Hadhrat Khalifatul Masih recited the following verses of Surah Al Mu’minun at the start of his Friday sermon:
‘They will say, Our Lord, our wickedness overcame us, and we were an erring people.
‘Our Lord, take us out of this, then if we return to disobedience, we shall indeed be wrongdoers.
God will say, ‘Be lost therein and speak not to Me’
‘There was a party among My servants who said, ‘Our Lord, we believe: forgive us therefore our sins, and have mercy on us; for Thou art the Best of those who show mercy.’
‘But you made them a laughingstock until they became the cause of your forgetting My remembrance while you continued laughing at them.’
‘I have rewarded them this day for their steadfastness so that they alone have triumphed.’ (23:107-112)
In last Friday sermon it was explained with reference to an excerpt of the Promised Messiah (on whom be peace) what prayer is and how tranquillity is attained through it, what its philosophy is and what the requisites of supplication are. In truth, it is the Holy Qur’an that states the essence and philosophy of prayer the knowledge of which was given by God to the Promised Messiah (on whom be peace) who then unfolded it for us. Some extracts from his writings etc. although brief, are the means to know the truth about prayer and putting them in practice takes us close to God and makes us comprehend the reality of prayer.
The Promised Messiah (on whom be peace) said: ‘It is also essential for acceptance of prayer that man brings about pure change within himself. There is no effect in prayer if he cannot avoid evil and breaks limits set by God.’ He also said: ‘An immersion is required to connect to Allah the Exalted. We repeatedly enjoin our Jama’at to be firm on this, because unless one is detached from the world and love of the world is cooled off and natural fervour and immersion towards Allah the Exalted is not generated, dedication cannot be facilitated.’
The Promised Messiah (on whom be peace) said: ‘When prayers are made with complete devotion to God they bring about extraordinary effect. It should be remembered that acceptance of prayers is by God alone and there is an appointed time for prayers. Just as morning is a special time and the distinction of morning is not shared by any other hour. Similarly, there are certain times which generate acceptance and effect in prayer.’
Hadhrat Khalifatul Masih said that good results are gained when work is done in a fresh state in the morning. Those who stay up late either watching TV or on the internet cannot properly observe Salat [in the morning] and their other tasks also cannot be productive. Stressing the importance of working when feeling fresh he said one should try and seek the best times for prayer.
The Promised Messiah (on whom be peace) said that God’s mercy is with that person who remembers and fears Him in good times just as one would in times of trouble. God does not forget such a person when he is in trouble. Whereas the prayers of a person who spends good times in spiritual oblivion and only prays when he is troubled are not accepted. The door to repentance is shut when Divine chastisement comes in force. Thus fortunate is one who remains engaged in prayers before Divine chastisement comes to pass and gives alms and abides by Divine commandments and is compassionate towards God’s creation. The Promised Messiah (on whom be peace) said that these are the signs of goodness; a tree is recognised by its fruits. Similarly, it is easy to identify the blessed as well as the suspicious.
Hadhrat Khalifatul Masih said the citation of these extracts of the Promised Messiah (on whom be peace) is to inculcate further insight into connecting to God, to acquire ways and means of prayer and to be drawn to reformation and good works. So that we may adopt the correct way to pray and be among those who get a measure of ‘Hasana’ (good) in this world as well as the next world. This is an important subject which should be understood well by one who has accepted the true and ardent devotee of the Holy Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be on him), that is, the Imam of the age and has had the privilege to come into his Bai’at. Once understood, it should be practiced so that the difference between a true believer and one who merely makes a claim to be one is made evident.
The Holy Qur’an has illustrated the subject of prayer in many places which should be understood. For this purpose, we should try to understand it from the viewpoint of the Promised Messiah (on whom be peace) so that we can pray with while comprehending the wisdom and philosophy of prayer and as a result make prayers which bear fruit. Indeed, God is not in need of such prayers; rather, it is us who are in need of prayers that bear fruit. Indeed, God had the Holy Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be on him) announce, ‘Say to the disbelievers: But for your prayer to Him my Lord would not care for you…’ (25:78). Explaining this verse, the Promised Messiah (on whom be peace) wrote: ‘A perfect ‘Abid’ (worshipper of God, a devout person) can be one who is of benefit to others. However, this verse explains it with greater clarity. That is, say to people that if they do not call on the Lord then He too does not care for them. In other words He only cares for one who is an Abid.’
