What is after Shahada?

Khutba by Shaykh M. Hisham Kabbani
Masjid al-Tawheed September, 1996

audhu billahi minash-shaitanir-rajeem bismillahi ar-rahman ar- raheem.

Last week we were talking of the basic foundation to be a true Muslim. Anyone can become a Muslim easily by saying ashhada an la illa illa-llah,wa ashhadu anna muhammadar-rasulillah. Is this enough? Those who say 'yes' raise their hands, and who is of the opinion that it is not enough raise there hands. [the opinions were balanced]

What is the correct answer: anyone who says ashhadun an la ilaha illa-llah, wa ashhadu anna muhammadar-rasulillah, is a Muslim and his Islam is accepted.

Now, we can not say that he is doing 100% of what is necessary to be done. We say his Islam may not be complete; but you cannot say he is other than Muslim. Even if he does whatever he does, he is a Muslim. There are many hadiths on that issue that the Prophet (s) mentioned to us and especially the hadith in which he (s) was telling his uncle, at the time he was dying, saying, " O my uncle, say `la ilaha illa-llah'. Say it."

Dr. Munir was saying when we related this hadith in English, that he used the term "utter," which means "say it" by tongue. Then the Prophet (s) said, "I will argue for you on the Judgement Day." We understand this to mean the Prophet (s) would argue on his behalf for his salvation. As implying, "I will take into consideration that I will be present in the presence of Allah (swt) asking shafa`a (intercession) for you." It means who ever says la ilaha illa-llah, muhammadar-rasulullah regardless of what he does, or what he does not do. In other words, whoever says la ilaha illa-Allah, muhammadar-rasulullah he is a Muslim. This is how Prophet salla-llahu alaihi wa sallam began to spread the message of heavens, the message that Allah sent to him, by saying to people, to the unbelievers: "say la ilaha illa-llah". There was no prayer, there was no fasting, there was no zakat, no hajj, no shari`ah as such..

He was saying "say la ilaha illa-llah!", and of course, by obeying him, implies the belief "Muhammad rasulullah". Because, he is the Messenger, so when you are accepting Allah from His Messenger, you are accepting His Messenger. So he said "say la ilaha illa-Allah, muhammadar-rasulullah!" The Prophet (s) didn't order them to pray, fast, make hajj, give zakat, no. Because for these people, Islam was new. The message was very new to them. So he was telling them "leave worshiping of idols", which they had been worshiping for hundred of years, "and come and accept, la ilaha illa-llah, muhammadar-rasulullah."

If someone does not accept la ilaha illa-llah, muhammadar-rasulullah, how are you going to burden him with prayer, fasting, zakat, or anything else? That is why if he or she says la ilaha illa-Allah, muhammadar-rasulullah, he or she is a Muslim. In America and in Western culture, thy use a scale: from 0 to 100. One receives a grade between 0 and 100. There is a scale for grading. You might acheive 10 from 100, or 20 from 100, or 30 from 100 when you say la ilaha illa-Allah, muhammadar-rasulullah, but you are not 0! Which means you have achieved something and you have put your foot inside Islam.

From there, you have to perfect your Islam, as the Prophet (s) perfected Islam in those who believed in him at that time. Slowly year after year, until Islam was perfected in 23 years. So for those who are Muslim, you have to perfect your Islam. Those who are not yet Muslim, and sometimes in our circle there are non-Muslims, and they are learning and would like to become Muslim, say to them `say la ilaha illa-llah`. For those who are Muslim already, you have to perfect their Islamic `aqidah. And everyone is going to say, from Muslims, especially me, or them who are Muslims, are going to say after shahada what else? "We pray" "OK, what else?" "We fast." "OK, what else?" "We give zakat." "OK, what else?" "We make hajj." "OK what else?" Then there are lots of things after that.

Is it enough to make your five prayers, to fast, to pay your zakat, to make your hajj? No, it is not enough. Does a Muslim say `I am a Muslim, I say la ilaha illa-llah, muhammadar-rasulullah, I do my five pillars of Islam, and I am a perfect Muslim. No, you have not completed your Islam yet. You are on the way, as all of us are, to perfect our Islam. There are methods that Prophet (s) showed us and we have to follow these methods. These verses we have to follow them, these examples, we have to follow them. What is the benefit of the hadith of the Prophet(s)? There are in Sahih Bukhari 7 or 8 thousand hadiths, in Sahih Muslim 10,000, in the other six books, hundreds of thousands of hadiths. So the Prophet (s) did not stop on just the hadith of salah, zakat and hajj. No!

