Enugu Pastor Rehabilitates Widows of Fellow Pastors across South East States

By Obinna Akukwe
An Enugu based pastor, Rev Kanayo Madichie has continued in the rehabilitation of abandoned widows of fellow pastors cutting across many denominations with in ‘Operation Barnabas’ anchored through  Jaykobez International Foundation.
This philanthropist ministry has taken the pastor to various villages in Enugu and Ebonyi states where he and his supportive Nigerian partners doled cash and materials to widows of pastors, indigent pastors and committed members from various congregations.
‘Operation Barnabas’, the name given to the Pastor’s Widows Support Initiative, started in February 2014 in Agbani, Nkanu East Council of Enugu State where about 75 persons were in attendance. In addition to other gift items, five pastor’s widows were given money to start petty businesses.
 In October of the same year, Operation Barnabas moved to Ikwo in Ebonyi State. Over 350 persons attended and some pastor’s wives were given money to start businesses. Gift items shared included GSM phones, Study Bibles and Sewing Machines.
Operation Barnabas held also in Eha-Amufu Council of Enugu State in November, 2014 with attendance of 125 and as usual gifts and money was distributed to widows of pastors.
 ‘Operation Barnabas’ moved to Nkanu East and West in May 2015, and this time around, motorcycles were also distributed as widow’s support. The attendance was 146 persons. ‘Operation Barnabas’ also held in September 2015 at Udi-Ezeagu Local Council with 235 persons in attendance. Motorcycles, Sewing Machines and various degrees of cash items were distributed.
In June 4th, 2016, ‘Operation Barnabas’ was held in Awgu-Aninri Local Council, precisely at Battle Axe Bible Church, Awgu, with all the blocks of Christian Association of Nigeria well represented and with 212 persons in attendance. Rev Samuel Nwafor and Rev Ralph Igwe delivered talks during the event before distribution of items begun. Elated by the event,Pastor Kenneth Okoli, Chairman of CAN,Nkanu East asked other pastors to emulate the footsteps of Jaykobez Foundation.
 Operation Barnabas will hold a crusade in Awgbu Town in Anambra State with believers of the community from the 28th to 39thof December, 2016. They also intend to hold a Christmas Charity Party for inmates of City of Refuge Therapeutic and Rehab Home, Udi Siding, Enugu and simultaneously at Nike Centre for the Disabled, Emene-Enugu on the 23rd of December, 2016. ‘Operation Barnabas’ had annually assisted these two aforementioned abandoned rehabilitation homes annually and in March 2016, provided sets of musical equipments to the inmates of City of Refuge Rehab, Udi siding.
Operation Barnabas was a product of divine vision as given to the vision bearer, Rev Kanayo Madichie in May 2013, God spoke to him and said “My servants are abandoned and neglected; Many that are transferred to the rural areas feel it is on punitive grounds. They have very low esteem and as a result cannot minister effectively” He was then mandated to start ‘Operation Barnabas’ as a means of rehabilitating, encouraging and reviving pastors in the rural areas as well as act as support to their widows in order for the ministry not to turn to  reproach.
Rev KK Madichie told the  Rev Obinna Akukwe,led leadership of Igbo Mandate Congress during a courtesy visit in Enugu recently, that “the state of abandonment of rural pastors and their wives is such that their lives have become a reproach, and it is high time our leaders in all denominations extends their hands of assistance to these ones”  Rev Madichie also explained that during their outreaches, there are seminars from resource persons on how rural pastors or their widows can utilize opportunities to make ends meet.
The Director General of Igbo Mandate Congress, Rev Obinna Akukwe, commended the ‘Operation Barnabas’ initiative of Jaykobez Foundation  and accused fellow gospel ministers of cornering God’s resources to their private pocket . Rev Akukwe urged all igbos to support this move from God to assist rural pastors , their widows and impoverished families before the wrath of God falls on their greedy mentality.
Rev Kanayo Madichie, a gospel minister of over 20 years, is the Vice President and Cathedral Pastor of Rock Family Church.  Bishop Obi Onubogu, former Enugu State Chairman of Pentecostal Fellowship of Nigeria, PFN,is the President of Rock Family Church.  Jaykobez Foundation International is coordinated by Mrs Nkiruka Madichie .
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Sultan Announces Sept 12 As Eid el-Kabir Day

The sultan of Sokoto and spiritual head of Muslims in Nigeria, Alhaji Sa’ad Abubakar III, has announced September 12 as the Eid-el-Kabir day.

In a statement released on Saturday by Sambo Junaidu, chairman, advisory committee on religious affairs, Sultanate council of Sokoto, the monarch said his committee in conjunction with the national moon sighting body had received various reports of a new Moon seen across the country.

“The reports confirmed the sighting of the New Moon of Zulhijja,1437 AH, on Friday, September 2, 2016, which was the 29th day of Zulka’ada, 1437 AH,” the statement read.

“The Sultan and President, Supreme Council for Islamic Affairs (NSCIA), accepted the reports and accordingly declared Saturday, September 3, as the first day of Zulhijja, 1437 AH.

“Therefore, Monday, September 12, which will be equivalent to 10th Zulhijja, and will be marked as this year’s Eid el-Kabir.”

Junaidu said the Sultan wished the Nigerian Muslim Ummah Allah’s (SWT) guidance and blessings and also urged them to continue to pray for the peace, progress and development of the country.

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Proof Of God’s Existence, By Peregrino Brimah

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(Friday sermon) The Word ‘Jihad’ Ignoramuses Misunderstood By Imam Murtada Gusau

In the name of Allah, the Beneficent, the Merciful

All Praises are due to Allah, We praise Him, we seek His assistance and we seek His forgiveness. We seek refuge in Allah from the evil of ourselves and from our evil deeds. Whomever Allah guides there is none who can misguide him, and whomever Allah misguides there is none who can guide him. I testify that there is no deity worthy of worship except Allah alone without any partners, and I testify that Muhammad (SAW) is Allah’s slave and Messenger.

“O you who have believe! Fear Allah as He should be feared, and do not die except in a state of Islam (as Muslims), with complete sub-mission to Allah.” (Ali Imran, 3:102)

“O Mankind! Be dutiful to your Lord, who created you from a single person (Adam) and from him (Adam) He created his wife (Eve) and from them both He created many men and women and fear Allah through whom you demand your mutual rights, and do not cut off the relations of the wombs (kinship). Surely, Allah is Ever an All-Watcher over you.” (an-Nisaa’, 4:1)

“O you who have believe! Keep your duty to Allah and fear Him, and always speak the truth. He will direct you to do righteous good deeds and will forgive you your sins. And whosoever obeys Allah and His Messenger, he has indeed achieved a great achievement (saved from the Hell fire and enter Paradise).” (Ahzaab, 33:70-71)

As to what proceeds. Verily the best of speech is the Book of Allah and the best of guidance is the guidance of Muhammad (SAW). The worst of affairs are the newly-invented affairs in the religion and every newly invented affair in the religion is an innovation and every innovation is misguidance and all misguidance is in the Hell fire. As to what proceeds:

Servants of Allah!

The word Jihad means to struggle for the sake of Allah in a righteous cause. It takes many forms such as the inward struggle to achieve a pure heart, the struggle against sinful temptations; the struggle to help others in need, the struggle to educate our communities and the struggle to bring peace, unity and progress in our societies. When necessary, jihad can refer to an armed struggle in defense of the community. Jihad has never meant “holy war” (al-harb al-muqaddis) because war in Islam is never holy; it can only be just or unjust.

My respected people!

The purpose of armed jihad in Islam is to protect the rights of the innocent, to defend them from aggression, and to ensure people are given the opportunity to freely practice their religion. The Qur’an, the Sunnah, and the Majority of Islamic scholars from the beginning of Islam until today only permit armed jihad as a response to aggression and persecution. Jihad, properly understood, is a theory of justice in war and not an instrument of conquest and oppression. Jihad is also theory of just war similar to the legal framework upon which the modern Geneva conventions are based.

Brothers and Sisters!

Muslim scholars have written at length about the inward struggle against sinful desires, or the jihad against the soul. This jihad is called the greater jihad (jihad al-akbar), whereas armed struggle is called the lesser jihad (jihad al-asghar). The spiritual jihad is the greater jihad because it must be done by everyone at all times, whereas military jihad is the lesser jihad because it has specific conditions and is not an obligation upon every Muslim. The term “holy war” was never used by the Prophet, his companions, or the great Muslim scholars who succeeded them.

Jabir reported that:

“Some people returned to the Prophet from a military expedition. The Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings be upon him, said: “You have returned with a good return, from the lesser struggle (jihad) unto the greater struggle.” They said, “O Messenger of Allah, what is the greater jihad?” The Prophet said: “It is the servant’s struggle against his desires.” (Kitab Az-Zuhd Al-Bayhaqi 383, it is Da’eef)

The chain of narration for this hadith is weak, as it is more likely the saying of Ibrahim ibn Abu Alqamah and not the Prophet.

Ibn Rajab reported that:

“Ibrahim ibn Abu Alqamah would say to people when they returned from an expedition. “You have come from the lesser struggle (jihad) unto the greater struggle. They said, “What is the greater struggle?” Ibrahim said: It is the struggle of the heart.” (Jami’ Al-Ulum wal-Hikam 19)

Nonetheless, the meaning has been accepted by Muslim scholars and it is also strengthened by other authentic traditions.

Fadalah ibn ibn Ubaid reported that:

“The Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings be upon him, said: “The one who strives (Mujahid) in the way of Allah the Exalted is he who strives against his soul.” (Musnad Ahmad 23445)

In another narration, the Prophet said:

“Have I not informed you? The believer is the one who is trusted with lives and wealth of people and the Muslim is the one from whose tongue and hand people are safe. The mujahid is one who wages jihad against himself in obedience to Allah, and the emigrant is one who emigrates from sin and evil.” (Musnad Ahmad 23438)

On the basis of such narrations, ibn Al-Qayyim said:

“The jihad against the soul takes precedence over jihad against outward enemies because it is the foundation for it.” (Zaad Al-Ma’ad)

Jihad can take the form of education and preaching to the community.

Allah the Most High said:

“Do not obey the unbelievers, but strive against them with (the Qur’an) a great striving.” (Surah Al-Furqan 25:52)

Abu Hurairah reported that:

“The Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings be upon him, said: “Whoever enters our Mosque in order to teach goodness or to learn it himself, then he is like one who is striving in the cause of Allah.”(Musnad Ahmad 8396)

Jihad can take the form of speaking out against injustice.

Abu Sa’id Al-Khudri reported that:

“The Prophet, peace and blessings be upon him, said: “Verily, among the greatest of struggles is a word of justice in front of a tyrant.” (Sunan At-Tirmidhi 2174)

Abu Umamah reported that:

“The Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings be upon him said: “The most beloved struggle (jihad) to Allah is a word of truth in front of a tyrannical leader.” (Mu’jam Al-Kabir 8002)

Jihad can take the form of service to others in charity, especially parents, relatives and the needy.

Abdullah bin Amr reported that:

“A man came to the Prophet, peace and blessings be upon him, and he said, “I pledge allegiance to you for emigration and striving in the way of Allah, seeking reward.” The Prophet said: Is one of your parents living? He said, “Yes, rather both of them.” The Prophet said: Do you seek reward from Allah? He said yes. The Prophet said: “Then return to your parents and treat them with good company.” (Sahih Muslim 2549)

In another narration, the Prophet said:

“Then strive in their service.” (Sahih Bukhari 2842)

Mu’awiyah ibn Jahima reported:

“Jahima came to the Prophet, peace and blessings be upon him, and he said, “O Messenger of Allah, I intend to join the expedition and I seek your advice.” The Prophet said: “Do you have a mother?” He said yes. The Prophet said: Stay with her, for Paradise is beneath her feet.” (Sunan An-Nasa’i 3104)

In these ahaadith (plural of hadith), we learn that a man’s struggle to care for his parents in their old age takes precedence over armed struggle. Likewise, any act of charity that requires effort can be properly referred to as jihad.

Allah The most High said:

“Those who strive for us, we will surely guide them to our ways. Verily, Allah is with the doers of goods.” (Surah Al-Ankabut 29:69)

Abu Hurairah reported that:

“The Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings be upon him, said: “One who strives to help a widow or the poor is like one who strives in the cause of Allah.” (Sahih Muslim 2982)

Servants of Allah!

Jihad can also take the form of performing acts of ritual worship for the purpose of purifying the heart from sinful temptations.

Allah the Almighty said:

“Strive for Allah with the striving due to Him. He has chosen you and has not placed any hardship upon you in the religion. It is the religion of your father, Abraham. Allah named you Muslims before and in this scripture that the Messenger may be a witness over you and you may be witnesses over the people. So establish prayer and give charity and hold fast to Allah.” (Surah Al-Hajj 22:78)

My beloved people!

In this verse, the command to strive in the way of Allah is followed by the command to pray and give in charity, without any reference to fighting. The Prophet would strive to perform such acts of worship during the last ten night of Ramadan.

Aisha reported that:

“The Prophet would exert himself (yajtahidu) in worship during the last ten nights more than at any other time.” (Sahih Muslim 1175)

The Prophet commanded the Muslims to strive in jihad with supplications and prayers.

Abu Hurairah reported that:

“The Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings be upon him, said:  Do you love to strive (tajtahidu) in supplication? Say: O Allah, help me to be grateful to you, to remember you, and to worship you in a good manner.” (Musnad Ahmad 7922)

Likewise, the Prophet referred to the Hajj pilgrimage as jihad.

Aisha reported that:

“She said, “O Messenger of Allah, we view striving in the cause of Allah as the most virtuous deed, so shall we not strive?” The Prophet, peace and blessings be upon him, said: No, rather the most virtuous struggle is an accepted pilgrimage.” (Sahih Bukhari 1448)

The Prophet did not make it a condition of faith for Muslims to join the armed struggle of a Muslim army.

