Friday Sermon: True significance of the term/word 'profit'

April 24th, 2009

Huzur gave a discourse on the true significance of the term/word ‘profit’ in his Friday Sermon today.

Huzur said a word that we listen and use in our everyday life a lot is gain/profit. Business people very much rely on this word, be it a street vendor or a person running a multi-million multi-national business. They are ever of the mind-set to maximise their profit through lawful means and these days also through un-lawful means. A person unconnected to the world of business is also aware and mindful of what is advantageous to him/her and for him/her this is seeking his/her benefit. Thus is the worldly usage of this word. However, this word also has a lot of usage in religious and spiritual terms and Huzur said he would give a discourse on this in light of ahadith and Quranic verses.

Huzur said the original Arabic word naf’a (gain/profit) signifies man to avail of something, be of benefit, be of use and beneficial. If the word is pronounced as naf’fa then it connotes a person to be of use/benefit to another.  The word naf’a denotes ‘good’, it signifies the means through which a person attains his goal. Indeed Al Nafi (the Benefactor) is a Divine attribute and it means that Being Who is a source of benefit.

The Holy Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be on him) taught us the various ways through which a believer can of benefit/advantage to another. He said it is essential for each Muslim to give alms. He was asked what if a person does not have the means to give alms. The Prophet replied such a person should use their hands to work hard, derive benefit from the work and give alms. He was asked what if a person cannot manage this. The Prophet replied a person in need should help a person in difficulty. It was asked what if this is also not possible. The Prophet replied then such a person should desist from evil and do good, this would be his alms-giving.    

The Holy Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be on him) said that a person who removed a branch of tree from the road with the intention that it did not cause difficulty to another Muslim was admitted entrance to Paradise by God. The Prophet said a person who conceals knowledge through which people’s affairs and matters of religion can be benefitted will be chastised by God in the Hereafter.  Huzur said the true profit of a believer is in seeking the pleasure of God, which is eternal and the accounts of which will be settled in the Hereafter.

Huzur explained that alms-giving is to remove the hunger and helplessness of the poor and the disadvantaged.

Hadhrat Aisha (may Allah be pleased with her) relates that she had a goat slaughtered and distributed the meat among the poor, some relatives and kept some for the household. When the Holy Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be on him) came home he enquired how much meat was left. Hadhrat Aisha (may Allah be pleased with her) replied that she had distributed all the meat except one piece of shoulder cut was left. The Prophet replied apart from the piece of shoulder all the meat was saved because the reward is with whatever was given to others, only that is going to be ultimately advantageous.

Huzur said everyone cannot attain the high moral station of the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be on him) however, by establishing his blessed model he has taught us to always be mindful of the needy and the disadvantaged. It should always be our viewpoint that the real benefit and gain is what one receives from God. Just as the Companions had asked the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be on him) what should they do if they did not have the capacity to give alms and the Prophet had told them to work with their hands, earn money so that they could have personal benefit and could also be beneficial to the nation. Huzur said therein is a lesson not to be a burden on the state, to be a ‘hand that gives not a hand that takes’.

Huzur said those living in the Western world are the recipient of social benefits/allowances from the state should reflect over this practice. Those who are unemployed should take on jobs even if they are not in accordance with their education/field etc. One should not be a burden on the state. An Ahmadi in particular should never give false information to receive benefits, such a practice would not be an advantageous dealing, in fact it would be a dealing of total loss. Huzur said the Ahmadis living in the Indian sub-continent and other countries should also always ensure as much as possible to ‘be the hand that gives and not the hand that receives’. As the aforementioned Hadith illustrates the Holy Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be on him) enjoined that in the situation where one does not have employment or if one does it is an employment that enables one to barely make ends meet one may help others through being of some service to them. Indeed he set the most excellent example of providing such service himself. An old woman who had come from outside Mecca was incited by many of the locals to stay away from the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be on him). They told her he was a magician who allured people to his ways. Purely by chance the old woman happened to meet the Prophet and asked for help and directions as she related her determination to stay away from ‘the person’ she had been warned about. The Prophet carried her belongings for her as he took her to the place she wanted to be and only upon reaching the destination he told her that he indeed was the person she was warned to steer clear of. Her simple reply was ‘in that case, your magic has truly worked on me’.

Huzur referred to the aforementioned Hadith yet again and explained that there are numerous acts of goodness that God has commanded us to do and by doing which we can derive benefit. There are good acts which require no expense, no physical strength but which are high in God’s sight and for which God rewards greatly. These are extremely beneficial dealings for us.

