Islam means living with a purpose and a with a destination in mind. You’re a traveler. A traveler on a voyage. A voyager in transit. With that realisation, you are aware of how limited and precious your time is. And no matter how long you spend in this life, are delayed, or lose your way, you shall move on. Willingly or not, it is going to happen.

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

Alhamdulillah. Indeed, all good praises are due to Allah. We praise Him and seek His help and forgiveness. We seek refuge with Allah from the evil within ourselves and from our wrongdoings. He whom Allah guides, no one can misguide; and he whom He misguides, no one can guide.

I bear witness that there is no (true) god except Allah – alone without a partner, and I bear witness that Muhammad (Pbuh) is His ‘abd (Servant) and Messenger.

“O you who believe! Revere Allah the right reverence, and do not die except as Muslims.” (Surah Ali-Imran, 3:102)

“O people! Revere your Lord who has created you from a single soul, created from it its mate, and dispersed from both of them many men and women. Revere Allah through whom you demand things from one another; and (cherish the ties of) the wombs, indeed, Allah is ever watchful over you.” (Surah Al-Nisa’, 4:1)

“O you who believe! Revere Allah and say fair words. He will then rectify your deeds and forgive your sins. He who obeys Allah and His Messenger have certainly achieved a great victory.” (Surah Al-Ahzab, 33:70-71)

Indeed, the best speech is Allah’s (SWT) Book and the best guidance is Muhammad (Pbuh) guidance. And the worst affairs (of religion) are those innovated (by people), for every such innovation is an act of misguidance leading to the fire.

Brothers and sisters! My today’s sermon is not going to tell you that Muslims represent 1.6 billion of the world’s population. It’s also not going to inform you that studies predict that Islam will be the leading religion in the world by 2050. Nor will the Sermon narrate the history of Islam. This sermon is a brief reflection on some practical meanings of Islam. We seek to live by them on a daily basis, but by jotting them down it is hoped that we can appreciate them in a better way.

Servants of Allah! What is Islam? Islam is a religion. Regardless of how many religions there are in existence, Islam is one of the five most dominant religions in the world. Muslims believe it is the religion chosen by Allah for humankind through which they can reach Him.

Without any doubt, Islam is the religion of Adam, Nuh (Noah), Ibrahim (Abraham), Isa (Jesus), Dawud (David), Zakariyyah (Zachary), Muhammad and all the chosen Prophets and Messengers of Allah, may peace and blessings be upon them all. Many of the Prophets, are mentioned in the Quran, Islam’s Noble book.

Islam is the only religion that makes it a requirement to believe in Prophet Moses for your belief in the Prophet Muhammad to be valid. You must also believe in Prophet Jesus, for your belief in Prophet Moses and Prophet Muhammad to be accepted. You must believe in Prophet Solomon, for your faith in Prophet Moses, Prophet Jesus and Prophet Muhammad to be accepted.

Similarly, you must believe in the Prophethood of all those who were sent by Allah, before your Islam becomes valid. This is because Islam is the same religion that was adhered to by all the chosen Prophets and Messengers of Allah. Since they all came from the same source, these Prophets all taught the same essential message of submission to Allah.

Islam is a religion with meaning; meaning with countless implications and impressions. What does Islam mean?

My respected people! The word Islam is an Arabic word, that essentially means submission. Submission to the will, commands and boundaries of Allah.

The meaning of peace can also be derived from the word Islam. With Islam, one should prioritise peace over violence, unless in an extreme situation where one must defend one’s self, religion or nation from all forms of oppression and servititude, such as slavery, for Islam values freedom. Freedom to worship, freedom to enjoy one’s life and to live up to one’s full potential.

Islam also means moderation. From the teachings of Islam, we learn moderation. Moderation in which we don’t abandon the worldly goods that Allah has created and subjected to us for our sustenance. A moderation with which we don’t emerge as greedy in the accumulation of worldly materials, the way Qarun and Abu Lahab, two people mentioned in the Quran, were.

Islam means moderation in opinion. Therefore, I may agree with you on a topic or issue, but that doesn’t make you an angel and sinless. Likewise, when I disagree with you, that doesn’t render you evil and a devil.

