By Murtada Gusau,
In the name of Allah, the Beneficent, the Merciful
Alhamdulillah. Indeed, all praise is due to Allah. We praise Him and seek His help and forgiveness. We seek refuge with Allah from the evil within ourselves and from our wrongdoings. He whom Allah guides, no one can misguide; and he whom He misguides, no one can guide.
I bear witness that there is no (true) God except Allah alone without a partner, and I bear witness that Muhammad (SAW) is His abd (servant) and Messenger.
“O you who have believe! Revere Allah the right reverence, and do not die except as Muslim.” (Al-Imraan, 3:102)
“O people! Revere your Lord who has created you from a single soul, created from it its mate, and dispersed from both of them many men and women. Revere Allah through whom you demand things from one another and (cherish the ties of) the wombs, indeed, Allah is ever-Watchful over you.” (An-Nisaa, 4:1)
“O you who have believe! Revere Allah and say fair words. He will then rectify your deeds and forgive your sins. He who obeys Allah and His Messenger have certainly achieved a great victory.” (Al-Ahzaab, 33:70-71)
Indeed, the best speech is Allah’s (SWT) Book and the best guidance is Muhammad (SAW) guidance. The worst affairs (of religion) are those innovated (by people), for every such innovation is an act of misguidance leading to the fire.
Servants of Allah!
Know that good guidance is Allah’s greatest gift. We cannot do without His guidance. Our lives will be absolutely bereft of any meaning, unless we acknowledge Allah and worship Him as He alone deserves to be worshiped. We can do without wealth and without good health and many other things. Although life would then be quite challenging, as long as we have right guidance, we would know where we came from and where we’re going to when we die. As Muslims, we are so very lucky because we don’t even have to hunt and search for the right guidance. In our Noble Qur’an and the life of our beloved Prophet Muhammad (SAW) we find all the guidance we need to be successful here and the hereafter.
Dear Brothers and Sisters!
Every time we recite Surah al-Fatiha, we begin by thanking and praising and glorifying Allah, not because he needs praise and glory, but because we are so forgetful, we need to remind ourselves of Allah’s greatness and irresistible power:
“All praise is due to Allah, the Lord of all the worlds. The Most Merciful, the Most Compassionate, King of the Day of Judgment.”
The next line defines our relations with Allah.
“You (alone) do we worship and from you (alone) do we seek for help.”
Then we come to the crux of the matter, the real core of Surah Al-Fatiha:
“Guide us to the straight path.”
“The path of those with whom you are pleased, not the path of those who make you angry nor of those who go astray. Ameen.”
Brothers and Sisters!
Allah’s guidance is the greatest gift we can ever hope for. Pleading for it is the essence of Surah, Al-Fatiha, the first Surah, of the Noble Qur’an. And in the next Surah, Al- Baqarah, we read in the opening lines;
“Alif Laam, Meem. This Book, there is no doubt in it, is a Guide to those who have taqwa, (those who regard Allah with an awe-inspired sense of love, fear and hope).”
So, the first Surah, teaches us how to ask for Allah’s guidance, and, moments later, in the very beginning of the next Surah we are promised that Divine Guidance within the Noble Qur’an itself. But the Noble Scripture needs to be interpreted to us. It needs to be made visible within the human context of time, place and circumstance. So, the Noble Qur’an again tells us that:
“Truly in the Messenger of Allah, we have the finest of examples, (Uswatun hasanah).”
Allah’s guidance covers the whole spectrum of life, from personal cleanliness to inheritance laws and dealing justly with non-Muslims.
Brothers and Sisters!
Never hesitate to ask Allah for help, even for the smallest thing. For many years, in my youthful years, I made the big mistake of thinking that I shouldn’t bother Allah to ask him for silly, small things, only for the big important things. I imagined that He’s too busy to care about little things. Then, one day I realised that my attitude was completely wrong. By thinking he’s too busy, I had fallen into the dangerous trap of attributing human weaknesses to Allah. He’s never too busy. He keeps the planets in their orbits while feeding an ant under a black rock on a dark night in the middle of the desert. He’s cares for everything from the biggest to the smallest. And he never gets tired. As we always read in Ayatul kursiy, the verse of the Throne:
“Slumber does not overtake Him, nor sleep.”
“Guarding and preserving the whole cosmos does not cause Him any fatigue.”
So if you need anything, big or small, ask Allah.
We often forget that Allah alone can help us overcome the many problems we encounter in our daily lives. Be it economic, spiritual, physical or mental. The secret is to keep Allah in mind, constantly, so that when any difficulty arises, we can address it confident in the knowledge that Allah is aware of our situation. We should never face any problem on our own; Allah is with us and He inspires and authorises the solution.
