[Friday Sermon] The Danger And Crime Of Concealing Knowledge And The Truth, By Imam Murtadha Gusau

 By  Imam Murtadha Gusau

*First Sermon:

In the name of Allah, the compassionate, the merciful

All praise is due to Allah as is befitting to Him, I bear witness that there is no deity save Allah, having no partners and any associates and that Muhammad is His servant and Messenger. May the peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, his family, his companions, and all those who live like them till the Day of Resurrection.

As to what follows,

My respected brothers and sisters, I call upon myself first and all of you to be ever conscious and do construct our lives in accordance to what Allah, the Almighty, has ordered us as He says,

“O you, who have believed, fear Allah. And let every soul look to what it has put forth for tomorrow – and fear Allah. Indeed, Allah is acquainted with all what you do.” (Surah Al Hashr: 18)

O Muslims, O my respected people, know that,

Embracing and conveying the knowledge of revelation and conveying the truth is an obligation and sacred trust upon the scholars and the inheritors of message. A great reward is promised by Allah (swt) for those who teach people the knowledge of revelation. Conversely, a severe punishment is prepared for those learned men who conceal and hide the revealed truth out of envy, fear or for the sake of worldly desire. Allah (swt) in the Noble Qur’an informs us about how previous nations deviated and warns us from following their path. Amongst the deviations of the people of Book is that they used to conceal revealed knowledge and truth for a cheap gain. Are Muslims and scholars of today following their footsteps?

Allah the Most high said:

“Verily, those who conceal the clear proofs, evidence and guidance, which we have sent down, after we have made it clear for the people in the book, they are the ones cursed by Allah and cursed by the cursers. Except those who repent and do righteous deeds, and openly declare (the truth which they concealed). These I will accept their repentance. And I am the one who accepts repentance, the most merciful.” [Qur’an 2:159-160]

My respected people,

* What is the occasion of revelation of these great verses (i.e.Sababun-Nuzuul)?

These verses were revealed in response to the people of the Book when they were asked about Biblical prophecy of Prophet Muhammad (saw). Ibn Abbas (R.A) narrates that Mu’aath bin Jabal and other companions asked some Jewish Rabbis about Muhammad as mentioned in their Book. They concealed Muhammad’s description and did not inform of his forthcoming out of hatred and envy. Allah (swt) then revealed, “Verily, those who conceal the clear proofs…” (As-suyuti in Ad-durar al-manthur)

Respected Brothers and sisters,

* What is also the General Meaning of the verses?

Allah the Most High openly declares in these verses His abomination with those who conceal and obscure the clear signs and certain proofs regarding the truthfulness of Muhammad (saw) and that he is the messenger of Allah. Those who intentionally veil the expected prophecy and advent of Muhammad even though they are well aware of his characteristics which are mentioned in their Books, “Those who follow the messenger, prophet who can neither read nor write [i.e. Muhammad (saw)] whom they find written with them in the Taurat (Torah) and the Injeel (Gospel).” They juggle the laws of religion and tamper with the Taurat (Torah) and the Injeel (Gospel) and thus deserve expulsion from Allah’s mercy and warrant the curse of angels and mankind in all. On the other hand, everything in this world asks forgiveness for the true and sincere scholar, even the fish in the sea, as mentioned in a Hadith. The exception from Allah’s curse are for those who repent and feel remorse from concealing religious knowledge and truth, do righteous deeds by believing in Muhammad (saw), and openly declare the revelation and truth of the prophets which they concealed. Hence, the sign of a true and sincere repentance is doing righteous deeds and declaring the truth and acting upon it, followed by trust in Allah’s Mercy and acceptance of the repentance. These repentant learned people will have their repentance accepted and the Most Merciful will inundate them with rivers of mercy and forgiveness.

O my respected people,

Although these verses were revealed in response to the scholars of the people of the Book (Ahlul-Kitaab), its theme comprehends all those people who conceal the words of Allah, truth and distorts laws of His Shari’ah. This implication is based on the scholarly principle, ‘the lesson to be learned is derived from the generality of the expression and not from the particular occasion’ (AL-IBRATU BI UMUMIL-LAFZ LAA BI KHUSUSIS-SABAB). This interpretation is true and is further supplemented by the Prophet’s articulation:

“He, who is asked about something he knows and conceals it, will have a bridle of fire put on him on the Day of Resurrection.” (Narrated by Abu Hurairah (R.A) and collected by Ahmad, Abu Dawud, At-Tirmiziy, an-Nasa’i Ibn Majah, and al-Hakim).