Abu Hurairah reported that:

“The Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings be upon him, said: Whoever believes in Allah and His Messenger, establishes prayer, and fasts the month of Ramadan will have a right upon Allah that he will be entered into Paradise whether he strives in the cause of Allah or remains in the land in which he was born.” (Sahih Bukhari 2637)

This is because military service is a collective obligation (fard al-kifayah) and not an individual obligation (fard al-ain), meaning that if the Muslim community is strong enough to defend itself from aggression, then it is not an obligation to join the armed struggle, unless if the legitimate leader of the Muslims makes it obligatory on you.

However, if the rights of others are being violated and a person has the ability to help them, then the morally upright deed is to defend the human rights of the oppressed.

Allah the Exalted be He said:

“What is the matter with you that you do not struggle/fight in the cause of Allah and for the oppressed among men, women, and children who say: Our Lord, take us out of this city of oppressive people and appoint for us from Yourself a helper and protector?” (Surah An-Nisa 4:75)

Therefore, while the spiritual struggle is primary in Islam, an armed struggle in defense of the oppressed is a tremendously virtuous deed for those soldiers and officers who put themselves in harm’s way to save others.

Jihad in Islam also refers to the spiritual struggle against sin, the struggle to educate and improve our communities, and an armed struggle in defense of the oppressed. Jihad does not refer to a holy war, because war in Islam is never holy; rather, war in Islam can only be just or unjust as said earlier.

Servants of Allah!

Jihad is a comprehensive term in Islam that refers to any effort given toward a good cause, whether it is an act of worship or charity or service. However, warfare in defense of Islam and the oppressed is called jihad because it takes a great deal of effort and sacrifice. Allah has Legislated warfare as a reaction towards those who initiate aggression against the Muslim Community, but He has forbidden transgression, terrorism, extremism and conversion to Islam by force. In Islam, it is only the leader of Muslims, Amirul Mu’mineen (Sultan or his representative) has the right to declare armed Jihad not individuals or organizations, groups or any sect. in fact it is prohibited for any Muslim not only to commit aggression but even to desire hostilities in his heart. In other words, the prohibition of aggression exists not only with an outward legal component but also with an inward spiritual component.

Today the most important battle a Muslim needs to fight is the battle within himself against sinful desires (Jihad An-nafs). This is a struggle, a Jihad in the way of Allah, in which all of us need to participate.

This Jihad to purify the soul involves struggling against greed for worldly pleasures, hypocrisy and insincerity, hatred and envy, arrogance and pride, vanity and narcissism, and all the other evil traits which Satan the cursed uses to lead us into evil and destruction. Muslims without a doubt needs to make the struggle against these evils their top priority.

Indeed, some of the earliest and most pious scholars among the righteous predecessors (Salaf as-Salih) considered the Jihad against the soul to be the greatest and most important jihad.

Ibn Al-Qayyim reported that:

It was said to Hasan Al-Basri, O Abu sa’id, which jihad is best?” Hasan, may Allah have mercy on him, said: “Your Jihad against your desires.” (Rawdat Al-Muhibbeen 1/478)

To conclude, armed Jihad in Islam is only a means of self-defense for the community. It must never be used for conquest, aggression, revenge, subjugation, material gain, political ideology, or any other bad and wrong purpose.

May the peace and blessings of Allah be upon our beloved Prophet and Master, Muhammad peace be upon him, his family and all his Companions.

 

This Khutbah (Friday Sermon) was prepared for delivery today, Friday, Dhul Qi’dah 16th 1437 AH (August 19, 2016), by Imam Murtadha Muhammad Gusau, the Chief Imam of Nagazi-Uvete Central Mosque and Alhaji Abdurrahman Okene’s Mosque, Lokoja Road Okene, Kogi State, Nigeria. He can be reached via: +234 803 828 9761.

 

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(Friday Sermon) Is There Any Clash Between Sslam And Culture? By Imam Murtada Gusau

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

All praises are due to Allah, we praise Him and we seek help from Him. We ask forgiveness from Him. We repent to Him; and we seek refuge in Him from our own evils and our own bad deeds. Anyone who is guided by Allah, he is indeed guided; and anyone who has been left astray, will find no one to guide him. I bear witness that there is no God but Allah, the only one without any partner, and I bear witness that Muhammad (SAW) is His servant, and His Messenger.

“O you who have believe. Fear Allah, as He should be feared, and die not except as Muslims.”

“O you who have believe. Be aware of Allah, and speak a straightforward word. He will forgive your sins and repair your deeds. And whoever takes Allah and His Prophet as a guide, has already achieved a mighty victory.”

“O mankind! Show reverence towards your Guardian-Lord who created you from single person, created of like nature, his mate and from the two of them scattered (like seeds)countless men and women:- Be conscious of Allah, through whom you demand your mutual (rights) and (show reverence towards) the wombs (that bore you); for surely, Allah ever watches over you.”

Servants of Allah!

Today’s topic is about Islam and Culture. What is Islam, and what is Culture? Is there a difference? Is there an Islamic culture? How does culture and Islam interact and overlap? There is a great deal of confusion on this subject. The confusion is not only in the minds of people looking at Islam from the outside, but also among many Muslims on the inside. Some of us cannot tell the difference between our tribal, ethnic culture and the basic teachings of Islam, the teachings of the Qur’an and Sunnah.

Brothers and Sisters!

Let’s be clear about this. Islam is one thing. Tribal, ethnic culture is another. Islam never changes. Cultures change. The two are not the same. Culture has many shades of meaning. Its Latin root refers to something that’s cultured, cultivated, as plants are grown in a garden. Our meaning here is about the shared values, the attitudes and practices of a particular group that are grown, cultivated over time, for example an ethnic or national culture.

Although some aspects of culture can be positive, and some can be neutral, there are other aspects of culture that are bad, unjust and downright evil. Sadly, many children grow up developing a strong resentment towards Islam, because their parents impose intolerable burdens on them, cultural burdens, in the name of Islam. Some examples are: the oppression of women, denying girls the right to education, forced marriages, sending our children to do almajiri or Bara (begging), so-called ‘honour’ killings and many vices in the society. None of these despicable, abominable and barbaric practices has anything at all to do with Islam. They are pre-Islamic traditions that are totally forbidden for Muslims. Yet some uneducated Muslims behave as if this is part of their religion. And some Sensation-hungry journalists often seize items like this and tag the words Islam and Muslim to spice up their story. These journalists betray the ethics of their profession, which ought to be about uncovering the truth. Instead, they promote crude stereotypes based on downright lies, just to sell a few more papers. But even worse than shoddy journalism is the inexcusable ignorance of Muslims who claim that these revolting tribal abuses are somehow Islamic.

So, how do we distinguish between Islam and Culture?

Whether we are conscious of it or not, every one of us is swimming around in an invisible ocean of culture, fed by many streams and rivers; western culture, African culture, Arab culture, Turkish, Pakistani, Malay, Somali or Bangladeshi culture. Each one is a world of values, of assumptions and prejudices that informs our cultural identity: our likes and dislikes about everything from food, clothing, poetry, art and music, to our preferences and prejudices regarding other people. While many aspects of tribal culture are positive, promoting respect, honour, hospitality and service to others, we should be critically aware of the negative and destructive aspects of our ethnic cultural traditions. A good Muslim is constantly vigilant over the lower inclinations of the inward self, the Nafs. We should constantly ask ourselves, why do I prefer this over that? Is this good for me, for my spiritual heart, my qalb? Is this good for Islam, or is it only good for my tribal culture? Am I driven by racial pride, greed, fear, egotism or am I driven by loving gratitude to my Lord? Is this right? Is this pleasing to Allah? We should always be aware of that subtle distinction between our cultural values and our Islamic values. The two are not the same. Sometimes, our cultural values may be in direct conflict with Islam, as mentioned earlier.

Islam, on the other hand, is very simple and clear: Worship Allah alone, making no associations with Him. Get to know Allah as best you can. The more we know Him, the more we will love Him and feel gratitude to Him, until our heart is overflowing. This overflowing love and gratitude to Allah will drive us beyond selfishness and vanity towards serving others. We will then become like those whom Prophet Muhammad (SAW) described when he said:

“A believer’s faith is not complete until he also wants for his brother that which he wants for himself.” (Hadith)

When we remember Allah with love and gratitude, we become anxious about the pain and suffering of others. We turn our selfishness into selflessness. That’s when we want to show mercy and generosity to all creatures, human, animal, vegetable and mineral. This is what Islam sets out to do. Islam wants to make us, creatures of mud, moulded into shape, into the trustees and ambassadors of Allah on earth, khaleefatulLaah. When we rise up and grow into this noble garment, then Allah elevates our status above the angels that surround him. These angels, as we remember, were commanded to bow down to Adam. That’s the reward for serving Allah. When we refuse to serve Allah, we not only fall below the angels. We fall below the wild beasts that roam the earth. We then become the followers of Shaytaan, the cursed one. Na’uudhu Billah!

Allah the Most High said:

“Surely we created man of the best stature. Then did we reduce him to the lowest of the low. Except those who believe and do good works, and theirs is an unfailing reward.”

Brothers and Sisters!

Let us be mindful of those powerful words in Surah Al-Teen. We human beings can be the noble representatives and Ambassadors of Allah, or the followers of that fellow downstairs, shaytaan. The choice is ours.

My respected people!

When the culture of nationalism and tribalism gets distorted, it gives itself a false sense of superiority over other people. That brings trouble, big trouble; Israel is one example, where some secular Jews are trying to twist a great monotheistic religion, Judaism, into a narrow political idea called Zionism. The peace and stability of a whole region is being undermined by a militant state structured on racially exclusive lines. Some Muslims also confuse culture, politics and religion that continue to make an explosive mix of tribal and political agendas, hiding behind the beautiful name of Islam. We can see the messy results on the news every day, of bombings, killings etc. Allah will not allow His religion to be abused in this way. Some parts of the ummah are being torn apart, limb from limb.

Is culture incompatible with Islam? Can these two ideas co-exist peacefully?

There is indeed a place for culture in Islam. That place is always to complement and not to contradict Islam. Culture should never, ever, be used to harm anyone or make someone to behave immorally. Our cultural traditions should beautify our faith, showing the richness and diversity of the Ummah. It should never be an excuse to abuse our womenfolk, or anyone else.

In the Noble Qur’an 49:13 Surah Al-Hujurat (The inner Apartments) Allah declares:

“O mankind! We created you from a single (pair) of a male and a female and made you into nations and tribes that you may know each other (not that you may despise each other). Truly the most honoured of you in the sight of Allah is (he who is) the most virtuous of you. And Allah has full knowledge and is well acquainted (with all things).”

Allah has created the human species as a one single entity, a unity that underpins the great diversity of cultures, ethnicities and nations. This cultural diversity is no accident: it’s a part of Allah’s plan. He intended it to be this way. He wants us to recognize each other, and to respect the many cultures that beautify the human family. We human beings are living works of art, a living expression of Allah’s marvelous ingenuity, his infinite creativity. But when we forget why Allah created us as nations and tribes, then we fall into division, injustice and evil. This happens when we forget who we really are and why Allah created us. In Allah’s colourful garden, nations and tribes flower like fragrant blossoms.

Prophet Muhammad (SAW) proclaimed, in his final sermon on Arafat:

“O you people!” he said, “listen to my words, All mankind is from Adam and Eve, an Arab is not superior to a non-Arab. A non-Arab is not superior to an Arab. A white person is not superior to a black person. A black person is not superior to a white person. You are only superior through your Allah-consciousness and good deeds. Remember that every Muslim is a brother to every other Muslim and that you are all now, one brotherhood.”

In these momentous words, Prophet Muhammad (SAW) set out the basis of harmonious human relations, for all time to come. Within our endless human diversity there is a unity. And within our unity there can be infinite diversity. In Islam, unity is does not have to mean uniformity. We are not like soldiers in a regiment. Like many different flowers in a garden, we are all beautiful in our own way. We don’t all look the same, we don’t all have to think or act the same. But we must have the same goals and the same universal values, regardless of our culture and background. We must worship Allah and be His agents of mercy, his angels of mercy, just as Prophet Muhammad (SAW) was sent as a mercy to all the worlds.

“And we have not sent you, (O Muhammad) except as a Mercy to all the worlds.”

We Muslims should be people of justice in everything, to anybody, irrespective of his tribe, religion or region, people who promote good and prevent evil, and who believe only in Allah.

Allah the Almighty said:

“You are the best of nations evolved for mankind. You enjoin what is right and you forbid what is wrong and you believe in Allah.” (Qur’an Ali-Imran, 3:110)

So, as we end this week and look forward to the weekend, let’s remember that our national culture, our tribal and ethnic backgrounds are only tags and labels of convenience, but our core identity is Islam. This means that we must be virtuous people, primordially upright human beings. We are Muslims first, and then we can be African, Nigerian, British, Pakistani, Arab or Indian etc. Let’s get our priorities right. Let’s aspire to the noble position that Allah has decreed for us. Let us be witnesses to Allah, and become like angels of mercy to all people, irrespective of tribe, region and religion.

Brothers and Sisters!

“Surely Allah commands justice, good deeds and generosity to others and to relatives; and He forbids all shameful deeds, and injustice and rebellion: He instructs you, so that you may be reminded.” (Surah 16:90)

“And remember me: I will remember you. Be grateful to me, and do not reject faith.” (2:152)

“And without doubt, remembrance of Allah is the greatest thing in life, and Allah knows the deeds that you do.” (29:45)

May the peace and blessings of Allah be upon our beloved Prophet and Master, Muhammad peace be upon him, his family and all his Companions.

