Huzur cited verse 184 to 187 of Surah Al Baqarah (2:184) and gave a discourse on the excellence of the holy month of Ramadan. Huzur said these days with the grace of God we are experiencing the blessed month of Ramadan in which fasting is prescribed to enhance taqwa and to further develop in spirituality so that we are granted Divine nearness. It also is a training course for these and to have an awareness of the acceptance of prayers. The first of the verses cited mentions that fasting is prescribed so that one may adopt taqwa and come into Allah’s refuge to be protected from all evil. Indeed the Holy Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be on him) said ‘fasting is a shield’. Huzur said when a person makes fasting his/her shield then Allah Himself would shield/protect such a person enabling him/her to avoid all sins and do good. However, the condition is that fast is kept with all its requisites, in which one’s ears, tongue, eyes, hands and all other limbs ‘fast’. The ‘shield’ would be only useful when one knows how to utilise it. The traveller and the ailing should not fast during Ramadan and are commanded to fulfil the fasts when able. Taqwa is in abiding and not in starving. Indeed recitation of the Holy Qur’an and putting its teaching in practice is also essential. A Hadith e Qudsi relates that Allah declares that He Himself is the reward of fasting.
Huzur explained that the ‘shield’ of fasting is beneficial when one while bringing one’s nafs (self) to accountability protects one’s ears and eyes from what is forbidden. Men are enjoined ghadd al basr (lowering/restraining of the eye) as are women. Huzur said if these practices are inculcated in Ramadan it can be hoped that the beneficence attained in Ramadan would continue later on. The ‘fasting of the tongue’ would be to respond to any verbal aggression with the words of the Hadith: ‘I am fasting’ and say no more. The ‘fasting of the hand’ would be not to do anything wrong with one’s hands for oneself or for another. For example a Muslim would not eat pork or drink alcohol but serving it to others constitutes noncompliance. Fasting would be a shield when a person implements all the restrictions that Allah has placed on a believer during fasting and would thus receive the ‘training’ that teaches one the use of the ‘shield’ that fasting is.
The Holy Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be on him) said that if a believer does not keep fast with all its requisites then Allah has no need anyone to starve. In these blessed days we have to seek the training so that we may spend our life in accordance to what is enjoined and what is forbidden, which will then act as our ‘shield’. During Ramadan not only do the believers make endeavours to shun what is forbidden rather they also avoid some permissible aspects for the pleasure of Allah and to inculcate a discipline in themselves. This becomes a source of spiritual development and Divine nearness. In the last of the verses cited this is the subject that is stated. With the mention of fasting the declaration of the words ‘I am near’ is a clear signal that when one strives to attain Divine nearness through the beneficence of these days [of Ramadan] then one can be sure that Allah Himself is the reward as He comes very close.
Huzur related a Hadith that a woman was running around oblivious of her surroundings (battlefield) looking for her child. She would go to any child she came across, hug and kiss the child and then move on. The Holy Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be on him) and his companions were watching the woman look for her lost/missing child. Eventually when she found her child she embraced the child and sat down with the child completely at peace. The Holy Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be on him) said that just as this woman was looking for her child most anxiously, oblivious of all the looming dangers, and upon finding the child sat down content and pleased, Allah is pleased more than this when His servant strives to attain His closeness and is drawn to do good. Huzur said why then should we not also make effort towards this. A mother can only provide limited peace and security to her child, our God is the Lord of all the worlds and is All Powerful. When He is pleased with His servant and embraces him, what can He not do and indeed does do. We should, therefore, supplicate to Him during these days more than before and cry out to Him and to beseech and implore Him. Our cries should not be made only when we are in need rather our cries should be made to attain His pleasure. What is His pleasure? To quote from (2:187), ‘they should hearken to Me and believe in Me’. Mere verbal belief is not enough, rather Allah wants our belief in Him and His Messenger to continue to develop only then can a believer be deemed to have perfect faith. This is why worship of God is enjoined, so that one continues to strives and make endeavours and also makes progress. Ramadan is also a link in this chain of striving and endeavour which believers should make full use of. If the cry of the believer is sincere then the verse states ‘I answer’. This would lead one to further spiritual development and acceptance of prayer would correspond with continual spiritual development.
Huzur read an extract from the writings of the Promised Messiah (on whom be peace) expounding (2:187) in which the Promised Messiah (on whom be peace) mentions the gradual removal of the veil or partition between man and God and said that in the blessed days of Ramadan Allah gives us an opportunity to try and remove this veil and make an effort to attain Divine nearness. What should be avoided is for the veil to come back on once Ramadan is over. Prayer is significant to attain the lifting of this veil and the most noteworthy prayer is to pray for the triumph of religion, to pray for the world to gather under the banner of the Holy Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be on him). This prayer would certainly attract Allah’s love and would also in accordance to His promise fulfil our personal needs. Ahmadis should pray fervently for the triumph of faith and for each one of us to stay firm on faith.
Today is the first Friday of Ramadan, in this blessed day we have two opportunities to supplicate to God. Indeed during Friday Prayer service, a moment comes when all prayers are granted acceptance, in addition during the time of Asr and Maghrib there is also such a moment. As no nafl may be said in the time between Asr and Maghrib one may spend the time in remembrance of Allah. Pray for the adverse circumstances the Community is facing in some parts of the world, because only Allah’s grace will remove our difficulties and we will witness acceptance of prayer, InshaAllah. Huzur said we should make specific prayers that Allah may make us witness triumph of Islam and Ahmadiyyat in our lifetimes. May He cover our negligence, may He show us the ways to His nearness and make seeking His nearness our objective. We are very weak but may we partake some portion from the Divine promise to the Promised Messiah (on whom be peace) ‘You have been helped with prestige…’ Allah promised the Promised Messiah (on whom be peace) that those who deride him will get their just desserts. He received the revelation: ‘We shall suffice thee for those who mock thee’. We have witnessed what happens to those who mock and deride him however, we should be mindful that due to our weaknesses and our mistakes the days of fulfilment of Divine promises are not delayed. May Allah cover our faults and exhibit His glory for the Promised Messiah (on whom be peace) for us. May we be true models of his servants in every town and city of the world and may our weaknesses and our negligence never make us distant from God. May our weak bodies be granted the strength to give every sacrifice for faith.
Citing a prayer of the Holy Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be on him)
“O Allah, I supplicate You to grant me Your love, and the love of those who love You, and the action that would lead me to win Your love, and make my love for You more dear to me than myself, my family, and cold refreshing water” Huzur said this is the kind of love of God that would make each act of ours a source of attaining Allah’s pleasure. We would curb our selfish egotistic desires for the sake of Allah. May our love of wealth, of our family (63:10) never keep us away from the love of God.
Huzur said we should pray for the triumph of faith with complete sincerity and also for Divine nearness. This would increase us in taqwa and each person could be able to hear the sound of ‘I am near’ in this Ramadan and would witness ‘I answer the prayer of the supplicant’ and would be thus guided.
Addressing the Community Huzur said O’ servants of the Messiah of Muhammad, you, who have been shown the ways of guidance by Allah, who are being persecuted in some countries of this world, God has given you this opportunity to pray with sincerity in Ramadan with all the aforementioned references. This is the first Ramadan of the second century of Ahmadiyya Khilafat, with prayers and supplications make it a Ramadan that would determine new paths, generate prayers that would absorb love of God. The success of the Messiah of Muhammad is only through prayer.
God descends from the seventh heaven during Ramadan, may He take us in His embrace and may we experience the fulfilment of His promises.