Our Primeval Covenant

“As-salámu ‘alaikum wa rahmatul láhi wa barakátuh!”

“A-úthu billáhi minash shaytánir rajeem. Bismilláhir rahmánir raheem.

Al hamdu lillahi nahmaduhu wanasta’eenahu, wanastagh-firuhu, wanatoobu ilayhi, wana’oothu Billaahi min shuroori an-fusinaa, wamin sayyi aati a’maalinaa. May- Yahdillahu fa huwal muhtad, wa may- yudlill falan tajidaa lahu waliyan murshida. Wa ash-hadu an Laa ilaaha ill-Alláh, wahdahoo laa shareeka lah, wa ash-hadu anna Muhammadan ‘abduhoo warasooluh”

All Praise is due to Alláh, We praise Him and we seek help from Him. We ask forgiveness from Him. We repent to Him; and we seek refuge in Him from our own evils and our own bad deeds. Anyone who is guided by Alláh, he is indeed guided; and anyone who has been left astray, will find no one to guide him. I bear witness that there is no god but Alláh, the Only One without any partner; and I bear witness that Muhammad, sws, is His servant, and His messenger.

Bismillahir Rahmanir Raheem! Ya Ay-yuhal-latheena ‘aamanut taqul-laaha, haqqa tuqaatihee wala tamu tun-na, il-la wa antum Muslimoon.”

O You who believe, – Fear Allah, as He should be feared, and die not except as Muslims.

Ya Ay-yuhal-latheena ‘aamanut taqul-laaha, wa qooloo qawlan sadeedaa. Yuslih-lakum a’maalakum wa yaghfir lakum thunoobakum, wamay yu-til-laaha warasoolah, faqad faaza fawzan atheemaa.”

O You who believe, – Be aware of Allah, and speak a straightforward word. He will forgive your sins and repair your deeds. And whoever takes Allah and His prophet as a guide, has already achieved a mighty victory.

My Dear Brothers and Sisters

At least 5 times each day, we turn our faces towards Makka in prayer. At least once in a lifetime, we travel to Makka on pilgrimage, the Hajj. Prayer and Hajj: Let us consider these 2 pillars of Islam for a moment. Both of them are directional, and both are centred on the Kaaba in Makka. Salaah, prayer, is our connecting point between heaven and earth, between dunya and akhira, this world and the world of eternity. When our foreheads touch the ground, we are demonstrating the ultimate expression of humility: it is a gesture of complete surrender to Allah. As we align ourselves with the Qibla, our directional axis, with our limbs and joints all facing Makka, we are also connected to every other worshipper on planet earth. Imagine! For every moment of every day, someone, somewhere, is standing, sitting, bowing, or prostrating in prayer. We are like the individual petals of a huge flower, all opening and closing in unity. In prayer, this earth-sized flower is a living expression of Tawheed, the Unity of Allah reflected in the unity of all His servants. All faces point to Makka in prayer. If you look at a map of the world you will see that Arabia is at the centre, connecting the great continental land masses of Africa, Asia and Europe. In the centre of Makka you find the Kaaba, a simple cube, a square in 3 dimensions. This rigid structure is surrounded by an ocean of people, a vortex, a whirlpool in slow motion, moving in a circle that never ends. It is a symbol of stability in a world of constant change. The Kaaba is not only the focal point of every Muslim at prayer, all over the world: it is also the meeting point of our horizontal, earth-bound existence, and the vertical plane, of the Ruuh, the soul, reaching upwards to heaven.

We all know that time passes quickly, and as we grow older, it seems that time is racing past at ever increasing speed. But really this is just an illusion. The poet Jalaluddin Rumi says that when you’re in a boat on a fast flowing river, the trees on the bank seem to be passing by at breathtaking speed. But really the trees are standing still with their roots firmly anchored to the soil. It is you that’s speeding to your destiny, to your meeting with Allah. And when you die, your body will return to the dust from which it came, and your soul, your Ruuh will fly like a celestial bird, through the heavens, to return to its Maker.

