TMC Friday Khutbah Banner (Website)

THE VIRTUE OF ITIKAF AND SEEKING LAYLATUL-QADR

IN THE NAME OF ALLAH, THE MOST GRACIOUS, THE MOST MERCIFUL.

BEING THE THIRD SERMON OF RAMADAN DATED 19/9/1445 AH (29/3/2024 CE)

TOPIC: THE VIRTUE OF ITIKAF AND SEEKING LAYLATUL-QADR

The First Sermon

All praises are due to Allah who has favored the nation of Muhammad (peace be upon him) with the fasting of Ramadan over other nations that came before. We praise Him, thank Him, believe in Him, and rely upon Him. Whoever Allah guides, there is no one to misguide him, and whoever He leaves astray, there is no one to guide him. I bear witness that there is no god but Allah, alone without any partners, and I bear witness that Muhammad is His servant and Messenger. O Allah, bestow blessings, peace, and mercy upon him, his family, his companions, and those who follow them in goodness until the Day of Judgment.

As to what follow:

O servants of Allah, I advise you and myself to be conscious of Allah, for indeed, it is the purpose of worship. Allah, the Almighty, says: (يَاأَيُّهَا النَّاسُ اعْبُدُوا رَبَّكُمُ الَّذِي خَلَقَكُمْ وَالَّذِينَ مِنْ قَبْلِكُمْ لَعَلَّكُمْ تَتَّقُونَ) “O mankind, worship your Lord, who created you and those before you, that you may become righteous.” (Quran 2:21)

Brothers in faith, this is the third meeting in the blessed month of Ramadan, and it is just before the last ten days of the month. Therefore, the topic of our sermon today revolves around: The Virtue of Itikaf and Seeking Laylatul-Qadr.

Noble Muslims, indeed, performing Itikaf during Ramadan is one of the great acts of worship where a Muslim dedicates himself to worship through fasting, prayer, remembrance, and recitation while minimizing worldly distractions and the hardness of hearts.

The legitimacy and virtue of Itikaf are established in the Quran and the Sunnah. Sufficient evidence of its virtue and status lies in the practice of the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) himself, as he consistently observed Itikaf, and even if he missed it in some years, he made it up in Shawwal.

And for Itikaf, there are noble objectives and lofty goals. It serves as an educational institution, a station for worship, contemplation, and reflection. However, some of those entrusted with responsibilities mistakenly consider these duties and concerns as excuses to neglect it, despite the fact that the more one’s responsibilities increase, the greater the need for it becomes apparent, and its impact becomes more evident.

The benefits of Itikaf extend to young and old, rich and poor, male and female, with each having their share and portion of its virtues. Whoever neglects it deprives themselves of abundant goodness.

Itikaf is recommended throughout the year, not just in Ramadan, although Ramadan, particularly its last ten days, is the best time for it. This is exemplified by the practice of the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) who diligently sought Laylat al-Qadr during this time, along with other purposes such as seclusion for worship and focusing the heart on obedience. Thus, Itikaf is legislated outside of Ramadan as well. Hence, we say to those who leave after assuming they have missed the blessed night: If indeed you had caught it, you would have attained much goodness. However, you have also missed out on much goodness.

The minimum duration of Itikaf is one night, and there is no maximum limit. There is no authentic evidence explicitly requiring fasting during Itikaf; it is valid without it. Its place is the mosque, as indicated by the Quran and the Sunnah.

Scholars differ in their opinions regarding its conditions and obligations, some of whom impose strict conditions that make it difficult and burdensome, only manageable by the special ones. These opinions lack solid grounds in many of the conditions and obligations they mention. Others are more lenient, even suggesting that simply sitting in the mosque for a moment constitutes Itikaf if one intends it. However, they do not consider its purposes, goals, the secret behind its legislation, and the specific rulings associated with it. The truth lies in between these two extremes, considering the texts and the objectives for which it was legislated, in line with the practice of the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) and his predecessors, without excess or negligence, while also acknowledging the ease and leniency of the Shariah.

