You can listen to Imam Adam’s Khutbah above (starts at 06:00), watch it below, or read the summary below.

بِسْمِ اللَّهِ الرَّحْمَٰنِ الرَّحِيمِ

In the name of Allah, the most Gracious, the most Merciful.

 الم 

Alif-laam-meem

Alif, Lam, Meem.

ذَٰلِكَ الْكِتَابُ لَا رَيْبَ ۛ فِيهِ ۛ هُدًى لِّلْمُتَّقِينَ

Thalika alkitabu la rayba feehi

This is the Book about which there is no doubt, a guidance for those conscious of Allah –

(Surah Al-Baqarah, Quran 2:1-2)

My dear brothers and sisters. All praises are due to Allah,the one that has given us the blessing of guidance of Hidayah. And that is what I would like to talk today about is guidance. What are the prerequisites of guidance? What do we need to do in order to receive, be recipients of that guidance from Allah and what is it that He tells us?

Guidance is something that we seek every single day. In Surah Al-Fatiha, we say:

اهْدِنَا الصِّرَاطَ الْمُسْتَقِيمَ ‎

Ya Allah, guide us to the straight path.

We ask for this guidance every single day. How can we be true recipients of that guidance? How can we attune our lives in such a way that we are a good recipients of that guidance? The word Hidayah (هداية‎) comes from the root letters ه (Ha)‎‎, د (Dal), and ي (Ya), and yet there’s other words from this as well like Hadiyah, which is a gift. Guidance is a gift from Allah. AL-Hadi is sacrifice – the sacrificing of animals on Eid Al-Adha. So guidance is related to sacrifice.

Another thing is the connection between the surahs in the Quran. Let’s look at Surah Al-Fatiha, which is the first surah where Allah describes guidance. Allah informs us how to make dua for guidance: “Oh Allah, guide us to the straight path”. When we look at the beginning of Surah Al-Baqarah, Allah explains what the preconditions are for that guidance.

Allah says:

الم ذَٰلِكَ الْكِتَابُ لَا رَيْبَ ۛ  فِيهِ

In this book, there is no doubt.

فِيهِ ۛ هُدًى لِّلْمُتَّقِينَ

In it is guidance.

Guidance for who? For those that are mindful of Allah, for those that are conscious of Allah. And so who are they? Who are those that are mindful of Allah? Who are those that are mindful of Allah? Do they look a certain way? Do they dress a certain way? What are their characteristics?

الَّذِينَ يُؤْمِنُونَ بِالْغَيْبِ

Allatheena yuminoona bialghaybi

Those who believe in the unseen.

Those who believe in Allah and the unseen – this is the first requisite for receiving that guidance.

Number two:

وَيُقِيمُونَ الصَّلَاةَ 

wayuqeemoona alssalata

They establish the prayer.

They don’t just pray, but they establish it and make it a part of their lives. It’s something scheduled. It’s something routined and established in their life.

وَمِمَّا رَزَقْنَاهُمْ يُنفِقُونَ 

wamimma razaqnahum yunfiqoona

And they spend from what we have given them.

So charity; that’s the third condition for receiving guidance.

The fourth:

وَالَّذِينَ يُؤْمِنُونَ بِمَا أُنزِلَ إِلَيْكَ وَمَا أُنزِلَ مِن قَبْلِكَ

Waallatheena yuminoona bima onzila ilayka wama onzila min qablika

And who believe in what has been revealed to you, [O Muḥammad]…

And the fifth one:

وَبِالْآخِرَةِ هُمْ يُوقِنُونَ ‎

wabialakhirati hum yooqinoona

…they believe in the Hereafter.

(Surah Al-Baqarah, Quran 2:1-4)

These are the initial prerequisites and the introduction in the Quran of how we receive guidance. We have to work toward those things. How is our belief in the unseen? It’s not just enough to have a belief, but it’s important to follow that belief up with action. And a reminder. The best reminder that we have is Salah, the prayer. And it’s not only something which is internal. Salah is something between us and Allah or between our family and Allah. But the charity incorporates the external as well. There’s a connection between you and the wider society. All of these components must come together.

