The Fortunate Ones – Part 2
Transcript of the Friday Sermon delivered by Dr. Munawar Haque on Jan 06, 2017
Brothers and sisters! Today’s khutba is Part 2 of my previous khutba in which there was a discussion of the stage of wilayah or ihsan, in light of ayat 30 to 32 of Surat Fussilat. People who attain the level of ihsan are those whose first priority and preoccupation in this world is to invest themselves—their time, their energies, their capabilities, their intelligence, their faculty of speech, and their faculty of understanding to call people towards Allah (SWT), and this is what has been discussed in ayat 33 to 36 of Surat Fussilat.
وَمَنْ أَحْسَنُ قَوْلًا مِمَّنْ دَعَا إِلَى اللَّهِ وَعَمِلَ صَالِحًا وَقَالَ إِنَّنِي مِنَ الْمُسْلِمِينَ () وَلا تَسْتَوِي الْحَسَنَةُ وَلا السَّيِّئَةُ ادْفَعْ بِالَّتِي هِيَ أَحْسَنُ فَإِذَا الَّذِي بَيْنَكَ وَبَيْنَهُ عَدَاوَةٌ كَأَنَّهُ وَلِيٌّ حَمِيمٌ () وَمَا يُلَقَّاهَا إِلاَّ الَّذِينَ صَبَرُوا وَمَا يُلَقَّاهَا إِلاَّ ذُو حَظٍّ عَظِيمٍ () وَإِمَّا يَنْزَغَنَّكَ مِنَ الشَّيْطَانِ نَزْغٌ فَاسْتَعِذْ بِاللَّهِ إِنَّهُ هُوَ السَّمِيعُ الْعَلِيمُ ()
“Who speaks better than one who calls to Allah and does good works and says, I am surely of those who submit? Good and evil deeds are not equal. Repel evil with what is better; then you will see that one who was once your enemy has become your dearest friend, but no one will be granted such goodness except those who exercise patience and self-restraint, and no one is granted it save those who are truly fortunate. If a prompting from Satan should stir you, seek refuge with Allah: He is the All Hearing and the All Knowing” (Fussilat, 41:33-36).
Every human being has been endowed with the faculty of speech, but the use to which everyone is putting it is different. Lawyers, leaders, and public speakers are among those who generally use their faculty of speech towards worldly pursuits for earning money or gaining name, fame, status, or power.
One of the best uses of the faculty of speech is to give dawah, which means to call people towards Allah or towards His path. It is important that the attitude, behavior and conduct of the one who calls others towards Allah should be in accordance with and in the spirit with the dawah he makes; otherwise his dawah may well be futile. People might even get disillusioned about the message itself. Thus righteous deeds or good works are necessary prerequisites for a successful dawah.
The caller towards Allah is a humble person. He is not arrogant. He does not look down upon others. He does not associate himself with any sect, but declares that he is a Muslim, which means a person who has surrendered himself to Allah (SWT). When opposed for saying the truth, he remains steadfast.
Through these ayat, he is being advised to have the highest level of sabr or patience, which involves being good to the one who is bad to you or repelling evil with good. The result of doing so is that one’s enemy becomes one’s intimate friend. However, this level cannot be attained except by those who have patience and forbearance, and these are the people who, according to the Qur’an are the truly fortunate ones.
The Meccan phase of the Prophet Muhammad (SAW) witnessed this phase of da’wah. He and his followers were perfect embodiment of the ayah
وَلا تَسْتَوِي الْحَسَنَةُ وَلا السَّيِّئَةُ ادْفَعْ بِالَّتِي هِيَ أَحْسَنُ فَإِذَا الَّذِي بَيْنَكَ وَبَيْنَهُ عَدَاوَةٌ كَأَنَّهُ وَلِيٌّ حَمِيمٌ
“Good and evil deeds are not equal. Repel evil with what is better; then you will see that one who was once your enemy has become your dearest friend” (Fussilat, 41:24).
To understand the full significance of these words, one should keep in view the condition in which the Prophet (SAW) and, through him, his followers were given this instruction. The times and conditions were such that invitation to the truth was being resisted and opposed with extreme stubbornness and severe enmity, so much so that all bounds of morality, humanity and decency were transgressed. Every sort of lie was being uttered against the Prophet (SAW) and his companions; every kind of evil device was being employed to defame him and to create suspicions against him in the minds of the people. In short, he and his companions were being persecuted in every possible way because of which a substantial number of the Muslims had been compelled to migrate from Mecca.
