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Friday Sermon

Friday Sermon] Let Us All Repent From Our Sins And Turn To Allah Almighty!

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By Imam Murtadha Gusau

In the name of Allah, the Most Merciful, the Bestower of Mercy

All praise is due to Allah the forgiver of the sins and the accepter of repentance and severe in punishment.

Dear brothers and sisters! Allah Almighty said:

“And those who, when they commit an immorality or wrong themselves [by transgression], remember Allah and seek forgiveness for their sins – and who can forgive sins except Allah? – and [who] do not persist in what they have done while they know.” [Qur’an, 3: 135]

Respected brothers and sisters! Indeed repentance cures hearts sickened by misdeeds. Repentance is the gate of hope. Repentance is an open door. Repentance is warm streaming tears. Allah Almighty says:

“[O Muhammad], inform My servants that it is I who am the Forgiving, the Merciful.” [Qur’an, 15: 49]

Glory be to Allah, The Forgiving, Especially Merciful. He is the most in giving yet His servants disobey Him. He watches over them, protects them and safeguards them as if they did not disobey Him.

Allah is the One who answers the supplication of the one supplicating. Allah answers the one asking. And Allah is the hope for the hopeful.

And Allah is the Most Generous and generosity is from Him. And from His generosity is that he forgives the disobedient. And He loves those who are constantly repentant and loves those who purify themselves.

Dear Muslims! Repentance is when the sinner and those falling short, and all of us are sinners and fall short, turns to his Lord with a broken heart and humbled limbs. And his state and words express: Oh Lord, I do not have a lord other than You who accepts my repentance, none is able to forgive me if You do not forgive me, and none is able to have mercy on me if You do not have mercy on me, oh Lord of the worlds.

Great servants of Allah! Why do we repent? We repent because Allah commanded repentance. Allah Almighty said:

“And turn to Allah in repentance, all of you, O believers, that you might succeed.” [Qur’an, 24: 31]

We repent because Allah loves those who are constantly repentant, those returning to Him and those seeking forgiveness. We repent so that our Lord will rejoice over us. We repent because Allah Almighty says:

“And whoever does not repent – then it is those who are the wrongdoers.” [Qur’an, 49: 11]

We repent because our scale is going to be displayed before our eyes on the Day of Resurrection. Our good deeds will be put on one side, and our bad ones will be put on the other side. And the good deeds will not tip the scale except by sincere repentance that erases bad deeds.

Listen and contemplate upon the narrative of this believing woman who, for a moment, neglected Allah’s watchfulness and fell into adultery. But the intensity of Iman (faith) and her fear of her Lord made her not able to sleep. Her mind did not calm down and her burden did not lighten, and the sin fueled a fire in her heart. And the ugliness of indecency burned within her chest. She said:

“Oh Messenger of Allah, I have committed adultery so purify me. And he turned her away, so the following day she said: Allah’s Messenger, Why do you turn me away? Perhaps, you turn me away as you turned away Ma’iz (the man that she had committed adultery with and he previously approached the Prophet but was turned back initially). By Allah, I have become pregnant. He said: if you insist, then go until you give birth. So when she gave birth, she came with the child wrapped in a cloth and said: Here he is, I have given birth. He said: Go nurse him until you wean him. When she weaned him, she came to him with the child who was holding a piece of bread in his hand. She said: Allah’s Messenger, here is, I have weaned him and he eats food. He entrusted the child to one of the Muslims and commanded for her to be brought. So she was buried up to her chest and he commanded the people and they stoned her. Khalid Bin Walid came forward with a stone and struck her head and blood spurted on the Khalid’s face so he swore at her. Allah’s Messenger (Peace be upon him) heard him and said: Khalid, take it easy, by Him in Whose Hand is my soul, she has made such a repentance that even if an extorter were to repent, he would have been forgiven. Then he commanded for her to be brought, then he prayed over her and she was buried.” [Muslim]

And in another narration:

“Then he (the Prophet) prayed upon her, so Umar Bin Al-Khattab said you pray upon her and she has committed adultery. Then he (the Prophet) said: she has made such a repentance that if it were divided among the people of Madinah, it would have accommodated them.” [Muslim]

My Dear brothers and sisters! Now is it not the time to repent? Is it not the time to turn to Allah? Is it not the time to return to Allah? For Allah stretches out His hand at night so that the sinners of the day may repent. And stretches out His hand at day so that the sinners of the night may repent. And repentance is not only for those who commit immorality and indecency, but it is for every believer. Allah Almighty says:

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“O you who have believed, repent to Allah with sincere repentance. Perhaps your Lord will remove from you your misdeeds and admit you into gardens beneath which rivers flow.” [Qur’an, 66: 8]

And our beloved Prophet Muhammad (Peace be upon him) used to repent to Allah and seek His forgiveness more than 70 times in one day and in another narration more than 100 times. The Prophet (Peace be upon him) said:

“O people, repent to Allah and seek His forgiveness, for I repent to Allah a hundred times a day.” [Muslim]

And Ibn Umar (may Allah be pleased with them) said:

“We counted the Messenger of Allah (Peace be upon him) saying a hundred times during one single sitting: My Lord forgive me and pardon me. Indeed, You are the Oft-Repenting and Especially Merciful.” [Sunan Abu Dawud]

So leave the disobedience, leave the people of the disobedience, leave the place of the disobedience, and leave everything that reminds you of the disobedience, and plentifully recite:

“Our Lord, we have wronged ourselves, and if You do not forgive us and have mercy upon us, we will surely be among the losers.” [Qur’an, 7: 23]

Oh you who accustomed your tongue to backbiting, gossip and false speech, repent to Allah!

