Dear Brothers and Sisters,
I ask those of us who were born into Muslim families: Are we Muslims by choice, or by chance? Do we follow Islam out of a deep personal conviction, or simply by habits, copied from our parents? Is Islam an inheritance we never question, and we never examine closely? Have we made clear and considered decisions about our future, or are we happy just to let things drift along? We must answer these questions truthfully so that we can enjoy the full richness of a life based on iman and taqwa, faith and Allah-awareness.
We must understand that Islam is not simply one of a range of lifestyle options we can choose from a catalogue or supermarket. Out there in the wider world already we are being classified as moderates and militants, jihadis, ‘progressive Muslims’ and suchlike. Others are trying to reformulate Islam into something that fits their own agenda. Soon we might hear about semi-skimmed Islam, diet Islam and fat-free Islam. Personally, I prefer the original flavour, the whole-hearted version. Remember, what the Qur'an says:
“O You who Believe, enter into Islam whole-heartedly, and follow not the steps of Shaytaan, for he is to you an avowed enemy….” [athuw-wum mubeen]
Islam does not require new ways of inventing itself in order to gain more followers. This is not a numbers game. It is about the quality of individual Believers. It is about transforming human beings from what we are to what Alláh wants us to be. “Fee ahsani taqweem,’’ the Holy Qur'an describes the pinnacle human perfection. There’s no need for diet Islam or semi-skimmed Islam, and we must beware of any newly-invented forms of our noble Faith. “Wa kullun bid’atin dalaalah, wa kullun dalaala fin naar.” And every newly-invented matter [in the faith] is an innovation, and every innovation leads to the Fire.” He Who has the Power and Wisdom to create the heavens and the earth, has perfected Islam for us and chosen it as our way of living. How can anyone possibly improve on that?
We Muslims ought to show by example that Islam is not to be feared, but welcomed. Our trustworthy and generous nature should illuminate our homes and be like a beacon of light to our neighbours in the wider community. It is said that Faith, Iman, does not enter a heart without beautifying it. As our faith increases, so our character should improve, and so our neighbourhoods should benefit. Real Believers add value to their environment.
We, who were born into Muslim families, need to search our hearts and souls so that we too can be Muslims by choice and not merely by chance. Like our new Brothers and sisters, we, too, must feel the deep joy and serenity of fulfilling the Covenant when our Ruh, our soul recognises its Creator.
Some practical points. Our new brothers and sisters need help and guidance. There is such a bewildering confusion of groups and subgroups out there, each trying to elbow its way above the rest. We have Salafis, Sufis, Wahabis, Deobandis, Brehelwis, Ahle this and Ahle that. Let’s keep Islam simple. At least 17 times every day, we ask Allah, “Ihdi nas siraatal Mustaqeem,” “Show us the straight way.” Don’t let us confuse ourselves and our new brothers and sisters. Let us remember just two important qualities of our Holy Prophet Muhammad sws. He was trustworthy; Al-Ameen, and he had a most generous heart. Let us, then, be truthful, trustworthy and generous towards one another… We also need to help new Muslim find jobs, homes, and suitable husbands and wives. This is the practical side of following Prophet Muhammad sws.
Muslims deserve generosity from each other not only in material things, but more especially in accepting diversity of opinions. This readiness to accommodate different opinions was eloquently explained in last week’s khutbah by Br Essam Mahgoub. Let’s be more forgiving of each other’s faults. Let’s not criticise, condemn and complain. Be and let be. Live and let live. Let Allah be the judge in matters we dispute. In the meantime, let us smile and embrace one another and celebrate our differences as yet another Sign, another Ayaat, of Allah’s infinite creativity.
"Rabbana la tu'akhizna in-nasina aw akh-ta'na. Rab-bana wa la tahmil 'alayna isran kama hamaltahu 'ala-lladhina min qablina, Rab-bana wa la tuhammilna ma la taqata lana bih, wa-'fu 'anna wa 'ghfirlana warhamna anta Maulana fansurna 'alal-qawmil kafirin."
“O Alláh, condemn us not if we fall into error, Our Lord, lay not on us a burden like that which you laid on those before us, Our Lord, lay not on us a burden greater than we have strength to bear; Blot out our sins, grant us forgiveness, have mercy on us; You are our protector; Help us against those who stand against faith.”
taken from here