Friday Sermon: Truth, Faith, Righteousness and Obedience

April 22nd, 2011

The Promised Messiah (on whom be peace) said: ‘I was sent so that the era of truth and faith comes once again and righteousness is generated in hearts’. An Ahmadi who claims to come into the fold of the Bai’at of the Promised Messiah (on whom be peace) should always keep these words in view, should reflect over them and should try to adapt one’s life in accordance to them. This alone will make him/her one who honours the dues of Bai’at. Otherwise it is a mere claim to say that we are Ahmadi. The truth and the faith that the Promised Messiah (on whom be peace) wished to bring, for which his advent took place and which inspires Taqwa (righteousness) is nothing new. His words expressing that such a time ‘comes once again’ signify that such a time once was, but it ceased to be and it is the task of the Promised Messiah (on whom be peace) to revive it. Indeed, we are fully aware that the era of truth and faith with well-established righteousness came with its utmost glory and magnificence when God sent our master, the Holy Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be on him) and perfected Shariah. As the Qur’an states: ‘…This day have I perfected your religion for you and completed My favour upon you and have chosen for you Islam as religion…’ (5:4). Thus no Ahmadi can even remotely imagine that the Promised Messiah (on whom be peace) brought any new message.

When we assert that as Ahmadis we have believed in the Promised Messiah (on whom be peace), we need to reflect whether we have tried to bring about those changes in our faith which the Qur’an teaches and the Companions of the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be on him) inculcated. Have we tried to instil that truth in ourselves which a large number of believers of the time of the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be on him) inculcated through a revolutionary change, have we inculcated that righteousness which we read about and listen to in the life of the Companions?

The Promised Messiah (on whom be peace) brought about such revolutionary changes in his companions and Hudhur often relates their accounts. After stating the words, ‘I was sent so that the era of truth and faith comes once again and righteousness is generated in hearts’, the Promised Messiah (on whom be peace) said, ‘these practices are the real reason of my being’. The Promised Messiah (on whom be peace) has also addressed his followers as ‘evergreen branches of my being’. In this regard, the practices that he has mentioned here alone would make us ‘evergreen branches’ because he called these practices the real reason of his being. It cannot be that some branches of a tree that bears sweet fruit yield toxic fruit or that dried off branches remain on such a tree. Dried off branches are always cut off. This should be a great cause for concern for us and we should always be cognisant of our responsibilities.

When Hudhur listens to or reads about the accounts of the newcomers in Ahmadiyyat, his faith enhances. However, when Hudhur hears of weaknesses creeping in a few of those whose forefathers were Ahmadis, and there are many whose were, it is sad and painful that they are not attentive towards the practices of their elders. At times, being a born Ahmadi makes one indolent. We should look into our hearts and self-reflect lest we are edging towards such indolence that God forbid, indeed God forbid, would close the doors of return on us.

The Promised Messiah (on whom be peace) has drawn a lot of attention in his pronouncements and writings that the true spirit of Ahmadiyyat can only be sustained when we continue to self-reflect and when there is no conflict between our word and deed. He said that he had repeatedly mentioned that as regards appearances, Ahmadis and the other Muslims are the same. They are the same in terms of being called Muslim, in saying the Kalima and in following the Qur’an. As such they are the same in making these claims, but God is not merely pleased with claims. He added, ‘unless a claim is accompanied with reality and in corroboration of the claim there is practical evidence and testimony of a change in condition. For this, often times, I am deeply saddened by this grief.’

Hudhur said the Promised Messiah (on whom be peace) wants practical evidence form us. Thus if we self-reflect we are in a better position to hold ourselves accountable. Counsel by others can at times make one irritable and at times egotism comes into it. As such when we self-reflect we should be aware that God is watching over us every moment and that we have taken our Bai’at. No matter how weak an Ahmadi, there is always a spark of piety in them and whenever awareness takes place, piety blossoms. We need to appreciate the ‘grief’ that the Promised Messiah (on whom be peace) felt. Those who gain awareness transform from dried branches into flourishing branches in no time. Some write to Hudhur with pathos that may they adopt the pure changes that the Promised Messiah (on whom be peace) wished to see in his followers. When one asks God for help, then God, Who loves one more than a mother loves her child, runs and embraces the person and their world is turned around. God has thus given us a golden chance to adorn our life in this world and in the next.