Brothers and sisters, our lives are full of illusions, It’s not only the computer games that lead us into electronic worlds of virtual realities. From sport to television, from books to magazines to radio, cinema and theatre, our senses are overloaded with material to amuse and distract. We are constantly seduced from the one big reality that everyone must face: Our Death. We all know but we don’t seem to care that life will not go on forever, and sooner or later we will face that final appointment from which no-one can escape. We cannot postpone, adjourn or cancel our meeting with Allah’s angel, Malaikat al Mawt. We must be prepared, anytime, all times. To keep our lives in balance, we must be in touch with reality, even in the midst of all the distractions around us. Salaah, prayer, gives us the best reality check five times every day.

Every time we put our heads on the ground in sujood, we become like lightning rods that connect heaven and earth. We become energised, our spiritual batteries are recharged. In prayer, we are connecting the realm of time-space and eternity. According to Sahih Muslim, the Prophet Muhammad sws said that we, Allah’s servants, are never closer to Him than when we are prostrating in Sujood. This is when Allah can be closer to us than our jugular veins. Brothers and Sisters, let us make sure that our hearts are absolutely focussed and sincere when we pray. It’s not a time to be distracted. Remember that we are standing in the grand audience hall of the Lord of the Universe, we must be humble and fully aware of what we’re doing and saying.

“Innas salaatee, wanusukee, wamahi-yaaya wama ma’tee, lil laahi Rabbil Aalameen..”

“Truly my prayer, my sacrifice, my life and my death is for Allah, Lord of all the Worlds….” [Sura An’am 6:162]

When we read Sura Al Fatiha, we praise Allah and we plead for His help and Guidance. Here is when we get to the real substance of the prayer:

“Ihdi nas Siraatal Mustaqeem…” ”Guide us to the Straight Way.”

Divine guidance, this is what we need; this is what every soul yearns for. We go through all the motions of standing, bowing, prostrating and sitting, praising Allah and seeking forgiveness and help.

My dear Brothers and Sisters, when we’ve done our prayers properly, we become aware of a deep sense of peace and serenity that descends on our hearts. This profound sense of security and calm, this sakina, is a gift from Allah. It’s priceless, and it’s His reward for showing our utter reliance on Him. It comes like a cool breeze over our aching hearts. Why? Because the human soul is forever restless until it connects with Allah; when we set aside all the distractions of life, to remember Allah, the soul finds peace and tranquillity.

“Ala bi thikrullaahi tatmainnahul quloob.”

“Truly in the remembrance of Allah will hearts find satisfaction” [S13:28]

Whenever we melodiously recite Allah’s Beautiful Names in Zhikr, we bring ourselves into loving Remembrance of Allah, and something interesting happens to the Soul. In Zhikr, the soul awakens to an almost forgotten era. Here in this life, in the realm of space-time, the ruuh, the soul recognises a promise, a covenant that it made in the dim and distant past. Human history is like a very long movie, and our lives fit into a tiny portion on one single frame! Imagine. If we could just take this long epic movie of life, and put it on hold. If we could press the pause button, and put history back into fast rewind: Imagine if we could go back beyond our birth, way back beyond the beginning of human history, beyond the age of dinosaurs, beyond the big bang. Like ripples on a pond, no longer spreading outward but contracting inward. Go back before the moment when the stone hit the water’s surface. If we go back to that glorious occasion before time and space began. Even before Allah created Adam’s body, He created his Ruuh, his soul. He also created the soul, the Ruuh, of every human being that ever was and ever will be, including soul of the last baby to be born on the day of judgement, Yawmul Qiyyaamah. Imagine that! When Allah created them all, He turned to the assembled gathering of billions and billions of souls, and He asked them: “Am I not your Lord?” “Alasta bi Rabbikum?” The all answered in one thunderous voice: “Balaa,” “Yes, indeed you are our Lord! Lest we say on the Day of Judgement, that we were not aware of this!” [Sura Ar’af 7:172]

