Prof. Dr. Mahmud Es'ad COSAN

AKRA FM Friday Discourse

January 5, 2001

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TRUE IMAN AND ITS MANIFESTATION

As-salâmu 'alaykum wa rahmatullàhi wa barakâtuhû!..

Dear Brothers and Sisters,

May peace, grace and blessings of Allah be with you. May He grant you and your loved-ones happiness in this world and in the hereafter.

Ramadan has gone, and unfortunately people could fail to maintain their spiritual level after Ramadan. There is a possibility that they could lose some of the good things they acquired in Ramadan. For this reason, I selected some ahadith related to the true Iman and its manifestation.

a. Iman and Prayer

The first hadith was narrated by Abû Sa'id Al-Khudrî RA and included in the collections of Ibnun-Najjâr:

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RE. 193/10 (Al-îmân, as-salâtu famen farragha lahâ qalbahû, wa men hafaza alayhâ bijiddihâ wa waqtihâ wa sunanihâ, fahuwa mu'minun.)

This is a very interesting way that our beloved Prophet indicated the importance of daily prayers (salat). He said: (Al-îmân, as-salâtu) "The Iman equals the prayer." In arabic, when the second word comes with the definite article (alif + lâm) it means "allocation" (tahsis). Here al-îmân, as-salâtu means "the prayer is the manifestation of the belief. It has such an importance."

Since the prayer is the manifestation of the belief, my believing brothers and sisters must offer daily prayers. We all paid more attention on our prayers during the month of Ramadan, and now we must maintain the same attention after the Ramadan. This hadith is a warning for those who may feel relaxed about the prayers.

The Prophet continued in the hadith: (Famen farragha lahâ qalbahû) "If a person opens his heart to the prayer, prepares his heart to the prayer, clears his heart from any other thoughts, and performs the prayer attentively, (wa men hafaza alayhâ bijiddihâ) and maintains his prayers seriously, offers them regularly throughout his life, ... "

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The prayer is a very important form of worship. I am emphasizing it by reading this hadith. In another hadith it is stated that the prayer is the Ascension (mi'râj) of the believer. Also there is another hadith stating that the prayer is the main pillar of the religion. These statements are supported by the hadith above. Our beloved Prophet said: "The belief equals the prayer. If a person opens up his heart to the prayer, places the prayer in his heart, loves the prayer and maintains offering the preyers seriously, ..." It must be continuous; it should not be skipped. The continuity of the worship is desired very much.

My Dear Brothers and Sisters! You ought to tell yourself, your relatives, kins and neighbors: "The prayer is not a temporary worship. It is the Ascension of the believer. It has a high honor. When a person performs the prayer, he is before Allah. One must realize its importance and greatness. We must continue offering our prayers regularly." We must encourage them saying, "Let's go to the prayer together. Let's do our prayers first; then we can sit down and talk." We should also encourage our children saying, "C'mon son, let's make wudu and offer our prayers." We will get rewards form their prayers, too.

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Here, the statement in the hadith is very important: "The belief equals the prayer. If a person has belief, he must offer the prayers and instill the love of prayer in his heart. He will maintain the prayers with all his might."

The hadith continues: (Wa waqtihâ wa sunanihâ) "... and if the person pays attention to the time of the prayer and to the sunnahs of the prayer, (fahuwa mu'minun) then he is a believer."

Yes, my Brothers and Sisters, we must overcome the deceptions coming from Satan. We should not let Satan fool us and laugh at us. We must offer our prayers; we must open up our hearts to the prayer. We must instill the love of the prayer in our hearts. We should carry out our prayers sincerely and seriously, paying attention to its time and sunnahs.

We should not relax about the prayer after Ramadan. Let us maintain the good deeds that we had carried out in Ramadan. We used to offer 33 units of prayer, Ish'a and Tarawih together. Now it is reduced to 13. There is no Tarawih after Ramadan, yet I wish there were. It was a great worship. Nevertheless, we must maintain our regular prayers without skipping any of them.

