February 26, 2006

Itqan in the Practice of Helping Others

Khutbah from the Islamic Religious Council of Singapore (MUIS)
24 February 2006 / 25 Muharram 1427

O mankind, do not waste even a second of your time. Allah witnesses your every act, and every deed will be accounted for in judgment day. Allah the Most Powerful is Most Able to cause death upon us anytime. So are we ready? How do we get ready?

In the past week's sermon, we have listened and understood that Islam is the religion which encourages its believers to help each other in goodness and how Muslims are given the responsibility to bring benefits to all.

When Allah (swt) says that Muslims are the best of mankind, this verse mentions that we will reach that level of excellence by doing good and forbidding evil with a sincere faith in Allah.

In doing something, we must make sure that it is an act of ma’aruf (goodness), be it in work, studies, sports or ibadah.

In doing an act of ma’aruf (goodness), it must be done with sincere intentions. Not only that, we must make sure that the act will result in an impactful contribution to society; a contribution which is our responsibility as a believer.

Remember what Rasulullah once said in a hadith narrated by Imam Tabrani:

“Indeed Allah loves one who does work, he does it with itqan.”

Itqan here means the attitude of being careful, meticulous, hardworking and excellent in carrying out responsibilities and tasks. Our responsibilities are not towards Allah only, but towards our employers, teachers, students, and all.

In fact, itqan should be implanted in the heart of a believer in Allah (swt) and the Day of Judgment, for it shall be the day when every deed that we have done will be shown to all, in accordance with Allah’s promise, Surah At-Taubah, verse 105:

“Do deeds! Allah will see your deeds, and (so will) His Messenger and the believers. And you will be brought back to the All-Knower of the unseen and the seen. Then He will inform you of what you used to do.”

My beloved brothers in Islam,

Those who strive hard and work hard will get what they are working for. Those who do not give up are those who have itqan in them. Itqan is a reason for achievement and excellence.

Indeed this is what has been shown by Rasulullah (saw). He did not give up in spreading the message to his people. Rasulullah (saw) was ridiculed, insulted, to the point where pebbles were thrown at him, but Rasulullah (saw) still continued with his dakwah.

The fruits of his endless dakwah prove the itqan and strivings in his acts. From just one person, he succeeded in islamicizing the city of Madinah. After that, he managed to gain back Makkah. Until after only 23 years he spread the message, he was able to take control of a major part of the land of the Arabs.

His companions continued this dakwah effort with much strivings and itqan. In less than 100 years since Rasulullah introduced Islam, Islam had spread to Africa and Europe. And it continued to spread to China and India.

Alhamdulilllah, with such efforts, Islam finally spread to the Malay Archipelago, and now we are in this mosque, we are believers, because of the hard work and determination of those who do the work of dakwah without ever giving up.

My blessed brothers in Islam,

With this itqan virtue, we do not have to doubt the quality of the work we produce. We do not have to worry about complacency and selfishness. A society with itqan will be more proactive and responsible. A society with itqan will be more sensitive of their own conditions, and there will be awareness and consensus among all parties.

Let us not be among those who tarnish the good image of Islam. We are all responsible of keeping up the positive image of Islam to others, and this can be done by showing itqan in all that we do. This will not only remove all wrong misconceptions about our religion, it will also increase our standing in society, where the standing can be seen as ties in strengthening the harmonious relationship between race and religion.

Do not take these ties lightly. We should work hard in improving these ties of understanding and compromise, because Allah (swt) may test the strength of these ties any time. Strengthen the ties among us with this virtue of itqan, by helping each other and being beneficial towards all. Hopefully these virtues make us a respected society, a community and an ummah, which will be the pride of our prophet, Muhammad (saw).

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