EVERY DAY IS A NEW BLESSING
For the Messenger of Allah, upon him be peace and blessings, for the illustrious, subtle, pure soul of the Messenger of Allah, that of his household, his noble Companions, the great Prophets, the esteemed masters, the souls of all our deceased, and for the well-being and protection of our religion, nation, people, and all the Muslim world, let us recite one Fatiha and three Ikhlas in entreaty and seeking refuge in Him…
Esteemed brothers and sisters,
May Allah Almighty enable us all to take lesson from these Divine warnings.
The Qur’anic chapter al-Fajr (The Dawn) was recited, followed by the chapter al-Inshirah (The Expansion). Allah Almighty makes mention, at the very outset and in the form of an oath, of a few important events.
Allah Almighty declares, wal-fajri, or, “By the dawn…” (89:1). That is to say, Allah Almighty (demands that) the servant think and reflect (as follows):
“Today, my Lord had presented to me yet another page from the calendar of life.” They are to awaken spiritually, as they do physically.
Time is the most precious capital. Allah Almighty declares in another chapter of the Qur’an: wal-ʿaṣri. “By Time…”(103:1)
It is not possible to bring back time that has passed. We cannot bring back yesterday. Yesterday ended with all our deeds of righteousness and vice. But Allah Almighty – wal-fajri – opened for us a new leaf from the book of life, from the calendar of life.
Life is a one-time only. There is no repeat or second-run. It is a very precious matter, but one that is not duly appreciated.
Allah Almighty even reveals the regret experienced at the last breath, this time that was wasted:
“…[They say] If only You would grant me respite for a short while, so that I may give alms, and be one of the righteous!” (63:10) But it is over. There is no chance to make up for it in the grave. There is no chance to make up for it in the Hereafter.
In short, time is very precious. Everybody, all creation, comes to the world with a certain calendar. The human being, too, comes with a calendar, with Divine Destiny, a manifestation of Divine majesty.
Animals, too, come with a calendar. Plants come with a particular calendar also. Everything comes with a calendar. A Divinely prescribed ecological balance.
They record everything. This tape, or recording, will be revealed on the Day of Judgement. This tape will be shown to us on the Day of Judgement.
iq’ra kitābaka kafā binafsika l-yawma ʿalayka ḥasīban
“Read your book! (It will be said. Read the cassette of your life. Read every moment therein.) Your own self suffices you this day as a reckoner against you.” (17:14)
In other words, everything you do will be shown to you. Of course, there are perhaps many things that we have forgotten. They will all appear before us there.
Allah Almighty again gives constant warning. He wants for His servant to be admitted into Paradise. In more than eighty verses appears the address, “O you who believe!”
Allah Almighty says:
“O you who believe! Keep from disobedience to God in reverence for Him and piety to deserve His protection, and let every person consider what he has forwarded for the morrow. Keep from disobedience to God in reverence for Him and piety. Surely God is fully aware of all that you do.”(59:18)
In other words, just as my talk is, here and now, being recorded, each and every moment of all of us is being recorded with a Divine camera. The kiramun taibun, the noble recorders, are transferring this, these files, to the Day of Judgement.
Life is like a film reel the length of which is not written upon it. It is not known where it will end, when it will end. This is why it is said, “Those who say ‘tomorrow’, are ruined.”
Will we be here, or not, tomorrow? There were many who were here yesterday who are no longer here today. Their life calendar finished yesterday.
The Messenger of Allah says:
“There are two blessings in which many people are deceived and suffer loss: health and free time.”(Bukhari, Riqaq, 1)
Our each and every day is a separate blessing. That is to say, we have to engage in reflection by ourselves. In the morning, we woke up. One more page was given to us from the book of life. We are to thank our Lord Who bestowed a new day upon us. We are to begin with thanks, with praise.
We came to this world as a “human being,” without paying any price. Much more than this, we came to the world as a “believer,” by means of a manifestation of the Divine Name, Al-Hādī, The All-Guiding. We came to the world with zero capital. Allah Almighty declares, “…Were you to attempt to count God’s blessings, you could not compute them…”(14:34)
“He has also made of service to you whatever is in the heavens and whatever is on the earth… for a people who reflect.” (45:13)
We are expected to stave off our carnal desires. “Lā ilāha” (is) eliminating; illa-llāh: the heart is to be with Allah Almighty.
It is said:
man ‘arafa nafsahu faqad ‘arafa rabbahu
One who knows their own self, knows their Lord.
