You can listen to Imam Adam’s Khutbah above (starts at 18:00), watch it below, or read the summary below. 

Delivered August 30, 2019

بِسْمِ اللَّهِ الرَّحْمَٰنِ الرَّحِيمِ

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

يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا اجْتَنِبُوا كَثِيرًا مِّنَ الظَّنِّ إِنَّ بَعْضَ الظَّنِّ إِثْمٌ ۖ وَلَا تَجَسَّسُوا وَلَا يَغْتَب بَّعْضُكُم بَعْضًا ۚ أَيُحِبُّ أَحَدُكُمْ أَن يَأْكُلَ لَحْمَ أَخِيهِ مَيْتًا فَكَرِهْتُمُوهُ ۚ وَاتَّقُوا اللَّهَ ۚ إِنَّ اللَّهَ تَوَّابٌ رَّحِيمٌ

Ya ayyuha allatheena amanoo ijtaniboo katheeran mina alththanni inna baAAda alththanni ithmun wala tajassasoo wala yaghtab baAAdukum baAAdan ayuhibbu ahadukum an yakula lahma akheehi maytan fakarihtumoohu waittaqoo Allaha inna Allaha tawwabun raheemun

O you who have believed, avoid much [negative] assumption. Indeed, some assumption is sin. And do not spy or backbite each other. Would one of you like to eat the flesh of his brother when dead? You would detest it. And fear Allah; indeed, Allah is Accepting of repentance and Merciful.

(Surah Hujurat, Quran 49:12)

All praises are due to Allah, the One that has blessed us with so much. The One that has blessed us with food, water and shelter. The One that has blessed us with the people in our lives: our family, our friends, our parents, our children, our spouse. Allah has blessed us with so much and the most important thing above all that He has blessed us with is imaan: faith in him, belief in him, belief that there is no God, but Allah and that Muhammad (pbuh) and His Messenger.

In my last khutbah, the topic that I was discussing was how to have stronger relationships with the people around us, those in our family, as well as our friends. So how can we continue that conversation? In the last khutbah, I went through the first four principles and in this khutbah I’m going to share the next four principles. (You can read or listen to the first part here.)

Our families are the building blocks of society. If the family is strong, then society is strong. If the family is weak and if our relationships are weak, then the individuals in our families will also be weak. They will be weak in their faith. They will be weak in their values and they will chase petty things and have petty conversations. But if the family is strong, then society becomes strong and the community, the Muslim community, becomes strong. That’s why it’s important that we make it a big priority of ours to make sure that we have strong family relationships and to realize that we are not perfect and that there is always something that we can improve upon. There’s always something that we can do better. Even if we are doing it already and we think that we do not need advice, then at least take it as a reminder that you can use to better yourself and your family insha’Allah.

Remember that when it comes to our youth and that as our children are starting school, that their connection to Islam is their family. If the family is strong, then their connection to Islam will be strong. I will now share the next four principles of building strong relationships. These are derived from family, counselors and therapists, as well as the Quran and sunnah of the Prophet (pbuh).

So the fifth principle is to give each other the benefit of the doubt. In Arabic we call it husn al-zann. Give people benefit of the doubt. So many times I come to a family or a group of people or two potential spouses and they agree with each other, but because they are not giving each other the benefit of the doubt, they are assuming that the other part disagrees with them. So then they get into conflict. They’re not able to come to an agreement even though both parties are saying the exact same thing and even though both parties have good intentions. But because of assuming that the other side does not agree with you, then that causes conflict. Allah says in the Quran –

يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا اجْتَنِبُوا كَثِيرًا مِّنَ الظَّنِّOh you, who believe avoid much of suspicion

إِنَّ بَعْضَ الظَّنِّ إِثْمٌbecause some suspicion is sinful.

وَلَا تَجَسَّسُواand do not spy on each other,

وَلَا يَغْتَب بَّعْضُكُم بَعْضًا – and do not backbite one another,

All of these three things are connected to each other: making assumptions about others, making stereotypes about others, spying on them, back biting them. All of these are negative things. Things that we should try our best to stay away from. The Prophet (pbuh), he would not judge people’s intentions, he would judge their actions. This is what he told us to do. Yes, it is true the Prophet (pbuh) said-

إِنَّمَا الْأَعْمَالُ بِالنِّيَّاتِ

Actions are judged by niyyāt (intentions),

(Sahih Al – Bukhari)

that all actions are by their intentions. But at the end of the day, you and I do not know anyone’s intentions. We do not know anyone’s intentions. We do not have any indication of what is in their hearts, other than through their words and their actions. So if someone said something nice to you, do not assume that they mean bad about you. Do not go in your brain where you are thinking about, “What if they meant this by that? Or what if they meant this by that? What if they’re actually being this? Or they’re only saying that because they’re this way or because they think I did this.” Don’t have wrong assumptions about others.

