You can listen to Imam Adam’s Khutbah above (starts at 3:00) or read the summary below.  Delivered April 15th, 2022

بِسْمِ اللَّهِ الرَّحْمَٰنِ الرَّحِيمِ

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

وَسَارِعُوا إِلَىٰ مَغْفِرَةٍ مِّن رَّبِّكُمْ وَجَنَّةٍ عَرْضُهَا السَّمَاوَاتُ وَالْأَرْضُ أُعِدَّتْ لِلْمُتَّقِينَ

WasariAAoo ila maghfiratin min rabbikum wajannatin AAarduha alssamawatu waalardu oAAiddat lilmuttaqeena

And hasten to forgiveness from your Lord and a garden as wide as the heavens and earth, prepared for the righteous

(Surah Ali ‘Imran, Quran 3:133)

My dear brothers and sisters, we are now coming into the second half of Ramadan. Half of Ramadan is gone and it’s up to us to decide how we want to make the most of this last half of Ramadan. May Allah help us to do more than what we have done before. May Allah help us to increase in our worship and devotion and our connection to Him in this last half of this month. No matter how the first half has gone, whether it has gone according to expectation or not, realize that there’s a another half, alhamdulillah, that we can look forward to to make the most of this month.

Allah says in the Quran – وَسَارِعُوا – and rush – إِلَىٰ مَغْفِرَةٍ – to forgiveness from your Lord. وَجَنَّةٍ – and Paradise – وَ عَرْضُهَا السَّمَاوَاتُ وَالْأَرْضُ – that is as vast as the heavens and the earth, that is the Paradise which you will receive. The gift that one person will receive will be as vast as the heavens and the earth. Allah doesn’t just say come to His forgiveness. He says, “rush, be quick about it. Don’t delay. Don’t take your time, but rush to it.” There is a special reward for those who rush to it. أُعِدَّتْ لِلْمُتَّقِينَ – This paradise, who is it for? What qualifies you to be in this paradise? This paradise is prepared for those that are people of taqwa.

Taqwa is usually translated as ‘God fearing’ and in Old English, that is an accurate translation. But in modern English, when you say fear God, then that is no longer taqwa. That is now “khauf” which is what Allah says about the believers, لَا خَوْفٌ عَلَيْهِمْ – there will be no fear. Fear is not something which Allah wants to give you. He says there will be no fear for the believers. So for us to think that somehow fearing God and being afraid of Him, like you’re afraid of the dark when you’re a child, (my child is afraid of the dark and he needs a nightlight.) That is not the emotion connected to Allah. That is a mistranslation over a period of time.

Taqwa is actually to be conscious of Allah. I think the word of the last year was ‘mindfulness.’ That is taqwa. It’s mindfulness, to be mindful of Allah. That’s why the Prophet (pbuh) said, “Be conscious of Allah. Be mindful of Allah.” Wherever you may be, wherever you are, whether you are by yourself, or with others, whether you are in public or at home and private, then be mindful of Allah. Ramadan is meant to help us with our mindfulness, because we feel the hunger and we realize ‘I’m doing this for Allah’. Even though being hungry leads you to being ‘hangry’ (hungry and angry), actually, when you remember your hunger, you remember what the Prophet (pbuh) said, that when you are fasting and someone agitates you, someone gets on your nerves, to remind yourself and to tell them, “Hey, I am fasting. I’m not getting into this.” There’s that mindfulness that comes with the fast. The fast is not just getting hungry and getting thirsty. The Prophet (pbuh) addressed this. He said that there are people who all they get out of their fast is hunger and thirst. Because they haven’t fulfilled the actual purpose of Ramadan, which is the mindfulness of Allah.

Now, who are the people of Taqwa? What are their characteristics? What does it take to become a person of Taqwa? Is it something that is out of reach for the most of us? Is it something that is only for the 1% of the 1% of the 1%? Holy people, the people who are in a corner worshiping Allah, are those just the people of Taqwa or is it more than that? That’s what Allah tells us in the next verse. He says,

 الَّذِينَ يُنفِقُونَ فِي السَّرَّاءِ وَالضَّرَّاءِ وَالْكَاظِمِينَ الْغَيْظَ وَالْعَافِينَ عَنِ النَّاسِ ۗ وَاللَّهُ يُحِبُّ الْمُحْسِنِينَ

Allatheena yunfiqoona fee alssarrai waalddarrai waalkathimeena alghaytha waalAAafeena AAani alnnasi waAllahu yuhibbu almuhsineena

Who spend [in the cause of Allah] during ease and hardship and who restrain anger and who pardon the people – and Allah loves the doers of good;

(Surah Ali ‘Imran, Quran 3:134)

The first characteristic of the people of Taqwa that Allah mentions of all the things He could have mentioned- He could have said the ones who are making His remembrance. He could have said the ones who are reading the Quran, the ones who are praying their prayers. But actually He starts with الَّذِينَ يُنفِقُونَ فِي السَّرَّاءِ وَالضَّرَّاءِ – “those who spend in good times and bad.” That’s what He starts with. Spending is not just something that we use to get you to donate to the masjid. Spending in Islam is a very important concept.

