Peace and blessings be upon the Prophet Muhammad. We praise Allah, thank Him and seek His help, guidance and forgiveness. We seek refuge in Allah from the evil in our souls and the sinfulness of our deeds. Whomsoever Allah guides, he is rightly-guided and whosoever He sends astray, none can guide him.
The purpose of the lecture:
We are continuing with the stories of the Prophets. The last lesson was an introduction to the series – why do we study the stories of the Prophets? What is the purpose of studying them? What is the difference between a prophet and a messenger? How many prophets were there? Etc.
Do you know where we’ll start today? Many of you think that we will start with the story of Adam (PBUH). I too thought the same – that when we start telling the stories of the prophets that Adam’s will be the first, but I have found out that the story of creation is very moving.
Let’s go back to the time before Adam, to the very beginning, before the Prophets, before the angels, before the heavens and the earth. Imagine the beginning. Let’s start the story from the beginning.
Glory be to Allah. What was there before Adam? What was there before the creation of Heaven? Before the angels and the prophets? Or even before the creation of the heavens, the earth, the clouds, the mountains, the sea and the air? There was only Allah and this is what we are going to look at today; I want you all to leave this lecture with your hearts filled with this phrase, “there was only Allah”; Today’s lesson aims to implant it deep in your heart. Try to think about Allah’s supreme power; then think about how poor and helpless you are.
This is the aim of today’s lesson; what was there before the creation of everything? At that time, there was only Allah. There is no God but Allah. Glory be to Him. Allah (SWT
) says what can be translated as, “He it is who created the heavens and the earth in six Days and then rose over the Throne (in a manner that suits His Majesty). He knows what goes into the earth and what comes forth from it and what descends from the heaven and what ascends thereto. And he is with you (by His Knowledge) wherever you may be
”. (TMQ, 57:4).
Glory be to Him. After this lesson, I want your heart to be filled with the glory of Allah (SWT
The Beginning of the Creation:
Look all around you. Look at the technology, the people, the creatures, etc. All of this was actually nothing. Nothing was there but Allah (SWT).
Imam Ahmad related a Hadith that one of the companions once asked the Prophet (PBUH) where Allah was before He created the heavens and the earth. The Prophet (PBUH) said “In amaa’ (vacancy and emptiness)”. Nothing was there with Him. Brothers and sisters, we are newly introduced to that universe. We are not the origin and we own nothing here.
The word (amaa’) refers to that state which is unimaginable and unperceivable to the mind because it is nothing.
Is that notion now well established in your minds or do you need to listen to more Ahadith? Then listen to this one, Imran Ibn Hussein (RA) narrates that a delegation from Yemen came to the Prophet (PBUH) and said, “O Messenger of Allah, we have come to learn about this religion and to ask you about the beginning of the creation.” “Only Allah was there. Nothing was before Him and nothing was with Him”, said the Prophet (PBUH). This Hadith is related by Al-Bukhari.
Allah (SWT) says what can be translated as, “They made not a just estimate of Allah such as is due to Him…” (TMQ, 39:67).
Believe me, we were all nothing. Allah says what can be translated as, “Has there not been over man a period of time, when he was not a thing worth mentioning?” (TMQ, 76:1).
O, people! You were once nothing. How can you become proud before Allah (SWT)! Why don’t you bow and prostrate before Him? While I was supplicating to Allah after my prayers, a young man came to me and said, “Please urge the young people to pray.” “They made not a just estimate of Allah as is due to Him…” (TMQ, 39:67).
The Holy verse says what can be translated as, “…And on the Day of Resurrection, the whole of the earth will be grasped by His Hand and the heavens will be rolled up in His Right Hand. Glorified is He, and High is He above all that they associate as partners with Him” (TMQ, 39:67). Another verse says what can be translated as,“And (remember) the day when We shall roll up the heaven like a scroll rolled up for books. As We began the first creation, We shall repeat it. (It is) a promise binding upon Us. Truly, We shall do it.” (TMQ, 21:104). See how simple it is for Allah. It’s as simple as holding a book in your hand and closing it with two or three of your fingers. The Prophet (PBUH) wants one fact to be implanted deep in your heart: that Allah (SWT) is the owner of everything.
Abdullah Ibn Omar says, “One day I saw the Prophet (PBUH) on the pulpit, calling out in a loud voice, “They made not a just estimate of Allah such as is due to Him’.” (TMQ, 39:67). The Prophet (PBUH) wants this verse to be implanted deep in your hearts.
We don’t make a just estimate of Allah and His Glory such as is due to Him. The Prophet (PBUH) stood on the pulpit saying what can be translated as, “ They made not a just estimate of Allah such as is due to Him. And on the Day of Resurrection, the whole of the earth will be grasped by His Hand and the heavens will be rolled up in His Right Hand. Glorified is He and High is He above all that they associate as partners with Him”. (TMQ, 39:67).
Abdullah Ibn-Omar says, “Then he raised his voice and kept indicating with his hand saying that Allah (SWT) will go on glorifying Himself saying ‘I am the Compeller. I am the ِAll-Powerful. I am the All-Mighty. I am the Planner. I am the First. I am the Last.’ The prophet went on repeating the ninety nine names of Allah, till I saw the pulpit shake while the Prophet was standing on it.” The wooden pulpit shook with the glory of Allah (SWT). Wood moved but our hearts are motionless. Wood is inanimate but it feels the glory of Allah (SWT). Allah says what can be translated as, “There is not a thing but celebrates His praise; and yet ye understand not how they declare His glory! Verily, He is Oft-Forbearing, Most Forgiving!” and “whatsoever is in heaven and whatsoever is on earth glorifies Allah”. (TMQ, 17:44).
Who are you to disobey Him and say I won’t do it? Who are you to say I won’t pray? Who are you, o young women, to say I won’t wear the hijab? Who are you to disobey your parents everyday when He has said, “be dutiful to your parents”?
Brothers and sisters, do you really make a just estimate of Allah and His glory or not? Do you know now how the beginning was? Do your inner selves now feel Allah’s glory or is your heart still lifeless?
At the beginning, if nothing was there with Allah, then, how do you think the end will be? Aren’t we the humans who inhabit this universe and feel it is ours?
The End of the creation:
“And the Trumpet will be blown, and all who are in the heavens and all who are on the earth will swoon away” (TMQ, 39:68). Now that I have told you about the beginning, I have to tell you about the end so that you know for a certainty about your weaknesses and that you need your Lord.
