In The Name Of Allah, The Beneficent, The Merciful

All thanks and praises are due to Allah, we seek His help and forgiveness. We seek refuge in Allah from the evil within ourselves and from the consequences of our evil deeds. Whoever Allah guides will never be led astray, and whoever Allah leads astray will never find guidance.

I bear witness that there is no god but Allah, He is alone without any partners, and I bear witness that Muhammad is His Servant and His Messenger.

“O you who believed, fear Allah as He should be feared and do not die except as Muslims in submission to Him.” [Quran, 3:102]

“O mankind, fear your Lord, who created you from one soul and created from it its mate and dispersed from both of them many men and women. And fear Allah, through whom you ask one another, and the wombs. Verily, Allah is Ever-watching over you.” [Quran, 4:1]

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

Verily, the most truthful speech is the Book of Allah, the best guidance is the guidance of Muhammad, and the worst affairs are newly invented matters (in the religion). Every newly invented matter is a religious innovation, and every religious innovation is misguidance, and every misguidance is in the Hellfire.

Dear Brothers and Sisters! Know that Islam gives the highest of stations to the prayer, it has the highest of levels and greatest position after the testimony of faith (the Shahadatain). Ibn Umar (RA) said that Allah’s Messenger (Peace be upon him) said:

“Islam is built upon five pillars: That Allah alone is to be worshipped and to disbelieve in the worship of others besides Him, to establish the daily prayers, to pay the Zakah, to perform the Hajj and to fast the month of Ramadan.” [Muslim]

And in another narration he said:

“Islam is built upon five pillars: That none has the right to be worshipped besides Allah and that Muhammad is the Messenger of Allah, to establish the daily prayers, to pay the Zakah, to perform the Hajj to the House and to fast the month of Ramadan.” [Muslim]

My Beloved People! The prayer is the first affair that the servant of Allah will be asked about on the Day of Resurrection. Abdullah Ibn Qarat narrated from Allah’s Messenger (Peace be upon him) that he said:

“The first thing that the slave will be accounted for on the Day of Resurrection will be the prayer – if that is sound then the rest of the deeds will be sound, and if that is corrupt then the rest of the deeds shall be likewise corrupt.” [At-Tabarani in Al-Awsat – Al-Albani declared it sahih in As-Sahihah]

Jabir (RA) narrated that Allah’s Messenger (Peace be upon him) said:

“Verily between man and polytheism and unbelief is the abondonment of prayer.” [Muslim]

And the prayer is the barrier between a person and sins, just as Allah said:

“Recite, [O Muhammad], what has been revealed to you of the Book and establish prayer. Indeed, prayer prohibits immorality and wrongdoing.” [Al-Ankabut:45]

Its importance is such that during the final hours of the life of the Noble Prophet (Peace be upon him) he advised with it. Narrated Ali Ibn Abi Talib that:

“The last words which the Messenger of Allah (Peace be upon him) spoke were: “The prayer, the prayer! And fear Allah about those whom your right hands possess.” [Sunan Abu Dawud – Al-Albani declared it sahih]

So the Salah (Prayer) has a tremendous position in Islam, and due to this station, there are numerous benefits and bounties attached to it:

1. The Prayer is an expiation for mistakes and sins. Allah the Almighty said:

“And establish prayer at the two ends of the day and at the approach of the night. Indeed, good deeds do away with misdeeds. That is a reminder for those who remember.” [Hud: 114]

Abu Hurairah (RA) narrated that the Prophet (Peace be upon him) said:

“Do you think that if there was a river by the door of any one of you, and he bathed in it five times each day, would there be any trace of dirt left on him?” They said: “No trace of dirt would be left on him.” He said: “That is the likeness of the five daily prayers. By means of them Allah erases sins.” [An-Nasa’i]

2. The prayer is a bright guiding light for the servant of Allah. Abu Malik Al-Ash’ari (RA) narrated that Allah’s Messenger (Peace be upon him) said:

“Purification is half of Iman (faith) and Alhamdulillah (Praise be to Allah) fills the scale; Subhanallah (Glory be to Allah) and Alhamdulillah (Praise be to Allah) fill up whatever is between the heavens and the earth; the Prayer (Salah) is a light; charity (sadaqah) is proof (of one’s faith); patience is a brightness; and the Quran is a proof for you or against you. All people go out early in the morning and sell themselves, thereby either setting themselves free or destroying themselves [depending on their deeds].” [Muslim]