O you who neglected your children and left them to associate with bad company, repent to Allah!

Oh you who has gotten used to delaying the prayers, repent to Allah!

Oh you who has gotten used to eating the unlawful (Haram), repent to Allah, and return to the lawful (Halal), before the Angel of Death comes to you. Hasten from now and repent to Allah!

Please do not delay your repentance. What would you do if death descends upon you and you have not repented? How extensive are Allah’s blessings upon us and how far we fall short in being grateful to Him. And with that, He does not withhold from us!

Think about the One with Whom you are dealing. The One Who offers repentance to the disbelievers. And opens the path of return for the wicked. The One that if He forgives all creation, it would not diminish His dominion at all. The One Whose mercy surpasses His wrath. The One Whose name is The Accepter of Repentance, the Oft-Forgiving.

“And turn to Allah in repentance, all of you, O believers, that you might succeed.” [Qur’an]

Respected servants of Allah! Let us pause and reflect upon a narrative of the repentant.

It was narrated that a man came to Ibrahim Bin Adham and said to him: O Abu Ishaq, I transgressed against myself in disobedience, so offer me something to deter me and save my heart. Abu Ishaq said: As for the first matter, if you want to disobey Allah Almighty, do not eat from His sustenance. He said: From where do I eat and all that is on the earth is from His sustenance? He said: Are you fine with eating his sustenance and disobeying him? He said no.

Tell me the second matter. He said, “If you want to disobey him, do not live in any of his land.” The man said, “This is greater than the first matter.” If the east and the west and what is between them belong to Him, then where do I live? He said, “Are you fine with eating from his sustenance, living in his land, and disobeying him?” he said no.

Tell me the third matter. He said: If you want to disobey him while you are under his sustenance and in his land, find a place where he does not see you, and disobey him in it. He said: O Ibrahim, how is this while he is aware of what is in hidden? He said: Are you fine to eat from his sustenance and live in his land, and disobey him while he sees you and sees what you do openly? he replied no.

Tell me the fourth matter. He said: If the angel of death comes to you to take your soul, then say to him: delay me until I repent sincerely, and do righteous deeds for the sake of Allah. He said: he would not accept that from me. He said: Then if you are not able to push away death so that you can repent and you know that if he comes to you there can be no delaying, then how do you hope for salvation?

He said: tell me the fifth matter. If the guards of Hell come to you on the Day of Resurrection to take you to the fire, then do not go with them. He said: They will not leave me and will not accept that from me. Then how do you expect salvation then? He said: Oh Ibrahim: Enough for me, enough for me, I seek Allah’s forgiveness and repent to Him.

Dear Muslims! Now renew your repentance every night before you go to sleep. And fulfill its conditions for it may be your last sleep. And restore the rights to their owners, for this is one of the conditions of repentance. And adhere to seeking forgiveness for whoever does so, Allah provides him relief from every worry and a way out from every difficulty and sustenance from where he does not expect. And perform good deeds after misdeeds to wipe them out. Indeed, good deeds do away with misdeeds. And accompany the repentant and the righteous. They will remind you of Allah and the person follows the religion of his friend.

Oh Allah make us among those who are constantly

repentant and who purify themselves. Oh the Oft Forgiving cleanse us of our sins. Indeed Allah is all Hearing, Answering.

I conclude with this and send prayers of blessings and peace upon our beloved Prophet as your Lord commanded:

“Indeed, Allah confers blessing upon the Prophet, and His angels [ask Him to do so]. O you who have believed, ask [Allah to confer] blessing upon him and ask [Allah to grant him] peace.” [Qur’an, 33: 56]

O Allah, guide us with those whom You have guided, grant us well-being among those You have granted well-being, be an ally to us along with those whom You are an ally to, and bless what You have bestowed upon us, and save us from the evil of what You have decreed. For verily You decree and none can decree over You. He whom You support can never be humiliated. Glory is to You, our Lord, You are Blessed and Exalted.

O Allah, We ask You for all that is good, in this world and in the Hereafter, what we know and what we do not know. O Allah, we seek refuge with You from all evil, in this world and in the Hereafter, what we know and what we do not know. O Allah, we ask You for the good that Your servant and Prophet has asked You for, and we seek refuge with You from the evil from which Your servant and Prophet sought refuge. O Allah, we ask You for Paradise and for that which brings one closer to it, in word and deed, and we seek refuge in You from Hell and from that which brings one closer to it, in word and deed. And we ask You to make every decree that You decree concerning us good.

Servants of Allah! Indeed, Allah orders justice and good conduct and giving to relatives and forbids immorality and bad conduct and oppression. He admonishes you that perhaps you will be reminded.

Remember Allah, the Great – He will remember you. Thank Him for His favours – He will increase you therein. And seek forgiveness from Him – He will forgive you. And be conscious of Him – He will provide you a way out of difficult matters. And, establish the prayer.

All praises and thanks are due to Allah alone, Lord of the worlds. May the peace, blessings and salutations of Allah be upon our noble Messenger, Muhammad, and upon his family, his Companions and his true and sincere followers.

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, Muharram 07, 1444 AH (August 05, 2022).