Creation began with Allah (SWT) blowing life into Adam and it will end with a blow. How worthless is life that it begins with one blow and ends with another!
See what the end will be like in the verse that can be translated as, “And the Trumpet will be blown, and all who are in the heavens and all who are on the earth will swoon away” (TMQ, 39:68). Everything will vanish in just one blow: animals, birds, fish, humans, angels, jinn, etc. Everything will vanish except those whom Allah wants to remain. Who do you think they will be?
When Allah calls, “O, angel of death! Who is still alive?” Consider the phrase “who is still alive”, because everyone is dead. He will say, “O Allah, only Israfiel, Mikael (Michael), Jibril (Gabriel) and myself, the angel of death.”
Where will you be at that time? You will be nothing. “O, angel of death! Make Israfiel die.” He will make Israfiel die and then Allah will ask again, “O, angel of death! Who remains?” “Jibril and Mikael,” answers the angel of death. “Make Mikael die, angel of death.” Then Mikael dies. Do you remember now your sins? Do you remember how lost you were in this life? Where are you now? Do you see how careless you’ve been in disregarding Allah’s orders for so many years? How many times have you slept and not prayed the dawn prayer? “Make Jibril die, angel of death.” Then Jibril dies. “Who remains, o angel of death?” The angel answers, “Only myself, your poor slave, o Allah.” “Make yourself die, angel of death.”
When everyone is dead, Allah will start calling: “To whom is the Kingdom this Day?…” (TMQ, 40:16). Allah, whom we removed from our thoughts and selves, Allah, who owns our lives and yet we have become slaves to our desires. Allah calls, “To whom is the Kingdom this Day?…” Exalted is He. Think about your beginning and your end. Isn’t it time to submit to Him? To fall prostrate before Him and to say I’m your helpless slave, I have no Lord other than You?
No one answers, because no one is there. Then Allah (SWT) calls, “…It is Allah’s, the One, the Dominant!” (TMQ, 40:16). “Where are the kings? Where are the tyrants? Where are the oppressors?” “For whom is the Kingdom this Day?”
The Prophet (PBUH) says, “Allah (SWT) says ‘It is Allah’s, the One, the Dominant for forty.” Forty days? Forty months? Forty years? No one knows. The timing is over. No one can further distinguish a day from a month or a year.
Have you seen what the beginning and the end are like? Do you understand now the meaning of Allah’s divine attributes: the First and the Last? Today we will talk about the First. Adam is not yet been created.
Allah (SWT) says what can be translated as, “Whatsoever is in the heavens and the earth glorifies Allah, and He is the All-Mighty, the All-Wise. His is the Kingdom of the Heavens and the earth. It is He Who gives life and causes death, and He is Able to do all things. He is the First (nothing is before Him) and the Last (nothing is after Him), the Most High (nothing is above Him) and the Most Near (nothing is nearer than Him). And He is All-Knower of everything.” (TMQ, 57:1-3).
The Prophet used to pray, “O, Lord! You are the God of the heavens, the earth, and the great Throne. O, Lord! You are the First (nothing is before You) and the Last (nothing is after You), the Most High (nothing is above You) and the Most Near (nothing is nearer than You).” When we know all of this, can we submit ourselves humbly before Allah? This is our God (SWT).
The Originator is one of the names of Allah (SWT) that we have to understand; Allah says what can be translated as, “It is He Who begins (the process of) creation; then repeats it and for Him it is most easy” (TMQ, 30:27). He also says, “See they not how Allah originates creation, then repeats it: truly that is easy for Allah” (TMQ, 29:19). Do you know that you were nothing and were it not for Allah you wouldn’t have been anything?
Listen to this verse. It will really shake your heart. Allah says what can be translated as, “Were they created of nothing, or were they themselves the creators?” (TMQ, 52:35). How can you be proud before Allah? How can you forget Him? “Or did they create the heavens and the earth?” (TMQ, 52:36). The question that Allah asks is derisive as if He wants to ask you, what’s wrong with you? Is it that hard to make up your mind? “Or are the Treasures of thy Lord with them, or are they the managers (of affairs)?” (TMQ, 52:37).
Who owns the earth? Who owns the whole universe? Are you the controllers or is Allah (SWT)? Then, how can you disobey Him or object to His orders? I mentioned the story of the beginning of creation to allow you to make a just estimate of Allah’s Glory in contrast to your poverty and enslavement to Him.
Brothers and sisters, many young people are deeply involved in sins; some of them cannot leave their girlfriends, some of them cannot stop smoking marijuana and others are destroying their health by smoking. Yet all of them can stop committing those sins the minute their hearts are filled with the love of Allah and His glory.
I want your hearts to be filled with nothing but Allah. At that moment, you will easily leave your girlfriend the next day and if you are used to committing sins, you will immediately give them up. Just feel how needy and poor you are before Allah.
Think about the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH). Although a Prophet, he was humble before Allah. Learn to be humble, brothers and sisters. The best way to worship Allah is to say “O, Lord! I’m a poor, needy slave”. For sure, Allah will love you, prevent you from all sins, dignify you and raise you above all. Tell Him “O, Lord! I’m poor and weak, and you’re my only God.”
Consider the Prophet’s supplication “O, Allah! I’m Your servant, the son of Your servant, the son of Your maidservant. My forelock is in Your Hand, Your command over me is forever executed and Your decree over me is just.”
Have you ever shown reverence to Allah in this way? Have you ever prostrated yourself and felt your poverty before His Majesty? Brothers and sisters, this is what we were created for. We were created to experience those feeling; we were not created just to eat, drink, marry, have children and then die.
Abdul-Qadir Gilani said, “I tried to enter to Allah from many doors. Yet, whenever I knocked on one, I found people blocking the way.” He tried to enter from the door of prayers, but he found thousands of people there. He tried to enter from the door of fasting, but also thousands were there. He says, “Yet, when I knocked on the door of submission, I found no one there. So, I entered and called upon you.”
Now, after realizing that Allah was the only One there before the creation, has the awareness of Allah’s might grown in your heart?
The first three creatures
What do you think was created first? Don’t say that it is Adam. Adam was created last. So what was created first? I would like to clarify that I only use sahih (authentic) Ahadith, especially concerning these points that we are discussing.
