You can listen to Imam Adam’s Khutbah above (starts at 5:25), watch it below, or read the summary below.
بِسْمِ اللَّهِ الرَّحْمَٰنِ الرَّحِيمِ
In the name of Allah, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful.
وَكَذَٰلِكَ جَعَلْنَاكُمْ أُمَّةً وَسَطًا لِّتَكُونُوا شُهَدَاءَ عَلَى النَّاسِ
Wakathalika jaAAalnakum ommatan wasatan litakoonoo shuhadaa AAala alnnasi
And thus we have made you a just community that you will be witnesses over the people
(Surah Al-Baqarah, Quran 2:143)
My dear brothers and sisters, all praises are due to Allah. Allah is Al-Malik, The Master of everything. He is the One who is the master of everything that we know, everything that we don’t know. Every day in our prayer, every day in our salah, we remind ourselves of His Lordship and His dominion. When we say مَالِكِ يَوْمِ الدِّينِ – Master of the Day of Judgment, we remind ourselves several times a day of the fact that Allah is the true owner and the true master. Anytime someone we love passes away, what do we say as Muslims? We say,
إِنَّا لِلَّهِ وَإِنَّا إِلَيْهِ رَاجِعُونَ
inna lillahi wainna ilayhi rajiAAoona
“to Allah we belong and to Him, we shall all return.”
(Surah Al-Baqarah, Quran 2:156)
When we accept this fact in our life that Allah is the master then we relinquish the idea that we are the master and we give it to Allah. The problem in the world that we live in today is that you are told that you are your ultimate master. It’s all about you. It’s all about your life. It’s all about your desire. It’s all about you. What does that leave you with? It leaves you without purpose because who are you as a limited human being in this short span of time amongst eternity. Who are you to decide your purpose and your meaning? That is the dilemma of the world we live in today, the world of abundance. Our parents grew up in scarcity. We live in abundance.
So we must give the idea of ownership up to Allah. That is empowering to us because it makes us realize that our possessions do not own us. We simply have these possessions for this limited time on this earth. Our work and our job is not our definition or our only meaning. Our pursuit of the dunya is not our only meaning in this temporary life. Realize that there is this temporary life and there is the hereafter and our pursuit is of the hereafter. Allah tells us pursue the hereafter,
وَلَا تَنسَ نَصِيبَكَ مِنَ الدُّنْيَا
wala tansa naseebaka mina alddunya
and don’t forget your portion of the world.
(Surah Al-Qasas, Quran 28:77)
He didn’t say, “don’t forget the world.” He said, “don’t forget your portion of the world.” Realize that you have a portion in this world, but that you can never have the whole world. You can never be the master of everything. Even if you were to collect billions and billions, eventually your time on this earth will end. There’s no way you could even spend all of that in one lifetime. There is no way in which you could benefit from all of that. Actually most of the people who have that, they are simply in the race to achieve more and more. That has become their meaning and their purpose.
So as Muslims, we must seek balance and moderation. If we look at the world in the universe, we realize that everything is in equilibrium. Everything is created with balance. The distance of the earth from the sun is exactly balanced so that we do not overheat and we do not become frozen. That distance is an existence of equilibrium and balance. The whole world is in a balance and there are things which set off that balance and move that balance off center through the actions of human beings. But otherwise Allah has given us this world as a trust. He has given us these bodies as a trust and He wants us to engage with these blessings with the concept of moderation and balance.
That is why Allah called us the community or the nation of moderation and balance. That is why the Prophet (pbuh) told us,
إِنَّ الدِّينَ يُسْرٌ – certainly the religion is ease.
The وَلَنْ يُشَادَّ الدِّينَ أَحَدٌ إِلَّا غَلَبَهُ – if anyone tries to pursue the deen in a way which is extreme, then the deen will overwhelm them.
There is the famous story of three men who were very rigorous and over zealous in their worship. One man would fast every single day. The second man would never sleep at night. He would only pray. The third man said he did not have a family because he wanted to devote himself solely to worship and the hereafter. When they came to the Prophet (pbuh), he said, “the one who veers or who desires other than my path is not from me.” He said, you must fast some days and you must not fast some days. You must pray some of the night and you must sleep some of the night and you must get married. فَمَنْ رَغِبَ عَنْ سُنَّتِىْ فَلَيْسَ مِنِّىْ – because “the person who desires other than my way is not from me.”
The Prophet (pbuh) lived in that balance. That was something which was part of his life. He made time for the ummah and the individuals who accepted Islam, but he also made time for his family. There is the famous story of Salman and Abu Darda, and it is a beautiful story because it not only tells us what Islam teaches us, but it shows us how the Companions of the Prophet (pbuh) understood their religion. This was not something coming from the Prophet (pbuh), but this was coming from his companions.
