Dealing with stress

Khutbah: Dealing with Stress

By Abdul Malik Mujahid, USA

“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…

“Ya ay yuhan-naasut taqoo Rabbukum min nafseew waahida, wakhalaqa min haa zawjuhaa, wabath-thamin huma rijaalan katheeran wanisaa-a. Wat-taquLaah hal lathee tasaa aloona bihee, wal arhaam. Innal Laaha kaana ‘alaykum raqeebaa.”

O mankind! Show reverence to your Guardian-Lord, who created you from a single person, and created, of like nature, His mate, and from the two of them scattered (like seeds) countless men and women;- Show reverence to Allah, through whom ye demand your mutual (rights), and (show reverence to) the wombs (That bore you): for Allah always watches over you.” [Sura Nisa 4:1]

My respected Brothers and Sisters,

Today’s khutbah is based on a talk given by Abdul Malik Mujahid in the USA.

Life can be stressful. There are so many things we have to deal with, and sometimes it all comes at once. We have deadlines to meet, we have bills to pay, we have family responsibilities, we have pressures at work. And on top of all this, sometimes we have to deal with racial and religious prejudice, stereotyping, harassment, suspicion and surveillance. Life can be stressful, and for Muslims it can be a bit more stressful than most. We know that life will never be without its problems, but how can we make it more bearable? How can we deal with stress and anxiety in a way that does not threaten our health and well-being?

The secret is to turn each worrisome problem into an opportunity to get closer to Allah. Turn each anxiety; turn each fear and each concern into a Du’ah, a (supplication). Look at it as another reason to submit to Allah and be in Sajdah, in (prostration), during which we are closest to Allah. God listens and already knows what is in your heart, but He wants us to ask Him for what we want.

The Prophet Muhammad sws said: Allah is angry with those who do not ask Him for anything. (Tirmidhi). So when we ask, we must ask Allah. He loves us to ask Him, and to turn to him with passionate yearning.

The Prophet once said that in prayer, he would find rest and relief. He would also regularly ask for God’s forgiveness and remain in prostration during prayer and praising Allah, making (Tasbeeh) and asking for His forgiveness (Bukhari).

Allah wants us to be specific. The Prophet advised us to ask Allah for exactly what we want instead of making vague Duas. Dua is the essence of worship (the Prophet as quoted in Tirmidhi). In Sura Al-A’raf we read:

Call on your Lord with humility and in private: for Allah loves not those who trespass beyond bounds. Do not make mischief on the earth, after it has been set in order, but call on Him with fear. And longing (in your hearts): for the mercy of Allah is (always) near to those who do good” (Quran 7:55-56).

Secondly, my dear Brothers and Sisters, remember to Do Your Part!

One day Prophet Muhammad, peace and blessings be upon him, noticed a Bedouin leaving his camel without tying it. He asked the Bedouin, “Why don’t you tie down your camel?” The Bedouin answered, “I put my trust in Allah.” The Prophet then said, “Tie your camel first, then put your trust in Allah” (Tirmidhi).

How many of us tie our camels first, before putting our trust in Allah?
Muslims must never become fatalistic.  Although we know only Allah is in control and that He has decreed all things, we are each responsible for making the right choices and doing the right thing in all situations of our lives.  We must take action. We must work to alleviate the hardships that we face.
Let us ask ourselves honestly: How much of our time and money do we spend on ourselves, and how much do we spend on improving our neighbourhood, our community and our wider society in general? Do we participate in groups that are actively working to alleviate human suffering, actively promoting better community relations, interfaith dialogue and so on? If the answer is no, then perhaps we should make a start. There are so many ways we can help to make a difference. One of the best ways of removing our own worries and stresses is to look beyond ourselves, to help others in worse conditions. If we truly love Allah, if we help others in greater need and distress, then Allah will remove our own problems in ways that we could never imagine.

Truly, Allah does not change men’s condition unless they change their inner selves” (Quran 13: 11).

Turn each worry into a Du`a and each Du`a into an action plan. That will show your commitment to your request and will focus your energy in the right direction.

Remember also that human responsibility is limited.
While we need to carry out our duty to the best of our abilities, always remember that we don’t control the outcome of events. Even the Prophets did not control the outcome of their efforts. Some were successful, others were not. Once we have done our duty, let’s leave the results to Allah. Regardless of the results, we will be rewarded for our good intentions and the actions that followed those intentions.

