[FRIDAY SERMON] Health, Sickness, And The Ebola Epidemic In the Light of Islam, By Imam Murtada

First Sermon:

In the name of Allah, the Most Merciful, the Bestower of mercy.

Praise be to Allah. O Allah, we praise you, beseech you for help and forgiveness. Whomever Allah guides no one can misguide. I bear witness that there is no god but Allah, I also bear witness that our master Muhammad is the servant and messenger of Allah. May the peace and blessings of Allah be upon our Master Muhammad, his honourable family, his righteous companions and those who follow them in righteousness until the Day of Judgement.

O Servants of Allah,

I urge myself first and all of you to fear and obey Allah in observance of his Divine Revelation:

“O mankind! Be dutiful to your guardian – Lord, who created you from a single person (Adam), and from him (Adam) He created his mate (Eve or Hauwa), and from them both scattered (like seeds) countless men and women; and fear Allah through whom you demand your mutual rights, and do not cut the relations of the wombs (kinship). Surely Allah is Ever an All-watcher over you.” (Al-Nisa’i:1).

O my respected people know that:

* Health is from the most precious of blessings

– Imaam Ibn al-Qayyim (died 752 AH rahimahullah) stated:

“Health is one of the most precious favours Allah has bestowed upon His servants, the most generous of gifts, and the most plentiful of His bounties. Rather, even more, [good] health is the most precious of favours without exception, so it is fitting that whoever is granted a portion of this fortune that he cherishes it, preserves it and guards it against harm.

Al-Bukhariy narrated in his Sahih from ibn Abbas that Allah’s Messenger (sallallahu alaihi wasallam) said: ‘‘There are two blessings which many of the people lose out on: good health and free time.” (Zaad al-Ma’aad, 4/196)

– Imaam Adh-Dhahabee (died 748 AH rahimahullah) stated:

“It is compulsory upon every Muslim to seek nearness to Allah, the Most High, by way of every means he is able to muster. He must exert himself in fulfilling the commands and the acts of obedience to Allah. And after the affair of fulfilling the commands and keeping away from the forbidden matters, the most beneficial means and most successful path of nearness to Allah for a person is to maintain good health and treat his illnesses. That is because good health is something that one seeks in the legislated supplications and acts of worship.” (At-Tibb an-Nabawiyy, p.18)

-Ibn al-Qayyim (rahimahullah) said:

“The foundations of the medicine of the body are three: (i) Preservation of health. (ii) A diet that avoids those things which may cause harm. (iii) Removing harmful matter from the body.” (At-Tibb, p.9)

He then mentions that, illnesses “are caused by consuming more food before the previous meal has been digested, by eating in excess of the amount needed by the body, by consuming food that is of little nutritional value and slow to digest, and by indulging in different foods which are complex in their composition.”

He further states, “When a human being fills his belly with these foods and it becomes a habit, they cause him various diseases, some of which come to an end slowly and some more swiftly. When he is moderate in his eating and takes only so much of it as he needs, keeping a balance of quantity and quality, the body benefits more from this than it does from large amount of foods.” (The Prophetic Medicine, At-Tibb an-Nabawiyy, p.13).

– ‘Abdurrahman As-sa’dee (died 1375 AH rahimahullah) said:

“Al-Bukhariy reports from Abu Hurayrah (radiyallahu ‘anhu) that Allah’s Messenger (sallallahu alaihi wasallam) said: “Allah did not send down a disease except that He sent for it a cure.” This narration encompasses all illnesses, whether hidden or apparent. There is a medicine that combats them, either by way of prevention or by curing the sickness completely or by reducing its effect. So in this [narration] there is an encouragement to learn the cures of the body just as one learns the cures of the heart [and soul]”.

He then elaborates just like the great scholars before him, saying,

“The foundations of medicine [or good health] are: Controlling and managing one’s nourishment, so that a person does not eat unless he has the appetite for it, that he completely digests the food he has previously eaten, that he researches, investigates and finds the most nutritious foods – and this is in accordance with the state of lands, their people and their climate or conditions…” (Bahjatu Quluubil-Abraar, no. 64).

