Friday Sermon: Blessed month of Ramadan August 28th, 2009
Next, Huzur paid tribute to Maulana Dost Muhammad Shahid sahib who passed away on 26 August ’09. He was a high ranking scholar of the Community, may God continue to elevate his status. He was referred to as the ‘Historian of Ahmadiyyat’ as he had penned the history of the Community of which twenty volumes have been published, while work on the Fifth Khilafat was in progress. Huzur said he was not simply an historian; rather his life was a chapter of the history of Ahmadiyyat. He was a luminary who was ever ready to spread Ahmadiyyat, the true Islam. He had an incredible memory. Huzur said it would not be out of place to say that he was an encyclopaedic person. In fact, Huzur said, Hadhrat Khalifatul Masih IV (may Allah have mercy on him) did indeed make this observation. Huzur said he retained extensive information on the lives of early saints and mujaddad (reformers) to the point of remembering the name of the relevant book and the page number where certain information was.
- Huzur cited verse 187 of Surah Al Baqarah, the translation reads, ‘And when My servants ask thee about Me, say: ‘I am near. I answer the prayer of the supplicant when he prays to Me. So they should hearken to Me and believe in Me, that they may follow the right way.’ (2:187)
- Huzur said it is an immense favour of God that we are experiencing yet another blessed month of Ramadan and today with His grace and His grace alone we are going through the sixth day of fasting.
- When God states in Surah Al Ankabut, ‘And as for those who strive in Our path — We will surely guide them in Our ways. And verily Allah is with those who do good’ (29:70) it signifies that He accepts those who endeavour for His nearness.
- It has been the way of God from time immemorial that He sent His Prophets in every age who guided people on the paths that led to Him. When mankind, having gone through evolution, reached a stage of spiritual maturity, God sent the Holy Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be on him) to this world with the perfect religious law (Shariah) so that mankind may set forth on the ways that leads to God.
- One of these ways and means, is Ramadan. The verses preceding the aforementioned verse (2:187) mention that God had prescribed fasting on earlier people, just as it is prescribed to Muslims now. As Islam is the perfect religion, it expounds the details of fasting in a most excellent manner.
- The Holy Qur’an clearly states the conditions under which one may not fast, for example when ailing or travelling. The missed fasts should be made up later on. If one can, one may also give fidya (expiation). People with chronic illnesses should pay fidya.
- This is a most blessed month and minor ailments should not be made an excuse to miss fasting. During the month of Ramadan God puts special arrangements in place for forgiveness of sins.
- In verse 29:70 the word Sobolona (in Our ways) signifies that the grace is for anyone who makes an endeavour with purity of intention. However, a special beneficence has been made available for those who make sacrifices during the month of Ramadan to attain nearness to God. He creates an atmosphere in this month which facilitates attaining piety. He brings closer all the remote ways of acceptance of prayer.
- Hadith relates that during Ramadan God opens the door to Paradise and shuts down the doors leading to Hell and restrains Satan. Huzur said what an excellent illustration the Hadith gives of the grace of Ramadan. Is it then not our utter good fortune to be experiencing the grace of yet another Ramadan.
- Satan has been given free rein and many pious people are deceived by him. At times he leads people to badness through apparent piety. However, in the aforementioned Hadith the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be on him) having been informed by God, declared that during Ramadan Satan is restrained as are his accomplices.
- Thus we have an opportunity to benefit from the spirituality of this month and enter Paradise from as many doors as we can. Try and reach those heights where Satan dare not reach and then make an effort to make what we have attained a part of our life.
- Try and emulate the blessed model of the Holy Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be on him) in worship of God, in alms-giving etc. these are tremendous sources of attaining nearness to God. To abide by the commandments of the Holy Qur’an is also a source of attaining God’s pleasure. Fortunate will we be if we tried and gained maximum benefit from these special blessings of the month.
- One Hadith relates that God states every deed of son of man is for himself apart from fasting. God states, ‘fasting is for Me’. The Hadith goes on to relate that fasting is like a shield. If someone tries to quarrel with one who is fasting, his response should be simply; ‘I am fasting’. Hadith also relates that there are two delights for man; one when he opens his fast and the other when he meets his Lord and his Lord will be pleased with him for his fasting.
- Huzur said our fasts should be such that until we depart from this world they should make all we do be pleasing to God and thus take us closer to Him. A person who fasts without fulfilling the requisites of fasting, upon meeting his Maker, will not be a substantiation of what the Hadith states, i.e. God will be pleased with him for his fasting. God does not need a person to give up his food and drink if he does not forsake falsehood during Ramadan.
