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[Friday Sermon] Lailatul-Qadr, Zakatul-Fitr And I’itikaf

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By Imam Murtadha Gusau

In the name of Allah, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful

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! The Ibadah (worship) of I’itikaf is a practice that goes back to all those who spend time in seclusion to reflect and ponder over their purpose in life and who want to achieve a higher stage of spirituality. Through their contemplation and reflection on the purpose of their existence, many have offered new and unique perspectives to their fellow humans, and many have achieved higher spiritual status. It is a practice that prevails in all cultures and religions. It inspires a human being to withdraw from the regular hustle and bustle of the world, even from his own family, and focuses on issues that he or she deems significant for oneself and society. The length of seclusion depends on the social rhythm of life in each culture and religion.

Islam institutionalised i’itikaf in the month of fasting through the practice of our beloved Prophet Muhammad (Peace be upon him.) It is a communal obligation, and it means that if only one person observes it in a locality, it would be regarded as an obligation fulfilled on behalf of all. The fasting was declared obligatory for the ninth month of the Islamic lunar calendar in the second year of Prophet’s migration (Hijrah) to Madinah or in the fifteenth year of his Prophetic mission. Except for the first year of fasting, the Prophet is reported to have observed i’itikaf as long as he lived. After him, his wives continued performing i’itikaf in the mosque. He spent ten days in the middle of Ramadan in the mosque, but he advised his companions and followers to continue doing i’itikaf in the last ten days. He once observed i’itikaf for 20 days.

I’itikaf is performed by those who are fasting. Both men and women did their i’itikaf during the time of the Prophet (Peace be upon him). At Prophet’s mosque, special arrangements were made for women following this practice of the Prophet.

During the I’itikaf a person doing i’itikaf should spend the night only in the mosque where he/she is doing i’itikaf, except if the tent is in one of the courtyards of the mosque. If the mosque does not have toilet facilities then the person doing i’itikaf can go home to relieve.

The person who wants to have i’itikaf should enter the mosque before sunset with a clear intention. During his stay, his focus should not be his family, business, or work. However, he can delegate others to take care of these matters in his absence. If due to some unavoidable situation one has to abandon the i’itikaf for intended days, he or she has to complete it later. I’itikaf is an act of Ibadah (worship) and it must be performed with full sincerity and intensity. Imam Malik said:

“A person doing i’itikaf is not doing i’itikaf until he avoids what someone doing i’itikaf should avoid, namely, visiting the sick, praying over the dead, and entering houses, except to relieve himself.”

The best practice is to absorb oneself in prayers and recitation of the Qur’an, reflecting on its meaning and relevance in one’s life. The Prophet in addition to doing this would also use the opportunity to reflect on the condition of Muslims and would discuss strategies to improve the quality of spiritual and social life. There are four things that are proven from the practice of the Prophet (Peace be upon him) during i’itikaf:

1. Consuming less food.

2. Sleeping less number of hours.

3. Lesser engagement in conversation.

4. Lesser social interaction.

Instead, he would focus on the following four:

1. Prayers.

2. Qur’anic recitation of the passages that were revealed until then.

3. Deeper reflections on the divine guidance of the existence of life.

4. Quietly helping others observing the i’itikaf.

In fact, i’itikaf is once a lifetime opportunity to focus on one’s life and purpose in relation to the creator and His creation.

Respected servants of Allah! Zakatul-Fitr is also known as Sadaqatul-Fitr. The word Fitr means the same as Iftar which is breaking a fast. So, Zakatul-Fitr is the name given to charity which is distributed at the end of the fast of Ramadan. Zakatul-Fitr is the Wajib/obligatory or we can say it is a duty on every Muslim to pay Sadaqatul-Fitr before offering Eid prayer. However, it can be paid earlier than that to enable the poor to provide their needs for the Eid day. The main aim of Zakatul-Fitr is to provide the poor with their needs and make them happy on the blessed day of Eid-ul-Fitr.

The intention of paying Zakatul-Fitr is to bring happiness to the poor on the day of Eid. And to do that we may pay it a little in advance as much as this is necessary to make it on time to the poor. Zakatul-Fitr is a seasonal payment that has a special time-related objective that is why it must stick to this time frame. Sadaqatul-Fitr becomes obligatory from sunset on the last day of fasting and remains obligatory until the beginning of Salatul-Eid. Zakatul-Fitr is an obligation which is due to the free or slave Muslim, male or female, young or adult. A man who is the head of a family pays for himself and for whomever he shelters, unless they have enough money of their own, to give out Zakatul-Fitr in Ramadan.

A person has to be a Muslim to be required to pay/give and qualify to receive Zakatul-Fitr. It is stated in Hadith in these words:

“Prophet Muhammad (Peace be upon him) made it incumbent on all the slave or free Muslims, male or female, to pay one Sa’i of dates or barley as Zakatul-Fitr.” [Bukhari]

The significant role played by Zakat in the circulation of wealth within the Islamic society is also played by the Sadaqatul-Fitr. But in the case of Sadaqatul-Fitr, each individual is required to calculate how much charity is due from himself and his dependents and go into the community in order to find those who deserve such charity.