Friday Sermon

Friday Sermon] The Rights Of Allah Almighty And His Messenger (Peace Be Upon Him)

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Imam Murtada Gusau

By Imam Murtadha Gusau

In the name of Allah, the Most Merciful, the Bestower of Mercy

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 bear witness that there is no deity worthy of worship in truth but Allah, alone, without any partners. And I testify and bear witness that Muhammad (Peace be upon him) is His Servant and Messenger. To proceed:

My dear brothers and sisters! Know that, Islam has given equal rights to everyone. Our Lord, Allah, being our creator, is the greatest and praiseworthy.

The right of Allah is the greatest, the most important and the one that is to be respected, because it is the right of Allah, the Creator, the Immense, the Ruler; He is the One who manages everything. It is the right of the Sovereign, the True, the Apparent, the Ever-Living, the Ever-Subsisting, the Holder of the heavens and the earth, the One Who created everything and gave it its own proportions with His sacred Wisdom.

It is the right of the One Who created you from nothing when your existence was not even mentioned; it is the right of Allah, Who gave you sustenance while you were in your mother’s womb under three [superposed layers of] darkness and no one could give you food nor the essential elements to your development and to keep you alive. For you, He made flow (the milk) from the breast (that breastfeed you), He has guided you to the two paths (of good and evil), He granted you parents to look after you, He gave you and prepared you. He gave you blessings, reason, understanding, and He prepared you to accept it and to take advantage of it. Allah Almighty says:

“And Allah brought you forth from the wombs of your mothers knowing nothing, and gave you hearing and sight and hearts that haply you might give thanks.” [Qur’an, 17:78]

If Allah prevented you from His blessings, even for a blink of eye, you would perish; if He deprived you of His Mercy, you would not be able to live a second.

If that is the blessing and the mercy of Allah unto you, then His right on you is the greatest of all rights, because it is the right in compensation for having created you, prepared and given you everything He has granted you. [Nevertheless,] He wants from you neither subsistence nor food. Allah the Most High says:

“We ask not of you a provision: We provide for you. And the sequel is for righteousness.” [Qur’an, 20:132]

Allah Almighty wants from you only one thing, from which you will benefit: He wants you to worship Him alone, with no partner. Allah Almighty says:

“I created the jinn and humankind only that they might worship Me. I seek no livelihood from them, nor do I ask that they should feed Me. Lo! Allah! He is that gives livelihood, the Lord of unbreakable might.” [Qur’an, 51:56-58]

Allah the Most High wants you to be His servant in every sense that the lordship includes, in the same way that Allah is a Lord in the full sense of the Lordship. He wants you to be a submitted servant, humble, obedient to His orders, deviating from His prohibitions, believing in all that He informed you, because you see on yourself His multiple and successive blessings.

Respected servants of Allah! Are you then not ashamed to exchange those blessings against ungratefulness? For example, if someone granted you his blessings, you would feel ashamed to disobey him and to openly contradict him; then what about your Lord, your creator, Who grants you all the blessings in your possession, and Who preserves you from all evil by His Mercy? Allah the Most High says:

“And whatever of comfort you enjoy, it is from Allah. Then, when misfortune reaches you, unto Him you cry for help.” [Qur’an, 17:53]

And this right Allah has imposed for Himself is simple and easy to whom Allah facilitates, because Allah has put in it no difficulty, discomfort, nor pain. Allah Almighty says:

“And strive for Allah with the endeavour which is His right. He has chosen you and has not laid upon you in religion any hardship; the faith of your father Ibrahim (is yours). He has named you Muslims of old time and in this (Scripture) that the messenger may be a witness against you, and that you may be witnesses against mankind. So establish worship, pay the poor due, and hold fast to Allah. He is your Protecting Friend. A blessed Patron and a blessed Helper!” [Qur’an, 22 :78]

This is exemplary belief, faith in the truth and a pious deed that bears fruit. It is belief based on love and veneration, and whose fruits are sincerity (the cult exclusivity) and perseverance.

Five daily and night prayers by which Allah forgives all sins, raises in ranks, purifies the hearts and works out situations, and that the servant performs to the best of his capabilities. Allah Almighty says:

“So keep your duty to Allah as best you can.” [Qur’an, 64:16]

And the Prophet (Peace be upon him) told Imran Ibn Husain (RA), when the latter was sick:

“Pray standing; if you cannot, then sitting; and if you cannot, then lying on your side.” [Bukhari]

Alms (Zakkat) which represents a small portion of your belongings and that you give for the needs of Muslims, poor people, beggars, travelers, to indebted persons and others among those who are entitled to this charity.

Fasting for one month in the year (in the month of Ramadan), which the sick person or the traveler can do later, and for which the one who is permanently unable nourishes (feed) a poor person per day [of fasting missed].

The pilgrimage to the Sacred House [Makkah] once in his existence for the one who has the possibility to perform it.

These are the bases of the rights of Allah, and all other rights become mandatory only in special circumstances, such as Jihad (Struggle) in the path of Allah, or for a reason justifying it, such as helping the oppressed.

