To begin with, there must be ‘knowledge’. Knowledge – to be able to know Allah Almighty.
Secondly, there needs to be ‘deeds’. Our deeds are to be deeds of righteousness.
And thirdly, we need to assume a state of ‘piety and God-consciousness’ (taqwa). We are to live a constant state of piety and righteousness.
What is piety? Piety is overcoming carnal desires, developing spiritual faculties and being able to attain the consciousness and awareness in one’s heart that one is constantly under Divine supervision.
The term for piety, ‘taqwa‘ occurs 254 times in the Qur’an.
There are around 80 occurrences of the statement, “O you who believe!”
The most important [attribute] of those who believe:
yāayyuhā alladhīna āmanū ittaqū l-laha ḥaqqa tuqātihi walā tamūtunna illā wa antum mus’limūn
“O you who believe! Keep from disobedience to Allah in reverent piety, with all the reverence that is due to Him, and see that you do not die save as Muslims (submitted to Him exclusively).”(3:102)
Again, Allah Almighty declares:
“…If you help Allah(’s cause by striving in His cause), He will help you and make your feet firm (so that you are steadfast in His cause and ultimately victorious).” (47:7)
In short, putting Islam into practice and enabling all acts of worship to be observed in devoted reverence.
The prescribed prayer is mentioned 99 times throughout the Qur’an. And concerning their prayer, it is stated: “They are in their Prayer humble and fully submissive (being overwhelmed by the awe and majesty of Allah)“. (23:2)
yuḥāfiẓūn (They guard…)” (23:9)
dāimūn (…are constant…)” (70:23)
Allah Almighty reveals the spiritual quality of the prescribed prayer. The prescribed prayer is not realized purely through the physical actions.
It is declared: “And woe to those worshippers (denying the Judgement).” (107:4)
Fasting is mentioned in 13 places. Enable your eyes and ears to fast, as it is declared, “So that you may be prosper.”
“…so that you may attain piety.” (2:183) And for it to become a shield against the Fire…(See Nasa’i. Siyam, 43)
The prescribed annual alms is mentioned 32 times. You are required to pay it in any case. The alms-tax of one’s money, the alms-tax of one’s produce, the alms-tax of one’s livestock.
The voluntary alms is mentioned in 21 places. Spending in the way of Allah… Allah Almighty declares: “They spend both in ease and hardship…”(3:134) You need to give in times of hardship as well. And this is mentioned 72 times.
This means that “giving” is mentioned in 125 places. Allah Almighty exhorts us in the Qur’an, on 125 occasions, to be “the upper hand (that gives in charity)”. You are to give from whatever you have.
The Prophet’s Mosque was being built and the Messenger of Allah carried stones for its construction. Someone came and said, “O Messenger of Allah, we are able to carry these.”
“No,” Allah’s Messenger said. “I, too, am in need of Allah’s mercy.” (See Ibn Hisham, I, 496)
These acts of worship are to be observed in devoted reverence. Allah Almighty demands a spiritual life of us. Perfect virtue (ihsan) is mentioned 194 times. In other words, the human being is to advance spiritually and live in the constant awareness of being under Divine watch, under Divine supervision. How we would be careful of everything that we do if we were being followed by a camera, day and night? The Kiramun Katibun, the Noble Recorders, are constantly operating this camera. Screens will come down on the Day of Judgement and we will see our whole life there, on screen.
That is to say, Allah Almighty demands us to be among those who are devoted to doing good, aware that He is seeing them (muḥ’sinīn). This means that we need to possess an awareness of being constantly under Divine supervision.
Secondly, we need to be devoted to doing good and we need to possess magnanimity.
Then, Allah Almighty declares: wa-aḥsinū “(Whatever you do,) do it in the best way, in the awareness that Allah sees it…” (2:195) Everything pertaining to a Muslim must be that which is best. Their affairs need to be those that are best. Their occupation needs to be that which is best. Their deeds need to be those that are most excellent.
Contemplation (tafakkur) is mentioned 137 times. We need to reflect upon ourselves: How did we come into existence out of nothing? What kind of phases did we undergo? A fertilised ovum, a clot clinging, a formless life of flesh, bones, clothing the bones in flesh, etc… How did Allah Almighty bring us into the world in the best possible way, [declaring] khalaqnā, khalaqnā, khalaqnā (We created, We created, We created) transforming us from one form into another? (See 23:14)
Allah Almighty asks: “O human! What is it that deludes you concerning your Lord, the All-Munificent? He Who has created you, fashioned you, and proportioned you (in measures perfect for the purpose of your creation)?” (82:6-8) Contemplate your creation.
