Sunday, 11 September 2011

A Sermon (Khutbah) in Melbourne

On the 31st of August 2011, I was asked to give a sermon in Clarinda, a suburban district south-east of Melbourne. The members of audience were mostly Sri Lankan Muslims. The Eid mass was under the coordination of the ASLAMA (Association of Sri Lankan Muslims in Australia).

The contents for the sermon were considered based on the situation of Muslims in Australia:

1. Where there is a need for Muslims to acknowledge other fellow Muslims regardless of ethnicity.

2. Whereby it is essential for Muslims in Australia to spread and preserve the message and good impression of Islam.

3. Whereby Muslims must be reminded of the history which led to the deterioration of Islamic knowledge physically and mentally.

The actual sermon differs from the text as dependence on this text was not permanent, and figure of speech and spontaneous examples have innovated the main structure of the sermon.


Praise is to Allah who hath guided us to this; and we would not have been guided if Allah had not guided us. We praise Him, we seek His help, and we ask for His forgiveness. Whomever Allah guides, no one can lead him astray, and whoever is led astray by the will of Allah, no one can bring him back.

We bear witness that there is but one Allah, and Muhammad S.A.W. as his messenger, and the last messenger appointed by Allah.

O servants of Allah! Fear Allah! Fear Allah the way he deserves to be feared. And do not die as Muslims in full state of submission to Allah.

My Brothers and sisters,
We give thanks to Allah for having given us the opportunity to accomplish the month of Ramadhan and all of its fulfilment, so that we may fulfil what has been prescribed by Allah;

"…so that you are able to complete the period (of fasting) and to glorify Allah for that which He has guided you; and perhaps you will be grateful."
(Al-Baqarah: 185)

To be grateful, because of Allah’s reward in His guidance of making us as Muslims. Thus it has become our responsibility to fill our Islamism with perfect faith and good deeds.

My brothers and sisters,
We have just completed a big act of worship in Islam; that is to fast throughout the holy month of Ramadhan. We have been invited to be the guest of Allah during Ramadhan, to be served with the act of fasting, in which the reward of performing so is at least ten times that of a common good deed.

Allah has prescribed upon us,

“O you who have believed, fasting has been prescribed upon you as how it was prescribed upon those before you, so that you may become righteous.”
(Al-Baqarah: 183)

The reason is so that we become righteous to Allah; who fulfil His commands, and leave all that He has prohibited while we live on this earth, in our relationship with Him, in our relationship amongst ourselves, in our relationship with our wealth, and in our relationship with all living creatures that are around us. All these relationship must comply with all that Allah has commanded and prohibited.

This means that only with the characteristic of righteousness…or taqwa, that we are able to fulfill these relationships.

My brothers and sisters,
On this great day, I wish to share with you a verse from the Holy Quran, from the book of Al-Ma’idah, verse number 8 which goes,

“O you who believe! Stand out firmly for Allah and be just witnesses and let not the enmity and hatred of other (nations) make you avoid justice. Be just: that is nearer to taqwa, and fear Allah. Verily, Allah is Well-Acquainted with what you do.”
(Al-Ma’idah: 8)

First of all; Allah is reminding us so that we become a servant of Allah to establish truth all the time. It is a commandment from Allah that we establish truth irrespective of wherever we are.

As far as the duty is concerned, we must establish truth all the time wherever we are, at whatever era we are in.

Secondly, all of us are witnesses of what we do; witnesses of what other people do. So of that respect, Allah commands us to be a just witness.

Thirdly, Allah commands us not to allow our feeling of hatred towards another race, another nation, another creed make us become unjust. And Allah commands us to be just (I’diluu), for that is very close with taqwa. And in that respect, we must fear Allah, for He is well acquainted, well informed, no matter how large, how small, how public, or how discreet of the things that we do in this life.

Many of us who are here today originated from a land of mixed races. Even here in Australia we live amongst people of multiple races. To some, this is not something new as it has already been experienced in their native countries. To others, it is of a new experience if they were from a country of single nation, or grew up knowing little about those who exist outside of their respected tribes.

