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Friday Sermon] Lailatul-Qadr, Zakatul-Fitr And I’itikaf

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Imam Murtadha Gusau

 

By Imam Murtadha Gusau

In the name of Allah, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful

All praise is for Allah, we praise Him, we seek His help, we ask for His forgiveness, and we seek refuge with Allah from the evils of our own souls and the wickedness of our actions, whoever Allah guides, there is none that can lead him astray, and whoever Allah allows to go astray, there is none that can lead him to the right path.

I testify and bare witness that there is no deity worthy of worship in truth but Allah, alone, without any partners. And I testify and bare witness that Muhammad (Peace be upon him) is His Servant and Messenger. As for what’s after:

Dear brothers and sisters! The Ibadah (worship) of I’itikaf is a practice that goes back to all those who spend time in seclusion to reflect and ponder over their purpose in life and who want to achieve a higher stage of spirituality. Through their contemplation and reflection on the purpose of their existence, many have offered new and unique perspectives to their fellow humans, and many have achieved higher spiritual status. It is a practice that prevails in all cultures and religions. It inspires a human being to withdraw from the regular hustle and bustle of the world, even from his own family, and focuses on issues that he or she deems significant for oneself and society. The length of seclusion depends on the social rhythm of life in each culture and religion.

Islam institutionalised i’itikaf in the month of fasting through the practice of our beloved Prophet Muhammad (Peace be upon him.) It is a communal obligation, and it means that if only one person observes it in a locality, it would be regarded as an obligation fulfilled on behalf of all. The fasting was declared obligatory for the ninth month of the Islamic lunar calendar in the second year of Prophet’s migration (Hijrah) to Madinah or in the fifteenth year of his Prophetic mission. Except for the first year of fasting, the Prophet is reported to have observed i’itikaf as long as he lived. After him, his wives continued performing i’itikaf in the mosque. He spent ten days in the middle of Ramadan in the mosque, but he advised his companions and followers to continue doing i’itikaf in the last ten days. He once observed i’itikaf for 20 days.

I’itikaf is performed by those who are fasting. Both men and women did their i’itikaf during the time of the Prophet (Peace be upon him). At Prophet’s mosque, special arrangements were made for women following this practice of the Prophet.

During the I’itikaf a person doing i’itikaf should spend the night only in the mosque where he/she is doing i’itikaf, except if the tent is in one of the courtyards of the mosque. If the mosque does not have toilet facilities then the person doing i’itikaf can go home to relieve.

The person who wants to have i’itikaf should enter the mosque before sunset with a clear intention. During his stay, his focus should not be his family, business, or work. However, he can delegate others to take care of these matters in his absence. If due to some unavoidable situation one has to abandon the i’itikaf for intended days, he or she has to complete it later. I’itikaf is an act of Ibadah (worship) and it must be performed with full sincerity and intensity. Imam Malik said:

“A person doing i’itikaf is not doing i’itikaf until he avoids what someone doing i’itikaf should avoid, namely, visiting the sick, praying over the dead, and entering houses, except to relieve himself.”

The best practice is to absorb oneself in prayers and recitation of the Qur’an, reflecting on its meaning and relevance in one’s life. The Prophet in addition to doing this would also use the opportunity to reflect on the condition of Muslims and would discuss strategies to improve the quality of spiritual and social life. There are four things that are proven from the practice of the Prophet (Peace be upon him) during i’itikaf:

1. Consuming less food.

2. Sleeping less number of hours.

3. Lesser engagement in conversation.

4. Lesser social interaction.

Instead, he would focus on the following four:

1. Prayers.

2. Qur’anic recitation of the passages that were revealed until then.

3. Deeper reflections on the divine guidance of the existence of life.

4. Quietly helping others observing the i’itikaf.

In fact, i’itikaf is once a lifetime opportunity to focus on one’s life and purpose in relation to the creator and His creation.

Respected servants of Allah! Zakatul-Fitr is also known as Sadaqatul-Fitr. The word Fitr means the same as Iftar which is breaking a fast. So, Zakatul-Fitr is the name given to charity which is distributed at the end of the fast of Ramadan. Zakatul-Fitr is the Wajib/obligatory or we can say it is a duty on every Muslim to pay Sadaqatul-Fitr before offering Eid prayer. However, it can be paid earlier than that to enable the poor to provide their needs for the Eid day. The main aim of Zakatul-Fitr is to provide the poor with their needs and make them happy on the blessed day of Eid-ul-Fitr.

