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[Friday Sermon] IPOB Killings: An Invitation To Another Civil War In Nigeria!

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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 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! The terrorist group and Members of the proscribed Indigenous People of Biafra, IPOB, on Sunday mercilessly killed 12 people from the Northern Nigeria, including a pregnant woman, her four children and eight others at Isulo, Orumba North Local Government Area of Anambra State.

The slain woman was identified as Harirah Jibril, 32, while the four children were identified as Fatimah, 9; Khadijah, 7; Azizah, 5 and; Zaitunah, 2.

The terrorists waylaid them on their way back home after a visit to Orumba North. The slain woman was a native of Adamawa State.

And as I’m talking to you now all Hausa people from the North have completely deserted Ihiala, following heightened attacks on non-natives in the area.

The unprovoked evictions, attacks, killings, destructions of properties and other forms of violations against northerners in various parts of the South East had resulted from the hate campaigns and propaganda being conducted by regional and ethnic agitators.

These killings followed other coordinated attacks on northern traders and haulage trucks, killing some people and destroying millions worth of properties including the truck.

We strongly condemn these killings. It is brutish, horrendous and barbaric. No family deserves to be wiped out in this manner.

And we call on the security agencies to smoke out the killers and bring them to justice. At the same time, we ask all men of conscience to speak up and condemn this barbaric killing.

For peace to reign and to avoid reprisal killings in other side of the country our people must have the liberty to exercising their freedom of movement in Southeastern part of the country, we’re law abiding citizens, we, therefore, warn that these killings should stop forthwith, as the blood of our people can’t be used as a sacrifice to keep Nigeria as one.

Once again, we wish to call on security agencies to intensify efforts in ensuring the lawless elements behind the killings are brought to book to serve as a deterrent to others.

We also appeal to our people in the North not to retaliate. Because vengeance will only ignite a cycle of violence. Nigeria needs peace at this crucial time. Therefore, nobody should embark on reprisal killing please. It will only compound the problem.

Respected brothers and sisters! One of the distinctive characteristics of the times we live in is the overwhelming presence of bloodshed, crisis and violence in our societies. Whether it is an IPOB attacks and killings to our people in Dei-Dei Abuja and southeast, or a tribal and religious attacks, or a kidnappings where innocent people are held at ransom to achieve political ends, we live in an age, where the manipulation and loss of innocent lives has become commonplace.

Such is the all-pervasive nature of indiscriminate violence, that terrorism is considered as one of the prime threats to peace and security in our societies.

The word terrorism came into wide usage only a few decades ago. But one of the unfortunate results of this new terminology is that it limits the definition of terrorism to that perpetrated by small groups or individuals. Terrorism, in fact, spans the entire world, and manifests itself in various forms. Its perpetrators do not fit any stereotype. Those who hold human lives cheap, and have the power to expend human lives, appear at different levels in our societies. The frustrated employee who kills his colleagues in cold-blood or the oppressed citizen of an occupied land who vents his anger by blowing up a school bus are terrorists who provoke our anger and revulsion. Ironically however, the politician who uses age-old ethnic animosities between peoples to consolidate his position, the head of state who orders “carpet bombing” of entire cities, the exalted councils that choke millions of civilians to death by wielding the insidious weapon of sanctions, the terrorist group like IPOB, who are killing the northerners living in their areas, are rarely punished for their crimes against humanity.

It is this narrow definition of terrorism that implicates only individuals and groups, that has caused Muslims to be associated with acts of destruction and terror, and as a result, to become victims of hate violence and terror themselves. Sometimes the religion of Islam is held responsible for the acts of a handful of Muslims, and often for the acts of non-Muslims!

Could it be possible that Islam, whose light ended the Dark Ages in Europe, now propound the advent of an age of terror? Could a faith that has over 2 billion followers the world over, and over 10 million in America, actually advocate the killing and maiming of innocent people? Could Islam, whose name itself stands for “peace” and “submission to Allah Almighty”, encourage its adherents to work for death and destruction?

