Dear blessed Friday jemaah,
Let us take the opportunity of this noble Friday to strengthen our resolve to increase our takwa towards Allah s.w.t. My brothers, let us heed Allah commands in full obedience and avoid what Allah has prohibited upon us. In striving to do so, let us emulate Prophet Muhammad s.a.w.
I would like to take the opportunity of today’s gathering to call upon all of us to reflect upon a story narrated in the book of Tabaqat Ibn Sa’ad. It goes as such: There was once when Sayyidina Fatimah r.a, came to her father with a piece of bread. Nabi s.a.w asked her: “What is this oh Fatimah?” Fatimah replied: “I have brought a piece of bread. I feel restless my dear father, until I have brought this piece of bread for you.” And Rasulullah said: “Indeed this is my first meal since the past three days.”
Subhanallah! How amazing is the character of Allah’s Messenger who has stepped into the gardens of Paradise when Allah rose him to the heavens (the event of Isra’ and Mi’raj). This noble man chose to lead a humble lifestyle, even though he was the leader of his country and the leader of the ummah. In fact, the poverty that he felt was also felt by his children and family. Sayidina Ibn Abbas r.a. said:
Which means: “Rasulullah and his family had to starve for several nights consecutively because there was no food.”
In another hadith narrated by Imam Bukhari and Muslim, Sayidina Umar ibn Khattab r.a. once cried in sadness because he was moved by the marks on the Prophet’s body left by the mattress made of palm fronds used by the Prophet.
These stories and many more similar stories, tell us of the life of Rasulullah s.a.w. Although he faced poverty and lack of comforts in life, Rasulullah s.a.w. has never whined or questioned Allah’s will. In fact, he still worked hard to increase his acts of worship as a sign of a grateful servant of Allah. Rasulullah s.a.w. was conscious that every minute and second, we are enjoying the blessings Allah has bestowed upon us. It is up to us whether we choose to realise it or otherwise.
My dear brothers,
Let us pay attention to what Allah s.w.t has said in surah Luqman, verse 20:
Which means : “Do you not see that Allah has made subject to you whatever is in the heavens and whatever is in the earth and amply bestowed upon you His favours, [both] apparent and unapparent? But of the people is he who disputes about Allah without knowledge or guidance or an enlightening Book [from Him].”
Sometimes, we think that the bounty of Allah’s favours is only in the tangible form. We express our gratitude only when our salaries have been raised, when we have been promoted and so on. However, when Allah s.w.t. takes back these tangible favours that He has bestowed upon us, then we start to whine, question Allah’s fairness and maybe even forget to be thankful for the thousands of other nikmat (blessings) that Allah has continuously showered upon us.
Do not become like some of Allah’s servants who find it very hard to be grateful to Allah s.w.t. as Allah has mentioned in the Quran in surah Saba’ verse 13:
Which means: “and [remember that] few are the truly grateful [even] among My servants!”
This is a characteristic of the Prophet that we should emulate. Only a heart that is constantly in gratitude will be at ease and feel calm. Let us not be like some people who are constantly complaining about every other matter and what Allah has determined for them, and feel that they should not be given as such. I am sure we have met such individuals. For example, a couple who has been given children, and then they complain or regret having children and wishes for the opposite, while others are pining for the joy of having a family.
In fact, because we lead a very comfortable life in Singapore as compared to many others in other countries, we may easily become people who are ungrateful if we are not careful. For example, sometimes we may complain about weak Wi-Fi signals or slow Internet connection, when for some people in other countries, Wi-Fi is a luxury for them and a very valuable tool in accessing knowledge and information. We may grumble that our smartphones are not the latest model with the most advanced technology, while others elsewhere are grateful simply with having a simple mobile phone to enable them to communicate with the family and friends.
My brothers, we should be aware that if we fail to be grateful for all these blessings with sincerity – not just paying lip service – then our hearts will never be at ease. We will always be caught up in the chase for worldly comforts and material wants and may even forget about the true objective of our existence on this earth, which is to seek Allah’s pleasures through doing good deeds.
When one is grateful to Allah s.w.t., he will strive to make use of all of the favours Allah has granted upon him for noble purposes, in order to reap Allah’s pleasures. His wealth will be spent through halal means and ways that Allah s.w.t will be pleased with. The education and upbringing of his children and wife will be prioritised in order to gain Allah’s love. His energy, his sight, hearing and in fact his entire body will be used to fulfil the commands of Allah and His messenger. He does not simply desire what is not his but in fact, he is grateful for the blessings that Allah has bestowed upon him, and makes use of them to the best of his ability.
Only when we can link the blessings we are given in this world to that sense of gratitude, then it can be our provision for the hereafter and not as a distraction from the hereafter. This was the character of Rasulullah s.a.w. which we should strive to uphold. We strive for material success as a means towards bringing ourselves closer to eternal success in the hereafter.
May Allah s.w.t. grant our entire family love for Allah and His Messenger. May the love be the kind of love that will drive us to strive hard to emulate Prophet Muhammad s.a.w., enliven his Sunnah and hold on to his message to guide our lives. Amin Ya Rabbal Alamin.
Majlis Ugama Islam Singapura
Friday Sermon, 10 January 2013 / 8 Rabiulawal 1435