Friday, 27 August 2010

Seek the Greatest Night of the Year

Last 10 days and nights of Ramadan
Seek the Greatest Night of the Year

Dr. Mozammel Haque

I still remember my childhood when an old man of 70 years, Abdul Jabbar, used to come from the district of Faridpur (now in Bangladesh) took the silent alleys of our village in the night, chanting and calling, to wake up Muslims for the last meal before another day of Ramadan fasting begins. Abdul Jabbar reminds one of a character from the book The Thousands and One Nights. He is a strange person who comes out from the depth of the night to disturb the quietness by a shrill cry calling, Suhuoor…Suhoor.

Now that person is replaced in a big city like London by Muslim Community Radio (MCR) – Ramadan Radio – in East London, Kismat Radio and Islam TV Channel calling Muslims to wake up for their breakfast. In Ramadan, all Muslims who want to fast should eat before starting to fast.

The Month of Mercy, the blessed month came and is passing away very fast. Today is 15th of Ramadan. Half of the blessed month has passed; still there is time to get our sins cleared, still there is time to ask for forgiveness from Allah the Almighty who is ready to forgive our sins. The other half of the blessed month is approaching which is full of Allah’s mercy and blessing. In this part of the month, specially during the last 10 days and nights, a night which is the greatest night of the year, the Lailatul Qadr. During these ten days and nights, Muslims spend in the Mosque for I’tikaf.

I’tikaf means seclusion and staying in the Mosque with the intention of becoming closer to Allah. The Prophet (peace be upon him) would perform I’tikaf for last 10 days every Ramadan. In the year that he died, he performed it for twenty days. (Related by Al-Bukhari, Abu Dawud, and Ibn-Majah). The next Friday on 3rd of September (24 Ramadan) will be the Jumatul-Widah, the last Friday of the Blessed Month of Ramadan.

As the month of blessings and mercy is coming to the end, similarly the recitation of the complete Qur’an is also coming to the Khatam which might be on the 29th night of Ramadan. The last ten nights are very important nights. Ayesha (may Allah be pleased with her) said that the Prophet (peace be upon him) used to exert himself in night prayer especially during the last 10 days of Ramadan.

Lailatul Qadr (The Night of Decree)
Lailatul-Qadr is the greatest night of the year like the Day of Arafah is the greatest day of the year. It is a night about which Allah revealed a full Surah, Suratul-Qadr (97:1-5) and the 3rd to the 6th verses of the Surat ad-Dukhan (44:3-6). Allah the Almighty said in the Qur’an, “Indeed We have revealed it (Qur’an) in the Night of Decree. And what will explain to you what the Night of Decree is? The Night of Decree is better than a thousand months. Therein descends the Angels and the Spirit (Jibreel) by Allah’s permission, on every errand: (they say) “Peace” (continuously) till the rise of morning!” (97:1-5). A person who misses Lailatul Qadr is really a deprived person!

Abu Hurairah reported that the Prophet (peace be upon him) said, “The blessed month has come to you. Allah has made fasting during it obligatory upon you. During it the gates to Paradise are opened and the gates of Hellfire are locked, and the devils are chained. There is a night (during this month) which is better than a thousand months. Whoever is deprived of its good is really deprived (of something great). (Ahmad, an-Nisai and al-Bayhaqi).

Aishah said, “Allah’s Messenger used to practice I’tikaf in the last ten nights and say: ‘Seek out Lailatul-Qadr in the (odd nights) of the last ten days of Ramadan.” (Bukhari and Muslim).

The word Zakat in Arabic means purification. The giving of Zakat (obligatory charity) is the third pillar of Islam. There are two types of Zakat: Zakat-ul-Fitr (charity of Eid-ul-Fitr, given to the poor before Eid prayer) and Zakat Al-Maal (purifying charity, paid on one’s wealth).