The intention of paying Zakatul-Fitr is to bring happiness to the poor on the day of Eid. And to do that we may pay it a little in advance as much as this is necessary to make it on time to the poor. Zakatul-Fitr is a seasonal payment that has a special time-related objective that is why it must stick to this time frame. Sadaqatul-Fitr becomes obligatory from sunset on the last day of fasting and remains obligatory until the beginning of Salatul-Eid. Zakatul-Fitr is an obligation which is due to the free or slave Muslim, male or female, young or adult. A man who is the head of a family pays for himself and for whomever he shelters, unless they have enough money of their own, to give out Zakatul-Fitr in Ramadan.

A person has to be a Muslim to be required to pay/give and qualify to receive Zakatul-Fitr. It is stated in Hadith in these words:

“Prophet Muhammad (Peace be upon him) made it incumbent on all the slave or free Muslims, male or female, to pay one Sa’i of dates or barley as Zakatul-Fitr.” [Bukhari]

The significant role played by Zakat in the circulation of wealth within the Islamic society is also played by the Sadaqatul-Fitr. But in the case of Sadaqatul-Fitr, each individual is required to calculate how much charity is due from himself and his dependents and go into the community in order to find those who deserve such charity.

So, we can say that Sadaqatul-Fitr plays an important role in the development of the bonds of community. The rich are obliged to come in direct contact with the poor, and the poor are put in contact with the extremely poor which helps to build real bonds of brotherhood and love within the Islamic community. Ibn Abbas reported that:

“The Prophet (Peace be upon him) made Zakatul-Fitr compulsory so that those who fasted may be purified of their idle deeds anddeeds and shameful talk (committed during Ramadan) and so that the poor may be fed. Whoever gives it before Salah will have it accepted as Zakat, while he who gives it after the Salah has given Sadaqat.” [Abu Dawud]

The amount of Zakat is the same for everyone regardless of their different income brackets. The minimum amount is one Sa’i of food, barley, grain or dried fruit for each member of the family. Paying Zakatul-Fitr is an act of worship, and all acts of worship are described through the Qur’an and Sunnah of Prophet Muhammad (Peace be upon him). May Allah accept our fasts and give us the strength to complete them in a better way by paying Zakatul-Fitr. Ameen!

Dear brothers and sisters! Many Muslims believe that 27th night of Ramadan is Lailatul Qadr, the Night of Power. But the scholars tell us that it could be any of the odd nights in the last 10 nights of Ramadan. And, Allah knows best.

We all feel a special excitement as we anticipate this great Night, and we should therefore reflect on the words of Surah 97 in the Noble Qur’an:

“We have indeed revealed this [Message] in the Night of Power. And what will explain to you what the Night of Power is? The Night of Power is better than a thousand Months. Therein come down the angels and the Spirit by Allah’s permission on every errand. Peace… this until the rise of Morning!”

What is so special about Lailatul Qadr? Why does The Qur’an describe it as “better than 1,000 months?”  What if this night had never actually happened?

1,411 years ago (solar calendar), Lailatul Qadr was the night that changed history. It was the night that Angel Gabriel (Jibril AS), brought the first Words of Revelation, the very first verses of The Noble Qur’an to a man sitting in a cave on Jabal Nur, the Mountain of Light. That man, Muhammad Ibn Abdullah, became the Last Messenger and Educator of mankind, Khatimun Nabiyyin, “the Seal of the Prophets.” There would be no new Messenger, no new Prophet after him.

Just imagine! If there was no Lailatul Qadr, the Noble Qur’an would not have been revealed to us. And, if Muhammad had remained a mere man like those around him, then Prophet Isa (Jesus), would have been the last Prophet. As we all know, Prophet Isa spoke Aramaic and we have no complete and accurate version of his message (the Injil) in Aramaic. The Gospels of the New Testament were written at least 40 years after Prophet Isa’s time. The Gospel writers never met him, never heard his words directly nor did they ever see his face. St Barnabas lived in the time of Prophet Isa. His Gospel clearly foretold the coming of Prophet Muhammad (Peace be upon him). However, The Gospel of Barnabas was excluded from the Bible’s New Testament.