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Examine your attitude towards the prayer. If you do not enjoy the prayer very much, question yourself. "Why don't I enjoy the prayer? Which part of it looks unpleasant? How does Satan affect me about the prayer? It should not be so bad after all; I wash may hands and face. It is good for cooling down in a hot weather or for cleanliness. Bowing down, prostration and getting up are some kinds of physical activities as well. What is more important is that I am before Allah when I pray. I must feel His presence." we must encourage ourselves and our family members about performing the prayers regularly.

What I am trying to say is that after Ramadan, you must pay attention to your prayers as you did in Ramadan.

b. Iman and Action

The second hadith:

RE. 193/9 (Al-îmânu wal-amalu sharîkâni fî qarnin lâ yaqbalullàhu taàlâ ahadahumâ illâ bisàhibihî.)

This hadith was narrated by Hadrat Ali ibn-i Abû Talib and included in the collections of Daylamî. The Prophet said: (Al-îmânu wal-amalu sharîkâni fî qarnin) "The belief and the action are close partners; they must be together." The Iman and the action must be together. A person who has the belief must also have the actions that his belief requires. A person must carry out the deeds and obligations that his belief requires.

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The Prophet continued: (Lâ yaqbalullàhu taàlâ ahadahumâ illâ bisàhibihî) "Almighty Allah, the Lord of the Universe, the Creator of everything, the Sustainer of all, does not accept only one of them unless they are together." He does not accept the belief alone without the deeds, nor he accepts the deeds without the belief.

Imagine a person who has the belief yet he fails to act upon his belief. His belief has no value. Also imagine a person who offers hundreds of units of prayers, fasts in Ramadan, gives for charity, yet he lacks Iman. His deeds have no value. They are not acceptable for Allah.

We hear sometimes people saying: "I believe in God; my heart is clean." Our response would be "Almighty Allah informed His Prophet that He will not accept the belief without the action."

Here we can realize the importance of ahadith in eradicating our mistakes. There is notion among people that purity in heart alone suffices for salvation in the hereafter. They neglect their responsibilities, commit sinful acts yet still say, "I have a pure heart." They expect salvation in the hereafter. Well, this hadith indicates that Almighty Allah does not accept the belief alone; the actions and good deeds must accompany the Iman which is much above the purity of heart.

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Dear Brothers and Sisters! I know you are believers. You believe in Allah, love His Prophet, and uphold the Qur'an. I have no doubts about the purity of your intentions. There may be some among you who are as knowledgeable as a preacher. Yet, all these have no value unless accompanied by actions and deeds.

Sometimes we would be amazed upon hearing words from a person indulged in a sinful act. Once I took a flight from Istanbul to Ankara. It was the last flight on a Sunday. The airplane was full except for the seat next to mine. It looked like one passenger was missing. We waited for some time for this passenger. We all were curious who the person was. Finally a drunken man got into the plane. He was so drunk that he had a hard time walking and finding his seat. He sat down and turned to me. When he realized that I had a beard, he said: "As-salamu alaikum, Khoja." I responded: "Alaikum salam."

Since he was drunk, he started talking loud. Over one-hundred-fifty people on board could hear his voice:

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"Khoja, do not look down on me!"

"Alright, I will not."

"I am a believer, too."

"Good. May Allah save you from the evil eye."

"You know some people... They do not appreciate the value of Islam." He delivered a fine speech during the flight which was about three quarters of an hour. He said such nice words that I would have said if I had been asked to describe the beauties of Islam. He was so sincere in his speech perhaps because he was drunk. Obviously he had the belief, yet he was drunken.

We should not look down upon anybody. A person appear to be unpleasant and committing a sinful act may have Iman. He may be a believer. We may not approve the sinful act, but we must feel sorry for the person and help him get out of that state: "Satan fools this person. If he continues committing this act, he will end up in hell-fire. We must save him." We must also remind the person that the belief alone is not sufficient. A person has to do good deeds and abstain from the bad deeds as required by Iman.

What are the deeds that Iman requires to be carried out? There are brief as well as detailed explanations in various books. For instance, a believer has to fast in Ramadan and offer daily prayers every day. Unfortunately many believers are negligent about these duties. Then, a believer must pay zakah and perform Hajj if he is rich.