In such discouraging conditions when apparently every way of extending invitation to Islam seemed to be blocked, the Prophet (SAW) was taught this recipe for breaking the opposition. First, it was said that goodness and evil are not equal, as if to say: Although apparently your opponents might have raised a dreadful storm of mischief and evil, as against which goodness might seem absolutely helpless and powerless, yet evil in itself has a weakness which ultimately causes its own destruction. Man’s true nature cannot help hating evil. Even the upholders of evil know in their hearts that they are liars and wicked and that they arc being stubborn for selfish motives. It lowers them in their own esteem, and causes their morale to be weakened and destroyed in the event of every conflict.
As against this evil, the good which appears to be utterly helpless and powerless, goes on operating and working and it becomes dominant in the long run. For, in the first place, the good has a power of its own which wins the hearts. No man, however, perverted and corrupted, can help esteeming it in his own heart. Then, when the good and evil are engaged in a face to face conflict and their nature and merits become apparent and known, not many people would be left, who would not start hating the evil and admiring the good.
It is being advocated that evil should be resisted not only by mere good but by a superior good. If a person treats you unjustly and you forgive him, it is mere good. The superior good is that you treat the one who ill treats you with kindness and love. The result would be that your worst enemy would become your closest friend, for that is human nature itself. If you remain quiet in response to an abuse, it will be mere goodness but it may not silence the abuser. But if you express good wishes for him in response to his abuses, even the most shameless opponent will feel ashamed.
If a person doesn't miss any opportunity to harm you, and you go on tolerating his excesses, it may well make him even bolder in his mischief. But if on an occasion he gets into trouble and you come to his rescue, he will fall down at your feet, for no mischief can hold out against goodness.
May Allah (SWT) bless us with a deep understanding and help us to apply the divine teachings in our own lives.
أَقُولُ قَوْلِي هَذَا وَأَسْتَغْفِرُ اللَّهَ لِي وَلَكُمْ وَلِسَائِرِ المُسْلِمينَ وَالمُسْلِمَاتْ فَاسْتَغْفِرُوهْ إِنَّهُ هُوَ الْغَفُورُ الرَّحِيمُ
الحمد لله رب العالمين والصلاة والسلام على سيد المرسلين وعلى آله وأصحابه أجمعين.
وَإِمَّا يَنْزَغَنَّكَ مِنَ الشَّيْطَانِ نَزْغٌ فَاسْتَعِذْ بِاللَّهِ إِنَّهُ هُوَ السَّمِيعُ الْعَلِيمُ
“If a prompting from Satan should stir you, seek refuge with Allah: He is the All Hearing and the All Knowing” (Fussilat, 41:36).
Satan feels grieved when he sees that in the conflict between the truth and falsehood, meanness is being resisted with nobility and evil with goodness. He wants that he should somehow incite those who stand for truth; particularly their prominent men, and especially their leaders, to commit such a mistake, on the basis of which the common people will realize that evil is not being committed by one side only. The people of the other side also are not morally any better. That is why it is being advised in this ayah to be on your guard against the deceptions of Satan. He will incite you as a well-wisher to take note of every abuse and every insult and urge you to pay the opponent in the same coin.
After seeking Allah's refuge against the storm of opposition, the thing that brings patience and peace and tranquility to the heart of the believer is the conviction that Allah is not unaware. He knows whatever we are doing as well as that which is being done against us. He is hearing whatever we and our opponents utter and watches the conduct of both of us. On the basis of this very conviction the believer entrusts his own and the affairs of the opponents of the truth to Allah (SWT).
This is one of those places in the Qur’an where the Prophet (SAW), and through him, the believers have been taught this wisdom of preaching and reforming the people.
In conclusion, I request you to relate what has been discussed to our own situation in the present environment in which we are living. Let us look within ourselves. How do we behave with those people who apparently are not friendly towards us?
We hope that we will be the agents of positive change, improving our state of affairs, eradicating hate and fostering love in the hearts of our fellow countrymen.
May Allah give us the tawfiq to take heed and live by the teachings of Islam.
بَارَكَ اللهُ لِي وَلَكُمْ فِي الْقُرْآنِ الْعَظِيْمِ. وَنَفَعَنِي وَاِيِّاكُمْ بِمَا فِيْهِ مِنَ الآيَاتِ وَالذِّكْرِ الْحَكِيْمِ