Wednesday, August 17, 2011

The ‘unrewarded’ ‘good deeds’ (Part 11)

In the name of Allah, the Beneficent, the Merciful; blessings and peace be upon Prophet Muhammad s.a.w.

Surah 114
An-Nas, the second of the two cries for refuge and protection, takes its name from a recurring word which marks the rhythm in the Arabic. In this case protection is sought especially from the evil in a man's own heart in the hearts of other men.
An early Meccan revelation

Revealed at Mecca

In the name of Allah, the Beneficent, the Merciful.
1. Say; I seek refuge in the Lord of mankind,
2. The King of mankind,
3. The God of mankind,
4. From the evil of the sneaking whisperer,
5. Who whispereth in the hearts of mankind,
6. Of the jinn of mankind. (The Meaning of the GLORIOUS QUR'AN, The Final Revelation, An Explanaory Translation by Muhammad Marmaduke Pickthall)


IF Ramadan is the holiest month of the year, Friday is the best day of the week to get closer to Allah SWT, the Almighty.

Friday is the most excellent and distinguished day; it is the ‘penghulu’ (chief) day of the week. Abu Hurayrah r.a. said that the Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him, s.a.w.) said: "The daily prayers, from Friday to Friday,
are an expiation for the sins committed in the time between prayers, so long as no major sins (kabaair) are committed." (Muslim)

If I were working I normally performed Friday at a masjid near my office in KL; if it was my off day, I performed it at a masjid near my house in Melaka.

In the latter masjid, just before the ‘khatib’ (person who reads the sermon) read 'the khutbah', the ‘bilal’ (muezzin) would stand in front of the ‘khatib’, reading this hadith: "From Abu Hurairah, Rasulullah shallallahu 'alaihi wasallam said: "If you say to your friend during Friday prayer " quiet!", while the imam holds the sermon, it means that you fail to perform your Jumaah." (Muttafaq 'Alaih, lnarrated by al Bukhari)

In both masjids (in KL and Melaka) when the ‘imam’ (persons who leads the solat) reads the sermon, the ‘makmum’ (congregators) push and pass the donation box from a person to another.

The majority of the ‘makmum’ insert their money into the box; some of them do various acts such as pulling out their wallet from their trousers and folding their notes so they could be easily inserted into the box.

While in KL, sometimes I would go other masjids; in one masjid I had witnessed several times while the ‘khatib’ was reading the sermon, a ‘pak haji’ (an old man with a skull cap) would walk in front of the ‘saf’ (row of congregators) with a donation pouch; he would do the collection from every ‘saf’ of the masjid.

All would agree that donating money for good cause is a good deed and would be rewarded handsomely by Allah SWT the Almighty; but when an ‘ustaz’ who teaches every Saturday night at a masjid near my house begins his lesson on "mendahulukan yang utama daripada yang kurang utama" (giving priority to the more important things for the less important ones), I am in doubt whether we are doing the right thing in making donations when the ‘khatib’ is delivering his sermon.

I questioned the ‘ustaz’ on that matter; and his anwer was: "Listening attentively to the sermon is ‘wajib’ (obligatory) while giving donation is ‘sunat’ (optional); of course a ‘wajib’ deed is above the ‘sunat’ one. Doing a ‘sunat’ deed when one should focus on the ‘wajib’ obligation is not appropriate. So it is not proper to pass around the donation box while the ‘khatib’ is reading the sermon. I recommended congregators to donate their money before the ‘azan’ (the call of prayers) or after Friday prayers."

Regarding this matter, I came across a very relevant article in a website, owned jointly by my Indonesian friend, Desvanto Rosatyawan S. In an article ‘Prohibition of circulating the charity box during sermon’ written by Ustaz Badrul Tamam; he noted that congregators have to listen to the sermon attentively, avoiding every frivolous act and utterance.

We may not do anything that can avert our concentration to the sermon, he said.

From Abu Hurairah, Rasulullah shallallahu 'alaihi wasallam says: "Whoever has an ablution, and complete it, then do the Friday prayer and continue to concern listening sermon, he will get forgiveness. It includes his all sins from the present day up to the next Friday, plus three days after. Whoever romps gravel, has lost his own Friday prayer." (Muslim)

Imam an Nawawi rahimahullah explains in Syarh Shahih Moslem, "In the hadith mentioned above, there is a prohibition order no to indulge irrelevant talk and act during the sermon; we should confront our heart, mind and body to pay attention to it. "

From Ibnu 'Abbas radliyallah 'anhu states, Rasulullah shallallahu 'alaihi wasallam utter, "The person who talks when the sermon is in progress, is like a donkey loaded with books, and the one who tells another one to be quiet, during the sermon, has lost his own Friday Prayer." (Ahmad).

The intention of placing one who convenes during the Friday prayer with a donkey loaded by thick books is because he gets no big benefit, though he already comes and weary to come to the masjid.

Whereas the meaning of "he has lost his own Friday prayer" means he does not get any reward for his pray perfectly. (Fathul Baari: II/184 and Subulus Salam: III/172)

When the imam is delivering the sermon, no one should offer an individual prayer, nor should one engage in conversation. It is forbidden to talk, offer prayer, eat, drink, greet or respond to greeting, or doing anything which may distract one from the sermon; even giving of religious instruction or exhorting others to do good is forbidden. Unfortunately, the different reality often found in most masjids, charitable box is circulated while imam delivers the sermon.

Many officers of the masjid usually circulate the charity box. They stand up in the second sermon to bring the charitable box to the people. Actually, they had conducted big mistake, but feel had did kindliness.

Dealing to this condition, the error is not only done by the officer, but also its people. It is obligatory to listen to the sermon peacefully and with full attention.

Imam Muslim narrates from Abu Hurairah, that Rasulullah shallallahu 'alaihi wasallam utter: "Whoever wipes the gravel, then what he has conducted is useless."

A simply wipe to the gravel means useless, imagine how the one who is stand busy during the sermon? What about people who are pulling their money from his pocket, and put it to the charitable box? Of course it becomes more assumed as useless. (Syaikh Wahid Abdul Salam Bali in Al Kalimaat al Naafi'ah fi Akhtha' al Sya-i'ah)

Thus, circulating the charitable box during Friday prayer 'khutbah' is forbidden. It will bother others who are concerned about sermon. As a consequence, one who conducts this mistake will lose the excellence of Friday prayer.

So, it is desirable if the charitable box should be put down beside the door of masjid; don’t offer you money and push the trolley donation box when the imam is reading the sermon for this is another ‘unrewarded’ ‘good deed’!

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