In the name of Allah, the Most Merciful, the Grantor of Mercy
All Praise is due to Allah, We praise Him and we seek help from Him. We ask forgiveness from Him. We repent to Him; and we seek refuge in Him from our own evils and our own bad deeds. Anyone who is guided by Allah is indeed guided; and anyone who has been left astray, will find no one to guide him. I bear witness that there is no god but Allah, the Only One without any partner; and I bear witness that Muhammad (Peace be upon him), is His Servant, and His Messenger.
“O You who believe, – Be aware of Allah, with correct awareness, an awe-inspired awareness, and die not except as Muslims.” [Qur’an]
“O You who believe, – Be aware of Allah, and speak a straightforward word. He will forgive your sins and repair your deeds. And whoever takes Allah and His Prophet as a guide, has already achieved a mighty victory.” [Qur’an]
“O mankind! Show reverence towards your Guardian-Lord Who created you from a single person, created, of like nature, his mate and from the two of them scattered (like seeds) countless men and women;― Be conscious of Allah, through Whom you demand your mutual (rights) and (show reverence towards) the wombs (that bore you): for surely, Allah ever watches over you.”
Dear brothers and sisters, the Noble Qur’an reminds us that:
“After hardship comes ease; truly, after hardship comes ease.” [Qur’an, 94:5-6]
Respected servants of Allah, the US elections are now over, and the world is breathing a huge, collective sigh of relief. Muslims are especially hopeful, now that the President-Elect has promised to end the ‘Muslim Ban’ on his day one in office. We hope and pray that the new leadership will also use America’s influence to stop the persecution of Muslims in China, India, Myanmar and other parts of the world. We also hope and pray that other Presidents, like Emmanuel Macron in France, will behave more responsibly.
The ‘Islamophobia Industry’ both inside and outside the US, is well funded and highly organised. American Muslims and Muslims all over the world will have to work hard with their fellow citizens to resist it. We must continue to promote respect and appreciation of our diverse human family. There is a mountain to climb, dealing with the suspicion, fear and hate stirred up over the years. Those who hate us see Islam as the enemy. We Muslims know that Islam is not the enemy, but the saviour of humankind. But we won’t convince anyone if our bad behaviour simply confirms their prejudices.
Dear brothers and sisters, our task ahead is very clear. We must show others, through our words and actions that Islam is the best way of living. True Muslims are really the best of humanity. Allah Almighty says:
“You are the best community raised for humanity. You encourage the good, you forbid the bad, and you believe in Allah.” [Qur’an, 3:110]
The Noble Qur’an invites us to respond to Allah’s invitation in Surah Al-Imran [3:104]:
“Let there arise from you a band of people who enjoin what is right and forbid what is wrong. They will be the successful ones.”
It’s a simple formula. Rise up and do good. Resist evil. This is not a time for us to hide away and hope for better things to come. This is a time for us to actively help others, in private and in public, to dispel their fear and hate.
Remember that everything comes to us as a test. Hard times are a test of faith, patience and perseverance. Good times are a test of gratitude to Allah. Our beloved Prophet Muhammad (Peace be upon him) in a well known Hadith reminded us that:
“Wondrous is the affair of the believer for there is good for him in every matter and this is not the case with anyone except the believer. If he is happy, then he thanks Allah and thus there is good for him, and if he is harmed, then he shows patience and thus there is good for him.” [Muslim]
Dear brothers and sisters, if we are grateful to Allah in the good times, Allah will not abandon us in the hard times. In a well known Hadith, Prophet Muhammad (Peace be upon him) said:
“Remember Allah and you will find Him in front of you. Remember Allah in times of ease and He will recognise you in times of distress. What hit you could not have missed you. What missed you could not have hit you. Know that victory comes with patience, relief comes with distress, and ease comes with hardship.”
We should never be disheartened or driven to despair when hardship comes our way. Trust Allah. History is safe in Allah’s hands. We are simply being tested to see whether we truly have faith and trust in Allah. Allah Almighty says:
“O you who believe, seek Allah’s help with patience, perseverance and prayer, for truly, Allah is with those who patiently persevere.”
Dear respected brothers and sisters, President Donald Trump has gone, but his toxic legacy remains. The suspicion, the fear and hate towards Muslims has emboldened other leaders from China, India and Europe. But Allah’s religion will never be defeated. Despite their plotting and planning, Islam will survive and spread. That is Allah’s promise. Read Qur’an, 8: 30. Allah Almighty says:
“They plot and plan, and Allah plans. Allah is the best of planners.”
We can find even more reassurance in Qur’an, Surah Al-Anfal (Qur’an 8:30). Allah Almighty says:
“The (disbelievers) wish to extinguish Allah’s light with their mouths, but Allah will perfect His light, even though they detest it.”
So there we have it, my dear brothers and sisters. Keep calm, and carry on. Ignore the noise out there. Just like every other crisis in our 1,442 years history, this one will also pass. And Islam will be stronger, not weaker, for it. Let us continue to engage in good works alongside our many friends and neighbours in the wider community. Islam will prevail. Truth will triumph. Allah is firmly in control of every part of His creation. Instead of weakening Islam, our enemies are driving ever more and more people into the Ummah of Prophet Muhammad (Peace be upon him).
