Challenges and Opportunities for Muslims in 2017
Arshad Gamiet/Royal Holloway University of London/30 December 2016
“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, peace and blessings on him, 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, – Be aware of Allah, with correct awareness, an awe-inspired awareness, 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.
In the opening verse of Sura An-Nisaa’, Allah says:
O mankind! Show reverence towards your Guardian-Lord Who created you from a single person, created, of like nature, his mate and from the two of them scattered (like seeds) countless men and women;― Be conscious of Allah, through Whom ye demand your mutual (rights) and (show reverence towards) the wombs (that bore you): for surely, Allah ever watches over you.
My Dear Sisters and Brothers,
Tomorrow insha-Allah is the last day of 2016. Over the past few weeks the mass media has been reminding us of the highlights and low lights of the past 12 months. This was an eventful year, dominated by Brexit, Trump and by the continuing chaos in parts of the Middle East.
2017 will inherit the problems and the opportunities of the previous year.
Our time is very short, because ‘Asr is due in around 1.40pm. In today’s khutbah I want to say a few words about the challenges we Muslims face in 2017.
One thing is for certain. There will be a lot of uncertainty, politically and economically, not just in this country but all over the world. The effects of Brexit and the actions of a new President Trump will still be felt in the months and years to come. Amidst all this uncertainty, we Muslims will certainly be tested. Our Iman and Taqwa, our Faith and Trust in Allah, and our cautious awareness of Allah’s watchful presence, will be tested, time and again. And where do Muslims find safety, stability and certainty in uncertain times, in an unstable world? We find it in Faith and Allah-awareness, in our Iman and Taqwa. This is a precious gift from Allah.
We may well experience more prejudice, more hate crimes against Muslims. Perhaps our children will be taunted and bullied at school. But we must learn to deal with these challenges sensibly and proportionately. Don’t panic, don’t become aggressive and don’t despair. Allah is only testing you, and me. Trust Him. With iman and Taqwa, Allah will help us find a way out of our difficulty in ways that we could never imagine.
My dear sisters and brothers, there is a beautiful and inspiring verse in Sura Talaq, verse no. 2, in which Allah declares that:
“Wa may yat-taqil-laha yaj’al lahu makhrajan, Wa yar zuq’hu min haythu layahtasibu. Wamay yata wakkal ‘alal-Laahi fahuwa hasbuhu. Innal-Laaha baalighu amrih. Qad’ja’al-Laahu li kulli shay in qadraa.”
“And whoever is cautiously aware of his duty to Allah, Allah always prepares a way out for him from his difficulty. And He provides for him from (sources) he never could imagine. And if any one puts his trust in Allah, then sufficient is (Allah) for him. For Allah will surely accomplish his purpose: truly, for all things has Allah appointed a due proportion.”
Here we are reminded of the fruits of faith. This is what Allah promises when we put our Trust in Him. We will find a way out. We will find relief from hardship.
“Inna ma al usri yusra; innama’al usri yusra.” “After every hardship comes ease; surely, after every hardship comes ease.”
Remember that nothing happens in the heavens or on the earth without Allah’s permission. Allah’s Will is ultimately all good.
“Biyadikal khair,” says the Holy Quran (2:26). “In His Hand is all Good.”
Remember that our little problems here in Britain, North America and Europe are very small, compared to those of our brothers and sisters in Syria, Iraq, Libya, Yemen and the Rohinya in Myanmar. So let’s keep things in perspective. Others have it worse, much worse than we could ever imagine.
In the early days of Islam, hatred and persecution drove our beloved Prophet sws out of Makka to Medina. In the face of mortal danger, they learnt to put their trust in Allah. They repeatedly prayed:
“Hasbunallah wa neyamal wakeel, niya’mal mawla wa neya’mal naseer.”
“Allah is sufficient for us, He is the best Protector and the best Guardian
Because of their faith and trust, Allah saved those Muslims from even greater calamities, and allowed His religion to flourish. Let’s put our trust where it belongs: to Allah alone. That guarantees that Islam will grow and prosper with our children and grand children in this country. Say Ameen!
“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, kama barakta ala Ibrahim, wa ala ali ibrahim. Fil ála meen, innaka hameedun majeed.”
“Soob’ hanallahi wal hamdu lillah, wala hawla wala quwwata illah billah yu althi yual theem”
Glory to Allah! Praise to Allah! There is no power and no strength except from Allah!
