You can listen to Imam Adam’s Khutbah above (starts at 8:00), watch it below, or read the summary below. 

Delivered October 11, 2019

بِسْمِ اللَّهِ الرَّحْمَٰنِ الرَّحِيمِ

In the name of Allah, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful.

ادْعُ إِلَىٰ سَبِيلِ رَبِّكَ بِالْحِكْمَةِ وَالْمَوْعِظَةِ الْحَسَنَةِ ۖ وَجَادِلْهُم بِالَّتِي هِيَ أَحْسَنُ

OdAAu ila sabeeli rabbika bialhikmati waalmawAAithati alhasanati

Invite to the way of your Lord with wisdom and good instruction, and argue with them in a way that is best.

(Surah An-Nahl, Quran 16:125)

All praises are due to Allah and may the peace and blessings of Allah be upon His Prophet Muhammad (pbuh). All praises are due to Allah, the One that has given us so many blessings that if we were to count them, we would not be able to. We have so many blessings and Allah has given us the ability to speak, to hear, to see, to work, to have food, to have shelter, to have water, to have so many things that so many other people only wish they could have.

The biggest blessing of all is our deen, our religion, our faith in Islam. That is the largest blessing. The Prophets’ (peace be upon them) job was to propagate and spread that message and as a result, they faced humiliation. They faced persecution. They faced propaganda. They faced all kinds of challenges and difficulties, but they still did their job. Allah says to the Prophet (pbuh) in the Quran,

يَا أَيُّهَا النَّبِيُّ إِنَّا أَرْسَلْنَاكَ شَاهِدًا وَمُبَشِّرًا وَنَذِيرًا 

Ya ayyuha alnnabiyyu inna arsalnaka shahidan wamubashshiran wanatheeran

O Prophet, indeed We have sent you as a witness and a bringer of good tidings and a warner.

(Surah Al-Ahzab, Quran 33:45)

“We have sent you, O Prophet, as a witness to the people, as a favor of good news to the people, and as a warner to the people, and as one who invites to Allah, and as a shining lamp and light for the people.” But now the difference is that there are no more prophets and so the obligation falls onto the rest of us to ensure that the true message of Islam is propagated and not the false image that is a lot of times portrayed on the media and on the internet. This is something that Allah praises. He says,

وَمَنْ أَحْسَنُ قَوْلًا مِّمَّن دَعَا إِلَى اللَّهِ وَعَمِلَ صَالِحًا وَقَالَ إِنَّنِي مِنَ الْمُسْلِمِينَ

Waman ahsanu qawlan mimman daAAa ila Allahi waAAamila salihan waqala innanee mina almuslimeena

And who is better in speech than one who invites to Allah and does righteousness and says, “Indeed, I am of the Muslims.”

(Surah Fussilat, Quran 41:33)

What better speech is there than the speech of the one who calls to Allah and does righteous deeds and is amongst the righteous people.” So then the question becomes, “Well, how do I do this da’wah today? This invitation to Islam, how does it happen today?” The Quran actually has one verse in particular that summarizes for us how the spreading of the message of Islam should be. There’s more verses as well, but there’s one verse in particular that summarizes it very well. This was a verse that was embodied by our beloved Prophet Muhammad (pbuh). It was a verse that was embodied by all of the Prophets and by the companions of the Prophet Muhammad (pbuh). So what is that verse? Allah says,

 ادْعُ إِلَىٰ سَبِيلِ رَبِّكَ بِالْحِكْمَةِ وَالْمَوْعِظَةِ الْحَسَنَةِ ۖ وَجَادِلْهُم بِالَّتِي هِيَ أَحْسَنُ

OdAAu ila sabeeli rabbika bialhikmati waalmawAAithati alhasanati

Invite to the way of your Lord with wisdom and good instruction, and argue with them in a way that is best.

(Surah An-Nahl, Quran 16:125)

ادْعُ – invite, إِلَىٰ سَبِيلِ رَبِّكَ – to the way to the path of your lord, بِالْحِكْمَةِ – with wisdom, وَالْمَوْعِظَةِ الْحَسَنَةِ – and good advice, وَجَادِلْهُم بِ بِالَّتِي هِيَ أَحْسَنُ – and argue in a way that is best. In this short verse, Allah actually says many things.

The first thing is ادْعُ – invite. Don’t call over, don’t yell, and don’t shout out. Invite. How do you give an invitation? “Hey! I have biryani, come over!” might work if they’re your close friend. But to someone that is not a close friend, you warm them up to it. “Hey, we’re having something, would you like to come over? We’re doing this, we are having a get together.

