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THE VIRTUE OF INCREASING THE REMEMBRANCE OF ALLAH AND THANKING HIM.

In the name of Allah, the Beneficent, the Merciful.

BEING THE SECOND SERMON FOR THE MONTH OF RAJAB,

DATED 12TH RAJAB, 1444 AH (3RD FEBRUARY, 2023 CE).

TITLED: THE VIRTUE OF INCREASING IN THE REMEMBRANCE OF ALLAH AND THANKING HIM

FIRST SERMON

All Praises belong to Allah, we praise Him, Glorified and Exalted He is, we thank Him, we believe in Him, and we trust in Him. We seek refuge in him from the evil of our own souls, and from our bad deeds. He whom Allah guides is the one who is guided and nothing that can mislead him, and whoever is let astray, none can guide Him. I testify 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. He delivered the Message, he discharged the Trust and advised the Ummah. And Allah removed through him the grief, and he strove in the way of his Lord as is deserving until the certainty (death) came to him. Indeed, the truest speech is the Book of Allah, and the best guidance is the guidance of His Messenger, Muhammad ibn Abdullah, may the Peace and Blessings of Allah be upon him, the worst of all matters (in the Deen) are the invented ones, and all invented matters in the Deen are bid’ah, all bid’ah is a straying from the path, and all straying from the path will be in the Fire. We seek refuge with Allah!

Thereafter…

O servants of Allah! Fear Allah, Glorified He is, in accordance to His saying: (يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُواْ اتَّقُواْ اللّهَ حَقَّ تُقَاتِهِ وَلاَ تَمُوتُنَّ إِلاَّ وَأَنتُم مُّسْلِمُونَ) O you who believe! Fear Allah (by doing all that He has ordered and by abstaining from all that He has forbidden) as He should be feared. [Obey Him, be thankful to Him, and remember Him always], and die not except in a state of Islam (as Muslims) with complete submission to Allah.” (Aal-Imraan: 102). (يَا أَيُّهَا النَّاسُ اتَّقُواْ رَبَّكُمُ الَّذِي خَلَقَكُم مِّن نَّفْسٍ وَاحِدَةٍ وَخَلَقَ مِنْهَا زَوْجَهَا وَبَثَّ مِنْهُمَا رِجَالاً كَثِيراً وَنِسَاء وَاتَّقُواْ اللّهَ الَّذِي تَسَاءلُونَ بِهِ وَالأَرْحَامَ إِنَّ اللّهَ كَانَ عَلَيْكُمْ رَقِيباً) 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.” (An-Nisaa: 1). (يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا اتَّقُوا اللَّهَ وَقُولُوا قَوْلاً سَدِيداً (70) يُصْلِحْ لَكُمْ أَعْمَالَكُمْ وَيَغْفِرْ لَكُمْ ذُنُوبَكُمْ وَمَن يُطِعْ اللَّهَ وَرَسُولَهُ فَقَدْ فَازَ فَوْزاً عَظِيماً) 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 (SAW) he has indeed achieved a great achievement (i.e. he will be saved from the Hell-fire and made to enter Paradise).” (Al-Ahzaab: 70-71).

And know that the body has nourishment just as the soul has nourishment without which they cannot be happy. The nourishment for the body is food and drink, and the nourishmnet for the souls is faith and good deeds. Among good deeds is the remembrance of Allah Ta’alah. It is the food for the soul and tranquility for the heart. Allah,Glory be to Him, says: (الّذينَ آمَنُوا وَتَطْمَئِنّ قُلُوبُهُمْ بِذِكْرِ اللِه أَلاَ بِذِكْرِ اللهِ تَطْمَئِنُّ القُلُوبُ) Those who believe (in the Oneness of Allah – Islamic Monotheism), and whose hearts find rest in the remembrance of Allah, Verily, in the remembrance of Allah do hearts find rest.” (Ar-Ra’d: 28). The heart rusts just as iron rusts, and their coating is the remembrance of Allah. And the Prophet (Peace and Blessings of Allah be upon him) likened the one who remembers his Lord and the one who does not remember Him to the living and the dead, because the life (existence) of the heart is in the remembrance of Allah. He (Peace and Blessings of Allah be upon him) said: “The similitude of the one who remembers his Lord and he who does not remember his Lord is like the living and the dead.” That is why the topic of our sermon today revolves around: ‘The excellence of lots of remembrance of Allah and thanking Him’.

