(Below is an extract from last week’s Jumah lecture. To listen to the full audio, please click here)
In the Quran Sharif in surah Noor, verse 40-51, Allah ﷻ speaks about the characteristics of the Munafiqoon/the hypocrites. He begins by saying, “We have surely sent down clear-cut ayahs, and Allah guides whom He wills to the straight path. They say, “We have believed in Allah and in the messenger and have adopted obedience”, [but] then a group from them goes back after all this. Those are no believers.”
So why are they not true believers when, like us, this group of people also claim to posses faith? Allah ﷻ continues to explain their plight.
“When they are summoned to Allah and His messenger so that judgement may be passed between them, a group of them turns away.” Why? Because they don’t want a ruling that will cause worldly loss! So when it goes against their own whims and hidden agendas, they turn away from the rulings of deen. But ”If the right is theirs, they would come to Him as [if they are] submissive ones.”
Then Allah ﷻ asks, “Do they have a sickness in their hearts, or do they have doubt [due to which they are unable to accept the overriding decree of Allah Ta’ala], or do they fear that Allah and His messenger will do injustice to them? [No, they don’t,] Rather they themselves are the unjust.”
So this ayah was revealed because in the Prophetic era, there was a man who would attend salah and the gatherings of Nabi صلي الله عليه وسلم. However, he was not a Muslim, he was a hypocrite! So why did he follow deen outwardly, yet harbor hypocrisy inwardly? Because he was deeply engrossed in the love of the world and thus like all hypocrites, his only concern was worldly gain. So if a battle would lead to the acquisition of booty, the hypocrites were eager to join, yet they backed out from battles like Uhud! When sacrifice for the sake of Allah ﷻ was required, they were nowhere to be seen.
So these hypocrites were selective in deen, they used to follow deen when it would suit them. From this example, we must ask ourselves, how much am I doing for Allah ﷻ? Am I in Allah’s deen for my own benefit? Or am I here for Allah ﷻ alone…am I sincere? There are so many cases where people only give preference to deen when it suits them, otherwise they hanker after the dunya. In the case of inheritance, you find a man cannot attend the masjid for fajr salah, yet when it comes to dividing his dad’s wealth, he is suddenly eager to uphold the laws of Shariah. Why? Because he knows if he does, he will get a bigger slice of the cake! So is he really worried about shariah, or is he worried about filling his pockets?
We mustn’t be like this. Don’t pick and choose; don’t enter a few fingers into deen, leaving the rest of your body hanging on the other side. True believers, when they are called to the hukm of Allah ﷻ and Nabi صلي الله عليه وسلم immediately they say we have heard and obeyed. They are not looking for loopholes. Nor are they greedy. Rather, true believers are sincere; they are willing to follow deen even if it means they have to endure a few knocks and trials! Their only concern is that how do I make my Allah ﷻ happy? What must I do to please him?
The Sahaaba رضي الله عنهم epitomised this level of sincere devotion to Allah ﷻ. A Sahabi invested all his wealth in a wine business before wine became haram. In those days Arabs would drink more wine than water, so it was as good as cash. Now this Sahabi was on his way back to madina with a caravan full of fresh wine, ready to sell on the market. However on his return someone stopped him and inquired that what are you doing with this wine?! Allah ﷻ has just declared wine to be haram for us, so we are not allowed this item anymore!
Immediately, the Sahabi covered up his stock of wine, left it in the mountains, and returned to Nabi صلي الله عليه وسلم without it. He explained his situation to Nabi صلي الله عليه وسلم, how he invested every last penny into this business and now he has nothing left…how he didn’t know it to be haram when buying it. Despite his dilemma, Nabi صلي الله عليه وسلم reiterated that it is now haram and selling leftover stock will fall under this category. Upon hearing this, the Sahabi obediently returned to the mountains and destroyed his stock…no ifs, not buts, He heard and He obeyed!
So in every facet of life, the Sahaaba رضي الله عنهم were willing to sacrifice for the sake of Allah ﷻ. Nabi صلي الله عليه وسلم didn’t just call them stars for nothing. They were called stars because whatever they did they were committed, dedicated and sincere! This is how they delivered and years on, still deliver the message of deen.
In contrast to the hypocrites, Allah ﷻ then speaks of the character of an obedient person. “And whosoever obeys Allah and His messenger, fears Allah and keeps his duty [to Him], they are the successful ones.”
Umar رضي الله عنه was in masjid nabawi when a man came, stood next to him and began reciting the shahadah. Umar رضي الله عنه responds saying that what’s wrong? The man said that I’m well versed in the Torah, Zabur and Injeel. But I’ve come across an ayah in the Quran which I haven’t found elsewhere. The man then began reciting this ayah and explained; being obedient to Allah ﷻ refers to accepting all of His commands and the teachings of Nabi صلي الله عليه وسلم, both positive and negative.
Thereafter comes “fear Allah”. The man wisely explained that this is with regards to the past life, we must always be afraid of the mistakes we made and the sins we have incurred over the years. And with regards to the present and future, we must learn from the past and adopt taqwa. And this taqwa will lead to good deeds and then, only then, does Allah ﷻ say we can be successful! This success refers to salvation from the fire…not dollars and pounds or paper money! True success comes from Allah ﷻ in the form of His pleasure, salvation and entry into Jannah.
So if we want to be successful in deen, we must become like the Sahaaba رضي الله عنهم. We must listen to, and obey the commands of Allah ﷻ, learn to sacrifice for the pleasure of the one who created you. And how is this art learnt? By attending deeni programmes. We travel the world for dunya, isn’t it time we travelled in search of deen too?
May Allah grant us the tawfiq to be sincere, Aameen.
— Hazrat Maulana Dawood Seedat حفظه الله