In the light of this, it is not surprising that we now live in times where obesity, diabetes and other diet related diseases have reached epidemic proportions, yet those afflicted are also malnourished. How is that possible? Because they have becomes obese upon a low quality, non-nutritious and harmful food. Additionally the food we consume quiet often contains complex ingredients that are known to be harmful to the body and brain functions. So a Muslim is encouraged to research and investigate what he is consuming, so he or she only eats the most nutritious, and least complex food.

The fact is that in the mid 1960’s the boom in processed and refined food manufacturing emerged. As people began eating these refined, processed and nutritionally deficient “foods”, we began to see a significant rise in mood disorders, depression, diabetes, cancers, and heart disease and so on. So instead of changing our attitude to health, and following the advice of our predecessors, we continued harming our bodies, and the drug industry developed for us drugs that would suppress the outward symptoms and dull the pain without us having to make any health or dietary changes. This was the birth of the anti-depressants, pain-killers, chemotherapy and the “cut, burn and poison” generation.

Poor diet, little exercise and reliance on drugs resulted in the present-day poor health and painful existence that many people find themselves in. We have come to believe that there is no alternative to drugs and they have become the first port of call for every ailment.

All of this shows that it is upon a person to maintain good health and eat good nutritious food, and if he is struck with illness, he does not race towards prescription drugs as Imam ‘Abdurrahman as-Sa’dee stated,

“…and all of this is without immediate recourse to drugs, this is better and more beneficial.”(Bahjatu Quluubil-Abraar, no. 64)

That is not to say that there is no place for modern medicine, rather that drugs should not be the first port of call and certainly not the only available avenue. One should be fully informed of what he is introducing into his body, its purported benefits and side effects, and whether there is an alternative to a drug that is known to cause harm to the body. Read again the words of Ibn al-Qayyim and as-Sa’dee before reaching for that pill.

So since Allah has sent down the cure for every illness, it is important for a Muslim to recognize the best of those cures. Ibn al-Qayyim (rahimahullah) stated:

“The Prophetic medicine is not like the medicine of the physicians, for the medicine of the prophet (Sallallahu alaihi wasallam) is certain, definitive, emanating from divine revelation, the lantern of prophethood, and perfection of reason. As for the medicine of others, most of it is conjecture, presumptions and experimentation”

He continues,

“Only those benefits from it (i.e. the prophetic medicine), who wholeheartedly accepts it, they believe firmly in its ability to cure and completely accept it through faith and submission. This Qur’an is the cure for what is in the hearts. If it is not accepted with such acceptance, the healing of the hearts will not be attained by its treatments” (Zaad al – ma’aad 3/97 – 98)

There are many, many examples of Prophetic medicine from the Qur’an and Sunnah that bring about cure from even the most chronic of illnesses. From those means that Allah, the Most Generous, has provided to bring about cures are:

(1)  Supplicating for the sick. Allah’s Messenger (Sallallahu alaihi Wasallam) Stated:

Whoever visits a sick person whose time of death has not yet come and says in his presence seven times: <<As’alul laahal – ‘Azeem Rabbal-‘Arshil-‘Azeem an Yashfiyak>> (Translated as: “I ask Allah, the Magnificent, Lord of the magnificent Throne to cure you”) except that Allah relieves him of that illness.” (Abu Dawuud, no. 3106)

When the Messenger (sallallahu alaihi wasallam) would visit the sick he would say:

“<<Adh – hibil-ba’s Rabban-Naas, Ashfi antash-shaafee, laa Shifaa’a illaa shifaa’uka, shifaa’an laa yughaadiru saqama>> Translated As: “Remove the harm, O Lord of the people! Heal, for You are The Healer. There is no healing that avails except your healing. A healing, that leaves behind no any ailment.” (Muslim, no. 2191)

(2)  Reciting the Qur’an is a cure:

“And we sent from the Qur’an that which is a cure and a mercy to those who believes.” (al-Israa’: 82).

