The Prophetic Gift of Meaning

Jum'ah khutba - Sheikh Abdal Hakim Murad - Cambridge - 2013 -  21mins 55secs

Say: by the grace of Allah and His mercy, let them rejoice in that, it is better than all that they gather.
Surah Yunus Verse 58

The Sheikh begins this khutba with the verse from Surah Yunus, alluding to the fact that for much of our lives we busy and torment ourselves with the collection of material wealth. This is the source of our agitations and aspirations, but no matter how much we accumulate the heart is left hungry for more of the same, but also for the Divine Other, the only thing that brings nourishment and satisfaction. 

Believer possibly has little in his hand but sees everything that Allah gives him. These are all irreplaceable treasures and jewels. The believer is thus farhan, joyful, because his joy is in Allah's grace and mercy and thus sees everything as a manifestation of His grace. Amongst these joys are are the numberless blessings of this world, those that even if you tried to count them you could not do so. A blessing deeper than these and underpinning them is the ability to connect outward forms to meanings, the ability to make sense of the existence and put ones self in tune with it. Thus the greatest mercy is that of explanation, which brings life to the desert of the heart and satisfies it to the point beyond which music and poetry and all other things can reach.

Of course the perfect embodiment of this wisdom was the Prophet, may the peace and blessings of Allah be upon him. As the narrations say nobody smiled more than him, which is a sign of his understanding. When we follow him outwardly but also inwardly we can share of this ma'na, this meaning of creation. May Allah give us the grace to follow in the Prophet's footsteps, to receive some of his wisdom and understanding and thus heal our broken hearts. 

Photograph taken in the Mosque and resting place of Sidi Ahmad al-Tijani, Fez, by the CKETC team.

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Dua': Mukh al-'ibada

Jum'ah khutba - Sheikh Abdal Hakim Murad - Cambridge - 21st June 2013 - 23 mins 59 secs

Do not work corruption in the earth after it has been made rightly. And pray to Him in fear and in hope. Truly Allah's mercy is close to those who show excellence.
Surah al-A'raf verse 56

The Sheikh begins his khutba with the above verse, linking three great phrases together. At the heart of them is this exhortation to supplicate to Him, to make dua', in order to follow the path of the Prophets and feel His closeness. The form of the verb in Arabic indicates that this is a command to make dua', raising the question 'can we operate in our religion without dua'?' As the Prophet, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him said 'Dua is the marrow of worship'. Thus acts of worship and prayer are mere shells without dua', this mukh that the Prophet speaks of.

The great ones of this community have said that we need to have knowledge of God when calling upon Him. When asked why our prayers are not answered, Imam Ja'far as-Sadiq (may God be pleased with him) said it was because 'you are praying to the One whom you do not know'. To the extent we know Him we can genuinely engage our hearts in prayer, and this knowledge comes from acknowledging and knowing His Oneness and His names.

The Sheikh ends by discussing the intriguing idea that making dua' is an integral part of our spiritual and mental wellbeing. By beseeching God day and night as the Prophet and his followers did entails acknowledging our helplessness, poverty and brokenness before Him. It has been said that 'the best prayer is the one that has been aroused by sadnesses', and thus in contrast to the secular world view sadnesses can be seen as a catalyst for spiritual growth. Indeed the inner dialogue between man and God when done properly can replace and surpass much of the work many people see counsellors for in this day and age when the connection to the Almighty has sadly been lost. May He restore this connection between us and Him, make our hearts present in what our tongues utter and give us satisfaction with His decree.

Photograph taken in an alley adjacent to the Qarawiyyin Mosque, Fez by the CKETC team.

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