4th Zilqadah 1438 (28th July 2017)
August 1, 2017
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August 17, 2017
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11th Dhil’Qada 1438 (4th August 2017)

In the name of Allah
The All Compassionate, the All Merciful
11th Dhil’Qada 1438 (4th August 2017)
Islamic Universal Association
20 Penzance Place, Holland Park
London, W11 4 PG

Gratitude -Part 7
The Holy Quran has addressed the importance of gratitude in five different ways; four of which I had discussed during my earlier sessions and today I would like to summarise them and discuss the fifth and final one:

1. Allah (s.w.t.) does not need our gratitude for the endless blessings he has bestowed on us for He is Self-Sufficient and is always deserving of our praise. On the contrary, by displaying a sense of gratitude we benefit from it.
2. The great blessings and favours bestowed by Allah (s.w.t.) on us are countless. We should, therefore, be grateful to Him at all times and express our gratitude to Him by worshipping Him.
3.We can lose Allah (s.w.t.)’s blessings if we turn away from Him and associate others with Him and deal with His Grace arrogantly.
4. There is a co-relation between gratitude and steadfastness. A grateful person is steadfast in his faith. He is patient in trials and appreciates Allah (s.w.t.)’s blessings constantly which helps him to gain Allah (s.w.t.)’s pleasure and to ward off His punishment.

Finally the Quran has dealt with gratitude as provided in the following Ayahs:

Ayahs 29, 30 and 34 of Surah Fatir: “Those who recite the Book of God, establish (regular) prayers, and spend out of what We have provided them, secretly and openly, are the ones who put their trust in a bargain that will never perish. That he may give them back their full recompense and increase His Grace unto them; verily He is Oft-Forgiving, the greatest to appreciate.
They shall say: All Praise is God’s Who has taken from us all grief, verily our Lord is oft-Forgiving, the greatest to appreciate (good deeds).
Ayah 23 of Surah Ash-Shura which says “…. and whosoever earns good We increase for him the good therein; verily, God is Oft-Forgiving, Appreciator of good deeds.”
Ayah 19 of Surah Bani Isra′il: “And whoever desires the Hereafter and strives for it with a (sincere) striving and he is a believer, the striving of these shall find favours.”
Ayah 22 of Surah Ad-Dahr: “Surely, this is to you a reward, and your endeavour is accepted (with appreciation).”

In view of the aforesaid Ayahs, Allah (s.w.t.) is grateful to His servants who perform good deeds and He has promised them a reward, as detailed below:

• According to Ayah 23 of Surah Ash-Shura and Ayahs 30 and 34 of Surah Fatir, Allah (s.w.t.) is the appreciator of good deeds and He does not only reward His servants for their good deeds but He increases His blessings on them, pardons their misdemeanours and removes distress from them.
• In Ayah 29 of Surah Fatir the practice of believers has been likened to trade, because like trade a believer also invests his wealth, time, labour and capabilities in carrying out Allah (s.w.t.)’s commands. However, there is a difference between the two kinds of bargains; in the worldly trade there is a risk of loss whereas in the bargain that a sincere servant makes with his Lord, there is no risk of any loss whatsoever.
• According to Ayah 19 of Surah Bani Isra′il, a believer has trust in Allah (s.w.t.)’s promise of a reward for good deeds in the hereafter which he craves for it with a sincere striving and thus he will receive it accordingly.
• Ayah 22 of Surah Ad-Dahr is being addressed to the Ahlul Bait for Allah (s.w.t.) has accepted their endeavours with appreciation for their piety and their selfless lives and for helping the poor, the orphan and the destitute. Moreover, they patiently endured the hardships and difficulties of the great mission that had been entrusted to them by Allah (s.w.t.).

Second sermon
Birth Anniversary of Imam Reza (a.s.)
According to a narration, Imam Reza (a.s.) was born on the 11th of Dhil’Qada, 153 Hijri. On this auspicious occasion, I hereby convey my felicitations to Imam Mahdi (a.t.f.) and to the followers of the Ahlul Bait.
Imam Reza (a.s.)’s father was Musa Ibne Jafar (a.s.), our seventh Imam, and his mother was Najmah, the most pious lady of her time. He spent 31 years under the guidance of his father, until his father was taken to Baghdad to suffer the hardship of imprisonment for the last 4 years of his life. Thereafter the responsibilities of the Imamate devolved on him at the age of 35. This was in accordance with his father’s will and testament, which was duly signed and witnessed by 60 respected members of Medina. Such elaborated arrangements were never made by any other Imam but it proved to be most appropriate due to the controversy about the Imamate which ensued after the death of his father.
Although he spent most of his life in Medina, he had many followers throughout the Islamic world. His Imamate coincided with the reigns of the Abbasid regimes of Haroon Rashid and his two sons, Amin and Mamoon, and he suffered greatly in their hands. He was martyred by poisoning under the orders of Mamoon, on the last day of Safar, 203 Hijri and was buried in Toos, Iran, which is a renowned Shiite shrine.
It appeared that the Imam was involved in politics and was thus abandoning the policy of his predecessors, who after the martyrdom of Imam Ali (a.s.), refrained from this venture. However, he took great pains to indicate that it was not his desire, but he could not be the heir-apparent to the caliphate without becoming involved in the politics of the day. He was acting only in accordance with the summons he had received from Mamoon who tactically tried to use him to gain control over the Shiite Muslims in a bid to save his government. Hence he had no choice but to proceed on this hazardous journey to Iran. Had he refused to go or had shown any resistance, force would have been used which would have been more humiliating for him and his family.
The Imam had an eminent personality and was known for his profound knowledge and divinely gifted wisdom. His own insight in religious matters combined with the exceptional training and education imparted to him by his father made him distinctive in spiritual leadership. He was versatile and had full command over many languages. He was undoubtedly the greatest sage, saint and scholar of his time. His moral virtues and piety was such that even his enemies were attracted to him. The famous poet, Ibrahim Ibn Abbas, paid tribute to him along the following lines: “I have never seen nor heard anyone as knowledgeable, meritorious and virtuous as Abul Hasan Al Reza. He never turned away from anyone nor did he reject the needy; he did not interrupt or stretch out his leg before an audience; he never verbally abused his slaves, servants or attendants; he never laughed out loud, rather, his laughter was merely a smile. When he was ready to eat, he would invite his slaves and attendants to sit and eat with him. He slept little at night for he spent most of it in prayers and recitation of the Holy Quran. He was extremely generous and gave charity especially at nights when he could not be seen or recognised by anyone.” (Manaqib Ibn Shahr Ashub, volume 4, page 360)

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