Whoever knows their own nothingness, will know Allah, will know their Lord.
It is recommended that two things not be forgotten for a happy, peaceful life:
“We are not to forget Allah Almighty.”
It is Allah Who determines our destiny. Our fate is an unknown.
La ya’lamu ‘l-ghayba illallah
It is (only) Allah Who knows the Unseen. What is good for us, what is bad? People see bad as good and good as bad.
This means that what Allah Almighty wants from us here is for us to surrender. The servant is not to forget Allah Almighty. They are to find peace with Him.
alā bidhik’ri l-lahi taṭma-innu l-qulūbu
“…Be aware that it is in the remembrance and of and whole-hearted devotion to God that hearts find rest and contentment.” (13:28)
They will find peace with Allah Almighty. Happiness is (to be found) in togetherness with Allah Almighty. They are not to forget death. They are not to forget mortality. They are to become ready at every moment.
“There is no life except the life of the Hereafter.” (Bukhari, Riqaq, 1)
Each night, we have to think about how Allah gave us a new leaf from the calendar of life today. How much did I exert myself for my own self today, how much for my carnal self, and outside my selfhood, for Allah?
The Messenger of Allah offers an example:
He states, “By the One in Whose hand is the soul of Muhammad, the believer is like a bee…”
iq’ra bi-is’mi rabbika alladhī khalaqa
“Read in and with the Name of your Lord, Who has created.” (96:1)
In other words, a Muslim is to read everything that they see, in the Name of their Lord Who creates.
“…[the bee, which] feeds upon that which is pure and wholesome…”
It takes from the essence of flowers.
…leaves behind that which is pure and wholesome…”
It does its packaging.
“…lands upon a branch softly so as not to break or ruin it.” (Ahmad ibn Hanbal, II, 199)
It does not spoil the sap it extracts. This is how a believer is to be, it says. Forever engaged in acts of goodness. In one verse it is stated:
fa-idhā faraghta fa-inṣab wa-ilā rabbika fa-ir’ghab
“Therefore, when you are free (from one task), resume (another task); (94:7-8)
When you finish one task in the way of Allah, rush to another. There is to be no gap in between. One is to be like a bee. In its forty-five day lifespan, the bee fills all those hives and presents it to the human being.
This means that a believer, too, must endeavour in the way of Allah. Worship, worldly transactions, morality, etc… They are to be a servant from whose hand and tongue the entire community of Muhammad are safe and secure. They are to be like a bee.
Again, the Messenger of Allah says, in reference to another, new material:
“The parable of a believer is that of a piece of gold…” (Ahmad, II, 199)
When you blow on gold if it gathers dust – he says – its dust disappears. That is to say, the believer preserves that essential character, that fundamental disposition.
Allah Almighty wakes us up each day, before dawn. This time before dawn is especially important. Allah Almighty declares:
“…and who implore God’s forgiveness before daybreak.” (3:17) This means that our Lord opens the doors of repentance to us in the time before dawn. What a Divine blessing this is, from Allah Almighty…
But Allah wants sacrifice here. That door of repentance is to be opened. You will seek refuge in Him here. (On the one hand,) you will never again commit that sin. Allah Almighty will bestow such a sense and feeling in your heart. And (on the other hand,) Allah Almighty will forgive you. That which is most important is that which is missed – the time before daybreak. The lives of the Prophets were forever alive (with worship) at this time.
‘A’isha, the mother of the believers, says:
“The Messenger of Allah used to stand in prayer until his feet – or legs – were swollen. He would weep until the soil (at the point of prostration) became wet.”
When ‘A’isha said, “O Messenger of Allah, why do you tire yourself so?” he used to say, “O ‘A’isha, shall I not be a thankful slave to Allah? (Bukhari, Tahajjud, 16)
If this is the state of the Messenger of Allah – when he is given the guarantee of Paradise and is at the pinnacle of all the Prophets – how, then, do we need to be?
Similarly, Allah Almighty refers in the Qur’anic chapter al-Zumar, to “those who know and those who do not know.” (39:9) Who knows and who does not know? Or who acquires learning and who does not acquire learning?
The true learning is to be a servant of Allah Almighty.
To be a servant of Allah Almighty, to be able to know Him in the heart.
