By Imam Murtadha Gusau
In the name of Allah, the Most Merciful, the Bestower of Mercy
All praise is for Allah, we praise Him, we seek His help, we ask for His forgiveness, and we seek refuge with Allah from the evils of our own souls and the wickedness of our actions, whoever Allah guides, there is none that can lead him astray, and whoever Allah allows to go astray, there is none that can lead him to the right path.
I testify and bare witness that there is no deity worthy of worship in truth but Allah, alone, without any partners. And I testify and bare witness that Muhammad (Peace be upon him) is His Servant and Messenger. As for what’s after:
Dear brothers and sisters! Today, I hope to focus on an issue which affects us all, and is becoming increasingly important, especially as we consider the current events happening around us here in Nigeria and around the world. In Shaa Allah I want to talk to you about the unity, or oneness, of the Muslim Ummah. I want to explain how important it is to not forget our Muslim neighbours, to feel what they feel, to praise Allah and share in their happiness and to remember them in our prayers during times of difficulty. We are part of the largest and most diverse community on Earth, and we should be proud of our identity.
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Respected servants of Allah! To begin with, I’m going to recite verse no. 103 from Surah Ali–Imran from the Qur’an, followed by its English translation:
“وَٱعْتَصِمُوا۟ بِحَبْلِ ٱللَّهِ جَمِيعًۭا وَلَا تَفَرَّقُوا۟ ۚ وَٱذْكُرُوا۟ نِعْمَتَ ٱللَّهِ عَلَيْكُمْ إِذْ كُنتُمْ أَعْدَآءًۭ فَأَلَّفَ بَيْنَ قُلُوبِكُمْ فَأَصْبَحْتُم بِنِعْمَتِهِۦٓ إِخْوَٰنًۭا وَكُنتُمْ عَلَىٰ شَفَا حُفْرَةٍۢ مِّنَ ٱلنَّارِ فَأَنقَذَكُم مِّنْهَا ۗ كَذَٰلِكَ يُبَيِّنُ ٱللَّهُ لَكُمْ ءَايَـٰتِهِۦ لَعَلَّكُمْ تَهْتَدُونَ.”
“And hold firmly to the rope of Allah all together and do not become divided. And remember the favour of Allah upon you – when you were enemies and He brought your hearts together and you became, by His favour, brothers. And you were on the edge of a pit of the Fire, and He saved you from it. Thus does Allah make clear to you His verses that you may be guided.” [Qur’an, 3: 103]
My beloved people! As I look around the Mosque, I see people from different states, different tribes, who speak different languages, enjoy different foods and study different subjects. Apart from sharing the fundamental biological features that make us human, we are unique in the sense that we think differently, we see differently, and we speak differently. However, despite all this, it is a great blessing that we are all united by our common belief in the Kalimatush-Shahadah and the Islamic principles that are associated with it. We all believe that Allah is the only Creator, and that Muhammad (Peace be upon him) is the final Prophet and Messenger of Allah. This Kalimatush-Shahadah, the declaration of faith and our duties as a result of this, such as praying five times every day, fasting for one month in Ramadan, giving charity (Zakkat), all in the name of Allah, unites us and makes us part of the Ummah of Prophet Muhammad (Peace be upon him).
The Muslim Ummah has enjoyed periods of greatness, where Muslims in Asia were at the forefront of Scientific, Medical and Mathematical knowledge. At this time most of Europe in the West was trapped in what is known as the Middle or ‘Dark’ Ages, and yet the Muslims before us, who prayed five times a day like we do today, were creating buildings of learning and worship that still stand magnificently today. This period is regarded by scholars as the Islamic Golden Age, and Alhamdulilah it lasted for hundreds of years.
Coming to the present time, things are very much different. If we read the news we soon realise that as Muslims, we are far from this Golden Age I just described. Although Islam has grown and is now Alhamdulilah the fastest growing religion in the World, there are thousands of people who have lost their lives here in Nigeria, in Syria, Libya, Palestine, Burma, Iraq, Afghanistan, Yemen, Sudan and elsewhere.
As I speak there are many children in prison for simply throwing stones at armed soldiers, there are children in Africa starving, and children in this country bullied for their beliefs. Brothers and sisters, as an Ummah I believe that the brotherhood that exists between us is weak and could be much stronger, as is evident as we read about the humanitarian crises in Asia and Africa. Our beloved Prophet Muhammad (Peace be upon him) is reported to have said in a Hadith:
“The Muslim Ummah is like one body. If the eye is in pain and if the head is in pain, then the whole body is in pain.”
