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The Duties of Allah’s Servants

Mar 22, 2018

by Sheikh Ali ibn Abdur-Rahman al-Huthaifi – 02 Jumaadal Ukhra 1437

His Eminence Sheikh Ali ibn Abdur-Rahman al-Huthaifi, may Allah preserve him, delivered the Friday Khutbah entitled, “The Duties of Allah’s Servants,” in which he talked about the duties of Allah’s servants as prescribed in Islam, including their duties towards Allah, Exalted be He, and towards their parents, in addition to the other duties that they should perform. He elaborated on the duties of children towards their parents, citing textual evidence from the Qur’an and the Sunnah to show the importance of fulfilling such duties.

Praise be to Allah, Who has bestowed favours upon His servants and detailed for them their rights and duties. He likes it for His servants to do good deeds and hates it for them to do evil deeds, and He has promised the truthful great rewards. I bear witness that there is no god but Allah alone, Who has no partners, the One Who answers His servants’ supplications; and I bear witness that our prophet and master, Muhammad, is His servant and messenger, who was supported by miracles. O Allah! Bestow Your prayers, peace, and blessings upon Your servant and messenger Muhammad and upon his family and Companions, who defended Your religion by fighting in Your cause and by clear evidence.

O Muslims!
Fear Allah. Do not neglect the obligations He has imposed upon you, nor transgress the boundaries He has set for you. Those who fear Allah will achieve success, while those who follow their evil desires are the true losers.

Servants of Allah!
Know that the servants’ deeds are either for them or against them. Allah does not benefit by His servants’ obedience to Him, nor is He harmed by their disobedience. Allah, Exalted be He, says:

“Whosoever does a good deed, it is for his ownself, and whosoever does evil, it is against (his ownself). Then to your Lord you will be made to return.” (Al-Jathiyah: 15)

Allah, Exalted be He, also says:
“Whosoever does an evil deed, will not be requited except the like thereof; and whosoever does a righteous deed, whether male or female and is a true believer (in the Oneness of Allah), such will enter Paradise, where they will be provided therein (with all things in abundance) without limit.” (Ghafir: 40)

Allah, Might and Majesty be to Him, says in the Noly Hadith:
“O My servants! You will never have the power to do Me any harm, nor will you have the power to bring Me any benefit. O My servants! It is but your deeds that I reckon up for you and then recompense you for, so let him who finds good (in the Hereafter) praise Allah and let him who finds other than that blame none but himself.” (Reported by Muslim on the authority of Abu-Dharr, may Allah be pleased with him)

The benefits of discharging the duties imposed upon the servant will ultimately go to the servant himself, and it is he who will actually reap the reward for performing such duties both in this world and in the hereafter. Allah, Exalted be He, says:

“So whoever does righteous good deeds while he is a believer (in the Oneness of Allah – Islamic Monotheism), his efforts will not be rejected. Verily! We record it for him (in his Book of deeds).” (Al-Anbiya’: 94)

Allah, Exalted be He, also says:
” Verily, as for those who believed and did righteous deeds, certainly We shall not make the reward of anyone who does his (righteous) deeds in the most perfect manner to be lost.” (Al-Kahf: 30)

A morally accountable person who neglects certain duties or abandons them altogether will suffer the harm and punishment for not respecting the rights prescribed in the religion; for if he does not observe the rights of the Lord of the Worlds, he will harm none but himself in this world and in the hereafter. Allah is Self-Sufficient and He stands in no need of all the worlds. Allah, Exalted be He, says:

“If you disbelieve, then verily, Allah is not in need of you, He likes not disbelief for His slaves. And if you are grateful (by being believers), He is pleased therewith for you…” (Az-Zumar : 7)

Allah, Exalted be He, also says:
“O mankind! It is you who stand in need of Allah. But Allah is the Rich (Free of all needs), the Worthy of all praise.” (Fatir: 15)

