Thursday, November 5, 2015

Caring People, Changing Perceptions

Good Neighbourliness

By the grace of Allah I continue today on the subject of the Friday Sermons I had done three weeks back (09 & 16 October 2015), and today it is the third part of my sermon on the topic of “Khidmat-e-Khalq” (Service to Humanity).
So, this is a vast subject and we can ponder much over it, especially on the kind of society our master Hazrat Muhammad (pbuh) had created and prepared carefully. We can have an idea of ​​this through the small advices that He gave us. Thus, according to the Hadiths, Hazrat Muhammad (pbuh) had talked about a very important subject, that is to say, to take great care of our neighbours. He (pbuh) said that no one, especially women, should look down upon their neighbours. Women (Muslim women) must establish a connection with their neighbours, even if it is through a leg of goat she offers them as a gift.

It is certainly a very pure advice that our prophet (pbuh) gave us and there is in this advice extraordinary eloquence. He said not to consider the neighbours as inferior to you. He lets you know that through gifts, you honour the neighbours, especially those who are closest to you (to your homes). If you do not offer gifts to your neighbours, then it means that they have no value (they mean nothing to you) in your eyes. And it is usually in human culture to have a tendency to give gifts to people of the same social rank than themselves or to those who are superior to them (in rank). And so, they forget to honour those who have the lowermost status or are less affluent and lower in rank than them. This should start with the lowest level and continue at the highest level. In terms of human relations, gift-giving is a culture inherent to humans. And usually they frequent the circles of people that form part of their own (social) order or those who are superior to them. But the Quran has given a very important advice against this.

Love and Sacrifice

The Quran says that when you spend something for the cause of Allah, then you must ensure that this expenditure does not flow only among yourselves. This expenditure (for His cause, in His path) must reach those who are below you (in respect to social status), or in other words, those who are in need. If you are doing this action for the cause of Allah, then you must keep in mind that all humans are creatures of Allah (and deserve the same treatment), lest these good deeds that you do to your relatives or even to your neighbours but only for ostentation, such as present them with gifts etc. will be in vain. Thus, it will become an action that will appeal only to your ego, your passion, your own self (nafs) and not to Allah.

As Allah says in the Quran: And they give food in spite of love for it to the needy, the orphan, and the captive, (Saying), We feed you only for the countenance of Allah. We wish not from you reward or gratitude. (76: 9-10)

In the Quranic verse that I just recited to you, Allah (swt) has said: “People who give food to others for the cause of Allah, there are two qualities in them. The first is that it is for love of Allah that they give food, and the second is that despite their love for food, and that they are themselves in need and very hungry, yet despite all that, they spend in the cause of Allah.” In fact these two meanings join together to become one because a person makes a sacrifice when he has love for something. Otherwise the sacrifice itself will mean nothing to him.

So, the conception of sacrifice itself is false when there is no love. Mothers make sacrifices for their children because they have love for these children. Someone makes sacrifices for his (or her) beloved because he (or she) loves her (or him). So sacrifice has a deep connection with Mohabbat (love). So when Allah said that it is when you have love for Allah that you do such action, so it’s really out of love for Allah that you do this; In other words, a love having precedence over another love. And for the cause of the love you have for Allah, you give up your love that you have for a material thing. That is to say, you sacrifice your love for worldly things and you give preference to the love you have for Allah.

Divine Pleasure through Caring People

And proof of this is that when people come to thank you, then you are instantly surprised by that and you are troubled by this. Why? Because you are afraid that your good deeds lose their value ​​(that is, go in vain). You think about not being worthy to receive these acknowledgments because you seek only the satisfaction and pleasure of Allah. This is because Allah is your priority, seeking to please Him, to do the maximum so that He is pleased with you, not people. If people are grateful to you and thank you, this does not make you swell with pride and satisfaction, but you develop a fear lest your good works lose their value ​​(go in vain).

This verse explains how these kinds of Muttaquun (people who have fear of Allah in the heart) address those whom they help by making them understand that they are only helping them for the cause and love of Allah: “We have spent on you for the cause of Allah. So do not even think to thank us, or reward us etc. We receive our reward from Him for Whom we did this (good) action.”

