Friday Sermon, March 3, 2001

All praise be to Allah who has granted us to see one more year of the Hijri calendar. From the time Prophet (s) migrated to al-Madinah it has been 1423 years.

Alhamdulillah He sent him rahmatan lil-`alamaeen – Mercy to all the worlds. When we say rahmah, it means mercy. If your health is good that is a mercy; if your business is good that is a mercy; if your life is good that is a mercy; if your children are raised well and good that is a mercy. If your neighbors are good with you and friendly that is a mercy from Allah swt. If Allah swt sent rain to you that is a mercy. Whatever is good is a mercy.

And Allah described the Prophet (s) as mercy to all the worlds, rahmatan lil-`alameen.

That means “Ya Muhammad! I made you to be a mercy for all My servants. Your presence in their lives is a mercy for them. You are My servant and they are My servants. But you are my perfect servant. Innaka la`ala khuluqin `adheem‘Indeed you are on a tremendous character.’ [68:4] So I made them, and if they follow you, you will be a mercy for them.”

If we follow the way of Sayyidina Muhammad (s), we will never see difficulties, we will never see problems. If we are going to follow our bad desires, we are going to find problems in our life. Try to save yourself by following what the Prophet (s) brought.

O Muslims! This what changed the life of the universe – the migration from Makkah to Madinah. That took place eight days ago; some say ten days ago and some say eleven, that the Prophet (s) arrived in al-Madinah.

This is the month in which Allah ordered the Prophet (s) to move to Madinah to establish the infrastructure of Islam, to establish the state, and the khilafah of Islam. It was in this month that Allah gave a place to the Prophet (s) from which Islam spread everywhere.

Today’s topic is the importance of the day of `Ashura, the tenth of Muharram, that the Prophet (s) has mentioned.

When he reached al-Madinat al-munawwara – at that time it was called Yathrib or Taiyyaba – and entered, and established his place he found the Jews fasting the tenth of Muharram. And he asked, “Why are they fasting on that day?” They said, “Because on that day Allah saved Musa from Pharoah.” And the Prophet (s) fasted that day and ordered the Muslims to fast that day.

And Muslim narrated in one of the hadith of `Ashura, “`an abi qatadata an rasulullahi saama yawma `Ashura… kaffaaratan lis saanat almaadiya.” Abu Qatada (r) reports that the Prophet (s) said that whoever fasts that day, will be forgiven all the sins of the previous year.

Imam Abu Hanifa said, Kaana waajiban fee awwali dhuhur al-Islam - “that day was an obligatory fast in the beginning of Islam.” Imam Shafi`i said, “It is a Sunnah to fast it but not obligatory.” Imam Abu Hanifa says that it was an obligation to fast this day in the first decade of Islam.

But it is important to remember that Allah swt will waive one year’s sins you have committed. This is a mercy that Allah sent to us, by means of wa ma arsalnaaka illa rahmatan lil-`alameen - We sent thee not, but as a Mercy for all creatures. [21:107] By following what the Prophet (s) did, they are forgiven their sins.

Look, if you are in prison, if you keep good behavior, they might release you early, parole. On the Day of Judgment we will be looking for anything that can parole us, that can waive our sins. Do you have the fast of `Ashura on that day?

So everything that the Prophet (s) brought is a mercy for Muslims. It is one day, only one day, Sunday or Monday. If your intention is to fast Monday with belief it is `Ashura, then fast it and you will be rewarded on your intention.

Ibn `abbas (r) the greatest mufassir of Qur’an, said that the Prophet (s) fasted the day of `Ashura [because of its importance] and he ordered the people to fast it. [Bukhari and Muslim] He ordered the Sahaba to fast that day. That is its importance – to waive one year’s sins.

Abi Sa`eed al-Khudri (r) related that the Prophet (s) said, “Whoever fasts the day of `Arafah Allah will waive the preceding year’s sins and the following year’s sins.”

That is more than `Ashura. That means he will be waived the sins of the future, meaning he will be protected from sinning. And whoever fasts `Ashura, Allah will forgive the preceding year’s sins.

On that day, Allah gave honor to many prophets, upon whom be peace. Allah has chosen Adam (as) to be father to human beings on that day. He raised Idris (as) to heaven on that day. He saved Sayyidina Nuh (as) with people in his ship on that day. He saved Sayyidina Ibrahim (as) on that day. He forgave Sayyidina Dawud (as) on that day. He returned Sulayman’s (as) kingdom to him on that day. He swt relieved Ayyub (as) [of his afflictions] on that day. He swt raised Sayyidina `Isa (as) [to heaven] on that day. And on that day your messenger, the Seal of messengers whom Allah has chosen, on that day, Allah made Sayyidina Muhammad (s) to marry Sayyidata Khadijah (r) and He made him to migrate to Madinah on that day. And He created heavens and earth on that day and He created the Pen (al-Qalam) on that day. And that was a Friday – not a Saturday or Sunday.

That is a very important day in Islamic calendar.

Now you go to some places and they tell you of the importance of this day. But you go to other places involved too much in politics, and they forgot about this day.

And in the end, I want to give the meaning of `Ashura. It is mentioned in many Islamic traditions that `Ashura means the one who respects and honors that day on which Allah saved all anbiya from the abuse of their communities Allah will lift to a lightened life. It means `asha nura - to live a ‘lightened day.’ They took the nun out to connect the two words.

Al-Hamadani - one of the greatest muhaddiths - related that when Allah swt ordered Nuh to build his ship, he built it from 124,000 planks. And we know in Islamic tradition in the tafsir of Ibn `Abbas regarding Surat al-`Araf, that Allah sent 124,000 prophets, and among them were 313 messengers. When Sayyidina Nuh (Noah) began to put each plank in place, the names of the prophets appeared on them. When he reached one before the last plank, number 123,999 the name of Sayyidina Muhammad (s) appeared on plank 124,000. Then Nuh (as) knew that he was the last Prophet (s). He then needed four more planks to complete the ship. As soon as he put these, the names of the four rightly-guided caliphs appeared on those planks. Allah swt said to him, “For the sake of Muhammad I am saving the ship.”

Thus Sayyidina al-Hamadani said, “For Allahs’ love of them, He put their names on that ship.” Whoever loves the Prophet (s) and his companions, Allah will love them.

May Allah give us the baraka to fast on `Ashura.

I would like to bring to your attention the verse: Ati`ullah wa ati`ur-rasul, wa ulil amri minkum.- Obey Allah, obey the Prophet and those in authority among you.[4:159]

It is a very difficult time. Muslims must be aware that they must keep love of Islam in their homes, in their communities and with their neighbors. Else we will be in danger. Allah protected Islam, and no one can add or subtract anything from it. Muslims might be in danger, and therefore they must take their precautions. We came here not to make it an Islamic state. It is not like that. We came to live peacefully, to work, to raise our children Islamically and to raise a new generation. If we seek more than that and we will be in problems.

The Prophet (s) said, “In Last Days chunks of darkness will come on my Ummah. At that time the one sitting is better than the one who is walking and the one who is walking is better than the one who is riding…”

If you have a problem sit at home. If we involve ourselves we will harm ourselves. Sit by yourself, read Qur’an and hadith and go to your work. Don’t involve yourself in anything these days – it is not advisable. May Allah protect all who protect people from miseries and disasters.