3. By a Muslim establishing the Salah, paying the Zakah and fasting Ramadan, he can attain the station of the Siddiqin and the Shuhada. Abu Hurairah (RA) said:

“There were two brothers from Baliy who came to Allah’s Messenger and they had both become Muslims together. One of them was martyred, and the other one lived for another year. Talhah Ibn Ubaidillah (RA) said: I saw Paradise in a dream and I saw that the one who lived longer out of the two entered Paradise before the martyr. I was surprised at that. So when I awoke I mentioned that to the Prophet (Peace be upon him) or it was mentioned to him by another, so he responded: “Why are you surprised at that? Did he not continue to fast after his death, and did he not prayed with six thousand Ruku’us (bowings) and with such-and-such a large number of Sunnah prayers? The difference between them is greater than the difference between heaven and earth.” [Ahmad in Musnad and Ibn Majah]

The prayer itself must be prayed at the times allocated in the Shari’ah not the time we like. Allah, the Most High, said:

“Verily, the prayer is enjoined on the believers at fixed hours.” [An-Nisa’, 4:103]

Imam Al-Bukhari said:

“That the times are prescribed upon them.”

And the fulfilment of the prayers at their prescribed times is from the most beloved acts to Allah. Abdullah Ibn Mas’ud said:

“I asked the Prophet (Peace be upon him): “Which of the deeds are most beloved to Allah?” He replied: “The prayer on its time.” I said: “Then what?” He replied: “Being kind and dutiful to one’s parents.” I said: “Then what?” He replied: “Jihad in the path of Allah.” [Bukhari and Muslim]

There is another amazing narration regarding the condition of people in the Barzakh (life of the grave) after their deaths, and one of the people who is tried in his grave is the one who neglected his prayer. Narrated Samurah bin Jundub that:

“Allah’s Messenger (Peace be upon him) used to often ask his Companions, “Did anyone of you see a dream?” So dreams would be narrated to him by those whom Allah wished to tell. One morning the Prophet (Peace be upon him) said: “Last night two persons came to me (in a dream) and woke me up and said to me, ‘Proceed!’ I set out with them and we came across a man lying down, and behold, another man was standing over his head, holding a big rock. He was throwing the rock at the man’s head, injuring it. The rock rolled away and the thrower followed it and took it back. By the time he reached the man, his head returned to the normal state. The thrower then did the same as he had done before. I said to my two Companions, ‘Subhanallah! Who are these two persons?’ They said, ‘Proceed!’ So we proceeded and came to a man lying flat on his back and another man standing over his head with an iron hook, and behold, he would put the hook in one side of the man’s mouth and tear off that side of his face to the back (of the neck) and similarly tear his nose from front to back and his eye from front to back. Then he turned to the other side of the man’s face and did just as he had done with the other side. He hardly completed this side when the other side returned to its normal state. Then he returned to it to repeat what he had done before. I said to my two Companions, ‘Subhanallah! Who are these two persons?’ They said to me, ‘Proceed!’ So we proceeded and came across something like a kind of baking oven, [a baking pit clay-lined]. In that oven there was much noise and voices.” The Prophet (Peace be upon him) added, “We looked into it and found naked men and women, and behold, a flame of fire was reaching to them from underneath, and when it reached them, they cried out loudly. I asked them, ‘Who are these?’ They said to me, ‘Proceed!’ And so we proceeded and came across a river, red like blood.” The Prophet (Peace be upon him) added, “And in the river there was a man swimming, and on the bank there was a man who had collected many stones. While the other man was swimming, he went near him. The former opened his mouth and the latter (on the bank) threw a stone into his mouth whereupon he went away swimming. He returned and every time the performance was repeated. I asked my two Companions, ‘Who are these (two) persons?’ They replied, ‘Proceed! Proceed!’ And we proceeded till we came to a man with a repulsive appearance, the most repulsive appearance, you ever saw a man having! Beside him there was a fire and he was kindling it and he was running around it. I asked my Companions, ‘Who is this (man)?’ They said to me, ‘Proceed!Proceed!’ So we proceeded till we reached a garden of deep green dense vegetation, having all sorts of spring colours. In the midst of the garden there was a very tall man and I could hardly see his head because of his great height, and around him there were children in such a large number as I have never seen. I said to my Companions, ‘Who is this?’ They replied, ‘Proceed! Proceed!’ So we proceeded till we came to a majestic huge garden, greater and better than I have ever seen! My two Companions said to me, ‘Go up’ and I went up. So we ascended till we reached a city built of gold and silver bricks and we went to its gate and asked (the gatekeeper) to open the gate, and it was opened and we entered the city and found in it, men with one side of their bodies as handsome as the most handsome person you have ever seen, and the other side as ugly as the ugliest person you have ever seen. My two Companions ordered those men to throw themselves into the river. There was a river flowing across (the city), and its water was like milk in whiteness. Those men went and threw themselves in it and then returned to us after the ugliness (of their bodies) had disappeared and they became the best of forms. My two Companions (Angels) said to me, ‘This place is the Paradise or Garden of Adn (Eden), and that is your place.’ I raised up my sight, and behold, there I saw a palace like a white cloud! My two Companions said to me, ‘That (palace) is your place.’ I said to them, ‘May Allah bless you both! Let me enter it.’ They replied, ‘As for now, you will not enter it, but you shall enter it (one day). I said to them, ‘I have seen many wonders tonight. What does all that mean which I have seen?’ They replied, ‘We will inform you: As for the first man you came upon whose head was being injured with the rock, he was one who studied the Quran and then neither recited it nor acted on its orders, and sleeps, neglecting the prescribed prayers. As for the man you came upon whose sides of mouth, nostrils and eyes were torn off from front to back, he is the man who goes out of his house in the morning and tells so many lies that it spreads all over the world. And those naked men and women whom you saw in a pit resembling an oven (Tannur), they are the fornicators, adulterers and the adulteresses. And the man whom you saw swimming in the river and given a stone to swallow, is the eater of usury (Riba). And the bad looking man whom you saw near the fire kindling it and going round it, is Malik, the gatekeeper of Hell. And the tall man whom you saw in the garden, is Prophet Ibrahim and the children around him are those children who die upon the Fitrah (upon the innate nature of the tawhid of Allah). The narrator added: Some Muslims asked the Prophet, “O Allah’s Messenger (Peace be upon him)! What about the children of pagans?” The Prophet (Peace be upon him) replied, “And also the children of pagans.” The Prophet (Peace be upon him) added, “My two Companions added, ‘The men you saw half handsome and half ugly were those persons who had mixed an act that was good with another that was bad, but Allah forgave them.’” [Al-Bukhari]

Dear Servants of Allah! Know that, the most difficult of prayers upon the hypocrites who profess faith is the Isha’ and fajr prayers. Abu Hurairah (RA) narrated that the Prophet (Peace be upon him) said:

“The most burdensome prayers for the hypocrites are the Isha’ prayer and the Fajr prayer. If only they knew what reward there is in them, they would come to them even if they had to crawl.” [Ibn Majah]

There also occurs in the Hadith of the seven who will be shaded upon the Day when there is no shade except for His shade. Abu Hurairah narrated that Allah’s Messenger (Peace be upon him) said:

“Allah will give shade to seven, on the Day when there will be no shade but His:

1. A just leader,

2. A youth who has been brought up in the worship of Allah (i.e. worships Allah sincerely from childhood),

3. A man whose heart is attached to the Mosques (i.e. to pray the compulsory prayers in the Mosque in congregation),

4. Two persons who love each other only for Allah’s sake and they meet and part in Allah’s cause only,

5. A man who refuses the call of a charming woman of noble birth for illicit intercourse with her and says: I fear Allah,

6. A man who gives charity so secretly that his left hand does not know what his right hand has given (i.e. nobody knows how much he has given in charity),

7. And a person who remembers Allah in seclusion and his eyes fill with tears.” [Al-Bukhari and Muslim]

A Masjid (Mosque) is from the houses of Allah, so whoever enters a Masjid of Sunnah and Tawhid is a guest of his Lord – and there is not heart better, nor a soul more joyous than the one that is a host of Allah in one of His houses. Abu Darda’ (RA) stated that the Prophet (Peace be upon him) said:

“The Masjid (Mosque) is a home for every Allah-fearing, pious and dutiful person (Taqiy). Allah promises the one who makes the Masjid his home to give him ease, tranquility, mercy and permission to cross the Sirat (bridge over hell) to the pleasure of Allah and Paradise.” [At-Tabarani in Al-Kabir – Al-Albani declared it Hasan in his checking of Al-Mundhiri’s At-Targhib wat-Tarhib]

This is the joy and happiness given to the believer who worships his Lord and desires the Masjid of Sunnah and Tawhid, making that his home.

