FAITH

Friday Sermon: Being Tested In Your Life, Your Religion And Your Iman, By Imam Murtadha Gusau

In The Name Of Allah, The Most Gracious, The Most Merciful

All thanks and praises are due to Allah, we seek His help and forgiveness. We seek refuge in Allah from the evil within ourselves and the consequences of our evil deeds. Whoever Allah guides will never be led astray, and whoever Allah leads astray will never find guidance. I bear witness that there is no god but Allah, He is alone without any partners, and I bear witness that Muhammad is His Servant and His Messenger.

“O you who have believed, fear Allah as He should be feared and do not die except as Muslims in submission to Him.” [Quran, 3:102]

“O mankind, fear your Lord, who created you from one soul and created from it its mate and dispersed from both of them many men and women. And fear Allah, through whom you ask one another, and the wombs. Verily, Allah is ever watching over you.” [Quran, 4:1]

“O you who have believed, fear Allah and speak words of appropriate justice. He will then amend for you your deeds and forgive your sins, and whoever obeys Allah and His Messenger has certainly attained a great attainment.” [Quran, 33:70-71]

Verily, the most truthful speech is the Book of Allah, the best guidance is the guidance of Muhammad, and the worst affairs are newly invented matters (in the religion). Every newly invented matter is a religious innovation, and every religious innovation is misguidance, and every misguidance is in the Hellfire.

To proceeds:

Respected Servants of Allah! The Quran and Sunnah of the Prophet Muhammad (Peace be upon him) actively call us to think, reflect and understand. We need to ask ourselves: what does Allah represent in my life? What does the Messenger of Allah represent in our life? What does the Quran reflect in my life?

The resulting quality of this reflection is gratitude. Gratitude is the driver of lasting benefit. We are Muslim because we are grateful to our Creator, Sustainer and Benefactor. We are Muslim because we believe in Allah.

This Islam that is fuelled by faith, stands the test of adversities. As opposed to Islam that is just based on identity which withers when tested.

Brothers and Sisters! I calls on us to nurture our strength of faith by not just going through the motions of religion. Rather, we should make every action an act of faith.

Know that your prayer is an act of faith. Know that your fasting is an act of faith. Know that your charity is an act of faith. Know that sticking to the halal and avoiding the haram is an act of faith. Know that visiting your parents is an act of faith. Know that to give your children good Islamic upbringing is an act of faith. Know that to contribute in bringing the lasting, permanent, and sustainable peace in your country is an act of faith. Know that your being involved in the community development, your social activism, your political activism, your maintaining ties with family and friends all of it is an act of faith.

Before any action, the believers should turn their heart to Allah. They should ask: what does Allah seek from me? Don’t just focus on the action. Focus first on Allah. If you do that, nothing will harm you.

The Prophet (Peace be upon him) said:

“If you ask, ask from Allah. If you rely, rely upon Allah.”

Religion is about Allah Most High alone.

Dear Brothers and Sisters! Muslims will endure many trials throughout their lives. Allah tests us with hardship and also with prosperity in order to validate the sincerity of our faith (our Iman).

Servants of Allah! During the most difficult and confusing times of our lives, our faith is often shaken. We begin to question who we are and what we believe. Sometimes when there is no one around to hear us but the walls of our room and Allah above the heavens, we cry out, “Why me? Why is this happening to me?”

Our despair can be due to the death of a loved one, to a terminal illness diagnosis, or even the loss of a coveted career or educational opportunity. But regardless of the details of our individual trials, beneath each episode is the excruciating feeling of helplessness because we have lost – or we are at risk of losing – something that is dear to us or something that we believe is essential to our sense of self or the meaning of our lives.

My people! No one is exempt from life’s trials, not even Prophets, Messengers and righteous people. Allah the Almighty says:

“Or do you think that you will enter Paradise while such [trial] has not yet come to you as came to those who passed on before you? They were touched by poverty and hardship and were shaken until [even their] Messenger and those who believed with him said, ‘When [will come] the help of Allah?’ Unquestionably, the help of Allah is [always] near.” [Quran, 2:214]

Dear Brothers and Sisters! Why does Allah test us?

When someone asks us, ‘What is your religion?’ we say ‘Islam.’ But what really makes us Muslims? What is the proof that we’re worthy of being called Muslims? It’s the same proof that teachers use to make sure a student is worthy of being at the school – a test. That is the reason that Allah the Exalted tests me, tests you and them, as He said in the Quran:

“Who has created death and life that He may test which of you is best in deed. And He is the All-Mighty, the Oft-Forgiving.” [Quran, 67: 2]

And:

“Or do you think that you will enter Paradise before Allah tests those of you who fought (in His Cause) and (also) tests those who are As-Sabirun (the patient)?” [Quran, 3:142]

And:

“You shall certainly be tried and tested in your wealth and properties and in your personal selves.” [Quran, 3:186]

And:

“Do people think that they will be left alone because they say: ‘We believe,’ and will not be tested. And We indeed tested those who were before them…” [Quran, 29: 2-4]

My respected people! When does Allah test us?

