O Muslims, believers! Allah swt has ordered us to do our prayers and has ordered us to do our obligations. And He said in the holy Qur’an,
قُلْ إِن كُنتُمْ تُحِبُّونَ اللّهَ فَاتَّبِعُونِي يُحْبِبْكُمُ اللّهُ وَيَغْفِرْ لَكُمْ ذُنُوبَكُمْ وَاللّهُ غَفُورٌ رَّحِيمٌ
Qul in kuntum tuhiboon allah fatabi`oonee yuhbibkum-ullah
If you want to love Allah follow me and He will love you. [3:31]
To follow Sayyidina Muhammad (s) is to follow his Sunnah and to follow what we have been asked to follow. Many people do their prayers, and they direct their face towards the east, the Ka`bah and if they are in the east they direct their faces to the west, towards the Ka`bah. Allah is the Lord of the east and the west:
قَالَ رَبُّ الْمَشْرِقِ وَالْمَغْرِبِ وَمَا بَيْنَهُمَا إِن كُنتُمْ تَعْقِلُونَ
“(Moses) said: ‘Lord of the East and the West, and all between! if ye only had sense!’” [26:28]
Allah is the Lord of the two easts and the two wests, al-mashaariqi wal-maghaarib, Lord of the easts and the wests:
فَلَا أُقْسِمُ بِرَبِّ الْمَشَارِقِ وَالْمَغَارِبِ إِنَّا لَقَادِرُونَ
“But nay! I swear by the Lord of the Easts and the Wests” [70:40]
This gives us an understanding of a very scientific discovery, when He says the Lord of the Easts and the Wests; it means that at every moment there is a sunrise and a sunset. That leads to the discovery that the earth is circular.
First you have to know He is the Lord of the east and the west. Then you have to know He is the lord of the two easts and the two wests. That is for the people of the future to know that there is a constant east and constant west, as the earth is rotating, the earth turns and the sun rises and the sun sets in every section.
So we have to keep praying. When we are praying in the morning somewhere else it is midnight; they are praying ‘Isha. That mean the whole Ummah is in constant prayer, in prostration. That is what Allah wants to explain to us: “O human beings you are always in prostration to Me. You cannot say no. Because there are people prostrating to Me in every country and in every time zone. There is not one place on earth that people are not praying to Me and making sajda to Me.”
With all this, I am obliging this to you and telling you this, Surat al-Baqara:
لَّيْسَ الْبِرَّ أَن تُوَلُّواْ وُجُوهَكُمْ قِبَلَ الْمَشْرِقِ وَالْمَغْرِبِ وَلَـكِنَّ الْبِرَّ مَنْ آمَنَ بِاللّهِ وَالْيَوْمِ الآخِرِ وَالْمَلآئِكَةِ وَالْكِتَابِ وَالنَّبِيِّينَ وَآتَى الْمَالَ عَلَى حُبِّهِ ذَوِي الْقُرْبَى وَالْيَتَامَى وَالْمَسَاكِينَ وَابْنَ السَّبِيلِ وَالسَّآئِلِينَ وَفِي الرِّقَابِ وَأَقَامَ الصَّلاةَ وَآتَى الزَّكَاةَ وَالْمُوفُونَ بِعَهْدِهِمْ إِذَا عَاهَدُواْ وَالصَّابِرِينَ فِي الْبَأْسَاء والضَّرَّاء وَحِينَ الْبَأْسِ أُولَـئِكَ الَّذِينَ صَدَقُوا وَأُولَـئِكَ هُمُ الْمُتَّقُونَ
It is not righteousness that ye turn your faces Towards east or West; but it is righteousness- to believe in Allah and the Last Day, and the Angels, and the Book, and the Messengers; to spend of your substance, out of love for Him, for your kin, for orphans, for the needy, for the wayfarer, for those who ask, and for the ransom of slaves; to be steadfast in prayer, and practice regular charity; to fulfil the contracts which ye have made; and to be firm and patient, in pain (or suffering) and adversity, and throughout all periods of panic. Such are the people of truth, the Allah-fearing. [2:177]
Not prostrating without thinking, as a habit, not knowing what comes after prostration and prayers. Some people pray out of fear. They go to the markets and to every place and beat the people, go to pray.
