By Sheikh Saleh ibn Humaid – 18 Rabi’ al-awwal 1436
His Eminence Sheikh Saleh ibn Humaid -May Allah protect him- delivered this Friday’s Khutbah titled “SALAAH: The Believer’s Utmost Delight”in which he talked about the importance of Salaah and the necessity of answering the call to prayer. He also asserted that the essence of Salaah lies in the submission to Allah,which the Muslim feels while performing it. Sheikh Ibn Humaid quoted numerous sayings of the righteous Salaf about the overwhelming interest they took in it. In conclusion to his Khutbah, Sheikh Ibn Humaid made sincere exhortation to the youths to shun the calls to Takfeer (accusing others of unbelief), blowing up places and shedding sanctified blood, since such acts are evil and deadly both in the Herein and the Hereafter.
Praise be to Allah Almighty Whose command is no doubt operative, Whose standing is exalted, and Whose mention is sublime! I praise Him -May He be glorified- and thank Him. His Graces and Favours are incessant, and I bear witness that there is no deity except Him alone, with no associate. With His reassuring lights of tranquility, He enlightened the hearts of the frightened, and from His Holiness, He allowed the devout to access glorious positions. I also bear witness that our Master and Prophet -Muhammad- is the Servant and Messenger of Allah. With His Supreme Power, Allah Almighty has humiliated the defilement of Satan, and with the light of His Evidence, He has brightened the murkiness of Satan’s falsehood. O Allah, please send Your bounteous and abundant Salaah(Graces, Honours, and Mercy) upon him (Muhammad) who founded religion on its basic pillars, and upon his family, his Companions and aides so that the desired aim of his pleasure may be attained.
I exhort you -O you people- as well as myself to observe Taqwa (fear) of Allah. Do hold on to Taqwa -May Allah have mercy on you. Time has told us nothing but the truth, and with its vicissitudes, it has given us amazing lessons. How many a pleasure it has spoiled, and how many a time it has caught people unawares!
Therefore, be prepared -May Allah have mercy on you- for a day whose goods are deeds and whose witnesses are the limbs and the senses. It is a day when regret is of no avail, and when no one can fend off Allah’s Command except those on whom He chooses to have mercy.
“Nay! You shall come to know! Again, Nay! You shall come to know!
Nay! If you knew with a sure knowledge (the end result of piling up, you would not have occupied yourselves in worldly things) Verily, You shall see the blazing Fire (Hell)! And again, you shall see it with certainty of sight! Then, on that Day, you shall be asked about the delight (you indulged in, in this world)!” [Al-Takathur: 3-8]
Worshiping Allah is His ultimate purpose for which He created mankind and sent messengers to convey it. He praised those who undertake it, and said: “Is one who is obedient to Allâh, prostrating himself or standing (in prayer) during the hours of the night, fearing the Hereafter and hoping for the Mercy of his Lord (like one who disbelieves)?” [Al-Zumar: 9]
Likewise, Allah Almighty threatened those who fail to worship Him out of scorn saying: “Verily! Those who scorn My worship [i.e. do not invoke Me, and do not believe in My Oneness, (Islâmic Monotheism)] they will surely enter Hell in humiliation!” [Ghafir: 60]
Worshipping Almighty Allah is experiencing special intimacy with Him, incessant pleasure and infinite happiness of supplicating Him. He who wishes for happiness must observe the worship of Allah for it is for the heart more important than food and water are for the body.
O Servant of Allah!
Whenever you feel depressed and bored; Whenever you feel like complaining about something, you should resort to the unitarians’ delight, the peace of the believers’ souls and the spring of the hearts of the righteous and the pious.
Seek refuge in the mother of all worship and the crown of all obedience. Seek refuge in what your beloved Prophet Muhammad -May Allah’s Salaah and Peace be upon him- used to seek refuge in: Salaah. The Prophet -May Allah’s Salaah and Peace be upon him- said: “O Bilal! Make us comfortable with it (Salaah).” He also said: “Salaah was made my utmost delight.”
Those who do so are the successful, the people of piety and guidance whose hearts are so attached to mosques. They go early to their Salaah and walk in the dark (to perform the dawn prayer). They answer the call, “Come to prayer, Come to success” and race to stand in the first row for “Takbirat-ul-Ihram” with the imam.
Servants of Allah!
Going to the mosque early and waiting for Salaah to begin, keeping oneself busy with the remembrance of Allah and reading the Qur’an before Salaah result in happiness and blessing as well as in chasing out anxiety and worry.
