Huzoor (aba) delivered the Friday sermon from Masjid Bait-ur-Rehman, Maryland, USA.
He said that it is indeed a blessing of Allah Almighty on us that we believe in the Reformer of the Age; however, despite this belief, there are many amongst us whose actions do not corroborate their words. During general discussions, they will be quick in confirming that indeed their forefathers were companions of the Promised Messiah (as) and narrate the accounts of their lives; they will also affirm that their faith in Ahmadiyyat is so strong that no amount of persecution shall waiver them from their beliefs. The forefathers of many amongst us have made sacrifices or they have personally made sacrifices where they offered their lives and properties. However, we cannot deny that nations cannot progress till a self-assessment is undertaken with an open mind. Hence, there is no denial that there are amongst these Ahmadis who have weaknesses in their practices, such as fulfilment of their obligations towards Allah and towards other human beings. The purpose of the advent of the Promised Messiah (as) was to infuse a revolution in a person’s life such that the darkness which had accumulated over a period of almost 1400 years would transform into radiant light. Our forefathers brought about that revolution in their own lives and brought about transformations within themselves such that their words concurred with their practical actions. But the subsequent generations to follow are not setting the same standards for themselves. Thus, each individual, whether a born Ahmadi or converted to Ahmadiyyat later in life, needs to asses him/herself as to whether he/she is striving to make those efforts to raise the standard of his/her practical actions.
In USA, there is a large population of African American Ahmadis whose forefathers offered great sacrifices when they accepted Ahmadiyyat and transformed their lives significantly, but moving forward, there is a need to evaluate whether similar transformations are taking place. We must analyse whether or not there is a contradiction between our actions and our words. Are the oath and slogans of “giving precedence to our faith above all worldly matters” merely sentiments expressed at the spur of the moment? Are we implementing the conditions of baiat in our practical lives? The analysis of these questions will drive us to progress in our faith and lead us to a point where our actions and our will be one and the same.
Huzoor (aba) elaborated on the importance of salat with focus on conditions of bai’at, the fact that it is a pillar of Islam and as it is highlighted in the Holy Quran. The third condition of bai’at lays emphasis on this fundamental commandment in these words: “That he/she shall regularly offer the five daily prayers in accordance with the commandments of God and the Holy Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him);” Allah Almighty says: “Establish your prayer” many times throughout the Holy Quran. The Promised Messiah (as) says: “Man cannot attain nearness to Allah unless he performs prayers as it behoves to do so.”
In the context of the era we live in, the importance of offering salat increases more so because it is linked with the promise of Khilafat, which is a blessing for those who offer salat.
Salat should be offered in congregation, should be offered regularly, and should be offered on time. Allah Almighty says: Establish prayer and give Zakat and prostrate with those who bow before God. This verse emphasizes that offering prayer and making financial sacrifices take the best form when offered in congregation and as a community. The Holy Prophet (sa) has said that offering prayers in congregation increases the reward 27 fold.
Huzoor (aba) said that we hear this in jalsas and speeches, but implementing these into practice happens scarcely, therefore we must make a very strong effort in this context. Even when prayers are offered, more emphasis needs to be laid on offering them in congregation.
By the sheer grace and mercy of Allah Almighty, there is a motivation in USA towards construction of mosques, but the benefit can only be derived when the mosques are utilized in their full right i.e. to populate them with those obedient servants of God who offer prayers in congregation. Many people are occupied at work during the daytime, however fajr, maghrib and isha prayers can be offered at Masjid. Many Ahmadis living in the Western countries live 15-20 miles from Masjid, but still make the effort to go to Masjid to offer salat in congregation. If everyone who possesses a car utilizes it for worldly matters, uses it for gaining God’s please, then the purpose of these vehicles will become the service of Islam and the individual will gain both worldly and religious rewards. Wherever it is not possible to go to Masjid, a few Ahmadis living close by should organize to get together in one home to offer prayers in congregation. And those Ahmadis living in isolated areas should make arrangements within the household to offer prayers in congregation with family members. The children will also learn the importance of salat in this manner. such arrangements will also safeguard the children from getting involved in other activities outside the home. Again, discipline in offering prayers will also require children to go to bed early at night and therefore staying up late will become obsolete in such households. Huzoor (aba) said that the youth who spend a lot of time surfing the internet should make every endeavour to browse the beneficial information but maintain a balance, which is necessary in everything in life. Huzoor (aba) also said that it is extremely detrimental for one to gain worldly pleasures at the cost of not offering prayers. On weekends, families have plans for outings but if they do not have such plans, then they should plan to go to the mosque, together, as family. Without salat, a Muslim cannot earn the privilege of being called a Muslim. By the time a person reaches adulthood, his habit of offering salat should have progressed to the point where it becomes well-founded and firm. Huzoor (aba) said that families who offer prayers in congregation on their leisure outdoor trips also become a source of doing tabligh by offering a good example to those who are around them. The popular belief is that only terrorists offer prayers, but when other Muslims who are dressed in Western attire, etc., offer salat, then their misconceptions are removed. Ahmadis should not fall prey to any kind of feeling of low-esteem. The Holy Quran reminds us to safeguard our prayers, make it regular and watch over it, especially those prayers that fall during times of other business. Huzoor (aba) also reminded us that salat should be offered with complete attention towards God and worldly thoughts should not occupy our minds, which can be achieved by focusing on God and making the intention of following God’s every commandment. When this state is achieved, God Almighty says that these prayers will protect you and prevent you from committing any wrong doings and will fill our homes with blessings and favours of God Almighty.
