[Friday Sermon] The Continuous Killing Of Innocent Souls In Ebiraland, By Imam Murtadha Gusau

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

All thanks and praise is 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 proceed:

Inna Lillahi wa Inna Ilaihi Raaji’uun! Inna Lillahi wa Inna Ilaihi Raaji’uun!! Inna Lillahi wa inna Ilaihi Raaji’uun!!!

Brothers and Sisters! I was shocked to receive the sad news of the sudden death of Brother Mallam Abdulmu’min Yakubu Ozuwaya, the Ansarul Islam shura committee chairman and Brother Mallam Ibrahim Muhammad Otaru of Mallam Mustapha Jama’ah old Zango, who were attacked and killed by unknown gunmen.

They were killed at Ozuwaya area in front of Mallam Abdulmu’min house by unknown gunmen on Wednesday while discussing some important community issues.

May Allah forgive their sins, shortcomings, failings and have mercy on them. May He console their family, friends and associates.

I pray Ya Allah!  Expose the killers and put an end to this scourging evil perpetrating in Kogi Central. Ameen.

Also another family man, a father was gunned down while leading his family in Prayer at Nagazi. His wife and two of his children were shot, the man died instantly, but his wife and two children have been taken to the hospital. And in the same day evening another brother was shot dead in front of his house, in Okene.

I pray Allah Almighty to grant all of them Jannatul Firdaws and give their family, friends and associates the fortitude to bear the irreparable and irreplaceable lose ameen.

Brothers and Sisters! It may seem monotonous to explain and apologize every time murder of innocent people is done by those who use religion, in this case Islam, to carry out their crimes. These days, it happens almost on a daily basis; some more callous than others. The killing of Mallam Abdulmu’min Yakubu and Mallam Ibrahim Muhammad Otaru in Okene Local Government, Kogi State this week Wednesday is blatantly wrong and cannot be justified.

But for how long will we send condolences, make apologies and issue statements? It is time we address the issue of killing innocent people from the very sources that extremists take their cue to carry out their heinous crimes. We must always stand up for justice!

Allah warns in Surah al-Ma’idah:

“O you who have believed, be persistently standing firm for Allah, witnesses in justice, and do not let the hatred of a people prevent you from being just. Be just; that is nearer to righteousness. And fear Allah; indeed, Allah is Acquainted with what you do.” [Quran, 5:8]

They just cannot do it in our names or in the name of Islam any longer. It is simply wrong! We should also point out that killing in the name of religion is not only a problem that Muslims face today. People of various religions around the world also have followers who are extremists, who commit violent crimes and then use religion to justify their actions. Like other mainstream religious authorities, Muslims do condemn vociferously acts of aggression done in the name of Islam. But somehow their voices are not heard by the masses.

We do not mention this here as a smokescreen for what is done in the name of Islam. Whosoever does crime against humanity in the name of any religion whether they are individuals, groups, or nation-states, should be condemned in no uncertain terms. In addition, the public should not be confused by the official and doctrinal teachings of any religion, which oppose acts of terrorism, violence and injustice no matter how often they occurs.

Sevants of Allah! Islam prohibits the killing of women, children, monks, rabbis, the elderly, or any other noncombatant innocent person even in a state of war and hostility. Similarly, it prohibits the torture of prisoners of war; the mutilation of the dead; rape, molestation, or any kind of sexual violence during combat; the killing of diplomats, the wanton destruction of property, and the demolition of religious institutions some of which have eventually been incorporated into the modern international laws of war.

Brothers and Sisters! There are several proofs from the Quran, the guidance of Rasulullah, (Peace be upon him), the teachings of early generations (Salaf) and the fuqaha, the jurists, that condemn such acts. Let me examine a few:

Allah the Most High, in Surah al-Hajj, talks about the prohibition to deface, disturb or destroy places of worship:

“And were it not that Allah checks the people, some by means of others, there would have been demolished monasteries, churches, synagogues, and mosques in which the name of Allah is much mentioned. And Allah will surely support those who support Him. Indeed, Allah is Powerful and Exalted in Might.” [Quran, 22:40]

In Surah al-Baqarah, Allah restricts fighting to only those who fight you and not to transgress limits. Hence to kill someone while he’s praying, or about to pray, or helping the poor and needy, diplomats, journalists is not allowed.

“And fight in the Way of Allah those who fight you, but transgress not the limits. Truly, Allah likes not the transgressors.” [Quran, 2:190]

Also Ibn Mas’ud, a Companion of Prophet Muhammad (Peace be upon him) said:

“The Sunnah continues that emissaries are never killed.”

