قال إمامنا أمير المؤمنين و قائد الغر المحجلين علي ابن ابي طالب صلوات الله وسلامه عليه: مِنْ كَفَّارَاتِ الذُّنُوبِ الْعِظَامِ إِغَاثَةُ الْمَلْهُوفِ، وَالتَّنْفِيسُ عَنِ الْمكْرُوبِ
In these days, that we are staying at home and we can’t attend the congregational prayers in the mosques and Islamic centres, brothers and sisters it is good to talk to you and continue the weekly speech or sermon that reminds us about what is highly recommended to us during this pandemic problem that we have and how to do in assisting the vulnerable people. Those who cannot meet their needs and they are in difficulty. I started with the hadith from Imam Ameerul Mo’meneen, the commander of the faithful, Imam Ali (A.S) in which he says that “to offer assistance to the grief stricken and vulnerable people and to provide them with comfort when they face hardship are means of atonement of major sins”. When we see in our community, in our neighbourhood people who cannot meet their needs. They can’t go shopping, those who have no means for the livelihood, those who are in some difficulty regarding maintaining themselves and their families. It is our duty to hurry up, to do everything to assist them, to offer them whatever support and assistance that we can. And according to Imam Ali (A.S) in this very important maxim, in this piece of advice that if we rush to offer assistance, both financially and spiritually, emotionally and physically to those who are less able, to those who are vulnerable, it is according to this word of the Imam it is an atonement for the major sins. Brothers and sisters, whilst we are suffering and the whole people, everybody in the world, no exceptions, they are suffering from this pandemic, this Covid 19 which is supposed to and is reported is to take the lives of many, to put them in difficulties and even there is no cure for it, no vaccination will help in protecting ourselves against this pandemic. The stress that everybody is facing now so bad that we need to do two things: one, is to observe all precautions, staying at home, keeping the distance when we go shopping and avoiding anything that might transmit the disease to others. Brothers and sisters, only yesterday I came to know that a Kuwaiti gentleman who brought his wife for medical treatment, she is suffering with cancer, and she is under chemotherapy, so her husband who joined her and brought her to London for treatment, unfortunately found himself affected by Covid 19. He was rushed to the hospital and they realised that most of his lungs are affected by this disease. Imagine that they are renting for example or staying in a flat or a room, she can’t see her husband, they have to keep their distance, they have to be careful and at the same time she has a weak immunity. All these and this is only one example, one event that we come across, we are receiving reports every minute and every hour of people who are suffering everywhere. It started from China, then we see in Iran, then in Italy and it spread through the whole of Europe and here in the UK we are worried about it and are advised to stay at home which is the very good advice to stop the congregations. Now, tonight is the eve of third of Sha’baan whilst all followers of Ahlubayt all over the world from different backgrounds are supposed to celebrate the birth anniversary of Imam Hussain (A.S). They can’t do that because the mosques, Islamic centres, the Hussayniyas all are closed, and this doesn’t stop us from celebrating at home for ourselves and for our families with respecting and observing all the precautionary measures.
Let’s go back to how to meet the needs of others. Imam Ali (A.S) in his advice to Kumayl, and you know Kumayl, that the Thursday evening dua that he narrated from Imam Ali (A.S), and normally all the followers of Ahlulbayt (A.S) recite that either individually or in gatherings. In that Imam Ali (A.S) advised Kumayl to keep advising his children, his family, his relatives of assisting the vulnerable and assisting people of need and to create happiness in the hearts of people and what the role of that happiness is in removing the calamities. He says “by the one who is hearing encompasses all voices, no soon does one fill someone else’s heart with happiness that Allah creates a special grace for him for that very happiness such that when he is faced with a calamity that very grace will pass over it, over the calamity until it chases it away”. So, this means that even comforting others by a word, by some sort of psychological assurance and giving them some sort of comfort, tranquillity and praying for them, going further to helping them with food, with some other needs, whether it is medicine or shopping or any other type of help, all these are means to help one that Allah (S.W.T) sends his blessing and this (لطف) which translated as grace, the special grace from Allah (S.W.T) will rush to save you, to rescue, to give you rescue when you face a calamity. Brothers and sisters all medical and health advice are to be observed but these types of treating others well and helping them and assisting the vulnerable in addition to that will have according to what our Imams told us about our principles of religion, about the Quranic teachings, they help us in getting all over all those calamities and difficulties which might inflict and reach us. Here, it is good to remember that Alhamdulillah many examples of these activities are taken by members of our community. Let me remind you of the good work of charitable organisations like the Lady Fatima Trust when they declared that “we are united and the effect of the pandemic. Let us join together to make a sustainable response, protect the vulnerable families physically and emotionally for their well-being”. Offering food and assistance to various areas: Ethiopia, India, Iraq, Pakistan and many others. In Yemen indeed the innocent people of Yemen who have been suffering from the injustice and the atrocities of their neighbour for the last seven years. All these Alhamdulillah are getting assistance from the projects and from the charitable work of the Lady Fatima Trust. Let’s remember that the priest that there was one ventilator to assist him with his respiratory, assisting him with being able to continue to get the oxygen in his lungs when he noticed a young man who was suffering from this pandemic, he said “I prefer that the young boy to make use of it although I’m going to suffer”. We admire such work of self-sacrifice. This giving priority to others who need in indeed that angel, really an angel who gave up the ventilator to someone else who needed it more something to teach us a lesson and we appreciate that, we admire that. Let’s remember the story or the activity of someone who is truck. On his van, he managed to bring an oven and continued in Najaf, to bake fresh bread for families in the midnight going to knock the doors and seeing if there is anyone who doesn’t have access to bread, fresh bread and free of charge offering the assistance to the needy, we appreciate that. We have to take lessons from all these activities. There are youth who offer their telephone numbers here in London, in Birmingham, in Manchester and some other cities, our fellow Muslim and brothers in faith to help people for their shopping, for the medicine, for some other assistance that they can offer.
Brothers and sisters, it is high recommended to communicate with Allah (S.W.T), to repent from our sins, to try to spiritually get enhancement and try to get rid of all negative thoughts. In addition to that, my advice to you all is to recite the supplication number seven from Al-Sahifa Al-Sajjadiya, the supplications of Imam Zainul Abedeen (A.S) again whose birth anniversary will be in the next two days. Let’s recite that supplication number seven when it is experienced to help us the blessing of Allah to pour on us, to be covered by that spiritual value of this dua. Of course, it has been translated to English with the title of The Psalms of Islam, but if you recite in Arabic, continue reciting it every day with the understanding in English would help a lot in begging Allah (S.W.T) for His blessing and His assistance, hidden assistance from Allah in these difficult days.