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THE OBLIGATION OF SOUL REFORMATION AND PURIFICATION

IN THE NAME OF ALLAH, THE BENEFICENT, THE MERCIFUL

BEING THE SECOND KHUTBAH FOR THE MONTH OF SHAWWAL, DATED 8TH SHAWWAL 1444AH (28TH APRIL, 2023CE)

TITLED: THE OBLIGATION OF SOUL PURIFICATION

THE FIRST SERMON

All Praises belong to Allah. We praise Him, we seek His Help and His Forgiveness and we repent unto Him. We seek refuge in Allah from the evils of our souls and from the evils of our deeds. He whom Allah guides cannot be misled, and he who is misled cannot be guided. I bear witness that there is no god worthy of worship except Allah alone. He has no partner. And I bear witness that Muhammad is His servant And His Messenger, may the enduring Peace and abundant Blessings of Allah be upon him and his family and companions.

Thereafter….

O people! Fear Allah – the Most High – by reforming (your souls) both inside and outside, and draw closer to your Lord with good intentions and good private (deeds). Allah Ta’alaa says: (قَدْ أَفْلَحَ مَنْ زَكَّاهَا * وَقَدْ خَابَ مَنْ دَسَّاهَا) Successful indeed is the one who purifies their soul, and doomed is the one who corrupts it!” (Ash-shams: 9- 10). He also says: (قَدْ أَفْلَحَ مَنْ تَزَكَّى* وَذَكَرَ اسْمَ رَبِّهِ فَصَلَّى) “Successful is he who purifies himself. And mentions the name of his Lord and prays” (Al-A’alaa: 14-15]. So, He, Glorified He is, linked success to the one who purifies himself, purifies his heart from every lowly character, mentions the name of his Lord, prays, and adorns himself with excellent virtues. And He, the Most High establishes failure and loss upon the one who tramples his soul and immerses it in vices.

And He, Glory be to Him, did not make success for the one who purifies himself except because it is huge, and by granting it for the servant, every general good is complete. “May Allah have mercy on a servant who takes pride in the rectification of his heart, so he purifies it from the mirror of character, and purifies it with honesty and sincerity to the truth, he purifies it from arrogance, self-aggrandisement, and pride towards people, and adorns it with the ornament of humility, which is the best garment, purifies it from fraud, malice, and hatred, and beautifies it with the intent of good, and good advice to everyone. He purifies it from the tendency to sin which is a disease of desires, and from the diseases of uncertainty, doubts, and confusion, and beautify it with the soundest mind to do good deeds, and the sincere and determined clean break from forbidden things, and the pursuit of useful knowledge that bring conviction, and the realization of sound evidence and proofs.” (As-Sa’adiy).

And if the servant adheres to this path, Allah will heal him from his desires and diseases, and thus he achieves success and he’s steadfast on Guidance, and this does not happen to him except with goodwill and assistance from the Lord. Allah Ta’alaa says: (وَلَوْلَا فَضْلُ اللَّهِ عَلَيْكُمْ وَرَحْمَتُهُ مَا زَكَا مِنْكُمْ مِنْ أَحَدٍ أَبَدًا وَلَكِنَّ اللَّهَ يُزَكِّي مَنْ يَشَاءُ وَاللَّهُ سَمِيعٌ عَلِيمٌ) “And had it not been for the Grace of Allah and His Mercy on you, not one of you would ever have been pure from sins. But Allah purifies (guides to Islam) whom He wills, and Allah is All-Hearer, All-Knower.” (An-Nur: 21). And he (Peace and Blessings of Allah be upon him) supplicated to his Lord in seeking piety and self-purification from every bad thing, so he would say: “Oh Allah, grant my soul strength, and purify it, for You are the Best that can purify it.” (Muslim).

And purification of the soul – O Muslims – has two basic pillars that it cannot be without:

The first is removing it and freeing it from what does not concern it, and the second is occupying it and keeping it busy it with what concerns it and what leads to its salvation.

O Muslims! A person should be concerned about what concerns his success and salvation, and limit his preoccupation to what has to do with his happiness and success, and that is limited to what brings him the benefits of this world and the hereafter, and what prevents the evil of both from him. So, the reality – O servant of Allah – is that you make effort in purifying you soul in order to attain prosperity, and to seek Allah’s Help to rectify your heart, for He is The Most-Generous, The Opener. Allah does not look at looks and money, but rather He, Glorified He is, looks, with His Mercy, at pure hearts and honest deeds.