The Prophet (sallallahu alaihi wasallam) would visit the sick, make supplications for them and make Ruqyah, which is to cure with the recitation of the Qur’an, which he would also perform upon himself during illness. ‘Aa’ishah (radiyallahu ‘anha) mentioned that during the final illness of the prophet (sallallahu alaihi wasallam), he would recite Surah al–Falaq and Surah an-Naas and blow over his body. And when his illness became severe, she would recite them and blow over him, and make him rub his body with his own hands for the blessings. Imam az-zuhree stated:

He (sallallahu alaihi wasallam) would blow over his hands and pass them over his face.” (Al-Bukhariy no. 5735)

(3)  Honey is also a cure, as Allah ( the most High) has stated:

There comes forth from their bellies (i.e. the bees), a drink of varying colour wherein is a healing for men (and women).” (An-Nahl: 69)

(4)  Allah’s Messenger (sallallahu alaihi wasallam) said:

In the black cumin (nigella Sativa or Habbatus – Saudah in Arabic) is a cure for every illness except death.” (Al-“Bukhariy no. 5688).

(5)  Allah’s Messenger (sallallahu alaihi wasallam) said:

Healing is in three: blood cupping (hijaamah in Arabic or Kaho in Hausa), in the drinking of honey and cauterization with fire (branding), and I have forbidden my nation from cauterization.” (Al –Bukhariy no. 5681)

(6)  The Prophet (Sallallahu alaihi wasallam) said:

The water of Zamzam is for whatever it is drunk for.” (Musnad of Imam Ahmad, 3/357)

Ibn Abbas (radiyallahu ‘anhu) used to drink Zamzam water and say:

O Allah! I ask you for beneficial knowledge and plentiful sustenance and cure from every illness.” (Musannaf of Abdur-Razzaaq, no. 9112)

(7)  The fresh milk of cows is a cure, as the Prophet (sallallahu alaihi wasallam) said:

Indeed Allah, the most High, did not create a disease except that He created for it a cure. So upon you is the cow’s milk, for indeed it feeds from every herbage.” (Saheeh al-jaami’ of Al-albaaniy, no. 1808)

Ibn al-Qayyim stated over seven centuries ago:

Milk is at its best when freshly milked.”

He also said:

“Milk in general is the most beneficial drink for the human body due to the nutritive elements contained in it.” (Zaad al-ma ‘aad, 3/353)

The milk of the cow is beneficial due to what it feeds upon that passes through into the milk as is clear from the Prophetic words. Milk that is fresh, non-pasteurized, non- homogenized and organic is best for health and well-being.

Fellow Nigerians, where does your food come from? The Sahaabah (i.e. the companions of Prophet SAW) used to take care and not eat meat from animals that had been feeding upon filth or impurities. Animals that feed from impurities were termed al-Jalaalah by the Prophet of Allah. Ibn ‘Umar reports said:

Allah’s messenger (sallallahu alaihi wasallam) forbade the eating of al-jalaalah and drinking its milk.” (Abu Dawuud, no. 3785-6)

’Ibn ‘Umar (radiyallahu ‘anhu) would confine chickens and other animals away from impure feed for three days before slaughtering and eating them’’. (See Al- Musannaf of Ibn Abi Shaybah, 8/147, no. 466, See also al-Irwaa of al-Albaaniy, no. 2505).

So respected readers and listeners can see from what has been stated thus far that Islam gives concern to good health, healthy food, a balanced diet, exercise and keeping away from that which harms.