We have come to the world for the Hereafter. We have not come to the world for any other purpose. This world is a place of learning. It is a Divine laboratory, a laboratory of Divine majesty. This is the reason behind, “those who know and those who do not know.” How, then, will those who know, actually come to know? The spirit is to deepen. The first verse:
iq’ra bi-is’mi rabbika alladhī khalaqa
“Read in and with the Name of your Lord, Who has created.” (96:1)
The Companions read in precisely such a way. They built a perfect civilisation, a civilisation of the Age of Happiness. They had no other book in their hands but the Qur’an. They read only the Qur’an. They became guided with the Qur’an. Allah Almighty declares:
wanunazzilu mina l-qur’āni mā huwa shifā’un waraḥmatun lil’mu’minīna
“We are sending down the Qur’an in parts – it is a healing and a mercy for the believers…” (17:82)
He bestowed His mercy and healing and an Age of Happiness emerged in world history. A great civilisation… An unprecedented civilisation… From whom, and from where did this come? From a semi-savage people. From the people of the Age of Ignorance. These people built a great civilisation. Today, humanity is in need of this civilisation. A civilisation of what it means to be human. A civilisation of being a servant of Allah.
Allah Almighty reveals three characteristics, “those who know and those who do not know,” in the Qur’anic chapter al-Zumar. The first:
“…(he who worships God devoutly in the watches of the night,) prostrating and standing…” (39:9)
Again, in the chapter al-Dhariyat, Allah Almighty declares:
“They used to sleep but little by night (almost never missing the Tahajjud Prayer). And in the hour of early dawn, they would implore God’s forgiveness.” (51:17-18) Allah Almighty invites and this is not the call of a mortal. Likewise, in the chapter al-Insan, Allah Almighty declares:
“And during part of the night prostrate to Him, and glorify Him a long part of the night.” (76:26)
fa-inna maʿa l-ʿus’ri yus’ran inna maʿa l-ʿus’ri yus’ran
“Then, surely, with hardship comes ease; Surely, with hardship comes ease.” (94:5-6)
At this time, the bed becomes like a magnet, pulling a person, and waking up becomes difficult. But Allah Almighty bestows ease after every hardship. This is a great favour. This means that the time before dawn is (a time for) repentance, for waking up.
Again, the seeking of forgiveness at this time, accompanied by the Statement of Divine Unity.
La ilaha illallah al malikul haqqul mubin
The Messenger of Allah, upon him be peace and blessings, exhorts us to “renew” our belief. (Ahmad, II, 359; Hakim, IV, 285/7657)
A renewal of belief. Making a covenant with Allah Almighty during each night, before daybreak.
qālū balā (7:172) Confirming, in this world, the answer we gave in pre-eternity, to the call made to all souls.
Lā ilāha: this means that we say, “O Lord,” and pull away from carnal desires, that we do not become a worshipper of the ego; illa-llāh: we are to only be within a manifestation of God’s attributes of beauty.
La ilaha illallah al-malikul haqqul mubin
Renewal of belief. And this is innumerable. One Companion even said:
“O Messenger of Allah, shall I send two thousand salutations upon you?”
“Do so, (the Messenger of Allah said,) and if you do more it is better for you.” (For similar narrations, see Tirmidhi, Qiyama, 23/2457)
Sending peace and blessings upon the Messenger of Allah and constantly enhancing one’s relationship with him.
Whenever a name is mentioned, for instance when the name of a city is mentioned, we think of that city if that is where we come from. The roads, flowers, trees, fruits, and the like, of that city will forever remain in our memory. That is to say, at each and every salutation to the Messenger of Allah, we are to remember the greatest bounty of Allah Almighty upon us. Allah Almighty is very far beyond our comprehension.
“Surely Allah His angels bless the Prophet. O you who believe, invoke the blessings of Allah on him, and pray to Allah to bestow His peace on him, greeting him with the best greeting.”(33:56)
His being al-uswa al-hasana, a fine exemplar, a beautiful example. But for those who fulfil three conditions.
The first: “Those who aspire to union with Allah.”
In the endeavour to be a friend of Allah Almighty.
“Those who hope for the Hereafter.”
The Hereafter is to constantly be in our sights.
faman yaʿmal mith’qāla dharratin khayran yarahu waman yaʿmal mith’qāla dharratin sharran yarahu
“And so, whoever does an atom’s weight of good will see it; And whoever does an atom’s weight of evil will see it.” (99:7-8)
We are to watch our every action, our every breath, our every step. We are to be worried about even a single atom.