Shaykh Yahya Rhodus reminds us that simple acts arising from complete submission to the will of Allah can do more than move mountains, they can bring people to the religion.
We always begin by praising our Lord, Exalted and Most High, and recognizing that al-hamd, that is all praise, is due to our Lord, Exalted and Most High. He is the One that is simultaneously deserving of all praise because of everything that He gifts, not only human beings but all of creation, and He is the One, Exalted and Most High, that is praised for every gift that we experience.
That we show our shukr (gratitude) and our hand (praise) to our Lord, Exalted and Most High, in the greatest blessing of all of the blessings: it is the blessing of “la ilaha illa Allah. Muhammad rasul Allah.” The blessing of being affiliated to the best of creation, the Khatim al-Nabiyyin, the Seal of the Prophets, sayyidina Muhammad, blessings and peace be upon him and his Family and Companions.
This is a blessing that is so great no matter how much that we come to know and appreciate that blessing here in this world, we will only truly come to appreciate it on day on the Day of Judgment. For anyone that is ignorant of whom Muhammad is in this world, everyone will come to know who Muhammad is in the next world. For him belongs the praiseworthy station (maqam mahmud). For him belongs the greatest of all intercessions (shifa‘a al-kubra).
And we know that our Prophet, blessings and peace be upon him, will prostrate beneath the throne and then it will be said to him: “Ask and you will be given. Intercede and you will be granted intercession.” and then our Prophet, blessings and peace be upon him, will intercede for people. But this Day of Judgment is a day that is not easy. It is a day that is subjectively experienced, meaning every single human being will experience the Day of Judgment based upon their degree of faith and upon their acts that they have done.
The very best of all possibilities is for it to be like to light rakats: a couple of minutes. but the very worst of possibilities is that it will be like fifty thousand days. It will be like fifty thousand years. It will be like fifty thousand years – from two light cycles of prayer to fifty thousand years. And there will be people that are somewhere in between.
The Greatest Gift Is Faith
This is why that the greatest gift that we’ve been given as believers is the gift of faith, which means that we can live a life of purpose. This is likewise one of the greatest gifts that we can give to the modern world in which we live. In a day and age where you find people moving further and further away from belief, and that the state that results is oftentimes a state of agitation and a state of panic, because Iman is related to Aman. Iman is related to security.
If you do not have Iman how can you ever ever feel a sense of security? It’s that security that you recognize that you have a Rabb. And our Rabb is Rabb al-‘alamin. He is the Lord and the very meaning of the Rabb is that He is the giver of tarbiya. In other words, that He takes something from its beginning and that He sustains that and He allows it to grow and to thrive until it reaches its fruition.
The ‘alamin is everything that Allah Most High created. Specifically, yes, that we refer to the angels and mankind and the jinn-kind. However, it relates to everything that Allah Most High has created. Everything that we know and everything that we do not know. There is a large percentage of Allah Most High’s creation that we will never ever come to know, because you can’t see it through a microscope or a telescope.
And successively that you find that in relation to the dimensions of creation, that they are larger and that they are larger, and they are more and more vast. And what does our Lord say about the Kursi – Our Lord’s footstool? His footstool encompasses everything that is in the heavens and in the earth.
If you just look at the terrestrial heaven and you look at all of the amazing things that we’ve discovered and the incredible intergalactic distances of the known world, that world that we can either see and observe or that we can determine by a mathematical calculation, it is immense. It it is vast.
But you imagine then what it would be like the other worlds that Allah Most High has created. The other dimensions, the seven heavens for instance, what type of distances are we speaking about here? We can only understand them as a concept. We can’t understand them in reality. If that applies for things even within the terrestrial heaven, what about the other things that our Lord has created, Exalted and Most High?
Seeing with Two Eyes
What is the meaning that we take from that, that relates to our Iman? That we that find a source of security in that, because the Rabb is the One who is going to take care of what He created and what He brought to fruition. This is why we always have to remind ourselves that history is in good hands, with no anthropomorphic meaning. Our Lord is the Lord of history and the Umma of our Prophet, blessings and peace be upon him, is an Umma marhuma. There are many things of this Din that you cannot fully understand or comprehend until you take into consideration the next world, the afterlife.
There are certain things that you will never fully come to understand their wisdom in this world, until you see the way that it’s played out in the next. Much of the suffering that we see happening right now, as we speak to the Muslim world, to the Muslim community, and to individuals. We don’t even need to list names because there’s such a long list now that it would take too long to list in how many places that there is affliction and calamity and difficulty, that were you to think about just one incident, it’s hard to really wrap your head around.
Well, what gives you a source of solace is to know that we have a Lord who is Just, and that no one, not one human being ever that has ever lived, after the Day of Judgment happens, will ever feel like they have not been given their right. Everyone will be gifted their right. Every single human being who was wronged will be given retribution.
We should always remember that history is in good hands. We should always remember that the Umma of our Prophet, blessing and peace be upon him, is an Umma marhuma. That Allah brings forth, in other words, the punishment of this Umma when we go astray in this world before the next.
One Foot in the Hereafter
We have to learn, to teach ourselves to see things from two perspectives. We have to see everything from the standpoint of it being the divine decrees unfolding right before our eyes. Snd also how it is that we that judge that particular incident outwardly from the standpoint of the Shari‘a. We have to look at everything simultaneously in two ways.
That applies to even a sickness that we get. If we all of a sudden find out that we’ve been diagnosed with cancer what is our first response? If we’re no different than any other people, our first response will be one of panic. But to degree that there is Iman will be to the degree that we see that illness or sickness or disease or terminal condition in light of our faith.
