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ADHERING TO THE SUNNAH AND AVOIDING INNOVATIONS

IN THE NAME OF ALLAH, THE BENEFICENT, THE MERCIFUL

BEING THE FIRST SERMON FOR THE MONTH OF RAJAB,

DATED: 7TH RAJAB, 1445AH (19TH JAN., 2024CE

TITLED: ADHERING TO THE SUNNAH AND AVOIDING INNOVATIONS

THE FIRST SERMON

All praises belong to Allah Who has guided us to Islam, and we wouldn’t have been guided if Allah had not guided us. The messengers of our Lord indeed has come with the manifest Truth. We praise Him, Glorified He is. He perfected our religion for us and completed His Favours upon us, and has choosen Islaam for us as religion till the Day of Judgement. (وَمَنْ يَبْتَغِ غَيْرَ الْإِسْلَامِ دِينًا فَلَنْ يُقْبَلَ مِنْهُ وَهُوَ فِي الْآخِرَةِ مِنَ الْخَاسِرِينَ) And whoever seeks a religion other than Islam, it will never be accepted of him, and in the Hereafter he will be one of the losers.  I testify that there is no god worthy of worship  except Allah alone. He has no partner. He’s the Lord f the Universe. He is the only Deity worthy of worship for the first and the last people. He perfected what He made. () You can see no fault in the creations of the Most Beneficent. So blessed be Allah, the Best Creator. He legislated the Wisest Laws and He has no need of innovations. He protects His Remembrance. So, falsehood cannot come to it from before it or behind it. (It is) sent down by the All-Wise, Worthy of all praise (Allah). I bear witness that Muhammad is His servant and Messenger, the faithful Prophet, the manifest Messenger, the leader of the righteous, and the best among all of Allah’s creations. He delivered the message, he fulfilled the trust, he admonished the Ummah, and left it on a pure, white path, from which no one deviates except that he perishes: (وَمَنْ يُشَاقِقِ الرَّسُولَ مِنْ بَعْدِ مَا تَبَيَّنَ لَهُ الْهُدَى وَيَتَّبِعْ غَيْرَ سَبِيلِ الْمُؤْمِنِينَ نُوَلِّهِ مَا تَوَلَّى وَنُصْلِهِ جَهَنَّمَ وَسَاءَتْ مَصِيرًا) “And whoever contradicts and opposes the Messenger (Muhammad SAW) after the right path has been shown clearly to him, and follows other than the believers’ way. We shall keep him in the path he has chosen, and burn him in Hell – what an evil destination.” May Allah’s Blessings and Peace be upon him and his family and companions.

Thereafter…

The Favours of Allah Ta’alaa are indeed many on His servants, that it cannot be counted or enumerated. The biggest favour that Allah blessed His servants from the human and Jinns of the later times is to raise among them His noble Messenger, Muhammad, upon whom be the best of blessings and the most complete greetings. He conveyed to them what was sent to them from their Lord in completeness and perfection. And Imam Al-Zuhri, may Allah have mercy on him said: “The message is from Allah Ta’alaa, and upon the Messenger of Allah, may Allah’s Blessings and Peace be upon him, is the delivery, and upon us is submission.” For this special preference, the topic of this week’s sermon centers around adhering to the Sunnah and avoiding innovations.

Servants of Allah! Honorable listeners! You should know – may Allah Ta’alaa have mercy on you – that what Allah has bestowed upon you is the message, and that has been accomplished, as Allah Almighty said: (وَلَقَدْ بَعَثْنَا فِي كُلِّ أُمَّةٍ رَّسُولاً أَنِ اعْبُدُواْ اللّهَ وَاجْتَنِبُواْ الطَّاغُوتَ) And verily, We have sent among every Ummah (community, nation) a Messenger (proclaiming): “Worship Allah (Alone), and avoid (or keep away from) Taghut (all false deities, etc.i. e. do not worship Taghut besides Allah).’ (Al-Nahl: 36) And what is upon the Messenger, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, is the conveyance. He accomplished that in the most complete and perfect manner, as Allah Almighty said: (وَمَا عَلَى الرَّسُولِ إِلا الْبَلاغُ الْمُبِينُ) “And the duty of the Messenger is only to convey (the Message) plainly. (Al-Ankabuut: 18). As for what is required of the servants, which is acceptance and submission, people are divided into those who are fortunate, who follow the path of truth, and those who are unfortunate, who follow other paths, as Allah Ta’alaa said: (وَأَنَّ هَـذَا صِرَاطِي مُسْتَقِيماً فَاتَّبِعُوهُ وَلاَ تَتَّبِعُواْ السُّبُلَ فَتَفَرَّقَ بِكُمْ عَن سَبِيلِهِ ذَلِكُمْ وَصَّاكُم بِهِ لَعَلَّكُمْ تَتَّقُونَ) And verily, this is my Straight Path, so follow it, and follow not (other) paths, for they will separate you away from His Path. This He has ordained for you that you may become Al-Muttaqun (pious)” (Al-An’am: 153).

