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[Friday Sermon] Deborah Killing: Stop Taking Law Into Your Own Hands!



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 the salutations of Allah, His peace and blessings be upon our beloved Prophet, his family, his companions and his true and sincere followers until the Last Day – then to proceed:

Dear brothers and sisters! A female student of the Shehu Shagari College of Education in‪ Sokoto‬ State was yesterday Thursday burnt alive over comment against our beloved Prophet Muhammad (Peace be upon him).

The incident, which triggered tension in the school environment and caused the closure of the school occurred on Thursday morning.

The student, identified simply as Deborah Samuel, was, according to reports, beaten to a pulp before she was set ablaze.

In a video trending on social media, some young men were seen hurling stones at the victim.

When the victim fell to the ground unconsciously, the attackers gathered tyres around her before she was set ablaze.

Respected brothers and sisters! It is not permissible for a Muslim without judicial authority to implement Islamic legal punishments on his or her own initiative. Vigilante justice, Jungle justice or “taking the law into your own hands,” is forbidden in Islam because it leads to social chaos and likely causes even greater harm than the original crimes. In the same manner, it is not permissible for a Muslim to declare war or to commit an act of war without lawful authority.

Abu Hurairah (RA) reported that: Sa’ad Ibn Ubadah said, “O Messenger of Allah, if I find another man with my wife, should I leave him alone until I bring four witnesses?” The Prophet said yes. Sa’ad said, “Never! By the one who sent you with the truth, if that happened to me I would quickly grab the sword!” The Prophet (Peace be upon him) said: “Listen to what your leader says. Verily, he has a sense of honour, and I have a greater sense of honour than him, and Allah has a greater sense of honour than me.” [Muslim]

In this example, the Prophet (Peace be upon him) has forbidden a man who witnesses his wife committing adultery from implementing the legal punishment or retaliating against her by his own initiative, that is, without due process. The Prophet (Peace be upon him) also informed the man that his sense of ‘honour’ or jealousy (al-ghirah) is no justification for such vigilantism. Hence, the concept of ‘honour killings,’ or extrajudicial acts of murder motivated by a sense of tribal honour, have absolutely no basis in Islam.

The unanimously established rule in Islam is that legal punishments may only be ordered by properly authorised judges, who must follow due process in the interest of fairness and apply mitigating factors to protect innocent people and prevent judicial abuse. Imam Ibn Muflih said:

“It is forbidden to establish a legal punishment unless it is done by the leader or his deputy.” [See al-Furu wa Tashih al-Furu]

And according to the Kuwaiti Encyclopedia of Fiqh (al-Mawsu’atu-Fiqhiyyah):

“The jurists (Fuqaha) came to a consensus (Ijma’) that a legal punishment may not be implemented unless by the leader or his deputy. That is in the best interest of people, which is to safeguard their lives, their property, and their reputations.” [See al-Mawsu’atul-Fiqhiyyah al-Kuwaitiyyah]

Therefore, a Muslim who witnesses a crime should inform the authorities who can take appropriate action. Muslims do not have the right to commit acts of vigilante justice or jungle justice or to take the law into their own hands without due process.

Dear brothers and sisters! There is a Hadith in which a blind man allegedly kills his concubine for insulting the Prophet (Peace be upon him) and then he was not punished for it. It is often cited by some hard-line Muslims in support of harsh anti-blasphemy laws and, perhaps ironically, by anti-Muslim activists to accuse Islam of being violent and dangerous. Yes, blasphemy is most definitely a tremendous and great sin to Allah, but does it warrant killing without due process?

There are good reasons to question the authenticity of the Hadith based upon both its chain of narrators and its content. But first it should be clearly understood that not every Hadith is authentic, and even Hadith that do come through a sound chain are not always actionable. They might be context-dependent, specific to a certain situation, or legally abrogated. Ibn Wahb, may Allah have mercy on him, said:

“Were it not for Imams Malik and Al-Laith, I would have been ruined. I used to believe that everything narrated about the Prophet (Peace be upon him) should be acted upon.” [See Siyaru Aʻalam an-Nubalah]

And Ibn Abi Lailah said:

“A man does not understand the Prophetic traditions unless he knows what to take from them and what to leave.” [See Jamiʻ Bayan al-Ilm wa Fadlihi]

Hadith must be interpreted according to the moral, legal, theological, and methodological principles of Islam. They cannot be acted upon at face-value according to one’s own personal understanding.

As for the problematic Hadith in question, the abridged text is as follows:

“Ibn Abbas reported that: A blind man had a concubine who used to disparage and slander the Prophet (Peace be upon him). The man forbade her and rebuked her, but she did not stop. One night she again slandered and disparaged the Prophet (Peace be upon him), so he stabbed her in the stomach and killed her. The Prophet (Peace be upon him) said: “Bear witness there is no retaliation for her life.” [Sunan Abi Dawud]

This Hadith is weak because it comes through a questionable chain of authority and it apparently contradicts well-established moral and legal principles in Islam. The implication some people have wrongly inferred from the narration – that an extrajudicial killing for blasphemy is permissible – is a serious mistake.

As for the chain of authorities, every version of the story originates with Uthman Ibn Muslim al-Shuhham narrating from Ikramah, may Allah have mercy on them. There are no other credible chains to support this story.

Uthman al-Shuhham was considered reliable by some scholars, but plenty of others criticised and rejected his narrations. He narrated very few Hadith as compared to other narrators, whom he usually narrated from Muslim Ibn Abi Bakrah, and even fewer Hadith from Ikramah. He is in no way an agreed upon narrator. Imam Az-Zahabi said:

“Yahya al-Qattan said: His narrations are sometimes acknowledged or rejected. Al-Nasa’i said: He is not strong.” [See Mizanul-I’itidal]

And Al-Mughaltay said:

“Abu Ahmad al-Hakim said Uthman Ibn Muslim, Abu Salamah, is not solid in their view.” [See Ikmal Tahdhib al-Kamal]

And Imam Ibn Hajar said:

“Likewise was said by Abu Ahmad that he is not solid in their view. Imam Al-Daraqutni said he is a Basran in need of further consideration.” [See Tahdhib al-Tahdhib]

And Sheikh Al-Arna’ut said:

“There is a discussion on Uthman about lowering him from the level of soundness.” [See Takhrij al-Musnad]

Imam Ibn Adi also mentioned him in his book of weak narrators, although he did not consider him weak per se, saying:

“Uthman al-Shuhham does not have many traditions, but there is no objection seen in his narrations.” [See al-Kamil fi Duʻafa’ al-Rijal]

However, just because Ibn Adi saw nothing wrong in his narrations does not mean he considered him above scrutiny.

Imam Muslim included only one narration of Uthman al-Shuhham from Muslim Ibn Abi Bakrah in his Sahih collection. This indicates that Imam Muslim considered his chain from Ibn Abi Bakrah to be authentic, but he did not narrate his chain from Ikramah. Thus, the presence of Uthman al-Shuhham in the Sahih does not mean every narration from him was considered authentic by Imam Muslim.

Hence, the problematic Hadith of the blind man is based on the authority of a questionable narrator, who narrated an unusually small number of Hadith, who was criticised and rejected by some scholars, and whose narrations are otherwise not widely-regarded as legal evidence. On this basis alone, Muslims are not required at all to accept the authenticity of the story or the legal ruling it supports.

If, for the sake of argument, Uthman al-Shuhham’s chain from Ikramah is sound and the story is true, there are certainly missing details from the text that are needed to properly contextualise it. An anomalous (Shaz) narration cannot overrule many more verses of the Qur’an and authentic Hadiths.

It is a well-established rule in Islam that legal punishments such as executions, flogging, or imprisonment can only be carried out by executive authorities. Imam Ibn Muflih said:

“It is forbidden to establish a legal punishment unless it is done by the leader or his deputy.” [See al-Furu’ wa Tashih al-Furu’]

And according to the Kuwaiti Encyclopedia of Fiqh:

“The jurists (Fuqaha) came to a consensus (Ijma’) that a legal punishment may not be implemented unless by the leader or his deputy. That is in the best interest of people, which is to safeguard their lives, their property, and their reputations.” [See al-Mawsu’at al-Fiqhiyyah al-Kuwaitiyyah]

This principle, known in the West as due process, is essential to civil society. Citing the Hadith of the blind man to circumvent it is a very dangerous proposition.

If the incident did in fact occur, then the slander (waqi’) and disparagement (shatm) committed by the woman must have been done in manner that was aiding or inciting enemy forces, as the Muslims in Madinah at the time were fighting a defensive war against the idolaters of Makkah.