Dear Brothers and Sisters! Islam gives tremendous importance to the Prayer (in Arabic: Salah). It has the highest position after the testimony of faith, Shahadatain, which enters a person into Islam.

The Prayer is the first affair that the people will be asked about on the Day of Resurrection.

A person’s Islam depends on his Prayer such that if he abandons the prayer, he loses his grasp on Islam and becomes a non-Muslim.

The Prayer is the barrier between a person and sins, just as Allah the Most High mentioned in His Noble Book (Al-Quran).

Its importance is such that during the final hours of the life of the Noble Prophet (Peace be upon him) he advised with it.

The five daily Prayers have a tremendous position in Islam, therefore, they must not be neglected by a true Muslim.

A Muslim should never underestimate the importance of the Prayers. Each prayer out of the five daily Prayers consists of a fixed number of Raka’ahs (or units) that have a sequence of movements and sayings. So the dawn prayer (Fajr) has two Raka’ahs, the early afternoon prayer (Zuhr) has four, the mid-afternoon prayer (Asr) has four, the after-sunset prayer (Maghrib) has three and the late evening prayer (Isha’) has four. Every Muslim is obligated to know how to perform these prayers and to pray them wherever they are: at work, school, college, home, hospital, countryside, etc. The Prophet (Peace be upon him) said:

“The whole of the earth has been made for me as a place of purification and prayer.”

So an adult, sane Muslim has no excuse to miss the prayer.

Respected Brothers and Sisters! I ask Allah to assist us in living by the Quran and Sunnah. I pray that He lets us recognise the truth for what it is and helps us to follow it, and that He lets us see falsehood for what it is and helps us to avoid it.

O Allah! Guide us and protect us from the causes of ignorance and destruction! Save us from the defects of ourselves! Cause the last of our deeds to be the best and most righteous! And forgive all of us.

O Allah! Who saved Prophet Yunus from Fish, Prophet Ibrahim from fire, Prophet Musa from Fir’awn, Prophet Yusuf from well, Prophet Muhammad (Peace be upon him) from Quraish, save us from every difficulties of life, turn all our expectations into reality, because you turn egg into bird, seed into tree, fluid into human, hardship into relief and cloud into rain.

O Allah! Answer our open and secret prayers and prosper the work of our hands, wipe away our open and secret tears and bless us with multiple Grace. Take us to the position we belong, grant our heart desire and bless us. Rebuild our scattered dreams and change our status to victory. Forgive our sins and purify our parents of their sins. Guide our children and heal our sickness. Have mercy on our soul. Defeat our enemies and guide our love ones.

O Allah! Respond to all our Du’as and supplications, grant us Jannatul firdaws, Aameen Ya Rabbal Alamin.

Dear Brothers and Sisters! Anything good I have said in my today’s Sermon is from Allah the Almighty, and any mistakes are my own and we seek refuge in Allah from giving wrong advice and from all forms of calamities and fitnah. And I ask Allah’s forgiveness if I stepped beyond bounds in anything I said or I do.

May Allah be praised; and may the peace and blessings of Allah be upon His Messenger Muhammad and upon his family and Companions.

With this I conclude my Sermon and ask Allah, the Almighty and the Sublime, to forgive all of our sins. So seek his forgiveness, He is all forgiving and Most Merciful.

This Jumu’ah Khutbah (Friday Sermon) was prepared by Imam Murtadha Muhammad Gusau, the Chief Imam of Nagazi-Uvete Jumu’ah and the late Alhaji Abdurrahman Okene’s Mosques, Okene Kogi State, Nigeria. He can be reached via: gusaumurtada@gmail.com or +2348038289761.

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