This was delivered by Shaykh AbdulKarim Yahya in Nottingham during The Virtues Tour on 16th January 2014.
In the Name of Allah, Most Merciful and Compassionate
All praise to Allah, Lord of the Worlds. And salutations and greetings upon our Master Muhammad and upon his family and companions.
I intend to study and teach, take and give a reminder, take and give benefit, take and give advantage, to encourage the holding fast to the book of Allah and the way of his messenger, and calling to guidance and directing towards good hoping for the countenance of Allah and His pleasure, proximity and reward, transcendent is He.
We praise Allah who guided us to this. We would not be guided were it not for Allah Who has guided us. We praise Allah for the blessing of Islam and this is sufficient as a blessing.
It is a blessing that we come together as Muhajireen and Ansar and just as this took place in the Madinah al Munawarra of the Prophet; it is an absolute must that it take place for the proper establishment of Islam in these lands. And those of us that have had Islam for some period of time, in the case of some of us, in my case, we have embraced Islam for almost 25 years. We have a great responsibility to receive those who come to Allah and His Messenger (prayers and peace be upon him), we are a means that Allah has made welcome those who are coming to Him and His Messenger (prayers and peace be upon him). And, what we learned from our Shuyukh is that this is the most important responsibility to those of us who are in these Western countries. It is properly welcoming and teaching new Muslims. We are really pleased by KQZ Institute. May Allah reward them, make their feet firm, inspire them, accept their work and make them a beacon of light that spreads the message of the Prophet (prayers and peace be upon him).
He (prayers and peace be upon him) is our example in every good quality, in every Qur’anic perfection, any station (whether it be Islam, Iman and Ihsan), whether it be murattib, the levels of certitude and he is an exemplar thereof. Such that not only could the revelation be studied in his character (prayers and peace be upon him) and that is a great thing. Sayyadatina Aisha said when asked about his character, “Don’t your recite the Qur’an?” The questioner affirmed that he recited the Qur’an. She said, “Verily the character of God’s Prophet was the Qur’an.” He (prayers and peace be upon him) was shaped by the revelation, entirely absorbed it and reflected it completely such that you would learn his character even if you were not of those who saw him merely by studying the Qur’an. Perhaps more wondrous than that, so shaped by his Lord, such a reflection of the beautiful names and attributes of His Lord was the Prophet (prayers and peace be upon him) that it was as though he appeared to be a Qur’an. So inwardly he embodied the Qur’an in his character and outwardly he reflected it in his appearance (prayers and peace be upon him).
Bukhari and Muslim narrate on the last morning in this month, in Rabi-al-Awwal, 10 years after his hijra (migration) so approximately 1425 years ago he (prayers and peace be upon him) gave his last gaze to his companions. As Anas, who spent 10 years serving him and knew him well, narrated. The Prophet (prayers and peace be upon him) parted the curtain from his hujrah and at this point Sayyidina Abu Bakr was leading the companions in prayer and had been doing so for some time because the Prophet (prayers and peace be upon him) was ill and his companions feared his death. So joyous were they by the sudden appearance of Allah’s Messenger (prayers and peace be upon him) standing in the door to the quarters of his beloved wife Aisha that they were almost distracted from their prayer. How would they know with him to their side? And we know the hujrah of the Prophet (prayers and peace be upon him) is where he is buried. Them in their prayer rows, it would have been to their direct left. How would they know that he was there gazing upon them such that they collectively were almost distracted from their prayer and even the Imam, yards away, tens of yards away, began to recede for our Imam and the Imam of every station and perfection to step forward? They knew by the light of the Prophet (prayers and peace be upon him) emanating into the masjid. And he looked at them and he smiled. Sayyidina Anas said, “It was as though his face was a page of the Qur’an.” Then he smiled at them, gave them his final gaze, completing the tarbiyah that he did to the general group of the sahaba. Then he passed on that day to the highest company. Prayers and peace be upon him.