إِلَىٰ سَبِيلِ رَبِّكَ – to the path of your Lord. What does the path suggest? Many people think that da’wah, the spreading of the message of Islam, is only to non-Muslims or only to Muslim that have gone astray. But in fact, da’wah is to everyone because the path to Allah is not black and white. There’s a spectrum. Some people are just starting out on that path. Some people have been on that path for years. Some people are always on that path. They’re very far along that path. But they all need da’wah. They all need reminders, don’t they? Because as soon as you feel that you no longer need a reminder, then that is the exact moment in which you need a reminder, isn’t it? As soon as you feel that you are now safe from correction or from advice or from anything and from learning and from growing, then that is the very moment in which you need it most. Allah has addressed the ‘who,’ that it really is everyone that is along this path to Him, this path that arrives at Allah, this path whose destination is Allah.

Then the question becomes the method. The first condition laid out for the method is al-hikmah, wisdom. That’s such a short word, four-five letters, but it has so much meaning. Wisdom. Whoever is given wisdom has been given a whole lot of good. Wisdom is to put something in its appropriate place. Sometimes wisdom requires patience. Sometimes wisdom requires seeking justice. Sometimes wisdom requires accountability. Sometimes wisdom requires mercy and forgiveness. So the person who is spreading the message of Islam has to keep in mind who they are talking to. Keep in mind their circumstances, their context, their age, their intelligence. All of those things need to be taken into account. That is a part of wisdom.

My dear uncles and aunties, be careful! My youth, be careful! Be careful! There are people who come to the masjid after 10 years, after five years, after 15 years. Maybe they have never stepped foot in the masjid. Maybe they are only coming because someone has passed away and they realize that this is something they should do. Be careful with the creation of the Allah. Don’t be quick to advise. Don’t be quick to correct. “The shorts are short, the hair is coming out, the clothing is not right, too colorful.” Don’t be quick to correct these kinds of things. Don’t be so quick, you might push someone away. You have to use wisdom.

The Quraysh said to the Prophet (pbuh), “Why didn’t Allah send an angel? If He would’ve sent an angel, we would’ve all believed.” And Allah’s response was that, “If the earth was full of angels, then We would have sent an angel. But the earth is full of human beings. And so We sent human beings.

رَجُلٍ مِّنْهُمْA man from among them, someone from among them who could speak to them. The Prophet’s (pbuh) reputation as The Truthful, The Honest, was known in Mecca as well as outside of Mecca. Even in Medina, they had already heard of the Prophet’s (pbuh) reputation. He did not descend from the sky and begin to command as many of us tend to do because we feel that the masjid should be a certain way or respected a certain way.

Very commonly we invite non-Muslim guests and I see people putting a hijab on the non-Muslim women that come. But they are not Muslim. They don’t need to wear a hijab in the masjid. If they want to, then great, encourage it. “Yeah, we have this box of hijabs. If you would like to wear it, please do. If you don’t, that’s fine.” And our zeal, right? Of course, we respect the masjid. Of course, we want there to be modesty in the masjid and respect in the masjid. But look at the wisdom of the Prophet (pbuh) –

A Bedouin man came to the masjid and started to urinate in the masjid. Can you think of anything more disrespectful than urinating in the masjid? And what did the Prophet (pbuh) do? Did he tell his companions, “off with his head?” The companions were there. They were ready. They actually scared the man. But Prophet (pbuh) calmed them down. Did he say, “stop him.”? No. He said, “let him finish.” This was the wisdom of the Prophet (pbuh). That man finished and the Prophet (pbuh) told his companions to throw water over the urine. Then the man came over to the Prophet and he said, “May Allah curse these other people and may Allah have mercy on Muhammad (pbuh).” And that man, he accepted Islam. So, what does that show you about the Prophet (pbuh) and where his priorities were and the wisdom that he had? What does that teach us about where we are today, and where the Prophet (pbuh) was? So call to the path of your Lord with hikmah, with wisdom.

The next condition that Allah mentions is وَالْمَوْعِظَةِ الْحَسَنَةِ – and good advice. The kind of advice that makes you feel good. And I don’t mean it makes you feel good because it agrees with you. I don’t mean to change the advice. But advise in a way in which the receiver of the advice feels that “this person has concern for me. This person has my welfare in their interests. This person cares about me.” Not that “this person wants to feel superior over me.” Not because “this person wants to control me.” That feeling has to be there. That is why Allah called the Prophet (pbuh) basheeran, the bearer of good news, first. Then He called him najeera, warner. First, the Prophet (pbuh) is mubashir, the one who brings good news. What is good news? It’s something that makes you happy, something that congratulates you. When you give advice, do you give it in a way that other person feels congratulated, feels that they are getting something great? Or do they feel like this is a burden, like you want to control them, like you want to feel superior over them? That becomes very important.

