Friday Sermon: 'Everything will Perish except God': Life of Hadhrat Sahabzadi Nasira Begum Sahiba

August 5th, 2011

Hudhur began the Friday Sermon today by reciting the Quranic verses:

‘All that is on it (earth) will pass away. And there will remain only the Person of thy Lord, Master of Glory and Honour.’ (55:27 – 28) Explaining further, Hudhur quoted from the writings of the Promised Messiah (on whom be peace) that everything is destined to perish and ultimately only God will remain and that He has decreed death for everything apart from His Being. Hudhur said at the Ameen ceremony of his son Syeddna Mahmood (may Allah be pleased with him), the Promised Messiah wrote a poetic composition entitled ‘Mahmood’s Ameen’, which is full of prayerful and advisory verses. He addressed these verses to Syeddna Mahmood as well as to his two other sons. In fact, he included the whole Community in this. Hudhur quoted a few verses of the poem, which broadly translate as follows:

The world is like an inn, whoever one meets will be parted
Even if one stays for a hundred years, one ultimately separates
There is no room for complaint, this very house is transitory

Hudhur explained that the Imam of the age who came to bring man closer to God, thus drew attention at a time of rejoicing to the fact that real happiness lies in Divine nearness. The world indulges in idle, vain ways and means at time of rejoicing but the Promised Messiah (on whom be peace) taught that all our attention should be drawn towards God and for this each act of ours should be to attain the pleasure of God. Once this insight is realised, the strands of our times of joy and sadness will flow towards attaining the pleasure of God. The Promised Messiah (on whom be peace) came to complete the mission of the Holy Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be on him). For him there was no greater joy than for his children to cherish love of God and be saturated in the love of the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be on him) and to read and act upon the Holy Qur’an. After Syeddna Mahmood (may Allah be pleased with him) finished his first reading of the Holy Qur’an, the Promised Messiah (on whom be peace) held a reception and this poem was written for that occasion. Each couplet of this poem is replete with heart-felt prayer and praise and glory of God. Acting upon the blessed model of the Holy Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be on him), the Promised Messiah (on whom be peace) told his children and his followers not to fall in love with this world for a time will come when the world and all that is in it will have to be left behind. It is pointless to love this world for it will not last. Lasting benefit is in having a connection with the Being that always was and always will be and that Being is God, the Master of Glory and Honour.

Hudhur said the aforementioned verses cite two important matters. One is that everything is prone to decline and will gradually perish and each human ultimately dies. The other point is that those who endeavour to attain God’s pleasure should be hopeful. Those who ever search for God, who endeavour for the piety of their children, doubtlessly depart from this world but they are granted an eternal life in the Hereafter and are taken in the loving embrace of God as they hear: ‘So enter thou among my chosen servants, And enter thou My Garden.’ (89:30 – 31)

Hudhur said the advent of the Promised Messiah (on whom be peace) took place to connect man with God and make him understand the subject of ‘So enter thou among my chosen servants,’. Thus, at a time of rejoicing he articulated in the poem that search for eternal life and unless one finds God, one cannot discover this everlasting life. It is stated in Surah Al Qasas: ‘And call not on any other God beside Allah. There is no God but He. Everything will perish except Himself. His is the judgement, and to Him will you be brought back.(28:89) Hudhur said this is the objective which we have to achieve, as God also states: And I have not created the Jinn and the men but that they may worship Me.’ (51:57) Hudhur said the significance of such worship is understood once one is firm on the belief that ‘There is no God but He’ and all else will perish.

Hudhur said God draws attention to such matters to those who believe in Him with sincerity. He also provides opportunities for attaining high standards of worship. The month of Ramadan comes every year so that we recognise God and save ourselves from destruction. Fortunate are those who avail of this opportunity and having done so, continue to strive towards it for the rest of the year. Those alone endeavour with resolve who understand that: ‘Everything will perish except Himself.’ No doubt therein is the teaching that death is a reality but those who absorb themselves in God achieve a new life. Who are those who are absorbed in ‘the Person of thy Lord’? These are those who understand the objective of creation. Indeed, fortunate are those who make an effort to comprehend this subject and then act upon it. May God enable each one of us to understand this subject and act upon it and may this Ramadan take us closer to this, for which our elders made endeavours and prayed for and breathed this spirit in the new generation.