Imam Ibn Taimiyyah considered the possibility of this interpretation, saying:

“A third view is that, if this was a legal punishment, then it was also the killing of a combatant. Thus, she had the status of an enemy combatant who must be killed. This type of killing is permissible for anyone.” [See al-Sarim al-Maslul]

The Prophet (Peace be upon him) did not kill people just for insulting him. Many people insulted him, cursed him, and harmed him, yet he was forgiving, patient, and forbearing. The legal maxim of no-harm requires that one can only harm others if it is necessary to avoid a greater harm.

The Prophet (Peace be upon him) also would not have allowed a man to designate himself as judge, jury, and executioner. If the Prophet (Peace be upon him) did in fact pardon the man for killing his concubine, it could only have been in such a case that she was aiding or inciting the enemy. No one needs permission from authorities to fight or kill someone who is waging war against them.

As for the legal implications of the Hadith – the context in which it is usually cited – is it really necessary in Islam to punish blasphemers with death? Imam As-San’ani commented on the Hadith of the blind man specifically, saying:

“If it was a Muslim who cursed the Prophet (Peace be upon him) as an act of apostasy… it has been transmitted by Ibn al-Munzir from Al-Awza’i and Al-Laith that they should be imprisoned until they repent.” [See Subul al-Salam]

Blasphemy committed by a Muslim, in the eyes of the jurists (Fuqaha), was equal to treason or sedition, that is, incitement to violently overthrow the social order established upon Islamic law. However, some scholars, including the Khalifah Umar (RA), lightened the sentence of apostasy in certain situations.

Anas Ibn Malik reported that: I said, “O commander of the faithful, some people have turned renegade against Islam and joined the idolaters. What is to be done to them other than killing?” Umar Ibn al-Khattab, may Allah be pleased with him, said:

“That I take hold of them on peaceful terms is more beloved to me than everything over which the sun rises, from the horizon to the zenith.” I said, “O commander of the faithful, what would you do if you took hold of them?” Umar said: “I would offer them the door through which they exited, that they would enter it again. If they did so, I would accept it from them; otherwise I would keep them in prison.” [See Musannaf of Imam Abdul-Razzaq]

Ma’amar reported that: Some residents of the peninsulah (Hijaz) told me that some people had embraced Islam, but it was not long until they became apostates. Maimun Ibn Mihran wrote to Umar Ibn Abdul Aziz, may Allah have mercy on him, regarding them and Umar wrote back saying: “Let them return to paying tribute and leave them alone.” [See Musannaf of Imam Abdul-Razzaq]

Amr Ibn Qais reported that: Ibrahim al-Nakha’i, may Allah have mercy on him, said: “The apostate is imprisoned indefinitely until he repents.”

And Imam Sufyan al-Thawri said:

“This is what we adhere to.” [See Musannaf of Imam Abdul-Razzaq]

Imam Abu Razin reported that: Ibn Abbas, may Allah be pleased with him, said:

“The female apostate is imprisoned and is not killed for her apostasy.” [See Musannaf of Imam Abdul-Razzaq]

Imam Al-Laith reported that: Atah, may Allah have mercy on him, said:

“The female apostate is not killed.” [See Musannaf of Imam Ibn Abi Shaibah]

Abu Harrah reported that: Al-Hasan, may Allah have mercy on him, said:

“The woman who renegades against Islam is not killed. She is imprisoned.” [See Musannaf of Imam Ibn Abi Shaibah]

There was no absolute consensus that the death penalty was mandated in every case of apostasy or blasphemy, which indicates that it is more likely subject to discretionary punishment (Ta’zir). The authorities can lighten the sentence if this is in the best interests of Muslim society and achieves the objectives of Islamic law, one of which is mercy for the creation.

Ibrahim al-Nakha’i said specifically in the context of apostasy:

“Avoid legal punishments upon the Muslims as much as you can. If you find a way out for a Muslim, leave him to his way. For a Muslim judge to err in pardoning the criminal is better than to err in punishing him.” [See Musannaf of Imam Abdul-Razzaq]

If blasphemy was committed by a non-Muslim, the jurists (Fuqaha) also did not agree that the death penalty was mandatory. Imam As-San’ani continues:

“It is narrated from the Hanafi scholars that the covenanted person is given a discretionary punishment and is not killed. Imam Al-Tahawi cited as evidence that the Prophet (Peace be upon him) did not kill the Jews who came to him and they said: Death be upon you!” [See Subul al-Salam]

Indeed, one can find many instances in the biography of the Prophet (Peace be upon him) when he was merciful, forgiving, and patient with those who directly insulted him. Aisha reported that:

“A group of Jews asked permission to visit the Prophet and when they were admitted, they said, “Death be upon you!” I said to them, “Rather, death and the curse of Allah be upon you!” The Prophet (Peace be upon him) said: “O Aisha, Allah is gentle and he loves gentleness in all matters.” [al-Bukhari]

In another narration, the Prophet (Peace be upon him) said:

“O Aisha, you must be gentle and beware of harsh and profane words.” [al-Bukhari]

Mercy and patience with blasphemy was the general rule applied by the Prophet (Peace be upon him), while legal punishment was the exception only when it was compounded by high crimes of apostasy, treason, warfare, sedition, or incitement.

Therefore, the Hadith of the blind man summarily killing his concubine without due process is a weak narration (Da’if) due to the doubtfulness of Uthman al-Shuhham. If the incident really did take place, then it can only be interpreted in accordance with moral and legal principles established by an enormity of other sound texts. No one may carry out legal punishments without properly constituted authority, and blasphemy by itself is not punishable with death.

Beloved servants of Allah! As some of you know, blasphemy is a very controversial topic in Islam that has taken on new importance due to the proliferation of instant global communication. Some Muslim extremists incorrectly cite a precedent in classical Islamic law to justify gross acts of vigilante violence, jungle justice and murder. Therefore, it is important for us to understand the context of the classical ruling and to view this issue in the larger perspective of the Qur’an and Sunnah as a consistent whole.

The general answer to blasphemy (Sabbullah wa Rasulihi) as commanded in the Qur’an is to respond with patience, beautiful preaching, and graceful avoidance. The Qur’an records the fact that the Prophet (Peace be upon him) was called a “sorcerer,” a “madman,” a “magician” a “singer” and a “liar,” yet Allah commanded him to be patient and to increase his acts of worship. Allah Almighty said:

“Be patient over what they say and avoid them with gracious avoidance.” [Surah al-Muzzamil, 73:10]

And Allah Almighty said:

“So be patient over what they say and exalt with the praises of your Lord before the rising of the sun and before its setting.” [Surah Qaf, 50:39]

And Allah the Most High said:

“So be patient over what they say and exalt with the praises of your Lord before the rising of the sun and before its setting.” [Surah Ta Ha, 20:130]

These insults deeply hurt the feelings of the Prophet (Peace be upon him) and his companions, but Allah did not prescribe revenge for them. Allah the Most High said:

“We already know that your heart is constrained by what they say, so glorify the praises of your Lord and be among those who prostrate.” [Surah al-Hijr, 15:97-98]

In fact, Allah told the Prophet (Peace be upon him) and his companions to expect more insults and mockery from the followers of other religions, and that they should remain patient and not let their abuse shake their Iman (faith). Allah Almighty said:

“You will surely be tested in your possessions and in yourselves, and you will surely hear from those who were given the Scripture before you and from those who associate others with Allah much abuse. But if you are patient and fear Allah, that is of the matters requiring resolve.” [Surah Ali Imran, 3:186]

In other verses, Allah commands the believers to simply avoid those who mock Islam and not to sit with them until they discuss something else. Allah the Most High said:

“When you see those who engage in offensive discourse concerning Our verses, then turn away from them until they enter into another conversion.” [Surah al-An’am, 6:68]

And Allah Almighty said:

“It has already been revealed to you in the Book that when you hear the verses of Allah, they are denied and ridiculed. So do not sit with them until they enter into another conversation. Verily, you would then be like them.” [Surah al-Nisa’, 4:140]

Generally, the Prophet (Peace be upon him) was commanded to endure any insult or mockery from his enemies which resulted from their bad character. Allah the Most High said:

“Show forgiveness, enjoin what is good, and turn away from the ignorant.” [Surah Al-A’raf, 7:199]

Abdullah Ibn Zubair explained this verse, saying:

“The Prophet (Peace be upon him) was commanded to forgive the people’s bad character.” [Sunan Abi Dawud]

There are many recorded incidents in the life of the Prophet (Peace be upon him) in which he was mocked, defamed, and even physically attacked for his faith in Islam, but despite this abuse the Prophet responded with patience, forbearance, mercy, and forgiveness.

