FAITH

[Friday Sermon] A Muslim Christmas’s Gift To His Christian Brothers And Sisters, By Imam Gusau

In the Name of Allah, the Most Beneficent, 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 there is no god but Allah, 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 (Peace be upon him), 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:

Brothers and Sisters! Christians and Muslims have differed for centuries over the nature and status of Jesus Christ. Both religions revere him and both believe him to be of virgin-birth. Both religions claim to know his true nature and purpose. Muslims believe that Christian leaders of old altered the scriptures in order to redefine the status of this Noble and virtuous Prophet of Almighty Allah. In fact, eminent Christian theologians readily admit that the Bible has been altered throughout the ages, so in that respect, there is no disagreement. The renowned Biblical scholar from the USA, Dr. Bart D. Ehrman, formerly the president of the Southeast Region of the Society of Biblical Literature stated that:

“One of the most amazing and perplexing features of mainstream Christianity is that seminarians who learn the historical-critical method in their Bible classes appear to forget all about it when it comes time for them to be pastors. They are taught critical approaches to Scripture, they learn about the discrepancies and contradictions, they discover all sorts of historical errors and mistakes.. They find that there are other books that were at one time considered canonical but that ultimately did not become part of Scripture, they come to recognize that a good number of the books of the Bible are pseudonymous (written in the name of an apostle by someone else), that in fact we don’t have the original copies of any of the biblical books but only copies made centuries later, all of which have been altered.” [See: Bart D. Ehrman, Jesus, Interrupted: Revealing the hidden contradictions in the Bible and why we don’t know About them]

This altering of the original message of Jesus is also stated in the Islamic texts: the Quran and Prophetic Hadith:

“VERILY, THIS IS THE TRUE NARRATIVE CONCERNING JESUS. INDEED ALLAH IS ALMIGHTY, THE ALL-WISE.” [Quran, 3:62]

Muslims believe that Allah sent another Prophet after the Prophet Jesus, whose coming was foretold in previous scriptures such as the Torah revealed to Moses (Musa) and in the Gospels that were revealed to Jesus (Isa). This final Prophet was Muhammad. Allah stated in the Quran:

“Say O Muslims: We believe in Almighty Allah, and that which has been revealed to us, and that which has been revealed to Abraham, Ishmael, Isaac, Jacob and to the Tribes of Israel, and that which has been given to Moses and Jesus, and that which has been given to the Prophets from their Lord. We do not discriminate against any of them, and to Him (the one true Allah) we have submitted.” [Quran, 2:136]

Allah also informed mankind that the previous scriptures have been changed, altering much of the original message, and can no longer be relied upon. So from Allah’s Mercy, He sent the final Prophet, whose name was Muhammad (Peace be upon him) with the final revelation, the Quran. Allah protected it from corruption and alteration. The following are some important points of belief with respect to Jesus (Peace be upon him):

1- Muslims believe that Jesus was born of miraculous birth. Allah said in the Quran:

“The example of Jesus in the sight of Allah is like the example of Adam. Allah created him from clay and then said to him: “Be!” And he came into being. This is the truth from your Lord so do not be from those who doubt.” [Quran, 3:59-60]

From the outset it must be made clear that Muslims believe that Jesus is a Prophet of Allah, born from virgin birth, from a Noble mother, Mary (Maryam), who was untouched by any man. The Angels said to Mary:

“O Mary, verily Allah has chosen you, purified you from unbelief and immoral conduct, and chosen you above the women of creation.” [Quran, 3:42]

Then she was informed that she would have a son:

“O Mary, verily Allah gives you the glad tidings of a word spoken by Him. His name will be the Messiah Jesus, son of Mary, held in honour in this world and in the Hereafter, and of those brought near to Allah.” [Quran, 3:45]

She was a virgin, untouched so she asked:

“O my Lord, how shall I have a son when no man has touched me?”

He replied:

“So it will be, for Allah creates what He wills. When He has decreed something, He only says to it, ‘Be!’ and it is.” [Quran, 3:47]

So Jesus was created from a command from Allah Almighty, he is not the son of God and nor is Mary “the mother of god.”

