Khutbah Jumah English (17/09/1434)

IN THE NAME OF ALLAH, THE BENEFICENT, THE MERCIFUL

BEING THE THIRD KHUTBAH FOR THE MONTH OF RAMADAN, 17/RAMADAN/1434AH (26/JULY/2013CE)

THE RULES OF ‘ITIKAAF

Praise be to Allah Who made Ramadan shield from punishment and the reward immeasurable. He favours Ramadan in which the Holy Qur’an was revealed over other months. He has also chosen the Muslim Ummah for increased reward and credence. I praise Him in the ways of those who frequently repent and turn unto Him. I bear witness that there is no god but Allah alone; forgiver of sins, severe in punishment. And I bear witness that Muhammad is his slave and Messenger; sent with wisdom and clear elucidation. May Allah bestow peace and blessings on him, his families, his companions and those who follow them, and those who follow those after them, till the day of return.

Thereafter,

Servants of Allah, I enjoin you and myself to fear Allah, therein lies the pleasure of Allah- the most merciful, and attainment of paradise and safety from fire. The good news on this is related in the Qur’an thus:

{ تِلْكَ الْجَنَّةُ الَّتِي نُورِثُ مِنْ عِبَادِنَا مَن كَانَ تَقِيّاً } [مريم :63]

Such is the Garden which We give as an inheritance to those of Our servants who guard against Evil. (19:63)

Brothers in Islam, Allah made some days and night higher in honour to some others. In addition, each of these seasons or periods has designated practices of obedience to God, as it equally comes with gracious bounties. A fortunate person is the one who takes the advantage of such periods to get closer to his creator by the way of the designated responsibilities for the period. Perhaps he might get some of the gifts and gain success which could guarantee his safety from fire and the torment. (Latooiful Ma’aarif, Ibn Rajab)

Awakening Of Desire Towards ‘Itikaaf

Brothers in Islam, staying in the mosque and observing ‘Itikaaf therein days and nights elevates a believer to a lofty station of success. The prophet said in a hadith-though with some degree of weakness in the chain :- (Whoever secludes in the mosque for a day seeking the pleasure of Allah- with that, Allah create between him and the fire three trenches, each trench is farther than what is between the east and the west )

Observing ‘Itikaaf in the mosque with honest commitment to acts of obedience elevate man to the status of the Angels- who never get weary of serving Allah. As the Mu’takif observe the praises of Allah in his itikaaf, he moves closer to God and gains success and favours. From Abu Hurairah, the prophet (pbuh) said: “Allah the Exalted says: I am as My servant expects Me and I am with him as he remembers Me. If he remembers Me in himself, then I will remember him in Myself; and if he mentions Me in a gathering, then I will mention him in a greater gathering. When he draws near Me by the span of his hand, I draw near him by the length of a cubit; and when he draws near Me by the length of a cubit, I draw near him by the length of a fathom; and when he comes to Me walking, I will come to him running.” (Muslim; 2675)

With respect to closeness to the creator, Allah is happy on the closeness of His servant to Him and He showers him His pleasure. The practice of staying in the mosque with complete focus and dedication to acts of obedience and worship at times of abundant graces and blessings as we are about to witness in the coming days presents a great opportunity which value might not be realized or comprehended.

Allah says: “while ye are in retreat in the mosques.” (2:187) ({وَأَنْتُمْ عَاكِفُونَ فِي الْمَسَاجِد} (البقرة : 187))

Owing to this abundant gain situated in this period, the prophet (pbuh) was very keen on enlivening the nights of Ramadan with worship and seclusion in the mosque, particularly in the last ten days. The dedication of the prophet (pbuh) and diligence was beyond expression. ‘Aisha (R.A)- the mother of the believers described it thus: (With the start of the last ten days of Ramadan, the Prophet (pbuh) used to tighten his waist belt (i.e. work hard and withdraw from his wives) and used to pray all the night, and used to keep his family awake for the prayers.) (Al-bukhari: 2024).

Rules of ‘Itikaaf

The linguistic meaning: To observe ‘I'tikaaf is derived from the word- Al-‘Ukuuf, which means persisting on a thing. The Arabs use the word: “ ’Akafa” for instance in this sentence: “He stick to this place” meaning he lingers on or remain therein. It was also used to describe the persistence of the Idolaters on their idolatry stand:

“They said: { نَعْبُدُ أَصْنَامًا فَنَظَلُّ لَهَا عَاكِفِينَ }( الشّعراء : 71)

"We worship idols, and we remain constantly in attendance on them." (26:71)

Meaning; we will remain committed to them (idols) all day round. Likewise in the words of prophet Ibrahim (A.S): ({ مَا هَذِهِ التَّمَاثِيلُ الَّتِي أَنْتُمْ لَهَا عَاكِفُونَ } (الأنبياء : 52 )) Behold! he said to his father and his people, "What are these images, to which ye are (so assiduously) devoted?" (21: 52)

The idolaters elongated their stay with the idols, which they described as the devotion.