I remember reading a story about a young man who was keen to be a spiritual leader. But his Shaykh said to him:
“Before you can hope to be a leader, you must answer this correctly. Imagine you are walking through the fields, when suddenly you are attacked by several dogs at once. What will you do?” The man replied, “I will grab a stick or some stones to throw at them, and defend myself. His teacher smiled and said, “That’s not the answer. You may hold off one or two dogs, but the others will get you. You cannot defend yourself against so many attacking you all at once. The wise answer is to call on the shepherd, call the dog’s master, and ask him for help. He’ll call the dogs away and they will leave you unharmed.”
Brothers and Sisters!
This is of course a deeply philosophical story with many layers of meaning. The dogs are the problems we face in life, every day. The Shepherd is Allah. Don’t try to defend yourself without Allah. Don’t try to rely only on your wayo, dabara or cleverness. You will fail. You cannot win. Whether you are President, Governor, Sultan, Emir, Shehu, Oba, Oni, Obi, Ohinoyi, Attah, Senator, member House of Representative, Minister, Commissioner, DG, MD, GM, Manager, Director, Local Government Chairman, Councilor, Imam, Mallam, Sheikh, Alfa, Army, Police, Journalist, teacher, lecturer, labourer, Business man, Contractor, Judge, Lawyer, etc., take Allah into your confidence. Make him part of your life, part of every waking and sleeping moment. Allah loves it when we seek his help in big and small matters. This is another dimension of taqwa, being constantly mindful of Allah, filling our hearts with a sense of loveP fear and hope. We love Allah, we fear his punishment and we are ever hopeful of his forgiveness and mercy.
My Respected people!
At the beginning of this Khutbah (Sermon), we heard that, “anyone who is guided by Allah, he is certainly guided: and anyone who has been left astray will find no one to guide him.” The key word here is guidance. Think about it. We have many blessings from Allah. We enjoy good health, we live in comfortable homes, we have a good education, we value the love of family and friends, health, wealth and happiness; we also have Allah’s guidance, through His sacred book, the Noble Quran and the life example of Prophet Muhammad (SAW). Which of these blessings is the most important? Which of Allah’s blessings are indispensible? Brothers and sisters, without our health, with wealth or material happiness life would be challenging indeed. But Allah’s guidance would help us to endure hardship, to make suffering bearable. However, if we had no divine guidance, no matter how healthy or wealthy we were, we would be spiritually bankrupt and our lives would be empty of meaning.
Let us be truly thankful to Allah that we enjoy the great blessing of His guidance. We have no excuses. We have to only apply that guidance to our lives and to be good role models to others. That’s all. Let us pray that Allah accept our humble perhaps faltering, but essentially sincere efforts to follow His guidance, His Noble Qur’an, and His beloved prophet Muhammad (SAW).
Dear Brothers and Sisters!
There’s a saying that goes,” The proof of the pudding is in the eating.” You cannot appreciate something by just looking at it, admiring it but failing to experience it properly. Islam is no exception. There are many people, who admire Islamic art, study Islamic history, write beautiful books and give wonderful lectures about Islamic civilisation, but they are not Muslims, and their hearts haven’t been opened to Islam. If they regard their extensive knowledge purely as a professional career, an intellectual exercise, it won’t be enough for their salvation. On the Day of Judgment, Allah will not be impressed by our academic knowledge. He’ll want to know how we applied our knowledge to worship him and serve His creation. Therefore, a simple uneducated person, who loves and lives for Allah with a full heart, is really more successful than someone who may have acquire PhDs and written scholarly books, but whose knowledge has not brought him closer to Allah, and didn’t serve Allah’s creation.
The poet Jalaluddin Rumi asks:
“Are you only going to admire the jug, or are you actually going to drink the water?”
Brother and sisters!
To make good use of Allah’s greatest gift, His divine guidance, we must know it in order to live it completely, wholeheartedly. Our thirst for spiritual knowledge will never be quenched by only admiring the jug. We must drink the water of Islam.
Allah the Most High says:
“And whomsoever Allah wills to guide, he opens his heart to Islam.”
Brothers and sisters!
We have Allah’s guidance before us. Let’s take it up and live by it whole heartedly. This is the way to appreciate Allah’s greatest gift.
Let me conclude my today’s Khutbah (Sermon) by saying:
“Surely Allah commands justice, good deeds and generosity to others and to relatives; and He forbids all shameful deeds, and injustice and rebellion: He instructs you, so that you may be reminded.”
“And remember Me: I will remember you. Be grateful to me, and do not reject faith.”
“And without doubt, Remembrance of Allah is the Greatest Thing in life, and Allah knows the deeds that you do.”
May the peace and blessings of Allah be upon our beloved Prophet and Master, Muhammad peace and blessings be upon him, his family and all his Companions.
This Khutbah (Friday Sermon) was prepared for delivery today Friday, Rabi’ul Awwal 16, 1438 AH (December 16, 2016), by Imam Murtadha Muhammad Gusau, the Chief Imam of Nagazi-Uvete Central Mosque and Alhaji Abdurrahman Okene’s Mosque, Okene Kogi State, Nigeria. The Imam can be reached via: +23480 382 89761.