What is meant by emissaries here, are people who are sent from one group of people to another to perform a noble task such as reconciliation or the delivery of a message. Aid workers are also emissaries of mercy and kindness and should not be killed. Unfortunately extremists have openly slaughtered them in the name of Islam. One needs to ask them whose Islam? It is certainly not the Islam of Prophet Muhammad, (Peace be upon him), nor the Islam of the early or later generations (Salaf), nor of mainstream Muslims. Then whose Islam are they practicing?

The prohibition to kill women and children is understood from an incident when Prophet Muhammad, (Peace be upon him), found a woman killed in battle. He reprimanded that this should never have happened and immediately he prohibited the killing of women and children. It is agreed that if they actively participate in battles and get killed in the process, then it is not a crime. But to kill women and children and non-combatants is not allowed.

Servants of Allah! From the following Hadith I deduce also from it the prohibition of killing a Mu’ahad, a non-Muslim living in an Islamic State or Muslim towns. Prophet Muhammad (Peace be upon him) says:

“Whoever kills a Mu’ahad will not smell Paradise.” [An-Nasa’i]

Also Allah prohibits the killing of innocent people. He says:

“And do not kill the soul which Allah has forbidden, except by right.” The phrase “by right” refers to crimes someone commits against individual or society which requires due process in an established reputable court of law; not this nonsense wanton killing that is done in the name of Islam.” [Quran, 17:33]

We learn from the instruction of Abu Bakr As-Siddiq, (RA), – may Allah be pleased with him, the first Caliph, that it is prohibited to kill Monks and Rabbis, old people and anyone found praying in a place of worship.

When Abu Bakr As-Siddiq, (RA), prepared an army and sent it to the Sham/Levant, he said:

“You will find people who have devoted themselves to monasteries, leave them to their devotions… do not kill the old and feeble, women or children; do not destroy buildings; do not cut down trees or harm livestock; do not burn or drown palms; do not be treacherous; do not mutilate; do not be cowardly; and do not loot.”

I would like to add here again that the killing of Mallam Abdulmu’min Yakub and Mallam Ibrahim Muhammad Otaru is repulsive. In Islam, anyone who says, “There is no god but Allah; Muhammad is the Messenger of Allah”, is a Muslim and cannot be declared a non-Muslim. Allah says:

“O you who believe, when you are going forth in the way of Allah, be discriminating and do not say to him who offers you peace: “You are not a believer”, – desiring the transient goods of the life of this world. With Allah are abundant spoils. So were you formerly, but Allah has been gracious to you. So be discriminating. Surely Allah is ever Aware of what you do.” [Quran, 4: 94]

My respected people! I must address the reasons for these intensified violent crimes. Why are they happening now more than ever before? Why do we hear of crimes against innocent people almost every day? Why are criminals hiding behind the curtains of faith?

I can go into a long discussion about why, what and who. But unless prejudice, aggression, hatred and injustice are ceased from being glorified and are dealt with for what they are, peace and harmony will be so far in the future that we may not see it in our lifetime.

Justice is at the core of human society and forms the basis of peace and security. Only when we, as humans, look within ourselves and acknowledge injustices can we truly heal and become true human beings, capable of living with peace, love and harmony. This is when we will be true to our faiths.

As Muslims we do not accept violence as a means or solution to eradicate injustice, for indeed violence in itself is another manifestation of injustice. Allah warns:

“O you who have believed, be persistently standing firm for Allah, witnesses in justice, and do not let the hatred of a people prevent you from being just. Be just; that is nearer to righteousness. And fear Allah; indeed, Allah is Acquainted with what you do.” [Quran, 5:8]

My people! There are ways and means to strive for justice and as Muslims we know that whatever justice is denied in this world it will certainly be given in the next. Once again, I send my condolences to all the families who have lost their loved ones and we hope and pray that all humans can see each other as the creation of One Allah and not through the lens of colour, tribe, region, religion, caste, race or creed.

Lastly, I urge the Federal Government of Nigeria, Kogi State and Okene, Adavi, Okehi, Ajaokuta and Ogori Mogongo Local Governments to put more efforts in tackling the insecurity (Kidnapping, armed robbery and terrorism) bedeviling the Kogi central.

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. Ameen Ya Rabb!

My respected people! 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, Safar 13, 1439 AH (November 3, 2017), 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 via: +2348038289761.

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