The Prophet (Peace be upon him) said:

“The extent of the reward will be in accordance with the extent of the trial. If Allah loves a people, He tries them, and whoever is content will have contentment, and whoever is angry will have anger.” [At-Tirmidhi]

Allah tests us in order to make us better and stronger Muslims. The point where you overcome a test successfully, you are not the same anymore, you are now better prepared for further challenges, you have stronger belief in Allah and more hopeful of success. Allah the Most High said:

“No calamity occurs, but by the permission of Allah, and whosoever believes in Allah, He guides his heart. And Allah is the All-Knower of everything.” [Quran, 64:11]

Servants of Allah! How does Allah test us?

The tests of Allah are different for different individuals, custom-made according to their particular strengths and weaknesses. The things which seem like a trial to me may not even bother you a bit, and vice versa. Therefore we must not look at someone depressed over something that seems trivial to us and say, ‘Look what a weak person she/he is!’ It may be just that his/her strengths are different than yours.

Allah tests some people with poverty, others with emotional distress, others with illness, others with evil children, others with evil wives, others with bad husbands, others with dangerous neighbours, others with bad, corrupt, evil and inexperienced leaders, others with their work, business and friends, others with terrorism and terrorists, and yet others with prosperity and fame. How come prosperity is a test? When things are going well, we tend to forget about Allah and the Hereafter, and death, and as a result we may lose the most precious thing to a believer – Iman.

“Indeed, mankind was created anxious: When evil touches him, impatient, And when good touches him, withholding [of it].” [Quran, 70:19-21]

* What to do when Allah tests us

Allah the Almighty said in the Quran:

“And seek help in patience and As-Salah (Prayer) and truly it is extremely heavy and hard except for humbly submissive [to Allah].” [Quran, 2:45]

Brothers and Sisters! The moment a trial strikes you, remember to be patient. The Prophet said:

“The real patience is at the first stroke of a calamity.” [Sahih Al Bukhari]

If it’s difficult to be patient, then pretend to be patient, and the pretense will soon turn real. The best way to do it is to just keep silent and pray to Allah for patience.

“Our Lord, pour upon us patience and let us die as Muslims.” [Quran, 7:126]

Look at the beauty of this Du’a. When does one come to the verge of losing faith? When some disaster totally destroys a person. You will find many atheists complaining, ‘Where was Allah when such and such happened to me?’ So we ask Allah’s help against this ultimate disaster – loss of faith.

Allah describes those who are patient in the following verses:

“And We will surely test you with something of fear and hunger and a loss of wealth and lives and fruits, but give good tidings to the patient, who, when disaster strikes them, say, ‘Indeed we belong to Allah, and indeed to Him we will return.’ Those are the ones upon whom are blessings from their Lord and mercy. And it is those who are the [rightly] guided.” [Quran, 2:155-57]

So whenever something bad happens, say as the Prophet said:

“Inna lillahi wa inna ilaihi raaji’un. Allahummah ajurni fi musibati wa akhlif li khairan minha.”

Meaning:

“To Allah we belong, and to Him is our Return. O Allah! Take me out of my plight and replace it with something which is better.” [Muslim]

And remember the saying of Allah:

“For indeed, with hardship [will be] ease. Indeed, with hardship [will be] ease.” [Quran, 94: 5-6]

Therefore, Muslims will endure many trials throughout life such as being afflicted by a calamity, suffering oppression, or even ingratitude in the face of prosperity. A Muslim must remain patient with the command and decree of Allah so as to avoid injustice, selfishness, and various evil deeds that might come about during a trial.

I ask Allah to relieve the suffering of Muslims and to guide us through the trials of life and death.

Respected Brothers and Sisters! I ask Allah to assist us in living by the Quran and Sunnah. I pray He lets us recognise the truth for what it is and helps us to follow it, and that He lets us see falsehood for what it is and helps us to avoid it.

O Allah! Guide us and protect us from the causes of ignorance and destruction! Save us from the defects of ourselves! Cause the last of our deeds to be the best and most righteous! And forgive all of us.

Dear Brothers and Sisters! Anything good I have said in my today’s Khutbah (Sermon) is from Allah the Almighty, and any mistakes are my own and we seek refuge in Allah from giving wrong advice and from all forms of calamities and fitnah. And I ask Allah’s forgiveness if I stepped beyond bounds in anything I said or I do.

May Allah be praised; and may the peace and blessings of Allah be upon His Messenger Muhammad and upon his family and Companions.

With this, I conclude my Khutbah (Sermon) and ask Allah, the Almighty and the Sublime, to forgive all of our sins. So seek his forgiveness, He is all forgiving and Most Merciful.

This Jumu’ah Khutbah (Friday Sermon) was prepared for delivery today, Friday, Rajab 5, 1439 AH (March 23, 2018), by Imam Murtadha Muhammad Gusau, the Chief Imam of Nagazi-Uvete Jumu’ah and late Alhaji Abdurrahman Okene’s Mosques, Okene Kogi State, Nigeria. He can be reached through: gusaumurtada@gmail.com or +2348038289761.

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