The Prophet (pbuh) told us to judge people by their actions. There was actually a story at the time of the Prophet (pbuh), when the Muslims in Medina were at war with Quraysh and so it was a time of great conflict. In one of the expeditions that the Prophet (pbuh) sent out, he sent out Osama and Osama met a group from the Quraysh and they were at war. So they began to fight and Osama was holding a man down and the man was afraid and he said, لَا إِلَٰهَ إِلَّا ٱللَّٰهُ مُحَمَّدٌ رَسُولُ ٱللَّٰهِ – Osama said, “You are only doing this because you want to save your life.” Osama killed him. It was a time of war. He went back to the Prophet (pbuh) and Osama told the Prophet (pbuh) what happened and the Prophet (pbuh) became angry with him. He said,

“How can you kill someone who says, ‘لَا إِلَٰهَ إِلَّا ٱللَّٰهُ مُحَمَّدٌ رَسُولُ ٱللَّٰهِ ‘?”

But it was clear. He was only doing it to save himself. So in a state where they are in war and that person stabbed him in the back, even in that case the Prophet (pbuh) said this was wrong. But we are not at war. We’re fighting over small things. We’re fighting over many things. We are not at war. So for us, it’s even more important that we don’t have wrong assumptions and that we judge people by their actions and not by their intentions. This was the way that Prophet (pbuh) taught us. He taught us to have good assumptions of people.

One of the great scholars said that we should try to make 70 excuses for each other. If someone said something that you don’t like, then give them an excuse. Maybe they had a bad day. Maybe it was an accident. Maybe it was meant for someone else. Maybe they weren’t talking about you. Maybe something happened. Maybe they just went through surgery or medicated. Something must’ve come up. Give them excuses. If someone’s actions are clear that’s a different story. But do not assume their intentions and give each other the benefit of the doubt.

That’s even more important in our families and in our relationships. Children, you must give your parents the benefit of the doubt. Maybe sometimes they explain something and it’s hard for you to accept. Maybe they told you to do something and it’s not easy for you to understand. Maybe they are speaking a different language. Maybe it’s not the language that you are most comfortable with and they’re speaking from a different time and place. But realize that they want what’s best for you. Your parents want what’s best for you in this life and insha’Allah in the next life as well. Giving them the benefit of the doubt goes for the older children amongst us as well who have elder parents. Those of us that have lost our parents, may Allah forgive them and have mercy on them. Ameen. But those of us whose parents are still alive, give them the benefit of the doubt. Give them the benefit of having good intentions and don’t think wrong of their intentions.

Husband and wife can get into an argument and fall into a negative cycle. A negative spiral where everything you do or you say, you assume the other person is completely wrong and the other person has negative and bad intentions. And the other person just wants to get back at you for something you did and so you have to get back at that. This is how sometimes even husband and wife, they fall into this. It’s important to pull yourself out, for at least one person to cool down and say, “Let’s get out of this. Let’s find a way out of this. Let’s focus on the positives about each other.” I tell this to newlyweds all the time that when you start out the first six months, the honeymoon phase, “Oh, it’s so cute that he leaves his socks lying around, so wonderful.” Right? It’s all amazing. Think back to that time. Think back to what you liked about your spouse in the beginning. Think back to the positive things. Maybe that wasn’t a positive thing, but think back to the things that you did like about your spouse and that’s how you can pull yourself out of negativity.

Parents, you must also give your children the benefit of the doubt. Allah, He says clearly in the Quran – وَلَا تَجَسَّسُوا and do not spy. Allah did not say “except if you are a parent or a father or a mother.” He said, “do not spy.” You can have a rule and you can say, “Look, my house, my rules. My phones that I’m giving you, my rules. I get to check it whenever I want.” That’s different from, “Let me go behind your back and unlock your phone and see what’s inside.” Do not spy on each other because then the trust between parent and child becomes broken. That trust has to be cared for. It has to be respected. You can make a rule, “Hey, this is my phone, I bought it for you. I get to check it in front of you. I’m not going to spy on you.” That’s the trust that we have. So give your children the benefit of the doubt.