If we look at the Quran whenever Allah mentions the establishing of the prayer وَأَقِيمُواْ الصَّلاَةَ – what does Allah say every time He mentions أَقِيمُواْ الصَّلاَةَ? He also mentions وَآتُواْالزَّكَاةَ . Prayer and charity are two things that are connected together. What is the point of bringing these things together each and every time? There’s five pillars, right? Why didn’t Allah say those who establish and make Hajj? Those who establish and fast? Why did He say those who establish the prayer and give in charity? They are special? Why did He say that? If Islam was just the Salah, then it would be just, “Hey, it’s me and Allah. I don’t have to worry about anybody else. I don’t have to be concerned about the rest of humanity. It all doesn’t matter to me. The only thing that matters is me and Allah.” But no, that’s only part of it.

The other part of it is your connection to others and Zakat is that thing which says, “This is not a gift from me to the poor. This is me getting the opportunity to purify my wealth with my giving. This is the opportunity for all the things that I have done for me to purify my wealth. This is an opportunity for me. This is not for you. This is for me.” So those who spend in good times and in bad, that is one of the conditions or one of the characteristics rather, of being people that are mindful. Because you’re mindful of Allah when you don’t have much and you are mindful of Allah when you do have much. It’s not something that you are only mindful of Allah once you have a whole lot or once I become this, or once I get this and this and this, then I will be mindful of Allah. So that’s the first characteristic.

The next characteristic of those of Taqwa is, الْكَاظِمِينَ الْغَيْظَ – those who can swallow their anger. That’s such an important part of the month of Ramadan in particular. Those who are able to control their anger, that’s being mindful of Allah, because in that moment, when you are going to act on your anger against another person, because you are more powerful than that other person, you have more wealth, you have more power, you have seniority, whatever you might have over another person. If you are able to be mindful in that moment, all the other times don’t matter. If you are able to, be mindful in that moment when that anger is taking over. That’s mindfulness of Allah. In that moment of anger, you’re going to act on it and you stop yourself. That is what Allah says when He says that a characteristic of the mindful ones is that they are able to swallow their anger. It doesn’t mean that you bottle it up, and then it all comes out all at once. That’s not what swallowing your anger here means. It means that when you are about to act on it, then you’re able to resist it.

This is something which even exists in the tradition of the Prophet (pbuh) where he said that “when you are angry, then remove yourself from the situation. Go make wudu.” Why did he say that? He says because water extinguishes fire. The fire of anger is extinguished by wudu. Not only that, but you are removing yourself from the situation and that’s the greatest advice that any therapist will give you. Just remove yourself from the situation until the calmer mind takes over, until the rational mind takes over. So those that are able to control their anger, that is the second characteristic of those that have Taqwa.

The third characteristic, وَالْعَافِينَ عَنِ النَّاسِ – those who are forgiving of others. Those that are forgiving of others. The word He uses is a word of Ramadan, وَالْعَافِينَ عَنِ النَّاسِ – those who forgive in a way which amounts to erasure as if it never happened. One of the duas of Ramadan is, اللْهُمَّ إِنَّكَ عَفُوٌّ – O Allah, You are Forgiving. Different from غَفُور which is from ghafara which means to cover up. My teacher used to love doing that mnemonic. Ghafar means cover. غَفُور is to cover up, whereas عَفُوّ is to erase completely as if it wasn’t there. Because when you cover something up, it’s still there. It’s just hidden away. But al-‘affu is that it’s completely gone. “Oh Allah, You are someone who forgives entirely.” تُحِبُّ الْعَفْوَ – You love to forgive entirely. فَاعْفُ عَنِّي – So Allah forgive me completely.

