Friday Sermon: Divine attribute of Al Wali (the Friend)

October 30th, 2009

Huzur continued with the subject of the Divine attribute of Al Wali (the Friend) in his Friday Sermon today. God draws the attention of believers and non-believers as well as warns the pagans in the Holy Qur’an:

‘For him (the Messenger) is a succession of angels before him and behind him; they guard him by the command of Allah. Surely, Allah changes not the condition of a people until they change that which is in their hearts. And when Allah wishes to punish a people, there is no repelling it, nor have they any helper beside Him.’ (13:12)

Huzur explained that God has expounded four aspects in this verse; a) God has taken everyone’s protection in His hands b) He decides about a nation in accordance with their practices c) When God deems someone liable to be punished, the matter cannot be averted d) He alone is the true Helper and Friend.

Elucidating the opening line of the verse, ‘For him (the Messenger) is a succession of angels before him and behind him; they guard him by the command of Allah…’ the Promised Messiah (on whom be peace) wrote that God has appointed sentries for exoteric or apparent as well as esoteric or concealed safeguard of His people. These sentries primarily safeguard God’s messengers among whom the Holy Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be on him) is foremost. After his birth he became the most beloved being to God and from the time of his birth to his passing away, God fulfilled the aforementioned line in a peerless manner for him. His life in Makkah is known to all and how in a most lucid way God helped him at every step. The Surah from which the verse is taken, Surah Al Ra’d, was revealed during the Makkan period when the enemy’s hostility exceeded all limits. We also have the magnificent example of the Battle of Badr when God provided exoteric/apparent as well as esoteric/concealed help for the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be on him).

Amir ibn Tufail was a pagan chief who came to the Holy Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be on him) and said that if he became a Muslim could he be a successor (Khalifa) of the Prophet after him?  The Holy Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be on him) said that Khilafat would never go to one who laid such a condition or indeed to his people. The man became upset and left saying that he would bring in horse-riders of the calibre who would, God forbid, severely deter the Prophet. The Prophet said God would never enable him to do this. The man went away with one of his associates who persuaded him while they were still on the way to return with a plan to kill the Prophet. They returned and Amir stood behind the Prophet as his associate distracted the Prophet, he drew his sword to do the deed but was awe-struck and could not move. The Prophet turned around and saw all this. The two left, indeed were allowed to leave. However on their way the associate was hit by lighting and died whereas it is said about Amir that he died of a carbuncle. There are numerous such incidents that illustrate how God helped the Holy Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be on him) with His special protection through the angels. God made the promise of safeguard to the Prophet when he was in Makkah but once in Medina, God further consoled him with: ‘…And Allah will protect thee from men…’ (5:68).

The Promised Messiah (on whom be peace) said that it is a great miracle that the Holy Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be on him) was not killed by anyone. He said it was indeed written in the ancient scriptures that the Prophet to come in the latter days will not be killed by the hands of anyone. Huzur said that the words ‘by the command of Allah’ in the verse (13:12) signify that apart from helping through the agency of angels, God also made hearts of believers bound to be ever ready to make any and every sacrifice for him. This sense of sacrifice was borne out of the faith that they had embraced through the Prophet. At times people associate with others out of some obduracy or due to mutual animosity or mutual fear for a cause. The Companions were not such. Their sense of guarding the Prophet was due to the faith that God had generated in their hearts and they did this to attain the pleasure of God. Thus God made arrangements to safeguard the Holy Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be on him) more than anyone else. However, this is also applicable to every person. Even if there is no infectious illness around, mankind breaths in many germs from the atmosphere, but God has created a defence system in the human body to counter this. At times God manifests His special protection and safeguard through His sentries for His special friends and for His messengers as well as the followers of the messengers.

In the current age we observe that God displayed the plague as a sign of the truthfulness of the Promised Messiah (on whom be peace) and made it clear that his followers would be saved from it. The Promised Messiah (on whom be peace) wrote in his book ‘Khisti Nuh’ that he most respectfully wanted to say to the government (British) that had he not had a heavenly/Divine restriction from getting inoculated against the plague, his people would have been the first among the subjects to get inoculated. He explained that the Divine restriction was that God had willed to exhibit a sign of His mercy by saving all of his followers from the plague. The world witnessed that in spite of the extensive spread of the disease over a period of five to six years, with the grace of God Ahmadis were saved from it.

It is God’s protection that enables mankind to endure tragedies such as loss of property, children and respect/honour. Otherwise man can lose sense with the gravity of some losses; therefore, this is also a way through which God protects. Some people cannot deal with misfortune or loss and it affects them severely. Some lose their belief in God. These models are there for us to appreciate that if God’s grace and blessings were not in operation, man’s life could not go on. When misfortune befalls pious people, they say, ‘Surely, to Allah we belong and to Him shall we return.’ (2:157) and as a result of this they receive Divine blessings and are safeguarded against the ill-effects of all troubles and of difficult situations. According to the laws of nature, everyone is included in God’s protection, those who believe as well as those who do not believe. In this there is a lesson for those who do not believe that if they continue to exceed in their mischief, God can take His protection away and such a situation would lead to definite destruction. God states in the verse 13:12 ‘Surely, Allah changes not the condition of a people until they change that which is in their hearts’, this signifies that God does not alter His way about the pious and they continue to be recipients of His blessings. As long as they are pious and honour the dues of God and the dues of mankind and are pious individually as well as collectively, they will be recipients of God’s grace.