Islam means perseverance. Perseverance in times of trials, test and calamities. Perseverance in times of confusion and chaos. Perseverance is times of delusion and misguidance. Perseverance in times of intolerance and ignorance. Perseverance in times of hate and hate speeches, bigotry, racism, tribalism, discrimination, injustice and the prevalence of immorality.

Islam means acceptance. Although we stand by our loved ones, they have the right and freedom to choose and be different from us. Moreover, they are aware that there are consequences to any choice that is made, which are good or bad consequences.

Thus, Islam also means responsibility. You are responsible for your choices. Your choice of path. Your choice of faith. Your choice of acceptance or rejection. Your choice of love and hate. Your choice of agreement and disagreement. Your choice of judgement. Your choice of lifestyle, nutrition and even physical activeness (fitness).

Islam means living with a purpose and a with a destination in mind. You’re a traveler. A traveler on a voyage. A voyager in transit. With that realisation, you are aware of how limited and precious your time is. And no matter how long you spend in this life, are delayed, or lose your way, you shall move on. Willingly or not, it is going to happen.

Islam means that you realise your purpose and destination, but also know that others may not have the same purpose that helps them reach an awareness of their natural destination. We can guide them, invite them and be patient with them. After all, they too have the right of choice and will be held responsible.

Islam means once you have determined your destination, you have taken all measures based on your personal strengths and weaknesses. It’s, therefore, absurd to compare yourself with others. It is also absurd to change your route so as to follow your friend’s or relative’s choice of route. Remember, that people of the same destination can vary in routes and plans. How much more so with people of different destinations?! Therefore, you choose and run your own race. Run according to your pace; not according to mine or anyone else’s pace. But your race must fall within the rules set by the chosen Prophet of Allah.

Islam means you should not spread corruption and evil on earth. You should rather be part of spreading good and positive change or any beneficial reform which makes this world a better place to live in by all. At the same time, life on this earth shouldn’t be your ultimate focus, as it’s nothing but a transition point. Therefore, a true Muslim is, by default, working towards the next life, and not to seek a permanent residence here.

Servants of Allah! You might be surrounded by righteous and good people who are practicing and implementing Islam in their daily life, read about them day and night. Your father, grandfather and all of your relatives might be Imams, scholars and people of knowledge. However, remember you will not be raced forward by your lineage or the people you know. Righteousness is something YOU have to personally strive for. Do not wait on status, rank and family to do good deeds on your behalf. That should not happen! If righteousness was measured by the people you know, Abu Lahab would be the most righteous person of us all. Instead, he is in the depths of the Jahannam (Hellfire). Likewise, if you have the worst examples before you, and your family and friends are not on the Religion or are not practicing Muslims, do not be discouraged and instead invest! Invest in your own religion and life. On the day of Judgement, you will not have to answer for their deeds but yours alone. Fir’awn was the worst of humans and will receive the severest punishment in the hereafter. However, his wife Asiyah will have a beautiful home in Paradise (Jannah).

Look at Allah’s Justice and look how Allah reminds us to STRIVE for our OWN selves. We are not attached to anyone, in righteousness or in sin, let us race towards the Pleasure of Allah and His Forgiveness. May Allah forgive our shortcomings and failings. Ameen.

My respected Brothers and Sisters! When you ask me what Islam means, this is what Islam means in brief.

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

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

My respected people! Anything good I have said in my today’s Khutbah (Sermon) is from Allah the Almighty, and any mistakes are my own and we seek refuge in Allah from giving wrong advice and from all forms of calamities and fitnah. And I ask Allah’s forgiveness if I stepped beyond bounds in anything I said or I do.

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

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

This Jumu’ah Khutbah (Friday Sermon) was prepared for delivery today, Friday, Zul-Qi’dah 18, 1438 A.H. (August 11, 2017), by Imam Murtadha Muhammad Gusau, the Chief Imam of Nagazi-Uvete Jumu’ah and late Alhaji Abdurrahman Okene’s Mosques, Okene Kogi State Nigeria. He can be reached via: +2348038289761.