For too long, have we relied on popular images in the media and in Hollywood films, for answers to these pertinent questions. It is now time to look at the sources of Islam, and its history to determine whether Islam does indeed advocate violence. The Glorious Qur’an says:

“…take not life, which Allah hath made sacred, except by way of justice and law: thus do He command you, that you may learn wisdom.” [Qur’an, 6:151]

Islam considers all life forms as sacred. However, the sanctity of human life is accorded a special place. The first and the foremost basic right of a human being is the right to live. The Glorious Qur’an says:

“…if any one slew a person – unless it be for murder or for spreading mischief in the land – it would be as if he slew the whole people: and if any one saved a life, it would be as if he saved the life of the whole people.” [Qur’an, 5:32]

Such is the value of a single human life, that the Qur’an equates the taking of even one human life unjustly, with killing of all humanity. Thus, the Qur’an prohibits homicide in clear terms. The taking of a criminal’s life by the state in order to administer justice is required to uphold the rule of law, and the peace and security of the society. Only a proper and competent court can decide whether an individual has forfeited his right to life by disregarding the right to life and peace of other human beings.

Even in a state of war, Islam enjoins that one deals with the enemy nobly on the battlefield. Islam has drawn a clear line of distinction between the combatants and the non-combatants of the enemy country. As far as the non-combatant population is concerned such as women, children, the old and the infirm, etc., the instructions of the Prophet are as follows:

“Do not kill any old person, any child or any woman.” [Abu Dawud]

“Do not kill the monks in monasteries” or “Do not kill the people who are sitting in places of worship.” [Musnad of Imam Ahmad]

During a war, the Prophet (Peace be upon him) saw the corpse of a woman lying on the ground and observed:

“She was not fighting. How then she came to be killed?”

Thus non-combatants are guaranteed security of life even if their state is at war with an Islamic state.

While Islam in general is misunderstood in the western world, perhaps no other Islamic term evokes such strong reactions as the word ‘jihad.’ The term ‘jihad’ has been much abused, to conjure up bizarre images of violent Muslims, forcing people to submit at the point of the sword. This myth was perpetuated throughout the centuries of mistrust during and after the Crusades. Unfortunately, it survives to this day.

The word Jihad comes from the root word jahada, which means to struggle. So jihad is literally an act of struggling. The Prophet Muhammad (Peace be upon him) said that the greatest jihad is to struggle with the insidious suggestions of one’s own soul. Thus jihad primarily refers to the inner struggle of being a person of virtue and submission to Allah in all aspects of life.

Secondarily, jihad refers to struggle against injustice. Islam, like many other religions, allows for armed self-defense, or retribution against tyranny, exploitation, and oppression. The Glorious Qur’an says:

“And why should you not fight in the cause of Allah and of those who, being weak, are ill-treated (and oppressed)? – Men, women, and children, whose cry is: “Our Lord! Rescue us from this town, whose people are oppressors; and raise for us from you one who will protect; and raise for us from you one who will help!” [Qur’an, 4:75]

Thus Islam enjoins upon its believers to strive utmost, in purifying themselves, as well as in establishing peace and justice in the society. A Muslim can never be at rest when he sees injustice and oppression around him. As Martin Luther King Jr. said:

“We will have to repent in this generation not merely for the hateful words and actions of the bad people but for the appalling silence of the good people.”

Islam enjoins upon all Muslims to work actively to maintain the balance in which Allah created everything. However, regardless of how legitimate the cause may be, the Glorious Qur’an never condones the killing of innocent people. Terrorising the civilian population can never be termed as jihad and can never be reconciled with the teachings of Islam.

Even Western scholars have repudiated the myth of Muslims coercing others to convert. The great historian De Lacy O’Leary wrote:

“History makes it clear, however, that the legend of fanatical Muslims, sweeping through the world and forcing Islam at the point of sword upon conquered races is one of the most fantastically absurd myths that historians have ever repeated.” [Islam at Crossroads, London, 1923 page 8]

Muslims ruled Spain for roughly 800 years. During this time, and up until they were finally forced out, the non-Muslims there were alive and flourishing. Additionally, Christian and Jewish minorities have survived in the Muslim lands of the Middle East for centuries. Countries such as Egypt, Morocco, Palestine, Lebanon, Syria, and Jordan all have significant Christian and/or Jewish populations.

