By Imam Murtadha Gusau
In the name of Allah, the Most Merciful, the Bestower of Mercy
All praise is for Allah, we praise Him, we seek His help, we ask for His forgiveness, and we seek refuge with Allah from the evils of our own souls and the wickedness of our actions, whoever Allah guides, there is none that can lead him astray, and whoever Allah allows to go astray, there is none that can lead him to the right path.
I testify and bear witness that there is no deity worthy of worship in truth but Allah, alone, without any partners. And I testify and bear witness that Muhammad (Peace be upon him) is His Servant and Messenger. To proceed:
My dear brothers and sisters! Know that, Islam has given equal rights to everyone. Our Lord, Allah, being our creator, is the greatest and praiseworthy.
The right of Allah is the greatest, the most important and the one that is to be respected, because it is the right of Allah, the Creator, the Immense, the Ruler; He is the One who manages everything. It is the right of the Sovereign, the True, the Apparent, the Ever-Living, the Ever-Subsisting, the Holder of the heavens and the earth, the One Who created everything and gave it its own proportions with His sacred Wisdom.
It is the right of the One Who created you from nothing when your existence was not even mentioned; it is the right of Allah, Who gave you sustenance while you were in your mother’s womb under three [superposed layers of] darkness and no one could give you food nor the essential elements to your development and to keep you alive. For you, He made flow (the milk) from the breast (that breastfeed you), He has guided you to the two paths (of good and evil), He granted you parents to look after you, He gave you and prepared you. He gave you blessings, reason, understanding, and He prepared you to accept it and to take advantage of it. Allah Almighty says:
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“And Allah brought you forth from the wombs of your mothers knowing nothing, and gave you hearing and sight and hearts that haply you might give thanks.” [Qur’an, 17:78]
If Allah prevented you from His blessings, even for a blink of eye, you would perish; if He deprived you of His Mercy, you would not be able to live a second.
If that is the blessing and the mercy of Allah unto you, then His right on you is the greatest of all rights, because it is the right in compensation for having created you, prepared and given you everything He has granted you. [Nevertheless,] He wants from you neither subsistence nor food. Allah the Most High says:
“We ask not of you a provision: We provide for you. And the sequel is for righteousness.” [Qur’an, 20:132]
Allah Almighty wants from you only one thing, from which you will benefit: He wants you to worship Him alone, with no partner. Allah Almighty says: “I created the jinn and humankind only that they might worship Me. I seek no livelihood from them, nor do I ask that they should feed Me. Lo! Allah! He is that gives livelihood, the Lord of unbreakable might.” [Qur’an, 51:56-58]
Allah the Most High wants you to be His servant in every sense that the lordship includes, in the same way that Allah is a Lord in the full sense of the Lordship. He wants you to be a submitted servant, humble, obedient to His orders, deviating from His prohibitions, believing in all that He informed you, because you see on yourself His multiple and successive blessings.
Respected servants of Allah! Are you then not ashamed to exchange those blessings against ungratefulness? For example, if someone granted you his blessings, you would feel ashamed to disobey him and to openly contradict him; then what about your Lord, your creator, Who grants you all the blessings in your possession, and Who preserves you from all evil by His Mercy? Allah the Most High says:
“And whatever of comfort you enjoy, it is from Allah. Then, when misfortune reaches you, unto Him you cry for help.” [Qur’an, 17:53]
And this right Allah has imposed for Himself is simple and easy to whom Allah facilitates, because Allah has put in it no difficulty, discomfort, nor pain. Allah Almighty says:
“And strive for Allah with the endeavour which is His right. He has chosen you and has not laid upon you in religion any hardship; the faith of your father Ibrahim (is yours). He has named you Muslims of old time and in this (Scripture) that the messenger may be a witness against you, and that you may be witnesses against mankind. So establish worship, pay the poor due, and hold fast to Allah. He is your Protecting Friend. A blessed Patron and a blessed Helper!” [Qur’an, 22 :78]
This is exemplary belief, faith in the truth and a pious deed that bears fruit. It is belief based on love and veneration, and whose fruits are sincerity (the cult exclusivity) and perseverance.