If a person is afflicted by any illness, then upon him is to be patient, because a cure may be delayed due to Allah’s divine Wisdom, and due to patience the afflicted is elevated in the sight of Allah, and his sins expiated. Patience is one of the greatest virtues of a believer. When some people become afflicted with illness, they attach their hopes to the means (such as pills, drugs, hospitals and physicians) whereas it is obligatory upon them to attach themselves to Allah and trust in Him first and foremost, for He is the Healer. So, the afflicted persons should never despair, rather they should take the necessary means and trust in Allah, seeking His aid. The Prophet (sallallahu alaihi wasallam) explained this clearly when he said:

Strive to attain what will benefit you and seek Allah’s aid and do not sit back without acting. And if something afflicts you, do not say: if only I had done such and such, then such and such would have happened, rather say: Qaddarallahu wa ma shaa’a fa’ala (Meaning: It is as Allah has decreed, and whatever He wills, He does).” (Muslim, no. 2667)

The discussion above leads us to the realization that a Muslim should never despair, even if the illness is regarded as chronic or terminal. You should investigate and look for the best cures, and quite often you will find that the cure may not be in drugs and pills, but in dietary changes and that which Allah has placed in pure water, herbs, fruits, seeds and vegetables, or in changing our attitudes and behaviours. Many people today are turning to “raw green” diets and leaving off complex foods, fizzy-sugary drinks, sweets and “microwave chemical” meals. People in their thousands have turned to healthier living. Take this example:

“At the age of 31, Kris was diagnosed with a slow-growing yet extremely rare and incurable stage IV cancer. After several second options, a supposed expiration date and recommendations to have a triple organ transplant, Kris decided to take matters into her own hands. One of the first things she did was adopt a plant-powered diet. She went to whole foods, introduced herself to kale, healthy living and never looked back. Ten years later, Kris is absolutely thriving. Her diagnosis was the wake-up call she needed to turn her life around. You may not have a serious illness like Kris does, but how many of you are truly thriving? I mean sleeping well, thinking clearly, and spring loaded with energy and beaming with love and joy nearly every single day. Your body simply can’t function correctly without the proper nutrition.

Nowadays we are surrounded by Franken-foods-stuff created in a lab and filled with chemicals. The effects of a diet laden with these types of foods are low energy, excess weight, weakened immune system, mental fog, skin issues and the list goes on…” (See hungryforchange.tv).

This is not to say that one does not use the expertise of modern medicine – and remember that one should seek appropriate expert help, look at alternatives and then decide upon the best course of action.

Today, People are turning to healthier alternatives, such as large fresh salads, vegetables and steamed or grilled fish – and they and their families feels all the better for it. When they fall sick, they increase their raw green and natural food intake, increase their doses of vitamin and mineral supplements – and of-course one seeks the aid of Allah. They remain patient and they do not despair. Some of the people of knowledge narrate events that give encouragement to those afflicted with illness.

There was a man involved in a car accident and he remained in coma for four months. His mother would sit at his bedside reciting the Qur’an over him and making plentiful supplications – he recovered completely. Another man was afflicted by cancer – the specialists and doctors ruled that there was no cure for him. So he continued taking honey, black cumin, along with certain herbs and vegetation for a few months, and Allah, the Healer, cured him.

One of those responsible for the taking care of the Grand Mosque in makkah narrated that people that have had what the doctors describe as ‘terminal illnesses’ (that cannot be cured) would come to the Grand Mosque and remain there for days in worship, drinking Zamzam water, supplicating and beseeching their lord, and their lord had cured them. Stories such as these are many, even in the West. Allah, the most high, has cured people suffering from chronic illnesses due to them taking the means that he, the Most High, has provided – and by supplicating to Him sincerely, seeking His aid seeking proper medication and by showing patience, knowing that Allah is Ever watchful over His servants.

The Prophet (sallallahu alaihi wasallam) said:

“Amazing indeed is the affair of the believer. His entire affair, for him, is good. And this [goodness] is not for anyone except a believer. If good comes to him, he is grateful, and that is best for him. And if harm comes to him, he is patient, and that is best for him.” (Muslim, no. 2999)

 Second Sermon:

We praise Allah, the most powerful and mighty and we ask Allah to send his mercy and blessings on the final messenger, Muhammad (saw), his companions and all his righteous followers.