Quoting Abu Hurairah, Imam Bukhari reported in his Sahih (a collection of Hadiths) that the Prophet -May Allah’s Salaah and Peace be upon him- said: “Had they known what is in Tahjir, they would have raced for it!” Imam Al-Nawawi -May Allah have mercy on his soul- said: “Tahjir means to be early for Salaah whichever it might be.”
You should know -May Allah protect you- that if the love of Salaah entered the heart, the latter would not find anything sweeter than it is.” Religious scholars say, “Concern is the reason for the presence of the heart; therefore, if you were concerned with something, your heart would be present.”
Therefore, if you become preoccupied with Salaah, your heart will be present therein, it will be so much filled with submission to Allah that it reflects on the senses and limbs. Hence, the outcome will be lowering one’s gaze, into politeness and peacefulness particularly when one senses the Majestic presence of Allah before Him. Thus the worshipper fully comprehends what he is saying, and performs his Salaah while his heart is serene with his Lord’s remembrance.
Among Ibn Al-Jawzi’s elegant expressions is the following: “He who beholds the dawn of reward will attach no importance to the darkness of Taklif (religious obligation).”
May Allah protect you, O Servant of Allah!
Going early to the mosque helps one attain presence of the heart and experience the feeling of submission and dedication of the worship of Allah. It also helps in the lawful supplication and remembrance of Allah day and night, in invoking Him in solitude, and in meditating about His signs and graces.
A Hadith says that: “Supplications are not declined between Adhan (the call to prayer) and Iqamah (the call to start prayer).” [Narrated by Abu Dawood and considered good by Al-Tirmidhi]
Lucky is the one who goes early to Salaah and walks to the mosque in tranquility and peace. In another Hadith reported by the collectors of the Sunan (books) we read: “He who performs four Rakaahs before Duhr (noon) prayer and four more after it Allah will protect him from Hellfire.” In yet another Hadith reported by Abu Dawood and Al-Tirmidhi, who considered it good, we read: “May Allah have mercy on the one who performs four Rakaahs before Asr (afternoon) prayer.”
Have you ever seen a happier man than the one who gets early to the mosque in order to perform the prayers between Adhan and Iqamah? Going early to the mosque evidences reverence, deportment, love and heart-felt veneration. It makes the houses of Allah (i.e. mosques) reverberate with worship activities.
The early worshipper is an initiator, a competitor and racer. He belongs to those whom our Prophet -May Allah’s Salaah and Peace be upon him- meant in his Hadith: “Had the people known what is in the call (to prayer) and the first row, they would have drawn lots to get a place therein if they had to” [An agreed upon Hadith]. In another Hadith, the Prophet -May Allah’s Salaah and Peace be upon him- is reported to have said: “Allah and His angels send their Salaah (Graces, Honours and Mercy) upon the front row,” and in other words “the first row” [Narrated by Al-Nasai and Ibn Majah, and it is considered authentic by Al-Albani].
Imam Ahmad reported that “[the Prophet]-May Allah’s Salaah and Peace be upon him-used to ask Allah’s forgiveness three times for the first row and once for the second.”
Servants of Allah!
The one who is waiting for Salaah to begin is actually in a state of Salaah. In a Hadith, we read: “One is in a state of Salaah as long as it holds him up and prevents him from going to his family” [An agreed upon Hadith].
The angels of the All-Merciful send their Salaah upon the one who is waiting for Salaah. They pray Allah Almighty to forgive him and to have mercy upon him as long as he remains in his praying spot, retains his ablution and inflicts no harm therein. In this respect, a Hadith goes as follows: “The angels send their Salaahupon the one who remains in his praying spot and keeps his ablution. They supplicate Almighty Allah: O Allah please forgive him, O Allah please forgive him, O Allah please forgive him, O Allah please have mercy on him” [An agreed upon Hadith]. In Al-Bukhari’s version, “…retains his ablution and inflicts no harm therein.”
Waiting for the Salaah to begin is a reason for erasing sins and elevating ones status. Nay, it is al-ribaṭ. The Prophet -May Allah’s Salaah and Peace be upon him- said: “Shall I tell you about something with which Allah wipes out sins and elevates statuses?” “Yes, Allah’s Messenger!” they replied. He said, “Perform ablution properly in spite of unpleasant situations, walking to mosques frequently, and waiting for Salaah after Salaah. That is al-ribaṭ; that is al- ribaṭ!” [Narrated by Muslim]
As for going to the mosque early on Fridays, it is all the more favourable as the angels will be at the gate of the mosque taking record of those who come to perform Salaah one by one. However, as soon as the Imam sits (on the mimbar [pulpit]), they fold their registers and go in to listen to the Dhikr (the remembrance of Allah).