The mindful ones are those who are able to take that and reciprocate it to others. We expect it from Allah. Are we able to then channel that to the other people in our life? Are we able to forgive completely? Are we able to let go of old grudges? Are we able to let go and forgive and forget and move forward? Or are we going to continue to hold on to something in our heart for our brother or our sister or a family member or our friend? Or we’re going to continue to hold on to that grudge and that pain? Or are we going to say “ya Allah, I want you to erase my sins completely. I will forgive, I will move forward.”? Or are we going to hold on to it in the month of Ramadan, the month of forgiveness? We’re in the middle 10 days which are the 10 days of forgiveness.

Then the fourth characteristic He mentions, وَاللَّهُ يُحِبُّ الْمُحْسِنِينَ – And Allah loves those who do good. Allah loves those who go above and beyond. Part of being mindful is how can I do better? It’s an open invitation. It’s not saying better than anyone else. It’s saying just do better, for you. Better for you is different than better for someone else. Don’t think about it as, “oh, that person is a good person. I have to be like them. That’s what Allah means here.” No, it means those who do good, it’s an open invitation to do better, better based on your circumstances, based on your context, based on where you came from, based on where you grew up, based on how you grew up, based on who your parents were. Allah knows your context. I don’t know your context, Allah knows that even better. So if you can do better than you can be amongst those who are mindful of Allah.

The fifth characteristic is very important and the final one mentioned in this verse of the ones that are mindful of Allah. It’s such a crucial characteristic. It’s so important to talk about this characteristic and Allah emphasizes it. Allah gives it its own verse. So this is the most important characteristic. The other ones got a mention as a part of a full verse, the other four. But this one characteristic of those who are mindful of Allah gets its very own verse. So what is that verse? Allah says,

وَالَّذِينَ إِذَا فَعَلُوا فَاحِشَةً أَوْ ظَلَمُوا أَنفُسَهُمْ ذَكَرُوا اللَّهَ فَاسْتَغْفَرُوا لِذُنُوبِهِمْ وَمَن يَغْفِرُ الذُّنُوبَ إِلَّا اللَّهُ وَلَمْ يُصِرُّوا عَلَىٰ مَا فَعَلُوا وَهُمْ يَعْلَمُونَ

Allatheena yunfiqoona fee alssarrai waalddarrai waalkathimeena alghaytha waalAAafeena AAani alnnasi waAllahu yuhibbu almuhsineena

˹They are˺ those who, upon committing an evil deed or wronging themselves, remember Allah and seek forgiveness and do not knowingly persist in sin—and who forgives sins except Allah?

(Surah Ali ‘Imran, Quran 3:135)

The mindful ones, they’re not perfect. Mindful doesn’t mean perfect. When they do something shameful, when they wrong themselves, then they remember Allah. That’s mindfulness. That in that moment of mistake, that moment of sin, that moment of error, they remember Allah. It’s about the moments. It’s not about in good times only. When you are angry, when you are in a situation where you can forgive, when you have the opportunity to do the bare minimum but you do more. It’s about those moments. That’s what mindfulness means. Everything in our deen helps us towards that mindfulness whether that’s our salah, zakat, or siyam. It leads us to mindfulness for those moments that we are tested.

In that moment of error, they remember Allah. فَاسْتَغْفَرُوا – and they seek His forgiveness. وَلَمْ يُصِرُّوا عَلَىٰ مَا فَعَلُوا – They try their best not to be stubborn about it, to not keep going back to it on purpose. They fall into it. This is different. If it happens and they’re trying their best not to, that’s okay. It happens. But knowingly, purposefully, out of spite? No, they stay away. That is the fifth and final characteristic of the mindful ones which Allah mentions here.

Taqwa is not about perfection. Taqwa is not something which only the 1% of the 1% can attain. Taqwa is not something which a normal person living their normal life cannot attain. Taqwa is something which is accessible. Mindfulness is something that is accessible. It does not have to do with how much knowledge you have. None of these things that are mentioned here require an amazing amount of knowledge. They are all actions. They are how we deal with others. They are how we deal with ourselves. They are lifting us up and raising us up to be better. So the people who are able to fulfill these characteristics, the people that have these characteristics, what do they get?

أُولَٰئِكَ جَزَاؤُهُم مَّغْفِرَةٌ مِّن رَّبِّهِمْ وَجَنَّاتٌ تَجْرِي مِن تَحْتِهَا الْأَنْهَارُ خَالِدِينَ فِيهَا ۚ وَنِعْمَ أَجْرُ الْعَامِلِينَ

Olaika jazaohum maghfiratun min rabbihim wajannatun tajree min tahtiha alanharu khalideena feeha waniAAma ajru alAAamileena

Those – their reward is forgiveness from their Lord and gardens beneath which rivers flow [in Paradise], wherein they will abide eternally; and excellent is the reward of the [righteous] workers.

