Islam

Friday Sermon: Parables of Allah

By Babatunde Jose

“Allah gives to whom He pleases and constricts whom He pleases. He is aware of His servants and knows them well. Allah blesses them with constriction even though its hard, people of Allah will see the constriction as a blessing. There are people that can do without, and people that can’t do without. Allah knows exactly what to give you to help you return to Him. The events in your life are purposeful, appropriate and nonrandom.” Shaykh Hamza Yusuf – Jewels and Pearls of the Qur’an

“The parable of those who spend their substance in the way of Allah is that 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 cares for all and He knows all things.” (Quran 2:261) Spending in the way of Allah is a great virtue. It occupies paramount importance in divine religions. All Prophets of Allah emphatically urged their followers to spend in the way of Allah.

The greatest benefit of spending in the way of Allah is that it establishes a strong bond between a person and his Creator. A man’s heart generally lies where his wealth is. Anyone who spends in the way of Allah establishes an everlasting communion with God since he has entrusted Allah with his wealth. In this regard, Jesus is reported to have said: “Lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” (Mathew 6:20-1)

It is one of the two pillars upon which the whole structure of religion is based. These two pillars, namely: prayer and spending. These two pillars constitute the foundations upon which the entire structure of man’s relationship with the Creator and His creation is erected. All ancient Semitic religions regard both these pillars as the origin of righteous conduct. Once someone asked Jesus about the great commandment in the law, Jesus  enlightened him by saying: ‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind’. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like it: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself’. On these two commandments hang all the law and the Prophets (Matthew, 22:37-40)

The best possible way to demonstrate affection towards a neighbor is to empathize and sympathize with him and help him out whenever he is in trying circumstances. Just as Salah is the only befitting way man can express his love for the Almighty, the only appropriate manner he can exhibit his appreciation for his neighbor is to spend for him whenever he is in need.

There are many who practice this injunction, and they have testimonies to tell about how God has manifest Himself in their lives. We all know them, and Allah know them too.  The more they give, the more they get. It is like the parable of the sower. See Matthew 13:1-23

The brimming love that man feels for Allah is the natural consequence of his sentiments of gratitude. This realization, on the one hand, gives rise to the sentiments of worship which naturally prompts him to offer the prayer and, on the other hand, induces him to be as generous as possible to mankind since he has become cognizant of the fact that everything he possesses has been bestowed upon him generously by Allah alone.

The Holy Quran alludes to both situations in the following words: So, he who gave in the way of Allah and was god-fearing and believed in the good outcome [in the Hereafter], We shall, indeed, take him to [a fate] of delight. And he who was a miser and was indifferent and belied the good outcome [in the Hereafter], We shall, indeed, take him to [a fate] of affliction.” (Quran 92:5-10)

Giving is like food and water for all the other religious obligations and creeds. It helps, to strengthen all beliefs which have not yet gained sound basis in our heart. This stability and depth of all virtues and beliefs in a person is exactly what the Quran describes as wisdom. From certain indications of the Quran we may construe that the key to this wisdom is indeed spending in the way of Allah. At one place, the Quran delineates the benefits of spending in the following words: “Satan threatens you with poverty and bids you to conduct unseemly. Allah promises you His forgiveness and bounties, and Allah cares for all and He knows all things. He grants wisdom to whom He pleases and he to whom wisdom is granted receives indeed a benefit overflowing.”(Quran 2:268-9)

The parable described just before the above quoted verses begins as: “And the likeness of those who spend their substance seeking to please Allah and to strengthen their souls.”(Quran 2:265)

Giving augments the wealth of the spender. The Quran says: “The parable of those who spend their substance in the way of Allah is that of a grain of corn: . . . . . . . . . (Quran 2:261)

This spending no doubt will bear fruit in the Hereafter but in this very world the person who spends in God’s way enjoys a fabulous increase, for the needy people who are helped pray for their benefactor. And, as these people are pitiful, they much deserve that their prayers be granted by the Merciful Master.

Allah is the Light of the heavens and the earth. The parable of His Light is as if there were a Niche and within it a Lamp: The Lamp enclosed in Glass: The glass as it were a brilliant star: Lit from a blessed Tree, an Olive, neither of the East nor of the West, whose Oil is well-nigh Luminous, though fire scarce touched it: Light upon Light! Allah doth guide whom He will to His Light: Allah doth set forth Parables for men: and Allah doth know all things. (Lit is such a Light) in houses, which Allah hath permitted to be raised to honor; for the celebration, in them, of His name: In them is He glorified in the mornings and in the evenings, (again and again) By men whom neither traffic nor merchandise can divert from the Remembrance of Allah, nor from regular Prayer, nor from the practice of regular Charity: Their (only) fear is for the Day when hearts and eyes will be transformed (in a world wholly new) That Allah may reward them according to the best of their deeds, and add even more for them out of His Grace: For Allah doth provide for those whom He will, without measure.  (Quran 24: 35-38)

May we be counted among the beneficiaries of His blessings! Amen.

Barka Juma’at and a happy weekend

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