The Prophet (PBUH) says, “The first thing created by Allah was the pen, then, He ordered it to write, so it wrote everything that will happen till the Day of Judgment.” (narrated by At-Tirmidhi, Abu-Dawud, and Ahmad). This Hadith is narrated in another way by Al-Bukhari. His narration will make it clearer for you. He says that the Messenger of Allah (PBUH) says, “Allah (SWT) said to the pen write my knowledge about my creatures until the Day of Judgment.” (Sahih al-Albany, 1749).
I know that the popular question of whether we have free will or are driven by destiny comes to mind when these Ahadith are mentioned and the issue of, as everything is predestined by Allah, why do we act and do what we do, etc. Firstly, I want to quickly touch on the issue of free will and I would like to make the following points:
- The First point: Have you ever noticed who the people who always ask this question are? Are they the sinners or the obedient ones? Have you ever heard this question from a person who is obedient to Allah, performs his prayers and fasts for Him? No. You normally hear it from those who don’t pray and don’t want to obey Allah.
- The Second point: This shows the importance of the second Hadith. The phrase “write my knowledge” means that Allah knows everything. Thus there is no need to ask why does Allah punish or reward us? Allah knows everything but this does not mean that He forces you to do anything. You are completely free but he knows what has happened, what will happen, what didn’t happen and how it would have happened if it had. Brothers and sisters, Allah is the All-Knower. If you still cannot understand this, then you have a problem.
Consider this example. It will make it easier for you to understand. A father gives each of his three children 10 pounds and said, “You are free to do whatever you like with this money.” Then, when they all leave, he takes out a notebook and writes in it that the first will spend his money for the sake of Allah, the second is stingy and will not spend it and the third will use it to commit sins. After a while, they come back and each one has exactly done what his father has written in the notebook. Did he force them to do anything? Or does he just know them very well? He is their father and he knows well their characters and natures. Of course, Allah is above any such comparison.
Brothers and sisters, free or not is not the issue, nor is it important to ask why does Allah reward and punish us when everything we do is predestined. What’s really important is to know that it is not predestination, rather, it is pre-knowledge.
If you are not yet convinced and doubt still exists in your mind, then let me ask you a very simple question. Is Allah Just or Unjust? Has He ever been Unjust? Since you are certain that He has never been, why does this confusion exist?
Hence, if anyone asked you these questions, “do we have free will or not? If everything is predestined, why does Allah punish and reward us?” then simply ask the asker, “Do you believe in the ninety nine names of Allah?” Among them are the Compassionate and the Just. Now, do you still believe that Allah might be Unjust with you? I think not. Then, you don’t have any problem now and this is the meaning of “Allah ordered the pen to write”.
Let’s move from this scholarly issue to another which is useful for us, namely, Allah’s knowledge mentioned in the Hadith where it says, “so it (i.e. the pen) wrote everything that will happen till the Day of Judgment”. Keep in mind that Allah sees you when you are committing any sin. He is the All-Knower of that which is in our hearts. How can you then look at what He ordered you to lower your eyes from? Don’t forget that Allah sees you beforehand. How dare you commit a sin when you know that He sees you? How can you do it and try to hide from your parents or do it when they are asleep then thank Allah that no one saw you?
Allah is watching. Doesn’t your heart miss a beat when your parents open your bedroom door and find you committing a sin? Yet, although you know that Allah sees you, your heart rests assured.
Isn’t Allah’s knowledge enough to let you submit to Him and feel ashamed of yourself? Listen to this verse that says what can be translated as, “Have you not seen that Allah knows whatsoever is in the Heavens and whatsoever is on the earth? There is no Najwa (secret counsel) of three but He is their fourth (with His Knowledge, while He himself is over the Throne, over the seventh heaven) nor of five but He is their sixth (with His Knowledge), nor of less than that or more but He is with them (with His Knowledge) wherever they may be. And afterwards on the Day of Resurrection He will inform them of what they did. Verily, Allah is All-Knower of everything” (TMQ, 58:7). By mentioning this point, I wanted to remind you that you “mustn’t forget that Allah (SWT) knows everything”. Now, let’s move on to another point.
We agreed that everything has been written, so why are you worried about your livelihood? Why do you keep thinking about your future so much so that you can’t sleep for worrying about it? Aren’t you doing your best? Brothers and sisters, everything has been written in the Preserved Tablet. Why become worried about your daughters getting married? Why do you get high blood pressure because your daughter has grown up and is not yet married?
Brothers and sisters, as long as you do your best and perform your role in life to the best of your ability, don’t worry so much about what will happen.
Listen to the Prophet (PBUH) when he was teaching Abdullah Ibn Abbas, a 13-year old boy at that time. He was teaching him a belief that we should implant deep in our selves. He says, “You have to know that if the whole world gathered to benefit you, they won’t be able to benefit you except by what Allah has destined for you and if they gathered to harm you, they won’t be able to harm you except by what Allah has destined for you.” (Sahih al-Albany, 2043). Look at the prophetic comment at the end, “the pen has been lifted and the ink has dried.” This means that nothing can be further written in the Preserved Tablet and that nothing can be erased from it as the dye is cast.
Keep your trust in Allah and never worry. If Allah’s favors on you decrease, don’t give up hope and say, “I won’t do anymore. I’m fed up with my country. I can’t lead a comfortable life.” Leave it to Allah. Open your heart and calm down. Work all day and leave your livelihood to Allah.
If your daughter hasn’t yet married, don’t worry. Leave it to Allah. Her husband’s name is written in the Preserved Tablet and no one marries another’s wife.
So, the first of creation was the pen. The Preserved Tablet comes second.
The first two creatures are the pen and the Preserved Tablet. Yet, actually, there was another thing created before those two, although I didn’t mention it. It is something very great. We will see it in paradise, insh’Allah. It’s the Throne of Allah (SWT).
Remember the Hadith that I mentioned before. When a delegation came to the Prophet (PBUH) from Yemen and said, “O, Messenger of Allah! What was at the beginning of the creation? The Prophet (PBUH) said, “Only Allah was there. Nothing was before Him and nothing was with Him and His Throne was on water.” Hence, the Throne was the first thing created. Are any of you longing to see the Throne? The Prophet (PBUH) says, “If you asked Allah to grant you paradise, ask Him to grant you Al-Ferdaws Al-Aala (The Highest Level in Paradise).” Don’t say “O, Lord! Grant me paradise” rather say “O, Lord! Grant me Al-Ferdaws Al-Aala.” Why? The Prophet’s following words answer: “It (Al-Ferdaws Al-Aala) is in the middle of paradise and at the top of it and from it flows many rivers and its ceiling is the Throne of Allah”. This means that while in Al-Ferdaws Al-Aala, if you looked upwards, you will see the Throne of Allah. It’s the first thing created. Is anyone longing to see it? Or you just want to live, eat, drink and spend your time aimlessly and when our time comes to die, we can start thinking about it?
