'Two Ravenous Wolves'

Friday sermon (jum'ah khutba) - Sheikh Abdal Hakim Murad - Cambridge - 7th October 2011 - 27mins 37secs

"Whomsoever wants of this lower life, We shall give him his fill in this lower life, and in it he will not be disappointed. It is these whose affair in the akhira is the fire; empty is what they used to do, and futile their former acts"

This is the unflinching Qur'anic designation of those who set fire on the earth, who set alight their egos and aspirations. In this first khutba of Cambridge University's Michelmas term the Sheikh describes those who, rather than act as gardeners, stoke the fires of the lower potentialities of the soul. The fires of the love of wealth and status, worryingly enticing to many of us are described by Imam Ghazali as 'rukna ad-dunya', pillars of this corrupt world. The Prophet, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, himself put it in his own unique way:

Even two wolves let loose in a flock of sheep would do no more harm more quickly than the love of status and wealth do to the religion of the Muslim believer.

The Sheikh goes on to note that the real crisis of modern humanity is that of status and wealth. In Ghazalian terms these could be described as the acquisitive desires for ownership of 'things' ('Who's on Forbes' list? What kind of car does he have?'), and hearts; the desire for fame. Unfortunately in a reflexive manner we tend to venerate those who have wealth and status, regardless of their qualities. This why Tony Blair can be held as the leader of the Middle East Quartet and head of a Faith Foundation; a Pied Piper leading his entranced faithful to the melody of his own fame.

Fortunately the Sheikh tells us that there is a way to banish these wolves that are baying at our door. Religion snaps us out of the trance. Islam is the sharp tonic that we need but it must be added it does not lead to us to the opposite extreme; only to the middle way. We do have the right to wealth, and a certain status, honour, sharafa. The shari'a grants us the right to property and the right to dignity; the crux of the matter lies in the intention behind what we do, whether we are Princes or paupers. The Sheikh highlights this point by drawing from the example of the Sahaba Abu Dujana, the famous Red Turbaned Samurai-like Warrior of Islam.

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