Let me ask myself and you a question. What would we pay to get the blessing of Allahﷻ and a promise of His Forgiveness when we meet Him?
وَلَنَبْلُوَنَّكُم بِشَىْءٍ مِّنَ ٱلْخَوْفِ وَٱلْجُوعِ وَنَقْصٍ مِّنَ ٱلْأَمْوَٰلِ وَٱلْأَنفُسِ وَٱلثَّمَرَٰتِ وَبَشِّرِ ٱلصَّـٰبِرِينَ
ٱلَّذِينَ إِذَآ أَصَـٰبَتْهُم مُّصِيبَةٌ قَالُوٓا۟ إِنَّا لِلَّهِ وَإِنَّآ إِلَيْهِ رَٰجِعُونَ
أُو۟لَـٰٓئِكَ عَلَيْهِمْ صَلَوَٰتٌ مِّن رَّبِّهِمْ وَرَحْمَةٌ وَأُو۟لَـٰٓئِكَ هُمُ ٱلْمُهْتَدُونَ
Baqara 2: 155-157 And certainly, We shall test you with something of fear, hunger, loss of wealth, lives and fruits, but give glad tidings to As-Sabirin (the patient). Who, when afflicted with calamity, say: Truly! To Allah we belong and truly, to Him we shall return. They are those on whom are the Salawat (blessings) from their Rabb, and (they are those who) receive His Mercy, and it is they who are the guided ones.
My brothers and sisters, we are witness to the terrible devastation of the earthquakes in Turkey and Syria, which have also affected Lebanon and Jordan. As Allahﷻ promised us, He will test us. He tests people in different ways as He mentioned. For some, the test is very personal, catastrophic, devastating. For others like us, it is a test of our compassion and our Yaqeen in the Aakhira. I got news that my teacher, Shaikh Abdullah Al-Thalaj’s wife, lost her parents, sister, brother-in-law and their two children, three generations. All died when the building they lived in, collapsed. May Allahﷻ grant them Shahada and Jannatul Firdous without Hisaab. The reaction of Shaikh Abdullah and his wife is a reflection of the wealth of Islam. He said to me, “Wallahi Shaikh Yawar, what Allahﷻ will give them is much better than what they had in the Dunya. So, Alhamdulillah we accept the Qadr of Allahﷻ and ask for His Mercy and Forgiveness for them and us.” My brothers and sisters, how can we thank Allahﷻ for this Deen except by practicing it and truly working for the Day when we will meet Him. For those, Allahﷻ said:
مَآ أَصَابَ مِن مُّصِيبَةٍ إِلَّا بِإِذْنِ ٱللَّهِ وَمَن يُؤْمِنۢ بِٱللَّهِ يَهْدِ قَلْبَهُۥ وَٱللَّهُ بِكُلِّ شَىْءٍ عَلِيمٌ
Taghabun 64: 11 No calamity befalls, but with the Leave [Qadr] of Allah, and whosoever believes in Allah, He guides his heart [understand His Qadr and accept it with equanimity], and Allah is the All-Knower of everything.
I saw this in practice today when I spoke to my friend. I request you to please make dua for him and his wife and family. My brothers and sisters, Allahﷻ sends us reminders every day about the one reality that we seem to ignore and that is our meeting with Him. Every time we hear about the death of anyone or participate in a Janaza, it is a reminder to us that one day, it will be me that people will be talking about and praying for. And that day can be today. It can be right now. It is a sign of intelligence to prepare for something which is totally certain and not to be caught unawares. But when we look at our lives, what do we see? Do we see someone – I mean ourselves – who is busy preparing for the Aakhira or someone who doesn’t really believe in the Aakhira? Actions are the only and most certain proof of belief. Let’s ask, ‘What do my actions show?’
Let us reflect as we look at the horrific scenes of destruction in Turkey and Syria. Thousands killed. Thousands injured and thousands homeless in the harsh winter. Everyone lost everything. May Allahﷻ have mercy on them and on us all and keep us safe from all calamities. It is at times like this that we realize exactly how fragile we and our lives are. We live on a globe of liquid fire of molten rock. Try to melt a rock and you will see what I mean. No matter how hot your fire may be, it will not melt rock. It takes temperatures between 600 and 1,300 degrees Celsius (1,100 and 2,400 degrees Fahrenheit) to melt a rock, turning it into a substance called magma (molten rock). That is our planet. Liquid fire. Covering that is a thin skin, like the skin of an apple. On that we live. Sometimes that skin springs a leak, and we have a volcano and the fire spews out with smoke, ash, Sulphur, superheated steam, and lava. It burns and vaporizes everything in its path. The smoke and ash cover everything. Around noon on August 24, 79 CE, a huge eruption from Mount Vesuvius showered volcanic debris over the city of Pompeii, followed the next day by clouds of blisteringly hot gases. Buildings were destroyed, the population was crushed or asphyxiated, and the city was buried beneath a blanket of ash and pumice. When these were finally unearthed, in the 1700s, the world was astonished at the discovery of a sophisticated Greco-Roman city frozen in time. Grand public buildings, lavish villas dating back to the 4th century BCE. Inside some were preserved remains of people sheltering from the eruption; others lay buried as they fled. Bakeries were found with loaves still in the ovens. All gone in one instant. Astaghfirullah.