Look, O brothers and sisters, this right whose practice is easy but whose reward is immense. If you respect it, you will succeed in this world and in the hereafter, you will be saved from Hell and enter Paradise. Allah Almighty says:

“Whosoever is removed from the Fire and is made to enter Paradise, he indeed is triumphant. The life of this world is but comfort of illusion.” [Qur’an, 3:185]

My dear brothers and sisters! Prophet Muhammad (Peace be upon him) is the last Prophet sent by Allah for entire mankind. His right is the most important among the rights of creatures, and no one among the creatures has a greater right than that of the Messenger of Allah (Peace be upon him). Allah the Most High says in Noble Qur’an:

“Lo! We have sent you (O Muhammad) as a witness and a bearer of good tidings and a warner, that you (mankind) may believe in Allah and His Messenger, and may honour Him, and may revere Him, and may glorify Him at early dawn and at the close of day.” [Qur’an, 48:8-9]

That is why one must love the Prophet (Peace be upon him) more than anyone else, more than oneself, one’s own child and one’s father. The Messenger of Allah (Peace be upon him) said:

“None of you will have faith till he loves me more than his father, his own child and the whole mankind.” [Bukhari]

Among the rights of the Prophet (Peace be upon him), we must honour, respect and love him in a way that belongs to him, without any exaggeration nor neglect. Honouring him during his lifetime is to honour his Sunnah and his noble person, and after his death, to honour his Sunnah and his right legislation. The one who observes the way in which the Companions (RA) respected the Messenger of Allah (Peace be upon him) will know how these noble beings have performed their duty towards the Messenger of Allah.

“Urwah Bin Mas’ud said to the people of Quraish when they sent him to the Prophet (Peace be upon him) to negotiate the Pact of Al-Hudaibiyyah: ‘I have met kings such as Caesar, Chosroes and the Negus, but I did not see a king who is respected by his Companions as the Companions of Muhammad respect him (Peace be upon him). By Allah, if he never spat phlegm but one of his Companions would take it by hand and rubs his face and skin with it. When he commands them, they quickly respond to his command. When he performs ablution, they are about to kill one another in order to use the water of his ablution. When they speak before him, they lower their voices and never stare at him out of reverence.”

This is how they loved him, and Allah created him with good behaviour, a smooth and easy character, and if he had been rude with a hard heart, they would have run away from him. Among the rights of the Prophet (Peace be upon him) is to believe in what he told us about the past and the future, obey his orders, move away from what he forbade and blamed, believe that his guidance and legislation are the most perfect, and that no law or system, wherever it comes from, should be preferred to it. Allah Almighty says:

“But nay, by your lord, they will not believe (in truth) until they make you judge of what is in dispute between them and find within themselves no dislike of that which you decide, and submit with full submission.” [Qur’an, 4:65]

Allah the Most High says:

“Say, (O Muhammad, to mankind): If you love Allah, follow me; Allah will love you and forgive you your sins. Allah is Forgiving, Merciful.” [Qur’an, 3:31]

Among the rights of the Prophet (Peace be upon him), is defending his Legislation and his guidance according to one’s capabilities and with adequate weapons.

If the enemy attacks him with (false) evidence with ambiguities, one must defend him with science, refuting these (false) evidence and ambiguities and showing their falsehood. And if he attacks him with weapons, he responds in the same way.

No believer can remain silent while hearing someone against the Law of the Prophet (Peace be upon him) or his noble person, while he has the means to defend them.

All praises and thanks are due to Allah alone, Lord of the worlds. May the peace, blessings and salutations of Allah be upon our noble Messenger, Muhammad, and upon his family, his Companions and his true and sincere followers.

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 through: gusauimam@gmail.com or +2348038289761.

This Jumu’ah Khutbah (Friday sermon) was prepared for delivery today Friday, Safar 26, 1444 AH (September 23, 2022).

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Friday Sermon

Friday Sermon] Trust Allah, Don’t Give Up!

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Imam Murtadha Gusau

By Imam Murtadha Gusau

In the name of Allah, the Most Merciful, the Bestower of Mercy

All praise is due to Allah, the Lord of all creation—may He extol the Messenger in the highest company of Angels and send His peace and blessings upon him—likewise upon his family, Companions, and true followers.

Dear brothers and sisters! Know that one of the important characteristics of a Muslim is that he remains in a positive state of mind, whatever the circumstances. He tries for the best and look for wisdom.

A Muslim is never in despair, not even in most difficult moments. That is because they believe that Allah is the Creator of all things; that He has the power to create whatever He wants by saying it to “Be!”

The faithful knows that any trying times, he finds himself in, are an Allah-sent test. He takes things in his stride, recalling what Allah Almighty has advised him:

“…it may be that you hate something when it is good for you and it may be that you love something when it is bad for you. Allah knows and you do not know.” [Qur’an, 2:216]

Everything turns positive for a Muslim with such a depth of soul. Whether it be trouble or difficulty, it is Allah Who bestows them on that person. He is believer’s Helper and Guardian. Any thing and everything that Allah Almighty has created is for the best and which contains much wisdom.

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Allah teaches the souls of those believers who have a sincere and unsullied belief in Him throughout the life of this world to be worthy of Paradise.

Every stage in this instruction is, by Allah’s will, a means whereby Muslims can take another step toward Paradise. Having faith does not mean making no mistakes. Allah creates human beings to be fallible, flawed and weak.

Muslims make mistakes the same way as everyone else. But the difference between them and those people who base themselves on the criteria of the society of the ignorant (Jahiliyyah) is that when Muslims realise the correct course of action by way of their consciences, or even if they do not but are reminded of it by others, they do not deliberately insist on continuing with their errors.

It is immediate repentance and sheltering in Allah and an intention not to repeat one’s error but to learn from one’s mistakes. This is a major indicator of a Muslim’s sincerity. Allah tells us how Muslims should behave in the face of their own mistakes:

“Those who, when they act indecently or wrong themselves, remember Allah and ask forgiveness for their bad actions (and who can forgive bad actions except Allah?) and do not knowingly persist in what they were doing.” [Qur’an, 3:135]

Muslims are valuable entities bearing the Spirit of Allah. According to the Qur’an, it is improper for such people to exaggerate their mistakes and regard themselves as worthless because of them. It is Allah Who creates mistakes and causes people to commit them in destiny.