Dear brothers and sisters, one of the important characteristics of a Muslim is that he remains in a positive state of mind, whatever the circumstances. He tries for the best and look for wisdom.
A Muslim is never in despair, not even in most difficult moments. That is because they believe that Allah is the Creator of all things; that He has the power to create whatever He wants by saying it to “Be!”
The Muslim faithful knows that any trying times, he finds himself in, are an Allah-sent test. He takes things in his stride, recalling what Allah Almighty has advised him:
“…it may be that you hate something when it is good for you and it may be that you love something when it is bad for you. Allah knows and you do not know.” [Qur’an, 2:216]
Everything turns positive for a Muslim with such a depth of soul. Whether it be trouble or difficulty, it is Allah Who bestows them on that person. He is believer’s Helper and Guardian. Any thing and everything that Allah Almighty has created is for the best and which contains much wisdom.
Allah teaches the souls of those believers who have a sincere and unsullied belief in Him throughout the life of this world to be worthy of Paradise.
Every stage in this instruction is, by Allah’s will, a means whereby Muslims can take another step toward Paradise. Having faith does not mean making no mistakes. Allah creates human beings to be fallible, flawed and weak.
Muslims make mistakes the same way as everyone else. But the difference between them and those people who base themselves on the criteria of the society of the ignorant is that when Muslims realise the correct course of action by way of their consciences, or even if they do not but are reminded of it by others, they do not deliberately insist on continuing with their errors.
It is immediate repentance and sheltering in Allah and an intention not to repeat one’s error but to learn from one’s mistakes. This is a major indicator of a Muslim’s sincerity. Allah tells us how Muslims should behave in the face of their own mistakes. He Almighty says:
“Those who, when they act indecently or wrong themselves, remember Allah and ask forgiveness for their bad actions (and who can forgive bad actions except Allah?) and do not knowingly persist in what they were doing.” [Qur’an, 3:135]
Muslims are valuable entities bearing the Spirit of Allah. According to the Qur’an, it is improper for such people to exaggerate their mistakes and regard themselves as worthless because of them. It is Allah Who creates mistakes and causes people to commit them in destiny.
Even before a person is born it is already ordained in destiny at what time, on what date and where they will commit that error. Even if a person were to experience that moment a thousand times over they would still make the same mistake at the same time, on the same date and in the same place.
It is therefore wrong for people to lack self-confidence because of errors they have committed. Muslims never, under any circumstances, pay any heed to the approval of other people. They never become preoccupied with such doubts as “I wonder what people will say? What will they think of me? Will they love me any less? Will their trust in me be damaged?” Muslims seek to earn Allah’s approval alone.
In the event of an error or imperfection, they beg Allah to forgive them and hope that He will forgive their sins. They know that He is infinitely forgiving. What matters is whether or not He approves of that person. The Prophet Ibrahim’s (AS) prayer: “[It is] He Who I sincerely hope will forgive my mistakes on the Day of Reckoning…” [Qur’an, 42:82], is an excellent model on this subject.
Since Muslims have faith and trust in and rely on Allah, they always regard themselves as virtuous and valuable. They always have respect for themselves.
They always remember Allah’s Qur’anic verse: “Do not give up and do not be downhearted. You shall be uppermost if you are believers.” [Qur’an, 3:139], which represents the way they look at themselves. Muslims want to be loved and trusted by other Muslims.
But they also know it is Allah Who will create that love and bestow that feeling of trust in other believer’s hearts.
Muslim’s errors are instrumental in strengthening the love felt for those people. That is because the important thing is not the mistake, but the behaviour in the face of it of the person committing it. Since Muslims fear Allah, they have uneasy consciences when they make an error. They immediately think as they are shown in the Qur’an and thus see the truth.
They then feel regret for their mistakes and strive to make up for their mistake and to improve their moral values by seeking shelter in Allah. The more errors people commit, the more they are able to realise how weak they are.
They attain a deeper understanding of how much they need Allah. This mindset increases a person’s submission to Allah and humility. And Allah creates feelings of sympathy and affection for that person in the hearts of other believers.
The responsibility incumbent upon believers is to ensure that the moral values of the Qur’an rule their lives as much as possible and to seek the greatest amount of Allah’s approval in all they do at every moment of their lives.
It is impossible, according to the moral values of the Qur’an, for anyone harbouring such an intent and who lives for Allah in a determined and fixed manner, not to be loved or trusted. Faith requires that Muslims know this and that other Muslims will love them because of that faith.
It also requires that they have trust that only Allah can create that love in other’s hearts. As Allah tells us in another verse from the Qur’an:
“As for those who believe and do right actions, the All-Merciful (Allah) will bestow His love on them.” [Qur’an, 19:96]
All praise and thanks are due to Allah alone, Lord of the worlds. May the peace, blessings and salutations of Allah be upon our noble Messenger, Muhammad, and upon his family, his Companions and his true and sincere followers.
Murtadha Muhammad Gusau is the Chief Imam of Nagazi-Uvete Jumu’ah and the late Alhaji Abdur-Rahman Okene’s Mosques, Okene, Kogi State, Nigeria. He can be reached via: [email protected] or +2348038289761.
This Jumu’ah Khutbah (Friday sermon) was prepared for delivery today, Friday, Rabi’ul Thani 25, 1442 AH (December 11, 2020).