Five daily and night prayers by which Allah forgives all sins, raises in ranks, purifies the hearts and works out situations, and that the servant performs to the best of his capabilities. Allah Almighty says:
“So keep your duty to Allah as best you can.” [Qur’an, 64:16]
And the Prophet (Peace be upon him) told Imran Ibn Husain (RA), when the latter was sick:
“Pray standing; if you cannot, then sitting; and if you cannot, then lying on your side.” [Bukhari]
Alms (Zakkat) which represents a small portion of your belongings and that you give for the needs of Muslims, poor people, beggars, travelers, to indebted persons and others among those who are entitled to this charity.
Fasting for one month in the year (in the month of Ramadan), which the sick person or the traveler can do later, and for which the one who is permanently unable nourishes (feed) a poor person per day [of fasting missed].
The pilgrimage to the Sacred House [Makkah] once in his existence for the one who has the possibility to perform it.
These are the bases of the rights of Allah, and all other rights become mandatory only in special circumstances, such as Jihad (Struggle) in the path of Allah, or for a reason justifying it, such as helping the oppressed.
Look, O brothers and sisters, this right whose practice is easy but whose reward is immense. If you respect it, you will succeed in this world and in the hereafter, you will be saved from Hell and enter Paradise. Allah Almighty says:
“Whosoever is removed from the Fire and is made to enter Paradise, he indeed is triumphant. The life of this world is but comfort of illusion.” [Qur’an, 3:185]
My dear brothers and sisters! Prophet Muhammad (Peace be upon him) is the last Prophet sent by Allah for entire mankind. His right is the most important among the rights of creatures, and no one among the creatures has a greater right than that of the Messenger of Allah (Peace be upon him). Allah the Most High says in Noble Qur’an:
“Lo! We have sent you (O Muhammad) as a witness and a bearer of good tidings and a warner, that you (mankind) may believe in Allah and His Messenger, and may honour Him, and may revere Him, and may glorify Him at early dawn and at the close of day.” [Qur’an, 48:8-9]
That is why one must love the Prophet (Peace be upon him) more than anyone else, more than oneself, one’s own child and one’s father. The Messenger of Allah (Peace be upon him) said:
“None of you will have faith till he loves me more than his father, his own child and the whole mankind.” [Bukhari]
Among the rights of the Prophet (Peace be upon him), we must honour, respect and love him in a way that belongs to him, without any exaggeration nor neglect. Honouring him during his lifetime is to honour his Sunnah and his noble person, and after his death, to honour his Sunnah and his right legislation. The one who observes the way in which the Companions (RA) respected the Messenger of Allah (Peace be upon him) will know how these noble beings have performed their duty towards the Messenger of Allah.
“Urwah Bin Mas’ud said to the people of Quraish when they sent him to the Prophet (Peace be upon him) to negotiate the Pact of Al-Hudaibiyyah: ‘I have met kings such as Caesar, Chosroes and the Negus, but I did not see a king who is respected by his Companions as the Companions of Muhammad respect him (Peace be upon him). By Allah, if he never spat phlegm but one of his Companions would take it by hand and rubs his face and skin with it. When he commands them, they quickly respond to his command. When he performs ablution, they are about to kill one another in order to use the water of his ablution. When they speak before him, they lower their voices and never stare at him out of reverence.”
This is how they loved him, and Allah created him with good behaviour, a smooth and easy character, and if he had been rude with a hard heart, they would have run away from him. Among the rights of the Prophet (Peace be upon him) is to believe in what he told us about the past and the future, obey his orders, move away from what he forbade and blamed, believe that his guidance and legislation are the most perfect, and that no law or system, wherever it comes from, should be preferred to it. Allah Almighty says:
“But nay, by your lord, they will not believe (in truth) until they make you judge of what is in dispute between them and find within themselves no dislike of that which you decide, and submit with full submission.” [Qur’an, 4:65]
Allah the Most High says:
“Say, (O Muhammad, to mankind): If you love Allah, follow me; Allah will love you and forgive you your sins. Allah is Forgiving, Merciful.” [Qur’an, 3:31]
Among the rights of the Prophet (Peace be upon him), is defending his Legislation and his guidance according to one’s capabilities and with adequate weapons.
If the enemy attacks him with (false) evidence with ambiguities, one must defend him with science, refuting these (false) evidence and ambiguities and showing their falsehood. And if he attacks
him with weapons, he responds in the same way.
No believer can remain silent while hearing someone against the Law of the Prophet (Peace be upon him) or his noble person, while he has the means to defend them.
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 through: firstname.lastname@example.org or +2348038289761.