The internal, the external, and the fourth part – the belief in the Prophet, Muhammad (pbuh) and those Prophets before him. Receiving guidance is being connected to our history, that we are not just existing in this moment, but we are the result of many, many generations. Do we know our history? Do we actually know our history? I grew up in Texas. I studied Texas history, but do I know my history? I had to go out of my way to go and study my history, the history of my ancestors. I had to do that. Have we done that? Have we studied our history?

Can we say that we believe in the Prophet Muhammad {pbuh) and those Prophets before him? Have we gone out of our way to actually study that?

وَبِالْآخِرَةِ هُمْ يُوقِنُونَ ‎

wabialakhirati hum yooqinoona

…and then comes to the future, which is the Hereafter.

These are the prerequisites for guidance, brothers and sisters. There’s some other things which Allah mentions, which increases guidance. The first one, of course, is to be thankful and to be grateful for guidance.

Walain shakartum La-azidannakum

When we are thankful to Allah than Allah will increase us.

If we are thankful for what He has given us, that’s really the biggest thing that we have to deal with my brothers and sisters. More than any other thing living here, we are at the pinnacle of human civilization of the world, in terms of technological advances and so on.

The one thing that we have to focus on is gratitude. What are we grateful for? For what Allah has given us, because the biggest reason for our fall is being consumed by materialism: “What am I going to get next? What am I going to buy next? What will keep my eye on the prize? What’s the next material thing that I want to acquire?”

The second thing, which Allah mentions, which improves the receiving of guidance is humility.

Allah says He turns His signs away from those who are arrogant, that a person with a little bit of arrogance does not enter Paradise. May Allah protect us from being arrogant, and being humble in receiving the guidance.

The third thing is repentence. That’s another thing which improves Hidayah, which improves guidance, which beautifies the guidance is turning back to Allah.

That the person who turns back to Allah, then Allah guides that person.

So we ask Allah that He helps us be the best recipients for guidance. Ameen.

Now I would like to discuss the guidance between others, between people. How do we receive and how do we give guidance to others? For the connection between people and the guidance between people, we don’t use the word Hidayah anymore.

We have a different word in Arabic. We have the word Naseeha. What is Naseeha?? It’s different from the other words. Naseeha is sincere advice. Advice which is the best for that person in that time, advice which works. The Prophet (pbuh) emphasized Naseeha so much that he said it is “‘ad- din – un – that this religion is defined as pure and sincere advice”.

What is the process by which we give advice? Whether it’s to employees, whether it’s to someone above us, a boss, whether it’s children, whether it’s parents, or siblings. How do we receive and how do we give advice? One part is receiving advice. How do you receive it?

Now, the thing about receiving advice is the big thing. There is humility, and I don’t want to spend too much time on that, because the thing that’s really important to discuss is how to give advice. That’s the most important thing here, is how do we give advice in a way that actually makes change.

That actually does what the advice is intended to do. So, what can we learn from our history? What can we learn from our tradition in terms of how to give advice? Because the Prophets were the best advice-givers. They are described as Nasir. Many of the Prophets are described as trustworthy, sincere advisors. So what can we do?

The first thing when we want to give advice to others is to understand our intention and our motive. When you give advice to someone, do you feel good about it? Are you happy that your words of wisdom and your life experience hav benefited someone else? That’s not the reason you’re here. You’re not doing it to feel good. You’re not doing it because you get to share something. You’re doing it for the other person. That’s what it means to be sincere in your advice. It has nothing to do with you, but rather everything to do with the other person. And so consider the intention first. What is the motive behind? Is it that you’re finally being given the room to say what you really want to say? Are you making it about you? When you give advice, it’s about the other person. Examine your motive and examine your intention.

If we look at the stories of the previous scholars, one of the great scholars of Islam was Imam Malik. A person came from Iraq to Madina to seek advice from Imam Malik, after hearing the tales of the genius of Imam Malik. The man asked Imam Malik his first question, and the Imam replied, “I don’t know”.

