should never look down on them. If our children have difficulties in studying or mastering a subject, this does not mean there is no hope left for them.

It is most likely that they have other skills which can be developed and will allow them to contribute to their families and the community.

Second: As we seek the favours or nikmat from Allah, strive hard and with confidence. Strengthen our belief in Allah s.w.t. and place our hopes only with Allah and never feel discouraged with what He has blessed us with. Whatever it is that we seek from His blessings –  be it knowledge, sustenance, skills and so on – requires patience, endurance and gratitude. Giving up and feeling discouraged will only bring us further from Allah and destroy our hopes for this world. Imam Ibn Hajar managed to attain a high level of knowledge because of his diligence and perseverance. The prophets did not taste success without first being tested with hardship, difficulties and various challenges. Which is why Nabi s.a.w. said:

wps_clip_image-13404

Which means: “The strong believer is better and more beloved to Allah than the weak believer although there is good in each. Cherish that which gives you benefit (in the Hereafter) and seek help from Allah and do not lose heart”. [Hadith narrated by Imam Muslim]

Let us, from time to time, increase our knowledge in accordance with the times. Let the knowledge that we have attained bring us closer to Allah, increase our love for goodness and multiply our contributions to others, and as our investment to attain a place in paradise as promised by Allah s.w.t. 

O Allah, enrich us with knowledge, adorn us with the softness of our hearts, beautify us with takwa and grant us good health. Amin. Ya Rabbal ’Alamin.

Majlis Ugama Islam Singapura
Friday Sermon, 21 March 2014 / 19 Jamadilawal 1435

Posted by: HifzanShafiee | March 25, 2014

Istiqsa

wps_clip_image-11391

wps_clip_image-25703

wps_clip_image-10018

wps_clip_image-15819

wps_clip_image-17073

Oh Allah the Almighty.

We raise our hands to you, full of humility, in awe of Your Greatness Ya Rabb. You are The Greatest and there is none greater than You, You are The Wealthiest, The Most Generous. There is no one else for us to seek from except from You.

Ya Allah, You are All-Seeing, the All-Knowing Ya Allah. There are parched gardens Ya Allah, there are barren lands Ya Allah, there are sources of water that have decreased Ya Allah, and springs that have almost dried up Ya Rabb, and some of Your servants are facing hardship Ya Allah.

Hence we ask from You, please bless us with Your Mercy, let the rain shower upon us as a sign of Your mercy, and please do not let the rain of destruction fall upon us. You are the All-Seeing Ya Allah, forgive our sins Ya Allah, do not torment us because of our sins, we seek and hope for Your forgiveness. Grant every one of us who are present here at the mosque, as well as our families, Your forgiveness. If there are those among us who have ignored their obligations to You, then grant them Your forgiveness Ya Rabb, and awaken in their hearts a sense of remorse and repentance.

Ya Allah, grant Your mercy upon the passengers and crew of flight MH370. Bestow peace and calmness upon their families and friends. Ease the affairs and efforts of all the parties involved in helping them. Strengthen the hearts of everyone affected by this event Ya Allah.

wps_clip_image-26893

Second Sermon (Istisqa’)

14 March 2014

Posted by: HifzanShafiee | March 25, 2014

Preventing Water Wastage

Friday Jemaah Rahimakumullah.

Let us increase our takwa towards Allah s.w.t. by obeying His commands and avoiding what Allah has prohibited upon us. May Allah grant His rahmah (mercy) and forgiveness upon us and our families.

My dear brothers,

As Muslims, we are required to appreciate all of the bounty given by Allah s.w.t. and use it to the best of our abilites to gain Allah’s pleasures.

Among the precious blessings bestowed upon us is water. With rain, plants are able to survive. With rain, our warm surroundings become cooler and the barren land becomes lush and green again. And with it we are able to continue living. Allah s.w.t. explains in verse 30 of surah Al-Anbiya’:

Which means: “And made from water every living thing? Then will they not believe?”.

Brothers,

Sometimes we need to reflect on whether we have truly appreciated the gift of water from Allah s.w.t. Especially for us who are in Singapore where we hardly experience water shortages. Access to water is made very easy for us, and so we may tend to overlook the importance of water.

There is a verse in the holy Quran where Allah s.w.t encourages us to observe the importance of the water that we drink. Allah says in surah Al-Waaqi’ah verses 68-70:

Which means: “And have you seen the water that you drink? Is it you who brought it down from the clouds, or is it We who bring it down? If We willed, We could make it bitter, so why are you not grateful?”

