Hudhur recited the following verse at the start of his Friday sermon: ‘Verily, Allah is with those who are righteous and those who do good.’ (16:129) and said that the Promised Messiah (on whom be peace) has written: ‘In the Holy Qur’an more emphasis has been laid on virtue and righteousness than on any other commandment.’ [Ayyam-us-Sulh, Ruhani Khaza’in, vol. 14, p. 342 – Essence of Islam, Vol II, p. 347]
Hudhur explained that Taqwa (righteousness) is the basis for attaining nearness to God and the first half of the aforementioned Quranic verse cites this point. Hudhur said there are two types of people in this world. Those who walk the paths of Taqwa, and who do good works to attain God’s nearness, who try for every virtue, and do so to have God’s pleasure which would take them closer to God. The other kind of people are those who although do good but when doing good, they are not aware that God is watching them. Among these are people who believe in the existence of God, believe that there is a Being Who sustains the heavens and the earth but while doing good they do not have God’s pleasure in view. This group also includes those who do not believe in the existence of God and deny His Being.
Although God states that He is with the first kind of people, yet His Rabubiyyat (Divine quality to nurture and sustain) bestows on everyone, including those who do not abide by Taqwa. This bestowal is only of worldly significance, like sunlight, air etc. Both atheists and the righteous have similar measure of these beneficences. Likewise, fruits of worldly progress, inventions, advancement in science and achievements based on mental endeavours are similar for an atheist and a righteous person. Farmers, be they atheist or righteous, also receive corresponding benefits. If the Divine qualities of Rabubiyyat and Rahmaniyyat (Divine quality of being Gracious) were not in motion, life would be impossible even for a moment. Although God has established two paths, one of virtue and the other of evil, in many aspects He bestows in equal measure.
Although God’s laws of nature are conclusive but a matter should be explained at this juncture which Hudhur said he would. In order to manifest His Power, at times, God grants a righteous person more than the others in similar circumstances. When Hadhrat Musleh Maud (may Allah be pleased with him) had land cultivated in Sind [Pakistan] he sent people to look after the land and among them was an elder, Maulwi Qudrat Ullah Sanori. During one of his tours of the area, Hadhrat Musleh Maud (may Allah be pleased with him) was inspecting a cotton field and asked Maulwi sahib how much harvest did he anticipate. When Maulwi sahib gave his estimate some among the entourage said that his estimate was quite high. Maulwi sahib replied that he was sure there would be at least that much yield. He said he had offered Nafl on all four corners of the field and was convinced that his Prayers would help. Indeed, the yield was likewise. Hudhur explained that sometimes in spite of similar climate and similar input of fertiliser, seeds etc. God demonstrates proof of His existence by virtue of prayers and increases yield.
However, in addition to this material world, there exists a spiritual world of one who believes in God and has perfect faith in Him. The benefits and pleasures of this spiritual world cannot be seen by the worldly people. Those who walk on the path of Taqwa think high, they believe in the unseen, they believe in life after death and have perfect faith in God’s promises. When they raise their hands in prayer, they witness signs of Divine acceptance. In the current age it is the Promised Messiah (on whom be peace) who has taught us these matters. Many Ahmadis experience Divine connection; God informs them of various matters through dreams and visions and those things come to pass. This association with God also signifies that the promises of the Hereafter will be fulfilled as well. God states that if one is firm on Taqwa, one would experience benefits of this world as well as the next world.
Those who do good for the sake of God’s pleasure are the righteous and they are the ones who walk the path of Taqwa. The Promised Messiah (on whom be peace) has described a righteous person as one who essentially avoids every big and small sin, essentially progresses in virtues and high morals and essentially has a truly sincere connection with God. Hudhur explained that true sincerity with God entails effort to fulfil the dues of worship of God and to try to the best of one’s ability to fulfil God’s commandments. Once this is achieved, as the verse recited at the start of the sermon states, it is the next stage from Taqwa, i.e. ‘…and those who do good…’. Mohsin [the Arabic word used in the verse] means one who confer something on someone without any effort on the other person’s part or treats others well or excel in his or her own work and performs each act most excellently in accordance to the given situation. Hudhur said there are two types of Mohsin. One type is of those people who are ever ready to help others with a sense of sympathy regardless of race, religion etc. Who help others in time of need and surpass in their service to bring about ease for others. Hudhur said it is the duty of each Ahmadi to serve others with these sentiments and with the grace of God, many Ahmadis indeed serve humanity with these sentiments. These are Mohsineen [plural of Mohsin], but not of the type who boast about what they do; doing that is not a demonstration of Taqwa and good qualities.
