I apologise for posting this sermon late.
Majlis Ugama Islam Singapura
30 November 2012 / 16 Muharram 1433
Developing a Close Relationship with Allah s.w.t.
Dear blessed Jemaah,
On this blessed Friday, Rasulullah s.a.w. once reminded us that today is the day whereby all our prayers will be granted by Allah. Thus, brothers let us pray to Allah s.w.t. to strengthen our sense of taqwa and piety towards Him. Let us ask upon Allah to grant us determination to uphold his commandments and leave behind what He has prohibited upon us. May Allah grant our prayers during this time. Amin.
My beloved jemaah,
Since the past few weeks, we have been discussing pearls of wisdom which can be derived from the following hadith of Rasulullah s.a.w.:
Which means: “O humankind! Spread the salam (salutation), feed the poor and needy, and offer prayers at night while the people are asleep and you shall enter Paradise in peace.”Hadith reported by Imam Tirmidzi.
My dear brothers, every one of these three deeds reinforces one another. Spreading the salam, helping the poor and needy can soften our hearts and ease us to be closer to Allah s.w.t. And through praying to Allah, our hearts will be strengthened to continue with good deeds with istiqamah and consistency.
After sharing the two points related to spreading the salam and feeding the less fortunate in the previous sermon, allow me to talk about the third part of this hadith, which is to strengthen our relationship with Allah s.w.t.
Dear blessed servants of Allah,
Through this third point, Prophet Muhammad s.a.w. has urged us to review and develop a strong relationship or bond with Allah s.w.t. by performing good deeds and observing Allah’s commands.
In fact, developing an excellent relationship with Allah s.w.t. is one of the most important goals of the life of a Mukmin. Furthermore, it is obligatory upon every individual to reflect upon his ties and bond with Allah. What is the value of his ibadah or deeds? In fact, Prophet Muhammad s.a.w. once described the situation destined upon some of his people (ummah) on the day of judgment in this hadith, Rasulullah s.a.w. said:
Which means: “On the day of Resurrection, there will be brought forth a bulky man whose value to Allah will be less than that of the wing of a mosquito. And the Prophet recited: ‘And We will not assign to them on the Day of Resurrection any importance [Surah Al-Kahfi: 105].’ ” Hadith reported by Imam Bukhari and Muslim.
My brothers, just imagine how a servant approaches Allah’s court looking physically well and fit. His strong physique gives a sense that during his lifetime, he was able to achieve anything that he desired, anything that his heart wanted without considering the halal and haram.
He only thought of attaining worldy pleasures, and did not think about his fate in the Hereafter, ignoring his relationship with Allah. Thus he has no value and importance in Allah’s sight even though during his lifetime he may have achieved status, wealth, power and prestige.
So let us remember, and remind our brothers, so as not to become like the man described by Rasulullah s.a.w. A servant who has no value in the sight of Allah s.w.t. Remember my dear brothers, Allah’s pleasure is special and extremely valuable to us. It has to be attained through performing ibadah and good deeds sincerely for Allah s.w.t, free from any shirk, arrogance or conceit.
Thus, what can we do to strengthen our relationship with Allah s.w.t.? There are definitely many ways to do so. Within this limited time, allow me to share several introductory steps:
First, start our journeys by realising that it is actually not difficult to bring ourselves closer to Allah. Know that Allah is always waiting for us to perform our ibadah for Him. In fact, Allah is always close to us. He is always ready to reward us with bountiful rewards and His grace (nikmat). It is then up to us to bring ourselves closer to Allah s.w.t. Let us reflect upon His words in the Quran:
Which means: “And We have already created man and know what his soul whispers to him, and We are closer to him than [his] jugular vein.” [Surah Qaf: 16]
It is evident from this verse that Allah s.w.t is never far from the hearts of every human, Allah s.w.t. never neglects any of His servants. In fact, we are the ones who normally distance ourselves from God, who created us. Perhaps it is due to our busy daily activities, or our own carelessness that we forget what is obligatory (wajib) and has to be carried out, or because we are engulfed in despair due to our past mistakes.
Rasullah s.a.w. once said in a hadith Qudsi which means: “O my servants, you make mistakes in the day and night and I will forgive, so ask for my forgiveness and and I will grant forgiveness upon you.” Hadith narrated by Imam Muslim.
The second step, that we can take to bring ourselves closer to Allah s.w.t. is to take advantage of any free time and dedicate it to this objective. This can be done anywhere, not just individually but also together with our families. For example, I believe many of us have made plans for vacation plans, both overseas and locally, with our families during this school holiday period. While we are on holdiday and not busy with our daily activities, it should be even easier for us to increase our ibadah!
As we travel and spend time with our families, let’s take the opportunity to continue praying jemaah with them, recite the Quran and reflect upon its meaning together. Perhaps we may even increase our sunnah prayers if we have time while resting on vacation. Let us make ibadah as a form of therapy of our hearts and soul. A platform to enrich our faith and spirituality, while at the same time resting our bodies.
I recall a hadith whereby a companion by the name of Rabi’ah ibn Ka’ab, once asked Prophet Muhammad s.a.w., which means: “O Allah’s Messenger, I ask for your company in Paradise. And the Prophet responded:Then help me to achieve this for you by devoting yourself to prostration frequently.” Hadith narrated by Imam Muslim.
When we visit places that are close to nature, ask our children to reflect upon Allah’s greatness and wisdom in creating this earth. Teach them how every being and creation has a role to play to ensure that everything fits well and completes one another.
Dear blessed Jemaah,
Thus, never despair or give up hope in bringing ourselves closer to Allah s.w.t. Let us begin a new chapter by seeking Allah’s mercy and blessings. May we achieve a deep sense of love in our hearts for Allah, and may we attain Paradise which we dream of. May Allah grant us taufiq in developing a strong relationship Allah Rabbul ‘Izzati. Amin Ya Rabbal ‘Alamin.