Sunday, 17 December 2017

Tafsan 

 

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TOPIC: THE MOSQUE AS A PLACE OF WORSHIP

 

We seek refuge in Allah from the accursed shaytan and start in the name of Allah, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful. Alhamdu lillah. We thank Him for making it possible for us to see another Friday.

 

We bear witness that there is no God but Allah, alone without any partners, and we bear witness that Muhammad (SAW) is His servant and His Messenger.

 

This week in shaa Allah, we will continue what we started last week and that is the series of jumuat sermon on the importance of partaking in the building of a mosque. The Quran portion below is relevant as a reference point to today’s sermon:

 

Lo! the first Sanctuary appointed for mankind was that at Becca, a blessed place, a guidance to the peoples; (Q3:96)

 

It has been said that the mosque institution is as old as man himself, Prophet Adam must have been the one who built the first mosque on earth. It is inconceivable that a community of believers, led and managed by Prophet Adam, regardless of its size and quantity, could have lived without a mosque no matter what its shape, dimensions and exact functions were. The earliest community of believers could not collectively practice the truth of Islam at all of its necessary levels in the absence of the idea of the mosque. Such would be unfeasible.

 

Allah says in the Qur'an: "The first House (of worship) appointed for man was that in Bakkah (i.e., Makkah): full of blessing and of guidance for all the worlds." (Alu 'Imran, 96)

 

Many people believe that, by virtue of human nature and the inseparability of man, Allah's words of guidance and Allah's houses on earth (mosques), the very first man on earth, prophet Adam, built the first House of worship referred to in the verse, i.e., al-Masjid al-Haram, or Ka'bah, or Baytullah (the House of Allah). Having descended on earth, Adam is said to have yearned for the exaltation and praises of Allah by angels he had accustomed himself to in the Garden of Eden, and, therefore, he desired to have a house which will resound with prayers, glorification and praises of Allah on the earth too. Allah fulfilled his wish and sent down Angel Jabra'il (Gabriel) to guide and help him in laying the foundations of and building al-Masjid al-Haram.

 

Others, on the other hand, contend that prophet Ibrahim (Abraham) and his son Isma'il, also a prophet, built al-Masjid al-Haram. Al-Masjid al-Haram is reputed to have been the first mosque on the earth appointed to man for the purpose. This conclusion rests on the following Qur'anic verses: "And remember Ibrahim and Isma'il raised the foundations of the House (with this prayer): "Our Lord, accept (this service) from us: for You are the All-Hearing, the All-Knowing." (al-Baqarah, 127)

 

"Behold! We pointed the site to Ibrahim of the (sacred) House, (saying): "Associate not anything (in worship) with Me; and sanctify My House for those who compass it round, or stand up, or bow, or prostrate themselves (therein in prayer)." (al-Hajj, 26)

 

However, in one hadith (the Prophet's tradition) the companion Abu Dharr is reported to have said: "I have asked the Prophet (pbuh): "Which mosque was built first on the earth?" The Prophet (pbuh) answered: "Al-Masjid al-Haram." Then I asked: "And which one thereafter?" He said: "Al-Masjid al-Aqsa." Then I asked: "What was the interval separating the two?" The Prophet (pbuh) replied: "Forty years."

 

Furthermore, in another Qur'anic verse, after Ibrahim, under Allah's guidance, had brought Isma'il, an infant then, and his mother Hajar to the barren land of Makkah, and after he had found there a dwelling place for them, he left them uttering the following supplication: "O our Lord! I have made some of my offspring to dwell in a valley without cultivation, by Your Sacred House, in order, o our Lord, that they may establish regular prayer: so fill the hearts of some among men with love towards them; and feed them with fruits; so that they may give thanks." (Ibrahim, 37)

 

The phrase "by Your Sacred House" denotes that the evidence, either physical or conceptual, of al-Masjid al-Haram had already existed at the time when Ibrahim first arrived in Makkah. The rebuilding of the mosque was executed afterwards by both Ibrahim and Isma'il, after the latter had grown up, during one of Ibrahim's subsequent visits. The Prophet (pbuh) likewise attested to this when he divulged some more information concerning the matter of Ibrahim's first visit to the barren land of Makkah. In one of his authentic traditions (hadith), he stated that Ibrahim left Isma'il and Hajar in the immediate vicinity of al-Masjid al-Haram (wada'ahuma 'ind al-bayt), and while reciting the aforementioned supplication, he faced it, i.e., he faced al-Masjid al-Haram, (istaqbala bi wajhihi al-bayt). 

 

Moreover, the Qur'an says that Allah "enjoined Ibrahim and Isma'il saying: purify My House for those who visit (it) and those who abide (in it) for devotion and those who bow down (and) those who prostrate themselves." (al-Baqarah, 125) According to some interpretations of this verse, prophets Ibrahim and his son Isma'il were asked to purify the K'abah and al-Masjid al-Haram from the impurities -- both physical and spiritual -- of all the statues and deities which had been associated with the first mosque on earth since the days of prophet Nuh (Noah) when the notion of outright polytheism was first tackled. This is yet another proof that the first mosque on earth, the Ka'bah and its al-Masjid al-Haram, was established long before prophet Ibrahim.

 

In a poetic verse quoted by Al- Iluri in his text Asl Qabaail Yaruba (Ohe  Origin of the Yoruba Tribe), ten sets of Allah’s creatures were mentioned as those that partook in the building or renovation of the Ka’bah. They are: The Angels, Prophet Adam, Prophet Shittu, Prophet Ibrahim, Amaalik, Qusiyy, The Quraysh Tribe, Jurhum, Abdullah ibn Zubayr and Hajjaj.

 

The records of the participation are not lost to humanity and even if they were, they remain firmly documented in the books with Allah. Therefore, brothers and sisters reading this sermon, the NASFAT Aseese Mosque being constructed on the Lagos-Ibadan Expressway is for all Muslims and those of us participating in its building and those who are highly encouraged to partake in it because they are yet to should be rest assured that this is an exercise that Allah will surely reward. The records of those that made it a reality will not be lost even to human beings that are in charge not to talk of Allah who is the Ever-Seeing.

 

May Allah help us as we partake in this laudable cause.