From the earliest days of Christianity, controversies raged over the nature of Prophet Isa (Jesus). The idea of the Trinity (3 in 1) God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit, was only established at the Council of Nicea, 325 years after Jesus!

It was the Noble Qur’an that came down to us, to clarify these controversies over Prophet Isa (Jesus). As we all know, the Qur’an we have today is exactly the same as the one revealed to Prophet Muhammad (Peace be upon him) and it is the only Scripture that has remained intact to this day, since it was revealed. Allah is its Protector. Even if all the printed Qur’ans  were destroyed, millions have already memorised it by heart, and new printed versions can easily be produced with every word in its proper place. This amazing book, Allah’s Sacred Word, The Noble Qur’an, is the real gift of Lailatul Qadr.

Let us consider the world scenario on the day before Lailatul Qadr. Imagine the day before, when the man Prophet Muhammad was still deep in meditation, alone in a cave on a mountain near Makkah. His city was a playground for the rich. Might was right. The poor were oppressed. The Arabs worshipped idols made of wood and stone. Women had few rights. Newborn girls were often buried alive. Arabia was so backward that the Persian and Roman Empires didn’t bother to invade. This land and these people weren’t even worth fighting over!

As the day passed into night, Prophet Muhammad (Peace be upon him) became aware of a strange presence in that cave. It was the Angel Gabriel (Jibril AS) in the form of a man. Angel Jibril grabbed him and held him in an ever tightening embrace. Angel Jibril commanded him, repeatedly, to “READ!” Prophet Muhammad was terrified, and he kept saying “I cannot read!” But Angel Jibril persisted, squeezing the breath out of him until Prophet Muhammad almost lost consciousness. Then, slowly and painfully these majestic words emerged from his blessed lips:

“In the Name of Allah, Most Gracious, Most Merciful. Read, in the Name of your Lord (and Educator}, who created! Created human beings out of a mere clot of congealed blood. Read, and your Lord is most Bountiful. He who taught the use of the Pen. Taught mankind that which he knew not!”

Outside the Christian and Jewish worlds, the Arabs were Pagans, praying to idols of their own making. They had desecrated the Ka’abah with 360 idols, almost one for each day of the year. Arabia was in a hopeless state, and it seemed, doomed to a dismal fate. Then literally and metaphorically, out of the darkness of the Cave, and in the Arab’s darkest hour, there appeared the first words of The Noble Qur’an, the first rays of light to dispel their spiritual darkness.

That same sacred light (Nur) that filled the Cave during Lailatul Qadr, that filled the heart of our dear Prophet Muhammad (Peace be upon him), has shone brightly down the ages, to fill our lives also. Year after year, for over 1,443 years, the light of Lailatul Qadr has brought hope and renewed faith, to a world that still finds itself stumbling around, trying to find its way, trying to find its soul in the spiritual darkness of our present times.

Respected brothers and sisters! We all take great care that our homes have adequate gas and electric power. It is also important that we do not neglect our spiritual power. Let us plug our hearts and souls in to Lailatul Qadr and let’s recharge our Iman (faith) batteries. The Muslim world today is once again in a sorry state. Now as ever, we need the Light, the Nur, of Lailatul Qadr, to help us find our way to Allah’s Ridwan, Allah’s Good Pleasure.

Let us spend our Night of Power, in Zikrullah, remembering Allah Almighty, and offering thanks to Him, for his countless blessings that we enjoy each moment of our lives. Let us passionately seek Allah’s help, Glorified and Exalted is He, to lift the burden of injustice and oppression from so many Muslim communities around the world. Let us beg Him to help us become the dynamic, disciplined and balanced community, the Ummatan wasatan, the Balanced People, and the Witness to the Nations, as described in the Noble Qur’an. Let us spend this historic night offering our most heartfelt pleas to our Lord and Educator, to help us become the model Muslims that our children and all future generations can love, respect and follow.

Lailatul Qadr, The Night of Power has energised history. The brilliant and irresistible light of Allah’s revelation illuminated the darkness of human ignorance. In the 7th Century, from an unlikely land of barren deserts and wandering Bedouin, Islam lit up the world. And despite many ups and downs, in communities large and small, Islam still lights up the darkness of human weakness, ignorance and evil today.

