Home Faqihul Ummah Mawa`iz (Discourses) Discourse 4 - The Reality of Gratitude

Discourse 4 - The Reality of Gratitude

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نحمده و نصلي على رسوله الكريم

أعوذ بالله من الشيطن الرجيم   بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم

لَئِن شَكَرْتُمْ لَأَزِيدَنَّكُمْ وَلَئِن كَفَرْتُمْ إِنَّ عَذَابِي لَشَدِيدٌ

Allah Ta’ala states in the Qur’aan-e-Kareem:

لَئِن شَكَرْتُمْ لَأَزِيدَنَّكُمْ وَلَئِن كَفَرْتُمْ إِنَّ عَذَابِي لَشَدِيدٌ

“If you continue to be grateful to Me, I will continue to increase My favours on you and if you are ungrateful, then verily My punishment is severe.” (Ebrahim:7)

It is essential that we continuously ponder over the bounties of Allah Ta’ala.

Is it not a great favour of His that He has given us the taufeeq to fast? Observe and see how many people are dishonouring the month of Ramadhaan by eating and drinking candidly. Allah Ta’ala has saved us from this sin.

There are two ways in which the laws of Allah Ta’ala are transgressed:

Covertly or secretly. For example a person steals and others are aware of his actions but he is not caught.

Overtly or openly flouting the laws of Allah Ta’ala. To break the law is tantamount to protesting against the law.

The divine law in the month of Ramadhaan is to fast the entire day. Many food establishments are open during the day for business. They serve their customers with food and drink. Alas, some of them do not even know if the month of Ramadhaan has come or gone.

This is a flagrant transgression of Allah Ta’ala’s divine law in a collective manner. It is mentioned in the hadeeth that when drinking alcohol and playing music will become rampant and Allah Ta’ala will be disobeyed openly and there will be none to correct them, it is very likely that Allah Ta’ala will send a general punishment upon the people. أوشك الله أن يعمّهم بعذاب

This punishment will seize everybody, those who perpetrated the wrong deeds as well as those who did not. Hence, the owners of these establishments should not think that they are absolved of any wrongdoing. They are equally guilty of this crime. These people, despite not being a direct party to the sin, will still be held answerable for their actions.

Open transgression

A father sees his son not fasting but he does not admonish him. However, if that very same son came late to the shop or did not go to work, then see how angry the father becomes and how sternly he will reprimand him. If the son refuses to help in the family business, the father becomes enraged. If he abandons the family traditions, he is discarded. I know of a family where the males keep thick long moustaches and shave their beards. This is contrary to the hadeeth which commands us to lengthen the beard and clip the moustache.

When the Bani Israeel complained of eating mann and salwaa and instead wanted dhaal and onions, they were instructed to enter a certain town prostrating and saying:

وَادْخُلُوا الْبَابَ سُجَّدًا وَقُولُوا حِطَّةٌ

“O our Sustainer! Forgive our sins and shortcomings.” (al-Baqarah:58)

But what did they do? They entered the town, lying on their backs, stretching out their legs and insolently calling out:

حِنْطَة – “We want wheat,” instead of, حِنْطَة – “Forgive us.”

This is the condition of those who earn the wrath of Allah Ta’ala. They openly violate the commands of Allah Ta’ala and His Rasul (sallallahu alaihi wasallam).

Rasulullah (sallallahu alaihi wasallam) commanded us to lengthen our beards and clip our moustaches. A certain family’s custom was contrary to this. A boy from this family reached the age of puberty and did not abide by the family custom. His father reproached him and threatened to disown him and even deprive him of his inheritance. Eventually he was disowned by his father and thrown out of the house, simply because he was not ‘respecting’ the family tradition.

A burning concern

This family custom was so revered that the failure of the son to practise upon it resulted in the father renouncing him and throwing him out of the house. But if this same son disobeys the laws of Allah Ta’ala, does not perform salaah or keep roza; the father remains silent. Then there are no threats and no promises of punishments.

Will the father not be questioned on the Day of Qiyaamah? Did you not become angered when the sunnah of Rasulullah (sallallahu alaihi wasallam) was violated? Did you value your moustache more than Our command and the sunnah of Our Rasulullah (sallallahu alaihi wasallam)? What answer will the father give? There can be no reply from him!