When a dear one, an elder departs from this world one is further drawn to this subject. Indeed each person who has firm faith and belief in God should be further drawn to this subject at such a time. Hudhur said that recently, his mother passed away. Inna lillahe wa inna illahe raji’oon. When Hudhur reflects over her life, he notes her standard of worship as a model. Her reading of the Qur’an for hours, deliberating over it and her engrossment in Salat were exemplary for Hudhur. Although she did not experience the time of the Promised Messiah (on whom be peace) but she saw the early times and had the love and prayers of Hadhrat Khalifatul Masih I (may Allah be pleased with him) and had the blessings of the companions of the Promised Messiah (on whom be peace). She had the positive and distinctive influence of the time closer to that of the Promised Messiah and she was the eldest daughter and second child of Hadhrat Musleh Maud (may Allah be pleased with him). She carried herself with dignity, the sort of dignity which should be evident in a believer. She had angst to cultivate love of God; this angst was heart-felt and could be seen in her poetic compositions. Hudhur said judging from the engrossed manner in which she offered her Salat, Hudhur knows her feelings were not superficial like poets who wander in wilderness. In a poetic composition she wrote what is broadly translated as follows:

Your love, Your mercy, Your forgiveness too
I seek Your pleasure each moment
Having lost everything in His obedience
I only seek my Master’s support
May You alone be in my heart
I seek the mantle of Your mercy

Hudhur said it is related in Hadith that as a funeral procession passed by, the Companions spoke well of the deceased. The Holy Prophet said ’it has become obligatory’. The Companions asked what had become obligatory. The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be on him) answered that Paradise had become obligatory for the person because when people praise the virtues of the deceased, God makes arrangements for his or her forgiveness.

Hudhur said people who knew his mother are writing her many attributes in the numerous letters of condolence that he is receiving on her passing away. In light of these letters and what Hudhur had himself observed, he hoped and prayed that her prayer ‘I seek the mantle of Your mercy’ is fulfilled and God has wrapped her in the cover of His mercy and forgiveness.

Hudhur prayed: ‘O my Dear God, extend the treatment to my mother that she sought in this prayer, and make us, her children also understand this concept. In this world and after death, keep us also wrapped in the cover of Your mercy. May we never be distant from the expectations that she had from her children. May God also enable her next generations to attain His pleasure.’

Hudhur said his mother was the eldest daughter of Hadhrat Musleh Maud (may Allah be pleased with him) and Syedda Mahmooda Begum sahiba and was born in 1911. Her mother was the daughter of Dr. Khalifa Rasheeduddin. The Nikah of the parents of Hudhur’s mother took place in 1902 and they were married in October 1903. The Promised Messiah (on whom be peace) wrote to Dr. Khalifa Rasheeduddin that ‘Mian Mahmood’ was pleased with this match and this was a testimony that this was according to Divine will. Hudhur said certainly this was the case as their son was given the mantle of Khilafat. The Nikah of Hudhur’s parents took place in 1934 and Hadhrat Khalifatul Masih II (may Allah be pleased with him) gave a lengthy sermon at the occasion. Two Nikahs were announced at the time, first was that of Hadhrat Khalifatul Masih III (may Allah have mercy on him) and the other of Hudhur’s parents. Hudhur read out some excerpts from the sermon for the Jama’at in general and the family of the Promised Messiah (on whom be peace) in particular so that they realise their responsibilities and for Hudhur’s mother who always strived for high levels of Tarbiyyat of everyone, to be rewarded by God for Hudhur’s attention is drawn to this because of her passing away.

In his sermon Hadhrat Khalifatul Masih II (may Allah be pleased with him) cited the Quranic verse:And among others from among them who have not yet joined them. He is the Mighty, the Wise.’ (62:4) and said that this signified the coming of the perfect spiritual manifestation (Buruz) of the Holy Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be on him). He said it was not only the prophecy rather also an appeal by the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be on him) that when the evil of Dajjal (antichrist) appeared, a few people of Persian descent will rise against it. Citing an incident from the life of the Holy Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be on him), Hadhrat Musleh Maud (may Allah be pleased with him) said during an expedition there was lack of order among the Muslims so much so that only a dozen Companions remained around the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be on him). At this time, the Holy Prophet had it announced that Prophet of God was calling on the Muslims. The Companions rushed to get to him trampling everything in their way. Hadhrat Musleh Maud (may Allah be pleased with him) said that the call the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be on him) made regarding people of Persian descent was far greater in glory, in belief, in confidence, in love and in hope than the call he made to his Companions. He explained that the particular word (Rijaal) used by the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be on him) in his prophecy connotes not just the people of Persian descent, rather it also signifies their generations to follow will have the same responsibility. Hadhrat Musleh Maud (may Allah be pleased with him) thus passed the message and the trust onto the family of those of ‘Persian descent’. He said that he thus passed on the responsibility to the next generation, be they his children or the children of his brothers.

Hudhur prayed that having listened to this heartfelt message, may God make us feel responsible and may the passing away of the eminent elder of the family draw the Jama’at in general and the family of the Promised Messiah (on whom be peace) in particular towards the important obligation that the Promised Messiah (on whom be peace) has stated.

