Imam Murtadha Gusau
In the Name of Allah, the Most Beneficent, the Most Merciful
All praise is due to Allah, Lord of all creation. May Allah extol the mention of the Prophet in the highest company of Angels and may the peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, his family, his Companions and all those who follow him exactly till the Day of Judgement.
Dear brothers and sisters! Today, I have chosen to speak on a sin that most of us barely recognise when we commit it. It is the mocking of the religion of Allah. Many of us make jokes about the religion or about issues in the religion, and we don’t even realise we are doing it. We joke about the man with multiple wives, we joke about the man with beard, we joke about the woman’s Hijab and we joke about our Prophets and Messengers of Allah. We find that we can make a joke out of everything, and we do. And we consider it insignificant. This is the sad part. Even though our beloved Prophet Muhammad (Peace be upon him) warned us. Narrated Abu Hurairah:
“That he heard Allah’s Messenger saying, “A servant of Allah may utter a word without thinking whether it is right or wrong, he may slip down in the Fire as far away a distance equal to that between the East and the West.” [Sahih Bukhari]
I read a joke that was circulating on the internet about the woman’s Hijab. It was making fun of women who cover less than perfectly. It was amusing, but that was the problem. We need to advise each other, not ridicule each other — this joke hit the line of backbiting. I even fell prey to the joking syndrome. I once passed on a joke about the Friday Sermon where the Imam was less than perfect in his delivery of the Sermon. I did not see what I had done until after it was pointed out to me by a watchful brother on my email list (Jazahullahu Khairan). Our non-chalant attitude about jokes and their seriousness makes this an extremely easy sin to fall into.
Actually, if we took our Prophet’s advise, and did not seek to entertain each other with lies, we would avoid a large part of the problem. The other parts would be resolved by remembering the rights that our Muslim brothers and sisters have upon us and by thinking about what we say before we say it.
For the Prophet (Peace be upon him) told us according to the Hadith of Abu Hurairah that when they said:
“Messenger of Allah, do you make jokes with us!” He replied, I say nothing but the truth.” [Tirmidhi]
Also narrated Jabir Ibn Abdullah he heard the Prophet (Peace be upon him) say:
“A Muslim is he from whose hand and tongue the Muslims are safe.” [Sahih Muslim]
Also narrated Malik:
“Who believes in Allah and the Last Day should talk what is good or keep quiet.” (i.e. abstain from dirty and evil talk, and should think before uttering).” [Sahih Bukhari]
Respected brothers and sisters! Actually, our tongues can land us in the Hellfire or they can save us from it, according to the saying of Messenger of Allah (Peace be upon him). Narrated Sahl Bin Sa’ad: Allah’s Messenger said:
“Whoever can guarantee (the chastity of) what is between his two jaw-bones and what is between his two legs (i.e. his tongue and his private parts), I guarantee Paradise for him.” [Sahih Bukhari]
Also narrated Abu Hurairah: The Prophet (Peace be upon him) said:
“A servant (of Allah) may utter a word which pleases Allah without giving it much importance, and because of that Allah will raise him to degrees (of reward): a servant (of Allah) may utter a word (carelessly) which displeases Allah without thinking of its gravity and because of that he will be thrown into the Hell-Fire.” [Sahih Bukhari]
So we have to be very careful not to fall into the trap of joking about the religion. Allah the Almighty warned us:
“Of the people there are some who say: We believe in Allah and the Last Day; but they do not (really) believe. They think to beguile Allah and those who believe, and they beguile none save themselves; but they perceive not. In their hearts is a disease; and Allah has increased their disease: And grievous is the penalty they (incur), because they are false (to themselves). When it is said to them: “Make not mischief on the earth,” they say: “Why, we only Want to make peace!” Of a surety, they are the ones who make mischief, but they realise (it) not. When it is said to them: “Believe as the others believe:” They say: “Shall we believe as the fools believe?” Nay, of a surety they are the fools, but they do not know. When they meet those who believe, they say: “We believe;” but when they are alone with their evil