Friday Sermon: Let’s Show Compassion In Times Of Hardships! By Imam Murtadha Gusau

In the name of Allah, the Most Merciful, the Bestower of Mercy

All praise is due to Allah, the Lord of all creation—may He extol the Messenger in the highest company of Angels and send His peace and blessings upon him—likewise upon his family, Companions, and true followers.

Dear brothers and sisters! In the midst of life and its hardships, and the scramble of people to gather the debris of this worldly life and chase its scraps, people are most in need of coming together rather than drifting apart, of cooperating rather than failing each other, and supporting one another rather than abandoning and betraying.

In these times, people desperately need to come closer together putting morals before interests, and money and actions before words. People are in dire need of hearts knowing and loving each other before being overrun by language, tribe, land, region, race, or colour.

In clearer terms, we urgently need that if someone sneezes in the East, his brother in the West blesses him, and if the poor fall ill, the wealthy visit them, and if the weak are wronged, the strong rise to support them.

This is compassion, sought by every nation that realises its value, and thus they cling firmly to it, the foundation of their unity, making them a single entity that never disintegrates.

Compassion is a noble emotional sentiment that reflects the purity of the character of the one embodying it. Any society containing this sentiment rightfully deserves to be one body, alternating sympathy, love, and compassion. And such a society is safe from the calamities and selfishness that would otherwise tear it into scattered pieces. This is what the Chosen One, Prophet Muhammad (Peace be upon him) meant by saying:

“The example of the believers in their mutual affection, mercy, and compassion is that of a body. When any limb aches, the whole body reacts with sleeplessness and fever.” [Bukhari and Muslim]

Without knowing compassion, the concept of being one body cannot be realised within the Ummah. Just as the Ummah cannot reach a level of dignity, empowerment, and success if its members rejoice while others cry over losing what others are rejoicing over, if they are full while their neighbours are hungry, if they are satisfied while their relatives are thirsty, if they are clothed while their partners in religion and humanity are unclothed. The Truthful and Trustworthy, Prophet Muhammad (Peace be upon him) said:

“He is not a believer who is full while his neighbour goes hungry.” [Al-Adab Al-Mufrad]

One may ask, how can a Muslim have compassion when they do not have the money to help?

The answer to this question is that it is a gross mistake to limit the concept of compassion to the financial aspect or the ability to afford it. Rather, it is a heartfelt sentiment before it is translated into money and an emotional feeling before it extends to actions.

Moreover, there are forms of compassion that do not require money. Checking up on an orphan costs nothing, following funeral processions costs nothing, visiting the sick costs nothing, smiling in the face of your Muslim brother costs nothing, comforting the afflicted costs nothing. And there are many other forms of compassion that require a living, empathetic heart towards others. Allah Almighty said:

“Worship Allah and associate nothing with Him, and to parents do good, and to relatives, orphans, the needy, the near neighbour, the neighbour farther away, the companion at your side, the traveler, and those whom your right hands possess. Indeed, Allah does not like those who are self-deluding and boastful.” [Qur’an, 4: 36]

And the Prophet (Peace be upon him) said:

“There is no soul from the children of Adam except that a charity is due upon it every day that the sun rises. It was asked, ‘O Messenger of Allah, from where do we give charity if we do not possess anything?’ He replied, Indeed, the doors to goodness are many, glorifying Allah, praising Him, magnifying Him, saying “There is no rightly worshipped deity except Allah,” enjoining good, forbidding evil, removing harm from the road, interpreting for the deaf, guiding the blind, guiding the one who asks to what they need, and you strive with the strength of your legs to help the anxious one who is crying out for help, and with the strength of your arms to lift with the weak, for this is all charity from you to yourself.” [Sahih Ibn Hibban]

Dear brothers and sisters! It is astonishing that in the Ummah of Prophet Muhammad (Peace be upon him), the Ummah of mercy, there are those who have obliterated the concept of compassion from their dictionaries, to the point that their hearts have died. So they do not groan for the suffering, nor ache for the crying, nor show kindness to the miserable. Their hearts have hardened, and they have become calloused.

