In the Name of Allah, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful
All Praise is due to Allah, we praise Him and we seek help from Him. We ask forgiveness from Him. We repent to Him; and we seek refuge in Him from our own evils and our own bad deeds. Anyone who is guided by Allah, he is indeed guided; and anyone who has been left astray, will find no one to guide him. I bear witness that there is no God but Allah, the only one without any partner, and I bear witness that Muhammad, peace and blessings on him, is His servant, and His Messenger.
“O You who believe, – Be aware of Allah, with correct awareness, an awe-inspired awareness and die not except as Muslims.”
“O You who believe, – Be aware of Allah, and speak a straightforward word. He will forgive your sins and repair your deeds. And whoever takes Allah and His Prophet as a guide, has already achieved a mighty victory.”
In the opening verse of Surah An-Nisaa’, Allah says:
“O mankind! Show reverence towards your Guardian-Lord who created you from a single person, created, of like nature, his mate and from the two of them scattered (like seeds) countless men and women:- Be conscious of Allah, through whom you demand your mutual (rights) and (show reverence towards) the wombs (that bore you): for surely, Allah ever watches over you”.
My Dear Brothers and Sisters!
In today’s Sermon I want to share with you one of the keys that will give us access to a higher level of faith. The key to ihsaan, the key that to open the door to excellence of worship is this: to trust Allah. What does it mean, to trust Allah? It’s quite easy to say, “I trust Allah,” But it’s much harder to do that in practice with your heart and soul, over and over again, all the time, every day, in every situation. Trusting Allah completely takes practice and serious determination. Trusting Allah is not just a slogan. It’s not just a nice sounding theory. Trusting Allah means that you set aside your personal likes and dislikes, set aside your ego, your lower nafs, and you do the right thing. You do it with the firm belief that Allah knows best, and that Allah will deliver a good result whatever your own prejudices might be.
Most of us are not Arabic speakers. We therefore have to make a special effort to understand Arabic terms used in the sacred texts. Words are sometimes so inadequate, but it’s all that we have. It’s always possible that something gets lost in translation. Iman, Faith, in Arabic does not just mean blind belief. It’s not enough just to believe that Allah exists. Iman also implies the element of Trust. To have Iman is to have faith in Allah, and to trust Him to take good care of us. This doesn’t happen overnight. We have to work hard to cultivate strong faith and trust in Allah. That is Iman. Allah is our guardian and our protector. Because we have Iman, Faith, we put our trust in Allah before anything and anyone else. The noble Qur’an reminds us that:
“And enough is Allah as a witness,” “And enough is Allah as a guardian or protector.”
The Qur’an constantly urges us as believers to put our trusts in Allah. But we human beings are forgetful. The Arabic word for human beings, mankind or humankind, is “Insan.” One of the meanings of insan, is to be forgetful. It’s part of our human nature. That’s why the noble Qur’an recommends dhikr, the constant remembrance of Allah, as the best cure for our forgetfulness.
“Those whose hearts find peace in the Remembrance of Allah. Surely, in Allah’s Remembrance do hearts find peace.”
Servants of Allah!
Let’s take an example. When we run into financial difficulty, what do we do? Most of us would run off to speak to our bank manager, or a wealthy friend or relative. Quite often, the last thing we do is to ask Allah for help. It seems that when all else fails, when our bank manager shakes his head, or our rich friends and family make their excuses, only then do we turn to Allah, don’t we? Shouldn’t it really be the other way around? Shouldn’t we should turn to Allah first, not last! But there we are: such forgetful creatures! And yet, Allah loves us and Allah forgives us and He helps us out of our difficulty anyway…
To learn how to trust Allah, we should read about the early days of Islam. Prophet Muhammad (SAW) and his illustrious companions, the sahabah, had to endure great hardship before Allah delivered them to victory. Throughout their ordeals, their faith and trust in Allah never wavered. Enduring hardship, poverty, test and trials with patient, perseverance is an essential part of showing faith and trust in Allah. It’s in a crisis that we show what we’re really made of. When we face a personal calamity, do we panic? Do we resort to desperate actions? Do we throw aside our moral and ethical values? Or do we calmly accept that Allah is testing us. Do we show our complete faith and trust in Allah? Do we do the right thing, even though it may be painful or difficult? This is the acid test. A true believer always does the right thing at the right time in the right way. Even if it seems to be against our own interests, Allah commands us to be just, to be fair.
In Surah Nisaa’, Allah urges us to remain fair and just at all times:
“O you who have believe! Stand out firmly for justice, as witnesses to Allah, even as against yourselves, or your parents, or your kin, and whether it be (against) rich or poor: for Allah can best protect both. Follow not the lusts (of your hearts); lest you swerve, and if you distort (justice) or decline to do justice, truly Allah is well-acquainted with all that you do.”
