August 24, 2011

Ramadan Nights

We praise Allah and we seek His blessings and peace upon the Prophet, his family, companions and those who follow him.

We gather here tonight to remember Allah and increase our faith. What a blessing! Tonight is Saturday and I'm sure there are a lot of other places we could be. It is a sign that there is a lot of good in our young brothers and sisters that they fought their nuffs, prayed tarawih and are here to listen to this talk. A talk and gathering that is surrounded by the malaikah. I'm very proud of you all and pray that Allah will forgive you and shower you with His blessings and I want to welcome you. "Let's give a few moments to work on our faith. "This was the statement of the Companions [may Allah be pleased with them]. Thus, following in their footsteps lets "Give a few moments for our faith."

Faith is something very dynamic it goes up and down. For that reason you will find good days and bad days. When your faith is high you will find it easier to deal with the waves of life that seek to drown you. For example, you will find it easy to forgive your wife when she makes a mistake and you, our dear sisters, will find it easy, to forgive your husbands. In general, when faith is high things go easier and life seems to be much sweeter.

Faith is the gas that runs the believer. It is that feeling in our chests that causes us to pray two more rakat, give an extra dime towards charity, lower our gaze or to forgive someone who has wronged us. It is what links us with the bravery of Hamza, the foresight of Abu Bakr, the great character of 'Aisha, the sabar of Um Salamah, the Heroics of Salahu Din, the abstinence of al-Ghazzali, the fortitude of Ibn Tammiyah and the bravery of Malcolm [may Allah be pleased with them all]. You see that feeling, that buzz, that warmth in your heart, is a shared feeling between the people of faith. It knows no time, place, tribe or click but is a gift that Allah puts in the hearts of those who submit to Him and struggle their best to be good people. Allah [the most high] says, "Indeed, the believers are only brothers. "Thus, when a young Muslim decides to forgo the club or any forbidden action choosing what is with Allah he will understand the plight of Yusuf and his choosing the prison over what Allah had forbidden. Thus, faith is a special relation that exists between us.

Faith represents the wings by which we fly and the crutches with which we walk. It is what defines our relationship with Allah for that is what it is. I know that there are a number of famous words for faith: eman and aqidah. However, I want us to look at faith as a relationship between us and Allah. And since faith is always going up and down Allah [the exalted] has given us a large number of tools to protect and increase our faith. This is because faith is the most valuable thing we have. The Prophet [peace and blessings of Allah be upon him was asked] "What is the best action?" He replied, "Faith in God." There are so many promises for the people of faith mentioned in the Quran and Sunna that would lead one to conclude that faith is something very valuable:

1. True success is for the people of faith

2. Peace of heart and mind

3. Ease in the grave

4. Ease in being reckoned

5. Quickly passing over the sirat

6. Paradise

7. Meeting the Prophet and drinking from his blessed hands

8. Seeing Allah in the Hereafter

One day in Egypt I decided to visit the Museum with my family. While we were there we decided to visit the famous mummy collection. Wow! You should have seen what it was like trying to get into that place. You have to pay another special fee; there is another metal detector, going in and out, and a large number of security guards as well. A few weeks ago a brother was showing me his new I-Phone. I must admit that it was really impressive but the one thing I noticed was that it was in a case. The other day I left my house with my computer and my wife scolded me, "Put it in its case." The obvious conclusion here is that it is not enough for us to own things of value. But when things are seen as truly valuable we protect them.

Now, since we've established that the most valuable thing is faith I would like to ask you a question: what has Allah chosen to protect faith? Let us think for a moment on this issue. For, indeed, the most valuable of commodities must be placed in the best case.

The Prophet [may Allah's peace and blessings be upon him] informed us that the Hearts of the believers are the vessels of Allah [the most exalted]. Thus, the heart, dear brother and sister, that beats in your chest is the case, the safe and the vault by which your faith is protected. For that reason, it is important that we keep our hearts clean and protect them.

Allah [the exalted] out of his great mercy for us not only orders us to protect our faith but gave us certain tools to protect and strengthen it and the case with which it resides.

1. Prayer- a daily protection

2. Jum'ah- a weekly protection

3. Can any of you think of a yearly protection? Yes, mashallah, the month of Ramadan! Ramadan was seen as such an advantageous time for faith that the scholars used to refer to it as, "The market for the people of eman."

This month is upon us and represents a great mercy. The Prophet informed us that, during this month, the gates of Heaven are opened, the gates of Hell are closed and the devils are chained. Ibn al-Khuzaimah's narration adds, "That every night a caller states "O seeker of Good! Accept the good! Oh doer of evil refrain from evil!" Sh. Yusuf al-Qaradawi states that, "It is as though Allah is saying, "Oh negligent one! You have neglected My service for 11 months. Here, out of my mercy is one month. If you take advantage of it you will be forgiven and can start anew free of sins!"

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