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 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 be upon 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.”

Dear brothers and sisters! As you know, Islam is often described as a religion that emphasises the use of violence in its da’wah method. The stereotype is formed by a number of literature and media that depicted Islam as a religion of violence.

Respected servants of Allah! Events in Afghanistan are unfolding rapidly. The whole world is waiting to see what happens next. Will there be more bloodshed, revenge, and waves of refugees fleeing for safety? Or will there be a different outcome, one that stops the violence and brings a new era of peace and reconciliation in that troubled land?

Fourteen and a half centuries ago, our beloved Prophet Muhammad (Peace be upon him) entered the gates of Makkah as a conqueror. But he entered without violence. He forgave his enemies. He conquered their hearts instead.

With his 10,000 well-armed men, he could easily have hunted them down and punished them. They had killed, tortured, and oppressed so many of his followers for so many years. There could have been a bloodbath in Makkah. But the Messenger of Allah, who is a mercy to the world wasn’t a man of revenge. Allah Almighty says:

“And We have not sent you (O Muhammad) except as a Mercy to all the worlds.”

The people of Makkah waited in fear and trepidation for what might come. They all knew the ancient tradition of tribal justice, and they expected the worst. But the Prophet Muhammad (Peace be upon him) announced a general amnesty, saying that he forgave those who had harmed him and his people, just as Prophet Yusuf (AS) forgave his brothers. The response was incredible. Not only was there a collective sigh of relief, but people were so grateful for mercy that the entire population of the city abandoned idol worship and became Muslims. The Talibans, who nowadays have the power to take revenge, might well consider this wonderful example from history.

In recent times, Nelson Mandela showed mercy when he became President of South Africa, after 27 years in prison. He forgave his oppressors and invited them to confess their sins at a Truth and Reconciliation Commission. This became a model for the peace accord in Northern Ireland, in which Mandela’s advisers played a big part. He knew Imam Abdurrahman Bassier, who came to lead the Jumu’ah prayers for Muslim prisoners on Fridays. Mandela admired Prophet Muhammad (Peace be upon him). He loved Muslims and appointed Abdullah (Dullah) Umar as Minister of Justice in South Africa’s first multiracial government.

We can only hope that in Afghanistan and elsewhere, Muslims and other leaders around the world can win over the hearts and minds of their enemies by being merciful. Our world today has suffered more than its fair share of violence and revenge.

Let us all pray for peace and reconciliation. Let us turn to Heaven and ask Allah to help us and to help those who have lost their homes and loved ones in wars, ethno-religious crisis, tribal crisis, fires, floods, and droughts in so many parts of the world.

Respected brothers and sisters! Allah is “Muqallibul qulub,” “The Turner of hearts,” so let us turn our pleas to heaven, as Prophet Muhammad (Peace be upon him) taught us in one of his favourite Du’as/supplications:

“Ya Muqallibul qulub, Thabbit qalbi ala dinik (O Turner of hearts, (please) turn my heart towards Your religion).”

The power of mercy was clearly shown in many examples during the lifetime of our beloved Prophet Muhammad (Peace be upon him).

When the people of Ta’if chased him out of their city, abusing him and stoning him till the blood flowed, the Angel of Mountains offered to crush the city and destroy its people. But Allah’s Praised One, resisted, saying that he wasn’t the Prophet of revenge. He was the Prophet of mercy. Perhaps their children will become Muslim one day. And they did.

Another example. Hind, the widow of Abu Sufyan, offered to free Wahshi Ibn Harb, an Abyssinian slave, if he would kill Hamzah, the brave warrior and an uncle of Prophet Muhammad (Peace be upon him). Wahshi was a skilled javelin thrower. He used that skill to deadly effect in the Battle of Uhud, when he killed Hamzah (RA). Prophet Muhammad (Peace be upon him) suffered indescribable pain and grief. Even so, after the battle, he forgave his uncle’s killer, and invited him to Islam.

It is said that Wahshi at first did not respond to the invitations. He was now a free man, but killing Hamzah was a heavy price for his freedom. He was so overcome with guilt and remorse. He felt that what he had done was unforgivable. His sin was beyond redemption. He felt that the hellfire was all that was he deserved. Then he heard this verse from Surah Az-Zumar (Qur’an, 39:53):

“Say (on My behalf), “O servants of Mine who have acted recklessly against their own selves, do not despair of Allah’s mercy. Surely, Allah will forgive all sins. Surely, He is the One who is the Most-Forgiving, the All-Merciful.”

On hearing this, Wahshi found a glimmer of hope in his dark clouds of despair. Surely, if Allah would forgive him, then all was not lost? He made his way to Prophet Muhammad (Peace be upon him), where he declared his Shahadah. For the rest of his life, he was one of the foremost soldiers in the ranks of the Muslims.

My brothers and sisters! Let us learn to be more merciful in all our relationships. Let us be merciful to husbands and wives, parents and children, friends and neighbours. We have our best example in our beloved Prophet Muhammad (Peace be upon him). Finally, let us reflect on these two Hadith:

“Allah will reward gentleness what He will not reward for harshness.” [Muslim]

“Be merciful to those on earth and He Who is above the heavens will be merciful to you.”

Dear brothers and sisters! Islam is the religion of peace and mercy for all creatures. But, now-a-days, some ignoramuses has spread misconception about the Islam, that as, it is the religion of sword for terror. But, the actual fact is that, Islam is the religion of peace and it condemns extremism and violence. Islam promotes the peace, calm, harmony, and tranquility in society. Islam is a peaceful religion, its best examples, we can see, in the practical life of Noble Prophet (Peace be upon him). He was the Messenger of Allah Almighty to convey the message of honesty, piousness, peace, mercy, integrity, and love. He had never done any activity which indicate act of terrorising, misconduct, racism and violation against humanity. Even though, he showed the mercy on animals, insects and plants. The world knows him, as a ‘Mercy into the world.’ From the life of Noble Prophet (Peace be upon him), it is concluded that Islam is the religion of peace and humanity. It did not spread by the forced of sword, rather, it spread by its golden quality.

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 Jumu’ah Khutbah (Friday sermon) was prepared for delivery today, Friday, Safar 16, 1443 A.H. (September 24, 2021).

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