All praises are due to Allah Who made hajj experience an opportunity to gain steadfastness and enduring reformation. Allah says: (﴿وَأَذِّنْ فِي النَّاسِ بِالْحَجِّ يَأْتُوكَ رِجَالًا وَعَلَىٰ كُلِّ ضَامِرٍ يَأْتِينَ مِنْ كُلِّ فَجٍّ عَمِيقٍ﴾) “And proclaim to the people the Hajj [pilgrimage]; they will come to you on foot and on every lean camel; they will come from every distant pass.” (22: 27). I testify there is no god but Allah alone, He has no associate. I testify that Muhammad (pbuh) is the servant of Allah and His messenger, who said: “He who performs the hajj, and did not commit obscenity nor fornication, he shall return (cleansed of sins) like the day his mother gave birth to him. May Allah bestow peace and blessings on him (pbuh), his families, his pious companions.
O people, I enjoin you and myself to fear Allah, for that is the key to displace sorrow, an access to forgiveness of sins, and an abundance of provision and the ultimate entry into the paradise. For this Allah says:
وَمَنْ يَتَّقِ اللَّهَ يَجْعَلْ لَهُ مَخْرَجًا (2) وَيَرْزُقْهُ مِنْ حَيْثُ لَا يَحْتَسِبُ …” ” وَمَنْ يَتَّقِ اللَّهَ يَجْعَلْ لَهُ مِنْ أَمْرِهِ يُسْرًا “… وَمَنْ يَتَّقِ اللَّهَ يُكَفِّرْ عَنْهُ سَيِّئَاتِهِ وَيُعْظِمْ لَهُ أَجْرًا {الطلاق : 2-5}
“And whoever fears Allah – He will make for him a way out. And will provide for him from where he does not expect. And whoever fears Allah – He will make for him of his matter ease. … and whoever fears Allah – He will remove for him his misdeeds and make great for him his reward. (65:2-5)
Today’s sermon is titled “After hajj, what next?” in order to admonish pilgrims who are at the moment returning from the House of Allah.
Dear Muslim brothers and sisters, the pilgrims have just concluded a very great aspect of worship in Islam. They denied themselves- for the sake of Allah- of sewn cloths, starting from the Miqats, in the spirit of repentance, tears rolled down their cheeks on the mount of Arafah, they expressed shamefulness for their errors and shortcomings. Men of different languages send their requests to Allah, Muzdalifah- one of the sacred sites was agog with persons who passed the night there in devotion, thereafter the congregation moved to the Jamaraat- stoning sites, then the Tawaaf- circumambulation around the Ka’bah, followed by the Sa’y (light racing) between Safaa and Marwah. After completion of the processes, pilgrims become joyous of the favour of Allah on them for the accomplishment of the hajj rites and they return home in peace and happiness, having gained favours, goodness and abundant mercies of Allah. Allah says:
{قُلْ بِفَضْلِ اللهِ وَبِرَحْمَتِهِ فَبِذَلِكَ فَلْيَفْرَحُواْ هُوَ خَيْرٌ مِمَّا يَجْمَعُونَ } (يونس 58)
“Say, “In the bounty of Allah and in His mercy – in that let them rejoice; it is better than what they accumulate.” (10: 58)
We are at this juncture faced with a question of- What comes next after the hajj? What should be the disposition of he who performed the hajj after the exercise?
In the effort to answer these questions, we would affirm that hajj is a rebirth, and the first step in the task of a rebirth is to tread the path of repentance towards The Lord and be resolute on reformation of one’s his affairs completely.
﴿وَتُوبُوا إِلَى اللَّهِ جَمِيعًا أَيُّهَا الْمُؤْمِنُونَ لَعَلَّكُمْ تُفْلِحُونَ﴾ [النور:31].
And all of you beg Allah to forgive you all, O believers, that you may be successful.
It is a great mistake to construe moments of devotion as time to only flake off sins, and when the moments end, that is seen as license to return to disobedience. However, moments of devotion should be taken as the complete turning point from a life of forgetfulness and disobedience to a life of steadfastness and moving to Allah. Of the plots of the devil and evil tendencies of the soul, is to return most people among mankind back to sinful ways after performing hajj. However, Allah calls to faith and steadfastness, worship and reverence, till the point of death. Allah says:
﴿يَا أيُّهَا الَّذِينَ ءَامَنُوا اسْتَجِيبُواْ لِلَّهِ وَلِلرَّسُولِ إِذَا دَعَاكُمْ لِمَا يُحْيِيكُمْ ﴾ (الأنفال:8\ 24)
“ O you who have believed, respond to Allah and to the Messenger when he calls you to that which gives you life.” (8: 24)
﴿يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا اتَّقُوا اللَّهَ حَقَّ تُقَاتِهِ وَلا تَمُوتُنَّ إِلاَّ وَأَنْتُمْ مُسْلِمُونَ﴾ [آل عمران:102].
O you who believe! Fear Allah as He should be feared, and die not except in a state of Islam (as Muslims) with complete submission to Allah. (3: 102)
After the hajj, we have the obligation to engage in reflection over the hajj rites and ponder on:
1- Greatness of Allah’s mercy: It is the mercy of Allah on us to have made the hajj despite our sins and errors, to have the opportunity to present ourselves before Him, seeking His forgiveness and guidance. (﴿وَمَا بِكُم مّن نّعْمَةٍ فَمِنَ اللَّهِ﴾ [النحل: 53]) “And whatever you have of favor – it is from Allah.” (16: 53)