Imagine if the gift of water is taken away from us, as it has happened in some countries. Imagine the difficulties that we would have to face. The dry spell that has hit Singapore since the middle of January has led to trees and plants turning brown. This dry weather has also led to an increase of mosquitoes in the environment. This is a reminder for us that no matter how smart and intellingent humankind is, it is only Allah who controls the weather and the universe. No matter how good we are, we must remember the greatness and might of Allah who is the One who Provides. Thus we should increase our gratitude even in this dry weather, because we still have water flowing from our taps. There are others who are losing their lives because of dehydration and lack of water.

My dear brothers,

One of the ways for us to express our gratitude to Allah for blessing us with water is to avoid wasting water. This is because Allah does not like wastage. Thus, we find in verse 27 of surah Al-Isra’ that Allah describes those who waste as friends of syaitan who was defiant to Allah.

Gratitude also requires us to use the bounty that Allah has bestowed upon us in moderation, and with full responsibility and honesty. For example when we are taking our ablution (wudhu’) or a shower, we should make sure that the pipe is only turned on when we need water. Imagine the responsibility in using the resources Allah has given. Imam Muslim narrated that Prophet s.a.w. managed to take wudhu with just a “mudd” or about half a litre of water.

In fact, Rasulullah s.a.w. once reprimanded a companion named Saad ibn Abi Waqqas who was taking wudhu’. The Prophet said: "Why this wastage Saad? And Saad said: “Is there wastage even in taking wudhu’?” Rasulullah s.a.w. replied: “Yes, even if you are at a flowing river." [Ibnu Majah and Ahmad]

Thus, let us increase our efforts to save water. Not just when we are taking wudhu’, but in every aspect of our lives. Remember when we made our vows to Allah when we proclaimed the syahadah, we promised to protect the earth and its resources as best as we can. We should realise that every effort to save water is a noble deed in the sight of Allah, and contributes to the well-being of the community. Let us continue to ask Allah to grant us, our families and our country peace, security and protection from disasters and calamities.

Majlis Ugama Islam Singapura
Friday Sermon, 14 March 2014 / 12 Jamadilawal 1435

Posted by: HifzanShafiee | March 23, 2014

Self-Reflection And Repentance To Allah s.w.t.

wps_clip_image-3847

wps_clip_image-3292

wps_clip_image-5972

My brothers rahimakumullah.

We are gathered here today by Allah’s grace to seek help from Allah. Allah s.w.t. has chosen us as His servants who have realised that we need to repent at this moment.

We all feel the difficulties of being in this prolonged hot and dry weather. As we now feel the heat of the weather, remember that in the future the heat that we will experience will be even worse when we are standing in the field of Mahsyar. We do not want to be standing in the field of Mahsyar with the burden of our sins that have not been forgiven by Allah s.w.t. Imagine my brothers, the amount of sins that we have committed. Have we avoided everything that Allah has prohibited upon us, and have we obeyed all of His commands? What about our mistakes towards our parents and family members? When will we realise our grave mistakes and repent?

If there are those among us who are still complacent and careless in remembering Allah, then let us make this moment our turning point. If there are those among us who are leaving behind our religious obligations, let us resolve to now fully obey our Lord. If there are those among us who are still hostile to and bear malicious intent and envy towards others, how can we then expect Allah to forgive us if we ourselves are not willing to forgive others?

Thus let us all seek forgiveness from Allah. May Allah forgive all of our sins and with shower His mercy upon us through the blessing of rain. May Allah s.w.t. protect us and may we become among His servants who are granted remorse and repentance to Him.

Majlis Ugama Islam Singapura
First Sermon For Istisqa’, 14 March 2014 / 12 Jamadilawal 1435

Posted by: HifzanShafiee | March 21, 2014

The Caliph Umar Abdul Aziz

Being Trustworthy In Performing Our Responsibilities – Lessons From The Story Of The Caliph Umar Abdul

Dear Friday Jemaah,

Let us strengthen our takwa towards Allah by heeding all of His commands and avoiding what Allah has prohibited upon us. Hopefully, our true obedience to Allah s.w.t will make us His servants who are promised success in this world and the hereafter.