Respected brothers and Sisters, have tawqa (fear) in Allah, and remember that life on this earth is a fleeting and temporary journey, and it is life in the hereafter that is perennial and everlasting. So let us strive diligently to prepare for the Day of Judgment. Let us increase in our good deeds by doing charitable acts and by serving our parents (or praying for them if they are already dead), in the hope that these acts would add to our accumulation of good deeds in the hereafter.

Dear congregation, we have recently been hit with the news of an epidemic that is currently spreading in the world, especially in West Africa, and it is known that it could possibly lead to death. What I am referring to is the Ebola virus disease (EVD)’s epidemic.

This epidemic is of a great concern as it is dangerous and one could be infected with it. Hasbunallahu wani’mal wakeel. It has been reported that the Prophet (sallallahu alaihi wa sallam) said:

“Bismillahil lazee la yadurru ma’a ismihi shai’un, fil ardi Wala fis samaa’i wa huwas samee’ul aleem” (Translated as: in the Name of Allah, who by His Name nothing harms in the earth nor in the heavens, He is the Hearer, the knower of all things).” ‘’Whoever recites it three times in the morning will not be afflicted by any calamity before evening, and whoever recites it three times in the evening will not be overtaken by any calamity before morning.” (Abu Dawuud, 4/323. At- Tirmiziy, 5/465. Ibn Majah, 2/332 and Imam Ahmad in Musnad).

The Nigerian ministry of health is currently monitoring the situation and they have taken the necessary precautionary measures. And Alhamdulillah, up to now, we have not had cases of infection detected in anywhere in Nigeria apart from the Lagos and Enugu states. Even for our Lagos and Enugu brothers that Allah SWT has been tested with the outbreak of the disease, we are praying may He SWT bring an end to this calamity that befell us Nigerians and make them and us come out safely from it amin.

The disease was smuggled and imported into Nigeria by one air traveler Mr. Patrick Sawyer, a Liberian-American, bio-terrorist, mad, crazy, and insane and a totally demented criminal person, who came to Nigeria for a conference organized by ECOWAS in Calabar and died from the Ebola Virus Disease at a Lagos hospital on 25th July 2014, according to reports.

My dear brothers and sisters, now let us take the precautionary measures together. One important step is to be responsible members of the public. If someone is down with high fever, cough, flu or things like that (may Allah protect us all amin), he should seek treatment and ensure that he have minimal direct interactions with other people, and to stay away from public areas that could potentially cause others to be infected, or to even aggravate his own condition.

We should also avoid being in crowded areas, unless necessary, and to distance ourselves from those who are sick, especially those who are down with severe fever or show the signs of respiratory illness. We should also observe good personal hygiene and the cleanliness of our own homes. And we should report any suspected case to health facilities and seek medical advice or attention for the effective containment and total defeat of the disease.

Let us all take care of our health and continue to lead a healthy lifestyle. We should also monitor the latest updates through the media and follow the guidelines that have been released by the Ministry of Health, so that we can prevent the introduction, transmission, or spread of this dreaded killer disease.

May Allah bless us with overall wellbeing, health and safety and preserve our country Nigeria from this epidemic and other deadly diseases, amin.

My respected and beloved people, know also that,

Ebola is a rare but deadly virus that causes bleeding inside and outside the body. As the virus spreads through the body, it damages the immune system and organs. Ultimately, it causes levels of blood-clothing cells to drop. This leads to severe, uncontrollable bleeding. The disease, also known as Ebola hemorrhagic fever or Ebola virus, kills up to 90% of people who are infected. Ebola isn’t as contagious as more common viruses like colds, influenza, or measles. It spreads to people by contact with the skin or bodily fluids of an infected animal, like a monkey, chimp, or fruit bat, according to explanations by experts. Then it moves from person to person the same way. Those who care for a sick person or bury someone who has died from the disease often get it. Other ways to get Ebola include touching contaminated needles or surfaces.