I remind myself and you that Allahﷻ ordered us to prepare and said:
يَـٰٓأَيُّهَا ٱلَّذِينَ ءَامَنُوٓا۟ أَنفِقُوا۟ مِمَّا رَزَقْنَـٰكُم مِّن قَبْلِ أَن يَأْتِىَ يَوْمٌ لَّا بَيْعٌ فِيهِ وَلَا خُلَّةٌ وَلَا شَفَـٰعَةٌ وَٱلْكَـٰفِرُونَ هُمُ ٱلظَّـٰلِمُونَ
Baqara 2: 254 O you who believe! Spend of that with which We have provided for you, before a Day comes when there will be no bargaining, nor friendship, nor intercession. And it is the disbelievers who are the Zalimun (sinners, oppressors).
Remember that Allahﷻ gave us no choice about the quantity of our sustenance. Allahﷻ decides the amount for us. But He gave us the choice, that by the way we earn it and where we choose to spend it, we can decide what reward we want for it, when we meet Allahﷻ. Allahﷻ warns us to exercise that choice before the Day comes when we will no longer be able to choose. That is the Day when we will be recompensed for what we did. About whatever we have in this world, we have a choice. Leave it behind and give account for it or send it ahead and be rewarded. Allahﷻ in His infinite generosity told us:
مَا عِندَكُمْ يَنفَدُ وَمَا عِندَ ٱللَّهِ بَاقٍ وَلَنَجْزِيَنَّ ٱلَّذِينَ صَبَرُوٓا۟ أَجْرَهُم بِأَحْسَنِ مَا كَانُوا۟ يَعْمَلُونَ
Nahl 16: 96 Whatever is with you, will be exhausted, and whatever is with Allah (of good deeds) will remain. And those who are patient, We will certainly pay them a reward in proportion to the best of what they used to do.
What this means is that for whatever we send ahead of us, Allahﷻ will reward us in keeping with the best of those deeds, for all the deeds. That is why I keep asking myself and ask you to ask yourself if we really believe in the Aakhira. Ask, ‘What would we do if this was a stock offer?’ Or something similar involving money. Here the guarantor is not Wall Street but Allahﷻ the Creator, Owner, Sustainer, Protector and Ruler of the Heavens and Earth and all that’s between them. Do we believe?
For those who take heed and spend in the path of Allahﷻ, He said:
مَّثَلُ ٱلَّذِينَ يُنفِقُونَ أَمْوَٰلَهُمْ فِى سَبِيلِ ٱللَّهِ كَمَثَلِ حَبَّةٍ أَنۢبَتَتْ سَبْعَ سَنَابِلَ فِى كُلِّ سُنۢبُلَةٍ مِّا۟ئَةُ حَبَّةٍ وَٱللَّهُ يُضَـٰعِفُ لِمَن يَشَآءُ وَٱللَّهُ وَٰسِعٌ عَلِيمٌ
Baqara 2: 261 The example of those who spend their wealth in the Way of Allah, is as the example of a grain (of corn); it grows seven ears, and each ear has a hundred grains. Allah gives manifold increase to whom He pleases. And Allah is All-Sufficient for His creatures’ needs, All-Knower.
After promising an incredible reward of 700%, Allahﷻ says, ‘Allah gives manifold increase to whom He pleases.’ That is the Glory of the One whose treasures have no bounds and who is not constrained by any limits. My brothers and sisters, none of us is immune to disaster. The protection from disasters in this world and the next is, charity.
Abu Darda (R) reported: Rasoolullahﷺ said, “Seek out the weak for me, for you are only given provision and Divine support due to your care for the weak.’ [Sunan Abi Dawud].
Fadalah ibn ‘Ubayd (R) reported: Rasoolullahﷺ said, ‘Set up a barrier between yourself and Jahannam, even with half of a date in charity.’ [Al-Mu’jam al-Kabir]
Umar ibn al-Khattab (R) reported: Rasoolullahﷺ was asked, “Which deeds are best?” Rasoolullahﷺ said, “To bring happiness to a believer, to satisfy his hunger, to clothe his nakedness, or to fulfill his needs.”[Mu’jam al-Awsat]
Marthad ibn Abdullah (R) reported: Rasoolullahﷺ said, “The shade of the believer on the Day of Resurrection is his charity.” [Musnad Ahmad]
Today in the disaster is an opportunity for us, to please Allahﷻ, to increase our sustenance, to guard ourselves and our families from calamity, to have a shade on the Day when there will be no shade and to protect ourselves from Jahannam. That opportunity is to donate to help the victims of the earthquakes. They need help desperately and urgently. The survivors are those who have lost everything; their loved ones, their life savings, everything. They need our support as we need the support of Allahﷻ. So, donate not for them, but for yourselves. Donate as much as you want to receive from Allahﷻ. Remember that this situation could easily have been inverted, with us in the desperate situation of needing the help of others. Allahﷻ, in His Mercy, protected us and so today we are in a position to help others. Let us do it until it hurts and when it hurts, remind yourself that if it hurts it means that our faith in the Aakhira is deficient. Because why would the one who believes in Allahﷻ’s promise be hesitant to spend in His path? I ask Allahﷻ to reward you in keeping with His Majesty and Grace and protect you from all calamities.