In one incident, a group of Jews insulted the Prophet (Peace be upon him) in his own home. Although the Prophet was the leader of Madinah at the time, he did not order these men to be harmed. Rather, he used the incident to teach his companions an important lesson about kindness.

Imam Al-Bukhari records this narration in his chapter regarding those who curse and abuse the Prophet (Peace be upon him), which strongly implies that he did not believe legal punishment should be applied to every case of blasphemy.

Badr al-Din al-Aini, a scholar of the Hanafi school, comments on this chapter heading:

“Imam Al-Bukhari has adopted the method of the people of Kufah on this issue, that if someone curses or berates the Prophet (Peace be upon him) and he is a non-Muslim citizen, then he is rebuked but he is not killed. This is the opinion of Imam al-Thawri.” [See Umdatul-Qariʼ Sharhu Sahihul-Bukhari]

In another incident, the Prophet (Peace be upon him) was defamed and insulted by one of the men of Madinah who was upset with his method of distributing charity. The Prophet did not retaliate against him even though he was very disturbed by it, citing the fact that Prophet Musa (Moses), was harmed by his people with much greater abuse.

Ibn Mas’ud reported that: The Messenger of Allah (Peace be upon him) was distributing charity among the people when a man from the Ansar said, “By Allah, Muhammad did not intend to please Allah with this distribution!” I came to the Prophet (Peace be upon him) and informed him about this, then anger could be seen on his face and the Prophet said: “Musa was hurt with more than this, yet he remained patient.” [al-Bukhari]

Indeed, it was the practice of all the Prophets of Allah (AS) to patiently endure the harm they received from their people, even to the point of asking Allah to forgive their oppressors. Allah Almighty said:

“They said: We will surely be patient with whatever harm you cause us, and let them rely who would rely upon Allah.” [Surah Ibrahim, 14:12]

Ibn Mas’ud reported that: I saw the Messenger of Allah (Peace be upon him) tell the story of a Prophet who was beaten by his people and he wiped the blood from his face, saying:

“My Lord, forgive my people for they do not know.” [al-Bukhari]

Imam An-Nawawi comments on this narration, saying:

“In this is what the Prophets (Peace be upon them) were upon of forbearance, patience, forgiveness, and compassion for their people, their supplications for them to receive guidance and to be forgiven, and that they should be excused for their sins because they did not know.” [See Sharh al-Nawawi ala Sahih Muslim]

The Prophet (Peace be upon him) continued to set this example throughout his life, even to the point of forgiving several people who tried to kill him.

In one incident, a woman came to the Prophet (Peace be upon him) and fed him with a poisoned sheep. When the Prophet began to suffer and it was discovered what she had done, the companions asked him if they should kill her. In this case, it would have been a justified retaliation against attempted murder, but the Prophet pardoned her instead.

In another incident, a man from an opposing tribe attempted to kill the Prophet (Peace be upon him) while he was sleeping. Allah miraculously saved the Prophet by causing the man’s hand to slip, after which the Prophet gained power him. Even so, in this position of strength the Prophet continued to show clemency.

The man was impressed by the Prophet’s character (Peace be upon him) so much that he returned to his people and praised him. This is an excellent example of how mercy and forgiveness are among the best deeds for winning the hearts and minds to Islam.

In one of the most famous incidents, the Prophet (Peace be upon him) finally gained power over his enemies after being persecuted for twenty-three years. He could have easily ordered their execution and the companions would have complied. However, the Prophet used this moment to teach the lesson of mercy just as Prophet Yusuf (Joseph) had forgiven his brothers.

All of this evidence indicates the general rule that Muslims should respond to blasphemy with patience, forbearance, graceful discussion and dialogue. We need to behave in the serene manner of the Prophet (Peace be upon him) as well as publish articles, set up websites, and otherwise spread authentic information about his life and teachings.

That said, the classical ruling in Islamic law imposes the death penalty upon those who blaspheme against Islam. This ruling is derived from handful of instances in which the Prophet (Peace be upon him) executed some people for treason, not for merely insulting Islam.

For example, the Prophet (Peace be upon him) ordered the execution of Ka’ab Ibn al-Ashraf as he conspired to wage war against Madinah. Ka’ab also wrote poetry satirising the Prophet and his companions, although this was not his only offense. Rather, he posed an imminent danger to the Muslim Ummah due to his support for gathering an army.

Badr al-Din al-Aini comments on the story of Ka’ab and other narrations:

“In these traditions it is shown that they were not killed merely for their insults. Indeed, they were only killed due to their aiding the enemy and preparing for war against him.” [Umdatul-Qariʼ Sharh Sahihul-Bukhari]

This was the general social and political context within which the classical ruling against blasphemy had developed.

Intisar Rabb, director of Harvard University’s Islamic Legal Studies program, explains:

“The rationale underlying this rule was an argument linking several steps. To curse Allah was to blaspheme Him, which was implicitly to signal a departure from the community of Muslims and the laws governing them. The presumption was that a person could not possibly be a Muslim, fitting squarely within its system of laws and confessing to the oneness and supremacy of Allah, if he or she at the same time cursed Allah. The same applied to cursing the Prophet, the family of the Prophet, and the revered companions of the Prophet. For [the jurists], if religious speech acts akin to confessing the Muslim creed reflected societal commitments to uphold the law, much as an oath of citizenship might in the contemporary world, then renouncing such an oath would conceptually signal a threat or possibility of treason, combat against the state, and opposition to the social order itself. In other words, members of the Muslim community under Muslim rule were expected to play by its rules, including its call to honour reputation, lineage, and religious status. For the jurists, signaling absolution from those expectations could very well pose a threat of violence against the state and its public order or rule of law.” [See Ellis, Mark S. 2012. Islamic law and international human rights law: searching for common ground? Page158/164]

Therefore, it is not mere blasphemy that warrants the death penalty, but rather only when it is combined with acts of treason and sedition.

Now, does this mean that blasphemy should be tolerated in every case? Free speech is not merely a human right, but rather it is a responsibility. The purpose of free speech is to facilitate discussion in search of truth and justice. Consequently, the general rule is that people are free to speak their minds respectfully, but speech that serves no purpose other than to slander, provoke, defame, offend, or incite to violence is not worthy of protection. Indeed, the Muslims have been prohibited from cursing other religions and even idols. Allah Almighty said:

“Do not insult those they invoke besides Allah, lest they insult Allah in enmity without knowledge.” [Surah al-An’am, 6:108]

For this reason, many Muslim countries have statutes against defaming Islam as well as Judaism, Christianity, and other religions, as this harms the cohesion of peaceful communities. Most countries in the world impose legal or at least social restraints on free speech with laws against slander and defamation, as well as what they consider “blasphemy,” such as the many European countries that prohibit profaning the memory of the Holocaust. Muslims and all people should respect such limits as it is the responsibility of good citizens to refrain from harming social order and peace.

However, the best way to counter false speech is by speaking the truth. The problem of blasphemy can usually be remedied by a number of peaceful solutions such as publishing articles, setting up websites, holding conferences, and arguing with good manners. Every non-violent means should be used to counter blasphemous speech before resorting to legal action and especially the death penalty. No doubt, the least likely to resort to killing are the true believers.

Ibn Mas’ud reported that: The Messenger of Allah (Peace be upon him) said:

“The most restrained of the people regarding killing are the people of faith.” [Musnad of Imam Ahmad]

Muslims must avoid calling for the death penalty whenever possible, because indulgence in this matter indicates a lack of strong faith.

We also need to view this matter from the legal principle of public welfare (Maslahah Mursalah). Ibn Taimiyyah defines this principle as follows:

“The principle of public welfare is the case when a distinguished jurist (Faqih) views another action as more likely to bring benefit and there is nothing in the law to negate it.” [Majmu’ al-Fatawa]

In so many cases, we see that the prosecution of blasphemy can cause greater harm to the community and the image of Islam than the blasphemy itself. We have a precedent in the practice of the Prophet (Peace be upon him) to withhold such punishments when they might cause greater harm. Jabir Ibn Abdullah reported that:

“A man came to the Messenger of Allah on his way back from Hunain while there was some silver in the backpack of Bilal. The Messenger of Allah took a handful from it and distributed it among the people. The man said to him, “O Muhammad! Be just!” Umar Ibn Al-Khattab said, “O Messenger of Allah, allow me to kill this hypocrite!” The Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings be upon him, said: “I seek refuge in Allah that the people will say I am killing my companions.” [Muslim]

In another narration, the Prophet (Peace be upon him) said:

“Leave him alone, lest people say Muhammad is killing his companions.” [Muslim]

In this case, the Prophet (Peace be upon him) refused to punish a dangerous man, a hypocrite who was pretending to be a Muslim in order to attack the community from within, on the grounds that it would have harmed the image of Islam in the eyes of the people.