Hudhur gave the example of our young engineers, doctors and other professionals who go to Africa to volunteer their services. They go to work on many on-going projects in Africa, like providing drinking water to the under-privileged locals. They install water hand-pumps, try and provide electricity and are establishing schools for the locals so that they may seek education. They are building hospitals and clinics to provide healthcare facilities. Our doctors and teachers stay in Africa for many years and serve. They stay in places without electricity or running water. Hudhur said they go to serve and be counted among the Mohsineen. Their services are not in exchange of any remuneration, rather they are borne out of Taqwa and are to serve humanity. Similarly when natural disasters strike around the world, our doctors and other volunteers go to help with Humanity First. They do so purely to seek God’s pleasure. Others also serve but God’s pleasure is not in their view. Those who serve, benefit others with their service and their knowledge and only do so to please God, are the righteous and Mohsin.
Hudhur said he has mentioned before that our engineers have made a model village in Burkina Faso where electricity and running water are available as are foot paths and street lights. They have a community centre which meets the needs of the locals and small green houses where vegetables are grown which meet the local needs. Irrigation system for these is organised. Water hand pumps are installed in various villages. Hudhur said photographs show the delight of the local people when these installations are in place. For a child who had to ferry water in a bucket from five miles these services are a blessing. Our volunteers do not do this for any recompense. In fact when the young engineers return from the work they express their gratitude to Hudhur that they were given the opportunity to serve and promise to go again.
Hudhur said this year InshaAllah five model villages are being built in different countries. Ansarullah of USA and UK have taken the responsibility to fund these projects. Humanity First have also contributed in this and Hudhur has asked Germany to also participate. Those who are enthusiastically working on this project become Mohsineen and those who are providing the funds are also included. Ahmadis have believed in the Imam of the age and they try and walk the path of Taqwa, they also try and be included among the Mohsineen and God states that He is with such people. Hudhur said our young volunteers tell of the difficulties they encounter during their work and then God’s Power is manifested when imperceptibly the problem is solved. They say it increases their faith in God. Hudhur explained that the word Mohsineen also signifies those who try and excel in their work and thus they do a favour on themselves as well. With their know-how and spiritual knowledge they benefit themselves and by practicing it they benefit others. The higher one’s know-how and spiritual knowledge coupled with effort to benefit others, the higher level of being a Mohsin one attains. A new path is thus ascertained which takes one to greater progress in the spiritual and moral sense. This spiritual and moral advancement shows new perspectives of Divine association. One grows in nearness to God, acquires greater insight of His attributes and progresses in Taqwa. It is, as if a cycle that revolves around virtues, takes one to high levels of Taqwa and takes one closer to God and this in turn enables one to turn to virtues in an enhanced way. As a result one gains more spiritual knowledge regarding paying dues of God and dues of mankind. And thus God makes people Mohsineen. These are not Mohsineen who boast about what they do, rather these are those who bear hardship in order to serve others.
Hudhur said he often tells outsiders, leaders and others who raise objections about Islam or those who are not fully aware of the teachings of Islam that worldly people fully focus on receiving their rights. They set their level of demands and then they do whatever it takes to get them. As a result neither those who confer rights are fair nor those who want them. On the contrary Islam teaches to fulfil the right of others before they have a chance to demand their rights. Rather, these rights are fulfilled as a favour, while establishing human values so that one may be counted as Mohsineen; be mindful of the needs of others. Ahadith relate that the Holy Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be on him) said that one should provide the same food for one’s servant that one eats and should clothe them in the same way as one dresses. If this adage is seen in perspective of the world, masses would not go hungry and without proper clothing anywhere in the world. Remarking on photographs of malnourished and starving African children and their starving mothers who cannot breastfeed their young children, Hudhur said if rather than take possession of the resources of other countries, fulfilling rights is focussed on, self-help via enhancing the capacity of people is forthcoming, the problems of the world would be solved. If the Muslim countries kept this in view and their leaders focussed on becoming Mohsineen rather than augment their bank balances, the beautiful teaching of Islam would remove poverty and destituteness. But unfortunately it is mostly Muslim countries where the situation is worse and outsiders take advantage of this. Hudhur said when he informs people of this they acknowledge the beauty of the teaching of Islam but when they return to their own assemblies, their own national interests intervene. Hudhur said if national interests are rightful, most certainly they should be implemented; one has to look after one’s own first. However, when national interests mean usurping the wealth of others, it is wrong. This self-interest promotes disorder.
