The Purification of Hajj

Friday sermon (jum'ah khutbah) by Sheikh Abdal Hakim Murad - Cambridge - December 2007 - 17 mins 05 secs

As millions of Muslims from all over the world make their way toward Mecca for the great pilgrimage (hajj), we have the opportunity to reflect of the meanings and power of this ancient and beautiful ritual. In this sermon, the sheikh reminds us of some of these, in particular its fundamental link to the renewal and reaffirmation of Divine Unity (tawhid). By physically striving to reach God's House, we engage in a deep purification, reorienting ourselves and our societies toward Him and stripping them of the spiritual and physical encrustations of materialism and idolatry in all its forms. Many well-attested sayings of the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) attest to the immense mercy and forgiveness granted through this process. The means by which they are effected through the outward and inward journey and practices of the pilgrim are mysterious but profoundly powerful. Thanks to the coincidence of calendars this year, we are also approaching another, sadly diminished festival, Christmas - a strange, materialistic way to celebrate a messenger who was among the very highest in his asceticism. The sheikh closes by asking God to preserve the spirit of tawhid and charity, and not to allow it to become similarly diluted by indulgence and materialism. May God also accept the pilgrimage of all our brothers and sisters who have gone on hajj this year, and make it a means to true rebirth and renewal.

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Humility & Serenity

Friday sermon (jum'a khutba) - Sheikh Abdal Hakim Murad - Cambridge - 21 November 2008 - 23 mins 58 secs

In this sermon, the sheikh discusses the importance of khushu', a term difficult to translate but that can be rendered as a humility combined with serenity of heart. It is not manifested byan obsequiousness or self-mortification that causes our shoulders to droop and our gazes to fall to the floor. On the contrary, its outward manifestation is a calmness and dignity with respect to the rest if creation that is granted by the true perception of our relationship of submission only to God. This khushu', God tells us in the Qur'an, is a foundation of prayer, itself the foundation of our relationship with Him. It is an inward state without which the outward acts are at best fragile and at worst meaningless. Although thanks to God the Muslim ummah still preserves most of its outward acts like prayer, can we say as confidently that it still preserves the inward state upon which their true significance rests? Everything else in creation is in natural submission to God. The sheikh reminds us that mankind too has this natural state of 'ubudiyya (submission/veneration) and khushu', and that we also have the capacity to deviate from it. Although many people think that religion demands the negation of human desires, it in fact asks quite the opposite - the fullest realisation of mankind's nature. As it is in the nature of the things of the earth to grow following the rain, so too is it within the nature of our hearts to grow when watered by the Divine Guidance of revelation.

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'And We have honoured Bani Adam'

Friday sermon (jum'ah khutba) - Sheikh Abdal Hakim Murad - Cambridge - 14th November 2008 - 25 mins 37 secs

Whilst humans share many of the strengths and weaknesses of any mortal organism in this world there is the palpable sense that Homo sapiens is set apart from all other creation. In this sermon the sheikh elaborates upon this theme, using striking Qur'anic imagery to illustrate God's special favouring (tafdil) towards humankind. This distinction granted us comes with certain qualifications and responsibilities, amongst them the guarding of the sanctity of life. Medical science is developing at breathtaking speed conjuring up ethical dilemmas unconceived by the great fuqaha of old. Using a topical example, the sheikh holds that we must ultimately give recourse to the fitri inclinations of the human conscience in this meeting of jurisprudence and technological possibility.

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The Neighbour, the Brother

Friday sermon (jum'ah khutba) - Sheikh Abdal Hakim Murad - Cambridge - date unknown - 25 mins 35 secs

Many, many words have been expended on the place of Muslims in Britain and the supposed problem of integration or lack of it. Far more edifying with respect to the subject than any number of Home Office reports or volume of columnists' pontificating is the attitude of the Prophet (peace be upon him) and his companions (may God be pleased with them) toward neighbourliness. In this sermon, the sheikh discusses the very high importance attached by them to being a good neighbour, and how the brotherhood of neighbourliness transcends religious or other categories. He relates this to the migrations of the early Muslims to Abyssinia and Medina, and the importance in both cases of a convivial attitude toward people of a different tribe, culture or religion. Where other social connections are becoming increasingly fractured and strained, the sheikh emphasises the increased importance of relations with the neighbour, something almost everyone will always be and have.

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