By Shaykh al-Haram Salih Muhammad Al-Talib
Fear Allah and be dutiful to Him. Stay away from sins. For sins destroy. Know that you have a Lord Whom you are going to meet and a house in which you are going to live after your death. Seek the pleasure of your Lord before you meet Him and properly build your house before you move into it.
Fellow Muslims! We are the Ummah of Quran and Sunnah, the Ummah of divine guidance. We are the Ummah of the right path but we did not stay on this path.
Brethren in faith! All hardships and tribulations that afflict the Muslims are just like whips that drive them back to Imaan and Tawheed. They remind them of Allah the Almighty; they encourage them to turn back to Him in repentance and to fear the Day of Judgement. Allah says: “See they not that they are tried once or twice every year (with different kinds of calamities, disease, famine)? Yet, they turn not in repentance, nor do they learn a lesson (from it). (At-Tawbah 9:126)
Materialism has prevailed over the hearts of many people, and as a result they see nothing except in the light of materials. It is when man keeps away from the light of Imaan and his relationship with Allah becomes weak that his soul lives in spiritual isolation and his heart becomes hardened. He then lives a disturbed and fearful life. All this is a result of his abandonment of the real source of life and his forgetfulness of Allah. He forgets that it is Allah Who created the soul and Who knows the means by which it lives. The life is not that of the body but of the soul. Allah says,
“Is he who was dead (without Faith by ignorance and disbelief) and We gave him life (by knowledge and Faith) and set for him a light (of Belief) whereby he can walk amongst men – like him who is in the darkness (of disbelief, polytheism and hypocrisy) from which he can never come out?” (Al-An’aam 6:122)
Hence, belief in Allah is the source of security and peace. And the hearts that are devoid of Imaan are always far from Allah and are full of fright and confusion.
Fellow Muslims! When a man’s heart is full of Imaan, he knows his place of refuge and the remedy for his ailments. For this life is based on toil and man is seldom free from dangers. He suffers ailments and calamities; sorrows and wars; injustice and transgression and all kinds of tribulations. However, Allah is Ever Compassionate with His slaves. He always provides for them relief through a door of His mercy and blesses them with tranquillity and peace of mind. That door is the door of supplication to Allah, humbling oneself before Him and putting one’s trust in Him. For supplications are the security of the frightened, the refuge of the weak and the solace of invocators. Who is He that has sought refuge with Allah and has not been protected and who is he that has relied on Him and has not been given guidance?
Supplication is the essence of worship. Allah says, “And your Lord said: “Invoke Me, I will respond to your (invocation). Verily! Those who scorn My worship (i.e. do not invoke Me, and do not believe in My Oneness, they will surely enter Hell in humiliation!” (Ghaafir 40:60)
He also says, ‘And when My slaves ask you (O Muhammad) concerning Me, then (answer them), I am indeed near (to them by My Knowledge). I respond to the invocations of the supplicant when he calls on Me (without any mediator or intercessor). So let them obey Me and believe in Me, so that they may be led aright.”? (Al-Baqarah 2:186)
Supplication is the dearest thing to Allah. It is the way to patience in the cause of Allah. It is a sign of sincere dependence on Allah and keeping away from incapacity and laziness. It is an easy-to-make act of worship and it can be done at all places and times. Allah tells us that Prophet Ebraheem said,
‘And I shall turn away from you and from those whom you invoke besides Allah. And I shall call on my Lord and I hope that I shall not be unblessed in my invocation to my Lord.” (Maryam 19:48)
Many are the afflictions that have been removed by supplications! Many are the sins that have been forgiven through invocations! And many are the blessings that have been endowed through supplications! The Messenger of Allah said,