In defence of the accusations against his mother, Allah promised Mary that Jesus would speak whilst still a baby:

“He will speak to the people in the cradle and in manhood, and he will be one of the righteous.” [Quran, 3:46]

2- Muslims believe Jesus was a Prophet sent by Allah, not the son of God, nor part of a Trinity. After Jesus was taken into the Heavens, Christians incorrectly began to believe that since Jesus had no worldly human father, then God (Allah) must be his literal father, and so the author of the Gospels of John who never met Jesus, stated almost a century after Christ:

“For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten son.” [1 John 4:9]

Brothers and Sisters! The vast majority of Christian scholars do not believe that John or any of the Apostles wrote these words. So these are clearly not the words of God, nor the words of Christ. And this ultimately led to the Prophet Jesus (Peace be upon him) himself being worshipped by later Christians. Consequently this was the introduction of the worship of others besides Allah into Christianity. Islam categorically forbids this attribution of a son to Allah:

“Say: He is Allah, the One. Allah is the Self-Sufficient He begets not, nor was He begotten, And there is none co-equal or comparable unto Him.” [Quran, 112:1-4]

Indeed there is no proof to show that any of the disciples of Christ worshipped Jesus because they knew that to worship anyone other than God (whom the Muslims refer to as Allah) would be a clear violation of the first and most important of all the commandments in the Bible:

“You shall have no other gods before me. You shall not make for yourselves any graven image, or any likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth: You shall not bow down yourselves to them, nor serve them.” [Exodus 20]

Therefore to direct worship of any sort towards the beloved Prophet Jesus or his respected mother is a clear violation of this universally agreed upon commandment. Allah commands similarly in the Quran:

“And from His signs are the night and the day, and the Sun and Moon – so do not prostrate to the Sun or the Moon but prostrate to Allah alone, the one who created them if it is He whom you truly [claim to] worship.” [Quran, 41:37]

Furthermore Allah the Most High states:

“They have disbelieved who say: Allah is the Messiah son of Mary.” [Quran, 5:72]

And He said:

“They have disbelieved who say: Allah is the third of three [in a Trinity].” [Quran, 5:73]

3- Muslims believe that Jesus and Mary were Noble humans, Servants of Allah and not objects of worship. As such Muslims revere the Prophet Jesus, and they likewise revere Mary, the mother of the Messiah. Allah stated in the Quran:

“The Messiah son of Mary is but a Messenger of Allah and Messengers before him have passed away, and his mother was a truthful woman – they both used to eat food.” [Quran, 5:75]

In this verse Allah makes it clear that Jesus is a Messenger of Allah, Mary is a truthful woman and both were humans because they ate food, which was provided to them by their Lord – showing that they were reliant upon their Lord. For any Muslim to direct worship to a Prophet or any other being besides Allah is considered to be idolatry (Shirk).

4- Jesus was a sincere and humble servant of Allah:

“And behold! Allah will say on the Day of Judgment: ‘O Jesus son of Mary! Did you say unto men, worship me and my mother as gods instead of Allah?’ He will say: ‘Glory to Thee! Never could I say what I had no right to say. Had I said such a thing, You would indeed have known it. You know what is in my inner-self, though I know not what is in Yours. For You know in full all that is hidden. Never did I say to them anything except what You commanded me to say: ‘Worship Allah, my Lord and your Lord.’ And I was a witness over them while I lived among them. When You took me up, You were the Watcher over them, and You are a witness to all things.’” [Quran, 5:116-117]

Even in the Bible there are clear statements showing that Jesus (Peace be upon him) would direct worship to Allah. Read here a verse from the Christian Bible read by all Christian Arabs:

“And Jesus said to him: Why do you call me good? No one is good except Allah alone!” [Mark 10:18]

Here Jesus distinguishes himself from Allah, i.e. that he is the worshipper and Allah is the one to be worshipped. In the Old Testament of the Arabic Bible, we find the following:

“In the beginning Allah created the Heavens and the Earth.” [Genesis, verse 1]

Many Christians in the West become astonished when they read these words, because they imagined that Allah is exclusively the deity of the Muslims, but the reality is that Allah is the Lord and Allah who created Adam and made him the first Prophet, He is the same Allah who sent Noah, Abraham, Isaac, Ishmael, Jacob, Moses, John, Jesus and Muhammad (Peace and blessings be upon them all). Many people in the West perceive Allah as a “foreign” god of the Arabs. But now you can see that the name Allah refers to the One God, Lord and Creator of all existence, who has the sole right to be worshipped.