Nowadays, if a father is asked: “Why did you not tell your child to perform salaah?”

“I told him but he does not listen, so what can I do?” Regretfully, this will be his retort. He will then proceed to lecture us on the merits and demerits of good actions. “He is going to sleep in his grave and I am going to sleep in mine.”

Yes, this is correct that he is going to sleep in his grave and you are going to sleep in yours but remember: If all the houses of a village have thatched roofs and one foolish person sets his roof alight, what will the neighbours do? Will they reason in this way that since his house is burning, how does it concern us? No. The entire neighbourhood will come to his rescue and try to extinguish the fire as quickly as possible. Even if the immediate neighbour is his enemy, he will be the first to try and extinguish the fire. If anyone points out to him that this is his enemy’s house, what will be his reply? He will say that his enemy’s house will not burn alone. The fire will engulf everyone’s home.

So as far as worldly matters are concerned, we do not say that he is going to sleep in his grave and I am going to sleep in mine. We only utter these statements when it pertains to matters of deen. This manner of reasoning is extremely detrimental. Rasulullah (sallallahu alaihi wasallam) has mentioned that when the disobedience of Allah Ta’ala will become rife and no one will endeavour to correct them, then await such a punishment that will seize one and all. No respite will be given to anyone.

If the son does not perform salaah, no one has the courage to reprimand him. If he shaves his beard, no one has the capability of rebuking him. If he drinks alcohol no one has the ability of reproaching him. If he disobeys the laws of Allah Ta’ala no one tells him anything. But dare he disobey the father in worldly matters then everyone starts fuming and reprimands him. What a great injustice this is!

Baghdad

This is why Allah Ta’ala has declared:

لَئِن شَكَرْتُمْ لَأَزِيدَنَّكُمْ وَلَئِن كَفَرْتُمْ إِنَّ عَذَابِي لَشَدِيدٌ

“If you are grateful, I will increase My favours on you, and if you are ungrateful, then indeed My punishment is severe.” (Ebrahim:7)

When the punishment of Allah Ta’ala strikes – may Allah protect us – no one can be saved. The pages of history are replete with such incidents and reports. If you have to read about the condition in Baghdad and what happened at the time of the revolt your hair will stand on end.

The Muslim rulers, intoxicated with power, had oppressed and persecuted the disbelievers. They were the downtrodden people of the society. An old man climbed to the peak of a mountain, raised his hands and supplicated:

“O lord of the Muslims.” He did not supplicate to his gods. “The Muslims claim to be just. Is this how your beloved servants should be treating us? Is this justice?”

“Attack the Muslims. Our help is with you,” was the reply received from the unseen.

The old man gathered his people and attacked the Muslims. Those who were slaves, who were the oppressed, whose rights were not recognised by the government and with whom trade dealings were not conducted in a fair and honest manner and who were forced to live like animals, attacked the Muslims. They annihilated the Muslims. It is recorded in Tareekh Al-Kaamil of Ibn-ul-Atheer that a group of 150 armed Muslim soldiers were fleeing for their lives when a person from the Tartars saw them.

“Where are you all going?” he shouted. “Wait here! I don’t have a knife. I will retrieve my knife from my tent, and slaughter all of you.”

The feet of the Muslims froze. They could not move. The Tartary brought his knife and commanded the 150 Muslims to lie down. They lied down and he slaughtered the lot like chickens. This was the amount of awe struck into the hearts of the Muslims. The reason for it was the disobedience of Allah Ta’ala. They had unjustly treated Allah Ta’ala’s creation, hence Allah Ta’ala had caused their destruction at the hands of the Tartars.

Fifty Muslims were hiding at a certain place. A Tartary woman came and sliced them like how vegetables are sliced into pieces. Approximately 1.4 million Muslims were killed out of a population of two million. What was the reason for this annihilation? This was the divine punishment of Allah Ta’ala unleashed upon the people. They had openly and flagrantly transgressed the laws of Allah Ta’ala and no effort was made to rectify them. When open transgression becomes prevalent, divine punishment will certainly descend.

“I foresee the streets of Delhi flowing with blood”

This type of divine punishment occurred in India as well. Hadhrat Shah Waliyyullah رحمة الله عليه went from door to door in Delhi pleading:

“O Slaves of Allah! Refrain from the disobedience of Allah. I foresee the streets of Delhi flowing with blood.”