Can a man walk up to any woman and say, “Marry me, immediately.” She doesn’t know who he is. He’s never seen her in his life. Can you do that? Some parents wish that would work. Some parents wish it was that easy. It doesn’t work that way. You have to get to know the family. You have to get to know the person. You cannot just immediately get married just like that. That’s not how it works. Similarly, when you are spreading the message of Islam, you don’t immediately get into the corrections and the deviations and the bid’ah and this and that. There has to be a relationship. The people knew As-Sadiq-ul-Amin, the Most Truthful, the Honest. Then knew the Prophet (pbuh) for forty years, and then the message came. So the advice has to be good for both the giver of the advice, and good for the receiver of the advice. The person who gives it believes it to be sincere and good, and the person receiving it also believes it to be good and sincere.

And finally Allah says, وَجَادِلْهُم بِالَّتِي هِيَ أَحْسَنُ – and give them the best of arguments. ‘Best’ does not just mean logically the most sound. ‘Best’ means without personal attacks, without insults, without accusations, without threats. That is what it means when it says the best of arguments. I see Muslims posting on social media, Facebook and YouTube. Cursing and throwing out insults in order to defend Islam because they are passionate, but that is not the best to arguments, is it? To insult and to curse and to accuse and so on. Rather it has to be the best kind of argument. So I ask Allah that He helps us to spread the message of his Islam with wisdom, with good advice and with the best of arguments. Ameen.

أقول قولي هذا وأستغفر الله لي ولكم ولسائر المسلمين فَاسْتَغْفِرُوهُ إِنَّهُ هُوَ الغَفُورُ الرَّحِيمُ

I say what you have heard and I seek forgiveness from Allah for me and you from every sin.

We have talked about the method and we agreed upon this verse of the Quran that exists and teaches us how to spread the message of Islam. Now let’s get into some practicalities. Who are the people, the audience of dawah? The first group is the people who are with you at work and at school. I think most of us agree that the main way to spread the positive message of Islam is through our actions. If at work, your non-Muslim colleague has reminded you to pray, that probably means you’re doing a good job. That probably means that they know that you are someone who prays, and it’s a specific time, and that they’re helping you out by reminding you. So, what are your actions at school? What are your actions at work?

You can even try to take things up to the organizational level. I remember we were at Microsoft for something and I saw in the prayer room, there was the wudu-companion or wudu-mate that makes it really easy to make wudu. So some Muslim had to have gone up to the office, to the organization, and said that, “we need these specific things installed. There’s this many Muslims who pray and if you want to attract them, then have this and it could help you.” And so it was installed and imagine how Muslims come and they pray and they have comfort and not only do they have space, but they also have validation there with the presence of that wudu facility.

Over the summer, there was a sister in Chicago who worked at Salesforce and she saw that Salesforce had all kinds of interest groups for social justice, specific cultures, races, backgrounds, and so on. But what was missing was a religious interest group, so she started Faith Force, and then gained over nearly 2,000 members over a short period of time. And she was not some upper level executive. She was only one year into the company and she was able to do that. Actually people would complain that, “I can’t pray at my work, but now that I have heard about this group being offered at Salesforce, I want to apply to work at Salesforce.” So that is the impact that you can have not only for your company, but also of course, for the people who want to pray at your company, as just one example. Of course, there’s other things beyond prayer as well.

The second group, after work and school, is your neighbors. How many of us know our neighbors names? How many of us know our neighbors’ kids’ names? That’s the true test. If we don’t, then we need to do something. Because the scholars said 40 houses in one direction, 40 houses in the other direction… forget 40 houses for now. Just what about your street? What about your cul-de-sac? Do you know your neighbors? What about the floor of the apartment complex you live in? Do you know your neighbors? If not, have you invited them for something? You don’t have to cook biryani every time. Invite them for some tea. Keep it simple and get to know your neighbors.

The third group are those people that are interacting with the masjid. We get so many requests from organizations and groups that want to come to the Masjid. They want to see what goes on. They want to learn more about Islam from an actual Muslim, and they’re not looking for a scholar. Actually in all of my talks that I give, the thing that interests people the most is, well, “how are you Muslim at work?” When I talk about fasting, they want to know how do you fast at work? I talk about prayer and the afternoon prayer, they want to know how is it at work? They want to hear from regular everyday Muslims. How does it feel to be Muslim? How is it to be Muslim? What does it mean to be Muslim? So get involved with the masjid.

We have an interfaith committee. They do wonderful events. Actually tonight we have a special event for evangelical Christians. National surveys tell us that out of all the religious groups, evangelical Christians have the most dislike for Islam. That’s not because they’ve read about Islam and they know everything about it. It’s because they simply haven’t ever met any Muslims and many of their leaders stop them from doing so. But tonight, we have one of those leaders coming with a whole large group, and we need people to come and talk to them. So it’s an invite only thing where people who have more knowledge about Islam can do that. So that’s level two. But level one, just get involved at the masjid. Get involved at the interfaith committee.

