Man: The Strange, Ungrateful, Unjust and Ignorant Creature -By Murtadha Gusau

Filed under: Article of Faith |

 

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:

Dear Brothers and Sisters! Allah the Almighty has revealed to us the religion of Islam. And we have record of it through the Final Testament – Al-Quran and through it’s practical application, i.e. the Sunnah of Prophet Muhammad (Peace be upon him).

foraminifera

Our success and failure in life and hereafter is dependant upon how much of our religion we adhere to. We are commanded to act in accordance with it and Allah the Most High informs of the dangers of being heedless in it. Allah the Most High says in Surah Al-Ahzab, verse 72:

“Truly, We did offer “Al-Amanah” (trust or moral responsibility or honesty and all the duties which Allah has ordained) to the heavens and the earth, and the mountains, but they declined to bear it and were afraid of it (i.e. afraid of Allah’s Torment). But man bore it. Verily, he was unjust (to himself) and ignorant (of its results).”

Dear Brothers and Sisters! There is so much to digest from this single Quranic verse and this Sermon could never do it justice due to the time factor, but in order to give an idea of how important and heavy this “trust” (Amanah) is, Allah says that the heavens and the earth, in spite of their glory and greatness, and the mountains, in spite of their size and firmness, could not have the power and courage to bear it. But man, the weak and frail man, has borne this heavy burden on his tiny self.

In order to give an idea of the extraordinary importance of the matter, try to imagine a scene as if the earth and the heavens and the mountains like the Himalayas were present before Allah the Almighty on one side and a 5 to 6 foot man, on the other.

Then Allah the Almighty is saying at this point to His creation that he wants to invest someone of His creation with the power that it may acknowledge His Supremacy and obey His commands of its own free will.

He wants it to also have the power to deny Him, even rebel against Him. After giving the creation this freedom Allah the Most High will conceal Himself as if He did not exist at all.

And to exercise this freedom, Allah the Almighty shall give His creation vast powers, great capabilities, and shall give it dominion over countless of His other creations so that it may raise any storm that it may.

And then finally Allah will call His creation to account. The one who will have misused the freedom granted by Him, will be made to suffer a most terrible punishment; and the one who will have adopted His obedience in spite of all chances and opportunities for disobedience, will be raised to such high ranks as no creation of His has ever been able to attain.

And Allah the Almighty offers this to the mightiest of his creation by asking which of them is ready to undergo this test?

Dear Brothers and Sisters! Now imagine that for a second, a test such as this is resulting in one huge creation after the other submitting that it should be excused from the severe test.

And then, at last, this frail creation, in comparison to the mountains and the earth, declares that it is ready to undergo this test. That it will brave all the dangers inherent in the freedom and independence only in the hope that it will be blessed with the highest office in Allah Almighty’s kingdom if it passes the test.

Dear Brothers and Sisters! By imagining this scene through one’s mind’s eye can we judge exactly what delicate position we hold in the universe.

Allah in this verse has called mankind UNJUST and IGNORANT, who lives a carefree life in the place of test, and has no feeling at all of how great a responsibility he is shouldering, and what consequences he will encounter of the right or wrong decisions that he makes in choosing and adopting an attitude for himself in the life of the world.

He is IGNORANT because the fool holds himself as responsible to no one; he is UNJUST because he is preparing for his doom and is also preparing the doom of many others along with him.

Be under no illusion, we have had a great trust placed upon each and every single one of us by Allah the Almighty.

To perform worship and to perform our duties as Muslims to the best of our ability is the trust placed on us by Allah the Most High. But alongside that we are entrusted to be just to one another in our interactions, in business, in politics, in family affairs and in all walks of life.

Dear Brothers and Sisters! One cannot over-emphasise the weight of expectation and responsibility placed on us via this trust. But Allah Almighty’s wisdom prevails over all and we should remind ourselves that this is a trust we can honour with the right actions in this life.

May Allah the Most High enable us to honour this Trust. May Allah the Almighty exclude us from the UNJUST and the IGNORANT, and may Allah the exalted reward us for honouring this Trust. Ameen.

Allah the Almighty says:

“And when harm touches you upon the sea, those that you call upon besides Him vanish from you except Him (Allah Alone). But when He brings you safely to land, you turn away (from Him). AND MAN IS EVER UNGRATEFUL.” [Quran, 17:67]

* Muslim Man In His Community

Dear Servants of Allah! The Muslim community is based on sincerity, purity of human feelings and fulfillment of rights and needs to every member.