This is not surprising to a Muslim, for his faith prohibits him from forcing others to see his point of view. The Glorious Qur’an says:

“Let there be no compulsion in religion: Truth stands out clear from Error: whoever rejects evil and believes in Allah has grasped the most trustworthy hand-hold, that never breaks. And Allah hear and know all things.” [Qur’an, 2:256]

Far from being a militant dogma, Islam is a way of life that transcends race and ethnicity. The Glorious Qur’an repeatedly reminds us of our common origin:

“O mankind! We created you from a single (pair) of a male and a female, and made you into nations and tribes, that you may know each other (not that you may despise (each other). Verily the most honoured of you in the sight of Allah is (he who is) the most righteous of you. And Allah has full knowledge and is well acquainted (with all things).” [Qur’an, 49:13]

Thus, it is the universality of its teachings that makes Islam the fastest growing religion in the world. In a world full of conflicts and deep schisms between human beings, a world that is threatened with terrorism, perpetrated by individuals and states, Islam is a beacon of light that offers hope for the future.

Fellow Nigerians! If you can remember, the same thing taking place today of hate campaigns, maltreatment, attacking and killing the northerners by Igbo people was what ignited the 1966 Nigerian civil war.

In August 1965 five Igbo Majors were beginning to plot a coup against incumbent Prime Minister Abubakar Tafawa Balewa. The coup was planned because the Majors as reported, were dissatisfied with the governments actions and that most Nigerian politicians were of Hausa or Fulani descent. In a memoir written by coup plotter Adewale Ademoyega he wrote:

“Our enemies are the political profiteers, the swindlers, the men in high and low places, that seek bribes and demand 10%; those that seek to keep the country divided permanently so that they can remain in office as ministers or VIPs.”

The coup plotters had five goals to achieve, to Strike simultaneously in regional capitals, arrest leading politicians-kill any who resist, avoid reprisals-kill all senior army officers, prevent troop movement-block Niger and Benue, and form a new Government. They planned to strike right before the Commonwealth Conference so that Tafawa Balewa would be distracted from any suspicious army movements.

In the weeks leading up to the coup Major Kaduna Nzeogwu carried out reconnaissance on Ahmadu Bello’s house in Kaduna. Nzeogwu often took his men on a night-time training exercise known as “Exercise Damisa” which was in actuality a practice run for a military coup. The commander of the 2nd Brigade, Brigadier Samuel Ademulegun, became irritated with the night-time exercises and reprimanded Nzeogwu in a telephone call to keep exercises a safe distance from Ahmadu Bello’s house. Although Ademulegun complained about the commotion he had no idea of the exercise’s true purpose. Nzeogwu’s control over his troops was so little that he had to conscript young soldiers from the Nigerian Military Training College at Kaduna. In the early hours on January 15, 1966 Nzeogwu decided to turn “Exercise Damisa” into a full blown military coup. Nzeogwu led his men to a bush adjacent to the house gates and informed them of their real mission. Nzeogwu and his men blew open the house gates and conducted a search of the residence, hunting for Ahmadu Bello Sardauna. After losing his temper at his initial failure to locate him, Nzeogwu found him with his wives. Ahmadu Bello was shot along with one of his wives who tried to shield him with her body. Also Ahmadu Bello’s faithful bodyguard came to defend him with a bow and arrows but was also shot.

So we have to be very very careful in order to avoid another civil war in Nigeria. Because if the killing of northerners in southeastern Nigeria continue, I’m assuring you that anything can happen…

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: gusauimam@gmail.com or +2348038289761.

This Jumu’ah Khutbah (Friday sermon) was prepared for delivery today, Friday, Shawwal 26, 1443 AH (May 27, 2022).

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Opinion

Tinubu’s Renewed Hope Cities: It’s housing and more

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By Abdulaziz Abdulaziz

 

Penultimate Thursday at Karsana, a suburb of Abuja, President Bola Ahmed Tinubu performed the groundbreaking ceremony of the pilot phase of his ambitious housing project tagged Renewed Hope Cities and Estates Development Programme. Under the first phase of the scheme, 50,000 units of houses are planned to be delivered to Nigerians across the 36 states and the FCT by the end of 2024. Aside the site for the 3,112 which is opened, similar construction sites are active in 12 states around the nation. Subsequently more sites will be activated for the simultaneous mass housing project across the country.

The intention, as the President himself said at the groundbreaking ceremony, is to turn Nigeria into a large construction site with the attendant massive job creation and wealth redistribution. This ambitious project would certainly place the Tinubu administration in a prime spot when the history of mass housing in Nigeria is written.