Dear Jemaah,

Nabi Muhammad s.a.w. was sent by Allah s.w.t as a role model and an example to humanity. One of the values that Rasulullah s.a.w. has placed importance on was trustworthiness in carrying out the responsibilities one has been tasked with. Rasulullah s.a.w himself was known as Al-Amin by the people of Quraysh, even before they believed in him as a messenger of Allah. No one could deny his honesty. Allah s.w.t says in surah An-Nisa verse 58:

Which means: “Indeed, Allah commands you to render trusts to whom they are due and when you judge between people to judge with justice. Excellent is that which Allah instructs you. Indeed, Allah is ever Hearing and Seeing.”

Beloved jemaah,

Allow me to share the story of a Muslim Caliph who is known for his trustworthiness, which will indeed be a good example for all of us. He is none other than the Caliph Umar Ibn Abdul Aziz.

Under his leadership, the policies of the Islamic government practiced by the first four Caliphs, or Khulafa’ Al-Rasyidin, were revived. Thus, he was often referred to as the Fifth Khalifah Al-Rasyidin. He was also the grandson of the second Caliph, Sayyidina ‘Umar Bin Al-Khattab r.a. He was known as a caliph who was pious, zuhud (ascetic), trustworthy and he led the ummah based on the principles of justice.

My brothers,

When we discuss about the trustworthiness of Khalifah Umar ibn Abdul Aziz, there are two aspects that can be observed from the history of his leadership.

First: The trustworthiness and honesty of a Muslim is seen everywhere and at all time. It does not matter whether he is in the presence of others or whether he is alone. Honesty will motivate a person to always be mindful of his actions and thoughts because Allah is All-Seeing and All-Knowing.

One of the stories narrated about Umar ibn Abdul Aziz, was a story of how he was strongly against using the lamp belonging to the government when he wanted to discuss a matter concerning his family with his son. He said: Remember my son, the lamp that I am using while I am working belongs to the government. The gas for the lamp was bought with the government’s funds, while the matter that you wish to discuss with me is a family matter." [Al-Bidayah wa Al-Nihayah].

The second aspect: Trustworthiness will motivate a person to fulfil his obligations and duties to the best of his abilities. Khalifah Umar ibn Abdul Aziz was never careless and did not neglect to undertake the changes that he felt were needed for his community’s well-being.

This was despite the fact that several of the measures he undertook were seen as not benefiting the country in the short-run. Thus, several governors were initially against the measures that he implemented. However, the economic policy that was introduced by Khalifah Umar Ibn Abdul Aziz paid off for the country. According to historical records, such as Sirah Umar Ibn Abdul Aziz, written by Ibn Abd al-Hakam, the economy improved vastly to the extent that there were no poor people who were eligible to receive zakat.

Khalifah Umar Abdul Aziz was known as a leader who was transparent in his administration and was always concerned about the affairs of his people. He often reminded himself that he would be held accountable by Allah s.w.t. for his leadership and the trust placed on him.

He was quoted as saying, “I realise that Allah the Almighty will ask me about all the affairs of my people, and Nabi Muhammad s.a.w will testify for them. I am afraid that I will have no defence in front of Allah, and do not get any defence from Nabi Muhammad s.a.w.” [Kitab Al-Kharaj, Imam Abu Yusuf]

This is in-line with the hadith of Rasulullah s.a.w. The Prophet once said: Each of you is a leader and each of you is questioned over his subjects, the Imam who is responsible over the people and he is questioned over his responsibility…” [Hadith narrated by Imam Bukhari]

My dear brothers,

Indeed we will all be held accountable to Allah s.w.t with regards to all the responsibilities that have been given to us. As the head of the family, one must ensure that the rights of his wife and children are fulfilled, and the children receive Islamic guidance.

At work, as an employee, we should fulfil our responsibilities and perform our duties, while striving to bring about improvements and positive changes at the workplace environment or within the community.

Thus, let us strive to be trustworthy in carrying out our responsibilities. May Allah s.w.t. protect us and guide us to be among His servants who fulfil our responsibilities with sincerity and honesty.

Majlis Ugama Islam Singapura
Friday Sermon, 7 March 2014 / 5 Jamadilawal 1435

Dear blessed Friday Jemaah,

On this day full of barakah, let us ask Allah s.w.t. to strengthen our takwa towards Him. Seek from Allah to grant us the wisdom (hikmah) and sincerity in obeying His commands and avoiding what Allah has prohibited upon us.