It is to be noted that Zakat-ul-Fitr was declared by the Prophet (peace be upon him) as a prerequisite for the acceptance of fasting. But when and whom to pay Zakat-ul-Fitr? First of all, who has to pay? Each and every Muslim, regardless of his social status, is required to give a certain amount of charity usually in the form of food grains, barley, raisin etc. called Zakat-ul-Fitr at the end of Ramadan and before the Eid-ul-Fitr so that every member of the Muslim community, especially the poor, have something to eat on the day of Eid. It is meant to cement the relationship between the members of the Muslim society, to alleviate the pain of the poor, to cultivate the sense of brotherhood and solidarity in the hearts of the Muslims, etc., said Sheikh Yusuf Al-Qaradawi.

Dr. Qaradawi also said, “If a person dies before Maghrib on the last day of Ramadan, Zakat-ul-Fitr would not be obligatory upon him even if he fasted all the other days of the month. Conversely, if a child is born after Maghrib on the last day of Ramadan, i.e. the first night of Shawwal, it would be obligatory to pay Zakat: Zakat-ul-Fitr on his or her behalf. This view is unanimously agreed upon by Muslim scholars.” The head of the household must pay for every member of the family, even for the newborn. The Muslim is supposed to pay Zakat-ul-Fitr (i.e., Zakah of breaking the fast) in the country where he or she spends the first night of the month of Shawwal.

So far as the Zakat-ul-Maal is concerned, it is also obligatory for a Muslim, who possesses the minimum wealth on which Zakat is applicable, to give out Zakat. In his Friday sermon at the Grand Mosque in Makkah al-Mukarramah, Imam and Khateeb Sheikh Dr. Saleh Bin Mohammad Aal-Talib, urged Muslims to be God-Conscious and give charity to the poor and the needy. He said Zakat removes miserliness and cleans the heart from cruelty.

Allah has stressed on payment of Zakat, which appears in the Holy Qur’an more than 30 times. There are many verses of the Holy Qur’an and sayings of the Prophet (peace be upon him) that urge Muslim to give charity for the sake of Allah. Sheikh Aal-Talib said charity is an act that attracts Allah’s mercy. He said giving charity secretly extinguishes God’s anger and it is a blessing for the person’s wealth. A person who does not give in charity will be punished by removal of the blessing (barakah) from his wealth.

Zakat-ul-Fitr is associated with the Eid and is meant to create happiness in such a way that includes the poor and the needy. That is why the Prophet (peace be upon him) said: “Make them (i.e., the poor) rich on this day (i.e. the day of Eid)”.

Charity in Ramadan
Ramadan is also the month of charity. Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) said, “...Whoever draws nearer (to Allah) by performing any of the (optional) good deeds in (this month), shall receive the same reward as performing an obligatory deed at any other time; and whoever performs an obligatory deed in (this month), shall receive the reward of performing seventy obligations at any other time. It is the month of patience, and the reward of patience is Paradise. It is the month of charity, and a month in which a believer’s sustenance is increased. Whoever gives food to a fasting person to break his fast shall have his sins forgiven, and he will be saved from the Hell-Fire, and he shall have the same reward as the fasting person, without his reward being diminished at all.” (Reported by Ibn Khuzaymah)

Spend more time with the Qur’an. Read the Qur’an every day. Try to finish at least one time the whole Qur’an during this month by your own personal reading. Pray on time and observe all the prayers. Do not ignore the Tarawih. Make more extra and voluntary prayers. Do as much worship as you can. Do more dhikr (remembering Allah) and du’a (supplication) for yourself and for others. Repent and seek forgiveness for yourself and for others as much as you can. This is the best time for devotion and seeking Allah’s forgiveness. Seek the Night of Qadr by special devotion during the last 10 nights of this month.

The month of blessing and forgiveness is passing away very quickly. Do not miss the remaining last ten days and nights. Let us clear our sins. Let us seek the Night of Qadr.

Thursday, 19 August 2010

Ramadan - The Month of the Qur'an

Ramadan: The Month of the Qur’an

Dr. Mozammel Haque

The Noble Qur’an was revealed in the month of Ramadan (Al-Qur’an, 97:1-3.). The Qur’an was sent down in the month of Ramadan on the Night of Power Lailatul Qadr. (Al-Qur’an, 91:1-3.). It is the month of Ramadan that Allah has honoured by revealing the Qur’an. Because of this strong relation between the Qur’an and the month of Ramadan, Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) used to read the Qur’an to Archangel Jibreel every Ramadan. I think this is the right place to discuss the purpose and objective of the revelation of the Qur’an, its importance, the campaigns against it and the do’s and don’ts of the Qur’an.