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If a person does not fast in Ramadan or do not offer daily prayers, it is because of the fact that Almighty Allah is punishing him and preparing him for the punishment in the hereafter. The person must think about this and start performing his worship.

When Satan catches a person, it tries hard to keep him away from Islam and to have him dislike Islam. First it makes the person dislike the worship. Then the person dislikes Muslims, Iman, and the Qur'an. Then his spiritual life ends up in ruins. He leaves this world as a disbeliever.

A friend of mine told me last night about a sister who started wearing hijab. Her husband did not like it and started abusing her physically. What happened to the modernism and feminism? What happened to the rights of women? Aren't women free to practice their beliefs? As her husband, does he own her body and spirit?

I was also told that this man threw the Qur'an on the floor and stepped on it. It is utter infidelity. He does not believe in the Qur'an. Satan helped him become a barbarian. In fact, by his acts he destroys his future in the hereafter. He incurs the wrath of Allah. I heard that her daughter is also against her wearing hijab. Subhânallah! What is happening to people in Turkey? How could the grandchildren of great Muslims become like this?

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Yesterday I watched a Turkish television channel. One person in the show yelled: "Allah will not forgive you! He will put you in hell-fire because of your sins and misconduct." Well, only Allah knows whom He will put in hell-fire. We say, "If you live like this, you may end up in hell-fire." We would not know how the life of the person will end. He may repent and be a good servant before he dies. Nobody has the right to tell other people that they will end up in hell-fire.

I had inquired about one of our professors in the university. She has retired and now she is constantly on her prayer rug offering prayers for the ones she missed in the past. I was so glad to hear that. She was a good scholar in her field. May Allah bless her. This is an example of the change in a person's life.

Going back to the television show, it was not right to tell a person that he will go to hell-fire. In the show the response of the accused person was incredible: "I do not expect the pleasure and consent of Allah, nor do I want His paradise. I do not fear the hell-fire." This is nothing but instilling the kufr in the minds of the audience. Such an attitude is utterly wrong! If a person does not want Paradise, happiness in the hereafter, beauties and justice in this world, then his life is ruined in this world and in the hereafter. Such an approach or such a mentality should not be advertised on television.

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Unfortunately people are misguided by such television shows and movies. Consequently, they attack one another, abuse and mistreat the ones which has less power. They become barbarians. This is a problem of the society.

If a man batters his wife in Australia, for instance, the whole government forces go after him, and punish him. If there is a second complaint about a man, he is jailed immediately. It is different in Turkey: Women are battered, mistreated, abused like a tradition. A woman who is mistreated or wronged keeps silent and does not seek justice. It is a strange phenomenon. There are so many missing elements in our social education.

c. Patience and Gratitude

Here is the third hadith for today's discourse:

RE 193/8 (Al-îmânu nisfân: Nisfun fis-sabr, wa nisfun fish-shukri) This hadith was narrated by Anas RA and included in the collection of Daylamî. It is, too, about the manifestation of the Iman. A believer, be it a man, a woman, a young person, or a child, must lead a life that his or her belief manifests itself in various ways. For instance, actions must accompany the belief. The daily prayers must be offered regularly. In this particular hadith the Prophet said: (Al-îmânu nisfân) "The Iman has two halves: (Nisfun fis-sabr) one half is in (sabr) patience, (wa nisfun fish-shukri) and the other half is in thankfulness."

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In this world, a person faces events that may be classified into two groups. The ones in the first group require patience and perseverance. These may be sad events, calamities, and alike. If a person keeps his patience, then he earn rewards.

For instance, Ramadan was a month of patience. Those who fasted did not eat or drink anything during the day. While the days were short and cool in Sweden, they were quite long and hot in Australia. Both in Sweden and in Australia, patience was needed.

Another example of sabr is in jihad. One must persevere in Jihad and not run away. Also, a person who wants to live Islam but faces many obstacles from the disbelievers must be patient, too. There may be poverty, illness, tiredness and some losses in this life. Each one requires patience. When a Muslim practices patience, he earns rewards.