Allah, Might and Majesty be to Him, also says:
“Behold! You are those who are called to spend in the Cause of Allah, yet among you are some who are niggardly. And whoever is niggardly, it is only at the expense of his ownself. …” (Muhammad: 38)

Allah, Exalted be He, also says:
“And whoever earns sin, he earns it only against himself. And Allah is Ever All-Knowing, All-Wise.” (An-Nisa’: 111)

The right of the Lord that should be preserved is true monotheism (tawhid – belief in the Oneness of Allah). Allah has promised the greatest reward for those who believe in His Oneness. Allah, Exalted be He, says:

“And Paradise will be brought near to the Muttaqun (pious) not far off. (It will be said): “This is what you were promised, – (it is) for those oft-returning (to Allah) in sincere repentance, and those who preserve their covenant with Allah” (by obeying Him in all what He has ordered, and worship none but Allah Alone, i.e. follow Allah’s Religion, Islamic Monotheism).” (Qaf: 31-32)

Those who neglect the right of Allah, Might and Majesty be to Him, by associating partners with Him and seeking the help of intermediaries whom they worship and supplicate instead of Allah to remove their afflictions and calamities and provide for their needs, and in whom they put their trust, will indeed be doomed to total loss for associating partners with their Lord, and their endeavours in this life will be in vain. Allah will not accept any compensation or ransom from them, and on the Day of Judgement it will be said to them, “Enter the Fire along with those who enter,” unless they repent of the sin of associating partners with Allah.

The Prophet, peace and blessings be upon him, said:
A man dwelling in Hellfire will be asked, “If you had all that is in the earth, would you use it to redeem yourself from Hellfire?” He will say “Yes, I would.” It will then be said to him, “You were ordered to do something much easier than that – you were ordered not to associate any partners with Allah, but you insisted on associating partners with Him.” (Reported by al-Bukhari and Muslim on the authority of Anas ibn Malik, may Allah be pleased with him)

If the morally accountable person neglects his obligations and disregards the due rights of others, he will be depriving himself of great rewards in this world and in the hereafter. If he falls short of fulfilling some of these obligations, he will be depriving himself of good commensurate with his negligence in discharging his duties towards others, apart from the punishment that will be inflicted upon him.

In our life we go through times of hardship and times of ease, times of deprivation and times of plenty, but life is not only for attaining the rights that are due to us. On the Day of Judgement, all adversaries will gather before Allah, Who will then wrest the rights from the oppressors and restore them to those whom they have wronged and whose rights they neglected. Abu Hurairah, may Allah be pleased with him, narrated that the Prophet, peace and blessings be upon him, said, “All rights will certainly be paid to those to whom they are due on the Day of Judgement, such that the hornless sheep will get its claim from the horned sheep” (Reported by Muslim).

Next in importance to the rights of Allah and His Messenger are the rights of parents. Due to the great importance of the rights due to parents, Allah has mentioned them in conjunction with His own right. Allah, Exalted be He, says:

“And your Lord has decreed that you worship none but Him. And that you be dutiful to your parents. If one of them or both of them attain old age in your life, say not to them a word of disrespect, nor shout at them but address them in terms of honour. And lower unto them the wing of submission and humility through mercy, and say: “My Lord! Bestow on them Your Mercy as they did bring me up when I was young.”” (Al-Isra’: 23-24)

Allah, Exalted be He, also says:
“And We have enjoined on man (to be dutiful and good) to his parents. His mother bore him in weakness and hardship upon weakness and hardship, and his weaning is in two years – give thanks to Me and to your parents. To Me is the final destination.” (Luqman: 14)

Allah attaches such great importance to the parents’ rights because He created you and brought you to life through them. The mother suffers the greatest forms of hardship during the various stages of pregnancy and comes close to death during childbirth. Allah, Exalted be He, says:

“And We have enjoined on man to be dutiful and kind to his parents. His mother bears him with hardship and she brings him forth with hardship …” (Al-Ahqaf: 15)

In addition, the breastfeeding of the child is one of the signs of Allah. On the other hand, the father protects and cares about his children, raises them up, and strives for getting provision for them. Both parents seek treatment for their children when they are sick. They stay up late so that their children may sleep soundly and toil so that they can rest. They endure hardships so as to provide a life of comfort for them, bear their troubles so as to make them happy, and educate them so that they may achieve perfection and uprightness, wishing only that they lead a life better than theirs. Children, therefore, should not wonder at Allah’s repeated commandments to honour parents or at His repeated warnings against disobeying them.