So, we can say that Sadaqatul-Fitr plays an important role in the development of the bonds of community. The rich are obliged to come in direct contact with the poor, and the poor are put in contact with the extremely poor which helps to build real bonds of brotherhood and love within the Islamic community. Ibn Abbas reported that:

“The Prophet (Peace be upon him) made Zakatul-Fitr compulsory so that those who fasted may be purified of their idle deeds and shameful talk (committed during Ramadan) and so that the poor may be fed. Whoever gives it before Salah will have it accepted as Zakat, while he who gives it after the Salah has given Sadaqat.” [Abu Dawud]

The amount of Zakat is the same for everyone regardless of their different income brackets. The minimum amount is one Sa’i of food, barley, grain or dried fruit for each member of the family. Paying Zakatul-Fitr is an act of worship, and all acts of worship are described through the Qur’an and Sunnah of Prophet Muhammad (Peace be upon him). May Allah accept our fasts and give us the strength to complete them in a better way by paying Zakatul-Fitr. Ameen!

Dear brothers and sisters! Many Muslims believe that 27th night of Ramadan is Lailatul Qadr, the Night of Power. But the scholars tell us that it could be any of the odd nights in the last 10 nights of Ramadan. And, Allah knows best.

We all feel a special excitement as we anticipate this great Night, and we should therefore reflect on the words of Surah 97 in the Noble Qur’an:

“We have indeed revealed this [Message] in the Night of Power. And what will explain to you what the Night of Power is? The Night of Power is better than a thousand Months. Therein come down the angels and the Spirit by Allah’s permission on every errand. Peace… this until the rise of Morning!”

What is so special about Lailatul Qadr? Why does The Qur’an describe it as “better than 1,000 months?”  What if this night had never actually happened?

1,411 years ago (solar calendar), Lailatul Qadr was the night that changed history. It was the night that Angel Gabriel (Jibril AS), brought the first Words of Revelation, the very first verses of The Noble Qur’an to a man sitting in a cave on Jabal Nur, the Mountain of Light. That man, Muhammad Ibn Abdullah, became the Last Messenger and Educator of mankind, Khatimun Nabiyyin, “the Seal of the Prophets.” There would be no new Messenger, no new Prophet after him.

Just imagine! If there was no Lailatul Qadr, the Noble Qur’an would not have been revealed to us. And, if Muhammad had remained a mere man like those around him, then Prophet Isa (Jesus), would have been the last Prophet. As we all know, Prophet Isa spoke Aramaic and we have no complete and accurate version of his message (the Injil) in Aramaic. The Gospels of the New Testament were written at least 40 years after Prophet Isa’s time. The Gospel writers never met him, never heard his words directly nor did they ever see his face. St Barnabas lived in the time of Prophet Isa. His Gospel clearly foretold the coming of Prophet Muhammad (Peace be upon him). However, The Gospel of Barnabas was excluded from the Bible’s New Testament.

From the earliest days of Christianity, controversies raged over the nature of Prophet Isa (Jesus). The idea of the Trinity (3 in 1) God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit, was only established at the Council of Nicea, 325 years after Jesus!

It was the Noble Qur’an that came down to us, to clarify these controversies over Prophet Isa (Jesus). As we all know, the Qur’an we have today is exactly the same as the one revealed to Prophet Muhammad (Peace be upon him) and it is the only Scripture that has remained intact to this day, since it was revealed. Allah is its Protector. Even if all the printed Qur’ans  were destroyed, millions have already memorised it by heart, and new printed versions can easily be produced with every word in its proper place. This amazing book, Allah’s Sacred Word, The Noble Qur’an, is the real gift of Lailatul Qadr.

Let us consider the world scenario on the day before Lailatul Qadr. Imagine the day before, when the man Prophet Muhammad was still deep in meditation, alone in a cave on a mountain near Makkah. His city was a playground for the rich. Might was right. The poor were oppressed. The Arabs worshipped idols made of wood and stone. Women had few rights. Newborn girls were often buried alive. Arabia was so backward that the Persian and Roman Empires didn’t bother to invade. This land and these people weren’t even worth fighting over!

As the day passed into night, Prophet Muhammad (Peace be upon him) became aware of a strange presence in that cave. It was the Angel Gabriel (Jibril AS) in the form of a man. Angel Jibril grabbed him and held him in an ever tightening embrace. Angel Jibril commanded him, repeatedly, to “READ!” Prophet Muhammad was terrified, and he kept saying “I cannot read!” But Angel Jibril persisted, squeezing the breath out of him until Prophet Muhammad almost lost consciousness. Then, slowly and painfully these majestic words emerged from his blessed lips:

“In the Name of Allah, Most Gracious, Most Merciful. Read, in the Name of your Lord (and Educator}, who created! Created human beings out of a mere clot of congealed blood. Read, and your Lord is most Bountiful. He who taught the use of the Pen. Taught mankind that which he knew not!”

Outside the Christian and Jewish worlds, the Arabs were Pagans, praying to idols of their own making. They had desecrated the Ka’abah with 360 idols, almost one for each day of the year. Arabia was in a hopeless state, and it seemed, doomed to a dismal fate. Then literally and metaphorically, out of the darkness of the Cave, and in the Arab’s darkest hour, there appeared the first words of The Noble Qur’an, the first rays of light to dispel their spiritual darkness.

