In the Name of Allah, the Most Gracious, the Bestower of Mercy
All praise is due to Allah. May peace and blessings be upon the Prophet (SAW) his household and companions.
Fellow Muslims! Fellow Nigerians!
Fear Allah and take lessons from those who have gone before you. They have been taken away by death and you will certainly follow them. Allah says;
“Have they not travelled through the land, and have they hearts wherewith to understand and ears wherewith to hear? Verily, it is not the eyes that grow blind, but it is the hearts which are in the breasts that grow blind.”(Al-Hajj, 22: 46)
Mankinds are in need of mercy of the Merciful Lord (Cherisher and Sustainer) as they are in need of love and compassion. They are in need of a forbearing one who can tolerate their ignorance, shortcoming, mistake, failing and weakness. They are in need of a big heart that can give and not take, and that can alleviate their distress and sorrow and not add to it.
Indeed, apathy relegates man to the position of animal or makes him look like a lifeless tool or stone. Man is distinguished from other things by his heart and soul and not only by his flesh and bone. It is by soul and heart that he feels, reacts, shows compassion and feels pains. Mercy is a perfect quality in human nature that makes man feel the pain of others and makes him try to remove that pain, as it makes him overlook people’s faults, wish for their guidance and excuse them. Compassion is a manifestation of a perfect nature and good manners that makes man act righteously and sees him through the crises. The Messenger of Allah (SAW) said:
“Allah makes mercy one hundred parts. He revealed a part thereof to the earth. It is by this single part that the creatures show compassion among themselves, that is why you see an animal raises up its hoof so as not to harm its young.”
Mercifulness is an attribute of our Lord, our creator that befits His Majesty and does not resemble that of His creatures in any way. He is the Most-Merciful of those who show mercy and his mercy encompasses everything. The angels of mercy, while invoking for the believers, praise their Lord by this great attribute. They say:
“Our Lord You comprehend all things in mercy and knowledge. So, forgive those who repent and follow Your way and save them from the torment of the blazing fire.” (Ghaafir, 40:7)
Umar (R.A) said:
“Some captives were brought to the Messenger of Allah (SAW) and there was a woman among them whose breasts were full of milk. Suddenly, this woman saw an infant in the midst of the captives. She took hold of it, brought it into her bosom and started suckling it. The Prophet (SAW) then told the companions, “Do you think that this woman would throw her child in the fire?” We said, “No, By Allah she would not, if she is able not to.” He then said, “Allah the Exalted is more merciful with His slave than this woman with her child.”(Al- Bukhari).
Brethren in Faith!
Allah’s mercy is the link between Him and His slaves. It is out of His mercy that He sent Messengers and revealed Books to them. It is also by His mercy that He will reward those who believe and do good deeds.
“O mankind! There has come to you a good advice from your Lord and a healing for that (disease) which is in your breasts – guidance and a mercy for the believers.”(Yunus, 10:57)
The rightly guided believers get mercy in accordance with their guidance. The more a slave of Allah is guided, the more his portion of Allah’s mercy will be. It is through mercy that Allah ordained commandments and prohibitions and created undesirables in this world so that man would not rely on the pleasure of this life but rather seek for the bliss of the Hereafter. He sent His Prophet (SAW) Muhammad as a mercy to mankind and He says:
“And we have sent you not (O Muhammad) but as a mercy for the worlds.” (Al-Anbiya, 21:107)
Allah sent him with a knowledgeable and kind heart; a good conduct, compassionate nature and generous hand. He is the most compassionate of Allah’s slaves and most patients. Allah says about him:
“And by the mercy of Allah, you dealt with them gently. And had you been severe and harsh-hearted, they would have broken away from about you.” (Al ‘Imraan, 3:159)
Islam is also a message of blessing, peace and mercy for all mankind. Islam calls unto mutual compassion and makes that a sign of faith. When a compassionate and good-hearted Muslim meets people, he becomes generous with them and strives to alleviate their sufferings. The Messenger of Allah (SAW) said:
“You can never be (true) believers until you show mercy to one another.” The companions said, “We all show mercy, O Messenger of Allah (SAW)!” The Prophet (SAW) replied: “It is not the compassion that anyone of you shows to his friend. It is the compassion and mercy that you show to the people in general.” (At-Tabarani reported the hadith)
You are not required to show mercy to your acquaintances only but to the generality of people and the sayings of the Prophet (SAW) show this. He said in one of these sayings:
“Allah does not show mercy to him who does not show mercy to people.” (Al-Bukhari and Muslim)
Ibn Battaal said:
“This hadith encourages showing mercy to all creatures including the believer, the unbeliever, the animals, the slaves and others. It also includes feeding the needy, assisting others to carry their loads and not oppressing others by even beating.”