ones, they say: “We are really with you: We (were) only jesting.” Allah will throw back their mockery on them, and give them rope in their trespasses; so they will wander like blind ones (To and fro). These are they who have bartered Guidance for error: But their traffic is profitless, and they have lost true direction, Their similitude is that of a man who kindled a fire; when it lighted all around him, Allah took away their light and left them in utter darkness. So they could not see. Deaf, dumb and blind, they will not return (to the path). Or (another similitude) is that of a rain-laden cloud from the sky: In it are zones of darkness, and thunder and lightning: They press their fingers in their ears to keep out the stunning thunder-clap, while they are in terror of death. But Allah is ever round the rejecters of Faith! The lightning all but snatches away their sight; every time the light (Helps) them, they walk therein, and when the darkness grows on them, they stand still. And if Allah willed, He could take away their faculty of hearing and seeing; for Allah hath power over all things.” [Qur’an, 2:8-20]
And Allah the Most High says:
“Beautified is the life of the world for those who disbelieved; they make a jest of the believers. But those who keep their duty to Allah will be above them on the Day of Resurrection. Allah giveth without stint to whom He will.” [Qur’an, 2:212]
I know this is talking about the nonbelievers and the hypocrites, but it contains a warning in it for us. This is the behaviour of the hypocrite and the nonbeliever, to say one thing in front of the pious and to say another in front of the nonbeliever, or to act in a way that is equal to saying this. I will provide you with an example. A Muslim is among other Muslims and he has a discussion about the necessity of Hijab for the woman. Then, a few days later, he is talking to a non-Muslim who says — oh, don’t you think the women who wear face veil look like ninjas? And he makes ninja jokes with this person. This is mocking the Muslims and the religion. Instead of advising the person, and making the person realise that this is a beautiful part of Islam, he sinks to their level, telling them with his actions that its OK to disrespect Muslim women with these jokes. He is saying — I am really with you, not them.
Or we have the Muslim who when polygamy is discussed, falls into jokes which may sometimes be quite distasteful, something which is specifically forbidden in Islam.
Narrated Anas Bin Malik that:
“The Prophet was not one who would abuse (others) or say obscene words, or curse (others), and if he wanted to admonish anyone of us, he used to say: “What is wrong with him, his forehead be dusted!” [Sahih Bukhari]
Abu Sa’id Al-Khudri reported that the Messenger of Allah (Peace be upon him) said:
“On the day of Judgement of the people of Allah, in His sight, will accord lowest position to the man who consorts with his wife and then publishes her secrets.” [Muslim]
This all amounts to mocking or joking about the religion of Allah. Allah the Almighty says:
“In the long run, evil in the extreme will be the End of those who do evil; for that they rejected the Signs of Allah, and held them up to ridicule.” [Qur’an, 30:10]
My beloved people! Not only is it prohibited for us to make fun of the religion or elements of the religion, we are also commanded not to sit in the company of those who do so. Sitting in the company of them can have many connotations. It does not, in today’s media-pervasive society have to be confined to physically sitting among the ones who mock Allah or His religion. It can be done by watching a TV show or listening to a radio program that does so. This is not confined specifically and only to jokes which do not specifically mention Islam. Any joke against Allah — by any name, is a joke against Allah because regardless of their beliefs there is only one ilah and that is Allah. Also, when they joke about Musa (Moses) or Isa (Jesus) or any Prophet, it is an insult to the religion, we should not tolerate. When they joke about these things, even though they are wrong in their beliefs, we know better, and we know that these things are insults to great Prophets of Allah. We have to set the example in respect to Allah and His Prophets. We should not sit and listen to these types of jokes either in person or over some media medium. When Muslims are portrayed in a bad manner, we should not participate by watching — we should protest it as we should protest any insult to Allah and His great religion.