- Huzur said all sorts of people inhabit this world. There are those who fast but kill people, there are those who fast but consider persecuting Ahmadis a meritorious task. Huzur remarked, is Paradise opened up for these as it is opened for those who do good? Will these be protected from Hell just as the virtuous are protected from Hell and those whose satans are restrained? Huzur said had the satans of these perpetrators been restricted how could they do the satanic deeds? Indeed this matter is conditional. During Ramadan, God will facilitate arrangement which will be enhanced from ordinary days for one who will endeavour in the way of God. It is therefore important that we benefit from this special facility and turn to Him ever more to seek His grace.
- God has preserved the glad-tiding in the Holy Qur’an by placing the verse 2:187 amidst the commandments for fasting and thus given the tiding of acceptance of prayers. God has also mentioned some conditions therein, along with mentioning nearness to Him and acceptance of prayers. By stating ‘My servants’ He has made it clear that this beneficence is not just for anyone but is for those who wish to become servants of God and those who are His servants. Whose each deed is an expression of ‘Thee alone do we worship and Thee alone do we implore for help’ (1:5) When they pray their prayer is not worldly, but it is to seek God (2:187). Their angst is to find God, they are restless to seek Him. While the world is inclined towards atheism, they have only one desire and that is to attain sufficient spiritual knowledge to combat any worldly temptation that may test their faith and for this, they fast during Ramadan.
- Those who are Muslims and endeavour to become Muslims in the true sense of the word are the ones God assures in the verse (2:187) that He is near and He listens to the prayer of the supplicant and He answers.
- Huzur said if a sequence of questions and answers [with God] is to be initiated then one has to seek God with absolute sincerity. One has to abide by all the commandments of the Holy Qur’an and have deep love for the Holy Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be on him). One also has to have allegiance to the Imam of the age.
- For this, one may not devise one’s own definition of perfect faith, rather needs to adopt the way that God and His Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be on him) have taught. God states in 2:187 that belief in Him is made possible when people hearken to Him and this in turn will be when all the commandments of the Holy Qur’an are abided by. It will come to pass when the rights due to God and the rights due to mankind are both being fulfilled. If some of these dues are being honoured and not others then one may not be termed a muttaqi (righteous).
- Huzur said during this Ramadan we should try and worship God with complete sincerity. We should develop a good understanding of Unity of God and honour it and we should honour Salat.
- Huzur said he is amazed and concerned when people say that they try but cannot quite manage the five daily Salat. Huzur said when we miss [something as fundamental as] Salat how can we supplicate for acceptance of our prayers. Similarly one needs to pray with one’s heart and soul to adopt high morals.
- Ramadan is a source to attain high standards of spirituality and should be fully availed of. We should try and enter Paradise through all the doors that are opened. This is a most special month of acceptance of prayer and the greatest prayer is when God’s nearness is sought, communion with Him is prayed for. When one finds God all of one’s other wishes and desires are taken care of.
- Huzur prayed that may God grant us the spiritual cognisance that would unfold the reality of prayer to us as well as the philosophy of attaining communion with Him. May each deed of ours be pleasing to Him. May we acquire the change which comes to pass by virtue of prayers made during Ramadan through which God comes near, a change that will distinguish us from others.
- May God keep the Community safe against all evil. May He enable us to pray abundantly and bring about pious changes in ourselves and may we attain His communion.
Huzur said he would make only a few observations from his many personal qualities. He was a most selfless person who spent most of his time in the way of serving religion. He was a life-devotee who had an intense connection with Khilafat. He was an extremely pious and prayerful person but whenever people requested him to pray for them he would say ‘do not ask me, write to Khalifa of the time.’ He was utterly humble. Huzur said every time he read something new he sent Huzur a photo-copy of the material. He deserves to be referred to as a scholar who practised his scholarship. Huzur said it is natural to be concerned at the passing away of such great obliging associates but one prays that God will always provide us with great, obliging associates.
Khilafat was always the axis of his thoughts and he maintained that once the Khalifa of the time had said something there was no need to look elsewhere. Huzur said the Ameer sahib of Saudi Arabia wished to write the history of the Jama’at there. It was suggested to him to visit Maulana who collated all the information for him within half an hour. Huzur said he was the champion of references. Someone once went to his office to ask for some help with a reference. The person picked up a pen and paper from Maulana’s desk and started making notes. Maulana took the pen and paper back and said as the person had come for a personal reason, he should use his own material.
Huzur related an incident from his life where someone arranged for him to travel in a rickshaw. On the return trip he ensured that a taxi was arranged and paid for was his entitlement. Huzur said exercising one’s entitlement also signifies obedience and he was always aware of maintaining the dignity of the scholars of the Community.