Salman stayed in the company of his dear friend Abu Darda and he noticed Abu Darda’s wife does not have enough clothing to clothe herself in a respectful and dignified manner. He realized that Abu Darda does not sleep and he prays all night. He wanted to have lunch with Abu Darda and Abu Darda said, “no, I am fasting.” He realized that Abu Darda is living a life devoid of balance. So Abu Darda sat down and he said these beautiful words.
He said, “My dear friend,
ولأهلك عليك حقًّا – your family has a right over you
وإنَّ لِنَفسكَ عليك حقًّا – and you have a right over yourself. Your own nafs (self) has a right over you
و لربِّكَ عليك حقًّا – and your Lord has a right over you.
فأعْطِ كلَّ ذي حقٍّ حقَّهُ – So, give every obligation the right that it deserves.”
Maybe Abu Darda had gone too much into the pursuit of the hereafter and he completely forgot the dunya. Our problem is the opposite- that our pursuit of the world has made us unbalanced.
So how can we start to find that balance in our life? Today it’s called wellbeing or work-life balance. How can you achieve that in your life? How can you make sure that you are not simply a robot, the perfect worker, the perfect servant to capitalism? How can you make sure that you actually have a life of balance where you give each part and segment of your life its due?
That is not something that is easy. That is not something that you say, “be” and it is. That is the power of Allah. We don’t have that power. But it is something that is a struggle and it is something that is worth pursuing. Even the companions of the Prophet (pbuh) faced the same dilemma in a different way. They’ve faced a dilemma of balance and we also face a dilemma of balance. So it doesn’t mean that if you are off balance that you are not Muslim enough. It’s not what it’s saying because they were definitely Muslim enough. They were the companions of the Prophet (pbuh). However Prophet (pbuh) worked to guide them. That is the concept which we recite in our salah every single day. What do we say?
اهْدِنَا الصِّرَاطَ الْمُسْتَقِيمَ – O Allah, guide us to the straight path.
What is this straight path? It is the path of moderation. The Prophet (pbuh) created a visual aid for the companions. He took a stick and he drew a line in the sand and he said, “This is the straight path.” Then he drew lines that emanated to the left and to the right of the straight path. He said each of these lines is an opportunity or a way to veer off the straight path. There is Shaytan at the end of the path calling to that way. But as believers, we must stick to the straight path and not go too much to the left, not go too much to the right, not veer off, but stick to the straight path. That is something which our deen teaches.
So we ask Allah that He helps us to find the straight path. That He shows us the straight path, that He guides us to the straight path, that He keeps us to the straight path, and that He helps us to achieve the end of the straight path, which is success in the hereafter and His pleasure. Ameen.
I went overseas to study Islam and the class where I appreciated my religion the most. At first, when I was young, I had this feeling that a good Muslim is someone who looks Muslim. The one who does the external things which make you look Muslim. That uses miswak instead of a toothbrush. That has a beard like the Prophet (pbuh) or has a dress closer to the Prophet (pbuh). One that looks the part. But then there came a class where I appreciated Islam and my love of Islam was more than ever it had been before when we discussed the balance with which Islam wants us. That was the class that made me appreciate my deen more than any exaltation to go towards the things which are external.
To give you an example- Islam balances between the dunya and the akhirah, like we discussed. It doesn’t want us to be completely and utterly, fully encompassed and overwhelmed by our pursuit of the dunya and on the other hand, not to be completely encompassed in our pursuit of the hereafter, but to find that balance.
Islam also balances between the individual and the collective. So here we have an imbalance of the individual and maybe in Eastern cultures, there is imbalance towards the collective- that you will marry who I tell you to marry from the place that I tell you to marry from, because it is better for the family. Even though in Islam, the consent of the two individuals has a very important part to play. Actually it is the thing which makes the nikkah and marriage valid. The family might have some small part to play, but it is not the center of the nikkah. When we focus too much on the collective, then we break that balance. If we focus too much on the individual, we break that balance. So Islam teaches us the balance between the collective and the individual.
Islam asserts individual rights as well. Many of the stories in the Quran talk about an individual rising against the collective. Many of the lessons in the Quran are about going against the forefathers because they were wrong. Looking at the deeds of the forefathers, were they right or wrong, and then following appropriately. Even in our salah and in our worship, Allah tells us-
وَلَا تَجْهَرْ بِصَلَاتِكَ
wala tajhar bisalatika
And do not recite [too] loudly in your prayer
(Surah Al-Isra, Quran 17:110)
“when you read your salah O Prophet, don’t make your voice too loud nor make it too quiet. Find a way in the middle, even in your prayer.”
When you give and when you are generous then don’t be stingy. Don’t be miserly, but don’t be so extravagant that you put yourself into despair. That you put yourself into a place from which you cannot recover. The great scholars said-
“Courage is the middle between cowardice and recklessness.”
The scholars went through all of the things which are positive attributes and they found that they are positive because they are balanced. They are in the middle. So are we able to appreciate our deen? Are we able to appreciate the practice of our religion in our lives as something which should bring us balance?