Meanwhile, it is obligatory for the Muslim Ummah not to magnify this worldly life and its gold and silver, and to not neglect orphans, so as not to be enslaved by distorted understandings of wealth, life, and empathy towards others. For such behaviour is capable of making the rich hoard wealth, and the poor hoard enmity. Then the strong will not take the hand of the weak, and the capable will not support the needy. Then the weak and needy will be lost amidst the chaos, and crushed under the feet of cruelty and abhorrent negligence.

A nation in such a state cannot overcome its adversary because it has failed to overcome its own desires and whims. Allah Almighty said:

“But you prefer the worldly life, while the Hereafter is better and more enduring.” [Qur’an, 87: 16-17]

The Prophet (Peace be upon him) asked his companions one day:

“Who among you is fasting today?’ Abubakar said, I am. Then the Messenger of Allah (Peace be upon him) asked, Who among you followed a funeral procession today? Abubakar said, I did. The Messenger of Allah (Peace be upon him) asked, Who among you fed a needy person today? Abubakar said, I did. The Prophet (Peace be upon him) asked, Who among you visited a sick person today? Abubakar said, I did. Then the Prophet (Peace be upon him) said, These (qualities) are not combined in a person except that he enters Paradise.” [Muslim]

So please dear brothers and sisters, let us hasten to elevate the concept of compassion through guidance, encouragement, and by setting an example through voluntary and charitable work, individually and collectively, through endowments, wills, and charities. So that this worldly life is in our hands, but not in our hearts. And let us always remember that the One (Allah) Almighty Who granted us a smile is capable of taking it away, and the One (Allah) who gave us wealth is capable of not blessing it. Allah Almighty said:

“And what is the life of this world except the enjoyment of delusion.” [Qur’an, 3: 185]

Fellow Muslims, dear servants of Allah! Know that Allah the Almighty created man into hardship, and they strive throughout their lives until they meet their Lord. Whoever lives will not be free from tribulation, and it is rare for one to be free from shocks.

Therefore, the character of compassion is the best helper in these calamities, to stop tears and ward off grief, to reinforce the structure of society, to mend its faults, and increase the bond of its unity and solidarity.

Through their lives, people are not free from grievances, as it is one of the characteristics of life and living. But hardships requires noble people who sympathise, console and share the pain.

Oh afflicted ones, you are commanded to place your trust in Allah, Lord of the worlds; for He is the Lord of Compassion, the Most Merciful of those who show mercy. Perhaps He Almighty took from you in order to give to you, and withheld something from you to protect you from the harm of what He withheld from you.

If it is not this or that, then it is an elevation in ranks and expiation for sins. And whoever was unable to console and comfort you with their wealth will not be stingy in comforting you with their words, or feeling your pain in their heart. Such that you feel that you are not alone in your sorrow, and that there are those who weep for your crying and are saddened by your sadness.

When you feel the loneliness of not having support, know that the outcomes of patience are sweeter than honey. Allah Almighty said:

“Only those who are patient shall receive their rewards in full, without reckoning.” [Qur’an, 39: 10]

Some people from the Ansar asked the Prophet (Peace be upon him) and then he gave them, then they asked him again and he gave them, until he had nothing left. He (Peace be upon him) said:

“Whatever good I have, I will not keep it from you, and whoever seeks chastity, Allah will keep him chaste, and whoever seeks sufficiency, Allah will suffice him, and whoever strives to be patient, Allah will make him patient. No one has been given a blessing better and more encompassing than patience.” [Bukhari and Muslim]

I pray, may Allah Almighty soften our hearts and make us among the compassionate. Indeed Allah is All Hearing, Answering.

All praise is due to Allah, Lord of the worlds. May the peace, blessings and salutations of Allah be upon our noble Messenger, Muhammad (Peace be upon him), and upon his family, his Companions and his true and sincere followers.

Murtadha Muhammad Gusau is the Chief Imam of: Nagazi-Uvete Jumu’ah Mosque; and Late Alhaji Abdur-Rahman Okene Mosque, Okene, Kogi State, Nigeria. He can be reached via: [email protected]; or +2348038289761.

This Friday sermon (Jumu’ah Khutbah) was prepared for delivery today Friday, Jumada al-Akhir 29, 1445 AH (January 12, 2024).

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