What can we learn from the history of Islam that will help us build a better future for our children and grandchildren?

We learn that wishful thinking doesn’t work.. Our laziness won’t solve problems. Unless we strive hard in the ‘greater jihad‘ to control our lower nafs, we are the loosers. We have to look inwardly into our hearts, take stock of ourselves and follow Allah’s advice, our conditions won’t change by themselves. In Surah Al-Ra’d, (13:11), we read:

“Truly, never will Allah change the condition of a people, until they change what is within themselves…”

Allah will not change our condition, until we make the effort to turn away from what displeases Him, and we must strive, sincerely, to seek His pleasure. If we seriously want our conditions to change for the better, we must willingly sacrifice our time and effort to serve others out of love and gratitude to Allah. We must face all our difficulties and problems positively, relying on Allah to accept our efforts and to deliver good results.

Remember that, Prophet Muhammad (Peace be upon him) started his Prophetic mission, as a minority of one. The challenge was enormous. Read his amazing life story. Family and friends later joined him. But he had to work hard, with sincerity, patience and perseverance, for his community to grow. He was determined, patient and persistent. He relied on Allah alone. In time, his Ummah grew in quantity and quality. By the end of his life he had unified a country of wild and warring tribes into a real brotherhood of believers.

Within few years, the effect of that first Lailatul Qadr was that it transformed the weak and troublesome Arab tribes into a nation of Supermen. As one writer described it:

“It was as if the desert sand of Arabia had turned into gunpowder, and when the fuse of Iman (faith) was lit, the Muslims became an unstoppable, irresistible force. They exploded out of the Arabia, north, south, east and west. Even the Roman and Persian empires could not resist them.

Dear brothers and sisters! That mystical and mysterious force that descends by the command of Allah Most High, during Lailatul Qadr, the Night of Power, has proven itself in history. Its clear evidence is there for all of us to see. It can change our lives, for the better, also.

Remember that it was during Ramadan that some of Islam’s noblest and greatest victories were achieved, for example, the Battle of Badr, the Conquest of Makkah, the Conquest of Spain, and the Defeat of Genghis Khan’s Mongols at Ain Jalut.

That same irresistible light hat guided our noble and illustrious predecessors can guide us also. The magic of Lailatul Qadr is none other than Allah’s guidance in the Noble Qur’an and the Prophetic Sunnah. All over the world, millions are using the last 10 days of Ramadan to find the blessing, the barakah, of this Noble Night. Let us therefore rededicate ourselves and re-align our priorities. Let us try hard to be full-time Muslims, not just Jumu’ah Muslims or Ramadan Muslims or Eid Muslims. Allah will never accept divided loyalties. Our hearts must serve Allah alone!

Dear servants of Allah! Why not let me, and you all here, make a commitment today, to serve Allah whole-heartedly, and to let our first love be our love for Allah. And for His sake alone, let us strive every moment of every day to purify and improve ourselves, in body, heart and soul.

Anything less than this will be unworthy of us who choose to call ourselves Muslims and Believers. Only when we have purified our hearts from greed, vanity, cowardice, envy and malice, and we have filled that space with a love of truth, justice, beauty, generosity and mercy, can we expect Allah to change our condition. Once we have won this Jihadun-nafs, this battle against our Lower Self, we can deserve, and deserve, the help and Mercy of Allah.

I pray that, during this historic time, in this blessed Month, on this Great Night of Power, when His angels are sent by His Command, that Allah Most Gracious will accept our commitment. May Healso help us to purify our hearts, strengthen our faith, and enable us to meet every challenge, overcome every difficulty in our lives. May Allah allow us to serve Him in our work, in our leisure, in our study, in our business and professions and in our family life and social relations. And when the time comes for us finally to return to Him, may Allah admit us to the companionship of those whom He loves as His friends. Ameen.

Lastly, I urge all of you to remember the whole Ummah in your precious Du’as, especially in this blessed month and in the last 10 days of Ramadan.

Allah surely knows best and he is the Lords of the universe and May his peace and blessing be on his Messenger, his family, his companions and those who follow them.

I ask Allah, the Most High to grant us success and enable us to be correct in what we say and write, ameen.