But the people did not believe him. “This is the only work Molvis can do. They are all mentally demented.”

Eventually whatever was decreed, took place. A calamity and disaster befell upon them to such an extent that we cannot even fathom it. May Allah Ta’ala save us! May Allah Ta’ala save us!

Ahmad Shah Abdaali and Naadir Shah had come to attack the kingdom. When the king was informed of this he boldly said: “Do not worry about that. Bring me another glass. The best thing to do with this letter is to drown it.” He took the letter, immersed it in a glass of wine and roared: “Bring me another glass.”

When the enemy reached the royal gates, the ministers had no other recourse but to welcome them and honour them as the royal guests. After the enemy had eaten, the king who was lying down in a drunken stupor shouted:

“Kill them. Kill them. Kill the army of Naadir.”

“O dear,” sighed Naadir Shah. “It seems as if this invitation was a ruse.”

He sat on the wall of the Sanhari Musjid in Delhi and withdrew his sword. This was an indication to launch a total onslaught. The bridge of the Jamna River was congested with dead bodies. So many people were killed and flung into the river that it ceased to flow. The Jami Musjid of Delhi, the Musjid of Fatah Puri and the Qadhi pond were filled with dead bodies and truly, the streets and galleys of Delhi flowed with blood. Shah Waliyyullah رحمة الله عليه had foreseen this tragic event.

Eventually, a few influential people managed to secretly arrange a meeting with Naadir Shah. They placed their turbans at his feet and begged him: “This fight is between two kings. What did the innocent people do to deserve this type of punishment? Why are they being slaughtered in this manner?”

After this intercession, Naadir Shah sheathed his sword and the slaughter terminated.

Haramain Shareefain

These genocides occurred many a times, at different places, in history. It occurred in Makkah Mukarramah and Madinah Munawwarah as well. The pages of history are replete with such incidents.

Why did these events take place? These events occurred when the respect for Allah Ta’ala came out of the people’s hearts. They began sinning openly and their hearts were unaffected by it.

If someone slaps a person’s son, he becomes affected by it and is prepared to defend his child. But when the commands of Allah Ta’ala are openly flouted and the ahaadeeth of Rasulullah (sallallahu alaihi wasallam) are trampled upon, then this does not affect him in any way. This is a very serious matter. Allah Ta’ala does not like this type of injustice and He becomes very angry.

The rule of the Tartars

In Baghdad, of the 2 million Muslims, 1.4 million were killed. Thereafter, those who had taken up the courage to kill the Muslims, who were previously treated like slaves and who had been the downtrodden people of the society, called up a meeting and said: “We had not asked for assistance from our Gods but rather we had asked the God of the Muslims for help. He had heard our call and responded to it. So it seems that the religion of Islam is true. These Muslims did not remain steadfast on their religion. They did not abide by the commands of Islam. Hence, they were disgraced. Now we understand. Therefore, we shall all accept Islam.” Thus they accepted Islam.

وَإِن تَتَوَلَّوْا يَسْتَبْدِلْ قَوْمًا غَيْرَكُمْ ثُمَّ لَا يَكُونُوا أَمْثَالَكُم

“And if you turn away (from the obedience of Allah Ta’ala) He will replace you with another people who will be better than you.” (Muhammad:38)

The tragedy of these people was that, despite being Muslims, they had incurred the wrath of Allah Ta’ala. The divine punishment had destroyed them. Successful were those who had killed them and thereafter accepted Islam. They went on to rule Baghdad for 16-17 generations. This is why it is stated in the Qur’aan:

لَئِن شَكَرْتُمْ لَأَزِيدَنَّكُمْ وَلَئِن كَفَرْتُمْ إِنَّ عَذَابِي لَشَدِيدٌ

“If you are grateful, I will increase My favours upon you. But if you are ungrateful, indeed My punishment is severe.” (Ebrahim:7)

The punishment of Allah Ta’ala is indeed a thing to be feared. See, what a great favour it is of Allah Ta’ala that He has given this entire gathering the taufeeq of fasting. What a great favour it is of Allah Ta’ala that He has given us the taufeeq of performing taraaweeh salaah and listening to the Qur’aan recited by the huffaaz. What a great favour is it of Allah Ta’ala that He has allowed us to be gathered here in peace and comfort. How many people are, right now, involved in stealing, visiting escort agencies, fighting with one another, catching thieves, etc.?

