Huzur continued with the subject of the Divine quality of being Sattar in today’s Friday Sermon.
It is cited in several places in the Holy Qur’an that Allah the Exalted forgives the mistakes of His servants and in disregarding the mistakes He covers the person’s faults by virtue of Him being Sattar (Coverer of faults). The word Sattar connotes to cover and protect something. Our Loving God forgives our countless mistakes and does not punish us for our shortcomings instantly. True believers are those who benefit from this kindness by becoming aware of their failings and try to reform rather than get more audacious. When God covers the failings of man then man should also pay attention to his lapses and come in the sphere of God’s refuge and experience wondrous manifestations of the Divine quality of being Sattar.
Huzur cited verse 8 of Surah Al Ankabut, ‘And as to those who believe and do good works, We shall surely remove from them their evils, and We shall surely give them the best reward of their works’ (29:8) and explained that the Arabic word in verse ‘Kaf-fira’ connotes ‘to cover’. Its significance here is that when such people lapse, God’s treatment with them is as if they have not committed any vice. He is Most Gracious and does not seize man instantly that he may not be able to face the world. The quality of God being Sattar covers the failings and removes the evil consequences of the vice from those who are inclined towards reformation as if the evil did not take place. Even if the matter is disclosed God does not allow it to spread in case of those who turn to Him. God, Who is Sattar and is also the Master, not only covers the fault at the person’s regret at having done wrong but rewards his good works in a most excellent manner.
The Promised Messiah (on whom be peace) said that because of his natural weakness, man at times is unable to abide by God’s commandments and his self that incites to evil (Nafse Ammarah) overtakes. However, if he repents his misdemeanours God’s mercy saves him from destruction. Huzur remarked that quite contrary to the true depiction of the God of Islam as given by the Promised Messiah (on whom be peace) today’s robe-clad Muslim religious leaders present a severe and harsh depiction – and this is what gives the Christians and those without religious belief to portray an erroneous illustration of the God of Islam. Indeed, the God of Islam is Sattar and He is Ever Merciful (Raheem) and has enjoined the believers to adopt His attributes according to their capacity on a human level.
The Promised Messiah (on whom be peace) said that the summary of what God states in the Qur’an is that O’ people do not lose hope with Me, I am Ever Merciful, Compassionate, Coverer of faults and the Great Forgiver and I am Most Merciful. Love Me more than you love your fathers for none loves as I do. If you walk to Me, I shall run to you, whoever will seek Me shall find Me. I forgive the sins of one who repents even if the sins are as enormous as a mountain. I have created you therefore My mercy encompasses all of you.
Huzur said last Friday he briefly cited matters pertaining to disputes between husband and wife and that neither desists from unkind remarks. Huzur said God dislikes this enormously for He has drawn attention to both husband and wife of their respective obligations. Huzur cited part of verse 188 of Surah Al Baqarah, ‘…They are a garment for you, and you are a garment for them…’ (2:188). Explaining Huzur said garment is a source of cover, a source of embellishment and protects one from extreme weather conditions. Similarly, when a man and a woman commit themselves to the pact of marriage then their utmost efforts should be to make a success of it. This would entail covering of mutual shortcomings. Ahmadi married couples should compliment each other and be exemplary. At times, young married couples say that they have not found any mutual compatibility. On investigation it comes to light that neither had tried to understand each other. At times, it seems as if the marriage was looked upon as a pastime. There is a tremendous lack of tolerance and mountains are made out of mole-hills. Huzur said if husband and wife pledge that they will continue to be a source of peace and comfort for each other to seek God’s pleasure there would be no problems.
Huzur said most conflicts result from anger and suppressing of anger is liked by God and He has indeed commanded it. Each Ahmadi who has come in the bai’at (pledge of allegiance) of the Promised Messiah and thus promised to bring a pure change in him or herself should try and fulfil the promise made in the bai’at. Huzur said when he hears of marital conflicts he is reminded of the young girl who gave an excellent lesson to a couple. The young girl saw a married couple fighting and she was so astonished to see the spectacle that she kept staring at them. The couple noticed this and asked the girl what was the matter, had she never seen her mother and father quarrel, did they never get angry? The girl replied that yes they did get angry but when her father got angry her mothers kept quiet and when her mother got angry her father kept quiet. Huzur said this is a way to inculcate tolerance.
Huzur said there are instances where only a few days after the wedding the couple maintain that they are not compatible although the betrothal had taken place a long time ago. They are not discreet about private matters concerning each other and divulge information - some ‘confidants’ simply to enjoy tittle-tattle and some due to their inclination to give wrong advice give erroneous suggestions. Huzur said the giving of counsel or advice is a trust – one should always give advice that makes a home and not advice that breaks a home.