If we wish to learn the character of the Qur’an, the behaviour of the Qur’an that is beloved to Allah, we have no recourse and need look no further than the person and conduct of the Messenger of Allah (prayers and peace be upon him). And I was taken by the comments of the Sharif of the Sayyid about the masajid in the effort that was taken to establish them. May Allah continue to bless these masajid. May Allah make them places connected to the Masjid al-Nabawi; places that reflect the beauty and radiance of the one who manifested the perfection of the Qur’an physically as well as spiritually. Prayers and Peace be upon him.
If we look at the masjid of the Prophet (prayers and peace be upon him), it was a place of healing. It was a place of transformation. It was a place that was accommodating, that was receptive. Not just to a child such as Sayyidina Hasan and Husayn that by coming to the masjid and the Prophet (prayers and peace be upon him) was on his mimbar and he might descend and hold them and kiss them during one of his lessons or sermons. Such that they would enter comfortably enough to the masjid of their Grandfather (prayers and peace be upon him) and climb upon his back in sujood and he would prostrate so long that the companions believed that perhaps he died in prostration just as not to disturb them. It was a place where the Mothers of the Believers, the bastions of modesty and shyness might do iti’kaf; pitching tents in Ramadan.
It was a place and Sidi Mustafa referenced as did Nader when we hear a beat and in some cases genetically we have to sway a bit when we hear a bit and some people find that a bit unusual but that wasn’t the message of the Prophet nor was it his conduct of his masjid. In the famous hadith of Bani Arfidah of the Abysinnians, the Ethipion delegation that visited sent by the King of Abyssinia who embraced Islam in the time of the Prophet (prayers and peace be upon him). On Eid day they did dances with their spears and sung poetry/song in their language and the Prophet (prayers and peace be upon him) asked what they were saying. It meant that Muhammad is a pious man. They did na’at. The Prophet (prayers and peace be upon him) listened to it and condoned it. Perhaps more wondrous than that, he allowed Lady Aisha, his beloved wife to stand and observe their dance and song. However, he had her stand from behind him at the door (perhaps to her hujrah) and in some narrations sheltered her with his ri’dah and placed her chin upon his shoulder with her cheek against his cheek and he perhaps would have had to stoop down for that. And, over the shoulder of Allah’s Messenger (prayers and peace be upon him) she enjoyed this performance. One of the companions, Sayyidina Umar, who was firm in Allah’s command threw stones at them and came to censure them. The Prophet (prayers and peace be upon him) said, “Leave them O Umar, it is their Eid. And also leave them so the Jews and Christians can know there is latitude in our religion.” That this doesn’t come and erase what you are but it allows you to celebrate the beauty of Allah and His Messenger (prayers and peace be upon him) in a matter that suits you provided you are in certain confines.
Perhaps more wondrous than that, even his enemies were transformed by his masjid. The enemies of Allah’s Messenger were transformed in the masjid of Sayyidina Rasulillah (prayers and peace be upon him). Muslim narrates that a man named Thumama bin Uthal who was the chief of an area called Yamama (agricultural region) was captured by the cavalry of Allah’s Messenger. He was brought to the Messenger of Allah and said, “Do you know who you have caught? You’ve caught Thumama bin Uthal.” Where did he place them? There wasn’t a jail. He didn’t have one. The Prophet (prayers and peace be upon him) didn’t even need a jail. Where did he place Thumama? He placed him in the masjid and had him tied to the pillars of the masjid. So, what did he see in the masjid of the Prophet (prayers and peace be upon him)? He would hear Sayyidina Bilal al-Habashi call the adhan and he would see the companions line up behind the Messenger (prayers and peace be upon him). He would hear the Prophet (prayers and peace be upon him) standing and declaring Allah’s Greatness, reciting the book of Allah, bowing and prostrating in humility to Allah. He would see the poor companions, Ahlul-Suffah, being sheltered and supported by the Messenger of Allah (prayers and peace be upon him). He might see Sayyidina Hassan and Husayn coming to the masjid and play with their grandfather (prayers and peace be upon him). See the Mothers of the Believers. See the men and women praying; the men at the front and women at the back in absolute modesty and total chastity with the presence of the Messenger of Allah (prayers and peace be upon him). So how could this not transform him?
