The Best Community For Humanity

All praise is due to Allah, the Lord of the Worlds. Success will be for the pious. Blessings and peace be upon the Messenger of Allah, his family and upon his Companions.

Glory be to our Lord, the All-Exalted, the All-Bestowing.

Esteemed brothers and sisters,

May Allah Almighty bless our gathering. May the Community of Muhammad receive benefit from our hands, our tongue and our heart. May these be a means to the guidance of all humanity.

May Allah Almighty enable us all to receive the spiritual blessings of the Qur’anic verses recited.

I would like to begin with the verses from the Qur’an that were just recited.

Allah Almighty declares, “O you who believe!” in eighty odd places. In other words, by declaring, “O you who believe!” Allah Almighty makes a command. One of the most important of these is:

“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)

That is to say, this life is preparation for the last breath. Just like this cup overflows with the very last drop to enter it, all breaths of a human being are like the drops filling up this glass. When the last breath comes, everything comes to an end. And there is no way of making up for this in the grave. There is no way of making up for this in the Hereafter either.

Allah Almighty declares:

“O you who believe! Keep from disobedience to God in reverent piety, with all the reverence that is due to Him…” (3:102)

And piety (taqwa) is overcoming the desires of the carnal self, developing one’s spiritual faculties and for belief to become a consciousness and perception in the heart.

Our Lord declares:

“…and see that you do not die save as Muslims (submitted to Him exclusively).” (3:102)

And the Messenger of Allah says:

“You will die in the way in which you live and you will be resurrected in the way in which you die.”   (Munawi, Fayd al-Qadr, V:663)

The verse recited after this was the 103rd verse of the Qur’anic chapter Al-‘Imran:

“And hold fast all together to the rope of Allah (i.e. hold fast to Islam), and never be divided. Remember Allah’s favour upon you: you were once enemies…”

In other words, during the Age of Ignorance, racial tensions and tribal tensions held prominence. People were at each other’s throats due to this racial tension.

However – praise be to Allah – a humanity emerged in line with the Qur’an. A mercy emerged. Allah Almighty removed these enmities. Allah Almighty declares, – “Who is the superior human being?” –

inna akramakum ʿinda l-lahi atqākum

“…Surely the noblest, most honourable of you in Allah’s sight is the one best in piety, righteousness, and reverence for Allah…”(49:13)

It is declared that the most noble and honourable in the eyes of Allah is the servant who is closest to Him.

In the other Qur’anic verse that was recited after this:

“There must be among you a community calling to good, and enjoining and actively promoting what is right, and forbidding and trying to prevent evil (in appropriate ways)…” (3:104)

Naturally, to call to good, we must first adorn our inner worlds with spirituality. This is because we need to be an example. We are to be a Muslim not of words, but of deeds. We are to call to good in this way. We are to enjoin the good and forbid the evil. Allah Almighty demands from us to become precisely such a community within us, for such a community to indeed exist among us.

In a subsequent verse, in verse 109, it is declared:

“To Allah belongs whatever is in the heavens and whatever is on the earth; (i.e. we are within His Dominion) and to Allah are all matters ultimately referred.” (3:109)

In the verse coming immediately after:

kuntum khayra ummatin ukh’rijat lilnnās

“(O Community of Muhammad!) You are the best community ever brought forth for (the good of) humankind, enjoining and promoting what is right and good, and forbidding and trying to prevent evil… (3:110)

That is to say, Allah Almighty wills for us to be a righteous community…

In the next verse – what kind of inner world does Allah Almighty demand from us? He invites us to Paradise with this inner world. He wills for us to be a righteous community, an exalted community. The world of one’s heart, or inner world, is to advance, attain spiritual knowledge of Allah, (wherein) a friendship with Allah is established, and as a result of this friendship, one is to attain His grace and favour. They are to attain the Abode of Peace / Paradise.

Allah Almighty demands from us the inner world depicted below:

“The true believers are only those who, when Allah is mentioned, their hearts tremble with awe / wajilat qulūbuhum (8:2)

In other words, Allah Almighty demands for the servant to attain nearness to Him. And the servant is again to attain tranquillity in this way:

alā bidhik’ri l-lahi taṭma-innu l-qulūb

“…Be aware that it is in the remembrance and of and whole-hearted devotion to Allah that hearts find rest and contentment.”(13:28)

The greatest bliss in this world is the heart’s togetherness with Allah Almighty.