Formal intervention in the housing sector in Nigeria has a long history dating back to the outbreak of the bubonic plaque in Lagos in 1928.Moving forward, the entire official development plan documents in Nigeria, including the four National Development Plans (1962-1984), had recognized the need for increasing the housing stock in Nigeria, as well as, the need for affordable houses. Despite the work at the policy level, Nigeria has continued to face a significant housing deficit, with millions of its citizens lacking adequate and affordable housing. By 2018 the housing deficit was estimated to be about 17-20 million units. While this deficit poses serious social problem, it also hampers economic development and gets complicated with every passing day (read, every birth!).

It is with this realisation that the then APC candidate, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu laid out his vision for the mortgage and housing sector in his elaborate campaign manifesto. The concept is hinged on his longstanding understanding of the economic development and social justice nexus of housing development.

President Tinubu’s Renewed Hope City housing projects offers a tangible step at building dynamic, integrated, and self-sustaining communities, equipped with amenities to enhance the quality of living for residents, especially the targeted low-income earners.

Speaking on the determination of his administration to ensure that Nigeria’s housing deficit is bridged, the President said he is determined to face the housing challenge bedeviling the nation with the boldness and urgency that it requires.

“We aim to promote Public Private Partnership (PPP) collaborations that attract domestic, foreign, and diaspora investments. We also aim to design and implement incentive schemes, boost our capital market while enhancing the governance and risk management frameworks to ensure their stability, transparency and integrity.

“We are resolved to facing the housing challenge with the clarity of purpose and determination that is required to break all the barriers that stand in our way of success. That is why I took the historic decision of separating the Federal Ministry of Housing and Urban Development from Works so it can be fully aligned towards tackling the nation’s massive housing problem. That is also why I have appointed experienced professionals with proven track records of delivering in the housing sector to lead the Ministry,” President Tinubu had said.

These low-cost urban housing projects offer a promising solution to address both the housing shortage and stimulate economic growth. While providing affordable housing options, these projects are creating jobs, enhancing living standards, and hold the potential to catalyze economic activities nationwide.

Development economists say low-cost urban housing projects have the potential to stimulate economic growth through multiple channels. Firstly, by increasing access to affordable housing, these projects enhance household welfare and disposable income. When families spend less on housing, they have more resources to allocate towards education, healthcare, and other essential needs, thereby contributing to poverty reduction and human capital development. Moreover, improved housing conditions lead to better health outcomes, reducing healthcare costs and boosting productivity.

One of the significant benefits of low-cost urban housing projects is their potential to generate employment opportunities. The construction sector is a major driver of employment and economic growth in many countries. By investing in housing projects, Nigeria can create jobs across various stages of the construction value chain, including design, engineering, manufacturing, and site management. Moreover, these projects require skilled and unskilled labor, offering employment opportunities to a diverse workforce. The multiplier effect of job creation in the construction sector extends to other industries, such

as manufacturing, transportation, and retail, further stimulating economic activity. The project designers estimated that every single house will provide 25 direct and indirect jobs. So, the 20,000 housing units planned for the Federal Capital Territory alone will create 500,000 jobs.

These Renewed Hope Cities initiative present a viable strategy to address Nigeria’s housing deficit. These projects focus on providing affordable housing solutions that cater to the needs of low-income earners. By leveraging innovative construction techniques, cost-effective materials, and sustainable designs, these projects aim to deliver quality housing at affordable prices. Moreover, they will foster inclusive development, ensuring that those in the lower wrung of the social cadre, especially workers across Nigeria have access to decent housing options.

The initiative is also attracting private investment and will spur real estate development. As the demand for housing grows, developers and investors are incentivized to participate in the market, leading to increased construction activity and property transactions. This influx of investment not only creates jobs but also stimulates demand for ancillary goods and services, such as furniture, appliances, and utilities. Additionally, improved infrastructure associated with housing projects, such as roads, water supply, and sanitation facilities, enhances the overall urban environment and attracts further investment.

Closing the housing deficit in Nigeria and stimulating economic growth through the Renewed Hope City housing project is a major tick in President Tinubu’s wish list and campaign promises. But like all big ticket projects, filling the gaping hole in our housing need is a multifaceted endeavor that requires concerted efforts from all stakeholders, especially mortgage institutions and developers

President Tinubu has taken a big leap in this regard and with innovation, collaboration, sustained commitment, right policies and investments, Nigeria will unlock the full potential of low-cost urban housing projects to build a more prosperous and inclusive society.

