I Begin With The Name Of Allah, The Most Merciful, The One Who Bestows Mercy

All Praise is due to Allah, we praise Him, seek His aid and His Forgiveness. We seek refuge in Allah from the evils of our souls and the evils of our actions. Whomsoever Allah guides there is none to misguide and whomsoever Allah misguides there is none to guide. I bear witness that there is none worthy of worship except Allah, alone, without any partners and I bear witness that Muhammad is His servant and messenger.

“O you who believe, fear Allah as He should be feared, and die not except as Muslims.” [Quran, 3:102]

“O mankind! Be dutiful to your Lord, Who created you from a single person (Adam), and from him (Adam) He created his wife [Hawwa (Eve)], and from them both He created many men and women and fear Allah through Whom you demand your mutual (rights), and (do not cut the relations of) the wombs (kinship). Surely, Allah is Ever an All-Watcher over you.” [Quran, 4:1]

“O you who believe! Keep your duty to Allah and fear Him, and speak (always) the truth. He will direct you to do righteous good deeds and will forgive you your sins. And whosoever obeys Allah and His Messenger he has indeed achieved a great achievement (i.e. he will be saved from the Hell-fire and made to enter Paradise).” [Quran, 33:70-71]

The truest speech is the Book of Allah, and the best way is the way of Muhammad (Peace be upon him). The worst of affairs are the newly invented matters (in religion), every newly invented matter is an innovation, every innovation is misguidance, and every misguidance is in the Fire. To proceed:

My Respected Brothers and Sisters! There’s a Hadith Qudsi collected by Imam at-Tirmidhi (rahimahullah) in which Allah’s Messenger (Peace be upon him) mentions from Allah, the Most High, some tremendous words that give hope to the hearts and raise the spirits of a person as it relates to its connection with Allah Almighty. Allah said:

“O son of Adam, so long as you call upon Me and ask of Me, I shall forgive you for what you have done, and I shall not mind. O son of Adam, were your sins to reach the clouds of the sky and were you then to ask forgiveness of Me, I would forgive you. O son of Adam, were you to come to Me with sins nearly as great as the earth and were you then to face Me, ascribing no partner to Me (Shirk), I would bring you forgiveness nearly as great as it.”

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In that there is courage for the hearts and it puts into the souls a desire to turn to Allah and never give up hope, for indeed the believer does not give up hope in Allah’s Mercy.

The point is, upon us is to be constant in istighfar (seeking forgiveness). As long as you are seeking forgiveness from Allah, sincerely saying Astaghfirullah, meaning: I seek forgiveness from Allah, Allahummaghfirli, meaning: O Allah! Forgive me, and so on, Allah does not punish. Allah mentions in the Qur’an:

“And Allah would not punish them while they seek forgiveness.” [Qur’an, 8:33]

That’s why our tongues should be moist with the remembrance of Allah by praising and glorifying Him, and seeking His mercy, His forgiveness and His guidance. Were you to meet Allah with an earth full of sins but you haven’t committed shirk at all, then Allah would come to you with forgiveness as great as it (the earth). The Prophets and Messengers of Allah themselves were constant in seeking forgiveness. Imagine the individuals whose sins are already forgiven and their place in Jannah is assured for them yet seek forgiveness from Allah Almighty constantly. Musa (AS) said to Allah:

“My Lord, indeed I have transgressed myself so forgive me.”

Whereas the Prophet (Peace be upon him), Allah commanded him to say:

“And seek forgiveness for your sins O Muhammad and for the believing men and women.”

Dear Servants of Allah! Wallahi seeking forgiveness is something to which we don’t give the attention it deserves. Allah has forbidden us from becoming those individuals who despair of the mercy of Allah and there is not a crime that Allah will not forgive except one if you die upon it and Allah says in the Qur’an:

“Verily, Allah forgives not that partners should be set up with him in worship (Shirk), but He forgives except that (anything else) to whom He pleases.” [Qur’an, 4:48]

So any crime lesser than Shirk, Allah, the Most High will forgive as long as you seek forgiveness, turn to Him and you are penitent. Like the Prophet or early Salaf used to say “Tawbah is regret” meaning that Tawbah is to feel regret, feeling regretful of the things you did and every time you disobeyed Allah. This regret leads to the path of Tawbah and when it is said regret is Tawbah, it means the greatest portion of turning to Allah in repentance is regret, knowing that you did something wrong and then you turn to Allah and Allah says in the Qur’an:

“Say: “O My slaves who have transgressed against themselves (by committing evil deeds and sins)! Despair not of the Mercy of Allah, verily Allah forgives all sins. Truly, He is Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful.” [Qur’an, 39:53]

Shaykh Abdul-Aziz Ibn Baz (rahimahullah) said:

“The scholars have agreed that this noble verse was revealed regarding the ones who repented.” So whosoever repented, with a sincere and truthful Tawbah then Allah will forgive all of his sins due to this verse, likewise where Allah mentions:

“O you who believe! Turn to Allah with sincere repentance! It may be that your Lord will remit from you your sins, and admit you into Gardens under which rivers flow (Paradise).” [Qur’an, 66:8]

