The Hereafter – End of Times Part 1
by Sh Abdulbary Yahya
presented by the Mercy Association
Etiquette Before Knowledge
Before we start with the main topic, I would like to speak about the etiquette of seeking knowledge and the importance of seeking knowledge itself. If you don’t learn the etiquette, you’re going to learn things the wrong way. Before you teach a person they must have etiquette. That’s why you start with etiquette and that’s why the companions are very very respectful to Prophet salallaahu alayhi wasallam. Even when they asked questions, they were very respectful.
The sahabah whenever they would ask the Prophet salallaahu alayhi wasallam about anything, if you look at the hadith of Prophet salallaahu alayhi wasallam you will see that if Prophet salallaahu alayhi wasallam asks them once, twice, third, they would stop. They would not go further. The sahabah wouldn’t ask anymore. The only hadith where Prophet salallaahu alayhi wasallam was asked even after the third was,
Ya Rasululah , who has more right for my good companionship, [for me to be kind to and treat nicely]?
Rasululah salallaahu alayhi wasallam said, “Your mother.”
The only reason why he salallaahu alayhi wasallam was asked the fourth time, was because the Prophet salallaahu alayhi wasallam said “Your mother” 3 times. If we were there, we would go on and ask “Who next?”
Out of respect for Prophet salallaahu alayhi wasallam, because they had etiquette, they didn’t go any further.
So I would like to mention a few things with regard to seeking knowledge before going on to the main topics.
WHAT MAKES SEEKING KNOWLEDGE EASIER?
Having Passion for It
What are some of the ways we can make it easier upon ourselves to learn? If something is important to you, you ‘re more likely to remember it, and more passionate in learning it. If there is a subject that we like or anything we love a lot, we can do a lot of it without being tired. If someone loves football, they can watch it from 10 am all the way to 10 pm with full concentration, full khushu, not missing a single play, full of energy. They might have gotten 3 hours of sleep that night but when something happens, mashaaAllah they’re shouting.
If we’re passionate concerning something, it makes it easier for us. There are people who are passionate about seeking knowledge that they can read from morning to night, they can digest a lot and they remember a lot because they love those things. THis is what they love and want to do. If they find any extra time they will do it. If someone loves arabic language you will find them reading poetry and about nahw and sarf and you might say “That’s boring.” But because they love it, it’s easy for them.
HOW DOES ONE HAVE PASSION FOR IT?
Know its benefits
One way to be passionate about this is to know the benefit of seeking knowledge. When you know what the rewards are you will be passionate about it. One thing is to know how important this knowledge is. If you know it’s important it makes it easy for you to memorize. Some of the scholars before, they were able to memorize a lot of information quickly and they kept it. Why? How were they able to do that?
First, by the grace and blessing of Allah. Allah chose and gave them the ability to do so. One thing they had in common was that they knew the importance of knowledge. If you know the importance of something you’re more likely to memorize it.
Example: You know how we hear names all the time? Everytime we meet a person at an event, we say salam and ask his name. That person introduces himself to us. Sometimes two weeks later or at the next event we meet that person again and you’re scratching your head and you have no idea what his name is! Is it Mahmud, Ahmad? If this person was someone important, or significant to you because of different reasons, like for example, you hear a name and it’s a name of a person that your mother has suggested you to marry. You don’t know who that person is other than the daughter of so and so, and then your sister or someone mentions that name; it could be Fatima, Aisha, Khadija. All of a sudden, because it’s related to something important to you, because you want to get married, even if someone hits you on the head, you will remember it. But you don’t remember Ahmad. Why do you remember Khadija and not Ahmad? Because your mind categorizes it differently for you. If something is important, you put it on the desktop and if not you put it in the trash bin.
So for the past scholars, what was important to them was the knowledge of Quran and Sunnah. This was something they love and very important to them and to all of us when it comes to knowledge. They remember the narrators of the hadith and the hadith. They remember the narrators just like we remember Khadija or Ahmad. If you know the importance of something, you will most likely remember it.
