Differing from the disbelievers
October 08 2015 11:25 PM

Khutbah by Shaykh Saalih bin Fawzaan al-Fawzaan
Dear people! Fear Allah and be proud of your religion. O Allah’s servants! Allah, the Most High, has granted the Muslims a complete Shari’ah, or comprehensive set of rules, that cover all religious and worldly matters. He made happiness both in this world and in the Hereafter contingent on working according it and adhering to its guidance. Allah, Most High says that which means: “Whoever follows My guidance will neither go astray [in the world] nor suffer [in the Hereafter].” (Taa Haa: 123). “Whoever follows My guidance – there will be no fear concerning them, nor will they grieve.” (Al-Baqarah: 38).
This Shari’ah is the straight and correct way, which is the way of those on whom Allah has bestowed His Grace such as His Prophets, the sincere, the martyrs, and the righteous. Anything other than this is the way of those who have earned the wrath of Allah such as the Jews, the Christians and the polytheists.
Dear Muslims! In every rak’ah, or cycle, of your prayer, you invoke Allah to show you the straight path and keep you away from the path of those who have earned His wrath and those who have gone astray. You do this because you recite Surat Al-Faatihah. This recitation in every rak’ah is one of the pillars of Salaah, or prayer. Therefore, you should reflect on this Du`aa’, or supplication, its objectives and its positive results.
First and foremost, it implies following Allah’s Messenger sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam and adhering to Allah’s Shari’ah concerning acts of worship, business transactions, morals and inward and outward manners. It also entails differing from the disbelievers with regard to their specific acts of worship, business transactions, morals and manners. This is because imitating them outwardly leads to loving them inwardly.
Therefore, the Qur’an and the Sunnah are replete with evidences that command the Muslims to differ from the disbelievers and forbid imitating them in order to keep the Muslims away from all harmful matters. This is because the actions of the unbelievers are false and only for show, their endeavours are misleading and their end is certain destruction. Consequently, all the actions and affairs of a disbeliever are blighted and fruitless.
Allah, Most High says that which means: “But the disbelievers – their deeds are like a mirage in a lowland which a thirsty one thinks is water until, when he comes to it, he finds it is nothing.” (Al-Noor: 39) and also: “The example of those who disbelieve in their Lord is [that] their deeds are like ashes which the wind blows forcefully on a stormy day.” (Ibraaheem: 18).
O Muslims! Although Allah has warned us severely against following the way of the disbelievers, He knew that this would happen as His Messenger sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam reported that Allah has decreed this according to His Knowledge. Al-Bukhari and Muslim reported on the authority of Abu Sa’eed al-Khudri, may Allah be pleased with him, that Allah’s Messenger sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam said: “You will follow the errors of your predecessors so completely and literally that if they should go into the hole of a lizard, you would follow them.” The people asked: “O Allah’s Messenger! Do you mean (by ‘your predecessors’) the Jews and the Christians?” He sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam replied, “Who else?”
Al-Bukhari reported on the authority of Abu Hurairah, may Allah be pleased with him, that Allah’s Messenger sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam said: “The Hour will not come until my nation will follow completely and literally the errors of the previous nations.” The people asked: “O Allah’s Messenger! Are you referring to (the people of) Persia and the Romans?” He sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam replied: “Are there other than these?”
Therefore, Allah’s Messenger sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam reported that his nation will follow the Jews and the Christians, who are the People of the Book, as well as the people of Persia and the Romans. Allah’s Messenger sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam forbade imitating all of them.
Despite the fact that he sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam told us that his nation would imitate the errors of the disbelievers, he sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam also stated that a group of his nation will firmly adhere to the truth until the Hour comes. He sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam also said that Allah would make it such that the Muslim nation would not unanimously agree on falsehood. Also, he sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam assured us that Allah frequently raises certain persons for the sake of His religion whom He uses and appoints for obeying Him.
As a result, it becomes clear from the authentic Ahadith of the Prophet sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam that there will be a group of people who follow and adhere to his guidance, the religion of Islam. On the other hand, some Muslims will deviate to the doctrines of the religion of the Jews or that of the Christians. Such deviation is made alluring by Satan. That is why a servant of Allah is commanded to ask Allah to guide him to the straight path, which is far away from Christianity and Judaism.
O servants of Allah! The wisdom behind the prohibition of imitating the disbelievers and commanding us differ from them is so clear. This is because imitating them outwardly leads to imitating them inwardly which in turn results in resembling them in their morals and actions. However, being different from them outwardly leads to differing from them inwardly, which in turn leads to being so completely distinct from them that one is rescued from the causes of Allah’s wrath.
