Christian Theology

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Love in IslamA KHUTBAH BY MAHMOUD MOSTAFA BISMILLAHI RAHMANI RAHEEM Praise be to Allah. We bear witness that there is only one god who has no partners beside Him, and we bear witness that Muhammad is His servant and messenger. Praise be to Allah who blessed us with the guidance of His prophets and messengers. Praise be to Allah whose Mercy encompasses everything. Praise be to Allah who knows our needs and answers our calls and brings peace to our hearts. Praise be to Allah who breathed into us of His Spirit and placed the light of His guidance in our inmost being. Whomever Allah guides, no one can misguide, and whomever Allah misguides, no one can guide. We put our trust in Allah and seek His forgiveness, aid, and support. A man once came to the Prophet (puh) and asked him about the hereafter. The Prophet asked him, " And what have you prepared for that time? " The man replied, " Nothing, except that I love Allah and I love you. " The Prophet (puh) answered him, " You are with the ones you love. " Dear brothers and sisters, the guidance of Islam is the guidance of love. The innate, natural and ancient religion that is Islam is the religion of love. The Prophet (puh) came to guide us to love and to make clear the love that is at the core of all religion. Our purpose as human beings is to consciously manifest Allah ' s love in our lives. This is the most significant meaning of Khilafa and Ibada that can bring purpose to us and transform our lives. When we reflect upon the history of the Prophet (puh) and the spread of his message we will realize that Islam could not have taken root in the world without the love that filled the heart of the Prophet and was clearly manifest in his way of relating and interacting with people that brought out their own deep and profound love for him. Without this mutual and abiding love, none of us would be here today. Without this love Islam would not have been possible. Today, it seems that we too often hear and read much that is harsh and heartless about Islam and not enough that is loving and beautiful. There seems to be too many messages of prejudice, literalism, legalism, violence, and oppression. The superficiality, ugliness and darkness that is too prevalent in today ' s Islamic discourse is nothing like what the Prophet brought us. I would like to share with you part of the first sermon ever given by the Prophet (puh) in Medina. This is what he had to say to his companions, " VERILY, THE BEST DISCOURSE IS THE BOOK OF ALLAH. ONE IS TRULY SUCCESSFUL WHOSE HEART ALLAH HAS ADORNED WITH THE LOVE OF HIS BOOK, AND WHOM, AFTER LIVING IN DENIAL, ALLAH HAS CAUSED TO ENTER INTO SUBMISSION TO HIM, AND CAUSED HIM TO PREFER HIS BOOK ABOVE ANY HUMAN DISCOURSE. THE BOOK OF ALLAH IS THE MOST BEAUTIFUL AND ELOQUENT OF DISCOURSES. LOVE THAT WHICH ALLAH LOVES! LOVE ALLAH WITH ALL YOUR HEARTS! GROW NOT WEARY OF HEARING THE WORD OF ALLAH. DO NOT STOP REMEMBERING HIM. DO NOT LET YOUR HEARTS GROW HARD TOWARD HIM. FOR VERILY, ALLAH HAS PREFERRED HIS BOOK ABOVE ALL OF CREATION. INDEED, ALLAH HAS ENDOWED IT WITH GUIDANCE TO THE BEST OF DEEDS, AND MADE IT AN EXAMPLE FOR THE ELECT OF HIS SERVANTS, AND FILLED IT WITH RIGHTEOUS DISCOURSE, AND HAS MADE CLEAR IN IT WHAT IS LAWFUL AND UNLAWFUL FOR YOU. So, serve Allah alone, and associate with Him no other. Be ever conscious of Him. Be truthful to Allah in what you utter from your mouths. Let the Spirit of Allah be the source of love between you. " Can you hear the love in his words? Can you hear his urgent call to our hearts? Can you sense the profound purpose in his teaching? Love is so central to Islam that without it there can be no real faith. The Quran tells us clearly what following the Prophet is about, 3:31 " SAY, IF YOU LOVE ALLAH, THEN FOLLOW ME AND ALLAH WILL LOVE YOU GREATLY AND FORGIVE YOUR SINS FOR ALLAH IS FORGIVING AND MERCIFUL..." And even more decisively it says to the people of faith that, 5:54 " O YOU WHO HAVE FAITH WHOEVER AMONG YOU TURNS BACK FROM HIS RELIGION ALLAH WILL SURELY BRING FORTH A PEOPLE HE LOVES AND WHO LOVE HIM WHO ARE HUMBLE BEFORE THE FAITHFUL AND EXALTED BEFORE THE DENIERS. THEY STRIVE IN THE WAY OF ALLAH AND FEAR NO BLAME FROM ANY BLAMERS. THIS IS THE FAVOR OF ALLAH, HE BESTOWS IT ON WHOMEVER HE WILLS. FOR ALLAH IS ALL-ENCOMPASSING, ALL-KNOWING! " In these two tremendous verses we can understand some remarkable things. We can understand that faith and faithfulness are defined as love between God and the people of faith. A Mu ' min is one who is deeply and profoundly in love with God. It is this love that motivates us to strive, to seek, to turn back to Allah, to give up our worldly