Friday Sermon: Importance of Friday and new year

January 1st, 2010

Huzur recited verse 29 of Surah Al Hadid at the start of his Friday Sermon today. Its translation reads: O ye who believe! fear Allah and believe in His Messenger; He will give you a double share of His mercy, and will provide for you a light wherein you will walk, and will grant you forgiveness — and verily Allah is Most Forgiving, Merciful —‘ (57:29).

Huzur said with the grace of God today is the first day of 2010 and God has entered us in this year on the blessed day of Friday, so first of all Huzur wished that this year and each year to follow is blessed for every Ahmadi in every way. Huzur said people greet each other on the occasion of a new year but for a believer a year and its days are blessed when repentance is accepted and spirituality is enhanced. The Promised Messiah (on whom be peace) said that real Eid and blessed day is the day of repentance and the day of spiritual knowledge. Huzur said a truly blessed day is the day that leads to spiritual development, one that draws attention towards rights of God and rights of people, one that brings all of one’s capacities into practice to seek the pleasure of God, a day that is a day of practical effort to attain God’s nearness. Our years are blessed in the instance where we turn to God to attain all these objectives with complete sincerity.

Today is a Friday and it is a most blessed day. Its significance was stated by the Holy Prophet (peace and blessing of Allah be on him) many times but it should be remembered that in spite of this significance only a true believer can benefit from it and one who is not a believer cannot avail of its blessings. A believer tries to make this day a day of his/her salvation, keeping in mind the saying of the Holy Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be on him) that there is a time on Friday at which a Muslim, while he/she is offering Salat and is supplicating, will be granted whatever he/she is supplicating for. Huzur said the first day of the year being a Friday makes it all the more significant for a believer so that he/she can adorn it with prayers and with turning to God. We are welcoming this year by livening our nights with worship whereas those who are not believers and who are not aware of the significance of Friday spend the first few hours of a New Year in idle amusements, revelry and alcohol consumption. We are fortunate that we are from the ummah of the Holy Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be on him) who was an embodiment of nur (light) and who showed us the ways of attaining pleasure of God, so beloved was he to God that God declared His love for those who followed him with sincerity. The Promised Messiah (on whom be peace) said who could have a greater right to ascribe the word of ‘light’ to himself than one following whom makes a person the beloved of God. As God states in the Qur’an, ‘…There has come to you indeed from Allah a Light…’ (5:16). The Holy Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be on him) taught us an excellent way to partake of this light with reference to Friday. He said, ‘Among the best of your days is Friday. On that day invoke blessings and salutations (Durud) on me frequently, for your Durud is presented to me on this day.’ Huzur said when our supplications and Durud are presented today they will absorb God’s love. When Durud is invoked with complete sincerity and ardent love of the Holy Prophet (peace and blessing of Allah be on him) it is ultimately presented to God, having been adorned by the intercession of the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be on him).

It was indeed the true and great love of the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be on him) and the peerless profusion with which he invoked Durud on him that gave the Promised Messiah (on whom be peace) the station of Messiah which then led to columns of nur coming down to earth from the heavens. He accordingly enjoined those who take his bai’at that if they claim to be in his bai’at then they should invoke Durud on the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be on him). He said in turn they would then attain a measure of nur in accordance to their [spiritual] capacities and this would put their lives in this world and the Hereafter in order.

A Hadith relates, ‘The best day on which the sun has risen is Friday. On that day Adam was created, he was admitted to Paradise, and he was expelled therefrom’. Huzur explained that one can earn reward on Friday and also get punished. It is up to the children of Adam how they utilise the day. If they are cognisant of the sanctity of this day, if they do good works and are drawn to virtue, to prayer and invoking Durud their life on this earth can be paradisiacal and they also have the glad-tidings of Paradise in the Hereafter. However, if are embroiled in bad deeds then they have the tidings of Hell and their life on this earth also turns into a hell. A thousand-fold Durud on the one who showed the ways to Paradise to the children of Adam. The significance of Friday, entering or being expelled from Paradise, are all dependent on deeds.

Regarding Paradise in the Hereafter and also in this world, the Holy Qur’an states, But for him who fears to stand before his Lord there are two Gardens —‘ (55:47). The Promised Messiah (on whom be peace) elucidated that a person who abandons sins out of earnest fear of God and His reckoning is promised two Paradises. Firstly, he is granted a heavenly life on this very earth, he goes through a pure change in this world and God takes care of all his needs and wants. Secondly, he is granted eternal Paradise in the Hereafter for he overcame and gave up sin of the self out of fear of God and gave God precedence over everything.

Huzur said today God has given us an opportunity to adorn the very first day of the year with prayers. Pray for yourself, for your family, for Ahmadiyyat, the true Islam. Pray for the environment, for the society and your country. A true believer prays for the country of which one is a citizen. These are the obligations that Ahmadis are entrusted with. Now, the permanence of the world, of mankind is with the prayers of an Ahmadi and it leads to Paradise. However, if we are not treading these paths ourselves, how can we show the way to the world?