Allah’s mercy is sought through obeying Him and His Messenger and standing firm on the matter of Islam. Allah says:
“And obey Allah and the Messenger that you may attain mercy.” (Al ‘Imraan, 3:132)
It is also sought through the fear of Allah; He says:
“And fear Allah that you may receive mercy.” (Al-Hujuraat, 49:10)
Mercy can also be attained through observance of prayers, paying Zakah, helping others, enjoining good and forbidding evil. Allah says:
“The believers, men and women are supporters of one another; they enjoin (on the people) all that is good and forbid all that is evil; they perform prayer, give the zakaat and obey Allah and His Messenger. Allah will have mercy on them. Surely, Allah is All-Mighty, All-Wise.” (At-Tawbah, 9:71)
Man, because of his sins, failings and shortcomings, is in need of Allah’s mercy. Allah says:
“Why seek you not the forgiveness of Allah that you may receive mercy.” (An-Naml, 27:46)
Also, one of the major causes of Allah’s mercy is to show mercy to His slaves and creatures. The Prophet (SAW) said:
“Those who show mercy to their fellow beings will be shown mercy by the Merciful Lord. So, show mercy to those on the earth, He Who is in the heaven will show mercy to you.” (At-Tirmidhi)
It is for this reason that a believer who is sincere and strong in his faith is distinguished by kind-heartedness. He has compassion for the distressed and the poor; he aids the wronged and hates crimes and criminals. He is always a source of good and peace for those around him.
Since this is so, one’s parents are the most deserving of one’s mercy. Being kind to them brings mercy and happiness. They are followed by one’s children. Usamah bin Zayd said:
“The Messenger of Allah (SAW) would sit me on his thigh and sit Al-Hassan on his other thigh and then say: O my Lord, I am compassionate with them, so show mercy to them.” (Al-Bukhari)
There are however some people whose hearts are devoid of compassion and are harsh in their behaviour and words.
“The Messenger of Allah (SAW) once kissed Al-Hassan and Al-Husain in the presence of Al-‘Aqra’ bin ‘Aabis. Al-‘Aqra’ said, “I have ten children and I have never kissed any of them.” The Prophet (SAW) then looked at him and said; “He, that does not show mercy to others will not be shown mercy” (Al-Bukhari and Muslim).
The rights of kith and kin are also connected with those of the parents. The Messenger of Allah (SAW) said:
“Bond of kinship is a branch of mercy, so whoever maintains it, Allah protects him and whoever severs it, Allah will cut him off.”
A Muslim should not cut his relationship with his relatives by not assisting them or commiserating with them in times of hardship. Surely, harshness and severing the bond of kinship deprive one of Allah’s blessings and favour and expose one to His wrath.
Among acts that bring mercy are treating servants and employees in the best possible way, being gentle with them and over-looking their shortcomings, mistakes and failings. One should not maltreat them, force them to do what they cannot or laugh at them. For, when Allah gives one an authority over something and misuses it, He withdraws it and that can lead him to undesirable ending. Anas bin Malik said:
“I served the Messenger of Allah (SAW) for ten years and he never rebuked me once or told me about something that I did; why did you do that? Or something I did not do; why did you leave that?”(Muslim)
In another Hadith, a man came to the Prophet (SAW) and asked him: how many times should I overlook the errors of my servant? The Prophet (SAW) replied: “70 times in a day.” (Abu Daawud)
There are however some heartless and cruel people who exploit the weakness of the creatures and inflict all kinds of harm on them. It is about these people that the Prophet (SAW) said:
“Whoever beats a person with a whip wrongfully, revenge will be taken on him on the Day of Resurrection.”
Taking care of the sick, the disabled and the internally displaced persons (IDPs), also brings mercy, for they live an incomplete life and are unable to achieve their aims because of their conditions. We should therefore, be gentle with them and beware of harming them. Cruelty in dealing with them is a great sin, for Allah says:
“No blame is there upon the blind nor is there blame or sin upon the lame, nor is there blame or sin upon the sick.” (Al-Fath, 48:17)
As for the children, they are also in need of special care and compassion. The messenger of Allah (SAW) said:
“He who does not show compassion to our young ones or recognizes the honour of our elderly ones is not of us.” (Ahmad and Tirmidhi)
Brethren in Faith!
Islamic injunctions and teachings pertaining to showing compassion do not restrict it to fellow human beings alone but commands that we extend it to animals as well. Paradise was opened for a whore, a prostitute who fed a dog with water and her sins were forgiven while conversely, a woman was made to enter the Fire for her detention of a cat with no food until it died.
If showing mercy to a dog could remove the sins of a whore, a prostitute then showing mercy to mankind should perform wonders. Conversely, if detaining a cat could earn a woman Hellfire, then how much more could wrongful detention of innocent human beings earn? Our security agents should be careful.
Islam also takes care of animals even to the point of slaughtering. The Prophet (SAW) said:
“Allah prescribes kindness in everything; when you kill an animal, kill it with kindness and when you slaughter an animal, slaughters it with kindness. Let the slaughterer amongst you sharpen his knife and give his slaughtered animal the least pain.”
