Prayer TImes - Cairo
by Shiekh Abdullah Mohammad
Bismallah arrakman arrahim...
I would like to talk to you about some things which are very important for life and eternity. And so I would like to discuss a subject that no doubt has come to your mind: Why have I always - in these lessons - talked about our Master Isa? Why don't I talk about any other prophet?
Our master Ibrahim, for example, was the greatest man of faith in all history. We know that he obeyed Allah without questioning. And he was called "Allah's friend", a title of great honor.
Moses was a great prophet. He was so close to Allah that Allah talked with him in a clear, audible voice. Allah gave him the Torah, a guide and light for people.
David was a great king. Allah granted him a big kingdom and victory over his enemies. He also was a great prophet. Allah gave him the "Zabur" (Psalms) which contain prayers, supplications, praises, thanksgivings, and sacred songs. It is important for us to read these, know them by heart, and apply them to our spiritual life.
There were many other great prophets and apostles. But the thing that caused me to single out our Master Isa is that He was unique. Yes, Isa was unique. Isa's birth was unique. He was born of a virgin. He had no human father, while all others did. Allah Almighty sent the Holy Spirit to Mary, and she became pregnant and gave birth to Isa. Children are often named after their father; but Isa is repeatedly called "Son of Mary". This is an indication that he had no human father. When He was born, an angel announced His birth; a multitude of angels appeared, sang, and praised Allah for that great and wondrous event. Also, a star appeared, guided a group of leaders great in knowledge and wisdom, and brought them to the place where Isa was born. There they worshipped Him and offered Him gifts.
My dear friend, do you know of anyone else, even among kings and great people, whose birth was celebrated by angels? Clearly, there is none other. Who else, even among the great and honorable, had people worship him when he was born? The answer is no one except Isa. Yes, Isa alone. He is unique; no one else is like Him.
Isa never committed sin nor did He do wrong as other human beings do. All people sin and are disobedient to Allah. No one can claim that he has never committed sin. All people are the descendants of one father -- Adam. Adam fell in sin and disobedience and lost his beautiful relationship with Allah; and then he was put out of the garden. Because of Adam's fall, disobedience spread into all his offspring.
True Isa was a man. But He was conceived by the power of the Holy Spirit whom Allah sent to Mary. Therefore He was sinless. That's why Isa once challenged the Jews, saying: "Which one of you can convict me of sin?" (John 8:46a, GNB). Isa was unique in that He was faultless.
My friend, Islamic "Hadith" contains two interesting stories. The first was told by Imam Al-Ghazabi. He said that when our Master Isa, Son of Mary -- peace be upon Him -- was born, demons went to Satan and said: "All the idols have bowed their heads." Satan replied: "Surely something serious must have happened. I am going to investigate. Wait until I come back." So he went all over the world to see what had happened, and he found that Isa had been born and angels were celebrating His birth. So Satan went back to the demons and told them that a Prophet had been born the previous night, and said: "Never has a lady conceived or given birth without my being there, with the exception of this time."
The second story is from Abu Hareera. He said that he heard the apostle of Allah saying: "Never has one of Adam's offspring been born without Satan coming to poke him in the side and make him scream, except Mary's Son, Isa.
Isa was matchless, incomparable. There is none other like Him. My dear friend, have you ever heard of anyone else who did not need forgiveness for sins? How many of the great world leaders lived in sin and evil. Yes, even leaders of the world religions have committed sins, have made mistakes, and needed forgiveness and pardon. The only exception is Isa – He is unique. Maybe you would like to ask me why. Why was Isa unique?
My friend, let me help you answer this question. Allah loves you and me. And because He loved us, He sent Isa, the sinless, to offer Himself as a sacrifice to deliver us from sin and evil. Isa suffered the punishment for our sins and died so that we might live for eternity in happiness and peace with Allah Almighty.
Isa is a gift to all mankind. He is the gift that expresses God's love to man. All who believe in Isa will have eternal life. Those who do not believe will spend eternity in hell. Allah sent Isa to offer Himself willingly and lovingly to redeem you and deliver you from sin. Isa said to His followers just before He was crucified: "The greatest love a person can have for his friends is to give his life for them" (John 15:13, GNB).
Isa expressed His love for all of us by offering Himself to Allah as a sacrifice in atonement for our sins. Yes, Isa is matchless and unique in His love.
Isa was unique in that He loved even His enemies. Our human intellect and mind cannot grasp or understand the magnitude of the suffering Isa endured for our sake. He came to redeem . When He was born, the king of His country tried to kill Him, but His family escaped with Him. When He started to preach the Injil at about 30 years of age, He was often the object of man's evil and oppression. The Jews accused Him of being illegitimate; they knew He did not have an earthly father. It was Allah Almighty who sent the Holy Spirit to Mary, and she conceived.
Isa endured tremendous physical suffering. The Jews decided to condemn Him and put Him to death. They sent Roman soldiers to arrest Him and beat Him. They mocked Him. Some slapped Him on the face; others hit Him; still others pulled His beard and tore His flesh; others spit in His face. Then they placed a crown of thorns on His head. They beat His head with rods; they stripped Him of His clothes and whipped Him. They mercilessly beat Him. His blood poured out. Yes, they tormented Al-Masih and then they nailed Him to a cross. While Isa was on the cross, the Jewish religious leaders came by and mocked Him. But what was His response? Al-Masih pleaded with Allah and said: "Father, forgive them because they do not know what they are doing." After a short while, He died! My dear friend, have you ever heard of any other person who, like Isa, asked that his murderers be pardoned? No. Isa is unparalleled.
