All praise and thanks are due to Allāh, the Most Gracious, Most Merciful, Owner of the Day of Resurrection. I bear witness that none has the right to be worshipped except Allāh Alone without partners. His is the kingdom and He is Worthy of all praise, and He is Able to do all things. I testify that our Prophet, Imām and exarnple, Muḥammad, is Allāhs slave and Messenger. Allāh has sent Muḥammad with the guidance and the religion of truth to be a Warner for mankind and the jinn. May Allāhs peace and blessings be on the Prophet and on his progeny, Companions and those who followed hirn with excellence.
Dear Brothers and sisters in Islām! In today’s khuṭbah we shall be examining another Ḥadīth, the message of which is to take advantage of five situations before the happening of five other situations. The purpose of my khuṭbah is to remind myself and you to pay heed to the noble sayings of our beloved Prophet Muḥammad (SAW). In the ḥadīth, which is the topic of today’s khuṭbah, the Prophet (SAW) said:
اغْتَنِمْ خَمْسًا قَبْلَ خَمْسٍ شَبَابَكَ قَبْلَ هَرَمِكَ وَصِحَّتَكَ قَبْلَ سَقَمِكَ وَغِنَاكَ قَبْلَ فَقْرِكَ وَفَرَاغَكَ قَبْلَ شُغُلِكَ وَحَيَاتَكَ قَبْلَ مَوْتِكَ
Seize the opportunity of five before five: your youth before your old age, your health before your sickness, your wealth before your poverty, your free-time before your preoccupation, and your life before your death.
The Prophet (SAW) is pointing out that these five matters are very easy to get hold of, because they are treasures that everyone possesses, but very few appreciate. What are these five things?
One of the things that most people take for granted is their youth. Youthfulness is a time when a person is most energetic; when he lays out the foundations for his future, and when he plans his life. So, one has to take advantage of this time before the time comes when that enthusiasm is either lost or greatly reduced. It is very seldom that the enthusiasm and energy that we are blessed with in our youth will ever again be given to us after that age. Therefore, the Prophet (SAW) is advising the youth to seize this moment and take advantage of it.
The youth should utilize this energy for the sake of Allāh by seeking knowledge, obtaining halal means of sustenance, and worshipping Allāh through acts that he or she might not be able to do later on in life. When people lose their youth, they find it harder to do these deeds which were easier to do at a younger age. Youth, here, does not mean the concept of youth where youthfulness finishes after the age of eighteen or nineteen. In the Islamic Sharī῾ah, a man’s life has been divided into a number of stages. Shabāb or youthfulness, according to the strongest opinions refers to the stage before reaching the age of forty. This is because forty is the prime of life, when mental and physical capabilities have reached a peak, and after that they start to decline.
Secondly, we are advised to take advantage of our good health before we are overcome with illness or disability. What we often don’t realize is that our health is a blessing from Allāh. When we are in good health, we take it for granted and don’t always appreciate what we have. It is only when we fall sick that we realize what a great blessing we had and how we lost it by not doing as much as we could have done. Everyone falls sick.
There may come a time when we also fall sick. Sometimes the sicknesses may be severe. So, the Prophet (SAW) is reminding us that we do not know the time up to which we will enjoy the full possession of our faculties, of our physical strength, and our mental capacities. Therefore, we should take advantage of our good health before that time comes when we may be deprived of it.
The Prophet (SAW) said: “The majority of mankind does not appreciate two blessings: ‘health’ and ‘free time.’ Alḥamdulillāh, we have been blessed with sound minds in sound bodies. Look at someone who Allāh has tested with blindness. It is a very severe test. We have been blessed not just with eyesight, but with hearing, with limbs, with energy, with vitality, and with countless other blessings. Should we not appreciate these blessings from Allāh (SWT)? Do we not realize how enormous the blessing of health is?
The Qur’ān reminds us in Sūratu’n-Naḥl,
وَمَا بِكُمْ مِنْ نِعْمَةٍ فَمِنَ اللَّهِ ثُمَّ إِذَا مَسَّكُمُ الضُّرُّ فَإِلَيْهِ تَجْأَرُونَ
Any blessing you have is from Allāh. Then when harm touches you, it is to Him alone you cry for help. (Q 16:53)
The least we can do, brothers and sisters, is to perform the farā’id or the mandatory actions such as the five daily prayers, fasting in Ramaḍān, and going for Ḥajj. All these modes of worship require physical exertion. That is the least that we can do; the bare minimum. Of course, the more one exerts, the better it is for him. So, this is the second of the five matters: “Take advantage of your health before you fall sick.”
The third is to take advantage of your wealth before your poverty. One day we might have much more than we need, and the next day, we might not have anything. One day, a person might have the best of jobs or the best of businesses; yet, the next day, something happens and he does not have the job or the business, and loses all his sources of income. So the wise person uses his wealth before he loses it. He invests for his future.
As far as making investments for worldly benefits is concerned, the kāfir (the disbeliever), and the Muslim are both same; they both do that. Of course, we have to ensure that we have enough money for our family and our children and ourselves, so that we don’t have to beg. But while investing in this world, let us not forget that we also need to invest in the hereafter, where we need to reap the benefits of our investments much more than we need in this world. We need to invest for our real future, our eternal life in the hereafter.
The Prophet (SAW) once asked his companions, “Who amongst you loves his inheritors’ money more than his own money?” The Ṣaḥābah said, “O Messenger of Allāh! All of us love our own money more than we love the money of our inheritors. We guard it and protect it more than the money of our inheritors.” Then the Prophet (SAW) said, “Indeed, the money that you spend in charity is your money, and the money that you leave behind is the money of your inheritors.” So, this is the third of the five matters: “take advantage of your wealth before your poverty.”
