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:
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:
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:
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