‘What has been destined cannot be prevented from happening. Invocation is helpful in things that have happened and things that have not happened. Calamity and supplication sometimes meet and engage in duel till the Day of Resurrection.” (Al-Hakim)
Supplication is the worship of the Prophets. Allah says about them, ‘Verily, they used to hasten on to do good deeds, and they used to call on Us with hope and fear, and used to humble themselves before Us.” (Al-Anbiya 21:90)
The Messenger of Allah said, ‘No Muslim makes a supplication in which there is no sin or severing of the tie of kinship except that Allah gives him by that one of three things: He gives him what he asked for immediately or He saves for him by that supplication some reward (which He gives him on the Day of Resurrection) or He saves him from a calamity which is equivalent to the supplication he made.”? The companions then said: “˜We will then make more supplications.’ The Messenger of Allah replied: ‘And Allah also will give more.” (Ahmad)
When Prophet Ebraheem called upon Allah after he was thrown into fire, Allah commanded the fire saying: “O fire! Be you coolness and safety for Ebraheem (Abraham)!” (Al-Anbiya 21:69)
Allah also says about Prophet Ayyub AS, ‘And (remember) Ayyub (Job), when he cried to his Lord: “Verily, distress has seized me, and You are the Most Merciful of all those who show mercy. So We answered his call, and We removed the distress that was on him, and We restored his family to him (that he had lost) and the like thereof along with them, as a mercy from Ourselves and a Reminder for all those who worship Us.”? (Al-Anbiya 21:83-84)
He says about Prophet Yunus, ‘So We answered his call, and delivered him from the distress. And thus We do deliver the believers (who believe in the Oneness of Allah, abstain from evil and work righteousness).” (Al-Anbiya 21:88)
And about Prophet Zakariyya He says, ‘And (remember) Zakariyya (Zechariah), when he cried to his Lord: “O My Lord! Leave me not single (childless), though You are the Best of the inheritors. So We answered his call, and We bestowed upon him Yahya (John), and cured his wife (to bear a child) for him.” (Al-Anbiya 21:89-90)
O you who is afflicted with calamities! O you who has been weakened by ailments! O you who have been overwhelmed by debts! Why don’t you call upon Allah the Self-Sufficient and the Most Gracious? O you who have been submerged by sins! Why can’t you call upon Allah the Oft-Forgiving to forgive you? O you who lives in fear and distress! Why can’t you call upon Allah to give you relief?
Brethren in Islam! The nation of Islam has experienced many crises and hardships and it was only through sincere return to Allah that it was able overcome those hardships. Allah says,
‘Verily, We sent (Messengers) to many nations before you (O Muhammad) And We seized them with extreme poverty (or loss in wealth) and loss in health (with calamities) so that they might humble themselves (believe with humility). When Our Torment reached them, why then did they not humble themselves (believe with humility)? But their hearts became hardened.” (Al-An’am 6:42)
Even some ancient polytheists would sincerely call upon Allah alone whenever they were faced with calamities.
The Muslim nation is now in dire need of the mercy of its Lord as it is in need of His help. Let us return to Allah, invoke His blessings and hope for His mercy.
Fellow Muslims! Supplication has its condition and manners, which every Muslim must learn in order to have his supplications answered. Foremost among these is that the intention and means of supplication should be compatible with Islamic Monotheism. It is this condition that makes supplication an act of worship that must be solely directed to Allah alone. Man must call, seek assistance from and seek refuge with Allah alone. He must seek forgiveness, victory, guidance, realization of his goals and aid from Allah alone. He should ask only Allah for the removal of his afflictions and for security against all evils.
