Alladhīna hum fī ṣalātihim khāshiʿūn.
In reference to the prosperous believers, Allah Almighty declares:
“They are in their Prayer humble and fully submissive (being overwhelmed by the awe and majesty of Allah).” (23:2)
This means, dear brothers and sisters, that we need to place great importance on the prescribed prayer. In other words, giving weight to the prescribed prayer. The prayer here, and all other forms of worship whether fasting, almsgiving, acts of charity and good works, spending in the way of Allah, or the like.
We must be careful in calculating the alms-tax that we are required to give to the poor. To whom can the alms-tax be given, for who it is not permitted, let us ask our religious leaders. The Qur’an indicates eight different places. Which of these are charitable works and which constitute the alms-tax? And we must strive to give our alms-tax bounteously. We should also strive to spend in the path of Allah in addition to this.
That is to say, we should render our life of worship vibrant and refined. We ought to overflow with spirituality. And our spirit should be nourished with worship.
In consequence of this, it is stated:
Wa-alladhīna hum ʿani l-laghwi muʿ’riḍūn.
“They always turn away from and avoid whatever is vain and frivolous.” (23:3) They, the believers, stay clear of those things that are meaningless. It does not befit a believer to engage themselves in idle pursuits and frivolous distractions.
Just consider, is there anything futile in the universe? Let us look at matter, at the world around us, at a single atom: How the proton, neutron, and electron are in a perpetual state of motion. Let us look at the stars, all of them… And let us look at the earth, the seasons, they are all in a constant state (of motion, change and transformation).
This means that a human being’s remaining idle is a grave thing indeed. Their being preoccupied with vain speech is also objectionable.
Allah, May His Majesty be exalted, declares:
Fa-idhā faraghta fa-inṣab wa-ilā rabbika fa-ir’ghab.
“Therefore, when you are free (from one task), resume (another task); And seek and strive to please your Lord.” (94:7-8)
If you have undertaken an act of goodness, rush to carry out another, He states.
What does Allah Almighty demand of us?
“…Be aware that it is in the remembrance and of and wholehearted devotion to Allah that hearts find rest and contentment.” (13:28)
The Messenger of Allah, used to say:
“Who amongst you has visited the sick today? Is there anyone who has fed the hungry? Has any from among you today shown kindness to an orphan? Is there anyone among you who has visited a sick person today? Who attended a funeral procession?” (See Muslim, Fada’il al-Sahaba, 12)
In this case, the believer must play an active role in the social sphere. They should not live individualistically. They are to be altruistic. And their love is to increase in this way. When they speak, they are to speak with the language of the Qur’an. Allah, May His Majesty be exalted, declares, “qawlan karīman,” (See 17:23) “and always address them [i.e. parents] in gracious words. Qawlan karīman, “and always address them in gracious words,” He commands.
Qawlan sadīdan, He declares. (See 4:9; 33:70) Speak the truth and proper words in every matter, He decrees. There cannot be the ‘administering of affairs’ according to the particular circumstances. Qawlan sadīdan, “Always speak words true, proper and straight to the point,” He declares.
Qawlan layyinan, He states. (See 20:44) Speak with gentle words when conveying the message to others, He says. Do not be harsh, He commands.
“…For certain the most repugnant of voices is braying of donkeys,” (31:19) He states.
Qawlan layyinan, “Speak gently,” Allah declares. Like the flow of water, when you speak, your words should offer relief to the person you are addressing.
Qawlan maysūran, He declares. (See 17:28) Speak in a manner that is pleasing, He says. Speak in a manner that brings ease to one’s spirit, He says. Speak words of consolation, He says.
Qawlan balīghan, He decrees. (See 4:63) “Say to them profound words touching their very souls,” He declares.
Qawlan maʿrūfan, He declares. (33:32) Speak in a manner appropriate and honourable, He commands.
Waqūlū lilnnāsi ḥus’na.
And He declares, “…and speak kindly and well to the people…” (2:83)
In short, the human being must avoid empty words and their speech must assume precisely such a quality.
Allah Almighty then states:
“They are in a constant effort to give alms and purify their own selves and wealth.” (23:4) This goes to say that Allah constantly has provided me with wealth. Why did He do so? One must calculate the alms that they are required to give.
Quli l-ʿafwa, “…[Spend] What is left over… (2:219) He commands. They are to spend in the way of Allah. Such spending is referred to seventy-two times in the Qur’an.
Lan tanālū l-birra ḥattā tunfiqū mimmā tuḥibbūn.
The verse states: “You will never be able to attain godliness and virtue until you spend of what you love…” (3:92)
In the following verse, Allah Almighty states:
Wa-alladhīna hum lifurūjihim ḥāfiẓūn.
“They strictly guard their private parts, and their chastity and modesty.” (23:5)
They are to guard their chastity whether they are male or female. They are not to expose themselves. This is of especial importance in our day. A woman is not to be an object that is used as a plaything, but she is to be a ‘mother’. She is to protect the honour and dignity of motherhood. She is to be a model of virtue and self-possession for her child. She must not injure her self-possession and solemnity.
“They strictly guard their private parts, and their chastity and modesty,” (23:5) it is declared.
This is a quality condition specifically to the human being. It is not subject to any restraint in other creatures. That is why Allah Almighty makes mention of Mary thirty-four times in the Qur’an, praising and extolling her. This is why He declares, “And (mention) that blessed woman who set the best example in guarding her chastity.” (21:91) And this is why we must raise our children in such a way. We must raise them to be chaste and pure. We must pay particular attention to what they wear. We must protect them from becoming – may Allah protect them from that – playthings. They are entrusted to us by Allah.
