Islamic Spirituality – A Khutbah By Imam Marc Manley

Spirituality is often conveyed as an abstract notion. We don’t know what it is and thus we tend to make it all about ourselves; our feelings. Spirituality in the Islamic context can be thought of as being concerned with what Allah thinks about you on a daily basis.

Spirituality is a daily practice. A discipline. Not something we simply turn to when in the mood. This is why for some, their inability to connect with God isn’t due to them being cursed or not being enlightened; it’s that they have not established and regular relationship with Allah. Such persons tend to shun God when things get tough instead of shunning those things which interfere with one’s relationship with Allah:

تَتَجافىٰ جُنوبُهُم عَنِ المَضاجِعِ يَدعونَ رَبَّهُم خَوفًا وَطَمَعًا وَمِمّا رَزَقناهُم يُنفِقونَ

“Their sides eschew their beds as they call on their Lord in fear and ardent hope. And they give of what We have provided for them.” Qur’an 32: 16

Being concerned about the one you love.

When you’re young and you desire a pretty girl or a handsome boy, this desire has nothing to do with them and everything to do with you.

Real love is when you are concerned with what the other thinks about you.

Spiritual discipline (Qur’an 70, verses 22-34):

  1. Salah: be consistent. In fact, be consistent in all of your devotions.
  2. Charity: give often or as much as you can, even if it’s little. The poor have a God-given claim to it: those who ask and those who are too shy to ask up front (Zakah). It is also good for your heart.
  3. Accept the reality that there is going to be a day of Judgement: don’t lie to yourself or anyone else, either through words or actions.
  4. Acknowledge who Allah is and that Allah’s promise is true: being fearful of Allah’s punishment in the fire does not preclude one of loving God. Imagine if one just runs around and cheats on his or her lover, all the while still claiming to love them?
  5. No one is safe from Allah’s displeasure/torment.
  6. Protect your private parts, except with your spouse, with whom you may indulge yourself.
  7. Going beyond this makes one a rule-breaker. God’s rules.
  8. Be respectful of the trusts and agreements you are given/participate in.
  9. Those who stand for the truth when they testify.
  10. And who guard their prayer (consistent with it and guard it.

Those who accomplish this will be the companions of the Garden. Respected and loved by God.

Part of the discipline of spirituality, of being concerned with how Allah thinks about you, if Allah loves you, if focusing your attention and your efforts on Him and not being distracted by the nonsense and foolishness of the world.

Living and Loving In The Name of God – A Khutbah By Imam Marc

Bismillah is the start of all good things.

How can we go with God, to get through the ups and the downs? The highs and the lows?

Bismillah – saying it can also be to say al-Hamdulillah, in sha’Allah, etc.

وَلا تَقولَنَّ لِشَيءٍ إِنّي فاعِلٌ ذٰلِكَ غَدًا
إِلّا أَن يَشاءَ اللَّهُ ۚ وَاذكُر رَبَّكَ إِذا نَسيتَ وَقُل عَسىٰ أَن يَهدِيَنِ رَبّي لِأَقرَبَ مِن هٰذا رَشَدًا

“Never say about anything, ‘I will do that tomorrow,’. without adding ‘If Allah wills.’ Remember your Lord when you forget, and say, ‘Hopefully my Lord will guide me to something closer to right guidance than this’.” Qur’an, 18: 23-24

Bismillah – Imagine one needs to travel through the desert. You will need to travel in the name of the Chief, so you may be under his protection and if you are assailed or attacked, you can be recompensed.

Bismillah – two men go on a journey. One invokes Allah’s name, the other not. The first travels in dignity, whether he is attacked or not. For he knows if there is any wrong that is brought down upon him, Allah will recompense him. And that it was merely a test. The second will experience the same calamities but it will crush his soul. He will cry out, “Why me?!”

Bismillah – it’s what allows us to be saved from the indecency of begging from the world and all those in it, and instead, beg from the Creator of the world and the Seven Heavens.