And this injunction will remain until the Day of Judgment. Allah Ta’alaa said: (مَّا كَانَ مُحَمَّدٌ أَبَا أَحَدٍ مِّن رِّجَالِكُمْ وَلَكِن رَّسُولَ اللَّهِ وَخَاتَمَ النَّبِيِّينَ) “Muhammad is not the father of any of your men, but rather the Messenger of Allah and the Seal of the Prophets.” And he (the prophet), may Allah bless him and grant him peace, said, “This Ummah will not cease to adhere to the command of Allah, and whoever opposes them will not harm them until the command of Allah comes.” (Agreed upon).

It is general for the two creatures given responsibility, the jinn and mankind. (قُلْ يَا أَيُّهَا النَّاسُ إِنِّي رَسُولُ اللّهِ إِلَيْكُمْ جَمِيعاً) “Say (O Muhammad SAW): “O mankind! Verily, I am sent to you all as the Messenger of Allah’” (Al-A’araaf: 158). And he, may Allah’s blessings and peace be upon him, said: “By the One in Whose Hand is my soul! No one of this Ummah, Jew or Christian, hears of me, and then dies without believing in what I was sent with except He was one of the companions of Hellfire.” (Muslim).

As the Sharee’ah law remains unchanged generally, it is also a complete law that has attained its ultimate end-goal in perfection, and in its goodness. Allah said, (الْيَوْمَ أَكْمَلْتُ لَكُمْ دِينَكُمْ وَأَتْمَمْتُ عَلَيْكُمْ نِعْمَتِي وَرَضِيتُ لَكُمُ الإِسْلاَمَ دِيناً) “Today I have perfected for you your religion and completed My blessings upon you and have approved for you Islaam as your religion” (Al-Maaidah: 3). And he, may Allah’s blessings and peace be upon him, said: “I am leaving you upon a (path of) brightness whose night is like its day. No one will deviate from it after I am gone but one who is doomed.” A man said to Salman al-Farsi, may Allah be pleased with him, “Your Prophet, may Allah’s blessings and peace be upon him, has taught you everything, even how to pass excrement?” He said: “Yes!” He forbade us from facing the Qiblah when defecating or urinating, or from cleansing ourselves with the right hand, or that we clean ourselves with less than three stones, or that we clean ourselves with dung or a bone.” And he, may Allah blessings and peace be upon him, said: “There was no prophet before me except that it was his duty to guide his ummah to the best of what he taught them, and to warn them of the evil of what he taught them.” Abu Dhar, may Allah be pleased with him, said: “The Messenger of Allah left us, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, and not a bird flies with its wings except that we have knowledge concerning it” (Authenticated by Al-Albani).

Dear listeners, every action that brings one closer to Allah will not be acceptable unless two conditions are met:

First: Unadulterated sincerity to Allah alone, which is what is required by the testimony that there is no god worthy of worship except Allah.

Second: Unflinching following of the Messenger, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, which is what is required by the testimony that Muhammad is the Messenger of Allah.

Al-Fudayl ibn ‘Iyaad said concerning the Almighty’s saying: (لِيَبْلُوَكُمْ أَيُّكُمْ أَحْسَنُ عَمَلاً) “That He may try you as to which of you is best in deed”: that it means: “The sincerest and the most correct in deeds.” He said: “because if the deed is sincere and not correct, it will not be accepted. If it is correct and not sincere, it will not be accepted, until it is sincere and correct. And what is sincere is that it is for Allah, and what is correct is that it is according to the Sunnah.”

In every act by which Allah is worshiped, following the Messenger – may Allah bless him and grant him peace – must be achieved, and this can only be achieved if it agrees with the Sharee’ah in six characteristics, and changing one of these characteristics is an innovation, and these six characteristics are:

First: The worship must be in accordance with the Sharee’ah in its reason. Any worship that does not have a basis established by Sharee’ah is rejected, such as celebrating the birth of the Prophet (may Allah bless him and grant him peace).

Second: The act of worship must be in accordance with the Sharee’ah in its nature. If someone slaughters a horse (for e’id-ul adha), this would be in violation of the Sharee’ah.

Third: The worship must be in accordance with the Sharee’ah in its measure. Whoever increases the Zuhr prayer by two rak’ahs is not in accordance with the Sharee’ah in its measure concerning that act of worship.

