Shaikh Ibrahim’s Words at the Event of the Establishment of the Masjid in Medina Baye, Senegal
All praise is due to Allāh. Peace be upon you. I say before everything else that I congratulate these forerunners from every township from far off lands. I say to you that everyone must say, ‘al-Ḥamdu lillāh’. Every service raises Islām. This service is a construction for Allāh, principally, as long as they are mosques. Every building that has an honor for Islām deserves that Muslims should work together towards it until they finish it. If it is a structure that bares that which is a demolition of disbelief then Muslims should work together until they erect it. So, I congratulate you and command you all to say with your tongues and hearts, ‘al-Ḥamdu lillāh’. There is no else on the face of the earth doing this service outside of you except a masjid built by kings or a people who work with kings. As for poor people like yourselves to build the likes of this, they are not found on the face of the earth today and all praise is due to Allāh.
These are the type of mosques that endure because they are for Allāh. As for those mosques that are built for kings, they have crumbled and have become demolished. No mosque will endure but these mosques, Allāh willing. Whoever of you who has made the pilgrimage to the House of Allāh has seen the House of Ādam built still standing, and it is the Sanctified House of Allāh, and he sees the station of Ibrāhīm. Whoever goes to Shām sees the House of the Holy and that is because whatever is for Allāh maintains and is connected while whatever is for other than Him discontinues and is disconnected. For this reason we hope, from the grace of Allāh, that our companionship continues and connects in the world and the hereafter because it is for Allāh’s sake, through Allāh, and in Allāh. That is because whatever was for Allāh maintained and connected.
On this basis, all of you should say, ‘All praise is due to Allāh, Lord of the Worlds’. Allāh’s praise is obligatory for us in every situation. We are the ones whose Lord is the One-Who-Is-Praised (al-Maḥmūd), a name derived from the word ‘praise’ (ḥamd). Our prophet Muḥammad, peace be upon him, is derived from the word ‘praise’ (ḥamd). Shaikh Aḥmad is derived from ‘praise’ (ḥamd). We are Praisers (Ḥāmidūn). For this reason our religion is the religion of praise. Our spiritual path is a path of praise. Our banner on the Day of Judgment is Praise. For this reason the door of Praise was opened and will not be closed, ever. Every door will be found closed but the door of Praise.
Praise is the reality of Iḥsān. For that reason we say, ‘al-Ḥamdu lillāh, al-Ḥamdu lillāh, al-Ḥamdu lillāh’. If we had said, ‘Our Lord is Allāh’, that would suffice us. Our Lord is Allāh in good times. Our Lord is Allāh in hard times. This suffices us if our Lord suffices us that we say, ‘al-Ḥamdu lillāh’. Allāh described his Friends in His saying, ‘The angels descend upon those who say our Lord is Allāh and then are upright’ until the end of the āyah (41:30) We have stated that our Lord is Allāh and uprightness is Praise. So, one who says, ‘al-Ḥamdu lillah’ has been upright. Some of the scholars of quranic exegesis have said, ‘The angels with Allāh descend upon them in this world and the next saying to them, ‘Don’t be afraid.’ They respond, ‘what would we be afraid of since Allāh has said to us’ ‘Do not be afraid’. (Note: meaning even they wonder at the angels who would feel the need to tell them not to be afraid when they say, al-Ḥamdu lillāh and are thus upright. Those who are upright need not be afraid. Allāh knows best)
The consequence is that you should say, ‘al-Ḥamdu lillāh’. The slave has four times: 1) the time of blessing 2) the time of trial 3) the time of obedience 4) the time of disobedience. In the time of blessing the slave says, ‘al-Ḥamdu lillah’. In the time of trial the slave endures and says while being patient, ‘al-Hamdu lillāh’. In the time of obedience there is the etiquette of al-Ḥamdu lillah. In the time of disobedience, if he has repented, he says, ‘al-Ḥamdu lillāh. The entire life of the slave is al-Ḥamdu lillāh. If the human being is alive and doesn’t thank Allāh then he is actually dead. As long as the human being acts they are alive and if he didn’t do anything, he is dead. The act itself, if you examine it, returns to Praise. The tradition indicates this fact: Allāh loves to see the effect of His blessings on His slave. (Fayḍ al-Qadīr Sharḥ Jāmi’u al-Saghīr) (Note: Meaning and Allāh knows best, that as every act has an effect, and the blessing is the effect of Allāh’s having acted, the activity of displaying one’s blessings is all based upon Allāh’s original act of choosing to bless someone. This is because there is no existing thing but that it exists as a blessing of Allāh who chose to act so that it would exist through His having created it. Thus every existing thing, just like the act of displaying the blessing of Allāh in this tradition all return to Allāh’s Act of allowing things to exist in the first place.)