attachments and return to our Rabb. It is this love that gives us the power and strength to face the various trials of our faith throughout our lives. It is this love that teaches us humility, compassion, trust, obedience and honesty. It is this love that enables us to sacrifice, to give of ourselves and of our possessions for the sake of God. It is this love that opens us to submission, to Islam. We can also understand that this relationship of love is a special, precious gift bestowed by God upon us. Without His will and generosity we would be heedless of His love in our hearts. We can also understand that the abandoning of religion in the context of this Ayah is to turn away from love because the consequence of this abandonment is that God promises to replace us with people who have this relationship of love with Him. And we can understand that the way to God ' s love is to follow the Prophet (puh), to be in his footsteps, to strive to be like him and in this striving our love is made greater and greater by God. In a Sacred Tradition Allah says, " I WAS A HIDDEN TREASURE AND I LOVED TO BE KNOWN SO I CREATED HEAVEN AND EARTH THAT I MAY BE KNOWN. " One of Allah ' s names, one of His attributes, is Al Wajid. This word has several meanings among them is to bring into existence. It also has the meaning of intense, existential love. Reflecting upon this divine name, we can see that there is a relationship between love and creation. And reflecting upon the sacred tradition we can see that God ' s love to be known is the primary reason for creation. In this way we can come to a truly profound insight; Allah ' s love is the very cause of existence. We are alive today because of His love, the whole Universe is here because of His love. The relationship of love between us and Allah, between us and others, and between us and all of creation is essential to reaching our full potential as human beings. When we nourish our hearts with love, when we manifest Allah ' s love in our lives; with our families, with our friends, in our work, in our prayers, in everything that we do, the entire meaning of life changes for us and our own experience of our humanness is transformed; we become adorned with the beautiful characteristics of the Prophet. This is the meaning of following in the footsteps of the Prophet (puh); we follow him by adorning ourselves with the qualities of his noble character. We follow him by striving to become like him in our humanness, in our quality of relationships, in our conduct in society, in our service to humanity. The noble character of the Prophet (puh) has been best explained by his cousin, Jaffar Ibn Abu Talib, when he was asked by the King of Abbysinia to explain his religion. Jaffar replied: " We were a people lost in ignorance. We worshipped idols, we back-stabbed one another in gossip, we committed sins without shame, we severed the bonds of mercy among us, and we were unkind neighbors. The strong among us devoured the weak. Thus we were until Allah sent to us a messenger from among ourselves, well-known to us in his nobility, honesty, trustworthiness, and tenderness. He called us to unity and to devoting our worship to Allah alone and to removing the idols from our hearts. He commanded us to be truthful when we spoke, and to fulfill our trust, and to preserve the bonds of mercy among us, and to be kind neighbors, and to desist from violating what is sacred. He called us to turn back from our sins, and from falsehood, and from devouring the wealth of orphans, and from defaming honorable women. So we believed in him and in his message and we followed what he received from his Lord. " Brothers and sisters, the Sunnah of the Prophet is about the kind of character that manifests God ' s love in existence. His Sunnah is that which ennobles us, that which transforms us into better human beings. It ' s about becoming kind and tender human beings who are deeply and profoundly in love with God. The Prophet's love, awe, and longing for Allah comes through with overwhelming clarity when we reflect upon his prayers. Here is just one example: "O MY GOD MAKE ME LOVE YOU, MAKE ME LOVE THOSE WHO LOVE YOU, MAKE ME LOVE ALL THINGS THAT BRING ME CLOSER TO LOVING YOU. O MY GOD, MAKE ME LOVE YOU, AND YOUR ANGELS, AND YOUR PROPHETS, AND ALL OF YOUR CREATION. O MY GOD, MAKE MY LOVE FOR YOU DEARER TO ME THAN MYSELF, AND MY FAMILY, AND MY WEALTH, AND MY CHILDREN, AND FROM COOL, PURE WATER TO THE THIRSTY." May Allah bless us with His love, and the love of those who love Him. May Allah fill our hearts with love. Allah bless Prophet Muhammad, his family, and companions. Peace be with you and Allah ' s mercy.

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