In the continuation of the verse:

“…and when His Revelations are recited to them, it strengthens them in faith…” (8:2)

This is, of course, as a result of the development of the heart.

And the resultant changing conditions… Allah alone knows the Unseen. Allah Almighty demands reliance upon and surrender to, Him.

fafirrū ilā l-lahi

“So, flee to (refuge in) Allah…” (See 51:50)

In the verse which follows:

“They establish the Prayer in conformity with its conditions…” (8:3)They observe the prayer with a harmony between heart and body.

Allah Almighty declares:

“…prostrate and draw near.” (96:19)

Allah created the anatomy of the human being, their skeletal structure in the best possible way. Allah Almighty wills for us to establish a togetherness with Him in precisely this way.

“…prostrate and draw near.” (96:19)

On the other hand, the social situation continues:

“…they spend (to provide sustenance for the needy, and in Allah’s cause, purely for the good pleasure of Allah and without placing others under obligation.)(8:3)

What was recited thereafter was the Qur’anic chapter entitled Ash-Shams. Here, Allah Almighty draws attention to His Divine Majesty through the sun.

“By the sun and its brightness.”(91:1)

In other words, a leaf is ripped out from the calendar of life with each passing day. We pull away from the world with each new day. Allah Almighty… We draw one day nearer to the realm of the Hereafter. Reflecting on Allah Almighty, the Divine Majesty… In other words, the sun… A manifestation of the Divine Majesty of Allah Almighty…

What kind of Divine power is it? That to the earth which is 150 million km away, its light reaches within 8 minutes. It comes in darkness and emits all its radiance upon entering the atmosphere. Without glitch. Without being taken to a workshop for repairs. If it were to be even a little hotter everything would burn completely. It its temperature were to decrease even a little, everything would freeze over.

Allah Almighty declares:

“And the moon as it follows it (reflecting its light).” (91:2)

How the moon, a ball of clay, takes from it its light, its luminousness, and the moonlight thus emerges. The tides are connected to it.

“And the day as it reveals it (the sun).” (91:3)

How the day and night follow each other constantly… Again:

“And the night as it enshrouds it.” (91:4)

“And the heaven and that (All-Magnificent One) Who has built it.” (91:5)

How the skies, the heavens are an infinite realm. Mathematical numbers are not enough (to define them). Light year, they say, the speed of light, they say. It is not possible for the mind, for the imagination to conceive of it. A manifestation of Divine majesty…

“And the earth and that (All-Magnificent One) Who has spread it.” (91:6)

What kind of earth, what kind of blessing is this? How tables are spread before all creation with compositions of that earth.

That is to say, Allah Almighty demands a graceful heart. A sensitive heart.

Allah Almighty has granted each of them a separate beauty…             A smile when you look at the small shoot of a plant. A unique beauty in everything that comes from the earth. With different colours, fragrances – of all different colours. Allah Almighty demands a sensitive heart from the believer.

Then Allah Almighty turns to the person’s inner world:

fa-alhamahā fujūrahā wataqwāhā

“And Who has inspired it with the conscience of what is wrong and bad for it, and what is right and good for it –” (91:8)

It has been given fujūr, or an inclination to sin and wrongdoing, as a means for trial. The servant, however, is to overcome this inclination to sin and thus attain piety, and draw near to Allah Almighty.

qad aflaḥa man zakkāhā

“He is indeed prosperous who has grown it in purity (away from self-aggrandizing rebellion against Allah).” (91:9)

One’s inner world is to be purified. Emotions are to be purified. Feelings are to be purified. And one is to thus become a righteous servant of Allah Almighty. That is, they are to pull away from lā ilāha, or everything other than Allah. They are to become a righteous servant of Allah Almighty.

This is the kind of servant that Allah Almighty wills for us to be and it is with this servanthood that He invites us to His Paradise.

Esteemed brothers and sisters:

Endless praise and thanks be to Allah Almighty! One hundred and twenty-four thousand Prophets were sent and our Lord rendered us the community of the greatest Prophet, the Prophet who is, “A Mercy to All the Worlds.”