My brothers,

When Allah s.w.t. explained to the angels His decision to create Adam a.s., the angels expressed their concerns because men have the potential to bring about destruction. However, after showing them of the potential benefits and the knowledge that Allah will equip mankind with, the angels bowed in humility realising their weakness and acknowledging the wisdom of Allah s.w.t., whose knowledge is far beyond theirs. This was mentioned in surah Al-Baqarah verse 32:

Which means: “They said, "Exalted are You; we have no knowledge except what You have taught us. Indeed, it is You who is the Knowing, the Wise."

The acknowledgement by the angles, of Allah’s attribute of Al-Hakim, becomes clear when we reflect deeper into every command and prohibition set by Allah s.w.t. This is because it is only for the benefit of mankind.

For example, when Allah made it haram for us to consume alcohol, it is meant to prevent all sorts of harm, be it harm to our health, our lives or even our surroundings. When Allah commands us to fast, even though it is challenging, the benefits that we reap from fasting, both spiritually and emotionally, are far greater than dealing with hunger and thirst.

These are just some examples of how we need guidance from Allah The Most Wise. Even though humans are bestowed with intellect, they can easily fall prey to their desires (nafs). And if they are left on their own without any guidance and accountability or punishment, they will most surely be consumed by his desires. We thus need to constantly refer back to what Allah has decreed upon us for He is Al-Hakim, The Most Wise and He is  Free from any flaws or weaknesses. Therefore, Allah’s guidelines for us are perfect and free from any flaws and negative elements which might otherwise come from the humanly desires, or syaitan.. Furthermore, Allah is the One who knows what is best for our needs and our welfare, and hence His guidelines are perfect too

In order to better appreciate this attribute of Al-Hakim, let us reflect upon our lives. I am sure that we have all faced difficult periods in our lives. For example, some of us might have been tested with illnesses. However, have we ever taken a step back and reflect upon the advantages of this test rather than view it as a tragedy?

Perhaps our experience, or that of our family member’s, will heighten our awareness on the importance of staying healthy and seeking early treatment. Perhaps the illness also serves as a reminder to us to remember Allah and to place our hopes only upon Him for we may have neglected our relationship with our Creator for a long time. Thus, Allah s.w.t. reminds us in surah Al-Baqarah verse 216:

Which means: “But perhaps you hate a thing and it is good for you; and perhaps you love a thing and it is bad for you. And Allah Knows, while you know not.”

Dear jemaah,

We need to study in detail this attribute of wisdom by understanding how Allah s.w.t. determines what we should obey and what we should avoid. And for us to do so, we have to equip ourselves and our children with religious knowledge. We have to equip our children with the ability to differentiate between what will be beneficial to them in this world and the hereafter, and what will be destructive and harmful for them. Nabi s.a.w. described the virtues of seeking religious knowledge in a hadith which goes as such:

Which means: “When Allah wishes good for someone, He bestows upon him the understanding of the Deen(religion)”. [Hadith narrated by Imam Bukhari and Muslim]

Hence, we should bear in mind that it is on Allah’s Mercy and wishes alone that those who are granted with the pleasure of seeking religious knowledge, are able to do so.

My brothers,

Last week, we were informed of the efforts and strategies of the Islamic education providers, both at the mosques and the private institutions, to ensure that our children continue to receive Islamic education. According to a survey, only 40 percent of the Muslim children in Singapore attend structured Islamic education classes. This means that there is still a lot of room for us to work together to ensure that all our children, grandchildren and even our nieces and nephews do not miss the opportunity to learn about Allah and Rasulullah s.a.w. They have been born as Muslims and in fitrah, so let us imbibe them with Islamic values; guide them with kindness and remind them of the need obey Allah and His Prophet. All these can be achieved by giving them the proper guidance, inshaAllah.

Our children today are faced with various challenges that may test their faith, affect their mindset and lifestyle. They cannot be left to fend on their own without any guidance. We cannot simply assume that they will be able to navigate and find their religious compass on their own later in their adult life.

Thus, if we know of any family members and even neighbours who have yet to send their children to religious education classes, encourage them to start doing so. At the very least, ensure that their children are sent for Islamic education programmes and activities during the school holidays. Coax our children wisely so that they will open up their hearts and fill it with love for Allah and Rasulullah s.a.w. Win them over by giving them encouragement when they fulfil their religious obligations.

Hopefully, an effective Islamic education will boost the religious resilience of the younger generation, and equip them with the wisdom to navigate through the challenges they face in their lives. And hopefully, with a strong Islamic education, they will be able to pray for us when it is time for to leave this world. And hopefully by equipping them and ourselves with Islamic education, we will be gathered together as a family in the gardens of Allah’s eternal Paradise. Amin ya Rabbal ‘Alamin.