Some others pray because they are accustomed to pray, it is a habit, and they go to show off that they pray. And they are sincere. But Allah said it isn’t enough, you must believe in Allah and the Last Day. How do you prostrate and not believe in Allah?
That means our prostration is not for Allah, for if Allah is saying right after that verse “you have to believe in Allah,” then it means we might make prayers without belief. That is why as soon as we say Allahu Akbar and begin to pray, we begin to go around the globe. At that time Shaytan brings every kind of gossip to our heart.
In reality you must contemplate and concentrate, to focus on Allah; there is no one else. That is maqam al-ihsan; to worship Allah as if you are seeing Him. That means your prayer has to be very concentrated very well to Allah swt. And He said to believe in Me and to believe in the Last Day. How much did the Prophet (s) tell us about the Last Day? And people thinking that the dunya is going on for millions of years. For every person there is a Last Day. And for the whole human beings there is a Last Day.
How many are thinking and preparing for that Last Day of themselves.
On one is building up their bank accounts of akhira. If there are bank accounts in dunya there are also bank accounts in akhira, with the angels keeping it. There are debits and credits. To fill up with good deeds.
Some banks may make mistakes, so you keep an acct to check. But these angels do not make mistakes.
So whoever is thinking of the Last Day must think of the Last Day for himself. And there is also a Last Day for the human race. When Allah will send people to Paradise or to punishment “And you have to believe in His angels, His Prophets, and His books and the Prophet (s), and to give wealth to the needy and wayfarer and to those who ask set slaves free.”
That one verse is enough for the whole life. Allah put everything there in that one verse.
And He said, “to set slaves free and to observe proper worship” and “to keep their treaties when they make one.”
How many contracts we made with Allah swt and did not keep it. When we said shahada we accepted what Allah obligated us to do. We are breaching our contracts. Many people are breaking the contract we made when we testified to the unity of Allah and accepted the Prophet (s) as our messenger. When you breach a contract in dunya they sue you. Do you think the angels are not going to sue you?
“And those who keep their treaty when they make one and the patient in times of tribulation and times of stress, such are truth and such are the god-fearing.”
O Muslims in one verse of the Holy Qur’an He swt put the entire sum of what we have to do. If we don’t think about that, it might be tonight, it might be tomorrow, we give our life back to Allah. We don’t want to speak about a plan for the future, where to raise our kids, where to go to school, who to marry them to, which family is good or not, which university to send them to. You build a whole criteria for the future but no one brings the criteria for the next life.
When you die the angel of death is coming. Is he coming with punishment or with mercy? If he is coming with punishment who will save you? And for sure when Azraeel comes he comes with mercy for those who fulfilled the obligations of Islam, but not for those who did not.
He is giving us a chance, a breath to breathe. That breath must go in with Allah’s remembrance and to exhale with Allah’s remembrance. To keep that breath clean and pure. If Allah calls us at that moment he takes us with breath clean and pure. How many moments we are losing giving for dunya and not for akhira.
Give for your akhira. Allah did not ask too much. He asked salat, zakat, sawm and hajj for those who are able to do so. That is it after the shahada. That takes you to first level of Paradise. You want more? There is more if you begin tazkiyyat an-nafs. But look at first level first to clear all the rocks in our way.
Haqiqat will take us to the highest level of paradise. Ma`rifat will take us to be with Prophet (s), with veracious ones, with martyrs and with pious people – alladheena an`ama-allaha `alayhim min an-nabiyyeen was siddiqeen wash-shuhada was-saliheen wa hasuna ula’ika rafeeqa
وَمَن يُطِعِ اللّهَ وَالرَّسُولَ فَأُوْلَـئِكَ مَعَ الَّذِينَ أَنْعَمَ اللّهُ عَلَيْهِم مِّنَ النَّبِيِّينَ وَالصِّدِّيقِينَ وَالشُّهَدَاء وَالصَّالِحِينَ وَحَسُنَ أُولَـئِكَ رَفِيقًا
All who obey Allah and the apostle are in the company of those on whom is the Grace of Allah,- of the prophets (who teach), the sincere (lovers of Truth), the witnesses (who testify), and the Righteous (who do good): Ah! what a beautiful fellowship! [4:69]
Religion is not just Islam it is Islam, iman, ihsan. Islam, six pillars of iman and then maqam al-ihsan.
Masjid as-Siddiq, Burton, Michigan July 2, 2004