I attended Jummah today at the Islamic Center of Naperville (ICN).
For starters, they don't allow women to the first jama'a which is at 1:10pm. It's reserved strictly for men. Interesting. There are mosques in Chicago that don't allow women period, such as Makki Mosque in the Albany Park neighborhood or Jame Masjid in Rogers Park. It is interesting because the majority of the community at the Naperville mosque is comprised of well educated professionals. One typically gets the idea that such people are "progressive" and don't fall prey to "old" ideas.
Anyway, the khateeb was an 50-something Arab man. He was quite articulate and surprisingly didn't raise his voice once, he was quite calm and cool.
God will help you through every problem. If else statement, you have to do your part. God created us to test us. Everywhere and every second. This exam is not 4 hours, its from liberty to death.
The only unknown is when the test will end, the answer and goal are known. God says call on me and I will forgive you. Every night. Anyone repenting so I can accept his repentance.
His khutbah was about God's mercy and forgiveness. He said that anyone that asks for forgiveness can be forgiven. he then stated the conditions of tawba (repentence), repent and avoid the sin for good, do not go back to it. If we don't fulfill this, there is a disconnect between what we say and our hearts. This leads to hypocrisy. Real tawba is hating the sin you repented for.
If you really love Allah you will fulfill your end.
Who is between us and Allah? No one, we don't have that concept, like a priest. He answers us when we call on him. [Although I agree with this statement, it is important to understand that we also do not have the concept of a "personal" relationship with God. If you are confused about this point, you should read this article.]
The khateeb continued saying that when a group of people come together and glorify God and do tasbeeh (also known as doing dhikr but I don't think the khateeb was trying to imply this, he referred to the Jummah gathering which is valid as well), God asks His angels what the people are doing and the angels tell Him, "They are praising and glorifying you." God says that they are all forgiven. The angels inform Him that there is one among them who is bad and does not do good or repent. God forgives him for the sake of the rest. [It's well established and known that keeping the company of the righteous can only be a good thing, be wary of the company you keep.]
The khateeb tells a story about an old man who is ill and asks his sons to go to their neighbor and ask for his forgiveness. His children replied, "For what?" He said he once wiped his greasy hands on the house and wished to be forgiven for that. The khateeb made the point that for most of us, this would be a silly thing to ask forgiveness for, since it was no blatant sin, but the man understood he infringed on the rights of his neighbor and felt guilty and sincerely wanted to repent. [It never hurts to be humble and ask for forgiveness.]
The khateeb mentioned that the beloved Prophet (S) asked for forgiveness between 70 and 100 times a day, even though he is completely forgiven. "How many times do you ask for forgiveness? Say Astaghfirullah?"
"We cannot succeed without His forgiveness."
A very good point.
This was a nice khutbah, well done ICN.