[FRIDAY SERMON] The Death And Your Deeds, By Imam Murtada Gusau

By Imam Murtada Gusau

In the name of Allah, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful

Verily All praise is due to Allah, we praise Him, we seek His help, and we seek His forgiveness. And we seek refuge in Allah from the evil of our own selves and our own evil actions. Whomever Allah guides, none can lead astray, and whomever Allah leads astray there is none that can guide him aright. And I bear witness that nothing has the right to be worshipped in truth except Allah, alone, without partner, and I bear witness that Muhammad is His ‘Abd (slave) and His Messenger. Indeed the most truthful of speech is the speech of Allah, and the best of guidance is the guidance of Muhammad (SAW). And the most evil of affairs are the newly-invented affairs (in religion), and every newly-invented affair (in religion) is a bid’ah, and every bid’ah is misguidance and going astray, and every misguidance and going astray is in the fire.

To Proceed: O servants of Allah!

It is reported from Shaqeeq that he said to Hatim: “You have accompanied me for a (long) time. So what have you learned?” He replied: “Eight matters/points.”

“As for the first: Indeed I looked towards the creation and (I observed) that every single person has a beloved. Yet when he arrives at the grave his beloved departs from him. Therefore, I made my beloved my good deeds that they may accompany me in the grave.”

“Indeed I looked towards the creation.”

The first part of the words of Hatim contains a very important point. The people of the past (early Muslims or the Salaf), used to look deliberately around at what they could see and observe and reflect upon that in order to obtain guidance. With this attitude, they acquired wisdom and come to know the reality of the world.

This was a characteristic ingrained within them and led to a deeper understanding of the great Deen (Islam) of Allah and its injunctions.

Allah the Most High said:

“Verily, in the heavens and the earth, are signs for those who believe.” (Al-Jaathiyah, 45:3)

And He also said:

“And on the earth are signs for those of assured Faith.” (Adh-Dhaariyaat, 51:20)

{These aayahs (Verses of the Qur’an)) means a sign. An indication, a warning, a lesson} in the things that happen around us are signs for us to see, to listen to and to think about. How many times has Allah mentioned in the Qur’an that:

“Do they not see? Do they not listen? Do they not think?”

Yusuf bin al-Asbaat said: “Indeed the world was not created that people may look towards it but rather that the people may look by it to the Hereafter.” Very important point: this is a condition of guidance. It is not enough to say “Oh Allah! Guide me “, “Show us the straightway” – (Surah Fatiha). Allah the Most High says:

“Allah does advance in guidance those who seek guidance.” (Maryam, 19:76)

“Ihtadaw”, in the verse, means: guide themselves – to do something for yourself, to make Du’a (supplication) then follow it up – look around- observe – reflect – see from where you can find guidance.

Maybe something happens that opens your heart and eyes to the truth and leads you to guidance.

This “thing” could be small and simple. It could be a hardship, calamity or even death. But whatever it is, it could lead you to the guidance that you were seeking.

A son of Ubaidullah died so Salih al Murree visited him and said: “if the death of your son opened up for you an admonition/warning in your heart, then your calamity was a good calamity. But if the calamity in your son did not open up for you an admonition in your heart, then the calamity in your heart is greater than the calamity in your son.”

Yes we have to seek guidance and make Du’a or supplication, but we have also to look around, observe, learn and find guidance. This is a quality, which we have to nurture – develop and get used to if we really want our supplication for guidance to be answered.

Every single one amongst us has something, which he loves or values. But the things which people love and adore differ from one person to another. Dignity – Nobility, Fame, Recognition, Status, Honour, Position, Family – Wife – Husband–Children, Possessions and wealth are some of the things which people love and wish they could have forever and wish that these things would never depart.

The Prophet (SAW) said: “If the son of Adam had a mountain of gold he would wish for another.”

But what happens to all of these things? And even if you own two mountains of gold, what can a person do with it in the grave?

When a person arrives at the grave his beloved departs from him. His wife whom he loved and was attached to is gone! His children gone! His wealth and possessions gone! His position of power and status in the life of this world gone! The acts of disobedience which he loved to commit and derived immense pleasure from all gone. His supporters and admirers gone! What then is left with him? What then remains with him? Nothing but his deeds the good and the bad.

The Prophet (SAW) said: “The dead person is followed to his grave by three: His wealth, his family and his deeds. His wealth and family return and his deeds remain with him”.

So there is absolutely nothing from the life of this world which endures and lasts beyond death except good or bad deeds.

And a person’s situation in the grave is determined by the actions he committed in this life and nothing else. Not his wealth or family or children or possessions or status or honour.