Where are the ambitious ones? Where are those who long to go to Al-Ferdaws Al-Aala? Where are those who say, “I want to enter Al-Ferdaws Al-Aala and I will direct all my efforts to this and Allah will help me.”
In one of the Hadith narrated by Abdullah Ibn Amr Ibn Al-As, the Prophet (PBUH) says, “Allah destined the fate of all creation before He created the earth by fifty thousands years and His Throne was on the water.” (Sahih Muslim, 2653). Here, there’s an important point that I would like to touch on so that we can consider it. The prophet (PBUH) says, “Satan comes to the person and asks him who created the heavens? The person answers ‘Allah’. He asks again who created the earth? ‘Allah’ the person answers. Again he asks who created you? The person says ‘Allah’. ‘ Then, who created Allah’ Satan asks. So, if any of you suffered from this, say ‘I believe in Allah and His Messenger’ and all those thoughts will go away.” (Sahih Muslim, 134).
The Prophet (PBUH) says, “Think about Allah’s creation, and don’t think about Allah Himself.” (Narrated by Al-Dhahaby, 111). You won’t be able to make a just estimate such as is due to Him.” Don’t ever think about Allah Himself. Think about His creation, but when your mind reaches Allah, stop and order your mind to stop. It can’t make a just estimate worthy of Allah. Tell yourself always “There is nothing like Him.
The Prophet says, “People ask you about everything. If they asked you, ‘this is Allah’s creation, then who created Allah? Tell them that Allah is before everything, the Creator of everything, and He will remain after everything vanishes.” (Sahih Bukhari, 7296).
I will tell you a very nice story. It is known that the Prophet (PBUH) held Ibn Abbas close and prayed for him saying, “O, Allah! Teach him more about religion.” From that day on, the great Ibn Abbas that you all know appeared. Later on, a man came to him and said, “O, Ibn Abbas. There is something deep inside myself that disturbs me. “What is it”, asked Ibn Abbas. “I swore by Allah that I would not mention it.” “Does it concern doubt?” “Yes” replied the man. At his answer, Ibn Abbas laughed and said, “No Muslim has been saved from this when he first starts to become close to Allah and think of Him. If you suffer from this again, say ‘He is the First, the Last, the Most high and the Most Near’, and say ‘there is no God but Allah’ and ‘there is nothing like Him’.” These words are very important. Everyday, young men who have recently started practicing come to me and complain that they have thoughts in my mind that they had never thought of before when they were not practicing.
I hesitated a lot before discussing this point for fear I might confuse any of you with those thoughts. Yet, I found that many young people need to know about this when they start practicing Islam. When he was corrupt, Satan didn’t need to whisper evil thoughts to him but now that the person has started to repent and come closer to Allah (SWT), Satan is unable to tempt him to commit sins. So he starts to make worshipping Allah hateful to him and starts to provoke evil thoughts in his mind. The person comes to his wit’s end and wonders “am I that bad?”
It’s very easy to overcome these thoughts, insh’Allah:
- Firstly, you have to know that you are not bad. You are okay. It’s only Satan. On the contrary, this proves that you are not bad and that Satan does all this. A proof for this is that Ibn Abbas laughed and told him that those thoughts always come when one first starts practicing Islam. If any of the young people who have recently started to practice Islam was saved from this, he must thank Allah.
- Secondly, the minute you have these thoughts, say as our Prophet (PBUH) and Ibn Abbas taught us, “I believe in Allah and His Messenger”, “there is no God but Allah”, “He is the First, the Last, the Most High and the Most Near” and “I take refuge with Allah from the accursed devil.”
- Thirdly, whenever you have these evil thoughts, give a little money in charity. Count how many times a day Satan whispers those bad ideas in your mind and give some charity for each time. After some time, Satan will discover that whenever he does this, your merits increase. By the way, this method has been successful with many people. But, you have to be careful. At the beginning, he will go on doing it for a whole month. You will have to give money in charity for a whole month… excuse me! Don’t be stingy! Go on and Satan will get bored after some time and will start to search for another way to get to you. You have to keep on asking Allah to save you from these thoughts because Satan will never give up. He will go on searching for another way. Brothers and sisters, we will keep on struggling against Satan till we draw our last breath.
The Creation of the Heavens and the Earth:
In how many days were the heavens and the earth created? In six days. Allah (SWT) says, “He it is who created the heavens and the earth in six Days and then rose over the Throne (in a manner that suits His Majesty).” (TMQ, 10:3). So it’s six days. However, after mentioning the whole period, Allah gave us the particular time in which each had been created. In Surat Fussilat, Allah (SWT) says what can be translated as, “Say (O Muhammad): Do you verily disbelieve in Him who created the earth in two Days? And you set up rivals (in worship) with Him? That is the Lord of Alamin (mankind, jinn, and all that exists). He placed therein (i.e. the earth) firm mountains from above it, and He blessed it, and measured therein its sustenance (for its dwellers) in four days equal (i.e. all these four days were equal in the length of time) for all those who ask (about its creation). then he rose over (Istawa) to the heaven when it was smoke, and said to it and to the earth: “Come both of you willingly or unwillingly.” They both said: “We come willingly.” Then He completed and finished their creation as seven heavens in two Days and He made in each heaven its affair.” (TMQ, 41:9-12).
Are they four or two days? They are four days; two for the creation of the Earth and two for blessing it and the final two to provide it with its sustenance. So, what about the six days? Consider this example. If I went from Cairo to Alexandria in two hours and from Cairo to Marsa Matruh, via Alexandria, in four hours, how long does it take to go from Cairo to Marsa Matruh? Four hours, of course. So, consider the creation this way and that the whole process of creation took 4 days.
The heavens were created in two days and the whole creation process took six days. At this point, we must raise a very important question: couldn’t Allah have just said to the earth “be”, and “it is”? So, why did the creation process take 6 days and why are those 6 days divided into stages? Praise and Glory be to Allah. Allah wanted to teach us that every thing in the world undergoes several stages and that everything changes in stages.