God’s grace is removed when rather than make Him one’s Friend, Satan is followed. As a result vices set in; evil, wicked ways are practised so much so that people are killed in the name of religion. This is when God removes His protection and His refuge. This part of the verse does not simply mean that God does not treat well those who do evil. Rather, it is that God does not alter His ways towards the pious, unless they deprive themselves of His blessings by doing wicked deeds. History, when viewed with a religious perspective is clear about this, the Holy Qur’an declares that when evils sets in God’s refuge and protection is also removed. It is not that by simply saying the Kalima (declaration of faith) one comes into the eternal sphere of God’s special protection. The real condition is to practice good deeds after believing. This is food for thought for the Muslim ummah, especially those countries where persecution is on the increase. The next thing that the said verse mentions is something on which Pakistan in particular needs to reflect and seek forgiveness over: ‘And when Allah wishes to punish a people, there is no repelling it…’. What is needed is reformation before God’s final verdict comes to pass. If only the people of the country [Pakistan] have the sense to understand this.

The Promised Messiah (on whom be peace) said that the first obligation of whoever wishes to be released from grief and misfortune is to bring about a pious change internally. When this is attained God’s blessings follow in accordance with His promise. Huzur said there is a grave need to reflect over this as well as to seek God’s forgiveness and Ahmadis should try and make Muslims within their circles understand in this regard. The said verse concludes; ‘… nor have they any helper beside Him.’ Thus, if there is no one except God Who can help us, Who can watch over us against all evil, then, He needs to be searched for. If, in spite of observance of Salat and keeping of fasts and tens of thousands performing Hajj there are no signs of improvement and there is national breakdown, then certainly there is something lacking somewhere in all this worship. May God make the ummah comprehend this and may they turn to Him with sincerity.

God describes this subject in Surah Al Anfal, This is because Allah would never change a favour that He has conferred upon a people until they change their own condition, and know that Allah is All-Hearing, All-Knowing.’ (8:54). God does not seize back any of His blessings, man wastes the blessings through his own wretchedness and misfortune. Qur’an does not merely relate incidents of the past. It is also a great lesson for Muslims to be alert and be appreciative of the tremendous blessing that has been given to them. God states in the Qur’an ‘… completed My favour upon you…’ (5:4). This favour and this blessing has been given to us in the form of the Holy Qur’an and we are commanded to put its teachings in practice. If we followed this, then alone can we establish piety, and as it is stated, God will take us in His protection and will manifest that He is our Maula (Protector).

Do the Muslims still not realise why they are being deprived of the blessings associated with the people about whom the Qur’an states, ‘You are the best people raised for the good of mankind…’ (3:111)? They are indeed deprived of it because they are killing each other. A few days ago, there was a bomb blast in Peshawar which was remote-controlled. Then, there are the suicide-bombs and then there is the killing of Ahmadis and others in the name of religion. What sort of khair (good) is this? This is a juncture at which serious pondering is required, there is a need to amend ways, otherwise when God’s final decree comes into operation, none can avert it.

Conduct of others is a source of reformation, indeed should be so. Ahmadis should also continue to self-reflect and self-examine themselves if they are on the right path, they should keep an eye on their practices and be ever grateful for His blessings. If this will be maintained, then in accordance with His promise God will be our Protector and Helper. No one can harm our Community. God states, ‘…Therefore observe Prayer and pay the Zakat, and hold fast to Allah. He is your Master. An excellent Master and an excellent Helper!’ (22:79) It is obligatory for true believers to observe Salat and through it bring about a pious change in oneself, purify one’s wealth by spending some of it in the way of God and hold onto all of God’s commandments most firmly. Then alone can it be substantiated that one believes in God as one’s Master and Protector.

It is stated in Surah Al Mai’dah, ‘Your friend is only Allah and His Messenger and the believers who observe Prayer and pay the Zakat and worship God alone. And those who take Allah and His Messenger and the believers for friends should rest assured that it is the party of Allah that must triumph.’  (5:56-57) Here, ‘worship God alone’ signifies those who sincerely and wholly have belief in God alone and their belief is free from any adulteration whatsoever. These are the body of people who will triumph, who are the friends of God and of whom God is a Friend.

In a Hadith Qudsi  God states, ‘Whoever adopts enmity towards my friend, I will declare war against them. I like my servant to attain nearness to me through what is obligatory on him. My servant constantly approaches Me through supererogatory acts of worship until I love him, and when I love him, I become his eyes with which he sees, his hands with which he holds, and his legs with which he walks. If he asks Me for something, I will certainly grant it to him and if he wants My refuge I shall certainly grant him My refuge. I do not ever have hesitation in anything as the hesitation in taking the life of a believer. He dislikes death and I dislike giving him any trouble.’  Such is God’s caring and considerate stance towards believers.

If one puts all commandments in practice with complete sincerity, God becomes the Maula. May God make it so that we follow piety and stay connected to our true Maula so that we receive His help and succour each step of the way.