Prof. Dr. Mahmud Es'ad COSAN

AKRA FM Friday Discourse

February 2, 2001

LIFE IN THE HEREAFTER IS MORE IMPORTANT

Esselâmu alaykum wa rahmatullàhi wa barakâtuhu!..

Dear Brothers and Sisters,

With love to fill the hearts, affection to fill the earth and heavens, peace and blessings of Allah to encompass you all, and with good wills and prayers I start today's discourse. May Almighty Allah bless you all and be pleased with you. May He grant you honor and happiness in this world and in the hereafter.

We are visiting a friend. I asked him to open a page of the Hadith in the name of Allah. He did, and I would like to read some ahadith from that page.

a. There is no goodness but in the hereafter

The first hadith I would like to read was narrated by Anas RA and included in the famous authentic collections by Bukharî, Muslim, Abû Dawud, Tirmidhî, and Nasaî. It is also included in the collections of Imam Ahmad ibn-i Hanbal and Tahaî. The Prophet SAS said:

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RE. 185/11 (Allàhumma lâ khayra illâ khayrul-âkhirah --wa fî lafzin lâ aysha illâ ayshul-akhirah-- Faghfir lil-ansàri wal muhâjirah) Sadaqa rasûlallàh, fî mâ qàl, aw kamâ qàl.

Our beloved Prophet said: (Allàhumma) "O my Allah! (Lâ khayra) There is no goodness (illâ khayrul-âkhirah) except for the goodness in the hereafter." A person may attain something good in this world for this world, yet this life is very short. The life in the hereafter is endless. They is why this life, even centuries, will be so short and insignificant compared to the life in the hereafter. The blessings for this world would become insignificant in comparison to the blessings in the hereafter. The most important blessings and goodness are in the hereafter.

If a person receives something good in this world yet gets no goodness in the hereafter, he would be in a terrible state. The disbelievers and infidels will have that state, so will the Pharaohs Namroods, idol-worshippers, hypocrites, and oppressors. They may enjoy some of the pleasures and joys of this world, yet it has no significance when compared to the eternal life of the hereafter. The goodness, the comfort and the happiness in the hereafter is the most important.

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In another narration of the same hadith, these words are added: (Lâ aysha illâ ayshul-akhirah) "There is no good life except for the one in the hereafter." What matters is the life in the hereafter.

We must keep these words in mind and remember them often. The goodness has to be in the hereafter. It is more important than the goodness in this world. Small benefits, worldly gains and pleasures are so insignificant in comparison to the ones in the hereafter. A believer should not be tempted by these worldly gains to endanger his life in the hereafter. On the contrary, he should prefer what is more beneficial for the hereafter.

These are the words of the Prophet who never told a lie. It is the truth, for the life passes so quickly like the blow of the wind. It feels like the entire life of 60, 70 or 80 years passes in the wink of the eye. A portion of it is spend in childhood; another portion, in old age. A great deal is consumed by the night-time sleep; another portion, in the rush of daily business. Some days will be spent in happiness; some, in sorrow. One way or another, it does not have much significance.

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What is important is earning a good life in the hereafter. We are Muslims, and we believe in the hereafter: (Wal ba'su ba'dal-mawti haqqun, wal jannatu haqqun, wan-nâru haqqun) "There will be life in the hereafter after death, there will be Paradise, and there will be Hellfire." How nice it is to deserve Paradise and to enter paradise. What a pity for those who lose Paradise and enter Hellfire. It is a terrible disaster.

That is why we must keep it in mind. We must do all we can to earn the goodness in the hereafter.

You may ask: "Could you please briefly tell us what we must do in order to earn the goodness in the hereafter? We have trouble in remembering long explanations." My response would be this: 1. Carry out your worship (ibadah), 2. Abstain from sinful deeds, and 3. Improve your conduct and manners (akhlâq).

Allah loves those who worship Him and rewards them in plenty. He grants great rewards for those who offer prayers, fast in Ramadan, pay zakah, perform Hajj, give for charity and spend on good works. He makes them happy in the hereafter. We must accept the orders of Allah and carry out these orders the best way we can.

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Almighty Allah also loves those who abstain from the wrong deeds and sinful acts. Such an abstinence is called taqwa and wara'. Not tending to the pleasures of this world is called zuhd. For instance, the name of our late teacher was Mehmed Zâhid--it is in fact Muhammed Zâhid. Zâhid means a person who have realized the insignificance of this world and turned to earning a good life in the hereafter with all his might. Take the name of our late teacher as a token for you, so you may remember what to do.

Because Almighty Allah loves those who carry out the ibadah, we shall do the ibadah to earn His love. Also, because He loves those who stay away from the offenses and misdeeds, we shall stay away from the offenses and misdeeds to deserve His love. Almighty Allah loves those who have good manners, so we shall improve our manners and conduct to earn His love. He does not like those who have ill manners, and He punishes them. That is why we shall stay away from them.

