You can listen to Imam Adam’s Khutbah above (starts at 1:30), watch it below, or read the summary below.

بِسْمِ اللَّهِ الرَّحْمَٰنِ الرَّحِيمِ

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

 ۗ يُؤْتِي الْحِكْمَةَ مَن يَشَاءُ ۚ وَمَن يُؤْتَ الْحِكْمَةَ فَقَدْ أُوتِيَ خَيْرًا كَثِيرًا

Yutee alhikmata man yashao waman yuta alhikmata faqad ootiya khayran katheeran

He gives wisdom to whom He wills, and whoever has been given wisdom has certainly been given much good. 

(Surah Baqarah, Quran 2:269)

My dear brothers and sisters, alhamdulillah, we just completed the month of Ramadan and already more than 10 days have passed. It’s gone by so quickly. The barakah that we had in Ramadan is missing, the barakah in our time where the days felt fulfilling. Then in these last 10 nights, they just flew by like it was nothing. Like water, they just flew by, subhanAllah. So in the month of Ramadan, the goal was to achieve that mindfulness of Allah and to strengthen ourselves for the rest of the year. One of the ways in which we must strengthen ourselves is to use the worship that we did, the devotion that we gave to Allah, the time that we gave, and the sacrifice that we made.

We must use that to increase our trust in Allah. Because that is something that goes missing from time to time in our life. At times of difficulty and challenge, we have to realize that we must trust Allah. When the going is easy, then it’s easy to trust Allah. But when the going gets tough then it’s difficult. So Ramadan was meant to help us and strengthen us. When those difficult times come, when we don’t get the promotion that we wanted, or the job that we wanted, or the spouse that we wanted, or the children that we wanted, or whatever else. It may be whatever aspirations we have and we didn’t get it. Or it didn’t work out the way that we wanted with our limited human possibility, our limited human intellect, the limitations that Allah has placed on us. If we don’t understand, then it’s important for us in those moments to have trust in Allah. What I’d like to talk about today is how can we trust Allah? How can we increase our trust in Allah?

The first thing to understand is that Allah is All-Wise and whatever He does, He does for a reason. This is incredibly important. Even though we are all individuals and we all have free will and there’s these competing forces between all the human beings, Allah has some place for each and every single one of us. Allah talks about Al-Hikmah in the Quran. Allah is Al-Hakeem. Hikmah and wisdom is something that we want to bring into our life. What is hikmah? Allah says in the Quran – يُؤْتِي الْحِكْمَةَ مَن يَشَاءُ Allah gives wisdom to whoever He wills. وَمَن يُؤْتَ الْحِكْمَةَ فَقَدْ أُوتِيَ خَيْرًا كَثِيرًاand whoever has been given wisdom has certainly been given much good. Whoever is given wisdom, then they have been given a great, abundant, enormous, good. Wisdom is an enormous good. It comes from Allah. It’s bestowed on those who trust Allah’s wisdom.

The تخلق بأخلاق اللهaim for the character of Allah. Allah is All-Wise. We should want wisdom. Allah is Ar-Raheem, He is the Most Merciful. We should want to be merciful. That’s how we can learn from Allah. So what is wisdom? Wisdom means to place something in its proper position, exactly where it needs to be. Ask any of your elders about the challenges that they have faced in their life, the difficulties that they overcome. Did they regret those difficulties and those challenges? They will say, “those challenges and those difficulties got me to where I am today. They strengthened me and got me to where I am today.” So have that trust in Allah’s wisdom. That “whatever happens, it happens for a reason.” Allah knows us and this is matched with another important concept, which is where Allah says –

لَا يُكَلِّفُ اللَّهُ نَفْسًا إِلَّا وُسْعَهَا

La yukallifu Allahu nafsan illa wusAAaha

Allah does not charge a soul except [with that within] its capacity. 

( Surah Baqarah, Quran 2:286)

Allah does not burden anyone with more than they can handle. If you are taking an exam and the exam was written by a standardized testing, one-size-fits-all robotic entity that doesn’t know you, how do you feel towards that exam? You feel maybe it’s biased against me. Maybe it doesn’t know what I’ve been through. But when your teacher writes, your teacher knows you, your teacher knows your aptitude, your teacher knows the challenges that you’ve had in learning the material or whatever it might be or what the class has been taught. So the teacher produces an examination that is appropriate for their students.

And how about Allah? He knows every single aspect of your life. He knows more than what you tell your best friend. He knows more than what you tell your parents, child, or spouse. He knows you intimately. He is the One that has prepared you. He is the One that has prepared the challenges that you face. He is the One that has prepared the good times in your life. He is the One that has placed them in front of you on a plate. He is the One who knows you.