5- Muslims believe that Jesus was not crucified but rather he was taken up into the Heavens before he could be harmed:

“They said in boast: “We killed the Messiah Jesus son of Mary, the Messenger of Allah.” But they killed him not, nor did they crucify him – but it was only made to appear as such to them.” [Quran, 4:157]

The Quran also informs us:

“And remember when Allah said: O Jesus, I will take you and raise you to Myself and clear you from the forged statements of those who disbelieve.” [Quran, 3:55]

So he was raised to the Heavens before they could capture him and kill him. Then Allah placed his image on another who was killed in his place. This further leads to the Islamic belief that he was not resurrected after death because he did not die. However the Prophet Muhammad (Peace be upon him) stated that Jesus will descend before the Last Day to establish Allah’s worship and justice on earth, he will then die as others die. This ascension of Jesus into the heavens is also mentioned in the Bible:

“And while they were gazing into heaven as Jesus ascended, behold, two men stood by them in white robes (Angels), and said, “Men of Galilee, why do you stand looking into heaven? This Jesus, who was taken up from you into heaven, will come in the same way as you saw him go into heaven.” [Acts 1:11]

Christian scribes however decided to make this ascension seem as though it occurred after the so-called resurrection so as to fit in with later Christian doctrine which prescribed that Jesus “the son of God” died for the sins of mankind. So without the death and subsequent resurrection of Christ, this doctrine would have no validity. Islam teaches that each individual carries the burden of his own sins or the sins he teaches others – and Allah readily accepts the repentance of the believing servant when he seeks forgiveness from Allah by calling upon Him directly and seeking His Mercy without any need of intercessors. Islam is vehemently monotheistic and regards any act of worship directed towards other than Allah to be polytheistic. So worship such as supplication, prostration, seeking refuge, seeking divine aid, assistance and support, seeking forgiveness and deliverance and so on can only be sought from the one true God, Allah.

6- Muslims affirm and believe in the Miracles of Jesus (Peace be upon him) that took place by the permission of Allah:

“O Jesus son of Mary! Remember my favour to you and to your mother when I supported you with the Angel Gabriel so that you spoke to the people from the cradle as a baby and in maturity. Behold! I taught you the Book and the Wisdom, the Torah and the Gospel. And you made out of clay the figure of a bird and you breathed into it, and it became a living bird by my permission, and you healed those born blind, and the lepers by my permission. And behold! You brought forth the dead by my permission. And when I restrained the Children of Israel from you when they resolved to kill you after you came to them with clear proofs and those who disbelieved among them said, ‘This is nothing but magic.’” [Quran, 5:110]

Respected Brothers and Sisters! These miracles were performed by the permission of Allah as a sign for the people of his Prophethood and truthfulness. Many of the Prophets were given miracles by the permission of Allah: Moses (Musa) parted the Red Sea by Allah’s permission, Muhammad split the Moon in two by Allah’s permission and so on.

7- Jesus is the brother of the Prophets. The Prophet Muhammad (Peace and blessings be upon him) said:

“I am the closest of all the people to Jesus the son of Mary in this life and in the life after death.” His disciples asked him: “How is that O Messenger of Allah?” He replied: “The Prophets are paternal brothers – their mothers are different but their Religion is one, and there was no Prophet between myself and Jesus.”

It is established by way of the Torah, the Gospels, the Quran and the authentic Prophetic tradition that the lineage of Muhammad and Jesus goes back to the Prophet Abraham (Ibrahim Peace be upon him). Abraham had two sons: Ishmael and Isaac. Isaac’s son was Jacob also known as Israel. Jacob had twelve sons from whom emanate the Children and tribes of Israel and its Prophets. From the lineage of the Prophet Ishmael descended the Prophet Muhammad through the Arabian tribes. All of mankind are obligated by these revealed texts to accept Muhammad as the final Prophet and the Quran as the final revelation that has abrogated all previous revelations. Allah commanded humans to testify that, “there is no diety worthy of worship in truth except for Almighty Allah; and Muhammad is His servant and Messenger; and Jesus the son of Mary is His servant and Messenger.” You too can testify to this right now.