Being distinguished also saves one from going astray and leads to being directed to the way of guidance and Allah’s pleasure. O Muslims! Today many Muslims, both men and women, imitate the disbelievers in their manners of speaking, dressing, appearance and in so many other areas that time does not allow me to enumerate them.
Among these aspects is the shaving of beards and growing moustaches. Allah’s Messenger sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam, commanded trimming the moustache and allowing the beard to grow in a generous manner, thus being distinct from the disbelievers who shave their beards and grow their moustaches.
We must know that clipping the moustache and growing the beard are among the characteristics of Fitrah, or human-nature and from the guidance of the Prophets, peace be upon them all. It is a symbol of being distinct from the enemies of Allah and His Messenger sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam. This is because clipping the moustache brings about cleanliness, keeping it away from the phlegm of the nose and because when it becomes long and hangs over the lip; it becomes immersed in food and drinks in a disgusting manner.
I stress again that growing the moustache long distorts one’s appearance, despite the fact that some people may approve of it. Wearing the beard is a symbol of a man’s handsomeness and dignity. Therefore, when he becomes old his attraction remains due to the existence of the hair of his beard. In contrast, the one who disobeys Allah’s Messenger sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam by shaving it will have a distorted face devoid of any beauty when he becomes old. The habituation and blind imitation of these people lead them to misjudging a bad thing as good and vice versa.
What we say to those people, may Allah guide us and them, is: You must repent and return to the truth, for returning to the truth is far better than continuing with falsehood. The Sunnah of Allah’s Messenger sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam has become clear to you and you have been commanded to obey and follow in his footsteps. Allah says that which means: “There has certainly been for you in the Messenger of Allah an excellent example.” (Al-Ahzaab: 21).
Therefore you have to adhere to his Sunnah and not to change it, despite the great number of Muslims who neglect it. Another example of imitating the disbelievers is speaking in their languages unnecessarily; this happens even among the native Arabs in their own countries. The reason why this is so disliked is that when a person speaks a foreign language, he becomes accustomed to this practice and deserts the Arabic tongue which is the symbol of Islam.
In fact, the language spoken is among the greatest of the symbols that define the culture and practices of any given group of people. Therefore, the majority of Islamic jurists are of the view that offering Du’aa’, or supplication, within Salaah, or prayers; and saying Dhikr, or the mentioning of Allah’s names, in a language other than Arabic is Makrooh, or not recommended. Allah has glorified the Arabic language, revealed His Book in it and made it the native language of Muhammad sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam, the last of His Prophets. So, being accustomed to speak in any language other than Arabic is Makrooh – if a person knows Arabic – for it leads to resembling non-Muslims, deserting the Arabic language, and replacing it by another language.
Arabic is a part of the religion and learning it is obligatory, because comprehending the Qur’an and the Sunnah is obligatory; and they cannot be comprehended except by knowing Arabic. Therefore what is necessary for fulfilling an obligation also becomes obligatory. As for learning foreign languages, Muslims are allowed to learn and speak in them, but only when necessary. If it is unnecessary, then speaking in them is Makrooh. However, it is very saddening to see that when you enter public buildings, such as hospitals and airports, in the Arab countries, you will find people communicating in foreign languages as if they were in Europe.
The disbelievers are also imitated in certain acts of worship, such as building up the areas around graves and making them places of visitation and worship. Allah’s Messenger sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam said: “May Allah’s curse be on the Jews and the Christians, for they build places of worship at the graves of their Prophets.” He sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam also said: “If any righteous man dies amongst them, they would build a place of worship at his grave and make pictures of him to place therein; they are the worst creatures in the sight of Allah.” These sayings of the Prophet sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam reveal that exaggeration with regard to graves leads to the gravest Shirk, or polytheism, which is obvious to everybody.
All this is owing to imitating the Jews and the Christians. Other forms of imitation are celebrating polytheistic and innovated days such as the Prophet’s birthday and those of presidents and kings. Celebrating these occasions may be for one day or a week such as National Day, Mother’s Day, Cleanliness Week and so on. All these celebrations came to the Muslims from the disbelievers. In Islam, there are only two days of feasts: the Day of Fitr, or ending the fast of Ramadan, and the Day of Adhaa, or sacrifice. Celebrating any day other than these two is bid’ah, or an innovation in the religion, and imitation of the disbelievers.
Muslims should be mindful of this and not be lured by the great number Muslims participating in these sinful events. Such people either do not know the ruling of Islam concerning it and celebrate these days due to ignorance, or know the ruling of Islam and celebrate them despite that. The sin of the latter class is of course, much greater. I seek refuge with Allah from the outcast Satan. Allah says that which means: “There has certainly been for you in the Messenger of Allah an excellent example for anyone whose hope is in Allah and the Last Day and [who] remembers Allah often.” (Al Ahzaab: 21).