Even before a person is born it is already ordained in destiny at what time, on what date and where they will commit that error. Even if a person were to experience that moment a thousand times over they would still make the same mistake at the same time, on the same date and in the same place.

It is therefore wrong for people to lack self-confidence because of errors they have committed. Muslims never, under any circumstances, pay any heed to the approval of other people. They never become preoccupied with such doubts as “I wonder what people will say? What will they think of me? Will they love me any less? Will their trust in me be damaged?” Muslims seek to earn Allah’s approval alone.

In the event of an error or imperfection, they beg Allah to forgive them and hope that He will forgive their sins. They know that He is infinitely forgiving. What matters is whether or not He approves of that person. The Prophet Ibrahim’s (Peace be upon him) prayer, “[It is] He Who I sincerely hope will forgive my mistakes on the Day of Reckoning…” [Qur’an, 42:82], is an excellent model on this subject.

Since Muslims have faith and trust in and rely on Allah, they always regard themselves as virtuous and valuable. They always have respect for themselves.

They always remember Allah’s verse “Do not give up and do not be downhearted. You shall be uppermost if you are believers” [Qur’an, 3:139], which represents the way they look at themselves. Muslims want to be loved and trusted by other Muslims.

But they also know it is Allah Who will create that love and bestow that feeling of trust in other believer’s hearts. Muslim’s errors are instrumental in strengthening the love felt for those people. That is because the important thing is not the mistake, but the behaviour in the face of it of the person committing it. Since Muslims fear Allah, they have uneasy consciences when they make an error. They immediately think as they are shown in the Qur’an and thus see the truth.

They then feel regret for their mistakes and strive to make up for their mistake and to improve their moral values by seeking shelter in Allah. The more errors people commit, the more they are able to realise how weak they are.

They attain a deeper understanding of how much they need Allah. This mindset increases a person’s submission to Allah and humility. And Allah creates feelings of sympathy and affection for that person in the hearts of other believers.

The responsibility incumbent upon believers is to ensure that the moral values of the Qur’an and Sunnah rule their lives as much as possible and to seek the greatest amount of Allah’s approval in all they do at every moment of their lives.

It is impossible, according to the moral values of the Qur’an and Sunnah, for anyone harbouring such an intent and who lives for Allah in a determined and fixed manner, not to be loved or trusted. Faith requires that Muslims know this and that other Muslims will love them because of that faith.

It also requires that they have trust that only Allah can create that love in other’s hearts. As Allah tells us in another verse from the Qur’an:

“As for those who believe and do right actions, the All-Merciful will bestow His love on them.” [Qur’an, 19:96]

Allah created the order of the universe in superb detail to allow man to grasp His greatness. A verse referring to this order reads:

”…so that you might know that Allah has power over all things and that Allah encompasses all things in His knowledge.” [Qur’an, 65:12]

Faced with the sublimity of the details of this order, man becomes in awe, recognising that Allah’s wisdom, knowledge and might is infinite.

So expansive is Allah’s knowledge that what for us is “infinite” is in His Sight already ended. Every event that has taken place since the creation of time, until deep into eternity, was predetermined and ended in Allah’s Sight.

Man must seek to appreciate the extent of Allah’s knowledge, and reflect to comprehend His greatness.

Billions of people have appeared on Earth since time immemorial. Therefore, Allah created billions of pairs of eyes, billions of different fingerprints, billions of different eye tissues, billions of different types of humans… If He so willed, He could also create billions more. As stated in the Qur’an:

“…He adds to Creation in any way He wills. Allah has power over all things.” [Qur’an, 35:1]

Allah also possesses the power to create many other things beyond our limited imagination. The entire extent of the treasures Allah has bestowed in this world for His servants is all within His Sight. He sends down to us only that which He wills, all within a measure predetermined.

Allah has created many worlds and beings which we cannot see. To better understand the possibility of the existence of other worlds, we should consider the following: A picture is two dimensional-width and length. The world in which we live, however, is 3 dimensional-width, length and depth-(time can be considered as the 4th dimension). The rest is beyond our comprehension. However, in the sight of Allah, there are other dimensions. Angels, for instance, are beings that live in another dimension.

In the Qur’an it is stated that angels can see and hear us from the dimension and space in which they exist. Furthermore, the two angels, seated on our either shoulder, each, and at every moment, is recording every word we speak and every deed we do. Yet, we do not see them. Jinn are also beings of another dimension, as we are informed by the Qur’an.

They, like us human beings, are also tested, all through their lives, and will ultimately be brought before judgment by Allah. However, they are possessed of completely different attributes than humans; their existence is dependent upon an entirely different system of cause and effect.

These are all facts that deserve careful consideration in order to attain a better grasp of Allah’s splendid Creation. It is within Allah’s power to create innumerable new worlds, beings and situations. Furthermore, each is He able to create with a limitless degree of differentiation. Indeed, in a nature unknown to us, Allah will create Paradise and Hell.

While systems left to their own in this world tend to age, become corrupted, and eventually expire, in Paradise, unaffected by the passage of time, nothing will deteriorate; “rivers of milk whose taste will never change” is an example which states this feature of Paradise.

The human body too will not degenerate; nor will anything ever age. As is related in the Qur’an, everyone in Paradise will be of like age, will live together for all eternity, in the best condition, and without growing older or losing their beauty. Allah also informs us in the Qur’an that in it will be bursting springs for us from which to drink. Hell, on the other hand, will be utterly different; in it, Allah will create unimaginable torment. No one will be able to conceive the pain of such torment until he experiences it.

