Essence of Faith: Remembrance of Death

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BismillahirRahmanirRahim

hoja hzAlhamdulillah, Alhamdulillah, Alhamdulillahi rabbil alamin wasalatu wa salamu ala Rasulina Muhammadin wa ala alihi wa Sahbihi ajmain nahmadulllahu ta’ala wa nastaghfiruhu wa nashadu an-lailaha ilallahu wahdahu la sharika lah wa nashadu anna sayyidina muhammadin abduhu wa habibuhu wa Rasuluhu Salallahu Alayhi wa ala alihi wa azwajihi wa ashabihi wa atbaihi.

 Khulafail rashidin mahdin min ba’di wuzerail immeti alal tahkik. khususan minhum alal amidi khulafai rasulillahi ala  tahqeeq. umara il mu’mineen. Hazreti Abu Bakr wa  Umar wa Uthman wa Ali. Wa ala baqiyati wa Sahabai wa tabieen, Ridwanallahu ta’ala alayhim ajmain.  Ya ayyuhal mu’minun al hadirun, ittaqullaha ta’ala wa ati’uh. inna allaha ma allathina-ttaqaw wal-lathina hum muhsinun. Alhamdulillahi Rabbil Alameen. Wa Salatu wa Salamu ala Ashraf al-Ambiya’i wa Imam al-Mursaleen, Sayyidina wa Mawlana Muhammadin wa ala alihi wa sahbihi ajmain.

All praises are due to Allah, Lord of the Universes. All praises are due to Allah who is the First, the Last, the Manifest, the Hidden, the One who has Might and Power over all things. And may all peace and blessings be upon the Sultan of the Messengers, the Imam of the Prophets, the Master of the First and the Last, the Intercessor of the Sinners, the Mercy to the Universes, Sayyidina Muhammad (AS), and upon his noble family and blessed companions, especially upon the Khulafa-e-Rashideen, Hz. Abu Bakr el-Siddik, Hz. Umar el-Faruk, Hz. Osman el-Ghani, and Hz. Ali el-Murtaza, and all those who follow them until the Last Day.

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Ayyuhal Mu’minun. O Believers! Welcome to you on this Holy Day of Jummah. And today we are welcoming to the New Islamic Month, the Month of Jamadial-Awwal. Believers must know where they stand in the calendar of Islam. Insha’Allah, in two months time, we will be entering to the door of the Three Holy Months and will be preparing to welcome the Shahrullah, the Month of Rajab.

O Believers! Allah (swt) is saying in the Holy Quran, ‘O you who have believed, believe in Allah and His Messenger and the Book that He sent down upon His Messenger and the Scripture which He sent down before. And whoever disbelieves in Allah , His angels, His books, His messengers, and the Last Day has certainly gone far astray.’

So Allah (swt) is addressing to believers, saying to them, believe. How can we know if we are true believers? How can we check our Iman? In the story of one of the Sahaba-e-Kiram, we are seeing the description of what it means to be a true believer.

Hazrat Muaz ibn Jabal was a young Sahabi, one of the most prominent of the Ansar, and he was very beloved to the Holy Prophet (asws). One morning, Holy Prophet (asws) asked him, ‘How are you this morning Muaz?’

And Hz. Muaz answered, ‘This morning I woke up as a true believer.’

Holy Prophet (asws) said, ‘Every truth has its proof, so what are the proofs of your belief, ya Muaz?’

And Hz. Muaz said, ‘Ya Rasulallah, I have never woken up without believing that I might die before nightfall. I have never slept without believing that I might die before the morning and have never taken a step without believing that I might die before taking the next. It always seems to me that I can see each nation humbled to its knees and each nation called to its record of deeds. It always seems to me that I can see the dwellers of Paradise, wherein are delights everlasting, and the dwellers of Hell, wherein they are in disgracing torment.’

Holy Prophet (asws) said, ‘Now you know, so stick to the truth as long as you live.’

O Believers! Are we waking up as true believers? Are we going to sleep as true believers? What is the essence of the belief that Hz. Muaz is describing to Holy Prophet (asws)? What is the proof of his belief?

It is the remembrance of his death. It is remembering that the Angel of Death is always in front of him. And the Sahaba-e-Kiram, they were the most concerned and the most busy in preparing themselves for their deaths. Because they were applying the words of Holy Prophet (asws) to their lives. Holy Prophet (asws) said to them in his Khutba-e-Sherif, ‘O people! The smartest among you is the one who remembers death the most, and the wisest among you is the one who is best ready for it. Indeed, among the signs of wisdom are shunning the falsehood of this life, turning toward eternal life, being fully equipped to live in the grave, and being ready for the resurrection.’

And the Sahaba-e-Kiram, they lived according to that reality. And despite being the best of creation after the Prophets, they were worried and getting ready for their deaths. Hazrat Osman el-Ghani (ra), who is one of the Khulafa-e-Rashideen, one of the Ashara-e-Mubashara, every time he would stand next to a grave he would cry a lot. Somebody asked, him, he was asked: ”paradise and hell do not make you cry but mentioning the grave put you into tears, why?”. He answered: ”the grave is the first step to the Hereafter, if you survive the grave what follows is lesser, if you do not survive, what follows is more difficult”.

And the great Saint Hazrat Hasan el-Basri is reminding us, saying, ‘O son of Adam! Sell your current life for your next life, and you will win both. Do not sell your next life for this life, because you will lose them both. The period of stay is short, and the righteous ones went away before you, so what are you waiting for? Do you wait your turn? By Allah, it is about to come, and then the latter ones will join the former one among you.’

And Hz. Hasan gave advice to the people saying, ‘By Allah! If you associate with someone who makes you remember and fear death, so that you earn safety, is better than associating with someone who makes you feel safe, for in that case, danger might touch you.’

And we are of the most fortunate ones to be in the jamat of Sahib el-Sayf Sheykh Abdul Kerim el-Kibrisi el-Rabbani who is constantly reminding us and preparing us for death.Our Sheykh is teaching us, saying, ‘The Holy Prophet saying to us, “work for this dunya, this world, (as) much as you are going to live in it. And work for Ahiret (as) much as you are going to live in it. So we all know how much we are going to live in it. This dunya. If you don’t know, say some extra, say, “I’m going to live a hundred years,” that much you need. Azrail is waiting every day, [he] may take that life. Everyday waiting. So that means day by day now, we have to worry. Not so much to worry to building palaces for one hundred years. No. Those who built the palaces also, they couldn’t live in it correctly. They go out from this world suffering, so many of them. We must look to hold on tightly to our shahadet, to live according to this shahadet, and to go out from this world with this shahadet. If we are taking this shahadet with us, then this shahadet will be a friend to us in the grave. It will be a friend to us in the Sirat. It will be a friend to us in the Judgment place, it will be a friend carrying us in – because it is a very difficult journey we still have in front of us. Don’t think that this world’s journey is difficult. This is nothing. We still have to enter to a grave and we have to find ways beyond the grave.’

O Believers. O Murids. Do not forget that this life is only an illusion. As Shah-e-Mardan Hz Ali is saying, ‘Man is asleep, and when he dies, he wakes up. O Believers- Let us wake up now, so that we can be ready for the road ahead.’ Amin.

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Amin. Al-Fatiha

Jummah Khutbah  by Hoja Lokman Efendi Hz, Khalifah of Shaykh Abdulkerim el Kibrisi (qs) * OSMANLI DERGAHI- New York

February 20, 2015

 

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