Your Lord is oft-forgiving Most Merciful. So turn to Him which requires you make Zikr of Him. How can you seek forgiveness and become repentant with regard to your shortcomings and your acts of disobedience except by making Zikr of Allah (mentioning Him). The more you mention Him the closer you get to Him and the closer you get to Allah the further He will take you away from that which will cause you destruction by sinning and transgression. Be constant in Zikr and seeking forgiveness and do not despair at the mercy of Allah because our Lord is forgiving, merciful and He will continue to forgive you as long as you turn to Him upon Tawhid. When one ponders over the following verse:

“O you who believe! Turn to Allah with sincere repentance! It may be that your Lord will remit from you your sins, and admit you into Gardens under which rivers flow (Paradise).” [Qur’an, 66:8]

We see that the reward of sincere and truthful repentance is not simply the sin being wiped away rather there is an additional reward (Paradise).”

This Tawbah includes:

1. First and foremost: Leaving the sin. When you realise that you are guilty of doing an action knowing it to be haram (forbidden), you must leave it, stop doing it.

2. Secondly: You should feel regret because you have disobeyed your Lord and committed a sin.

3. Thirdly: Seek forgiveness from Allah the Most High.

4. Fourthly: Resolve never to return back to the sin.

5. Fifthly: If you have taken someone’s right (property or honour), you must return it or recompense it.

* The difference between Tawbah (repentance) and Istighfar (seeking forgiveness)

Shaykhul Islam Ibn Taimiyyah said:

“Istighfar is when a person commits a sin and says: O Allah forgive me. In this he may not resolve to stop the sin but still asks Allah for forgiveness, sincerely. In this situation, is the person forgiven? There is no doubt that there is no barrier between a person seeking Allah’s forgiveness and Allah forgiving him. But it does not necessitate that he has entered into the arena of repentance because repentance and forgiveness are two things. Forgiveness enters into repentance because one of the stages of repentance is seeking forgiveness. But repentance is higher and more complete.”

And Allah Almighty says:

“And all of you beg Allah to forgive you all, O believers, that you may be successful.” [Qur’an, 24:31]

Shaykh Abdul-aziz Ibn Baz says about this Qur’anic verse:

“In this verse, Allah has connected success with Tawbah.”

So, the one that has repented is successful and happy, follows-up his Tawbah with Iman and righteousness, changing his life in order to not fall back on the sins he repented from.

Allah the Most High says:

“And those who invoke not any other ilah (god) along with Allah, nor kill such life as Allah has forbidden, except for just (legal) cause, nor commit illegal sexual intercourse and whoever does this shall receive the punishment. The torment will be doubled to him on the Day of Resurrection, and he will abide therein in disgrace. Except those who repent and believe (in Islamic Monotheism), and do righteous deeds, for those, Allah will change their sins into good deeds, and Allah is Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful.” [Qur’an, 25:68-70]

So we call upon Allah, by making Zikr of Him as Allah mentions:

“Call upon Me, I will answer you.” [Qur’an, 40:60]

And:

“And when My servants ask you (O Muhammad) concerning Me, then (answer them), I am indeed near (to them by My Knowledge). I respond to the invocations of the supplicant when he calls on Me (without any mediator or intercessor).” [Qur’an, 2:186]

When you call upon Allah, He responds to your call. This is from the means that Allah has given us of getting close to Him, earning His forgiveness, attaining His mercy. Those who truly seek forgiveness, do not despair even if your sins were to reach the sky and you were to turn to Allah, asking for His mercy, He would forgive you. Even if you sin again, turn to Him alone and never lose that connection with Allah – Pray five times a day, worship Him. The Prophet (Peace be upon him) said about the Salah (the prayer):

“Do you think that if there was a river by the door of one of you, and he bathed in it five times each day that there would remain any filth or dirty on him?” They said: “No filth would stay on him.” He said: “That is the parable of the five prayers, Allah wipes out the sins with them.” (Narrated by Abu Hurairah, Jami’ at-Tirmidhi]

Salah (Prayer) is a cleanser and protection for a Muslim. It is protection because when he prays he thinks how he will face his Lord when he’s committed a sin. Prayer forbids from Munkar, Fashaa’ (lewd acts), sins and transgression because Salah (prayer) is the connection between you and your Lord. If you break this connection then all of the connections of Islam are lost. The Messenger of Allah (Peace be upon him) said:

“The covenant that distinguishes between us and them (disbelievers) is prayer; so whoever leaves it, he has committed Kufr (disbelieve).’” [Sunan Ibn Majah]

* Repentance of a person of knowledge from his [open] mistake

It was mentioned to Abu Abdullah Ahmad Ibn Hanbal that a man from the people of knowledge made a mistake and erred, and that he had repented from his mistake. So Imam Ahmad said:

“Allah will not accept that from him until repentance and recantation from his [erroneous] saying is made apparent — and he announces that he said such-and-such, and that he has repented to Allah, the Most High, for his saying and has recanted from it. If he makes that apparent, then his repentance is accepted.” Then Abu Abdullah (Ahmad Ibn Hanbal) recited: “Except for those who repent and make right their mistake and openly declare [the truth which they concealed].” (Qur’an, 2:160). [Collected by Al-Hafiz Ibn Rajab al-Hanbali, in Zail Ala Tabaqat Al-Hanabilah, vol. 1 page 300]

Al-Allamah Ibn Muflih (rahimahullah) said:

“As for innovation, then repentance from it is by affirming it, and to recant from it, and to believe in the opposite of what he believed previously…” Then he said: “It has been narrated from Al-Marrudhi that: Ahmad Ibn Hanbal said: “When an innovator repents, then leave him in that state for a year until his repentance is verified to be correct.” He used as a proof the narration of Ibrahim At-Taimi when the people differed with him concerning Sabigh Ibn Asal (the innovator) when he warned from sitting with him. So after a year had passed, he said, “Now you may sit with him but be cautious of him.” [See Al-Adab Ash-Shari’ah of Ibn Muflih al-Hanbali, vol. 1 page 137]

* How an Innovator is to Repent according to Imam Ibn Qayyim al-Jawziyyah

Imam Ibn Qayyim (rahimahullah) said in his blessed book, Uddatus-Sabirin, page 93-94:

“From the conditions of repentance (Tawbah) of the caller to bid’ah is that he makes clear that which he used to call to from innovation and misguidance, and that guidance is its opposite, just as Allah has laid down the conditions of repentance for the People of the Book who’s sin was concealing that which Allah had revealed of clarification and guidance so as to misguide the people with that. So they had to rectify the deeds in themselves, and to clarify to the people that which they concealed from them, so Allah said: “Indeed, those who conceal what We sent down of clear proofs and guidance after We made it clear for the people in the Scripture – those are cursed by Allah and cursed by those who curse – except for those who repent and correct themselves and make evident [what they concealed]. Those, I will accept their repentance, and I am the Accepter of repentance, the Merciful.” [Surah al-Baqarah, 159 -160]”

Imam Ibnul-Qayyim (rahimahullah) also said:

“Just as Allah laid down the conditions of the repentance of the hypocrites whose sin was that they [tried] corrupting the hearts of the weak believers whilst they showed bias in favour and adherence to the Yahud (Jews) and the polytheists who had enmity to the Messenger (Peace be upon him) – and with that they made themselves seem apparently as Muslims, only as a show, to be seen and heard. So upon them was to rectify in replacement of their corruption, and to hold fast to Allah in replacement of holding fast to the unbelievers from the People of the Book and the polytheists, and to make their Religion sincerely for Allah rather than just to show and be heard by the people – so this is how the conditions of repentance and its reality is understood, and Allah’s Aid is sought.”

Dear Brothers and Sisters! In this fashion the caller to bid’ah (innovator) is required to rectify his affair before his repentance is considered worthy: He makes clear and apparent that which he used to call to, that it is innovation, falsehood and misguidance. He must declare his disassociation from those whom he formerly associated with from the people of bid’ah – and cling to sincere and truthful Muslims. He must rectify his corruption by making clear the correct position in accordance to the Book and Sunnah, and the Methodology of the Salaf. Thereafter, he studies with the Scholars for a period of time and speaks with their speech. One must not be hasty in this affair and merely accept the claim of a person of innovation who claims he has recanted.

My Respected Brothers and Sisters! 1439 A.H. have come to an end but your Salah (Prayer) and Ibadah (worship) doesn’t come to an end. It’s like saying ‘when such and such months ends, I’ll stop breathing.’ You can’t stop your Ibadah (worship) now that Dhul-Hajj has ended – because Ibadah (worship) runs through the veins of the Muslim. If we are not making Ibadah, we don’t feel comfortable rather we feel agitated, depressed and sad because Ibadah awakens the souls. Turn to Allah, do not become negligent and encourage your family, friends and neighbours, most importantly be upright yourselves.

Barakallahu Fikum, I ask Allah to grant us success to worship Him, and obey Him as He deserves – I ask Him to forgive us and show us His mercy and enter us into the eternal Gardens of Paradise and protect us from His punishment. All praise is due to Allah, the Lord of the worlds.

I ask Allah to assist us in living by the Qur’an and Sunnah. I pray 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 o Allah from the defects of ourselves! Cause the last of our deeds to be the best and most righteous! And forgive all of us.

Dear Servants of Allah! Anything good I have said in my today’s Sermon is from Allah the Almighty, and any mistakes are my own and I seek refuge in Allah from giving wrong advice and from all forms of calamities and fitnah.

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 (Peace be upon him) and upon his family and Companions.

With this I conclude my today’s Sermon, and I 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, Muharram 4, 1440 AH (September 14, 2018), by Imam Murtadha Muhammad Gusau, the Chief Imam of Nagazi-Uvete Jumu’ah and the late Alhaji Abdurrahman Okene’s Mosques, Okene Kogi State, Nigeria. He can be reached via: gusaumurtada@gmail.com or +2348038289761.