Majlis Ugama Islam Singapura
9 November 2012 / 24 Zulhijjah 1433
Developing A Compassionate And Merciful Community
Dear beloved jemaah blessed by Allah,
On these last days of the blessed month of Zulhijjah, let us seek from Allah s.w.t. to continue protecting our taqwa to Him throughout the year. Let us persevere, my dear brothers, in our efforts to improve our obedience to Allah s.w.t. as well as to subjugate our hearts to avoid all that He has forbidden. May on these last few days of the year 1434 Hijrah, Allah will accept all our good deeds and reward us with His pleasure, Amin.
My dear brothers blessed by Allah,
With each passing year, we are in fact getting closer to Allah s.w.t. With the balance of time left for us to live in this world, we should remind ourselves by asking: What have we done to bring ourselves closer to the pleasure of Allah? Have we observed the examples of our beloved Prophet s.a.w. to become as what Allah s.w.t has described in surah al-Anbiya ayat 107:
Meaning: “And We have not sent you, [O Muhammad], except as a mercy to the worlds.”
This is where I wish to share with you, one of the earlier advices of our beloved Prophet Muhammad s.a.w., when he first entered the holy land of Madinah Al-Munawwarah. He advised us to take a step closer in becoming a community of Rahmatan Lil ‘Alamin (that is, a merciful community to the worlds) and a community that is close to Allah s.w.t.
From Abdullah bin Salam r.a., he said, meaning: “The first words that I heard from Prophet Muhammad s.a.w. were: “O People! Spread the Salam, feed the people, and pray in the middle of the night while the people are asleep, for verily you will enter Paradise in peace.” Hadith narrated by Imam at-Tirmidzi.
This hadith reminds us of three main things, which forms the basis for the well-being of humankind.
The first point relates to spreading of Salam. My dear brothers, although extending Salam to another Muslim may seem trivial and insignificant, nonetheless, it has a very profound impact.
The advice to extend Salam to another reminds us to always be a source of peace and tranquillity, as well as the carrier of hope to people around us. The declaration of “May peace be upon you” that we frequently recite, is in fact, a prayer that can soften any angry hearts and be a cure for those who are depressed and in sadness. It conveys to the listener the message that we only wish for them goodness and peace.
My dear brothers,
Would we not feel happy if our relative or friend regularly speaks good things to us, or reward us with a cheerful smile every time we meet? That is what was intended by the advice to spread the Salam. It makes a Mukmin a catalyst for a tranquil heart, to pacify others who may be feeling anxious or sad. That is why the Prophet s.a.w. reminded us in a hadith which means: “Do not discount any deed of goodness, even greeting your brother with a smiling face.” Hadith narrated by Imam Muslim.
This is one of the noble characteristics of the Prophet s.a.w. He is known as a generous man with his smiles and encouraging words. He is also known as someone who only speaks when it is beneficial. This is what makes the Prophet s.a.w. approachable and attractive to those around him. This is among the characteristics of a candidate for paradise.
What about us today? With the presence of new media and modes of communication, such as facebook, we are given a new freedom in expressing our opinions. There is nothing wrong with this, provided what we are responsible and what we express reaps goodness. Let us make use of this new media to be a place for us to plant goodness, and not to promote slander and hatred. This does not mean that we cannot be firm on the issues that we strongly feel for, but let us focus on the issues at hand and not attack other’s personal reputation and dignity in public.
Every time we publish a comment on platforms such as facebook, twitter, email and the rest, do remember that Allah will hold us accountable for them. Remember that in the end, we all want to earn the pleasure of Allah s.w.t., and not to succumb to our own desires.
The second point that the Prophet s.a.w. advised us in this hadith is to feed others. The willingness to share part of our possession whether it is time, wealth, energy or knowledge constitutes an important aspect to the well being of our lives in this world and the hereafter. How is this so?
Imagine what would happen if every one of us refused to share what Allah has blessed us with? It will destroy the spirit of our humanity. The fates of those in need are neglected. Worse, it will lead to a feeling of jealousy between the rich and the poor and it will result in grave discomfort between them.
As the Ummah of the Prophet, who is a mercy to the universe, let us rise and respond to the call of our beloved Rasulullah s.a.w. Let us help those in need, as best as we can. We do not have to go very far to do this. We just need to look around us. Ask the condition of our neighbours, our relatives, and our friends. Are they in need?
If we are not able to help them individually, we should at least refer them to various self-help groups to assist them. We need to understand that matters involving families, health, finance and others, are complicated and requires the help and advice of professionals and experts. Hopefully, by channelling them to the appropriate assistance, we are able to alleviate and lessen their burdens in this world and in the hereafter. Let us be reminded by the sayings of Rasulullah s.a.w. which means: “Whosoever relieves a Mukmin of his difficulties in the world, Allah will relieve him of his difficulties in the Hereafter. Whomsoever, eases the path of a Mukmin in the world, Allah will ease his path in this world and in the hereafter.” Hadith narrated by Imam Muslim.
The third is the advice given by the Prophet which form the basis of a compassionate heart, is to establish a good and strong relationship with Allah s.w.t. This can be achieved through night prayers and supplications to Allah s.w.t.
My dear brothers, when was the last time we submit our hearts and souls in complete humility to Allah s.w.t.? When was the last time we experience the beauty of a peaceful heart as a result of our repentance to Allah s.w.t.? If our answer to these two questions is always, let us recite Alhamdulillah. However, if our response is the opposite, then let us resolve to re-establish an intimate relationship with Allah s.w.t.
A heart that knows his Lord will always remember the mission of his life on earth that is to be the one who spreads mercy to the world. Therefore, let us set aside some time from our daily lives to supplicate to Allah s.w.t. If we can set aside time for vacations, entertainment and other works, we can also set aside time for Allah s.w.t.
Remember my dear brothers, each of these three deeds reinforces each other. The deed of extending Salam makes it easy for us to be closer to Allah s.w.t. and will transform our hearts. When we set aside time to pray to Allah, our hearts will be strengthened to continue performing good deeds consistently.
It is in this spirit that we discussed today, that all the mosques in Singapore will be holding an event called ‘Rahmatan Lil ‘Alamin’ this Sunday. This is to encourage a heightened appreciation of the teachings of Rasulullah s.a.w., so that we will be his successors as carriers of compassion to all. I call upon all of you to support this effort by making this as part of our lives. May Allah facilitate and make it easy for us to receive His Pleasure and His Blessings in this world and the hereafter. Amin Ya Rabbal ‘Alamin.