We make mistakes with our friends all the time. You know, brothers like to make fun of each other don’t we? Sometimes it goes too far and that’s when we say, “Hey man, I don’t appreciate that.” The friend should understand that and move on to something different. And for there to be forgiveness if you have wronged your brother and you have hurt his feelings and he has let you know, say sorry to him. Apologize and move on.

The Arabs, they have a saying, ” the one who seeks a brother who has no fault, then he will remain brotherless. The one who seeks a friend who has no fault will remain friendless. The one who seeks a spouse who has no fault who will remain spouseless.”

So make sure that you give each other the benefit of the doubt. As friends, accept apologies. Apologize when you’re wrong and move forward. So this becomes the purpose behind the hadith – إِنَّمَا الْأَعْمَالُ بِالنِّيَّاتِ the actions are by their intentions. That is not about us. It’s not for us to judge people’s intentions. That is for Allah to judge, because that hadith is from Allah. Allah is the One who judges actions by their intentions and we cannot do so. So that’s the fifth principle, which is to give each other the benefit of the doubt.

The sixth principle for building strong relationships is identifying and stopping negative cycles. I recently introduced that earlier. A lot of times as families, we get stuck in a loop. Let me give you an example. The child comes home from seventh grade and doesn’t want to talk to anyone. Just wants to go to their room and spend time for an hour by themselves. The parents say, “why aren’t you coming and speaking to us? Why don’t you tell me how your day is?” And the parents become upset. Then the child becomes more upset that the parent is upset and it becomes a cycle every single day, every single week, every single month until the parents had enough reason to the Imam. Right? That’s what happens.

Actually, we can put a stop to this. We can identify this as the negative loop, as a negative cycle, and we can try to pull out. We can communicate with each other. The parent can say, “I see that you are very stressed out and you need some time after school. How much time do you need? After that time, I need you to come and help me with the home, help me with your chores, help me to get ready for dinner. But how much time do you need?” The child needs to tell the parents that, “Mom and Dad, I need this much time by myself and then I will come to you and I will spend some time with you. But I need this much time for myself.” And don’t take advantage of it. Don’t over do it, “I need 15 hours by myself,” right? No, compromise.

Same thing with the husband and wife. The husband comes home, the wife comes home, stressed out from work. One person says something to the other, now that person is upset. And that person says something to the other, now they’re upset. So you have to pull out of that cycle. Maybe when I come home from work, I’m going to take a quick walk just by myself, 10 minutes, cool off, calm down and then come home. Find out what it is that you can do to get out of that negative cycle. It’s hard to identify, but if you know it then you know it, right? If it speaks to you, then, you know what those negative cycles are. So we can stop them by identifying them and communicating those things. You tell your spouse, “I need this much time, when I come home from work. Let’s not discuss all the things. Just give me 10 minutes. Give me 15 minutes.”

Number seven is realizing that we have different personalities. This is connected to what I said previously and being able to reach a compromise. I tell newlyweds this. I tell them that Allah has created us all differently. Maybe in those first six months, you feel like you guys are the same person. You like the same things. You eat the same things. You love the same things. You watch everything. Watch the same TV shows, the same movies, everything. And then six months later, you realize Fatima is different from Zaid. Fatima likes organization. Zaid likes to keep things where they were, or rather where he last used them.

And Fatima says to Zaid, “this is wrong. You need to put things exactly where you found them. Khalas. You can’t do this. It has to go exactly where you found it. Why can’t you do this? What’s wrong with you. You need to come to the straight path.” And Zaid, the husband, says, “no, no, no, these are not a big deal. It’s not really that important. What does it matter where I put this or put that. Does it really make a difference?”

That’s where you need to learn to agree to disagree. You need to learn to realize that this person thinks this way and I think this way, but let’s compromise. “Okay, fine. This is very important to you and I understand that. I appreciate that. Therefore, I want to do it. I don’t have to agree with it and you cannot force me to agree with it, but I will do it because I love you, because you are my family member, because we are together. And that’s why I will do this”.

The other person can say as well, “look I don’t feel like this is that important to me but because it’s important to you, I will let it go.” That’s how you can begin to realize the differences that you have between each other and to fill those gaps and to negotiate and compromise each other. That is what Allah means, “work together.” Working together can come with some trouble and some conflict, but if you communicate, if you work on it, then it can get better.