The Prophet’s wives, may Allah be pleased with them, were keen on upholding the tradition of Itikaf and continuing it after the Prophet’s death, which confirms the legitimacy of Itikaf for women. It does not require permission from a husband, but what is important is to prevent temptation and have the husband’s consent. When the Prophet Muhammad, peace be upon him, noticed that his wives had deviated from the intended purpose of Itikaf and sought to turn it into a competition for his attention, he disapproved of it, saying, “Are you seeking righteousness?” meaning that their actions were not those of someone seeking righteousness and striving for it. He then made a decisive decision, discontinued the Itikaf, and made it up in Shawwal.

This serves as evidence that Itikaf is legislated for specific purposes and objectives, and when the one observing it deviates from them, it is appropriate that their Itikaf is not considered valid. The current situation of some individuals observing Itikaf today corresponds to what the Prophet, peace be upon him, said to the Mothers of the Believers: “Are you seeking righteousness?” If they were truthful with Allah, it would have been better for them. Therefore, it is imperative for us to follow the example of our Prophet, peace be upon him, and not neglect those blessed nights and days. We should keep the objectives of Itikaf in mind, and if we see anything detracting from or contradicting them, we should refrain from it.

THE SECOND SERMON:

All praise is due to Allah, abundant, good, and blessed praise. I send blessings and peace upon the Prophet sent as a mercy to the worlds, our Prophet Muhammad, and upon his family and all his companions. To proceed: One of the most important objectives of Itikaf is seeking Laylatul-Qadr. The honor and high status of this night with Allah are such that the Quran was revealed in it. Allah says: (إِنَّا أَنْزَلْنَاهُ فِي لَيْلَةِ الْقَدْرِ (1) وَمَا أَدْرَاكَ مَا لَيْلَةُ الْقَدْرِ (2) لَيْلَةُ الْقَدْرِ خَيْرٌ مِنْ أَلْفِ شَهْرٍ) “Indeed, We sent the Qur’an down during the Night of Decree. And what can make you know what is the Night of Decree? The Night of Decree is better than a thousand months.” (Quran, 97:1-3) He also says: (إِنَّا أَنْزَلْنَاهُ فِي لَيْلَةٍ مُبَارَكَةٍ إِنَّا كُنَّا مُنْذِرِينَ) “Indeed, We sent it down during a blessed night. Indeed, We were to warn [mankind].” (Quran, 44:3) This indicates the honor of the revelation and the status of the night in which it was revealed.

The virtue of this night and the abundance of its goodness, as well as the elevation of its status, cannot be comprehended by human intellect. How can it be when one single night, sometimes only a few hours, surpasses eighty-three years or more in excellence, and even exceeds that? We do not know the extent of this increase, and there is no room for the intellect in such absolute truths brought forth by unequivocal texts. Instead, one must submit to them and believe in them without any doubt or hesitation. If Allah’s decree comes, the decree of any opponent becomes null. Despite this immense virtue that cannot be fully understood or explored, there are those who neglect it out of ignorance or negligence, and (ومن يهن الله فما له من مكرم) “Whoever Allah humiliates – for him there is no bestower of honor.” (Quran, 22:18)

It is not surprising for Allah’s favor, generosity, and abundant giving to be great, as He says: (قَالُوا أَتَعْجَبِينَ مِنْ أَمْرِ اللَّهِ رَحْمَتُ اللَّهِ وَبَرَكَاتُهُ عَلَيْكُمْ أَهْلَ الْبَيْتِ إِنَّهُ حَمِيدٌ مَجِيدٌ) “They said, ‘Are you amazed at the decree of Allah? May the mercy of Allah and His blessings be upon you, people of the house. Indeed, He is Praiseworthy and Honorable.” (Quran, 11:73). Rather, what is surprising is the ignorance of humankind, their neglect, the weakness of their minds, and their failure to comprehend, wasting those opportunities that they will regret when regret will be of no avail. Will the sleeping awaken? Will the heedless become attentive? Will the negligent rectify their ways? As long as there is time, there is an opportunity, and as long as life remains, there is a chance. What is lost is gone, so seize what remains before it’s too late.