That same sacred light (Nur) that filled the Cave during Lailatul Qadr, that filled the heart of our dear Prophet Muhammad (Peace be upon him), has shone brightly down the ages, to fill our lives also. Year after year, for over 1,443 years, the light of Lailatul Qadr has brought hope and renewed faith, to a world that still finds itself stumbling around, trying to find its way, trying to find its soul in the spiritual darkness of our present times.

Respected brothers and sisters! We all take great care that our homes have adequate gas and electric power. It is also important that we do not neglect our spiritual power. Let us plug our hearts and souls in to Lailatul Qadr and let’s recharge our Iman (faith) batteries. The Muslim world today is once again in a sorry state. Now as ever, we need the Light, the Nur, of Lailatul Qadr, to help us find our way to Allah’s Ridwan, Allah’s Good Pleasure.

Let us spend our Night of Power, in Zikrullah, remembering Allah Almighty, and offering thanks to Him, for his countless blessings that we enjoy each moment of our lives. Let us passionately seek Allah’s help, Glorified and Exalted is He, to lift the burden of injustice and oppression from so many Muslim communities around the world. Let us beg Him to help us become the dynamic, disciplined and balanced community, the Ummatan wasatan, the Balanced People, and the Witness to the Nations, as described in the Noble Qur’an. Let us spend this historic night offering our most heartfelt pleas to our Lord and Educator, to help us become the model Muslims that our children and all future generations can love, respect and follow.

Lailatul Qadr, The Night of Power has energised history. The brilliant and irresistible light of Allah’s revelation illuminated the darkness of human ignorance. In the 7th Century, from an unlikely land of barren deserts and wandering Bedouin, Islam lit up the world. And despite many ups and downs, in communities large and small, Islam still lights up the darkness of human weakness, ignorance and evil today.

What can we learn from the history of Islam that will help us build a better future for our children and grandchildren?

We learn that wishful thinking doesn’t work.. Our laziness won’t solve problems. Unless we strive hard in the ‘greater jihad‘ to control our lower nafs, we are the loosers. We have to look inwardly into our hearts, take stock of ourselves and follow Allah’s advice, our conditions won’t change by themselves. In Surah Al-Ra’d, (13:11), we read:

“Truly, never will Allah change the condition of a people, until they change what is within themselves…”

Allah will not change our condition, until we make the effort to turn away from what displeases Him, and we must strive, sincerely, to seek His pleasure. If we seriously want our conditions to change for the better, we must willingly sacrifice our time and effort to serve others out of love and gratitude to Allah. We must face all our difficulties and problems positively, relying on Allah to accept our efforts and to deliver good results.

Remember that, Prophet Muhammad (Peace be upon him) started his Prophetic mission, as a minority of one. The challenge was enormous. Read his amazing life story. Family and friends later joined him. But he had to work hard, with sincerity, patience and perseverance, for his community to grow. He was determined, patient and persistent. He relied on Allah alone. In time, his Ummah grew in quantity and quality. By the end of his life he had unified a country of wild and warring tribes into a real brotherhood of believers.

Within few years, the effect of that first Lailatul Qadr was that it transformed the weak and troublesome Arab tribes into a nation of Supermen. As one writer described it:

“It was as if the desert sand of Arabia had turned into gunpowder, and when the fuse of Iman (faith) was lit, the Muslims became an unstoppable, irresistible force. They exploded out of the Arabia, north, south, east and west. Even the Roman and Persian empires could not resist them.

Dear brothers and sisters! That mystical and mysterious force that descends by the command of Allah Most High, during Lailatul Qadr, the Night of Power, has proven itself in history. Its clear evidence is there for all of us to see. It can change our lives, for the better, also.

Remember that it was during Ramadan that some of Islam’s noblest and greatest victories were achieved, for example, the Battle of Badr, the Conquest of Makkah, the Conquest of Spain, and the Defeat of Genghis Khan’s Mongols at Ain Jalut.

That same irresistible light hat guided our noble and illustrious predecessors can guide us also. The magic of Lailatul Qadr is none other than Allah’s guidance in the Noble Qur’an and the Prophetic Sunnah. All over the world, millions are using the last 10 days of Ramadan to find the blessing, the barakah, of this Noble Night. Let us therefore rededicate ourselves and re-align our priorities. Let us try hard to be full-time Muslims, not just Jumu’ah Muslims or Ramadan Muslims or Eid Muslims. Allah will never accept divided loyalties. Our hearts must serve Allah alone!

Dear servants of Allah! Why not let me, and you all here, make a commitment today, to serve Allah whole-heartedly, and to let our first love be our love for Allah. And for His sake alone, let us strive every moment of every day to purify and improve ourselves, in body, heart and soul.

Anything less than this will be unworthy of us who choose to call ourselves Muslims and Believers. Only when we have purified our hearts from greed, vanity, cowardice, envy and malice, and we have filled that space with a love of truth, justice, beauty, generosity and mercy, can we expect Allah to change our condition. Once we have won this Jihadun-nafs, this battle against our Lower Self, we can deserve, and deserve, the help and Mercy of Allah.

