Friday Sermon: Glorify the name of thy Lord

May 14th, 2010

Hudhur gave a discourse on verses 2 – 4 of Surah Al A’la in his Friday Sermon today. The translation of the verses reads: ‘Glorify the name of thy Lord, the Most High, Who creates and perfects, And Who designs and guides’ (87:2-4).

Hudhur explained that it is traditional that we recite this Surah in the first rakah (one unit of Salat) of Friday Prayers as well as the Eid Prayers, in line with the Sunnah of the Holy Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be on him). Surah Al Ghashiyah is recited in the second rakah. It is also traditional that the Holy Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be on him) read Surah Al A’la in the first rakah of Witr Prayer, Surah Al Kafiroon in the second and either Surah Al Ikhlas or all the last three Surahs of the Holy Qur’an in the third rakah.

In his detailed Urdu commentary comprising of most Surahs of the Holy Qur’an entitled ‘Tafseer e Kabeer’, which Hudhur called a treasure of knowledge that must be availed of, Hadhrat Musleh Maud (may Allah be pleased with him) explains that ‘Glorify the name of thy Lord, the Most High’ signifies to praise and extol our Lord Who, in His quality of Rububiyyat (to sustain and nurture) is Most High and Whose grandeur is over and above everyone else’s. It is the responsibility of a believer, who accepts that the Holy Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be on him) was the last law-bearing Prophet and whom God made a perfect example, to extol God’s name in the world. Each person who is associated with the Prophet in the true sense should follow his blessed model, as God states in the Qur’an: ‘Verily you have in the Prophet of Allah an excellent model…’ (33:22). In terms of glorification of God, the Holy Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be on him) had the most supreme model, yet in his humility he would pray to God, ‘…make me remember You and make me grateful to You…’. During the raku and sajdah postures of Salat his Tasbih (glorification of God) would be exceptional. In raku, having recited Subhana Rabbiyal ‘Azeem (Holy is my Lord, the Most Great), he then stood upright and recited Sami Allahu liman hamidah (Allah listens to him who praises Him) followed by Hamdan Kathiran Tayyiban Mubarakan Fih (praise which is bountiful, pure and blessed). Hadhrat ‘Aishah (may Allah be pleased with her) said that the beauty and the length of the raku and sajdah of the Holy Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be on him) was indescribable. A Hadith relates that once the Holy Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be on him) came to the mosque and facing the Qibla, he went into sajdah posture. The duration of his sajdah was so long that it caused great concern. To the extent that it was thought that he had passed away. When a companion went near the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be on him) he rose from sajdah. When he was asked why his sajdah was so long, he replied, ‘Jibraeel had come to me with the glad-tiding that whoever invoked Durud (salutations and blessings) on me will have mercy shown to him and whoever will invoke peace on me will have peace given to him and I was prostrating in thankfulness of this.’

Hudhur explained that the Holy Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be on him) used to extensively glorify God and was grateful to Him at every small bounty and blessing that was given to him. His diet was most frugal, at times he would have nothing to eat and other times he would simply eat dry bread. Yet he would express extreme gratefulness to God and glorify Him. Hudhur explained that Traditions relate that before Surah Al A’la was revealed, the Holy Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be on him) had taught another prayer for the sajdah posture of Salat. However, after the revelation he taught to read, Subhana Rabbiyal a’ala (Glory to my Lord, the Most High) as well as taught to read Subhana Rabbiyal ‘Azeem during raku. Hadhrat Javeria relates that once when the Holy Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be on him) left at the time of morning Prayer she was sitting on the Prayer mat. When he returned home, she was still on the mat doing Tasbih. The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be on him) enquired what was she doing since morning and she replied that she had been doing Tasbih. The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be on him) said since he left he had only repeated four phrases three times but if they were to be compared with Hadhrat Javeria’s entire Tasbih, they would be weightier. These phrases were: ‘Holy is Allah according to the number of His creation, Holy is Allah according to the pleasure of His Self, Holy is Allah according to the weight of His Throne and Holy is Allah according to the ink [used in recording] His words.’ Hudhur said while this demonstrates the spiritual levels of his blessed wives that they had attained with the help of his holiness, it also illustrates the supreme level of concentration and focus of his own Tasbih that entailed him repeating these phrases three times over a long period of time. Clearly he had the most elevated insight into the Greatness of God and did his Tasbih in view of that. After the victory of Makkah, as he entered the city on camel-back, his head was bowed down and even in triumph the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be on him) said the following prayer in utter humility: Holy are You O’ Allah, all glorification and praise is Yours. O Allah, forgive me.’

Hudhur said such was the magnificent and blessed model of the Holy Prophet in every aspect of gratefulness to God and in His Tasbih. It is for us to aspire to follow this blessed model. His model draws the attention of the ummah to the fact that we should not rely on worldly means, rather we need to do Tasbih of the Lord. Hudhur said there are others who sustain and nurture us in this world, like children are nurtured by mothers and later in life one is sustained by one’s superiors and the government. However, their quality of sustaining and nurturing is full of flaws. No matter how sincere a mother is in looking after her baby, her nurturing is far from perfect. Similarly there is weakness in the care provided by one’s superiors etc. They wish to be praised by their subordinates but do not quite fulfil the import of the praise and of course false praise leads to hypocrisy. However, our Lord, the Most High is free from all flaws and is Holy. By virtue of His Rahmaniyyat (quality of being Gracious) He provides the means of sustaining us and by virtue of His Raheemiyyat (quality of Mercy) He blesses us incredibly and also listens to our prayers. In short God has many attributes through which He extends His kindness to us. It is for a believer to practice Glorify the name of thy Lord, the Most High and do Tasbih of the Perfect Lord and to partake of His benevolent attributes and to avoid His chastisement. Hudhur said we should pray to God for protection against all evil; indeed one who does sincere Tasbih is taken in God’s refuge. The Holy Qur’an has called Salat a form of Tasbih, it is therefore essential to be regular in it. Hudhur explained that in extolling God’s name in the world we have the supreme example of the Holy Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be on him) who truly honoured summoning people to God. The Holy Qur’an states: ‘And as a Summoner unto Allah by His command’ (33:47) and ‘O Messenger! convey to the people what has been revealed to thee from thy Lord;’ (5:68). Hudhur said without doubt the Holy Prophet fulfilled this task. It was his objective to extol the name of his Lord, the Most High from the very beginning, but the revelation of this verse enhanced it further. He carried on with his Tabligh with gentleness, wisdom and steadfastness and in every sense of the word honoured Tasbih of God. Even in times of difficulty he moved onwards while doing Tasbih and instilled this spirit in his Companions through his power of holiness and they too gave great sacrifices.