Likewise, the age of instant communication ensures that cases of blasphemy are no longer confined to local areas, but instead they have global implications. Prosecution for mere childish insults and thoughtless, impromptu remarks, without evidence of treasonous intent, only project an image of Islam as intolerant and draconian. Rather, judges need to carefully consider the unintended consequences and they must justify any prosecution in terms greater than mere insults and hurt feelings.

Furthermore, we have the lessons of history which compel us to seek mitigation and restriction of the classical blasphemy law. Numerous Muslim scholars were imprisoned and persecuted because their views were considered “blasphemy” by the ruling regime. Most notably is the case of Imam Ahmad Ibn Hanbal who was imprisoned and tortured by the ruling Mu’tazilite regime for his alleged blasphemy of affirming the Qur’an was uncreated. An uncompromising and loosely interpreted blasphemy statute increases the possibility of it being misused by a corrupt regime to victimise callers to truth.

In sum, numerous verses and traditions in Islam demonstrate that the general rule for responding to blasphemy is to counter it with patience, forbearance, and speaking the truth in a beautiful manner. Muslims ought to behave this way in the overwhelming majority of cases. The only exception to this rule is derived from the specific cases in which the Prophet (Peace be upon him) punished some people for treason in addition to their harmful utterances. We must not expand this specific rule to all cases, thereby negating the general teachings of mercy, patience, and tolerance.

Wallahu ‘Aalam,

And 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: or +2348038289761.

This Jumu’ah Khutbah (Friday sermon) was prepared for delivery today, Friday, Shawwal 12, 1443 AH (March 13, 2022).

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Friday Sermon: The Day of judgement, when all the secrets shall be exposed (Yauma Tubulas-Sara’ir)!



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 bear witness that there is no deity worthy of worship in truth but Allah, alone, without any partners. And I testify and bear witness that Muhammad (Peace be upon him) is His Servant and Messenger. As for what’s after:

Dear brothers and sisters! Allah Almighty says:

“Surely He (the Creator) has the power to bring him back (to life). On the Day when man’s deepest secrets shall be put to the test. He shall have no power, and no helper.” [Qur’an, 86:8-10]

Imam Qurtubi (Rahimahullah) said:

“The above Qur’anic verses signifies that Allah Who has created him (man) from a drop of seminal fluid is well able to bring him back to life after death. On the Day of Reckoning, the secrets will be tested and examined and laid bare. Man’s beliefs, his thoughts, his actions, and his motives and intentions that were hidden in this life, and no one knew about them, will be revealed and exposed in the Hereafter. Likewise, all his deeds and actions that he had done secretly, and no one was aware of them in this world, all of them will be tested and scrutinised on the Plain of Gathering and will be laid bare.”

Abdullah Ibn Umar said that:

“On the Day of Judgment Allah will disclose the secrets of all human beings. The sign of every good or bad belief and action will be displayed on man’s face, in the form of beauty or darkness or gloom [depending on each individual’s situation].”‘

Respected brothers and sisters! Wallahi, death is one of the few indisputable facts of life. Regardless of faith, race, status, age, region or tribe, we will all die. While the certainty of death is universally accepted, the question of what happens afterwards has been debated throughout history. Islam teaches that one’s life doesn’t end on earth; rather, it is followed by the eternal life of the hereafter. This sermon (Khutbah) explains how this belief has a major impact on our earthly lives, while instilling hope for healing in a perfect world where Allah’s ultimate justice will prevail.

Dear servants of Allah! Despite its inevitability, we get so absorbed in living that we forget about death. Our daily routines, the comfort of our homes and our relationships keep us so busy that we have little time left to ponder over the fleeting nature of this world.

Then, suddenly, we are forced to face the reality of our existence when a loved one is afflicted with a debilitating disease or we experience a shocking loss. Helpless, we are jolted by the frailty of life, leading us to question our priorities and reevaluate our lifestyles.

According to Islam, when confronted with a calamity, one should say:

“To Allah we belong and to Him we shall return.” [Qur’an, 2:156]

This invocation is also recited when someone dies. Reminding us of our origin and our ultimate destiny, it puts the purpose of our lives in perspective. Allah clearly states in the Qur’an, the divinely revealed message from Allah to all humanity, that He has created humankind to worship Him. Since worship is a comprehensive concept in Islam, consisting of specific rituals as well as general actions that promote good, it encourages people to conduct every aspect of their lives with Allah-consciousness.

Muslims believe they will return to Allah when they die. Therefore, instead of the end, death becomes part of a continuum which stretches into eternity.

What will be the day like When Allah resurrects us? How everyone from all nations, from all generations, will be made to stand as equal in the Presence of Allah. Allah will then call each one of us to meet with us individually. There would be no translator, no interpretators – it would be just you, your Creator and your deeds!

What happens after death? Does a world exist beyond this life? Is there such a place as heaven or hell? These are common questions we ask from time to time.

After all, the enigma of death stumps us. We’ve devised various ways of killing other humans. Yet, despite innumerable technological and medical advances, we still cannot prevent an individual from dying. Furthermore, unlike life which we experience daily, we really don’t have firsthand knowledge of life after death. Aside from some near-death incidents, no one has come back from the dead to tell us what they encountered.

Due to their faith in the One Allah who created this universe and sustains it, Muslims rely on divine guidance for glimpses of a reality invisible to human eyes. Divine guidance comprises Prophetic examples and scriptural revelations. Allah sent Prophets to guide humanity, such as Adam, Nuh (Noah), Ibrahim (Abraham), Musa (Moses), Isa (Jesus) and Muhammad, the final Prophet of Allah (Peace be upon all of them). Moreover, He also revealed Noble books, including the At-Taurah (Torah), Injil (the Gospel) and the Qur’an.

In keeping with the universal message of Allah, every Prophet warned of the certainty of the afterlife and each of the divine books speaks of the existence of the soul. In the Qur’an, Allah Almighty promises:

“Every soul will taste death. Then to Us will you be returned.” [Qur’an, 29:57]

On the Day of Judgment, every individual will be resurrected to account for their lives. Allah describes this event in the Qur’an:

“On that Day, people will come forward in separate groups to be shown their deeds: whoever has done an atom’s weight of good will see it, but whoever has done an atom’s weight of evil will see that.” [Qur’an, 99:6-8]

Allah Almighty will weigh everyone’s good and bad actions according to His Mercy and His Justice, forgiving many sins and multiplying the reward for many noble deeds. One who excels in goodness will be rewarded generously, but one whose evils and wrongs outweigh his virtues will be punished.

Those who fulfilled their purpose in life and lived righteously will enter an eternal paradise of pure bliss. The people of heaven will reside in beautiful mansions, no longer suffering from fatigue, disease and old age. Allah will remove animosity and pain from people’s hearts, providing supreme healing in a world of abundance and luxury, of lush gardens and flowing rivers.

In contrast, those who die in a state of transgression against Allah or oppress others will be led to Hellfire. Despite all of Allah’s blessings, they neglected their ultimate purpose of leading their lives in accordance with His Will and Guidance. The Qur’an describes Hell as a place filled with immense suffering, with extreme temperatures, unquenchable thirst and blazing flames.

Truly, Allah wants each one of us to be salvaged in the afterlife. He has sent guidance and left signs for those who seek Him and reflect. At the same time, He has given us the choice to freely indulge in the world around us or to abide by His laws. In the Qur’an, Allah Almighty declares:

“Why should Allah make you suffer torment if you are thankful and believe in Him? Allah always rewards gratitude and He knows everything.” [Qur’an, 4:147]

Respected servants of Allah! Belief in the soul and the afterlife gives a context to our current existence. Those who focus only on this immediate life miss out on the bigger picture. Indeed, they become heedless of their purpose in life. Allah reminds humanity:

“The life of this world is merely an amusement and a diversion; the true life is in the Hereafter, if only they knew.” [Qur’an, 29:64]

Islam teaches that this life is simply a test to determine our place in the eternal life after death. Those who understand the reality ahead of them are aware that their ultimate fate after death is based on their actions in this life. Such individuals are thankful for all the blessings that Allah Almighty has given them and humbly worship Him while promoting goodness in all aspects of their lives. When a person embraces such an Allah-conscious way of life, their purpose extends beyond merely enjoying worldly pleasures.