I pray that, during this historic time, in this blessed Month, on this Great Night of Power, when His angels are sent by His Command, that Allah Most Gracious will accept our commitment. May He also help us to purify our hearts, strengthen our faith, and enable us to meet every challenge, overcome every difficulty in our lives. May Allah allow us to serve Him in our work, in our leisure, in our study, in our business and professions and in our family life and social relations. And when the time comes for us finally to return to Him, may Allah admit us to the companionship of those whom He loves as His friends. Ameen.

Lastly, I urge all of you to remember the whole Ummah in your precious Du’as, especially in this blessed month and in the last 10 days of Ramadan.

Allah surely knows best and he is the Lords of the universe and May his peace and blessing be on his Messenger, his family, his companions and those who follow them.

I ask Allah, the Most High to grant us success and enable us to be correct in what we say and write, ameen.

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: gusauimam@gmail.com or +2348038289761.

This Jumu’ah Khutbah (Friday sermon) was prepared for delivery today, Friday, Ramadan 21, 1443 A.H. (April 22, 2022).

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Opinion

The rise and fall of Kano Pillars: A journey through success and challenges

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Kano Pillars FC

Muhammad Sodangi

 

Being a prominent, professional football club, Kano Pillars rose through landscape of Nigerian football,showcasing and elegantly displaying a blend of talent, resilience and passion for game.

The club’s commitment to excellence and community support has been so instrumental in their success over the years.

The club is well known for its passionate fan base, iconic blue and white colors and stylistically competitive performance in the pitch.

Kano Pillars have won a lot of domestic trophies plus multiple NPF tittles as well as Federal Cups Victories.

Amazingly, they represented Nigeria in several continental competitions such as the CAF champion league and the CAF confederation cup.

With a solid foundation, Kano pillars football club stands as a shining example of determination, talent and community spirit in the Nigerian football’s atmosphere.

Through their remarkable journey, Kano pillars have solidified their place as highly revered and respected club in Nigerian football, leaving behind a lasting imprint on the heart of fans and the history book of the sports.

However, the recent clash between Enyimba and Kano pillars shook the Nigerian football scene as the former claimed a commanding 5-0 victory over the later.

The game was a topnotch encounter that magnetized and captivated fans and pundits from all angles.

Enyimba, known for their attacking prowess and tactical acumen, played a master class against Pillars, securing an impressive 5-0 victory.

On the flip side, Kano pillars faced enormous challenges throughout the match, struggling to contain Enyimba’s attacking onslaught and assert their presence on the field.

Infact, the decline of Kano pillars in recent seasons could be attributed to various factors, including the lack of motivation amongst players,coaching staff, management, and poor funding by the government.

These bedeviling obstacles created a nasty environment that hindered the players’ ability to perform at their best.

These international challenges could be addressed by prioritizing motivation, empowerment, and support for players and staff.

Thus, these could pave the way for success,glory and growth within the prestigious Kano pillars.

 

Sodangi writes from Salaha Africa, a media company based in Kano, Nigeria. 

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How to Celebrate 1445 AH/2024 Eid-ul-Fitr

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Hawan Sallah

By Imam Murtadha Gusau

 

In the Name of Allah, the Most Beneficent, the Most Merciful

All praise is due to Allah, the Lord of all creation, may Allah extol the mention of our noble Prophet Muhammad in the highest company of Angels, bless him and give him peace and security―and his family, his Companions and all those who follow him correctly and sincerely until the establishment of the Hour.

Dear brothers and sisters! Know that, Eid is a time of joy, happiness, gratitude, and togetherness for Muslims around the world. It is an occasion to celebrate the successful completion of Ramadan or Hajj, depending on whether it is Eid-ul-Fitr or Eid-ul-Adha. To truly appreciate the beauty of Eid, it is essential to understand and follow the Sunnah, or the traditions of our beloved Prophet Muhammad (Peace be upon him), on this special day. In this piece, I will explore the Sunnah of Eid day and discuss their significance In Shaa Allah.

Celebrating Eid in Islam is not just a festive occasion but a blend of spiritual rituals and social etiquettes that reflect the profound essence of Islamic teachings. Here’s a concise overview of the Sunnah acts and etiquettes for Eid:

Dear servants of Allah! One of the first Sunnah of Eid day is to perform ghusl, a full-body ritual bath, before leaving for the Eid prayer. This act of purification signifies physical and spiritual cleanliness as Muslims gather to offer their gratitude and prayers to Allah.

On Eid day, it is a Sunnah to wear the best clothes one possesses, or even to purchase new clothes for the occasion. This practice symbolises respect and honour for the day and is a way to exhibit gratitude to Allah for His countless blessings.

For Eid-ul-Fitr, it is Sunnah to eat an odd number of dates or something sweet before leaving for the Eid prayer. This act breaks the fast and marks the end of Ramadan, signifying that Muslims are no longer fasting and can now enjoy the festive celebration.