He invites the human being to contemplation of the heavens. “…Look yet again,” He declares. “Can you see any rifts?” (67:3)
Allah Almighty invites us to contemplation of all that comes from the earth.
He invites us to contemplate the day and night, the sun and the moon.
Piety is mentioned 254 times.
Again, Allah Almighty declares those who will prosper:
“As for those who say, ‘Our Lord is Allah,’ and then follow the Straight Path (in their belief, thought, and actions) without deviation, the angels descend upon them from time to time (in the world as protecting comrades and in the Hereafter, with the message): ‘Do not fear or grieve; but rejoice in the glad tidings of Paradise which you have been promised.'” (41:30)
This will be so in three places. Firstly: in times of hardship.
One of these is at the time of death. The angels will descend and say to those friends of Allah: “Do not fear or grieve; but rejoice in the glad tidings of Paradise which you have been promised.” (41:30)
Secondly: when entering the grave. The great farewell… You are setting off on a journey, but a direful one. You are departing on a journey of separation from home. All connections are severed. There, the angels will come and say:
“Do not fear or grieve; but rejoice in the glad tidings of Paradise which you have been promised.” (41:30)
Thirdly: the Resurrection and the Day of Reckoning. Again the angels will come and say:
“Do not fear or grieve; but rejoice in the glad tidings of Paradise which you have been promised.” (41:30)
Similarly it is stated in the commentaries of the Qur’an:
Again, the human being experiences times of difficulty and hardship. During those times of difficulty, Allah Almighty grants a sense of trust and confidence in Him, a sense of tranquillity, by means of these angels.
And so, this is the second group: Those who turn the capital of their lives into a profitable trade. There are a great many things mentioned in reference to them.
The Messenger of Allah states:
“The parable of my community is like that of (abundant) rain. It is not known whether the best part is when it begins to rain or when it ends.” (Tirmidhi, Adab, 81)
Consider how auspicious a community were the Companions of Allah’s Messenger. They brought down an entire era of ignorance. They built a civilisation of virtue. There is yet another age of ignorance experienced in our day. That is to say, the life of the world without any consideration of the Hereafter is sought.
Allah Almighty says of us, you are Allah’s witnesses for the people. (See 2:143; 22:78)
“Soul at rest” (nafs al-muṭ’ma’inna), He declares. “Soul perfected” (nafs al-kamila), “Soul well-pleased” (nafs al-radiya), it is stated. (See 89:27-28)
This means that if we direct to the straight path all our strength and ability – with Allah’s permission – by the grace and help of our Lord, then, like the rain, we can be a drop of mercy, God-willing.
Allah Almighty subsequently provides further examples:
He offers examples from the animal kingdom. And of course, the camel, in that particular context.
“Do they not consider the camels,” He says. “How they are created?” (88:17)
Now, human beings make use of its meat, its milk, its fur, its hide, its strength. It eats of a thorny plant – a cactus – in the desert. For instance, it goes for eight days, ten days without water. It fills its hump with water. It is a patient animal. It is also a sensitive animal. It is spurred on with singing and song. Allah Almighty bestows it as a blessing for humankind. If the camel were to use its strength, it could knock a human being down on the ground. But even a child can hold a camel by the reins and pull it along. Allah Almighty declares:
“He has also made of service to you whatever is in the heavens and whatever is on the earth, all is from Him (a gift of His Grace)…” (See 45:13) Every animal, from the butterfly and worm, to elephants, they are all separate manifestations of the Divine name (Al-)Bārī (the All-Holy Creator) and (Al-)Musawwir (the All-Fashioning).
The human being, therefore, [must reflect on this]. [How] Allah Almighty created them all for humankind. The scorpion, the snake, too, He created for the human being. It has no hands or feet, it goes up walls. The human being fears a tiny animal without hands or feet. This goes to show that it, too, reminds us of a punishment, the punishment of the Hereafter. How can you remain in a place where there is a snake, a scorpion, or other vermin? All those that are created for the human being. The human being must read all of these with the eye of their heart.