Briefly citing the life-history of his mother, Hudhur said given the times, her father stressed on her religious and worldly education and she was educated up to the FA standard. On 17 March 1925 a Madrassa was opened for girls and Hudhur’s mother was one of the early students in it. She passed the qualification of ‘Maulwi’ in 1929 from the Madrassa. Hadhrat Musleh Maud (may Allah be pleased with him) also wrote a poem on the Ameen of his children which is full of prayers. Mentioning Hudhur’s mother, Hadhrat Sahibzadi Nasira Begum, the poem says:

My Nasira , a virtuous star
Wise, dutiful, a pure gem

Hudhur said these attributes are not simply borne out of the love of a father. Many Lajna who worked with Hudhur’s mother have verified these sentiments. A former sadr of Lajna wrote that she was very keen regarding Tarbiyyat and always thought of new ideas and plans in this regard. She wished for each girl and each woman from Rabwah to have a very high standard of Tarbiyyat and to maintain the dignity of Purdah and general deportment. If she found someone not conducting themselves as they should, she would go up to them and lovingly explain about maintaining dignity.

Hudhur said that in an address during his first Jalsa as Khalifatul Masih, Hadhrat Khalifatul Masih IV (may Allah have mercy on him) spoke about Hudhur’s mother. He said that he had a sister who strictly abided by Purdah. She followed whatever she saw Hadhrat Musleh Maud (may Allah be pleased with him) do. Some younger women of the time thought that such ideas were of earlier times. Hadhrat Khalifatul Masih IV (may Allah have mercy on him) then added that the earlier times he knew of was the time of the Holy Prophet (peace and blessing of Allah be on him). He said this sister of his truly followed her strict ways while firmly abiding by Taqwa.

Hudhur said his mother had served as Lajna sadr for Rabwah for a long time and during her term she always aspired and worked hard for Rabwah Lajna to secure prominent position within Pakistan. This was not simply to be high on the league table but was owing to the thought that Rabwah was the seat of Khilafat and no should have the occasion to say that there was ‘darkness under the lamp’. Of course, God’s pleasure was her objective. Someone has written to Hudhur that his mother’s decisions had great foresight. She always consulted others and respected each person whom she consulted. One of her approaches to increase education and knowledge was to ask every member to memorise two couplets from the books Durre Sameen and Kalaam e Mahmood for meetings. Not only did this enhance spiritual knowledge, it was also most helpful towards Rabwah winning first position in Bait Bazi competitions.

Hudhur said he is aware that his mother had many poetic couplets memorised. Imam sahib’s wife has written to Hudhur that during the journey to an out of town trip, rather than chat, she encouraged everyone to have a Bait Bazi session. Hudhur said his father Hadhrat Mirza Mansoor Ahmad had also committed many couplets of Durre Sameen to memory. It seemed as if he remembered the entire composition of ‘Aye Khuda Aye Karsaz’. Hudhur said during their family travels, they always had Bait Bazi sessions; Hudhur’s father had one team and Hudhur’s mother the other. Hudhur said his mother knew the entire Qaseeda by heart. After the passing away of Hudhur’s father whichever granddaughter slept with her, had the task of helping her revise Qaseeda. Hudhur said she remembered part of Qaseeda till her last days. She also read the Qur’an with great concentration. If she ever had any spare time during the day from house work, which she did in supporting her household help as well as undertake Lajna work, in addition to her morning recitation, she would sit and read the Qur’an with deep reflection but it was not her habit to unnecessarily mention her knowledge in spite of her vast reading practice. As she had ‘Maulwi’ qualification, her knowledge of Arabic was good. She was most sympathetic and compassionate by nature and helped people with cash or by giving grain and also drew others’ attention to do the same. A few well-off people gave their charity to her so that she would distribute it to the deserving. As she was Rabwah sadr Lajna for a long period she knew people and was aware of their situation. During her office term, she was not a sadr only as an administrator, rather, she was in touch with almost every family. During her term as sadr Rabwah Lajna was prominent in every department.

Many acquaintances of her are writing to Hudhur and mentioning how hospitable she would be when people went to visit her and would offer seasonal refreshments. She was very discerning and could gauge situation by looking at faces, asked after people and gave them good advice and prayers. She would draw attention regarding Tarbiyyat of children. As she had been a sadr for a long period, the various Lajna meetings would take place in Hudhur’s family home. Hudhur said they had a large veranda where everything was arranged. Promptly after Asr Salat, Hudhur said, everyone had to leave home because it used to be occupied by Lajna. 150 to 200 ladies would gather there and she would personally arrange for refreshments to be served. Hudhur said if one was indoors, one had to remain there for a couple of hours as the house was taken over by Lajna. An old class fellow of Hudhur has written to Hudhur remembering how once she heard a Haji sahib’s voice and asked Hudhur’s friend to go and see if Haji sahib had eaten or not as it was meal time. Once she came to know that someone was going through hard times and wished to send their children abroad. She had her Prayer mat sent to that person with the message that she had prayed for them on the particular Prayer mat and with God’s grace all their children will have the chance to go abroad. The person has written to Hudhur that extraordinary set of events followed and all their children could go abroad. He has written that there are sympathetic people around but her concern was so unique that she made specific prayers and then sent a message.