Servants of Allah! A servant does not attain Al-Jannah and is not saved from Hell except by purifying and refining himself. Whoever wants to purify and perfect himself must take two steps in drilling himself:

The first is that he mandates hi soul – even if unwillingly – to carry out the obligations and duties imposed by the Shree’ah, and mandates his soul to promptly leave everything that Allah and His Messenger (Peace and Blessings of Allah be upon him) have forbidden, and to take his soul to task on dos and donts with strength and firmness, then to show good morals and good manners.

This is the prophetic approach to reforming and purifying the soul. On the authority of Abu Hurairah – may Allah be pleased with him – he said: The Messenger of Allah (Peace and Blessings of Allah be upon him) said: “Indeed, Allah said: My servant does not draw near to Me with anything dearer to Me than what I have enjoined on him, and My servant continues to draw closer to Me with supererogatory deeds until I love him, and if I love him I will become his hearing with which he hears, and his sight with which he sees, and his hand with which he strikes, and his leg with which he walks, and if he asks Me, I would give him And if he asks me for help, I will grant him, and if he seeks my refuge, I protect him” (Bukhari).

The second step in purifying himself is that he searches for a righteous servant who is well-versed in the Book and the Sunnah, and the history of the pious predecessors of the Ummah, insightful of the faults of the soul, well-versed in its conditions, and asks him for mutual assistance in righteousness and piety, and to offer advice, and help him to educate himself, and make him obedient to Allah, and makes a pledge to obey him completely in what he commands and forbids him from what is stated in Allah’s Sharee’ah, and he resolves to be patient with that.

Brothers! The destruction of nations is due to the spread of sins, evil deeds and reprehensible things, and the Noble Qur’aan indicated this in Allah Ta’alaa saying: (وَتِلْكَ الْقُرَى أَهْلَكْنَاهُمْ لَمَّا ظَلَمُواْ وَجَعَلْنَا لِمَهْلِكِهِم مَّوْعِدًا) “And these towns (population, ‘Ad, Thamud, etc.) We destroyed when they did wrong. And We appointed a fixed time for their destruction.” (Al-Kahf: 59), that is: We destroyed them because of their disbelief and stubbornness, and for that Allah Almighty said: (وَإِذَا أَرَدْنَا أَن نُّهْلِكَ قَرْيَةً أَمَرْنَا مُتْرَفِيهَا فَفَسَقُواْ فِيهَا فَحَقَّ عَلَيْهَا الْقَوْلُ فَدَمَّرْنَاهَا تَدْمِيرًا) “And when We decide to destroy a town (population), We (first) send a definite order (to obey Allah and be righteous) to those among them [or We (first) increase in number those of its population] who are given the good things of this life. Then, they transgress therein, and thus the word (of torment) is justified against it (them). Then We destroy it with complete destruction.” (Al-Isra: 16). If the affluent corrupt people conspired, spreading evils and bad deeds among Muslims, and the people remained silent about changing that situation, and do not stand up to their obligation to change evils, and enjoin what is good, Allah, Glory be to Him, generalizes them (with others) with a punishment from Him, then they supplicate but He does not respond to them, and Allah, Al-Azeem, says the Truth when He says: (وَاتَّقُواْ فِتْنَةً لاَّ تُصِيبَنَّ الَّذِينَ ظَلَمُواْ مِنكُمْ خَاصَّةً وَاعْلَمُواْ أَنَّ اللَّهَ شَدِيدُ الْعِقَابِ) “And fear the Fitnah (affliction and trial, etc.) which affects not in particular (only) those of you who do wrong (but it may afflict all the good and the bad people), and know that Allah is Severe in punishment.”(Al-Anfaal: 25).

O Brothers, it is worthy of the Ummah, in order to purify the souls of its children, to take some important steps, including:

Selecting people of faith and piety from among the scholars, du’at, khutabaa, and preachers; in order to achieve directing and training of the Ummah through them; As He – Glory be to Him – says: (وَلْتَكُنْ مِنْكُمْ أُمَّةٌ يَدْعُونَ إِلَى الْخَيْرِ وَيَأْمُرُونَ بِالْمَعْرُوفِ وَيَنْهَوْنَ عَنِ الْمُنْكَرِ وَأُولَئِكَ هُمُ الْمُفْلِحُونَ) Let there be a group among you who call ˹others˺ to goodness, encourage what is good, and forbid what is evil—it is they who will be successful.” [Al-Imran: 104].

