In the Name of Allah, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful
By Murtada Gusau,
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 believe! Revere Allah the right reverence, and do not die except as Muslims.” (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 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’s (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.
My Dear Brothers and Sisters,
These are difficult times for the Muslim Ummah; these are difficult times for the all peace-loving Nigerians, at home or abroad. These are especially dangerous times for the poor people of Nigeria, especially Borno, Yobe, Adamawa, North-East and generally Nigeria; a country exhausted by years of warfare and poverty.
Whoever was responsible for the terror attack in the North-East, it is ultimately Islam that gets the blame and Muslims who will suffer the punishment. Already, there are reports of attack on Muslims in many countries. No doubt this situation may get much worse in the future, given the negative associations in the media. The logic seems to be, if you’re a sincere and practicing Muslim, you are a Fundamentalist. And if you are a Fundamentalist, then you must also be a terrorist.
Whether Boko Haram, ISIS or some other Muslim group sponsored by underground, powerful and strong people was responsible for the terror attacks, or whether it was in fact, some dark conspiracy hatched by others to discredit or demonise Islam and the Muslims, I doubt that the truth will be known in the immediate future. Maybe the truth will not be known until Judgement day. Allah alone knows the truth, and He will most certainly dispense His Justice, in His own time, in His own way.
The ISIS and Boko Haram crisis has affected the whole world creating confusion for many Muslims and non-Muslims. Others made it an opportunity to discredit Islam and fuel Islamophobia.
What we Muslims should now concern ourselves with is that whatever we do, we must do with the intention of pleasing our Lord and Creator. Whether we choose a course of study, or start a career, or bring up a family or any struggle, we must always remain within the limits set by Islam. Whatever the provocation, we must not be tempted to do things that will incur Allah’s wrath and anger on us. We must not behave in any way that compromises the good name and the dignity of our faith. In the long history of Muslims in warfare, there are many examples of noble conduct and the rules of battle as set out in the Noble Qur’an and Sunnah of Muhammad (SAW). Even when fighting in self-defence, we have to beware of committing injustice towards anybody.
In surah Al-Ma’ida, verse 8, we are told:
“O you who believe! Stand out firmly for Allah as witnesses to fair dealing; and let not your hatred of a people, lead you to act unjustly towards them. Be just, that is next to piety; and fear Allah for Allah is well acquainted with all that you do.”
It is no use trying to speculate who was responsible for this terrible lose of innocent lives. Bearing in mind we have the knowledge about the dangerous creed adopted by some ignorant Muslims among us. We will hear all kinds of rumours and all kinds of accusations. There are even theories going around that terrorist groups may have been infiltrated at some high level by the enemies of the North, Mossad, the Israeli secret service, and their agents could have masterminded the attack. Some people in the North accused former president Goodluck Jonathan’s administration for the sponsoring the activities of Boko Haram. Also some people in the South now are pointing accusing fingers to some of our leaders in the North for the sponsoring of Boko Haram and their activities. All those accusations are pure lies, nonsense and far from truth. They are only conspiracy theories. How could such theories be proven or disproved? Now that USA and its allies and also the British army are already on a war footing, will the evidence they claim to have ever be made public? Will the world ever know who the real culprits are? The key question is who benefits? Who gains most from this appalling acts of terror? Certainly not Islam and not Muslims, we have in fact the most to lose. So, who then is the mastermind behind it all? Allah alone knows best. We do know that there are those who seek to defame the good name of Islam with acts of terror. There are very powerful interest groups who want to destroy any cohesion and unity amongst Muslims, and who want this so called “war against terrorists” to become a war against Islam and Muslim everywhere… as if the terms Islam, Muslim, Fundamentalist and Terrorist are interconnected and inseparable.
Dear Brothers and Sisters,
We must not lose heart and become unduly depressed. We must remember that everything that happens in life can only happen with the permission of Allah. Like good Muslims, indeed, like ordinary human beings, we extend our condolences and our sympathy to those families who lost loved ones in Borno, Yobe and Adamawa States. There were different people from many families, including Muslims and non-Muslims who perished in those tragedies cause by the terrorists, the enemies of peace and progress. To them and to their grieving families, we say,
“Inna lillahi wa inna ilayhir raaji’uun.” “From Allah have we come and to Him is our return.”