Their life is one of submission to Allah and they seek to positively contribute to the world around them. All of their transactions with people, even animals and the environment, are rooted in this motivation. They are guided by the certainty that they will one day return to their Creator and be held accountable for all their deeds. Although they have the freedom to live according to their whims, they limit their attachment to this brief and imperfect life, seeking an eternal paradise in the hereafter.

Dear brothers and sisters! Believing in the soul and the afterlife is foremost about having faith in the unseen. Just as our souls are intangible beings giving life to our physical bodies, the world we see around us is functioning based on an invisible system created by Allah who is Ever-Watchful and All-Aware. Muslims believe that Allah is also Just and He maintains a meticulous record of our deeds. We will be recompensed for our earthly lives in the hereafter where ultimate justice prevails.

Humans naturally seek justice in all aspects of their lives. When a person works, they expect to receive an appropriate salary. When an individual is harmed, they seek compensation. When someone helps another, they anticipate appreciation for their effort. Even though humans strive hard to establish justice, the reality is that this world will never be perfectly just. Many criminals go unpunished while the oppressed are denied basic rights. Do their lives simply dissolve without any accountability or fair dealing? Allah Almighty proclaims in the Qur’an:

“Do those who commit evil deeds really think that We will deal with them in the same way as those who believe and do righteous deeds, that they will be alike in their living and their dying? How badly they judge!” [Qur’an, 45:21]

In the afterlife, the evil doers will not be able to escape the grip of justice and victims of worldly suffering will be recompensed for their pain. People who spent their lives responsibly, avoiding temptations to commit sins, will also be rewarded. As mentioned in the Qur’an:

“Allah created the heavens and the earth for a true purpose: to reward each soul according to its deeds. They will not be wronged.” [Qur’an, 45:22]

According to Islam, one of the greatest injustices humans can commit is to deny Allah’s existence, add partners to Him or worship worldly ideals or materialistic goals. Islam teaches that Allah is the Creator, Sustainer and Nourisher of every being in the heavens and the earth. As His creation, it is His right that we worship and obey Him. He showers us with His blessings every day out of His love and mercy. Worshiping Him is an expression of gratitude to Allah, and ignoring Him or worshiping others is ungratefulness and a denial of His blessings.

If our man-made judicial systems punish people for committing injustices against other people, it is even more understandable that Allah Almighty would punish those who deny Him His rights and commit injustices against His creation. Allah Almighty says in the Qur’an:

“We shall set up scales of justice for the Day of Judgment, so that not a soul will be dealt with unjustly in the least, and if there be (no more than) the weight of a mustard seed, We will bring it (to account): and enough are We to take account.” [Qur’an, 21:47]

As imperfect beings, we often make mistakes and commit wrong actions. While Allah Almighty does not expect perfection from us, He calls on us to strive to the utmost to worship Him and to live righteously. Out of His Mercy, Allah pardons whom He wills in the hereafter. Allah promises us in the Qur’an:

“And those who believe and do righteous deeds – We will surely remove from them their misdeeds and will surely reward them according to the best of what they used to do.” [Qur’an, 29:7]

Muslims seek salvation in the hereafter by living an Allah-conscious and virtuous life in this world. The fear of accountability in the hereafter, along with hope in the promise of Allah’s ultimate justice, motivates them to orient their present lives around the comprehensive worship of Allah, the true purpose of human existence. In this way, they endeavour in this temporary life for eternal joy.

To the righteous it will be said:

“O reassured soul, return to your Lord, well-pleased and pleasing [to Him], and enter among My [righteous] servants, and enter My Paradise.” [Qur’an, 89:27-30]

Respected servants of Allah! Know that true happiness does not come from material possessions. Everyone knows the phrase:

“Money can’t buy happiness.”

Fancy phones, big houses, and luxurious cars are just items, mere tangible objects of this world. We cannot find lasting happiness in the stores and online. In Islam, we are taught to find happiness through Allah Almighty. Adhering to His commands, building a close relationship with Him, and doing good (for oneself and others) with an intention to please Him—that is what brings joy to the heart of a Muslim. The Prophet Muhammad (Peace be upon him) said:

“Happiness is due to him who is guided to Islam and possesses provision that suffices him for his day and remains content.” [At-Tirmidhi]

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.

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: or +2348038289761.

This Jumu’ah Khutbah (Friday sermon) was prepared for delivery today Friday, Sha’aban 17, 1444 AH (March 10, 2023).

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[Friday Sermon] Let’s belief in predestination and support Jagaban for the good of our country!



Imam Murtadha Gusau

In the name of Allah, the Most Merciful, the Bestower of Mercy

All praise is due to Allah, the Lord of all creation—may He extol the Messenger in the highest company of Angels and send His peace and blessings upon him—likewise upon his family, Companions, and true followers. To proceed:

Dear brothers and sisters! As you are all aware, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has declared the presidential candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Alhaji Bola Ahmed Tinubu as the winner of the 2023 presidential election in Nigeria.

The Chairman of INEC, Professor Mahmud Yakubu declared Alhaji Bola Ahmed Tinubu the winner at exactly 4:10 a.m on Wednesday, 01/03/2023 in Abuja.

Alhaji Bola Ahmed Tinubu polled a total votes of 8,794,726 to defeat his closest rival and the presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Alhaji Atiku Abubakar who scored 6,984,520 votes, and Mr. Peter Obi of Labour party who polled 6,101,533 votes.

The presidential candidate of New Nigerian Peoples Party (NNPP), Alhaji Rabiu Kwankwaso came a distant fourth with the total votes of 1,496,687 votes.

INEC chairman, Professor Mahmud Yakubu said the registered voters for the election was 93,469,008, while 25,286,616 voters were accredited.

He added that the total valid votes was 24,025,940, while total rejected votes was 939,278.

The chairman said the total number of votes cast was 24,965,218.

Dear brothers and sisters! Allah the Most High says:

“Say, O Allah, Owner of Sovereignty/power/authority, You give sovereignty/power/authority to whom You will and You take sovereignty/power/authority away from whom You will. You honour whom You will and You humble whom You will. In Your hand is [all] good. Indeed, You are over all things competent.” [Qur’an, 3:26]

Respected brothers and sisters! Living in a time where the majority of Muslims have been enthralled by the worldly life and distanced themselves from the scholars, the correct set of beliefs has become something unknown to the average Muslim. From the set of beliefs that many of the Muslims have strayed in, is the belief in predestination, otherwise known as al-Qada and al-Qadr. So in this sermon the correct beliefs pertaining to al-Qada and al-Qadr will become clear to the reader, by the will of Allah, the Most High.

In order to study any matter properly, one must first be aware of the terminology involved. So in order to properly understand predestination (al-Qada and al-Qadr) one must, firstly, understand what it means. When mentioned separately, both al-Qada and al-Qadr mean the predestination of an action or an event. However if they are combined then al-Qadr means the predestination of an act or event before it occurs and al-Qada refers to act or event after it takes place. Sheikh Salih Uthaimin said:

“The Scholars differed in the difference between them. From them is the one who said: al-Qadr is Allah’s decree in eternity and al-Qada is the ruling of Allah on something when it occurs. If Allah decrees that something specific will occur in its time, then this is al-qadr. If the time for this thing comes then this is al-Qada. This is [found] a lot in the Noble Qur’an. For example, Allah’s statement: “Thus is the case judged.” [Qur’an, 12:41] And His statement: “And Allah judges with truth.” [Qur’an, 40:20] So al-Qadr is the decree of Allah in eternity and al-Qada is when it occurs. Some say the meaning is the same. But the stronger opinion is that there is a difference between them as preceded. If one of the two word is mentioned alone, then it has one meaning and Allah knows best.” [See Majmu al-Fatawa wa-Rasail, vol. 2, page 79]

The scholars of Islam are in ijmah (consensus) that the belief in al-Qada and al-Qadr (Kaddarar Allah) is mandatory upon every Muslim, and he who rejects it has left the fold of Islam. The proofs of this are many in the Qur’an and the Sunnah. Allah Almighty said:

“We have created all things according to a measure.” [Qur’an, 54:49]

And the famous Hadith of Jibril (Gabriel), where he came to the Prophet (Peace be upon him) and asked him, “What is Iman (faith/belief)?”, and the Prophet (Peace be upon him) replied:

“Iman (faith/belief) is to believe in Allah, His angels, His books, His messengers, the Day of Judgment and al-Qadr, the good of it and the evil of it.” [Bukhari and Muslim]

And the Hadith of the Prophet (Peace be upon him):

“No servant of Allah will truly believe until he believes in al-Qadr its good and evil, and until he realises that what has befallen him was not going to miss him and that which missed him was not going to befall him.” [At-Tirmidhi]