The fourth group that needs to learn about Islam is our kids. Our kids have to learn about Islam. We can’t be so concerned about those around us and forget about our kids. That’s a concern that I’m sure many people have. “How will our children keep our religion? How will we ensure that our children grow up with Islam?” A very common question that children ask is, “Why? Why do I have to pray? Why do I have to do this?” The easy answer is because Allah said so, but that is not the only answer. Many things actually are explained in the Quran. So don’t just go to “because I said so” or “because Allah said so.” While that is true, it is not the only answer. Even in the Quran, Allah talks about Ramadan and says it is for taqwa and for gratitude. Even when it comes to salah, Allah explains what the purpose of salah is. So those are the conversations you need to have. If you don’t know the answer, tell your child, let’s go find the answer. Let’s find a legitimate video online. Let’s go to the imam together. Let’s figure this out. But if you tell your child, “I don’t know, look it up. Here, watch this YouTube video by Omar Suleiman” and the parent doesn’t know themselves. That’s not how it works.

When the parent comes and says, “I want my child to memorize the whole Quran.” Brother, Sister, how much Quran have you memorized? You have to teach with your action. How much Quran do you memorize on top of work and on top of your responsibilities? Obviously when you’re younger, it’s easier, but how much effort do you put in? It’s important to show by action. Every family should have one prayer every day that they pray together. Maghrib, isha, fajr, or whatever. Have one prayer that you pray together. This is the time when our father is our imam at home. Show through your action.

Finally the last group that I wanted to really quickly cover is teenagers because they’re different from kids, aren’t they? As one sister said, the aliens come and take their brains away for a few years and then bring them back. As much as you feel that that is the case, actually the main thing that’s going on in teenagers’ brain is they want to be independent. They are not you and you are not them. They want to be independent. The more you try to control, the more resistance you will find. So the best thing to do is to involve them in the decision-making process. “You want to go to the mall with your friends, but you have a project due tomorrow, and I have to make sure you succeed at school. So what would you like to do? What do you think needs to be done?” “You want to play video games that you can’t pause, and it is now maghrib time, and I want you to succeed in the akhirah. So what should we do?” The more you try to control, the more resistance you will meet. So engage with them. Discuss it with them. I know that’s maybe not the way your parents did it with you, but that is the way you have to do it.

We ask Allah that He gives us the ability to spread the message of Islam like the Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) and like what Allah commands us to do. I ask Allah that He accepts our good deeds and He forgives our shortcomings.

رَبَّنَا تَقَبَّلْ مِنَّآ إِنَّكَ أَنْتَ السَّمِیعُ العَلِیمُ وَتُبْ عَلَیْنَآ إِنَّكَ أَنتَ التَّوَّابُ الرَّحِیمُ

رَبَّنَآ ءَاتِنَا فِى ٱلدُّنْيَا حَسَنَةً وَفِى ٱلْءَاخِرَةِ حَسَنَةً وَقِنَا عَذَابَ ٱلنَّارِ

O Allah, give us good in this life and give us good in next life and save us from the punishment of the fire. Oh Allah, grant us has the highest tiers and levels of paradise. Oh Allah, have mercy and grant Your forgiveness to those that have passed. All those that are sick, ya Allah cure them. Ya Allah, if anyone has any need, ya Allah fulfill their needs. Ameen.

عِبَادَ اللّهِ  إِنَّ اللَّهَ يَأْمُرُ بِالْعَدْلِ وَالْإِحْسَانِ وَإِيتَاءِ ذِي الْقُرْبَىٰ وَيَنْهَىٰ عَنِ الْفَحْشَاءِ وَالْمُنكَرِ وَالْبَغْيِ  يَعِظُكُمْ لَعَلَّكُمْ تَذَكَّرُونَ

Servants of Allah. Indeed, Allah orders justice and good conduct and giving to relatives and forbids immorality and bad conduct and oppression. He admonishes you that perhaps you will be reminded.

اُذْكُرُوا اللَّهَ الْعَظِيمَ يَذْكُرْكُمْ واشْكُرُوهُ يَزِدْكُمْ واسْتَغْفِرُوهُ يَغْفِرْ لكُمْ واتّقُوهُ يَجْعَلْ لَكُمْ مِنْ أَمْرِكُمْ مَخْرَجًا

 وَأَقِمِ الصّلَاة

Remember Allah, the Great – He will remember you. Thank Him for His favors – He will increase you therein.  And seek forgiveness from Him – He will forgive you. And be conscious of Him – He will provide you a way out of difficult matters.

And, establish the prayer.

What did you think? Please share your reflections and questions below.

And come back next week for another khutbah!

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