Friday Sermon: Distinctive qualities of servants of the Gracious God

September 25th, 2009

Huzur recited verses 64 to 77 of Surah Al Furqan and gave a discourse on the distinctive qualities of Ebaadur Rahman (servants of the Gracious God). The translation of the verses is as follows:

‘And the servants of the Gracious God are those who walk on the earth in a dignified manner, and when the ignorant address them, they say, ‘Peace!’

And who spend the night before their Lord, prostrate and standing,

And who say, ‘Our Lord, avert from us the punishment of Hell; for the punishment thereof is a lasting torment.

‘It is indeed evil as a place of rest and as an abode;’

And those who, when they spend, are neither extravagant nor niggardly but moderate between the two;

And those who call not on any other God along with Allah, nor kill a person that Allah has forbidden except for just cause, nor commit fornication, and he who does that shall meet with the punishment of sin.

Doubled to him will be the punishment on the Day of Resurrection, and he will abide therein disgraced,

Except those who repent, and believe and do good deeds; for as to these, Allah will change their evil deeds into good deeds; and Allah is Most Forgiving, Merciful;

And those who repent and do good deeds, indeed turn to Allah with true repentance;

And those who bear not false witness, and when they pass by anything vain, they pass on with dignity;

And those who, when they are reminded of the Signs of their Lord, fall not deaf and blind thereat;

And those who say, ‘Our Lord, grant us of our spouses and children the delight of our eyes, and make each of us a leader of the righteous.

It is such as will be rewarded a lofty station in Paradise because they were steadfast, and they will be received therein with greeting and peace,

Abiding therein. Excellent it is as a place of rest and as an abode.’ (25:64-77)

Huzur said Ramadan came and went and he is still receiving letters written during and indeed after Ramadan. In these letters people are prayerful that may the pure changes they were able to attain during Ramadan become constant in their lives. Huzur said such feelings are the very objective of Ramadan.  He said that God has related certain characteristics in the Holy Qur’an by adopting which one can be called Ebaadur Rahman. These put individual and communal responsibilities on us as well as draw attention to honouring God’s dues. If we continue to tread the path that we espoused during Ramadan, we will attain God’s pleasure.

The first distinct characteristic of servants of the Gracious God is that they walk on the earth with humility and dignity. They are not possessed of pointless strictness or anger or unnecessary leniency that may lead to dishonourableness. Huzur said attention is drawn to this matter on an individual as well as collective basis. It is foretold that servants of the Gracious God will be triumphant but in their triumph they will not be arrogant and will not settle old scores. Rather, they will be humble and meek and will honour the dues of others.

The second distinction of servants of the Gracious God is that each individual is of peaceable nature and counsels others gently. The humility and collective dignity that is adopted in accordance with the first commandment/characteristic should be abided by when one is in power. Otherwise, Satan is constantly waylaying us. It is for us to keep our emotions in check and try and follow the blessed model of the Holy Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be on him) and his Companions.

Huzur said these days Ahmadis are harassed and persecuted in some countries, in particular in Pakistan. It is so attempted that somehow the Ahmadis take the law in their own hands so that they can be legally persecuted. However, we are enjoined not to respond to filth with filth for this can lead to further difficulties. Huzur said the current situation is such that his message to Ahmadis is to become servants of the Gracious God. It is prophesised that theirs will be the upper hand. When in power, they should be most sensitive to the sentiments of others. In Pakistan different ways are used to provoke the Ahmadis. Many schemes are being hatched. It is required to exercise great caution and seek God’s help with steadfastness and prayer and thus contend with the situation. The Promised Messiah (on whom be peace) said that servants of the Gracious God are those aficionados who are forbearing and who wish peace to the ignorant. Huzur added, indeed, we are dealing with extreme ignorance.  The Promised Messiah (on whom be peace) said that servants of the Gracious God pray for the ignorant rather than be abusive to them. Indeed, the Gracious God, by virtue of His quality of graciousness, grants to one and all. His expansive blessing encompasses the good and the bad. In emulating, we too, should try and be kind to friend and foe alike and pray for guidance.