So the scholars like Imam Shafie, every single hadith, verse, saying of sahaba, they were just as important to him as names of who we might deem important to us. When they deemed it important, they kept it. If you know that something is important, if you realize the importance of information that you need and so forth, you’re more likely to keep it for a long time. Nowadays, when we think that we can always have access to something, we don’t memorize it because we take it for granted.
When I was younger, I used to remember all my cousin’s, aunts’, uncles’, friends’ phone numbers. Now if I lose a phone, if you lose your cell phones, you can’t even call your friends. You’re so used to it, you just push a button. Even people close to you, they’re on speed dial, so you don’t even remember their numbers. I remember one time I was in a city, we went out with the brothers, we went out to have dinner. I had my phone. Phones nowadays, the batteries run out very quickly especially at the end of the day. This was at the end of the day. After we ate, I had my belongings in a car parked at the back of the restaurant, so I asked who was taking me back to the hotel.
A brother told me, “You will go with such and such brother.” So I went to that brother first and then remembered then I remembered that I had my belongings at the back, so I went to pick it up. When I went there, the car was gone. They had already left. I went back to the front, and they had already left because they thought I was going with the other guys, so everybody left me. I was in the city, I didn’t know anyone there. I took out my phone and the battery died. You know when you take it out and you hear that battery-dying sound. I was at the restaurant and I didn’t know how to contact them. There were phones everywhere, but I didn’t know their numbers. I called those guys maybe 20 times in that weekend but I didn’t know their numbers. I ended up taking a taxi back.
The point here is, why don’t we remember those numbers anymore? Because we take it for granted and we’re not used to memorizing things. That’s why students who are coming from the west, they go study in Madinah or the east, what ends up happening, a lot of them can’t handle the way people study in the east. In the east they are used to memorizing. When they see it they memorize.
A lot of times, I remember teaching in Cambodia and Vietnam, I tell them to read the 3 pages. They don’t read them. The next day they came back already memorizing those 3 pages.
Know Its Rewards
Another thing that helps us to learn and memorize is to realize that whatever we’re doing if we’re sincere, any effort we make, we will be reward by Allah for it. So when you’re trying to memorize the Quran or hadith, whether you’re going to finish it or not, don’t think “It’s going to take me a long time! I don’t know when I’m going to be finished!” because the time you’re going to spend to memorize, every second of it you’re going to be rewarded by Allah.
When you’re coming here, to learn, every single second, minute, you’re going to be rewarded by Allah. The reward is very great. That’s why the scholars of before, they used to walk for weeks and months in search of one hadith. How long does it take for us to retrieve one hadith nowadays? If you’re in front of the computer, Google will say 0.000000001 seconds to get all those results.
That hadith they might have known it already but they want the chain or as close as they can to the Prophet salallaahu alayhi wasallam. They’d spend months, days and nights traveling. You might think “Why would they do such things?” They knew that Allah will reward them for it.
Allah tells us about the ulamaa of Bani Israel, Allah calls them a”immah (plural of imam).
And We made from among them leaders guiding by Our command when they were patient and [when] they were certain of Our signs. [As Sajdah 32:24]
They were also certain in Our verses (in the reward from Allah, certainty in the truth of what they were doing, the importance of what they were doing.)
So it doesn’t matter how much effort is going to be put into something so small because the reward is so great.
Let’s say I left my phone at my house and I tell you that you have to walk to my house and I will give you $10 for every step you took. Those who know where my house is you know that it’s not too close and not too far either. Who here would not go? That’s a lot of money, for every step. But that’s nothing compared to the reward you’re going to get from Allah.
For us we might not see the greatness of that reward right now, but when you have the yaqeen, iman and you know the reward Allah is going to give you for every step, minute, second, when you seek knowledge sincerely for His sake and it is greater than $10, it’s priceless, then you would have the energy, motivation to continue to do so. So anytime you feel lazy about coming to seek knowledge, coming to a class, coming to learn, then think about the great reward you’ll be getting from Allah. Think in dunya matter, if it’s $10 I would walk, this is more than $10!
Every promise of Allah is never broken, Allah will fulfill His promise.
Ask Allah to Increase You In Knowledge
Another thing is, you have to ask Allah to increase you in knowledge. Rasulullah salallaahu alayhi wasallam was ordered by Allah to ask for more of nothing except knowledge.
