In the Name of Allah, The Most Gracious, Most Merciful

 Man is a manifestation of perception, reaction and behavior:

Dear brothers, scientists discovered a law with regard to man, and this law consists of three words: perception, reaction and behavior. In order to elaborate consider the situation of someone who is told that there is a scorpion on his shoulder; what marks his perception is that he jumps right away, takes off his coat and then kills the scorpion. These three steps  reflect perception, reaction and behavior, and this is applicable to all mankind.

On the other hand, if someone is told that there is a scorpion on his shoulder, yet he stays calm, then he smiles and says, "Thank you for your note, and I ask Allah to help me  repay you back for this favor of yours", what he says reflects that he did not comprehend what is told to him, right? Hence, comprehension (or perception) entails affectivity and taking an action, and this is a law that is applicable to all mankind. Allah says:

﴾If you two (wives of the Prophet, namely 'Aishah and Hafsah) turn in repentance to Allah, (it will be better for you), your hearts are indeed so inclined (to oppose what the Prophet likes)﴿ 

[At-Tahrim, 4]

Therefore, when you listen to the one who is talking to you, when you perceive his words and when you are impressed by them,  you will take an action and this reflects your full comprehension of what is said to you. On the other hand, if you do not perceive what he says, and if you do not take an action, then you did not listen to him in the first place. This  is clearly manifested in religious sessions, for people listen to outstanding religious concepts and words, but they do not apply what they hear, and instead they praise the session, the lecture and the lecturer.

Comprehension should be followed by applying what you perceive. Thus, when you are harsh on your ownself, and you deprive it of the enjoyments of the worldly life, you will succeed, so do not fulfill whatever your ownself longs for. 

﴾If you two (wives of the Prophet, namely 'Aishah and Hafsah) turn in repentance to Allah, (it will be better for you), your hearts are indeed so inclined (to oppose what the Prophet likes)﴿ 

[At-Tahrim, 4]

Comprehension entails "listening" which in turn is manifested in taking an action, because when you listen you understand what you hear and then you take the suitable action. On the other hand, staying motionless reflects the inability to comprehend what you are listening to. Take for example the reaction of the patient who felt a tumor in his body. Upon going to the doctor and listening to these words, "I am Board certified from America, and I have to tell you the truth that you have a cancerous tumor", do you think that this man will not take any action? A doctor told me that once  he told one of his patients that he had  a tumor, and that  he might live for 4 months, but the patient died the following day, because he could not bear the bad news. 

Hence, man reacts when he understands what he is told and when he reacts he takes an action. Accordingly, you should take an action towards whatever you hear in a religious session (and I advise myself to do so  before I advice you), especially when you learn about forbidden matter or a violation you are doing, but if you do not change anything, you should know that  you have a big problem. This problem lies in turning a deaf ear to what you are told,  because listening means  conceiving what you are told and taking an action such as changing your behavior as a result.

﴾If you two (wives of the Prophet, namely 'Aishah and Hafsah) turn in repentance to Allah, (it will be better for you), your hearts are indeed so inclined (to oppose what the Prophet likes)﴿ 

[At-Tahrim, 4]

The Ayah is crystal clear. Now the rest of the Ayah is bewildering, given Allah, in His Exalted Status, is addressing Hafsah and Aishah:

﴾If you two (wives of the Prophet, namely 'Aishah and Hafsah) turn in repentance to Allah, (it will be better for you), your hearts are indeed so inclined (to oppose what the Prophet likes), but if you help one another against him (Muhammad PBUH), then verily, Allah is his Maula (Lord, or Master, or Protector, etc.)﴿ 

[At-Tahrim, 4]

Allah is warning them both abouthelping one another against the Prophet PBUH.  Allah says:

﴾But if you help one another against him (Muhammad PBUH), then verily, Allah is his Maula (Lord, or Master, or Protector, etc.)﴿ 

[At-Tahrim, 4]

Not only Allah but also Jibrael (Gabriel), and the righteous among the believers are his Maula: 

﴾And Jibrael (Gabriel), and the righteous among the believers﴿ 

[At-Tahrim, 4]

Do you think that  if two women in the United States have bad thoughts about the government, the latter will responds by calling upon the marines, the air forces, the land forces and the FBI to deal with the two women? This might seem to be an exaggerated  response. However, Allah meant to indicate another point by mentioning that; He meant to say to man, "If you oppose  the religion, you should know whom you are opposing even if you are a minister who tries to cancel a religious ruling.)

