FRIDAY DISCOURSE

AKRA FM January 28, 2000

Prof. Dr. Mahmud Es'ad COSAN

HELPING A BELIEVER WHO IS IN NEED

As-salaamu alaikum wa rahmatullah wa barakatuh!

My dear and beloved audience! May the peace, mercy, abundance, and blessings of Allah be with you. May He grant you happiness and favor in this world and in the hereafter.

a. Rewards for Equipping a Soldier

I would like to start today's discourse with a hadith which was reported by Hadrat Omar ibn-i Khattab and recorded in important hadith collections including Ahmad Ibn-i Hambal's, Ibn-i Hibban's, Mustedrak of Hàkim, and Bayhakî.

RE. 406/1 (Man ezalle ra'se ghàzin ezallehullàhu azze ve jelle yawmal-qiyâmah. Wa man jehheze ghàziyen fî sebîlillâh, hattâ yesteqille bijihâzihî, kâne lehû mithla ajrihî hattâ yemûte aw yerji'. Wa man benâ masjiden yuzkeru fîhismullàhi benallàhu lehû beyten fil-jannah.)

This blessed hadith is about equipping a ghàzi, a soldier, a warrior defending the Muslim country. (Man ezalle ra'se ghàzin) If a person provides a shade for the head of a soldier, (ezallehullàhu azze ve jelle yawmal-qiyâmah) Allah (SWT) will provide a shade for him on the Day of Resurrection."

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We may wonder how we can provide a shade for the head of a soldier. If a soldier gets into a battle bare-headed, he may be hurt by an arrow, a sword or a spear on the head. To provide him a shade could mean providing him a helmet to protect his head, his neck, his eyes and his face. It could also mean providing him something to protect his head from the heat of the sun as he travels in the sun.

"If a person provides a shade for a ghazi -- by giving him a helmet or something to protect his head from the heat of the sun -- Allah (may He be honored and glorified) will provide a shade for him on the Day of Resurrection."

As you know, on the Day of Resurrection, the sun will be brought closer as indicated in various ahadith. People will feel as if their brains boiling. Because of the intense heat, people will sweat, and the sweat will penetrate seventy yards into the ground. Some will be in a flood of sweat reaching their knees, waists, chins or ears. That is why it is important to have a shade on the Day or Resurrection. We also know from other ahadith that the charities and zakat will become a shade for the giver. That means those who gives charities and pays zakat will be saved from this hardship on that day.

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One who provides a shade for the ghazi will be saved from the hardship of the Day of Resurrection. Allah will provide a shade for him. This could be similar to the shade of charities and zakat. There will be certain servants whom will be in the shade of the Divine Throne of Allah. They will be at elevated positions, away from the hardship of the Day of Resurrection. Others will have to look up to see them as one would gaze the stars. Those who provide a shade for a ghazi may be in the shade of the Divine Throne. Allah knows the details.

(Wa man jehheze ghàziyen fî sebîlillâh)"If a person equips a ghazi just for the sake of Allah, (hattâ yesteqille bijihâzihî), if he equips the ghazi completely, (kâne lehû mithla ajrihî) he will be rewarded with the same reward that the ghazi earns." Naturally the ghazi keeps earning rewards as he walks in a valley, climbs up a hill, gets tired and rests. Not only the ghazi receives rewards, but also he who equips the ghazi receives the same rewards in addition--without any decrease in the rewards earned by the ghazi. This continues (hattâ yemûte aw yerji') until the ghazi dies or returns to his home.

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Going to a battle to defend the Muslim interests is very rewarding. However, not everybody can join the army for jihad: some may be old, sick, or weak; some may have other responsibilities. But when they equip a ghazi, they receive the same rewards a ghazi receives until the ghazi dies or returns home.

The Prophet (pbuh) continued: (Wa man benâ masjiden yuzkeru fîhismullàhi) "If a person builds a masjid in which Allah is remembered, Qur'an is recited, and prayers are performed, (benallàhu lehû beyten fil-jannah) Allah builds a house in the Paradise for him."

The houses in the Paradise are not like two-bedroom or three bedroom houses; they are like mansions and palaces with seventy thousand furnished rooms.

We have to try our best to obey the orders of Allah. One of the most important orders of Allah is to defend Islam, to protect the Muslim nations and countries. We must not avoid these duties. If one is not able to go for jihad, he must support those who carry out these duties as much as he possibly can. When he does that, he receives the full rewards.

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As for the second part of the hadith, we are trying to establish masjids in localities where there are many Muslims living. There is also some modest work underway in European countries and in the United States. Because Allah builds a house in the Paradise for a person who builds a mosque, each Muslim should have the ideal of building a mosque just for the sake of Allah so that Muslims can remember Allah in it.

Each person may have a desire such as moving into a his own house, buying a car and alike. He often expresses this desire, "Insha-Allah, I will save some money to buy a house so I do not have to pay rent." Or we hear, "The public transportation system is insufficient; I wish I had a car to take my family to places." Each person should also have the intention of building a masjid wherever it is needed, and should express this desire, "Alhamdulillah, I have the means to build a masjid wherever it is needed. I would like to build it."