All these are rights of Allah over His slaves. Man must call upon Allah alone. For neither does slumber or sleep overtakes Him. It is He alone who hears the supplication of the supplicants wherever they are and whichever language they speak. He is never distracted by a slave whom he listens to from listening to another and He is never annoyed because of the multitude of those who call upon Him. He alone has the power to give benefit or harm. It is therefore an act of associating partners with Him to call upon the dead, the angels, the jinn and others besides Him. He says about Himself,
‘He is the Ever Living. None has the right to be worshipped but He; so invoke Him making your worship pure for Him Alone (by worshipping Him Alone, and none else, and by doing righteous deeds sincerely for Allah’s sake only, and not to show off, and not setting up rivals with Him in worship).” (Ghafir 40:65)
The observer of the invocations of the Prophets will notice that Tawheed characterizes them. An example of this is the invocation made by Prophet Yunus,
‘He cried through the darkness (saying): None has the right to be worshipped but You (O, Allah) Glorified (and Exalted) are You (above all that (evil) they associate with You). Truly, I have been of the wrong-doers.”? (Al-Anbiya 21:87)
Allah answered his supplication through Tawheed.
Brethren in Islam! The supplicant should make sure that he follows the Sunnah while making the supplication. He should call upon Allah with His sublime Names and Attributes. He should seek for His forgiveness and acknowledge His favour on him. It is good if he starts his supplication with praising Allah as it is due and invoking His blessing on His Prophet, Muhammad peace and blessings of Allah be upon him. The supplicant should also not transgress while making supplication nor be in haste to have his supplication answered. He should also not despair. For the One he calls is the Graceful Lord.
Further, the supplicant must be a sincere believer. He should face the qiblah while making the supplication and should be sure that he is in the state of purity. He should raise his hands to Allah. He should be resolute in his supplication, supplicate at the times when invocations are most likely answered and select the supplications that are authentically reported from the Prophet. He should also not forget to make a sadaqah before his supplication. If he can do all these, his supplication will never be rejected. If he however does not see a sign of the acceptance of his supplication, let him examine himself.
The Messenger of Allah said,
‘O you people! Allah is Pure and does not accept but only that which is pure. He indeed commands the believer with that which He commanded the Messengers. He says: ‘O (you) Messengers! Eat of the lawful foods (meat of slaughtered eatable animals, milk products, fats, vegetables, fruits, etc.), and do righteous deeds. Verily! I am Well-Acquainted with what you do.” (Al-Mu’minoon 23:51) And He commands the believers saying: ‘O you who believe! Eat of the lawful things that We have provided you with, and be grateful to Allah, if it is indeed He Whom you worship.” (Al-Baqarah 2:172) The Messenger of Allah then mentioned a man who was on a long journey, and he was shoeless and dust-covered. He was raising his hands to heavens saying: O my Lord! O my Lord!’ while his food, drink, dress and nourishment were all from unlawful sources. How could his supplication be answered?” (Muslim)
Brethren in faith! Listen to this call from your Lord:
‘Invoke your Lord with humility and in secret. He likes not the aggressors. And do not do mischief on the earth, after it has been set in order, and invoke Him with fear and hope. Surely, Allah’s Mercy is (ever) near unto the good-doers.” (Al-Araf 7:55-56)
Fellow Muslims! Whoever fears Allah in times of ease Allah, Allah will stand by him in times of hardship. Allah says about Prophet Yunus AS when the whale swallowed him:
‘Had he not been of them who glorify Allah, He would have indeed remained inside its belly (the fish) till the Day of Resurrection.” (As-Saffat 37:143-144)
Which means: Had it not been for the good deeds that he had done before, he would have been made to remain in the belly of the whale till the Day of Resurrection.
The Muslim must therefore remain steadfast during afflictions and return to Allah in repentance.
Brethren in Islam! We are also in dire need of uniting our ranks and removing our differences. For disunity is the cause of failure. Allah says,
‘O you who believe! When you meet (an enemy) force, take a firm stand against them and remember the Name of Allah much (both with tongue and mind), so that you may be successful. And obey Allah and His Messenger, and do not dispute (with one another) lest you lose courage and your strength depart, and be patient. Surely, Allah is with those who are patient.” (Al-Anfal 8:45-46)
Fellow Muslims! Let us always follow the teachings of Quran and Sunnah. It is the duty of the scholars to teach people and direct them to all that can benefit them and remove their distress. They should remind people of Allah and teach them the importance of unity and the harm of disunity.