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As you see, it is easy to remember these three principles: Doing the ibadah, staying away from the offenses, and improving the manners. These are the fundamentals of our path.

Do your ibadah; pay utmost attention to your daily prayers, Friday prayers, fasting, pilgrimage, umrah, zakât, zakât and zakât. The sincerity and loyalty of a Muslim is manifested through his spending for charitable good causes. You should be able to spend in the way of Allah some of your earnings that you hat to sweat to get it. You will keep thirty-nine portions and spend only one portion. Still, a great majority of your earnings will remain with you, but you should not forget about the poor, the weak, and those who are oppressed.

You must take a stand against the oppressors, but on the side of the oppressed and of the poor. You must love the poor and the deprived and visit them. You must share their feelings, shed tears with them, and be their helper. You must support them, feed them, pay the school expenses of their children, and do other things to help them.

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Islam is not mere talk. While you live here in comfort and affluence and sometimes suffer from over-eating, there are people in other places who do not have any water to drink. There are various parts of the world that has no rain. People live in such deserts. Think about them.

The civilization has already found solutions to the scarcity of water. Deep wells are drilled and ground water is pumped up. If they want, they can establish cities in the middle of the desert. In other words, money solves such problems. We see in Australia that they establish cities anywhere they want. There is intense heat, yet they use air-conditioners to cool the buildings. They bring water for people and for irrigation. If they see that it is beneficial, they do not mind spending money on such services. Money works wonders. That means paying zakât is very important.

Spending money in the way of Allah is important. We do not "worship" money; we know that it is a tool to do good deeds. We must spend it in the way of Allah to earn a good life in the hereafter.

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In addition to doing the ibadah, staying away from misdeeds is very important for all of us. Unfortunately all of the offenses and sins are very attractive for a person. The worldly pleasure in them allures the nafs, and then the person commits the sin. The person drinks alcohol uses other intoxicants, steals something and says, "I could not resist!"

The person gambles with a strong ambition of winning and loses all he has. Then he starts thinking about what he is going to take home to feed his family. The consequence of all of these offenses are well known; that is why Islam prohibits them. Drinking and gambling are not permitted in Islam. Any substance that alters the mind and intoxicates the uses, be it in a liquid, solid or smoke form, is prohibited.

Staying away from sinful deeds is very important. To be a good and virtuous person, we must avoid all kinds of offenses.

The third principle is improving the manners. Code of conduct (akhlâq) is a social phenomenon. Although a person has some responsibilities towards himself, the code of conduct regulates the person's interactions with other individuals. The conduct of a person, his manners, can be classified into two groups: Good manners and bad manners. The good manners must dominate in a person.

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We must study books and learn what the good manners and characters are. We must practice them, teach our children. We must abandon the bad manners and help our children abandon them as well. We must try with all our might to improve our character, manners, and conduct in a continuous way.

All things need maintenance. Your car needs fuel, water, and oil. If it is not cared regularly, it does not work properly. Your house needs maintenance. Its roof, windows, chimneys, plumbing and other parts need regular care. If the maintenance is neglected, it leaks or drips. You may have to call a repairman to fix it.

People need continuous care, too. A persons faith (iman) can become shaky and loose because of the offenses he commits. He has to renew his faith. We must seek forgiveness one-hundred times a day saying "Astaghfirullah" and renew our faith one-hundred times saying "Lâ ilâha il-lallah." We must do dhikr saying, "Allah, Allah, Allah, ..." many many times. We must recite prayers (salât-u-selâm) on Prophet Muhammad, and recite Qur'an in plenty. If a person does not know how to read Qur'an, he can recite Suratul Ikhlâs (Qul huwallalahu ahad...) one hundred times a day, for one recital of this surah is as rewarding as the recital of one third of the entire Qur'an. These are the recommendations of our teachers, perfect guides and shaikhs which are based on the Qur'an and the Ahadith of the Prophet Muhammad.

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We shall do all of these to prepare ourselves for the life in the hereafter because the Prophet said that the goodness in the hereafter is the most important.

b. The Battle of The Ditch

In the second part of the hadith, the Prophet said: (Faghfir lil-ansàri wal muhâjirah) "Have mercy and help both the Ansar and the Muhâjirîn." This is a very poetic statement, a prayer:

Allàhumma lâ khayra illâ khayrul-âkhirah,
Faghfir lil-ansàri wal muhâjirah

Here the Ansar are the residents of Madina who helped the Prophet and Muslims who immigrated to Madina. They welcomed them, supported them, and provided an environment for Islam to grow and get stronger against its enemies. Those who immigrated to Madina are called the Muhâjirîn. They were subject to oppression and mistreatment in Mecca, so they emigrated to the safe city Madina. Muhâjir is the singular form meaning "immigrant." The plural form (jam-i mudhakkar-i sâlim) of Muhâjir is Muhâjirîn. Here the Prophet uses another plural form: Muhâjirah--with a round "T" in the end of the word. The Prophet asked maghfirah for both the Ansar and the Muhâjirîn.