First of all, Allah the Most High, created mankind and gave him the gift of expression. For the guidance of mankind Allah sent Prophets (peace be upon them all) to every single community. In the words of the Qur’an, "There has been no community to which God’s messengers have not come" and "Muslims should make no distinctions between them." So it is the duty of a Muslim to honour all the prophets equally.

The Qur’an represents the culmination of all other earlier Revealed Books. The Qur’an is the last of the Revealed Books. The Qur’an is the first religious book in the world, which requires the belief in other revelations, a part of its Faith. This Sacred Book was revealed to the last Messenger, Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) in the month of Ramadan. Allah Himself said in the Qur’an: “Ramadan is the (month) in which was sent down the Qur’an, as a guide to Mankind, also clear (Signs) for guidance and judgment (between right and wrong).” (2:185). Allah the Most High has especially mentioned the exact date and month of the revelation: “We have indeed revealed This (Message) in the Night of Power.” (97:1) So the purpose of the revelation of the Qur’an was for guidance of Mankind.

The Qur’an is emphatic in proclaiming that Islam is the religion of Jesus, Moses, Abraham and the Prophets Jesus and Moses were not Jews but Muslims. "Surely those who believe (in that which is revealed to Muhammad Peace be upon him) and those who are Jews, and the Christians, and the Sabaeans – whoever believes in Allah, and the Last Day and does good, surely their reward is with their Lord, and there is no fear for them nor shall they grieve." (2:62). "A Guidance for mankind and clear proofs for the guidance and judgement (between right and wrong)." This is the most important characteristic of the Qur’an, the Book that Allah has revealed in the month of Ramadan. It is guidance for mankind. It is clear proof, clear proof of guidance and of judgement.

Before the revelation of the Qur’an, it was preserved and guarded from corruption in the "Mother of the Book". Allah Himself said: "Nay this is a Glorious Qur’an (inscribed) in a Tablet Preserved" (85:21-22). When Allah wanted to give this Trust to someone, the Heavens, the Earth, and the Mountains, i.e. other creatures of Allah, besides man, refused to undertake this Trust or responsibility. They preferred to submit their will entirely to Allah’s Will, which is All-Wise and Perfect, and which would give them far more happiness than a faculty of choice, with their imperfect knowledge. Allah says in the Qur’an: "We did indeed offer the Trust to the Heavens and the Earth and the Mountains; but they refused to undertake it, being afraid thereof: but man undertook it: He was indeed unjust and foolish." (33-72).

So it is the human beings who took the responsibility of the Trust without realising its importance. This Sacred Book was revealed to the last Messenger Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) in the month of Ramadan. The Qur’an is the revealed book of God which has been in existence for more than four hundred years and the Word of Allah is available in its original form. There has not been an iota of change in this unique historic record. Its originality and authenticity has been guaranteed by no other than Allah the Almighty who challenges in the Qur’an itself.

Allah said, "This Qur’an is not such as can be produced by other than Allah: on the contrary it is a confirmation of (revelation) that went before it, and a fuller explanation of the Book - wherein there is no doubt – from the Lord of the Worlds." (10:37). In another verse of the Qur’an Allah challenges, "Or do they say, "He forged it?" Say: "Bring then a Surah like unto it; and call (to your aid) anyone who can, beside Allah if it be you speak the truth!" (10:38). "Or they may say, "He forged it." Say, "Bring you then ten Suras forged, like unto it, and call (to your aid) whomsoever you can, other than Allah! – if you speak the truth!" (11:13).

Allah said in the Qur’an, "And if you are in doubt as to what We have revealed from time to time to Our servant then produce a Sura like thereunto, and call your witness and helpers (if there are any) besides Allah, if you are truthful." (2:23) Allah places many verses before you. Can you produce one like it?

