All Praises belong to Allah Who has created each thing and determined it with [precise] determination, He made in the successive alternation of years a reflection for whoever wishes to reflect or be grateful. I bear witness that there is no god except Allah alone, He decrees with wisdom, and Has apportioned appointed term for everything. And I bear witness that Muhammad (pbuh)is His servant and Messenger, sent to the universe by the last hour, as a guide, giver of glad tidings, and a warner. May Allah bestow peace and blessings on him, his family, companions and followers of his guidance until the Day of recompense.

As to what follows,

Servants of Allah, I advise you and myself to fear Allahfor that represents the divine recommendation for everyone who hopes for Allah. Allah says thus:

يَاأَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا اتَّقُوا اللَّهَ وَقُولُوا قَوْلًا سَدِيدًا (70) يُصْلِحْ لَكُمْ أَعْمَالَكُمْ وَيَغْفِرْ لَكُمْ ذُنُوبَكُمْ وَمَنْ يُطِعِ اللَّهَ وَرَسُولَهُ فَقَدْ فَازَ فَوْزًا عَظِيمًا

O you who have believed, fear Allah and speak words of appropriate justice. He will [then] amend for you your deeds and forgive you your sins. And whoever obeys Allah and His Messenger has certainly attained a great attainment..” (33: 70-71)

Brothers in faith, this is the first sermon in the new Hijrah year- 1439, it is thus considered appropriate to put up a moment for reflection at this juncture for retrospection, self accountability, repentance, steadfastness, and nurse the fear of Allah full of hope in His mercy … under the topic for today’s sermon titled Moment for Reflection.

We are passing through a great moment, where we bid farewell to a year which in true terms, signifies the diminish of our age, with pages closed, and loaded with varying events and reflections which require a retrospection from every discerning Muslim mind.

The world is a short while, human life expires before the appointed time of the world. Allah says: (﴿وَيَومَ يحشُرُهُمْ كأَنْ لَم يَلْبثُوا إلاَّ ساعةً مِن نَّهارٍ يَتعارَفُونَ بَينَهُم﴾ [يونس: 45]) “And on the Day when He will gather them, [it will be] as if they had not remained [in the world] but an hour of the day, [and] they will know each other. Those will have lost who denied the meeting with Allah and were not guided.” (9: 45)

(﴿وَيَومَ تَقُومُ السَّاعةُ يُقْسِمُ المُجْرِمُونَ مَا لَبِثُوا غَيرَ سَاعَةٍ﴾ [الروم: 55]) “And the Day the Hour appears the criminals will swear they had remained but an hour. Thus they were deluded.” (30: 55)

(﴿كَأَنَّهُم يَومَ يَرَونَ ما يُوعَدُونَ لَم يَلْبَثُوا إِلاَّ ساعَةً مِن نَّهارٍ﴾ [الأحقاف: 35]) “It will be – on the Day they see that which they are promised – as though they had not remained [in the world] except an hour of a day. [This is] notification. And will [any] be destroyed except the defiantly disobedient people?” (46: 35)

How could a sensible person cling to this ephemeral and transitory world? Many are those whose hearts are attached to this world, they lived for it, and even thought they are immortal; and sought to obtain all they could lay their hands on of its pleasures and possessions, until death approaches, ending their joys and pleasures. A slave leaves the world with what he had sent forth; leaving behind everything he acquired in this world. Anasbn Malik said: the messenger of Allah said: “Three follows the dead; but two returns while only one remains with him; His family, wealth, and deeds follow him, but the family and his wealth return; while his deeds stas with him.” (Agreed upon).

Abu Dar’daa would say: “Son of Adam, you are (collection of) days, whenever a day passes away, a part of you passes. Son of Adam, you never stop in the process of demolishing your age since the day your mother bore you.” (Az-zuhd)

Al-Hassan narrated that the angel of death asked Prophet Nuh (AS) and said thus: “How did you find the world? Nuh replied: It is like a room with two doors; I entered through this and exited through the other.” (TafsirQurtubiy)

Beware of been deceived by the world and its embellishments. Allah warns us saying: (﴿يا أَيُّها النَّاسُ إِنَّ وَعْدَ الله حَقٌّ فَلا تَغُرَّنَّكُمُ الحَياةُ الدُّنيا﴾ [لقمان: 33]) “so let not the worldly life delude you and be not deceived about Allah by the Deceiver” (31: 33)(﴿يا قَومِ إنَّما هَذهِ الحياةُ الدُّنيا مَتاعٌ وَإنَّ الدَّارَ الآخَرِةَ هي دَارُ القَرارِ﴾ [غافر: 39]) “O my people, this worldly life is only [temporary] enjoyment, and indeed, the Hereafter – that is the home of [permanent] settlement.” (40: 39)