Someone might say, “I don’t have time to pray. I’m too busy to. There’s so many things to do. I have to do this and this and this. I need to get this done by this deadline. I need to do this by this time. I must go and I must help my family at this time. There’s simply too much to do. I don’t have time to do.” But when you actually realize the purpose of the prayer is so that you do not become consumed entirely by your work. That you do not become consumed entirely by your pursuit, but that you are able to take a break and re-center yourself and rebalance yourself. That is the benefit of the salah.
If you ever ask yourself, why is the salah at this time, this is the worst time the salah could be why isn’t it at that time? Well, first of all, the salah has a very wide window. But why is it at that time? It is at that time, precisely because it should take you away from the other things and give you that time to re-center and to establish and to find the balance in your life. So what are some practical things that we can all do in order to find that balance in our life?
1] Appreciate the moments when you do have balance. Realize that balance is a struggle. It’s not something you either have it or you don’t, but rather there are times when you have more balance and times when you have less balance. So appreciate the times when you do have more balance. Create that appreciation.
2] Prioritize it. My teachers and mentors used to tell me there should be people in your life who, when they call you, you should never let it go to voicemail. It doesn’t matter how engrossed you are in the TV show you are watching or how engrossed you are in the spreadsheet you are creating. When that person calls you answer the call. So prioritize it. Prioritize that balance when you see the opportunities.
What makes successful relationships? When we think of work-life balance, we’re thinking of our family. How do you create that balance? You must prioritize in relationships. They talk about something called “a bid for connection.” What does that mean? That means that your family member says something to connect with you, and it may not be a hugely important thing.
You’re driving in the car, thinking about work or thinking about your taxes or thinking about this and that, and your spouse or your child says something. “Baba, look how tall that building is! Mama, look at the color of the sky!” If you’re driving, maybe don’t look around too much, but that is a bid for connection. It is saying, come out of the taxes and come out of the accounting and come out of the work and come out of the stress and what your boss said to you and what this person said to you and how you feel about your brother or your sister. Come out of that and respond to the bid for connection. “Yes, it’s a beautiful sky.” “Yes. The building is very tall. I can’t believe how tall it’s gotten.” And don’t think of it as, “ah, this is the words of the children. This is the words of the spouse who cares. I have too many things on my mind.” But prioritize those bids of connection.
When they looked at relationships, they studied it here in Washington. One of the foremost institutes studied marriages. They found that the marriages that are the most likely to succeed is when there is Ijab wa Qubool. There is an offer of connection and then there is an acceptance of the connection, and that is how the marriage starts. The marriage starts with Ijab wa Qubool. It starts with the offer of the proposal and the acceptance of the proposal. That must continue throughout the marriage. It does not stop with that first point. So prioritize this in your life.
3] Be specific. Don’t simply say, I want to spend more quality time with my family. Be specific. Many of us might have studied SMART goals, right? The S stands for specific. It’s the first one for a reason. That if you are going to create a goal, start with something which is specific. “I will spend this much time, 30 minutes, this often with each child in order to bring more balance into my life.” And realize that you might fail and you might not live up to that, but it is the act of prioritization and the act of attempting to find balance, which is the most important.
Finally, I was reading about something that is becoming more and more common, especially amongst Asians. It is this disease called empty heart disease. What is empty heart disease? It is not a physical disease, but it’s common amongst Asians that are very high achieving. They found that, for example, in China, 40% of students who attend the equivalent of the Ivy leagues in China have this disease called empty heart disease, where they feel like they have made progress in their worldly pursuits, but that their actual life has no meaning or purpose. That they’re wondering, “what is it that I have achieved? Why have I achieved it? Why is it important?” This leads to incredibly incredibly difficult situations where there’s suicidal ideation and so on.
So it’s important for us to put pursuit of the world in its place in our life and not make it our whole pursuit. Not to make it our whole identity, because it does have ramifications. You think to yourself, that’s everyone else, but it’s not to me. But actually when you say 40% of people then it’s actually a very big problem. It could very likely be that you who think you are balanced or think you don’t need balance. You are the primary person who needs balance the most. If you say to yourself, “that’s fine and dandy, but I don’t need it. I need to achieve, and I must succeed no matter the cost,” then you are the person who needs this the most.
We ask Allah that He protects us. We ask Allah that He protects our children. We ask Allah that He protects our families. We ask Allah that He helps us to live a life of moderation and balance. We ask Allah that He helps us to succeed in that pursuit of balance. We ask Allah that He helps us to be become ummatan wasatan – a nation of balance in moderation. We ask Allah that He fulfills the needs of those in need. That He gives a good spouse to those that are in need of a spouse, that He gives good children and righteous children to those that want children. We ask Allah that those who need a job may Allah give them the best job. That those that want promotion may Allah give them the best promotion. May Allah give us all success in this dunya and in the hereafter. May Allah accept our good deeds and forgive our sins. 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
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.