Home Sermon 1442 AH/2021 Eid-Ul-Adha Sermon By Imam Murtadha Gusau

1442 AH/2021 Eid-Ul-Adha Sermon By Imam Murtadha Gusau

Tuesday, Dhul-Hijjah 10, 1442 AH (20/07/2021)

In the Name of Allah, the Beneficent, the Merciful

All Praise is due to Allah, We praise Him and we seek help from Him. We ask forgiveness from Him. We repent to Him; and we seek refuge in Him from our own evils and our own bad deeds. Anyone who is guided by Allah, he is indeed guided; and anyone who has been left astray, will find no one to guide him. I bear witness that there is no god but Allah, the Only One without any partner; and I bear witness that Muhammad, peace and blessings on him, is His servant, and His messenger.

“O You who believe, – Be aware of Allah, with correct awareness, an awe-inspired awareness, and die not except as Muslims.”

“O You who believe, – Be aware of Allah, and speak a straightforward word. He will forgive your sins and repair your deeds. And whoever takes Allah and His Prophet as a guide, has already achieved a mighty victory.”

“O mankind! Show reverence towards your Guardian-Lord Who created you from a single person, created, of like nature, his mate and from the two of them scattered (like seeds) countless men and women;― Be conscious of Allah, through Whom you demand your mutual (rights) and (show reverence towards) the wombs (that bore you): for surely, Allah always watches over you.”

Allahu Akbar, Allahu Akbar, Allahu Akbar, La Ilaha Illallah, wallahu Akbar, Allahu Akbar wa Lillahil Hamd!

Dear brothers and sisters! Today we celebrate Eid-ul-Adha: The Eid of the Sacrifice. On this festival, millions of sheep, rams, goats, he goats, cows and camels have been sacrificed and their meat has been shared with the poor, all over the world. Our own layyah, the ritual sacrifice that we make today, marks a defining moment that took place many thousands of years ago. Prophet Ibrahim (AS), Prophet Ibrahim, turned to his son, Isma’il, and told him about a dream in which Allah asked him to sacrifice that which is dearest to him. Without hesitation, Isma’il told his father to do as Allah commanded; He, Isma’il would remain patient and persevere. Let’s see what the Qur’an tells us about this amazing incident. In Surah As-Saffat [37:100-112] Prophet Ibrahim prays:

“O my Lord! Grant me a righteous (son)! So We gave him the good news of a boy ready to suffer and forbear. Then, when (the son) reached (the age of) (serious) work with him, he said: “O my son! I see in vision that I offer you in sacrifice: Now see what is your view!” (The son) said: “O my father! Do as you are commanded: You will find me, if Allah so wills one practising Patience and Constancy!” So when they had both submitted their wills (to Allah), and he had laid him prostrate on his forehead (for sacrifice), We called out to him “O Ibrahim! “You have already fulfilled the vision!” – this is how We reward those who do right. For this was obviously a trial – And We ransomed him with a momentous sacrifice: And We left (this blessing) for him among generations (to come) in later times: “Peace and salutation to Abraham!” Thus indeed do We reward those who do right. For he was one of our believing Servants. And We gave him the good news of Ishaq – a Prophet – one of the Righteous.” [Qur’an, 37: 100–113]

The sacrifice of Ibrahim forms the climax of the Hajj. But what is the Hajj? Let’s take a brief look at the importance of the Hajj. Why does Allah require us to do the Hajj at least once in our lifetime?

Hajj is the last of Islam’s five pillars, and it brings together all the essential aspects of our faith. It is a big subject, but in the few minutes I have, I want to touch on a few key aspects. Hajj is an epic journey on 3 levels:

1. Geography

2. History and

3. Self-discovery.

1. First there is the geographic level: It is a journey from our homes to Makkah and Madinah, to those desert lands where the story of Islam began, and towards which we turn our faces in prayer.

2. Secondly, Hajj is a journey through History. We visit the cradle of monotheism, the place where Prophet Ibrahim built the first place of worship dedicated to One God, Allah. Here in Makkah Allah asked Ibrahim to sacrifice what he loved most dearly. Ibrahim recognised this as a supreme test. He would have to sacrifice his son to Allah. Both father and son obeyed the divine command without flinching and without resistance. Ibrahim’s sharp knife lay on Isma’il’s tender throat. But just before it severed the jugular vein, Allah placed a sheep where Isma’il’s body lay, and Isma’il’s life was spared. When we celebrate Eid-ul-Adha, the Festival of the Sacrifice, we remember Ibrahim’s willingness to obey Allah, He was prepared to give up his most beloved son. This teaches us that, as Allah’s servants, we too must obey without question and without hesitation. We too, must be prepared to give up whatever else, besides Allah, is so near and dear to us. We too, must learn to tame our selfish desires, and we must learn how to fulfil our Lord’s bidding.