Dear brothers and sisters! There is no excuse for being with those who mock Allah and His religion, be they Muslims or non-Muslims. Allah the Most High says:
“Already has He sent you Word in the Book, that when you hear the signs of Allah held in defiance and ridicule, you are not to sit with them unless they turn to a different theme: if you did, you would be like them. For Allah will collect the hypocrites and those who defy faith – all in Hell.” [Qur’an, 4:140]
In short, we need to be careful about what we say as much and maybe even more than what we do. Our tongue can bring us Paradise or Fire, and we need to guard it and use it in the best manner. The Prophet’s advise to us to speak a good word or remain silent is timeless. We can not ignore the tongue because it is a great source of fitnah for us. We can not say this is unimportant in the long run, because in the religion of Islam, nothing is unimportant. We can not be like some of the Christians and Jews, taking only that which we want to follow from the religion. We must take it as a whole. Allah the Almighty says:
“After this it is you, the same people, who slay among yourselves, and banish a party of you from their homes; assist (Their enemies) against them, in guilt and rancour; and if they come to you as captives, you ransom them, though it was not lawful for you to banish them. Then is it only a part of the Book that you believe in, and do you reject the rest? but what is the reward for those among you who behave like this but disgrace in this life? – and on the Day of Judgment they shall be consigned to the most grievous penalty. For Allah is not unmindful of what you do.” [Qur’an, 2: 85]
We can not say that something the Prophet commanded or warned about is unimportant, because it was important enough for Allah and His Messenger to address it, so it is important enough for us to follow it. Our religion is complete. Allah the Most High says:
“…This day have I perfected your religion for you, completed My favour upon you, and have chosen for you Islam as your religion…” [Qur’an, 5:3]
Dear brothers and sisters! It is with regret that we see a colossal disease that is rampant within the Ummah today. This disease has affected many of us yet, we remain unaware of the dangers of it. This is the disease and the fitnah of “mocking Allah or mocking aspects within His religion.’’
The dangers of ridiculing and mocking aspects within the religion are apparent in the Qur’an. Allah the Almighty says:
“Say, Is it Allah and His verses and His Messenger that you were mocking?” Make no excuse; you have disbelieved after your belief.’’ [Qur’an, 9:65-66]
Imam Ibn Hazm mentions:
“It is authentically proven based upon the text that whosoever mocks Allah or a single Angel (from amongst the Angels) or a single Prophet (from amongst the Prophets) or a single verse from the Qur’an, or a single commandment (from the compulsory aspects of the religion) – (All of these are the signs of Allah), then he is a disbeliever after the arguments have reached him (to prove to him that what he is doing is an act of Kufr (disbelief)).” [See Al-Fasl of Imam Ibn Hazm]
And Imam Muhammad Bin Abdul-Wahhaab (rahimahullah) writes in his short treatise “Nawaqidul-Islam” (The Nullifiers of Islam), under the 6th nullifier of Islam:
“Whoever mocks or ridicules any part of the Messenger’s Religion or its rewards or punishments has committed an act of disbelief. The proof for this is Allah’s statement: “Say: ‘Was it Allah and His verses and His Messenger that you were mocking? Make no excuses, you have disbelieved after having had faith.” [Qur’an, 9: 65-66]
Beloved servants of Allah! Mocking the religion is an act of disbelief which leads to apostasy whether it is done seriously or in jest. When the people who mocked Allah The Almighty, His verses and His Messenger came to the Prophet (Peace be upon him) to apologise to him saying that they were only conversing idly and jesting, Allah The Almighty addressed them Saying:
“Make no excuse; you have disbelieved after your belief.” [Qur’an, 9:66]
Mocking the religion is a major symptom of the disease of uncertainty and doubt which corrupts the heart, and the one who commits it antagonises Allah The Almighty, His Messenger and the believers. Mocking religion implies that the person who mocks the religion prefers something else to it, regardless of what he actually prefers.
I ask Allah to assist us in living by the Qur’an and Sunnah. I pray that He lets us recognise the truth for what it is and helps us to follow it, and that He let 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.
My respected people! Anything good I have said in my today’s Sermon is from Allah the Almighty, and any mistakes are my own and I 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 Most Merciful.
This Jumu’ah Khutbah (Friday Sermon) was prepared for delivery today Friday, Dhul-Qa’adah 2nd, 1440 AH (July 5, 2019), by Imam Murtadha Muhammad Gusau, the Chief Imam of Nagazi-Uvete Jumu’ah and Alhaji Abdur-Rahman Okene’s Mosques, Okene, Kogi State, Nigeria. He can be reached through: email@example.com or +2348038289761.
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