So high [above all] is Allah , the Sovereign, the Truth. And, [O Muhammad], do not hasten with [recitation of] the Qur’an before its revelation is completed to you, and say, “My Lord, increase me in knowledge.” [Taha 20:114]
We can’t even calculate the blessings Allah has given us. Our bodies need food for us to survive. In the same way our hearts also need food. But the food that strengthen our hearts is the seeking of knowledge. Some of the scholars say that we need this knowledge of Islam, Iman, of Allah, concerning the deen, more than we need food and drink. Why? Because when you have knowledge, it gives you life and it gives you the best of this world and the hereafter. You might have a lot of wealth in this world, but if you don’t have knowledge it won’t benefit you in the hereafter.
When it comes to seeking knowledge, that desire to seek knowledge is a great blessing from Allah. Us just coming here, first and foremost, we have to thank Allah for coming here. If you thank Allah for something, Allah will increase it for you. Anything that you have, thank Allah for it. When you look in the mirror ,thank Allah you’re handsome. May Allah make you more handsome. 🙂
Knowledge That Benefits
So when you’re asking Allah for anything, make sure that you ask Allah for more knowledge. But what kind of knowledge? Knowledge that benefits us. That will benefit us in this life and the hereafter. There is a lot of knowledge out there. Aren’t we living in the information age? But first, you have to differentiate information and knowledge.
There are people who are specialists. They study only certain species of sharks, plants, and if you were to ask that person about those sharks or plants, they will know so much about them. If you were to study sharks for the rest of your life, you would still not know everything about them. Even ourselves, the doctors they’re always coming out every singe month in this and that journal because they’re discovering new things. If they were to continue studying just that, their lives would end and they would know just a little bit. They would know a lot compared to other people but they would know so little compared to what they don’t know.
You should always ask Allah for knowledge that benefits you because on the Day of Judgment, a person might spend all his life learning about certain types of plants and on the Day of Judgment, Allah will ask them about this type of plant? I’m not saying you shouldn’t seek knowledge, but some people work so hard to gain these knowledge, and they neglect that which is even more important, which is the deen, what is halal and haram and what is pleasing or not pleasing to Allah.
If Allah Wants Good For You
If Allah wants goodness for a people, Allah can give people money. And you see that Allah can give people a lot of money but does that mean Allah loves them? Not necessarily. You see people with a lot of money but they’re doing things which are displeasing to Allah day and night.
So what is the sign that Allah wants goodness for you? That Allah loves you?
Rasulullah salallaahu alayhi wasallam said, in a hadith in Sahih Bukhari, from Muawiyah ibn Abi Sufyan,
Whoever Allah wants goodness for him, He makes him understand this deen.
Seeking knowledge is something important and also an ibaadah. In order for us to be rewarded for what we do in ibadah, it has to be sincere. Anytime it’s not sincere, Allah will not reward you for it. Before you start, ask yourself why are you here? Are you here so you can show off to other people that you know this and you know that?
Check your intentions. Because if it’s not sincere, then you have to change your intentions. The intentions are very difficult. Sufyan At Thawree said,
I have not tried to perfect anything more difficult than my intentions. It always flips on me.
This is important because the reward of Allah is based on that, our sincerity and doing things correctly. seeking knowledge can also lead a person to the hellfire if it’s not sincere.
Prophet salallaahu alayhi wasallam said, this is a hadith that is sahih in the sunan,
Whoever seeks knowledge so that he can argue with the fools, or to show off to people of knowledge, or if he seeks knowledge to get attention, then he will be in the hellfire.
You know how some people they want to seek knowledge for argumentative purposes? They want to be right all the time. Of course you don’t want to be wrong but you want the truth. When you seek the truth you have to be humble.
Imam Shafie, said,
I have not debated with anyone except that I wanted my counterpart to be correct.
because he loves knowledge. If he’s right then he won’t be learning anything new, but if he’s wrong, he’d be learning something new!
