| Fadhil Yunus and Abdul Hakiim Yakof |
THROUGH the existence of life and death, Allah the Almighty tests a person to drive him to do good in his lifetime which, as stated by Allah the Almighty in a firman contained in Surah Al- Mulk, says, “Blessed is He in whose hand is dominion and He is over all things competent.
“(He) who created death and life to test you (as to) which of you is best in deed – and He is Exalted in Might, the Forgiving.”
Minister of Home Affairs, Pehin Udana Khatib Dato Paduka Seri Setia Ustaz Haji Awang Badaruddin bin Pengarah Dato Paduka Haji Awang Othman, yesterday cited the firman from Allah the Almighty during a Hari Raya Aidiladha sermon at the Jame’ ‘Asr Hassanil Bolkiah.
Muslims should remind themselves that their livelihood must be centred around ensuring the strengthening of Islam and continuity of the way of life in Islam, which establishes the need for it to be firmly grasped and carefully preserved.
Allah the Almighty questions how someone uses his knowledge, body, as well as how he acquires his wealth and wishes to spend it.
It is clear that someone is gifted by Allah the Almighty to lead a life. Some are given time to live, surrounded by life around them right up until the final moment. How that life was spent and the purpose it was built on will then be questioned, answers of which will ultimately determine the value, and quality of an individual’s life.
Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) indicated that a sign of a good Muslim is a person who lives the longest, bonded by their good deeds. In essence, the responsibility of an individual is to make the best use of his life.
How can we make the best use of our lives?
The answer to this is by maintaining a firm stance on taking the right path, and being consistent in embracing the religious teachings of Islam – which encompasses all aspects of life.
Surah Hud (verse 112) contained an order from Allah the Almighty to Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) to always stay on the right path. The same order applies to everyone who repents.
The verse reads, “Remain on the right course as you have been commanded, (you) and those who have turned back with you (to Allah the Almighty), and do not transgress. Indeed, He is seeing of what you do.”
Behind the meaning of staying on the right course is to go through the vagaries of life appropriate to the teachings of Allah the Almighty.
The minister reiterated the need to apply the religious teachings to all aspects of our life, from our personal life (household, family and relatives) as well as life as a neighbour, with people in the same village, and the community as a whole.
An individual, as a servant of Allah the Almighty, will be assessed by Him based on his capability and capacity as well as his limits and boundaries.
A highly-valued life of high quality represents sincere faith towards Allah the Almighty, accompanied by acts of worship and other deeds – such as through consistent Istiqamah.
The minister then cited Allah the Almighty’s firman in Surah Fussilat (verse 30) which reads, “Indeed, those who have said ‘Our Lord is Allah the Almighty’ and then remained on the right course – the angels will descend upon them, (saying), ‘Do not fear and do not grieve but receive good tidings of Paradise, which you were promised’.”
It is through the concept of Istiqamah, which is staying on the right path in a consistent manner, that we can meet the purpose of Allah the Almighty’s creation of life and death.
“We cannot tell how long we are to live… we cannot anticipate and expect our fate. Who knows, our lives may end in a short while – if not tomorrow or the day after.
“We cannot even conclude how our life will end. Will it be in such a way that we will slowly endure the suffering of death or will it be a quick death? What is certain is that Allah the Almighty has warned that every soul will experience death, therefore humans are bound to die,” the minister said.
Allah the Almighty has indeed warned us that the pleasures and comfort found in this world are deceptive in nature.
Even though the world has been characterised as a comfortable place, which can be deceptive, Muslims have been reminded to never ignore the importance of life as being an opportunity to make preparations to meet Allah the Almighty through death.
Verse 77 of Surah Al-Qasas reads that we are informed to see that which Allah the Almighty has given us, which is the home of the hereafter; and (yet) to not forget about our share in the world. “Do good as Allah the Almighty has done good to you. Desire not corruption in the land – Indeed, Allah the Almighty does not like corrupters.”
Allah the Almighty has extended our age up to this point, and we are indebted to shower praise to Allah the Almighty, the minister added.
“We hope and pray Allah the Almighty will allow us the opportunity to continue our lives safe and in healthy condition up to our dying moments – and finally until our death,” he continued.
In the second sermon, the minister noted that Hari Raya Aidiladha is similar to Hari Raya Aidilfitri in that they are both religious celebrations focussed on worship. Aidiladha is held simultaneous with the Haj pilgrimage, while Aidilfitri is held together with the fasting month of Ramadhan.
“This Hari Raya celebration is a religious one, not a festive or cultural celebration. Both are held with events of worship and not events of culture. Therefore, the celebration should be characterised accordingly, so that it conforms to the meaning of a religious celebration, and we will have the opportunity to gain rewards for celebrating such events,” he said.
We should ensure the pattern and method of celebration is in an orderly fashion by constantly reminding ourselves that it is a matter of worship. In doing so, the religious celebration will not be polluted by undesirable additions that contradict with worship.
“This means we should be Istiqamah in preserving religious matters. We should be consistent in preserving the sanctity of worship, which makes the Hari Raya celebration (ruled as days glorified by Allah the Almighty) have several virtues in them, and provide Muslims the opportunity to increase their Islamic qualities as servants of Allah the Almighty.
“By practising the Islamic way, we are on the right track to finding Allah the Almighty as a faithful servant, a Muslim, ‘mu’min’ (believer) and ‘muttaqin’ (those who fear Allah the Almighty’s punishment), and not as part of His servants who are failures when their worship and charity have no value in the hereafter.”
The minister then referred to Surah Al-Ma’idah (verse 48) which states that Allah the Almighty has willed for every nation, each with religions and their respective laws, a test to see who among them truly obeys Allah the Almighty.
The verse reads, “To each of you we prescribed a law and a method. Had Allah the Almighty willed, He would have made you one nation (united in religion), but (He intended) to test you in what He has given you; so race to (all that is) good. To Allah the Almighty is your return all together, and He will (then) inform you concerning that over which you used to differ.”
“Counting the indicators of Islamic excellence in the blessed land of Brunei, we will find several landmarks. What are these landmarks?” the minister asked.
“Let us simplify by saying that Brunei is a sovereign democratic and independent Malay Muslim Monarchy upon the teachings of Islam – according to Ahli Sunnah Wal Jama’ah.”
The minister continued by saying that with its sovereignty as a country ruled by a monarch, Brunei has been able to maintain Islam in modern times after inheriting it from generation to generation for as long as 600 years. And with Islam, a modern Brunei was born – with all levels of society living peacefully.