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Majlis Ugama Islam Singapura Khutbah Jumaat 5 November 2010 / 28 Zulkaedah 1431 The Duty Of Inculcating The Characteristic

Of Al-Birr Our Common Responsibility

Dear blessed congregants, Let us strengthen our taqwa towards Allah s.w.t. by performing all of His Commandments and avoiding all of His Prohibitions.

May our love in performing public welfare and righteous good deeds, place us among those who are of strong faith and piety. Dear blessed congregants, If we reflect upon the contents of the khutbahs from previous weeks, particularly those regarding the life of the various Imams, we will find many useful guidance for our own lifes. We can hereby conclude that through the perseverance of Imam As-Shafii in his pursuit of knowledge, through the openness in the attitude which was inherent in the person of Imam Abu Hanifah, through the humble personality of Imam Malik, including the unquestioning honor and respect that Imam Ahmad Bin Hanbal had for his mother, are the cumulative values of Al-Birr which is prescribed in the AlQuran. Dear beloved congregants, The value of Al-Birr which is meant here is that of someone performing and possessing unlimited good deeds, including that of strong and fortified levels of faith, a high level of noble moral values and spreading that spirit of public service to his surrounding community.

To further understand the concept of Al-Birr together, let us reflect upon Allah s.w.t.s words in surah Al-Baqarah verse 177:

Which means: It is not righteousness that you turn your faces towards the east or the west; but it is righteousness to believe in Allah and in the Last Day, and the Angels, and the Books, and the Messengers; to spend of your wealth, out of your love for Him, for your kin, for the orphans, for the needy, for the wayfarer, for those who ask, and for the ransom of slaves; to be steadfast in prayer, and to practice regular charity; to fulfil the contracts which you have made; and to be firm and patient, in pain (or in suffering) and in the facing of adversity, and throughout all periods of difficulties. Such are the people of truth, and such are those who are Allah-fearing.
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It is therefore clear from this verse, that the concept of service is encompassing in nature and has a very wide application in its meaning. It starts off with aspects relating to matters pertaining to faith, up to the performance of rituals and deeds, including the inculcation of admirable qualities in one own self. Know my dear brothers that the spirit of love in performing public community service, must always continuously be reinvigorated and remain in our hearts and minds. We must always be passionate and love performing any deed that is related to goodness. This includes loving those who loves performing public community service, so that their noble character will inspire us to do the same, in emulating their good practices in performing those good deeds. Dear blessed congregants, The attribute of Al-Birr is not only limited to our ritualistic relationship with Allah s.w.t., but it also encompasses our relationship with members of our community as well. Hence, regardless of our different profession, whether we are religious scholars, teachers, engineers, doctors or general workers, we all have a social responsibility to improve and develop our community in Singapore.
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As such, we have to ask ourselves: what positive contributions can we make to our community? Are we merely making a lot of empty noises, and loves highlighting the limitations of our race and of our faith, but are ourselves not ready to come forward to help and shape the community? Indeed, the challenges that comes with increasing our piety to Allah s.w.t. is not an easy one for us to face. On the other hand, it is also not a journey which is too difficult or impossible for us to embark upon. Hence, as a community of faith, we have the responsibility of engaging and learning deeply the teachings of the Al-Quran, and to follow the footsteps of Rasulullah s.a.w., that is through the correct understanding and contemplation of the concept of Al-Birr. In fact, we should emulate the examples of a few young entrepreneurs who were recently highlighted in the press, in leading local Islamic organizations to breath new life in efforts to guide youths-at-risk and their families as well. Truly, there are various channels that we can think of together for us to extend our contributions to our community both locally and regionally. The doors
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to

our

mosques,

welfare

organizations and homes, community clubs, schools and madrasahs are always wide-open craving for our service and contributions. Therefore, let us contribute and share our experiences and our expertise with them. Let us spare some of our time, extend our services and expertise, so that they will benefit us all. Dear blessed congregants, With rapid advancements in technology, the opportunities to perform public community service have also increased manifolds. Through the new media for example, we are able to share universal noble values with our friends on the webpages of facebook, twitter or even youtube. Our friends can then share these values to their other friends. The benefits, as we can see, goes beyond just those living in Singapore. As such, not only can we share the noble values of serving others, but we can also obtain the manifold rewards of those deeds as they are valued more in the eyes of Allah s.w.t. In a hadith narrated by Imam Muslim, Rasulullah s.a.w. said: Whoever guides someone to virtue will be rewarded equivalent to him who practices that good action.

Dear beloved congregants, As Muslims who are guided by the value of Al-Birr, we are also affected by the recent natural disaster, particularly the volcanic eruptions that occurred in Yogyakarta and the Tsunami in Mentawai Island, Indonesia. As at this point, it has claimed 400 lives, while 23,000 people were reported to have lost their homes and do not have a shelter over their heads anymore. Hence in the spirit of keeping Al-Birr alive in our selves, let us help those who are currently facing tribulations and trials in their lives. Let us pray for their wellbeing and for their safety, and hope that Allah will enlighten their burden and strenghten their perseverance in facing these difficult moments. In addition, let us manifest our compassion and ihsan, by extending our assistance to lighten the burden and misery of these victims. Today, the Rahmatan Lil Alamin Foundation will organize a special donation drive in mosques throughout Singapore. Please share a portion of your good fortune and blessings that Allah has provided for you, for the benefit of your fellow brothers and sisters who are are affected by the calamities. Surely, no matter how small your contributions are today, it will be very meaningful and of great significance to them. Let us
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hope that our contributions today will be the cause for Allah to revive our love of service to humankind in our hearts. Let us ponder over Rasulullah s.a.ws hadith which means: "Whoever relieves a believer of distress in this world, Allah will relieve him of some of the distress of the Day of Resurrection. Whoever makes things easy for those who are in difficulty, Allah will make things easy for him in this world and in the next Allah will help His slave so long as the slave helps his brother." Hadith narrated by Imam Muslim. Let us hope that Allah s.w.t. will ease our path towards performing Al-Birr for ourselves and also towards others. Let us hope and pray that we will be placed amongst those who are of true faith and piety, and that granted entry into His Paradise in the Hereafter. Amin Ya Rabbal Alamin.