The third distinctive feature of the servants of the Gracious God stated in the verses is that they spend their night prostrating and standing before their Lord. Huzur said a large number people put this in practice during Ramadan. However, God does not state to limit this practice to a few days, rather it is for always. Huzur said it is a huge responsibility on the Ahmadis, particularly during the current times as they face difficulties in all Muslim countries. No only should attention be given to Fardh (obligatory) Salat but also to optional Salat during night. Huzur said waking up during night to worship God is suppressing the self. May our sincere worship during night become the cause of protecting the Community from difficulties. Therefore, waking up at night for Prayers should not be simply for personal reasons. Huzur said if each Ahmadi made it essential on him/herself to offer two optional rakat every night, God’s help would be forthcoming more than before and the enemy would be disgraced. Huzur expounded the excellence of optional Prayers with Hadith that relates that God states one who offers these Prayers receives His love and nearness to the extent that,  ‘I become his hearing with which he hears, his eyes with which he sees, his hands with which he touches and his feet with which he walks’. End of Ramadan does not mean that one stays up till late in the night indulging in frivolous pursuits, disregarding Salat. Huzur said Salat teaches us the ways and means of becoming a servant of the Gracious God and we should adorn our nights with these. The Companions (may Allah be pleased with them all) truly honoured the dues of Salat and thus brought about a revolution. Even when they were forced into battle during the day, they would awaken at night to offer the optional Prayers. As long as this practice was prevalent among Muslims, they progressed. Today, the Ahmadis should adopt this way and profusely pray for their progress.

The Promised Messiah (on whom be peace) said that no religion can function without spirituality and purity. When the early Muslims accepted Islam they went through amazing transformation. Religion succeeds when its followers have holy qualities. Huzur said we wish for our Community to rapidly traverse progress and for our difficulties to also be removed quickly. We should then find a heavenly antidote. This, of course is attained by submitting oneself to God. May God enable us to do this.

The fourth distinct quality of the servants of the Gracious God is that they pray to remain distant from Hell. This includes the Hell of the Hereafter and the hell on earth. Huzur said we should pray that God saves us from disgrace in this world and the Hereafter and may He not make us a slave to this world and may our concerns about our off spring be also removed.

The fifth characteristic of the servants of the Gracious God is that they are not spendthrifts.  They are not wasteful regarding their own wealth or that of the community. An example of personal extravagance that seems to be on the increase is lavish spending on weddings. This is mostly done in imitation. Receptions are held for the wedding, the Walima and now also for the mehndi ceremony. Separate cards are printed for the mehndi and a reception is held. Huzur said if mehndi must be celebrated, friends of the bride should gather to have some fun. A new tradition seems to be that the groom’s family also holds a pre-wedding reception in the name of festivities. This is wrong and is a harmful innovation. Some families although well-versed in religious matters also indulge in this.  Those who do not partake of these matters - and one should always assume in good light that they shun them due to piety – are branded miserly. Some families travel to Pakistan for weddings and they overspend on jewellery and receptions. The money spent on these matters can be of so much use to the disadvantaged, can be used to support orphans and can be spent on many other good causes which can make one a servant of the Gracious God.

The sixth distinct feature of the servants of the Gracious God is that they are not miserly and niggardly. Huzur said there are those who do everything simply to accumulate money, so much so that they do not even spend on their personal needs. They do not help out family and friends, do not give to the poor or have the spirit to contribute to the Community.  If the affluent do not spend they can not be servants of the Gracious God. Indeed, the servants of the Gracious God spend and desist from over-spending for the pleasure of God.

The seventh distinction of the servants of the Gracious God is that they totally avoid shirk (associating partners with God). The shirk that is referred to in conjunction with the servants of the Gracious God is not merely the apparent shirk. Rather, it is the manner in which they discharge of all their responsibilities and dues and keep a meticulous eye that nothing they do is a basis of hidden/concealed shirk.