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This is an authentic hadith. It is included in Bukharî, Muslim, Abû Dâwud, Tirmidhî and Nasaî. It was narrated by Anas RA. It was uttered during the preparations for the Battle of the Ditch.

During those days Muslims in Madina were in a rush because the Quraish was coming to Madina with a large army to destroy the city. They were defeated in the Battle of Badr, yet this time they mustered support from neighboring tribes and formed a strong army. They wanted to wipe out Muslims and Islam from the face of the earth. Muslims were fewer in number and weaker in supplies. They had to do something not to be defeated.

Salman-ul-Farisî RA said: "In Iran, we used to dig a ditch around a town when we defended it. Let us dig a ditch around Madina."

I must describe the geographical position of Madina. It is located in a valley, yet it is encircled with volcanic rocks. These rocks resemble the scoria left when the coal is burned. Imagine large pieces of scoria piled up to the knees and firmly attached to the ground and to one another. These are called "harra," and there are names such as Harra-i Sharqiyya and Harra-i Gharbiyya.

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You may wonder how these rocks are formed. In my opinion, petroleum flooded the ground and sands, and then a fire broke out. The fire generated intense heat that melted the sand. The remains of the oil, sand and soil formed the scoria. These rocks have very sharp points that makes it impossible to walk on them because these sharp points could cut the feet. It is hard to find a spot to step on. These rocks do not let any camel, horse or human being pass them. Madina is encircled with such rocks.

In our era, men have built powerful machines graders, bulldozers, excavators and alike. When they dig the ground with these machines, they find fine sand underneath these rocks. That means these rocks do not have roots. I conclude that as a result of some seismic activity, the petroleum, heavy oil, surfaced through the cracks of the land and flooded the soil and sand. Then it was burnt. The residues formed the scoria. Since it was spread over the soil and sand, one can find sand about one meter below the surface. I noticed this at many locations and I showed it to my friends.

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I read in Islamic history books about a fire. When I read it first, it sounded like an epic, a fairy-tale. Later on I realized how it could be. The books give a date and state, "A giant fire broke out near Hijaz and continuously burned for a week or two. People were afraid that it was the end of the world. They all prayed." These are all recorded.

As you know, one of the signs of the end of this world and the Day or Resurrection is that a giant fire will brake out and push people away. Because of this, people in Hijaz taught that the Day of Resurrection was near. It was such an intense fire.

I believe that the rocks around Madina are the results of such a fire. These rocks provide a natural shield for the city. No soldiers would dare to go over these rocks. If they attempted, they would be eliminated in no time. There is passage way, though. Today, the Seven Masajid are located in the beginning of this passage. If they had dug a ditch on the passage way, the passage would have been blocked. There would be no easy way for the enemy to penetrate into the city. The Harra rocks would not let anybody pass. The mountains would be difficult for the enemy because it is hard work and they could be pushed back easily. They decided to dig a ditch on the passage way.

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There are many ahadith about digging the ditch which are full of lessons. Please open your books and read about the Battle of the Ditch today or tomorrow. Asim Koksal Khodjaefendi--may Allah bless and reward with Paradise--was a great scholar and sufi. He wrote a book titled History of Islam. It was printed many times. You must have it in your library. Open it up and read about the Battle of the Ditch.

One of the interesting events in the Battle of the Ditch is the following: While the Prophet and his companions were digging the ground, they found large rocks that were impossible to break with the tools they had. The Prophet got the tool--it could be a pick [or a sledge hammer]-- and pounded on the rock. A spark came out of the rock. He pounded once more. Another spark came out. He pounded for the third time, and another spark came out. He said: "With this spark, I saw that the Sâsânîd Empire, Zoroastrian State, Byzantine Empire, Byzantine lands, the eastern parts, the western parts and the northern parts of Byzantine were conquered by Muslims."

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Upon this statement, some disbelievers said, "Look at him! Soon they will be destroyed totally. when the Quraish army arrives in, these will be slaughtered. Still their leader--they meant the Prophet--claims that they will gain victories over major states in the world. It is ridiculous."

We now know that it was not ridiculous. It was a prophecy, a promise of Almighty Allah. It was one of thousands of proofs of the prophethood to make this statement at a time that people's hopes had diminished and that it had become a matter of life and death for the infant Muslim nation.

At that time, the companions had a very difficult time. Hunger, intense heat, tiredness are to name a few. It was not easy to dig the ditch. During that time the Prophet prayed: "The goodness is only in the hereafter. The life in this world is full of hardship, struggle, worries, and dangers. But our main concern is the hereafter. My Lord, have mercy on the Ansar and Muhajirah, and forgive them their mistakes."

