A short khutbah on the Hajj 2020
“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,
The Covid-19 pandemic has rendered the Hajj for 2020 impossible for millions around the world. This will be the smallest number of Hujaaj in living memory. Let us pray that Allah will allow a universal cure that will save lives and make it safe for Hajj next year, insha-Allah. Say, “Ameen!”
In this short khutbah I want to sum up a few key points for us to remember about this momentous event. Hajj, the Pilgrimage to Makka, is an epic journey. It’s the 5th and final pillar of Islam: It also summarises the dramatic story of our beautiful Deen.
Hajj reminds us about our primordial human nature: our Fitra. Fitra is our natural state, the way Allah made us. We were born innocent and pure, without sin. But Allah also made us to be forgetful. We are easily distractible. It’s our tendency to lose focus and to forget that leads us to slide into sinful and shameful behaviour.
But then Hajj also offers us Redemption, divine Mercy and Forgiveness. Allah reminds us never to despair of His Mercy. If we sincerely stop our bad behaviour and return to Allah’s obedience, His forgiveness is complete.
Hajj takes us on a journey back through time, retelling the moral and spiritual history of humankind. We visit the Kaaba, the first place of worship, built before the first church, before the first temple, or synagogue. Here we find ourselves at the Baytul-Laah, the House of Allah. It is the home of Monotheism, the cradle of Tawheed, of Divine Unity. Here we walk around the geographical centre of Islam, the Kaaba. This is centre of our Islamic universe.
Our tawaaf symbolises effort, action, in a constant, circular motion, centred round a fixed and immovable idea of Unity: Just like the Kaaba, Tawheed. Unity of belief, Unity of purpose, stands firm amidst a swirl of individual opinions and different starting points.
The great plain of Arafat becomes the stage for a dramatic role-play of the very beginning and the very end: Long before time and space existed, long before the ‘big bang’ 14 billion years ago, Allah created your soul and my soul and the souls of every human being that ever was and ever will be. Then He asked them to testify according to themselves, by declaring the First Shahaadah, the First Covenant. This was in the state of metaphysical time, or pre-Eternal Time. When Allah addressed the great assembled gathering of human Souls, he asked them:
“Alastu bi Rabbikum?” “Am I not Your Lord?” They all replied, in one thunderous voice, “Balaa shahidna”
“Yes, indeed! We testify to this, so that we have no excuse on the Day of Judgement to say that we were not aware of this (covenant).” [Sura Ar’af 7:172]
That was the very beginning. What about the very end? The great gathering on Arafat is our Day of Atonement. It’s also a dress rehearsal for the Day of Judgement, Yawmul qiy-yaamah. This is how the entire human race will one day stand before Allah, awaiting the Final Judgement. In our simple ihram clothes, we cannot distinguish anyone’s wealth and social status. No one can see who’s rich and whose poor; the president, the billionaire, the taxi driver, the school teacher and the farmer all look exactly the same.
This is exactly as Allah sees us. Allah isn’t looking at our social status or our designer clothes and expensive jewellery. Allah isn’t interested in what’s on the outside, only what’s inside. What’s inside our hearts? What desires, what hidden yearnings are lurking in the deepest depths of our being? Is it full of anger, jealousy, hatred, vanity and lust? Or is it full of love, mercy, and generosity? Are we patient and forbearing towards others? Have we purified our spiritual hearts? Do we have a Qalb saleem? A pure, sound heart? Allah warns us that no one shall enter the Garden except those who come with a sound heart. [Quran 26:87-89]
We come to Jabal Rahma: the Mount of Mercy, a low hill rising above the plain of ‘Arafat. Jabal Rahma signifies the central theme of atonement, forgiveness after we’ve acknowledged our sins and pleaded for Allah’s mercy. Here we follow the Adamic role model. Here we stand not simply as Muslims or Believers. Here we stand as Bani Adam, descendants of Adam and Eve. Here is where the first human beings sought forgiveness and this is where Allah forgave them:
“Rabbana zhalamna an fusina wa il-lam tagh-fir lana wa tar hamna lana koonanna minal khaasireen!” “Our Lord! We have truly wronged our own souls, and if You do not forgive us, we will truly be among the losers!” [7:23]
This is the prayer of Nabi Adam, alayhis salaam, Adam and Eve, Allah’s peace and blessings on them both:
Nabi Adam’s epic spiritual journey began from a state of primordial innocence and went through human forgetfulness and distraction and disobedience. This was the first Sin. But Allah also gave Adam the ability to recognise his mistake, to regret, to be filled with remorse and to plead for forgiveness, and finally to earn redemption. This is the same journey that you and I and every human being must take. We all were innocent once. We got distracted. We forgot and we sinned. Now it’s time to follow Nabi Adam’s example. Brothers and sisters, if you have not yet undertaken this blessed journey, make your intention, your niyyat, to do your Hajj inshAllah, as soon as possible.