As for the future, we know that not a leaf falls from a tree, but it is known to Allah (SWT). We must bring ourselves ever closer to him in everything we do, so that we can earn His good pleasure, and deserve His protection and mercy. To be a practicing Muslim in Borno, Yobe, Adamawa and generally the North-East these days, life will become especially challenging. But seeking the help of our Creator, we will, inshaa-Allah, rise to that challenge. We will be tested in our Imaan (faith) and our Taqwa as never before. As we are promised in surah Al-Baqarah verse 214:
“Or, did you think that you will enter Paradise without such trials that came to those who passed away before you? They encountered suffering and adversity, and were so shaken in spirit that even the Apostle and those of faith who were with him cried: “When will come the help of Allah?”
“Alaa inna nasrallaahi qareeb.” “Truly, the help of Allah is ever near.”
My Dear Brothers and Sisters,
I have absolutely no doubt in my mind, that at some point in the future [and it may not be in our lifetime] this war against innocent lives will be over, and it is truth, not falsehood that will triumph. We, or our children or our grandchildren, will once again see the meaning of that beautiful verse:
“And say: Truth has come, and Falsehood has perished, for falsehood by its very nature, is bound to perish.”
Dear Brothers and Sisters
What we can do, in our individual capacity, to help ourselves out of this difficult and sometimes dangerous situation?
First, apart from the military action from the government, we must be vigilant and we must renew our commitment to Allah, and through our Salah (daily and night Prayers), Du’ah (supplications) and Zhikr, plead with Him to help us, and to help all People in this hour of need. We need divine intervention so that this wickedness and madness will come to an end. The only reliable weapon we have after military actions is prayers; we don’t have any connection, no contact but we do know that the contact of Allah is the supreme contact. Let’s intensify prayers, let’s rely on Allah after taking a concrete and proper actions so that His Mercy comes down to us. Let’s Pray to Allah for our own protection, forgiveness, guidance and success in all matters and affairs, especially in our fight against insurgency and terror.
Second, we must help our fellow Brothers and Sisters elsewhere, the Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs), who are desperately in short of food, clothing, medicines and basic healthcare. It is our duty to help them in their hour of need. There are several government and non-governmental organisations like THE National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) and others that will put our money to good use.
Finally, we must do everything in our power to counter the negative propaganda about Islam and Muslims. The best way to do this is to show in our speech and in our behaviour, the excellent qualities that are prescribed in our Qur’an and Sunnah. We must at all time, and especially in times of hardship and distress, we must be models of dignity and excellence of character, that will inspire others and win over their hearts and minds. We must let the people that do not know anything about Islam that all what the insurgents and terrorists are doing is not Islam and the religion of Allah do not have anything to do with it.
Allah has described His ideal people in the Noble Qur’an, surah Al-Imraan, verse 104:
“Let there arise out of you a band of people inviting to all that is good; enjoining what is right and forbidding what is wrong; they are the ones to attain success.”
Our job is simply to persevere in patience and constancy, in speaking the truth and living the excellent example, which is our duty and destiny.
I will end my today’s Sermon with some beneficial words from Oprah Winfrey so that you make sure you show your appreciation for her tweet. She said:
“If your only exposure to Islam has been the horrific acts perpetrated by extremist groups, you do not understand what it means to be Muslim at all.”
And she tweet again:
“We felt privileged to film the hajj and explore the beauty of Islam.”
Dear Brothers and Sisters let us pray to Allah:
“O Allah, condemn us not if we forget or fall into error; our Lord! Lay not on us a burden like that which you laid on those before us; our Lord! Lay not on us a burden greater than we have strength to bear. Blot out our sins and grant us forgiveness. Have mercy on us. You are our Protector; help us against those who stand against us.”
O Allah, we seek your forgiveness your mercy and your protection in this world and the next.
O Allah, we seek your forgiveness, your mercy and protection in our religion, in our worldly affairs, in our family and in our wealth.
O Allah, conceal 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 refuge in your Greatness from being struck down from beneath us.
O Allah, we ask you that you decree good for us, you guide us to that which pleases you, you show us the path to Jannah (Paradise), you protect us and shield us from the ways to fire – verily, you have power over everything.
O Allah, guide those who are in authority over us, to that which you love and is pleased with. And make us and them help one another to al-Birr and Taqwa.
We seek refuge in you, from deviation after guidance, from deficiency after protection.
O Allah, save us – verily, you have power over everything.
And all praise belongs to Allah, the Lord of the Worlds.
This Khutbah (Friday Sermon) was prepared for delivery today, Friday, Muharram 16, 1437 AH (October 30, 2015), by Imam Murtada Muhammad Gusau, the Chief Imam of Nagazi-Uvete Jumu’at Mosque, Okene, Kogi State Nigeria. He can be reached via: +2348038289761.