The world is challenged to produce a Book like it and has not produced one. It is the only Revealed Book whose text stands pure and uncorrupted today. Allah said, "Say: "if the whole of mankind and jinns were to gather together to produce the like of this Qur’an, they could not produce the like thereof, even if they backed up each other with help and support." (17:88)

Since the revelation of the Qur’an, the enemies of Islam have been trying to distort it. Firstly, they said, it is not revelation, it is written by Prophet Muhammad (pbuh). Then they started attacking its authenticity and originality. In spite of their conspiracy, the Qur’an has been preserved in its original form.

The Qur’an is the only Book in the world which has remained for the past fourteen centuries pure without any interpolation or change and will remain so till the Last Day as Allah has guaranteed its purity. (15:9).

The purity, preservation and propagation of the Qur’an were maintained by two methods: memorization of Qur’an in Qur’anic schools and the recitation of the complete Qur’an in Ramadan. In the month of Ramadan every year the Noble Prophet (peace be upon him) was asked by Archangel Jibreel to recite the whole of it twice. It was a Muzakira between the two. Abu Huraira reported that Jibreel used to repeat the recitation of the Qur’an with the Prophet once a year, but he repeated it twice with him in the year the Prophet (peace be upon him) died. The Qur’an was recited in the Taraweeh for the first time during the era of Caliph Omar.

So far as the memorization of the Qur’an in Qur’anic schools is concerned, many Huffaz and Islamic scholars have been killed in different parts of the world at different times. But still there is no dearth of Islamic scholars who can recite the complete Qur’an from memory. Severe campaigns have been launched against the Qur’anic schools, which teach the study, recitation and memorization of the Qur’an. The Qur’an is the main Book of the Muslims; it is the duty of the Muslims to learn Qur’an, which contains their code of life and ethical values whose benefits have been experienced by mankind throughout the ages.

I have already mentioned the objective and importance of the Qur’an and how its originality and purity have been maintained. Our Prophet (pbuh) and his Companions dedicated their days and nights for worship. Their lives revolved completely around the Book of Allah, the Qur’an, reciting it in and out of Salah.

The Qur’an is the basis of the religion of Islam, and on the preservation and propagation of the Qur’an depends the very existence of this Faith. Hence the virtue of learning and teaching the Qur’an is self-evident and does not need further elucidation. The Prophet (peace be upon him) said, “The best amongst you is he who learns the Qur’an and teaches it.” (Bukhari, Daud and Tirmidhi).

Wednesday, 11 August 2010

Welcome Ramadan Mubarak and Ramadan Greetings for all of you

Welcome Ramadan Mubarak and
Ramadan Greetings to all of you

Dr. Mozammel Haque

It is very happy and good news that most communities and schools of thoughts of the United Kingdom have decided to start Ramadan from the same day, Wednesday, the 11th of August 2010 like their brothers and sisters in other parts of the world. Alhamdo Lillah, the wish of the Imam and Khateeb of the Masjid Al-Haram Sheikh Abdul Rahman al-Sudais expressed in his meeting with Muslim leaders at the Regents Park London Central Mosque and the Islamic Cultural Centre has been accepted and fulfilled. Of course, in Canada, the first fasting will be on Thursday 12 August 2010, Insha-Allah.

I am sending my Ramadan greetings and prayer to all of you. May this holy month brings barakah, and Allah's boundless mercy upon the believers and harmony and tolerance for the world. Saudi Arabia also started Ramadan on the same day, Wednesday, the 11th of August 2010.

I welcome Ramadan, the month of Mercy and Repentance, the month of the Qur’an, of laylatul qadr (the night of power) and of repentance and forgiveness. Fasting in the month of Ramadan is one of the Pillars of the Islamic faith. It was declared an obligatory duty (Fard) in the second year of the Hijrah upon each and every mukallaf (one capable of carrying out religious duties, i.e. a sane adult).

