Indeed all Praise is due to Allaah, we praise Him, and seek His help and forgiveness. We seek refuge in Allaah, the Most High, from the evils of our own selves and from our wicked deeds. Whomsoever has been guided by Allaah, none can misguide him, and whomsoever has been misguided by Allaah, none can guide him. I bear witness that there is no true god worthy of being worshipped except Allaah, Alone, without partner or associate. And I bear witness that Muhammad is His true slave and Messenger.
O you who have believed, fear Allaah as He should be feared and do not die except as Muslims [in submission to Him]. [Aali-Imraan 3:102]
O mankind, fear your Lord, who created you from one soul and created from it its mate and dispersed from both of them many men and women. And fear Allaah, through whom you ask one another, and the wombs. Indeed Allaah is ever, over you, an Observer. [Nisaa 4:1]
O you who have believed, fear Allaah and speak words of appropriate justice. He will [then] amend for you your deeds and forgive you your sins. And whoever obeys Allaah and His Messenger has certainly attained a great attainment. [Ahzaab 33:70-71]
Indeed the best speech is the Speech of Allaah and the best guidance is that of Muhammad صلى الله عليه وسلم, the worst of affairs are the newly-invented matters, and every newly-invented matter is an innovation. And every innovation is misguidance. And all misguidance is in the Fire.
As for what follows: every Muslim, no matter what level of knowledge or education he has, knows that righteous deeds do not help a person at all if they are not coupled with faith in Allaah and His Messenger.
This is the first fundamental in Islaam: the testimony that none has the right to be worshipped except Allaah and that Muhammad صلى الله عليه وسلم is His Messenger, and that this faith will not help the person who has it at all if he breaches an aspect of eemaan, the greatest of which is associating partners with Allaah the Blessed and Most High, [doing so] in one of the forms of major shirk which the Noble Quran has spoken to us about in the person of the Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم saying, “And it was already revealed to you and to those before you that if you should associate [anything] with Allaah, your work would surely become worthless, and you would surely be among the losers.” [Zumar 39:65]
The Muslim does not doubt that the Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم was infallible from ever falling into any shirk and for this reason we said that Allaah the Mighty and Majestic addressed his ummah صلى الله عليه وسلم when He spoke to him and directed His Address to him with what you heard, “… if you should associate [anything] with Allaah, your work would surely become worthless.”
And if righteous deeds are coupled with beneficial eemaan they [still] do not benefit the person doing them unless two things are linked to them, and during this pleasant evening I’d like to focus on this point, inshaa Allaah …
Based upon the Saying of the Lord of the Words, “So whoever would hope for the meeting with his Lord, let him do righteous work …” [Kahf 18:110] the scholars of the Muslims …
“So whoever would hope for the meeting with his Lord, let him do righteous work …” so this is the first condition for someone who wants to be saved on the Day of Judgement, “The Day when mankind will stand before the Lord of the worlds?” [Mutaffifeen 83:6] that he perform righteous work.
And the noble verses have come one after the other [where] every time faith is mentioned righteous work is coupled with it, from the most famous of them is the chapter which has gathered and collected [great meaning], i.e., Surah al-Asr, “By time! Indeed, mankind is in loss. Except for those who have believed and done righteous deeds and advised each other to truth and advised each other to patience.” [Asr 103:1-3]
And from the guidance of the Prophet’s Companions صلى الله عليه وسلم was a piece of guidance which the Muslims who came later have continually turned away from, a good habit which the Companions used to practise, [which was that] when they would depart they would do so after they had reminded each other of this blessed chapter, “By time! Indeed, mankind is in loss. Except for those who have believed and done righteous deeds and advised each other to truth and advised each other to patience.”
So after having come to know with certain knowledge what the eemaan which will save one is, and after truly believing in it, the Muslim must know what righteous deeds are so that he can get closer in rank/position to Allaah the Blessed and Most High.
The scholars of tafsir have laid down two conditions concerning the previous verse, “So whoever would hope for the meeting with his Lord, let him do righteous work and not associate in the worship of his Lord anyone,” [Kahf 18:110] and this is what the talk will centre on now.
The first condition is that the action which the Muslim wants to get closer to Allaah تبارك وتعالى through conforms to the Sunnah, [that it] is in accordance with the righteous works that Allaah’s Messenger صلى الله عليه وسلم was upon, and this means that he be a follower of the Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم and that he not innovate anything into his Sunnah however good his intention might be in seeking Allaah’s Face through that deed, for that action will not benefit him even if it were coupled with a pure intention as long as he is opposing his Prophet’s صلى الله عليه وسلم Sunnah in that action of his.
And the proofs the scholars depended and relied upon in establishing this condition, the first condition, to make an action righteous, are extremely numerous, from the most well-known of them is what you just heard now in my opening words [khutbah] to this gathering, and these opening words are also something which … I don’t say all of the Muslims and their common folk but I mean [these opening words are also something which] the elite of the Muslims [i.e., scholars etc.] have failed to perform.
Because you will hardly ever hear a dars or a lecture or a word of advice whether live like this or on the radio or any other means … you will hardly hear anyone open his sermon or dars or research with what you just heard, “Indeed all Praise is due to Allaah, we praise Him, and seek His help and forgiveness,” to the end.
And in this sermon the Prophet عليه الصلاة والسلام said, “The worst of affairs are the newly-invented matters, and every newly-invented matter is an innovation. And every innovation is misguidance. And all misguidance is in the Fire.” We have to pay attention to this khutbah, we who think that we want to be guides for the people calling them to the Book and the Sunnah and righteous works, and then we go and oppose this Sunnah at the beginning of our lectures.
The Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم used to …