The Prophet (prayers and peace be upon him) visited him and said, “Thumama what do you have to say?” He said, “If you kill someone, you kill someone with blood. If you favour me with releasing me you will do so to someone who is grateful. If you want wealth, ask and I’ll give you what you wish. ” We all have blood, what does this mean? The learned say it has two possible meanings. You could say it means you kill someone who deserves to be killed. Another meaning is that I have a posse and if you kill, they’re getting ready to roll. I have a group and if you do something to me, it’s going to be all bad. The Prophet (prayers and peace be upon him) left him for two days, he came and asked the same thing. He replied with the same thing. The Prophet then came on the fourth day and he (Thumama) has now spent four days observing the masjid of the Prophet (prayers and peace be upon him) in al-Madinah al-Munawwarah. Observing the Muhajireen and Ansar. Observing Ahl-al-Bayt. Observing Ahl-ul-Suffah. Observing this places that was established from the first day on taqwa from Allah. The Prophet (prayers and peace be upon him) asked him the same thing again. He replied with the same thing again. So the Prophet (prayers and peace be upon him) said, “Release him.” In his insight that he had been given, he knew that Thumama’s heart had changed. This individual had been transformed and he was a proud man. He was a chief among the Arabs and he didn’t want to embrace Islam whilst in captivity; so that the Arabs say he did so out of fear. He went out to some palms (and in some narrations to Baqi), he did ghusl, came back and testified. Then he said, “O Muhammad, I swear by Allah, on the surface of the earth there was no face more loathsome to me than your face. Your face has become the most beloved of all faces to me. There was no religion more loathsome to me than your religion and your religion has become the most beloved of religions to me. There was no land that was more loathsome to me than your land and your land has become the most beloved of all lands to me.”
He went from an enemy who hated the Prophet (prayers and peace be upon him), he even hated his face, hated his religion and hated his town. With seeing that light and mercy and tranquillity and Qur’an and khushoo and adab and akhlaq and co-operation in piety and taqwa, he was transformed to someone who loved that face more than all faces. Loved that religion more than all religions. More wondrous than that is that the love that was in his heart for Sayyidina Rasulillah even spread to the earth that was beneath the feet of Sayyidina Rasulillah. He had adab; he went from enmity to adab. He said, “Your cavalry captured me and I was intending to make umrah. So what shall I do?” He sought the counsel of Allah’s Messenger (prayers and peace be upon him). The Messenger (prayers and peace be upon him) gave him glad-tiding and told him to make his umrah. He was making umrah in the manner of the Muslims and one of the disbelievers of Makkah said, “Have you apostated?” He replied, “No, but I have embraced Islam with Muhammad. After today not one grain of wheat will be shipped to you in Makkah from Yamama unless Allah’s Messenger gives permission.” So he went from an enemy to a supporter. Then he returned. Look at the character of the Prophet (prayers and peace be upon him). This is after he and his companions had been driven from their homes, after they had been martyred, after they had been mutilated, after war had been waged upon them by the people of Makkah. Now they are under an embargo after they had embargoed him (prayers and peace be upon him) and his companions for 3 years from 7th to 10th year of the Prophet’s message in Makkah so much so that they had to eat the foliage of the desert and it split the sides of their mouths. They would relieve themselves and their excretion would be like livestock. After all this, they are not denied of all food, all commerce, all marriages as was the case with the Messenger of Allah (prayers and peace be upon him). They are merely being denied grain. They wrote to him and reminded them of their relationships with him. He wrote to Thumama bin Uthal telling him to lift the embargo. That is how the Messenger of Allah (prayers and peace be upon him) was and that is the transformative power of those who connect to him. That is how our masajid should aspire to be. That is how we should aspire to be.
