The Listing Ship

[These are notes from a khutbah delivered on 12.07.2019 at Coffee Hall Mosque by Khateeb Mohamed Suleman]

In Surah Ar-Rahman, Allah says: (5)The sun and the moon (run) on fixed courses (6) And the stars and the trees prostrating (7) And the heaven He has raised high, and He has set up the balance (8) In order that you may not transgress the balance. (9) And observe the weight with equity and do not make the balance deficient.

In these verses, and many more, Allah talks about balance/fairness/justice.

I want us to reflect on the concept of balance today. Allah has set up everything in balance/order – EVERYTHING. Yet, in our society, as humans living in the 21st C (notice I said humans, not Muslims) as humans living in the 21st C we seem to have lost all sense of balance, our equilibrium has gone, we are off kilter.

Picture us as a ship or boat. When all the passengers or goods are on one side, the ship will start to list and it will keep listing until it takes on water and eventually sink. Now with that analogy look around and see how many people, perhaps ourselves or our families, are listing and feel overwhelmed with “life” and think about the problems which ensue.

As Muslims we should be even more aware of this equilibrium in our lives. Islam is a religion of equilibrium!

It involves the balance between the two worlds. Islam has brought balance between this world and the Hereafter.

In Surah Qasas v 77, Allah says, “But seek, with that which Allah has bestowed on you, the home of the Hereafter, and forget not your portion of lawful enjoyment in this world.”

Islam has set a balance:

Between body and soul – fiqh/tasawwuf i.e. legal rulings and inner realities e.g. like all our acts of worship which have an external ruling and inward reality.

Between men and women – Allah has laid perfect balance, this is an area which at the moment is in utter turmoil and wreaking havoc in the minds of the youth! The balance has been broken between the various genders which one can now choose and the myriad of shades in which the rainbow can now be viewed.

Between poor and rich – Islam allows us to be rich, but there are implications to that. The verse above from Surah Qasas 77 is about Qarun and how rich he was. His wealth wasn’t the problem but how he flaunted it without praising Allah. Likewise you could have a poor person always complaining about his poverty which is the other extreme we see today. Each of these has a balance and they themselves are balanced.

Between the ruled and the ruler – we can see in the example of Umar ibn Al-Khattab so many examples of how he acted as a ruler. The old woman who came to Umar and said,

“I was there when you used to be called Umayr; days passed by and you were called Umar; and days passed by and you are now called the leader of the faithful. So, fear Allah when dealing with your subjects and remember that whoever fears death will avoid sins.”

Now we have Rulers who are tyrannical and subjects who are rising up – all against the balance

Between matter and spirit – know that there is a physicality to this world and a spirituality, we are physically killing this world and as a result losing the spirituality found in the world.

These seeming opposites have been transformed into complements through Islam. Islam does not sacrifice or ignore the other world for this world or the body for the spirit. Islam removes the conflict between them and in its place establishes harmony.

For our own sakes we need to look at how we balance our lives, in a holisitic manner. We shouldn’t find ourselves at extremes or odds, our hearts should be in tranquillity and ease. The best way is by seeking knowledge about what the sharia dictates at every stage and filling your life and homes with dhikr of Allah.

We need to recite the Quran and read and ponder its meanings because the Quran is central to keeping balance in our lives!

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