The recitation of takbir is an essential Sunnah on Eid day. Muslims should recite the takbir: Allahu Akbar, Allahu Akbar, La ilaha illallah, Allahu Akbar, Allahu Akbar, wa Lillahil Hamd, while leaving their homes for the Eid prayer and until the prayer begins. The takbir is a proclamation of Allah’s greatness and a way to glorify Him for the successful completion of Ramadan or Hajj.

Taking Different Routes to and from the Prayer Ground. The Sunnah of taking different routes to and from the prayer ground encapsulates multiple intentions, from displaying Islamic symbols to fulfilling social and familial obligations. This enriches the Eid experience, embedding it with deeper spiritual and communal dimensions.

The Eid prayer is a significant part of the Eid celebration. It is an opportunity for the entire Muslim Ummah to come together in unity and thankfulness. Muslims should attend the prayer, including women, children, and the elderly, to foster a sense of community and togetherness.

And it is recommended to walk to the Eid prayer, if possible, as this was the practice of the Prophet Muhammad (Peace be upon him). Walking to the prayer symbolises humility and submission to Allah.

After the Eid prayer, Muslims should greet one another with the traditional greeting: Taqabbalallahu minna wa minkum, meaning: May Allah accept (our good deeds) from us and you. This greeting fosters a sense of unity and love among the Ummah and reminds Muslims of their shared faith and devotion.

Eid is a joyous occasion that brings Muslims together in celebration and gratitude. By reviving and practicing the Sunnah of Eid day, as exemplified by Prophet Muhammad (Peace be upon him), Muslims can strengthen their faith, enhance the spirit of unity, and experience the true essence of this blessed day.

Observing these Sunnah acts and etiquettes during Eid not only enhances the spiritual and communal aspects of the celebration but also aligns the festivities with the teachings of Islam. Eid is a time for Muslims to express gratitude, reflect on their faith, and rejoice in the unity and blessings of their community, guided by the example of the Prophet Muhammad (Peace be upon him).

Please try to give happiness to a needy child on Eid by sending them an Eid gift.

Respected brothers and sisters! What we about to celebrate is Eid-ul-Fitr, also known as the “Festival of Breaking the Fast,” it is a significant Islamic festival celebrated by Muslims worldwide. It marks the end of the noble month of Ramadan, a month when Muslims fast from dawn to dusk and engage in increased spiritual reflection, prayer and acts of charity. But why and how do Muslims celebrate Eid-ul-Fitr?

My great people! Eid-ul-Fitr is a three-day festival that marks the end of Ramadan, the Islamic month of fasting. It is celebrated on the first day of the month of Shawwal, the tenth month of the Islamic calendar, upon the sighting and announcement of the new moon by a Muslim leader (Sultan in Nigeria’s case).

Eid-ul-Fitr is significant in Islam as it marks the end of the month-long spiritual journey Muslims take during Ramadan. Ramadan is the noble month when Muslims purify their souls and strengthen their faith in Allah Almighty. Thus, the festival of Eid-ul-Fitr then marks the completion of this spiritual journey.

Therefore, we celebrate this Eid as a way of expressing gratitude to Allah for giving us the opportunity to fast during Ramadan, seek forgiveness in it and earn numerous blessings from it. This is what makes the festival a time of joy, happiness, celebration and community.

Eid-ul-Fitr is a time of joy, happiness and celebration. A time when Muslims gather with family and friends, exchange gifts, share food and engage in other festivities.

Some of the common traditions associated with the blessed day of Eid include:

1. Eid prayer – Muslims gather in large congregations in Mosques or open spaces to perform the Eid prayer, which is a special prayer consisting of two units (raka’ahs).

2. Giving gifts – Muslims exchange gifts with family and friends, especially children, as a way of expressing love and gratitude.

3. Sharing food – Muslims prepare and share feasts with family and friends, often featuring traditional dishes and sweets.

4. Dressing one’s best – Muslims dress up in their best clothes, often traditional clothing, to mark the special occasion.

5. Visiting loved ones – Muslims visit relatives, friends, and neighbours to exchange greetings and share food and sweets.

6. Paying Zakatul Fitr – Zakatul Fitr is a form of charity that Muslims are obligated to give before Eid-ul-Fitr. This way, we can ensure the poor and needy of our Ummah around the world can also enjoy the festivities of Eid-ul-Fitr with loved ones.

Zakatul Fitr is mandatory for every adult Muslim with wealth beyond their basic needs, such as food, clothing, and shelter. It is also recommended for the head of the household to give on behalf of all dependents, including children, elderly parents, and servants.

The amount of Zakatul Fitr is typically equivalent to one Sa’i (approximately 2.5 or 3 kg) of food per person. It can be given in the form of food, such as wheat, barley, dates, raisins, rice, corn etc. Some Islamic scholars said you can also give money equivalent to the value of these food items.

By the Grace of Allah Almighty, at our Islamic Center, your Zakatul Fitr is connected to thousands of communities, granting families and children the means to enjoy their Eid-ul-Fitr free from hardship. By giving your Zakatul Fitr through our Islamic Center, you can help make a lasting difference in the lives of those in need, on Eid and in the future to come.

