It seems that God Almighty has answered my prayers. I believe my job at the UIC MSA is done. After writing this blog for six months, it seems that UIC MSA is finally getting its act together. The khateeb today spoke about the most basic thing that will help all of us realize humility and garner a genuine love for each other and God.
Moving along, the khateeb spoke about the ONE topic I was waiting to hear someone at this campus speak about.
He began the khutbah discussing the multitude of reasons why we should be thankful to God. There are two primary reasons we should be thankful, addressing the jama'ah specifically. The first is that we were blessed to have Iman (faith). The second is that due to this faith, we have the ability to become near to God. Such as the different wali or awliyah did. Wali is the singular form of Awliyah, Awliyah, loosely translated means "The Intimate Friends of God." The term Awliyah can also be translated as "Saint." Yes, in Islamic tradition, we believe in saints and we actually have a lot of them. If a Wahabi tells you otherwise, ignore him. Or better yet, observe him, you will soon see what he venerates other than God. The hypocrisy will manifest itself before your very eyes.
He gave the example of how we all attend university. That is representative of us all having faith. He then said that there are some of us that strive to make the Dean's List, yet all have the opportunity being enrolled as a student in the university. This is representative of us attempting to draw closer to God, get a spot on the "Divine" Dean's List, as it were.
As for being close to God. The khateeb made the point that many of us, who are connected to people in influential positions, that tends to be a source of pride for us. Well, God is the most powerful, the khateeb was attempting to draw relevant parallels, I think he succeeded. To be honest, at first glance I did not expect the khateeb to be such a charismatic speaker, thankfully I was proven wrong. He was very engaging, used perfect language and was articulate. He did use some Urdu idioms, but he made certain to repeat what he said in English immediately.
He explained what it means to be near to God. He described the brick on which one prays, assuming the floor is made of bricks (tiles could work too in this analogy but the khateeb used the term brick), then look at the brick comprising the washroom floor, we don't even step on it without wearing slippers, while the brick we pray on we allow our foreheads to touch. The ironic thing is, it is the exact same kind of brick. Yet the difference lies in what it is used for, one is in a decidedly unclean area, the other is used in the area for worship. This is a good way to understand the transformation qualities of becoming close to God. [People don't want to be around you when you are filthy like the brick in the washroom, but when you clean yourself, they desire to be near you always, simply because you are near to God.(Believe it or not, this actually happens)]
Now, the khateeb strikes the heart of the matter. He said that we need to conduct ourselves in an appropriate way, we must learn adab, there was no other reason for Islam other than teaching adab, good manners. "The perfect way is having perfect manners."
As Muslims we need to have perfect adab, anyone that was ever close to God had perfect adab. When Ali (R) would enter the mosque, the color of his face would change, because he understood and realized who's home he was entering. "Do you not realize who's house you are entering?" Whenever visitors came to listen to narrations of the Ahadith by Umar (R), he would first perform ghusl or shower, change his clothes, and apply attar (scented oil). Then he would sit with his guest and narrate the sayings of the Prophet (S). This is the amount of respect the Sahabah (companions) showed just the words of the Prophet (S), imagine what adab they maintained in his holy presence.
Shakyh Ahmed Sirhindi was known as "Shaykh al Qur'an." He explained how he attained this maqam or station. When he was writing a verse of the Qur'an, he felt the need to use the washroom. As he was about to head to the washroom, he saw on his finger some of the ink that he was using to write, at that moment when he was writing the name of God, Allah. When he realized this, he refrained from using the washroom first since he did not want to mix that ink in an act of cleaning himself, he went outside first to clean his finger of the ink in a clean place and then returned to use the washroom. So much respect and humbleness before God.
Adab gives you ilm Nafi', the knowledge that benefits you. Everyone can become a mufti, read and learn everything about Islam, but what use is knowing these things without proper adab or proper understanding on how to use this knowledge. Someone once asked Mufti Azam Shafi (of India), "What is ilm?" Many people gave their answers saying it's the knowledge of Din (Religion), or Hadith, or Sharia', etc, etc. The Mufti replied saying that ilm is "the Nur that enters your heart and forces you to act on your knowledge, otherwise all you have is just information." You can only attain this nur (spiritual insight / divine light) through maintaining proper adab.
The third step is Tawfiq (Concurrence of God), the Hikmah (Wisdom) follows, then finally the fifth step, Zuhd fi Dunya (Detachment from the World). When you attain detachment from the world, you foster the knowledge of Reality. You understand everything the way it is. To understand God's reality will never detach you from Him and will make you abandon this life and the world altogether. "A Muslim does not run after the dunya."
The khateeb lamented saying how all of us are missing these essential tools in gaining nearness to God, why is that? Because we all lack basic Adab. This is a shame and a tragedy for us. Fortunately, we are now all aware of it. So, don't waste your knowledge. Learn to perfect your character, your manner, your etiquette, your Adab. Then, Insha'Allah, the rest will follow.
- ilm Nafi'
- Zuhd fi Dunya
Great khutbah right?
The khateeb didn't say this, but I will include this in case it wasn't already clear. The primary characteristics required in attaining perfect adab is humbleness and humility. You simply cannot be well mannered or respectful of others or God and His Prophets and Awliyah unless you are humble. It's a difficult thing to be truly and sincerely humble, but if you pray for it and work for it, Insha'Allah it will come. We all have to struggle for it.