Fourth: Worship must be in accordance with the Sharee’ah in its manner. Whoever begins his ablution by washing the feet and then wiping the head is not in accordance with the Sharee’ah in its manner.

Fifth: Worship must be in accordance with Sharee’ah concerning the time. The Zuhr prayer before noon is not valid.

Sixth: The worship must be in accordance with the Sharia concerning its place, So it is not valid on the ninth day of Dhul-Hijjah to do the worship of ‘Arafah outside the plain of ‘Arafah.

Dear brothers in Faith! The evidence and texts in the verses of the Qur’aan and the Sunnah of the Holy Prophet (may Allah bless him and grant him peace) have convergence in encouraging the people to follow the Sunnah and warn against innovation and their followers.

Allah Ta’alaa said, (وَأَنَّ هَـذَا صِرَاطِي مُسْتَقِيماً فَاتَّبِعُوهُ وَلاَ تَتَّبِعُواْ السُّبُلَ فَتَفَرَّقَ بِكُمْ عَن سَبِيلِهِ ذَلِكُمْ وَصَّاكُم بِهِ لَعَلَّكُمْ تَتَّقُونَ) And verily, this is my Straight Path, so follow it, and follow not (other) paths, for they will separate you away from His Path. This He has ordained for you that you may become Al-Muttaqun (pious) (Al-An’am: 153), and the Muslim when an instruction or command comes to him from the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, he has no choice other than acceptance, following and compliance. (وَمَا كَانَ لِمُؤْمِنٍ وَلا مُؤْمِنَةٍ إِذَا قَضَى اللَّهُ وَرَسُولُهُ أَمْراً أَن يَكُونَ لَهُمُ الْخِيَرَةُ مِنْ أَمْرِهِمْ وَمَن يَعْصِ اللَّهَ وَرَسُولَهُ فَقَدْ ضَلَّ ضَلالاً مُّبِيناً) It is not for a believer, man or woman, when Allah and His Messenger have decreed a matter that they should have any option in their decision. And whoever disobeys Allah and His Messenger, he has indeed strayed in a plain error. (Al-Ahzaab: 36).

And anyone who claims to love Allah and does not follow the way of  Muhammad (may Allah grant him blessings and peace), he is a liar in his claim until he follows the Sharee’ah (recommendations and instructions) of Muhammad and the Prophet’s religion in all his sayings and actions. Al-Hasan Al-Basri and other predecessors said: “A people claimed that they loved Allah, but Allah tested them with this verse: (قُلْ إِن كُنتُمْ تُحِبُّونَ اللّهَ فَاتَّبِعُونِي يُحْبِبْكُمُ اللّهُ وَيَغْفِرْ لَكُمْ ذُنُوبَكُمْ وَاللّهُ غَفُورٌ رَّحِيمٌ) “Say, ‘If you love Allah, then follow me. Allah will love you and forgive you your sins. And Allah is Forgiving, Merciful’ (Aal-Imraan: 31). The Prophet, may Allah’s blessings and peace be upon him, guided us to what guarantees us protection and safety from division and disagreement, saying, “You should adhere to my Sunnah and the Sunnah of the Rightly Guided Khaleefs, adhere to it and hold on tightly to it (with the molars), and beware of newly invented matters (in the religion), for every newly invented matter is an innovation, and every innovation is a misguidance.”

Sahl ibn Abdullah al-Tastari said: “No one innovates anything in knowledge except that he will be asked about it on the Day of Resurrection. If it agrees with the Sunnah, he is safe, otherwise, he is not.”

Abu Uthman Al-Naysaaburi said: “Whoever enjoins the Sunnah upon himself in word and deed speaks wisdom, and whoever enjoins his own desires upon himself in word and deed declares an innovation.” Imaam Maalik, may Allah have mercy on him, said: “Whoever innovates an innovation in Islaam that he finds good has claimed that Muhammad betrayed the message, because Allah says: “Today I have perfected for you your religion.” Whatever is not religion that day, then it is not religion today.”

Imaam Ahmad said: “The principles of the Sunnah with us are: adhering to what the Companions of the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, were upon, imitating them, and abandoning innovations. And every innovation is misguidance.”

Among the hadith evidence that if an action was not prescribed by the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him), it will not be accepted even if it is apparently beneficial and goodness are:

Al-Tirmidhi narrated in the Sunan on the authority of Nafi’ that a man sneezed next to Ibn Umar and said, “Praise be to Allah and peace be upon the Messenger of Allah.” Ibn Umar said, “I say “Praise to Allah, and peace be upon the Messenger of Allah”, but that is not what the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, taught us (concerning sneezing). He taught us to say, “Praise be to Allah in every situation.” Isn’t sending greetings of peace on the Messenger of Allah good? Would a rational person say that Ibn Umar forbade greetings to the Messenger of Allah? That he forbade something good? No! Ibn Umar only forbade doing, saying, or commanding what our noble Messenger did not teach us. So, the way and path to salvation is following what the Prophet (may the peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) and his honorable companions followed, adhering to it and sticking by it, and staying away from ambiguities and whims and self desires.