Hajj takes us on an historical journey beyond Ibrahim, way back to the beginning of the human story, to the time of Adam and Eve. The highlight of the Hajj is therefore the gathering of more than 3 million pilgrims (now 60,000 pilgrims due to the covid-19 pandemic) on the plain of Arafah. At the foot of Jabal Rahmah, the Mount of Mercy, pilgrims pray and supplicate, begging forgiveness for their sins, and they rededicate themselves to a life of obedience to Allah.

Here is where Adam and Eve were forgiven for their original sin. The first act of human disobedience was forgiven here on the Mount of Mercy. Here is where we recite Prophet Adam’s prayer:

“O our Lord! We have truly wronged our own souls; and if You do not forgive us and have mercy on us, we will be among the losers!” [Qur’an, 7:23]

It is therefore fitting that every year, from the beginning to the end of human history, pilgrims should make this journey to seek forgiveness for their own wrongdoing, in the same place where the first sin was forgiven. It is therefore also a supreme expression of hope, that despite all our human frailties and transgressions, there is always time for sincere repentance. We must use our time to mend our errant ways.

3. Hajj is not only a journey through geography and history. It is perhaps most importantly, an inward journey towards our own centre, to the human heart. Not the physical heart that pumps blood through our veins. I mean the spiritual heart, the Qalb, the locus of our personality. What emotions, what desires, ambitions and obsessions lurk in the innermost recesses of the spiritual heart? By travelling to the Ka’abah, the centre of Islam, the focal point of the Qiblah, (the directional axis for all our prayers), we have also made a journey inwards. We are also seeking the Ka’abah and Qiblah of the human heart. Are those ambitions, desires and innermost longings really worthy of a true servant of Allah? Are we focussed on the right priorities, beyond selfishness and pettiness? What is our real place in this great drama of life around us? What is our place in the whole cosmic scheme of things? Where have we come from, and where are we going to?

“From Allah have we come and to Him is our return.” [Qur’an, 2:156]

Hajj is also a reminder of death. Every pilgrim is wrapped in 2 sheets of plain while cloth, with no sewing, no stitches. These are the same sheets of cloth that will cover us when we are buried. In a way, we are on pilgrimage wearing a burial shroud. This is the only time we will wrap ourselves in our own shrouds. When we die, someone else will do the wrapping for us. This is a humbling and sobering experience. Before the covid-19 pandemic, when you look around you, you see more than 3 million people, all dressed exactly the same, in 2 sheets of plain white cloth. You cannot tell the difference between a president and a taxi driver, a millionaire and the cleaner who tidied your hotel room yesterday. You can only see yourself and your fellow pilgrims exactly as Allah sees all of us: stripped of all our pretensions, stripped of all our designer clothes and our outward signs of wealth, nationality, culture and social status. On Hajj we see one another as we really are: individual human souls, distinguishable only by the purity of their hearts and the content of their character. This is exactly how Allah sees us. In the final analysis, this is all that matters.

Dear brothers and sisters! Hajj is a chance for us to take stock of ourselves, to examine our hearts, our emotions, our ambitions, our desires. What is the driving force in our lives? Is there something higher and nobler than having a new car, designer clothes, a fine house, respect of our peers, or buying a villa in the sun? Hajj reminds us that our earthly life is short, and it should be spent on good works, striving to fulfil the needs of others, purely out of love for Him and gratitude to Him. If only we would sit down and reflect on our good fortune. We have so much to thank Him for. Count your blessings, name them one by one. We complain that we don’t have nice shoes, till we see someone living happily without any feet. We can be so ungrateful! Allah is infinitely generous and He deserves our love and gratitude. He created everyone and everything, and we are His trustees. We are answerable to Him. When we treat people of other faiths with respect, we do so as a courtesy to Him, and when we are disrespectful or abusive to others, we offend Allah.

So as we celebrate Eid-ul-Adha, and we remember the supreme sacrifice of Prophet Ibrahim, let us remember that the way to Allah’s good pleasure is paved with trials and tribulations. We must travel hopefully, with a buoyant and positive spirit, eagerly anticipating our first glimpse of Allah’s smiling Face. We know that at the end of every difficulty there comes relief In Shaa Allah.

This is what our faith teaches us. Be hopeful, be optimistic. If we are to be worthy followers of those great teachers, Ibrahim, Musa, Isah and Muhammad, (may Allah’s peace and blessings be on all of them), we must bring something of that grace and nobility, that patience, perseverance, love and devotion that they taught us, into our own lives.