There is town here, called Griffith. I heard that there are many Muslim Turks living there. When we opened a mosque in Dabbo, we were told that there were about two hundred Muslim families in Griffith and that there should be a mosque there, too. We went to the town and met with a leader of the Turkish community there. He said, "We do not have two hundred families here. The number changes with the seasons as the migrant workers come and go. Still, we have about seventy or eighty families." They used to perform prayers in a tent, but now they have rented a place to use as a masjid. There is a work underway to open a mosque in Griffith. With your prayers, a mosque will be opened there and in other towns as well. We need to try harder to establish places to teach Islam, spread the message of Islam, and perform prayers and remembrance of Allah.

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My father had attended a madrasa in Çanakkale in his youth. We decided to go and visit the school some time ago. It was established by Çirpilarli Ali Hojaefendi who attended the Gumush-khanawi Dargah in Istanbul and returned to Çanakkale upon the completion his education and spiritual training. He build a mosque in his village and a madrasa with 20 or 30 rooms around the mosque. Later he was appointed as the mufti of Bayramiç. We visited the mosque in the village and his grave in Bayramiç cemetery.

There was also Muhammad Zâhid-i Kawtharî. He, too, attended our Gumush-khanawi Dargah in Istanbul. He became a great scholar with students from many parts of the world including Egypt and Malaysia. When he returned his village in Duzce, he build a mosque and a madrasa around the mosque. We visited his village some time ago.

It appears to me that our spiritual leaders of that time must have ordered them, "Wherever you go, build a place of worship and a school to disseminate knowledge." The examples prove this. The students of the Dargah build mosques and madrasas when they returned their home towns or villages. They started educating people and taught spiritual manners. They provided great services for their community and the Muslim community at large.

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May Allah Almighty give us opportunities and means to build houses of worship and schools to teach Islam and educate our community.

b. One who helps a murderer

The second hadith is from Abdullah Ibn-i Omar--may Allah be pleased with him. The previous hadith was from his father, Hadrat Omar. Our beloved Prophet is pointing out an important issue:

RE. 406/3 (Men eàne alâ demimriin muslimin walaw bishatri kelimetin kutibe beyne 'ayneyhi yewmel-qiyâmeti âyisun min rahmetillâh.)

The Prophet said, (Men eàne) If a person helps (alâ demimriin muslimin) with the bloodshed of a Muslim (walaw bishatri kelimetin) even if it is with 'one half of a word'..."

Here, "word" means a sentence, some meaningful utterance of words. "One half of a word" means half a sentence, a signal, a nod, a look, or something that can be interpreted as meaningful.

How could it be? A person may be a false witness with a false testimony claiming, "I saw this person committing such a crime." In fact he did not see anything like that. Or, he could be asked, "Did you see it, too?" If his false answer is "Yes, I did," then he would be helping a person being punished by law unjustly. It could be a capital punishment and the suspect may be killed. The false testimony may send an innocent person to the death chamber.

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Another possibility is that a Muslim may be running away from an oppressor, a tyrant, or a murderer. A person may be asked about the whereabouts of the Muslim, and he provides information or points where the Muslim is. He will be helping a murderer in committing a crime. One can think of endless possibilities like these ones. Here the issue is the life of a Muslim. A Muslim shall not be killed, hurt or wronged. That is very important.

Suppose that a person contributed to the murder of a Muslim. (Kutibe beyne 'ayneyhi yewmel-qiyâmeti âyisun min rahmetillâh) "On the Day of Resurrection, it will be written on his forehead, between his eyes, that he will be deprived of the mercy of Allah." He will have no hope of receiving mercy from Allah. He will be subject to the wrath of Allah, he will enter hellfire.

This is terrible! No kind of injustice is permissible in Islam. Nobody should suffer from injustice or maltreatment. Causing to the death of a Muslim is an extreme offense. While the world is protecting all kinds of species from the giant whales to the small insects, it will not be right to kill a human being. It will be as bad to help with the murder of a Muslim. Such a helper will be deprived of Allah's Mercy which is boundless.

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Perhaps it is the destiny of the Muslims that they have been suffering for the last several centuries, perhaps even more, since the time of the Prophet (pbuh). We could think about the history and conclude that the believers are suffering since the time of Prophet Adam. The hardship they experienced, the tortures and injustices they had to go through, the oppression they suffered are endless. There are always events inflicting harm and injustice on Muslims in the world.

We have seen the recent examples in Bosnia, in Kosovo. We had seen events in Cyprus. We have seen the bodies of children piled-up, the mass graves, and the signs of rape and tortures. We lived the oppression of Serbs and Bulgarians during the time of Jivkov. we are aware of the suffering the Albanians had to endure in Kosovo. We are watching the Chechnia on television.

