Position of Power

This week’s khutbah was on the second ayat of Sura Al-Maida

Before we embark upon the lessons and reminder from this ayat, it is worth mentioning first of all what is said in the ayat mentioned by the imam today.

It is translated to say:

And now it is time for you to cooperate in good and pious things. And do not cooperate with each other in sin and animosity. And be fearful of Allah. Certainly Allah is intense in taking vengeance and in giving consequences out to you.

Dear brothers and sisters, this selection of the ayat is reminded to us by the imam but it is only part of the ayat and so it is first necessary to give a background on this passage from the Quran.

This Sura is one of the last to be revealed to mankind and so it comes at a time in the life of the Prophet SAWS when the Muslims had already overcome the biggest obstacles of the mission of Islam and were in control of Makkah.

If we look at the context in which this ayat was delivered, this was the ayah where Allah SWT reminds the Muslims that they are in a position of power now and those who were their enemies are now in a position of weakness.

Why is this explanation of context important? Human nature tells us that victors are often the source of corruption. They rob and kill others. So Allah (swt) is reminding them to not let power get to their heads and thus do good and things that remind them to be fearful of Allah SWT

Dear brothers and sisters, besides the lesson of cooperating on the good things and not on the sinful, there is a deeper lesson on the mindset of someone who is in a position of weakness versus someone of power.

For most of us, being part of the UK today may bring it’s challenges but it is nothing compared to the challenges faced by our brothers and sisters in the countries from which our heritage and ancestry belongs.

We have wealth that sets us in top percentile of the planet, we have all of life’s essentials catered for such as safety from war, healthcare, shelter and essential provisions.

However, instead of bringing one another to piety and good, i.e. holding on to the values of our faith and belief, there are some who are bringing one another away from the right path.

Whether that be through the conduction of sin that just happens to fit in with society’s norms or through the forgetting of those who are still in a position of weakness overseas, this reminder serves to jolt our memory to how good we have it and what we ought to be doing as a result of it.

The imam reminds us that in one hadith, the messenger of Allah SWT said:

“The believers in their mutual kindness, compassion and sympathy are just like one body. When one of the limbs suffers, the whole body responds to it with wakefulness and fever”.

Dear brothers and sisters, we have a responsibility to one another in a time when we are in a relative position of power being in the UK. We need to remind ourselves how fortunate we are to be in a position such as this and what that inevitably means, and so the reminder concludes with two practical tips for achieving this.

Firstly, we need to assess if we are of those who have remained steadfast to our Lord in a time of prosperity. Are we co-operating with good or are we co-operating with the lost?

We need to be sure that we are not following the trend but setting the trend. We need to ensure that we are the ones leading others in setting the correct examples. Unfortunately, we live in a time and a place where the norms of society in which we live contradict the teachings of our faith.

A good way to think of it is, if you can’t pray in it, don’t wear it, if you don’t want to die doing that action, don’t do it, if you don’t want those to be your last words, don’t say it and if you don’t want to be standing with them on the day of judgement, stay clear of them.

The second tip is to keep oneself grounded when in a relatively privileged position we are in today. This can be done through charitable donations to our brothers and sisters, we have for example Human Appeal regularly coming to this masjid to collect for our brothers and sisters overseas. But alongside that, there is a more powerful method to humble oneself and that is charitable actions that require time and effort. Dedicate some time to a charitable cause, they are all desperate for people to help them and a perfect example is our local charity Myriad Foundation who run projects ranging from helping the elderly, homeless and sick in Manchester to the collection and distribution of food to the poor and needy in Manchester.

Dear brothers and sisters, Allah SWT said in Sura Rahman, ayat 60:

Is the reward for good anything but good?

This rhetorical question should remind one another that we have a responsibility to co-operate with another as is instructed by Allah SWT but also that by doing so we will be in a position where we will be rewarded good for our actions as well as receiving mercy from our Lord.

May Allah SWT enable us to be those who co-operate in good things. May Allah SWT protect us from those who co-operate in sinful things and may Allah SWT reward us for our efforts in co-operating in good things.

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