The Value of Religious Life

The value of prayer.

One who gives up performing the prescribed prayers because of work obligations and the struggle for livelihood is like a soldier who abandons their training when they’re in the trench; just when you need it the most; they would prefer to beg for food at the market vs. tackle difficulty.

A sign that we were created for worship is most evident in our weakness. We cannot even compete with a small bird.

A sign that our worship is weak is how we seek validation through created things. This is akin to watching sand fall through the cracks of your fingers. Perhaps the reason why our Islam today resembles so little of what it ought to be, of what it could be, is because our criterion is everything other than Islam.

We worry about Donald Trump, but in truth, how long will Donald Trump live? He’s already 70 years old? How long will he be in power? 4 years? 8 years? And yet we’ve been seeing for decade after decade, failure amongst the Muslims. Tyrant after tyrant propped up to terrorize us. And we flee and run…

فَفِرّوا إِلَى اللَّهِ ۖ إِنّي لَكُم مِنهُ نَذيرٌ مُبينٌ

وَلا تَجعَلوا مَعَ اللَّهِ إِلٰهًا آخَرَ ۖ إِنّي لَكُم مِنهُ نَذيرٌ مُبينٌ

“So rush to Allah for safety! I’m a clear warner from Him to you. Do not set up another god together with Allah. Truly I bring you a clear warning from Him.” Qur’an 51: 50

{ففروا إِلَى الله} أمر بالرجوع إليه بالتوبة والطاعة وفي اللفظ تحذير وترهيب

Ibn Juzayy says concerning “So rush to Allah for safety!”,

“it is a command to return to Him via repentance and obedience including through utterances of vigilance and fear.” al-Tashil fi ‘Ulum al-Tanzil

وَمِن حَيثُ خَرَجتَ فَوَلِّ وَجهَكَ شَطرَ المَسجِدِ الحَرامِ

ۚ وَحَيثُ ما كُنتُم فَوَلّوا وُجوهَكُم شَطرَهُ لِئَلّا يَكونَ لِلنّاسِ عَلَيكُم حُجَّةٌ إِلَّا الَّذينَ ظَلَموا مِنهُم

فَلا تَخشَوهُم وَاخشَوني وَلِأُتِمَّ نِعمَتي عَلَيكُم وَلَعَلَّكُم تَهتَدونَ

كَما أَرسَلنا فيكُم رَسولًا مِنكُم يَتلو عَلَيكُم آياتِنا

وَيُزَكّيكُم وَيُعَلِّمُكُمُ الكِتابَ وَالحِكمَةَ

وَيُعَلِّمُكُم ما لَم تَكونوا تَعلَمونَ

فَاذكُروني أَذكُركُم وَاشكُروا لي وَلا تَكفُرونِ

يا أَيُّهَا الَّذينَ آمَنُوا استَعينوا بِالصَّبرِ وَالصَّلاةِ ۚ إِنَّ اللَّهَ مَعَ الصّابِرينَ

Wherever you come from, turn your face to the Masjid al-Haram. Wherever you are, turn your faces towards it so that people will have no argument against you – except for those among them who do wrong and then you should not fear them but rather fear Me – and so that I may complete My blessing upon you so that hopefully you will be guided. [150] For this We sent a Messenger to you from among you to recite Our Signs to you and purify you and teach you the Book and Wisdom and teach you things you did not know before. [151] Remember MeI will remember you. Give thanks to Me and do not be ungrateful. [152] You who have iman! seek help in steadfastness and salat. Allah is with the steadfast.” Qur’an, 2: 150-152

The State of Our Minds – A Khutbah By Imam Marc Manley

أَوَلَمّا أَصابَتكُم مُصيبَةٌ قَد أَصَبتُم مِثلَيها قُلتُم أَنّىٰ هٰذا ۖ قُل هُوَ مِن عِندِ أَنفُسِكُم ۗ إِنَّ اللَّهَ عَلىٰ كُلِّ شَيءٍ قَديرٌ

“Why is it that when a calamity happens to you, when you have already inflicted twice as much, you say, ‘How could this possibly happen?’ Say, ‘It has come from your own selves.’ Allah has power over all things.” Qur’an, 3: 165

ودخلت ألف التوبيخ على واو العطف

“The alif is indicative of a reprimand.” Ibn Juzayy

قَدْ أَصَبْتُمْ مِّثْلَيْهَا قتل يوم أحد من المسلمين سبعون

As if bad things have never happened to you before. It’s as if

  1. Good/reward come from Allah (because we somehow deserve it or are entitled to it) but…
  2. Evil/punishment comes from some random, unknowable place because we’re entitled to only being happy or undeserving of adversity or even punishment.