Furthermore, the Sahabah who are the eloquent Arabs and the authoritative source in interpreting the Qur’an understood the generality of these verses and that it also includes Muslims alike.

Abu Hurairah (R.A) said: “Had it not been for two verses in the Qur’an, I would not have narrated a single Hadith; and the verses are: ‘verily, those who conceal the clear proofs, evidence and guidance, which we have sent down… (Up to) … the most merciful.” [Bukhari]

*   The sacred Trust

The wisdom and guidance that Allah (swt) revealed and the divine laws and commands that He sent down, are for the benefit of the entire humanity. Comprehending and conveying the knowledge of revelation is an obligation and sacred trust upon the prophets, scholars and learned people. Narrated Abdullah bin Amr (R.A) that, the prophet (saw) said,

“Convey (my teachings) to the people even if it were a single verse or a sentence (from the Qur’an or the Sunnah).”[Bukhari]

My respected people,

Therefore, hiding and veiling the Truth from the people is an infringement on the essence of the message that Allah has revealed to His prophets and messengers. It is also a betrayal of the duty that Allah has entrusted the scholars with, Allah the Most high said:

“(And remember) when Allah took a covenant from those who were given the scripture to make it known and clear to mankind, and not to hide it.” [3:187].

For those reasons, Allah (swt) has prepared severe punishment for those who conceal knowledge and truth from the people, aside from those who tamper with the Law of Allah and distort His Shari’ah. Indeed concealing revealed knowledge is a great crime, great danger and sin that deserve the curse of Allah and exclusion from his mercy.

And the verses clearly demonstrate how Islam devotes its followers to the dissemination of knowledge and enlightenment, in order to propagate the Message and extricate the Ummah from the iniquity of ignorance and misguidance. The dissemination of knowledge is an act of worship, while the concealment of it is crime and sin. Unfortunately, some of today’s Muslim Ummah did not learn the lesson from nations of previous scriptures, but on the contrary, followed the footsteps of the People of the Book, as foretold in numerous Ahadith (prophetic sayings, actions and approvals). Widespread ignorance and corruption soon followed, as Allah’s Messenger (saw) said:

“From among the portents of the Hour are (the following):

  1. Religious knowledge will be taken away (by the death of sincere religious learned men).
  2. (Religious) ignorance will prevail.
  3. Drinking of alcoholic drinks (will be very common)
  4. There will be prevalence of open illegal sexual intercourse”. (Bukhari)

The compelling need for honest scholars of Islam who understand their times and who can sincerely declare the truth is felt by all Muslims. Yet, we observe many Sheikhs and learned Muslims figures garnish the falsehood of tyrant regimes and indulge in the adornments offered by at-Taghut, and so “They throw it (Allah’s covenant entrusted to the scholars) away behind their backs and purchased with it some miserable gain! And indeed worst is that which they bought.” [3:187]

The Muslims must not listen to or follow those so called Ulama’ us-Sultan (i.e. court scholars), who while claiming to be scholars in the service of Islam, are dissolving the identity of falsehood and distorting the rulings of the Shari’ah to harmonize with the Taghut’s desires and with the subverted condition of the Ummah. We ask Allah (swt) to protect the scholars of this Ummah, the guardians of the Deen, from deviation and concealment of the truth. O Allah, we take refuge in you from anxiety and sorrow, weakness and laziness, miserliness and cowardice, the burden of debts and from being overpowered by men.

*Second Sermon:

All praise is to Allah with full gratitude for His blessings and bounties. We are thankful to you, O Allah for the gift of Islam, children, knowledge, and health e.t.c.  I bear witness that there is no god but Allah, and I bear witness that our master Muhammad (Pbuh), the servant and Messenger of Allah, is the noblest of all mankind, the perfect role model. May the peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, his family, his companions, and all those who follow them till the Day of Judgment.