Explaining the second verse recited at the start of the sermon, ‘Who creates and perfects’ Hudhur said God has created man in a form with all necessary powers and strengths and has made him with progressive matter. As a child grows and develops all these powers and strengths are enhanced according to the environment in which the child is growing. Some have mental and physical weakness but generally speaking this is not the case. In other words, man has been given the capacity to become a reflection of God’s attributes. The most perfect model of such a reflection was the Holy Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be on him) to whom God revealed the last and perfect teaching according to the evolutionary stage man had reached at the time. God has put both anger and gentleness in human nature. It should be used at the appropriate times. Indeed, the Quranic teaching is exactly that. Hudhur said forgiveness and leniency in every matter can destroy societal peace. Wise people who are drawn to God always adopt the way of moderation and their practice is always in accordance with the situation. Hudhur said ‘Who creates and perfects’ also connotes that when things go wrong, God gives the capacity to put it right. It is through Divine power that man has been bestowed with a brain that he can use to invent things for his own ease and facility. Many diseases were not known to man in the past. God gave man the capacity to develop and evolve and increased his mental capacities making him aware of new things through which he can make his life better.

Hudhur gave the example of heart disease. He said in earlier times human life was very hard and diet was such that heart disease was not common. However, with human development this disease also increased and gradually man learnt how to treat it more effectively. Through the progressive stages of angioplasty now efforts are being made to treat it with stem cells. Thus God provides capacity in humans as they progress. This is by virtue of His Rububiyyat. If He makes an irregularity apparent He also teaches man how to treat it and provides its antidote. A believer in the Unity of God always attributes all new research to God. Hudhur said when God guides mankind towards the cure of physical ailments why would He not do so in the sphere of spiritual ailment? In every age He sent Prophets for this reason and when human life became an amalgamation of spiritual ailments He sent the Holy Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be on him) and revealed His perfect teaching which made beastly people into godly people. After an age, when even the Muslims forgot to put this teaching in practice, in accordance with His promise, God sent the Promised Messiah (on whom be peace) who discovered pearls of knowledge in the existing teaching of the Holy Qur’an and cured spiritual ailments. He asserted that the cure of the ailments of the ummah was in this teaching. In medical field doctors make discoveries after long and arduous research, however God gave the cure for spiritual ailments 1400 years ago in the perfect Shariah and pious people in every age availed of it. In the latter-days, the Promised Messiah (on whom be peace) informed us of the cures for the new ailments. He removed all doubts about any form of abrogation in this teaching and then alone the real cure and antidote could be appreciated.

Those who say that there was no need for a Messiah to come are increasing in their spiritual ailments but they are not prepared to acknowledge the Imam of the age who is sent by God and they do not accept him. Hudhur said is all this enmity, suicide bombings, terrorism the teaching of Islam? Is oppression in the name of God and religion the teaching of Islam? Most certainly it is not. These people have declined to understand the teaching of Islam due to their unawareness or obstinacy and are committing all these acts to please their ‘temporary lords’ whereas the Promised Messiah (on whom be peace) calls people to the One and Only Lord by virtue of that teaching which was revealed to the Holy Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be on him). Hudhur said on one hand they proclaim that a reformer is required and there is need for Khilafat and on the other hand they are not prepared to accept the healer who God sent.

Hadhrat Musleh Maud (may Allah be pleased with him) explained two meanings for [the final of the three verses recited at the start], And Who designs and guides. Since God put a great potential for progress in man, He also provided means to realise it. Firstly, He created man according to the teaching and then He sent His teaching. Secondly, when man deviated God sent guidance in accordance to the need of the time. The perfect teaching that the Holy Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be on him) brought ensured that dues of God as well as dues of mankind were paid. Now that the guidance has come, a believer should abide by it and if anything is not clear then one should turn to the ‘healer’ who has been sent with the healing and should turn to God with sincerity asking for His guidance. It is also an obligation to do Tasbih of God and take His message to others and this is a sign of a believer who is free of any irregularity.

Hudhur prayed that may God enable us to turn with sincerity to the one whom He has sent and to put God’s teaching in practice, to do His Tasbih in a correct manner, worship Him and take His message to others.

Hudhur asked for special prayers for the Ahmadis of Egypt where a commotion has been raised against us and about a dozen of Ahmadis have been imprisoned. Prayers should be made for their speedy release. They probably think that by imprisoning the Ahmadis they can take their faith away. With the grace of God Ahmadis the world over are very strong in faith and this is what the Egyptian Ahmadis too are telling Hudhur. Initially, they held one Ahmadi lady as well but have now released her. Hudhur said prayers should also be made for Pakistan and the situation there. God has provided us with the means to take the message of the Promised Messiah (on whom be peace) to the world, it is the task of man to avail of it. May God keep everyone safe from every type of trouble and calamity and make them those who turn to Him.