My dear sisters and brothers,
We must be prepared to face many challenges in the coming year. This is not something to fear or dread. We should welcome these challenges as an opportunity to strengthen our faith and our trust in Allah. We should take our lessons from the greatest of teachers, the seal of the Prophets, “khaataman Nabiyyeen,” Muhammad sws.
We must stop complaining about our problems. Become active citizens! Take control of our lives! Get up and do something useful. Get involved in the local community. Join the school PTAs, volunteer and support local charities. Let’s become visibly useful Muslims. Make Islam visible. Show that Islam is the best solution. Islam is not a problem, but lazy Muslims are. Protest marches by themselves are not enough. Anyone can make a noise and impress the world in front of a TV camera. That’s the easy bit. The hard bit takes longer, but it’s more effective. The hard bit is working day by day, to improve the lives of the most vulnerable people around you. When we do this, we earn love and respect for Muslims and for Islam.
We must also stop thinking only about what’s good for Muslims. We must do what’s best for everyone. As a young man, Muhammad sws was not yet Allah’s Prophet when he joined the Hilful fudool, the Alliance of the Virtuous, to establish fairness and justice in business dealings. This was to benefit all people. Later, as Governor of Medina: he not only ruled for the benefit of Muslims. He was Trustee of all the citizens of Medina. This included Jews, Christians and Pagans. As Allah’s “Mercy to all the Nations” could never be parochial or tribal. Modern life has become very tribal: Political parties are tribal. Islam urges universality: principled living. Justice is the key. Justice may sometimes become personally inconvenient for us, but Allah commands justice. (innal Laaha ya’muru bil ‘adl…). We hear this at the end of every khutbah. Allah takes care of everything and everyone.
Don’t be distracted by Shaitaan. He’s waiting in ambush, to trap the unwary. Be warned! Shaitaan is always up to new tricks. He doesn’t wear a big neon sign that says: “Watch out for me. I am Shaitaan and I’m here to mislead you to the hellfire!” He’s much more subtle than that! We may not even notice that Shaytaan is constantly whispering doubts into our hearts
“Al lathee yuwas wisufee sudoorin naas,” “The one who whispers into the hearts of people..” [Sura Al Naas 114:5]
Shaitaan will tell us that this is a bad time for Muslims. It’s time to be afraid. It’s time to hoard your wealth. He’ll urge you to hide your Islam. He’ll tell you, Don’t help others! You only have enough for yourself! Shaitaan’s insidious promptings will try to instil fear into our hearts: fear of enemies: fear of poverty. But Allah promises us plenty, if we live to please Him alone. And Allah never breaks His promise.
Allah advises us in the Holy Quran: “Wa’a-tasimu bi hablil-Laahi jamee’aa, wala tafarraqoo…” And hold fast, all together to Allah’s Rope. Don’t panic, don’t despair. Trust Allah. Allah will send a solution to all our problems, in the most unexpected ways…
2017 can be be a great year for all of us, insha-Allah. This could be the year that we finally get our own Masjid and Islamic Centre. It could be right here or it could be somewhere else. Allah knows best. We must continue to be His devoted servants, and hopefully Allah will accept us as His deserving servants. We must be positive. We must be optimistic.
Rasool Allah sws was always optimistic. He was always smiling. He carried the heaviest of burdens. He suffered so much pain, so much personal loss. He had to endure so much hardship in his life, but he never stopped smiling. (Now, Smile when you say this!) You and I should try to be like him. We should smile a lot more. Our problems are trivial compared to the problems of the first Muslims. When we smile a bit more, we can show the world Islam’s happy face. Trust Allah and be confident that the future will be unfailingly good for Islam. Do your best to take care of your family and your wider community. Be open and inclusive, not narrow and tribal. Your leader, our leader, was Rahmatul lil aalameen. He was not sent as a mercy to the Arabs, or a mercy only to the Muslims.
The Quran says (in Sura 21:107) “Wama arsal naaka illa Rahmatul lil ‘aalameen” “And We have not sent you [O Muhammad] except as a Mercy unto all the Nations.”
Let’s try to be like him. Let’s try to be a mercy to our families, our communities and our neighbours in the widest possible sense. Let us truly become worthy servants of Allah and worthy followers of His beloved Messenger, Muhammad sws. Say, ‘Ameen!’
(Before we leave this hall, could all the volunteers please collect their receipt books from Br. Mushtaq after the prayers. Thank you).
Brothers and sisters, 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.”
Allah says, 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