No matter how hard a man tries, he can never be completely dutiful to his father except in one case. Abu Hurairah, may Allah be pleased with him, narrated that the Prophet, peace and blessings be upon him, said, “No son can compensate his father (for what he did for his sake) unless he finds him a slave, buys him, and then sets him free” (Reported by Muslim, Abu-Dawud, and at-Tirmidhi).

Parents are gates to Paradise; whoever honours his parents will enter Paradise and enjoy its delights. Abu Hurairah, may Allah be pleased with him, narrated that the Prophet, peace and blessings be upon him, said, “Shame on him! Shame on him! Shame on him!” It was said, “Who is that, O Messenger of Allah?” He said, “He whose parents, or one of them, reach old age during his lifetime but does not enter Paradise” (Reported by Muslim).

O Muslim!
If your parents are pleased with you, then the Lord is pleased with you. Abdullah ibn Umar, may Allah be pleased with him and his father, narrated that the Prophet, peace and blessings be upon him, said, “Allah’s pleasure lies in the parent’s pleasure, and Allah’s displeasure lies in the parent’s displeasure” (An authenticated hadith, reported by at-Tirmidhi and by al-Hakim in al-Mustadrak, who classified it as authenticated).

Honouring one’s parents is realized by obeying them in all that does not lead to disobeying Allah, acting on their orders and advice, treating them with kindness, and seeking to make them happy. One should spend liberally on them to make them live at ease, show mercy and compassion to them, feel grieved at whatever saddens them, keep their company, honour their friends, and maintain ties with the people they love as well as with their relatives. One should also refrain from causing any harm to them, desist from doing whatever they forbid, love to see them live long, and ask forgiveness for them very often during their life and after their death. Dishonouring parents is the opposite of all that.

One of the signs of the Last Hour (the Day of Judgement) is that dishonouring parents will become widespread. The Prophet, peace and blessings be upon him, said, “Among the signs of the Last Hour is that rain will fall in other than their normal times, children will be a source of grief to their parents, evil-doers will abound, and the righteous will subside.”

One of the worst forms of dishonouring parents is to send one or both of them to elderly care homes and deprive them of their children’s care. Allah forbid! For this is contrary to the ethics of Islam and is in no way a form of good manners. It is also among the worst forms of dishonouring parents to act arrogantly towards them, assault them through beating, humiliation, and verbal abuse, or deprive them of what they need. Abu Hurairah, may Allah be pleased with him, narrated that the Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings be upon him, said, “The scent of Paradise can be smelt from the distance one could travel in five hundred years, but one who dishonours his parents will not even smell it [let alone enter Paradise]” (Reported by at-Tabarani).

Allah, Exalted be He, says:
“Worship Allah and join none with Him (in worship); and do good to parents, kinsfolk, orphans, Al-Masakin (the needy), the neighbour who is near of kin, the neighbour who is a stranger, the companion by your side, the wayfarer (you meet), and those (slaves) whom your right hands possess. Verily, Allah does not like such as are proud and boastful.” (An-Nisa’: 36)

May Allah bless you and me with the Great Qur’an and make us benefit from its verses and wise words and benefit from the guidance and right sayings of the Imam of all Messengers. I have said what you have heard and I ask forgiveness of Allah for myself, for you, and for all Muslims. Ask Allah for forgiveness. He is the Oft-Forgiving, the Most Merciful.

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