With so many people enduring unspeakable hardship in so many places today, the blessings, the barakah, and the spiritual lessons of Hajj are desperately needed by all. Just like Prophet Ibrahim, let us willingly sacrifice our time, money and material possessions that we love so much, to serve Allah. This is the true meaning of Prophet Ibrahim’s prayer:

“Surely, my prayer, my sacrifice, my life and my death is for Allah, the Lord of all the Worlds.” [Qur’an, 6:162]

Respected servants of Allah! Today is the day of celebration, a day of delight and enjoyment and a time to show sincere obedience to Allah. It is the blessed Eid-ul-Adha, the celebration of the sacrifice, one of the greatest days to Allah, about which our Prophet Muhammad (Peace be upon him) said:

“The greatest day in Allah’s sight is the day of sacrifice.”

Eids in Islam are unique for they come to bring joy to Muslims after having strived hard and succeeded in offering acts of worship. They are also some valuable occasions to thank Allah for His infallible pledge to forgive His believing servant’s faults. So today is the time for the great remission Allah the Almighty, has promised His servants who headed to Hajj or those who increased acts of worship on these days of Dhul-Hijjaj by, for example, fasting the Day of Arafah.

Of the blessed are those who have stood on the Mount of Arafah and came back from it with their sins expiated. On their way back to Al-Masjid Al-Haram, they would pass by Muzdalifah overwhelmed with Allah’s Mercy. From there they would set out for Mina for stoning of the Jamarat and again for the Ancient House (Ka’abah) to perform Tawaf.

For every act they do, Pilgrims will have angels surrounding them and light shining on them, not to mention the limitless bounties they will get as recompense. Credit also goes to non-pilgrims who would choose to stand by their counterparts performing Hajj by fasting and praying to Allah with great hope to receive His blessed forgiveness, satisfaction and guidance.

Allahu Akbar, Allahu Akbar, Allahu Akbar, La Ilaha Illallah, wallahu Akbar, Allahu Akbar wa Lillahil Hamd!

Dear servants of Allah! Takbir (pronouncement of Allah is the Greatest) is one of the Eid rituals with which Muslims would express their gratitude to their Lord for His favours on them on these blessed days and times. That is why our Prophet Muhammad (Peace be upon him) recommended pronouncing Takbir after each obligatory prayer since the Day of Arafah until the sunset of the last days of Tashriq (11-12-13th of Dhul-Hijjah).

Allahu Akbar, Allahu Akbar, Allahu Akbar, La Ilaha Illallah, wallahu Akbar, Allahu Akbar wa Lillahil Hamd.

Dear brothers and sisters! Please remember that Eid days are moments for joy and celebration but also for Zikr and Takbir. Abu Hurairah, may Allah be satisfied with him, reported that the Prophet Muhammad (Peace be upon him) sent Abdullah Bin Hudhafah to Mina to convey his message that:

“Do not fast these days for they are the days of eating, drinking and remembering Allah.”

On these days, it is also highly recommended to honour ties of kinship, visit friends and neighbours and shake hands with people. By doing this, Muslims will be rewarded and have their sins removed, as our Prophet Muhammad (Peace be upon him) said:

“Two Muslims will not meet and shake hands having their sins forgiven them before they separate.”

Allah has made for us these moments for showing joy and cherishing some good leisure times for the sake of remembering His bounties on us and bringing happiness to our family. In this regard, Aisha, may Allah be satisfied with her, said:

“Abu Bakr came to see me and I had two girls with me from among the girls of the Ansar and they were singing what the Ansar recited to one another at the Battle of Bu’ath. They were not, however, singing girls. Upon this Abu Bakr said protestingly, ‘Musical instruments of Satan in the house of Allah’s Messenger and this too on Eid day?’ Upon this the Messenger of Allah (Peace be upon him) said, ‘Abu Bakr, every people have a festival and it is our festival (so let them play on)’.”

Allahu Akbar, Allahu Akbar, Allahu Akbar, La Ilaha Illallah, wallahu Akbar, Allahu Akbar wa Lillahil Hamd!

O Allah, we ask your favour to render all our days of Eids and make the best of our days, the day when we meet You. O Allah, keep us in Your care and protect us. May Allah also help us to obey Him and those He has ordained upon us to obey.

May Allah grant all the pilgrims an accepted Hajj. May all Hujjaj return home safely. May Allah bless all His devoted servants on this joyous day of Eid-ul-Adha….. Amin.

I wish you all a joyous Eid Mubarak.

Wassalamu alaikum!

All praises and thanks are due to Allah alone, Lord of the worlds. May the peace, blessings and salutations of Allah be upon our noble Messenger, Muhammad, and upon his family, his Companions and his true and sincere followers.

Murtadha Muhammad Gusau is the Chief Imam of Nagazi-Uvete Jumu’ah and the late Alhaji Abdur-Rahman Okene’s Mosques, Okene, Kogi State, Nigeria. He can be reached via: gusauimam@gmail.com or +2348038289761.

This Eid-ul-Adha Khutbah (Eid sermon) was prepared for delivery today, Tuesday, Dhul-Hijjah 10, 1442 AH (July 20, 2021), at Nagazi-Uvete Eid praying ground.

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