This is the reason God has drawn attention in the Holy Qur’an towards the term ‘garment/raiment of righteousness (taqwa)’ in Surah Al A’raf it is stated, ‘O children of Adam! We have indeed sent down to you raiment to cover your shame, and to be an elegant dress; but the raiment of righteousness — that is the best. That is one of the Signs of Allah, that they may remember.’ (7:27) Huzur said there should be a difference in the standard of the attire/garment of a believer and that of a non-believer; indeed decent people have a distinctive standard. However, in the West and in the East the materialistic section of society gives preference to that attire which is revealing – in the West that seems to be the preference across the board. While for men the measure of being well-dressed means being fully clothed but it is men who wish the clothing of women to be revealing and mostly women also want this; women who have no fear of God, who have no covering/garment of righteousness. Men wish their wives to wear revealing clothes so that they may be considered admirable and trendy whether their clothes cover-up or not. However, believers, both men and women, always wish to wear clothes that are a source of seeking the pleasure of God and that is possible when they also seek the garment of taqwa.
Life has its ups and downs and relationships go through various stages. However, a true believer does not disclose his friend’s confidentiality at times of mutual differences; neither do married couple who have taqwa divulge private information about each other. Rather for the sake of attaining Allah’s pleasure they are always discreet and this cannot be achieved unless one turns to God.
Citing verse 28 of Surah Al A’raf ‘O children of Adam! let not Satan seduce you, even as he turned your parents out of the garden, stripping them of their raiment that he might show them their shame. Truly he sees you, he and his tribe, from where you see them not. Surely, We have made satans friends for those who believe not’ (7:28) Huzur said a believer never wears clothes which rather than cover, are revealing. Sometimes, from here as well from Pakistan reports are received that some young women not only abandon purdah but also wear inappropriate clothes. Huzur said ‘I say this to every Ahmadi man and woman that the best clothing is the clothing of taqwa, try and keep it on so that God’s attribute of being Sattar always covers you...If you have faith and you have accepted the Imam of the age, then you will have to make special effort to protect yourself from satanic temptations and cover yourself with the covering taqwa.’
Huzur read an extract from the writings of the Promised Messiah (on whom be peace) elucidating the mercy, clemency and covering of faults of God. If man does not attempt to be audacious and tries to protect him or herself from evil and seeks the covering of taqwa, then God wraps such a person in His quality of being Sattar in a way that all sins are erased; indeed when God is pleased with man His blessings are limitless.
Citing verse 32 of Surah Al Nisa ‘If you keep away from the more grievous of the things which are forbidden you, We will remove from you your minor evils and admit you to a place of great honour’ (4:32) Huzur said it should not be inferred from this that one should merely keep a lookout for grievous sins so that they may be avoided – rather a true believer avoids all sin. The Holy Qur’an does not specify grievous sins and minor sins; whatever is forbidden by God is a sin. Huzur said some commentators of the Holy Qur’an have opined that the height of any sin may be termed as a ‘grievous sin’. If one shuns a sin before it reaches its extreme, God covers one’s failings and forgives.
Huzur cited verse 38 of Surah Al Shura ‘And who eschew the more grievous sins and indecencies, and, when they are wroth, they forgive’ (42:38) and said that here God has expounded that any sin can be a grievous sin. The Holy Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be on him) said that modesty and bashfulness is part of faith, for those who run after trends and wear revealing clothes this should be a matter of great concern that while God wishes to cover faults and failings and runs to man, man does not seek any benefit from this Divine grace. The aforementioned verse cites anger along with grievous sins and indecency. Many sins are the outcome of anger and fury. If we stop and think there is so much wrong that we do without thinking but God, despite having complete power to punish, continues to cover our failings. Yet man is enraged at small matters.
Huzur said by coming into the bai’at of the true and ardent devotee of the Holy Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be on him) we have accepted the ‘Crier’ of the age, we therefore declare that now without accepting him high standards of belief cannot be attained, we, who declare that God’s pleasure is in accepting the Promised Messiah, we, who declare that now the teachings of the Holy Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be on him) will be implemented through the Promised Messiah (on whom be peace) should pay heed to our worship of God, should pay heed to sin, should pay heed to raising the standard of our modesty, should pay heed to lessening our anger so that we are exemplary for the world. May God make us the recipient of the Quranic prayer, ‘Our Lord, we have heard a Crier calling us unto faith, ‘Believe ye in your Lord,’ and we have believed. Our Lord, forgive us, therefore, our errors and remove from us our evils, and in death number us with the righteous’ (3:194) – may we always seek a measure of God’s quality of Sattar, may God make it so.