Dear brothers and sisters! All in all, Eid-ul-Fitr is an important festival in the Islamic calendar that marks the end of the noble month of Ramadan. It celebrates the completion of our month-long spiritual journey during the month of fasting. It is a time of joy, happiness and community. When Muslims express gratitude to Allah Almighty and come together with family and friends.

Regardless of when or where you are celebrating Eid-ul-Fitr, may the blessed festival be one of happiness, peace, unity and immense blessings for you and your loved ones. May Allah accept good deeds from us and from you.

And try to multiply your rewards from Allah Almighty this Eid. Give the gift of happiness and hope to our brothers and sisters in need with our Islamic Center.

Lastly, today Monday, 08th April 2024 is the 29th of Ramadan 1445 AH, and hence the first day to look for the crescent of Shawwal 1445 AH.

In line with the Prophetic guidelines, the National Moon Sighting Committee in Nigeria (NMSC), under the Nigeria Supreme Council For Islamic Affairs, under the able leadership of Sultan of Sokoto, His Eminence, Alhaji Muhammad Sa’ad Abubakar, hereby requests that you kindly look for the month of Shawwal 1445 AH crescent, and forward to them your observations whether positive or negative. They requested that in your report, you kindly indicate your full name, approximate time of observation and location (exact town or city please, and not LGA or State).

Alhamdulillah, all praise is due to Allah, 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 followers.

This piece was sent by Imam Murtadha Muhammad Gusau, the Chief Imam of: Nagazi-Uvete Jumu’ah Mosque; and Late Alhaji Abdur-Rahman Okene Mosque, Okene, Kogi State, Nigeria. He can be reached via: gusauimam@gmail.com; or +2348038289761.

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Opinion

Friday Sermon: O Muslims, Be Prepared To Pay Your Zakatul Fitr/Sadaqatul Fitr

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By Imam Murtadha Gusau

 

In the Name of Allah, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful

All praise is due to Allah, the Lord of all creation, may Allah extol the mention of our noble Prophet Muhammad in the highest company of Angels, bless him and give him peace and security―and his family, his Companions and all those who follow him correctly and sincerely until the establishment of the Hour.

Dear brothers and sisters! Know that Zakatul-Fitr or Sadaqatul-Fitr is a charity given to the poor and needy at the end of the fasting in the Islamic noble month of Ramadan. The Arabic word Fitr means the same as iftar, breaking a fast, and it comes from the same root word as Futur which means breakfast.

Imam Ibn Qudamah (Rahimahullah) says in his famous book Umdat fil Fiqh:

“Zakatul-Fitr (charity given at the end of Ramadan) is an obligation upon every Muslim men and women who owns more than the essential food he needs for himself and his dependents, to be given on the eve and the day of Eid. The amount of charity is one Sa’i of wheat, barley, flour, rice etc. It can also be paid in crushed form or in dates or raisins. However, if he cannot find this, he should give any kind of food he eats that will measure equally. Whoever must pay charity for himself must also pay it for his dependents if he owns enough on the day before Eid to pay for them. If a person’s provision is the responsibility of a group of people, such as a shared servant or someone in difficulty who is a relative of a group, then his charity is obligatory upon them all in accordance with their share of responsibility for his provision. It is preferable to pay the charity on the day of Eid before the prayer. It is not permissible to delay its payment until after the day of Eid, but it is permissible to pay it a day or two in advance. It is permissible to give charity to one person that which is obligatory upon a group, and also to give charity to a group that which is obligatory upon one person.”

Respected brothers and sisters! Fitr means to break fast or to refrain from fasting. Hence the Eid after the fasts of Ramadan is called Eid-ul-Fitr, as it is the day of rejoicing after the completion of Ramadan fasting.

On this occasion of happiness, as a sign of gratitude to Allah Almighty, one has to give a specific amount in alms, which is called Sadaqatul Fitr or Zakatul Fitr. To purify and obtain complete blessings for the fasts of Ramadan Mubarak one has to give Sadaqatul Fitr.

It is reported from Ibn Abbas (RA) that:

“Messenger of Allah (Peace be upon him) made charity of Fitr compulsory as a purification of fasts from useless talks and vile discourses and also as a food to the poor.” [Abu Dawud]

Thus it is wajib (compulsory) to give Sadaqatul-Fitr to purify one’s fast. The true object in giving Sadaqatul-fitr on this happy occasion, is also to assist the poor and needy, so that, they may rejoice with the more fortunate.

In a narration of Tirmidhi, it is reported that the Messenger of Allah (Peace be upon him) sent a proclaimer through the lanes of Makkah to proclaim:

“Beware, charity of Fitr is compulsory on every Muslim, male or female, free or slave, young or old, two muds [measures] of wheat, or its equivalent, or one Sa’i from food crops.”

It is apparent from this Hadith that Sadaqatul-Fitr is wajib (compulsory) on every Muslim. A person should pay Sadaqatul-Fitr on behalf of his family if they own no wealth. It is wajib to pay Sadaqatul-Fitr, whether one fasts or not.