So, this topic is very deep, because there is another path that opens right in front, and it becomes very important when you serve humanity and you do it only for the cause of Allah. And you say to these people: “As for us, we’re not trying to do you any favour. It is Allah who do you favours and thus (for the love of Allah) so do we.” There is this message that is included in the last part of the verse, where the Ehsan (favour) of the one to whom we make this action is reflected therein. And it is not our Ehsan. So this is a great subject so as to establish your connection with Allah.

If people come to understand that he who does good deeds to others and does good treatment with him, so it’s not their Ehsan which is apparent, but it is the Ehsan of the one to whom they have done this (good) deed. So from that moment on, the attention of these people will focus on Allah. It’s the same in the case of a servant who gives a beggar something. At that moment, after having received something from the servant, the beggar begins to thank her and prays for her etc. But then, the servant shall say, “No, no it’s not me who did this (good) deed, but it is the mistress (or the master) of the house who ordered me to. As for me, I have not given you anything. But it is certainly my mistress (or master) who told me that when a beggar (or a poor person) knocks on the door, never to let him go empty-handed.” When the servant shall explain the situation to him, so right away the beggar will pray for the mistress (or master) of the house. And thus it is this same subject which this verse of the Quran is explaining to us, that is to say, that the whole message is ultimately attached to Allah, the Lord of the universe.

And it is with this that we get a lot of knowledge about the topic of Tarbiyyat. Hazrat Muhammad (pbuh) gave us this same teaching and everything that happened next is the result of deep knowledge of the Quran that the Holy Prophet (pbuh) had and he gave us very pure and interesting advices in the form of Hadiths, and it is through these lessons, these same advices, that this (spiritual) revolution had taken place.

For an ordinary person, if he refers himself only to the Quran, this will not be enough for him as long as he does not perceive the Quran with the same eye as that of a person who has received divine knowledge, and who is close to Allah. And the one to have the most knowledge of the Quran was indeed Hazrat Muhammad (pbuh). That is why that, to benefit from the Hadiths, you must link them with the subjects of the Quran and at that moment there will be a new subject that will emerge before you. You will receive a new world of meanings.
So it is in the example of Hazrat Muhammad (pbuh) that you will find solutions how to straighten your home (familial ties/family relations) and strengthen the relationship between father and child, mother and child, as well as between husband and wife, and thus you will receive these benefits by following the example of the Prophet (pbuh). This benefit will not remain confined to your home only. No. The Prophet (pbuh) was a Rahmat-ul-Aalameen’ (a Mercy for the Universe). These benefits shall verily emerge outside your home, and penetrate the neighbourhood homes too, and so this subject also concerns the rights of neighbours, and this is certainly very important too. To make tabligh, then you need to start this voyage by accomplishing your duties towards the neighbours (by giving them their rights).

And you must keep in mind that to greet your neighbours and talk to them for the sole purpose of spying on them in their private life, then certainly all these despicable actions will not benefit you in anything. Rather, it will cause you more harm than good and it is a great sin. (Surah Al-Hujurat deals at length on this subject).

You have to give others advice that will benefit them. And it starts with offering them something as a gift, and repeat this (good) action each time to the point that the one who receives these gifts will want to know who is doing this treatment of Ehsan with him each time, and so it is not you who will go to him but is it truly him who shall come to you. And in this way, this exterior (material) gift will change into an interior (spiritual) gift, and at that moment, it is not just a material gift you shall give him, but you will prepare his heart to receive spiritual gifts as well.

So to become good neighbours also this requires (from you) great morals. And when you adopt good morals, you can escape many ills. And you shall receive all kinds of spiritual gifts, Insha-Allah. May Allah (swt) help each one of you, and open your the heart and enlighten you with His knowledge so that each of you understands the subject of my Friday Sermon today, Insha-Allah. I intensely pray to Allah (swt) that He gives me the Ilm (knowledge) to continue the fourth part of my sermon next Friday. Insha-Allah, Ameen.

- Friday Sermon of October 30, 2015 (16 Muharram 1437 Hijri)  delivered by the Khalifatullah Hadhrat Munir Ahmad Azim Saheb (atba) of Mauritius.