Experts say you can’t get Ebola from air, water, or food. Also a person who has Ebola but has no symptoms can’t spread the disease, either.

Early on, Ebola can feel like flu or other illnesses. Symptoms show up 2 to21 days after infection and usually include high fever, headache, joint and muscle aches, sore throat, weakness, stomach pain, lack of appetite, etc. As the disease gets worse, it causes bleeding inside the body, as well as from the eyes, ears, and nose. Some people will vomit or cough up blood, have bloody diarrhea, and get a rash. Heath experts said presently there’s no cure for Ebola, though researchers are working on it. Treatment includes an experimental serum that destroys infected cells.

But In Islam, there is no disease or epidemic that cannot be cured or treated. Because there is no disease that Allah has created except that He also reveals its cure. Yes, Allah can hide the treatment from people to a certain time for some reasons only known to Him or due to His divine wisdom.

Narrated Abu Hurairah (R.A): The prophet (saw) said, “There is no disease that Allah has created except that He also has created its treatment”. (Sahih al-Bukhariy, no. 5678)

And also the health experts said, presently there’s no vaccine to prevent Ebola. The best way to avoid catching the disease is by not traveling to areas where the virus is found. They said, health care workers can prevent infection by wearing masks, gloves, and goggles whenever they come into contact with people who may have Ebola.

My respected people,

The Ebola Virus first appeared during two 1976 outbreaks in Africa (Democratic Republic of Congo and Sudan). And Ebola gets its name from the Ebola River, which is near one of the villages in the Democratic Republication of Congo where the disease first appeared. Then it spreads to the Republic of Guinea, Sierra Leone, Liberia, and Mali and now in our country Nigeria.

However, as a lover of my country, I urge governments at all levels to work hand in hand with the sincere and truthful traditional, religious and community leaders to raise awareness in order to have a proper, effective and successful containment and general defeat of the dreaded and dangerous virus (Ebola).

I also appeal to our doctors to have the fear of Allah and call off their strike action and assist efforts by federal government and other partners to manage the Ebola disease.

And I also wish to advise and call on those people, who are spreading rumours and spreading wrong information on the Ebola disease that they should fear Allah and let the experts or health workers do their work. Those also pushing Nigerians to eat bitter kola (Namijin Goro in Hausa language),or pushing them to scramble and rush for salt- water for protection from the deadly Ebola Virus should also fear Allah and desist from this nonsense. Because as we all know, for now, no concrete scientific proofs that have shown water and salt or bitter kola nuts can cure the Ebola disease. People should only listen to professional advice from the ministry of Health officials and change their cultural habits. And I advise residents to avoid eating bush meat and imbibe the culture of hand washing and other personal hygiene practices that will help in checking the spread of the disease.

My respected brothers and sisters,

In many prophetic sayings (Ahaadith) it’s mentioned to the nearest effect that, one should not flee from an area where there is a plague or epidemic. Among them is that which is narrated from Usama bin Zaid (R.A) that the Prophet (saw) said, “When you hear that there is plague in a land, do not enter that land. And if the plague befalls a land and you are in it, and then do not leave it”. (Sahih Al-Bukhariy, no. 5728).

This hadith shows that when a plague is present in a land, then a person should not enter that land; since doing so will be putting oneself into destruction, which is prohibited in the Qur’an. Allah says:

“…and do not throw (yourself) with your (own) hands into destruction”. (Al-Bakara, 2:195).

Also, the Prophet (saw) explained in another hadith that precaution must be taken to avoid difficulties and sicknesses, and this is not against one’s belief in Allah and His Qadr (decree).

Abu Hurairah (R.A) narrated that the Prophet (saw) said, “Do not mix the sick animals (those suffering from a disease) with the health ones”. (Sahih al-Bukhariy, no. 5774)

This hadith shows that the mixing of diseased animals with healthy ones can lead to the transmission of disease with Allah’s permission, and so, the Prophet (saw), as a precautionary measure instructed this.