This Khutbah (Friday Sermon) was prepared for delivery today, Friday, Thul Qi’dah 2nd 1437 AH (August 5, 2016), by Imam Murtadha Muhammad Gusau, the Chief Imam of Nagazi-Uvete Central Mosque and Alhaji Abdurrahman Okene’s Mosque, Okene Kogi State, Nigeria. He can be reached via: +234 803 828 9761.

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(Friday Sermon) No, Don’t Be Deceived, Terrorism Has No Religion! By Imam Murtada Gusau

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

All Perfect Praise be to Allah, we praise Him, seek His aid, and ask His forgiveness. We seek refuge in Allah from the evils of ourselves and from our bad deeds. He whom Allah guides, there is none to misguide him, and He whom He leaves astray there is none to guide him! I bear witness that none is worthy of worship but Allah, who is alone without partners and I bear witness that Muhammad (SAW) is His slave and Messenger.

To Proceed:

“O you who have believe! Fear Allah (by doing all that He has ordered and by abstaining from all that He has forbidden) as He should be feared (Obey Him, be thankful to Him, and remember Him always), and die not except in a state of Islam (as Muslims) with complete submission to Allah.” (Ali-Imran: 102)

“O mankind! Be dutiful to your Lord, who created you from a single person (Adam), and from him (Adam) He created his wife [Hawwa (Eve)], and from them both He created many men and women and fear Allah through whom you demand your mutual (rights), and (do not cut the relations of) the wombs (kinship). Surely, Allah is Ever an All-watcher over you.” (An-Nisa’: 1)

“O you who have believe! Keep your duty to Allah and fear Him, and speak (always) the truth. He will direct you to do righteous good deeds and will forgive you your sins. And whosoever obeys Allah and His Messenger (SAW) he has indeed achieved a great achievement (i.e. he will be saved from the Hell-fire and made to enter paradise).” (Al-Ahzaab: 70-71)

To Proceed:

Verily the most truthful speech is the Book of Allah, and the best guidance is the guidance of Muhammad (SAW). And the worst matters are the newly invented matters (in the religion), and ALL new matters are innovations into the religion, and all the innovations are misguidance, and all the misguidance lead to the fire.

My Respected People!

Know that the most dangerous sect in Islam today is the Kharijite (plural al-khawarij). They have existed since the very early period of Islam and they will continue to cause strife in the Muslim nation until the end of time when they will join forces with the False Messiah (dajjal/anti-Christ). We must be aware of their ideology and characteristics in order to protect ourselves from unwittingly supporting their destructive behaviour.

The Kharijites earned their name (from the root kh-ra-ja meaning “to go out”) because they exited Islam and the Muslim community due to their dangerous and heretical innovations. They will recite the Qur’an but it will not go beyond their throats, meaning it will not enter their hearts and they will not benefit from it and understand it.

Abu said Al-Khudri reported that: The Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings be upon him, said:

“There will come a people from the east who recites the Qur’an but it will not go beyond their throats. They will pass through the religion just as an arrow pierces its target and they will not return to it just as the arrow does not return to the bow.” (Sahih Bukhari 7123)

The Kharijite ideology is based upon the following evil tenets:

  1. Declaring Muslims to be unbelievers.
  2. Rejecting lawful obedience to the leaders.
  3. Justifying violence against Muslims and all innocent people.

The correct Islamic belief is that no Muslim can become an unbeliever due to his sins alone. Imam At-Tahawi states:

“We do not excommunicate anyone who prays toward Makkah (Al-Qiblah) because of their sins as long as he does not consider them lawful, and we do not say sins do not harm the faith of those who commit them.” (Aqidah At-Tahawiyyah)

A Muslim must explicitly disavow Islam in order to be properly considered an unbeliever. Imam At-Tahawi states:

“A person does not leave faith except by disavowing what brought him into it.” (Aqidah At-Tahawiyyah)

In contrast, the Kharijites charge other Muslims with unbelief due to their sins or perceived sins in order to justify their merciless and criminal behaviour towards them.

Shaykhul Islam Ibn Taymiyyah said:

“The Kharijite sect was the first to declare Muslims to be unbelievers because of their sins. They charged as unbelievers whoever disagreed with their innovations and they made lawful the spilling of blood and the taking of wealth. This is the condition of the people of innovation that they invent some religious innovation and then they excommunicate whoever disagrees with them concerning it. Rather, the people of the Sunnah and the community (Ahlus-Sunnah wal Jama’ah) follow the Book and the Sunnah and they obey Allah and His Messenger and follow the truth. And they have mercy upon the creation.” (Majmu’ Al-fatawa 1/278)

True Muslims have mercy upon the entire creation, including unbelievers and idolaters, but the kharaijites have no mercy for those outside their group. They declare other Muslims to be unbelievers by misinterpreting and misapplying the verses of the Qur’an.

Al-Bukhari reported that: Ibn Umar, May Allah be pleased with him, considered the Kharijites to be the worst of Allah’s creation and he said:

“Indeed, they take verses that were revealed about unbelievers (who attacks Muslims) and use them against the believers.” (Sahih Bukhari: 6531)

In the early period of Islam, they declared Ali ibn Abi Talib to be an unbeliever when he intended to reconcile with Mu’awiyah.

Ubaidullah ibn Abu Rafi reported: The Kharijites came out against Ali, may Allah be pleased with him, and they said:

“There is no rule but for Allah.” (12:40) Ali said:

“A word of truth by which is intended falsehood.” (Sahih Muslim: 1066)

The original Kharijites misused the verse “there is no rule but for Allah,” (12:40) by not properly distinguishing between matters upon which Allah has definitively ruled and matters left open to interpretation, consultation, and human decision-making (Ijtihad). Ali ibn Abi Talib decisively refuted them with the Qur’an.

Ibn Hajar reported: The Kharijites indicted Ali and they said:

“You have replaced the authority Allah has given you and the name with which He named you. Then, you judged with the judgment of men in the religion of Allah while ‘there is no rule but for Allah.’ (12:40)

When Ali heard this, he gathered the people and he called for the greatest scripture (mushaf) and he started striking it with his hand and saying:

“O you scripture, speak to the people!”

They said, “It is not a person. It is only ink and paper. We are speaking about what is narrated from it.” Ali said:

“The Book of Allah is between me and these people. Allah said regarding the woman and man: “if you fear dissension between the two, send an arbitrator from his people….” (4:35), and the nation of Muhammad is greater than the affair of a woman and a man. They have taken vengeance upon me because I have written to Mu’awiyah and yet the Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings be upon him, had written to Suhail ibn Amr and: You certainly have in the Messenger of Allah an excellent example.” (33:21) (Fath-ul-Bari from Sunan Al-Bayhaqi 16230)

The Kharijites believe their opinions regarding leadership, government, politics, and the Shari’ah are the only valid opinions in Islam and whoever disagrees with them becomes an unbeliever. However, the truth is that much of these matters are left open to interpretation and consultation among the Muslims (i.e. Ijtihad).

In fact, the Prophet commanded us to distinguish between the rule of Allah and the rule of people and not to claim our opinions are the rulings of Allah.

Buraidah reported that: When the Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings be upon him, would appoint a commander over the army, he would personally enjoin him to fear Allah and to be good with the Muslims who were with him. They Prophet would say:

“When you besiege the people of a fortress and they appeal to you for protection in the name of Allah and His Prophet, do not give them protection in the name of Allah and His Prophet, but rather give them protection in the name of you and your companions. Verily, for you to violate the protection of yourself and your companions is a lesser sin than to violate the protection of Allah and His Messenger. When you besiege the people of a fortress and they appeal for you to bring them out according to the rule of Allah, do not bring them our according to the rule of Allah but rather bring them out according to your ruling. Verily, you do not know if you will judge with the ruling of Allah concerning them or not.” (Sahih Muslim: 1731)

Thus, Muslims must distinguish between the rule of Allah and the rule of people. Yet the Kharijites, who make no such distinction, will charge other Muslims with unbelief who disagree with their views. In fact, the Kharijites do not simply declare Muslims to be unbelievers in a theoretical way, but rather they call for violent rebellion against entire Muslim societies.

Regarding our leaders, the correct Islamic belief is that we must obey them in all lawful matters. We should only disobey them if they command us to commit sins and we may not call for a violent overthrow of their government as long as they allow the prayer.

Umm Salamah reported: The Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings be upon him, said:

“There will be leaders from whom you will see both goodness and corruption. One who recognizes their evil and hates it will maintain his innocence, but one who is pleased with it and follows them will be sinful.

It was said, “Shall we not fight them?” The Prophet said: No, as long as they pray.” (Sahih Muslim 1854)

As long as Muslims are allowed to pray and practice their pillars of Islam, then there is no justification for declaring a rebellion against the leaders. In contrast, the Kharijites rebel against the leader not to protect the religion or to protect the interest of the people, but rather for inexcusable worldly reasons.

Abu Hayyan reported that:

“A man from the Kharijites came to Hassan Al-Basri and he said, “What do you say about the rebels?” Hassan said: “They are seekers of the world.” He said, “Why do you say that when one of them goes out with his spear until it breaks and he leaves his family and children?” Hassan said: “Tell me about the leader. Does he prevent you from establishing prayer, giving charity, and performing the pilgrimage?” He said no. Hassan said: “As I see it, he has only prevented you from seeking the world and you have fought him for it.” (Al-Basa’ir wal Dhakha’ir 1/34)

In general, Muslims must work to reform societies through non-violent methods such as educating, teaching, preaching, and charity. Violence is only a last resort in the worst case. The Kharijites, on the other hand, charge Muslim leaders with unbelief and anyone else who does not support their call for violent rebellion. In this way, they justify indiscriminate violence against entire Muslim societies.

Abu Hurairah reported: The Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings be upon him, said:

“Whoever rejects obedience to the leader and divides the community and dies will have died upon ignorance (Jahiliyyah). Whoever fights under the banner of one who is blind, raging for the sake of tribalism, or calling to tribalism, or supporting tribalism, and is killed will have died upon ignorance (Jahiliyyah). Whoever rebels against my nation, striking the righteous and wicked alike and sparing not even the believers and does not fulfill the pledge of security, then he has nothing to do with me and I have nothing to do with him. (Sahih Muslim 1848)

Servants of Allah!

This narration succinctly describes the characteristics of the Kharijites and their violent behaviour. They reject lawful obedience to Muslim leaders and they fight according to their tribal zeal, meaning they are not concerned with justice for their victims. They attack both the righteous and the wicked, and they do not honour covenants of security and the protection of civilians.

And in our times, you will see them target markets, bus stations, airports, schools, Mosques, Churches, security agents, Government properties and other places frequented by unarmed civilians. The purpose of such attacks is not to achieve any immediate military objectives, but rather to spread terror among the population and destabilize the government. In this way, they follow the same path as the first Kharijites in the early period of Islam.

Imam At-Tabari reported that:

“The Khawarij came to a village and they seized a man and his daughter. She said to them, “O people of Islam! Indeed, my father is an old man so does not kill him, and I am only a girl. By Allah, I have never been immoral and I have never harmed anyone.” They brought her to kill her and she kept saying, “What is my sin? What is my sin?” Then she fainted and they killed her with their swords.” (Tarikh At-Tabari 1512)

Imam Ibn Kathir said:

“If the Khawarij ever gained power, they would corrupt the entire earth, Iraq, and Syria etc. They would not leave a boy or a girl or a man or a woman, for in their view the people have become so corrupt that they cannot be reformed except by mass killing.” (Al-Bidayah wan Nihayah 10/584)

Wherever they appear, the Kharijites cause division among the Muslims at large and even among their own groups. Whenever they form a group, it is not long before splinter groups and off-shoots appear with each one claiming to have the right to seize the Caliphate.

Wahb ibn Munabbih said:

“I knew the early period of Islam. By Allah, the Kharijites never had a group except that Allah caused it to split due to their evil condition. Never did one of them proclaim his opinion except that Allah caused his neck to be struck. Never did the Muslim nation unite upon a man from the Kharijites. If Allah had allowed the dangerous and evil opinion of the Kharijites to take root, the earth would have been corrupted, the roadways would have been cut off, the Hajj pilgrimage to the sacred house of Allah would have been cut off, and the affair of Islam would have returned to ignorance until the people would seek refuge in the mountains as they had done in the time of ignorance (Jahiliyyah). If there were to arise among them ten or twenty men, there would not be a man among them except that he would claim the Caliphate for himself. With each man among them would be ten thousand others, all of them fighting each other and charging each other with unbelief until even the believer would fear for himself, his religion, his life, his family, his wealth, and he would not know where to travel or with whom he should be.” (Ta’rikh Dimshaq of Ibn Asakir 69290)

Nevertheless, the Kharijites have been successful recruiting ignorant or desperate Muslims. The Prophet described them as using beautiful Islamic rhetoric and selling “foolish dreams” to the Muslim masses.

Ali ibn Abi Talib reported: The Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings be upon him, said:

“In the last days, there will be young people with foolish dreams. They will say the best of words in creation but they will pass through Islam just as an arrow passes through its game. Their faith will not go beyond their throats.” (Sahih Bukhari 4770)

Brothers and Sisters!

Their “foolish dreams” are their promises of an Islamic Utopia, a glorious jihad, a new Caliphate that will bring honour and strength back to the Muslims. Yet, their dreams are unrealistic and their methodologies dangerous to the very people they claim to be helping. Their understanding of faith is so shallow, superficial, dangerous and hypocritical that they cause even greater harm to Muslim community. They are fools by allowing themselves to be used by the underground enemies of peace, unity and progress; enemies of Islam and Muslims, in the name of doing jihad and protecting Islam!

In another narration, the Prophet described them saying:

“There will be dissension and division in my nation and a people will come with beautiful words but evil deeds. They recite the Qur’an but it will not pass beyond their throats. They will leave the religion (Islam) as an arrow leaves its target and they will not return until the arrows returns to its notch. They are the worst of the creation.” (Sunan Abu Dawud 4765)

Indeed, like their predecessors their preaching and propaganda entices people to join their cause but by their actions they are the worst of the creation, even though they recite the Qur’an and call to Islam. They bring forth verses of the Qur’an to bolster their arguments but they wield them against the objectives of lslam.