The time of Sadaqah becomes wajib on the day of Eid when the dawn breaks. If a person dies before Subh Sadiq [dawn], no sadaqatul-fitr will be paid from his wealth, but if a child is born before dawn, it shall be paid on behalf of that child. It is permissible to pay Sadaqatul Fitr during the month of Ramadan, though it is advisable to pay on the day of Eid before the Eid Prayer. It will remain due to him whatever time has passed.

To distribute a specific type of food, barley, dates etc, on the day of Eid-ul-Fitr is wajib (compulsory). This giving of alms to the poor and needy on this auspicious day is called Sadaqatul Fitr as mentioned above. The Messenger of Allah (Peace be upon him) instructed the giving of Sadaqatul Fitr, in the same year fasting of Ramadan was made compulsory. This was in the second year after Hijrah. The reasons for giving Sadaqatul Fitr are:

1. To give Sadaqatul Fitr in lieu of the acceptance of one’s fasting;

2. To thank Allah Ta’ala, for bestowing on us the strength to fast during the month of Ramadan;

3. To purify one’s fast and obtain the complete blessings of fasting;

4. To celebrate the completion of fasting;

5. To demonstrate greatness of the day of Eid;

6. To assists the poor in joining the atmosphere of Eid.

Therefore, respected brothers and sisters! Sadaqatul Fitr is compulsory charity which becomes payable on the occasion of Eid-ul-Fitr.

Sadaqatul Fitr is compulsory upon all Muslims, male, female and children, who on the Day of Eid-ul-Fitr are owners of certain amounts of food.

Zakatul Fitr becomes wajib when the Day of Fitr dawns with the commencement of Fajr time. Therefore, if someone died before entry of Fajr on the Day of Eid, Sadaqatul Fitr will not be paid out of his (the deceased’s) estate, since this Zakatul Fitr is not wajib on him. And, if a child is born before the rising of Fajr, Zakatul Fitr will be paid on his behalf. If the child is born after the entry of Fajr (on the Day of Eid), Zakatul Fitr is not wajib on his behalf.

Dear brothers and sisters! The father has to pay the Sadaqatul Fitr on behalf of his underage children, i.e. those who have not attained the age of puberty.

According to some jurists (fuqaha), it is not obligatory upon the husband to pay Sadaqatul Fitr on behalf of his wife. If she is the owner of the wealth and the husband doesn’t have, she shall have to pay her own Sadaqatul Fitr.

If a minor is the owner of wealth to the amount of Nisab, then payment of Sadaqatul Fitr on behalf of the minor could be made from out of his (minor’s) wealth.

The Sadaqatul Fitr should preferably be paid before the Eid Prayer.

It is not permissible to delay the payment of Sadaqatul Fitr later than the Day of Eid. However, if it was not paid on the Day of Eid or before, the obligation remains and the Sadaqatul Fitr will have to be paid.

According to some jurists (fuqaha), it is permissible to pay the Sadaqatul Fitr in advance at any time during the month of Ramadan. Some even said the Sadaqatul Fitr could be paid even before Ramadan.

Dear servants of Allah! Sadaqatul Fitr is compulsory upon all those who fasted as well as those who did not fast for some reason or the other. And the Sadaqatul Fitr can only be paid to “the poor”, who are the ones entitled to accept Zakah (as some jurists mentioned).

Sadaqatul Fitr cannot be utilised for any charitable purpose other than to give to spelt the poor. Therefore, if Sadaqatul Fitr monies are accumulated and then spent on some other charitable cause, the Sadaqatul Fitr obligation of the fitr payers will not be discharged.

The Messenger of Allah (Peace be upon him) said:

“The fast remains suspended between the Heaven and the Earth until the Sadaqatul Fitr is paid (If the Hadith is authentic).”

This Hadith of the Prophet illustrates the importance of the Sadaqatul Fitr and its direct bearing on the acceptance of our fasting. The fast is only presented for acceptance by Allah Ta’ala when the obligation of Sadaqatul Fitr is correctly discharged. The Muslim public should therefore be very scrupulous when effecting payment of the Sadaqatul Fitr. If the Sadaqatul Fitr is misused or wrongly distributed by the representatives of the public, the public will still be responsible for its fulfilment.

Dear brothers and sisters! Also know that the intent of Lailatul Qadr is not praying a lot, indeed the Messenger of Allah (Peace be upon him) did not increase on eleven units (Raka’ahs) in Ramadan or other than it.

The intent of when the Messenger of Allah (Peace be upon him) would tighten his waist wrapper during the last ten nights is not praying a lot, but the intent is al-I’tikaf as was the situation of the Prophet (Peace be upon him) mentioned in his Sirah. The intent is not a specific ritual which is done in this night! No, this is not the intent. Rather the intent is for the servant of Allah to prepare and spend this night in supplication (Du’a) and Zikr (remembrance of Allah). Do you not see in the Hadith which is collected by Tirmidhi, from Aisha (RA), who said:

“I said O Messenger of Allah what if I knew what night the night of Lailatul Qadr was, then what should I say on that night?’ He said: say Allahummah Innaka Afuwwun, tuhibbul Afwa, Fa’afu anni. (Meaning): O Allah, indeed You pardon and You love pardoning so pardon me.” (Tirmidhi said: this Hadith is Hasan Sahih).