In other words:
iq’ra bi-is’mi rabbika alladhī khalaq
“Read in and with the Name of your Lord, Who has created.” (96:1)
Allah Almighty then declares:
“And [do they not consider] the heaven, how it has been raised high?” (88:18) Does the heaven have an end? It does not. How many stars are there? Can they ever be counted? No, they cannot. Can the distances be estimated? No, they cannot. A manifestation of infinite power. Is there any defect or malfunction? Does the sun or the moon go to a garage for repairs? What would happen if it increased its light? Eyes would be blinded. If it were to reduce its light, there would be utter darkness. If it were to come closer, it would incinerate, and cause everything to freeze up if it moved away. All creation is dependent on it.
Allah Almighty declares:
wal-shamsi “By the sun…” (91:1)
He controls two separate calendars. Though all stars are a separate calendar unto themselves. There is not a second’s glitch. Allah Almighty constantly declares, “And [do they not consider] the heaven?
Then He refers to the mountains. (See 88:19) How the mountains are “masts” (watad), how the mountains were created, how the mountains keep the earth stable.
Allah Almighty then declares:
“And the earth, how it has been spread out?” (88:20) He provides all creation with their needs. In providing all creation with its needs, He cleans all the residue of creation at the same time.
How are tables set up and laden in all creation? How the sustenance of those living in the earth’s polar regions is provided separately. How the sustenance of creatures living at the Equator is provided separately.
Similarly, Allah Almighty declares in Surah al-Ankabut:
“How many a living creature there is that does not carry its own provision (in store), but Allah provides for them, and indeed for you. He is the All-Hearing, the All-Knowing.”(29:60)
An animal that can fend for itself brings the provisions for the animal cannot procure its own sustenance.
It snows and everywhere is covered in snow. Then ten days later the snow melts. You cannot see the carcass of even a single insect. Everything is buried in the soil. Allah Almighty keeps them within the space of that twenty centimetres, within the swaddle of earth. Again, the snow disappears and everything emerges.
And Allahas al-uswa al-hasana (the Fine Exemplar). The Messenger Allah faced that which is most difficult for a human being to face. His character was the most exalted of character. He himself states:
“Of all the Prophets, I have endured the most suffering.” (See Tirmidhi, Qiyama, 34/2472) He was in a constant state of gratitude to Allah Almighty, of reliance on Him and of patience. He endured the greatest of trials. Camel tripe was thrown on top of him.
Not once in his life did he say, “Me!” But always said, “O Lord, You, You…”
He was softer than soft towards all God’s creation. He looked upon creation by means of its Creator.
Again, the Messenger of Allah states:
“When a person dies, their legacy is for their legatees. If one amongst you dies leaving behind children, I will take on their care. He who amongst you dies and leaves a debt, I am there to pay it.” (See (Muslim, Jumu’ah, 43; Ibn Maja, Muqaddima, 7)
In other words, being concerned with the plight of the entire community. To be preoccupied with the guidance of the community, of all the people.
‘Ali, may Allah be well pleased with him, says:
“On the day of Badr, the Messenger of Allah was, by far, the bravest and most persistent of us all. When the battle grew fierce, we would seek protection behind him.” (See Ahmad, I, 86)
Again, the refinement, gentility and grace of Allah’s Messenger:
When he was once walking with his Companions, some spittle on the ground caught his attention and he did not proceed. Instead, he took a step back. The Companions rushed to cover it. And only after this did Allah’s Messenger proceed. How Allah’s Messenger was bothered by even the smallest incivility.
Al-mar’u ma’a man ahabba
“The person will be with the one they love.” (Bukhari, Adab, 96)
The Messenger of Allah, upon him be peace and blessings… May Allah Almighty enable the spiritual states, hearts, feelings of all of us to resemble those of the Messenger of Allah, and enable us to be, favour us with being among those who benefit from his spiritual disposition, with Allah’s permission.
May Allah be pleased with you all. There are a great many brothers here today. There are people here from Antalya, from Denizli, from Burdur, from Konya and surrounds…
We have come here for the sake of Allah. May Allah grant blessings to our assembly.
May our Lord enable our last breath to be our most beautiful moment, with Allah’s permission.
In sincere entreaty for the acceptance of our supplication, let us each recite al-Fatiha.