So when that test is happening, when that difficulty is happening, and that challenge is happening, realize that Allah does not burden anyone with more than what they can handle and embrace that. When we’re going through that difficult time, we’re able to remember that Allah is All-Wise. Whatever He does is for a reason and He does not burden anyone with more than what they can handle.

I was reading about a sister whose son had autism. The people in the masjid would tell her, “you need to pray more, he will be cured. You’re not making the right kind of dua. You’re not praying enough.” She came back and she said, “I am praying and I am making dua.” She was a convert to Islam and she was a genuine and sincere person. She said, “I am making dua. I am praying. Why isn’t this being removed from me? The people are telling me to pray so that this is removed. So this challenge in my life can be alleviated.”

This is the wrong understanding of Islam, my brothers and sisters. Islam is not a transaction. Our relationship with Allah is not a transaction. It’s not a trade where if I pray this much, then Allah will give me this. If I do this X number of times, than Allah will give me this. This is not a belief of ours- that if I do this and this and this, then all the difficulties of my life will be alleviated. That is not our belief. I’ll tell you why-

Look at all of the stories of the prophets. Who are the prophets? They are the righteous. They are our role models. They are the ones who are sent by Allah to teach us. They are amongst the الصالحينthe most righteous people. Did they face challenges?

Yusuf (as) is betrayed by his own siblings, thrown into the well, abandoned in the middle of a forest where no one will be able to find him where he is sure to die. He is sold into slavery because of the actions of his own sibling. What would you say to Yusuf (as)? Would you say, “you should have prayed more?” Would you say, “you should’ve made dua more?” This is somebody, Subhan Allah, having the ability to interpret dreams. He is someone who is the son of a prophet and has been given the guidance. He will also follow in the footsteps of his forefathers Yaqoob and Ishaq. He will also be a prophet. And with that, he faces this extreme betrayal from his own family members. Would we say to him, “Yusuf, if you only make some more dua, if you only prayed a little more, if only you were a little more righteous, then this wouldn’t have happened to you, Yusuf.” Is that what we would say?

When the Prophet (pbuh), lost his son Ibrahim, he cried because he lost his son. All of his children, besides Fatima, passed away in his own life. The Prophet (pbuh) suffered. He lost his wife, Khadija, his uncle, Abu Ta’lib. We know the story. His father, his grandfather, his mother- while he was a child, he lost them. Would we ever say to the Prophet (pbuh) that he needs to pray more? He needs to make dua more? We would never say that. Difficulty and challenge is something that comes as a part of this worldly life, because this is not Paradise. Our relationship with Allah is not transactional. Our relationship with Allah is on trust. Trusting that Allah is All-Wise and trusting Allah will never give us more than what we can handle.

I heard someone say, I want to be less pious because then I can handle less. Allah will give me less. Interesting logic. Rather our connection to Allah prepares us for that difficulty. It helps us to know how to respond. So we don’t respond from a place of despair, but we respond from a place of wisdom and in a way that is inspiring- in a way that increases our imaan and the imaan of everyone around us. That has a reverberating effect. SubhanAllah. That is what our imaan prepares us for. That is what we went through Ramadan for. That is what we sacrifice time and energy and hunger and thirst. Why did we do that? To strengthen us, and to strengthen our connection to Allah.

So that sister with the autistic child, when she realized this fact that her son was a blessing in her life, she reflected on the verse where Allah says –

إِنَّ مَعَ الْعُسْرِ يُسْرًا

Inna maAAa alAAusri yusran

Indeed, with hardship [will be] ease.

(Surah Ash-Sharh, Quran 94:6)

Allah did not say إِنَّ َبَعْد الْعُسْرِ يُسْرًا – He did not say that after hardship comes ease. He said, “with hardship comes ease.” Yes, you’re in a different situation from others. You had certain dreams of what your child would become or what would happen or how they would be. But what does Allah say? It could be that you absolutely loved something and it is actually absolutely terrible for you.

وَعَسَىٰ أَن تُحِبُّوا شَيْئًا وَهُوَ شَرٌّ لَّكُمْ

waAAasa an tuhibboo shayan wahuwa sharrun lakum

and perhaps you love a thing and it is bad for you.

(Surah Baqarah, Quran 2:216)

وَعَسَىٰ أَن تَكْرَهُوا شَيْئًا وَهُوَ خَيْرٌ لَّكُمْ

waAAasa an takrahoo shayan wahuwa khayrun lakum

But perhaps you hate a thing and it is good for you;

(Surah Baqarah, Quran 2:216)

It could be that you absolutely hate something and it is better for you. Prophet Yusuf (as) is thrown into the well, betrayed by his brother, and sold into slavery. But that places him in the right time and the right place- to interpret the dream of the king and then for the king to honor him with the highest position in the land and to be the one who is managing the drought and famine in Egypt. Hundreds of thousands, maybe millions of people, he helped go through seven years of famine.