Brothers and sisters,
Most Muslim nations throughout the world would have once been living under colonial rule for many, many years. Most nations with majority Muslim population in one part of history have been colonialized, to an extent that they have forgotten the regimes which were set up by these colonial powers had been regimes that were subservient to their masters.

The governments that have been established and legitimised by the colonial powers were those that were of total obedience towards their masters. Henceforth our predecessors have been living under those conditions for many years. It could be 20 years, 50 years, or 100 years; depending on how long these territories were colonialized.

The trouble with many of these Muslim nations now is that we are suffering from a syndrome of trying to defend our race and blithering other races. As a result of that, nation states were created; splitting us apart, disintegrating us from what we used to be; a united force, a unified force at one point.

And today, we remain disintegrated. Because; I am a Malaysian, I am a Sri Lankan, I’m an Indonesian, I’m a Lebanese, I’m a Pakistani, I’m a Turk, I’m an Indian, I’m an Australian. These are the lifestyles that we have been caught into.

Many of us do not realise that when we hate other nations on the fact that we are predominant, that is a cause of zalim. The exact opposite of justice is injustice or zalim. Allah reminds us in this verse that if we are just, then we are close to taqwa. But if you are unjust, definitely you will suffer the opposite.

This verse tells us that one of the major causes of injustice is the hatred towards another nation, another race, another tribe, or another creed. The reason why Allah declared war on the Jews…the children of Israel was because of their arrogance in claiming that they were the chosen ones, the noblest of all tribes. No other tribes supersede them. Their hatred towards others can be seen today; how they try to obliterate our brothers in Palestine, how they try to destroy the minds of Muslims worldwide with countless hedonism.

Their act is positively against the verse I mentioned. Their hatred towards those other than their own kind has caused them to become vicious and unjust. And they will never rest until they are submitted to.

“Never will the Jews or the Christians be satisfied with you until you follow their form of religion.”
(Al-Baqarah: 120)

Yes, they are happy that we are living their way of life; eating, sleeping, and dressing as how they do. But as long as we remain as Muslims, their struggle will not stop.

Brothers and sisters,
Have we learnt anything from the worship of fasting throughout Ramadhan? During Ramadhan, we have observed hunger and thirst. And by observing these, we are reminded of the people in other parts of the world who are also fasting; not because of the obligation during the month of Ramadhan, but because that is how they live.

They do not have enough to eat, they live in poverty. And we can see that a majority portion of these people are but our brothers in faith. There’s not much that we can do to assist them. Why? Because we are not united as Muslims. After years of colonisation, we still uphold the ideology of nationalism. And with this ideology, we tend to be ignorant of other people who are not of our kith and kin.

We are defenceless in protecting ourselves, our brothers, and this religion. We lack the knowledge of defending the teachings of Islam, to an extent that we submit to the ideology of other people who are clueless of the teachings of Islam.

We have observed from history; when a Muslim territory faced invasion by a common enemy, Muslims would travel across the land to join their brothers in fighting off the enemy. They would put aside their geographical factors in favour of defending a Muslim territory.

In today’s world; when Afghanistan was attacked, when Iraq was attacked, when Palestine was constantly bombarded by the enemies of Allah, the government of neighbouring Muslim countries would act as if nothing happened. Even if there were people who went to help defend these countries, upon return to their respected countries they would be charged for treason or supportive of terrorism. The act of total unjust and hatred was bred by a single cause of hatred towards others.

Brothers and sisters,
We are among the people chosen by Allah to travel to this country, be it for the purpose of education, or to permanently reside here. For some of us, we have more breathing space to practice Islam as a whole compared to our native country.

Take this opportunity to increase your knowledge of Islam and at the same time your righteousness…or taqwa to Allah, because as I have mentioned earlier only with taqwa that we are able to accomplish our relationship with all that is around us. And only with taqwa we can be united as Muslims.

But always be aware that while we are in a free country, there is no limit to anything. And because of this we are liable to be led astray from the right path.

And while we are at it, we are being placed amongst people of different backgrounds. Learn from each other, and spread the true knowledge of Islam as wide as possible, according to your respected strengths.

