March 25, 2006

Upholding Islamic Principles at All Times

Khutbah from the Islamic Religious Council of Singapore (MUIS)
24 March 2006 / 24 Safar 1427

Blessed Friday congregation,

Fear Allah truly and safeguard your akhlaq and your faith, for these are the principles in a believer’s life.

Rasulullah (saw) once said in a hadith:

There will come a time when those who are patient in their religion, will be like the ones who have burning coal in their hands.
(Narrated by Imam Tarmizi.)

The world today is developing rapidly. Mankind has achieved much advancement and developments. Scientific and technological developments have helped man lead a much better life. However, we cannot deny that living in a modern world has tremendous challenges too. We can now see the many kinds of cultures and ways of living that have resulted from this modernization.

Because of this, Rasulullah (saw) said that there will come an age when those who are patient with their religion will be like the ones who hold burning coal in their hands. Is this the time? Let us think about it.

My beloved brothers,

Life at this age has much exposure. There are many things that can lead a Muslim away from his Islamic principles. A Muslim can choose whichever path he wants. But what are the things that can help a Muslim be steadfast in his religion at this age and at the same time able to adapt to modernization?

Listen to what our prophet Muhammad (saw) said:

Let not any of you be a follower by saying: (My principle or character) depends on the majority. If the majority is good, I will be good and if the majority is bad, I will be bad. But you must strengthen your principles. If the majority is good, you will be good. If the majority is bad, you will correct them.
(Narrated by Imam Tarmizi.)

We as Muslims are obligated to remain steadfast in our religion, especially in faith and good character. We must know where are the limits and boundaries.

In practicing religion in today’s context and living in a multi-racial society, we must be wise in adapting ourselves, and not sacrificing our Islamic principles at the same time, especially in issues of faith and good character.

For instance, Islam has been tainted with many negative impressions. However, it is not only the ignorant who are ruining the image of Islam with lies and insults, but we Muslims ourselves are blemishing Islam. Just look at the many riots and violent outbursts done in the name of Islam. Do we not ask, where is our akhlaq? Did Rasulullah ever teach us to damage the property of others to uphold Islam? Is this the true Islam?

Another example is through the internet. As Muslims, we must be wise in using it. With a strong faith, we will be God-conscious wherever we are. We will not visit websites which are unbeneficial, such as porn sites and others. Instead we should use the Internet to spread the message about our religion, Islam.

Another characteristic, which is rampant these days and is often linked to modernization, is unhealthy mixing of the genders. A lot of them can be seen holding hands in public. Not only that, some even go to the extent of hugging. There are also those who dare to kiss, without feeling ashamed. What should the limits be? According to the mind, you can socialize without limits as long as there is no sexual intercourse. According to lust you can have sex, as long as one is not pregnant. According to Allah’s laws, all doors which lead to illegal sexual intercourse should be avoided. Not only holding hands, even touching is not allowed.

Blessed Friday congregation,

In trying to adapt, we must remember the limits placed by our religion. Everything is clear. We must ensure that our Islamic principles are not compromised. We should explain to the society our limits and boundaries. We must be wise in explaining all the wrong misconceptions about our religion.

In adapting, we must ensure that it is according to our religious principles. For instance, although we are living in a non-Islamic country, we must open our eyes to understand that the state’s laws must be obeyed because they are based on justice among mankind. And this is also a principle in Islam.

We must live the true spirit of Islam. By seeking knowledge and understanding that everything we do because of Allah is an ibadah and we will be rewarded accordingly. With this spirit, we will be able to develop ourselves and at the same time, bring ourselves closer to Allah.

We also need to show good character wherever we are, because that is the true personality of a Mukmin. By doing this, we will be able to adapt without compromising our faith or good character.

My beloved brothers in Islam,

The splendid strength of faith and character was shown by a Follower’s Follower named Rabi’ bin Khuthaim. Because of his faith, there was jealousy among the Fasiq, until there was a reward of 1000 dirham to a beautiful woman who could seduce Rabi’ bin Khuthaim.

So the woman dressed up prettily and put on perfume. Then the woman went to meet Rabi’ while he was leaving the mosque. Rabi’ bin Khuthaim was surprised with the state of the woman.

Rabi’ said to the woman: "How would your condition be when you are inflicted with a disease, when your skin color and your beauty are affected? How would your condition be when the Angel of Death comes and takes away your soul? Or when the angels Munkar and Nakir come to torture you?”

Upon listening to the words of Rabi’, the woman cried and cried regretting her actions, and then she went back home and repented.

Let us learn from this story. May Allah help us in living the religion. The Muslim society which has high moral values and spirituality is actually a strong tree as depicted by Allah (swt) in the Al-Quran:

"See you not how Allah sets forth a parable? A goodly word as a goodly tree, whose root is firmly fixed, and its branches (reach) to the sky. Giving its fruit at all times, by the Leave of its Lord, and Allah sets forth parables for mankind in order that they may remember."
(Surah Ibrahim, 14: 24-25)

Akhlaq: Literally, "disposition." The practice of virtue, morality and manners.
Dirham: A unit of currency.
Fasiq: One of corrupt moral character who engages in various sins.
Ibadah: Literally, "worship." This term refers to any and all acts that demonstrate obedience and commitment to God. Thus, in Islam, visiting the sick, giving charity, hugging one's spouse, or any other good act is considered an act of ibadah.
Munkar and Nakir: Two black, blue-eyed malaikah (angels) who test the faith of the dead in their graves. For more information, see the Wikipedia article: Nakir and Munkar.
Rasulullah: The Prophet of God; i.e., Muhammad (saw).
(saw): These letters are abbreviations for the words "Salla Allahu 'Alaihi Wa Sallam," which means, "may the blessing and the peace of Allah be upon him." When the name of Prophet Muhammad is mentioned, a Muslim is to respect him and invoke this statement of peace upon him.
(swt): These letters are abbreviations for the words of "Subhanahu Wa Ta'ala." When the name of Almighty Allah is pronounced, a Muslim is to show his respect to Him by reciting this. The meaning of this statement is that Allah is purified of having partners or a son.

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