O respected believers,

I urge myself first and all of you servants of Allah, to fear Allah, keep your duty to Him, and obey Him as the Exalted says in the Noble Qur’an; “And fear Allah, and know that Allah is with the pious.” (2:194)

O my respected people know that, the sincere and truthful learned scholars are great men in the society and also the inheritors of prophets and messengers of Allah (swt). Therefore it is a big and great responsibility on their neck and shoulders to tell people the truth and call them to order whenever they went astray. They must give NASIHA and ADVICE to anybody in the society or in the country whoever he is and irrespective of his position in the land. They must tell the truth, give NASIHA and ADVICE to politicians, Businessmen and women, Civil Servants, Security Agents, Youth, Elders, Men, Women, boys, girls, Students, teachers, traditional/religious leaders or ruler etc. in the country, without any hesitation, fear, partiality or favour.

Sahl bin Sa’d (May Allah be pleased with him) reported: The Prophet (Pbuh) said to ‘Ali (May Allah be pleased with him), “By Allah, if a single person is guided by Allah through you, it will be better for you than a whole lot of red camels.” [Al – Bukhari and Muslim]

Abu Hurairah (May Allah be pleased with him) reported: The Messenger of Allah (Pbuh) said, “He who calls others to follow the Right Guidance will have a reward equal to the reward of those who follow him, without their reward being diminished in any respect on that account.” [Muslim]

Sa’ad narrated that Prophet Muhammad (saw) said:

“The best of you (i.e. the best among the Ummah, society, Country or nation) is one who learns the Qur’an and teaches it.” (Collected by Bukhari, Ibn Majah, Ahmad, ad-Darimee, at-Tirmidhi and Abu Dawud)

Abu Umamah (May Allah be pleased with him) reported: The Messenger of Allah (Pbuh) said, “The superiority of the learned over the devout worshipper is like my superiority over the most inferior amongst you (in good deeds).” He went on to say, “Allah, His angels, the dwellers of the heaven and the earth, and even the ant in its hole and the fish (in water) supplicate in favour of those who teach people knowledge.” [At-Tirmidhi]

*Respected brothers and sisters,

Scholars and religious leaders should fear Allah not to conceal and hide the truth out of fear, cheap gain or worldly desire. They should not allow the love of this world to make them forget about Allah and the hereafter. Today, our country is going through a very difficult stage because of the failure and crisis in nation’s leadership.  Allah (Swt) tested and tried our great and beloved country Nigeria with difference problems and crisis in leadership. We are in the situation whereby leaders in the country lack the courage and political will to confront national challenges. As scholars and religious leaders of the people, there is a need for them to mobilize people, to cooperate, intervene, speak out and participates in the political events. And also they should contribute in getting the good, daring, brave, courageous, noble, excellent, impartial, unbiased, fair and just leaders for this country come 2015. Truly, Nigeria is getting worse under the present administration. Therefore this blessed Mimbar invites them all to unite, fear Allah and speak up, for the peace, unity, progress and stability of Nigeria, and to avoid the polarization of our blessed country. I am reminding them of Sultan/Caliph Abdulhamid II, when asked to sell his people and Palestine to the Zionist movement, he responded:

“Even if you gave me as much gold as the entire world, let alone the 150 million English pounds in gold, I would not accept this at all. I have served the Islamic nation and the Ummah of Muhammad (saw) for more than thirty years, and never did I blacken the pages of the Muslims – my fathers and ancestors, the Ottoman Sultans and Caliphs. And so I will never accept what you ask of me.”

These are the great men who have served our creator Allah, and never did sell their soul for worldly gain. In Shaa-Allah, Jannah (paradise) is where he belongs. Today, we are in need of more people like him… great salute for him.

I am also reminding them about one of the sayings of great Mujaddid (reformer) Sheikh Uthman Bin Fodio (Rahimahullah) that: “In an unjust society, silence is a crime”.

Therefore, to fold their arms and say they don’t have anything to do with politics; they hate politics, that doesn’t help. Can’t they remember the wise and educational words of Mr. Bertolt Brecht who says that:

“The Worst illiterate is the political illiterate. He doesn’t hear, doesn’t speak, nor participates in the political events of his country. He doesn’t know that the cost of life, the general security of his life and property, the price of beans, of fish, of flour, of rent, of medicines, his general wellbeing and welfare, his freedom from calamity, all depend on political decisions. He even prides himself on his political ignorance, swells his chest and says that he hates politics. But he doesn’t know that from his political ignorance comes the prostitute, the abandoned child, the robber, the murderer and, Worst of all, corrupt officials”.