The eighth quality of the servants of the Gracious God is they do not unjustly kill. Huzur said the battles that the Holy Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be on him) and his Companions and later the Rightly Guided Khulafa Khulafa e Rashideen (may Allah be pleased them all) fought were fought firmly on taqwa and due to the enemy exceeding all limits. Indeed, these battles were fought within the strict guidelines of the rules of warfare in Islam which safeguard the innocent. Unlike the havoc created in WWII, for example, or the current-day air-borne attacks that kill indiscriminately. Huzur said there are also those who presume themselves to be servants of the Gracious God but commit murder of the innocent through suicide attacks. It is God’s decree that they can never be servants of the Gracious God.

The ninth characteristic of the servants of the Gracious God is that they do not commit fornication or adultery. This also includes watching vulgar and improper spectacles for entertainment. These days some TV channels and Internet sites show vulgarity which is tantamount to mental and visual fornication. Ahmadis should particularly shun these.   

 The tenth distinct quality of the servants of the Gracious God is that neither do they tell lies nor do they give false testimony. Huzur said falsehood plays a huge part in the decline of nations. Divine communities aspire to attain heights, if falsehood penetrates among them, then they do not remain God’s special people. Ahmadis should employ 100% honesty in all their affairs and their testimonies. Huzur said, for example, in marital matters, during Nikah, it is asserted that Qawl e Sadid (the right word) should be employed.  However, after the wedding ceremony is over, lies are told, friction sets in and eventually marriages break up for egotistical reasons and where children are involved, they suffer greatly. Huzur said he has drawn attention to this matter many times before. In order to honour the dues of God and the dues of mankind it is essential to shun falsehood.

The eleventh characteristic of the servants of the Gracious God is that they do not engage in vain, frivolous pastimes. Huzur said these include misuse of the Internet and some TV channels. Young girls and boys socialise together in groups, they go clubbing, go to concerts, all this is idle and frivolous for a believer. On one hand we take our bai’at and pledge to be servants of the Gracious God, on the other hand we indulge in these frivolous activities which are entirely destructive for morals. Vain and frivolous matters also include mutual conflicts or anything that destroys the peace of society.

The twelfth sign of the servants of the Gracious God is that they are not deaf and blind to the recitation of the Holy Qur’an. They hear it and they try to put it in practice in developing their spirituality. In order to become a servant of the Gracious God it is essential to practice all kinds of virtues, to put in practice anything that is said with reference to God and His Messenger (peace and blessings of Allah be on him).

The thirteenth distinctive quality of the servants of the Gracious God is that they pray that their spouses and children are a delight of their eyes. Huzur said this is a most significant principle for the permanence of the next generation. Along with obvious planning prayers should be made because good results only come from God. It is false to imagine that one’s own efforts result in good upbringing of children. By virtue of God’s quality of Rahmaniyyat (graciousness) some children may excel in worldly matters, but they may not be called servants of the Gracious God because God does not bestow the honour of righteousness unless one prays sincerely for the piety of one’s children and also follows pious ways.  Today parents are most concerned everywhere about the education of their children but less attention is given to spiritual matters. In the West, free rein has been given to children in the name of freedom. As a result children have developed extraordinary audacity.  They do not tolerate any advice or counsel, let alone the parents be their Imam. Of late, voices have been raised about this excessive freedom given to children. In the West, institutions established for the welfare of children, simply remove children from their families if the families reprimand them or in some cases, the children threaten the parents of these institutions. A main reason for this is that the West is oblivious to the concept of prayer. 

Huzur said it has come to his knowledge that a child was approached by other Muslim children who said to the child that you people do not believe in God but worship Satan. The child, in spite of being old enough, did not know how to answer, so kept quiet. Huzur said, this would have definitely given the impression that Ahmadis do not believe in God. Huzur said, some parents do not even give their children the very basic information. As regards early moral training, Huzur said he has said before that young girls should be made aware of the proper attire from the early age of four to five years old, rather than be suddenly told to change their ways in teenage years. Huzur said for good and proper upbringing of children it is conditional for the parents to be righteous and be servants of the Gracious God.   

Huzur prayed that may God enable us to make a sincere connection with Him and may our inner-self be always clean and may we have the qualities that are necessary to make one a servant of the Gracious God, may God always make us a recipient of His eternal Paradise.