وَما أَصابَكُم يَومَ التَقَى الجَمعانِ فَبِإِذنِ اللَّهِ وَلِيَعلَمَ المُؤمِنينَ

“What assailed you on the day the two armies met was by Allah’s permission, so that He would know the Believers.” Qur’an, 3: 166

What is the meaning behind challenge, adversity?

أَم حَسِبتُم أَن تَدخُلُوا الجَنَّةَ وَلَمّا يَأتِكُم مَثَلُ الَّذينَ خَلَوا مِن قَبلِكُم ۖ مَسَّتهُمُ البَأساءُ وَالضَّرّاءُ وَزُلزِلوا حَتّىٰ يَقولَ الرَّسولُ وَالَّذينَ آمَنوا مَعَهُ مَتىٰ نَصرُ اللَّهِ ۗ أَلا إِنَّ نَصرَ اللَّهِ قَريبٌ

“Or did you suppose that you would enter the Garden without facing the same as those who came before you? Poverty and illness afflicted them and they were shaken to the point that the Messenger and those who had iman with him said, ‘When is Allah’s help coming?’ Be assured that Allah’s help is very near.” Qur’an, 2: 214

كُتِبَ عَلَيكُمُ القِتالُ وَهُوَ كُرهٌ لَكُم ۖ وَعَسىٰ أَن تَكرَهوا شَيئًا وَهُوَ خَيرٌ لَكُم ۖ وَعَسىٰ أَن تُحِبّوا شَيئًا وَهُوَ شَرٌّ لَكُم ۗ وَاللَّهُ يَعلَمُ وَأَنتُم لا تَعلَمونَ

“Fighting is prescribed for you even if it is hateful to you. It may be that you hate something when it is good for you and it may be that you love something when it is bad for you. Allah knows and you do not know.” Qur’an, 2: 216

Respect For God in the Month of Hajj – A Khutbah By Imam Marc Manley

The world we live in, we are told, is meaningless and void.

Time marches on, to what we have no end.

But Allah says in the Qur’an:

“O’ our Lord!, You have not created all of this in vain.” Qur’an 3:191

Ibn Juzayy says,

أي يذكرون الله على كل حال فكأن هذه الهيآت حصر لحال بني آدم
ربنا – أي يقولون ربنا ما خلقت هذا لغير فائدة بل خلقته وخلقت البشر لينظروا فيه فيعرفونك

In the same way Allah has not created the universe in vain nor has He sent His Messenger to you to instruct you, to guide you.

وَلا تَقفُ ما لَيسَ لَكَ بِهِ عِلمٌ ۚ إِنَّ السَّمعَ وَالبَصَرَ وَالفُؤادَ كُلُّ أُولٰئِكَ كانَ عَنهُ مَسئولًا

“Do not pursue what you have no knowledge of. Hearing, sight and hearts will all be questioned.” Qur’an, 17: 36

Ibn Juzayy’s Fifteen Merits of Piety (Taqwa)

The following audio is from our regular monthly program, The Text In Context. This Friday we discussed Ibn Juzayy al-Kalbi’s Fifteen Merits of Piety (Taqwa) from his work, al-Tas’hil l’Ulum al-Tanzil (Making Easy The Knowledge of Revelation), as was alluded to in the Friday Khutbah. See the khutbah for more extensive notes.

[Direct download]

Ibn Juzayy’s fifteen merits of piety (taqwa):

  1. Guidance.
  2. Assistance.
  3. Guardianship.
  4. Love.
  5. Pardoning.
  6. Relief from anxiety (lit. “an exit from grief”).
  7. Provision supplied from where one does not expect it.
  8. Easing of affairs.
  9. Forgiveness of sins.
  10. Magnification of reward.
  11. Acceptance of good deeds.
  12. Prosperity.
  13. Good news.
  14. Entering Paradise.
  15. Salvation from The Fire.