Hence, when you have a certain problem and you want to solve it on the spot, remind yourself that Allah has created Heavens and the Earth in 6 days. I hope this has become fixed in everyone’s minds. Also, when you want to guide someone to the right path, don’t exert pressure on him or her. Please don’t. Have patience. The whole universe was created in six days and any change is achieved gradually. I hope that this point is understood.
As concerns the creation of the Heavens and the Earth, other faiths have some strange ideas such as claiming that Allah (SWT) created the heavens and the earth in six days and when He finished He felt tired and wanted to take a rest. So, he rested the seventh day, which is Saturday (the Sabbath). This idea is actually mentioned in many distorted Holy Books. Do you know that Allah has refuted this in the Holy Qur’an when He (SWT) says what can be translated as, “We created the heavens and the earth and all between them in Six Days, nor did any sense of weariness touch Us. Bear, then, with patience, all that they say” (TMQ, 50:38). Notice also that in this verse Allah links the six days of the creation to patience in order to teach patience to the whole of humanity. Problems are solved through patience. Calamities are overcome by patience. Guiding someone to the right way necessitates being patient. Even change needs patience. That’s why the heavens and the earth were created in six days.
The creation of other great things:
The Womb (the ties of kinship):
At the beginning of the creation, Allah created many great things. Actually, they are not things, rather they are concepts. He created some concepts and morals before creating Adam and the whole humanity to alert our attention to their greatness. Actually, I looked hard for Ahadith mentioning what Allah (SWT) created before us and I found some very nice Ahadith.
The Prophet (PBUH) says, “After Allah created it, the womb said to Allah “I seek refuge in You from being severed.” So, Allah (SWT) said, “do you accept that I join whoever joins you and sever whoever severs you?” “Yes” answered the womb. Allah (SWT) said to the womb what means that it will have what it wants.” (Sahih Muslim, 2554). Brothers and sisters, when you go home today call all those relatives that you been distant from.
What is strange is that the womb called upon Allah at the beginning of the creation and will call again at the end of it.
After hearing these words, think of why you sever the ties of kinship? Because of money or disputes? Go straight home and renew your ties with your family.
The door to repentance:
There are many other Hadiths through which you can see how Allah has established the bases of compassion and justice.
At-Tirmidhi and Ibn Maja narrated a Hadith, “The Prophet (PBUH) told us that there is a door in the West whose width extends for more than seventy years. You walk for seventy years through its width but you can never cover it. This door was created by Allah the day the heavens and earth were created and it remained opened ever since then”. The Prophet went on saying, “Do you know what door is that?” They replied, “No we do not, O Prophet of Allah”. The Prophet said, “It’s the door of repentance; it will remain open from the day of creation till the sun rises from the west”.
As long as this door is open, why don’t you repent now? Don’t forget that repentance has three conditions:
- You must regret committing the sin. Your heart should shake and your eyes should shed tears of regret.
- You must stop committing that sin at once.
- You must decide not to commit that sin again, be it a relationship with a girl, abandoning prayers, upsetting your mother, severing the ties of kinship, etc.
When you do all of the things mentioned above, the door of repentance will open. Enter. Now Allah will forgive you for all that you have done.
An this moment, one of our brothers and sisters present here may repent to Allah and give up a certain sin that he or she has been committing without any of us feeling this. He or she may give up delaying the fajr prayer or not praying in the mosque. Say, “O, Allah! I regret my action and I will commit this sin no longer. I promise never to return to it. It’s enough to have spent 13 years away from you. I intend to let You be the first priority in my life.” The minute you enter from that door, all the sins that you have committed before are erased. It is wide enough for you to pass through. Its width is as long as a 70 year walk.
Brothers and sisters, the door is still open. Hurry up and enter from it before the sun rises from the West. From that moment on, it will be closed forever.
In a Hadith narrated by Al-Tirmidhi, the Prophet (PBUH) said, “Two thousand years before creating the heavens and the earth, Allah recorded a Book. In it, he included two verses which, when recited in a house, Satan will not approach it for three nights.” (Sahih al-Albany, 1799). Those who are afraid of anyone should recite these two verses and Satan will never approach your homes. Listen to these verses and bear in mind that they were created before the heavens and the earth by 2000 years. They are the last two verses in Surat Al-Baqara (The Cow). The verses can be translated as, “The Messenger believes in what has been sent down to him from His Lord, and (so do) the believers. Each one believes in Allah, His angels, His Books, and His Messengers. (They say), ‘we make no distinction between one another of His Messengers’- and they say, ‘we hear and we obey. (We seek) Your forgiveness, our Lord, and to You is the return (of all). Allah burdens not a person beyond his scope. He gets reward for that (good) which he has earned, and he is punished for that (evil) which he has earned. ‘Our Lord! Punish us not if we forget or fall into error, our Lord! Lay not on us a burden like that which You did lay on those before us (Jews and Christians); our Lord! Put not on us a burden greater than we have strength to bear. Pardon us and grant us forgiveness. Have mercy on us. You are our Protector and give us victory over the disbelieving people” (TMQ, 2:285-286). Did you hear?
They said, “we hear and we obey” 2000 years before the creation. Say with me: “we hear and we obey” and make a promise to Allah to abide by it. “We hear and we obey” and don’t browse obscene websites on the internet again. “We hear and we obey” and don’t look at what Allah has ordered you to lower your gaze from. “we hear and we obey”, I will not backbite about my friends over the phone again. “We hear and we obey” and I will give up telling lies. “We hear and we obey” and from now on I will perform all my prayers when the prayer time begins.
In a Hadith narrated by Al-Bukhari, the Prophet (PBUH) says, “When Allah created the heavens and the earth, He declared Makkah as sacred. Thus, it will remain sacred till the Day of Judgment”. Are any of you longing to visit Makkah, the land that Allah declared sacred when He created the heavens and the earth?
Muslim narrated a Hadith that says, “When Allah created the heavens and the earth, He created 100 mercies. Each mercy is as big as the distance between the heavens and the earth. To the earth, He sent only one mercy. By this one, all the creatures show mercy and compassion towards each other. In the Day of Judgment, Allah will add this compassion to the 99 compassions, then spread them among his creatures so that no one perishes except the perished ones.” Brothers and sisters, see how merciful Allah is! Among His first creation are kinship, repentance, a hundred mercies, and “Pardon us and grant us forgiveness. Have mercy on us. You are our Protector and give us victory over the disbelievers”. Bear in mind that Allah has established this universe upon the basis of compassion and justice. It’s us who don’t want and don’t need them. On the Day of Judgment, as mentioned in the Hadith, no one perishes except for the worst of sinners.