There are many other things that Muslims should do. That is why Muslim scholars following the footsteps of the Sahaba, who followed the footsteps of Prophet (s), divided the religion into three categories. One is `aqidah--belief. `Aqidah is the belief of Muslims. What is your belief? This is very important, what you believe in. Then what follows is `ibadat--worship. What are the forms of worship that Prophet (s) showed us? Then, there is mu`amalah--interactions with people, how to deal with people, how to deal with each other, how to be with each other. What kind of mu`amalah is acceptable and better with your brothers and your sisters in Islam.

So Islamic religion is not only going to the masjid and praying the five prayers; or going to the house and praying the five prayers; or in our offices or on the streets or whereever we are praying the five prayers while at the same leaving behind relationships and interactions with people. The Prophet (s) insisted on these as well, which in Arabic we call mu`amalah, Do we leave that behind and say "we are praying and doing our five pillars of Islam"? No, it is not enough that you are doing the five pillars. If you say that, then you are leaving a big portion of knowledge behind. Then you are not completing your Islamic `aqidah. So, Islam is `aqidah, `ibadah and mu`amalah.

So these three categories that Islam is based on, this is Islam. This not yet iman. Still we have iman, which we have not yet discussed. What is iman based on? Faith, that Prophet (s) has mentioned in the hadith of Sayyidna `Umar (ra), through the medium of Jibreel (ra). What is the iman? How did he divide iman? What kind of relationship should we have with Allah (swt)? What kind of relationship should we have with His angels? What kind of relationship should we have with His holy books? What kind of relationship should we have with His messengers? What kind of relationship should we have with destiny? What kind of relationship should we have with the Last Day?

There is also another category that comes after faith. Iman is followed by ihsan, the third part of religion which Prophet (s) mentioned. Ihsan is, when you complete first your Islam, which consists of `aqidah, `ibadah and mu`amalah. Then you perfect your faith, which is divided in believing what kind of relationship with Allah (s) has with angels, with His holy books, with His holy Prophets, with His holy messengers, with Destiny, and with the Last Day. Then comes ihsan, the purification of the self. When you finish the first two (Islam and iman), at that time you begin to learn how to purify yourself. That is tazkiyat an-nafs, that is mentioned in the Holy Qur`an in many places, and mentioned in the hadith of the holy Prophet (s).

Tazkiyya is how to increase your level of purity as the Sahaba, by following the Prophet (s), were able to raise their level of purity and they were able to control their ego. This is the main difficult part of this last part of religion which is ihsan--how to control your ego. You might be having a good `aqidah in Allah (swt) with ahl-sunnah wa jama`a, you might be good worshipers, making all your `ibadah, your salat obligations. You may have all your relationships with others according to right actions with your brothers and sisters. But, you can do all this and still you have defects between yourself and your Creator. That is why when they asked the Prophet (s) "does a believer lie?" He said "a believer cannot lie."

So you cannot lie to yourself, you know yourself. You know how much you are doing from your Islamic obligations. So ask yourself, when you are by yourself, alone, ask deeply, "am I up to the standard that Allah(swt) when the Judgement Day comes or when Allah is calling me to His Presence, when He is sending the angel Sayyidna Azrail to take my soul? "Am I up to the standard that when Allah is asking me, I amgoing to reply correctly or am I going to feel I have not done my best?" Then you can realize what kind of grade you have. Are you above zero a little bit, or near 100? Do you have A+ or A- or B+ or B- or C+ or C- or D or a failing grade? Or whatever. But not zero! Because you say la ilaha illa-Allah, that means you are a Muslim, and you pass that level. But how are you facing Allah (swt)?

Are you happy!? You might see some people who are very happy that the Angel of Death comes to them at any moment, they are ready. They are not afraid. Those whom Allah(swt) mentioned in the Holy Qur`an , "verily those believers, those wali, those saints, those people who purify themselves, they have nothing to fear". So these people are ready any time. Although they might feel they are the worst of people. But when you feel the worst, it means you are the best. Because as much as you do, that much you feel you are not doing anything. This is a proportional way of viewing things. As much as you do, the more you realize the greatness of Allah (swt), and that much more you are afraid.

Sayyidna Muhammad salla-Allahu alaihi wa sallam said "Oh Allah, don't leave me to my ego, for a blink of an eye". This was the Prophet, who can be like the Prophet? Or Companions of the Prophet, who now can be a Companion of the Prophet? This is only a state for the Companions of the Prophet, no one can reach that state. So since we are not the Prophet, we are not Sahaba, we are not great imams, we are not great scholars, so what we are? We are weak servants. If the Prophet (s) said "O Allah, don't leave to myself" then, O Muslim brothers and sisters, what you are going to say for yourself? If Sayyidna Muhammad (s), the Seal of the messengers, the Perfect Man that Allah has created, the Beloved One to Allah (swt), who said "I was a Prophet when Adam was between body and spirit", who was the first to be in Allah`s Presence and yet he (s) says "O Allah don't leave me to myself" then what about us? So check yourself. See for yourself. sit by yourself before Fajr or after Fajr or after 'Isha when everyone is sleeping and concentrate. Say to yourself, make an account of your self, "if Allah subhanahu wa ta `ala will take my soul at this moment, what is going to be my situation??"

