Religion is the most beautiful gift

When you think of the live you are living in this world, you think that there are many good points and some bad points too. Of the good points, if you were to list them then your top three may be things that you own, such as house or a car, for the younger folk here, maybe your new phone or a favourite item of clothing. Others may even go for the deeper answer and speak about their family or their children as being the best thing about their lives.

None of these answers are wrong, these are all blessings that have been given to us by Allah SWT but the biggest and often most overlooked of the gifts that we are given is the actual faith of Islam itself.

The imam reminded us of this point by referencing the 17th ayat of sura Hujurat which is translated to say:

They regard their acceptance of Islam as a favour to you. Tell ˹them, O  Prophet˺, “Do not regard your Islam as a favour to me. Rather, it is Allah Who has done you a favour by guiding you to the faith, if ˹indeed˺ you are faithful.

Dear brothers and sisters, this ayat tells us that Allah SWT has done each and every believer a favour by guiding them to the truth of Islam. And we all know that living in this country, we are blessed as there are many around us that do not have this blessing.

For those who are in their youth, there may be times when it is hard to fully appreciate this blessing. After all, if Islam is practiced in the minority as is the case in this country then often it is only human nature to look at others and see how they live in comparison.

The difficulty we have then is that on the onset it looks like a life without this deen is an easy life. They are free to party, to drink, to socialise as they please, enter relationships with no limits and to engage in any activity they like with no consequences as their only rule is that whatever makes you happy is what you pursue.

However, if we reflect further on this concept we can see how flawed it actually is. Before this is explained, the imam reminded us that any other path is destined for loss in the next life. He referenced the 85th ayat of Sura Imran which is translated to say:

Whoever seeks a way other than Islam, it will never be accepted from them, and in the Hereafter they will be among the losers.

Dear brothers and sisters, the reality of any path besides the truth is that it is a delusion and a trick from Shaitaan to lure you in. Todays reminder could speak of the impact that life of no limits has on society as a general, how it affects the mental and physical wellbeing of society as a whole and how independent scientific studies has proven without any doubt that living a life without rules and limits negatively impacts everyone in society and actually brings it down in standard.

However, this reminder is on the individual. To not have the blessing of deen, to not be blessed with the status of a Muslim is the biggest loss to any individual. And those who do relentlessly and stubbornly pursue any other path suffer individually as a result of it eventually.

A good example for the youth to reflect here may be role models in the form of celebrities. Just doing a simple search of mental problems in the life of a celebrity who supposedly lives the perfect life of no limit and pursuit only of pleasure, often reveals drug abuse, self harm or even attempts at suicide. This isn’t isolated news, it’s a recurring theme amongst those who appear to have it all. Why then, if they have it all, do they resort to the most damaging and destructive of actions? Surely it is the soul knowing that the biggest pleasures of this life cannot even begin to compare to the gift of belonging to the truth of Islam.

Dear brothers and sisters, you are in such a high lofty position you don’t even know it. We are blessed with the instruction and guidance of Allah SWT, the creator of everything and everyone we know. The master of the universe and beyond. Just think about it for a moment. Out of all the souls we see walking the earth today, we are blessed with belonging to His religion, to the actual truth of this life.

Just to think about that with real reflection causes the heart to tremble with gratitude and joy. We are winners in this life and insh’Allah in the next life too. May Allah SWT keep us protected in his deen.

And we have to nurture this gift otherwise we could lose it. That is the lesson for todays reminder. Like you water a plant and failing to do so kills the plant, we water our faith with remembrance of Allah SWT, with worship of Allah SWT and doing good for the sake of Allah SWT.

The imam reminded us of the following warning issued by the Prophet Muhammad SAWS which said:

“Be prompt in doing good deeds (before you are overtaken) by turbulence which would be like a part of the dark night. A man would be a believer in the morning and turn to disbelief in the evening, or he would be a believer in the evening and turn disbeliever in the morning, and would sell his Faith for worldly goods.”

And so, there is no guarantee of faith staying with us. It’s a gift but it’s a gift that is given to those deserving of it. Don’t fall into the trap of thinking we have the gift so we can be relaxed with it. Just as we were blessed to have given it, we can also be in a position to have it taken away.

Dear brothers and sisters, our faith is the single biggest gift we will ever be given. Let us make sure we don’t squander and waste it and instead ask Allah SWT that we are forever bestowed with this blessing by reciting the dua on being steadfast. The imam reminded us of it by referencing the following hadith:

“I said to Umm Salamah: ‘O Mother of the Believers! What was the supplication that the Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) said most frequently when he was with you?” She said: ‘The supplication he said most frequently was: “O Changer of the hearts, make my heart firm upon Your religion.’”

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