Allah the Almighty made Ramadan fasting compulsory for Muslims. Allah said, “O those who believe, the fasts have been enjoined upon you as were enjoined upon those before so that you be God-fearing.’ [Surah Baqarah, 183]. Literally, Sawm means ‘to abstain’. In the terminology of Islamic law, Sawm means ‘to abstain from eating, drinking and sexual intercourse: with the conditions that one abstains continuously from dawn to sunset, and that there is an intention to fast.’ Therefore, should one eat or drink anything even a minute before sunset, the fast will not be valid. Similarly, if one abstained from all these things throughout the day but made no intention to fast, there will be no fast here too.

Allah the Almighty said in the Qur’an “…And eat and drink, until the white thread of dawn appears to you distinct from its black thread…” (Al-Qur’an, 2:187) Literally defined, fasting means to abstain “completely” from foods, drinks, intimate intercourse and smoking, before the break of the dawn till sunset, during the entire month of Ramadan, the ninth month of the Islamic year.

Fasting in Islam is based on the lunar calendar and is tied to the sightings of hilal, the crescent, or new moon. Allah the Almighty stated: “They ask you concerning the new moons. Say: They are but signs to mark fixed periods of time… (Al-Qur’an, 2:189). And the Traditions of the Prophet (peace be upon him) said: “Eat until you see the crescent and break not until you see the crescent. If it is cloudy calculate the period of the month.” (Muslim and others).

Fasting in Ramadan is compulsory upon every Muslim, male or female, who has these qualifications, e.g. mentally and physically fit, adult full of age which is normally fourteen and fairly certain that fasting is unlikely to cause any harm, physical or mental, other than the normal reactions to hunger, thirst etc.

The said qualifications exclude the following categories: children under the age of puberty and discretion; men and women who are too old and feeble to undertake the obligation of fast and bear its hardships; sick people whose health is likely to be severely affected by the observance of fast; travellers may break the fast temporarily during their travel; pregnant women and women breast-feeding their children may also break their fast and women in the period of menstruation (of a maximum of ten days or of confinement (of a maximum of forty days. They must postpone the fast till recovery and then make up for it.

The holy month of Ramadan is the month of mercy, forgiveness, and seeking release from the Hell-fire. It is the month of repentance and acceptance of prayers. It is the month when the devils are chained, the gates of Hell are looked and the gates of Paradise are opened. That’s why; Muslims welcome Ramadan each year with energy and happiness, and are saddened only when the month departs. Fasting is for the living, not for mourning.

Ramadan is a month of worship. Muslims should welcome the month with repentance and seeking Allah’s pardon. We should keep away from committing sins; worship Allah sincerely and spending the night and day in prayer, supplication and recitation of the Holy Qur’an.

Fasting is a shield which helps prevent many sins and with which Muslim protects himself from Hell-fire. Fasting is more than abstaining from food and drink. It also means to abstain from any falsehood in speech and action, from any ignorant and indecent speech, and from arguing and quarrelling. Therefore, fasting helps to develop good behaviour.

Fasting inculcates a sense of brotherhood and solidarity, as a Muslim feels and experiences what his needy and hungry brothers feel. This gives Muslim a new sense of togetherness and association.

Allah the Almighty said in the Qur’an: The month of Ramadan in which was revealed the Qur’an, a guidance for mankind, and clear proofs of the guidance, and the criterion (between right and wrong). (Surah Al-Baqarah 2: 185) As Ramadan is the month of the Qur’an, every Muslim should prepare himself to welcome the blessed month of Ramadan by strengthening his relationship with the Qur’an. A Muslim is encouraged to complete one recitation of the Holy Qur’an during Ramadan.

We should engage more and more in the recitation of the Qur’an, in dhikr (remembrance of Allah), perform extra Salah (ritual prayers) at night and renew identity with one another in our obedience to Allah.

Ramadan is called the month of charity and sympathy; a month of giving in charity and sharing meals to break the fast together. Many Muslims also pay Zakah in the month of Ramadan.

Ramadan is an excellent opportunity to bring about permanent improvement into our lives. We can do this by making a goal to remove a harmful trait from our character or speech, whether it be argumentation, backbiting, making false promises, or resentment against a fellow Muslim, or a sinful matter from our lives. Insha’Allah by the baraka of this month, this effort will result in change that will benefit us in this world and the next.