However, we should never underestimate our abilities. We must understand the concept of Barakah (blessings from Allah) and remember that Allah can and Insha Allah will expand His Barakah if we are sincerely work to please Him.

Five times every day, leave the cares of the world behind you.
Use the five daily prayers as a means to become more Allah-conscious and less attached to this temporary world. Start distancing yourself as soon as you hear Adhan, the call to prayer. When you perform Wudu, keep repeating Shahada, the declaration of faith, as water drops slip down your face, hands, arms, and hair. When you stand ready to pray, mentally prepare yourself to leave this world and all of its worries and stresses behind you.

Of course, Shaytan will try to distract you during prayer. But whenever this happens, go back and remember Allah. The more you return, the more Allah will reward you for it. Also, make sure your Sajdas (prostrations) are talking Sajdas, in which you are really connecting to Allah and seeking His Mercy, praising Him, and asking His forgiveness.

Seek help through patience, perseverance and prayer. “Innal Laaha ma’as saabireen.” Truly, Allah is with those who patiently persevere. (Quran 2:45).

This instruction from Allah provides us with two critical tools that can ease our worries and pain. Patience and prayer are two oft-neglected stress-busters.  Sabr is often translated as patience but it is not just that.  It includes self-control, perseverance, endurance, and a focused struggle to achieve one’s goal. Unlike patience, which implies resignation, the concept of Sabr includes a duty to remain steadfast to achieve your goals despite all the odds.

Being patient gives us control in situations where we feel we have little or no control. ‘We cannot control what happens to us but we can control our reaction to our circumstances’ is the mantra of many modern-day self-help books. Patience helps us keep a positive attitude in times of hardship.

Excuse me, you are not running the world. He is.

It is important to remind ourselves that we don’t control all the variables in the world. God does. He is the Wise, the All-Knowing. Sometimes our limited human faculties are not able to comprehend His wisdom behind what happens to us and to others, but knowing that He is in control and that as human beings we submit to His Will, enriches our humanity and enhances our obedience, our (Uboodiah in Arabic) towards him. Read the story of the encounter of Moses with the mysteries behind God’s decision (Quran: Sura al Kahf 18:60-82). Familiarize yourself with God’s 99 Names, which are also known as His Attributes. It is a powerful way of knowing Him.

Allah-there is no god except Him, the Ever-Living, the Self-Subsistent Fount of All being. Neither slumber overtakes Him, nor sleep. His is all that is in the heavens and all that is on earth. Who is there that could intercede with Him, unless it be by His permission? He knows all that lies open before men and all that is hidden from them, whereas they cannot attain to any of His knowledge except that which He allows them to attain. [His Throne], His eternal power overspreads the heavens and the earth, and upholding them tires Him not. And He alone is truly exalted, tremendous.” (Quran 2:255).

Prophet Muhammad sws recommended reading this verse, known as Ayat al kursi, after each prayer, Once Ali, may Allah be pleased with him, approached the Prophet during a difficult time and he found the Prophet in Sajda, prostrating and repeating “Ya Hayy Ya Qayyum”, O Living, O Self-Subsisting! words which are part of this verse, Ayatul Kursi.

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.”

All praise is due to Alláh, the Lord of all the Worlds; may the greetings and peace be upon the best messenger, Muhammad, the unlettered prophet; and upon his family and upon all of his companions. Amma ba’ad, And, after this,

Behold, Alláh and his angels shower blessings on the Prophet. O you who believe! Ask for blessings on him, and salute him with a worthy greeting.

O Alláh! Send your greetings upon Muhammad and his family,  just as you sent your greetings on Abraham, and his family. O Alláh, send your blessings on Muhammad and his family, just as you blessed Abraham and his family. In both worlds, you are praiseworthy and exalted.”

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.”

My respected brothers and sisters,

To end today’s khutbah, Let us pray to Allah, sincerely asking Him to remove the pain and distress and anxiety from our hearts. Let us ask Allah to help us to make a useful contribution to our communities and to the wider society in which we live.  Allah is not only the God of the Muslims. He is the Lord of all Creation. We ask him to help us promote what is right and forbid what is wrong. We ask him to help us become good examples and good role models for others.

InnaAllaha, Yamuru bil adel, wal ihsaan, wa itaa-i zil qurba; wa yanha anil fahshaa-i, wal munkari walbaghi; ya-ith-thukhum lallakum tathak-karoon. (Quran 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. Let the prayers begin! Aqeemus salaah!