A historical event:

I remember in Tunisia that Bourguiba (the president) intended to cancel fasting in Ramadan, so he wondered how to do that? He needed a notable scholar to support his decision (namely the head Mufti), so he notified the Mufti that he had to deliver a Khutbah after two weeks on the Minbar in order to tell the people that the government was in a financial crisis,  and that fasting was holding back the national production.

The Mufti agreed to deliver that Khutbah, and his prompt acceptance bewildered Bourguiba. The president wondered how that notable scholar simply accepted to ascend the Minbar and  deliver a Khutbah about canceling Sawm. The Mufti gave his word that he would  do it, so all the media was ready for a very important Khutbah from the Mufti who climbed the Minbar and said, "O you who believe! Observing As-Saum (the fasting) is prescribed for you as it was prescribed for those before you, that you may become Al-Muttaqun (the pious). [Al-Baqarah, 183]. Fasting Ramadan is Fard, and whoever denies it is committing Kufr even if he is Bourguiba himself." Of course this statement was the reason for making the Mufti house arrested for four years till he died. The main thing was that he spoke out the truth. It is not easy to do so.
Allah says: but if you help one another against him (Muhammad PBUH), then verily, Allah is his Maula: 
I repeat the Ayah:

﴾If you two (wives of the Prophet, namely 'Aishah and Hafsah) turn in repentance to Allah, (it will be better for you), your hearts are indeed so inclined (to oppose what the Prophet likes), but if you help one another against him (Muhammad PBUH), then verily, Allah is his Maula (Lord, or Master, or Protector, etc.), and Jibrael (Gabriel), and the righteous among the believers, and furthermore, the angels are his helpers.﴿ 

[At-Tahrim, 4]

Count to billion before you hurt a believer, because he is backed by  Allah, so it is deemed important for man to know Whom he is standing up against. When a woman drives her car and violates all traffic rules, wrongs  you and regards you with contempt, you will keep silent, and you will even turn a blind eye to what she does, since you know that a powerful party supports her. In such a case, you do not ignore her behavior,  because you fear her (as she is not powerful physically), but because  you fear who backs her. 

﴾If you two (wives of the Prophet, namely 'Aishah and Hafsah) turn in repentance to Allah, (it will be better for you), your hearts are indeed so inclined (to oppose what the Prophet likes), but if you help one another against him (Muhammad PBUH), then verily, Allah is his Maula (Lord, or Master, or Protector, etc.), and Jibrael (Gabriel), and the righteous among the believers, and furthermore, the angels are his helpers.﴿ 

The believer is honest and trustworthy and most importantly he abides by Allah's Shari'ah (Islamic laws). Thus, he will not accept to plot against Islam even if he pays his life a price for it. Where did those who tried to cancel the religion end up? 

I was once in Istanbul in Topkapi Museum, and while I was taking the tour, a clock in the corner, which had stopped at five to nine, caught my attention. Upon asking I was told that this is the time when Kemal Ataturk died. He died and Islam is still there.

In my lectures,  if I want to describe the strength of someone, like describing the strength of the believer, I would say that he is like a horse (which is a compliment), but if I want to describe the strength of the disbeliever I would say that he is strong like a mule, because both animals are strong, but I choose which one of them I can use to describe the strength of man.

