Friday Sermon: Friday Prayer (Salatul Jumuah)

By Babatunde Jose

“All praise be to Allah, we seek His aid and we seek His forgiveness and we seek refuge in Allah from the evil of our souls. Whomever Allah guides, no one will be able to mislead him. Whoever he leaves astray will have no guidance for him. And I testify that there is no god except Allah and that Muhammad is His slave and His Messenger whom He sent with the truth and as a warner before the Hour. Whoever obeys Allah and His Messenger will be guided aright, and whoever disobeys them will only harm his own self and he will not harm Allah, the Exalted, at all.”

We thank Allah fort the successful Unveiling of our book yesterday under the Chairmanship of Aremo Olusegun Osoba. And wish to thank all those who found time to attend the historic occasion. Highlight of the Unveiling was the remarks by Alhaji Femi Okunnu on the significance of the Friday prayer. This is a theme that would always be returned to in the course of the life of a Moslem. Allah said in the Quran:

O ye who believe! When the call is proclaimed to prayer on Friday (the Day of Assembly), hasten earnestly to the Remembrance of Allah, and leave off business (and traffic): That is best for you if ye but knew! And when the Prayer is finished, then may ye disperse through the land, and seek of the Bounty of Allah. And celebrate the Praises of Allah often (and without stint): that ye may prosper.

But when they see some bargain or some amusement, they disperse headlong to it, and leave thee standing. Say: “The (blessing) from the Presence of Allah is better than any amusement or bargain! And Allah is the Best to provide (for all needs).”(Quran 62:9-11) 

The essence of the Friday prayer is for the congregants to come to the remembrance of Allah. The holy Prophet said: “The similitude of someone who remembers his Lord and someone who does not is like that of the living and the dead.” (Al-Bukhari) He also said we should at all times Keep our tongue wet with the remembrance of Allah. (At Tirmidhi). 

There are many benefits in remembering Allah always. Among those that have been noted are the following:-

In remembering Allah we grow closer to Him. ‘Almighty Allah says: I am with my slave when he thinks of Me and I am with him when he mentions Me. For if he mentions Me to himself, I have mentioned him to Myself; and if he mentions Me in a gathering , I have mentioned him in a superior gathering. If he approaches Me by a hands width, I approach him by arms length; and if he approaches Me with and arm’s length, I approach him by a miles length. And if he comes to Me walking, I hasten to him swiftly.’ [Al-Bukhari and Muslim]

Remembrance of Allah revives the heart and gives it strength. Remembrance of Allah leads to the shade of Allah on the Day of Judgment. The Prophet said, ‘Seven kinds of people will be under the shade of Allah [on the Day of Resurrection], when there is no shade but Allah’s, and mentioned a person who remembers Allah.

Remembrance of Allah is a protection from the hard life in the world and blindness on the Day of Judgment. The Qur’an says,

But whosoever turns away from My remembrance, verily for him is a life narrowed down, and We shall raise him up blind on the Day of Judgment.’ He will say: ‘O my Lord! why hast Thou raised me up blind, while I had sight [before]?’ [Allah] will say: ‘Thus didst Thou, when Our Signs came unto you, disregard them: so wilt thou, this day, be disregarded. (Quran 20:124-126)

Remembrance of Allah is a protection from hellfire on the Day of Judgment. The Messenger of Allah said, ‘Shall I tell you about a protection from fire? They, ‘yes.’ He says, ‘The uttering of the words: ‘Subhana Allah [Allah is free from imperfection], Al-hamdu lillah [all praise is due to Allah], La ilaha illallah [there is no true god except Allah] and Allahu Akbar [Allah is the Greatest]…’

Remembrance of Allah restrains evil actions and prevents shameful deeds just as prayer does. The Qur’an says,

Recite what is sent of the Book by inspiration to thee, and establish Regular Prayer: For Prayer restrains from shameful and unjust deeds; and remembrance of Allah is the greatest (thing in life) without doubt. And Allah knows the (deeds) that ye do( Quran 29:45)

Remembrance of Allah is a reason for forgiving the sins, getting high status and great reward. Remembrance of Allah will increase reward in the scale.  Abu Hurayrah narrated: The Messenger of Allah  said, ‘There are two statements that are light for the tongue to remember, heavy in the Scales and are dear to he Merciful: Glory be to Allah and His is the praise, [and] Allah, the Greatest is free from imperfection].’ [Al-Bukhari and Muslim]

The purpose of the Huthba is for the Imam to exhort the believers to remember Allah  and remember their duty to worship and serve Him. We as human beings have been created as forgetful creatures and we need constant reminders. If we do not have these reminders then we fall into a state of heedlessness where all we see is the world in front of us and we forget Allah  and our duty towards Him. That is why the Khutbah is so important, it is to remind all believers that they are on this earth for a purpose. It is to remind them that there is a reality to this universe that they cannot forget, and that is they exist to worship and serve Allah  and one day soon they will stand before Him  and He  will judge them on how well they did in their duty towards Him.

It is therefore an obligation for us to leave and abandon all the affairs of the life of this world when the time of Salatul Jumuah comes. So whatever you are doing, whether it is sleeping or studying or working, you must leave all of that and go to Salatul Jumuah.

So when the Salah is completed, then disperse the land, and seek (for yourself) from the Grace of Allah, and remember Allah much so that you may be successful.( Quran 62:10)

Notice even the language that Allah uses when He  gives us this command.. We have to go out into the world and look for it. Just like the birds that leave their nests in the morning with their stomachs empty, they go out in the world and seek of Allah’s provision. They work the whole day looking for their food until finally when they come back to their nests in the evening, their stomachs are full. So similarly when we seek a livelihood through lawful means, we have to consider it as part of our worship and servitude to Allah. We have to work hard in this world to seek the sustenance from Allah. Only in paradise can we simply relax and have all of our food and provisions come to us with no effort. In the life of this world, Allah  has mandated that all of us must work hard to seek His  Fadl. This is true for the animals, it is true for disbelievers and it is true for the Muslims as well. The Yoruba aphorism comes to mind when they say, ‘Ojo’ku lojo‘sinmi’, ‘until death that rest comes’.

For some Muslims all that they can think about is gaining the provisions of this world. They wish to spend all of their time and effort to acquire as much wealth as possible. They forget the hadith of the Prophet  where he said that we should be in this world as if we are a traveller. A traveller does not seek too many provisions, he only looks for what can sustain him on his journey and what will get him to his destination. Our destination is the paradise of Allah  and His  pleasure. That is the goal that we must always focus and that is what we must strive to achieve.

In the final portion of this ayah Allah says “and remember Allah much that you may be successful”. So Allah is telling us that although we must go out in the world and seek of the blessings of Allah, we must remember Him at the same time.

May Allah always provide for everyone in this Ummah everything that they need! May Allah always keep our focus on Him and the Hereafter and not on the temporary and fleeting things of this world!

Barka Jumuah and a happy weekend


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