He received his early education from Madrassa Ahmadiyya, Qadian, and then joined the Jami’a. He obtained a Maulwi Fazal degree from the Punjab University. He served the Community for sixty three years. He was asked by the Khalifa of the time to write the history of Ahmadiyyat in 1953. He leaves behind one son, Dr. Sultan Mubasher sahib, who works at the Fazl e Umer hospital and five daughters. He wrote a research article on Jama’at e Islami in 1951 under the guidance of Hadhrat Musleh Maud (may Allah be pleased with him). He has over forty publications.
When Hadhrat Khalifatul Masih III (may Allah have mercy on him) went to the National Assembly of Pakistan in 1974, Maulana was a member of the delegation that accompanied Huzur. He was the last surviving member of that delegation. His responsibility at the National Assembly was to look for information and references and he amazed members of the Assembly with his efficiency. He was an honorary member of the Majlis e Shura Pakistan, an appointment that Khalifa of the time makes, till the end. In 1992, he was awarded ‘Man of the Year’ by an international institution of Cambridge, UK, ‘International Biographical Centre’. This award is given to scholarly persons. In 1982 he also experienced imprisonment for a few days in the way of God. In 1988, he was imprisoned in Gujaranwala District Jail. He continued to give Dars ul Qur’an in the Jail and also did Tabligh. During imprisonment he had to do hard labour, but this fact was only disclosed after his release.
He was engaged day and night in serving religion. If he was given a task by the Khalifa of the time, regardless of time of the day, he would immediately start working on it and did not stop until the task was complete. He would say that he was the soldier of the Khalifa of the time and a soldier never leaves his trenches. He had no concept of taking time off. A few days prior to passing away he dreamed that Dr. Abdus Salam said ‘Assalamoalaikum’ to him. At the time of every concern/distress he would say, ‘write to the Khalifa of the time, give alms and do Istaghfar in abundance.’ He had eight thousand books in his personal library. He used to say that a representative of the Community should be mindful of his dignity and take care of his appearance. He never complained about anything.
Once Hadhrat Khalifatul Masih III (may Allah have mercy on him) called for him but he could not be found anywhere. When he arrived for Asr Salat, Huzur asked him where had he been. He replied that he was in the library. The library had been locked from outside, so he had scaled a wall to get inside. He could not afford a bicycle and would walk everywhere until 1979, when the Community provided him with a bicycle. He would sit in assemblies of the Khalifa of the time with his head bowed and would say this was how Hadhrat Khalifatul Masih I (may Allah be pleased with him) sat in the august company of the Promised Messiah (on whom be peace). One day he came home most excited and on asking said that he had been with Hadhrat Khalifatul Masih III (may Allah have mercy on him) and Huzur left the room for a short while when he spotted Huzur’s shoes and had the opportunity to wipe the shoes clean with his handkerchief. Huzur said someone has rightly written about him that tasks for which organisations are formed in the world, this person did by alone. Huzur said such was his dedication to work that his children would not see him for months as he left home while they slept and returned while they slept.
Huzur said an incident of his life has significant counsel for all life-devotees. In 1965, on the first Friday of the Third Khilafat, Hadhrat Khalifatul Masih III (may Allah have mercy on him) called him and said that although Friday was a day off he had unconvinced Maulana. Maulana said it was very pleasing that he was called. Hadhrat Khalifatul Masih III (may Allah have mercy on him) said that he had called Maulana because when Huzur had filled the form for life-devotion and presented it to Hadhrat Musleh Maud (may Allah be pleased with him) he said that he had fulfilled his secret desire by devoting his life. He had added that he should remember that now that his life was devoted, he had no time off till his death. Maulana told Huzur that he too pledged that he would work day and night for the cause of faith.
Huzur said even while he was hospitalised (for the last time), he would say that he should be discharged as a lot of work given by the Khalifa of the time awaited him. He thus honoured his pledge till the very end. May God elevate his status and enable his children to follow in his footsteps. May God enable his son, Dr. Sultan Mubasher sahib to fulfil his life-devotion in the real sense.
Huzur said he would lead the funeral Prayer in absentia of Maulana along with two others; Maulana’s younger brother Muhammad Aslam sahib, who passed away an hour after Maulana’s death. He was a Moosi and a devoted member of the Community. Naseem Begum sahiba, wife of Bashir Ahmad sahib of Sargodha and mother of our missionary Arif Bashir sahib who is currently serving in Tanzania. She was a Moosia. May God elevate the station of all the deceased and fulfil the pious desires they had for their offspring.