Ad-Du’aa if ever we needed it...
And when My slaves ask you (O Muhammad) concerning Me then (answer them), I am indeed near. I respond to the invocation of the supplicant when he call on me. So let them obey Me and believe in Me so that they may be led aright. [Al-Baqarah 186]
The word du’aa is the plural of da’wah and both come from da’aa which means to ask or to call. To call “to something” in this way is to encourage others to do it. The meaning of du’aa in Islam is: for the slave to call out to his Lord to care for him, have mercy on him and supply him with his needs and wants.
The reality of du’aa is to manifest one’s absolute poverty and powerlessness before Allah Most High and the affirmation that all power to bring about anything belongs exclusively to Allah Most High. It is a sign of true worship and it contains the meaning of praising and exalting Allah Most High and ascribing to Him the attributes of generosity and grace.

Types of du’aa mentioned in the Qur’an

1. Worship. Asking for something which only Allah can grant is an act of worship which can only be directed to Allah Most High. To address it to other than Allah is shirk.
And do not call besides Allah those who can not benefit your and cannot harm you. Yunus:106
2. Seeking of Aid. Calling to one for aid can only be directed to Allah in issues where only He can respond. One can request aid from a present, living and capable individual and this is not shirk. However, to ask those incapable of helping (such as the deceased) or not present is to worship other than Allah Most High. Allah rejected the ability of anyone to help anyone else in disobedience to Him on Yaum Al-Qiyaamah in the following:
Call your witnesses beside Allah if your are indeed truthful. Al-Baqarah:23
3. Asking for something. Allah said:
Call to (ask) Me that I may respond to you. Ghaafir:60
4. Exalting of Allah and addressing one another. Allah said about the people of Paradise:
Their call therein is “Exalted are You, O Allah!” and their greeting therein is “Salaam”. Yunus:10
5. Allah calling us.
On the day when He calls you and you respond with His praise. Al-Israa:52
6. Calling to Allah in praise and supplication.
Say: Call “Allah” or call “Ar-Rahman”... Al-Israa:110

Those whose du’aa is answered by Allah
Allah and His Prophet (sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam) have mentioned various people/conditions under which Allah answers the du’aa of His slaves. Among them:
1. The one in desperate need.
2. The oppressed upon whom injustice is being inflicted
3. A parent who makes du’aa against their child
4. A just ruler
5. A righteous individual
6. The righteous son/daughter who prays for his parents
7. The fasting individual until they break their fast
8. Any Muslim who makes du’aa for another Muslim without their knowledge
9. Every Muslim as long as they are not asking for injustice or breaking of family ties.
10. The one making taubah (repentance) from sin
11. The traveller whose sustenance is from halaal

Prerequisites of du’aa
When calling to your Lord, be sure to be aware of the following requirements for making du’aa:
1. Sincerity of directing all of your worship to Allah alone
2. Obedience to Allah by fulfilling all obligations upon you and avoiding all that forbidden.
3. Avoiding all harm consumption of food, clothing/jewelry and drink
4. Preceding the du’aa with a good deed
5. Purity (tahaara)