If we find it easy to do evil deeds and to commit acts of disobedience to Allah then we should carefully consider the following:

In a long hadith the Prophet (SAW) explains what happens to the sinful disbeliever in the grave after he has been asked the three questions concerning his lord, his religion and the Prophet:

“Then a person with an ugly face, ugly clothes and of a foul smell comes to him and says: ‘Bad tidings are to you. Soon will you receive that which will displease you. This is the day which you were promised’. And he will reply: ‘And Bad tidings are to you. Who are you? Your face brings evil’. The ugly-looking will say: ‘I am your evil deeds. By Allah, I never knew you but to be hesitant in obeying Allah and quick in disobeying Him.”In the same long hadith the prophet explains what happens to the believer whose deeds were righteous. So after the questioning and after a gate is opened for him towards Paradise and his grave is expanded the prophet (SAW) explained: “Then a man with a handsome face and beautiful clothes and a nice pleasing smell comes to him and says: ‘Glad tidings be to you. Soon will you receive that which will please you. This is the day which you were promised’. He will respond: ‘And glad tidings are to you. Who are you? Your face brings goodness.’ The Pleasant-looking will say: ‘I am your good deeds. By Allah I never knew you but to be quick in obeying Allah and very slow in disobeying Him. And so may Allah reward you with a good reward.’ Then a gate will be opened for him towards paradise and another from Hellfire. It will be said to him: “This was going to be your dwelling place if you had disobeyed Allah. But Allah has replaced this for you with this one in Paradise”. When he sees what is awaiting him in paradise he will say: ‘Oh my Lord speed up the establishment of the Hour.”

Brothers and Sisters,

We can see and understand from what has been mentioned that:

  1. It is not enough simply to ask for guidance and not do anything about it. There has to be an effort to guide ourselves by looking at what takes place around us to ourselves and to other people. Allah the Most High said:

“And Allah does advance in guidance those who seek guidance.” (Maryam, 19:76)

  1. That this was a characteristic of the earliest Muslims (The Salaf) and this is one of the reasons why they had a better understanding of the religion and were more steadfast and strong in their religion and their faith (Iman).
  2. That every single one of us has something which he loves and wishes he could have or be with forever.
  3. That when he arrives at the grave everything, his family, wealth, status, supporters, admirers etc. departs from him and is of absolutely no use to him.
  4. His deeds are the only things that endure and remain with him after he has entered into the grave, they will either be a source of punishment or reward for him.

So after saying, “I observed that every person has a beloved yet, when he arrives at the grave his beloved departs from him”. Hatim concluded: “Therefore, I made my beloved my good deeds that they may accompany me in the grave.”Allah the Most High said:

“Wealth and children are the adornments of the life of this world.But Good deed are best in the sight of your lord, as rewards, and best as the foundations for hopes.” (Al-khaf, 18:46)

My Respected people,

Look at how Allah the Most High has described the companions, the insightful worshippers and slaves of Allah, who knew only too well the reality of their actions and the grave and death. And they hasten (in emulation) in (all) good works. Allah says:

“…They are in the ranks of the righteous…” (Al-Imraan, 3:114)

And He the Most High also says:

“Verily, they were ever quick in emulation in good works; they used to call on Us with love and reverence, and humble themselves before Us.” (Al-Anbiyaa’, 21:90)

And Allah commands:

“And be quick in the race for forgiveness from your Lord, and for a Garden whose width is that (of the whole) of the heavens and of the earth, prepared for the righteous.” (Al-Imraan, 3:133)

May Allah (SWT) have mercy on Imam Muhammad Ibn Idris al-Shafi’i rahimahullah who says:

“Indeed Allah has insightful worshippers

Who forsook the worldly life and feared its trial.

They looked upon it, and when they realized

That it was not an abode to reside,

They deemed it as the fathomless sea,

And made righteous deeds their vessel”

May the peace and blessings of Allah be upon our beloved prophet Muhammad, and upon his family and his companions, one and all. And all praise and thanks are due to Allah, Lord of Al-Aalameen.

O Allah! Guide us and protect us from the causes of ignorance and destructions! Save us o Allah, from the defects of our selves! O Allah, cause the last of our deeds to be the best and most righteous! And forgive all of us. I ask Allah (SWT) to bless our beloved country Nigeria with best, righteous and just leaders. Bless us O Allah, with peace and unity upon the truth, justice, stability, tranquility, harmony, mercy and protection from all kind of evil.

O Allah! We are facing general elections in our great, dear and beloved country, Nigeria, rescheduled o take place on March 28 and April 11 this year (2015). O Allah we ask you to distance and remove from us anything that could jeopardize or plunge this country into unnecessary election-related violence. O Allah! Assist us to have a free, fair, credible, transparent, peaceful, and non-violent election exercise. O Allah! Save us and save our country from ruin and all kinds of calamities. Remove all our pains, worries and bring us happiness, ameen Yaa ar-Hamar-Raahimina Yaa Rabbal Aalamen.

And lastly, servants of Allah! Know that, anything good I have said in my today’s Khubah (Sermon) is from Allah the All-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 bound in anything I said or I do. With this, my beloved and respected people, I conclude my Khutbah (Sermon) and ask Allah again, the All-Forgiving, Most Merciful.

And may the salutation and peace of Allah be upon our beloved prophet, his family and his companions.

This Khutbah (Friday Sermon) was prepared for delivery today Jumadal-Ula 1st, 1436 A.H (February 20, 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 and [email protected]