الْيَدُ الْعُلْيَا خَيْرٌ مِنَ الْيَدِ السُّفْلَى وَالْيَدُ الْعُلْيَا الْمُنْفِقَةُ وَالسُّفْلَى السَّائِلَةُ

Abdullah b. Umar reported that as Allah’s Messenger ﷺ was sitting on the pulpit and talking about Sadaqa and abstention from begging, he said, “The upper hand is better than the lower one, the upper being the one which bestows and the lower one which begs.” Sahih Muslim, #1033

Acting in the Name of Allah is empowering. It is in this way that small things, like seeds and grains bear huge trees on their miniscule heads.

Acting in the Name of Allah is how lowly grass, the roots of small things are able to pierce and breakthrough hard rocks and earth. In the same manner, by remembering, praising, thanking, and acting on the Name of Allah that you will achieve victory in your life: now and here-after.

When one lives one’s life in the Name of Allah, you can break through the most difficult barriers (like the tree) and those struggles will simultaneously bear fruit. For even the hardness of stones is under the command of Allah.

وَإِذِ استَسقىٰ موسىٰ لِقَومِهِ فَقُلنَا اضرِب بِعَصاكَ الحَجَرَ ۖ فَانفَجَرَت مِنهُ اثنَتا عَشرَةَ عَينًا

“And when Musa was looking for water for his people, We said, ‘Strike the rock with your staff.’ Then twelve fountains gushed out from it.” Qur’an, 2: 60

Abu Hurayrah reported Allah’s Messenger ﷺ as saying:
Miskin is not he who is dismissed with one or two dates, and with one morsel or two morsels. (In fact) miskin is he who abstains (from begging). Read if you so desire (the verse):” They beg not of men importunately)” (ii. 273). Sahih al-Bukhari 1476

لَيْسَ الْمِسْكِينُ بِالَّذِي تَرُدُّهُ التَّمْرَةُ وَالتَّمْرَتَانِ وَلاَ اللُّقْمَةُ وَاللُّقْمَتَانِ إِنَّمَا الْمِسْكِينُ الْمُتَعَفِّفُ اقْرَءُوا إِنْ شِئْتُمْ

Abu Huraira reported Allah’s Messenger ﷺ as saying, “Miskin is not he who is dismissed with one or two dates, and with one morsel or two morsels. But in fact miskin is he who abstains from begging. “They beg not of men importunately” (referring to the verse in Qur’an, 2: 273).

لَيسَ عَلَيكَ هُداهُم وَلٰكِنَّ اللَّهَ يَهدي مَن يَشاءُ ۗ وَما تُنفِقوا مِن خَيرٍ فَلِأَنفُسِكُم ۚ وَما تُنفِقونَ إِلَّا ابتِغاءَ وَجهِ اللَّهِ ۚ وَما تُنفِقوا مِن خَيرٍ يُوَفَّ إِلَيكُم وَأَنتُم لا تُظلَمونَ
لِلفُقَراءِ الَّذينَ أُحصِروا في سَبيلِ اللَّهِ لا يَستَطيعونَ ضَربًا فِي الأَرضِ يَحسَبُهُمُ الجاهِلُ أَغنِياءَ مِنَ التَّعَفُّفِ تَعرِفُهُم بِسيماهُم لا يَسأَلونَ النّاسَ إِلحافًا ۗ وَما تُنفِقوا مِن خَيرٍ فَإِنَّ اللَّهَ بِهِ عَليمٌ

“You are not responsible for their guidance, but Allah guides whomever He wills. Whatever good you give away is to your own benefit, when you give desiring only the Face of Allah. Whatever good you give away will be repaid to you in full. You will not be wronged. It is for the poor who are held back in the Way of Allah, unable to travel in the land. The ignorant consider them rich because of their reticence. You will know them by their mark. They do not ask from people insistently. Whatever good you give away, Allah knows it.” Qur’an, 2: 272-273