The man asked him another question, and a the third question and a fourth question. For every question, the Imam said, “I don’t know”. The man said, “I have brought these questions from people to ask you. I’ve traveled all this way. I’ve come all this way. And you’re saying, I don’t know to all of my questions. What will I tell the people when I returned to Iraq?”

Imam Malik said, “Tell them that Imam Malik doesn’t know”.

That is honest and sincere – wanting what’s best for that person. Not putting yourself above, and wondering what people will think of you, and what people might say about what you have to say, and what might happen to your reputation. If it comes out that Imam Malik couldn’t answer one question from all the 40 questions from the people of Iraq, Imam Malik did not care. For him, it was more about the sincerity of the advice. Is it true? Is it honest? Is it good for that person?

The second thing to consider beyond your intention is the time and place. Imam Shafai famously said that a person who advises someone privately is genuine and cares for that person. But the person who advises someone openly and exposes them is simply belittling and humiliating them.

When advice is given, it is something, which is between the advisor and the advisee. It’s not something that’s done in the open.

Sometimes you think, it’s just family, that everyone knows each other. No. It can be humiliating. You might think it’s just the employees, and everybody knows you’re sincere. It’s still humiliating. It’s still belittling. Even if you have known someone for 30 years, you shouldn’t give advice in front of other people.

That still can be humiliating and belittling. Consider the timing. If you’re telling yourself you won’t have the chance later, then maybe it’s more about you again. Maybe it’s more about you than it is actually about the other person.

The third thing about advice, and this is the most important thing, is to listen first. This is in all of the therapy books, all of the guides. First and foremost, you are a listener. They say ‘connection before correction’. Look at the Prophet (pbuh). He connected with his community for 40 years. His reputation was built in his community for 40 years. And then he was given revelation and then he came out with his mission, but his mission succeeded because of that 40 years that he spent building a connection with his people who knew him as As-Sadiqal-Amin, the truthful, trustworthy.

So before we begin to drop this advice and give our words of wisdom, think. Do you have a connection with that person? And I don’t simply mean a connection of a family relationship, where it’s your sibling or child, but you haven’t actually had a conversation with your child in years. How can you simply start with advice. When a child complained to me, he said, “Anything, I show my dad, it turns into a lecture. I show him a funny video and it turns into, ‘well, you know, they shouldn’t do this because this and that,’ and he can’t just enjoy the funny video with me”. It becomes a teachable moment, where his father wants to share all this wisdom that he’s garnered over the years, when it’s just funny cat video.

Think about the intention. Think about the connection before you get into advice. Also when someone comes to you for help, consider their expectations. Consider what they actually might be. All they might need from you for you to hear and for you to listen. That might be all that they need.

Maybe they were venting about something that has happened to them and they just need to get it out the system. Maybe they’re sharing something and that is their process. Maybe they just need to tell you and then they’ll know exactly what they need to do. So you have helped the other person without saying a word and that might be the best advice you could have given. If you tried to interfere in that person’s process, it might’ve ruined the process. It might’ve taken that person in some other directions, but if you give the other person the opportunity to solve the problem for themselves, that’s the best kind of advice. Allah says that He does not change a people until they change themselves. So for someone to come to the conclusion themselves is the biggest thing you can hope for.

So ask people, what are you hoping to get out of this? Or what do you need from me? Ask them, what do you need from me? How can I help? They might say they just want you to listen. So listen first, understand their expectations. And don’t interrupt until they’re finished. Right? This is something we hear from the Sahaba – the companions of the Prophet. They used to say that when they used to speak to him, it was as if he was listening only to them, as if there was no one else in the room. He focused his attention on them, and he wasn’t thinking about what’s the next thing that he’s going to say.

And I will end with this – what do we do after the listening is complete?

The first thing we should do is ask lots of questions. They say, judge a person by their questions, not by their answers. Judge a person by their question. When the person is asking the right questions, you can lead someone to come to their own solutions. What are the questions that you ask? It also shows that you’re listening. The person feels heard because you’re asking questions about what happened to them. How did that make you feel? What happened next?

