By Sh Saud-al-Shuraim – 13 Thul Qadah 1436
His Eminence Sheikh Saud-al-Shuraim –May Allah protect him– delivered this Friday Khutbah entitled “Freedom from Selfish Interest for the Sake of Almighty Allah in Ihram. ”He talked about freeing oneself from selfish interest for the sake of Allah through worshipping Him alone with complete dedication and following the Prophet –May Allah’s Salat and Peace be upon him‒ in, for instance, Ihram and the rest of the Hajj rites. He also cautioned against shedding Muslim blood and infringing their inviolable divine rights.
Praise be to Allah, the Protector, the Praiseworthy, the Honourable Owner of the Throne, the Effector of what He intends. To Him belongs the power of commanding initially and finally. It is He is the Originator and Repeater [of creation]. And He is the Forgiving, the Affectionate.
I bear witness that there is no deity except Allah alone with no associate, and I bear witness that Muhammad is the Servant and Messenger of Allah. He is the best among all creatures to have performed [obligatory] as well as [optional night] prayers to his Lord and the unsurpassed performer of Hajj to Allah’s Holy House. He transmitted the Message [of Islam], accomplished the Mission entrusted unto him, counselled the Ummah, and committed himself to true Jihad in the cause of Allah as it really should be. He left the Ummah on the Straight Path whose nightis as clear as its day and from which only the doomed will deviate. May Allah’s profuse and interminable Salat (Graces, Honours, and Mercy), Peace (and Blessing) be sent upon him, his kind-hearted and chaste family, his wives –the Mothers of Believers– his Companions, and their righteous followers until the Day of Judgement!
O People, I exhort you –as well as myself– to adhere to Taqwa vis-à-vis Allah (fear of disobeying Him) –May He be exalted– for Taqwa is the ultimate provision in one’s life journey and the congenial company after departure (i.e. death). He who uses it as a shelter will be protected and he who holds fast to it will be salvaged from perdition:
“There is not one of you but will pass over it (Hell); this is with your Lord; a Decree which must be accomplished.Then,We shall save those who use to fear Allâh and were dutiful to Him. And We shall leave the Zâlimûn (polytheists and wrongdoers, etc.) therein (humbled) to their knees (in Hell).” [Maryam: 71-72]
O Muslims, the pilgrims to the Sacred House of Allah!
Allah has offered His servants successive occasions full of blessings and benefits on which their hearts could be revived and their inner selves could be cleansed of sins. Allah has made opportunities for His servants to avail themselves of deeds of worship in total obedience to Him, to renew their pledge of devotion to Him, and to purge their souls from worldly mundane matters and distracters.
Thus, no sooner had they bidden farewell to the month of [Allah’s] Blessing and Mercy (i.e. Ramadan) than the season of Hajj was heralded in the horizon. It is the season of remembering Allah, of tahleel (uttering lāilāhailla Allah), takbir (uttering Allahu Akbar), and talbiyah (uttering labbaikaallahummalabbaik, labbaikalaashareekalakalabbaik. Inna-l- hamda wan-ni’matalakawal-mulk, laashareekalak). It is the season of standing on Mount Arafah, performing theMajor Hajj, stoning the Jamarāt, ending the untidiness, and doing circumambulation of the Ancient House of Allah (i.e. Ka’bah). In short, it is the season of honouring the Symbols of Allah which enhance Taqwa within the heart:
“Thus it is [what has been mentioned in the above said Verses (27, 28, 29, 30, 31) is an obligation that mankind owes to Allâh]. And whosoever honours the Symbols of Allâh, then it is truly from the piety of the heart.” [Al-Hajj: 32]
Allah has combined, for His servants, in the Hajj season the three types of worship: verbal, physical, and financial. On account of the extreme importance of these three varieties of worship, it has been deemed wise that they should be preceded by freeing oneself from selfish worldly interests and removing whatever might be are as onto distract Muslims from Allah’s worship.
This is why the first Hajj ritual that the pilgrim does before intending pilgrimage and saying talbiyah consists in renouncing the wearingof sewn garments as an emblem of purity and a token of relinquishing faithlessness. This act seems to symbolise a retreat from the priority of appearance over inner personal reality and a proclamation that Taqwa vis-à-vis Allah and closeness to Him –Glorified be He‒ are the genuine criteria of devotion to Allah. The Prophet, Allah’s Select–May Allah’s Salat and Peace be upon him– said: “Allah looks at neither your bodies nor your appearances; He rather looks into your hearts and deeds.” [Narrated by Imam Muslim]
Renouncing the wearing of sewn garments ‒O Servants of Allah‒ makes pilgrims appear equal regardless of their status: high or low; rich or poor. If pilgrims wore their ordinary clothes, they would attract the attention andadmiration ofeach other. In that case, jealousy, envy, hostility, and hatred would creep into pilgrims’ hearts. As a result, hearts are likely to foster hostility to the point of shying away from their Creatorand Lord.
Renouncing the wearing of sewn garments is, then, renouncingwhimsical desires, egotism, and fascination with worldly life. It is renouncing hostility, grudge, inquisitiveness, and unfairness so that the self be fit for assuming the responsibility of justice which is the antithesis of oppression and tyranny. The person renouncing the wearing of sewn garments is then expected to reach the status of makhmoom, who is the best of people. In fact, the Prophet –May Allah’s Salatand Peace be upon him– was asked: “Who is the best among people?” ‘He answered:Every person with amakhmoomheart and a truthful tongue.’They said: ‘We know what a truthful person is, but what is a person witha ‘makhmūm’ heart?’ He answered:“It is aperson with a pious and pure heart that is free from sin, hatred, or envy.” [Narrated by Ibn Majah]
Freedom from selfish interest‒O Servants of Allah‒ means purity and freedom from any additives. Freeing oneself from sewn garments means removing clothes and substituting them by Ihram garments. Likewise, freeing oneself from polytheism means renouncing all forms of worship other than that of Allah alone. Similarly, freeing oneself from Bid’ah (i.e. fabricated addendum to religion) means the renouncing all paths except that of the Prophet ‒May Allah’s Salat and Peace be upon him. That is, one should not worship one’s Lord except through the rules which He decreed.