I would again like to take this opportunity to wish all of you a blessed Ramadan. May this blessed month bring unadulterated peace to everyone in the world. May Allah make this Ramadan a month of increasing nearness to Him, and May He accept all of our fasts and worship. Ameen.

Thus Ramadan becomes a blessed month of physical, moral and spiritual renewal through fasting, charity and worship. This is the moral and spiritual gifts of Ramadan. “We can say that Ramadan gives us the great gift of Taqwa (Piety). Taqwa is the sum total of Islamic life. It is the highest of all virtues in the Islamic scheme of things. It means God-consciousness, piety, fear and awe of Allah and it signifies submission to Allah and total commitment to all that is good and rejection of all that is evil and bad,” said Dr. Muzzammil H. Siddiqi, former President of Islamic Society of North America (ISNA).

Message from British Foreign Secretary
British Foreign Secretary, William Hague, MP, also sent his “good wishes to Muslims across the world for the holy month of Ramadan” in his Ramadan Message to the British Muslim Community. Hague said, “This is a very important time in the calendar. It’s a time of fasting, of prayer, of introspection, of the gathering of families and I’m very conscious as a British politician of the huge contribution that so many Muslims in Britain make across the whole breadth of our society and that is something of course that we want to see even more of in the future.”
“So it’s a very, very important time of year celebrating what Ramadan is about, important values of selflessness, of charity, of compassion, of looking after people less fortunate than ourselves. And these are values of course that unite Muslims and non Muslims alike. So at this special time of year I say to you, your friends and your relatives, Ramadan Mubarak,” Hague said in his Ramadan Message.

Message from the Custodian of Two Holy Mosques
Imbibe the True Spirit of Islam
King Abdullah, Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques, and Crown Prince Sultan Bin Abdul Aziz, Deputy Premier, Minister of Defense and Aviation and Inspector General, urged Muslims around the world on Tuesday to compete with one another in righteous deeds and work to alleviate the pain and suffering of the poor and needy, inspired by the spirit of the holy month of Ramadan.

“This blessed month has taught us many lessons. We have to contemplate them to learn how people should be compassionate to their fellow beings, how the rich feel the suffering of the poor, and how Muslims compete with one another to win the pleasure of God,” the king said in his Ramadan message.

In their message, the king and crown prince called upon Muslims to participate actively in the creation of a human civilization. In this respect, the message referred to Saudi Arabia’s efforts to promote dialogue with followers of other religious faiths and cultures.

“Our interfaith dialogue initiative was aimed at building a civilized world bringing people closer in order to work for establishing peace and justice and enhancing the welfare of the whole humanity,” said the message that was read out on Saudi Television by Culture and Information Minister Abdul Aziz Khoja.

They also emphasized the role of Ramadan in deepening the qualities of kindness, forgiveness, mercy and showing sympathy to those who are less well off. “It revitalizes the high values that our religion has taught us,” the message said. “It’s a month when the doors of the Heaven will be kept open and of Hell remain locked.”

“Islam is a religion of love, compassion and tolerance, and that its message has been revealed as a mercy for the entire mankind. It is a way of guidance and welfare and it is a method that advocates dialogue and coherence. It also calls for effective participation to build mankind’s civilization,” the address said.

“From this standpoint, the Kingdom, on which Almighty Allah bestowed the honour of the service of the Two Holy Mosques, has a duty and responsibility to defend and protect this religion, serve Muslims’ interests and renew and revive their dialogue with the world’s cultures, societies and others’ religions with the objective of building a civilized and coherent world that finds its roots in the principles of peace and justice,” the address concluded.

Monday, 9 August 2010

Sheikh al-Sudais urges Muslims to concentrate more on their children's education

Sheikh Al-Sudais urges Muslims to concentrate
more on their children's education

Dr. Mozammel Haque

Sheikh Abdul Rahman Al-Sudais, Head Imam and Khateeb of Masjid al-Haram, Makkah led the Jumah Prayer at the Regents Park London Central Mosque, on Friday, 30th July 2010. Sheikh Sudais encouraged Muslims to follow the teachings of Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) being nice, polite and careful to their wives as Allah the Almighty said in Sura al-Nisa – “Deal with your wife honourably”. And the Prophet (peace be upon him) in his last Farewell Sermon on the Mount of Arafat, said three times, “I advised you to treat woman nicely.”

