Dear brothers and sisters,

Today is Jumah-tul-Widah, the last Friday before Ramadan ends. Alhamdullilah, as our journey through this holy month comes to its conclusion, we ask Allah SWT to accept any form of ibadah that we have performed so far. We also ask Allah SWT to increase our rewards and to help us get closer to our true long-term goal in this life, which is to achieve Taqwa and with it... Jannah. Since Ramadan is ending, I wanted to reflect, in today’s khutbah, about one of my earlier khutbahs where I had talked about how Allah SWT describes those who were successful. This is because while we had the luxury to work on ourselves without Shaitan distracting us during this month...know that as soon as the moment Ramadan ends, it’s open season again for all the devils. This means that the urge to “take it easy”, “to be impulsive” or “to be irresponsible” will be high again, and that is because Shaitan wants us to move away from our true purpose. One can ask what exactly our true purpose in this life is. Allah SWT says in Surah Adh-Dhariyat
(Surah 51, Ayat 56): “I did not create the Jinns and the human beings except for the purpose that they should worship Me.”
This verse shows that our purpose in this life is to worship Allah SWT and to surrender to Him only. Islam means to surrender, and by declaring that we follow Islam, we declare two things:

• We have surrendered ourselves to Allah SWT & that His guidance alone is more than enough
to lead a good life.
• That we have voluntarily chosen to move away from what Allah SWT considers sinful or
against the nature of a person.

The latter is very important. Many of us, including me, struggle to avoid sinning. All the extra prayers, all the sadqahs... all the good deeds that we do to please Allah SWT are of no use if we can’t avoid staying away from committing major sins that Allah SWT specifically told us to stay away from. The two most common tools to commit a major sin (Gunna-e-Kabirah) are identified by prophet SAW in a Hadith found in Al-Adab Al-Mufrad, Book 14, Hadith 289, where Abu Huraira RA reported that the Prophet SAW asked: “Do you know what it is that makes most people enter the Fire?” They (the people) replied, “Allah SWT and His Messenger SAW know best”. He answered, “The two empty ones: the genitals and the mouth. (And) Do you know what is it that makes most people enter Paradise? Taqwa of Allah and good character.” Mashallah this is a very profound hadith. Not only is the prophet SAW identifying two major and common ways to commit sins for us... he’s also guiding us to two important tools that can help us enter Paradise (Jannah). Listen to how Allah SWT describes someone who has Taqwa in the Quran where Allah SWT says in Surah Al- Asr (Surah 103): By time  Indeed, Mankind is in loss Except for those who have believed, and done righteous deeds and advised each other to truth and advised each other to patience Allah SWT is telling us that we’re lost souls unless we’re among those who exhibit four traits in specific:

1. We believe – If we truly believe, then it will be very easy for us to follow His commands word as the supreme command straight from the heart. Much like a child, we’ll try to win over Allah SWT’s love because after all He is our creator.

2. We do righteous deeds – Allah SWT has given us a very long list of things that we can or perhaps should do, to win his approval. So, while it’s easy to do them when conditions are relatively easier, we know from our life experiences that sometimes, the hardest thing to do is that right thing to do, hence the trial with good deeds.

3. Advise each other to the truth – Mashallah we, as the Ummati of Muhammad SAW, have been given a duty that no other ummah before us was given... the duty to propagate Allah SWT’s message to those who don’t know or are neglectful. Understand that while we can operate like missionaries and form groups to visit different areas and neighborhoods to tell people about the word of Allah SWT, that is not, and I emphasize, that is NOT the sunnah of prophet SAW. His sunnah was to invite people for dawah himself or through his trusted companions, he would explain regular people about what Islam is about and through both, his words as well as his actions, he would try to inspire them and give them an example to follow. Prophet SAW was the walking Quran according to Hazrat Aisha RA so if he was the walking Quran, and of course we can’t act like the prophet SAW 100%, but if we’re told to emulate his behavior and character, then wallahi that is exactly what we should do. We are to let people see the content of our character so they can see that indeed, we do what we preach.

4. Advise each other to patience – Allah SWT has placed so much emphasis on staying steadfast and patient. This is because only the patient can detach himself/herself from this world and only they can keep themselves from committing a sin. Those who have taqwa, when they are tempted to commit to an evil deed or when anger befalls them, they know how to handle and sober themselves respectively. Handling temptations is a hard thing, everyone has different things that tempt them... for some it’s the riches of this world, for some its power, for some its love or companionship. I placed love and companionship in this category because people do crazy things when they have strong feelings for another individual... they get jealous, they get clingy, they make promises they know they can’t keep and in case of romantic desires, they look at our beings with envy or lust. These are very strong feelings so only a patient person can fight these off for the sake of Allah SWT. It requires a great deal of patience and self-restraint to not act impulsively, thus these are the people that will receive the greatest reward on the day of judgement.

Dear Brothers and sisters,

The key thing to take away from today’s khutbah is that as this month ends, know that our true enemy Shaitan will, once again, resurface and because he is more than familiar with our weaknesses, he’ll try his best to change us back to our former self. Hence, now is the time to realize that we need to keep our guard up for the upcoming year. Every year Ramadan comes in to cleanse us of our sinful ways but after that, once we’re sober again, we’re to continue our fight and declare Jihad against the devil that is outside and the devil that is within. The only way we’re to be successful in that mission is by achieving taqwa and know that those who have it will be the ones who believed, those who did good deeds, those who told others the truth/stayed truthful and those who stay patient even at times when strong feelings try to overwhelm you, including anger. I’ll end today’s khutbah with a hadith that I absolutely am in love with because it speaks so well about the character and conduct of our beloved prophet SAW. According to Al-Adab Al-Mufrad, Hadith 1317, classified as Sahih, it is narrated from Abu Huraira RA:

“The Messenger of Allah SAW said, "The person who is strong (a warrior) is not strong because he can knock people down. The person who is strong (a warrior) is the one who controls himself when he is angry." Mashallah, be a strong person (a warrior) by controlling your anger as much as its possible for you... that is the sunnah of our prophet SAW.