﴾If you two (wives of the Prophet, namely 'Aishah and Hafsah) turn in repentance to Allah, (it will be better for you), your hearts are indeed so inclined (to oppose what the Prophet likes), but if you help one another against him (Muhammad PBUH),﴿ 

Count to billion before you plot against a believer, because Allah will protect him and will back him.

﴾Truly, Allah defends those who believe﴿ 

[Al-Hajj, 38]

Man might occupy a very high position, might be rich, might own the most luxurious house, might ride a very exquisite car and might be privileged with a very high social standing. However, one clot in his bloodstream which is as small as  the tip of a pin might cause a stroke in his brain, and so  he might be paralyzed, might lose his sight or might lose his memory. Thus, all his position, scientific degree and power depend on a blood clot.

King Fahd, the king of Saudi Arabia, had a brain stroke which made him wheelchair ridden for ten years though he was a king. This means that your position depends on your action and your action  can be over  if an unseen blood clot blocks one of the brain vessels. One of my female relatives was afflicted with an intractable disease, and she was very rich, so the first week she had got a five star service from her family, but  the service became worse as time passed. It was 10 the first week, then it became 9, then 8, then 7, then 6, then 5, then 4, then 3, then 2, and after that the service got so worse that they started invoking Allah to make it easy for her, for her daughters could not take it anymore and they started complaining.

Dear brothers, man should be upright. A scholar in Damascus whose name was Eid As-Safarjalani reached his 97, and he kept his shape even in that age. His sight was very good, his hearing was sound and all his teeth were in his mouth, and whenever someone said to him, "O Sir what a good health you have", he used to say, "O son, we refrained our senses and limbs from sinning when we were young, so Allah kept them intact for us in our old age. Indeed, he, who lives piously lives able-bodied."
 
I once paid a visit to my friend in Eid, so I knocked on the door and his father opened it and upon asking about his son Muhammad, he said that he would be with me soon, but he invited me in to sit with him as I was waiting for his son. Then, he said to me, "I am 96 years old. I ran some tests yesterday, and everything seems to be normal in my body". Then he said to me, "I never earned ill-gotten money or had an affair with any woman unlawfully". These two major sins are mostly committed by men.

You can notice that the scandals in the entire globe are either financial (stealing) or sexual (adultery) since Adam till our present day. As for the believer, he is protected from committing  these two major sins. Therefore, faith brings about happiness, safety, dignity, high position (in the Sight of Allah), steadfastness and fearlessness, not because the believer does not fear, but because he always does the right thing, and thus nothing scares  him.

Take for example a believer who owns a store. If his goods are legally imported, and they have official documents, he will never fear the collector of customs and will be very comfortable, because everything in his store is legal. On the other hand, if the goods of the store owner are illegally imported, and he has no official documents of them, his will be terrified upon being visited by the collector of customs. 

Let me mention the following concept which you may not believe. Allah says:

﴾Do you wish to offer Allah a manifest proof against yourselves?﴿ 

[An-Nisa', 144]

According to the principle of Mafhoom al-mukhalafah in the Quran (the divergent meaning which is considered as a source of Tashree' by most of scholars), the indication is bewildering;  if you are upright, your money is Halal, and so is your house. Besides, you do not disobey Allah, and you raise your children according to Islam. Consequently, this Great Allah, in Whose Hand lies your life, will not enjoin His Authority on you. This is an amazing deduction.

Can you believe that there is a father on earth who would beat his son although the latter gets full marks in his exams? Of course, you cannot. In fact, even the worst father on earth will not do that to his son as a reward for getting full marks in the final exam, will he? 

﴾Do you wish to offer Allah a manifest proof against yourselves?﴿ 

Dear brothers, there is another minor issue related to this topic:

﴾Those (who embraced Islam from Bani Israel) to whom We gave the Book [the Taurat (Torah)] [or those (Muhammad's PBUH companions) to whom We have given the Book (the Qur'an)] recite it (i.e. obey its orders and follow its teachings) as it should be recited (i.e. followed)﴿ 

[Al-Baqarah, 121]

Scholars said, "To recite it as it should be recited, means to read the Quran correctly according to Arabic grammar." Hence, if someone reads the following Ayah wrongly, it will give a totally different meaning, and will indicate that Allah is the One Who fears the knowledgeable slaves. This reading is definitely wrong, and it even nullifies Salah.