My Compassion preceded My Anger:
The prophet (PBUH) says, “When Allah created the creatures, He recorded a book. That book is there above the Throne. In it is written ‘MY compassion precedes My anger’ “and in another narration “My compassion prevails over My anger.” (Sahih Bukhary, 7553). This is an everlasting message written in the best and greatest place above the Throne.
The Creation of the angels and the jinn:
Now, after talking about some of the creatures, there remain two things I would like to terminate my lesson today with: the creation of the angels and the creation of the jinn. I will start with the angels. Talking about them is very enjoyable, comfortable and is a pleasure to anyone’s heart. Let me tell you about the angels.
When the Prophet (PBUH) was asked “what is faith?” He said that faith is to believe in Allah, His angels, etc.” and I feel that our relation to the angels is not that strong and that we don’t believe in them wholeheartedly. That’s why I want to help you love them. Listen to what I will say.
From what were the angels created? The Prophet (PBUH) says, “the angels were created from light, the jinn from a smokeless flame of fire and man from what was described to you.” This Hadith is narrated by Muslim. However, how were they created from light? We don’t know.
When were the angels created? We also don’t know but we are certain that they were created before man because the Holy verse says what can be translated as, “And (remember) when your Lord said to the angels: Behold ‘I will create a vicegerent on earth’” (TMQ, 2:30). Thus, the angels were there before man was created.
What do the angels look like? Can we describe them? Yes, we can describe them as Allah (SWT) has described them. They are very great creatures. The Prophet (PBUH) says, “I saw Gabriel in his actual form having 600 wings, each obscuring the horizon and whenever I looked at the sky, in any direction, I saw a wing filling it.” (Sahih Muslim, 177). Think about the angels, then think about your shape. Notice how proud you are. See how you say to Allah “convince me”. Brothers and sisters, I’m not here today to teach you science; I’m here today to bring us, you and me, closer to Allah. With every word I say, I think about how to navigate this heart towards Allah. I didn’t come to pass information on to you and for you to then leave without having even come one step closer towards Allah, so that you’ve benefited nothing and I’ve been of no use to you. I want your hearts, by the end of this lesson, to be strongly attached to Allah (SWT). How can you say to Allah, “convince me first; convince me to wear the hijab and then if convinced, I’ll wear it”?
In a Hadith narrated by Abu-Dawud, the Prophet (PBUH) says, “I’ve been allowed to tell you about one of the angels who is responsible for carrying the Throne. Between his earlobe and his shoulders is a distance of 700 years on foot. Remember always the verse that says what can be translated as, “Are you more complex to create or is the heaven that He constructed?” (TMQ, 79:27-28).
Angels have wings; Allah (SWT) described them as having two, three, four or more. Allah (SWT) says what can be translated as, “All praise and thanks are Allah’s, the (Only) Originator (or the Only Creator) of the heavens and the earth, Who made the angels messengers with wings, two or three or four. He increases in creation what He wills. Verily, Allah is Able to do all things.” (TMQ, 35:1).
Are there some angels better than others? Yes and I want to remind you for the second time that we want to love the angels and that I’m not here just to provide you with lots of information. In a Hadith narrated by Bukhari, it says, “Jibril came to Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) and said ‘how do you regard those who witnessed the battle of Badr?’ the Prophet (PBUH) said ‘they are the elite among us.’ ‘We too regard the angels who witnessed Badr the same way’ said Jibril”. See how valuable we are to Allah. He considered the angels who witnessed Badr as the best of all the angels. This is very nice.
The angels do not eat or drink. In Ibrahim’s story, Allah says what can be translated as, “But when he saw their hands went not towards it (the meal)…” (TMQ, 11:70), till the end of the verses. Also, Allah says “And placed it before them He said, “will ye not eat?” (TMQ, 51:27).
How many angels are there? They are very great in number. The total number of human beings is nothing compared to theirs. The Prophet’s Hadith, which says, “Every day, 70000 angels enter Al-Bait-ul-Ma’mur and go on circumambulating it, then leave and never return to it till the Day of Judgment” (Sahih Bukhari, 3887), demonstrates this. By the way, Al-Bait-ul-Ma’mur lies above the Holy K’aba in the seventh heaven. Can you imagine how great the number is? Multiply 70000 by 365, and then multiply the results by millions of years.
Another Hadith: “On the Day of Judgment, Hellfire will be pulled by 70000 straps each held by 70000 angels.” (Sahih Muslim, 2842).
What is the worship of the angels? It’s the same as our worship. They do tasbeeh (glorify Allah). Allah says what can be translated as, “They celebrate His praises night and day, and do not ever flag or intermit.” (TMQ, 21:20), and“And we are verily ranged in ranks (for service); And we are verily those who declare (Allah’s) glory” (TMQ, 37:165-166) . Do you remember the last time that you glorified Allah? How many days have you spent without glorifying Him? How can a whole day pass without you glorifying Him in it? Glorify Allah everyday. You are wronging yourself if you do not do so. The angels never get bored or tired of glorifying Him.
What else do they do? They fear Allah (SWT). Their fear of Him is a hundred times greater as yours. Allah (SWT) says about them what can be translated as, “And they stand in awe and reverence of His (glory)” (TMQ, 21:28).Many young men and women are not present today and I wanted them to hear these words. As for those who are present today, when was the last time you felt the fear of Allah? Since last Ramadan, you haven’t felt afraid and you haven’t cried. Where is your submissive prostration? Where is the two rakat (prayer unit) prayer that, while performing it, you deeply hope will never end? When was the last time you cried while raising up your hands and asking Allah saying, “O, Lord! Forgive me. I repent to You.” The angels are in reverence day and night, so why are we so hardhearted? Allah says what can be translated as, “Has not the time arrived for the Believers that their hearts in all humility should engage in the remembrance of Allah.” (TMQ, 76:1). The angels glorify Allah, feel reverence before Him and perform Hajj for Him.
Allah (SWT) says what can be translated as, “By the Tur (Mount). And by a Book inscribed. In parchment unrolled. And by Al-Bait-ul-Ma’mur (the house over the heavens parallel to the K’aba at Makkah, continuously visited by the angels)” (TMQ, 52:1-4).
