SERMON: Admonitions 1

As we enter the last ten days of Ramadan, it is important that we contemplate and be thankful to Allah for His benevolence and Mercy. Whatever our current challenges as a people, we should look at the positive side of life. No doubt those that are slaves of the moment see only misery and wretchedness. This is because they look only at the wall and door of the room, whereas they should look beyond such barriers as are set before them. It might be rough today, but tomorrow might be better. Therefore we must not despair.
The following admonitions are highlights from the seminal work of ‘Aaidh ibn Abdullah al-Garni’s; Don’t Be Sad. They are apt for this season of spiritual stocktaking.
During this Ramadan; a time of much giving and charity, for all that we may care; we should never expect gratitude from anyone. Doing good deeds to others gives comfort to the heart and it’s gratifying.
Garni said when we are bored; we should repel it by immersing ourselves in work. This is a very good therapy for repelling boredom. Idleness they say is an invitation to the Devil.
We should not fear hardship for Allah said, “So, verily, with every difficulty, there is relief:” (Quran 94:5). Tears are followed by a smile, fear is replaced by comfort, and anxiety is overthrown by serenity: After storm comes calm and after darkness comes a glorious dawn. An intelligent and skillful person transforms losses into profits; whereas, the unskilled person aggravates his own predicament, often making two disasters out of one.
“Those who believe, and whose hearts find satisfaction in the remembrance of Allah: For without doubt in the remembrance of Allah do hearts find satisfaction…” (Quran 13:28). This is very true as Faith is life itself, for those that are wretched, in the full sense of the word, are those that are bereft of the treasures of faith. They are always in a state of misery and anger.  Truthfulness is beloved by Allah and is a purifying soap for the heart. And there is no deed that gives such pleasure to the heart, or has greater reward, than the remembrance of Allah. Allah said; “Then do ye remember Me; I will remember you. Be grateful to Me, and reject not faith. (Quran 2: 152)
Do not succumb to envy but accept life as it is: “Or do they envy mankind for what Allah hath given them of His bounty? But We had already given the people of Abraham the Book and Wisdom, and conferred upon them a great kingdom.” (Quran 4:54) Allah addressed Musa ibn `Imran as follows: “O son of `Imran, never be envious of people concerning the favours I have conferred on them by My grace; do not glower at them, and do not succumb to your (envious) self. Indeed, the envious man is indignant at the bestowal of My favour, and contests My apportioning of gifts among My creatures. Whoever is such, he neither belongs to Me nor do I belong to him.” [Al-Kulayni, Usul alKafi, vol. 2, p. 307, Bab al-Hasad, hadith no. 6] The jealous person is like a man who lights a fire and then jumps into it. Jealousy begets grief, pain, and suffering, thus destroying what was once a calm and virtuous life. The curse of the jealous one is that he contests fate and contends that his Creator is unjust. Jealousy is like a disease, yet unlike other diseases — the one afflicted by it receives no reward in the Hereafter. We seek refuge in Allah from the evil of the jealous one, a person who becomes like a black poisonous snake, finding no repose until it releases its venom into an innocent body.
Let us remember that the pleasures of life are short-lived, and more often than not, they are followed by sorrow. Life means responsibility, a journey wherein change is constant and difficulties are relentless in their onslaught. You will not find a father, a wife, or a friend who is free from problems. Allah has willed for this world to be filled with two opposites: good and evil, righteousness and corruption, happiness and misery.
We should strive to find consolation by remembering the afflicted. Patience is most fitting; Do not carry the weight of the globe on your shoulders; Do not be crushed by what is insignificant; Be content with that which Allah has given you and you will be the richest of people.
Brothers and sisters, if you are living through affliction and pain, remember Allah, call out His name, and ask Him for help. Raise your hands in supplication, and ask of Him constantly. Cling to His door, have good thoughts about Him, and wait for His help — you will then find true happiness and success.
Look around you, to the right and to the left. Do you not see the afflicted and the unfortunate? In every house there is mourning and upon every cheek run tears. How many tribulations and how many people persevere with patience? You are not alone in your troubles, which are few compared to those of others. How many sick people remain bedridden for years while suffering from unspeakable pain? How many have not seen the light of the sun for years due to their imprisonment, having knowledge of nothing but the four corners of their cell? How many men and women have lost their dear children in the prime of youth? How many people are troubled or tormented?
Find consolation with those that are worse off than you; the man without shoes glorifies God when he sees the man without feet; know that this life is like a prison for the believer, an abode of grief and sadness. In the morning castles are bustling with inhabitants; then in an instant, disaster occurs, and they are empty and desolate. Life can be peaceful, the body in good health, wealth abundant, and children healthy; and yet in only a matter of days, poverty, death, separation, and sickness can all take their place.
O Allah! We implore You for help, and beg forgiveness of You, and believe in You, and rely on You and extol You, and we are thankful to You, and are not ungrateful to You, and we alienate and forsake those who disobey You. O’ Allah! You alone do we worship, and for You do we pray and prostrate, and we betake to please You, and present ourselves for the service in Your cause, and we hope for Your mercy, and fear Your chastisement. Undoubtedly, Your torment is going to overtake infidels O Allah! – Dua for Qunut in the Witr prayer
O ye who believe! Seek help with patient Perseverance and Prayer: for Allah is with those who patiently persevere. (Quran 2:153)
Barka Juma’at and Ramadan Kareem

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