Technical meaning of ‘Itikaaf: In the Islamic laws, it means devotion to worship in the mosque in obedience to Allah. The conditions attached include being a Muslim, sensible and being free from post intercourse state or the menstrual blood.

Legality:

I’tikaaf is legislated in the Qur’an, the sunnah and the consensus. Allah says:

{أَنْ طَهِّرَا بَيْتِيَ لِلطَّائِفِينَ وَالْعَاكِفِينَ وَالرُّكَّعِ السُّجُودِ} (البقرة: 125)

“… that they should sanctify My House for those who compass it round, or use it as a seclusion, or bow, or prostrate themselves (therein in prayer). (2:125)

“A'isha (Allah be pleased with her) reported that the Messenger of Allah (may peace he upon him) used to observe i'tikif in the last ten days of Ramadan till Allah called him back (to his heavenly home). Then his wives observed i'tikaf after him.” (Agreed upon)

The Pillars of I’tikaaf

The pillars include:

(1-) The Mu’takif- a Muslim who has reached the age of obligation and puberty, sensible, even if he is a slave, or a married woman with the respective details.

(2) Mu’takaf Feehi- meaning the venue of I’tikaaf: This is the mosque, it is not permissible to observe it elsewhere except in the mosque where a congregational prayer is held, with preference for central mosques. Likewise I’tikaaf in the two holy mosques and the Aqsa mosque are more honorable and meritorious.

(3) The Intention: refersto the intention to worship Allah and be devoted to His obedience.

Conditions of I’tikaaf: this refers to the necessary things before starting I’tikaaf . it includes purification from major impurities e.g Janaba- post sex state, menstruation and post-natal bleeding, and to intend serving God and obedience to Him, he must not leave the place of his seclusion except for essential matters.

The extent of I’tikaaf- Seclusion

There is no minimum or maximum prescription. The truth is that it cannot be lesser than a day or a night as reported in the hadith of Umar (R.A), he said: “O messenger of Allah, I vowed to do I’tikaaf for a night” in another narration: “I vowed to do I’tikaaf for a day in the holy mosque.” He replied: “discharge your vow”. Most scholars permit doing I’tikaaf for even a part of a day, and some others added a condition that it has to be done by a person fasting. In most fiqh books, it is said that whoever intends entry to the mosque, should come up with the intention of observing I’tikaaf for the period of his stay in the mosque.

The time of Entry into I’tikaaf- Seclusion.

It begins before sunset on the twenty first night of Ramadan. The Mu’takif enters the mosque probably in five or two minutes before sunset, because the starting period is the first night in this period, such that he would have chance to secure all the ten days for I’tikaaf. It is recommended to start just before the night of the 21st day of the month- that is; before the sunset of the twentieth day. (Please note that the night precedes the day)

Recommended Acts in I’tikaaf

The Mu’takif should spend his time on various acts of worship such as remembrance, pondering, supplication, recitation of the Qur’an, supererogatory solat, and taking some sleeps to relief the body when it needs it. There is no distinction between male and female on this matter. In the state of I’tikaaf, it is not allowed to get involved in backbiting or slander against any male or female person, regardless of them being among the Mu’takifs or not. Allah (swt) forbade this:

{وَلاَ يَغْتَبْ بَعْضُكُمْ بَعْضًا } (الحجرات: 12)

(And do not spy or backbite each other. Would one of you like to eat the flesh of his brother when dead?)

Allah compares the person involved in backbiting with the one who eats the flesh of his brother when dead, and that clearly declares the prohibition of the act.

Allah also described one of the idolaters thus: {هَمَّازٍ مَشَّاءٍ بِنَمِيمٍ} (القلم:11 )

(A slanderer, going about with calumnies) (68:11)

Allah (swt) informs that he walks about with slanders and calumnies, a character that forms one of the causes of the torment in grave.

Therefore a Muslim must avoid this lowly character and safeguard his religion and protect his good deeds. Without doubt, backbiting in I'tikaaf will be a more grievous sin because it is an act of disobedience where a Mu’takif is ordered to obey, thus, contravention of the instruction is not acceptable.