Are you happy with yourself? If you are happy, then Allah will be happy with you. If you feel you are happy with your Islamic obligations and your Islamic worship, then Allah is going to be happy, because Allah is most merciful. May Allah bless all of you. Amin.

So if feel you are happy, ask yourself "are you happy with yourself?" If you are happy, Allah is happy. But I don`t think we are happy with ourself, because everyone will say, "I could do better, I could be a better Muslim, a better individual." As much as you improve yourself, you progress. So spirituality, what we were discussing last week, is a basic foundation for building up yourself, for building up the individual, for building up a community that is raised on loving each other, that is raised on good relationships with each other. No jealousy, no hatred, no enmity, no anger, no arrogance, no pride, no lies, no cheating, no deceiving -- all these bad manners -- spirituality will lift you up to take these bad manners away.

And this is what we are trying to focus in on insha` Allah in our meetings Saturday after Saturday, about these issues that many Muslims nowadays are leaving behind. And are taking one line [of action] yet leaving the other line. So since they are taking the line that everyone knows, so we must take the line that everyone is leaving behind. We must teach on it because everyone knows the other line so we can get it from any circle or from any masjid we go to or any association we learn from. But this line [of ours], many people are leaving behind. They are not teaching it and thats why we are very slowly losing our good manners.

And instead we are building up a Muslim community that their main concern is how to fight each other. What kind of politics works out better to fight each other. This is what we are falling into and no one can say anything, because we feel we must not `divide` the community. Every one is keeping quiet, to not `divide` the community. The Prophet (s) said , "O Allah grant me one of the two `Umar`s" because they were strong, both of them. So Allah gave him `Umar ibn al-Khattab (ra). And when Sayyidna `Umar came to Islam he said " Ya rasulullah are we on haqq or batil? And if we are on haqq why are we afraid, why don't we say we are Muslims and stand up?" So sayyidna `Umar stood up for haqq and Allah supported `Umar. Because it is the true religion.

When we want to channel our Islam to serve our private benefit , then it is not true Islam, it is not for Allah anymore. It is for our own benefit, it is to satisfy our own material purposes. Then we have to stand up and say "oh my brother, look, you are making a big mistake". You cannot keep quiet when you see something wrong with the followers of Islam. This is your obligation. Many people say we are doing da`wah. What da`wah? (They say)" we are doing da`wah, going from one house to another" and they are leaving all the masjids under the hands of people trying to channel the masjid for their own benefit. Masjids are for Allah, no person can try to take personal benefit from a masjid. If you are taking benefit from a masjid, that money is a curse on you.

In the time of the Sahaba, and after the Sahaba, in ghazwat-Uhud, when they didn't listen to the Prophet (s) to keep the mountain safe, unbeleivers were able to penetrate through their army and kill them, and many were injured. Later, when the ladies were serving water to the Sahaba, every Sahaba was saying: "Go to my brother, who is wounded more heavily than me." And they were going one to another, one to another until they found all of them had died. They preferred their brother before themselves. If you go back to the Islamic history, you`ll find in the first three centuries after the Prophet (s) that businessmen, if their neighbor had not had a customer, he would say to his customer: "Allah sent me the first customer, my neighbor hasn't yet had a customer, please go to him." He sent the other customer to his neighbor, in order that his neighbor would make some money. And it was like this to the third and this to the fourth, fifth, and sixth.

This is the spirituality, this is the tazkiya al-nafs, this is the lifting up of the soul. Nowadays we own something and I see something in Dr. Hameed`s hand (someone sitting in the circle), I would try to take it from his hand to close him down and to take everything for myself. For what? You are running a masjid to have more money for the masjid, or making more money for your pockets, and you want to spread Islam? And they say " don't sat anything, you will divide the community". What do you mean "divide the community?"