Hudhur said his mother related one of her dreams to Hudhur in which she saw the Holy Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be on him). She once told Hudhur about a dream she had about the bright future of German Jama’at. When Hudhur recently visited Germany and observed the increasing connections and networks of the Jama’at there, he was reminded of the dream. Another of her attribute was that she was very particular about all kinds of chandas. As long as Hudhur was in Pakistan, she used to ask him to organise it for her and would repeatedly say that the payments should be accurate. She had various sources of income and if the estimated income differed from what was received, she would ensure that the balance in chanda was paid forthwith.

Dr. Noori has written to Hudhur and has also forwarded a letter that Hudhur’s mother sent him in 1999 in reply to Dr. Noori’s letter to her following Hudhur’s release from prison [where Hudhur was a prisoner of conscience]. She wrote:

‘Dear Noori, Assalamoalaikum warahamtullah wabarakatahu. I have received your letter in which you have expressed delight on the safe release of dear Masroor. It is great grace of Allah, otherwise the enemy had very dangerous plans. With His blessings God has demonstrated his power. We could not thank Him enough. Almost everyone in Rabwah as well as people outside Rabwah made many heart-felt prayers. God accepted their prayers. Alhamdolillah, Thumma Alhamdolillah. May God also protect everyone in future.’

Hudhur said therein is her humility that she does not mention her own prayers that she is bound to have made as a mother. Rather, she mentions the prayers of people of Jama’at. She also does not say may God protect my children, rather she prays for everyone. Hudhur said thus is the distinction of the Jama’at of the Promised Messiah (on whom be peace) and her expression here is borne of the high standard of Tarbiyyat that Hadhrat Musleh Maud (may Allah be pleased with her) gave her.

Hudhur said his mother had great self-control but Hudhur’s son told him that when he visited her a few years ago she became very emotional at Hudhur’s mention. and their children be fulfilled. Hudhur said after Khilafat her relationship with Hudhur took on a different tone and Hudhur would feel this over the telephone. Hudhur said he used to ring her prior to going on tours and she, knowing Hudhur well for no one knows one more than one’s mother, that he was quiet and said little, would pray that may God bless Hudhur’s words and his speeches. She would tell him that she was offering Nawafil and making prostrations of special prayers. When Hudhur met her at Qadian in 2005 it was an amazing situation for Hudhur; a unique experience. Her connection with earlier Khulafa that Hudhur had seen in the past was now extended to Hudhur by her and the mother and son connection was not there. It was replaced by a connection of Khilafat which had respect and deference.

Dr. Ibrahim took her interview there [in Qadian] in which Hudhur isalso mentioned. In the interview she said that she had respect and regard for Hudhur because he was the Khalifa of the time. Hudhur said his dear mother gave precedence to this relationship over every other relationship. Hudhur said when he went to meet her [in Qadian] she would have happiness and brightness in her eyes and her face would burst with joy. Whatever time Hudhur could find from the engagements of Jalsa he would go and see her, she would be loving towards Hudhur and they would sit together and talk for some time. But this was only over a period of 15 days. When she departed from there, she did so with prayers.

Dr. Furrukh has written to Hudhur to say that when he went to see her to pay his condolences at the passing away of Hadhrat Khalifatul Masih IV (may Allah have mercy on him) she asked him to pray to be enabled to take the Bai’at of the next Khalifa and also to develop an emotional connection with him. Hudhur prayed may God bless her with Paradise.

In 1913 when Hadhrat Musleh Maud (may Allah be pleased with him) wished to start the newspaper Al Fazl, his wife Hadhrat Umme Nasir offered her jewellery to fund it initially. He wrote that God had inspired his wife in a way that Hadhrat Khadija (may Allah be pleased with her) was inspired to help the Holy Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be on him). She gave two pieces of her jewellery to be sold to fund the launch of the newspaper. One of these were her own gold bracelets, the other were her childhood gold bracelets that she had kept for the use of her daughter Nasira Begum. By selling this jewellery the newspaper was launched. Hudhur appealed that the readers of Al Fazl remember the dear daughter of Hadhrat Musleh Maud (may Allah be pleased with him), his mother, in their prayers when reading the newspaper. Although not on a conscious level, but she also took part in the installation of Al Fazl which today is also published as Al Fazl International

Hudhur prayed that may God continue to elevate her station in Paradise and may her prayers reach us. Hudhur said he would lead her funeral Prayer in absentia after Friday Prayer.

Next, Hudhur announced two further funeral Prayers in absentia, these were of Chaudhary Nazir Ahmad sahib and Respected Mirza Rafiq Ahmad sahib.