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Work hard to earn abode in Paradise – Grand Mosque Imam urges Muslims
Published in The Saudi Gazette on 09 - 06 - 2008

Sheikh Saleh Bin Muhammad Aal Talib, Imam and Khateeb of the Grand Mosque in Makkah advised Muslims to be mindful of Allah Almighty, fear Him and stick to the right path.
In his Friday sermon at the Grand Mosque in Makkah, Sheikh Aal Talib said life in this world is ephemeral and in the Hereafter a person's abode will be in Paradise or the Hell-fire. He urged Muslims to vie with one another to do good deeds before it is too late and to do soul-searching. He warned them against indulging excessively in desires. He said a wise person is the one who works hard for life after death and the failed person is the one who follows his whims.
He stressed that whoever reforms his inner self and innermost thoughts, Allah will reform his public life. He added, “If a person reforms his relation with Allah, He will protect him from people's harm.
Amidst the hectic modern life and preoccupation with worldly matters, man tends to forget his basic mission for which he was created – that is, to worship Allah Almighty and obey Him. Allah promised that those who obey Him will enter Paradise while those who disobey Him, the Hellfire will be their abode.
Sheikh Aal Talib stressed the importance of seeking perfection and correctness in one's acts of worship including prayer (salat) in what is known as “husn al-‘ibadah.” He said there are verses from the Qur'an and the Prophet's sayings stressing that “husn al-‘ibadah” has a higher status than just performing one's acts of worship.
Sheikh Aal Talib said there are conditions for “husn al-‘ibadah” which include performing the act of worship sincerely for the sake of Allah alone and do so the way the Prophet (peace be upon him) did. There should be no “shirk” or associating others with Allah in one's prayers like supplicating to others and asking for their help. Nothing of one's prayers should be performed for anyone other than Allah Almighty, he stressed.
Secondly, the act of worship must be free from showing off to others keeping away from what is known as “Riyaa.” It should be for Allah's sake alone, he emphasized.
Sheikh Aal Talib said we should follow what the Prophet (peace be upon him) did, nothing more or less. If some act of worship has been performed correctly as required but some elements that Allah disliked and has forbidden are included, then the reward for this act of worship will be reduced depending on the impurities included.
He said obligatory acts of worship like obligatory prayers (salat) are followed by voluntary prayers (Nawafil) in order to reinforce the former or to observe “husn al-'ibadah.” He said this applies to all the pillars of Islam. Therefore, a Muslim must seek to perform the Nawafil to raise his status and seek to get his sins wiped out.
Sheikh Aal Talib warned against performing one's religious rites in a half-hearted or lethargic manner. Respecting Allah's Symbols is a must, he stressed.
Meanwhile, Sheikh Ali Al-Hudhaifi, Imam and Khateeb of the Prophet's Mosque urged Muslims to be conscious of Allah Almighty, fear Him, obey what He has ordained and keep away from all that He has forbidden.
In his Friday sermon at the Prophet's Mosque in Madina, Sheikh Al-Hudhaifi dealt with the importance of being mindful of Allah in what is known as “Taqwa.”
He said it means keeping a barrier between oneself and Allah's punishment. Such a barrier can be erected by performing the obligatory acts of worship, keeping away from all that He has forbidden and giving people what is their due. He further said that some Ulama say that doing what is recommended (Mandoob) and keeping away from all that is reprehensible (Makrooh) comes under “Taqwa.”
This is the highest level of “Taqwa.” He said “Taqwa” also entails refraining from innovations (Bida'a) and heresies and all kinds of acts of “shirk” or associating others in worship with Allah. __

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