بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم
الحمد لله، والصلاة والسلام على رسول الله، وبعد:
ٱللَّهُ ٱلَّذِى خَلَقَكُم مِّن ضَعۡفٍ۬ ثُمَّ جَعَلَ مِنۢ بَعۡدِ ضَعۡفٍ۬ قُوَّةً۬ ثُمَّ جَعَلَ مِنۢ بَعۡدِ قُوَّةٍ۬ ضَعۡفً۬ا وَشَيۡبَةً۬ۚ يَخۡلُقُ مَا يَشَآءُۖ وَهُوَ ٱلۡعَلِيمُ ٱلۡقَدِيرُ
It is Allah Who created you in a state of weakness, then gave you strength after weakness, then after strength gave (you) weakness and old age. He creates whatever He wills. For He is the All-Knowing, the Most Capable. [Quran 30:54]
عن ابن عباس رضي الله عنهما قال: قال رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم لرجل وهو يعظه : "اغْتَنِمْ خَمْسًا قَبْلَ خَمْسٍ: شَبَابَكَ قَبْلَ هَرَمِكَ ، وَصِحَّتَكَ قَبْلَ سَقَمِكَ ، وَغِنَاكَ قَبْلَ فَقْرِكَ ، وَفَرَاغَكَ قَبْلَ شُغُلِكَ ، وَحَيَاتَكَ قَبْلَ مَوْتِكَ". أخرجه الحاكم في مستدركه والبيهقي في شعب الإيمان
Abdullah ibn Abbas (may Allah be pleased with both) reported: The Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him and his family) said, giving advice to a man: “Take advantage of five before five: your youth before your old age, your health before your illness, your possessions before your losses, your free time before your preoccupation, and your life before your death.” [al-Haakim and al-Bayhaqi]
Among the greatest and most beneficial pieces of advice Prophet Muhammad (SAW) gave to any individual, his companions and to his ummah (followers), is the above Hadith. It addresses directly the salient question of our existence on this earth - how to expend our energies and value all the blessings that Allah (SWT) has bestowed on us. These divinely inspired words of the Messenger (SAW) are brimming with wisdom and beauty, and as are relevant today as at any time. They put into perspective our presence in this world and give us a better understanding of the means that are available to us to easily achieve the noblest of all ends: the pleasure of Allah Almighty and ultimately His Paradise.
Praise be to Allah, Masjid Bilal continued, revived (especially after the worst of Covid-19 was over, in sha Allah) and initiated many programs at the mosque and beyond for the community in Lexington and the surrounding areas. This includes educational, spiritual, social and cultural, even civic ones, and were specifically intended to be diverse and appealing to different ages and sectors of our own community of believers as well as others. We expanded our network and collaboration to include as many people, organizations and agencies, providing opportunities and services, and building bridges and alliances. We sought to establish and/or consistently provide and improve on what we have to offer, and - more importantly - ensure that they were refreshing and engaging, and of the highest quality in content and presentation. We ask Allah to accept all the good and forgive any shortcomings.
However, there is much scope for upping the ante in terms of broadening the horizons (by adding new ventures and improving on existing ones, in sha Allah). And that's also where you come in: because their success is, after the divine help of Allah (tawfeeq), contingent on your involvement and participation. They are after all provided primarily for your, and your family’s, needs and enrichment. This caravan that has been set in motion over 1400 years ago will continue on its journey globally, whether you are a part of it locally or not. Its momentum might change but it will not stop by the will of Allah (SWT) until the end of time. It behooves us to get aboard and become dynamically engaged for our own sake and that of the deen and ummah of Prophet Muhammad (SAW). Indeed, our survival as Muslims and continued existence and growth depend on it. We ask Allah for the strength and courage to recognize this reality and to be active participants in this caravan of truth.
The community can participate and volunteer in the many activities at the masjid: daily Khatirahs (reminders/short talks), a variety of Halaqahs (most days of the week, some more than one a day) and regular weekly classes on different subjects and diverse topics, breakfasts on weekends and Sunday school for our youth, as well as - from time to time - workshops and gatherings, social and charitable programs, inter-faith and civic engagements, and in Ramadan iftars, i’tikaf and qiyam, etc. You can become involved intellectually, socially and financially, and in some cases administratively or in a supervisory capacity, or simply as participants. My sincere gratitude and appreciation is due to all our administration, volunteers and participants; may Allah reward you abundantly and increase you in strength and numbers.
Outside of the masjid we are partners with others (Muslims or otherwise) in many other educational, social, charitable and civic activities. Honorable mention must go to the various Muslim institutions and organizations including the masajid and musallas around the city and the LUA, the ISCK and MCCK (that unites and represents us all), the MSA at UK, the Share Center, the local ICNA Relief and CAIR chapters, the different subgroups we have in our community that are engaged with the masjid and use the facility in some way or another. We must not forget those individuals and committees (Da’wah, Youth, Sisters, etc.) that operate under the auspices of Masjid Bilal to promote our vision and mission. Please continue to support and help the cause of Islam and Allah will continue, by His will and Grace, to reward you and keep you motivated.
Outside the Muslim community I would like to recognize and thank the different faith and social organizations, and the civic and governmental agencies that provided for us platforms to operate or collaborate. These include the Christian-Muslim Dialog (CMD), The Interfaith Alliance (TIA) and the other faith groups, and colleges and schools that have reached out to us, the social and charitable organizations that we interact with, and the various governmental agencies from which we mutually benefit: local, state and federal correctional facilities, the city and county officials and departments and in particular the mayor and the previous and current vice mayors. May our friendships and alliances, and the continued interaction be stronger and more productive for all.
We, as a Muslim American community, must engage our own and others to survive and flourish. We have no choice but to be active players and leaders, as required by our noble Islamic teachings. And we must not be satisfied with where we currently are; there is much room for improvement and expansion - but we need all our members, with their unique strengths and experiences, to step up and contribute in the best way possible and in the areas of their expertise and interests. This way we can rise to the very top and fulfill our potential and our mandate as Muslims. May Allah bless our efforts and grant us divine help and success.
In recognizing and thanking the people and entities above, I am certain that I omitted some important ones - this is not intentional and please forgive me. (In fact, let me know who should be included too.) Next time, God willing, I will inform you of our future plans and initiatives that you can and should be a part of, in sha Allah. Jazaakum Allah khayran. Was salaamu alaykum.