In the name of Allah, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful. Verily All praise is due to Allah; we praise Him, we seek His help, and we seek His forgiveness. And we seek refuge in Allah from the evil of our own selves and our own evil actions. Whomever Allah guides none can lead astray, and whomever Allah leads astray there is none that can guide him aright. And I bear witness that nothing has the right to be worshipped in truth except Allah, alone, without partner, and I bear witness that Muhammad is His ‘Abd (slave) and His Messenger. Indeed the most truthful of speech is the speech of Allah, and the best of guidance is the guidance of Muhammad (SAW). And the most evil of affairs are the newly-invented affairs (in religion), and every newly-invented affair is a bid’ah, and every bid’ah is misguidance and going astray, and every misguidance and going astray is in the fire.
To Proceed: O servants of Allah! What occurred on Wednesday (January 7, 2015) in France, the attack on the headquarters of the French satirical magazine, ‘Charlie Hebdo’, was due to them mocking the Prophet of Mercy (peace be upon him) in 2011. This proves exactly what we feared and expected, a reaction which not only harms the cartoonists who courted a reaction but also other innocent non-Muslims, as well as Muslims who are citizens of the country and those who are residents therein. Due to the consequences of the attack and what I have seen that happened as a result of this attack, as well as a request from some of the Muslim brothers and sisters living in the West as minorities, I present an Islamic viewpoint regarding what happened in France,
I say, seeking aid from Allah: First, know that the crime of insulting the Prophets and mocking them is a severe crime in Islam, worse than killing without a right, and worse than taking an innocent life. This is because such act entails disbelief in Allah (the Glorified), especially when mockery is done of the Seal of the Prophets – Muhammad (peace be upon him), the one who was sent as a Mercy to mankind, as Allah (the Most High) said: (We have not sent you, (O Muhammad), except as a mercy to the worlds).
Second, every country should control its media outlets – newspapers, television channels or otherwise and prevent them from ridiculing and mocking the Prophets and Messengers (peace be upon them all) in any form. (It must also be understood that) mocking any of the Prophets is not from the claimed “freedom of expression.”
Third, it is from human rights that anything which a person holds to be sacred is not violated, and even more so that it is not insulted and ridiculed. Without doubt Islam is the truth; in fact it is the religion of truth which Allah is pleased with. He (Most Glorified) said: (Indeed, the religion in the sight of Allah is Islam).
Despite this, it is an established principle in the religion of Islam that Allah has prohibited us from insulting other deities who are worshipped besides Allah, or the religions of others. He (Most Glorified) said: (Do not insult those whom they invoke other than Allah, lest they (in return) insult Allah in enmity without knowledge).
Fourth, it is upon all Muslims – individuals, governments and organisations – that they address and respond to any mockery of the Prophet of Mercy Muhammad (peace be upon him). They should refute the doubts that are broadcasted by those who mock, and they should use all the appropriate means to prevent their actions. They should declare themselves innocent, in front of Allah, from this action; and free themselves from blame by doing everything possible to repel whatever is used to insult the Prophet.
This can be done by reaching out to the relevant authorities, in order to prevent the licensed official newspapers and other ones from committing such acts in future.
Fifth, it is well-known that the punishment which has been prescribed for those who deserve it is not for individuals, parties or groups to carry out. Rather it is restricted to the Muslim state or Muslim leader; it is the right of the Muslim ruler. Like in Nigeria, Islamically we have His Eminence, the Sultan of Sokoto Alhaji Muhammad Sa’ad Abubakar III as the overall leader and Amir of the Nigerian Muslims. If every Muslim took it upon himself to seek revenge for an action, even if it was something major, then it would result in great harms, calamities and tribulations which would not cease, neither in the Muslim countries nor any other country. This would also lead to an increase in instability and lack of peace in the countries.