Usama ibn Zaid reported that: Sa’ad, May Allah be pleased with him, said:

“By Allah, I would never kill a Muslim or any innocent man as this one had killed him.” A man said to him: Did not Allah say: “Fight them until there is no more persecution and religion is entirely for Allah?” (2:193) Sa’ad said: We did fight them until there was no more persecution, but you and your companions intend to fight until there is persecution.” (Sahih Muslim 96)

Sa’id ibn Jubair reported that:

“We were met by Abdullah ibn Umar and we hoped that he would narrate to us a good saying. A man approaches him and said, “O Abu Abdur Rahman, tell us about fighting during times of persecution as Allah said: “And fight until there is no more persecution.” (2:193) Ibn Umar said: “Do you know what persecution is? May your mother be bereaved of you! Muhammad, peace and blessings be upon him, only fought the idolaters as there was persecution for practicing their religion. It was not like your fighting for the sake of ruling or leadership?” (Sahih Bukhari 6682)

The purpose of a just war in Islam is to end religious persecution and to protect innocent people, yet the Kharijites use such verses to further persecute Muslims and innocent people and to justify their worldly ambitions of political power.

We will continue to expose them (the Kharijites) and their evils as we see their violent call appear again and again until the end of time when the false messiah appears among them. They follow the same Satanic forces from which will emerge the greatest tribulation and suffering ever faced by humanity.

Abdullah ibn Amr reported that: The Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings be upon him, said:

“There will emerge from the east some people from my nation who recite the Qur’an but it will not go beyond their throats. Every time a faction of them emerges it will be cut off.”

The Prophet repeated this and on the tenth time he said:

Every time a faction of them emerges it will be cut off until the False Messiah (dajjal/anti-Christ) emerges from their remnants.” (Musnad Ahmad 27767)

As such, in our times we are witnessing a number of conflicts between different governments and rebel Kharijite forces. Muslims are stuck between the spear of the leader and the sword of the rebel. In such cases, we must remain patient and work to reform and improve our communities through education, teaching, preaching, and charity.

Abdullah ibn Amr reported that: The Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings be upon him, said:

“There will be a tribulation that will wipe out the Arabs in which those killed on both sides are in the Hellfire. In that time the tongue will be stronger than the sword.” (Musnad Ahmad 6941)

My respected people!

If we are not careful, we might fall into the sins of either side of the conflict by legitimizing the misdeeds of an oppressive government or justifying acts of terrorism in response. We should not rush to support one or another side in such conflicts as they are tribulations (fitnah) in which the truth is unclear.

Abu Hurairah reported that: The Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings be upon him, said:

“There will be tribulations during which a sitting person will be better than the one standing. The one standing will be better than the one walking. The one walking will be better than the one running. Whoever exposes himself to these tribulations will be destroyed, so whoever finds a place of protection or refuge should take shelter in it.” Sahih Bukhari 6670)

Rather, we must be patient, resist calls for violence, and avoid getting involved in these conflicts. If we are patient, it will not be long before Allah will give us a way out. But if we call for violence, then Allah will heap more violence upon us.

Hassan Al-Basri, may Allah have mercy on him, said:

“If the people had patience when they are being tested by their unjust leader, it will not be long before Allah will give them a way out. However, they always rush to their swords, so they are left with their swords. By Allah, not even for a single day did they bring about any good.” (Tabaqat Al-Kubra 8789)

Brothers and Sisters!

Satan intends to use the alluring call of the Kharijites as a means to drag us into the Hellfire. We have to resist them by upholding the true teachings of Islam: mercy with the creation, patience with hardship, justice with even our enemies. The Kharijites intend to impress us by their outward displays of faith, but inwardly they have no faith. Only by understanding true Islam in both its inward and outward teachings can we protect ourselves, our children, and our communities from their dangerous ideology. What happened in the North-East Nigeria, Borno, Yobe, and Adamawa and even here in Okene is a great lesson to all of us. So we should be careful.

Allah blesses our brother, professor Abu Amina Bilal Philips as he said in one of his lectures:

“The only way to overcome this problem of Muslims getting radicalized is by educating the Muslim community about Islam. Islam is not about kissing the Qur’an and keeping it on a shelf. It is about seeking knowledge by reading, understanding and reflecting.”

May the peace and blessings of Allah be upon our beloved Prophet and Master, Muhammad peace be upon him, his family and all his Companions.

 

This Khutbah (Friday Sermon) was prepared for delivery today, Friday, Shawwal 17, 1437 AH (July 22, 2016), by Imam Murtadha Muhammad Gusau, the Chief Imam of Nagazi-Uvete Central Mosque and Alhaji Abdur Rahman Okene’s Mosque, Okene Kogi State, Nigeria. He can be reached via: +234 803 828 9761.

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Muslim Quran Answers Highly Debated Scientific Question On Source Of Earth’s Water

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(Friday Sermon) Let’s Join Hands Together To Salvage Our Nation By Imam Murtada Gusau

All Praises are due to Allah, We praise Him, we seek His assistance and we seek His forgiveness. We seek refuge in Allah from the evil of ourselves and from our evil deeds. Whomever Allah guides there is none who can misguide him, and whomever Allah misguides there is none who can guide him.  I testify that there is no deity worthy of worship except Allah alone without any partners, and I testify that Muhammad (SAW) is Allah’s slave and Messenger.

“O you who have believe! Fear Allah as He should be feared, and do not die except in a state of Islam (i.e. as Muslims), with complete submission to Allah.” (Ali Imran, 3:102)

“O Mankind! Be dutiful to your Lord, who created you from a single person (Adam) and from him (Adam) He created his wife (Eve) and from them both He created many men and women and fear Allah through whom you demand your mutual rights, and do not cut off the relations of the wombs (Kinship). Surely, Allah is Ever and All-Watcher over you.” (An-Nisaa, 4:1)

“O you who have believe! Keep your duty to Allah and fear Him, and always speak the truth. He will direct you to do righteous good deeds and will forgive you your sins. And whosoever obeys Allah and His Messenger, he has indeed achieved a great achievement (saved from the Hell Fire and enter Paradise).” (Ahzaab, 33:70-71)

As to what proceeds: Verily the best of speech is the Book of Allah and the best of guidance is the guidance of Muhammad (SAW). The worst of affairs are the newly invented affairs in the religion and every newly invented affair in the religion is an innovation and every innovation is misguidance and all misguidance is in the Hell Fire. As to what proceed:

Servants of Allah!

Our beloved Master Muhammad (Pbuh) said: “The example of the person abiding by Allah’s order and restrictions in comparison to those who violate them is like the example of those persons who drew lots for their seats in a boat. Some of them got seats in the upper part, and the other in the lower. When the latter needed water, they had to go up to bring water and that troubled the others). So they said, Let us make a hole in our share of the ship (and get water) saving those who are above us from troubling them. So, if the people in the upper part left the others do what they had suggested, all the people of the ship would be destroyed, but if they prevented them, both parties would be safe.”

My respected people!

This is a great prophetic teaching, which contains a concrete example and comparison inciting no disagreement amongst sensible people. It highlights the most beautiful meanings and lessons. In it, the Prophet compares the society with the sailing vessel, which everyone should protect amidst the realm of life so that individuals can live happily, in peace, prosperity, love, unity, progress and respect. People are invited therefore, to work together to achieve mutual interests and ward off various evils.

This sums up principles of solidarity and mutual counseling and strengthens the responsibility of keeping the community safe and stable. Because the ship is one, if it survives so will those on board. If it is hurt, those on board will be hurt too. So everyone is responsible for its safety and has a role to ensure its advancement and welfare. For example, the older should care for the younger, while the younger should treat the elder nicely. Allah the Almighty says:

“The believing men and believing women are allies of one another.” (Attawba: 71)

That is, their hearts are united in mutual affection, love and compassion.

Our beloved Prophet (Pbuh) also said:

“The similitude of believers in regard to mutual loves, affection, and fellow-feeling is that of one body; when any limb of it aches, the whole body aches, because of sleeplessness and fever.”

It was said that people are like one body; as they help each other, it emerges to be independent, but if they let each other down, it falls apart.

Brothers and Sisters!

This Hadith also highlights the sensibly disciplined freedom, which does not harm the individual, the society and the nation as a whole. In fact, as we can see, the Prophet (Pbuh) condemned those who were in the lower part of the vessel as they had intended to pierce a hole to make an easy way up. Had they done this, they could have hurt not only themselves, but also others. That is why he (Pbuh) warned us strongly to avoid similar acts when he said:

“If anyone harms (others), Allah will harm him, and if anyone shows hostility to others, Allah will show hostility to him.”

This means whoever harms someone unjustly whether taking to his property, person or integrity; Allah will likewise treat him and cause him distress. Indeed the best people are those who are good to others and the dearest to Allah are those who are most beneficial to each other.

Please know that Allah the Exalted is He denounce people who cause harm to their society and country as He says:

They destroyed their houses by their (own) hands.” (Al Hashr: 2)

This Aya (Qur’anic verse) refers to the heinous act of individuals damaging their own homes, and their own country. For this reason, they are vilified by Allah because they breach trust and seek the destruction of achievements. He the Most High says in this regard:

And do not be like she who untwisted her spun thread after it was strong.” (An nahl: 92)

This is a Divine lesson to show the ill-doing of persons who break the covenant and destroy what they, themselves, have accomplished. Thus they are like the one who spins her thread, and then she unties it into scattered pieces, of no use to her. It is worthwhile mentioning here that the whole society is a trust shared by all and, as such, it ought to be protected.

Benefits in the Hadith also include avoiding evil and overcoming causes of strife before they happen. This can be achieved by educating the ignorant, advising the heedless, teaching the youth and sanctioning the imprudent. Such principles are adopted by the wise people, who believe in prevention being better than the cure.

On this matter, the Messenger of Allah (Pbuh) said:

“Some people open the door to good and close the door to evil, and some people open the door to evil and close the door to good. Congratulations to those in whose hands Allah places the keys to good, and woe to those in whose hands Allah places the keys to evil.”

Dear Servants of Allah!

Muslims are asked to observe their Lord in their speech and all of their behaviours. They must say but truth and do but good, because they are responsible for their acts. The Almighty says:

“And do good that you may succeed.” (Al Haj: 77)

Bearing this in mind, we supplicate to Allah to protect Nigeria from all evils and perpetuate its Union. May Allah help us to follow the right path and help us also to obey You, Your Messenger Muhammad (Pbuh) and those You have decreed on us to obey Your orders:

“O you who have believe! Obey Allah, and obey the Messenger, and those charge with authority among you.” (An nisaa: 59)

O Servants of Allah!

Please be aware that you are asked to obey Him, the Almighty, as it ought to be by observing Him in private and in public and know that Nigeria is a large ship that has set an example of best achievements and giving, a solid edifice and a unified nation under its wise leadership. As we all see, many ships around us endure hard times, ours, by Allah’s grace, has remained infallible. Therefore, never should we allow an enemy, a criminal, a corrupt, an envious or a wrong Government’s policies to hurt our fortified vessel as they have failed to do that from outside. So let us be also its guards from inside.

The happier is the one who learns from others’ experiences, acknowledges the merit of Allah’s blessing on him, remains grateful to Him, to his homeland and leaders and be considerate to his society. Thus he is on the path of the Prophets and Messengers. The Prophet Suleiman (Solomon) was quoted in Qur’an as saying:

“My Lord, enable me to be grateful for Your favour which You have bestowed upon me and upon my parents and to do righteousness of which You approve. And admit me by Your mercy into (the ranks of) Your righteous servants.” (An naml: 19)

My fellow Nigerians!

Let’s come together and salvage the country. Let’s learn how to co-exist peacefully with each other. Let’s learn how to tolerate and mutually respect each other. We don’t have country other than Nigeria. We don’t have anywhere to go apart from Nigeria. Let’s respect it so that we have everlasting peace, unity and progress. Let’s stop attacking our nation. Let’s talk, let’s dialogue and let’s not destroy the good image and the good reputation of our dear country. Let’s not destroy the achievements of our respected forefathers.

O Muslims, bear in mind that you are asked to offer prayer and greetings upon our most noble Prophet (Pbuh) for Allah say:

“Indeed, Allah and His angels send blessings upon the Prophet. O you who have believed, ask [Allah to confer] blessing upon him and ask [Allah to grant him] peace.” (Al Ahzab: 56)

On the same matter, the Prophet (Pbuh) said:

“For everyone who invokes a blessing on me will receive ten blessings from Allah.”

He also said:

“Nothing turns back the Decree except supplication.”

May the peace and the blessings of Allah be upon our beloved Master Muhammad (Pbuh), his family and all his Companions. May Allah grant us always His blessings and make us amongst His servants who protect their nation and are keen to strive for its safety and advancement. May Allah also make us keys to good deeds and barriers against evils, O Allah, the Most Exalted.

O Allah, we implore You at this instant not to let a sin unforgiving, a distress unrelieved, an illness unhealed or a handicapped without relief, a dead without mercy or a debt unsettled. Our Lord gives us in this world that which is good and in the Hereafter that which is good, and save us from the torment of the fire.

May Allah be pleased with the Rightly Guided Caliphs: Abu Bakr, Umar, Uthman and Ali, and all of the Companions.

O Allah, may we ask You to help us with what gets us closer to Paradise and furthers us from hell. O Allah we seek Your grace to admit us, our parents, whoever has done a favour to us and all Muslims to Your Paradise.

O Allah, forgives all of the Muslims, men and women, living and dead, and makes blessings follow us and them. May Allah have mercy on our leaders, grant success and continued good health to them, and provide strength and assistance to them. O Lord, forgive and show mercy to our parents, relatives and whoever has done a favour to us.