﴾It is only those who have knowledge among His slaves that fear Allah.﴿ 

[Fatir, 28]

The subject here (i.e. Allah) is postpositive in this sentence and reading the sentence correctly  makes you understand that Allah is the subject, whereas reading it wrongly will change the subject into object, and so  the  meaning will be the opposite. Hence, reciting the Quran as it should be recited is to read it according to Arabic grammar, to understand what you are reading, to apply the orders you come across and to ponder over its Ayat, such as asking yourself always, "How can this Ayah be applied to me?"

﴾Those (who embraced Islam from Bani Israel) to whom We gave the Book [the Taurat (Torah)] [or those (Muhammad's PBUH companions) to whom We have given the Book (the Qur'an)] recite it (i.e. obey its orders and follow its teachings) as it should be recited (i.e. followed)﴿ 

Listen to the third Ayah, please:

﴾ Verily, the hypocrites seek to deceive Allah, but it is He Who deceives them.  And when they stand up for As-Salat (the prayer), they stand with laziness and to be seen of men, and they do not remember Allah but little. ﴿ 

[An-Nisa', 142]

This means that the hypocrite remembers Allah, but  he does that rarely. . The Prophet PBUH said:

((He who remembers Allah often is indeed free of hypocrisy))

[At-Tabarani in Mu'jam as-Saghir]

In another Hadith, the Prophet PBUH said:

((One who gives zakat, who entertains his guests and who helps others in time of calamities is saved from stinginess.))

[Al-Bukhari, Mazalim 8]

((One who gives zakat, who entertains his guests and who helps others in time of calamities is saved from stinginess.))


[Al-Bukhari, Mazalim 8]

You are forbidden to accuse the one who pays his Zakat of stinginess.

((He who remembers Allah often is indeed free of hypocrisy))

[At-Tabarani in Mu'jam as-Saghir]

((One who gives zakat, who entertains his guests and who helps others in time of calamities is saved from stinginess.))

[Al-Bukhari, Mazalim 8]

Also, the Prophet PBUH said:

((Whoever  carries his stuff himself is indeed free of arrogance.))

Carrying one's own stuff means that he is not arrogant. Whoever remembers Allah abundantly is not hypocrite, and whoever pays his Zakat is not miserly. Allah says:

﴾ And nothing prevents their contributions from being accepted from them ﴿ 

[At-Taubah, 54]

There is a grave indication in the Ayah:

﴾And nothing prevents their contributions from being accepted from them except that they disbelieved in Allah and in His Messenger (Muhammad PBUH)﴿ 

[At-Taubah, 54]

Those are described as disbelievers (this is the grave indication of the Ayah).

﴾And that they came not to As-Salat (the prayer) except in a lazy state ; and that they offer not contributions but unwillingly.﴿ 

[At-Taubah, 54]

He is lazy when he offers his Salah, and he is too stingy when it comes to paying his Zakat. The children of a stingy man used to tie him tight in order to pay his Zakat, because he would not do that. 

﴾ And that they offer not contributions but unwillingly.﴿ 

Hence:

﴾So let not their wealth or their children amaze you (O Muhammad PBUH); in reality Allah's Plan is to punish them with these things in the life of the this world, and that their souls shall depart (die) while they are disbelievers.﴿ 

[At-Taubah, 55]

Do not be dazzled upon entering a house, a mansion, a villa or a luxurious palace seeing  all adornments,  parked cars on the driveway and the amazing front and back yards, because only the Hereafter is what counts. 