The events in the second group calls for thankfulness. Almighty Allah provides a person with food, health, shelter, a family, children, relatives and friends. Each and every one of them can be a cause of happiness. If the person is thankful to Almighty Allah, he receives rewards. As he says, "I thank You, my Lord, for all of these blessings," he is rewarded.

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In Ramadan we practiced patience during the day and earned rewards. In the evening, when we ate, we said: "Al-hamdu lillah!" and praised Allah, hence we earned rewards. Not only in Ramadan, but through out our lives it is the same. When a person is thankful for the good things, he earns rewards. Also, when he is patient when unpleasant things happen to him, he earns rewards. There are rewards in both patience and gratitude. That is why our beloved Prophet said, "Iman has two halves: one half is in patience, and the other half is in thankfulness."

Dear Brothers and Sisters! Having heard of this hadith, we ought to be thankful for the good things and events because they all come from Allah. We must also be patient for the sad events such as the death of a loved one, illness, hardship, troubles, and disasters. They are tests from Almighty Allah. We know about the story of the Prophet Ayyub AS. He was in bed many years despite the fact that he was a beloved servant of Allah. Patience towards such hardship would earn a person rewards.

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As believers, we shall be patient during the difficult times. We shall be aware that we earn rewards by practicing patience. We shall see it as a test from Almighty Allah. Our belief and zeal shall continue the same way.

The illuminated servants and close friends of Allah are aware of the rewards for patience, and they become happy when they face hardship. They know that when life is spent in comfort, there is not much reward in it. On the other hand, when they are patient, Almighty Allah is with them as stated in the Qur'an:

(Innallàha ma-'as-sàbirîn) "Verily, Allah is with those who are patient." (Baqara: 153)

(Innamâ yuwaffas-sâbirûna ajrahum bighayri hisâb) "Almighty Allah will give countless rewards for those who are patient." (Zumer: 10)

This is why the Prophets of Allah, the closed friends of Allah and the blessed and beloved servants of Allah were patient. Prophet Noah AS was very patient towards his people. Prophet Moses AS was patient towards the oppression of the Pharaoh. Prophet Abraham practiced patience toward the Namroud. Prophet Jesus AS and his companions practiced patience and perseverance, too. We must also imagine the patience of our beloved Prophet and his companions.

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Naturally, when we face good things, we shall be thankful. We shall be aware of that Almighty Allah sent these for us. We must praise Him saying, "We thank You, our Lord, for all these blessings." Our love towards our Lord will increase if we do that.

d. The Belief Accompanies Chastity

Here is another hadith:

RE. 193/3 (Al-îmânu afîfun anil-mahàrimi afîfun anil-matàmi-i) This hadith is from the collection of Hulwanî. The Prophet said: (Al-îmânu afîfun anil-mahàrimi) "The Iman has chastity towards the unlawful." That means, the believer does not tend to the prohibited deeds no matter how attractive they may be. He keeps his chastity when he faces with something haram. (Afîfun anil-matàmi-i) "It has also chastity towards the greed." That is a believer does not have greed. A believer has dignity and nobility. He is content what he has from this world. He stands as strong as a fortress when he faces the unlawful. He does not commit something improper with the expectation of some worldly gains. resistance against the unlawful deeds and greed are the manifestation of Iman.

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When Satan brings out some sinful deeds with irresistible attractions and encourages us to do the unlawful acts, we have to be able to say, "No!" If we have Iman, we must be able to say, "I do not want it! I believe in the hereafter and the Day of Judgement. I intend to stay away from the offenses and obey the orders of Allah. I am content with the lawful ones; I do not tend to the unlawful."

I am amazed to read the embezzlement stories in the newspapers. I know that these people are already rich. What they have is more than enough to spend for a lifetime. Why do they still want more? They look like leaches sucking the blood of the nation. They filled up their stomach so much that soon they will explode. Then Almighty Allah will give their punishment in this world.