May Allah have mercy upon our righteous martyrs and raises their status in the highest ranks of Paradise to reside amongst those upon whom Allah has bestowed favour, of the Prophets and the steadfast affirmers of truth, O the Almighty, O the most forgiver.

O Allah, we pray to You to grant your forgiveness to the one who built this Mosque and to his parents as well as to anyone who contribute to the progress and development of this Mosque, and anybody who is also contributing to the progress and development of Islam anywhere he may be. O Allah, we also supplicate to You to forgive whoever built a Mosque where your name is remembered.

O Allah, make this our gathering one of compassion, and our dispersion after it one that is infallible. O Allah, do not let anyone amongst us deprived, desperate or unhappy.

We pray to Allah, the Most Gracious, to preserve and protect Nigeria, Nigerians and Islam in general from all temptations, both apparent and hidden, and continue blessing Nigeria and all Muslim countries with safety and security.

“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.” (An nahl: 90)

O Servants of Allah!

Remember Allah and He will remember you. Be grateful for His benevolence, He will increase His blessing to you. Allah, the Most High, says:

“And establish prayer. Indeed, prayer prohibits immorality and wrongdoing, and the remembrance of Allah is greater. And Allah knows that which you do.” (Al Ankabuut: 45)

 

This Khutbah (Friday Sermon) was prepared for delivery today, Friday, Ramadan 12, 1437 AH (June 17, 2016), by Imam Murtadha Muhammad Gusau, the Chief Imam of Nagazi-Uvete Central Mosque and Alhaji Abdurrahman Okene’s Mosque, Okene Kogi State, Nigeria. He can be reached via: +234 803 828 9761.

 

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A Guide To Ramadan – The Islamic Holy Month, By Usama Dandare

As the holy month of Ramadan begins yesterday, Muslims all over the world embarks on a 29-30 days fasting, from waking up in the early morning hours at dawn for breakfast, to waiting until the call to prayer at sunset for launch and dinner. It’s imperative to shed more lights on why Muslims fast and what the month of Ramadan stands for, at least for the emphasis of educating our brothers and sisters from other religions. This piece will attempt to discuss in brief the concept of Ramadan fasting, its religious benefits, and perhaps medicinal importance:
Ramadan is the holiest month in the Islamic calendar, it’s the month in which the Qur’an, the holy book of Islam, was revealed to the last prophet of Islam after Jesus Christ (PBUH) – Prophet Muhammad (S.A.W). Being the ninth month in the Islamic calendar, or the Hijri calendar based on the lunar cycle, Ramadan began when Prophet Muhammad migrated from Mecca to Medina in AD622, and return once annually about 11 days earlier than the previous year. It sometimes falls in winter months when the fasts are short, and in summer months when the fasts are long. Ramadan is observed by Muslims worldwide as a month of fasting to commemorate the first revelation of the Holy Quran to Prophet Muhammad (S.A.W) and this annual observance is regarded as one of the Five Pillars of Islam, other pillars include shahadah, which is the declaration of faith; salat, the five daily prayers; zakat, or almsgiving; and the hajj, the pilgrimage to Mecca. While fasting from dawn until sunset, Muslims refrain from consuming food, drinks, smoking, backbiting, long arguments, lying, fighting and engaging in sexual relations; Muslims are also mandated to refrain from other behavior that could be perceived as sinful, such as swearing, engaging in disagreements, and unnecessary noise-making.
Several Muslims around the world observe fast between dawn to sunset in the month of Ramadan, they do so not for losing fat or any medical value, but for spiritual benefits as it is ordained by the Holy Quran:
“O you who believe! Fasting is prescribed to you, as it was prescribed for those before you (i.e. Jews, & Christians) so that you may (learn) self-restraint.” (Q2:183)
Fasting does not mean Muslims retreat from their daily routine, rather they are encouraged to continue as normal in their work and usual activities. In fact, this is where the challenge of patience and endurance comes in, because fasting isn’t merely a physical ritual, but primarily a time for reflection and spiritual recharging. During the fast, Muslims believe that their desires are curbed and that they can gain understanding of how those who are less privileged than them feel. It’s also considered a ‘temptation free month’ – as both Satan and the evil spirits are chained and incarcerated by God throughout the holy month – to increase one’s patience, closeness to God and generosity towards others. The month of Ramadan is also a time of unity; it is the custom for Muslims to invite their neighbours and friends to share their evening meal – iftar – and recite special Tarawih prayers in congregation. It is also a time for Muslims to reconnect with the Qur’an, which is the word of God.
Fasting during Ramadan is fardh (“obligatory”) for adult Muslims, except those who are suffering from an illness, travellers, the elderly, pregnant women, nursing mothers and those going through menstrual bleeding. Healthy Muslim men and women are required to fast during the month according to Islamic teachings. People exempt from fasting during Ramadan can make up the missed fasts later. But if a person is not able to fast at all – particularly if that is for health reasons – one can compensate by feeding a needy person for each of the day they do not fast. It’s worthy to note that Muslims do not fast continuously throughout the month, they eat before dawn and break their fast at sunset each day.
While fasting during the holy month of Ramadan remains an avenue for introspection and spiritual renewal for all Muslims around the world, scientists have found that short periods of fasting – if properly controlled – can have a number of health benefits, as well as potentially helping overweight people. Medical experts encourages fasting Muslims to keep hydrated and have the right proportion of carbohydrates, fat and protein in between fasts, however tempting, but may in fact lead to gaining weight. So with prolonged fasting of many days or weeks, the body starts using protein for energy, and after a few days of the fast, higher levels of endorphins – hormones related to mood – appear in the blood and can make a person more alert and give an overall feeling of general mental wellbeing. Fasting has been proven to be an effective detoxification therapy as toxins will break down and pass out of the body. Also, it is ideal for both the overweight and underweight: for the overweight – deposited fat gets used and burns down, facilitating weight loss. While for the underweight – fasting normalizes the digestive system and equip the body to digest and assimilate nutrients.Fasting can also clear many skin problems due to the elimination of toxic materials, and has advantages in getting rid of addictions and habits like smoking and drinking alcohol.
Depending on which part of the world, Muslims have varying Ramadan customs, based on their cultures, but, the Islamic injunctions remained the same and unchangeable across the globe, which include: Eating and drinking at sahoor, the pre-fast meal, just before dawn; not delaying breaking the fast at sunset, which is iftar time; breaking the fast with an odd number of fresh dates, or dried dates if none are available, or a few sips of water; searching for the “Night of Power” or Laylat al-Qadr – a blessed night which according to Islamic tradition was the night when the first verses of the Qur’an were revealed to Prophet Muhammad by God, and falls within the last 10 nights of Ramadan.
Ramadan begins when a crescent moon is sighted on the last day of Sha’aban (the 8th month in the Islamic calendar), but in a situation where the moon was not sighted for lack of visibility or other factors, the month of Ramadan automatically begins the following night whether or not the crescent moon is seen. Do you know that the month of Ramadan starts on different days across the world?  This differences over the start and end dates of Ramadan from one country to another, are basically as a result of variations in the sighting of the moon due to time differences between one country/region to the next. In places where it is not possible to see the crescent moon, Muslims begin fasting according to the closest place where the moon has been sighted, while other scholars rely on the calculations of astronomers. However, some Islamic scholars have called for Muslims to be united, and start the month of fasting based on sighting of the moon in the holy city of Mecca, which several other scholars rejected.
In places with no sunsets, like in the Arctic Circle and in Northern Finland where the sun remains visible at midnight and doesn’t set at all for 60 days during summer, Muslims in those places are permitted to follow more reasonable dawn and sunset times of other countries, likewise Muslims living in the most northerly regions of Alaska can use the dawn and sunset times of another part of America where “day is distinguishable from night”.
Reykjavik, Iceland, has the longest hours of fasting in the world where the fast will be about 21 hours 57 minutes long in the beginning of the month of Ramadan, with a fast starting at 2:03am and finishing at midnight. While Sydney, Australia, has the shortest hours of fasting in the world where a fasting day will be about 11 hours 24 minutes long at the start of Ramadan, with a fast starting at 5.29am and finishes at 16:53pm.
The month of Ramadan ends on the 29th day if a crescent moon for the month of Shawwal (the 10th month in the Islamic calendar) is sighted, in a situation where the moon of Shawwal was not sighted, Ramadan automatically ends on the 30th day. The next day after the month of Ramadan becomes the first day of Shawwal: a day when Muslims worldwide celebrate Eid al-Fitr, the festival of breaking of the fast, which marks the end of Ramadan. According to Islamic tradition, the angels call it the day of prizegiving because all those who fasted are rewarded by God on this day, and so it is common to hear Muslims greet each other with Eid Mub?rak (Happy Eid) and it is forbidden to fast on this day. It is Islamic to celebrate Eid with a small sweet breakfast, and to give charity before Eid prayers in congregation, and many Muslims celebrate by giving gifts, wearing new or clean clothes, and visiting friends and family. It’s simply a day of love, unity, peace and a day to put smiles on the faces of the needy and the vulnerable ones among the society and give them a sense of belonging. This marks the end of the holy month of Ramadan and the end of the Ramadan fast.
In a nutshell, understanding what Ramadan is and the sanctity of the fast is of paramount importance to both Muslim or non-Muslims, for the goals of fasting is to teach patience, discipline, modesty and spirituality. Whoever is observing a lengthy period of fasting must stay healthy, eat wisely and sleep enough.
Conclusively, there are practices or habits that all Muslims observing the Ramadan fast need to adopt in order to maintain a balance and healthy life throughout this holy month and beyond:

  • Avoid eating an excess of carbohydrates.
  • Avoid an intake of excessive sugary and spicy food, and also stay away from caffeine drinks such as coke, coffee or tea.
  • Avoid snacks high in salt like chips or nuts.
  • Take dinner only before Ishaa and after Taraweeh prayers, so the time afterwards is spent in Ibaadah, prayers and dhikr.
  • Women should not be made to cook all day: hence, keep the meals simple and humble, so they too can get the time to engage in equal Ibaadah and prayers, during their day, and post-Iftaar as well.
  • When considering dinner, it’s very important to include food varieties like: Meat/Bean, Bread/Cereal, Milk, Vegetable, Fruits among others.

In this holy month of love and peace, permit me to end with an apology to whomever I have offended in one way or the other either knowingly or unknowingly through the course of my work or interactions with folks both online and offline, please accept my unreserved apologia. And at the same time wishing all my readers, friends, well-wishers, colleagues, family, and the entire Muslim umma a blissful, bountiful, glorious, and a happy Ramadan fast. May the Almighty Allah – the God of Prophet Muhammed (S.A.W), the God of Prophet Jesus Christ (PBUH), the God of Prophet Moses (PBUH), and the God of Prophet Abraham (PBUH) accept all our worships during this holy month and beyond, and spare our lives to witness more and more Ramadans ahead.

Usama Dandare, a social commentator write from Sokoto. Reach me on mail via osadaby@yahoo.com or on twitter @osadaby or on Facebook via facebook.com/usama.dandare?
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What Islam Says About Blasphemy And Killing – Imam Murtada Gusau

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

Thursday’s brazen attack and the killing of an Igbo market woman, Bridget Agbahime, the wife of Pastor Mike Agbahime, at Kofar Wambai market in Kano, who was alleged to have blasphemed the Prophet Muhammad (Pbuh), has left many people the World over shocked, saddened, and even infuriated. As the smoke cleared and I learned that the Kano State Government announces the arrest of the prime suspect in the killing. We called on all civil and community leaders to cooperate in ensuring lasting peace. And I urged all the Nigerian leaders to emulate governor Ganduje’s initiative in ensuring brotherly co-existence in the country.

As a Muslim, I was left having to grapple with – and answer- questions about the Islamic stance towards free speech and whether this incidence is a natural consequence of mocking or abusing Muslim sentiments.

Blasphemy is a very controversial topic in Islam that has taken on new importance due to the proliferation of instant global communication. Muslim extremists incorrectly cite a precedent in classical Islamic law to justify gross acts of vigilante violence and murder. Therefore, it is important for us to understand the context of the classical ruling and to view this issue in the larger perspective of the Qur’an and Sunnah as a consistent whole.

The general answer to blasphemy (Sabb ala Allah wa Rasulihi) as commanded in the Qur’an is to respond with patience, beautiful preaching, and graceful avoidance. The Qur’an records the fact that the Prophet was called a “sorcerer,” a “madman,” and a “liar,” yet Allah commanded him to be patient and to increase his acts of worship.

Allah Said:

“Be patient over what they say and avoid them with gracious avoidance.” (Surah Al-Muzzamil 73:10)

And Allah said:

“So be patient over what they say and exalt with the praises of your Lord before the rising of the sun and before its setting.” (Surah Qaf 50:39)

And Allah said:

 “So be patient over what they say and exalt with the praises of your Lord before the rising of the sun and before its setting.” (Surah Ta Ha 20:130)

These insults deeply hurt the feelings of the Prophet and his Companions, but Allah did not prescribe revenge for them.

Allah said:

“We already know that your heart is constrained by what they say, so glorify the praises of your Lord and be among those who prostrate.” (Surah Al-Hijr 15:97-98)

In fact, Allah told the Prophet and his Companions to expect more insults and mockery from the followers of other religions, and that they should remain patient and not let their abuse shake their faith.

Allah said:

“You will surely be tested in your possessions and in yourselves, and you will surely hear from those who were given the scripture before you and from those who associate others with Allah much abuse. But if you are patient and fear Allah that is of the matters requiring resolve.” (Surah Ali Imran 3:186)

In other verses, Allah commands the believers to simply avoid those who mock Islam and not to sit with them until they discuss something else.