The fourth blessing is the free time that we have. In fact, it is a great treasure that all of us have to some degree or the other. We must make use of our free time before we become too busy or preoccupied. How much free time do we have and what do we waste it on? Think about it. Think about the free time all of us have been blessed with. Let us not waste our free time. Perhaps the greatest wasters of time are the television and the internet. I am not referring to the time which is utilized in getting something useful and beneficial from these devices; something which is productive. What I mean to say is that very often, we gain no benefit after being glued to the TV or internet for hours on end—benefit, neither for this world, nor for the next. And we’ll be lucky if after wasting time, we come out without committing any sin of watching lewd and obscene images or listening to vulgar music or both.
When we have some free time, we should take advantage of it. The greatest thing that we can do in this free time is to engage in the remembrance and worship of Allāh (SWT). And one of the greatest acts of worship is to seek knowledge. We should do whatever we can to increase our knowledge—any knowledge that benefits.
The Prophet (SAW) used to make a du῾ā’:
اللَّهُمَّ انْفَعْنِى بِمَا عَلَّمْتَنِى وَ عَلِّمْنِى مَا يَنْفَعُنِى وَ ارْزُقْنِى عِلْماً يَنْفَعُنِى
O Allāh! Benefit me with what you taught me and teach me what will benefit me, and provide me with knowledge that will benefit me.
Spending free time wisely does not necessarily mean engaging in religious activities only. One way to spend time is to visit one another; visit the sick, for the sake of Allāh (SWT). Time could also be invested in learning a trade or skill that can benefit us and others in this world. In fact, all acts done for the sake of Allāh and to seek the pleasure of Allāh are transformed into acts of worship. Of course, there are religious deeds that need to be done. Besides the compulsory ritual prayers, we should pray some extra prayers as well; a few sunnahs or the nawāfil, if not the continual sunnahs that the Prophet (SAW) used to pray. Each one of us should recite the Qur’ān every day, even if it’s only for five or ten minutes. It is very important to have relationship with the Qur’ān. There are many acts that can be rewarded if our niyyah—our intention is to do them for the sake of Allāh. This is the fourth of the five matters: “take advantage of your free time before you become busy.”
أَقُولُ قَوْلِي هَذَا وَأَسْتَغْفِرُ اللَّهَ لِي وَلَكُمْ وَلِسَائِرِ المُسْلِمينَ وَالمُسْلِمَاتْ فَاسْتَغْفِرُوهْ إِنَّهُ هُوَ الْغَفُورُ الرَّحِيمُ
I say this and ask Allāh for forgiveness for me and you, so invoke Him for forgiveness, for He is the Most Forgiving, the Most Merciful.
الحمد لله رب العالمين والصلاة والسلام على سيد المرسلين وعلى آله وأصحابه أجمعين
All thanks and praises belong to Allāh the Lord of the Worlds. And may the constant blessings and mercies of Allāh be upon the leader of the his entire household, companions and the entire Muslim ummah.
Brothers and sisters in Islām! The last thing that we have been advised to take advantage of is our life before our death. This summarizes it all. Every one of us has a life. That is why we are here right now. And every one of us has to die. Every night when we go to sleep, we enter a state where a part of our soul leaves us. When we wake up, it is only because Allāh has blessed us by returning back our souls; hence granting us the opportunity to worship Him, to seek His forgiveness, and to do some more good deeds before it is our last day on earth. Upon waking up in the morning, the Prophet (SAW) used to say,
اَلْحَمْدُ لِلّه الَّذِى أحْيَانَا بَعْدَ مَا أمَاتَنَا وَ إلَيْهِ النُّشُوْر
Praise be to Allāh who gave me life after death, and to Him is the final return.
Often we do not fully appreciate how great a blessing it is to be given another chance. We become relaxed about death, and we don’t fully comprehend or appreciate that at some point – and only Allāh knows when – our life will be taken away from us for good, leaving no second chance, no opportunity to make up for the wrongs we have done, and there will be no turning back. We must not forget what a blessing and mercy life is. We should value every moment of life, and use it to our best advantage. This means that we should struggle to qualify for Allāh’s mercy and get rewarded with peace of heart in this world, and with the house of peace (Dāru’s-Salām) or Jannah in the next world.
Good things don’t just come to us. We have to strive for them, day in and day out. Whether we are at school, at work, or raising a family, we have to excel in whatever we do. We know that we have to work hard, and the harder we work, the better the reward. Jannah is no exception to this. If we strive hard enough, Allāh will reward us with the ultimate prize of paradise inshā’Allah.
The Qur’ān says in Sūratu’n-Najm
لَيْسَ لِلْإِنْسَانِ إِلَّا مَا سَعَى
Man receives only what he strives for. (Q .53:3)
Brothers and sisters! The wise person is the one who strives to achieve the pleasure of Allāh, places his trust in Allāh, and then expects the best from Allāh. The foolish person is the one who blindly follows his desires and then presumes that Allāh will reward him. May Allāh (SWT) make us amongst those who are successful in both worlds; Āmīn.
O Allāh, please confer Your blessings and grant peace upon our Prophet Muḥammad (SAW), his family and all of the companions.
May Allāh be pleased with the Rightly Guided Caliphs: Abū Bakr, ‘Umar, ‘Uthmān and ‘Alī, and all of the noble Companions.
O Allāh, we seek Your grace to make us amongst those who remember you much and are steadfast on performing acts of worship. O Allāh, please forgive us all.
O Allāh, we seek refuge in Your perfect words from the evil of that which descend from the sky and from the evil of that which ascends in it, and from the evil of what is created in the earth and the evil of that which comes out of it. O Allāh we seek refuge in You from the trials of the night and the day, and from the visitations of the night and day, except for one that knocks with good. Indeed, You are the Most Merciful.
© Mubin Olatoye Raji