A true believer could never do something like that. He fears Allah, and does not tend to the unlawful no matter how attractive it is.

e. Iman is Love of Allah

Here is the last hadith which points the highest state. It is narrated by Abu Hurayrah RA and included in the collections of Daylamî and Ibnun-Najjar.

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RE. 192/11 (Al-îmânu fî qalbir-rajuli an yuhibballàha azza wa jall.) "The Iman in a person's heart is the love of Almighty Allah." If a person has love for Allah, he is a true believer. If a person lack love for Allah, he lacks the belief.

Dear Brothers and Sisters! Test yourselves. Write down on a piece of paper what you like or love. Start from the simple things:

-- I like pudding with cinnamon.

-- I like chicken breasts.

-- I like ice-cream.

-- I love cold watermelon in the heat of the day.

-- I love hot chocolate in the morning in winter.

Continue listing from the least significant ones to the most significant:

-- I love my wife.

-- I love my mother and father.

. . .

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A person's attitude towards something that he likes can be predicted by all: He would try to get what he likes. He would go and buy a cone of ice-cream or prepare a cup of hot chocolate.

The children love the cars. You can hear a young man telling his parents: "I grew up; I have a driving licence now. Please buy me a car. I want a sports car. It could be a BMW." A person wants what he likes or loves.

If a person has the true Iman, he would love Almighty Allah. Now question yourselves or examine people around you. How is your love towards Almighty Allah? How much do you love and want Him? Do you love Him as much as you love ice-cream? How about the other items in your list? Is your love towards Allah is comparable to your love towards other items in the list? Test yourselves.

"I do not know how to put it. I cannot say that I do not have any love towards Allah, yet I cannot see any sign of it." If this is your answer, you have all the reasons to feel ashamed. You failed in loving Allah who is the creator of all beauties and lovable things and who has the most perfect and sublime form of all beauties. This failure originates from not knowing Allah almighty well. We do not how to acknowledge Almighty Allah.

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Parents or grandparents of a child may teach a child to say, "I love Allah the best." Unfortunately, this does not go beyond the words. Most people do not know how to instill the love of Allah in the hearts of the children. They may have some bits and pieces of this love, yet overall, it is far from the true love of Allah.

It is not easy to attain the true love of Allah. It requires proper training. Tasawwuf provides such a training. A seeker reaches ma'rifatullah through dhikrullah. Once he knows his Lord, he loves Him. This love is manifested through the behavior of the person, his looks, his words, and his voice.

When the companions of the Prophet described him, they would say, "If a person saw him from a distance, he would be affected by the awe of the prophet. Yet when the person got to know the Prophet and attended some discourses, he would develop a strong love for the Prophet." Thus the knowledge would bring love and affection.

When a person attains ma'rifatullah, his love for Allah increases. Then he becomes a good person such as Yunus Emre. You are familiar with his poems: "If I were torched and turned into ashes, each atom in the ashes would say, 'I want Thee, my Lord, I want Thee.'" Yunus is just one of the billions of beloved servants of Allah. They do everything for the sake of Allah and for the love of Allah.

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The charitable activities and works, such as mosques, hospitals, bridges and alike, for the benefit of the people are established by those who have a love for Allah. They do all these things so that people pray for them and they get the consent of Allah. A person who lacks the love for Allah does not provide such works for the society. He would be after his own interests. He would be an opportunist to maximize his share. It is obvious that the governments and schools should teach people the knowledge of Allah and instill in them the love of Allah.

The hadith above indicates that the true Iman is accompanied by the love of Allah. To have the love of Allah in our hearts, we must recite the Qur'an often, read the words of the close friends of Allah, remember Allah often, and turn to Allah often. You should try to be a good servant that Allah is pleased with. When a person obeys Allah, does the good things and avoids the prohibitions, Almighty Allah instills His love in the person's heart.

Almighty Allah does not grant His love to everybody, but only to those who carry out deeds that are pleasing to Allah. Try to be among such people so that Almighty Allah would give you His love. May He accept all of us among the true friends. May He bless you with happiness and honor in this world and in the hereafter.

As-salâmu 'alaykum wa rahmatullàhi wa barakâtuhû!..

January 5, 2001 - AUSTRALIA

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