Dear blessed Friday Jemaah,
Let us strive to increase our takwa to Allah s.w.t. Obey His commandments. Leave behind what Allah has prohibited upon us. Let us hold firmly to the true teachings of Islam. May each and everyone of us be protected from deviating from the straight path.
Throughout this month, we have heard sermons that talk about the importance of faith or iman. It is important for us to constantly remind each other about issues concerning one’s faith. Especially in today’s developed world where many people are susceptible to an emptiness of their souls because they are too busy chasing material wealth or fulfilling the demands of their hectic lives in this world.
This is a phenomenon of the industrial society. An empty soul can easily be filled with various ideas, and so we must be careful about the sources of Islamic knowledge that we seek. We should ensure that we are seeking knowledge from the true sources that can fill our empty souls.
A strong faith is built on the foundation of knowledge that is muktabar (true and authentic). We know that with knowledge, a believer (mukmin) can continue with his life in this world, obeying what will gain Allah’s pleasure in order to achieve eternal bliss and success in the hereafter. Allah s.w.t. says in surah As-Saba’ verse 6, which speaks of the advantages of a learned person:
Which means: “And those who have been given knowledge see that what is revealed to you from your Lord is the truth, and it guides to the path of the Exalted in Might, the Praiseworthy.”
Through this verse, Allah s.w.t. firmly states that knowledge is a factor for one to receive Allah’s guidance. It is through knowledge that we can strengthen our akidah (belief) and faith. Armed with knowledge, one will be able to face the sea of religious information, whether the information is found in books, other publications or through various site on the Internet, and be able to discern between truth and falsehood, authentic sources and those that are questionable. Indeed, this is the role of religious knowledge for every individual.
However, in seeking knowledge, especially in today’s age, there are three groups that we can identify.
The first group: Those who want things to be done fast.
This group consists of individuals who want to gain religious knowledge quickly. They do not bother about the authenticity of the information that they receive, as long as their queries or questions are answered. They are driven to simply use the Internet and various applications that we can find today as the only source of religious knowledge. We should be aware that those in this group may end up confused and may be led astray in their enthusiasm to understand religious texts.
Friday jemaah, the tradition of seeking knowledge during the time of Rasulullah s.a.w. is to seek knowledge from a person who is more knowledgeable. Thus, there exists an actual relationship between the teacher and the student. This is because explanations given by scholars regarding various religious texts have to be taken into consideration in our attempt to understand them. This is also to ensure that we can truly understand the meaning behind the text that we come across.
Second group: They want to take the easy route.
This group wants to take the easiest route to Allah s.w.t. They also want to take shortcuts in practicing the religion and fulfilling their obligations. This group may easily be taken in by claims from deviant groups who “promote” shortcuts to bring one closer to Allah s.w.t. For example: Teachers that claim whomever who follows him will be guaranteed a place Paradise, or those who claim that by making zikr or recitations taught by his group, that is sufficient to earn the follower a place in Paradise, or claims that fardh prayers (the five daily prayers) are not obligatory upon his followers.
These are just some examples of the many deviant teachings, which simply give false promises to attract those who lack knowledge of Islam.
Friday Jemaah, we should realise that there is no shortcut to Allah s.w.t. If indeed there were shortcuts, it would have been taught to us by Prophet Muhammad s.a.w. However, Rasulullah s.a.w. and his companions showed us that the path to Paradise is often filled with trials and tribulations and various challenges and countless sacrifices. Rasulullah s.a.w. said:
Which means: “The Fire has been surrounded by lusts and desires and the Paradise by hardships.” [Hadith narrated by Imam Muslim]
There is then the third group, that is the group that seeks knowledge in the right manner, which is by deepening their understanding of Islamic knowledge. These are individuals who strive to learn the methodology or ways to understand the Quran and the Sunnah of Rasulullah s.a.w. Quranic texts and Sunnah texts are complex and open to various interpretations. Thus, this is where we should not just say that we want to follow the Quran and Sunnah but also understand and learn how the scholars understand the Quran and Sunnah.
Allah has blessed those in the third group with the love for knowledge. They will always strive to attain a higher level of knowledge. For example: If this year they are not yet able to recite the Quran, then they will attempt to seek knowledge and learn until they are able to read and not just that, but also understand the contents of the Quran. They will seek to learn from an ustaz, and ensure they establish a teacher-student relationship with him, and not only with one ustaz but many others certified religious teachers, understanding and researching the sources of knowledge and the information received.
Blessed Friday Jemaah,
We ask from Allah to grant us the love for knowledge and those who are learned. And hopefully, we will always be protected by Allah and be granted His guidance that may help us and our families Kita guard our akidah and strengthen our iman. May Allah protect this community that we love, to be on the path of His Syariah, as taught by Rasulullah s.a.w. Amin Ya Rabbal ‘Alamin.