Another very important thing is for children. A lot of times the children want to play video games right when its dinner time. “Mom, this is a live game, it’s online game, I can’t pause it. I have to finish it all the way through otherwise my friends are going to get mad at me. I can’t ditch them.” This is what happens. You know when dinner time is. Stop, don’t start a live game before dinner time. Stop 10 minutes before, go have dinner with your family. And then it may be because your parents are like, how great of a son or daughter you are, they’ll let you play. All right? But to have the same fight every single day, “this is a live game, this is this, this is that, I really need to do this right at this moment,” you need to pull out of that.

And also parents need to remember, speaking of personality differences, this is Allah’s test for us. Every child is different. Some children need more space. Some children need more direction. The way we work with the first one is not how you will be with the second one or the third one. Realize those personality differences. I wish that we could just do the same thing. I wish it was that simple, but many times it’s not. So as parents, we have to adapt and we have to remember Allah does not give us any burden that we cannot handle.

So when the going gets tough, and this brings us to our last (Eighth) principle, realize that we are not perfect. We have to avoid trying always to be perfect or to give the impression of perfection. Do you know what I mean by that? What I mean is “what will the people say?” What will people say if you’re talking like this, or if you do this?” Our goal should not be, what will the people say? Our goal should not be to show off, to show people how great we are. Our goal should be each other, to have trust within our families, to grow with our families. The Prophet (pbuh), he said,

كُلُّ بَنِي آدَمَ خَطَّاءٌ

Every single child of Adam (as) is a sinner. – someone who makes mistakes repeatedly.

وَخَيْرُ الْخَطَّائِينَ التَّوَّابُونَ

And the best of those who repeatedly make the mistakes are those who repent.

(Jami` at-Tirmidhi)

In Islam, repentance means that you correct your actions. You try your best to avoid it in your future. And you seek forgiveness. You seek forgiveness from Allah for the rights of Allah, and you seek forgiveness from people for the rights of people. That is how you can progress.

So we have to realize that we are not perfect. Our families will never be perfect. They will make mistakes. Parents need to realize that they have to give their children space to make their own mistakes and to find their way. Things will not be perfect. They will not memorize Quran perfectly. They will not learn Islam perfectly. You have to give them space to make their own mistakes and direct them and guide them and advise them along the way.

At the same time, children need to realize that their parents are not perfect. Their parents make mistakes. Especially teenagers, you have to forgive your parents if they make mistakes. If they say something you don’t like, if they say in a way that you find it hard to accept, you have to forgive them because they are not perfect. No human being on this entire earth is perfect. We cannot use that as an excuse, right? If your parent is correcting you, advising you, then you can’t say, “Well, I’m imperfect, Imam said. I’m not perfect. What can you do?” It means you get better because the Prophet (pbuh) said that everyone makes mistakes, but the best people are those who correct their mistakes, who seek forgiveness and correct their mistakes. And realize that the amongst all of our relationships between husband and wife, your husband will not be perfect. Your wife will not be perfect. The most you can do is to communicate with each other, make some compromises and give each other benefit of the doubt.

We ask Allah (swt) that He helps us to make our families strong, that He creates strong bond between parents and their children, between husbands and their wives. We ask Allah (swt) that He makes us a strong community and helps us to follow the way of the Prophet (pbuh). That He helps us to give each other the benefit of the doubt. That He helps us to realize our differences and come to a compromise. And that He helps us to pray together and to seek guidance together.

Khutbah: Building a Stronger Family – Part 1

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.

رَبَّنَا تَقَبَّلْ مِنَّآ إِنَّكَ أَنْتَ السَّمِیعُ العَلِیمُ

وَتُبْ عَلَیْنَآ إِنَّكَ أَنتَ التَّوَّابُالرَّحِیمُ

رَبَّنَا لاَ تُزِغْ قُلُوبَنَا بَعْدَ إِذْ ھَدَیْتَنَا وَھَبْ لَنَا مِن لَّدُنكَ رَحْمَةً إِنَّكَ أَنتَ الْوَھَّابُ

رَبَّنَآ ءَاتِنَا فِى ٱلدُّنْيَا حَسَنَةً وَفِى ٱلْءَاخِرَةِ حَسَنَةً وَقِنَا عَذَابَ ٱلنَّارِ

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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