Allah Almighty created Prophet Adam, upon him be peace, and gave him form, and archangel Gabriel brought him three qualities.
He brought knowledge, and this was placed in the heart.
Which knowledge is this knowledge specifically? The intimate knowledge of Allah… The servant is, by means of a spiritual life, to be near to Allah Almighty, be one of His friends… Knowledge was placed in the heart.
He was given reason. Reason became established in the brain.
Reason was to take on a particular state in reference to the state of the heart. Reason tends either to piety and God-consciousness, or to immorality and misconduct. It inclines either to goodness and benevolence, or to oppression and wrongdoing. It wrongs itself first and foremost.
The heart is to develop and reason is then to increase in rank in accordance with the heart.
The third is virtue. Gabriel placed virtue and modesty in the countenance and in the eyes (one’s gaze). Virtue too is to take shape in accordance with the state of the heart.
This is followed by:
Wa-alladhīna hum li-amānātihim waʿahdihim rāʿūn.
“They are faithful and true to their trusts (which either God or society or an individual places in their charge) and to their pledges (between them and God or other persons or society).”(23:8)
A believer, therefore, is to be mindful of their pledges and promises.
There is no such thing as, “I merely made a promise to them, but do not owe them anything.” If you have made a promise, you are in debt! You are obliged to repay it. And such is to be the constitution and character of a believer. There needs to be faithfulness. They need to be faithful to their word.
Allah, May His Majesty be exalted, declares,
“…This is the Day when their truthfulness (faithfulness and steadfastness) will benefit all who were true to their word…” (5:119)
Similarly, there is the Prophet’s view in this regard, his approach to trusts. Consider the extent of his sensitivity in regards to the matter: He states:
“There is no believer on the earth with whom I am not the nearest among all the people. (i.e. I think of each and every Muslim more than they think of themselves.) He who amongst you dies and leaves behind property, that is for the inheritor whoever he is.He who amongst you dies and leaves a debt, I am there to pay it, and he who amongst you dies leaving behind children I am there to look after them.” (Muslim, Fara’id, 43; Ibn Maja, Muqaddima, 7)
The Messenger of Allah says:
“A person is with those they love.” (Bukhari, Adab, 96)
This is why our worship has to resemble his, our feelings have to resemble his, our character has to resemble his, and our social relations have to resemble his.
On that Day of Reckoning, on that difficult day…
Lā uq’simu biyawmi l-qiyāmah.
“I swear by the Day of Resurrection.” (75:1) We are required to earn an attribute that will enable us to be near the Messenger of Allah on that formidable day, Allah willing.
This is why trusts are so important. In our day some say, “I just stood as guarantor for him, and that is all.” If you have agreed to be responsible for another’s debt, then you must pay.
The Messenger of Allah, upon him be peace and blessings, has said:
“One that has no amana (trust) has no belief.” (Ahmad ibn Hanbal, III:135)
“And one who does not fulfil their promise has no religion,” he says. (Ahmad ibn Hanbal, III:135, 154)
The next verse reads:
Wa-alladhīna humʿalā ṣalawātihim yuḥāfiẓūn.
“They are ever mindful guardians of their Prayers (including all the rites of which they are constituted).” (23:9)
That is to say, they fulfil all the requirements of their Prayers. To begin with, they observe their Prayers in devoted reverence. After enumerating all these points, Allah Almighty then states:
“They are ever mindful guardians (yuḥāfiẓūn) of their Prayers.” (23:9)
In another Qur’anic verse it is stated:
“Except those who are devoted to the Prayer. Those who are constant in their Prayer.”(70:22-23) In no way are they neglectful, in other words. They perform their prayers on time.
The friends of Allah say in relation to the early dawn prayer and the Night Vigil, Hasan al-Basri in particular:
“Rising for the prayer in the middle of the night is onerous for the person who is crushed beneath the weight of their sins.”
If one’s eyes and ears, and the like, are drawn to all the wrong places during the day, then of course they cannot rise for prayer in the early dawn.
Ibrahim ibn Adham said:
“Refrain from disobeying Him during the day so that He may keep you in His presence at night.”
What form can this disobedience take? You can disobey him through your gaze, the words coming out of your mouth, and by means of wrongful acts.
Thus, one must prepare for the night… Preparing for the night from the day. And the night will prepare you for the day. Your spiritual life will continue thus, like the day and night.
Bayazid al-Bistami says:
“Until my nights became transformed into days, no (spiritual) mystery was revealed to me.”
Mawlana Jalal al-Din al-Rumi says:
“No inspiration occurred to my heart last night, and I realised that I had consumed a few morsels of doubtful nature.”
Then, Allah Almighty declares in relation to those who possess these qualities:
“[They are those] who will inherit the highest floor of Paradise…” (23:11)
So, may Allah accept from us this suhba.
“A person is with those they love.” (Bukhari, Adab, 96)
May Allah Almighty render all our worship and all our attributes nearest to that of the Messenger of Allah, so that we may be with him – Allah willing – on the Day of Judgement, on that direful day.
The Companions never wished to be parted from the Messenger of Allah. Such was the spiritual experience and delight they felt (in his presence). The constant aim of the Companions was to be with him on the Day of Judgement, on that difficult day.
May Allah Almighty bestow upon us precisely such a perception, realisation and spirituality. We must consider the following in relation to our every state: Had the Messenger of Allah been next to me right now, would he have smiled at my current state? This was the constant concern of all the Companions.
In sincere entreaty for the acceptance of our supplication, let us each recite Al-Fatiha.