Hudhur explained that the Promised Messiah (on whom be peace) expressed the aforementioned grief at a time when those who had sought direct beneficence from him were around, whose standards of spirituality were enviable. But such was the measure of the expectation of the Promised Messiah (on whom be peace) that owing to the condition of some, he said at that time, ‘I am deeply saddened by this grief’. Consider then, how distressing would our weak condition be. Although he is not physically present among us today, God can reveal our condition to him. Exactly in what state are the families of his companions today! The religious condition of the families of some of those who abandoned the world to be with the Promised Messiah (on whom be peace) so that they could give faith precedence over the world, has become weak and a few have no care. We should ruminate the accounts of our elders with the intention that that is the objective we have to attain, we should reflect over their life, find out the reason for their Bai’at, then alone will we be on course attaining our objective.

A few days ago the son of a Community elder Moodi Khan sahib spoke about his father to Hudhur. Khan sahib had obtained a BSc from Aligarh University at a time when very few Muslim young men studied science. The vice chancellor offered him a job in the university. He was also offered a good job by an Englishman and was also advised to join the Indian civil service. Khan sahib related all this to Hadhrat Khalifatul Masih II (may Allah be pleased with him) and added that he did not wish to get embroiled in worldliness and would rather sweep the streets of Qadian. Such was the stature of our elders, in particular the companions of the Promised Messiah (on whom be peace) excelled in piety, yet the condition of a few caused the Promised Messiah (on whom be peace) grief.

We should pay great attention towards our condition and appreciate whose families we are and how our ancestors brought about pious changes in themselves. We should solemnly promise that we will not discredit the names of our elders. This would enhance our standard of righteousness and incline us towards piety. The signs of living nations are that they do not let their values die. The ones who are born into it, sustain the values and the new comers obtain them and thus the standards of piety continue to enhance on communal level. For this purpose constant self-reflection is required as well as reflecting over the condition of one's family, wives and children. The Promised Messiah (on whom be peace) said that a wife knows best about the state of her husband’s word and deed. If the man is proper, so will be the woman. Otherwise she would question his condition when he tries to improve her. It should always be remembered that reformation of women guarantees the reformation of the next generation. Thus men need to pay attention to their condition for the sake of the next generation. Then there are models of mother and father, husband and wife to maintain.

Hudhur said he would like to explain here that God forbid, it was not that the companions of the Promised Messiah (on whom be peace) had many weaknesses. There would have been very few who did not meet the standards of the Promised Messiah (on whom be peace), but he did not wish to see weakness even in a few. In the same assembly/gathering in which he remarked about his sadness he also said, ‘we observe that this Community has made much distinctive progress in love and sincerity. At times, seeing the love, sincerity and passion of faith of the Community even I am amazed and astonished.’ Hudhur said those who exhibited passion of faith were in the majority, rather we should say that compared to us, they all were in this category. However, a prophet wishes to see high standards in his time. The time that we are going through is also the time of the Promised Messiah and we have yet to see the fulfilment of many promises. If we wish to witness them, we must progress in truth and sincerity. Hudhur said he also wished to say that even in our times, there are many with good standards of sincerity and loyalty and are infusing the spirit in the next generation.

Hudhur said he had once expressed concern regarding those who give security duties in Pakistan after the Lahore incident. Hudhur had received information that some among them felt tired or showed lack of interest after giving lengthy duties, therefore, the matter should be thought through. When the sadr Khuddamul Ahmadiyya Pakistan relayed this to his Khuddam, Hudhur received many letters expressing sincerity and loyalty, renewing their pledge. They said neither they were tired before, nor will they have such a thought in future. Many women also wrote to Hudhur that they happily sent their brothers, husbands and sons off to Jama’at duties after they came home from work. Hudhur said this sincerity and loyalty is borne out of passion of faith. Hudhur reminded that during these obligations and duties, God should not be forgotten; Salat should be offered on time and during duty hours one should always engage in remembrance of God. Our greatest Power is God. Whatever help we get, we get it from God. Whatever will come to pass will happen through God; ours is a very insignificant effort. We should never slacken in prayers.

The Promised Messiah (on whom be peace) said that God states: ‘Verily, Allah is with those who are righteous and who do good.’ (16:129). Those who adopt righteousness and purity and are afraid of evil, have God’s support and protection. Hudhur said Ahmadis should fear God lest He is displeased with us.

The Promised Messiah (on whom be peace) said that God had told him to inform his Community that God is pleased with those whose belief is free of even the slightest of hypocrisy or cowardice and who are not divested of all degrees of obedience. Hudhur said such was the standard of the Promised Messiah (on whom be peace) and in this regard Hudhur would say something with reference to obedience.

