[FRIDAY SERMON] Spending For Allah’s Cause, By Imam Murtada Gusau
In the name of Allah, most Gracious, most Merciful
Praise be to Allah, the Lord of the worlds, and peace and blessings upon the Trustworthy Prophet Muhammad and upon all his family and companions. I bear witness that there is no deity except Allah, having no associates, and that our Master Muhammad is the servant of Allah and His Messenger. May the peace and blessings of Allah be upon our Guide, Muhammad, his family, his companions, and all those who will follow them in righteousness till the Day of Judgment.
I call upon myself first and all of you to be ever conscious and to construct our lives in accordance to what he has ordered us, as He says, “O you who have believed, fear Allah and be with those who are true.” (At-tawba: 119).
My Dear Brothers and Sisters in Islam, our Khutbah (sermon) today is about spending in the way of Allah.
Today, there are many Muslims, who believe that Allah expects nothing more from them than to go through the daily, weekly, monthly and yearly rituals, without stretching themselves and making sacrifices for the sake of their communities and for others in distress. These Muslims seem to think, that their salat (prayer), their fasting, Hajj and Umrah alone will earn them the pleasure of Allah and secure their place in paradise. Some of them even become so outwardly pious and self-righteous that their main pleasure is to debate the finer details of some minor issue, quoting Qur’an and Hadith at length. It is as if their concern for these tiny technicalities will somehow make up for their lack of involvement with the real pressing problems of the day. These people are what we might call ‘formal Muslims’, because they are more concerned about the form, than with the substance, of Islam.
Can they be right? Is this attitude enough? Will Allah accept us as mere formal Muslims? Can we really attain the goal of truly righteous believers by only observing our prayers in a narrow, formal way, and caring for little else?
In surah Al-Baqara, 2: verse 177 we read,
“It is not righteousness that you turn your faces toward East or West. But it is righteousness to believe in Allah and the last Day and the Angels and the Book and the Messengers. And to spend of your substance out of love for Him, for your kin, for orphans, for the needy, for the wayfarer, for those who ask and for the ransom of slaves; to be steadfast in prayer and to practice regular charity. To fulfill the contracts which you have made; and to be firm and patient in pain, (or suffering) and adversity throughout all periods of panic. Such are the people of truth, the Allah-fearing.”
In one beautiful, sweeping and inspiring verse, we are told precisely, what “righteousness” really means. The truly righteous Muslim is not one who simply faces east or west in ritual prayer. It is one whose whole life has been dedicated to the service of Allah, and of all Allah’s creatures. A true believer’s heart is full of fear and reverence and respect for his Lord. These are the qualities of Al Muttaqee, one whose heart is full of taqwa, (the fear of Allah).
Brothers and sisters, we must believe sincerely in all that Allah teaches us through his books and Messengers. And then, just as important, we must carry out those beliefs. We must translate them into action. Without action, our beliefs have no meaning. Doing our duties to Allah, therefore, cannot be separated from doing our duties to our fellow human beings.
For this reason, we find that in no less than 18 places the Holy Qur’an uses the expression: “aqeemus salaata, wa aatuz zakaat” “Establish the prayer, and practice regular charity.” The one is a duty we owe to Allah; the other is a duty we owe to our fellow human beings. It is as though the two compliment each other. Prayer without active charity would be an empty ritual, and charity that is not done in the name of Allah would have the wrong motive, and therefore be unworthy.
We must “spend out of our substances, out of love for Him…” and for that reason alone. Not for any other reason… not to massage our vanity, nor to impress other people. Spending on compulsory and obligatory Zakat, Zakatul fitr/Sadaqatul fitr and any voluntary Sadaqa should be motivated purely by our deep sense of gratitude and love for Allah. We must constantly remind ourselves that no matter how learned or wealthy or successful we might become, we entered this world with nothing, and we will leave it with nothing except a record of our deeds. (Good or bad). By spending in the way of Allah, out of love for him, we are simply following the natural order of things, just as the trees in our garden spend their lovely fragrance and delicious fruits freely on us. There is no other reason for their existence, but to glorify Allah, and to serve His creatures. It is the same with man. There is no other reason for our existence but to glorify Allah, and to be of service to His creation, whether we are mallams, businessmen, politicians, civil servants, labourers etc.
What about those who deliberately refuse to spend their wealth, their time, their talents and skills, in a way that pleases Allah? They range from the frugal, those cautious with money to those who are downright selfish, stingy, miserly, and niggardly. What has the Qur’an to say about them?
In the last verse of Surah Muhammad [47:38] we are warned that selfishness, niggardliness is the work of shay tan (devil):
“Behold you are those invited to spend (of your substance) in the way of Allah; but among you are some that are niggardly. Any who are niggardly are so at the expense of their own souls. Allah is free of all wants and it is you that are needy. If you turn back (from the path) HE will substitute in your stead another people; then they would not be like you!”
Clearly, Allah does not love those who are selfish. Selfishness betrays a lack of trust, a lack of faith in Allah’s mercy. Selfish people justify themselves by saying they are merely protecting themselves from hardship and need. Is Allah not the best of protectors? But their selfishness harms their own souls. Until they learn to trust Allah, they will not be able to build strong faith, (Iman). Their lack of faith makes them easy prey for Shaytan, as we see in Surah al-Baqara, verse 268.