Before embarking on a long journey, it is rational to shelf off every burden of luggage, thus one should hasten towards cross examination of his deeds before the day of Account. Allah says: (﴿وَنَضَعُ المَوازينَ القِسْطَ ليَومِ القِيامَةِ فَلا تُظْلَمُ نَفسٌ شَيئاً وِإنْ كَانَ مِثْقالَ حَبَّةٍ مِن خَرْدَلٍ أَتَينا بِهَا وَكَفَى بِنَا حاسِبينَ﴾ [الأنبياء: 47]) “And We place the scales of justice for the Day of Resurrection, so no soul will be treated unjustly at all. And if there is [even] the weight of a mustard seed, We will bring it forth. And sufficient are We as accountant.” (21: 47)He who allows his mind to freely desire this world will have much to bear, and much of errors, and difficulty in account, Umar bnKhattab said: “Assess yourselves before you are assessed, weigh yourself before you are weighed; that will make your account lighter tomorrow provided you assess yourselves today, be prepared for the greatest reckoning, That Day, you will be exhibited [for judgement]; nothing regarding you is concealed.” He would write to some of his officers saying: “Assess yourself in prosperity, before the account in time of difficulty, surely he who assess himself in prosperity before difficult time, his end will be pleasure and happiness. But he who’slife diverted him, preoccupied by his desires, he ends up in regret and sorrow. Remember the admonition, so that you could desist from all prohibitions, and become among men of intelligence. [Muhasabatu-n-nafs:Ibnabi’l-Dunya, p. 22, 59].

MaymoonIbnmahraan says: “A man would not be pious until he has subjected himself to account, as that of a partner, to the extent that he knows the source of his clothing, food, and drinks” [Az-zuhd: Wakee’ 2/501-502].

Accountability is described by Imam Al-mawaridi as: “that a man should retrospect at night over his actions during the day, if he then finds it commendable, he sustain it and follows it with similar deeds. But where it is repugnant, he should correct it and desist from similar deeds.” (Adabu-d-dunya wad-d-deen; 342).

A Muslim requires accountability. It exposes his shortcomings, then strive to amend such, to the extent that he realizes God’s favour on him in the grace of long life and prosperity despite his own negligence and iniquities. Malik bnDinaar said: May Allah be merciful to a man who tells himself every night: “Are you not the owner of this?” “Are you not the owner of this?” “Are you not the owner of this?” Then he censures it, then he rebuke it, then he charges him to the Qur’an, which stands as its guide.” [Muhasabatu-n-nafs: Ibnabi’l-Dunya, p. 26].

To witness a new year is an opportunity to correct one’s mistakes, evaluate oneself and seek forgiveness, as well as resolve to obey Him, and withdraw from all prohibitions. Abu bakrah related that a man said: “O messenger of Allah, who is best among people? He said: He who lives long, and perfects his deeds. He was asked again: “Who is the worst among people? He said: “He who live long, and has bad deed.” (Ahmad/ Tirmidhi)

The Prophet –pbuh- demonstrated optimism and hoped when he resolved to invite the six persons from khazraj tribe to Islam and found assurance of peace and stability, at a time when the whole of Makkah and its men of wealth and power rejected him.

The Prophet also taught us another lesson of hope when the people of Makkah plotted to kill him, but he relied on Allah and placed his trust in Him, thus he was saved from their plot. He set out on the migration, hid at the cave of Thawr, he and Abubakr, and the unbelievers could not locate them despite their presence at the cave’s entrance. He demonstrated trust in Allah as he told the frightful Abubakr: “What is your thought of the two, whom Allah is their third companion.” (Agreed upon). And they were able to complete the hijrah successfully.

Muslims today are in dire need of such lesson of being hopeful in Allah and being optimistic in the face of debacle, grief, and trials. All hope is not lost, difficulties could be turned around into possibilities and achievements. Allah says: (﴿وَعَسَى أَن تَكْرَهُوا شَيئاً وَهُوَ خَيرٌ لَكُم﴾ [البقرة: 216].) “But perhaps you hate a thing and it is good for you; and perhaps you love a thing and it is bad for you.” (2: 216).

Reading through the history of the earliest people is a good way of learning courage and hope.

Makkah became unbearable for the Prophet (pbuh) and he found solace and stability in Madinah.

Abubakr confronted the challenge of the battle of apostasy to the extent that it seemed Islam was heading for extinction, but it grew stronger to spread to every part of the world.