The Promised Messiah (on whom be peace) said that man should avoid evil and be eagerly inclined to good. He said ‘piety’ is two-faceted: to shun evil and to derive gain from doing good for others. These high stations can only be attained when one has belief in the Divine attributes and has their knowledge. Some people are audacious and do not abide by what God has enjoined and practice what is forbidden – even though they are compliant of the worldly rules and regulations. The reason for this can be that their faith is flawed.    

Huzur explained that God commands us to use whatever knowledge we have, be it religious or temporal, to give benefit to others. The Holy Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be on him) always enjoined to avoid concealing knowledge from others. He was the perfect human being yet he prayed in the presence of his Companions for aspects which he excelled at. This was to teach them the pious ways so that they would practice them and continue to implement them. Two of his prayers are as follows:

‘O Allah I seek Your refuge from that heart which is not afraid, from that prayer which is not accepted and from that self (nafs) which is not satiated and from that knowledge which is of no benefit. I come in Your refuge from these four aspects.’

‘O my Allah I seek that knowledge from You which is beneficial, that provision which is wholesome and that deed which is worthy of acceptance.’

Huzur said God’s help is forthcoming when one prays with the mediation of His most beloved person and for this we also have to put his blessed model in practice. Another of his prayers is:

‘O my Allah, grant me Your love and grant me the love of that person whose love will benefit me in Your sight. O’ my Allah, make those things from among my favourite things that You have granted me and those that You like, a source of my strength. O my Allah, grant me release from those of my favourite things that You have kept away from me. Make those things dear to me that You like.’

Citing from the writings of the Promised Messiah (on whom be peace) Huzur referred to verse 93 of Surah Al e Imran ‘Never shall you attain to righteousness unless you spend out of which you love…’ (3:93)  and said that man has a love of wealth but Allah has stated the above verse as a benchmark of real faith. Love of one’s nation and creation of God is part of one’s faith and unless one sacrifices one cannot provide benefit to another and this Quranic verse teaches sacrifice.

Huzur said by virtue of the Divine attribute of Al Nafi (the Benefactor) it is God alone Who can grant benefit and good. Man can only derive benefit for himself or indeed be of benefit to others only if God’s will is with him. This is why the Holy Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be on him) taught us to try and become a beneficial person by seeking God’s help for He is the true Benefactor and man can but only adopt His attributes on a human level in accordance to his individual capacity.

Huzur cited verse 67 of Surah Al Anbiya ‘He said, ‘Do you then worship instead of Allah that which cannot profit you at all, nor harm you?’ and explained that some ways of associating partners with God (shirk) are apparent while others are concealed. For example, at time of difficulty to be only mindful of worldly sources and to give undue attention to worldly ways and means. Huzur said of course worldly ways and means can be of any use only if God so wills. Huzur related an incident of a man who was looking for employment and met someone who told him that he knew a person very high-up who could help. He took his friend to see the successful person who agreed to offer him a position but asked him to come the next day to confirm this. Next morning the person arrived at the workplace on his bicycle and was stopped by security at the gate. Most confidently he told the security person who he was there to meet but was informed that the certain high-ranking person he had come to see had suffered a heart-attack before coming in to work and had passed away.  Huzur said such is the result of relying on others and not on God.

Huzur cited verses 89-90 of Surah Al Shu’ara  ‘The Day when wealth and sons shall not avail; but he alone will be saved who comes to Allah with a submissive heart.’ and said that if one does not practice piety, does not worship God, then it is pointless to feel smug about one’s wealth and family. If one’s offspring can be of use to one that is only in the instance when they remain firm on the good practices and piety of their parents. Explaining the Quranic term ‘submissive heart’ (qalb e saleem) as cited in the aforementioned verse Huzur said it is that heart which is free from the contamination of associating any partners to God, which is completely free of weakness of faith, which is free of any kind of deceit, is free even from the thought of wishing harm to another, is free from moral waywardness and is a heart that has compassion for others. Huzur prayed that may Allah grant us hearts that practice good and seek His pleasure. Huzur read an extract of the Promised Messiah’s (on whom be peace) writing in which he expounds his wish to have people who are mutually beneficial and of use to each other in his community. Huzur prayed that may we be enabled to attain these standard which the Promised Messiah (on whom be peace) set out before us in light of the Holy Qur’an and the Sunnah of the Holy Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be on him).