﴿وَإِن تَعُدُّواْ نِعْمَةَ اللَّهِ لاَ تُحْصُوهَا إِنَّ اللَّهَ لَغَفُورٌ رَّحِيمٌ﴾ [النحل: 18].
“And if you should count the favors of Allah, you could not enumerate them. Indeed, Allah is Forgiving and Merciful.” (16: 18)

2- Gratitude to Allah for the performance of hajj: Allah says: (هَلْ جَزَاءُ الإِحْسَانِ إِلاَّ الإِحْسَانُ) “Is the reward for good [anything] but good?” (55: 60). The gratitude should be all-encompassing, not confined to words alone. Rather it should involve the heart, the actions; to move away from what could incur the wrath of Allah to what could deserve His love and pleasure. Allah says: (﴿اعْمَلُوا آلَ دَاوُودَ شُكْرًا وَقَلِيلٌ مِنْ عِبَادِي الشَّكُورُ﴾) “Work, O family of David, in gratitude.” And few of My servants are grateful.” (34: 13)
The Prophet (pbuh) is enough for us as model, he used to observe qiyamul-layl to an extent that his feet got swollen. It was said to him: (Why do you undergo so much hardship despite the fact that) Allah has pardoned for you your earlier and later sins? Thereupon he said: May I not (prove myself) to be a grateful servant (of Allah)?”
3- Acceptable hajj has its signs, so is its acceptability before Allah: Hassan Al-basriy was asked, what is the acceptable hajj? He replied: “to return (from hajj) as on who shun the life of this world, and passionate about the hereafter.” Hajj should be a launch-pad to increase in good deeds, and a barrier from falling into deviations. The pilgrim that benefits from his pilgrimage is he that returns home with the better character, better intelligence, humility, better relation with families and neighbours, purer heart, and treading path of truth, justice and uprightness.
For the pilgrim, every hajj rite acquaints him with Allah, and reminds him of His rights; including worship which none deserves except Him- Allah. It will be a sacrilege for one who have performed hajj to ascribe any worship- including, supplication, seeking help, oath, … to other than Allah. What impact or benefit is there in the hajj of a person who returns from hajj to resume idolatry practices, neglect of solat, refusal to pay zakat, consuming usury, taking bribe, breaking ties of families, wallowing in acts of destructive tendencies? Professing the talbiyah in hajj signifies a covenant to respond to Allah’s call everywhere anytime. The pilgrim that abstained from all the prohibited acts while in the state of ihram should realize that there are those prohibitions that are perpetual, he must comply with them. Allah says: (﴿تِلْكَ حُدُودُ اللَّهِ فَلاَ تَقْرَبُوهَا﴾ [البقرة: 187]) “Those are the boundaries of Allah.” (2: 187)

4- Commitment to piety and steadfastness after the Hajj: Allah- the Almighty mentions piety in the context of the verses of the pilgrimage, when speaking on the sacrificial animal; referring to piety as the greatest purpose of Hajj and benefit. Allah- the Almighty says: “Their meat will not reach Allah , nor will their blood, but what reaches Him is piety from you. (22:37).
Such lessons of piety learnt during hajj should be adhered to throughout lifetime, likewise the lessons of good conduct and morals. The Prophet said: “A believer is not an assaulter, or a curser, or an obscene person or an indecent one.”

Allah also says corroborating sustaining piety and not to destroy all those good effort:
﴿وَلا تَكُونُوا كَالَّتِي نَقَضَتْ غَزْلَهَا مِنْ بَعْدِ قُوَّةٍ أَنْكَاثًا﴾ [النحل:92].
“And do not be like she who untwisted her spun thread after it was strong” (16: 92)
Steadfastness is recommended after piety as demonstrated in the response of the Prophet (pbuh) to Sufyan bn Abdullah, may Allah be pleased with him when he said: “O Messenger of Allah, tell me something about Islam of which I will not ask anyone after you, he said: (Say: I believe in Allah, then be steadfast) (Narrated by Muslim). It is inevitable not to fall into mistakes, therefore, Allah recommends seeking forgiveness- (﴿فَاسْتَقِيمُوا إِلَيْهِ وَاسْتَغْفِرُوهُ﴾[فصلت:6]) “so be steadfast unto Him and seek His forgiveness.” (41: 6)
The prophet said: “Be steadfast for you cannot be able to encompass all acts of worship.” Also he said: “Be upright and always strive (to close up)”