Al-Bait-ul-Ma’mur is the house in which the angels perform hajj and around which they circumambulate. I advise all the young people here to go and perform the hajj. I know that you will say ‘I’m still young’ but hajj is one of the best acts of worship that bring you closer to Allah and help you to stick to His path. If you still can’t perform hajj, at least perform Umrah.
Angels line up in rows before Allah. This is the same as when we stand in lines during prayers. During prayers, one day, the Prophet (PBUH) told the companions, “Will you stand in rows the same way the angels do?
– ‘How do the angels stand in rows, o Messenger of Allah?’ they asked.
– ‘They complete the first row and then the next until they reach the last.”
Can you imagine Heaven and how the angels make their rows? The Prophet (PBUH) says, “Heaven is crackling and it is justified in so doing. There is not any empty place, even for three fingers, as angels fill it either standing, bowing or prostrating and it will remain thus until the Day of Resurrection. On that Day, they will rise from their bowing and prostration and say ‘Glory be to You, o Allah! We haven’t worshipped you in the way You deserve.’ “
“O ye men! It is ye that have need of Allah: but Allah is the One Free of all wants, worthy of all praise. If He so pleased, He could blot you out and bring in a New Creation: Nor is that (at all) difficult for Allah.” (TMQ, 35: 15-17). Think about yourself and then think about the angels, the worshippers of Allah. However, in spite of all of this, by worshipping Allah, you become dearer to Allah than the angels and through your obedience to Him, you become closer to Him than the angels and the angels become your servants in paradise. “..And angels shall enter unto them from every gate (with the salutation) “Peace unto you for that ye persevered in patience! Now how excellent is the final Home!” (TMQ, 13:23-24).
By his repentance to Allah, a needy and poor person becomes dearer to Him than the angels.
Do angels die or not? Of course they die. Listen to these verses that can be translated as, “Everything (that exists) will perish except His own Face” (TMQ, 28:88), and “And the Trumpet will be blown, and all who are on the earth will swoon away” (TMQ, 39:68). Yet, does this death take place during our life cycle or by the end of it? We don’t know and we shouldn’t ask. Brothers and sisters, there are some points which neither Allah nor His Messenger illustrated. Thus, we don’t need to know.
Do the angels have a certain behavior? Actually, we know only of one behavioral characteristic of the angels and we should try to adopt it, which is modesty. “Once, Othman Ibn Affan came to the Prophet. When he entered, the Prophet (PBUH) sat up straight. When asked about this, he said, “He (Othman) is a man from whom the angels feel shy.” (Sahih Muslim, 2401). This is the only characteristic that is known about the angels.
At this point, I would like to ask all the young men who harass girls in streets, how dare you? Where is your modesty? Those girls and boys who talk to each other on the telephone at 2 a.m. and say the worst things imaginable, while Allah is calling to His believers in the last third of the night, “who is going to ask me so that I answer him?”- How dare they behave like that, especially at that time? Imagine if you are talking to this girl and your father picked up the other handset? It’d be a real scandal, wouldn’t it?
And what if it were her father and not yours who heard the phone call? Now, don’t you know that Allah hears and sees all of this? Allah says what can be translated as, “Knows he not that Allah sees (what he does)?” (TMQ, 96:14).
As for the boy who lies down, relaxing on the sofa while his father is standing, that’s because he lacks modesty. You who raise your voice when talking to your parents, don’t you have modesty? And the girl who laughs loudly in her the college does it out of a lack of modesty. The girls and the boys who play football together don’t have decency and the boy who dances at a wedding party and says, “the bridegroom is my friend. I have to dance at his wedding,” he too lacks modesty. The girls who dance in public, how dare they do that? And then they say this is a wedding and our family is well established and has certain traditions. Believe me, modesty is an integral whole.
In the “friendship” between girls and boys, where is the modesty? Where is your shyness, sister, when you listen to Allah addressing you, saying, “No taking boy-friends” (TMQ, 4:25). A woman can never have a boyfriend. Where is the modesty that she and her boyfriend should have? Allah says what can be translated as, “It is not Al-Birr (piety and righteousness) that you enter the houses from the back but Al-Birr (is the quality of the one) who fears Allah. So, enter houses through their (proper) doors” (TMQ, 2:189). Where is their shyness from the whole society? Where do they meet? Their answer is: “We meet every Thursday and go out together. Nothing is strange. We are friends.” You all know that in Islam a virgin’s silence (when asked her for her answer concerning a marriage proposal) taken as her consent. This is due to her shyness and we should not embarrass her. This is what the Sharia (Islamic law) says.
The last question is: what is our relation to the angels? It is a wonderful relationship. One part of this relation is that they pray for us and ask Allah to forgive us; not all angels do this, only the angels that sustain the Throne. Allah (SWT) says what can be translated as, “Those who sustain the Throne (of Allah) and those around it sing Glory and Praise to their Lord; believe in Him; and implore forgiveness for those who believe…” (TMQ, 40:7).
Can you imagine that? A supplication of forgiveness is sent especially to you from the Throne and those who do it and send it to you are angels whom you don’t even know about. How strange! Brothers and sisters, there are many things in life more enjoyable than playing around, having fun and forgetting about your duty to Allah, one of which is knowing Allah and His angels and knowing that those angels are praying for you.
“And implore forgiveness for those who believe: “Our Lord! Thy Reach is over all things, in Mercy and Knowledge. Forgive, then, those who turn in Repentance, and follow thy Path; and preserve them from the Penalty of the Blazing Fire! And grant, our Lord! that they enter the Gardens of Eternity, which Thou hast promised to them, and to the righteous among their fathers, their wives, and their posterity! for Thou art (He), the Exalted in Might, Full of Wisdom. And preserve them from (all) ills; and any whom Thou dost preserve from ills that Day, on them wilt Thou have bestowed Mercy indeed.” (TMQ, 40:7-9).
Do you imagine? A young man may be indulging in all kinds of sins while one of the angels carrying the Throne is praying for him!!
Another aspect of the angels’ relation to us is that they tell us in advance whether we will enter paradise. Allah says what can be translated as, “In the case of those who say, “Our Lord is Allah,” and, further, stand straight and steadfast, the angels descend on them (from time to time): “Fear ye not!” (they suggest), “Nor grieve! but receive the Glad Tidings of the Garden (of Bliss), that which ye were promised!” (TMQ, 41:30).
