Reflect on the efficacy of the hearts of the Sahaba, the Companions of the Prophet, peace be upon him. They traveled throughout the world and were able to proselytize without being fluent in many languages. One Sahabi could transform a whole nation. Consider the life of Abu Ayyub-al-Ansari, may Allah be pleased with him. He moved to Turkey, not knowing Turkish. He lived and died there, and is recognized as the forefather of Islam in Turkey. Others brought Islam to Spain. We must ask ourselves, what kind of secret did Allah give to their hearts? Why don’t scholars of today have that power? Prophet Muhammad (s) brought that power for the whole Ummah. During the third and fourth centuries, the era of the Sahaba and the Tabi’een (Successors), Muslims were able to effect dynamic changes.There must be something wrong with us today if we cannot do the same. Today, Muslim countries have billions of dollars in oil money. They print books in astronomical numbers, but they are able to convert only a few to Islam. There are about 1.2 billion Muslims in the world, and the number increases only slightly every day. The increase is negligible, like the footsteps of an ant.
When Anas bin Malik, a Companion of the Prophet (s), was about to pass away, he asked his own companions, “Do you want to hear a hadith that no one else has heard, and if I perish, no one will hear it?” They answered, “Yes.” He related that, “The Prophet of Allah said to his companions, ‘In the last days knowledge will be taken away – yurfa’u al-ilm – and ignorance will increase.’ The companions asked, ‘How will knowledge be taken away?’ The Prophet answered, ‘By the passing away of scholars.’” Consider this. There were 124,000 Sahaba who sat with the Prophet and learned his traditions, but only 10 or 15 were qualified to make fatwa. I advise you to look in the history books. After the time of the Sahaba, the Tabi’een and Tabi’ tabi’een did not make new rulings but deferred to Islamic rulings of the past. Only a few hundred notable scholars were able to give fatwas.
They were conscientious and afraid to make a mistake. In contrast, it seems, every one of us these days is giving a fatwa. We are saying ‘this is what I understand and this is the way it must work.’ So today, everyone is like a scholar making fatwa. Also, everyone likes to imitate the liberality of the west. Muslims are trying to make decisions according to Western
values. That is jahl – a form of ignorance.
In school, students can take technical courses, or medical courses, etc., but they cannot learn corruption. Today, in addition to the technical knowledge we need to learn for our livelihood, the youth will learn at the schools all kinds of different ideas – unrelated to their fields of study. That is what was meant by increase of ignorance. In the past one’s only interest, after work, was to go home and try to raise the children in the best way.
And the hadith continues, ‘wa yashrab al-khamr’ – and they will drink wine. I see many Muslims who pray but also drink alcohol. Some Muslims’ only contact with Islam or the mosque is at marriages or deaths. This is a common situation in many Muslim countries of the Middle East and Central Asia.
The hadith continues, “adultery will be widespread.” Adultery is everywhere and so common. Young men and women, dressed in nice clothes or driving nice cars, find opportunities for adultery and fornication easily. The tradition related by Sayyidina Anas continues, “Men will die.” It is significant to note that this is mentioned right after zina (adultery). This indicates that men will die in wars or from diseases. I know of certain persons who would leave Muslim countries during the month of Ramadan to avoid the fast. I see this. They traveled to places in Europe, because they want to be away from their communities. There, they feel free to go anywhere, incognito, and do anything they like. Therefore, Allah has created a disease, that claims mostly men. Prostitutes are a direct cause, but it is the men who suffer from more and more disease. Males, also, pass the diseases on to their children and grandchildren.
The narration continues, “wa yabqa an-nisa” – “women will stay and men will pass away.” Eventually there will be fifty women for every man. Already we see that there are fewer and fewer men. Statistics show that a large percentage died in WWII, especially in Germany. The Prophet (s) mentioned a disease 1400 years ago that has manifested itself today. Allah gave the Prophet a wondrous ability called `ulum al-awwaleen wal-aakhireen – knowledge of the Firsts and the Lasts. The Prophet said, “Six are issues that will precede the Day of Judgement: my death, many diseases [and four other issues].” He described the death by disease as “okaas al-ghanam”. “Okaas” is a disease that comes to sheep, goats or other domestic animals. Saliva and mucus flows profusely from the nose and mouth of the animal and if not mercifully slaughtered it dies a
miserable death. We have seen this recently in Europe. Millions of sheep died and millions more were slaughtered to prevent the spread. How is it possible that the Prophet (s) could have foreseen this?
In another hadith, one of the signs of the Last Days is tasleem al-khassa – people greet only those they know. It is a sunnah to say “assalamu alaykum” – “peace be upon you” – to any Muslim, known or unknown, male or female. However, today, Muslims only give salaams to acquaintances. The scenario for Musli ms in western countries is, “if I don’t know you I will not give salaams.” Perhaps this is because I do not recognize you as a Muslim. In Muslim countries, many people are Muslim, but we still do not give salaams. This is because there is no warmth between us — only ice. That is because our relationships are no longer based on a Divine connection, but are based only on our self-interests, a dunya connection.
May Allah guide us to the right path, and make us among his best righteous servants.
Khutbat al-Jumu`ah, November 30, 2001