On Hajj, you are Allah’s guest. Allah has invited you to His BaituLaah, His House. As Allah’s honoured guest, you must scrupulously observe the good manners that are expected of you. During Hajj it’s best behaviour at all times.
As soon as you put on your ihram, you repeat those evocative words, “Labbaik, Allah humma labbaik!” : “Here I am, O Allah, Here I am!” Allah has honoured you with His invitation, and now that you have arrived, you announce your presence and your willingness to serve Allah, as best you can.
Hajj is an outward journey tracing the spiritual history of Islam. It is also the inward journey that you and I must undertake, to find our own centre, in the Kaaba of our heart. What desires, what emotions and passions are still circling, making tawaaf around our spiritual heart? The spiritual heart, the qalb is truly the locus of our personality. This is our real driving force. Let’s make sure that it’s always filled with loving thoughts of Allah. Only when we Remember Allah, and we fulfil the needs of others with love and gratitude, will our hearts ever find lasting peace and contentment. Dhikr is not just words of praise, not just a warm feeling in the heart. It’s about words and actions. It’s about making our love visible, through big and small acts of kindness towards others.
“Al-latheena ‘aamanu, watat-ma-innul quloobuhum, bi dhikril-Laah. Alaa bi dhikril-Laahi tat-ma-innul quloob” [Sura al-Ra’d, 28]
“Those who Believe, and whose hearts find contentment in the Remembrance of Allah; for truly, in the Remembrance of Allah do hearts find contentment.”
O Allah, let our hearts find lasting contentment, deep and never ending joy in remembering You and in taking good care of your creation. 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.
Sub’ 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 respected sisters and brothers,
We often say that we love Allah more than we love anyone or anything else. Do we really mean that? Do we really love Allah more than we love our families, more than our parents and children, more than our selfish egos? Really? Where’s the evidence? If we really love someone, there’s evidence. There’s phone calls, love poems, text messages and emails. Where’s the evidence of our love for Allah? Where’s the evidence that we’re constantly seeking His smiling Face, in our prayers, in our Dhikr, and in our lifelong good works?
Prophet Abraham, Nabi Ebrahim, alayhis salaam, had a dream in which he was offering his son Ismail as a sacrifice to Allah. He told his son about the dream, and both father and son, being so devoted to Allah, they both agreed and they prepared to follow Allah’s Will. But just as the sharpened knife was about to pierce Ismail’s jugular vein, Allah put a sheep in his place. Ismail’s life was spared. Both father and son proved their love and obedience to Allah. They passed the acid test of sincerity, ikhlaas.
Let us not forget the powerful message here. It’s easy to say, I love Islam, I love Allah and Prophet Muhammad sws. Talk is cheap, but where’s the evidence? How much are you and I willing to sacrifice for Allah? Let us show that we truly love Allah, by coming forward to help with our time, our talent and our money, to serve others, to make our neighbourhood, our city and our country a better place, a safer place for everyone. This is the real proof of love for Allah. Serve His creation. Be an agent of His mercy. Just as Prophet Muhammad (sws) was “Rahmatul lil aalameen” “a mercy to all the worlds” You and I must become a mercy to our families and to our communities. As our beloved Prophet advised:
“Spread Peace, feed the poor, keep your family ties, pray a small part of the night and you will enter Paradise.” [Hadith]
Let us pray for all hujjaj, that Allah should accept their Hajj. And let us pray for those who have not yet done their Hajj, that Allah should make it easy for them to complete their fifth pillar of Islam, very soon, Insha Allah.
Finally, let us plead with Allah please to shower His peace and dignity and mercy on the followers of Nabi Muhammad sws. O Allah, please forgive us all. Please have mercy on us, and remove the pain and distress that so many of our fellow-Muslims have to endure in so many parts of the world today. O Allah, send us a cure for the pandemics, so that we can safely do the Hajj next year.
Brothers and sisters, to conclude our khutbah:
“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: “and remember Me: I will remember you. Be grateful to Me, and do not reject faith.” “and without doubt, Remembrance of Allah is the Greatest Thing in life, and Allah knows the deeds that you do.”
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),
Fadth kuroonee adth kurkum, wash kuroolee walaa tak furoon [2:152].
wala thikrul-Laahi akbar, Wal-Laahu ya’lamu maa tasna’oon.” [29:45].
Ameen. Aqeemus salaah!
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