A third aspect is that the angels keep watch over us. We always say things like, “the eye is protected by a guardian”, and “I was about to die yet the rock didn’t hit me. It was about to fall from the next building’s fence”, and “It is a miracle that I was saved from that car accident. I don’t know what happened”. Allah (SWT) says what can be translated as,“For each (such person) there are (angels) in succession. Before and behind him: they guard him by command of Allah.” (TMQ, 13:11). They keep watch over him, yet, if Allah’s decree comes to pass, the angels leave him to his fate. The word “he” refers to man. See how dear and close their relation to you is, even when you are heedless of Allah.
The angels constantly surround us; every one of us has angels around them. If you don’t believe it, listen to this Hadith. The Prophet (PBUH) says, “Angels keep praying for you so long as you are in the mosque saying, ‘O, Lord! Forgive him’”. (Sahih Bukhari, 445). Do you feel now how nice the angels are and how great the mosque is? Go to the mosque. You will certainly gain many merits and the angels will go on praying for you “O, Lord! Forgive him. Have compassion on him”
There are angels that record whatever you do, be it a good deed or a bad one. Allah (SWT) says what can be translated as, “Nay! But you deny the Day of Recompense. But verily, over you (are appointed angels in charge of mankind) to watch you, writing down your deeds” (TMQ, 82:9-11).
They also play a great role in carrying our salutations to the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH). The Prophet (PBUH) says, “Allah has some angels who move all around the world then deliver to me the greetings of my Ummah.” (Sahih al-Albany, 1664). Imagine if you said “peace be upon Muhammad” now, an angel would bear your greeting and deliver it to him in Al-Madinah, saying, “O, Messenger of Allah! So and so from the mosque called so and so is greeting you” so the prophet says “peace be upon him/ her.”
Brothers and sisters, there are many beautiful meanings in this life and the most beautiful of them is our relationship to Allah (SWT). The angels record the name of those who perform the Friday Prayer. The Prophet (PBUH) says, “On Fridays (Jumu’a), the angels stand at every door of the mosque and write the names of the people who come in the order that they arrive, so that when the orator climbs the pulpit…etc” (Sahih Bukhari, 3211). The last part of the Hadith says that the angels enter the mosque to listen to the Friday sermon. A very famous scene is that of a man entering the mosque at the beginning of the second sermon because he has a headache. Normally, his name is not written. The angels haven’t written other people’s names for twenty years.
What’s our duty towards the angels? We should love them. I’ve been summarizing but actually loving angels requires many lessons.
Why don’t you establish a relationship with the angels on your right and left sides? Many of you ask “How”? When you do something good, look to your right side and tell the angel with great pleasure “record” and when you commit a sin, look to your left side and tell the angel “Wait, don’t record it, I’ll repent.”
It was mentioned in the traditions that when a person intends to do a good deed, the angel on the right side registers it immediately, and when he does a bad deed, the angel on his left side waits for a whole hour so that he may repent. Let me tell you about another very nice thing about angels. Be humble before them. Be humble in case they should see you committing a sin.
Another duty towards angels is to be clean. I say this especially to the young men who smoke. The Prophet (PBUH) says, “Angels feel disgusted from whatever disgusts man.” (Sahih Muslim, 564). When smoking, keep in mind that those angels whom we’ve been talking about now feel disgusted with you, so what if you were committing a sin? One of the greatest sins? By the way, don’t ever consider any sin a small one because it covers the mind, however small it is. Originally, the word (Khamr) meaning wine comes from the word (Khemar) meaning what covers the mind. So anything that covers the mind is called (khamr).
The last point I want to touch on here is the Prophet’s command regarding neighbors. He says, “Jibril kept advising me to care for my neighbors till I thought he will give them a share of my inheritance”. (Sahih al-Albany, 891). Normally, walls and distance separate neighbors from you. So, what about those neighbors on your left and right hand-sides? Since the Prophet has forbidden us from harming our neighbors, why not be nice to the angels? They are closer to you than your neighbors.
The previous points were just small examples of how we can love the angels, how to get closer to them, what we know about them and that we should believe in them. Thus, we have to believe in all that has been said about them.
What is left is belief in the jinn. They were created after the angels. Allah (SWT) says what can be translated as, “We created man from sounding clay, from mud molded into shape. And the Jinn race, We had created before, from the fire of a scorching wind.” (TMQ, 15:26-27). Thus, the jinn were created before Adam. The fire of a scorching wind is a very hot fire whose heat resembles poison.
In another verse, Allah says what can be translated as, “And He created Jinn from fire free of smoke.” (TMQ, 55:15). They were created from a mixture of things; it is a mixture of blazes of fire and the dark black fumes that come out of these blazes. They were mixed together and out of that mixture the jinn were created. Iblis (Satan) is from the jinn. This appears in the following verse that can be translated as, “And (remember) when We said to the angels: ‘Prostrate yourself to Adam.’ So, they prostrated themselves except Iblis. He was one of the Jinn.” (TMQ, 18:50).
One last point is that Allah has created all creatures before Adam; animals, birds and reptiles. All the creatures were created before Adam. Adam was the last to be created. The reason for this is to honor man by having the whole universe prepared to receive Allah’s vicegerent on earth. Do you feel your worth? The entire universe has been prepared to receive you, Allah’s vicegerent on earth. Allah says what can be translated as, “And (remember) when your Lord said to the angels: Behold ‘I will create a vicegerent on earth’” (TMQ, 2:30), thus, the whole world should be ready to receive this vicegerent.
We mean a lot to Allah. We are not created just to eat and drink. We are Allah’s vicegerents on earth. Hence, we and the whole of the Earth must have a connection to Allah. This will be discussed in the next lesson, insh’Allah. What was Adam created from? From mud or dust or mud molded into shape or sounding clay? How was he created? Why was he called Adam? And why was Hawa’ (Eve) so called? What is the story behind the angels being ordered to prostrate before him? Why did Allah order them to do so? All of this will be mentioned in the coming lesson, insh’Allah.
May Allah grant us all His forgiveness.
 TMQ=Translation of the Meaning of the Qur’an. This translation is for the realized meaning, so far, of the stated (Surah:Ayah) of the Qur’an. Reading the translated meaning of the Qur’an can never replace reading it in Arabic, the language in which it was revealed.