There is no happiness for a person except by following the Sunnah of our Noble Messenger, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him. The Almighty said, And verily, this is my Straight Path, so follow it, and follow not (other) paths, for they will separate you away from His Path. This He has ordained for you that you may become Al-Muttaqun (pious).

And Praise be to Allah, the Lord of the Worlds . May the Blessings and Peace of Allah be upon our noble Messenger, his family and all his companions.

THE SECOND SERMON

All praise be to Allah, the Lord of the worlds, and the ultimate outcome is for the righteous, and there is no aggression except against the oppressors. I send prayers and peace upon the one whom Allah (Exalted and Glorified be He) sent as a guidance and mercy to the worlds; Muhammad bn Abdullah, may the best prayers and complete peace be upon him, and upon his pure and righteous family.

Thereafter, noble servants of Allah, fear Allah and know that Allah (Exalted be He) is with His patient and upright servants, no matter how long they are afflicted with hardships and distress. They have the eligibility for His support, empowerment, and the fulfillment of His promise to them, even if the entire world abandons them, as long as they do not lose hope. Allah (Exalted be He) says in His decisive Book: (إلاَّ تَنْصُرُوهُ فَقَدْ نَصَرَهُ اللهُ إِذْ أَخْرَجَهُ الَّذِينَ كَفَرُوا ثَانِيَ اثْنَيْنِ إِذْ هُمَا فِي الغَارِ،إِذْ يَقُولُ لِصَاحِبِهِ لاَ تَحْزَنْ إِنَّ اللهَ مَعَنَا،فَأَنْزَلَ اللهُ سَكِينَتَهُ عَلَيْهِ وَأَيَّدَهُ بِجُنُودٍ لَمْ تَرَوْهَا وَجَعَلَ كَلْمَةَ الَّذِينَ كَفَرُوا السُّفْلَى وَكَلْمَةُ اللهِ هِيَ العُلْيَا وَاللهُ عَزِيزٌ حَكِيمٌ) “If you do not aid the Prophet – Allah has already aided him when those who disbelieved had driven him out [of Makkah] as one of two, when they were in the cave and he said to his companion, ‘Do not grieve; indeed Allah is with us.’ And Allah sent down his tranquility upon him and supported him with angels you did not see and made the word of those who disbelieved the lowest, while the word of Allah – that is the highest. And Allah is Exalted in Might and Wise.” (Surah At-Tawbah: 40)

Servants of Allah! If this verse indicates anything, it is the current reality of the suffering our brothers face in Palestine at the hands of the occupiers and invaders, until South Africa emerged as a state to sue Israel and accuse it of genocide and ethnic cleansing before the International Court of Justice, despite the weakness of the Arab countries in terms of their sovereignty, status, and economic power. It is not surprising, as the Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) said: “Allah will surely support this religion with a wicked man.” He, Glorified and Exalted be He, knows where to place His message. We seize this opportunity, on behalf of the proud Muslim world, to show our appreciation to South Africa for this bold step, and may Allah reward them on behalf of the Ummah with the best reward.

We would like to conclude the sermon by offering our sincere condolences to our fellow citizens in Oyo State, concerning the sudden explosions that occurred in Bodija, on Tuesday leading to the death of three persons, over seventy injured, in addition to destruction of several properties. The coordinated effort of both the state and federal government are quite commendable. We beseech Allah to grant the families of the deceased the fortitude and heal the injured persons. While we appeal to the government to ensure that those behind the unfortunate incident are brought to book. We also implore the citizens to ensure they are vigilant in the environment, including enjoining good and forbidding evil, for that is the desired good.

Supplication: O Allah, grant us success in speaking the truth and following it, and deliver us from the whispers of our hearts that lead us to engage in falsehood and innovation. Make our faith sincere and true, and be our supporter and helper. Do not let the wicked have power over us, and make our lives prosperous without our enemies mocking us or envying us. Grant us abundant provision and accept our deeds. O Allah, grant us victory and grant victory to our Muslim brothers in the east and west of the earth, and grant us security in our homelands, heal our sick, have mercy on our deceased, prolong our lives in righteous deeds, and grant us, our children, our families, and the Muslims protection from the fire of Hell by Your mercy, O Most Merciful of the merciful. Send prayers and peace upon Your servant and Messenger, Muhammad, and upon his righteous family and companions.

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