And the Hadith of Ibn Umar, may Allah be pleased with him, where two men came to him and informed him, “There has appeared before us a people who recite the Qur’an and seek knowledge, and they proclaim that there is no Qadr and verily this affair is scornful,” to which Ibn Umar responded:

“When you meet these people tell them that I am free from them and that they are free from me, for verily by Him in whose hand is the soul of Abdullah Ibn Umar, were they to give Mount Uhud in gold (as charity) it would never be accepted from them until they believe in Qadr.” [Muslim]

The scholars of Islam have derived four main principles pertaining to al-Qada and al-Qadr as follows:

1. That Allah, the Most High, has absolute knowledge of all affairs. Whether it be past, present, or future.

2. That Allah, the Most High, has written all matters that would ever occur in a preserved tablet (al-Lauhul-Mahfuz).

3. That nothing occurs except by the will of Allah, the Most High.

4. That Allah, the Magnificent, created everything.

The above four points will be briefly explained in the following passages, by the will of Allah:

1. That Allah, the Most High, has absolute knowledge of all affairs. Whether it be past, present, or future.

Allah’s knowledge encompasses all affairs. He knew that which was, He knows what is, and He knows what will be. He knows that which we hide in the midst of our souls and He knows that which we publicise to all of mankind. He knows when we were born, how we will live, and where and when we will die. He knows which of us will be in Jannah (Paradise) and which of us will be in the Hell-Fire. He is the all knowing and the all aware. Imam al-Ajurri states in his blessed book ash-Shari’ah:

“He (Allah) created for Jannah (Paradise) its inhabitants and for the hellfire its inhabitants, before he brought them into this world. No one whom Islam has prevailed and overcome and has tasted the sweetness of Iman (Faith) will differ in this. The Qur’an and the Sunnah have indicated this, and we seek refuge in Allah from the one who rejects this … “

Allah Almighty states:

” … Indeed, Allah knows all things.” [Qur’an, 8:75]

” … so that you may know that Allah has power over all things, and that He has encompassed everything in knowledge.” [Qur’an, 65:12]

2. That Allah, the Most High, has written all matters that would ever occur in a preserved tablet (al-Lauhul-Mahfuz).

From the wisdom of Allah is that He wrote everything that would occur before He created the heavens and the earth in a preserved tablet known as al-Lauhul-Mahfuz. As Muslims it is upon us to believe this whether it agrees with our intellect or not, and to not ask why? When? And how?

Allah Almighty says:

“Do you not know that Allah knows what is in the heaven and the earth? This is in a Book. This is easy for Allah.” [Qur’an, 22:70]

The Prophet (Peace be upon him) said:

“Allah wrote what was ordained for creation, fifty thousand years before the creation of the heavens and the earth and His Throne was on the water.” [Muslim]

3. That nothing occurs except by the will of Allah, the Most High.

From the belief of the Muslim pertaining to al-Qadr is that he believes that nothing occurs except by the Will of Allah. If Allah, the Most High, has permitted it to happen it will take place without a doubt. Whether we like it or not. Allah Almighty says:

“But you cannot will unless Allah wills; Allah is Knowing, Wise.” [Qur’an, 76:30]

The Prophet (Peace be upon him) also said:

“If the whole Ummah (nation) were to unite and try to benefit you in something, they would never benefit you except by that which Allah has written for you. And if the whole Ummah were to unite and try to harm you in something, they would never be able to harm you except that Allah had written it upon you.” [At-Tirmidhi and Ahmad]

Allah’s Will here is of two types, al-Kauni and ash-Shar’i. Al-Kauni is all that Allah wills and hasn’t given man total control over, the likes of the orbiting of the earth around the sun, the appearance of the stars at night, the waves in the ocean, the ability to ride a bicycle, etc.

Ash-Shar’i is all that Allah is pleased with and has ordered mankind with. It is in the hands of mankind to fulfill. Such as praying five times a day, fasting in Ramadan, not associating partners with Him, being obedient to our parents etc.

4. That Allah, the Magnificent, created everything.

It is upon the Muslim to know and realise that Allah is the Creator of all things, including his (the Muslim’s) actions. Not an atom on this earth nor a planet that orbits the sun exists except that Allah is the one who created it. Allah the Most High says:

“Allah is the Creator of everything; and He is the Guardian over all things.” [Qur’an, 39:62]

And Prophet (Peace be upon him) said: ‘Do you worship what you yourselves carve, when Allah has created you and what you make?’ ” [Qur’an, 37:96]

Imam Muslim narrates in the introduction to the first Hadith of his Sahih that the first person to ever speak about (in a deviant manner) Qadr was a man from Al-Basarah by the name of Mu’az al-Juhni. It was from his deviance that the stray sects started to take their methodology in Qadr. Over the passage of time a lot of sects have strayed in their understanding of Qadr, from them are the Mu’tazilah, the Jahmiyyah and some of the Asha’irah, but their deviant understanding goes back to the two main groups of the Qadariyyah and the Jabariyyah.

The Qadarriyah are those people who believe that predestination does not exist, and that we are free to act as we will, and that Allah, the Creator, does not have knowledge of an affair until its occurrence. The Jabariyyah are those people who believe that we have no free will, and that we are forced to do everything.

So the stance of Ahlus-Sunnah pertaining to the understanding our actions and al-Qadr is the middle course between the two sects. We believe that Allah knows everything we do before it happens, and has given us the free will to do as we wish. Whether it be good or bad, and we will be held accountable for that which we used to do. So it is upon us to continue doing good deeds and continue distancing ourselves from sins and evil acts, and not be like those who say that we are compelled to do everything, and that the doing of righteous acts will not make a difference. We seek refuge in Allah from such ignorance. Allah Almighty says:

“Those who ascribe partners [to Allah] will say: ‘If Allah had wished, we would not have ascribed partners to Him, nor would our fathers, nor we have forbidden anything.’ Thus did those who came before them argue falsely, until they tasted of Our wrath. Say: ‘Have you any [certain] knowledge that you can produce before us? You follow nothing but conjecture. You do nothing but guess.” [Qur’an, 6:148]

In another verse Allah Almighty warns those who took Qadr as their reason for falling into shirk (polytheism) when He says:

“Messengers of good news and of warning, in order that mankind might have no argument against Allah after the Messengers. And Allah was August, Wise.” [Qur’an, 4:165]

Such that they cannot say that it was Allah’s Will that we committed shirk with Him.

The Messenger of Allah was once sitting with a wooden stick in his hand with which he was scraping the ground. He raised his head and said:

“There is none of you except that his place has been assigned either in the Hell-Fire or in Paradise.”

The Companions, may Allah be pleased with them, said:

“O Allah’s Messenger why should we carry on doing good deeds then? Shall we not be dependent (on al-Qadr) and give up actions?” The Prophet (Peace be upon him) said:

“No, but rather carry on doing good deeds, for every person will find easy (to do) the deeds which will lead him to the place he has been created for.” [Muslim]

And many people have come to understand that if Qadr has already been written for us, and we will receive that which has been prescribed for us then what is the benefit of making Du’a? The answer to this question lies in the understanding of the principle that events will take place if the appropriate steps are taken to make them happen. Thus since we know that Allah is in charge of all affairs and is able to do all things, He is the one we ask when we are in need. He already knew we were going to ask him, but waited till we actually do the act of asking before he answers our Du’a. So in order to achieve that final goal (to get what we asked for in our Du’a) we have to take the step of actually making Du’a.

The Prophet (Peace be upon him) said:

“Nothing increases one’s life-span except good deeds, and nothing repels divine decree except Du’a. And verily, a person may be deprived of sustenance due to a sin that he commits.” [Ibn Majah]

So if one were to ask how does Du’a change decree? We would respond to this with the example of the farmer whose field has gone dry due to the lack of rain (Divine Decree of Allah), so he prays Salatul-Istisqah (a prayer from the Sunnah, which is performed to ask for rain) and thus it rains and his crops cultivate. Thus as a result of his prayer Allah sent down the rain.