Sixth, in light of our situation and the modern era we live in, particularly when faced with mockery of the Prophets and specifically the Prophet of Mercy (peace be upon them all), the obligation upon us all is to remain upright upon the Book of Allah and the Sunnah of His Messenger (peace be upon him), spread the Islamic teachings of tolerance, and clarify to the people that the Prophet of Islam is a mercy to all of mankind. Many of those who have a sense of justice from among the non-Muslims have borne witness to this, as mentioned in the book, Islam and the Messenger in the Eyes of the People of Justice in the East and West, (By Shaykh Ahmad Ibn Hajr Butaami Rahimahullah).
Seventh, the bloodshed of Muslims, non-Muslims and their displacement, currently taking place in a number of countries, in view of the whole world, we plead our innocence from it in front of Allah and we disapprove of it very strongly. The obligation upon all of the governments is to strive and make effort to stop this oppression, so that everybody is able to live in peace and safety. This has to be done in every country, so that there will be no room for any person to cause dissent and seek revenge.
Eighth, the attack and murder that took place in France, at the office of the French magazine ‘Charlie Hebdo’ – even though they themselves committed a heinous crime by mocking the Prophet (peace be upon him) – the killing which occurred is an act that is not permitted in the Islamic law – as clarified previously. In previous Khutbahs (Sermons) I warned against the reprisal which was expected from some of the Muslims.
Ninth, the consequences of mocking the Prophet of Islam, as well as individual reactions of revenge, do not bring about any benefit or advantage for the Muslims and Islam or other than them. Rather, such actions open doors of animosity which are near impossible to close again. These actions result in evil consequences, whether it is in France or in any other country. The evidence for this is what we saw the very next day after the attack on the headquarters of the newspaper, when Mosques and Muslims were attacked. The attack on the magazine also portrays the religion of Islam in bad way, which is not its reality; and this is exactly what the enemies of Islam desire.
Tenth, I also deem it appropriate to say that I appreciate what the French President Francoise Hollande stated concerning the hostage takers in Paris: “they are fanatics who have no relation to the Islamic religion.” I hope his statement will prevent any type of aggressive reprisals against the Muslims, or their mosques and centres. I also hope, in future he will take a firm stance against everything in which there is mockery of the Prophets (May peace and blessings be upon them all).
My Respected people, in ending my Khutbah (Sermon) I ask Allah (the Glorified and Most High) that He guides us to all good and rectification; that He bestows upon us beneficial knowledge and the correct understanding of the religion; that He rectifies our affair and alleviates the oppression from all our brothers and sisters in every place.
O Allah! Guide us and protect us from the causes of ignorance and destructions! Save us O Allah, from the defects of our selves! O Allah, cause the last of our deeds to be the best and most righteous! And forgive all of us. I ask Allah (SWT) to bless our beloved country Nigeria with best, righteous, credible and just leaders. Bless us O Allah, with peace and unity upon the truth, justice, stability, tranquility, harmony, mercy and protection from all kind of evil.
O Allah! We are facing general elections in our great, dear and beloved country, Nigeria, rescheduled to take place on March 28 and April 11 this year (2015). O Allah we ask you for the love we have for your Prophet and Messenger, Muhammad (peace be upon him), to distance and remove from us anything that could jeopardize or plunge this country into unnecessary election-related violence. O Allah! Assist us to have a free, fair, credible, transparent, and peaceful and non-violence election exercise in this great country. O Allah! Save us and save our country from ruin and all kinds of calamities. Remove all our pains, worries, tribulations and bring us happiness. Ameen Yaa Ar Hamar-Raahimina Yaa- Rabbal Aalameen.
And lastly, servants of Allah! Know that, anything good I have said in my today’s Khubah (Sermon) is from Allah the All-Mighty, and any mistakes are my own and we seek refuge in Allah from giving wrong advice and from all forms of calamities and Fitnah. And I ask Allah’s forgiveness if I stepped beyond bound in anything I said or I do. With this, my beloved and respected people, I conclude my Khutbah (Sermon) and ask Allah again, the All-Forgiving, Most Merciful.
And may the salutation, peace and blessings of Allah be upon our beloved prophet Muhammad, his family and his companions.
Murtada Muhammad Gusau is the Chief Imam of Nagazi-Uvete Jumu’at Mosque Okene, Kogi State Nigeria. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org