Some people they ask questions, “Sheikh what’s the opinion of this scholar this and that?”They’re asking to show off to the students that they know this and that. And they might use opinions and this and that in a certain way to show that they know.Even when you’re asking, ask it sincerely, do it for the sake of Allah. It’s a good deed, but if it’s not sincere, you will be punished for it.Be in a state where you try to be humble. At the same time, doing it for the sake of Allah.
Shyness and Arrogance
There are two people who will never learn.
- The arrogant one. When they’re arrogant they might not learn from this or that person because they think they already know. That’s the worst. A person who doesn’t know, he thinks he knows. You can learn from anyone. No matter how much you know of something, maybe the other person knows something you don’t know. And even if you know what he knows, maybe you can learn from the way he speaks.
- Shyness. Shyness is good, it’s a part of iman, but shyness should not prevent you from seeking the truth. That’s not true shyness because shyness from Allah is the greater shyness. If you are too shy to ask whether this is halal or haram then you might fall into something displeasing to Allah and that’s worse!
Ignorance is a disease and the cure for it is a question.
What is shyness?
Part of the reason someone may be shy is because they don’t want to do anything that is inappropriate. But if you don’t know and you’re too shy to ask about it, you might end up doing something even more appropriate
I went to Indonesia. Every country, area, the people have their own culture and ways of doing things. I went to an Islamic school and one of the brothers, he used to study with me in Madinah, he’s the principal. He asked me to teach the class because he needed to do something. Just that period. The class was in Arabic anyway so it doesn’t matter, So I started teaching. As they were doing their work, I paced the room and started doing this with my hands. All of a sudden they broke out laughing. They couldn’t even stop themselves. They were so good mannered before but now they couldn’t stop laughing. I left the classroom and asked my friend. And he said that what I did with my hands is like when someone sticks out their middle finger.
Aishah r.a. said, “May Allah have mercy on the women of the Ansaar! Shyness didn’t prevent them from seeking the truth.”
They would come to the Prophet salallaahu alayhi wasallam asking about halal and haram and about the ruling on menses. That is important because if you don’t know whether you should pray or fast or not and if you don’t know because you refuse to ask because you’re shy, you might be praying when you shouldn’t be or vice versa. Then you fall into something that’s even greater. Shyness didn’t prevent the women of the Ansaar from seeking the truth.
Take Notes and Share
What is the intention we should have when seeking knowledge?
To alleviate ignorance from ourselves and to help others, in other words to share the knowledge that we have. This helps when you have this intention. If you were told right now,
“Every single point that is mentioned right now, next week or tomorrow or anytime during this month, you will have to give the same talk with the same points to another class.”
So if you knew you’re going to have to share it, that you’re responsible of conveying this message, what would you be doing right now? Some of you who are not taking notes would have to take notes, because you know you have to share it. This is the state we should be in. This is what will bring the hearts together, when it comes to seeking knowledge, reading Quran and so forth. This is a responsibility. When we learn something we should teach our family members, friends. If you’re in that state, it might be easier for you to memorize. If you do it correctly, it will make it easier for you too. If you say “oh why is this so hard?” It may be because you’re in the wrong mindset.
Whenever you learn try to put it into practice. Knowledge isn’t just learning theoretical fact but putting into practice. It shows that you are appreciative of that knowledge. Because you use it. When you know the importance of something, you apply it. If you put into practice, then you’ll remember it. If you don’t practice the dua that you learn, you’ll forget it.
As students of knowledge, if you’re seeking knowledge, this is a great blessing that we’re here. Allah has given us iman and Islam and there are many Muslims out there who are not here seeking knowledge. And there are many people who are Muslims but they’re not practicing. So be thankful to Allah that He has put you here.
When you’re thankful for it, you will put it into practice and when you put it into practice, you will know the importance of it and when you know the importance of it, it will stick with you inshaaAllah.
Fear Allah. If you fear Allah, meaning staying away from the haram, from that which Allah has forbidden, inshaaAllah Allah will help you in seeking this knowledge. Allah says
And among people and moving creatures and grazing livestock are various colors similarly. Only those who fear Allah , from among His servants, who have knowledge. Indeed, Allah is Exalted in Might and Forgiving. [Faatir 35:28]
If you fear Allah, Allah will increase it for you. And if you start committing sins, then the opposite happens, you start losing it.