Imam Ibn al-Qayyim, may Allah have mercy upon him, had some wisdom filled words concerning those people who don’t take the appropriate steps to make the desired event happen:

“The logical consequences of such a reasoning leads to a rejection of all efforts. It can, therefore, be said to a person who holds this view, if the satisfaction of your hunger and thirst has already been destined for you, then it will be fulfilled, whether you eat or not. On the other hand, if it has not been destined for you, it will never occur, whether you eat or not. And, if a son has been destined for you, then you will be granted one, whether you have intercourse with your wife or not. On the other hand, if a son has not been destined for you, then you will never be granted one. In this case, there is no point in you getting married … !” [See Jawab al-Kafi]

Allah the Most High tells us in many places through out the Qur’an that man will be tested and tried, and will face tribulations that man thinks he will never be able to over come. On the other hand Allah, the Most High, also puts us in times of ease where we think that there isn’t a problem in the world. So how is the Muslim to react in these scenarios? Allah Almighty says:

“We shall surely test you with fear and hunger, and loss of property and lives and crops; but give glad tidings to those who have fortitude. Who when struck by misfortune, say: ‘We belong to Allah, and surely to Him we shall return.’ ” [Qur’an, 2:155-156]

Allah Almighty also says previous to these two Qur’anic verses:

“O Believers, seek help in patience and in the ritual prayer. Allah is with those that are patient.” [Qur’an, 2:154]

In the above verses Allah Almighty guides us to those actions that should be performed, when faced with trials and tribulations: Firstly, we should be patient. Secondly, we should not get over emotional and forget who created us but rather we should remember that to Allah we belong and to Him we shall return. Lastly, we should seek assistance in as-Salah (Prayer), which when referred to linguistically means Du’a, and ask Allah to relieve us of this trial and reward us for our patience. Like our Salaf (Pious Predecessors) would say:

“There is no protection from the Qadr of Allah, except with Allah.”

• Benefits of believing in predestination (al-Qadr):

1. It grants its believer the peace of mind and sense of relaxation to know, that which has befallen him, was never meant to pass him by and that which has passed him was never meant to befall him.

2. It gives its believer the will and determination to do righteous deeds and grants him the knowledge of the fact that nothing can harm him or stop him except that which Allah has willed.

3. Teaches its believer not to be arrogant and vain but rather to be modest and humble because he realises that his actions are created by Allah and that such and such an event occurred, not because he was rich or was given beauty and good lineage but rather because it was the Will of Allah.

4. Teaches its believer to do as much as is in his capability and then leave the rest up to Allah, and then to be satisfied with the result as he did as much as his ability permitted him to do so.

Dear servants of Allah! Also Allah Almighty says:

“And it may be that you dislike a thing which is good for you and that you like a thing which is bad for you. Allah knows but you do not know.” [Qur’an, 2:216]

In this Qur’anic verse, there are several judgments, meanings and benefits for the servant of Allah. If the servant of Allah knows that misfortune can produce a desirable thing, and that the desirable thing can produce a misfortune, he would not feel secure against the harm that can come from delight, and he would not lose hope of delight to come from harm, for he does not know the outcomes of things. Verily, it is Allah Who knows about that which the servant of Allah does not know, and in this context the following issues must be noted:

Nothing is more beneficial for him than abiding by the judgments of Allah, even if it is difficult for him at the beginning, because all its outcomes are good, delightful, and pleasurable. In the same way, nothing is more harmful for him than committing what is forbidden, even if he loves it. All its outcomes are pain, grief, evil and misfortune.

Furthermore, the mind bears little pain in comparison to the great pleasure and abundant good that it will experience, and likewise man is expected to avoid little in exchange for great rewards and preventing great pain and long term evil.

In this way, we can see that the perception of the ignorant does not go beyond the basics of life; his perception does not reach the goals, but the intelligent person always keeps his eye on the goals behind his actions in life.

The intelligent person perceives forbidden things like delicious food, which contain fatal poison. Whenever its pleasure arouses his interest, the reality of the poison would push him away from it. Also, he perceives the orders of Allah as bitter medicine that leads to good health and recovery.

Whenever its bitterness urges him not to take it, the reality of its usefulness leads him to comply. This requires knowledge that is more than the rudiments of the religion in order to understand the essential goals. It also requires strong patience to adjust oneself to it, in order to bear the difficulties that will be encountered for the sake of the goal. So if he loses certainty and patience, it would be difficult to achieve the goal, and on the other hand if his certainty and patience is strong, every difficulty would be rendered easy for him for the sake of permanent good and eternal pleasure.

There are other meanings of this Qur’anic verse. It also requires the servant to leave all his affairs in the Hands of the One Who knows the outcomes of all things (Allah), and to be pleased with whatever He chooses for him.

Also, the meanings of the Qur’anic verse include the fact that he should not propose or choose for his Lord, and should not ask Him for that which he has no knowledge of, for his harm and ruin may be in it and yet he does not know. He should simply ask his Lord to choose good for him and make him pleased with His choice, for that indeed would be the best ending. Also when he leaves all his affairs to his Lord, and is satisfied with His choice for him, Allah will support him by providing him with ability, determination and patience. He, the Almighty would also keep him away from the evil that the servant would have encountered if he had chosen for himself. He would show him some of the positive outcomes of His Choice, which he would not have attained if he had chosen for himself.

Such thinking relieves him of the burdens of trying to choose for himself as Allah frees his heart from estimations and arrangements, which fluctuate in difficulty. And in spite of this, the servant would always be surrounded by what was initially preordained for him. If he is pleased with the Choice of Allah, the preordainment would grant him what is praiseworthy, worthy of thanks and worthy of Allah’s Mercy. Otherwise, the preordainment would incur on him all that is dispraised and unworthy of Allah’s Mercy, because it was his own choice. When he truly leaves his affairs to Allah and truly becomes pleased with that, he would be surrounded by kindness and care in the preordainment, and he would be under the care and kindness of Allah. His Kindness protects him from that which he fears and His Care makes it easy for him to bear that which He preordained.

When the pre-ordainment is implemented upon the servant of Allah, the greatest cause of its implementation would be his trying to avoid it. Therefore, there is nothing more beneficial for him than submission.

Lastly, I urge the President Elect, Alhaji Bola Ahmed Tinubu, to join hands with the remaining contestants and all Nigerians to work hard in order to make Nigeria great. Let him be a servant leader, as he promised.

I also call on Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, Mr. Peter Obi and Alhaji Rabi’u Musa Kwankwaso to team up with the president elect in order to make our country great.

I pray, may Allah Almighty help them all, ameen.

Ya Allah, Who created and brought the heavens and earth into existence, Who does not pass away or depart. He, Who knows all about our conditions and is fully aware of all our movements and period of rest, helps our President Elect, Alhaji Bola Ahmed Tinubu to solve the problems of insecurity bedeviling Nigeria, assist him to rectify the economy of our country, use him to unite the Nigerian citizens and hold his hand to bring an end to all the Nigeria’s problems. Ya Rahman Ya Raheem!

Ya Allah, Who creates, sustains and controls the affairs within the universe. He Who protects and preserves us and controls our affairs, the Sole Creator, Sustainer and Brilliant Planner. We call on You to forgive us, have sympathy for us and give our President Elect, Alhaji Bola Ahmed Tinubu good health, strength, power, energy, wisdom, knowledge and grace to stop and defeat the armed bandits, and the extremists (Boko Haram), a group which destroys, and does not build, corrupts much, and does not rectify, and all the related terror activities from this our beloved and great country, Nigeria. Ya Rabb!

Ya Allah, Use Alhaji Bola Ahmed Tinubu, and his vice Alhaji Kashim Shettimah, and all our other leaders to transform and salvage Nigeria, so that they lead us to all that is good for us and our country. Ya Hayyu ya Qayyum!

Our Lord! Let not their hearts deviate after You have guided them, grant them and us mercy from You, truly, You are the Bestower of Mercy.

Ya Allah, Nigerians are powerless, speechless and helpless, we pray through You to protect us and our leaders from falling into mistakes and guide them Ya Allah, to all that which is good for all of us. Guide them, so that they will work for the unity, peace, progress, development and stability of Nigeria. Guide them also to provide quality and responsible leadership, and to bring Nigeria’s vast resources together to tackle a series of deep-seated, interconnected challenges and put the country on a road to better governance, increased security, and greater prosperity. Ya Ar-hamar Rahimeen Ya Rabbal Alameen!

Ya Allah, Give them the zeal to overcome daunting and threatening challenges; instill in them Your fear, so that they will lead justly and fairly towards the development of our people and country.

Ya Allah! Protect us all and our country, bless this country, forgive and have mercy, and destroy whoever that has a bad intention against our leaders, against us and our great country, Nigeria. Just as you protected us before, we seek for more of such protection, Ya Zal Jalali wal Ikram!

Ya Allah, make our country, Nigeria safe and the other Muslim countries in general, Oh Lord of the universe (jinn and mankind). Ya Allah protect our safety, our Iman and our peace in our native lands and rectify those placed in authority over our affairs (our leaders) and don’t hold us to account for that which the foolish amongst us have done, and protect us from trials the apparent and hidden of it.