Therefore, renouncing sewn garments and freeing oneself from wearing clothes in Hajj is a clear indication that whoever wishes to reach a state of purity (in worship) must first sincerely renounce selfish interests. For, the state of purity is deeply felt in the heart only after such renunciation. And whoever wants to savour pure milk needs to take off its foam first:
“And whoever desires the Hereafter and strives for it, with the necessary effort due for it (i.e. do righteous deeds of Allâh’s Obedience) while he is a believer (in the Oneness of Allâh Islâmic Monotheism), then such are the ones whose striving shall be appreciated, thanked and rewarded (by Allâh).” [Al-Issrā’: 19]
In summary ‒May Allah protect you‒ true freedom from selfish interest rests exclusively on two principal elements: First, on dedication through sincere devotion (to Allah); second, dedication to follow, (in worshipping Allah) the example of the Prophet (May Allah’s Salat and Peace be upon him).
The first kind of dedication negates all blemishes of major or minor polytheism, bethey latent or apparent. In fact, anyone who is wholeheartedly committed to the worship of Allah will never associate anything else with Him. In Hajj, there are more aspects of monotheism than one can afford to mention here. All these aspects combined are in fact encoded in the following words of Allah,the Almighty:
“And perform properly (i.e. all the ceremonies according to the ways of Prophet Muhammad Sallahu Alayhi Wa Sallam), the Hajj and ‘Umrah (i.e. the pilgrimage to Makkah) for Allâh…” [Al-Baqarah: 196]
That is, “for Allah” and no one but Allah. For there are certain people who perform Hajj hypocritically out of eye-service and repute and others who perform it for obtaining worldly gains or reaping some personal benefits. That is why sincere devotion to Allah cuts off every pathleading to the worship of anyone other than Him.
The second kind of devotion –May Allah protect you–is a vital element and an insurmountable barrier through which the first kind of dedication is safeguarded. For sincere devotion is of no avail without following the model of the Prophet –May Allah’s Salat and Peace be upon him.Thus, it is placed in its deserved position; that is, in concordance with the guidance of the Prophet –May Allah’s Salatand Peace be upon him.
Once these two kinds of dedication are achieved ‒O Servants of Allah‒there will be no need, then, to worry about people’s adroitness in both their words and actions. This is because anyone who is sincerely and exclusively devoted to Allah and who strictly adheres to the Prophet’s exemplary model is most likely to be characterised by a wise speech, a fair judgment, an unbiased account of events, a deaf ear to foolish talk. Moreover, Allah will inspire his heart with rational rather than emotional logic when judging others. Thus, self-satisfaction will not prevent him from acknowledging his fault, and infuriation will not lead him to falsely incriminating or accusing others. Along the same line, one of our Salaf (early pious predecessors) once said: “Do not be among those who, oneself-contented, they are lead to falsehood and once infuriated, they are driven away from truth.”
I swear to Almighty Allah that were these two kinds of devotion a reality in this Ummah, then corruption and sedition would have no place in it, hatred and rancour would never find their way into the believers’ hearts, division and disunity would not grow and spread among Muslims, their blood would not be shed, and their possessions and honour would not be violated right in or near their homes.
Indeed, there would never be a place among people for scorners and fault-finders, who are always going about with calumnies. Such people would stop at nothing to carry out their passions and whims, even if it comes to infringing on others’ rights or backbiting them in the name of counsel and advice, while in reality they intend nothing but sheer vilification.They pretend to do this in the name of ardency, while in truth they harbour but envy. They do it under the banner of offering guidance, while in actual fact they are bent on nothing but spreading corruption.
It is in this context that Ibn Al-Jawzi‒May Allah bless his soul‒ said: “Under the effect of Satan’s deceitful whisper, some of them (such people) would slander each other seeking revenge in reality while pretending that what they do is but part of setting in effect the Islamic science of ‘Jarhwata’dil’ that had long been used by old-time Islamic scholars in order to defend this religion. AndAllah Alone knows people’s real intentions.”
It is rather those diseases and whims–O Servants of Allah– the love of the Herein and the dread of death (that are at the root of all this malevolence). To this effect, Allah Almighty says: “You desire the good of this world (i.e. the money of ransom for freeing the captives), but Allâh desires (for you) the Hereafter. And Allâh is All-Mighty, All-Wise.” [Al-Anfal: 67]
(The Sheikh quotes two lines of poetry that can be translated as follows):
“Congratulations to the pious who observe Taqwa
Who never perjure, transgress the limits or rebel (against religion).
Those have pure heartsfree from sin, hatred, or envy.”
Those are sincerelydedicated for their Lord’s worship.
May Allah bless you and me by the Qur’an and the Sunnah and make its verses and wisdom contained therein beneficial to you and me! This is what I have said;if it is correct, it is (a blessing) from Allah; if it is wrong, it is my own fault and Satan’s. I seek forgiveness from Almighty Allah for myself, you, and all Muslims. Therefore, do ask Him for forgiveness and repent unto Him. Verily, my Lord is Oft-Forgiving!