Allah said:

When you see those who engage in offensive discourse concerning our verses, then turn away from them until they enter into another conversion.” (Surah Al-An’am 6:68)

And Allah said:

“It has already been revealed to you in the Book that when you hear the verses of Allah, they are denied and ridiculed. So do not sit with them until they enter into another conversation. Verily, you would then be like them.” (Surah An-Nisa 4:140)

Generally, the Prophet was commanded to endure any insult or mockery from his enemies which resulted from their bad character.

Allah said:

“Show forgiveness, enjoin what is good, and turn away from the ignorant.” (Surah Al-A’raf 7:199)

Abdullah ibn Zubair explained this verse, saying:

The Prophet was commanded to forgive the people’s bad character.” (Sunan Abu Dawud 4787)

There are many recorded incidents in the life of the Prophet in which he was mocked, defamed, and even physically attacked for his faith in Islam, but despite this abuse the Prophet responded with patience, forbearance, mercy, and forgiveness.

In one incident, a group of Jews insulted the Prophet in his own home. Although the Prophet was the leader of Madinah at the time, he did not order these men to be harmed. Rather, he used the incident to teach his Companions an important lesson about kindness.

Aisha reported:

“A group of Jews asked permission to visit the Prophet and when they were admitted they said, “Death be upon you.” I said to them, “Rather death and the curse of Allah be upon you!” The Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings be upon him, said: “O Aisha, Allah is kind and He loves kindness in all matters.” I said, “Have you not heard what they said?” The Prophet said: “I said to them: And upon you.” (Sahih Bukhari 6528)

Al-Bukhari records this narration in his chapter regarding those who curse and abuse the Prophet, which strongly implies that he did not believe legal punishment should be applied to every case of blasphemy.

Badr ud-Din Al-Ayni, a scholar of the Hanafi School, comments on this chapter heading:

“Al-Bukhari has adopted the method of the people of Kufi on this issue, that if someone curses or berates the Prophet and he is a non-Muslim citizen, then he is rebuked but he is not killed. This is the opinion of Ath-Thawri.” (Umdat al-Qari fi Sharh Sahih Al-Bukhari 34/412)

In another incident, the Prophet was defamed and insulted by one of the men of Madinah who was upset with his method of distributing charity. The Prophet did not retaliate against him even though he was very disturbed by it, citing the fact that Musa (Moses), peace be upon him, was harmed by his people with much greater abuse.

Ibn Mas’ud reported:

“The Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings be upon him, was distributing charity among the people when a man from the Ansar said, “By Allah, Muhammad did not intend to please Allah with this distribution!” I came to the Prophet and informed him about this, then anger could be seen on his face and the Prophet said: “Moses was hurt with more than this, yet he remained patient.” (Sahih Bukhari)

Indeed, it was the practice of all the Prophets to patiently endure the harm they received from their people, even to the point of asking Allah to forgive their oppressors.

Allah said:

“They said: We will surely be patient with whatever harm you cause us, and let them rely on who would rely upon Allah.” (Surah Ibrahim 14:12)

Ibn Mas’ud reported:

“I saw the Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings be upon him, tell the story of a Prophet who was beaten by his people and he wiped the blood from his face, saying: “My Lord, forgive my people for they do not know.” (Sahih Bukhari 6530)

An-Nawawi comments on this narration, saying:

“In this is what the Prophets, peace and blessings be upon them, were upon of forbearance, patience, forgiveness, and compassion for their people, their supplications for them to receive guidance and to be forgiven, and that they should be excused for their sins because they did not know.” (Sharh Sahih Muslim 1792)

The Prophet continued to set this example throughout his life, even to the point of forgiving several people who tried to kill him.

In one incident, a woman came to the Prophet and fed him with a poisoned sheep. When the Prophet began to suffer and it was discovered what she had done, the companions asked him if they should kill her. In this case, it would have been a justified retaliation against attempted murder, but the Prophet pardoned her instead.

Anas ibn Malik reported:

“A Jewish woman came to the Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings be upon him, with a poisoned sheep and he ate from it. She was brought to him and he asked her about it. She said, “”I wanted to kill you.” The Prophet said: “Allah has given you no authority over me.” It was said, “Should we kill her?” The Prophet said: No.” (Sahih Bukhari 2474)

In another incident, a man from an opposing tribe attempted to kill the Prophet while he was sleeping. Allah miraculously saved the Prophet by causing the man’s hand to slip, after which the Prophet gained power him. Even so, in this position of strength the Prophet continued to show clemency.

Jabir reported:

“We took part in the expedition with the Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings be upon him, against Najd and when the time for afternoon rest approached, he was in a valley of thorny trees. He dismounted under a tree to rest in its shade and hung his sword upon it. The people dispersed among the trees in order to use their shade. While we were like this, the Prophet called us and we came to find a Bedouin sitting in front of him. The Prophet said: “This person came to me while I was asleep and he quietly took my sword. I woke up while he was standing over my head, holding my unsheathed sword. He said: Who will protect you from me? I said three times: Allah.” Jabir said: “The Prophet did not punish him and he sat down.” (Sahih Bukhari 2753)

In another narration, the Prophet said to the man:

“Will you bear witness that there is no God but Allah and I am the Messenger of Allah”? The man said, “No, but I give you my word that I will not fight you and I will not join anyone who is fighting you.” So the Prophet let him go. The man returned to his people and said: “I have just come to you from the best of people!” (Musnad Ahmad 14768)

The man was impressed by the Prophet’s character so much that he returned to his people and praised him. This is an excellent example of how mercy and forgiveness are among the best deeds for winning the hearts and minds to Islam.

In one of the most famous incidents, the Prophet finally gained power over his enemies after being persecuted for twenty-three years. He could have easily ordered their execution and the companions would have complied. However, the Prophet used this moment to teach the lesson of mercy just as Yusuf (Joseph), peace be upon him, had forgiven his brothers.

Al-Qasim ibn Salim reported:

“When they came to the Ka’bah they were holding onto its door and the Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings be upon him, said: “What do you say? What do you think”? They said three times, “We say you are the son of our brother.” The Prophet said: “I say to you as Joseph said to his brothers: No blame upon you today. Allah will forgive you and He is the most merciful of the merciful.” (12:92)

Abu Yusuf reported:

“When they had gathered in front of the sacred Mosque, the Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings be upon him, said: “What do you think I will do with you”? They said, “Only good, O noble brother, son of a noble brother.” The Prophet said: “Go, you are free.” (Sunan Al-Kubra of al-Bayhaqi 17714)

All of this evidence indicates the general rule that Muslims should respond to blasphemy with patience, forbearance, and graceful discussion. We need to behave in the serene manner of the Prophet as well as publish articles, set up websites, and otherwise spread authentic information about his life and teachings.

That said, the classical ruling in Islamic law imposes the death penalty upon those who blaspheme against Islam. This ruling is derived from handful of instances in which the Prophet executed some people for treason, not for merely insulting Islam.

For example, the Prophet ordered the execution of Ka’ab ibn Al-Ashraf as he conspired to wage war against Madinah. Ka’ab also wrote poetry satirizing the Prophet and his Companions, although this was not his only offense. Rather, he posed an imminent danger to the Muslim community due to his support for gathering an army.

Badr ud-Din Al-Ayni comments on the story of Ka’ab and other narrations:

“In these traditions it is shown that they were not killed merely for their insults. Indeed, they were only killed due to their aid of the enemy and gathering together for war and supporting it.” (Umdat al-Qari fi Sharh Sahih Al-Bukhari 34/413)

This was the general social and political context within which the classical ruling against blasphemy had developed.

Intisar Rabb, a onetime director of Harvard University’s Islamic Legal Studies program, explains:

“The rationale underlying this rule was an argument linking several steps. To curse God was to blaspheme Him, which was implicitly to signal a departure from the community of Muslims and the laws governing them. The presumption was that a person could not possibly be a Muslim, fitting squarely within its system of laws and confessing to the oneness and supremacy of God, if he or she at the same time cursed God. The same applied to cursing the Prophet, the family of the Prophet, and the revered Companions of the Prophet. For (the jurists), if religious speech acts akin to confessing the Muslim creed reflected societal commitments to uphold the law, much as an oath of citizenship might in the contemporary world, then renouncing such an oath would conceptually signal a threat or possibility of treason, combat against the state, and opposition to the social order itself. In other words, members of the Muslim community under Muslim rule were expected to play by its rules, including its call to honour reputation, lineage, and religious status. For the jurists, signaling absolution from those expectations could very well pose a threat of violence against the state and its public order or rule of law.” (See Ellis Mark S. 2012 Islamic law and international human rights law: searching for common ground? P. 158/164)

Therefore, it is not mere blasphemy that warrants the death penalty, but rather only when it is combined with acts of treason and sedition.

There is one particular proof-text being used in support of vigilante violence which we must critically examine. Extremists and Mob cite this narration in isolation and without context to justify the murder of anyone who insults the Prophet. The fault in their interpretation results from their attempt to derive a legal ruling from an anomalous narration and in disregard for general rules and principles firmly established in stronger texts.

Ibn Abbas reported:

“A blind man had a lady servant who would abuse the Prophet and disparage him. He forbade her from doing it but she did not stop. He rebuked her and she still did not stop. One night she was reviling the Prophet, so he took a dagger and pressed it on her stomach and killed her. In the morning, it was mentioned to the Prophet, peace and blessings be upon him and he said: “I ask by Allah and by my right over whoever did this to stand up.” The blind man said, “O Messenger of Allah, I am her master and she used to abuse and disparage you. I forbade her but she did not stop, and I rebuked her but she did not stop. I have two sons like pearls from her and she was my companion. Last night she began to abuse you and disparage you, so I took a dagger and pressed it on her stomach until she died.” The Prophet said: “Bear witness that there is no punishment for her killing.” (Sunan Abu Dawud 4361)

There are problems with this narration both in its chain of authorities and in the text itself. This is a solitary (Ahad) narration coming by route of the sub-narrator Uthman Ash-Shaham who is widely regarded as trustworthy, but upon whom some scholars have cast doubt.

Yusuf ibn Abdur Rahman Al-Mizzi reported:

“An-Nasa’i said: from what I have read, Uthman Ash-Shaham is not strong. And he said on other topics there is nothing wrong with him.” (Tahdhib Al-Kamal 5495)

An –Nasa’i expressed doubt on Uthman Ash-Shaham’s ability to narrate about certain topics. In addition, Al-Bukhari, the leading scholar of prophetic narrations, did not narrate from him. Certainly a narration involving such strong legal implications should be narrated by a wide range of authorities whose capabilities are beyond question, yet this is not the case. It is possible that Uthman Ash-Shaham made an error relating the narration’s context, details, and implication.

Furthermore, there is a degree of anomaly (shadh) in this narration as it apparently contradicts several of the verses and traditions we previously mentioned. An anomalous narration is one that is related from trustworthy sources, but is contradicted by stronger sources.

Ibn Salah reported:

“Ash-Shafi’i said: An anomalous narration is not one that has been narrated by a single trustworthy person and not narrated by others. Rather, and anomalous narration is a report from a trustworthy person that contradicts what is narrated from other people.”  (Ulum Al-Hadith of Ibn Salah)

The fact that this narration contradicts what is authentically and abundantly reported elsewhere should make us very cautious about deriving a general rule from it.

And if we accept the narration as authentic (sahih) or at least trustworthy (hasan), as most scholars of prophetic narrations have done, then we must understand it in proper context and in agreement with the abundance of conflicting evidence.

This single incident occurred at time when the Makkans were waging war against Madinah. Repeated and stubborn expressions of defamation against the Prophet during this time would have strongly implied sympathy with the enemy forces. This means the woman potentially would have been in a position to relay sensitive information to the enemy, such as troop movements, which could have placed the entire community in danger. Consistent with the whole of Islamic scripture, we should conclude that her offense involved not simply insults on account of her bad character, but rather a repudiation of her loyalty to the community.

Moreover, the Prophet did not command or prescribe her execution. He initially considered it an evil deed that demanded an explanation. Upon hearing that the woman had posed a threat to the community, he only judged that the man not be punished for murder in this particular case, this makes the narration a description of a localized event rather than a universal prescription for all cases.

As such, we should not extract from this narration the idea that common Muslims may punish blasphemy against Islam without legal authorization. Islam does not authorize individual Muslims to appropriate for themselves the role of judge, jury, and executioner. It is a well-established principle in Islam that legal punishment may only be carried out by authorities who act upon due process. This solitary narration cannot be used to overturn this essential principle of Islamic law.

Does this mean that blasphemy should be tolerated in every case? Free speech is not merely a human right, but rather it is a responsibility. The purpose of free speech is to facilitate discussion in search of truth and justice. Consequently, the general rule is that people are free to speak their minds respectfully, but speech that serves no purpose other than to slander, defame, offend, or incite to violence is not worthy of protection. Indeed, the Muslims have been prohibited from cursing other religions and evens idols.

Allah said

“Do not insult those they invoke besides Allah, lest they insult Allah in enmity without knowledge.” (Surah Al-An’am 6:108)

For this reason, many Muslim countries have statutes against defaming Islam as well as Judaism, Christianity, and other religions, as this harms the cohesion of peaceful communities. Most countries in the world impose legal or at least social restraints on free speech with laws against slander and defamation, as well as what they consider “blasphemy,” such as the many European countries that prohibit profaning the memory of the Holocaust. Muslims and all people should respect such limits as it is the responsibility of good citizens to refrain from harming social order and peace.

However, the best way to counter false speech is by speaking the truth. The problem of blasphemy can usually be remedied by a number of peaceful solutions such as publishing articles, setting up websites, holding conferences, and arguing with good manners. Every non-violent means should be used to counter blasphemous speech before resorting to legal action and especially the death penalty. No doubt, the least likely to resort to killing are the true believers.