The Muslim has a mission in life. Within the community he calls the people to Islam with good preaching and the best character. He commands the good and forbids the evil, he teaches from what he learns and deals with those whom he comes in contact with based on Islamic values and morals. All this is done seeking the pleasure of Allah while striving to attain the reward of His Paradise.

Wherever the Muslim is, he should be a beacon of guidance and a positive source of correction and education, through both his words and deeds.

The true Muslim has a refined social personality of the highest degree, which qualifies him to undertake his duty of calling others to Islam. He demonstrates the true values of his religion and the practical application of those values by attaining beautiful Islamic attributes. His distinct social character represents a huge store of Islamic values, which can be seen by the way in which he interacts with the people around him.

The Muslim, as Islam meant him to be, is a unique and remarkable person in his attitude, conduct and relationships with others at all levels. He treats them well by being friendly with them, humble, gentle of speech. He tries to follow the example of the Prophet (Peace be upon him) as he was the best of people in his attitude towards others. He (Peace be upon him) said:

“Nothing will weigh more heavily in the Balance of the believing servant of Allah on the Day of Resurrection than a good attitude towards others.” [At-Tirmidhi]

Dear Servants of Allah! Because Islam is based on truthfulness, the Muslim is always truthful with all people. Truthfulness leads to goodness and goodness leads to Paradise. Therefore the Muslim strives to be true in all his words and deeds.

The Muslim never gives false statements, because this attitude is forbidden in the Quran. Allah the Most High says:

“…And shun the word that is false.” [Quran, 22:30]

The Muslim always enjoins the good and forbids the evil he sees around him, for Allah the Almighty says:

“You (true believers in Islamic Monotheism, and real followers of Prophet Muhammad and his Sunnah) are the best of peoples ever raised up for mankind; you enjoin Al-Ma‘ruf (i.e. Islamic Monotheism and all that Islam has ordained) and forbid Al-Munkar (polytheism, disbelief and all that Islam has forbidden), and you believe in Allah.” [Quran, 3:110]

Muslim makes an extra effort to stop the evil whenever he witnesses it, even if it means he has to stop it by force if he have the power to do so. The Prophet (Peace be upon him) said:

“Whoever among you sees an evil action, let him change it with his hand (by taking action); and if he cannot, then with his tongue (by speaking out); and if he cannot, then with his heart (by feeling that it is wrong) – and that is the weakest of faith.” [Muslim]

Dear Brothers and Sisters! The Muslim seeks to offer sincere advice to everyone he comes in contact with. It’s not just the matter of volunteering to do good out of generosity; it is a duty enjoined by Islam. The Prophet (Peace be upon him) said:

“The essence of Religion is offering sincere advice.” [Muslim]

By the favour of Allah, the Muslim is a guide for others to righteous deeds, whether by his actions or words. He never cheats, deceives or stabs in the back. These shameful acts are beneath him, as they contradict the values of truthfulness. The Prophet (Peace be upon him) said:

“…Whoever cheats is not one of us.” [Muslim]

When the Muslim promises something, he means to keep his promise. This attitude stems naturally from truthfulness, and indicates the high level of civility attained by the one who exhibits it. Allah the Almighty says:

“And fulfill every engagement, for (every) engagement will be enquired into (on the Day of Reckoning).” [Quran, 17:34]

My Dear and respected people! Know that one of the worst characteristics that Islam abhors is hypocrisy, therefore the Muslim can never be a hypocrite; he is frank and open in his words and opinions. The Prophet (Peace be upon him) said:

“One of the worst people is a double-faced man, who comes to one group with one face and to another group with a totally different face.” [Al-Bukhari]

Islam does not approve of unnecessary begging. It makes it a sin that a person should beg when he has enough to satisfy his immediate needs. Therefore, the Muslim does not beg. If he is faced with difficulty and poverty, he seeks refuge in patience, whilst doubling his effort to find a way out. The Prophet (Peace be upon him) said:

“Whoever refrains from asking from people, Allah will help him…” [Al-Bukhari and Muslim]

A sign of one’s excellence in Islam, is his ignoring what does not concern him. The Muslim should only participate in what concerns him, such as anything that is his property, right, obligation or under his control. To be concerned with something entails preserving and taking care of this thing that one is allowed to be concerned with. The Prophet (Peace be upon him) said:

“A sign of a person’s being a good Muslim is that he should leave alone that which does not concern him.” [At-Tirmidhi]

The Muslim never searches for people’s faults or slander their honour. He doesn’t slip into the error of pride, boasting and showing off. He judges fairly, and he is never unjust (even to those whom he does not like) or biased by his own whims, and he avoids suspicion, he does not listen to one side of the story, rather puts effort to seek the truth. He does not rejoice in the misfortunes of anyone. He carefully avoids uttering any word of slander, cursing, malicious gossip and foul language.