If you open a masjid, in the train station, we must be happy here, that there is another masjid up the street. You take any street you like, private streets not main streets and drive. You`ll find more than dozens of churches filling the streets. Why will you not be happy if we had dozens of masjids. It`s a better image to the Christians community, to the Jewish community, and to the atheist community in the United States. But if we wanted to open a masjid in this station for example, the people here will get angry. "Why, are you opening a masjid there? We have already a masjid, so use this masjid"

Make every house a masjid even! That is better. Make on every street a school, it is better. (They say) "why are you opening this school? You are taking my students." If you were saying "it is a secular school", then your objection would be alright, because everyone has to compete, because it is a materialistic school. But when you say an Islamic school, it means "help me build up another school, to make two schools stand up, three schools, ten schools." We will even begin to get the non-Muslim students. When we look in prisons, why are they happy with Muslims and they need more Muslim counselors? Because Muslims are doing a great job in the prisons. No one can do what Muslims are doing in the prisons and the government, the United States government, is very happy with the Muslims. They are supporting them in the prisons. Because they are completely changing the prisoners. When we have hundreds of schools and students like these young children are graduating from high school, keeping their family ties, keeping their relationships with their father and mother, not deceiving, no marajuana, no dating, nothing, then all these Christians and Jewish Americans, they are going to look at us and say, "Let us send our children there." Because they will be raised in a good way. But instead we are fighting each other; who will close the other?

The Prophet (s) recommended `ilm. The priviledge of `ilm is better even than the priviledge of worship, Prophet (s) stated in many hadith. Because `ilm which teaches you how to worship, how to react, how to build a Muslim community. But instead we are fighting, and we are seeing that if we put a school, and I gave the example of a masjid, people are going to fight us. Why? Because we put up a new school and it is competition for the other school. Let every street have a school.

O Muslims, we should wish for jama`ah, it is normal, but let this jama`ah be on one heart. Then when they begin to be on one heart, you will find every masjid is full. Why? Because people will be attracted to honey. Like bees carry the hardship to get the honey ready for you, and who wants honey is going to get stung. So if we, a small group here, if in every masjid there is a small group like that, very slowly, they sit together, they open their hearts, their relationship would be better, you will find that the masajid are full because it is the place of refuge for every Muslim. What do they do? They don't go to a movie, they don't go barbeque, they don't watch television, they don't have anything, they don't go to school, they don't go anywhere, so where are they going to go? They are going to go somewhere that they can meet with other Muslims and make a relationship with their children, with their families. What is better than a masjid? Then if we built an ideal masjid, an ideal relationship, based on sidq, on truthfulness, if we have something in our hearts say it, against anyone, say it, to him or to her.

Empty your heart and build a relationship of love, and respect. This will bring people, this small community will be bigger. And this bigger community will be envied by many other Muslim communities, how they are coming together with this relationship. This is how Sahaba spread Islam, they were like beacons, wherever they went they were shining. They reached China with no car, with no plane, with no rocket, with nothing, walking, they reached Spain, they reached Europe. How? With that love, with that light in their hearts, that faith in their hearts was pushing.

O Muslims, especially Arabs and Pakistanis, I'm not speaking to those who are converts, but to Arabs and Pakistanis and Indians, and whatever, you are coming here, are you building up your relationship to the Muslim community and bringing them together into love or still you are going and fighting each other? This is our weakness, so if we want to improve ourselves from a small group, then that reflection, that light will spread to others and spreading to others, then every masjid will be like that, then all this good image of Islam will be told to everyone. May Allah(swt) support our `aqidah, our belief, the `aqidah of Ahl as-Sunna wal-Jama`at, and support our footsteps to be on the right path, the path of Islam.

I don't like to give bad examples, but I will give you one example, which is always making my heart and maybe your hearts very sad. To see the Muslim community react in such a selfish way. And as for example if you go to--as I know my country, Arab countries--if you go to any Arab country, you will find in the same street dozens of masajid, left and right, and you find many schools, left and right. And everyone is happy. There is no jealousy because it is something for Allah (swt). What about in this country? If we have a school in San Jose, a Muslim school, and we have one in Santa Clara, and we have one in Sunnyvale, and we have one in Mountain View, and we have one in Palo Alto, and we have one in Redwood City, let's take this area, and one in Fiji, where they have one in San Mateo, one in San Francisco, one in Fremont, one in Oakland. What is the problem? It is not better? Why are they fighting each other for students? And all of you are non-profit organizations, you can not take one penny for profit. So if I have a school, and another Muslim has a school, and he has a lot of students that are running to his school and he can not have more, because if he has more there are no places in his school, and he has a big waiting list of students, and makes other people, a non-profit organization, to open another school to get these students on waiting lists, to build up their school, what is the problem in that? Instead of giving that , they overcrowded their school with students, in order to shut down the other school. These are Muslims? These are Muslims coming to the same masjid and saying "Allahu Akbar" behind one imam? If their imams are accepting this, how are we accepting to pray behind them? So this the problem we are falling into.

O Muslims, try to awaken, to tell your friends, your cousins, your relationships, that we have to connect ourselves, in order that we can make a better Islamic community. May Allah (swt) forgive us, and may Allah (swt) bless us.

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