“O mankind! We created you from a single (pair) of a male and a female, and made you into nations and tribes, that ye may know each other (not that ye may despise (each other). Verily the most honoured of you in the sight of Allah is (he who is) the most righteous of you. And Allah has full knowledge and is well acquainted (with all things).”
(Al-Hujuraat: 13)

The verse I mentioned tells us that this life is a life of ta’aarafuu or acquaintance. Everything we do in life begins with acquaintance. To understand Islam, we must first be acquainted with Allah. Awwaluddin ma’rifatullah.

To be united as Muslims, we must be acquainted with fellow Muslims. When we get to know our brothers we generate brotherhood. A combination of brotherhood and taqwa will eventually lead to unity for the sake of Allah. There is a Malay proverb which goes,

“Tak kenal maka tak cinta.”

If you do not know, then you will not love.

With that I conclude the first sermon.


Brothers and sisters,
A former Malaysian Member of Parliament, the late Fadzil Noor once said,

“You must be in a congregation, and do not let a day pass without thinking about Islam.”

His reference of congregation…or jama’ah does not mean this particular congregation where we gather under one roof to pray. His reference of congregation refers to Muslims who team up together for the sake of Allah to uphold this religion…teamwork if you like.

And when he said “thinking about Islam”, it means to think about contributing to Islam. Anything we do in life, we cannot accomplish it alone. We need the help of others. That’s where the concept of ta’arafuu comes in. Different people have different knowledge. And the knowledge we require may lie with them, and the knowledge they require may lie within us.

The prophet Muhammad S.A.W. said,

“You must be in a congregation for indeed being in a congregation is a grace, and disunity is a torture.”

We as Muslims have a responsibility to uphold this religion. Give contribution to Islam in any way that suits you most. If you have the knowledge of Islam, how fundamental it may be, then spread it to others. To spread Islam does not necessarily mean you need to have a background in Islamic Studies. Your knowledge and practice of what you know about Islam without doubt is sufficient.

I myself am not of Islamic Studies background. At this moment in time, I am an Electrical Engineering student. I spend my time studying the science of electricity. With the little knowledge of Islam that I bear within me, I share it with you today. And what I have shared with you, you must share with others. The prophet said,

“Pass on from me even though it is but a sentence.”

For many years, a vast majority of Muslims faced obstacles in the effort to gain Islamic knowledge, especially those who reside in countries governed by Muslims. Even if there were provisions for Islamic studies, it would be such that a Muslim only understands Islam as being the salaat, the zakat, fasting, and pilgrimage.

This trend dates all the way back to the days of colonisation. The colonies; the Spanish, Portugese, Dutch, and British alike were at war with the Muslim world even before colonisation. So it is not something surprising that when they invaded our countries, they condemned Islamic movements, and appointed people who were subservient to them to limit Islamic practice up to only the basic worships which are salaat and fasting.

The concept of da’wah at that time was only to tell people to do good deeds. But nothing on forbidding all that is evil.

Because they knew; they have learnt from the crusade against Jerusalem that Muslims cannot be brought down by force. Muslims are united in mind and strength. So they instead decided to bring down the Muslims through manipulation of the mind.

Now we are witnessing the chain reaction of that manipulation. Our lack of understanding about Islam as a whole has caused us to be disunited among ourselves. We lack the knowledge of Islam to an extent where we are subjected to abuse by the orientalists without having the strength to retaliate.

Because of that, we do not understand why we exist as different individuals. We do not understand our role on this earth.

That is why, I appeal to all of you, to enrich your Islamic knowledge, and to live by the Quran and the Sunnah. The prophet said:

“I leave behind me two things that if you abide by them, you will never go astray; the Quran and my Sunnah.”

It is never too late to gain knowledge. The prophet said,

“Seek knowledge from the cradle to the grave.”

This world contains unlimited amount of knowledge. The knowledge we possess is but a single drop of water on the tip of our fingers, compared to Allah’s knowledge which is as wide as the waters on this earth. All the knowledge on this earth; politics, science, medicine, mathematics, and engineering is related to Islam. There is no segregation or secularism between worldly matters and knowledge, and that of Islam.

May the knowledge that you possess lead you towards taqwa, and may our taqwa unite us into becoming a single Muslim congregation worldwide.

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