Dear brothers, know that Allah Ta’alah commanded remembrance of Him and giving thanks to Him while acknowledging His Blessings: (…فاذكروني أذكركم واشكروا ولا تكفرون) “…so remember Me, I will remember you, and give thanks, and do not be ungrateful”  (Al-Baqarah: 152). He commanded it in all circumstances, according to the custom of His Messenger (Peace and Blessings of Allah be upon him), the foremost master of those who remember and give thanks to His Lord, who used to remember Allah in all his condition, whether while doing ibaadah or when not, like what he instructed at the end of salaat, in following the Words of Allah Ta’alah: (فِإِذَا قَضَيْتُمْ الصَّلاَةَ فَاذْكُرُوا اللهَ قِيَامًا وَقُعُودًا وَعَلَى جُنُوبِكُمْ،فَإِذَا اطْمَأْنَنْتُمْ فَأَقِيمُوا الصَّلاَةَ إِنَّ الصَّلاَةَ كَانَتْ عَلَى الـمُؤْمِنِينَ كِتَابًا مَوْقُوتًا) “When you have finished As-Salat (the prayer – congregational), remember Allah standing, sitting down, and lying down on your sides, but when you are free from danger, perform As-Salat (Iqamat-as- Salat). Verily, the prayer is enjoined on the believers at fixed hours.” (An-Nisaa: 103). And He also encouraged it at the end of the obligation of Hajj where He, the Most Glorified and the Most High) says: (فَإِذَا قَضَيْتُمْ مَنَاسِكَكُمْ فَاذْكُرُوا اللهَ كَذِكْرِكُمْ آبَاءكُمْ أَوْ أَشَدَّ ذِكْرًا…) “So when you have accomplished your Manasik [(i.e. Ihram, Tawaf of the Ka’bah and As-Safa and Al-Marwah), stay at ‘Arafat, Muzdalifah and Mina, Ramy of Jamarat, (stoning of the specified pillars in Mina) slaughtering of Hady (animal, etc.)]. Remember Allah as you remember your forefathers or with a far more remembrance…” (Al-Baqara:200), and also in the obligation of fasting: (…ولتكملوا العدّة ولتكبّروا الله على ما هداكم ولعلّكم تشكرون) “…and to complete the number and to glorify Allah for Guidance He has given you and perhaps that you may be thankful”.

Dear brothers! How can we neglect the remembrance of our Lord when it is a simple act of worship that everyone who can move his tongue can do, even if he is sick and bedridden? An act of worship that can be done by the rich and the poor, because it does not require to have money, no matter how small, in order to perform it. It is an act of worship that does not require preoccupation and allocating a special time for it, although being preoccupied by it is better and has a greater effect on the heart and provokes contemplation of its meanings, but really, you can remember Allah standing, sitting, or on your side, and maybe while performing your job or while working, and while you are walking on the road and in your car and in all your conditions at all times and place except for filthy places (e.g toilet), because it is not permissible to mention Allah in such places.

And because we need to do lots of the remembrance of Allah Ta’alah, He did not command us to just remember Him, rather, He commanded us to do lots of it in accordance with His saying: (يَا أَيُّهَا الّذِينَ آمَنُوا اذْكُرُوا اللهَ ذِكْرًا كَثِيرًا وَسَبِّحُوهُ بُكْرَةً وَأَصِيلً) “O you who believe, remember Allah with much remembrance and glorify Him morning and afternoon” (Al-Ahzaab: 41), with the promise of forgiveness and great reward for those that do lots of it. Allah Ta’alah says: (وَالذّاكِرِينَ اللهَ كَثِيرًا وَالذّاكِرَاتِ أَعَدَّ اللهّ لَهُمْ مَغْفِرَةً وَأَجْرًا عَظِيمًا) “…and men and women who remember Allah a lot, Allah has prepared for them forgiveness and a great reward” (Al-Ahzaab:35), in addition to being the single-out, forerunners. The Messenger of Allah (Peace and Blessings of Allah be upon him) said: “The ‘mufarriduun’ are foremost, forerunners”, they asked, “who are the ‘mufarriduun’? He said: ”Men and women who remember Allah a lot.” (Muslim)