Allah Ta’ala has saved us from these actions. Allah Ta’ala has given us the opportunity to perform salaah in peace, read Qur’aan in peace, make His tasbeeh in peace and engage in His ibaadat in peace. What a great favour is it of Allah Ta’ala that none of us have to cook, make tea or buy goods from the markets. He has made the arrangements for all of these things for us. Allah Ta’ala has arranged food for us by inspiring the people with these thoughts, “My servants have come here to spend Ramadhaan. They will be fasting and sitting in i’tikaaf. So, see to their needs.”

Value your time

Therefore, we need to value our time. We should not waste it in futile conversation. Time is precious and futile conversation is dangerous. Your every breath is like a string of pearls. How much work can be done in a single breath? How many times Subhanallah, Alhamdulillah, durood shareef or surah Ikhlaas can be recited in one breath. Great benefit and rewards are accrued in continuous recitation of durood shareef, Qur’aan Shareef and performance of Salaah. All these actions will bring an increase in Allah Ta’ala’s bounties.

Allah Ta’ala has blessed us with good health. Many people are afflicted with very serious illnesses. Today a woman from this area had passed away. I had heard she was afflicted with a very debilitating sickness. Her family tried to stop her from fasting, but they failed. She partook of sehri despite the seriousness of her illness and began to fast. Allah Ta’ala called her in the state of fasting.

That person who passes away in the month of Ramadhaan, will insha-Allah, not be taken to account and will not be questioned in the grave. This is also a great favour of Allah Ta’ala. It is therefore imperative that we value our time, ponder over the favours of Allah Ta’ala and take advantage of these favours. To a great degree we should look after, and use to our benefit, the favours of youth, health and free time. These are very great favours indeed!

The fasting of Abdullah bin Amr bin ‘Aas (radhiyallahu anhu)

Hadhrat Abdullah bin Amr bin Aas (radhiyallahu anhu) used to fast everyday. Rasulullah (sallallahu alaihi wasallam) learnt about this and enquired from him whether this information was true. He replied in the affirmative. Rasulullah (sallallahu alaihi wasallam) prevented him from doing so and advised him to fast on the 13th, 14th and 15th of every month. He requested permission to fast more often since he was still young. He continued asking for permission, to fast regularly, until Rasulullah (sallallahu alaihi wasallam) instructed him to fast every second day.

This is the way our pious predecessors valued their youth i.e. by using their strength for the ibaadat of Allah Ta’ala. Most of today’s youngsters are involved in some vice or another. They claim to be the servants of the Sahaabah (radhiyallahu anhum), but their lifestyle is in complete contradiction to that of Sahaabah (radhiyallahu anhum).

Sa’d bin Abi Waqqaas (radhiyallahu anhu) and the animal skin

When youth, wealth and free time are gifted to an individual, know well that the source of corruption is also found in them. However, by using these very three favours advantageously, one can earn the pleasure of Allah Ta’ala and acquire a very high status in the sight of Allah Ta’ala.

The lifestyle of our pious predecessors was such that once Hadhrat Sa’d bin Abi Waqqaas (radhiyallahu anhu) was walking in the city when someone flung some dirt in his path. Embedded in that heap of dirt, was a piece of animal skin. Hadhrat Sa’d (radhiyallahu anhu) on seeing it, said ecstatically: “Alhamdulillah! Food arrangements for three days have been made.”

He washed, cleaned, dried and burnt it to ashes and ate that for three days. This was their outlook towards acquiring food. They did not concern themselves about eating special types of food, having a separate income, opening a shop or cultivating a piece of land. This one piece of skin, found in a heap of dirt, was sufficient as food for three days.

This was the same Sa’d bin Abi Waqqaas (radhiyallahu anhu) who mounted his horse and conquered the land of Persia. Their concern for the deen of Allah Ta’ala and for themselves was totally different.