It is incumbent upon us, servants of Allah, to turn to Him sincerely, through prayer, recitation, and remembrance, repenting from our sins, seeking His forgiveness, asking Him for well-being, hoping for His mercy, and anticipating His grace and immense reward. Abu Huraira reported: The Prophet, peace and blessings be upon him, said, “Whoever stands for prayers on the Night of Decree with faith and expectation of reward, his previous sins will be forgiven.” (Sahih Bukhari and Muslim)

One of the things we should focus on during this night, the Night of Decree, is to increase our supplications. It is reported in At-Tirmidhi that Aisha, may Allah be pleased with her, said, “O Messenger of Allah, if I knew which night is the Night of Decree, what should I say?” He said, “Say: ‘O Allah, indeed You are Pardoning, You love to pardon, so pardon me.'”

Servants of Allah, the Prophet, peace be upon him, used to exert himself in obedience, worship, and drawing closer to Allah through various acts of worship during these ten days, more than in any other time. It is narrated in Sahih Muslim from Aisha, may Allah be pleased with her, that she said, “The Messenger of Allah, peace be upon him, exerted himself in worship during these ten days more than at any other time.” It is also confirmed in Sahih Bukhari and Sahih Muslim from her that she said, “When the last ten nights began, the Messenger of Allah, peace be upon him, would tighten his waist belt, spend his nights in worship, and wake his family.”

These, servants of Allah, are moments of great effort, sacrifice, and dedication, as well as a turning to worship Allah, reciting His Book, remembering Him, standing in prayer, and drawing closer to Him through various acts of worship and obedience.

Which night is the Night of Decree? Aisha, may Allah be pleased with her, reported: The Messenger of Allah, peace be upon him, said, “Search for the Night of Decree in the odd nights of the last ten nights of Ramadan.” It is recommended to seek it on the odd nights of the last ten nights of Ramadan, for indeed, the Prophet, peace be upon him, used to strive to seek it during the last ten nights of Ramadan.

Scholars have different opinions regarding determining this night. Some believe it is the night of the 21st, some the 23rd, some the 25th, and some the 27th, while others say it moves within the odd nights of the last ten nights. However, most of them agree that it is the night of the 27th.

Finally, servants of Allah, we appreciate the stance of our beloved nation, Nigeria, on the issue of Palestine, as announced by the President of the Nigerian Senate, Senator, Godswill Akpabio, at the 148th session of the Inter-Parliamentary Union in Geneva, Switzerland, held from March 23rd to 27th, 2024. He called for an immediate cessation of hostilities without any conditions and for the protection of the lives of innocent civilians, including children. This is indeed the stance of the free people of the world.

Servants of Allah, do not forget your Palestinian brothers in your prayers during these virtuous days, as they live under extremely harsh conditions. It is our duty to supplicate for their victory. Remember the stance of your Prophet on the day the two armies met (at Badr) in the same blessed month and he prayed fervently facing the Qiblah saying: “O Allah, fulfill for me what You have promised me. O Allah, if this group (of Muslims) is destroyed, You will not be worshipped on earth.” His Lord answered his prayer. Therefore, we measure like matter with its like, so, let us ask Allah for their victory, triumph, and overcoming the oppressive aggressor enemy. Then it is our duty to send assistance and donations to them from what we possess.

(Aqsah Concepts 0005125108 JAIZ Bank)

Supplication: “O Allah, aid our brothers in Palestine and aid the oppressed everywhere. O Allah, release the Muslim captives in Palestine and guide their steps. O Allah, liberate Palestine and Al-Aqsa Mosque from the plots of the aggressors. Be a support to our brothers in Palestine, O Allah. Grant them victory, strength, and patience. Bind their hearts together and shower them with Your mercy. Heal their wounds, cure their illnesses, and accept their deceased. O Allah, return their captive youths to them. O Lord, O Allah, free Al-Aqsa Mosque from the defilement of the usurping Zionist aggressors. Grant the people of Palestine steadfastness, victory, and empowerment. Bless their faith and patience, O Allah. Protect the people of Palestine and Al-Aqsa Mosque from the schemes of the oppressors, and support them with Your victory and strength. O Allah, I entrust to You Jerusalem, Palestine, and Al-Aqsa Mosque. O Allah, be their support and helper, O Lord of the worlds. O Allah, do not disappoint our hopes, for You are the Most Merciful of the merciful.”

Scroll to Top