Ibn Mas’ud reported: The Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings be upon him, said:

“The most restrained of the people regarding killing are the people of faith.” (Musnad Ahmad 3720)

Muslims must avoid calling for the death penalty whenever possible, because indulgence in this matter indicates a lack of strong faith.

We also need to view this matter from the legal principle of public welfare (maslahah mursalah). Ibn Taymiyyah defines this principle as follows:

”The principle of public welfare is the case when a distinguished jurist views another action as more likely to bring benefit and there is nothing in the law to negate it.” (Majmu’Al-fatawa 11/342)

In so many cases, we see that the prosecution of blasphemy can cause greater harm to the community and the image of Islam than the blasphemy itself. We have a precedent in the practice of the Prophet to withhold such punishments when they cause greater harm.

Jabir ibn Abdullah reported:

“A man came to the Messenger of Allah on his way back from Hunain while there was some silver in the backpack of Bilal. The Messenger of Allah took a handful from it and distributed it among the people. The man said to him, “O Muhammad! Be just!” Umar ibn Al-Khattab said, “O Messenger of Allah, allow me to kill this hypocrite!” The Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings be upon him, said: “I seek refuge in Allah that the people will say I am killing my Companions.” (Sahih Muslim 1063)

In this case, the Prophet refused to punish a dangerous man, a hypocrite who was pretending to be a Muslim in order to attack the community from within, on the grounds that it would have harmed the image of Islam in the eyes of the people.

Likewise, the age of instant communication ensures that cases of blasphemy are no longer confined to local areas, but instead they have global implications. Prosecution for mere childish insults and thoughtless, impromptu remarks, without evidence of treasonous intent, only project an image of Islam as intolerant and draconian. Rather, judges need to carefully consider the unintended consequences and they must justify any prosecution in terms greater than mere insults and hurt feelings.

Furthermore, we have the lessons of history which compel us to seek mitigation and restriction of the classical blasphemy law. Numerous Muslim scholars were imprisoned and persecuted because their views were considered “blasphemy” by the ruling regime. Most notably is the case of Ahmad ibn Hanbal who was imprisoned and tortured by the ruling Mu’tazilte regime for his alleged blasphemy of affirming the Quran was uncreated. An uncompromising and loosely interpreted blasphemy statute increases the possibility of it being misused by a corrupt regime to victimize callers to truth.

Therefore it is not permissible for a Muslim without judicial authority to implement Islamic legal punishments on his own initiative. Vigilante justice, or “taking the law into your own hands,” is unlawful in Islam because it will lead to chaos and possibly greater harm than the crimes themselves. Likewise, it is not permissible for a Muslim to declare war or to commit an act of war without lawful authority.

Abu Hurairah reported: Sa’ad ibn Ubadah said:

“O Messenger of Allah, if I find another man with my wife, should I leave him alone until I bring four witnesses?” The Prophet said yes, Sa’ad said, “Never! By the one who sent you with the truth, if that happened to me I would quickly grab the sword!” The Prophet, peace and blessings be upon him, said: Listen to what your leader is saying.” (Sahih Muslim 1498)

In this example, the Prophet has forbidden a man who witnesses his wife committing adultery from implementing legal punishment by his own initiative. This is because legal punishments may only be applied by appointed judges and because the punishment for adultery requires the testimony of four reliable witnesses.

Ibn Muflih writes:

“It is forbidden to establish a legal punishment unless it is done by the leader or his deputy.” (See Al-Furu’ 6/53)

Sheikh Hani Al-jubayr, judge at the Jeddah Supreme Court, writes:

“The prescribed punishments in Islamic Law are only to be issued by the judge, since due process and proper procedures of evidence must be observed. They must thereafter only be carried out by properly empowered government officials. Otherwise things will deteriorate into public violence that may bring about dire consequences.”

Therefore, a Muslim who witnesses a crime (any kind) should inform the local authorities who will take appropriate action. He should never attempt to implement legal punishments on his own.

Sheikh Ahmad deedat said:

“The biggest enemy of Islam is the ignorant Muslim, whose ignorance leads him to intolerance, whose actions destroy the true image of Islam, and when the people look at him they think that Islam is what he is.”

In conclusion, numerous verses and traditions in Islam demonstrate that the general rule for responding to blasphemy is to counter it with patience, forbearance, and speaking the truth in a beautiful manner. Muslims ought to behave this way in the overwhelming majority of cases. The only exception to this rule is derived from the specific cases in which the Prophet punished some people for treason in addition to their harmful utterances. We must not expand this specific rule to all cases, thereby negating the general teachings of mercy, patience, and tolerance.

 

Your Brother, Imam Murtadha Muhammad Gusau, the chief Imam of Nagazi-Uvete Jumu’at Mosque and Alhaji Abdurrahman Okene’ s Mosque, Okene Kogi State Nigeria. He can be reached via: +2348038289761. Saturday, Sha’aban 28, 1437 AH (June 4th, 2016).

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Felicitation And Moonsighting For Ramadan By The Supreme Council For Islamic Affairs

The month of Ramadan (is that) in which was revealed the Quran, a guidance for mankind and clear proofs for the guidance and the criterion (between right and wrong). So whoever of you sights (the crescent on the first night of) the month (of Ramadan i.e. present at his home), he must observe fasting that month… (Q.Al-Baqarah 2:185)

The Nigerian Supreme Council for Islamic Affairs (NSCIA), under the leadership of its President General, Alh. Muhammad Sa’ad Abubakar, CFR, mni, the Sultan of Sokoto, congratulates the Muslim Ummah in Nigeria and all over the world on the auspicious occasion of Ramadan, 1437 A. H. The Council prays that Allah make the month a positively new beginning in our individual and national lives in terms of spiritual excellence and national development.

The Council appreciates the educative release from National Space Research Development Agency (NASRDA) on crescent sighting, which was meant to provide just the scientific explanation concerning sighting of the crescent. We urge the NASRDA to make it a monthly affair for public awareness and education. One of the beauties of Islamic calendar is its being natural, based on a monthly phenomenon as created by the Almighty Creator of both humanity and nature.

It is also instructive that the findings of NASRDA agree with those of the Islamic Scholars on when and where the conjunction of the new crescent would take place. The only difference is that mere conjunction without its physical appearance (after sunset) is not enough for the commencement of the Ramadan except on the 30th of the receding month when its existence is certain.

Since the last Ramadan fast, the National Moon Sighting Committee (NMSC) of the NSCIA, under the leadership of Mallam Hafiz Wali and Prof. Usman El-Nafaty, assisted by Bro. Muhammad Yaseen Qamarud-Deen, advises the President General of the NSCIA on the commencement of every lunar month. The President General, as advised, always makes monthly declaration of the commencement of every lunar month.

The NMSC had advised the President General that the crescent of Ramadan should be searched for on Sunday, 5th June, 2016 equivalent to 29th Sha’ban 1437 AH. If the crescent is actually sighted by informed persons on Sunday night and His Eminence is so advised by the experts, he would declare Monday, 6th June, 2016 as the first day of Ramadan. If, however, the crescent is not sighted on the night of Sunday, Tuesday, 7th June, 2016 automatically becomes the first of Ramadan, 1437 AH.

Muslims all over the Country are hereby enjoined to be on the lookout for the directive of His Eminence, the President General of the NSCIA, on the commencement of the 1437 AH Ramadan fast.

In addition to established and traditional Islamic leaders in each locality, members of the National Moon Sighting Committee who can be contacted for information and clarification are:

S/N NAME PHONE NO. E-MAIL
1 Mallam Hafiz Wali 08036009090 hafizswali@yahoo.com
2 Sheikh  Tahir Bauchi 08032103733

08033058201

Sayyadibashir26@yahoo.com

Usmanusman9280@gmail.com

3 Sheikh  Karibullah Kabara 08035537382  
4 Mal. Simwal Usman Jibrin 08033140010 simwaljibril@yahoo.com
5 Sheikh  Salihu Yaaqub 07032558231 Salihumy11@yahoo.com
6 Mal. Jafar Abubakar 08020878075 jaafaraabubakar@yahoo.com
7 Alh. Abdullahi Umar 08037020607 waziringwandu@yahoo.com
8 Prof. J.M. Kaura 08067050641 Jmkaura56@yahoo.com
9 Dr. Bashir Aliyu Umar 08036509363 Baumar277@gmail.com

 

S/N NAME PHONE NO. E-MAIL
1 Sheikh  Habeebullah Adam Al-Ilory 08023126335 habibelilory@ymail.com
2 Sheikh  Jamiu Kewulere 08033881335 pgsouthwest85@gmail.com
3 Muhammad Rabiu Salahudeen 08035740333 muhammadrabiusalahudeen@gmail.com
4 Sheikh  Abdur-Razzaq Ishola 08023864448

08051111063

hustaz@yahoo.com

sheikh@al@abrartravels.com

5 Sheikh Abdur Rasheed Mayaleke 08035050804 jentleasad@yahoo.com
6 Dr. Ganiy I. Agbaje 08028327463

08057752980

Ganiy.agbaje@nasrda.gov.ng

gagbaje@yahoo.co.uk

7 Gafar M. Kuforiji 08033545208 kuforijiabdulwasiu@gmail.com

 

S/N NAME PHONE NO. E-MAIL
1 Prof. Usman El-Nafaty 08062870892 elnafaty@gmail.com
2 Mal. Ibrahim Zubairu Salisu 08038522693 zubairusalisu@yahoo.com
3 Dr. Usman Hayatu Dukku 0805 704 1968 udukku@yahoo.com
4 Imam Manu

Muhammad

08036999841

 

limaminmisau@gmail.com
5 Chief Imam of Yola Central Mosque 08035914285  

 

S/N NAME PHONE NO. E-MAIL
1 Prof. Z. I. Oboh Oseni 08033574431 oseni@unilorin.edu.ng

wazzioseni@gmail.com

2 Nurudeen Asunogie D. 08033533012 hamdallah1999@yahoo.com

 

 

 

 

S/N NAME PHONE NO. E-MAIL
1 Sheikh  Bala Lau 08037008805

08052426880

balalaujibwisnigeria@gmail.com
2 Sheikh  Sani Yahaya Jingir 08065687545

 

 
3 Muhammad Nasir AbdulMuhyi 08065687545

08024333381

ustaznasirabdulmuhyi@yahoo.com
4 Sheikh  AbdurRahman Ahmad 08023141752 aahmadimam@yahoo.co.uk
5 Muhammad Yaseen Qamarud-Deen 07032558231 info@bmics.com
6 Sheikh  Lukman Abdallah 08037861132  
7 Sheikh  Sulaiman Gumi 08033139153 ssgummi@gmail.com

 

S/N NAME PHONE NO. E-MAIL
1 Sheikh Adam Idoko 08036759892 imamcentral@yahoo.com
2 Alh. Yusuf Nwoha 08030966956

08026032997

yusufnwoha@gmail.com
3 Mal. Isa Okonkwo 08037861407

 

isaokonkwo@gmail.com

 

As soon as the NMSC, based on the verified information, confirms the sighting of the crescent, the committee will advise the President General of the NSCIA, who will announce the commencement of the month of Ramadan.

While we are wishing all Nigerian Muslims happy Ramadan in advance, we urge each and every Muslim to remain faithful to the true teachings of Islam in all its ramifications, by being his/her brothers’ keeper, peace loving, peace keeping, peacemaking and being an advocate of peaceful co-existence for accelerated development of our troubled nation.

We urge all of us to seize the opportunity of Ramadan to pray for our leaders; Political, Religious and Social, so that the nation can be properly guided to greater development.

Ramadan Kareem!

signed

Prof. Is-haq Oloyede, OFR, FNAL,

Secretary General,

NSCIA.

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(Friday Sermon) Zakah: The Destroyer Of Poverty By Imam Murtada Gusau

Praise be to Allah. Praise be to Allah, the free of all wants and needs, the worthy of all praise; the owner of the Throne, the All Glorious. I praise my Lord and thank Him. I turn to Him in repentance and ask Him for forgiveness. I bear witness that there is no god but Allah alone, who has no partners, the Doer of whatsoever He wills; and I bear witness that our Prophet and master, Muhammad, is His servant and Messenger, who was granted victory and given the greatest support. O Allah! Bestow your peace and blessings upon your servant and Messenger Muhammad and upon his family and companions, who followed the rightly guided commands.

Now then, fear Allah by doing good deeds and abandoning evil deeds.

Servants of Allah!

Know that the teachings of this true and great religion (Islam) are all based on three foundations, namely, doing good to oneself, doing good to others, and refraining from causing harm and evil to them. One can do good to oneself by performing different acts of worship, while doing good to others is realized through good deeds of various kinds. Allah, Exalted be He, says:

“…and do good. Truly, Allah loves Al-Muhsinun (The good doers).” (Surah al-Baqarah: 195)

Allah Exalted be He, also says:

“…but transgress not the limits. Truly, Allah likes not the transgressors.” (Surah al-Baqarah: 190)

Allah, Might and Majesty be to Him, also says:

“Verily, Allah enjoins justice and Al-Ihsan (goodness), and giving to kith and kin, and forbids all evil deeds, and all that is prohibited, and Al-Baghyi (i.e. all kinds of oppression). He admonishes you, that you may take heed.” (Surah an-Nahl: 90)

Allah also describes the believers as being good to themselves and as being kind to others by refraining from doing harm and causing evil to them. Allah, Exalted be He, says:

“The believers, men and women, are helpers of one another, they enjoin goodness, and forbid from evil; they perform As-Salat and give zakat, and obey Allah and His Messenger. Allah will have His Mercy on them. Surely Allah is All-Mighty, All-Wise.” (Surah at-Tawbah: 71)

Allah, Exalted be He, also says:

“… and when the foolish address them (with bad words) they reply back with mild words of gentleness.” (Surah al-Furqan: 63)

Servants of Allah!