 

Abdulaziz, Senior Special Assistant to President Tinubu on Print Media, writes from Abuja.

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Opinion

N24 billion Hajj subsidy: The facts behind the twisted story

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Hajj

By Ibrahim Muhammed

 

“Just because something isn’t a lie does not mean that it isn’t deceptive. A liar knows that he is a liar, but one who speaks mere portions of truth in order to deceive is a craftsman of destruction.”
― Criss Jami

Curiosity got a better part of me after reading a story published by Punch Newspaper titled “NAHCON Denies 24 billion Naira Hajj Subsidy”

I immediately began to make inquiries to know the facts behind the obvious sentiment-induced headlines. First, the newspapers deliberately take advantage of people’s malaise by reading full stories with such a screaming headline about the Federal Government approving N24 Billion to Nigeria Muslim Pilgrims for Hajj.

First and as buried inside the Punch Story, the approval is a payment meant to settle 2023 Hajj Airlifts liabilities. It is not a Hajj subsidy but rather an outstanding payment to 2023 Hajj Air carriers due to differentials in the exchange rate approved when the airlift contract was signed and when the last trench of payment was due.

Before the 2023 Hajj, The Federal Government had approved an exchange rate of N460 to a dollar for Nigerian pilgrims. The 2023 Hajj fare including the Air ticket was then computed based on the approved exchange rate. When it was time for payment of airfare to airliners, the exchange rate rose to N750 to a dollar after the Government floated the forex. The then CBN Governor refused to pay the airliners because the dollar had increased to N750 to a dollar as against the N460 to a dollar earlier approved before the 2023 hajj.

The question is this: who is to settle the airliner’s differences because the 2023 hajj pilgrims had paid their Hajj fare based on a government-approved exchange rate and had returned home after performing the hajj?

The then NAHCON board had insisted that CBN should honor the discount and fill in the gaps. It is an issue that has been in the public domain. The airlines’ money kept hanging for long. After a series of arguments and reconciliation, this present administration accepts to pay the airliners the dollar equivalent of what is obtained in their contractual agreement with NAHCON before 2023 hajj.

It is important to understand that Nigerian Hajj Pilgrims have paid for the naira equivalent then. So, what is the underlying motive behind the screaming headline that the Government of President Ahmed Tinubu has approved the sum of N24 Billion naira for Nigeria’s Hajj pilgrims? The said N24 Billion is the differential between the approved dollar rate then and the current dollar rates.

Commendably, Tinubu’s government was magnanimous in settling the former agreement that was entered before the commencement of the 2023 Hajj. Leaking Government documents to activate religious sentiments and biases will serve no one good.

The newspaper reports also said NAHCON denied the approval which is another issue of twisted story. It reported that the Deputy Director said he was not aware of such information and that the Chairman of NAHCON will address the press on the issue. That is not a denial by NAHCON.

We should be wary of half-truths and twisted stories.

Muhammed is the
National Coordinator
Independent Hajj Reporters
08037024356.

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Opinion

Friday Sermon: Islam, Christianity strongly denounced same-sex relationship, bisexuality!

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Imam Murtadha Gusau

 

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

 

All Praise is due to Allah, We praise Him and we seek help from Him. We ask forgiveness from Him. We repent to Him; and we seek refuge in Him from our own evils and our own bad deeds. Anyone who is guided by Allah is indeed guided; and anyone who has been left astray, will find no one to guide him. I bear witness that there is no god but Allah, the Only One without any partner; and I bear witness that Muhammad (Peace be upon him) is His servant and His Messenger.

 

Dear brothers and sisters! Islam’s teaching about homosexuality is referred to in a story found in the Qur’an. This is the story of the Prophet Lut (may Allah’s peace be upon him), who criticised the men of his town for their homosexual practices. Allah the Almighty stated:

 

“And remember Lot (Lut) when he said to his people: ‘Do you commit the worst sin such as none before you have committed among creation? Indeed, you practise your lusts on men instead of women. Nay, but you are a people transgressing beyond bounds.’” [Qur’an, 7:80-81]

 

Some people today (who engage in, or justify same-sex relationships) have tried to claim that the prohibition (in the Qur’anic verse above) refers to non-consensual sex between homosexuals. Others assert it refers to homosexual relationships outside of marriage. Both of these views clearly contradict this Qur’anic verse because Allah the Almighty stated:

 

“Indeed, you practise your lusts on men instead of women.”

