Dear blessed Friday Jemaah,
Let us come together and appreciate the beautiful attributes of Allah s.w.t. the Most Noble and the Most Praiseworthy. Hopefully by doing so, it will enhance our takwa in obeying all of Allah’s commands and avoiding what Allah has prohibited upon us.
Allow me to begin today’s sermon with a story narrated by Imam Al-Baihaqi in his book Syu’ab Al-Iman:
Once, while he was travelling, Saidina Ibn Umar r.a. met a shepherd. He decided to test the piety (takwa) of the shepherd and so Ibn Umar asked: "Dear sir, why don’t you sell one of your sheep from your large flock?" The shepherd did not want to sell even one sheep to Ibn Umar because he was just the shepherd and not the owner of the herd. Ibn Umar then said: "Just sell one to me, it’s not as if your master will know that you have sold it; just tell him that his sheep was eaten by a wolf ". The shepherd replied: "If I were to say so to my master, what then would I say to Allah in the hereafter?"
Subhanallah, my brothers, just reflect upon how deep the takwa of this shepherd is! It rose from his sense of awareness that it is enough for him that Allah will protect him. This is one of the gems of wisdom which we can learn from the noble attributes of Allah s.w.t., which is Al-Muhaimin, meaning The Protector. It is only Allah who protects all His creations to ensure their safety and peace. Allah s.w.t. says in surah Al-Hasyr verse 23:
Which means: ” He is Allah, other than whom there is no deity, the Sovereign, the Pure, the Perfection, the Bestower of Faith, the Protector, the Exalted in Might, the Compeller, the Superior. Exalted is Allah above whatever they associate with Him.”
This verse explains that among the attributes of Allah s.w.t. is Al-Muhaimin, which means always protecting and watching over His creations; Allah oversees their daily activities including their sustenance (rizq), their births and their deaths. Allah protects and is aware of all of us, in fact every step made by His creations that are still alive, and those that have passed on are all watched over and cared for by Allah, Al-Muhaimin.
We need to reflect and ponder upon the question that was posed by Saidina Ibn Umar r.a. to the shepherd. Sometimes, we find that some servants of Allah have put aside or perhaps have lost their religious considerations, to the point that they are willing to consume from haram sources such as taking from the right of the heirs of inheritance (faraid). Some do not bother about the importance of acts of worship such as solat (prayer).
Then there are those who abandon their responsibilities towards their family, ignoring the rights of the wife and children. My brothers, how then would we answer to Allah s.w.t. in the hereafter? When we stand on both legs in the field of Mahsyar, as Allah s.w.t. judges us?
Thus, we need to be aware of our conscience and be mindful of what we say or even the thoughts that we hide from others. Whether the feelings are suppressed within us, or problems that we face or even through the outpouring of our hearts; it is all known by Allah s.w.t. Allah wants to always be close to us because He is the one who protects us. He is the one who ensures that we are sufficient. Among the signs that Allah is The Protector is that everything that lives on this earth has its purpose to facilitate humankind in our lives. Just observe how the sun, the air, water, plants and all, function to enable us to get sources of food, water, to help us breathe, and there are also many other sources of materials that we can use for constructing buildings and so on.
By observing how the ecology and the earth’s system was created for the good of humankind, we will realise the greatness of Allah’s protection towards humankind. Allah s.w.t. says 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].”
Secondly, by deeply understanding the name Al-Muhaimin, it should give rise to a feeling of dependence and placing our hopes only on Allah. Let us reflect upon a saying of Rasulullah s.a.w.:
Which means: “If you ask, ask from Allah, and if you seek help, seek it from Allah.” [Hadith narrated by Imam At-Tirmidzi]
Always seek to be under the care and protection of Allah s.w.t. If any of us, or our family members, are tested with trials in life, such as being sexually attracted to someone of the same gender, then seek Allah’s protection to be able to pass this test.
Remember, Allah is always ready to hear our pleas for help and is even more eager to grant them. Bring yourselves to face Al-Muhaimin because indeed, He is the one who takes care of our affairs.
May Allah s.w.t. protect and preserve us and our families from the bad elements (influences) in this world and the hereafter. Amin Ya Rabbal Alamin.
Majlis Ugama Islam Singapura
Friday Sermon, 14 February 2014 / 14 Rabiulakhir 1435