In the 80th verse of the Qur’anic chapter Al-Nisa:

man yuṭiʿi l-rasūla faqad aṭāʿa l-lah

“He who obeys the Messenger (thereby) obeys Allah…” (4:80) it is stated. That is to say, Allah Almighty places obedience to Him and obedience to His Messenger side by side and combines the two forms of obedience.

Similarly, the Messenger of Allah is a miracle of Allah Almighty that is manifest within the human being. An exemplar for every profession. An exemplar from the lower echelon all the way up to the highest echelon. An exemplar for the ages. The Fine Exemplar (al-uswa al-hasana) and the exemplary personality. A great blessing from Allah Almighty.

Likewise, we have been addressed by the eternal miracle of Allah Almighty, the Qur’an. The Qur’an is the map of happiness in the world. The directory of eternity. A miracle of speech.

…”then produce just a sūrah like it and call for help from all your supporters, all those (to whom you apply for help apart from Allah)…” (2:23) the Qur’an declares.

Allah Almighty declares:

al-raḥmān ʿallama l-qur’ān khalaqa l-insān ʿallamahu l-bayān

“The All-Merciful; He has created the human being; He has taught him speech.” (55:1-4)

A great favour of Allah Almighty. A great Divine grace and Divine bestowal.

Allah Almighty wants for us to be, as mentioned in the Qur’anic verse, “the best community,” and “honoured community,” the representative of truth on earth, for our hearts to overflow with mercy, and for us to be precisely such a community.

Of course, here, carnal passions are to be resisted, fought back against, and the troubles and hardships faced are to be endured with patience. The approval and good pleasure of Allah is to be sought.

This is why Allah Almighty demands from us a belief experienced with love. He offers examples of this belief experienced with love, in the Qur’an. An unshakeable belief, an unswerving belief.

Secondly, acts of worship performed with the harmony of heart and body are required. All of them a unique spirituality, all of them a separate beauty. A person’s satiating their spiritual hunger. In the same way that the body experiences hunger – feeling the hunger of our spirit. Satiating our hunger with acts of worship. Being able to drawing near to Allah Almighty.

He demands us to be adorned with the noble character that inspires admiration.

Noble conduct and morality is expected from us. In other words, every stage of our lives, each and every breath, is to be lived in accordance with the injunctions of Islam.

alā bidhik’ri l-lahi taṭma-innu l-qulūb

“…Be aware that it is in the remembrance and of and whole-hearted devotion to Allah that hearts find rest and contentment.”(13:28)

Our hearts will attain togetherness with Allah Almighty and a state of tranquillity is to be experienced, in the world, in the grave and in the Hereafter.

Again, Allah Almighty declares:

…”We have made you a middle-way community, that you may be witnesses for the people (as to the ways they follow), and that the (most noble) Messenger may be a witness for you.” (2:143)

The Messenger of Allah states:

“The Prophets are God’s witnesses to the people (they are the best examples, Fine Exemplars, representatives of the religion of Allah.) And my community are the representatives of Allah for the other peoples.”(See ‘Ali al-Muttaqi, Kanz al-‘Ummal, XII, 171-172/34530)

“…that the (most noble) Messenger may be a witness for you.” (2:143)

This goes to show that Allah Almighty demands that we put Islam into practice.

True Islam can only be represented with the character and disposition of Islam. Islam forever demands noble character from the believer. Representing the religion is possible only with such noble character.

Allah Almighty wants us to take on the awe-inspiring character of the Companions, holding the noble Companions up as an example. He offers the Meccan Muslims as an example, in the 100th verse of the chapter At-Tawba. How did they guard their belief? They did not make even the slightest concessions in the face of the fiercest oppression.

Allah Almighty presents the Medinan Muslims as an example. They fulfilled His commands also and experienced a belief filled with love and rapture. On the other hand were the hypocrites, the polytheists, and the other tribes. A beautiful (manifestation of) Islam was lived in practice amidst such adverse forces. Each and every verse that was revealed was responded to with the words, samiʿ’nā wa-aṭaʿnā, “We have heard and we have obeyed,” (2:285) and was immediately translated into action…