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17 August 2019 / 15. Zil-Hajj 1440

Reflections on sermon 109

Reflections of Sermon 109

It is duly appropriate to learn some lessons from Imam Ali (as) when aiming to become a better person. This sermon will allow us to expand our knowledge where it shapes our future in an attempt to make a victory of something we know nothing about. 

In the 109th Sermon of the sermons given by the First Imam, he gives us several pieces of advice that we should consider and ponder over during any point in our lives and consider making them a permanent part of our life.  Some of these pieces of advice, and their practical application to our daily life, are listed below for all of us, to ponder over.1

  

Worship


In the sermon the Imam lists a number of things that are the best way in which the beggar, ourselves, can beg with to Allah (swt), and he starts with faith in Allah (swt) and his Prophet (s), and his Purified Household and the struggle in His way as it is the climax of Islam.  He also mentions prayers, zakat, and fasts and the pilgrimage, each having a function to the worshipper which is concisely mentioned.  This is a reminder that we should renew our pledge to do the following:

Prayers – Make the pledge to pray on time from here on end.

Zakat – Ensure every debt that you owe Allah (swt) is paid.

Fasts – Ensure no debts for our fasts are outstanding, and continue to fast throughout the year.  The recommended fasts of the first and last Thursday of each lunar month and the first Wednesday after the 10th of the lunar month are so highly recommended, you should make them up if you could not fast them and if one cannot – should pay the penalty for these recommended fasts.2 

Pilgrimage – if you can afford it and have not been yet, it is an obligation upon you that you do so. Pilgrimage in itself annihilates poverty and cleanses sins.

No one can guarantee when we be alive until. Around us, many people have left this world this very month.  Young, healthy, fit brothers and sisters that fell ill suddenly and perished.  Unfortunately, regret is not a currency we can use in the hereafter.

  

Social


The sermon also mentions the following:

The visiting of families – which increases wealth and lengthens life. Brothers and sisters, if our lives are short and its ending is uncertain, that is one thing.  But so are the lives of our loved ones. And when these probabilities and certainties are added together, the chance of regret due to inaction is multiplied exponentially.  Our mothers and fathers especially, for those fortunate enough to still have them alive and to be living close to them, our brothers and sisters, our wives and husbands, our sons and daughters.  Make this month the one where you pick up the phone and contact family you have not reached out to for some time.  Ignore the past or whoever may be at fault… for Allah (swt) has on numerous occasions advised us to forgive in the Holy Qur’an, for it is closer to piety and the reward will be with Allah (swt).  Be kind to them, speak softly. 

A charity in secret and a charity in the open – one that covers our errors and the other that pushes away an evil death.  Whenever you are asked for something, never reject the seeker.  Even if it is a penny or cent.  “And as for the beggar, scold him not”. 4
 
 
The Holy Qur’an 

In the Holy month of Ramadan, we at least attempted to recite more Holy Qur’an than usual.  Some of us managed to recite one chapter a day.  Some more, some less.  But the target was to at least recite one chapter per day.  However far you were able to get through in a day, we must try to maintain at least some of that for the rest of the year.  
In this sermon, Imam Ali (as)  advises us to learn the Holy Qur’an, for it is the best of narrations, and be learned in it, for it is the spring of the heart.  He asks us to seek healing through the Holy Qur’an and the light it has, and to perfect its recitation for it has the best of stories.
Make the Holy Qur’an a part of our daily life, so much so, that if we were to sleep without having recited it would be like to sleep without having brushed our teeth.  To leave home without having recited the Holy Qur’an would be to leave without combing our hair.  
“Thus, recite from the Quran as much as possible.”5 
  
 
A Warning

Then he, peace be upon him, says this in his sermon – One who knows and acts contrary to his knowledge is as the ignorant - who knows not what to do and nor will he wake up from the ignorance he is drowning in.
 
 
Final Statement

Our priorities have unfortunately changed, and we need to claim them back.  The advice from the Imam, the Divinely Guided, should not be taken lightly.  Many of us question why Prophet Adam peace be upon him, despite the advice to stay away from the tree, ate from it when Satan whispered to make him believe it would grant him eternity in paradise.   
The same question should be reflected back upon us:  Why is it that I do not act upon the advice from Imam Ali (as), towards my worship and social obligations?  Is something else luring me away?  Is something else looking more attractive to me?  Is satan decorating the life of this world and the ego I have? Am I a better person this Month of Ramadhan than I was last? 6 
 
 


Sermon 109:

The best means by which seekers of nearness to Allah…
 
ومن خطبة له (عليه السلام) في أركان الدين الإسلام
 
إِنَّ أَفْضَلَ مَا تَوَسَّلَ بِهِ الْمُتَوَسِّلُونَ إِلَى اللهِ سُبْحَانَهُ: الاْيمَانُ بِهِ وَبِرَسُولِهِ، وَالْجِهادُ فِي سَبِيلِهِ فَإِنَّهُ ذِرْوَةُ الاْسْلاَمِ، وَكَلِمَةُ الاْخْلاَصِ فَإِنَّهَا الْفِطْرَةُ، وَإِقَامُ الْصَّلاَةِ فَإِنَّهَا الْمِلَّةُ، وَإِيتَاهُ الزَّكَاةِ فَإِنَّهَا فَرِيضَةٌ وَاجِبَةٌ، وَصَوْمُ شَهْرِ رَمَضَانَ فَإِنَّهُ جُنَّةٌ مِنَ الْعِقَاب، وَحَجُّ الْبَيْتِ وَاعْتِمارُهُ فَإِنَّهُمَا يَنْفِيَانِ الْفَقْرَ وَيَرْحَضَانِ الذَّنْبَ، وَصِلَةُ الرَّحِمِ فَإِنَّهَا مَثْرَاةٌ فِي الْمَالِ وَمَنْسَأَةٌ في الاْجَلِ، وَصَدَقَةُ السِّرِّ فَإِنَّهَا تُكَفِّرُ الْخَطِيئَةَ، وَصَدَقَةُ الْعَلاَنِيَةِ فَإِنَّهَا تَدْفَعُ مِيتَةَ السُّوءِ، وَصَنَائِعُ الْمَعْرُوفِ فَإِنَّهَا تَقِي مَصَارعَ الْهَوَانِ
 
أَفِيضُوا في ذِكْرِ اللهِ فَأنَّهُ أَحْسَنُ الذِّكْرِ، وَارْغَبُوا فِيَما وَعَدَ المُتَّقِينَ فَإِنَّ وَعْدَهُ أَصْدَقُ الْوَعْدِ، وَاقْتَدُوا بِهَدْيِ نَبِيِّكُمْ فَإِنَّهُ أَفْضَلُ الْهَدْيِ، وَاسْتَنُّوا بِسُنَّتِهِ فَإِنَّهَا أهْدَى السُّنَنِ. وَتَعَلَّمُوا الْقرْآن فَإِنَّهُ أَحْسَنُ الْحَدِيثِ، وَتَفَقَّهُوا فِيهِ فَإِنَّهُ رَبِيعُ الْقُلُوبِ، وَاسْتَشْفُوا بِنُورِهِ فَإِنَّهُ شِفَاءُ الصُّدُورِ، وَأَحْسِنُوا تِلاَوَتَهُ فَإِنَّهُ أَنْفَعُ الْقَصَصِ
  
وَإِنَّ الْعَالِمَ الْعَامِلَ بِغَيْرِ عِلْمِهِ كَالْجَاهِلِ الْحَائِرِ الَّذِي لاَ يَسْتَفِيقُ مِنْ جَهْلِهِ، بَلِ الْحُجَّةُ عَلَيْهِ أَعْظَمُ، وَالْحَسْرَةُ لَهُ أَلْزَمُ، وَهُوَ عَنْدَ اللهِ أَلْوَمُ
 
 
 
The best means by which seekers of nearness to Allah (swt), the Glorified, the Exalted, seek nearness, is the belief in Him and His Prophet, fighting in His cause, for it is the high pinnacle of Islam, and (to believe) in the kalimatu'l-'ikhlas (the expression of Divine purification) for it is just nature and the establishment of prayer for it is (the basis of) community, payment of zakat (Islamic tax) for it is a compulsory obligation, fasting for the month of Shahr Ramadan for it is the shield against chastisement, the performance of hajj of the House of Allah (i. e . Ka’bah) and its ‘umrah(other than annual visit) for these two acts banish poverty and wash away sins, regard for kinship for it increases wealth and length of life, to giving alms secretly for it covers shortcomings, giving alms openly for it protects against a bad death and extending benefits (to people) for it saves from positions of disgrace.
 
 
Go ahead with the remembrance of Allah for it is the best remembrance, and long for that which He has promised to the pious, for His promise is the truest promise. Tread the course of the Prophet for it is the most distinguished course. Follow the Sunnah of the Prophet (s) for it is the most right of all behaviors. Learn the Qur'an for it is the fairest of discourses and understand it thoroughly for it is the best blossoming of hearts. Seek cure with its light for it is the cure for hearts. Recite it beautifully for it is the most beautiful narration. Certainly, a scholar who acts not according to his knowledge is like the off-headed ignorant who does not find relief from his ignorance, but on the learned the plea of Allah is greater and grief more incumbent, and he is more blameworthy before Allah. 7


References

1 Depending on the copy used, may be referred to as Sermon 110 or 107.
2 Source: Islamic Laws 3rd Edition - According to Syed Sistani: A new annotated translation by Mohammed Ali Ismail, p. 396.
3 Holy Qur’an2:237 ,2:178, 42:40
4 Holy Qur’an 93:10
5 Holy Qur’an 73:20
6 Holy Qur’an 20:120

     


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