On everything in this world, Allah has placed a limit. Everything has a finite existence. This being the case, in order to comprehend “eternity,” and Allah’s infinite might, we need to exercise our minds and compare these ideas with something that is familiar. We can only come to know to the extent that Allah permits us. Allah, however, is infinite in knowledge.

Let us consider the following example, Allah has created seven basic colours. It is impossible for us to visualise another colour. However, Allah is able to create more than these basic colors. Although, unless He so wills, we will never be able to have a grasp that which is beyond what He has willed for us to know.

All that we have just mentioned belongs to that knowledge that Allah has allotted us in this world. But, one point deserves particular attention; because Allah’s power and might is infinite, anything can happen, and at any time, by His will. Allah’s Messenger, the Prophet Muhammad (Peace be upon him) also referred to the eternal power of Allah when he said:

“The seven heavens and the seven Earths are no more in Allah’s Hand than a mustard seed in the hand of one of you.”

Allah explains the infiniteness of His knowledge in the Qur’an as follows:

“If all the trees on Earth were pens and all the sea, with seven more seas besides, was ink Allah’s words still would not run dry. Allah is Almighty, All-Wise.” [Qur’an, 31:27]

In brief, no matter how hard we strive to do so, we cannot possibly come to grasp the extent of Allah’s knowledge, because it is unlimited.

We can comprehend it only as far as Allah permits us to do so:

“Allah, there is no god but Him, the Living, the Self-Sustaining. He is not subject to drowsiness or sleep. Everything in the heavens and the Earth belongs to Him. Who can intercede with Him except by His permission? He knows what is before them and what is behind them but they cannot grasp any of His knowledge save what He wills. His Footstool encompasses the heavens and the Earth and their preservation does not tire Him. He is the Most High, the Magnificent.” [Qur’an, 2:255]

All praises and thanks are due to Allah alone, Lord of the worlds. May the peace, blessings and salutations of Allah be upon our noble Messenger, Muhammad, and upon his family, his Companions and his true and sincere followers.

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, Muharram 28, 1444 AH (August 26, 2022).

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Friday Sermon

Friday Sermon] How To Bring A Real, Permanent, Sustainable, Useful And Beneficial Change!

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Imam Murtadha Gusau

By Imam Murtadha Gusau

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

Verily, all praise is for Allah. We praise Him, we seek His assistance and we ask for His forgiveness. And we seek refuge in Him from the evils of our selves. Whoever Allah guides, none can misguide. Whoever He misguides, none can guide. And I bear witness that there is no deity other than Allah and I bear witness that Muhammad is His servant and messenger.

Dear brothers and sisters! Allah Almighty says:

“Indeed, Allah will not change the condition of a people until they change what is in themselves.” [Qur’an, 13:11]

Respected servants of Allah! The topic I’d like to discuss today in my sermon is about real change not empty change.

If we look at the best companies in the world, many of you work in those very companies. Change is very important. Adapting to change, adapting to the economic hardship, adapting to whatever’s going on, being able to become better and better, looking at feedback from customers. Looking at what the market is saying and how to match what the market needs.

The best teachers – they don’t teach every lesson the same way. They’re always wondering: how can we be better? How can we teach better?

The best athletes, every shot they take, they’re learning for the next shot. And they’re not afraid of taking those shots. For example, Michael Jordan said you miss 100% of the shots you don’t take.

You don’t take a shot, you can’t make it. So how can you learn from every single shot that you try to make? And as Muslims, how do we be better Muslims? How can we make change? Not only for ourselves, but for our families and for our community and for our countries and for our global Muslim Ummah, which especially now is hurting more than ever because of what’s going on (insecurity).

The Masjid al-Aqsa in Palestine – may Allah help our brothers and sisters there. What’s going on in China with the persecution of Muslims there, and in Burma and so many other places. As Muslims, it’s so important for us to understand the process of change and how to effect change. And to ensure that this isn’t just be something we preserve for our professional life.

Many of us are really good at our professional life, where we talk about these kinds of things, but how can we bring that ability to manage change and that ability to make change? How can we bring that to, not only our Muslim brothers, not only our community, not only our families, but to ourselves.

And if we look at our history, if we look at the reason that the Qur’an tells us for why we came to this earth, it was a process of change. Shaitan (Satan) was unable to change his view. Iblis was unable to change his mindset. He was unable to seek forgiveness and learn from his mistake. He was unable to be better.

He was unable to let go of his ego and his arrogance. And so he became Ar- Rajim – the cursed one. If we look at Prophet Adam and Hawwa’, they changed. They sought forgiveness. They learned from their mistake. And that’s what brings us here to earth – the process of change.

A lot of times we fear change. We fear that question: “what will happen when?” When COVID-19 started, how many people were so afraid of what’s going to happen? We were all stressed out about whatever is going to transpire. So having that trust in Allah throughout that process is incredibly important.

And I’d like to discuss how our beloved Prophet Muhammad (Peace be upon him) made change. Of course he made change in so many ways, but what are some of the things that we can discuss in the time that we have?

How did the Prophet (Peace be upon him) spark this civilisation that, in one hundred years, spread from the coasts of West Africa to China, in such a short amount of time? How did that happen so quickly? How was the Prophet (Peace be upon him) able to change a very rough society, a tribal society in the middle of the desert, with very few resources? Most people could not read or write. He himself could not read or write. How did the Prophet (Peace be upon him) make change with such huge obstacles and challenges where he could not even count on his own family members for support? Where his own uncles, his own family members – the Quraish, Abu Lahab – his own family members were against him. So, in the face of such challenges and seemingly unsurmountable obstacles, how did the Prophet (Peace be upon him) was able to actually affect change? And so let’s take a look.