 

If the Qur’anic verse was referring to homosexual rape (or non-consensual sex), then that is equally forbidden against women. However, Allah the Almighty (in this Qur’anic verse) allowed sex between heterosexuals (and within marriage). Also, if the verse was only forbidding homosexuality outside of marriage, then sex between a man and woman before marriage is forbidden so why would Allah the Almighty say:

 

“instead of women”?

 

Therefore, the only authentic and correct conclusion that can be drawn from this Qur’anic verse is that sexual relationships between people of the same sex are prohibited.

 

Furthermore, arbitrarily changing one’s gender from male to female (or vice-versa) does not alter the reality of the prohibition because there is a principle in Islam that states:

 

“Changing the name of something does not change its reality.”

 

So changing the name of alcohol to milk does not alter its reality nor the ruling of prohibition.

 

Allah the Most High also said:

 

“You come to the men of creation and you leave those wives whom Allah has created for you? Nay! You are a transgressing people.” [Qur’an, 26: 165-166]

 

Abdullah Ibn Abbas narrated that Allah’s Messenger (Peace be upon him) stated:

 

“The curse of Allah is upon the one who engages in the act of the People of Lut (sodomy). The curse of Allah is upon the one who engages in the act of the People of Lut. The curse of Allah is upon the one who engages in the act of the People of Lut.” [Reported by Ahmad and graded sahih by Ahmad Shakir; see As-Silsilatus-Sahihah of Sheikh Al-Albani, who graded it authentic]

 

Jabir Ibn Abdullah narrated that the Prophet (Peace be upon him) said:

 

“What I fear most for my followers (my ummah) is the act of the People of Lut (i.e., sodomy).” [At-Tirmidhi and Ibn Majah, and graded as hasan by Sheikh Al-Albani]

 

When the people ignored the Prophet Lut’s message, Allah destroyed the town and every transgressor in it, and He saved Prophet Lut (Peace be upon him) and his daughters. This event is a sign for the people who reflect. This story is also mentioned in the scriptures of the Jews and Christians.

 

Respected brothers and sisters! Muslim scholars throughout the history have taken this story to mean that Allah has prohibited homosexuality absolutely, i.e. courtship and sexual relationships between men. Muslims see homosexuality as an unnatural condition, an immoral inclination, even a mental illness which is dangerous for the individual and society in terms of its goodness and morality. Islam teaches that a Muslim cannot be pious and obedient to Allah and be a practising homosexual; the two states are incompatible. However, Muslim doctrine (Aqidah) does not remove from the fold of Islam the one who practices the major sin of homosexuality.

 

Imam Shaikh Ibn Baz (may Allah have mercy on him) was informed that some youth display signs of feminine behaviour. He advised that they should spend time with men until they learn (to be masculine) and they benefit from that, and the feminine inclination passes. He was also asked concerning the man who becomes a Muslim but before he embraced Islam he was a practising homosexual. Once he became a Muslim, he repented from that sinful un-Islamic behaviour. However, his soul desires homosexuality. Shaikh Ibn Baz answered by saying:

 

“He should cling to his repentance and all praise is for Allah.” [See Sharh Bulugh Al-Maram, Kitab Al-Hudud]

 

Clinging to repentance means: to give up the sin, feel remorse for disobeying Allah, seek Allah’s forgiveness and be resolute in not returning back to the sin.

 

Dear servants of Allah! Today some people think that a person can be born homosexual – and through this, they justify their sexual leanings. However, Islam teaches that every child is born upon the fitrah, a natural inclination, which means that they were created with inclinations that Allah is pleased with for human beings and fulfil the natural functions of the body. With that in mind, Muslim scholars state that homosexuality comes about due to a corruption of the natural state which can be triggered by various events and environmental factors such as:

 

1. The way they are brought up with the idea that there is no difference between the two sexes.

 

2. Being exposed to homosexuality constantly so it becomes normalised.

 

3. Being nurtured on theories and ideas that oppose science, nature and the intellect (e.g. two people of the same sex were not physiologically “designed” to have sexual relations or produce offspring).