Hadhrat Khalifatul Masih said that if we wish to connect to God, see fulfilment of our good wishes and witness our enemy defeated then we need to try and become true Abid. May God enable each one of us to do so. Today our enemies are those whose enmity, rancour and malice for the Promised Messiah (on whom be peace) has exceeded bounds. This situation is mostly in Pakistan but also in parts of India and the influence has also reached areas in Africa. They do not leave any opportunity to perpetrate insult and outrage against the Promised Messiah (on whom be peace). They are ever on the lookout to injure the hearts of Ahmadis. Indeed, the love and loyalty of the Ahmadis for the Promised Messiah (on whom be peace) stems from the fact that he was the greatest ardent devotee of the Holy Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be on him). This is the crime of the Ahmadis and it was generated in our hearts by the Promised Messiah (on whom be peace). Our connection of love with the Promised Messiah (on whom be peace) is also because it is through him that we have attained true perception of Tawheed (Oneness of God). Those who are exceeding limits in their enmity of the Promised Messiah (on whom be peace) are in fact contending with the true and ardent devotee of the Holy Prophet and the crier of Tawheed; a person for whom God cares. Indeed, in this age there is no greater Abid than the Promised Messiah (on whom be peace).
We have seen the ending of our enemies in the past and we are also witnessing it today. In Pakistan, those who were extremely abusive about the Promised Messiah (on whom be peace) have been seized by God in such a manner that it has been a means of deterrent. Those who can see are observing that in Pakistan, without naming specifics, God has seized those who committed such rudeness. There are people who perpetrated insolence on many levels; self-righteous individuals who were disgraced and expelled from their areas for some crime or the other by their own people. Or they were disgraced in some other manner by God and thus their backers were discredited and it proved faith-enhancing for Ahmadis. The allegations they come up with are so vile, they cannot be repeated. The majority of public in Pakistan is either indifferent or is fearful. This is also the case in some parts of India. Even after seeing their disgrace, they are not drawn to conclude that all this is borne of their enmity towards one who was sent by God. However, in other parts of the world, as in Africa, when people witness the sorry state of the religious leaders, they are drawn towards Ahmadiyyat. It is courageous of them to learn lessons from the misdemeanours of their so-called religious leaders.
Hadhrat Khalifatul Masih said that he wished to say to Ahmadis not to be troubled by what the enemy is up to. An Ahmadi recently wrote to him that the enmity against the Promised Messiah (on whom be peace) is so intense that the opponents commit every possible vulgarity in this regard. They deface the Promised Messiah’s (on whom be peace) photograph or demean it in other ways and it is unbearable. The Ahmadis feel as if their hearts would burst. The enemy is putting up extremely crude posters so much so that now decent non-Ahmadis are removing these posters. Hadhrat Khalifatul Masih has written back advising to be patient. The worse the enemy gets in his enmity the more we are taught to turn to God and to completely lose ourselves in Him. Such people invite their own death; those who aim to disgrace those sent by God are always destroyed. Just as Lekh Ram was subjected to Divine punishment, so will these people. What we need to do is express our hurt, anguish and pain to God alone.
‘The Promised Messiah [as] said: I was praying for the members of my Jama‘at and then for Qadian when the revelation came to me: They have drawn away from the fashion of life; Then grind them down a fine grinding. The Promised Messiah [as] said: I wondered why the act of grinding has been attributed to me. Then I looked at the prayer which is written on the wall of the Chamber of Prayer which is as follows: Lord, hear my prayer and crush Your enemies and my enemies and fulfil Your promise and help Your servant and show us Your days and sharpen for us Your sword and spare not a single mischief maker out of the disbelievers.
Taking this revelation and this prayer together, I understood that it was the time for the acceptance of my prayer.
Then the Promised Messiah [as] said: It has ever been the way of Allah that those who obstruct His sent ones are removed by Him. These are days of Allah’s abundant grace. Observing how He is manifesting all these things, one’s faith and certainty in the existence of God Almighty are strengthened.’ [al-Hakam, vol. 8, no. 13, April 24, 1904, p. 1 – Tadhkirah, English, pp. 664 - 665]
God is manifesting this today as well. On the one hand is the abuse and on the other hand is our progress and advancement. Without doubt there are decent people in the country, like those who remove the offensive posters from the walls of their houses, but the decency of the majority is ‘dumb’/voiceless. Hadhrat Khalifatul Masih III (may Allah have mercy on him) used to say that these people do have decency but it is dumb/voiceless. However, now educated people who write in the English language press have started raising their voices against these outrages. In any case, we should say this prayer that was revealed to the Promised Messiah (on whom be peace) for the protection of the country [Pakistan]. So that the decent people of the country are saved from the evil of these wicked people; but above all so that Ahmadis are saved from their evil. It is God alone Who has protected us up till now from the dangerous schemes and ploys of the enemy. Hadhrat Khalifatul Masih has drawn attention before that if we mould our deeds in accordance with the pleasure of God and turn to Him, soon a revolutionary change can come to pass.