The first thing that we notice about the Prophet (Peace be upon him) process is that the change did not happen all at once. It was not something that the expectation was that, as soon as Prophet Muhammad (Peace be upon him) says it, then it must happen and that’s it, and there’s nothing anyone can do about it. But rather, it was known that this is going to be a long-term mission, but there was a vision behind this.

There’s a set of steps that needed to take place, and each step was important on the journey. It wasn’t just about the end, but it was also about the means to get there. And that’s why I encourage all of us and anyone who want to bring real change to read the history of the life of the Prophet Muhammad (Peace be upon him). What did he go through and how was he able to make the change that he did?

What we see is a gradual change. Take something simple, like the prohibition of alcohol. It’s a very simple case where it did not come down all at once, but rather it came down gradually.

Also because, in the time of Makkah, the Muslims were not allowed to fight back. They were in Makkah. They were amongst the oppressors. The permission only came once they were in Madinah, and they could actually defend themselves and they could actually protect themselves.

And so this process has to be gradual. And yes, there’s, short-term things we can do and that we should do, but we must realise that it is a process that takes time.

The second thing we see in the way of the Prophet Muhammad (Peace be upon him) is that he approached things with a kinder way, with a gentler way. He could have been very authoritative, and he could have taken actions very harshly, but rather he tried his best to find the kinder way. And that is why, Allah Almighty says:

“If you were harsh and they would have ran away from you. But it was by the mercy of Allah that you were gentle to them.” [Qur’an, 3:159]

That was a part of his character. So, how can you approach things in a nuanced way? How can you approach things with gentleness? Realise that things aren’t what they seem.

The example of the man who urinated in the mosque, the bedouin man – the rest of the companions were ready to jump at him, but the Prophet (Peace be upon him) told them to let him finish and then they cleaned it up. Then that man accepted Islam. Or the example of the Jewish man and who came to test the Prophet (Peace be upon him) grabbed his shirt, and asked him for his debt and Umar was ready to jump at the guy, and Prophet (Peace be upon him) said:

“Wait, pay him his debt and pay him extra because you scared him.”

The Prophet (Peace be upon him) found ways. He was just, but he also tried his best to find the gentle way.

The third thing that the Prophet (Peace be upon him) did is that he brought in others. He had his Sahabah – the companions. The Prophet (Peace be upon him) did not try to do everything on his own. A lot of times, we have a great idea where we think, “I don’t need help from anybody else. Let me just do this by myself.” But actually, the Prophet (Peace be upon him) built a strong community. He realised that his efforts were not enough by himself. He would not be able to do it. He would need so many people with so many different talents and abilities and skills. He realised that he needed an Ummah. And this is what Allah commanded him to do. But it’s not enough just to have these solo activities that is approached at a large scale at the Ummah level.

The Prophet (Peace be upon him) was also told by Allah that every single member of that Ummah is important. The first martyr in Islam was a woman. By the name of Sumayyah. She was the first one who died for the sake of Islam. Every single person was important to the Prophet (Peace be upon him) in seeing that change play out. In the Qur’an, Allah tells us:

“Do not only turn your attention to those who are wealthy and powerful, but keep in mind the blind person and keep in mind the poor person.“

And Prophet (Peace be upon him) has even told us this. And so every member of that Ummah mattered.

And then we also have very familiar story in the Qur’an. The story of Prophet Dawud and Jalut – the story of a Supreme army. We have Prophet Dawud with his small group of followers, and he is able to, against the odds, defeat Jalut. Allah helps Prophet Dawud, and we see this in the time of the Prophet Muhammad (Peace be upon him) too. We see this at the battle of Badr, and at the battle of Uhud. We see it time and time again. The Muslims were small in number, yet they are able to succeed with the help of Allah and by the permission of Allah and by the wisdom of Allah.

We see this in the story of Prophet Musa that, even though Allah did such incredible miracles for Prophet Musa, Prophet Musa was still told to act in the way that he could. Prophet Musa was told to go to Fir’aun (Pharaoh) and to speak to him. And Prophet Musa was worried. He said:

“What about my speech, ya Allah? My speech is muffled. I’m not a good speaker. I’m not eloquent. Send Harun, my brother.”

Prophet Musa had all kinds of fears of failure in those situations. Allah Almighty told him:

“And speak unto him a gentle word, that peradventure he may heed or fear.” [Qur’an, 20:44]

Even though Fir’aun (Pharoah) did not listen, many of the followers of Pharoah listened. A lot times, we think we know what the result should be. We think that we know what the result in our minds, that is what the result should be. And that is the only way forward because that result seems so far out of reach. We don’t even want to take action. But the fact is, once we start taking those steps, Allah will open doors that we have never seen before. Allah will open doors for us that we would not even have considered. And that is why Allah Almighty says:

“And whosoever kept his duty to Allah, Allah will appoint a way out for him.” [Qur’an, 65:2]

The one who is mindful of Allah, the one who sticks to their principles and values, Allah finds for them a way. And so our part is to take those steps towards change on an individual level, in order to better ourselves.