“The evil one threatens you with poverty and bids you to conduct unseemly. Allah promises you His forgiveness and bounties and Allah cares for all and He knows all things.”
Kahlil Gibran wrote: “Is not the fear of thirst, when your own well is full, the thirst that is unquenchable?”
Brothers and sisters, let us beware of Shaytan and his many ways of undermining our Iman (Faith). If we try hard with sincerity, Allah will strengthen the faith in our hearts, so we do not let the fear of poverty prevent us from spending in Allah’s way. We are promised in Surah Al-Imran verse 92.
“By no means shall you attain righteousness unless you give (freely) of that which you love; and whatever you give, truly, Allah knows it well.”
And, in another beautiful metaphoric verse, we are asked in Surah Al-Baqara verse 245:
“Who is he that will loan to Allah a beautiful loan which Allah will double unto his credit and multiply many times? It is Allah that gives (you) poverty or plenty and to Him shall be your return.”
This metaphor is repeated no less than six times in the Holy Qur’an. Again, we are promised in Surah Al-Baqara verse 277:
“Those who (in charity) spend of their goods by night and by day in secret and in public have their reward with their Lord: on them shall be no fear nor shall they grieve.”
May Allah bless you and me with the ability to implement the Holy Qur’an and the Sunnah of his Messenger Muhammad (peace be upon him). I say this and pray to Allah, the Almighty, to grant us forgiveness. Supplicate to Allah for forgiveness for He is the most forgiving and the Most Merciful.
Praise be to Allah. I bear witness that there is no deity but Allah, having no associates. I also bear witness that our master Muhammad is His servant and messenger, who was true to his promise. May the peace and the blessings of Allah be upon our Prophet Muhammad, his family, his companions and all those who will follow them in righteousness till the Day of Judgment.
Dear Brothers and Sisters in Islam,
In the world of mathematics, you can add, subtract, divide and multiply in precise quantities. You cannot increase what you have by dividing it or giving it away. That’s mathematics. But in the spiritual world, things work differently. In the spiritual world, the more you give of what you value, the richer you become, the more you prosper. Whether you give of your wealth, knowledge, or your time, or your love, your care and wisdom, you can never impoverish yourself by giving generously. Dear brothers and sisters, let us take care not to mix the rules of mathematics with the rules of Iman (faith).
When young couples have their first child, they are so full of love and affection that they may well ask: how could they possibly have enough love left for another child? And yet, when Allah gives them a second child, they find that their capacity for love has doubled. If Allah gave them 10 children, they would find that their capacity for love would increase tenfold. The same applies to spending in the way of Allah. When we give generously out of the good things, which Allah has provided for us, we increase our true wealth, our stock of good deeds, we don’t decrease it.
This truth is beautifully described in Surah Al-Baqara, verse 262:
“The parable of those who spend their substance in the way of Allah is that of a grain of corn; it grows seven ears and each ear has a hundred grains. Allah gives manifold increase to whom He pleases; and Allah cares for all and He knows all things.”
Dear brothers and sisters, when the opportunity comes for us to spend in the way of Allah, let us remember this verse, “Fee Sabeelillaah” “spending in the way of Allah,” belongs to the world of the heart and the spirit, not to the world of mathematics.
Let us pray to Allah, that he should remove from our hearts, the fear of poverty and the selfishness that prevent us from giving freely of the bounties, which He has entrusted to us. May Allah strengthen our hearts, so that we not only pay the obligatory zakat, and voluntary sadaqa. But, let us really want to spend as much as we can, on good causes. Better still; let us even seek out opportunities to spend our money, our time, our education, our experience of life for the benefit of others who are less fortunate than we are.
O Allah, help us to cleanse our hearts and remove every unworthy motive so that every time we spend out of your bounty, we are driven purely out of love and gratitude to you. O Allah, please accept all our efforts to purify ourselves and our families and our possessions. Ameen!
“Inna lillahi wa inna ilaihi raaji’uun” “verily, we belong to Allah, and to Him we shall return.”
I am sending a condolence message to the family, friends, associates, well-wishers, the leadership and all the entire people of Zazzau emirate, the people of Kaduna State and the entire Nigerian Muslims Ummah for the death of a beloved brother in Islam, former Minister of Petroleum Resourses and former Secretary General of the OPEC, Dr. Rilwanu Lukman. He died on Monday 21st July 2014, in Vienna, Austria. May Allah forgive his short comings, sins and mistakes. And may Allah give us the fortitude to bear the irreparable and irreplaceable loss, ameen.
My respected brothers and sisters in Islam, know that death is not a tragedy especially if the dead one is a sincere and true Muslim and able to fulfill his purpose in life. May Allah be merciful to the soul of Alhaji Dr. Rilwanu Lukman and all our dead ones, ameen.
This Khutbah (Friday Sermon) was prepared for delivery today (Juma’ah) Ramadan 28, 1435 A.H. (July 25, 2014), by Imam Murtada Muhammad Gusau, the chief Imam of Nagazi Jumu’at Mosque, Okene, Kogi State Nigeria. He can be reached via 08038289761 and firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com