Sheikh al-Sudais also indicated clearly that Islam forbids any form of domestic violence and it is an un-Islamic attitude and behaviour.

Sheikh al-Sudais instructed Muslims to be merciful, tolerant and just and to take care of others’ rights. Sheikh al-Sudais said the first right to be respected is the right of Allah the Almighty – to worship Him and obey Him. The second right to be respected is the right of the Prophet (peace be upon him) – to love, obey and follow him and then the rights of Muslims among each other and also the rights of all Mankind including non-Muslims.

His eminence Sheikh al-Sudais advised Muslims to follow the teachings of Islam and to represent this religion in the best form in their worship, character and relation with others.

The biggest part of the Khutbah is about family and its importance at the centre of the society. Sheikh al-Sudais said it is a shame to see family breakdown within the Muslim community and this is due to lack of following the Prophet’s teachings and also not knowing each other’s rights (husbands and wives).

The Imam of Masjid al-Haram said there are clear rights for husbands and clear rights for wives as well and also their responsibilities.

Sheikh al-Sudais encouraged Muslims to follow the teachings of Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) being nice, polite and careful to their wives as Allah the Almighty said in Sura al-Nisa – “Deal with your wife honourably”. And the Prophet Peace be upon him said in his last Farewell Sermon on the Mount of Arafat, said three times, “I advised you to treat women nicely.”

He concluded his first part of the Khutbah by advising parents to look after their children and to make sure that they are well-educated and be the greatest example and model for their children.

In the second part of his Khutbah, Sheikh al-Sudais spoke about the virtues of the month of Shabaan. He said the Prophet (peace be upon him) used to fast most of this very month. He mentioned Sayeeda Ayesha said in an authentic Hadith, “The Prophet (peace be upon him) never completed a full month of fasting other than the month of Ramadan and I have never seen him fasting most of the month except Shabaan.” Sayeeda Ayesha also said that the Prophet used to fast all through the month of Shabaan except few days.

Sheikh al-Sudais said this is part of the preparation for the great month of Ramadan. He also said this month is the chance to repent to Allah the Almighty or to pray Him and to compete in doing good deeds.

Al-Sudais led the Friday congregation at
the Regents Park
Central London Mosque
A week earlier, on Friday, the Imam and Khateeb of the Masjid al-Haram in Makkah led the Jumah Prayer (Friday Congregation) at the Regents Park London Central Mosque, on Friday, the 23rd of July, 2010.

In his Friday Sermon, Sheikh Al-Sudais said one of the main principles of Muslim beliefs is to belief in Tauheed, the Oneness of God. “It is the main aim of our life, i.e. to have Imaan in Allah alone. This is the most important thing in our life. This is the right of Allah upon us,” said Sheikh Al-Sudais.

Sheikh Al-Sudais also said it is also important to have Imaan or belief in His Angels that Allah created, to belief in the Books that He revealed and the Messengers that He sent.

The Imam of the Masjid al-Haram in Makkah said Islam is the religion of peace, tolerance, and forgiving. It calls for peace and tolerance. Our Prophet (peace be upon him) was the best example and model for us in tolerance. He was tolerant with Muslims and non-Muslims. The Qur'an mentions: “And by the Mercy of Allah, you deal with them gently, and had you (Muhammad) been severe, harsh-hearted, they would certainly have broken away from around you; so pass over (their faults), and ask (Allah’s) Forgiveness or them'. [3:159].

Dr. al-Sudais also called upon non-Muslims not to fear from Islam; “for Islam will protect you and will not harm you,” al-Sudais said.