8- The unbelievers plotted against Jesus in his life to have him killed but Allah saved him. Allah said in the Quran:

“Meanwhile the disbelievers plotted to have Jesus killed, and Allah plotted in response, and Allah is the best of plotters.” [Quran, 2:54]

The unbelievers plotted to kill Jesus, but Allah plotted in response to the wrongdoers. So this deemed the plot of Allah to be a praiseworthy attribute because it established justice. Allah changed the form and features of one of the people present so that he resembled Jesus. It is said that one of those who plotted against Jesus was changed by Allah to look like Jesus, and was executed in his place, though he pleaded that he was not Jesus. He left out to get Jesus killed but found himself being arrested and executed. So that sealed the plot of Allah against them in the best way. Another saying is that when the unbelievers came to seize Jesus, Jesus asked his disciples who would wish to take his place in this world to be seized and killed, and in turn receive the promise of Paradise for his sacrifice. So one of the disciples stepped forward, was seized and executed. In this is the fruition of the plot of Allah in response to their plotting in that they were not able to kill Jesus. Allah stated:

“They say in boast, ‘We killed the Messiah Jesus son of Mary, the Messenger of Allah.’ But they killed him not, nor did they crucified him, but the resemblance of Jesus was put over another man.” [Quran, 4:157]

9- Muslims believe that Jesus (Peace be upon him) is the anointed Messiah who will return at the end of time and fight and kill the Anti-Christ (Dajjal). The Prophet Muhammad (Peace be upon him) said:

“By Him in whose Hand is my very soul, Jesus son of Mary will soon descend among you as a just judge. He will break the cross, kill the swine, abolish the jizyah (the duty paid by non-Muslims living under the protection of a Muslim country) and the wealth will pour forth to such an extent none will accept charity.” [Bukhari]

The cross is not but an object of torture and execution used in ancient times, it is not a symbol of God or Christ. So it is strange that centuries after Christ, it was used as a charm, kissed, revered and worshipped – would Jesus recognise this strange practice to be a teaching that he taught his disciples? Furthermore, Jesus himself was not crucified so it has no connection to him, even symbolically. The Prophet Muhammad (Peace be upon him) also said:

“There is no Prophet between me and Jesus (Peace be upon him). He will descend to the earth, and when you see him, you will recognise him as a man of medium height, reddish fair, wearing two light yellow garments, he will look as if drops were falling down from his head though it will not be wet… He will kill the Antichrist and will live on the earth for forty years and then die. Then the Muslims will pray the funeral prayer for him.” [Abu Dawud]

So the true followers of Jesus today believe also in Muhammad as a Messenger and devoted Servant of the same Allah who sent Jesus.

10- Choose Islam today: The Prophet Muhammad (Peace be upon him) said:

“Whoever says, ‘I testify that none has the right to be worshipped except Allah alone, He has no partners in worship – and Muhammad is His devoted Servant and Messenger, and Jesus is His devoted servant, the son of His maid-servant Mary, he was Allah’s Word which He announced unto Mary and His spirit – and he testifies that Paradise is true, and Hellfire is true, then Allah will enter him into Paradise through whichever of the eight gates of Paradise he pleases.” [Bukhari]

This single utterance spoken sincerely and truthfully will enter you into the Islamic fold and put you on a path to Paradise and Allah’s eternal pleasure.

“Educated, intelligent Christian men and women are accepting the Islam of Noah, Abraham, Moses, Jesus and Muhammad after learning and verifying that Christ’s original true message was fused with Egyptian and Roman mythology to create a new religion so as to make it palatable and acceptable to Roman [Pagan] Europe. I have studied him (Muhammad), that wonderful man, and in my opinion, far from being an Anti-Christ, he must be called the saviour of humanity.” [George Bernard Shaw, in his book ‘The Genuine Islam’]

TO US (MUSLIMS) AND EVERY SINCERE SEEKER OF TRUTH, JESUS IS A RESPECTED PROPHET, BELOVED MESSENGER AND DEVOTED SERVANT OF ALLAH, NOT GOD OR SON OF GOD.

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.

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 I 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, Rabi’ul Thani 3rd, 1439 AH (December 22, 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 or gusaumurtada@gmail.com

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