Some etiquette of du’aa
Also, pay close attention to the following etiquettes (aadaab) of supplicating Allah Most High:
1. Take advantage of the blessed times which Allah and His Prophet (sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam) have told us about such as the day of Arafat, all of Ramadan (especially the last ten), Jumu’ah and the time of tahajjud (after sleeping and before fajr), etc. Allah said:
And in the late night they seek forgiveness. Adh-Dhaariyaat:18
2. Take advantage of the special circumstances when du’aa especially encouraged such as when one is in prostration (sajdah), upon meeting the enemy army, when Allah send His mercy (e.g., rain) and between the adhaan and the iqaama. The Prophet (sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam) said:
“The closest a slave ever is to his Lord is when he is in prostration, so make much supplication.” Muslim & others
3. Face the qibla. Jaabir (radiallaahu ‘anhu) reports:
“The Prophet (sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam) came to the place of standing at Arafat, faced the Qibla and continued making du’aa until the sun set.” Muslim
4. Lowering the voice and keeping it “in between” neither complete silence nor completely out loud. Abu Musa Al-Ash’ariy reported that: We were approaching with Allah’s Messenger (sas). When we came near Al-Madinah, he said “Allahu Akbar”. The people, too said “Allahu Akbar” and they raised their voices whereupon the Prophet (sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam) said:
“O people, verily the one whom you are calling is not deaf and is not absent. Verily, the one whom you are calling is between the necks of your mounts.” Al-Bukhari & Muslim
5. Humility, fear (of Allah and His punishment) and desire (for His mercy and His reward) when making du’aa. Allah said:
They used to race one another to good deeds and they would call to us in desire and in fear and they were humble before Us. Al-Anbiyaa:90
6. Be serious in what you ask for and certain of the ability and the promise of Allah to respond to your call. Do not put conditionals on what you ask for except for things like “if it is the best for me in this life and the hereafter in Your knowledge”, but not things like “if you wish”, etc. Allah does not respond to du’aa which is made “routinely” or frivolously without consciousness. The Prophet (sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam) said:
“Call to Allah with certainty of being answered. And know that Allah does not respond to the du’aa from a heart which is forgetful or frivolous.” At-Tirmidhi
7. To be persistent, even insistent in du’aa and repeat it three times. Ibn Masood (radiallaahu ‘anhu) reported that: “When the Prophet (sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam) made du’aa, he used to make it three times and when he asked, he asked three times.” – Muslim
8. To begin du’aa with the mention of Allah and invoking His blessing on the Prophet (sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam) before asking for things and to close one’s du’aa with praise of Allah.
9. To repent from one sin’s and to undo any injustices done to others (including returning property improperly taken or undoing any other kind of harm) before turning to Allah in du’aa.
When we respond to Allah’s call to worship Him alone and to obey Him by performing our obligations and avoiding all the forbidden, Allah responds to this by granting us our du’aa. There can be nothing greater in this world than to have a du’aa which is answered by Allah Most High. Any nation which possesses many people who have this will succeed in this world and in the next. Allah will place in power over them those who fear and obey him and grant them victory over their enemies. The du’aa of Muslims for each other is more powerful than Muslims only making du’aa for themselves.
And your Lord said: Call to me that I may respond to you. Verily, those who are too arrogant to worship me will enter Hell-fire humiliated. Ghaafir:60
Oh Allah have mercy upon the Muslims who are suffering from attacks and oppression and living in fear, ameen.

The meaning of the dual testimony of faith

Praise be to Allah, Lord of the Worlds. Peace and blessing of Allah be upon our Prophet Muhammad (sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam), and on his household and all of his Companions.
How many times have you heard or even said the following words? Ash-hadu allaa ilaaha illallah wa ashadu anna Muhammadar Rasoolullah. [I bear witness that there is no deity except Allah and I bear witness that Muhammad is the Messenger of Allah]. Yes indeed, it is the two-part testimony or declaration of faith by which the one who utters it enters into the fold of Islam. More importantly however, is whether you as a listener or as the one who has made this declaration have really considered the meaning of this great declaration and its implications for the one who utters it?

Importance of Understanding the Testimony

This testimony of faith is the foundation upon which Islam is based. The concept of life, the universe and man is diffused from it, and upon it is based the message of all Messengers (‘alaihimus salaam) beginning with Noah (‘alaihi salaam) and ending with Muhammad (sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam), peace be upon them all. The first half of the testimony constitutes what is also known as al-kalima, which literally means ‘the word’ Laa ilaaha illallah.
Allah the Exalted says: We did not send a Messenger before you without revealing to him: ‘There is no God worthy of being worshipped except I, therefore worship Me’ [Al-Anbiyaa - 21:25]

The Testimony Comprises Two Pillars: Denial and Affirmation

1. The first half of this first part Laa ilaaha – There is no Ilaah (deity) – denies everyone and everything other than Allah, the Exalted, the attribute of divinity. This is known as nafy (negation) in Arabic.
2. The second half of this declaration illallah (except Allah) affirms and restricts divinity to Allah alone. That is, the slave must believe that Allah is the only true God, and therefore must not dedicate any act of worship to other than Allah. This is known in Arabic as ithbaat (affirmation).