Brothers in Faith! One of the greatest things mentioned in encouraging the remembrance of Allah is his saying (Peace and Blessings of Allah be upon him): “Should I not inform you of the best of your deeds, the purest of them in the sight of your Lord, the one that raises you highest in ranks, and that is better for you than spending gold and paper-money, and better for you than meeting your enemy and striking their necks and having them strike yours? They said: Yes, he said: The remembrance of Allah Ta’alah. Mu’aadh ibn Jabal said: “Nothing is more saving from Allah’s punishment than the remembrance of Allah.” (Tirmidhi, authenticated by Al-Albani). And just as the one who is neglectful of it is controlled by the Shaytaan and toys with as he pleases: (ومن يعش عن ذكر الرّحمان نقيّض له شيطانا فهو له قرين) And whosoever turns away (blinds himself) from the remembrance of the Most Beneficent (Allah) (i.e. this Quran and worship of Allah), We appoint for him Shaitan (Satan – devil) to be a Qarin (an intimate companion) to him.” (Az-Zukhruuf: 36)

It is also more worthy of mention that remembrance of Allah is an act of worship like all other acts of worship, such as gratitude, fear of Allah, vows, sacrifices, and others. It definitely has conditions, the top of which is sincerity and following the guideline of the prophet (Peace and Blessings of Allah be upon him) so that it is not a purposeless work and a scattered fine dust, in line with the Words of Allah Ta’alah: (فَمَنْ كَانَ يَرْجُو لِكَاءَ رَبِّهِ فَلِيَعْمَلْ عَمَلاً صَالِحًا وَلاَ يُشْرِكْ بِعِبَادَةِ رَبِّهِ أَحْدًا) “…So whoever hopes for the Meeting with his Lord, let him work righteousness and associate none as a partner in the worship of his Lord.” (Kahf:110), (وَمَا أُمِرُوا إِلاَّ لِيَعْبُدُوا اللهَ مُخْلِصِينَ لَهُ الدِّينَ حُنَفَاءَ وَيُقِيمُوا الصَّلاَةَ وَيُؤْتُوا الزَّكَاةَ وَذَلِكَ دِينُ القَيِّمَةِ) “And they were commanded not, but that they should worship Allah, and worship none but Him Alone (abstaining from ascribing partners to Him), and perform As-Salat (Iqamat-as-Salat) and give Zakat: and that is the right religion.” (Al-Bayyinah: 5). And as for following the guidance of the prophet (Peace and Blessings of Allah be upon him), the saying of Allah Ta’alah: (فَمَا آتَكُمُ الرَّسُولُ فَخُذُوهُ وَمَا نَهَاكُمْ عَنْهُ فَانْتَهُوا وَاتَّقُوا اللهَ إِنَّ اللهَ شَدِيدُ العِقَابِ) “…And whatsoever the Messenger (Muhammad SAW) gives you, take it, and whatsoever he forbids you, abstain (from it), and fear Allah. Verily, Allah is Severe in punishment.” (Al-Hashr: 7), and His Words, subhaana-Hu Wa-Ta’aalah: (لَقَدْ كَانَ لَكُمْ فـِي رَسُولِ اللهِ أُسْوَةٌ حَسَنَةٌ لـِمَنْ كَانَ يَرْجُو اللهَ وَاليَوْمَ الآخِرَ وَذَكَرَ اللهَ كَثِيرًا) “Indeed in the Messenger of Allah (Muhammad SAW) you have a good example to follow for him who hopes in (the Meeting with) Allah and the Last Day and remembers Allah much.” (Al-Ahzaab: 21). All these are textual scriptural recommendations that indicate following the prophet (Peace and Blessings of Allah be upon him) in remembrance of Allah, and following the prophet (Peace and Blessings of Allah be upon him) in remembrance of Allah in itself is evidence of the (necessity of) remembrance of Allah.

Dear fellow listeners! It is not legitimate dhikr in any way what people have innovated today in the area of dhikr with the claim of seeking closeness to Allah and a link to Allah from some Muslims, men and women, to the extent of becoming ecstatic and behaving like the insane, and making strange movements, making crazy claims that they see the higher realms, so he is lost in those realms and amazed when he sees them around himself and everyone around him. What is even worse than that is the exposure and nudity of women among the fold of strange men. This is something that has no previous example in our foremost, forerunning predecessors.