He does not make fun of people but is gentle, kind, compassionate and merciful, he strives for people’s benefit and seeks to protect and help them.

One of the virtues of such a great value and importance that Islam, not only recommends, but also orders Muslims to characterize themselves with, is generosity. Therefore, the Muslim is generous and gives freely without waste to those who are in need. He is not stingy. When he gives, he does not remind people of his generosity. He is patient, he tries hard to control his anger and he is forgiving. He does not bear grudges or resentments, and is easy on people, not hard.

One of the worst diseases of the heart is envy (Hasad), which leads to foul conduct and bad behaviour. Therefore the Muslim is not envious, because he knows that the pleasures of this life are as nothing in comparison to the reward that Allah has prepared for the believers, and that whatever happens in life happens according to the decree of Allah.

Dear Servants of Allah! The Muslim, who truly understands the teachings of his religion, Islam, is gentle, friendly, cheerful and warm. He mixes with people and gets along with them. He is humble and modest; and does not look down at other people. He is lighthearted and has a sense of humour and does not disdain others. His jokes are distinguished by their legitimate Islamic nature. He is keen to bring happiness to people. It is an effective means of conveying the message of truth to them, and exposing them to its moral values, because people only listen to those whom they like, trust and accept.

The Muslim keeps secrets; keeping secrets is a sign of maturity, moral strength, wisdom and balanced personality. He is concerned about the affairs of people in general. He is happy to welcome his guests and hastens to honour them. The Prophet (Peace be upon him) said:

“Every religion has a (distinct) characteristic and the characteristic of Islam is modesty.” [Ibn Majah]

The Muslim adheres to the principle of modesty in all things. He does not accept every custom that is widely accepted by others, for there may be customs which go against Islam.

The Muslim does not enter a house other than his own without seeking permission and greeting people. He sits wherever he finds room when he joins a gathering. He avoids whispering and conversing privately when he is in a group of three. He gives due respect to elders and those who deserve to be respected. Allah the Almighty says:

“Invite mankind to the way of your Lord with wisdom and beautiful preaching; and argue with them in ways that are best and most gracious.” [Quran, 16:125]

The Muslim is aware of his duty to call others to Islam, and does not spare any effort to do so. He enjoins what is good and forbids what is evil and mixes with righteous people. He visits the sick cheerfully. He attends the funeral of the Muslim and accompanies the body until it is buried.

* Islam, Peace And Peaceful-Coexistence

My respected people! May the peace and blessings of Allah be with you all! Know that, ‘Salam’ is a very important word. It means “Peace.” And from the same word comes “Islam”, the “Way of Peace.” And “Muslim,” “is one who follows the Way of Peace, and one who is completely at peace, inwardly and outwardly.”

Being at peace, both inwardly and outwardly means that you have complete faith and trust in your generous Life-Giver, Allah. Therefore, your total personality, your body, your mind, heart and soul are in perfect harmony. You are in complete equilibrium at all times, and no outside events can unsettle you or distress you. This is what it really means to be a Muslim in the truest sense of the word.

So much for the theory, but I’m sure some of you might ask, “What about the practice? What’s happening out there with all the war, violence and terrorism? Why all the bombings and killings? Why is there such a big difference between the teachings of Islam and how some Muslims behave?”

Firstly, I must say this: The causes are varied, but the consequences are deadly. In fact, most of the victims of violence around the world are actually Muslims themselves.

So, please don’t judge all of us by the behaviour of some of us, just as we shouldn’t judge all of you by the worst behaviour of a small minority in your community. There’s good and bad in every group. There will always be people who only know enough about their religion to hate others. They don’t know enough to love. And the bedrock of every religion is love. Love your Allah, love your neighbours and love Allah’s creation. Hate comes from ignorance. Ignorance is a dangerous thing. The English poet, Alexander Pope wrote that:

“A little learning is a dangerous thing.

Drink deep, or taste not the Pierian Spring:

There shallow draughts intoxicate the brain,

And drinking largely sobers us again!”

It’s this ignorance about true faith that fuels so much mischief and bloodshed today.

My dear friends! Some Muslims, and their extreme right-wing enemies, misquote the Quran in order to spread fear and terror. Don’t be fooled by this! It’s nothing new! Other religions also have the same problem.

Look at what happened in South Africa some years back, look at how people lived under a brutal racist regime known as Apartheid. To remain in power, this regime spread fear and hatred of black people (in Afrikaans it was called “die Swart-Gevaar,“ (The Black Danger).