My dear Brothers and Sisters!
When we tell lies, when we cheat, when we take advantage of others, when we exploit someone’s weakness or misfortune, then we betray a lack of faith and a lack of trust in Allah. Remember that Allah decrees our Risq, our Provision for all our life. Whatever we do, we cannot increase or decrease that provision. This is a very important point for us to remember. It is a matter decreed by Allah. No man and no woman will earn a penny more or a penny less than what Allah has already decreed.
The only choice we have is this. How do we earn our provision? Do we earn it with Allah’s blessings or with Allah’s anger? That’s the crucial choice that we must make every day. Do we earn our risq, our provision the Halal way or the Haram way? The actual amount of our provision has been fixed by Allah. That cannot be changed. But how we earn what Allah has decreed for us: that’s the crucial point that will invite Allah’s anger or Allah’s good pleasure. That choice is ours! All the lying, cheating, the greedy and unethical business practices will not increase our wealth. This only gets us our share along with Allah’s displeasure. On the other hand, if we do things the right way, the moral way, the ethical way, we get our share as well as Allah’s good pleasure and blessings with it. That’s our choice.
My dear Brothers and Sisters!
There is a beautiful and inspiring verse in Surah Talaq, verse no. 2, in which Allah declares that:
“And whoever is cautiously aware of his duty to Allah, Allah always prepares a way out for him from his difficult. And He provides for him from (sources) he never could imagine. And if any one puts his trust in Allah, then sufficient is (Allah) for him. For Allah will surely accomplish His purpose: truly, for all things has Allah appointed a due proportion.”
Here we are reminded of the fruits of faith. This is what Allah promises when we put our Trust in Him. It’s very significant that these words appear at the beginning of Surah At-Talaq. The subject is divorce. Divorce is legal. It’s allowable in Islam, but it’s also something that Allah hates. When a marriage has ended, it becomes very difficult for a man and a woman to treat each other with fairness and justice, let alone with generosity. This is why Allah appeals to both to put their trust in Him, and not to be driven by anger or resentment. However difficult the situation might be, Allah promises us a way out. But first we must place our trust in Him alone.
My dear Brothers and Sisters!
Imagine this scenario. You’ve been working happily in the job of your dreams. Then one fateful day you are told that your services are no longer needed. You’ve just lost your job. What’s the first thing you do? Most of us would immediately go online to start looking for another job. We’d update our CV and send it along with our application forms. That’s the most logical thing to do. But one scholar gives this advice:
“As soon as you find yourself in a difficult situation, take a deep breath, turn to Allah. Say, “Inna lil-laahi wa inna ilayhir raaji-uun.” From Allah we came, and to Allah we will return. Put your faith and trust in Allah. That’s real iman. Before you do anything else, give sadaqah, make a donation to charity. If you have N100 that you’ve saved for a rainy day, give N5 or N10 to charity immediately. Remind yourself that someone out there needs it even more than you do. This is how you keep things in perspective. You’ve taken a hard knock, but this isn’t the end of the world. Once you realise there are millions of people who are actually much worse off than you, then your own little problem looks like just another minor inconvenience. And when you put your trust and faith in Allah, and you have yaqeen, absolute certainty that Allah will help you, then this whole experience becomes an act of ibadah, a beautiful form of extended worship. When you’ve done that, now you can go on and look for that new job, or deal with whatever situation you have to deal with. I promise you, if you really put your faith and trust in Allah. Allah will open doors for you in the most unexpected places. You’ll be rewarded with an even better job than the one you had before. Believe me. I know this. I speak from long personal experience.”
My dear Brothers and Sisters!
Try to memorise and internalise this beautiful Hadith, which is also one of my favourites: (ibn Abbas):
“Remember Allah and you will find Him in front of you. Remember Allah in times of ease and He will remember you in times of distress. What hit you could not have missed you. What missed you could not have hit you. Know that victory comes with patience, relief follows distress, and ease follows hardship.”
And with those inspiring words of wisdom from our beloved Prophet Muhammad (SAW), my dear brothers and sisters, I conclude my Khutbah.
“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.”
Oh Allah we ask you to bring honour and victory to Islam and the Muslims.
Oh Allah we ask you to rectify our leadership and show them the path of righteousness.
Success comes from Allah, the Lord of all that exist, and He the Most High knows best.
This Khutbah (Friday Sermon) was prepared for delivery today, Friday, Jumaada al-Thaany 29, 1437 A.H (April 8, 2016), by Imam Murtadha Muhammad Gusau, the Chief Imam of Nagazi-Uvete Jumu’at Mosque and Alhaji Abdurrahman Okene’s Mosque, Okene Kogi State, Nigeria. He can be reached through: +234 80 3828 9761.