Murtadha Muhammad Gusau is the Chief Imam of Nagazi-Uvete Jumu’ah and the late Alhaji Abdur-Rahman Okene’s Mosques, Okene, Kogi State, Nigeria. He can be reached via: gusauimam@gmail.com or +2348038289761.

This Jumu’ah Khutbah (Friday sermon) was prepared for delivery today, Friday, Ramadan 21, 1443 A.H. (April 22, 2022).

 

 

 

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BIKOBA Mourns National Legal Adviser

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The Birnin Kudu Old Boys association has mourned its National Legal Adviser Barrister Nuhu Dawakin Aminu .

In a statement signed by National publicity secretary of the association Malam Mahmud Ibrahim Kwari said

“With total submission to Allah the National leadership and indeed the entire members of Birninkudu Old Boys Association (BIKOBA) received with shock and sorrow, the news of the death of the National legal adviser of the body, Barrister Nuhu Dawaki Aminu.”

Barrister Nuhu Aminu who until his death was the Chief Magistrate Court Gumel, Jigawa state died on Friday, the 18th day of November, 2022 after brief illness.

The decease who graduated from University of Maiduguri Borno state with L.LB in 1999, attended Government Unity College, Birninkudu from 1981 – 1986 and is survived by a wife and nine children also left behind his father Malam Dawaki Aminu and relatives.

Leading BIKOBA National Officers on Condolence visit to the family of late Barrister Nuhu, the President of BIKOBA, Malam Ja’afar Muhammad Usman (Turakin Gaya) described late Nuhu as a principled, professional and highly intelligent personality who contributed immensely with a good sense of responsibility to the promotion of Judiciary in Jigawa state and indeed the Nation as a whole.

The BIKOBA president prayed to Almighty Allah to grant him Aljannah Firdausi and also give his immediate family and BIKOBA Family the fortitude to bear the irreparable loss, said the demise of Barrister Nuhu Dawaki has created serious vacuum that is difficult to fill.

 

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CITAD Trains Remand Home Inmates In Kano

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By Ozumi Abdul

Centre for information Technology and Development (CITAD) on Thursday concluded the training of inmates in the remand home in Goron Dutse, Kano state on ICT and phone repairs.

The training which lasted for six weeks was segmented into three weeks each, with the first segment dedicated to ICT training and the other for phone repairs.

While speaking, the Deputy Director of CITAD, Ahmad Abdullahi Yakasai, said his organization has been combing the entire country in the bid to bring technological development to bear upon every area of humanity, but however discovered that certain segments of people have been sidelined.

Yakasai noted that this informed the reason for his organization’s training of the underaged inmates of the remand home, because the inmates are not enjoying the benefits of ICT.

He said that CITAD finds it imperative to organise a training of such nature to build the capacities of the inmates, adding that unemployment might be the reason why they are in detention.

He exuded the confidence that with the training, the inmates would not only be self employed, but employers of other people when they are freed from detention.

“Well, as you are aware CITAD is a Centre For Information Technology And Development, we aim to use technology to bring development to the people. We have been working around the country, but we later discovered that certain segments of people have been sidelined, not deriving the benefit of technology, and that is the reason we organise this training to build their capacities.

“Also we think that most of them, it might be the issue of unemployment that brought them here. So by the time they leave here, they will be able to stand on their feet and to employ others”, Yakasai said.

On her part, the representative from the Ministry of Women Affairs and Social Development, Kano state,Hajiya Abdullahi Hafsat expressed her happiness towards the efforts of CITAD, as well as enjoining the beneficiaries to make use of the opportunity when they returned to their various homes.

Also, the officer in charge of the remand home, Mallam Musa Muhammad Tarauni commanded CITAD for their gesture, promising that the remand home will continue to partner with the organization.

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Pure Water Producers Announces Price Increment

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Pure water

 

 

The Association of Table Water Producers (ATWAP) says it has jacked up the price of sachet water from N200 to N300 per bag.

This is contained in a statement issued by the National President of the association, Mrs Clementina Ativie in Abuja.

The president said the decision was unanimously reached during ATWAP national convention in Abuja on Wednesday.

She said that the change in the price was as a result of the increase in the prices of material, coupled economic situation of the country.

She said that the change in the price was as a result of the increase in the prices of material, coupled economic situation of the country.

NAN Via Solacebase

 

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