 

4. Being sexually abused as children can lead to confused ideas about sexuality and sexual preferences.

 

5. School indoctrination of children from an early age that goes against nature, health and wellbeing.

 

6. Relentlessly encouraged from a young age to explore same-sex relationships and “gay” role-play in schools.

 

7. Ostracising and seeking to criminalise all forms of dissent against the powerful LGBTQ movement in the West.

 

8. Muslim scholars state that just as people have ‘learned’ to be homosexual, they can also learn not to be if they choose to correct their behaviour and are helped in that process; and therefore, they return back to their natural state of being, or at least desist from homosexual activity if they are not able to be heterosexual.

 

The Qur’an does not say how homosexuality should be punished, but a saying of the Prophet (Peace be upon him) makes clear:

 

“Whoever you find engaging in the action of the people of Lut (sodomy), execute the one who does it, and the one to whom it is done.” [Ibn Majah and Tirmidhi]

 

And mind you, this Hadith must not be used by individuals as an excuse to enact or incite violence against homosexuals and lesbians, or to take laws into their own hands.

 

Prescribed punishments for homosexuality and lesbianism can only be carried out by the legal authority in a country or state that practices shari’ah or Islamic Law; and there must be clear evidence that actual sex had taken place. The Muslim penal code carries out punishments on the basis of the unlawful act that is committed and not on the basis of a person’s inclinations where no illegal act has been committed.

 

This is the view of all of the famous Islamic scholars and jurists (Fuqaha) of Islam in line with the punishment dealt to the people of Lut (in the Qur’an) and the Hadith of the Prophet (Peace be upon him).

 

A Muslim, regardless of which state or country he lives in, is not allowed to physically harm those he regards to be sinners, nor incite others to do so. Vigilantism goes against Islamic teachings because it creates an anarchic, unjust and disorderly society.

 

Dear brothers and sisters! Today there are homosexuals and lesbians who consider themselves to be Muslims, and they know they are sinners in the sight of Allah just as there are some Muslims who fornicate, steal, lie and deal in usury. They recognise their sins. These sins are not considered unbelief (Kufr) that exit Muslims from the fold of Islam; but they are major sinners under the threat of Allah’s punishment as purification for their crimes.

 

Dear servants of Allah! Homosexuality and lesbianism is illegal in virtually every Muslim country in the world with punishments ranging from fines and prison to corporal punishment and execution. There are over 75 countries across the world, Muslim and non-Muslim, that consider homosexuality and lesbianism to be a criminal offence.

 

The Bible (Old Testament) is followed by millions of Jews and Christians in the world, and it too forbids men from having sexual relations with men. Chapters 18 and 20 of Leviticus list prohibited forms of intercourse:

 

“You shall not lie with a male as with a woman; it is an abomination.” Chapter 18 verse 22 said:

 

“If a man lies with a male as with a woman, both of them have committed an abomination; they shall surely be put to death; their blood is upon them.” Chapter 20 verse 13

 

Deuteronomy 22:5 states:

 

“A woman must not wear men’s clothing, nor a man wear women’s clothing, for the Lord, your God, detests anyone who does this.”

 

This is a clear prohibition of cross-dressing.

 

The New Testament (Bible) also condemns homosexual practices. Romans 1:26-27 states:

 

“Because of this, God gave them over to shameful lusts. Even their women exchanged natural sexual relations for unnatural ones. In the same way the men also abandoned natural relations with women and were inflamed with lust for one another. Men committed shameful acts with other men and received in themselves the due penalty for their error.”

 

Paul wrote in the First Epistle to the Corinthians 6:9-11 states:

 

“Or do you not know that wrongdoers will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: Neither the sexually immoral nor idolaters nor adulterers nor men who have sex with men; nor thieves nor the greedy nor drunkards nor slanderers nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God. And that is what some of you were.”

 

The words men who have sex with men translate two Greek words that refer to the passive and active participants in homosexual acts.

 

In recent times organisations and groups have been established to give support to lesbian, gay, bi-sexual, transgender (etc) Muslims. These groups do not see their homosexuality as being wrong; they claim they were born gay, lesbian or trans etc. Furthermore, they do not believe that Allah’s prohibition in the Qur’an and Sunnah is applicable in these times; or they believe that these texts do not apply to people who “are in love.”

 

However, Muslims (almost as a whole) regard homosexuality and lesbianism to be sinful based upon the clear textual proofs of the Qur’an and Sunnah, the consensus (ijma’) of the first three generations after the Prophet, the agreement of the Four well-known Schools of Islamic Jurisprudence and in accordance with the view of the Sunni scholars spanning more than 1,445 years of Islamic history.