Allah the mighty and majestic, says in the Noble Qur’an concerning Ulamas (Scholars):

“Allah bears witness that none has the right to be worshipped but He, and the angels, and those having knowledge, ulul-llm (also bear witness to this; He is always) maintaining His creation in justice. None has the right to be worshipped but He, the All-mighty the All-wise.” (Surah Al-‘Imran (3:18)

Concerning this verse, Al-Imam Ibnul-Qayyim al-jawziyyah said in his Book miftaah Daris-Sa’aadah:

This verse shows the superiority of knowledge (‘ilm) and its people (ulama’). And the following points can be inferred from this verse:

  1. Allah chose the people of knowledge (uulul ‘ilm) to bear witness to His Oneness (Tawheed) over and above the rest of His creation.
  2. Allah honoured the people of knowledge by mentioning their testimony along with His testimony.
  3. He raised high the status of the scholars by associating their testimony with the testimony of the angels.
  4. This verse bears witness to the superiority of those who posses knowledge; Allah does not make any of His creation bear witness except the upright amongst them.

There is a well-know-narration from the prophet (sallallahu ‘alahi wa sallam), who said: “The upright in every generation will carry this knowledge, rejecting the distortions of the extremist, the false claims of the liars, and the (false) interpretations of the ignorant.” (Hasan)

  1. Allah, the one free from all defects. Himself bears witness to His Oneness, and He is the greatest of witnesses. Then He chose from His creation the angels and the scholars – this is sufficient to show their excellence.
  2. Allah made the scholars bear witness with the greatest and the most excellent testimony and that is “None has the right to be worshipped but Allah”. Allah, the one free of all defects and the most High, does not bear witness except to matter of great importance and only the greatest from Allah’s creation bear witness to this.
  3. Allah made the testimony of the people of knowledge a proof against the rejecters. Thus they are its proofs and its signs, indicating His Oneness (Tawheed).
  4. Allah, the most High, used a single verb SHAHIDA to refer to His testimony and the testimony of the angels and the scholars. He did not use an additional verb for their testimony; thus he connected their testimony to His. This shows the strong link between their testimony and Allah’s testimony, as if He himself bore witness to His Oneness upon their tongues and made them utter this testimony.
  5. Allah, the one free from all defects, made the scholars fulfill His right (that none has the right to be worshipped but Him) through this testimony and if they fulfill it then they have fulfilled and established this right of Allah upon them. Then it is obligatory upon mankind to accept this testimony which is the means to reach happiness in this life and in their final return (to Allah). Whosoever takes this guidance from the scholars and accepts this truth because of their testimony, then for the scholars there is a reward equal to them. And none knows the value of this reward but Allah. May the Peace, mercy and blessing of Allah be upon you all, Ameen.

O Allah! Forgive our sins and our ignorance, and our transgressions in our affairs, and all that you know of us.

O Allah! Forgive us our sins done seriously or jokingly, purposely or unintentionally, all else that is with us!

O Allah! Forgive us what we have done, and what we have yet to do, and what we have done in secret, and what we have done openly, and all that you know of us. You are the First and you are the Last, and You are capable of all things!

O Allah! Bless our country with a sustainable peace, unity, progress and development. O Allah! Show us truth as truth and grant us the ability to pursue it. And show us falsehood as falsehood and grant us the ability to avert it.

O Allah! The Lord of Jibreel, Meekaa’eel and Israafeel, originator of the Heavens and the Earth, knower of the Unseen and the present! You judge among your slaves regarding what they have differed in. guide us to the truth regarding that in which they have differed, for truly, you do guide whomsoever you wish to a path that is straight.

O Allah! We seek your refuge from knowledge which does not benefit, from a heart which does not fear; from a soul which is never satisfied; and from a supplication which is not heard. Ameen, Yaa Ar-hamar Raaheemina Yaa Rabbal ‘Aalameen.

And anything good I have said in my today’s Khutbah (Sermon) is from Allah the Al-mighty, 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.

This Khutbah (Friday sermon) was prepared for delivery today (Jumu’at) Muharram 14, 1436 A.H (November 7, 2014) by Imam Murtadha Muhammad Gusau, the Chief Imam of Nagazi Uvete Jumu’at Mosque, Okene, Kogi State Nigeria. He can be reached via 08038289761 and [email protected]