The Promised Messiah (on whom be peace) said: ‘During the interval between a supplication and its acceptance one is often subjected to trial after trial, some of which are back-breaking. A persevering and good natured supplicant smells the perfume of the favours of his Lord in these trials and difficulties and his intelligence informs him that they will be followed by help. One aspect of these trials is that they foster eagerness for prayer. The greater the distress of the supplicant, the more his soul will be melted. This is one of the factors in the acceptance of prayer. So one should not lose heart and should not think ill of God through impatience and restlessness. One should never think that one’s prayer is not accepted or will not be accepted. Such a notion is a denial of the attribute of God that He accepts prayers.’ [Malfuzat, vol. IV, pp. 434.Essence of Islam, Vol. II, p. 222]
What is required of us is resoluteness and to pray with the requisites of prayer, some of which have been elucidated with reference to the Promised Messiah (on whom be peace). We should always be firm on the belief that Word of God is never wrong. As God states: ‘…Pray unto Me; I will answer your prayer…’ (40:61). The significance here is that we should pray with the requisite conditions and be mindful that God has an appointed hour for acceptance of prayer. If every trial makes us turn to God we will InshaAllah experience acceptance of prayer.
The Promised Messiah (on whom be peace) said that one can never gain beneficence of prayer unless one exhibits the ultimate in patience and continues to pray with resoluteness and never thinks ill of or has negativity about God and consider Him the Master of all powers. One should have belief and continue to pray patiently. A time will come that God will listen to one’s prayers. Those who abide by this formula never remain unsuccessful and deprived; in fact they are definitely successful. God has innumerable powers and He has put the regulation of long-term patience in place for the fulfilment of what humans want. He does not alter this regulation and anyone who wishes God to alter this law for him is brazen and impertinent. Some people are very impatient and except everything to come to pass like a juggler’s act. The impatience of an impatient person can have no effect on God but will only harm him. The Promised Messiah (on whom be peace) then cites the example of the father of Hadhrat Yusuf (Joseph) who prayed for forty years before his prayer was accepted. Although he had no news, yet he said: ‘…Surely, I feel the scent of Joseph…’ (12:95) and remained steadfast. The long period between the fulfilment of his prayer was an indication that it was going to be accepted. A kindly person never leaves a beggar empty-handed after letting him wait for long, in fact even a niggardly person does not leave a beggar go without if he has waited for long and in the end gives him something or the other.
Whereas our injured hearts are not due to anything personal, our grief is borne from the fact that we have accepted the Imam of the age. We are being targeted by the oppressors because we have believed the one sent by God in the current age. Most certainly, we are enduring all this for the sake of God; hence, most certainly He will listen to our prayers as indeed He is listening to them. The progress of Ahmadiyya Jama’at is a living example of this. The enemy’s ploys are forceful and it is merely the mercy of God that in order to strengthen our faith He is smashing these ploys in many instances. The opposition is not limited to Pakistan and can be found in some other countries as well. Yet, the progress of the Jama’at is not hindered.
Hadhrat Khalifatul Masih said that a journalist asked him at the European Parliament event what was the number of Ahmadis in relation to the other Muslims. He realised that this would lead to the question that with such a small number there was not much significance of our peaceful teaching that we wished to spread. Hadhrat Khalifatul Masih was reminded of an answer Hadhrat Khalifatul Masih III (may Allah have mercy on him) had given to a Western journalist with regard to the numbers of Ahmadiyya Jama’at. He had said that the ‘one’ of ninety three years ago had become close to ten million. Thus, Hadhrat Khalifatul Masih responded to the question that Ahmadiyya Jama’at was established one hundred and twenty three years ago and with the grace of God we now number in tens of millions and the time is near when the world will see us as an influential community. However, we should always be mindful that any influence we may have will not be for worldly objectives. Rather, it will be to establish the kingdom of God on earth and to spread love and peace in the world.
We should not worry that the cruelty of our opponents will deter us from our task or will hinder our progress. Indeed, God is granting us progress and advancement. Not only that, by illustrating what it will be like in the next life as regards His beloveds and their opponents in the Holy Qur’an, God has bestowed tranquillity on us. The verses recited at the start of the sermon draw a clear and distinct illustration of the ending of the oppressors in the next life. This is an illustration of those people who mistreat one sent by God. God will say that not only did these people mistreat and persecute those who exalted God but even stopped them from giving the message to others. What were they sorry for now? He will say that those who accepted the one sent by God, in accordance with the commandment of God, are deserving of His mercy and His Paradise. He will recompense the persecution they endured with love. God will say that those who persecuted His servants were so blinded that they even became negligent about His remembrance and disregarded that killing believers would send them to Hell. They forgot the pledge to pay the dues of God and His people. They looted the property of the innocent, burnt it down, harmed their businesses … there is a long list of crimes they committed against the innocent. Now Hell was their fate; and this is what the Qur’an states.
God will say to those who seek His mercy that by virtue of their patience and strength of faith and their turning to God and being His Abd (servant), they are included among those who receive His love and attain His mercy and forgiveness. Thus, these verses depict the difference between a Momin (believer) and one who is not a Momin!
May God include us in those who attain His mercy and forgiveness. May He cover all our errors and shortcomings and may our attention remain towards praying with resoluteness and may we be included among ‘they alone have triumphed’.