Revelations, visions, and inspiration from constancy of dhikr (remembrance of Allah) are blessings of Allah to His servants, which are not abused to the extent of committing and perpetuating in sins. And the Messenger of Allah (Peace and Blessings of Allah be upon him) was not, by the grace of his Lord, insane. And it was narrated from him (Peace and Blessings of Allah be upon him) that he said: “Remember Allah so much” until they say: ‘He is crazy” (Ibn Hibban, Ibn Al-Sunni)

It is not meant by that that a person makes obvious his dhikr like a madman, rather the meaning in the hadith is an explanation of what the hypocrites say to the Muslims who remember a lot, and this is supported by the hadith of Ibn Abbaas: “Remember Allah in dhikr, the hypocrites say: “You are showing off” (Tabarani). We ask Allah Ta’alah to make us among those who remember him a lot, for whom he has prepared forgiveness and a great reward. And may Allah’s blessings and peace be upon our Prophet Muhammad and all his family and companions.

THE SECOND SERMON

All praises are due to Allah in truth. All praises are due to Allah by whose praise the person of purpose attains the fullness of his purpose. He is the one who made us reach the month of Rajab, so we ask Him, the Almighty, to make us reach Shaban and Ramadan. We praise Him for His bounty, favour, kindness and compassion. And we bear witness that there is no god but Allah, alone, with no partner, and I bear witness that Muhammad is His servant and Messenger. O Allah, bless and grant peace and blessings upon him and all his family and companions and those who follow them in goodness until the Day of Judgment.

As to what follows,

Dear honoured Muslims, it is disheartening the incident of a suspected hoodlum who raped a Muslim woman- a niqobi who sought to sleep over in a Mosque in Iwo Road area of Ibadan, Oyo State, on Sunday, 29 January, 2023. We expected full wrath of the law be brought against this criminal, who have desecrated a holy place of worship, and the right of a believing woman.

Dear servants of Allah, it is known that Allah the Almighty in His wisdom preferred some days and months over some other as He preferred some places over some others, so the month of Rmadan is the preferred over other months in the year. The night of majesty is the preferred night of all nights. And among these periods is the month of Rajab which is one of the sacred months which we are discussing it, mentioned in the Qur’an thus:

 (إِنَّ عِدَّةَ الشُّهُور عِنْدَ اللهِ اثْنَى عَشَرَ شَهْرًا فـِي كِتَابِ اللهِ يَوْمَ خَلَقَ السَّمَوَاتِ   وَالأَرْضَ مِنْهَا أَرْبَعَةٌ حُرمٌ ذَلِكَ الدِّينُ القَيِّمُ،فَلاَ تَظْلِمُوا فِيهِنَّ أَنْفُسَكُمْ…)

“Verily, the number of months with Allah is twelve months (in a year), so was it ordained by Allah on the Day when He created the heavens and the earth; of them four are Sacred, (i.e. the 1st, the 7th, the 11th and the 12th months of the Islamic calendar). That is the right religion, so wrong not yourselves therein…” (At-Taubah: 36). The Sunnah explained these four months as established in the two Sahihs. Abu Bakrah (May Allah bepleased with him) reported: The Prophet (ﷺ) said, “Time has completed its cycle and has come to the state of the day when Allah created the heavens and the earth. The year consists of twelve months of which four are inviolable; three of them consecutive – Dhul-Qa’dah, Dhul-Hijjah and Muharram and Rajab, the month of Mudar (tribe), which comes between Jumada and Sha’ban.”

The people of the Jahiliyyah used to venerate these sacred months, especially the month of Rajab, and they did not fight during it, to the extent that a man meets the killer of his father and would not harm him. Among the rulings of the month are what is mentioned in it of prayer, zakat, fasting and performing Umrah, even if nothing about the virtue of fasting regarding it is correct from the Prophet other than what is related to the rest of the sacred months, such as the hadith of Mujiba Al-Bahiliyyah on the authority of her father or her uncle that the Prophet (peace be upon him) said: “Fast (some) from the sacred months and leave out (some).” He said it three times. (Narrated by Abu Dawud and others) and Ibn Majah and others: “Fast in the sacred months.”

It is desirable in this month to supplicate to live until the virtuous times in order to perform righteous deeds in them, because the believer’s life does not increase him except in goodness, and the best of people is he who has long life and does good deeds, since the month (Rajab) is the key to the months of goodness and blessing. Abu Bakr Al-Warraq Al-Balkhi said: “The month of Rajab is a month for sowing seed, Sha`ban is the month for watering the cultivation, and Ramadan is the month for harvesting the crops.” It is desirable for every Muslim to practice acts of worship and nearness from now on, so that by doing so, he may be committed to them until Ramadan and beyond.

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