A short time ago I read a story about a famous leader. While he was fighting, some of his enemies hit him in the face. What did he do? He cursed those who hit him and prayed for their destruction and said: "I hope that they will be destroyed." I asked myself, "What if Isa had done what this leader did? What if Isa had asked Allah to destroy His enemies instead of pardoning them?" Isa was truly matchless; He has no equal. Isa came into the world to deliver mankind. Allah's Honorable Book says: " . . . Isa Al-Masih came into the world to save sinners . . . ", and "All the prophets spoke about Him, saying that everyone who believes in Him will have his sins forgiven through the power of His name."
Yes, Isa was unique in His ministry and work. One day Isa met a man who was blind from birth -- he had never before been able to see. Isa healed him and granted him sight. Another time He performed a miracle with a young man who had died. As the funeral procession approached the graveyard, the mother cried and mourned in misery and hopelessness. She was a widow, and now her only son, her only remaining provider, had died. Isa went to the mother with a heart full of compassion and said to her, "Don't cry." When He approached the coffin and touched it, the pallbearers stood still. Isa said: "Young man, I command you to sit up." The dead boy sat up and began to speak.
Isa healed the sick and raised the dead. He fed thousands of people with only a few loaves of bread and a few small fish. He granted sight to the blind, speech to the dumb, and hearing to the deaf. He was unique in the miracles He performed.
The Jews criticized Isa because He was friendly with sinners and evildoers. He sat with them, talked with them, and taught them the way of Allah. So when the Jews criticized Isa, He told them this story.
There was a man who had two sons. The younger son said to his father: "I don't want to live at home anymore. I want to enjoy freedom. I want to 'find myself'. I want to enjoy life. Give me my inheritance now." So the father divided his possessions and gave the younger son his portion. A little while later the son gathered his possessions, and off he went to another country where he spent all he had on extravagant living.
Then a famine came upon that country. The young man started to feel the consequences of what he had done. He became poor and hungry and sought a job with a man who hired him to herd pigs and care for them. His situation was so bad that he longed to fill his stomach with the food that pigs ate. No one had compassion on him or gave him anything to eat. Finally, he came to his senses and thought: All my father's hired workers have more than they can eat, and here I am about to starve to death. I'll get up and go to my father and say, "Father, I have sinned against you and against Allah. I am no longer fit to be called your son, treat me as one of your hired workers."
So he got up and started back to his father. While he was still a long way from home, his father saw him; his heart was full of pity. The father ran to his son, threw his arms around him and kissed him. "Father," the son cried, "I have sinned against Allah and against you. I am no longer fit to be called your son." But the father interrupted him and called his servants and said: "Hurry, bring the best robe, put it on him, put a ring on his finger and shoes on his feet. And then get the best calf and kill it and let us celebrate with a feast, for this son of mine was dead but now he is alive; he was lost but now he is found."
This is a beautiful story. Its purpose is to show us that Allah loves us. We are lost sinners because we have gone astray; we are lost as that son was. We are like that son, but Allah in His love and mercy came and rescued us. The father in this story did not send a messenger to meet his son and welcome him. He went himself. Perhaps the neighbors and people of the village criticized the father, saying, "Why did he go himself? His son doesn't deserve that. He could have sent one of his servants to bring back his prodigal son!"
The fact is that the father went to meet his son because he cared. He greatly loved his son. And that is exactly what Allah Almighty did for us! He Himself came to call us, welcome us, embrace us, take us to His royal palace, celebrate our return and honor us. What great love! He truly humbled Himself. And that is what makes Isa unique, glory be to Him. He Himself came down from heaven, mighty and glorified as He is, and reconciled us sinners to Himself. Another thing: Is Isa dead or alive today? We know from Allah's honorable Book that Isa ascended to heaven alive. Today He is not dead but alive. So is He able to work miracles today as He did when He was on earth? Can He forgive sins now as He did then? If the answer to this is no, I have to look for a solution to my problems other than through Isa; I must find another person or prophet to help me out. But you know, my brother, as well as I do, that the answer is yes. That is: Yes, Isa is able to do the same miracles today as He did when He was here on earth, and He is able to forgive sins today just as He did in the past. Therefore, I need Him and Him alone – no one else, no one other than Isa and no one along with Him -- Isa is the unique, the matchless, the incomparable. He can heal my sickness, forgive my sins, transform my life and grant me His peace. This Isa is still alive today. He still heals people; He still works miracles; He still forgives; He still delivers from sin and evil; and He still fills our hearts with love and compassion.
Because of sin, man has become a prey in the hands of Satan, enslaved by his power. Satan has bound man with ugly sins and evil habits, and man is imprisoned under his authority.
Who can deliver man? He cannot deliver himself; that is beyond his ability. Man cannot escape from Satan's hold, nor can he free himself from the chains with which the devil has bound him. In this hopeless situation a deliverer has to appear; otherwise man would perish in misery and wretchedness. You, a human being, are faced with supernatural powers. A spiritual power challenges you, the evil power of Satan. He is the enemy that has trapped you. You are a victim; you are a prey to his deceit; you are under his power; and he continues to use you. You will not be able to escape unless someone who is stronger than this enemy comes to rescue you. This is right -- you will be able to escape the snares of the devil if someone who is more powerful comes to rescue you, to untie your chains and set you free. And that is exactly what happened. Isa came from heaven. Of course, He is mightier than Satan; He is greater; He is more powerful; and now He wants to loose you and set you free. Will you let Him? He is standing at the door of your life, and He wants to enter your heart. You should open your heart to receive Him. You should honor Him in your life. You should also accept Him as your King, Lord, Master, Deliverer from every sin, and Healer from every sickness.
I would like for you to pray in petition to Allah Almighty. It is very important for you to mean what you are saying.