Ya Allah, show us the truth for the truth and help us to follow it, and show us the falsehood for falsehood and help us to stay away from it, and make Iman the most beloved to us and beautify it in our hearts, and make disbelief, lewdness and rebellion most hated to us and make us from those who are guided.

Ya Allah, rectify our leaders, Ya Allah guide them to that which is good for themselves and to that which is good for us. Ya Allah make them a means for our safety, and make them a means for our word (unity) to be one, and make them a cause for our coming together, Ya Al-Hayyu (Oh The Ever Living, The One who cannot die), Ya Al-Qayyum (The Self Sustainer), Ya Sami’ (The Hearer) of the supplication. Ya Allah safeguard our country. Ya Allah bring ease to the Nigerians from that which they face from sufferings. Ya Allah give us immediate ease. Ya Allah give us victory with a happy outcome. Ya Allah make ease for the Nigerians from every difficulty and from every suffering, Oh Hearer of the supplication, Oh Reliever from every distress, Oh answerer of the supplication, Oh Helper of the grieving, Oh ever living, Self Sustaining, Oh Hearer of the supplication, Oh Owner of Loftiness and Nobility!

Our Lord! Accept (this prayer) from us. Indeed you are the Hearing, the knowing… Ameen.

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.

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: or +2348038289761.

This Jumu’ah Khutbah (Friday sermon) was prepared for delivery today Friday, Sha’aban 10, 1444 AH (March 03, 2023).

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Friday Sermon: Be a beneficial person in your society!



Imam Murtadha Gusau

In the name of Allah, the Most Merciful, the Bestower of Mercy

All praise is due to Allah, lord of all worlds, the creator of everything, who gave us every thing, and honoured us with Islam.

Dear brothers and sisters! Allah Almighty says:

“if you would count up the favours of Allah, you would never be able to numerate them.”

In my previous sermons, I discussed about the subject on “how to reestablish a powerful Muslim Ummah (nation).”

Actually, we are now followers than leaders, imitators rather than creators, and this is not the proper condition for this Ummah (nation). Allah Almighty says:

“You are the best people evolved for mankind.”

But now, none can say that Muslims are the best people among the different nations. So, there is something we should do to re-correct our condition.

In those sermons, I have mentioned some points that may draw to us the right way to bring this dream into reality; to reestablish a great and powerful Islamic Ummah.

But I know the subject was too condensed to be squeezed in just few sermons, and because of its importance, I will pick up just one character of this way and In Shaa Allah I will try to discuss the other points in other sermons if possible.

Respected brothers and sisters! The purpose of this sermon or any other sermon is to achieve benefit. Do not consider the sermon just a part of Juma’ah prayer, so you should listen to it, read it; try to benefit from this sermon.

As long as you spent some time, and some effort in something, you should benefit from it, as this is the wisdom.

So, try to concentrate carefully, and follow what you learn if it is the right way.

Dear brothers and sisters! When we mention our history and when we say that Muslims used to lead the world for years, and when we go into the details of our previous success, this does not mean we just cry over the spilt milk, rather we mention that to learn from it and the wise is who learns from his mistakes. Allah Almighty says:

“There is, in their stories, instructions for men endowed with understanding.”

Dear servants of Allah! Whoever does not follow the means will never get the results. This is the way of Allah:

“You will find no change in Allah’s way.”

My beloved people! The responsibility of our situation is the responsibility of all of us. None of us is free from responsibility. All Muslims should work to correct our position.

So before describing the first character of our way to reestablish our strong Islamic Ummah. I want to summarise these four important facts:

1. You should benefit as much as you can from this sermon or any other sermon or lesson you attend.

2. We should learn from our history, do not repeat your previous mistakes.

3. To accomplish the results you want, you should follow the correct means.

4. The responsibility of reestablishing the great Islamic Ummah is the responsibility of all Muslims including all of us.

So the first means to change our situation is to be positive: To be positive is not easy job, so difficult job, so be prepared to suffer. Allah Almighty says:

“The merchandise of Allah is expensive, the merchandise of Allah is the paradise.”

So, what is the positivity? The positivity is to carry your responsibilities without waiting someone reminding you. Remember this fact. And the facts are always better explained by stories, so back to our history, not to entertain but to learn.

If you look to the life of any companion of the Prophet (Peace be upon him), you will find the positivity in every step in this life. Because of time, I will mention only two stories:

1. In the battle of Al-Qadisiyyah, between Muslims and Persians, Persia at that time was one of the most powerful empires on the earth. Actually Persia and Rome divided the world between them.

2. The leader at that battle was Sa’ad Ibn Abi Waqqas and he decided to send a group of messengers to the leader of the Persian army to invite them to Islam. A Muslim soldier, Rib’iy Ibn Amir said to him:

“I think it is better to send just one messenger not a group, so that they will know that we are not afraid of them. It was a good opinion. So this is the positivity, this is the responsibility of every Muslim to give the advice to other Muslims. However, the story is still incomplete. Sa’ad asked Rib’iy: who we can send alone? He is afraid to send one messenger to the Persians. Look to Rib’iy. He continued his positivity and said: let me be that person.”

Here, the responsibility is not of Rib’iy himself, however, he obligated himself with a responsibility that may be carried by any other Muslim. This is an extra positivity!

The second positivity is that of the battle of Tabuk, one of the most difficult battles of the Prophet:

“The Prophet asked the companions to donate to prepare the army. So Uthman started the donation and said:  I will pay one hundred camels. This is the positivity of Uthman, he did not wait till the Prophet ask him “how much you will pay”, but he started quickly. Again the story is incomplete. The Prophet asked again for donation, and again Uthman said: I will pay more one hundred camels. Moreover, he went and brought one thousand dinar and put them in the hands of the Prophet (Peace be upon him). This was too much to the degree that the Prophet looked to the camels and said: “Nothing will harm Uthman after that day whatever he did.” This is an extra positivity, and the surprise was that the story is incomplete; Uthman is still donating till it reached 400 camels, 100 horses, and 1000 dinars. This is an extreme positivity.”

Dear brothers and sisters! From these stories, we can understand that positivity is grades or dangers.

1. The least degree in positivity is to participate in the activities that done by other Muslims. Just to participate. Just be with Muslims Ummah.

This is what I call “passive positivity.”

How we called the positivity passive? Let me give you a practical example.

Today In Shaa Allah we have a lesson from Islamic history after Isha’ prayer. To come to this lesson, this is a positivity. To participate by your presence, this is positivity. Yes, you are not participating in preparation of this work. Yes, you come alone without inviting your friends to come with you. Your coming is positivity because this will encourage people do this work to refine their work and this will make other people to attend the lesson and this will spread the knowledge of this lesson and will make us feel as being an Ummah rather than individuals. Your coming is certainly a kind of positivity.

2. A higher degree of positivity is to respond quickly to the one who ask you to do something for Islam, which is one of your duties usually. So this is an active positivity so if I asked you to attend the lesson, you should respond quickly. If I asked someone to help us in typing or clearing, he should respond quickly and so forth.

3. The higher degree of positivity is to do your duties without waiting for someone to direct you, so this is initiative positivity.

You should think in a work that benefits Muslims without delay. Someone thinks in a project for the Muslim youth and he started to do it. Someone has some knowledge in the religion and started to teach others. Someone has money and started to give without waiting someone to ask him repeatedly. Someone started to clean the premises without waiting others ask him to do so. Someone started to regulate the premises in our crowded parking a lot.

4. The last degree and the most difficult in positivity is to carry the responsibilities of other if they denied them as Uthman and Rib’iy, may Allah be pleased with them, did. It is not his responsibility to spend all this wealth, but he did his job and that of others who either denied or were unable. This type is what we need to reestablish our strong Islamic Ummah.

If at this bad time a lot of Muslims decided to carry their responsibilities, we should have the Muslims who carry their responsibility and those of others. I know it is difficult, but wallah, “the merchandise of Allah is more precious.”

To complete this subject of positivity, I have to mention two things:

1. Every one of us has something to do for Islam. None is deprived from the ability to serve Islam. So do something, do not hesitate, one of you has knowledge, another has a skill in computer, another has money, other has ability to talk to people, some know typing, expert in sports, so look inside yourself, and do not wait, as none know when he will die.

2. If you decided not to be positive, and chose negativity, please do not follow to the mistakes of others.

Any active work will have some mistakes but too much criticism may lead to frustration, so do not take the responsibility of stopping an Islamic work.

I ask Allah to make us positive and make this positivity in His cause, and to make paradise the price of this positivity, Ameen!

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.

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: or +2348038289761.

This Jumu’ah Khutbah (Friday sermon) was prepared for delivery today Friday, Rajab 26, 1444 AH (February 17, 2023).

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