5- Fear of Rejection of deeds accompanied with Hope in Allah: On fear of rejection of deeds, the Salaf- Our predecessors in faith- were greatly concerned about acceptance of deeds to the extent of being in the state of fear and anxiety. Allah describes their conditions in the following verse: (﴿وَالَّذِينَ يُؤْتُونَ مَا آتَوا وَقُلُوبُهُمْ وَجِلَةٌ أَنَّهُمْ إِلَى رَبِّهِمْ رَاجِعُونَ أُوْلَئِكَ يُسَارِعُونَ فِي الْخَيْرَاتِ وَهُمْ لَهَا سَابِقُونَ﴾ [المؤمنون:60، 61].) “And they who give what they give while their hearts are fearful because they will be returning to their Lord – It is those who hasten to good deeds, and they outstrip [others] therein.” (23: 60- 61). The prophet explained them as those who fast and pray and give charity and (despite that) became afraid whether it might not be accepted from them. Ali bn Abi Talib (R.A) said: “Be more concerned about acceptance of deed, than the deed itself, don’t you hear Allah- the Exalted saying- “( ﴿إِنَّمَا يَتَقَبَّلُ اللَّهُ مِنَ الْمُتَّقِينَ﴾ [المائدة:27].) “Indeed, Allah only accepts from the righteous [who fear Him].” (5: 27)
Regarding hope and much supplication: The fear of Allah is not sufficient without its compliment- Hope. Fear without Hope begets despair, while Hope without the fear of Allah begets complacency to the extent of feeling secured from the plan of Allah. Both are blameworthy as it malign the faith of a person and worship. To be hopeful of acceptance of one’s deed mixed with fear of been turned down, gives one humility and reverence for Allah, and ultimately growth in faith. When hope is actualized in a person, he raises his hands beseeching Allah to accept his deeds, for He alone is capable of that. This was the reality of what Prophet Ibrahim (AS) and his Son- Isma’eel (AS) did after completion of the Ka’bah. “And [mention] when Abraham was raising the foundations of the House and [with him] Ishmael, [saying], “Our Lord, accept [this] from us. Indeed You are the Hearing, the Knowing.” (2: 127)
Dear brothers and sisters, let’s have concern for acceptance of any of our deeds- great or minute by Allah, and do much of istighfaar- seeking forgiveness. Allah says: (ثُمَّ أَفِيضُواْ مِنْ حَيْثُ أَفَاضَ النَّاسُ وَاسْتَغْفِرُواْ اللَّهَ إِنَّ اللَّهَ غَفُورٌ رَّحِيمٌ) “Then depart from the place from where [all] the people depart and ask forgiveness of Allah. Indeed, Allah is Forgiving and Merciful.” (2: 199)

6- A lot of good deeds: It is a duty on your dear pilgrims to be devoted to good deeds, beware of return to sins after your return from the pilgrimage. Good deeds are like good trees which needs watering and care to grow and be firmly rooted and bear fruits. Some of the signs of acceptance of good deeds is succeeding good deeds with good deeds. It is of the mercy of Allah that He honors His servant when he performs a good deed with sincerity, He opens a path for him to perform another good deed thereafter in order to gain nearness to Him.

All praises are due to Allah- the Lord of the worlds who made Islam a religion of security and stability. He made who enters the sacred house attain security from time immemorial till today. Allah says: (إِنَّ أَوَّلَ بَيْتٍ وُضِعَ لِلنَّاسِ لَلَّذِي بِبَكَّةَ مُبَارَكًا وَهُدًى لِلْعَالَمِينَ فِيهِ آيَاتٌ بَيِّنَاتٌ مَقَامُ إِبْرَاهِيمَ وَمَنْ دَخَلَهُ كَانَ آمِنًا) Verily, the first House (of worship) appointed for mankind was that at Bakkah (Makkah), full of blessing, and a guidance for Al-‘Alamin (the mankind and jinns). In it are manifest signs (for example), the Maqam (place) of Ibrahim (Abraham); whosoever enters it, he attains security. (3: 96-96). May His peace and blessings be upon Muhammad (pbuh), his household, companions and all believers in Allah till the day of resurrection.

Dear servants of Allah, we need to be grateful to Allah (SWT) for the successful running of this year’s hajj. We never hear of any mishap like that of last year’s crane crash, nor the stampede, where a great number of lives of pilgrims were lost. We also commend the Government of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia for its excellent organization of the hajj and preparedness to welcome the pilgrims this year. We beseech Allah support the Kingdom and reward the Custodian of the Two Holy mosques and his cabinet.