The Mu’takif must also pray with the congregation; if Jumu’ah is observed at the mosque where he is, he should observe it there, however if not, then he is permitted to go out to observe the Jumu’ah at the closest Jumu’ah mosque to his station.

What Nullifies the I’tikaaf

In order to safeguard the abundant rewards in I’tikaaf and to sustain the bounties for the Mu’takif, the Islamic Shariah establishes some laws that will guide the mu’takif from damage and protect him from falling off the track. Aisha (R.A) reported that: “The sunnah for one who is observing i'tikaf (in a mosque) is not to visit a patient, or to attend a funeral, or touch or embrace one's wife, or go out for anything but necessary purposes.” (Abu Dawud, 2427)

I’tikaaf is nullified on the event of an apostasy, taking intoxicants, taking alcohol, and on having intercourse with one’s wife, because obedience and disobedience can never co-exist. Allah says:

{ وَلاَ تُبَاشِرُوهُنَّ وَأَنْتُمْ عَاكِفُونَ فِي الْمَسَاجِدِ} (البقرة،: 187 )

“but do not have intercourse with your wives while you are in seclusion in the mosques.” (2:187)

Anytime intercourse occurs, the I’tikaaf is nullified. Causing the release of sperm through masturbation or through mating nullifies the I’tikaaf and necessitates a payback.

It is permissible for the Mu’takif to go out for needs such as urination and such other needs. It is equally permissible for him, if he cannot find who to prepare his food, to go out and purchase food himself, or he states as a condition, at the point of his intention for I’tikaaf within his mind, the going out for any of the recommended acts of obedience such as visiting the sick, going to funeral etc. (Dialogue on I'tikaaf by ' Abdullah ibn ' Abd al-Rahmaan Ibn Jibreen 1/44)

The women and I’tikaaf

I’tikaaf for women is permissible and even more desirable if it is not linked to any prohibitive act or neglect of an obligation or waste of family rights, wealth and children etc. This is because it is an act of worship which women too can partake in as do the men. However, if it leads to prohibited act such as taking it as an opportunity to retire to cohabiting with foreign persons secretly, or causing display of nudity before men, or free mixing between the opposite sexes, or desecrating your partner’s right, or negligence in child upkeep, then, to leave I’tikaaf is better in that case, as a caution from neglecting the obligatory acts for the desirable acts.

Dear servants of Allah, be mindful of Allah, seize the opportunity of these days, be persistent in praying with all honesty, Allah is most honorable, most compassionate, He gives a lot but takes only a little, surely the loser is he deprived of these immeasurable goods.

Oh Allah grant us Ramadan, assist us to fast and stand in its night for prayers, in faith and anticipation for Your rewards, and make us not among those who only gain hunger and thirst from their fasts, or earns no other reward from their tahajud except fatigue and sleeplessness, grant us good words and works, save us from the fire and all in it including the shackles and horrors.

THE SECOND SERMON

All praises are due to Allah, Who has perfected the religion and favour on us. We praise and thank Him and seek His forgiveness. I bear witness that there is no god except Allah and that prophet Muhammad is His servant and messenger. May the peace and blessings be showered upon him, his household, and all his companions.

Dear Muslims, the security and economic and psychological deprivation faced in the realities of the world today has been described by Allah in the Holy Qur'an using the word- “Dhonk” meaning; a narrowed down life or life of hardship. It is absolute hardship in every sense of the word:

{ وَمَنْ أَعْرَضَ عَنْ ذِكْرِي فَإِنَّ لَهُ مَعِيشَةً ضَنكًا } (طه:124).

“But whosoever turns away from My Message, verily for him is a life narrowed down” (20:124)

Human life with all its civilizations and modern technological means and power, will eventually turn out to be useless, truncated goal and having no benefit, if it fail to be linked with Allah, the foremost guide. The return to Allah is inevitable and non-negotiable at this hour. The world will continue to wander and stray, groping through anxiety, stress, difficulty and panic unless it returns to the divine approach.

Oh Allah grant us Ramadan, assist us to fast and stand in its night for prayers, in faith and anticipation for Your rewards, and make us not among those who only gain hunger and thirst from their fasts, or earns no other reward from their tahajud except fatigue and sleeplessness, grant us good words and works, save us from the fire and all in it including the shackles and horrors

Quran 22:31

31
Being true in faith to Allah, and never assigning partners to Him: if anyone assigns partners to Allah, is as if he had fallen from heaven and been snatched up by birds, or the wind had swooped (like a bird on its prey) and thrown him into a far-distant place.