The official Dutch Reformed Church of South Africa even misquoted the Bible in supporting Apartheid. They tried to prove that God gave whites the divine right to rule over blacks.

Also look at the Lord Resistance Army (LRA), of Joseph Kony, a Ugandan rebel, leader of a Christian militia group that terrorized northern Uganda and neighbouring countries in the late 20th and early 21st centuries, etc.

So you see, this is how mischief makers misquote Scripture to justify their actions! They use what you might call “The Guantanamo Method” of interpreting God’s Word. That’s when you take a verse from a holy book, completely out of its usual context and meaning. Then you torture it so much so that you get it to say just about anything you want it to say!

But as educated people, you and I mustn’t allow ourselves to be fooled so easily. We know that real Muslims, just like real Christians, real Sikhs and real Hindus, Buddhists, Humanists and others, all observe the Golden Rule, the Ethic of Reciprocity, which says:

“Do unto others as you would like them to do unto you.”

This is the basic moral principle that connects every major religion and belief system.

On the outside all religions are different, but the inner core is the same: Worship God alone, and be a good caretaker of all God’s creatures.

Whenever we treat each other with respect, we also show a courtesy to Allah. When we hate, abuse and degrade others, then we also dehumanise ourselves. We also lose something of our own humanity in the process.

Dear Brothers and Sisters! Remember that Islamophobia didn’t begin by chance. It’s an industry. It’s big business. It wins votes to gain access to power. Millions are spent fostering hatred on Muslims. Fear and insecurity are powerful weapons of control. Someone even invented terms like ‘Islamic Terrorist’ and ‘Muslim Extremist’ which are not just misleading and offensive. They also make no sense: they are oxymorons: It’s like saying “a peaceful warmonger” or “a satanic angel.” These are crude distortions of language, utter nonsense. They have no purpose other than to divide, marginalise, victimise and control.

Dear Brothers and Sisters! With all these, I’m calling you to please never mind General TY Danjuma. Old age is worrying him. Don’t listen to his inciting comments. He is not a good Christians. This is not the teaching of Jesus Christ. A truthful and sincere Christian cannot call his people to chaos. The call by former chief of army staff, Lt. General T.Y. Danjuma (rtd), to the people of Taraba State to take up arms and defend themselves in the face of “Fulani herdsmen killings”, is an invitation to anarchy.

That paranoia and disappointing call to arms for Nigerians to rise up and slaughter themselves is a pointer that the Nigerian democracy is in deep trouble, trouble more serious than many of us realise. That irresponsible call by General TY Danjuma has a realistic chance of catalysing or inciting violence by a group against another. It should thus, as expected in law, be characterized as a dangerous speech.

Speaking at the maiden convocation ceremony of Taraba State University, Wukari, retired Lieutenant General Theophilus Yakubu Danjuma asked Nigerians, especially Tarabans, to defend themselves against killers because the Nigerian Army colludes with killers to attack people of the “riverine states.”

General Danjuma said the army is biased in inter-communal conflicts and that “it has failed in its responsibility of securing the country from attacks.” TY Danjuma said, “The armed forces are not neutral. They collude with the armed bandits. They kill people, kill Nigerians. They facilitate their movements, they cover them. If you depend on the armed forces to stop the killings you will all die one by one. The ethnic cleansing must stop in Taraba State, must stop in all the states of Nigeria. I ask everyone of you to be alert and defend your territory, your state. You have nowhere else to go.” He added that Somalia will be “child’s play” if killings continue in Nigeria.

Please do you expect a good Christian to talk in this way? Do you expect the sincere follower of Jesus Christ who says if someone slaps you you give him the other side of your face to slap you again, to call people to kill each other? Haba! It wouldn’t happen!! All what he is saying are just lies. And you and I knows well that he (T.Y. Danjuma) can’t allow his children or his grandchildren to participate in what he is calling the children of others to do. Wayo man!!!

Dear Nigerians! Those who seek to divide us and exploit our fears and prejudice must not be allowed to succeed. That’s why you’re here today. Your visit to our Mosque will be an all too brief encounter with Muslims. I hope it will be the start of a long and happy relationship, based on mutual respect and trust. Whatever you might have known about Islam and Muslims when you arrived, I hope that when you leave, you will feel better informed.

Please don’t hesitate to ask any questions, even if you think they might be a bit awkward or sensitive. We are here on the basis of mutual respect and enquiry. This may be a rare opportunity for you to ask the questions that really bother you. We may not have all the answers, but we’ll do our best, and if needed, we’ll go back and do some homework!

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 12, 1439 AH (March 30, 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 via: [email protected] or +2348038289761.