The Promised Messiah (as) has advised that my faithful followers should refrain from offering prayers that are void of interest, instead prayers should be offered with contentment of the heart. Huzoor (aba) said that we should make every effort that the prayers we offer meet the standards of those that will protect us against all evils. When the voice of the Khalifatul Massih reaches the Ahmadis around the world through MTA then we must follow his advice, otherwise we will fall short of our pledge of bai’at.
The Promised Messiah (as) said that a person who has not become an Ahmadi, and commits wrongdoings, then indeed he is a sinner, but the ones who have accepted Ahmadiyyat are even more accountable for their actions after performing the bai’at.
Every Ahmadi must remember that Allah Almighty is a witness of our oath and each Ahmadi (elders, youth, men, women) is accountable for every action. There is a general discontentment among individuals, and the reason for that is not fulfilling the obligations towards God. Huzoor (aba) says that when people request him to pray for them, he in return asks them to pray for their own selves, and to focus on offering salat, because without salat, no prayers will have any effects.
Huzoor (aba) said that in comparison to “peers” (self-proclaimed religious teachers) who deny the importance of offering salat, the Promised Messiah (as) said that he has come to annihilate such religious instruction, and that each one of his followers should become a role model for others to follow.
Huzoor (aba) said that as Ahmadis, we must strive towards bringing about a spiritual transformation in our lives such that we can safeguard our own, our children’s and our society’s lives. Remember, our faith along will not become the means to attain salvation, nor will our faith suffice for that spiritual revolution within us. In fact, it is our actions that will bring about the results we seek. Above all, our prayers and supplication that will reach God will bring about the revolution. The best way to supplicate is through salat, therefor every Ahmadi is responsible and accountable for his actions. When the focus of all Ahmadis around the world will be in one direction then these strings of prayers will bring about that spiritual revolution. It is the responsibility of every Ahmadi to strengthen the system of Khilafat by praying and supplicating and offering salat, so that the revolution that is associated with the advent of the Promised Messiah (as) which will result in the formation of a pious community with people from all nations under the flag of the Holy Prophet (sa).
The Promised Messiah (as) has said that one should offer five prayers with such humility as if you see God. No action can reach God without the element of prayer. The root of every goodness is righteousness (taqwa). An action which contains even an iota of taqwa shall not be wasted. What is salat? It is a prayer that is offered with extreme intensity. While supplicating during salat, do not bind yourselves to Arabic language, but offer humble prayers in your own words, so that it has an impact on your heart.
This is what we must strive so that we become the recipients of Allah’s mercy and blessings and His favours. The Promised Messiah (as) says that it is prayer that brings about Divine protection for the one who prays. The one who offers prayer with full attention thinks that he has died, and his soul has ascended at the threshold of Divine. A house where such prayers are offered shall never be destroyed. It is recorded in hadith that if salat existed at the time of Noah, his nation would not have incurred the wrath of God. All other pillars of Islam are conditional, but salat is not; it is obligatory in all conditions. All are performed once during the year, but salat is performed daily at five different times. Therefore, whenever there is a deficiency in salat, there will be a deficiency in blessings and deficiency in the oath.
Every Ahmadi is expected to offer the most excellent form of salat. The Importance of salat should be understood by every Ahmadi, so that our Jamaat can demonstrate through practical actions and show the world that after coming into the bai’at of the Promised Messiah, we have undergone such pure transformations that have led us to God. The Promised Messiah (as) said that interest in salat is attained through the blessings of God, therefore the first prayer to be offered is this: O Lord, inculcate in me this desire for prayer.
Huzoor (aba) also recounted how one should pray for him/herself. May Allah Almighty grant us such excellence in salat.
Huzoor (aba) also offered funeral prayers in abstentia for Murabbi Sahib Amar Maroof Aziz (Malaysia) and of Tahira Wandermann of UK.