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Verily, every human being could have some shortcomings and mistakes. The Prophet asked for forgiveness and help for all.

As you know, the Army of the Quraish could not enter Madina because the ditch was impossible to pass. Muslims successfully defended the city, and the Army of the Quraish had to turn back in misery. There was also a sand storm to add to their misery.

This prayer is uttered at that time, yet it has a lesson for us. We learn that the goodness is in the hereafter, and we must work with all our might to earn a good life in the hereafter. We also lean that there may be hardship in this life. The most beloved servants of Allah, the Prophet and his companions, had so much hardship in their lifes. Who are we? Who am I? Who are you? We live in the 20th and 21st century. We came to this world hundreds of years after them. [We live in comfort and abundance.] No doubt, almighty Allah will reward them with the greatest rewards.

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We may have to face difficulties, too. These are tests from Allah. Almighty Allah tests us with difficulties to reveal how sincere and strong our faith is. He expects us to hold onto our faith and to live as good Muslims. Thus hardship and difficulties keep keep coming to Muslims. We must be patient to receive the rewards.

Almighty Allah provides victory, happiness and salvation as a result of the patience and perseverance. This is obvious in the history of Islam, the early period of Muslims, latter periods and in their becoming a major force to dominate the world. Yes, whenever people helped Allah, i.e., whenever they helped the religion of Allah... Almighty Allah does not need any help, yet by His grace, he puts it in these words:

(In tansurullàha yansurkum wa yusabbit aqdâmakum) "If you help Allah, Allah helps you in turn." (Muhammad: 7) In fact, Allah does not need any help. It is jest for His servants. It means, "If you help the religion of Allah, you will attain rewards."

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Allah's religion needs help in this world. Allah does not need any help, but Muslims do. They need monetary help, economic help, military help, political support. They need schools and education. They need everything. That is why we all have to work.

I was in Lion, France some time ago. I was told that there were two French doctors who embraced Islam. I wanted to meet them. They said, they were not there. I asked them where they were. I was told that this couple, husband and wife, take a month of leave every year and go to Afghanistan to do voluntary work. Before they leave they would got to pharmaceutical plants to collect medicine and medical supplies. They would help the mujahids who had gotten wounded while fighting with the Russians. I wonder how many brothers in Turkey did a similar work. It is the manifestation of sincerity.

c. The Prayer of the Prophet for Hadrat Ali

Here is the second hadith for today's discourse. Our beloved Prophet SAS said:

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RE. 186/1 (Allàhumma a'inhu wa a'in bihî, warhamhu warham bihî, wansurhu wansur bihî. Allàhumma wâli men wâlâhu, wa àdi men àdâhu, ya'nî 'aliyyan.)

This hadith was narrated by Ibn-i Abbas and included in the collections of Tabarânî. The Prophet said: (Allàhumma) "O my Allah, my Lord! (a'inhu) Help him (wa a'in bihî) and provide help with him." That is, "Help him and help Muslims and Islam through him." (Warhamhu) "Treat him with Your mercy (warham bihî) and have mercy on Muslims through him. (Wansurhu) Support him and (wansur bihî) and through him support Islam and Muslims."

(Allàhumma wâli men wâlâhu) "Love those who love him, (wa àdi men àdâhu) show enmity for those who show enmity for him." The Prophet prayed for Hadrat Ali karramallahu wajha,

As you know, Hadrat Ali is the son of Abû Tàlib who is one of the uncles of the Prophet. He is a nephew of the Prophet. Since Abû Tàlib had many children and he had trouble caring for them, the relatives decided to help him by raising the young ones. Consequently, our beloved Prophet took Hadrat Ali while he was a child and raised him as his son. It is a great honor to be raised by the Prophet.

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Hadrat Ali was also the first Muslim child. Among the woman, who accepted Islam first was Hadrat Khadîja. Among the men, who accepted Islam first was Hadrat Abu Bakr As-Siddiq. May Allah be pleased with them all. Hadrat Ali is one of the first Muslims. He was raised by the Prophet These all are very honorable things.

Then, the Prophet married Hadrat Ali with Hadrat Fatima and made him his son-in-law. Hadrat Fatima is the best of women who enter paradise. She is the blessed daughter of the blessed Prophet; she is also the mother of believers. She is Fatimat-uz-Zahrâ RA. This made Hadrat Ali closer to the Prophet.

There are also other incidents that added honor to Hadrat Ali's honor. Once the Prophet was leaving for an expedition. He left Hadrat Ali in charge in Madina. Hadrat Ali was a brave man, and he wanted to participate in the expedition. He said, "O Prophet of Allah, are you leaving me with the women and children? I would like to participate in the battle." He was courageous, brave, and strong. He was the "Lion of Allah."

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