Friday, July 1, 2011

TAQWA: The 'boring' weekly call


TAQWA: The ‘Boring’ Weekly Call

FRIDAY is the most exhausting day of the week. Even though I do not have classes on this day, sleeping half a day will always be my top priority. Study? Rarely. Breakfast? Hardly any. Just sleep and sleep. Exhausted I guess.

When the clock strikes 1 pm, I would get ready for prayer, Friday prayer of course. Walk to the IIUM Masjid and wait for the first azan. After an interval for about 10 minutes, the khatib gives salaam and then the second azan is heard.

The azans normally sounds beautiful like a lullaby making the Friday jamaah feel so sleepy. When the azan is over, the khatib starts his khutbah. As the khatib starts with:

“O you who have believed, fear Allah as He should be feared and do not die except as Muslims [in submission to Him].” (Ali-Imran: 102)

I witness in front of my eyes, most of the guys, head down! Their head goes up and down not indicating that they understand what the khatib is saying, but because they doze off to dreamland!

Why are they sleeping? Why are we (men) dozing off? If the purpose of Friday prayer is a place for men to ‘rest’ then, sleeping will be quite acceptable.

But Friday prayer is a weekly call for TAQWA. Is this call a ‘boring’ call?

“It’s so BORING! Don’t you get that?”

Sleeping has been a normal phenomenon during Friday prayer. Be it in any part of the world especially Malaysia. Why are we asleep during khutbah?

(1) I’m tired.

(2) Today is a hot day. Dehydration.

(3) The khatib is not good. I can’t even hear his voice.

(4) I already know what he talked about.

Guys out there, I’m asking you, familiar with these excuses? Have you ever used them to escape from being guilty?

Now ask yourselves, do you think Allah will ever accept your excuses? Will Allah be satisfied?

Ali-Imran: 102

Let’s explore a little bit of Tafseer. I did some research in various Tafseers from many renowned scholars. I came out with a conclusion that the message hidden behind the words of verse Ali-Imran: 102are very powerful in meaning. But we always took it for granted! This verse is said every time in the beginning of a khutbah . But we are unaware of its value. We surely are ignorant!

O you who have believed:

Meaning that this verse is exclusively for believers only.

fear Allah as He should be feared:

IbnMasood says: “To obey Him and not to disobey Him, to remember Him and not to forget Him, to thank Him and not to be ungrateful.”[1]

Ibn Abbas: “We have to strive in Allah’s path as we should. Do not care of anyone criticizing our deeds and to establish justice even though against our own kin.”[2]

Syed Qutb: “Fear Allah as He is the one who is supposed to be feared without any limitations. Let our hearts strive beyond our limits. As long as the heart is absorbed in the pursuit of TAQWA, we will discover new horizons and experience new yearnings.”[3]

do not die except as Muslims [in submission to Him]:

Ibn Abbas: “They preserve Allah in both health and sickness so that they are able to die in that state.”

Syed Qutb: “This is the depth of Iman, this is the fear of Allah, which reaches its climax when it dies due to Allah. This is the constant TAQWA and awareness that does not falter or lapse for a single moment.”

What I can pin point here is that; excuses can be given but should not be given because excuses will not be accepted.

If you sleep because you are tired or you’re in your so called dehydration, remember what Ibn Abbas says “They preserve Allah in both health and sickness so that they are able to die in that state.”

If the khatibis not a good speaker and he fails to grab attention, let us try our very best to stay alert and take note of what he is saying. In addition, Syed Qutb says “Let our hearts strive beyond our limits”, strive our best not to sleep but try to give attention.

If you are well-versed to the topic the khatibis talking, remember what Syed Qutb says “This is the constant TAQWA and awareness that does not falter or lapse for a single moment.”Someone who owns a constant command of TAQWA, even though you are a book author, lecturer, leader or a scholar, do not lapse for a single moment because we are in pursuit of TAQWA! 

Sleeping is not a problem lah!

You may argue with me, “It’s not like by listening the khutbah, TAQWA will magically control our body and soul, so it’s ok to sleep then.” This is my response for those who love to debate with me with this question.

Sleeping is a blessing in disguise. We sleep to recharge our weak body. But why we have to sleep during khutbah? The sunnah of the prophet is to sleep before Zuhr prayer:

“Take a nap, for the shayaateen do not take naps.”[4]

So in other words, sleep before Friday prayer, not during khutbah! Is it so difficult to make sleeping before Zuhr prayer a habit?

If we say we don’t have the time to sleep before Zuhr because of work or etc, still it is not an excuse that allows you to sleep during khutbah. If you accidently sleep and you really didn’t mean to, then it may be acceptable because it is out of your control. But before you ‘accidently sleep’, you need to take all the preventive measures not to sleep. I used to sleep while sitting in the interval between the first and second azan and when the second azan is heard; I get up and refresh my wudu’. Seriously I feel so energetic after that! If I can do it, so do you!

The advice given by the khatib is always useful for us. If we sleep, it is as if showing that we are ignorant and hate people giving advice to us. We are diverting the light for entering our dark heart. We have forgotten what Allah has said in the Quran:

“Therefore remind (men), for of use is the reminder” Al-A’la: 9

And in another verse:

“Remind them, for you are but a reminder” Al-Ghashiyah: 21

Reminder or advice comes and goes, but we don’t change. This is a waste of life. 

Conclusion: Change!

I’m not saying that I have not even once slept during khutbah, the reason why I shared with you is because this is what I’ve felt every single time I slept during khutbah, sometimes intentionally, sometimes unintentionally.

I am calling for you guys to make a change. Let us make a change. Don’t perceive this as a small tiny thing for what tiny if gathered will become enormous. Don’t change there and then but change gradually. Plan our change so that it is a permanent change.

Try not to sleep starting from today!


[1] “TAQWA: The Provision of Believers” by Imam Ghazali, Imam Ibn Qayyim al-Jauziyah & Imam Ibn Rajab Hanbali compiled by Abu Maryam Majdi

[2] Tafseer Ibn Abbas

[3] Tafseer Fi Zilalil Quran

[4] Reported by al-Tabaraani. Al-Saheehah, 1647 

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