Majlis Ugama Islam Singapura
Friday Sermon, 28 February 2014  / 28 Rabiulakhir 1435

Posted by: HifzanShafiee | March 20, 2014

Humbling Oneself To Allah s.w.t.

Dear blessed Friday jemaah,

Let us increase our takwa to Allah s.w.t. by obeying all of Allah’s commands and avoiding what He has prohibited upon us. Hopefully by doing so it will help us to appreciate better the meaning of being a true servant of Allah s.w.t.

My brothers,

We are often reminded of the main reason why Allah s.w.t. created humankind and that is to worship Him. Allah s.w.t. says in surah Az-Dzariyat verses 56-57:

Which means: “And I did not create the jinn and mankind except to worship Me. I do not want from them any provision, nor do I want them to feed Me.”

My brothers, whenever we hear this verse, we should never think that Allah is in need of our obedience and our acts of worship. However, it is us who are truly in need of Allah s.w.t. and it is never the reverse. This is what it means by servitude to Allah s.w.t., which is something that must be understood by the ummah of Prophet s.a.w. by appreciating another noble name of Allah from the Asmaul Husna that is Allah Al-‘Aliy, which means: Allah s.w.t. the Most High and there is none higher than Him.

Allah s.w.t. says in surah As-Shuraa verse 4:

Which means: “To Him belongs whatever is in the heavens and whatever is in the earth, and He is the Most High, the Most Great.”

Dear Friday Jemaah,

Let me share the example of the humility shown by the Companions of Rasulullah s.a.w. Among them, Umar ibn Al-Khattab who said: “Had I heard someone say out loud: O mankind! You’re all going to heaven, but one man (who will not go to heaven). And I will assume that it was referring to me.” [The Book of Hilyatul Awliya’]

Subhanallah! These were the words uttered by a noble companion of Rasulullah s.a.w. This was the man who was among the first to embrace Islam and sacrificed everything that he had for the sake of Islam, and is among those who have been given the promise of paradise by Rasulullah s.a.w. Yet this very same companion did not have even a hint of arrogance and ego in him, and never felt that he was better than his friends nor any other Muslim.

This story serves as an important lesson for us, that as servants of Allah we have to always remember our place in this word. Who are we? What do we truly own? Our jobs, wealth, family and so on, who are these bounties from? On whose mercy has this been loaned to us? If we are given intelligence and a degree, aren’t these blessings from Allah? If we are given wealth, isn’t it a gift from Allah? Isn’t our health, body, peace of mind and in fact every beat of our heart, blessings from Allah the Almighty? If everything belongs to Allah, why is it then so difficult for us to bow down in front of Allah? Why do we still leave behind what Allah has commanded upon us?

Let us reflect upon what Allah s.w.t. says in surah Al-Isra’ verse 37. Allah reminds humankind to remember their place in this world:

Which means: “And do not walk upon the earth exultantly. Indeed, you will never tear the earth [apart], and you will never reach the mountains in height.”

My dear brothers,

When one often humbles oneself in front of Allah s.w.t., then humility will also naturally show in his dealings with others. That is the effect of being humble in front of Allah s.w.t. Allah s.w.t. says in surah Al-Furqan verse 63:

This means: “And the servants of the Most Merciful are those who walk upon the earth easily, and when the ignorant address them [harshly], they say [words of] peace.”

That is the character of those who are loved by Allah the One, and the Almighty. They are courteous and polite with others, without caring about the background or status of others.

By being humble with others, one will become more open and receptive to ideas and suggestions from others. He will always be more open towards new knowledge, new information, and at the same time sees it as an opportunity to expand his knowledge no matter his age or status. Nabi s.a.w. said:

This means: “No one humbles himself before Allah except that Allah will raise him (in status).” [Hadith narrated by Imam Muslim and Tirmidzi].

This is one of the noble characteristics of a Muslim who truly knows his Lord. Not only is his relationship with Allah good but he also maintains a good relationship with other people

May Allah s.w.t. bless us and our families with taufiq and inayah to humble ourselves to Him, so that we are able to fulfil all of Allah’s commands in this world, to gain His pleasure and forgiveness in the hereafter. Amin Ya Rabbal Alamin.

Majlis Ugama Islam Singapura
Friday Sermon, 21 February 2014 / 21 Rabiulakhir 1435

Older Posts »

Categories

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 185 other followers