Among that is to ensure that the Ummah is guided, taught and educated from the two complete sources which have no third; These are the book of Allah and the Sunnah of His Messenger, and all other books of innovation and falsehood are discarded so that the Ummah grow up knowing the truth and acting according to it and leaving out everything else; As He -Glory be to Him- says:

)الْيَوْمَ أَكْمَلْتُ لَكُمْ دِينَكُمْ وَأَتْمَمْتُ عَلَيْكُمْ نِعْمَتِي وَرَضِيتُ لَكُمُ الْإِسْلَامَ دِينًا(

Today I have perfected your faith for you, completed My favour upon you, and chosen Islam as your way.” [Al-Ma’idah: 3].

That Muslims be keen to get rid of whims, suspicions, and desires. And if the Muslim is purified and cleansed of whims and doubts, it becomes easy for him to know his Lord, his creator, and his provider, and then he receives the legal rulings and commands with love, knowledge, and faith, and enjoys performing them, and is pleased with them. Allah says: (الَّذِينَ آَمَنُوا وَتَطْمَئِنُّ قُلُوبُهُمْ بِذِكْرِ اللَّهِ أَلَا بِذِكْرِ اللَّهِ تَطْمَئِنُّ الْقُلُوب)

those who believe and whose hearts find comfort in the remembrance of Allah. Surely in the remembrance of Allah do hearts find comfort.” [Al-Ra’d: 28]

We ask Allah for guidance and success.

Dear Servants of Allah, our religion is our sanctuary, and our rescue ship that must be preserved, in order not to be drowned in the seas of ignorance. The religion is the responsibility of the Ummah as a whole. The spread of sins affects the safety of the ship of the religion and weakens the Ummah. For instance, neglecting the prayer is a crack in the ship, failure to pay zakat is a crack in the ship, neglecting to do dawah to the path of Allah is a crack in the ship, to abandon enjoining good and forbidding evil is a crack in the ship, to neglect giving advice is a crack in the ship, and violating the commands of Allah and His Messenger is a crack in the ship. So beware, O servant of Allah, not to create a crack in the ship, or remain silent about those who create cracks in the ship, for whoever does that will be disgraced in this world, and a severe punishment in the Hereafter. We ask Allah for safety and wellness.

So whoever obeys Allah and His Messenger, does the commands and avoids the forbidden, and is steadfast in that until he meets his Lord, then such person has gained the Paradise and is saved from Hell. As He -Glory be to Him- said: (وَمَنْ يُطِعِ اللَّهَ وَرَسُولَهُ يُدْخِلْهُ جَنَّاتٍ تَجْرِي مِنْ تَحْتِهَا الْأَنْهَارُ خَالِدِينَ فِيهَا وَذَلِكَ الْفَوْزُ الْعَظِيمُ) Whoever obeys Allah and His Messenger will be admitted into Gardens under which rivers flow, to stay there forever. That is the ultimate triumph!” [An-Nisa’: 13]. On the other hand, whoever disbelieves in Allah, disobeys Allah and His Messenger, Allah will cast him into the Fire; As He – Glory be to Him – said: “And whoever disobeys God and His Messenger and transgresses His limits, He will admit him to a fire to abide therein, and he will have a humiliating punishment” [An-Nisa: 14], Allah- Glory be to Him – placed entering Paradise on Obedience to Him, obedience to His Messenger, and the placed entering the Fire for disobeying Him and disobeying His Messenger.

O respected people, one of the most beneficial means of purifying and refining the soul is pondering over the Qur’an and thinking over its meanings, rulings, etiquette and knowledge. The Qur’anic verses expose the servant of Allah to the signs of good and evil in their entirety; it show him the paths of good and evil, the fruits and the fate of the companions of both paths. It places in his hand the keys to the treasures of happiness in this world and the hereafter, purifying his mind with useful knowledge, and establishing the foundations of faith in his heart. In addition, it shows the servant the picture of this world and the eternal hereafter, as well as the picture of Paradise and Fire. The Quranic verses bring mankind to live among the nations (of old) showing him the days of Allah’s favour among them. It introduces him to the reality of Allah, His names, attributes, actions, justice and goodness, and clarifies to him what Allah loves and is pleased with, and what He hates and angers Him in words and deeds.

