Islam

Friday Sermon: August 29

By Babatunde Jose

Late Abibu Oluwa, the bard, said in one of his all-time epic admonitions addressed to late Aderibigbe Olaseinde:

The absence of elders herald the ruin of the community;

The death of the ‘patriarch’ turns the homestead into a parlous grave;

The gangster does not roam the day while a well-born does not roam the nights;

If you are doing good, continue doing it and if it’s evil you do continue; both good and evil have their reward and are never in vain; there is always hope for the living;

Let us feign death in order to know those that will mourn us;

Let us take a walk and hurt our feet, to see who will show us compassion;

It can never be too bad for one not to have a sympathizer, but who it will be, we do not know;

We should not gloat over the death of anyone as we must all die one day; it is not known who is next, but surely death must come; this earthly life is only for a fixed time and it is very short; however, our destinies are not the same. Some are destined for a short life, while some live very long.

We beseech God to pardon the trespasses of our parents.

The insect that devours the plant is blameless; it is the beauty of the plant that attracts it. The world is a mighty ocean and we humans are like the sea; and it is only by the grace of God that we traverse through life.

There are conditions associated with death: It is not meet for us to follow the dead into their graves; we only see them off and return home. We are told that the dead pray for the living, just as we the livings pray for the dead. For sure, one day, we too would be like them; which is the essence of praying. May we too have people who will offer prayers for us when we are no more! We pray that they would be comfortable in the grave and not suffer the loneliness and punishment of the grave. We admonish them not to eat worms but only those things that are permitted in heaven.

There is no iota of doubt that there is a resurrection and Day of Reckoning. The only problem is that contrary to the belief that we will reunite with the departed on that day, it might not be as feasible as we envisage. On that fateful day, each will be preoccupied with the matter at hand; on that day, we would not have time for fraternization.

May Allah bestow His mercy on us!

We have all sinned; we have transgressed and broken the commandments. Many do not show compassion and love for their neighbors. We failed to give them water when they were thirsty, nor offer them food when they were hungry. We did not put clothes on the back of our wretched neighbors; neither did we offer them shelter from the elements. We have cheated the orphans and converted their inheritance. We have dispossessed the people and impoverished them; sending them into a state of tattered penury. We robbed the people of their patrimony and turned an erstwhile prosperous people into beggars. We have desecrated the house of God, by adorning them with graven images. And we have committed the ultimate sin of worshiping other gods other than the living God: We now worship money! We lust after our neighbor’s wife and covet his belongings. We have been ungrateful to God. We neither thank him for his benevolence nor for His mercies.

There is a day of Judgment which we should all have in mind. It is sure as day. Immanuel Kant, the great German philosopher said: ‘The drama of this life is not complete; there must be a second scene to it . . . Therefore, there must be another world, where justice will be carried out”- Let us start preparing for the Day of Judgment. When we get there, what shall we tell our maker? What will be our report card? Let us remember the day when we shall not be able to lift a finger; the day when all our wealth shall not avail us; the day when we shall leave all our limousines and be shrouded and conveyed to the burial site in a rented hearse; the day when we shall travel abroad as a first class passenger and return as cargo; the day when we shall no more be referred to in the present tense but as late; the day when our beautiful wives, girlfriends, mistresses and concubines will not be able to touch us, talk less of sleeping with us; a day when our children will no longer see us again but in the dream; the day when we will leave this world as naked and empty as we came. Let us always remember the words of our prophet: “A well-dressed soul in this world may be naked in the hereafter”. Subhanallah!  In the Book of Job in the Old Testament we read:” ‘And said, Naked came I out of my mother’s womb, and naked shall I return thither. . . . .. Job 1:21 This passage from the Bible will one day apply to all of us. Inna lillah wa ina illehi rajiun.

We should start reflecting on all we are doing. Are we being fair; to our wives, children and parents, our siblings, our neighbors and our friends; are we being just in our dealings with all and sundry; are we being equitable in our affairs? Finally, have we rendered unto Caesar that which belongs to Caesar and unto God that which belongs to God?

On the Day of Judgment, therefore, there will be many things that will occupy our minds that we will not have time for each other. It will be every man for himself. We all have cases to answer; may God have mercy on all of us. For those who still run after the ‘dunia’ let the words of Rahman Ahmad resonate in their ears:

 “those who craved to amass wealth for themselves would give account to God on the Day of Judgment. “Often times, we forget about death and think of how to acquire properties. How foolish and unmindful have human beings become to remember the futility of life because death will come whether you are ready or not. “There will be no SSS and dispatch rider, all the paraphernalia of office will be lost and you will be caught up in a serious traffic. Every leader will be brought in chains on the Day of Judgment. It is not the number of years we live that matter, but how well we live; we should always live according to Allah’s wishes and impact positively on the lives of others while alive.” Sheik Abdu Rahman Ahmad, Chief Missioner, Ansar-Ud-Deen Society of Nigeria.

August 29, is the Annual Remembrance Prayer for our departed souls: A family ritual that started 59 years ago.  Starting from the two progenitors of the Jose clan who were sold into slavery; first to Whydah in Dahomey and later to Bahia in Brazil from where the surname Jose was derived. There is no doubt they deserve our prayers and supplications to Allah for the repose of their souls and their admittance to Jannatul Firdous.

May Allah accept our prayers and forgive us our sins.

Barka Juma’at and happy weekend

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