It is like the difference between two restaurant owners. The first one fears Allah, and his income is little but enough, whereas the second one runs a five star restaurant which provides him with astronomical daily income- not less than 2 million Dinars- but he sells wine in it. Of course the first impression you have upon looking at them, is that the second restaurant is in a better condition. However, by going two inches further than what your retina sees considering the difference in your brain you will be able to analyze the image of the two situations, and you will find out that the first one will end up in Paradise, whereas the second one will end up in Hellfire.

Your success lies in evaluating things in the light of  their destiny (in the Hereafter), and never  evaluate them out of this context.  Is  the woman who puts Hijab and works as a genitor  making only few Dinars, not better than the dancer who exposes her body to the audience, who incites their lusts and who corrupts men getting in return  hefty money? Therefore, when you consider the Hereafter in viewing things, you will reject the wrong things immediately. Some people make hefty income from hurting other people. 

Zakat comes from the verb Yuzakki (purify) and thus Zakat purifies the soul and brings about exaltedness to it, whereas the word tax in Arabic is "Dareebah (from the verb Daraba (hit)", and it indicates that the tax payer is being hit, because he pays his taxes against his will.

﴾So let not their wealth or their children amaze you (O Muhammad PBUH);﴿ 

[At-Taubah, 55]

There is another Ayah, which goes as follows:

﴾In reality Allah's Plan is to punish them with these things in the life of the this world, and that their souls shall depart (die) while they are disbelievers.﴿ 

[At-Taubah, 55]

I want to tell you that people look alike in their young age, so when do they differ from one another? The difference is clear  at old age, so man will have a graced old age, good health, a sound sight, intact hearing and respect among his children, or he will become feeble-minded, we seek refuge with Allah from that, and will be humiliated at his old age till he dies.

A very famous gynecologist in Damascus was the only one who had such major. He never got out of his house to see a patient unless he was given one golden Lira, and he used to be driven by a wagon (for there were not any cars in the olden days). An old relative of mine who lived the in the same era of  that doctor told me this story. 

This doctor owned the only building in Muhajereen (an area on the mountain of Qasyoon) at that time, and the building  was stunningly decorated and adorned with luxurious stones from outside. Let alone it was overlooking Damascus. When he got old, he became paralyzed, and he stayed in the third floor of his building, so that he would enjoy the view. However his wife could not take his condition any longer, so she moved him to the basement and visited him once every five or six days. Furthermore, she used to send him food with the maid. Whenever he asked  the maid, "Where is your mistress?" She would come five days later to say to him angrily, "What  do you want from me? Do you not have everything you need?"This respectful person got that kind of treatment in his old age. On the other hand, a believer would gracefully and respectfully age and die among his family, children and relatives. Where does success lie? It lies in the autumn of age, because when we are all young the differences among us is not apparent, but  it is obvious at the old age in the autumn of life. You  sometimes envy the people who are respected in their old age, and wish to be the same when you get old. 

A friend of mine in Aleppo took me once to pay a visit to his scholar, and I swear by Allah, his humble house was just like a kingdom. Despite its humbleness, it was enlightened, comfortable and clean.  I found him sitting surrounded with his students, and how wonderful it is for an old scholar to be  surrounded with his students, for it reflects his position, exaltedness and the love of people for him. Above all, Allah preserved his solid memory despite his old age.

I also mentioned earlier the scholar Eid As-Safarjalani, who was 97 years old when I visited him, yet he enjoyed an upright posture, a sound memory, good sight and all his teeth were intact. Whenever he met with a young man he used to say to him, "O son, you are my student, and so are your father and your grandfather."  He taught religious knowledge since he was 18 years old for eighty years till he reached the age of 98. In other words, he taught eight generations which might include the student, his father and his grandfather, and he used to say with regard to his upright posture, good sight, sound hearing and good teeth condition, "O son, we refrained our senses and limbs from sinning in our young age, so Allah kept them intact for us in our old age. Indeed, he, who lives piously lives able-bodied."
 

Praise be to Allah, the Lord of Creations