Sheikh al-Sudais also mentioned that Islam condemns divisions and differences among Muslims and calls for unity. The Qur'an says, 'And hold fast, all of you together, by the Rope of Allah (this Qur’an), and be not divided among yourselves; and remember with gratitude Allah's Favour on you; for you were enemies one to another but He joined your hearts together in love, so that by His Grace, you became brethren...' 3:103]

The Imam of the Grand Mosque in Makkah also called upon Muslims to treat non-Muslims kindly, justly and fairly. The Qur'an mentions, 'Allah does not forbid you to deal justly and kindly with regard to those who fought not against you on account of religion nor drove you out of your homes: for Allah loves those who are just. [60:8]

Sheikh al-Sudais urged Muslims to respect the values of the country in which they live. He called them not to cheat, or tell lies or commit crimes. He recommended Muslims to know the rights of non-Muslims.

Dr. Al-Sudais also urged Muslims to know the rights of husbands and rights of wife and look after their family.

After the Jumah Prayer, the Imam of the Masjid Al-Haram in Makkah met with Prince Muhammad bin Nawaf bin Abdulaziz, the Ambassador of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia to the United Kingdom and Ireland and Dr. Ahmed al-Dubayan, the Director General of the Islamic Cultural Centre at his office. He also met with some eminent leaders of the Muslim community as well as the staff of the Islamic Cultural Centre.

Meeting with Imams and leaders of
Mosques and Islamic centres

The Imam of the Masjid al-Haram Makkah also prayed the Maghreb (evening) prayer at the Regents Park London Central Mosque and after the prayer he met with the Imams of different Mosques and leaders of the Islamic centres at the Islamic Cultural Centre building.

Sheikh Al-Sudais emphasised on the unity of the Muslim community. He said it is very important for the future of the community.

Sheikh Al-Sudais also called upon the Muslims to concentrate more on the education of their children. He said it is important to educate the young Muslims to make them able to understand their religion very well.

Sheikh al-Sudas also talked about good relations between Muslims and non-Muslims and the wider community while living in the Western countries.

Dr. al-Sudais also talked about better relations among Muslim organisations to work together to pray together and to serve the community together, which they are supposed to take care of.

Emphasizing on the issue of unity of the Muslim community, Sheikh al-Sudais mentioned about the beginning of Ramadan and the issue of the time table for prayers, as for example. Sheikh al-Sudais also talked about the issue of the Shari’ah Council.

On the issue of Shari’ah Council, Dr. Al-Dubayan made his comments on the role of the Islamic Cultural Centre on this subject. He said the Islamic Cultural centre is trying to create one Board of Shari’ah Council in the UK in order to have one standard, one criteria and to be more professional and more acceptability.

The Imam of the Masjid al-Haram Makkah, Sheikh al-Sudais conveyed the Salams from the Custodians of the Two Holy Mosques both in the meeting and in his Friday Sermon (Khutbah).

Sheikh al-Sudais asked the Muslims to do their best in serving the society in which they live, exchanging visits among themselves.

Interview with Dr. Dubayan
After the meeting, I interviewed Dr. Ahmed al-Dubayan, the Director General of the Islamic Cultural Centre about the visit of the Sheikh.

Mentioning about the importance of his visit, Dr. al-Dubayan said, this visit of mosques, Islamic centres and organisations etc. by the Imam of the Masjid al-Haram Makkah is very important. “It builds more bridges among Muslim themselves, give them more chance to listen to his khutbah, instructions and follow teachings of Islam,” said Dr. al-Dubayan.

Dr. Al-Dubayan also mentioned that the Sheikh himself talked about the young people in his speech in the Khutbah. Sheikh al-Sudais mentioned in his Khutbah about the young people.

“Sheikh al-Sudais asked the youth to be the good ambassadors of their religion, nation and country and become the examples and models for Islam in this country. This message, I believe, is very important,” said Dr. al-Dubayan and added, “This is to build more bridges and to give more chances for good relations and tolerance among the Muslim communities in this country.”

Dr. al-Dubayan also mentioned, “Any Muslim is happy to receive his eminence at the Islamic cultural centre. It is also a good chance for the staff members of the Islamic cultural centre to come and to say Salam to his eminence and to his royal highness.”

Earlier, the Imam of the Grand Mosque of Makkah opened the largest and biggest Mosque in Yorkshire, the Masjid al-Tauheedul Islam in Blackburn, led the Jumah prayer and delivered a speech after the evening prayer.