Imam Al-Nawawi said: “It contains urging Muslims to be early to the mosque on Friday, and shows that people are assigned ranks for virtue -and for other human qualities- in accordance with their deeds.”Blessed are those whom the angels have registered among the early mosque-goers, andwhat a pity for those against whom the angels have folded their registers! They are listed among the stragglers.
Alqamah said: “We went with Abdullah Ibn Masood -May Allah be pleased with him- to perform Friday prayer. When he saw that three men had already arrived before him to the mosque, he said, ‘I heard the Prophet -May Allah’s Salaah and Peace be upon him- say, “People sit before Allah on the Day of Judgement in accordance with the rows in which their seats are in Friday prayers: the first, the second and the third.” Abdullah then said, ‘The fourth is not too far’” [Narrated by Ibn Majah and Al-Ṭabarani, while Al-Tirmidhi and Al-BūSiri considered it good].
The righteous salaf had made astonishing statements regarding competition in being early and in hurrying to the mosque:
- Saeid Ibn Zayd said, “Not a single time in forty years did the Mu’adh-dhin call to prayer without me being at the mosque already except when I was sick or away.”
- Quoting Yahya Ibn Sacid, Yahya Ibn Mucin said, “He had never missed Zawaal (afternoon time) for forty years.”
- Saeid Ibn Al-Musayyab said, “I have never missed takbir or Adhan for fifty years, and I have never looked at the back of a man for fifty years (i.e. he was always sitting in the front row).”
- Abu Saeid is reported to have said, “For thirty years, I have never heard Adhan while I am still at home.”
- Waki Ibn Al-Jarrah said, “Al-A’mash had never missed Takbiratu Al-Ihram for almost seventy years.”
- Ibn Sama’ah said, “I have never missed the first Takbir except on the day my mother died.”
- Sufiyan Ibn Uyaynah said, “Coming before Iqamah is a sign of venerating Salaah.”
Here is the story of the jeweller, Ibrahim Ibn Maymūn, who was a trusted Muhaddith (narrator of Hadith) and whose profession was jewellery: forging gold and silver. This is what Ibn Mu’in said about him:”Upon hearing the call to prayer, and having raised his hammer up (when forging gold or silver), Ibrahim would immediately stop without finishing the hitting.”
One of the distinctive sayings of Sufyan Ibn Uyaynah -May Allah bless his soul-urging Muslims to attend the collective prayer early is the following: “Do not be like a bad slave who will not approach (you) until called; go to the (collective prayer in the mosque) before the call to prayer is made.”
Think O you -May Allah have mercy on you- about the advice given by Mu’adh Ibn Jabal -May Allah be pleased with him- to his son: “O son! When you arein prayer perform it as if you were seeing someone off; that is, you will never perform it again!”
Yes indeed -May Allah protect you- a final prayer whose great effect will show itself in his hearing, eyesight, walking, and sitting.Nay, it is paradise and blessing being experience in advance (i.e. before the advent of the Hereafter); this is indeed one of the greatest pursuits that require big endeavours and living hearts (full of faith) from those who have made the obedience of their Lord a priority over their desires and worldly lives! May Allah grant us, by his blessing and generosity, this great bounty!
I seek refuge in Allah from the accursed Satan:
“In houses (mosques), which Allâh has ordered to be raised (to be cleaned, and to be honoured), in them His Name is glorified in the mornings and in the afternoons or the evenings,(36) Men whom neither trade nor sale diverts them from the Remembrance of Allâh (with heart and tongue), nor from performing AsSalât (Iqâmat-as- Salât), nor from giving the Zakât. They fear a Day when hearts and eyes will be overturned (from the horror of the torment of the Day of Resurrection) (37). That Allâh may reward them according to the best of their deeds, and add even more for them out of His Grace. And Allâh provides without measure to whom He wills.” [Al-Nūr: 36-38]
May Allah benefit you and me from the Great Qur’an and the guidance of His Prophet, Muhammad -May Allah’s Salaah and Peace of Allah be upon him. This is said, I ask Allah Almighty to forgive me, you, and all Muslims of every sin and wrongdoing. We ask Him for forgiveness, for He is truly Most-Forgiving, Most-Merciful!