So what is that simple step that I can take today to be a better Muslim? How can I continue what I was doing in the month of Ramadan? How can I

be a better father, a better mother? What are the steps that I can take work? What talents do I have? What skills do I have that I can offer to my community?Alhamdulillah, we are so privileged the amount of talent that we have in this community? I would say that we actually have a responsibility to the rest of the Ummah.

We have a responsibility to the rest of the Ummah, the minds and the talents that are in this Mosque right now, that are in this community right now, have a responsibility to the rest of the Ummah. So how are we using the Allah-given skills, the skills that Allah has given us, how are you using that to change our community for the better? And it’s not just finances. It’s not just finances. It’s not just about, “oh, Allah, we’ll send someone to help us.” No, we have to be the real change. And that is why Allah Almighty says:

“Indeed, Allah will not change the condition of a people until they change what is in themselves.” [Qur’an, 13:11]

Allah does not change our status until we change ourselves. So what are the gradual steps that we can take to make change? What are the things that we can do to start making that change? Yes, we did it in Ramadan. We did things that we don’t normally do the rest of the year. We were able to do them in Ramadan and yes, it was tiring and yes, it was hard and yes, it was difficult, but we know that if we got that one night, Lailatul-Qadr, if we were able to get that reward of Ramadan as the Prophet (Peace be upon him) said, then:

“That Allah may forgive you of your sins that which is past.” [Qur’an, 48:2]

All of our previous sins or mistakes are forgiven and that is the reward of Ramadan. So nothing worth it is easy. And there is hardship, you know, when we’re born and we’re young, when we’re children, we want to learn. When we have our own children we see how curious they are. They want to do something, they want to learn, they want to do things themselves. From childhood, we want to improve and be better, but then the failures come and then we start to fear what will happen. And we’re not as courageous as we used to be.

How can we bring that energy back? In order to make a real change, not only for ourselves and for our family, but for our whole Ummah, for our countries and for the entire Muslim nation.

I ask Allah that he helps us to do that. And he helps us to affect change and learn how to make that change, and then apply that in our lives, and I ask Allah that he guides us by his book in the way of his Prophet (Peace be upon him), ameen.

Dear brothers and sisters!  In addition to the things that I mentioned about how we can start to take changes, make changes in our own lives. There’s something really short-term, my brothers and sisters, that is really important for us to understand. How can we help our brothers and sisters everywhere in the world? What is it that we can do?

The first thing that we should do is make Du’a for them. Are we actually remembering them in our Du’as? Are we even making Du’as since Ramadan? And when we make Du’a, do we make it with yaqin (certainty) and with conviction. Let’s make Du’a for our brothers and sisters who are in the hands of terrorists, armed bandits and kidnappers, and all across the way world. Those that are suffering and depressed. May Allah alleviate their suffering and their pricing. May Allah set them free and give them justice, ameen.

The second thing we can do is to make this a topic of discussion in our families and to not shy away from that. Go out and say, “Let’s, as a family, instead of watching Godzilla vs King Kong tonight, let’s watch about the Islamic history. Let’s learn our own history.” A lot of times, we don’t even know our own history. When I went to school, I learned Northern Nigeria history. I learned Nigeria history. Again. I learned Islamic history. World history had two pages of Islam, two pages of Egypt and Pharaoh.

We don’t even know our own history. And our history is our memory and our memory is what makes us, so we need to learn about ourselves. We need to learn about where we came from. We need to teach our children about where we came from and what our history is. We should learn about the history of Muslims in this country and how Muslims came to this country. Why do the conflicts that exist? Why are they happening?

The third thing we can do is to write to our leaders and politicians. I know that seems like such a far off thing, writing to our leaders and politicians. What does that even mean? It seems like such an inaccessible thing, but I’ll tell you that it’s something that I feel in our community has been more accessible to me than I’ve ever seen before. These politicians and representatives have come to this mosque.

They have come here looking for our votes and saying we should hold them to it. We should tell them what we want to see. And we especially should support those who have come out in support of our people, our brothers and sisters. We should make sure that we are behind them and that we support them, irrespective of their region or tribe.

The fourth thing we can do is to go out to these events. We should go to what’s going on. We should make sure that our voices are heard. Our presence is felt because that’s what people see. That’s what people see – the images, the pictures, the media.

The fifth thing we can do is vote with our money. What are the products that we buy? Where are they coming from? And so I ask Allah that He helps us to do that. I ask Allah that He helps our brothers and sisters who are in the hands of terrorists, armed bandits and kidnappers, where they’re persecuted innocently.

May Allah set them free and grant them justice. May Allah grant them strength and courage. May Allah protect them and their families. May Allah guide them. May Allah strengthen us to do what we need to do. May Allah guide us in our youth. may Allah guide our elders, the men, and the women.

May Allah accept those who have passed. May Allah except him into his forgiveness and his mercy. May Allah give their families patience. May Allah grant us Jannatul-firdaus and reunite us with them and raise us with the Prophets and the martyrs and the Salihin and the righteous one, ameen.

Respected servants of Allah! Indeed, Allah orders justice and good conduct and giving to relatives and forbids immorality and bad conduct and oppression. He admonishes you that perhaps you will be reminded.

Remember Allah, the Great – He will remember you. Thank Him for His favours – He will increase you therein.  And seek forgiveness from Him – He will forgive you. And be conscious of Him – He will provide you a way out of difficult matters. And, establish the prayer.

All praises and thanks are due to Allah alone, Lord of the worlds. May the peace, blessings and salutations of Allah be upon our noble Messenger, Muhammad, and upon his family, his Companions and his true and sincere followers.

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, Dhul-Hijjah 30, 1443 AH (July 29, 2022)

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