Mutual showing of mercy fosters unity as excessive fun weakens the hearts and does not let one feel the pain of others and their distress. A man came to the Messenger of Allah (SAW) complaining about his hard heart. The Prophet (SAW) told him:
“Do you want to soften your heart? Show mercy to the orphans, rub your hand on their heads in compassion and feed them from your food, your heart will become soft.”
And it is only from the heart of the unfortunate one that mercy is removed. Allah said:
“Is it they who would portion out the mercy of your Lord? It is We who portion out their livelihood in this world, and We raise some of them above others in rank, so that some may employ others in their work. But the Mercy of your Lord is better than the (wealth of this world) which they amass.”(Az-Zukhruf, 43:32)
Brethren in Faith!
Mercy is not mere affection without compassion, sense of justice and orderliness. It is rather a quality that recognises the rights of all. When a doctor performs surgery or amputates the limb of a sick person, he only does that for the greater benefit of the sick and out of compassion for him and in order to get him healed. So is the implementation of Islamic legal punishments that aim at stopping the insolent fellows from continuing in their shameless acts and force them to follow the right course. This is mercy in its actual sense. Allah says:
“And there is a (saving of) life for you in the Law of Equality in punishment, o men of understanding, that you may become pious.” (Al-Baqarah, 2:179)
Showing compassion to criminals is a major act of cruelty to the whole society and encouragement for the criminals to continue their shameless acts. That is why the Qur’an calls this kind of compassion a pity and does not call it mercy. Allah says:
“Let not pity withhold you in their case, in a punishment prescribed by Allah.” (An-Nur, 24:2)
The sternness that Islam abhors is the one that does not help in actualising justice or preventing evil deeds but which is mere harshness that emanates from perverted manner or whimsical desires.
One may however wonder how a Muslim can be stern with the disbelievers while conversely being compassionate to believers as shown in this verse:
“Muhammad is the Messenger of Allah. And those who are with him are severe against (non-peaceful) disbelievers (and criminals) and merciful among themselves.” (Al-Fath 48:29)
The fact of the matter is that, Islam came with comprehensive mercy that excludes no man or animal. But there are some men and animals that pose danger and terror to the whole mankind. Therefore, it is in the interest of mankind to stop the evils of those men and animals as a token of compassion for them and for the rest of the creation.
Islam is a message of peace, blessing and mercy for all the worlds, but there are some creatures that would not let the world have this peace and mercy. It then becomes inevitable to stop those creatures and prevent them from disturbing the peace of other creatures. Allah says:
“My Mercy embraces all things. That (mercy) I shall ordain for those who are pious and give zakah and those who believe in our signs. Those who follow the Messenger, the Prophet (i.e. Muhammad, SAW) who can neither read nor write.” (Al-A’raaf, 7:157)
Lastly, I urge all Dear Nigerians to fear Allah/God and change their mindset on the President Muhammadu Buhari’s recent appointments. Whether you are a Muslim or a Christian, a southerner or a northerner, let us join hands together to move Nigeria forward. Let us forget about tribe, or region. Let us focus on credibility instead of ethnicity. Instead of thinking of the country first, most of us think first of our states of origin or even our tribe or region.
We should fear Allah/God not to confuse President Muhammadu Buhari in his determination to reposition and rebuild the nation. This Gentleman (Mr. President) needs our sincere support and prayers to take Nigeria to the Promised Land. Whether you are in PDP, APC, APGA etc. don’t forget you are Nigerian and Nigeria is your country. Remember, as a good citizen, you want Nigeria to be in peace, unity and progress. So, I urge you all to please fear Allah/God and give your full support to President Muhammadu Buhari. Remember, many of us don’t have any other country than Nigeria, if the country is good, we will all enjoy the goodness. And if it is bad, the badness will affect us all.
Problems do know the tribe, race or region. Let us discard and throw away all the bad political sentiments and join Buhari/Osinbajo in the great task of rebuilding the nation. PMB is a Nigerian President – he is not a northern or tribal president as some people want us to understand with their divisive, provocative, mischievous and inciting tantrums, uncontrolled bad temper, unreasonable behavior and invective, abusive, rude languages and unpleasant remarks against him (President Muhammadu Buhari).
May Allah/God bless our Country and help, assist and protect and guide our leaders. And may He the Almighty, forgive our shortcomings, mistakes and failings, ameen.
All praise is due to Allah, the Lord of the Worlds, prayers, peace and Mercy be upon our Beloved Prophet Muhammad (SAW), his family and Companions.
I ask Allah, the Most Mighty, the Most Wise, the All-Knowing; to guide us and our leaders to the right way and make us all steadfast on that which He Loves, as well as our family and all the Muslims and all the good citizens of Nigeria, Ameen.
This Khutbah (Friday Sermon) was prepared for delivery today, Jumu’ah Thul-Qi’dah 20, 1436 A.H (September 4, 2015), by Imam Murtada Muhammad Gusau, the chief Imam of Nagazi-uvete Jumu’at Mosque, Okene, Kogi State, Nigeria. He can be reached via 08038289761 (+2348038289761).