I actually know an individual, and this is someone that I met and saw him with my own eyes. This might sound a bit strange but this shows you what happens when you have strong Iman. You have an ability to interpret or, in other words, respond to the divine decree in a way that other people simply can’t do.
This person, when he was informed that he had cancer, the very first thing he did was smile. And they asked him, “Why on earth are you smiling?” He said, “I see this as: now this is the time that I’ve been waiting for. which this is the time for me to meet my Lord.” He interpreted that sickness in a very different way than someone else would.
And we don’t enjoin sickness upon anyone. We don’t want that for our own selves, but when it comes, outwardly you do all the treatments necessary to cure yourself of that disease or sickness. However, when the time comes for us to meet our Lord what is our state? What is going to be our state when we take our last breath, which for us is the ultimate moment of truth?
We Die the Way We Live
Generally speaking we die according to the way that we lived and we will be raised according to the way that we die. So we need to remind ourselves of the life that we’re living here in this world. This world is perishing in and of its nature. It’s been created to do so. Whether it’s going to collapse on itself or whether it’s going to expand so much that it freezes. We don’t really know what’s going to actually happen, and how our Lord, Exalted and Most High, is going to destroy the heavens in the earth. Hut we know it’s going to happen when He wills it to happen.
For us when we take our last breath, that is the Sa‘at al- Sughra. That is the “lesser of the two hours,” because we should always remember that sleep is the brother of death. Likewise our own death is, in that sense, the little brother of the greater Hour, because then we transition into the next world.
Our Prophet taught us, blessings and peace be upon him, that the grave is the first stage of the stages of the afterlife. We know that the grave will either be a garden from the gardens of paradise or a pit from the pits of hell. May Allah, Blessed and Most High, grant us refuge from any punishment in the grave, because if we’re unable to bear that punishment in the grave – and who can? – then how are we going to be able to bear the punishment of the Day of Judgment, let alone what happens after that?
We are all, in that sense, miskin (in dire need) before our Lord, Exalted and Most High, who has decreed that there are two final abodes. This is not about the human beings’ choice. Will the human being have everything that he desires? It is not about what you want, and it is not about what I want, or what anyone else wants. This is the decree of the One who has the traits of Irada, of Divine Will, and He does whatever He wants. If He wills for something to happen, He says “Be! And it is.” How do we respond to that? With complete and total submission.
This is one of the most beautiful things of all, if anyone has had that experience here in this blessed masjid – to have not been in a life of faith and then convert to this blessed religion, and to experience the beauty of submission. Because the reality is is that we’re not in control. If anyone thinks they’re in control it’s a delusion. Thinking that we’re in control is illusory. It’s a delusion.
We Have No Control
We are not in control. And when we learn to submit to the One who is truly in control… How many times in the Qur’an are we reminded to have tawakkul – to place our trust in Allah? How many times in the Qur’an are we reminded of these traits? “And I assign my affairs over to Allah.” None of this negates taking the means. We are required to take the means, but we’re also required to place our trust in our Lord, Exalted and Most High.
Living up to these principles is what’s going to enable us as a community to navigate any difficult time. And for us this is really what it’s all about. In the society outside this door, when you walk out through the streets, when you meet and greet people ,when you’re in the store, when you’re at work, when you’re at school, I just have a plea.
Please remember that whether you realize it or not there will be people looking at you. There will be people that take their understanding of Islam based upon how you interact with them. I just want you to remember that people like myself who didn’t know anything about Islam, if we would have met people who brought a bad name to Islam, how would we have entered into this Din?
This is an absolute responsibility upon the shoulders of every single person in this room. No one is exempt – man woman and even children, although they’re not taken to account until they become legally responsible. We are required to have principled engagement. What is principled engagement? It is that we immerse ourselves in the meanings of Iman, in the meanings of Islam, and in the meanings of Ihsan. Then we engage based upon these principles.
We make contributions in every situation or circumstance that we find ourselves in. It’s very simple there’s people think that there’s some type of overly sophisticated, complicated, philosophical way that we need to be in the societies in which we live. Yes, there is an element of strategy that needs a lot of thought. However, it’s very simple. As believers we very simply need to be.
Try to Just Be Muslim
If we would just be in all the meanings of being – bringing to life the Sunna of our Prophet, blessings and peace be upon him, that would speak with mute eloquence, much more eloquently than anything else that we could say merely on the tongue. Our actions would speak much louder than our words, and what would happen then is that the light of the teachings of the Prophet, blessings and peace be upon him – which is the secret of the penetration of Iman and it’s absorption in the heart of individual – would spread amongst the peoples’ hearts that are around.
Our Lord speaks about “the one who was dead and We brought him back to life,” and then what? That “We brought him back to life and We made him light spread amongst people.” If you look at the way that this is expressed, it is that light flows and it emanates in mankind (fi al-nas).” And for those for whom it has been preordained, they’re going to accept that guidance. It will come to their hearts.
The more that we live up to these teachings, that we live up to these principles, the more people will experience the beauty of “la ilaha illa Allah, Muhammad rasul Allah.” By Allah! There is nothing more beautiful than this Din. There is nothing more beautiful than the way of our Prophet, blessings and peace be upon him, his Sunna and all of his teachings.
What we’re required to do is to embrace that beauty so we become beautified through it. To embrace that light so we become enlightened through it. And then share it freely with people, inwardly and outwardly, and see ourselves as servants of all of humanity. If we did this we would see amazing things.
This article is a edited transcript of a Friday sermon given by Shaykh Yahya Rhodus at London Muslim Mosque as part of the Age of Anger – Southern Ontario Tour, April 2017.