Zakah is an act of worship which Allah has imposed on Muslims to be taken from their wealth and to be paid to the eight categories of people entitled to zakah. The rich must pay the zakah to the poor as a duty, not as a favour. Allah has imposed it in order to achieve social solidarity among Muslims. He has prescribed it to meet the needs of the poor and the needy, by way of doing good to others and in order that those who pay it may gain His reward.  It has many benefits and serves great purposes. For instance, it cleanses hearts of miserliness, covetousness, and vice. Allah, Exalted be He, says:

“Take Sadaqah (alms) from their wealth in order to purify them and sanctify them with it, and invoke Allah for them. Verily! Your invocations are a source of security for them….” (Surah at- Tawbah: 103)

My respected people!

Paying zakah eradicates the disease of envy (Hasad) from hearts. Envy is a serious disease which results from rivalry for worldly superiority and which causes oppression, injustice, hatred and many evils among the members of society. The Prophet (SAW) said:

“The disease of the nations who came before you has started to spread among you: envy and hatred. Beware of envy, for it consumes good deeds just as fire consumes firewood.” (Reported by Abu Dawud)

Also paying zakah brings about empathy and compassion among Muslims and ensures social solidarity as well as love and affection between the rich and the poor.

Zakah is one of the pillars of Islam. It is often mentioned in combination with the prayer (Salah) in the Qur’an and the Sunnah of the Allah’s Messenger (SAW). Thus the acts of zakah and prayer are accepted together with one another.

The amount of zakah imposed on people is very little compared with the wealth that Allah has given to them. Allah Exalted be He, says:

“And that it is He who gives much or a little.” (Surah an-Najm: 48)

Allah Exalted be He, also says:

“And whatever of blessings and good things you have, it is from Allah…” (Surah an-Nahl: 53)

Allah, Might and Majesty be to Him, says:

“And keep your duty to Him; fear Him who has aided you with all (good things) that you know. He has aided you with cattle and children. And gardens and springs.” (Surah ash-Shu’ara: 132-134)

Allah, Exalted be He, also says:

“And give them something (yourselves) out of the wealth of Allah which He has bestowed upon you…” (Surah an-Nur: 33)

Paying the zakah due on one’s wealth testifies to one’s imaan and gratefulness to Allah for having such wealth. In fact, zakah increases wealth and never decreases it and protects it against destruction and loss. Allah, Exalted be He says:

“…and whatsoever you spend of anything (in Allah’s Cause), He will replace it. And He is the best of providers.” (Saba’: 39)

The Prophet (SAW) said:

“No wealth is damaged in the land or in the sea but by withholding the zakah due on it.”

Abdullah ibn Umar, May Allah be pleased with him and his father, narrated that the Messenger of Allah said:

“No people withhold the zakah of their wealth but they are denied rain, and were it not for the animals no rain would be sent down upon them.” (Reported by ibn Majah)

The poor will establish evidence against the rich on the Day of Judgment if they refrained from paying the zakah due to them in this world. They will say, “Our Lord! You granted wealth to these, but they denied us our rights.” Allah will then decide between them with His just judgment.

Allah has promised the greatest reward for those who pay the zakah. Allah, Exalted be He, says:

“And those who pay the zakah.” (Surah al-Mu’minun: 4)

He also mentions other good deeds along with zakah, and then shows the great reward for doing them:

“These are indeed the inheritors. Who shall inherit the Paradise. They shall dwell therein forever.” (Surah al-Mu’minun: 10-11)

Allah, Exalted be He, also says:

“Verily, the pious will be in the midst of Gardens and springs, Taking joy in the things which their Lord has given them. Verily, they were before this Muhsinun (the good doers). They used to sleep but little by night. And in the hours before dawn, they were asking for forgiveness. And in their properties there was the right for the Sa’il (the beggar who asks) and the Mahrum (the poor who does not ask others).” (Surah adh-Dhariyat: 15-19)

Allah pledges to inflict a painful punishment on those who withhold the zakah due on their wealth. Allah, Exalted be He, says:

”…and woe to Al-Mushrikun. Those who give not the zakah and they are disbelievers in the Hereafter.” (Surah Fussilat: 6-7)

Allah, Exalted be He, also says:

“…And those who hoard up gold and silver and spend them not in the way of Allah announce to them a painful torment. On the Day when that will be heated in the fire of hell and with it will be branded their foreheads, their flanks, and their backs, (and it will be said unto them): “This is the treasure which you hoarded for yourselves. Now taste of what you used to hoard.” (Surah at-Tawbah: 34-35)

Those who pay zakah due on their wealth will not suffer such punishment and are excluded from this warning.

Abu Hurairah, May Allah be pleased with him, narrated that the Messenger of Allah said:

“No one possesses money and abstains from giving its zakah but his money will come to him on the Day of Judgment in the form of a bald rattle snake, which will take him by the cheeks, saying, ‘I am your treasure, I am your money.’ “(Reported by Al-Bukhari and Muslim)

Similarly, the owners of camels, cows, and sheep who do not pay the zakah due on them will be thrown on his face before them on the Day of Judgment and their animals will trample over him, as the Prophet (SAW) said in a hadith reported in Sahih Muslim. Zakah must be paid for gold and silver, or what corresponds for them in banknotes, if the value of each of them, or both of them combined, reaches the nisab (the minimum amount of which zakah is payable). Zakah is also due on camels, cows, and sheep when they reach the nisab, and it is equally due on what comes out of the earth. It is also due on commercial commodities, in which case they are estimated according to their value, and a quarter of a tenth (2.5%) of their value is given out as zakah.

If someone is in debt, he must first pay off his debt and then pay zakah on whatever is left of his wealth. If he has not paid off his debt, he pays zakah on whatever is in his possession. The nisab of gold is 20 mithqals, which is equivalent to 85 grams of pure gold, and the nisab of silver is 200 dirhams, which weighs 595 grams of pure silver, or what corresponds to them in banknotes. The value of the nisab of gold and silver varies according to the currency used in a specific time.

The right course of action is to pay two and a half percent (2.5%) of the amount on which zakah is due. Thus, whoever pays 2.5 for each one hundred units, 25 for each one thousand units and 25,000 for each one million units has discharged his duty. Zakah must be paid on whatever exceeds the nisab according to its category and value. In the case of camels, cattle, and sheep, no zakah is due on the animals below the first nisab and between each of the subsequent nisabs. As for gold and silver, or what corresponding to them in banknotes, zakah must be paid on whatever exceeds the nisab according to its value.

Brothers and Sisters!

A Muslim must seek to have enough knowledge about zakah and must ask scholars (Mallamai, Sheikhs, Alfas etc.) about all its details in order to be able to discharge the duties that Allah has imposed upon him with regard to his wealth. Whoever pays the zakah of the wealth that has been in his possession for a year or less at a certain time or in a specific month every year, such as the month of Ramadan, has discharged his duty.

O son of Adam! Your real wealth is that which you spend for Allah’s sake, whereas the wealth that actually belongs to others is that which you do not spend but leave for them. If the rich paid the zakah due on their wealth, there would be no poor person or beggar left inshaa Allah. Therefore, draw lessons from the lost generations whom Allah punished by their own wealth, and take admonition from the stories you heard of people whose wealth was of no avail to them. Remember that either you will leave your money behind or it will leave you.

Allah has prescribed other forms of mandatory or recommended spending besides zakah. Our Lord urges us to spend in the various good causes. Allah Exalted be He, says:

“O you who have believe! Spend of that with which we have provided for you, before a Day comes when there will be no bargaining, nor friendship, nor intercession…” (Surah al-Baqarah: 254)

Also the reward of what we spend for Allah’s sake is multiplied especially during the month of Ramadan. In addition, charity given in secret has its merits. Abu Sa’id Al-Khudri, May Allah be pleased with him, narrated that the Prophet said:

“Giving charity in secret extinguishes the wrath of the Lord, maintaining the ties of kinship increases one’s lifespan, and doing good deeds protects one from bad death.” (An authenticated hadith reported by Al-Baihaqi in Shu’ab Al-Imaan)

The one who gives charity is in fact striving against the devil. Buraidah, may Allah be pleased with him, narrated that the Messenger of Allah (SAW) said:

“No man gives any charity but he dispels by it seventy devils (who have been trying to dissuade him from giving charity).” (An authenticated hadith, reported by Al-Hakim in Al-Mustadrak)

Ramadan is the month of charity and good deeds. Therefore, blessed are those who hasten to do good and keep away from sins that lead to destruction. Allah, Exalted be He says:

“And march forth in the way (which leads to) forgiveness from your Lord, and for Paradise as wide as are the heavens and the earth, prepared for the pious. Those who spend in prosperity and in adversity, who repress anger, and who pardon men; verily, Allah loves Al-Muhsinun (the good doers).” (Surah Ali Imran: 133-134)

Servants of Allah!

A noble month is drawing near in which Allah has blessed you with the great season for doing good deeds and repenting of sins. Our beloved Prophet (SAW) used to give his Companions the glad tidings of its approach at the end of the month of Sha’aban, so that they could receive it with joy, happiness, and reverence.

Allah has made fasting Ramadan a means of expiating sins. The Prophet (SAW) said:

“Whoever fasts the month of Ramadan out of faith and in the hope of reward have his previous sins forgiven.” (Reported by Al-Bukhari)

Allah has also made performing voluntary night prayers in Ramadan a means of expiation for one’s past sins. It is a month in which the devils are chained, the gates of paradise are opened, and the gates of hellfire are closed. Therefore, you must honour it and sincerely repent of every sin before it starts, such as severing ties with fellow Muslims or deserting and hating one another.

Safeguard your fast, May Allah have mercy on you, from anything that is bound to invalidate it, such as backbiting, slander, and acts of disobedience to Allah, and sanctify it by remembering Allah and reciting the Qur’an, for Ramadan is the month of the Qur’an. Likewise, sanctify your fast by doing good deeds, and you will be among the successful and the foremost ones.

Observe the obligatory prayers in congregation, May Allah have mercy upon you, especially the Fajr (Dawn) and the Isha’ (Nightfall) prayers, for it has been authenticated that the Prophet (SAW) said:

“Whoever has performed the Isha’ and the Fajr prayers in congregation is like one who has stood in prayer all night.”

In addition, observe, May Allah have mercy on you, performing the tarawih prayers in congregation. For whoever performs the night prayer in congregation with his Imam in Ramadan till he completes it will have the reward for standing an entire night in prayer.

Servants of Allah!

“Allah sends His Salat on the Prophet and also His angels (ask Allah to bless him). O you who believe! Send your salat on him, and greet him with the Islamic way of greeting.” (Surah al-Ahzab: 56)

Also the Prophet (SAW) said:

“If a person asks Allah to send blessings upon me once, Allah will send blessings upon him ten times over.”

Therefore, ask Allah to bestow His peace and blessings on the master of those who preceded us and those who are yet to come and the Imam of Messengers.

O Allah! Bestow your peace upon Muhammad and his family, as you bestowed your peace on Ibrahim and his family; you are All-Praiseworthy, All-Glorious. O Allah! Bestow your blessings upon Muhammad and his family, as you bestowed your blessings on Ibrahim and his family; you are All-Praiseworthy, All-Glorious.

O Allah! Be pleased with all the Companions, along with the tabi’un, and with those who follow them in righteousness until the Day of Judgment. O Allah! Be pleased with us together with them, by your Grace, Munificence, and Mercy, O Most Merciful of all the Merciful!

O Allah! Protect us and protect our offspring from Satan, his offspring, his devils, and his soldiers, O Lord of the Worlds! O Allah! Protect Muslims and their offspring from Satan, his devils, and his soldiers, O Lord of the Worlds! You are powerful over all things.

O Allah! O Owner of Majesty and Honour!  O Allah! Spare Muslims’ blood and safeguard their money and their honour. O Allah! Feed the hungry among them and clothe the naked among them. O Allah! Dispel their fears and conceal their defects, O Lord of the Worlds! O Allah! Protect them from the evil of evil-doers and the plotting of transgressors.

O Allah! O Owner of Majesty and Honour! Facilitate for us our affairs in the right way. O Allah! Help debtors in paying off their debts. O Allah! Cure our sick and the sick among all Muslims. O Allah! Dispel our fears and conceal our defects.

O Allah! We ask you, O Owner of Majesty and Honour, to protect us from the evil within ourselves and from our wrong deeds. O Allah! O Lord of the Worlds! Protect us from the evil of all evil-doers; you are powerful over all things.

O Allah! Accept our good deeds; You are the All-Hearer, the All-Knower.

O Allah! Let us live and witness Ramadan. O Allah! Let us live and witness Ramadan for many years. O Owner of Majesty and Honour! O Allah! Accept our good deeds in Ramadan, and the good deeds of all Muslims; you are powerful over all things! Forgive our sins and mend our condition and the condition of all Muslims. None but you can mend our condition and all our matters.

Servants of Allah!

“Verily, Allah enjoins justice and Al-lhsan, and giving to kith and kin, and forbids all evil deeds, and all that is prohibited, and Al-Baghyi (i.e. all kinds of oppression). He admonishes you, that you may take heed. And fulfill the covenant of Allah when you have covenanted, and break not the oaths after you have confirmed them – and indeed you have appointed Allah your surety. Verily! Allah knows what you do.” (Surah an-Nahl: 90-91)

Remember Allah, the Most Great, the Sublime, and He will remember you. Thank Him for His favours and He will give you more. Verily, remembrance of Allah is greater than all, and Allah knows what you do.

This Khutbah (Friday Sermon) was prepared for delivery today, Friday, Sha’aban 27, 1437 AH (June 3, 2016), by Imam Murtadha Muhammad Gusau, the Chief Imam of Nagazi-Uvete Jumu’at Mosque and Alhaji Abdurrahman Okene’s Mosque, Okene Kogi State, Nigeria. He can be reached through: +234 803828 9761.

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