We are welcoming the guests of Allah; we are welcoming those who are coming to make hijra to Allah and His Messenger (prayers and peace be upon him). If we are to do so, we have to connect to him (prayers and peace be upon him). We have to learn his virtues (prayers and peace be upon him).
Another of those was Sayyidina Amr ibn al’Aas. According to some scholars of Seerah among them al-Bayhaqi in Dalail an-Nabuwwa. He mentioned he embraced Islam in the 8thyear after the Prophet’s migration to Madinah. That is 21 years into his message. He embraced Islam after having been an enemy of the Prophet (prayers and peace be upon him). Who is Amr? He is who in the 5th year after the Prophet’s message began when his companions fled to Abysinnia, fleeing persecution to seek shelter in the kingdom of a just Christian king Asmaha al-Najashi, he went to seek their return and be persecuted in Makkah. Asmaha refused and they say Amr ibn al’Aas embraced Islam at the hands of Asmaha.
The dawah of the Prophet, the ability to spread it and the interesting thing about Abyssinia is that it was a minority community of Muslims. Their dawah was such that their reflection of Prophetic character was such that not only did commoners embrace Islam at their hands but so did kings. They became callers to Allah who spread Islam to the enemies of the Prophet (prayers and peace be upon him). Amr ibn al’Aas said that when Allah placed Islam in his heart he went to the Messenger of Allah (prayers and peace be upon him) to give him an oath of allegiance. The Prophet (prayers and peace be upon him) stretched forth his hand and Amr ibn al’Aas said he retracted his hand. The Prophet (prayers and peace be upon him) said, “What is wrong with you Amr?” He said, “I’d like to put a condition.”
“What is that condition?”
“That Allah forgives me.”
He knew that he had done things that were horrible before his Islam and he wanted to be forgiven. The Prophet (prayers and peace be upon him) said, “Don’t you know that Islam removes what preceded it.” Literally it destroys the sins that preceded it. Hijrah destroys the sins that preceded it. Hajj destroys the sins that preceded it. Amr said, “No-one was more beloved to me than the Messenger of Allah nor did I hold anyone in higher esteem. I was not able to fill my eye with him out of magnification for him.” He then said, “If you were to ask me to describe the Messenger of Allah, I would not be able to do so because I couldn’t even fill my eye with him.” He would turn people from enemies to bosom friends and lovers. How did he deal with Sayyidina Amr when he embraced Islam? He dealt with him with ta’leef, with reconciling his heart with bringing him closer by making him firm in this religion that he had now embraced.
Amr ibn al’Aas is the one who narrates the hadith that the Prophet (prayers and peace be upon him) would direct his face and his speech to the worst of people thereby warming their hearts. He would turn his face to the worst of people not the best of people. He would show them attention and favour thereby warming their hearts. Bringing them close. Then what did Amr ibn al’Aas say? This is humbleness on his part. He said, “He showed me so much attention and spoke to me with so much favour that I thought I was the best of people.” Then he said and it is a famous tradition. “Am I better or is Abu Bakr better?” The Prophet (prayers and peace be upon him) said, “Abu Bakr.” Then he asked, “Am I better or is Umar better?” The Prophet (prayers and peace be upon him) said, “Umar.” Then he asked, “Am I better or is Uthman better?” The Prophet (prayers and peace be upon him) said, “Uthman.” Then he said, “When I asked and he spoke truly, I wish I hadn’t asked.” The point is that he brought an enemy close and showed him this kind of ta’leef.
We ask Allah to grant us to truly turn our hearts and our eyes and our minds to the Messenger of Allah (prayers and peace be upon him). Just as his companions and his masjid and his city and his tradition reflected that beauty, that Allah enables us to reflect this beauty in this land.
Allahumma Amin. Allahumma Amin. Allahumma Amin.
Any mistakes, errors or misinterpretations of words are from me. Please correct me when you spot any mistakes.