Conditions of the First Half of the Declaration

Confessing the testimony of faith must be coupled with fulfilling its seven conditions. Every door has a key that unlocks it. These conditions may be analogised with the teeth of that key in order that it function properly. Though one may have indeed entered Islam upon uttering the words it can also be said that complete faith cannot be attained unless he fully understands the implications of his testimony.
1. Knowledge which negates Ignorance. Allah states: So know [O Muhammad (sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam), Peace be upon him] that La ilaaha Illa-Allah. (There is no God but Allah). [Q 47:19]. The more a believer knows about Allah and His Deen the less likely is he to fall prey to the traps of Satan and more likely to benefit himself and others.
2. Certainty which negates Doubt. Only those are the believers who have believed in Allah and His Messenger (sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam), and afterward doubt not but strive with their wealth and their lives in the Cause of Allah. They are the truthful. [Al-Hujuraat - 49:15]. The declaration should be made with the fullest conviction and confidence that Allah is One and Alone and Islam is indeed the true religion.
3. Sincerity and purity of intent which negates Shirk. Surely the religion (i.e. worship and obedience) is for Allah only. [Az-Zumar - 39:3]. No deed will be accepted if it is not done with pure intent and aim to please Allah.
4. Truthfulness which negates Hypocrisy. Do people think that they will be left alone because they say ‘We believe’ and will not be tested? And we indeed tested those who were before them. And Allah will certainly make known those who are true and will certainly make known those who are liars. [Al-Ankabut - 29:2,3]. It is very simple for one to feign belief but it is Allah who indeed knows the inner truthfulness of all who claim to believe in Him.
5. Love and devotion which negates disdain of Allah’s religion. And to mankind are some who take some (associates for worship) besides Allah as rivals; they love them as they love Allah. But those who believe love Allah more (than anything else). [Al-Baqarah - 2:165]. Loving Allah necessitates that the believer put full trust in him and loves all that he learns of what Allah has commanded and forbidden. Therefore the true believer loves each and every aspect of Islam and he loves those others who likewise do so.
6. Submission which negates Disobedience. And turn in repentance to your Lord and submit to Him in Islam. [Az-Zumar 39:54]. To willfully disobey when Allah’s commands have been made clear is to belie the declaration of faith.
7. Acceptance which negates Rejection or Denial. Truly when it was said to them: ‘There is no God except Allah’, they puffed themselves up with pride (i.e. denied it). And (they) said : ‘Are we going to abandon our gods for the sake of a mad poet? [As-Saffaat 37:35-36]. There can be nothing but full acceptance of the truth of the declaration. Partial acceptance is like no acceptance at all.

The Second Half of the Testimony: Muhammadan Rasoolullah

This is the declaration that “Muhammad (sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam) is the Messenger of Allah”. This second part of the testimony of faith is no less important than the first. In fact. It is impossible for one to be a true believer in the first part without also believing in the second. It necessitates belief in the following:
1. Total submission to Muhammad (sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam) in whatever he ordered. Allah states: But no, by your Lord, they can have no faith, until they make you judge in all disputes between them, and find in themselves no resistance against your decisions and accept them with full submission. [Q4:65] and He who obeys the Messenger has indeed obeyed Allah [Q4:80]
2 . Avoiding what he (sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam) forbade. And whatsoever the Messenger (Muhammad (sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam), gives you, take it and whatsoever he forbids you, abstain (from it). [Al-Hashr 59:7].
3. Believing in all those matters he informed us about. The Messenger believes in what has been revealed to him form his Lord and so do the believers [Q 2:285]
4. Loving the Messenger (sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam). The Prophet has said about himself None of you truly believes until I am more beloved to him than his parents [lit. father], his children [lit. son] and all of mankind. [Al-Bukhari]

A Sobering Thought

Allah states: O Prophet, We have sent you as a witness and a bringer of glad tidings and a Warner. And as one who invites to Allah (i.e, to worship Him Alone) by His Leave and as a Lamp spreading Light (through your instructions). [Al-Ahzaab - 33:45, 46]  
In an age when there is actually controversy over whether or not a Muslim must actually obey Muhammad (sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam) and adhere to his way, no true Muslim should remain ignorant of the great meanings contained within the two-part testimony by which one joins this great Deen of Islam. It may well be true as is said by some “There are many who have been Muslims for all of their lives who are really in need of taking the Shahaadatain all over again.” The Prophet Muhammad (sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam) is the one who brought us Islam in its final form and exemplified it in his speech and character. Though him (sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam) Allah has spread His light all over this earth and surely in such a dark place as the world can at times be, there is nothing more needed than a beacon to show us the way .

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