Hudhur said obedience has different forms, different standards. There is obedience of God’s commandment and of the Nizam (administration) of the Community. The finest example of this in the Ahmadiyya Community can be seen in Hadhrat Khalifatul Masih I (may Allah be pleased with him). Once he was at his clinic when he received a telegram from the Promised Messiah (on whom be peace) that he should promptly come. He was in Qadian at the time while the Promised Messiah (on whom be peace) was in Delhi. Hadhrat Khalifatul Masih I (may Allah be pleased with him) sent a message to his family that he was going away and immediately left his clinic. He did not pack any belongings, did not take anything with him but simply left straight for the railway station. The train was slightly delayed. In the meantime he met a well-off acquaintance of his who asked him to see someone who was not well. The expenses of the travel were met by the fee that he was paid for the treatment. When he arrived in the presence of the Promised Messiah (on whom be peace) he found out there had been no sense of urgency for him to come, the person who worded the telegram had simply put it that way. However, he sat there happily, without complaining. Such are the people who are God’s favourite.

In the Nizam of the Community, obedience ranges from that of the Khalifa of the time to the person holding the smallest of office. In reality it is a continuity of obedience of the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be on him) and God. As the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be on him) said: ‘whoever obeys my Ameer has obeyed me and whoever has obeyed me, has obeyed God.’ In order to run any worldly or spiritual organisation there has to be a system in place. Worldly governments have law and order on every level, adherence to which is essential and governments enforce it through their power. However, in a spiritual system, the basis of obedience is sincerity, loyalty and pleasure of God. This is why God states that those who obey at every level are His favourite. Indeed, they do so to seek His pleasure. The sole example of the fulfilment of the promise of Khilafat as stated in the Qur’an in Ayah Istikhlaf (24:56) is in the Ahmadiyya Community. Two verses before this verse, God states: ‘And they swear by Allah, their strongest oaths that, if thou command them, they will surely go forth. Say, ‘Swear not; what is required is actual obedience in what is right. Surely, Allah is well aware of what you do’ (24:54). Here, God has given the example of obedience of believers, as in ‘…We hear, and we obey…’ (2:286). This is the excellent standard that a believer should have. We pledge that we would obey every good decision, but when a decision is reached we can act to the contrary. A true believer not only takes oaths but is also obedient under every circumstance.

Hudhur said he wanted to explain, as he has done before, with regard citation of obedience of M’aruf (good) decisions. The Ahmadiyya Khilafat never takes decisions that are contrary to the commandments of God. If each Ahmadi is firm on the belief that Ahmadiyya Khilafat is on the precepts of prophethood, then he or she should also be firm on the belief that a Khalifa will never give a directive contrary to Shariah. Neither will the Nizam of the Community, as it works under the auspices of Khilafat, and even if it does, due to an error, the Khalifa of the time will correct it when the matter is brought to him. When we pray for Khilafat we should also pray for ourselves that may we continue to be obedient to it in an excellent manner so that we remain among those with whom God is pleased.

Sometimes, owing to their personal benefit, some people express distrust of the Nizam. For example, at times due to legal reasons, Qada requires people to write a disclaimer, some decline. This is done with the negative assumption that the decision will be made against them. Their intention is not right from the start; they wish to try one system and if that does not go according to their wishes, they approach another system; the courts. If that system does not satisfy them, they try to come back to the Qada. In such a situation the Community does not handle their matters as they had contravened obedience and shown distrust to the Nizam in the first instance. God states that He is displeased with such people and even if such a person is a member of the Community, he cannot benefit from that beneficence of the Community which God grants to the people of the Community through the blessing of the Community. Each Ahmadi should try and be one with whom God is pleased for therein lies his salvation and that of his progeny.

Addressing the office-holders, Hudhur said they can be deemed representatives of Khilafat only when they fulfil the requisites of justice with fear of God. If anyone stumbles due to an office-holder, then the office-holder is just as blameworthy, because he has not paid the dues of the trust given to him by God. Every Ahmadi, no matter what level he or she is at, should always remember that he or she has to always honour the pledge of Bai’at and in doing so, has to always and in every situation abide by truth and righteousness. The Promised Messiah (on whom be peace) said that merely large numbers did not delight him, unless they were abiding by the reality of Bai’at. May God enable us in accordance with the wishes of the Promised Messiah (on whom be peace).