The outrage as an aftermath to the murder of Uthman reached a peak where it was described that Islam lost its stability, however, it regained it strength, and conquest follow conquest till Islam reached the heart of Europe.

The Tatars extended their over the Muslim Ummah at some point, annihilating the entire land of Baghdad- the capital then- killing unquantifiable number of persons, but Islam regained its power and glory.

The crusaders as well raided Muslim lands spilling their bloods mercilessly, weak minds lost hope, but in the end came Solahudeen, who reinstated our honour and liberated our lands.

In these manners, we learn that relief succeeds hardship, victory succeeds defeat, no place for despair, Allah says: (﴿وَلا تَيأَسُوا مِن رَوْحِ الله إِنَّهُ لا يَيْأَسُ مِن رَوحِ الله إِلاَّ القَومُ الكَافِرُونَ﴾ [يوسف: 87]) and despair not of relief from Allah. Indeed, no one despairs of relief from Allah except the disbelieving people.” (12: 87)

Second sermon:

Praise be to Allah.May Allah’s peace and blessings be bestowed on our noble Prophet Muhammad, his family, companions and those who follow them till the Day of reckoning.

Allah says: (يَاأَيُّهَا النَّاسُ إِنَّا خَلَقْنَاكُمْ مِنْ ذَكَرٍ وَأُنْثَى وَجَعَلْنَاكُمْ شُعُوبًا وَقَبَائِلَ لِتَعَارَفُوا إِنَّ أَكْرَمَكُمْ عِنْدَ اللَّهِ أَتْقَاكُمْ إِنَّ اللَّهَ عَلِيمٌ خَبِيرٌ)

Dear servants of Allah, the level of sectarianism and bigotry of the IPOB- Biafra is a great threat to the unity of our beloved country, Nigeria, and a threat to the security of the citizens. The Federal Government of Nigeria must ensure it fight this destructive corruption. We commend the security agencies and the military for the steps taken to wipe out this terrorist movement called headed by NnamdiKanu. One of the efforts put in place by the military forces to quell their threat is the military operation tag: “Python Dance II”. We beseech Allah to support them and grant them victory over the enemies of our- Nigeria, and her unity and corporate existence.

Dear servants of Allah, as we have condemned the sectarian call of the IPOB, we equally condemn such coming from any other section of the country, including the Yoruba sectarian grouping in the southwest or that of the Arewa Consultative Forum in the Northern part of the country or any other.

Allah says: (يَاأَيُّهَا النَّاسُ إِنَّا خَلَقْنَاكُمْ مِنْ ذَكَرٍ وَأُنْثَى وَجَعَلْنَاكُمْ شُعُوبًا وَقَبَائِلَ لِتَعَارَفُوا إِنَّ أَكْرَمَكُمْ عِنْدَ اللَّهِ أَتْقَاكُمْ إِنَّ اللَّهَ عَلِيمٌ خَبِيرٌ)“O mankind, indeed We have created you from male and female and made you peoples and tribes that you may know one another. Indeed, the most noble of you in the sight of Allah is the most righteous of you. Indeed, Allah is Knowing and Acquainted.” (49: 13)

Islam from inception prohibits tribalism, as in the hadith: “He is not one us who calls for `Asabiyyah, (nationalism/tribalism) or who fights for `Asabiyyah or who dies for `Asabiyyah.”Islam enjoins the religious bond, and it places above all other qualities. Thus every human parameters and individual standard submit to the word of Allah: “the most noble of you in the sight of Allah is the most righteous of you.”

However, Islam has not prohibited concern for family and tribal lineage because it is a way of knowing one another, and the essence for making man into nations and tribes as elucidated in the verse: Allah says: (يَاأَيُّهَا النَّاسُ إِنَّا خَلَقْنَاكُمْ مِنْ ذَكَرٍ وَأُنْثَى وَجَعَلْنَاكُمْ شُعُوبًا وَقَبَائِلَ لِتَعَارَفُوا) “O mankind, indeed We have created you from male and female and made you peoples and tribes that you may know one another.” (49: 13)in the same vein, the knowledge of descent enables the ties of kinship which Islam confirms, as it also ensure the application of the provisions of the Sharia in marriage, inheritance and retribution.

Finally, we commend our President, Muhammadu Buhari, for his courage displayed before the Presidents of the world at the United Nations Conference. He proclaimed the truth before the oppressors of the world, who would brandish slogans of justice, equality and basic human rights-verbally and through the print media, but they practically oppress corrupt and spread evil in the lands, especially in Islamic countries or countries where Muslims are a minority. May Allah continue to strengthen our President.

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