We also commend the Armed forces of Nigeria – land, sea and air- over the ongoing achievements in their fight against boko haram in the northeast of Nigeria. May Allah continue to strengthen them, grant them more victory over the destructive sect.

Finally, the mass media had broadcasted the news about an Islamic conference that was held in Grozny the capital of Chechnya, one of the states under the Russian, with the theme: Who are the Ahl Sunnah Wal Jamah?
Respected Islamic scholar and Head of the International Union of Muslim Scholars, Shiekh Yusuf Al-Qaradawi has reacted to the fatwa (religious verdict) issued at the conference describing the conference as for causing harm and disbelief and division among the believers.

Below is an excerpt from Sheikh Qardawi’s reaction, he said: “ I was disturbed and bothered by the objectives and theme of this conference, and the nature of the invitees and the participants just like every other sincere person among the scholars and within the Ummah. And I found out that the true way to describe it is that it is a conference of dissension. Allah said: (Help each other in righteousness and piety, and do not help each other in sin and aggression) (Maidah: 2). Those participants did not cooperate on righteousness and piety, and their case is like those who put up a mosque by way or harming and disbelief and to disunite the believers.

The conference was held under the auspices of the president of Chechnya who is linked to the government of Russia at a time when Russian planes and rockets are killing our Syrian brothers, dismembering their bodies and destroying their houses above them under the claim of waging war against terrorism and terrorists who are their own products. They are the ones who deserved to be called terrorists.

Then came the final communique that expressed the bottomless gap awaken and created by the participants and the organizers of this miserable conference. Instead of striving to bring the Ahl Sunnah Wal Jamah under a single row against the deviant groups from Islam, who are supported politically in the world and assisted with money and ammunitions, they suddenly removed the appellation of Ahl Sunnah Wal Jamah from the Ahl Hadith from among the Wahabist who are a major component of the Ahl Sunnah Wal Jamah. They did this as if it had been ordained on our Ummah to continue to stay perpetually in this unending vicious circle of denying themselves, at a time when our enemies and those who are outside our path and ideology are cooperating in order to bring down the Muslim countries and Muslim lands one after the other.

The Islamic Ummah – who are the Ahl Sunnah – include all those who believe in Allah, His book and His messenger; those who do not affirm innovations that takes you into Kufr, and do not go out against the Qur’an and righteous Sunnah, they are all Muslims except for a few sets that work against and turn people away from the path of Allah.

Our Ummah that had its injuries extended and its pains multiplied does not have the luxury of time to repeat the old historical conflict between the constituents of the Ahl Sunnah Wal Jamah at a time when its sanctuaries are being desecrated, its honour being violated and its bloods is being shed in Palestine, Syria, Yemen and in other places.

The time has gone beyond the secondary academic disagreement on subjects of Aqeedah, attributes, interpretations that are sought in books and academic halls in the atmosphere of knowledge and advanced morality. But these people that live far away from contemporary time intend to stir it up afresh and get the Ummah busy with its past away from its present, and with its yesterday away from today and the future, and to break the Ummah into parties and sects at a time when the east and west is coming together against them and the enemies of yesterday are organizing themselves in order to weaken its land.

We did not hear from those who described themselves as representatives of Ahl Sunnah wal Jamah, any word of opposition against what is being done by Iran and its cronies like the militias of Hizbullah in Syria, the Huwaitheen in Yemen in the form of killings, destruction and sending out advocates to Africa and Asia to mislead the Ahl Sunnah. We did not also hear them say a word concerning what is being done by Russia and those under its realm. This is not surprising!

The conference was attended by government scholars and shameful Sheikhs who kept quiet over the shedding of the blood of Muslims unjustly and aggressively by Russia and its cronies, and those who cheer the despotic rulers over our Arab world and encouraged them to shed blood by supporting Sisi in Egypt, Bashar in Syria, Abdullah bn Solih and Huwaitheen in Yemen. Even though, sadly, the conference was graced by some good people from among the people of knowledge here and there.

We need to then ask: what next after the definition of Ahl Sunnah wal Jamah? Shall we hear from you a voice against Shia and Nasiriyah in Syria, Yemen and Iraq? We give thanks to Allah over the enlightenment and awareness among the general populace of the Islamic Ummah and its youths. Their conference had intended to wage war against the sound Islam, the light of truth and the callers of freedom, but Allah disgraced them and a large number of them dissociated themselves from their final communique and the conference then became dead (And the one whom Allah puts to disgrace, there is none to give him respect. Surely Allah does what He wills) (Hajj: 18)

Oh Allah descend peace; flowing with continuous tranquility and security upon Nigeria and all other Muslim nations. O Allah accept the worship of the pilgrims of hajj and Umrah, and grant us all Your pleasure, And the last of our call will be, “Praise to Allah, Lord of the worlds!”


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