What are you thinking about doing next? What else is happening? Ask the right questions that deal with that. And then finally don’t just offer a lot of solutions, but instead offer options. Use your wisdom and use your life experience, but offer options. “We could do it this way. We could do it that way. Let’s discuss the pros and cons.” Of course, in most of our interactions, we don’t spend lots of time. They might have just shared with you one portion of what’s really going on or what the true problem is. And so you give them options. You help them analyze what the pros and cons are. They might say your idea is not a great idea, but it might actually help them think of their own solution because of what you said.

And that’s, again, part of sincere advice. It might be that that person comes up with some other idea that didn’t come from you and that’s okay. That’s okay. You still helped them. You didn’t serve your ego, but you helped that person to come to a solution on their own. How can we be listeners and how can we be advisors, like the Prophets. How can we follow in their footsteps when it comes to how we deal with others, especially those which are closest to Allah? And it’s more important in these days, in these times that we listen more than ever before, and that we truly listen, not simply wait for the next thing. What are we going to say next?

So in conclusion, my brothers and sisters, when we’re helping to give others advice or helping others, we should listen first, understand their situation, ask the right questions, and make sure that the goal is to help the other person.

I was inspired by the story of the Prophet Muhammad (pbuh). When a man came to him from far away and the Muslims were in a dire situation, and they were under attack by the Quraysh. They needed as many bodies as possible to face the Quraysh and this man came from far away and he said, “Ya Rasoolullah (pbuh) I heard you. It has come to me and I wanted to support you. And so I’ve come here and I’ve left my family. I’ve left my parents, even though they were upset, even though they were crying for me to stay, I came here because I want to defend you. want to support your cause. I want to support your mission, but tell me how I can help and the Prophet Muhammad?”

Prophet Muhammad told that man to return back to his family because that is what was best for that man. He told him exactly what was best for that man, without any conflict. May Allah help us to be Nasihun, sincere advisers. May Allah give us the ability to follow the way of the Prophet Muhammad (pbuh).

May Allah help us to be true recipients of his guidance. May Allah help us to be grateful. May Allah help us to be thankful to Him. May Allah Help us to praise Him day and night. May Allah fulfill the needs of those in need and cure the sick and healthy oppressed. Ameen.

رَبَّنَا تَقَبَّلْ مِنَّا إِنَّكَ أَنْتَ السَّمِيعُ العَلِيمُ وَتُبْ عَلَيْنَآ إِنَّكَ أَنتَ التَّوَّابُ الرَّحِيمُ

رَبَّنَا آتِنَا فِي الدُّنْيَا حَسَنَةً وَفِي الْآخِرَةِ حَسَنَةً وَقِنَا عَذَابَ النَّارِ

عِبَادَ اللّهِ  إِنَّ اللَّهَ يَأْمُرُ بِالْعَدْلِ وَالْإِحْسَانِ وَإِيتَاءِ ذِي الْقُرْبَىٰ وَيَنْهَىٰ عَنِ الْفَحْشَاءِ وَالْمُنكَرِ وَالْبَغْيِ  يَعِظُكُمْ لَعَلَّكُمْ تَذَكَّرُونَ

Servants of Allah. Indeed, Allah orders justice and good conduct and giving to relatives and forbids immorality and bad conduct and oppression. He admonishes you that perhaps you will be reminded.

اُذْكُرُوا اللَّهَ الْعَظِيمَ يَذْكُرْكُمْ واشْكُرُوهُ يَزِدْكُمْ واسْتَغْفِرُوهُ يَغْفِرْ لكُمْ واتّقُوهُ يَجْعَلْ لَكُمْ مِنْ أَمْرِكُمْ مَخْرَجًا

 وَأَقِمِ الصّلَاة

Remember Allah, the Great – He will remember you. Thank Him for His favors, He will increase you therein.  And seek forgiveness from Him, He will forgive you. And be conscious of Him, He will provide you a way out of difficult matters.

And, establish the prayer.

What did you think? Please share your reflections and questions below.

And come back next week for another khutbah!