God revealed to the Promised Messiah (on whom be peace), ‘He created Adam and bestowed honour upon him. The champion of Allah in the mantles of the Prophets. Good news for you, O My Ahmad.’ (Tadhkirah, p. 793). The Promised Messiah (on whom be peace) elucidates this as follows: ‘The meaning of the revelation: Champion of Allah in the mantles of the Prophets; is that I have been bestowed a portion of the special faculties or special qualities of all the Prophets from Adam downwards whether they appeared among Israel or outside Israel. There has not been one Prophet of whose qualities or special circumstances I have not been bestowed a portion. My nature partakes of the nature of every Prophet. This is what God has told me.’ (Tadhkirah pp. 793-794 - Braheen Ahmadiyyah part V, p. 89). Huzur added that by virtue of his true and ardent love of the Holy Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be on him) the Promised Messiah (on whom be peace) was bestowed the honour of prophethood in subordination and through this he was granted peerless nur. Huzur said he hoped that each Ahmadi would have spent today with the fervour that in order to obtain a measure of this nur we need to make each day of our lives blessed through prayers and good deeds. With the grace of God today Tahajjud Prayers were offered in our mosques. This enthusiasm should be a constant. May each step of ours enhance us in taqwa and may our effort of the first day of the year prevail over the rest of 365 days.

Expounding the verse recited at the beginning of the sermon (57:29) Huzur said this is the identity of a true believer who does not believe that the penance for the mistake of Adam and son of Adam is the accursed death of one person. Rather, one’s life is a constant endeavour towards spiritual progress along with a need to rid the society of sin. There is a need to let the world know that a New Year should not be welcomed while being intoxicated but with prayers, turning to God with sincerity. A New Year should be welcomed with repentance, with serving God’s creation. Each person is answerable for his/her actions. These are the good works that are a source of attaining good in this world and in the Hereafter.

Taqwa and perfect obedience of the Holy Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be on him) makes one a beloved of God and earns one double reward and nur from God. The double reward is the good of this world and the good of the Hereafter.

The Promised Messiah (on whom be peace) said that those who are steadfast and firm on taqwa and who adopt a certain detachment from this world in their love of God are given distinction from the rest. They are granted a nur that permeates all their actions and their faculties. Nur permeates their wisdom and every action of theirs; their paths become of nur. In short, they are encased in nur. The Promised Messiah (on whom be peace) said taqwa and ignorance cannot coexist. Although perception and insight and in turn taqwa can be of a higher or lesser degree. Huzur said whether an Ahmadi is highly educated or not, whether he/she has great or little religious knowledge, if he or she is firm on taqwa, he/she will avoid ignorance. It is man’s own deeds that earn him good or cause Divine displeasure, as it is stated in the Qur’an, ‘…nor does any bearer of burden bear the burden of another…’ (6:165).

Mankind cannot ever adequately thank God. The only way is to continually turn to Him in thankfulness. God has taught true believers a prayer in this regard; ‘…‘Our Lord, grant us good in this world as well as good in the world to come, and protect us from the torment of the Fire.’ (2:202). This prayer speaks of the believers who seek good in this world and the Hereafter. Who do not simply ask for worldly prosperity in their prayers for a New Year, rather, they also ask for spiritual development. They do not simply think of their own good, they also consider the wellbeing and good of others. The aforementioned prayer is a comprehensive prayer to attain temporary good as well as permanent good. The Holy Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be on him) often said this prayer. This prayer prevents us from the hell of this world while honoring the dues of God and the dues of mankind. Huzur explained that man also goes through ‘torment of fire’ in this world; there are many forms of suffering, longing, difficulties, wars. They all constitute ‘torment of fire’, as in the current situation in Pakistan and Afghanistan. A few days ago the fire in Karachi was but ‘a torment of fire’ for the victims’. In fact it was a ‘torment of fire’ for the entire country, it has destroyed the economy of the country.

Man should seek refuge from the torment of fire of this world. The Promised Messiah (on whom be peace) said that Taubah (repentance) is not something that is superfluous or useless for man. It can benefit man in this world as well as in the Hereafter. In the prayer ‘Our Lord, grant us good in this world as well as good in the world to come’ the words Rabbana (Our Lord) have a subtle indication towards repentance. The words signify that one is weary of other rabbs that one may have created and is turning to the True Rabb (Lord). Man creates many a false rabb, for example, one’s ploys and schemes or one’s knowledge or physical strength or one’s beauty, property etc. Unless one abandons all these and turns to the One God one cannot truly appreciate the True Rabb and without this it is difficult to truly make God one’s Rabb.

Huzur prayed that may God always grant us good in this world and also in the Hereafter and save us from the torment of the Hereafter. May He enable us to tread the paths of virtues. May the New Year and every year to come keep the Community and the people of the Community safe from all kinds of pain and difficulties and bring us good. May we practice taqwa in the true sense and be enabled to attain a measure of the nur that the Holy Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be on him) brought.