Whoever built a nice castle or purchased a goodly riding animal has displayed the blessing of Allāh upon them. However, this (note: building of the mosque) is better than all of that entirely. Our building of this mosque is praise to Allāh. An increase in the praise of Allāh is that we spend from the furthest of our capacities toward its completion. This night of remembrance (note: this speech occurred during a celebration of the birth of the Prophet, peace be upon him) is the establishment of the construction of this mosque. You have spent yourselves and what you value in it until it stands as you see now. Thus you have come to know that you have an assistant inwardly and outwardly (note: as the mosque did manifest, and all praise is due to Allāh). Allāh has said, ‘And whatever you spend of anything (in Allāh’s cause), He will replace it and He is the Best of Providers.’ (34:39) In a tradition it states, ‘Whoever builds a mosque for Allah – though it be the size of the ground nest of a sandgrouse – Allah will build for him a house in Paradise’. (Ibn Mājah) The meaning of the term ‘the House of Allah’ is just, ‘Allāh’ and this is why some of the Righteous have desired it, as in His words, ‘She said (note: a reference to Āsia, the wife of Pharaoh), ‘My Lord build a house for me with You in Paradise.’ (66:11) She did not say, ‘Build me something in Paradise’. Rather, she said, ‘Build me a house with You in Paradise’ and the meaning of ‘house’ is Allāh, in reality (note: meaning, and Allāh knows best, she only wanted Allāh, specifically, in Paradise. Thus she was from amongst those people that come in the next āyah Shaikh Ibrāhīm, may Allāh be pleased with him, cites). He said, ‘Truly, the Allāh-Conscious are in the midst gardens and rivers (54:54) in the seat of truth, near the Omnipotent King. (54:55) (note: meaning their consciousness is already sitting with Allāh prior to leaving this world and they want there what they are given here, as opposed to any building or any particular “thing” whatsoever, and Allāh knows best)
-Shaikh Ibrāhīm Inyās, may Allāh be pleased with him, al-Jūz al-Thālith min Khuṭab wa Rasā-il, pgs. 205-6.
Translated by Imam Muhammad Abdul Latif Finch
Imam Muhammad Abdul Latif Finch converted to Islam at the age of 20 and has earned ijazas in Islamic Sciences including Quranic Sciences, Hadith, Maliki and Shafi’i Jurisprudence, Usul al-Fiqh, Seerah, Logic, and Arabic Grammar and Morphology under the tutelage of numerous scholars, including Shaykh Hamza Yusuf, Shaykh Salik bin Siddina, Imam Zaid Shakir, Shaykh Abdur Rahman Taahir, Qari Umar Bellahi, Shaykh Abdullah Ali, and Shaykh Yahya Rhodus.
Imam Muhammad Abdul Latif Finch co-founded the Lighthouse Mosque in Oakland, California where he served as the Imam for 3 years until he resigned in 2012 to focus on his graduate studies. In addition, he was a teacher and a program developer for Deen Intensive Foundation, Seekers Guidance and had assisted Zaytuna College’s Summer Arabic Intensive program for three years in a row.
Imam Muhammad Abdul Latif Finch has recently attained a Master’s degree in Philosophy from the Dominican School of Philosophy and Theology, a member of the Graduate Theological Union in Berkeley.
Many thanks to Imam Muhammad Abdul Latif Finch for contributing to this blog.
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