Habib Ali Zainal Abidin al-Hamid resumed his majlis ta'lim at Masjid Muadz bin Jabal last Friday after having returned from hajj. Alhamdulillah wa shukrulillah. Though I was not able to be present, here's what I learned from watching a recording of his tausiyah as published at:
He expounded the meanings of a verse from Al-Imran as shown above. In relation to the ayat "You shall never attain Al-Bir..." he said there're four meanings to Al-Bir as defined by ahlul tafsir. Al-Bir may mean the heaven, obedience, piety or virtues. These meanings are not contradictory. In fact, it is complementary. The goal is certainly to attain the heaven but we won't get there unless we are obedient, pious and do good deeds. We won't attain Al-Bir until we give away that which we love. Allah is well aware of what we give away. He will match up to that which we give away and reward us appropriately. A quality deed will be compensated with a quality reward. He knows what kind of sacrifices we make.
People give away their property, food, clothes etc. And majority of us would give away clothes that are of poor quality, unwanted or unused - clothes that we ourselves wouldn't want to wear.
Habib Ali mentioned several sahabah who upon hearing this ayah from the Prophet salallah alaihi wasalam hastened to give away from what they love.
Saidina Talhah came to see the Prophet and said "I am the richest among the Ansar. Of all the things I own, I love my garden the most. I wish to give it away for a good cause and I leave it to you." The Prophet accepted and acknowledged the offering but he decided to give the garden to Talhah's family. Habib Ali said, it's better for the family to receive the donation so that they won't feel slighted if Talhah were to give it to others, so that they too have a share of his properties.
Saidina Zaid ibn Harithah had a horse named Sabal. It was his best and most loved one. He too offered Sabal for the deen but Prophet decided to let Usamah (Zaid's son) have the horse. Zaid didn't like the idea and asked the Prophet about his rationale. Rasulullah salallah alaihi wasalam said "your intention of wanting to give it away for charity has been counted/accepted by Allah. It does not matter to whom it goes to."
Another sahabi Abu Dhar owned a number of camels. Of all which he possessed, he loved the one and only male camel he had. When a guest came looking for a camel to slaughter, he asked that person to pick any one of the camels but the guest chose a thin one. Abu Dhar asked the guest about his choice and the man said: "I saw one which I would have loved to take but I knew you needed it." Abu Dhar insisted the man took the male camel saying: "I would need it more when I'm in the grave."
Habib Ali said, this was the akhlak of the sahabah who were quick to respond to the ayah. They were prompt in responding to anything good they heard from the Prophet. To them, there's no such thing as doing it afterwards, later or tomorrow. They did not procrastinate.
The Prophet once had two siwak with him when he was approached by a friend who requested for one. One of the siwak was straight and nice and the other one was a bit crooked. The Prophet gave away that which was straight to the person who asked from him.
In summary, there're two lessons from Surah Al Imran verse 92. We should train ourselves to give away from what we love and that we should not be stingy. Concluding his tafsir lesson, Habib Ali said, those who would end up being near the heavens, are those who give away easily for charity.
May Allah grant us tawfiq to practice what we've heard about attaining Al-Bir. May Allah forgive and cover our shortcomings. Ameen.