x Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 21 January 2018

Friday sermon: Spreading peace is the path to paradise

Saluting others and sharing food could be the first steps in the road to paradise, this week's sermon tells worshippers.

Greeting others and sharing food can be the first steps on the road to paradise, today's sermon reminds worshippers.

The Prophet mentioned some of these acts in a hadith: "O people, exchange greetings of peace, feed people, strengthen the ties of kinship, and be in prayer when others are asleep, you will enter Janna in peace."

Greetings such as "assalamu alaykum" are of particular importance to Islam. "In fact, the core mission of Islam is promoting peace. It comes to nurture love, and keeps rancour at bay."

Saying 'salam' establishes modesty and raises the status of a believer. "Spread peace for you to rise in status," says another hadith.

It is every believer's goal to enter paradise, a place so awesome that "no eye has ever seen, nor an ear has ever heard nor a human heart has ever perceived. Its soil is of saffron, its stones of pearls and rubies, and its structure of gold and silver bricks", reminds the sermon.

The Prophet Mohammed said: "You shall not enter Paradise so long as you do not affirm belief and you will not believe as long as you do not love one another. Should I not direct you to a thing which, if you do, will foster love among you: [the practice of saying] assalamu alaykum."

Worshippers are encouraged to spread the greeting just as the Prophet's companions did.

Ibn Umar, who was close to the Prophet, once said: "I would go to the market for no purpose other than to greet and be greeted by people."

Sharing and offering food with family, neighbours, friends and the needy is another deed that brings people closer to Heaven.

"Indeed, offering food to the needy is among the good manners that will make the poor feel they have not been ignored by the rich. In return, they will appreciate their heartfelt treatment," concludes the sermon.

"This way, jealousy is attenuated among people, hence increasing their satisfaction and communion."