From this Prophetic Hadith, we should try and imagine the entire Muslim Ummah as one body. Like a human body contains different types of cells in different numbers, the Muslim Ummah too is made up of people of different tribes and nationalities from different parts of the world. The different cells in the body work together to keep the body healthy and free of disease and pain, and this is what we as an Ummah should aim for. We should work together to keep the Ummah, this body, healthy and strong.
Regardless of colour, tribe, race, region, nationality or gender, we should be united and in the event that some part of the Ummah is in distress, we should feel that pain as well. An example of this is the suffering of our neighbours in other Nigerian states, and like around the world as in Syria and Burma etc. As we read about their pains, we should remember them in our Du’as, prayers, and share in their pain as well. The same also applies for happiness. If our brothers are happy, then what is stopping us from sharing in that happiness?
In this present age, as Muslims we face the threat of Islamophobia from increasingly popular groups. Our brothers and sisters are being oppressed without rights that we take for granted in this country. In other places, our neighbours are starving and sleep hungry. Linking back to the Hadith, in the body that represents the Ummah, there are currently multiple regions that are in Pain, and it is more important than ever that we struggle against this adversity to remain united as one.
Dear brothers and sisters! There are many things we can do to strengthen the brotherhood that exists between us all. Small actions like greeting other Muslims with “Salam” not only earns you the reward of Allah, but it brings with it a sense of ease and comfort to the person you greet. It makes them feel safe and not alone. Other simple actions that strengthen our brotherhood is praying Salat as a congregation, even if it Isha Salat late at night with a few brothers or sisters. Alhamdulilah on YouTube there is a live stream of the noble Mosque in Makkah, and if you watch the Salat being performed, you instantly feel the bonds that exist between us. When you can see thousands of people, of different colour, stand side by side for Salat facing the Ka’abah and prostrating to Allah, we should strive to achieve this; to stand side by side with our Muslim brothers, not just in Salat, but throughout our daily lives as well.
Most important of all, is to lift our hands and pray to Allah to strengthen the brotherhood that exists between us, and pray for help for our family and neighbours in pain and times of difficulty. When we make supplication to Allah, what difference does it make to spend a little extra time to pray for the safe wellbeing of our brothers and sisters who are going through hardship?
You may have heard the phrase “If you don’t ask, you don’t get.” I mention this because it is very appropriate in this situation. How can we expect Allah’s help if we don’t ask for it in the first place?
Respected brothers and sisters! I’m going to end this sermon by reciting a Hadith from ‘Muslim’ which emphasises the importance of brotherhood in Islam. Abu Hurairah (RA) reported that the Prophet Muhammad (Peace be upon him) said:
“Do not be envious of one another; do not artificially inflate prices against one another; do not hate one another; do not shun another; and do not undercut one another in business transactions; and be as fellow brothers and servants of Allah. A Muslim is the brother of a Muslim. He neither oppresses him nor humiliates him nor looks down upon him. Piety is here, he pointed to his chest three times. It is evil enough for a Muslim to hold his brother Muslim in contempt. All things of a Muslim are inviolable for another Muslim; his blood, his property and his honour.” [Muslim]
Oh Allah, strengthen the bonds that exists between all Muslims. Safeguard our brothers and sisters who are in danger. Provide food and water for our brothers and sisters who are hungry and thirsty.
Oh Allah, provide shelter to the Muslims who are homeless and help those who live in Poverty. May Allah protect the Muslim Ummah from calamities and difficulties, and may He grant us all entry into Paradise in the life after death. Ameen.
All praises and thanks are due to Allah alone, Lord of the worlds. May the peace, blessings and salutations of Allah be upon our noble Messenger, Muhammad, and upon his family, his Companions and his true and sincere followers.
Murtadha Muhammad Gusau is the Chief Imam of Nagazi-Uvete Jumu’ah and the late Alhaji Abdur-Rahman Okene’s Mosques, Okene, Kogi State, Nigeria. He can be reached via: firstname.lastname@example.org or +2348038289761.
This Jumu’ah Khutbah (Friday sermon) was prepared for delivery today Friday, Safar 12, 1444 AH (September 09, 2022).