Indeed the Messenger of Allah (Peace be upon him) did not teach her to pray a lot nor to make lots of Du’a or to perform a specific ritual of worship, rather he taught her this Du’a.

In al-Muwatta of Imam Malik in the book of al-I’tikaf, the chapter of what is mentioned about Lailatul Qadr: From Imam Malik that it reached him that Sa’id bin Musayyib used to say:

“Whoever attended the Isha’ prayer on Lailatul Qadr then he has taken his portion of it.”

Respected brothers and sisters! Once again, we are reaching out to you to join us in our noble cause to provide daily meals and Eid-ul-fitr items for 3,000 orphans throughout the noble month. As usual, your support will ensure that those orphans, widows and those in need can break their fast and celebrate their Eid-ul-fitr with dignity and nourishment. Every donation counts in making a difference in the lives of our brothers and sisters during this blessed, merciful and sacred time. Donate now to help us reach our goal and spread the blessings of Ramadan and sallah celebration to those who need it most.

As usual, we sincerely seek your financial support, your help, your assistance, your donation and your contribution about the Ramadan Feeding and Eid celebration for our orphans and the students under our care in our Islamic schools. Your support is highly needed for Allah’s sake, FISABILILLAH!

We sincerely solicit for your kind and sincere contribution towards the good and great work of Iftar and sallah for our orphans and our students; and also for the development of our schools and Islamic Center financially, materially and morally.

Our aim and objective always is to have a standard Islamic center and Arabic/Islamic schools for orphans and less privileged children.

We are soliciting also, if you want to pay your zakah or your zakatul fitr/sadaqatul fitr our great Islamic center is waiting for your kind and merciful gesture. Sincerely, your donation will help distribute iftar food, meat and sallah’s clothes to our orphan students.

Remember, the blessed and merciful month of Ramadan will not be the same without our families, but unfortunately this is not a privilege enjoyed by everyone. This is the reason we’re steadfast in planning to provide food for the orphans, widows and students under our care!

We planned to be distributing food package and clothes that worth amount up to 3,000 orphans In Shaa Allah, this year.

And your contribution is highly needed as usual. May Allah rewards all your efforts and your good deeds; may He Subhanahu wa Ta’ala bless you more, give you long life and protect you from all evils, ameen.

Allah Almighty says:

“If you support the course of Allah, He will support you.” [Qur’an, 47: 7]

The Prophet Muhammad (Peace be upon him) said:

“Whoever relieves his Muslim brother of a hardship from the hardships of this world, Allah shall relieve him of a hardship from the hardships of the Day of Judgement. And whoever makes things easy for a person in difficulty, Allah will ease for him in this world and the Next. Allah is forever aiding a servant so long as he is in the aid of his brother.”

And he (Peace be upon him) said:

“Every act of goodness is considered as Sadaqah.” [Bukhari]

Please donate to our Ramadan iftar food package and Eid celebration project. With your support we can provide essential food Items and help alleviate the difficulties and bring ease to the orphans, needy, women and children who have been affected the most by the problems insecurity, cost of living crisis, inflation and world economic crisis.

Please keep helping the cause of Allah with Allah’s money. Whoever gives for Allah, Allah will give him more. Donate to the Nagazi-Uvete Islamic Center.

This is our account details as follows:

1. Account no. – 0048647196, GTBank

2. Account no. – 1779691620, Access Bank

For more enquiries contact, Imam Murtadha Muhammad Gusau, the director and Imam Of the Center: 08038289761.

And to donate food directly or sallah cows and clothes, etc, contact the following Numbers: 08038289761, 08056557477.

Dear brothers and sisters! Wallahi your generosity can make a real difference in the lives of those in dire need.

May Allah accept your generous contributions and multiply the rewards for you many times over. Ameen!

Jazakumullah Khairan as you kindly contribute.

I ask Allah to give us the ability to restrain our desires and to willingly submit ourselves to His will.

I ask Allah to assist us in living by the Quran and Sunnah. I pray that He lets us recognise the truth for what it is and helps us to follow it, and that He lets us see falsehood for what it is and helps us to avoid it.

O Allah! Guide us and protect us from the causes of ignorance and destruction! Save us from the defects of ourselves! Cause the last of our deeds to be the best and most righteous! And forgive all of us. Ameen.

My respected people! Anything good I have said in my today’s Khutbah (Sermon) is from Allah the Almighty, and any mistakes are my own and we 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.

May Allah be praised; and may the peace and blessings of Allah be upon His Messenger Muhammad (Peace be upon him) and upon his family and Companions.

With this I conclude my Khutbah (Sermon) and ask Allah, the Almighty and the sublime, to forgive all of our sins. So seek his forgiveness, He is all forgiving Most Merciful.

All praise is due to Allah, 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 followers.

Murtadha Muhammad Gusau is the Chief Imam of: Nagazi-Uvete Jumu’ah Mosque; and Late Alhaji Abdur-Rahman Okene Mosque, Okene, Kogi State, Nigeria. He can be reached via: gusauimam@gmail.com; or +2348038289761.

This Friday sermon (Jumu’ah Khutbah) was prepared for delivery today Friday, 26 Ramadan, 1445 AH (April 05, 2024).

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