Every Ahmadi should try and walk the path of Taqwa to be included in Mohsineen and try and experience God’s nearness. This alone helps in self-reformation and enables us to save the society within our limited sphere from disorder. We should try and adopt Divine attributes on human level in accordance with our capacities and pay attention to fulfil the rights of God. This will make the blessings of this world subservient to us, these things will become of secondary importance in our lives and we will advance in Taqwa. God states in the Holy Qur’an: ‘Nay, whoever submits himself completely to Allah, while he is excellent in conduct, shall have his reward with his Lord. No fear shall come upon such, neither shall they grieve.’ (2:113) Explaining, Hudhur said God states that when His Being becomes pivotal for a believer, who gives him or herself over completely to God, then God Himself provides for such a person. He or she does not grieve anymore. What grief can one have who utilises all their capacity to serve creation and humanity? This task takes one into the loving embrace of God and is the hallmark of real Taqwa. The Promised Messiah (on whom be peace) said:
‘To become truly righteous it is necessary that a person abandoning utterly such outstanding vices as adultery, theft, trespass, hypocrisy, self-esteem, scorn of fellow beings, miserliness, should eschew all low morals and should make progress in high moral values. He should behave towards his fellow beings with politeness, courtesy and sympathy and should cultivate true fidelity and sincerity towards God Almighty. He should constantly seek occasions of beneficent service. He who combines all these qualities in himself is alone righteous. The possession of any one of these qualities would not entitle a person to be accounted righteous unless he possesses collectively all of them. It is only these concerning whom it is said: ‘On them shall come no fear, nor shall they grieve.’ (7:36) What more would they need? God Almighty becomes their guardian as it is said: ‘And He protects the righteous.’ ( 7:197) In another Hadith it is stated that God Almighty becomes their hands with which they grasp, and becomes their eyes with which they see, and becomes their ears with which they hear and becomes their feet with which they walk. In another Hadith it is stated that God has proclaimed that he who bears enmity towards a friend of Mine should become ready to contend with Me. Still another Hadith declares that when anyone attacks a friend of God, He pounces upon him with the fierceness with which a tigress pounces upon one who seeks to deprive it of its young. [Malfuzat, vol. IV, pp. 400-401 – Essence of Islam, Vol II, pp. 351 - 352]
Hudhur said how fortunate is one, whose Friend God becomes; they do not grieve and any previous bad deeds of theirs are forgiven. Hudhur said those who have sought political asylum are constantly concerned about the outcome. Some have lost a lot of weight in this fear, others are anxious because of the state of affairs in business, students are worried about exams. Thus, future prospects keep people in fear. Similarly, there is grief of what has passed. The greater the grief the sadder is the person. Many people of the world let their grief seriously affect them and become mentally disturbed. God states about those who are righteous and do good that they have no fear and they do not grieve. They do not ever let grief of this world affect them seriously. The fear and grief of a pious person is fear and grief of attaining God’s pleasure, as the Promised Messiah expressed in an [Urdu] couplet:
Night and day are spent in this heed
When will the Beloved be pleased!
This fear and grief draws their attention to prayer and remembrance of God and the sound of: ‘…Aye! it is in the remembrance of Allah that hearts can find comfort;’ (13:29) assures them, their previous grief is removed and they are assured about the removal of future grief. Fear of those who walk on the path of Taqwa is fear of love because Taqwa means that fear or anxiety which keeps one restless to gain the pleasure of God. This restlessness strengthens the heart as opposed to the restlessness of a worldly person which attacks the heart. Ahmadis need to bring about pious changes in their condition which will take them to the path of Taqwa and will include them in Mohsineen. Our grief should only be for the love of God and this would increase His beneficences on us. If we attain the standards of His love, then He too will be with us. He showers His blessings when He sees that His servant is trying to become a Mohsin and is adopting Divine attributes for His sake. Not only will our concerns be removed, rather there would be a profusion of His blessings on us.
The Promised Messiah (on whom be peace) wrote: ‘True righteousness and ignorance cannot subsist together. True righteousness is accompanied by a light, as God the Glorious, has said: ‘O ye who believe! if you fear Allah, He will grant you a distinction and will remove your evils from you and will forgive you…’ ( 8:30) That is, O ye who believe, if you remain steadfast in righteousness and hold fast to it for the sake of Allah, with firmness and perseverance, He will single you out from among your detractors with marked distinction. That is, you shall be blessed with a light which will accompany you wherever you go. That is to say, that that light would illumine all their actions and words and faculties and senses. Their intellect would be illumined and there would be light in all that they utter. There would be light in their eyes and in their ears and in their tongues and in their speech and in all their movements. The ways along which they walk would be lit up. All their ways, the ways of their faculties and their senses will be filled with light, and they will walk altogether in light.’ [A’ina-e-Kamalat-e-Islam, Ruhani Khaza’in, vol. 5, pp. 177-178, Essence of Islam, Vol. II, pp. 348 - 349]
Explaining the above Hudhur said when a person tries to become like this, his detractors come under God’s chastisement. Hudhur prayed that may we be those who take beneficence to other, who attain beneficence themselves and may the evil of our detractors rebound on them. As we absorb God’s love and take the message of Islam to the world, we will also witness the comeuppance of our detractors. May God enable us to pray and to attain such a station.
Next Hudhur announced that he would lead funeral Prayer in absentia of Dr. Muhammad Amer sahib who was martyred in Baluchistan, Pakistan last December. As there is no Jama’at where he was, news of his martyrdom was received late. He was martyred in his clinic on 1 December 2011. He was the only Ahmadi in his family. He belonged to an organisation which is known for its extremism and it is likely that they could not tolerate one of their own to take Bai’at. He took his Bai’at in 1994 and leaves behind a widow and two small children. Hudhur prayed that may God grant him a place in His Paradise and grant steadfastness to the bereaved.