Also continue to be patient. Allah says,
And We made from among them leaders guiding by Our command when they were patient and [when] they were certain of Our signs. [As Sajdah 32:24]
A”immah (leaders) -> imam here doesn’t mean the person who’s leading people in prayer. You hear Imam and then a name that is very prominent; Imam Bukhari, Imam Ahmad, Imam Shafie. These are a”immah. You don’t say Sheikh Shafie, Sheikh Malik, Sheikh Ahmad. You don’t just use imam for anyone. When someone reaches a level of Imaamah.
Anyone who prays five times a day has at least heard of Imam Shafie. How did they get to that stage?
Patience in doing good, in seeking knowledge. You have to help each other. When we’re seeking knowledge you have to have a partner. When you come into class you have to have a partner who will remind you. It’s better for you to car pool not only to save fuel. It’s better for you to come together so when someone doesn’t come, you’ll be motivated.
I remember there were so many times I was in class and I have a very good friend. I would have a headache, some days you just don’t feel well and I feel like I have a big headache. My friend comes knocking in my room and I say,
“I can’t make it today, I have a big headache.”
“Abdulbary, I’ll give you a bigger headache if you don’t come.”
And I really have a headache and he literally dragged me out of my bed. So I started taking a shower and he gave me an Advil and I went. Every time he did that, I would thank him. After class, I would say, “Alhamdulillah I came!”
Because you feel different. There is so much blessing. But I wouldn’t have come if he didn’t help me. But if he had a headache I would have done the same thing to him! 😀 So we were never sick. Not that we were never sick but even if we were, we would still go.
He would remind me all the time, “We don’t have much time here, we don’t have that type of scholars back home, you’re coming or else! If the munafiqoon would crawl for fajr if they knew the reward, we ask that Allah keeps us away from hypocrisy, so let’s go!”
We want to be serious because alhamdulillah this is one of the good things about classes like these. You can go into detail. We can take one hadith and in half an hour we can spend time on half of the hadith, but we’ll benefit. Every time you’re feeling sleepy, move to a different place or go make wudhu. If yore talking to people and people are sleepy, for me personally, every time someone is sleepy I feel that that’s my fault. Why? The reason is because, if I prepared well enough, did a good enough job, then you guys wouldn’t be sleepy.
You guys are at fault also because if you know the importance of knowledge then you wouldn’t want to fall asleep, so we’re both at fault. So if someone is falling asleep just poke them awake. But if we had the motivation, we ourselves wouldn’t be sleepy.
These are some of the topics we’ll be covering.
First we’ll be speaking about something related to the unseen. Signs of the Day Of Judment and leading up from the minor signs then the major signs and then go to the grave. We’re going to take a trip to the hereafter. Why are we taking this trip? To remind ourselves of the true value of this life. And to seek knowledge.
I think this is a good topic to get us motivated and once we know it, we’ll seek knowledge.
It’s so important to come because you don’t realize the blessings of the place. The angels are here and the ants and the fish in the ocean are making dua of istighfaar for those who teach and learn knowledge. So the barakah is different. All the classes where I could have just listened to the CDs or MP3, it’s not the same and your iman also goes up when you seek knowledge. So remind each other all the time.
Anytime a person comes as a result of your reminder, then you’re going to get the reward also of that person.
One of the mos beautiful things of the internet, it doesn’t really matter how many people really come, there are so many people who will benefit from it if its’ recorded. Your question and participation will also help put value to that and increase the knowledge. Imam Bukhari said,
“I learned more from Imam Tirdmihi (his student) than he learned from me.”
Why did he say this? Imam Tirmidhi used to ask very beneficial questions.Whenver you’re preparing for a talk, try to prepare as much as you can. Because you’re not wasting an hour, because all the people who came, you’ve just wasted 300 hours of the ummahs time. Multiply it by all the time of those people.
The reason why I’m mentioning this is a reminder for myself and a reminder for you to remind me also. We’re trying to help each other to be better and be the best Muslims we can be.
Disclaimer: This is not a full transcription.