(Surah Ali ‘Imran, Quran 3:136)

أُولَٰئِكَ جَزَاؤُهُم مَّغْفِرَةٌ – their reward is forgiveness, مِّن رَّبِّهِمْ – from their Lord, وَجَنَّاتٌ – and many, many paradises. At the beginning, Allah said, rush to just one paradise, Jannah. Once you fulfill all of this, actually, you’re not just gonna get one, you’re gonna get so many. Each of them will be as vast as the heavens and the earth. خَالِدِينَ فِيهَا – you’ll stay there forever. وَنِعْمَ أَجْرُ الْعَامِلِينَ – and how beautiful is the reward of those who act. That’s a beautiful way to end this passage. Mindfulness is not a state of mind only. Taqwa and God consciousness is not just a state of mind, but it is actually based around action. It’s based around action. It’s not just something which we’re sitting here and we’re being mindful, but rather, it requires action, as we saw with these characteristics.

So we ask Allah that He helps us to be amongst the Al-Muttaqeen, that He helps us to increase in Taqwa this month. We ask Allah that He helps us to spend in good times and in bad. We ask Allah that He helps us to control our anger. We ask Allah that He helps us to forgive others. To completely forgive others. We ask Allah that He helps us to be a better version of ourselves in Ramadan and after Ramadan. We ask Allah that when we make mistakes, that we’re able to turn back to Him and seek His forgiveness, and we’re able to return to Him and be amongst those people who have Taqwa. 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.

بِسْ مِ اللَّهِ الرَّحْمَٰنِ الرَّحِيمِ ،الحَمْدُ لِلَّهِ وَالصَّلَاةُ وَالسَّلَامُ عَلَى رَسُولِ اللهِ 

In the name of Allah, the most Gracious, the most Merciful. All praise is to Allah, and peace and blessings upon the Messenger of Allah.

Before I conclude today, I wanted to mention what Allah says. He puts all of these parts together. He says,

 إِنَّ الَّذِينَ يَتْلُونَ كِتَابَ اللَّهِ وَأَقَامُوا الصَّلَاةَ وَأَنفَقُوا مِمَّا رَزَقْنَاهُمْ سِرًّا وَعَلَانِيَةً يَرْجُونَ تِجَارَةً لَّن تَبُورَ

Inna allatheena yatloona kitaba Allahi waaqamoo alssalata waanfaqoo mimma razaqnahum sirran waAAalaniyatan yarjoona tijaratan lan taboora

Indeed, those who recite the Book of Allah and establish prayer and spend [in His cause] out of what We have provided them, secretly and publicly, [can] expect a profit that will never perish –

(Surah Fatir, Quran 35:29)

إِنَّ الَّذِينَ يَتْلُونَ كِتَابَ اللَّ – certainly those who recite the Quran, the book of Allah, وَأَقَامُوا الصَّلَاةَ – And they established the prayer. What’s going to come next with prayer? وَأَنفَقُوا مِمَّا رَزَقْنَاهُمْ – and they spend from what We have given them, سِرًّا وَعَلَانِيَةً – in private and in the open in public, يَرْجُونَ تِجَارَةً لَّن تَبُورَ – they can hope for a transaction, which never heard ends, a profit which never ends. What’s the word for it today? The word is passive income, my brothers and sisters. Allah is promising passive income. How can you get that passive income that keeps coming, the gift that keeps on giving and you don’t have to do any work, that you can be sitting from your home, and you can be getting that gift from Allah? It’s that profit that, لَّن تَبُورَ – it does not end. That is something which we have an opportunity for tonight Insha’Allah.

So, I ask Allah that He accepts from us in this Ramadan. I ask Allah that He accepts from us our prayers.

رَبَّنَا تَقَبَّلْ مِنَّآ إِنَّكَ أَنْتَ السَّمِیعُ العَلِیمُ

وَتُبْ عَلَیْنَآ إِنَّكَ أَنتَ التَّوَّابُ الرَّحِیمُ

رَبَّنَا تَقَبَّلْ صيامنا وقيامنا وركوعنا وسجودنا

رَبَّنَآ ءَاتِنَا فِى ٱلدُّنْيَا حَسَنَةً وَفِى ٱلْءَاخِرَةِ حَسَنَةً وَقِنَا عَذَابَ ٱلنَّارِ

  اللْهُمَّ إِنَّكَ عَفُوٌّ تُحِبُّ الْعَفْوَ فَاعْفُعَنِّي

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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