 

Islam teaches that Muslims must obey Allah by doing what he has commanded and by keeping away from what he has prohibited.

 

A Muslim who legalises (makes permissible) what is clearly forbidden in the Revealed Texts (Qur’an and Sunnah) such as making lawful fornication, drinking alcohol, gambling, homosexuality or lesbianism, then that person has left the fold of Islam. They are no longer Muslims.

 

However, Muslims who commit major sins (less than idolatry) such as fornication, robbery, homosexuality or lesbianism whilst affirming their transgression against Allah’s Law and affirming their sin, they remain within the Religion, albeit with weakness in their faith (Iman). These people are threatened by Allah’s punishment in the Hereafter unless they repent from their sins. And if they enter the Fire, they will not remain in it eternally.

 

Respected brothers and sisters! Muslims who find they are afflicted with temptations or unnatural desires must learn to resist, turn to Allah, supplicate to Him for strength and guidance (and get married). They must pray their five daily prayers, pay the Zakah and fast the month of Ramadan, etc. They should keep company with righteous people and keep their desires under control and eventually dominate over them.

 

Not every desire needs to be satisfied! A believer is commanded to keep his soul in check and his passions within the limits of Allah’s commands. We are living in difficult times where religiosity, morality, chastity and good conduct are actively discouraged, and immorality, foul behaviour, irreligious conduct, ill-manners, sexual depravity and lewdness are championed.

 

Nevertheless, a Muslim must remain pious, and remember that holding steadfastly to Islam, the Sunnah and Islamic morals and ethics in these times brings along with it a greater reward from Allah for the patient. The Prophet Muhammad (Peace be upon him) said:

 

“Know that which has passed you by was never going to befall you, and whatever has befallen you was never going to miss you. And know that victory comes with patience, relief comes after affliction and ease comes after hardship.” [Reported by Ahmad and others]

 

In reference to the times of hardship that were to come the Prophet (Peace be upon him) stated that:

 

“Ahead of you are days of patience, when holding onto the religion will be like holding onto hot coals, and whomsoever holds onto his religion in that time, then his reward will be the reward of fifty men.” The Companions said, “O Messenger of Allah, fifty times the worth of their reward?” He said, “Rather fifty from you.” [Abu Dawud, At-Tirmidhi, Ibn Majah, Al-Hakim who declared it authentic, Adh-Dhahabi agreed and Al-Albani declared it sahih in As-Sahihah]

 

Examples of commands from Allah the Almighty: Worship Allah alone, pray, fast, give zakah (obligatory charity), perform Hajj, be dutiful and kind to parents, give in charity, wear hijab, etc.

 

Examples of prohibitions from Allah the Almighty: Idolatry, interest (Riba), adultery, drinking alcohol, murder, stealing, sex before marriage, homosexuality, lesbianism etc.

 

A Muslim is commanded to encourage people with doing good actions and to advise them against doing things that Allah has forbidden. In this way, he follows the way of the Prophets.

 

Lastly, I pray:

 

Ya Allah, guide us with those whom You have guided, grant us well-being among those You have granted well-being, be an ally to us along with those whom You are an ally to, and bless what You have bestowed upon us, and save us from the evil of what You have decreed. For verily You decree and none can decree over You. He whom You support can never be humiliated. Glory is to You, our Lord, You are Blessed and Exalted.

 

Ya Allah, We ask You for all that is good, in this world and in the Hereafter, what we know and what we do not know.

 

Ya Allah, we seek refuge with You from all evil, in this world and in the Hereafter, what we know and what we do not know.

 

Ya Allah, we ask You for the good that Your servant and Prophet (Muhammad) has asked You for, and we seek refuge with You from the evil from which Your servant and Prophet (Muhammad) sought refuge.

 

Ya Allah, we ask You for Paradise and for that which brings one closer to it, in word and deed, and we seek refuge in You from Hell and from that which brings one closer to it, in word and deed. And we ask You to make every decree that You decree concerning us good.

 

All praise is due to Allah, Lord of the worlds. May the peace, blessings and salutations of Allah be upon our noble Messenger, Muhammad (Peace be upon him), and upon his family, his Companions and his true and sincere 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 delivered today Friday, 28 Rajab, 1445 AH (February 09, 2024).

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