People possessing such characteristics cannot be imagined in today's era. When he had gone in jihaad, he had an abscess on his back due to which he was unable to fight physically. However, this did not deter him and he climbed up to a high post where he could see the entire battlefield and directed the Muslims against the attacks of the enemy.

Du’aa accepted

He neither had a binoculars nor a loud speaker, but he kept a vigilant check of every soldier’s position and every now and then, he would call out: “So and so! Advance ten steps. So and so! Guard the rear. So and so! Watch your right. So and so! Check the left wing.”

He directed the army in this manner. During the battle, intense fighting had taken place. On that day Hadhrat Sa’d (radhiyallahu anhu) descended from his position and displayed his abscess, so that no one should have any suspicions about him not taking an active part in the battle However, a poet recited some poetry the gist of which was:

“Today was a day of intense fighting, many children became orphans and many women became widows; but our commander in chief remained at his point of safety in comfort and luxury.”

This poetry reached the ears of Sa’d (radhiyallahu anhu). He immediately raised his hands and made du’aa,

اللهم اقطع لسانه – “O Allah! Cut off his tongue.”

Hadhrat Sa’d (radhiyallahu anhu) was mustajaab-ud-da’awaat. Rasulullah (sallallahu alaihi wasallam) made du`aa that Allah Ta’ala grants him this honour. Hadhrat Sa’d’s (radhiyallahu anhu) hands had not yet reached his face when an enemy’s arrow struck the poet in his throat and killed him on the spot. This was the toil and difficulties he undertook for the sake of deen. There are many incidents of Hadhrat Sa’d (radhiyallahu anhu) in relation to him being mustajaab-ud- da’awaat.

Hadhrat Sa’d’s (radhiyallahu anhu) behaviour regarding his personal self

Once, while he was the governor of Kufa, someone had complained about Sa’d (radhiyallahu anhu) to Umar (radhiyallahu anhu), the Ameer-ul-mu’mineen. He lodged several complaints and amongst them was that Hadhrat Sa’d (radhiyallahu anhu) does not know how to perform his salaah. Hadhrat Umar (radhiyallahu anhu) summoned Hadhrat Sa’d (radhiyallahu anhu) and questioned him about this matter.

“I shall be at a great loss if I do not know how to perform salaah,” explained Hadhrat Sa’d (radhiyallahu anhu). “I have learnt it directly from Rasulullah (sallallahu alaihi wasallam).”

Hadhrat Umar (radhiyallahu anhu) asked him to demonstrate his salaah and he did as he was commanded.

“I remember Rasulullah (sallallahu alaihi wasallam) performing the salaah in the very same manner. This complaint levelled against him is false.” Hadhrat Umar (radhiyallahu anhu) emphatically rejected this accusation.

Anyhow, Hadhrat Sa’d (radhiyallahu anhu) was dismissed from his position and Hadhrat Muhammad bin Maslamah (radhiyallahu anhu) was deputed to inform the people. Ibn Maslamah (radhiyallahu anhu) purchased a bundle of grass and set it alight outside his front door and let it burn until the flames rose up high. This was the manner of gathering people in a certain locality. Thereafter, in front of everyone, Hadhrat Sa’d (radhiyallahu anhu) was dismissed.

He remained sitting, deep in thought, saying nothing and nor did he invocate any curse on Umar (radhiyallahu anhu). This was his behaviour regarding his personal self.

“Lash me but, do not curse me”

On one occasion, Umar (radhiyallahu anhu) was walking in the bazaar. A young woman was also passing through the bazaar when a sudden gust of wind blew, raising her garment, and exposing her shin. Umar (radhiyallahu anhu) raised his whip to hit her for not walking carefully. Hadhrat Sa’d (radhiyallahu anhu) was also present.

“It was not her fault that her shin was exposed,” Hadhrat Sa’d (radhiyallahu anhu) objected. “She had come out properly covered. A sudden gust of wind blew and exposed her shin. She does not have control over the wind. I am going to make du’aa against you.”

Umar (radhiyallahu anhu) immediately held Sa’d’s lips, gave him the whip and pleaded: “Lash me but, do not make du’aa against me.”

Such was the conviction that the people had of the acceptance of his du’aa. Our pious predecessors’ direction in life was different from our direction in life. May Allah Ta’ala rectify us and grant us the ability to do good deeds. Aameen.

 

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