May Allah subhanahu wa ta'ala shower His blessings, grace and mercy on us. May He protect us, for we need protection. The manliness and bravery requires a stance with those who have been oppressed and wronged. That is our national character. We take the side of the wronged even if he is weak; we oppose the oppressor even if he is strong. this has been like this throughout the history. Muslims uphold the humanitarian values, defend the human rights. Others, too, claim to be humane, yet they commit terrible atrocities. They give commands to start genocide, annihilate villages, wipe out millions of people. We see it all over the world.

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While everybody mistreats everybody else, Muslims should be merciful towards other fellow Muslims and offer their help. They should at least display some loyalty, bravery and manliness in protecting the interests of Muslims.

c. Rewards for Helping a Muslim

I intended to read three ahadith, and here is the third one. It gives a good news. Our beloved Prophet said:

RE. 406/7 (Men eàne mu'minen alâ hâjetihî weheballàhu lehû thelâthen wa seb'îne rahmeten [wâhidetun minhâ] yuslihullàhu lehû dunyâhu wa akh-khara lehuthneyni wa seb'îne rahmeten medkhreten fî derejâtil-jenneh.) Sadaka rasûlullàh, fî mâ kàl, aw kemâ kàl.

I believe that two words are missing here: (Wâhidetun minha). The meaning will be understood without them, but still I will include them. This hadith is reported by Ibn-i Sa'id from his father, and recorded in the collections of Abul Fityan.

(Men eàne mu'minen) "If a person helps a believer (alâ hâjetihî) with something he needs..." Imagine a Muslim somewhere, some point in time, who has a dire need for something. This person helps him with his need. (Weheballàhu lehû thelâthen wa seb'îne rahmeten) "Allah SWT grants him seventy-three counts of mercy."

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Imagine a believer who is hungry; this person takes him food. He takes water to a thirsty Muslim. He lends money to a Muslim who is desperately looking for money. Or he helps a Muslim in other ways when he needs help.

Once I was in an airport--I believe it was Jeddah airport. I needed a cart to carry the suitcases. They asked for a riyal for the cart. I searched in my pockets; I had some larger bills in dollars or in Deutsche marks. I also knew that they would not change these bills. It is not a large amount of money, but we had to pay it to get the cart. I was about to go to my wife to see if she had a one-riyal bill in her handbag. A gentleman, a Muslim brother, said, "Wait, don't go!" He paid one more riyal and got a cart for me. I needed a cart, and he helped me get the cart. May Allah be pleased with him. I had the money, but it would be difficult for me to go and search for the change. He helped me with my need. This could be an example. When a person helps a Muslim in need, Allah SWT grants him seventy-three counts of mercy.

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Continuing with the hadith including the additional words [wâhidetun minhâ], "With one count of mercy, (yuslihullàhu lehû dunyâhu) Allah SWT improves this person's worldly life." His material problems will be solved, he will attain peace in this world. One count of mercy out of seventy-three suffices for him in this world. (Wa akh-khara lehu ithneyni we seb'îne rahmeten) "The remaining seventy-two counts of mercy are (medkhraten) saved for (fî darajâtil-jannah) elevating the ranks in the Paradise." Allah will put the helper into the Paradise and elevate his ranks there.

My dear brothers and sisters, there are many ahadith on this issue. Our scholarly brother, Ali Riza Temel had collected forty ahadith about this issue and published them in a book. May Allah be pleased with him. This is a very important issue. If a Muslim helps other people and thinks about the needs of fellow Muslims, he will earn great rewards for the hereafter. The ahadith point to this fact.

Because of these rewards, our forefathers paid utmost attention to being useful and helpful to fellow Muslims. They were never selfish; instead, they gave preference to the other people and sought their prayers. It is obvious in the teachings of Yunus Emre, Mawlana Jalalad-din Rumi, and other Awliya (Friends of Allah, saints). They would provide the services with a low profile, without a tinge of show-off, hoping to receive the prayers of people.

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As you know, the generosity has various forms. One may have the money or wealth, and he gives away and shares with others. One other form of generosity is the physical generosity. A person may help others with his physical strength by participating charitable activities. You may help somebody by lifting his load. You can fill a pothole on the road to make the driving easier. The person who receives the help pays you back with his prayers: "May Allah be pleased with you."

In addition to the monetary and physical generosity, there is the "soul" generosity. A Muslim can give his soul, his life, in the way of Allah, in the way of the truth. Such a person is called a "shahîd" and earns high ranks in paradise. He does not mind giving his life so that others would live in peace and comfort. This is the greatest generosity of all.

These good deeds are favorable to Allah. That is why we should have these feelings and ideals in our minds at all times. We must value every opportunity to help and serve people as a great blessing. We should serve people, and receive their prayers. We should do good deeds and become beloved servants of Allah.

May Allah honor all of us with our family members, teachers, brothers and sisters with His beauty in His Paradise. May He make us neighbors to His beloved Prophet in the Hereafter.

My dear and beloved audience, may the peace, mercy and blessings of Allah be with you.

January 28, 2000 -- Australia

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