Dear blessed Friday Jemaah,
Every Friday we are given constant reminders and advice, our hearts are nurtured to listen to beautiful verses of the Quran and we are called to strengthen our takwa. Let us further heighten our sense of takwa towards Allah s.w.t. by obeying His commands and avoiding what Allah has prohibited upon us.
Every year we recall important events in the Islamic history. And among the important events that we recall and reflect upon is that of the journey of Isra’ and Mikraj. This event is a testament of Allah’s might and Allah’s greatness. Allah s.w.t. says in the Quran, regarding the truth of Isra’ and Mikraj, in surah Al-Israa’ verse 1:
Which means: “Exalted is He who took His Servant by night from al-Masjid al-Haram to al-Masjid al- Aqsa, whose surroundings We have blessed, to show him of Our signs. Indeed, He is the Hearing, the Seeing.”
The event of Isra’ and Mikraj happened after a series of events that caused sadness to the Prophet s.a.w. This journey took place after the Year of Sadness “Amul Huzn” which saw the passing of the beloved wife of Rasulullah s.a.w., Saiyidatina Khadijah r.a, and the Prophet’s uncle, Abu Talib, who took care of him since he was a boy. Furthermore, efforts by Prophet Muhammad s.a.w. to spread the message of Islam to the people of Taif were rejected and ridiculed by them. Thus, scholars or ulama have concluded that the event of Isra’ and Mikraj is an event sent by Allah to honour His Beloved Messenger Muhammad s.a.w, for this is when the command for prayer (solat) was given and various signs of His Greatness were shown.
If we study the various hadiths that captured the journey of Nabi s.a.w. and look at the events Rasulullah s.a.w. had witnessed during Isra’ and Mikraj, we will find that Rasulullah was shown the beauty of Paradise and its dwellers. Let us reflect upon this hadith, which talks about the allure of Paradise:
Which means: Rasulullah s.a.w. was once asked about Paradise and he answered: " He who would get into Paradise would live forever, would enjoy everlasting bliss that he would neither become destitute, nor would his clothes wear out, nor his youth would decline. Rasulullah s.a.w. was asked again: Ya Rasulullah, how about the buildings? He replied: Bricks of gold and silver, and mortar of fragrant musk, pebbles of pearl and sapphire, and soil of saffron. [Hadith narrated Ibn Abi Shaibah]
Subhanallah, doesn’t it excite our hearts to hear of this hadith that talks about the beauty of the gardens in Paradise, the tranquillity and serenity that awaits every believer! Life in this world is never free from all sorts of trials and tribulations, what more for those of us who are adults and bear many responsibilities. So just imagine life in the Hereafter as shared by Rasulullah s.a.w. in the hadith above; a life filled with serenity, calmness and eternal bliss. Based on this, Imam Ahmad bin Hanbal, when asked by his child: My dear father, when is it the time for us to rest? He replied: When you take your first step into Paradise (then that is the time to rest). [Tabaqaat Hanabilah]
There are many hadith that describes the beauty and allure of Paradise. However, I would like to share a short hadith about the Paradise that will entered by the last person who is admitted to Paradise. That person will be admitted to the lowest Paradise. This is to help us imagine just how magnificent the Gardens of Paradise created by Allah.
In a hadith narrated by Imam Al-Bukhari and Muslim, Rasulullah s.a.w. talks about the last person who will be admitted into Allah’s Paradise. Imagine, Allah will grant that person a Paradise that is ten times wider than this earth. The Prophet s.a.w. laughed when he shared the story and said: “That is the lowest Paradise”.
If this Paradise is the lowest, then what would the highest Paradise be like? How about the Paradise of those who will become neighbours with Nabi Muhammad s.a.w.? In fact, how about the Paradise for those who take care of orphans? The Prophet s.a.w. promised that those who take care of orphans will be those closest to him in Paradise. How about the Paradise for those who carried out their obligations and responsibilities to their families?
Those who aspire to be given a place in Paradise should uphold the practices of the dwellers of Paradise. These practices are those that would attain Allah’s pleasure, such as acts of worships, which include prayers, paying zakat and so on. Good deeds such as helping individuals and charitable acts such as wakaf and making donations are also part of those practices. So these are the acts and deeds that will bring one closer to Jannah (Paradise).
Besides just increasing our good deeds, we should also realise that a noble akhlak, or good manners, can help one to attain Allah’s pleasure and His Paradise. A noble akhlak – being truthful, trustworthy, and courteous and so on – is pertinent in Islam. Rasulullah s.a.w. said in a hadith, which means: “Nothing is weightier on the Scale of Deeds than one’s good manners”. [Hadith narrated by Abu Dawud]
Hence, those who wish to attain ease, comfort and tranquillity in the Hereafter, would have to be conscious of their deeds, and ensure that they are in line with the deeds of those who have been promised Paradise. Let us make the effort to deepen our Islamic knowledge, and learn about the habits and practices loved by Allah and those upheld by the Prophet and his beloved companions.
May Allah s.w.t. grant us taufiq and the ability to use all the blessings that Allah has given to us to achieve goodness, attain His pleasure and His forgiveness and mercy, insyallah. Amin Ya Rabbal Alamin.
Majlis Ugama Islam Singapura
Friday Sermon, 23 May 2014 / 23 Rejab 1435