Allah placed him in that position. Even though it was through difficulty and challenge, He prepared him for this inevitable position that he was given. It helped him understand the plight of the everyday person, not just as the son of a prophet but as someone who has really been there. Where he is sent to prison and he has seen what that is like. He’s been the slave of a noble person and he has seen what happens when someone is wrongfully accused. He’s seen what’s happened when someone has been betrayed by those that are closest to them. That all prepared him for that inevitable position, which Allah gave him that he never asked for. He never made that dua, “Ya Allah, give me that. I want that.”

So when we are facing difficulty and challenge, of course, we turn to Allah. Of course we turn to Allah for comfort and for ease, and ya Allah alleviate the difficulties and the challenges. But that is not why we believe. Rather we want to trust Allah and His wisdom and trust that whatever He has given us, we can handle. And it is our imaan that will dictate how we respond to them. We ask Allah that He increases in our imaan. I ask Allah that He makes us firm in our faith. Ameen.

I was reading about children and how we should praise them. One of the things it talked about was how we are when we praise our children. Children who were told or adults who as children were told growing up that “you’re very smart. You’re incredibly smart. Everyone wishes they were as smart as you.” When they were told that kind of vague overpraise then what would happen is when they faced challenges, they were more likely to grow up with that fixed mindset of, “I am a smart person. I can handle any challenge.”

But the minute there was a challenge that was difficult, where their smartness could not take them through it, then they failed. Eventually they learned the behavior where they would avoid things that were too challenging. Because if something is too challenging, that means that I am no longer smart, but as long as I continue to do only the things which I can do, then I can continue to be smart and I can continue the perception that I am smart.

This all results from this praise. I’m sure there’s other behaviors as well, and other things that result from it. But it was interesting how the psychologist was talking about the way we word things and how we praise. That is something which the Prophet (pbuh) taught us- not to overpraise and to praise people for the action and to praise specific action. And not to overpraise someone so much so that he referred to it. This was something which was an idiom. It’s a kind of phrasing where he said, when someone overpraised someone else, you have cut their neck- meaning their head has gotten too big. You’ve made them arrogant about what they’ve done.

The second thing I learned from this is how as Muslim we are trained by Allah and His Messenger who understand the difficulties. It’s not about my perception of others or how I am perceived by others. Or when I set out to do something or I set upon a course of action. It’s not about the perception of what everyone else thinks. What’s more important is that, do I have that trust in Allah? “Even if it is difficult, Ya Allah, I will take the means. Ya Allah, I will do what’s necessary.”

That’s what we are taught in Islam. We are taught you must take the asbab. You must take the means. You cannot sit in a corner and say, “ya Allah, my rizq. Ya Allah, my provision. Ya Allah deliver it to me.” Rather, you must go and you must take it. You must go and seek that provision. Even if it is difficult, even if it is challenging, you must go and you must take the means. No matter how smart you are or how smart you’ve been told you are, you must still take the means.

This goes back to the famous example of the person who did not tie their camel. The man who came through the Prophet’s masjid and complained that his camel had gone missing. The Prophet (pbuh) said, “did you not tie the camel?” The man said, “no, I trusted in Allah. I left my camel.” That was the time when your camel had everything. All your possessions were on your camel. You did not leave them at home because anyone could walk into your home. We did not have ring doorbells that could tell you who’s coming around. So you kept all your possessions on your camel. Your camel is gone. Everything you own is gone. So the camel is a big deal. It’s not like a car. The man’s camel was gone. He’s saying, “but I trusted in Allah.” And what did Prophet (pbuh) say? He said, “tie your camel and trust in Allah.” And that’s a lesson for all of us.

There is a place for us having an impact and to have an influence. Those things which are within our capacity to act upon, we must act upon. Those things which are beyond our capacity as Muslims, we understand this balance that those things are beyond us. We have no influence on what would be on the exam, we have no influence on how the boss thinks or the boss acts. We have no influence on what the stock market is doing. But the things that we do have influence on, the things that we can do, the things that we can learn as Muslims, we understand the concept of tying our camel and placing our trust in Allah.

May Allah increase in our Imaan. May Allah fulfill the needs of those in need. May Allah give a righteous spouse to anyone who is looking for a spouse. May Allah cure those that are sick. May Allah have mercy, grant His forgiveness to those that have passed away. May Allah reunite them with their loved ones on the day of judgment and in the akhirah in the hereafter, in the highest levels of paradise. May Allah help us to appreciate His wisdom in our lives. May Allah help us to overcome the difficulties and challenges in our lives with our imaan intact and increasing. I ask Allah that He gives us knowledge that is beneficial. We ask Allah that He helps us earn that which is halal and to spend that in halal way. 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!