Contemplation of the Qur’an informs the servant of the path that leads to his Lord, and the dignity that he has after coming upon him. It also introduces him to Satan and what he calls to, the path that leads to him, and the humiliation and punishment of those who obey him on the Day of Resurrection. How good it is to contemplate on the Qur’an, heed its exhortations, learn its etiquette, act upon its laws and rulings, and reflect on the meanings of its verses (كِتَابٌ أَنْزَلْنَاهُ إِلَيْكَ مُبَارَكٌ لِيَدَّبَّرُوا آَيَاتِهِ وَلِيَتَذَكَّرَ أُولُو الْأَلْبَابِ) “˹This is˺ a blessed Book which We have revealed to you ˹O Prophet˺ so that they may contemplate its verses, and people of reason may be mindful.” (Saad: 29)

Oh Allah, guide us to the best morals and deeds. May Allah bless you and me with the Great Qur’an, and benefit us with what is in it of verses and wise remembrance. I said these words of mine and I seek Allah’s forgiveness for me and for you, seek His forgiveness and repent unto Him.

THE SECOND SERMON

All praises are due to Allah the Lord of the worlds. And peace and blessings be upon the Seal of the Prophets and Messengers- our Prophet, Muhammad, his household, and entire companions.

Thereafter,

Dear servants of Allah, fear Allah, abide by the commands of your Lord, learn the rulings of your religion, and what could save you from the chastisement of your Lord, you would enter His Paradise and attain a lofty status before Him.

Dear brothers, among the means of training and purifying the soul is studying the Prophet’s Sunnah (peace be upon him), indeed it complements and clarifies the Qur’an and one of the two revelations. It explained the Book of Allah to us, and nothing of it came from the Prophet (peace be upon him), rather it came from Allah. Allah says: (إِنْ هُوَ إِلَّا وَحْيٌ يُوحَى) “It is not but a revelation revealed” (An-Najm: 4)

Among the means of purifying and refining souls is craving to have good company and colleagues; people who would help you to obey Allah, and remind you if you are negligent, so these are among the reasons for treating and purifying your soul.

Dear Muslims, one of the means of purifying and refining the souls is to have free minds/ hearts towards Muslims and not harboring hatred against them, and that one should be preoccupied with himself not others. This is because the healthy hearts are those that are filled with piety and faith, overflowing with goodness and benevolence, and its owner exhibits every beautiful character, and his secret involves purification, purity, and love of good for others, surely he will be in peace of mind with himself, and people will be in peace with him.

As for the one with the wicked heart and reprehensible character, people get into troubles with him, and he is in pain with himself. But the Muslim does not bear in his heart any evil or grudge against his brothers, life is not pleasant except with purity of the secret. The people of praiseworthy characters were the closest to the Messenger of Allah, their honest characters pure hearts lead them to higher levels in Paradise, which they would not have reached with the supererogatory acts of worship.

Dear Servants of Allah, among the means of purifying and refining the soul is steadfastness on the way of Allah – Glory be to Him. Steadfastness is a comprehensive word for the laws of religion including standing before Allah, being truthful with Him, and fulfilling His covenant. The issue of steadfastness is great, the Prophets and Messengers commanded its compliance, though it’s difficult on the soul. Thus, it requires regular observation, guidance, uprightness, and aiming high, and ultimately, the orbit of actualizing steadfastness revolves around guarding the heart and the tongue; for whoever refines his heart, his condition gets refined, and this is the highest station of the religion.

Finally, dear brothers, it is worthy of us to sympathize with our brothers in Sudan; where they were drowned in the war between two great factions of the army, which have caused many to become homeless, many fled their homes, and others were stranded, among whom included the students, especially the foreign ones. We therefore call on our government in Nigeria to take the initiative to save Nigerian students from Sudan immediately until the war ends, Dear listeners, there is lesson in this matter for those who have mind or could listen to words of wisdom. O Allah take them out of their plight and bring to them after it something better, and grant them security and safety, and take away from us and from them calamity, epidemic, and temptation, O Lord of the worlds.

Seek blessings and send salutation upon him whom Allah commanded you to seek blessings and salutations to as He says: (إِنَّ اللَّهَ وَمَلَائِكَتَهُ يُصَلُّونَ عَلَى النَّبِيِّ يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا صَلُّوا عَلَيْهِ وَسَلِّمُوا تَسْلِيمًا ) He said: (Indeed, Allah showers His blessings upon the Prophet, and His angels pray for him. O  believers! Invoke Allah’s blessings upon him, and salute him with worthy greetings of peace.)

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