Brothers and sisters, every human soul has made a covenant, a promise, with Allah. This is the Primeval Covenant: the Covenant of Alast. Our human microchips, our spiritual circuit-boards have been pre-programmed and hard wired to worship Allah. But we’re also forgetful. And in our forgetfulness, we sometimes forget who we should worship. If we’re not careful, we can end up worshipping the wrong things: material things, sensory pleasures and even our own fragile egos. Sometimes it may be football, sometimes it may be shopping. But, our soul, our Ruuh knows where it came from and where it belongs. It remains in a state of painful separation until we re-connect it to its source. The poet Rumi asks if you know why the reed flute sings such a sad and melancholy tune. It’s because it longs to return to the reed-bed from which it was taken. This is an allegory of the human soul. We have an irresistible yearning to return to Allah. As long as we remain in this temporary realm of time and space, we need to keep alive our connection with Allah. Salaat helps us to do so, 5 times a day. And Zikr calling Allah to mind with loving Remembrance helps us along, when we are not actually in prayer. You know, when we worship Allah despite all the temptations around us, then we fulfil that Divine purpose for which we were created. We become truly, the Khaleefa tul-Laah, the vice-regents of Allah. Brothers and Sisters, Salaah and Dhikr are crucially important to us. Never allow yourself to neglect your prayers, and your loving remembrance of Allah.

Alhamdu lillahi Rabbil ‘Aalameen. Was-salaatu was-salaamu alaa Khairil mursaleen. Muhammadin-nabeey-yil Ummiy-yee, wa-‘alaa aalihee, wasah-bihee, aj-ma’een.

Ammaa ba’ad:

Innalláha wa malaaikata yusallúna alan nabi. Yá ay yuhal latheena ámanu sallú alayhi wasalli mú tas leema. Allahumma salli alá Muhammad, wa ala áli Muhammad, kama salayta ala Ibrahim, wa ala ali Ibrahim. Allahumma barik ala Muhammad, wa alaa áli Muhammad, kama barakta ala Ibrahim, wa ala ali ibrahim. Fil ála meen, innaka hameedun majeed.”

Part Two:

Sub’ hanallahi wal hamdu lillah, wala hawla wala quwwata illah billah yu althi yual theem.

“All glory is for Allah, and all praise is for Allah; There is no power and no strength except with Allah.”

Dear Brothers and Sisters,

Let us take good care of our daily prayers, our salaah, and our Dhikr, loving Remembrance of Allah. This will help us keep our body, mind and soul perfectly aligned and focused on Taqwa, which is constant Allah-awareness. This will also improve our behaviour. We will become more truthful and sincere, and we will love to uphold justice. We’ll stop lying, cheating, and backbiting. We’ll stop behaving in a shameful manner. When we take good care of our conduct, Allah will raise our status and bring us nobility and honour us in ways we cannot imagine. But we must make that first step, and follow it up until it becomes a good habit.

In a famous Hadith Qudsi, Allah says that when we take one step towards Him, He will take ten steps towards us, when we come walking towards Him, He will come running towards us. I pray that Allah will help each and every one of us to put things right in our lives, and to do what we alone know, must be done to begin our journey to Allah’s good pleasure.

Brothers and sisters, we are beginning a new Islamic Year, 1429 Al Hijra. This great month of Muharram is a good place to start a new chapter in our lives. Keep those worldly material things at arms length, not close to the heart. It’s good to fast, not only in Ramadhan. Mondays and Thursdays are recommended. It’s also recommended to fast the 9th and 10th of Muharram, which will be next Thursday and Friday, Yawmal Ashoorah.

To conclude our khutbah:

InnaAllaha, Yamuru bil adel, wal ihsaan, wa eetaa-i zil qurba; wa yanha anil fuhshaa-i, wal munkari walbaghi; ya-idzukhum lallakum tathak-karoon. (Sura 16:90),

“Surely Allah commands justice, good deeds and generosity to others and to relatives; and He forbids all shameful deeds, and injustice and rebellion: He instructs you, so that you may be reminded.”

Fadth kuroonee adth kurkum, wash kuroolee walaa tak furoon [2:152].

“and remember Me: I will remember you. Be grateful to Me, and do not reject faith.”

wala thikrul-Laahi akbar, Wal-Laahu ya’lamu maa tasna’oon.” [29:45].

“and without doubt, Remembrance of Allah is the Greatest Thing in life, and Allah knows the deeds that you do.”

Ameen. Aqeemus salaah!