It is in this context, the Prophet (saw) also said, “run from the leper (someone who has leprosy) as you will run from a lion.” (Sahih al-Bukhariy, no. 5707) While explaining this hadith, Hafiz ibn Hajar Al-Asqalani writes: “This order is based on a recommendation and precaution”. This means act of running away from the leper must be adopted as a means of precaution to avoid the spread of this disease.

However, everything occurs only if Allah wills it.

My respected brothers and sisters, on Friday August 8, 2014, the world health organization (WHO) declares Ebola epidemic a worldwide emergency and appealed for global aid to help afflicted countries. The decision after a two-day emergency session behind closed doors in Geneva means global travel restrictions may be put in place to halt its spread as the overall death toll nears 1,200, among them the two Nigerian nurses in Lagos and ECOWAS staff, Mr. Jatto Abdulqadir. And also around 1,800 cases diagnosed since discovery.

My respected people, Prophet Muhammad (saw) gave precise instructions on how to respond to epidemics and pandemics, and my today’s khutbah (sermon) reminds readers and listeners of those instructions.

My dearest respected brothers and sisters,

The Prophet Muhammad declared, as only a true Prophet could declare, that

“Death from epidemic is martyrdom for every Muslim”. (Sahih al-Bukhariy)

Muslims also on the other hand, who obey the blessed Prophet, would be expected to set the example for others by remaining in the stricken area. It should be clear that obedience of the Prophet Muhammad’s command would effectively quarantine the epidemic and eventually contain it and prevent its spread to other places. They would also be expected to care for those affected by the epidemic (rather than scorn and ostracize them) knowing that by taking care of the stricken they may have the good fortune to die as martyrs. It is in this context that we can understand the prophet’s declaration that epidemic were“punishment sent by Allah on whom He wished, and Allah made it a source of mercy for the believers, for if one in the time of an epidemic stays in his place patiently hoping for Allah’s Reward and believing that nothing will befall him except what Allah has written for him and he dies) he will get the reward of a martyr” (Sahih Al-Bukhariy).

Listeners and readers may wish to reflect over the fact that the Aids epidemic appears to be precisely such Divine punishment inflicted on those deserving of punishment. Those on the other hand who die of Aids while holding fast to faith in their hearts and who are innocent of transgressions of the flesh, would receive the reward reserved for martyrs.

My respected brothers and Sisters,

The Prophet Muhammad also prophesied the occurrence of epidemics as a sign of the last Day: He said,

“Count six signs that indicate the approach of the Hour: my death, the conquest of Jerusalem, an epidemic that will afflict you (and cause you to die in great numbers) as the plague that afflicts sheep, the increase of wealth to such an extent that even if one is given one hundred dinars, he will not be satisfied, then an affliction which no Arab house will escape’’. (Sahih Al-Bukhariy)

Our Lord, guide us to obey you and those you commanded us to obey in the holy Qur’an, “O you who believe! Obey Allah and obey the Messenger and those of you who are in authority.” (An-Nisa’: 59).

O Allah, preserve for us our health. O Allah, preserve for us our hearing. O Allah, preserve for us our sight. There is no god but you. O Allah, we seek refuge in you from disbelief and poverty and we seek refuge in you from the punishment of the grave. There is no god but you!

O Allah, we seek your forgiveness and your protection in this world and the next. O Allah, we seek your forgiveness and your protection in our religion and in the life of the world, in our family and in our property. O Allah, draw a veil across our secrets and preserve us from anguish. O Allah, guard us from what is in front of us and behind us, from our left, and from our right and from above us. We seek protection in your greatness from being struck down from beneath!

My respected people, kindly know that anything good I have said is from Allah, and any mistakes are my own and I 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) Shawwal 20, 1435 A.H. (August 15, 2014) by Imam Murtada Muhammad Gusau, the chief Imam of Nagazi Jumu’at Mosque, Okene, Kogi State, Nigeria.

He can be reached via 08038289761 and [email protected] or [email protected]

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