‘The month of Ramadan is that in which the Qur’an was sent down as a guidance for mankind with clear proofs of guidance and discrimination. Therefore, whosoever of you is present at home in this month, let him fast therein. But whoso is sick or is on a journey, shall fast the same number of other days. Allah desires to give you facility and He desires not hardship for you, and that you may complete the number, and that you may exalt Allah for His having guided you and that you may be grateful.’ (2:186)
The month of Ramadan comes many times in the life time of a Muslim. A practising Muslim knows that the revelation of the Holy Qur’an commenced in this month. A committed Muslim who has some knowledge knows that during the life of the Holy Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be on him) each year during Ramadan Hazrat Jibrail used to revise the hitherto revealed Qur’an with him once with the exception of the last year of the life of the Holy Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be on him) when the Qur’an had been revealed in its entirety and he had received the glad tiding of ‘…This day I have perfected your religion for you and completed My favour upon you and have chosen for you Islam as religion…’ (5:4). According to tradition related by Hazrat ‘Aishah (may Allah be pleased with her) in the Ramadan of this last year Jibrail revised the Holy Qur’an twice.
The Holy Qur’an has a special affinity with the month of Ramadan. Each year Ramadan draws our attention that indeed it was revealed during this month. Hazrat Khalifatul Masih said that he would give a discourse on the first part of the aforementioned verse and not the latter part.
Each year the month of Ramadan reminds us that the Holy Qur’an is a teaching of guidance and it discriminates between truth and falsehood with illuminating signs. It reminds us about the great importance of the excellence of fasting and how fasting should be observed. Ramadan also reminds us that the teaching of the Holy Qur’an is complete and comprehensive. Indeed, this reminding is only beneficial when we understand its spirit and essence. Otherwise, Ramadan comes every year and it will continue to do so and will continue to remind about matters and we will simply be happy to listen to its significance. Its benefit is truly realised when we incorporate its significance in our practices. When, as soon as we hear ‘The month of Ramadan is that in which the Qur’an was sent down…’ we pick up our Qur’an to read. The objective of this reminding will be fulfilled when we will try to understand the meanings of the Holy Qur’an so that the words ‘…guidance for mankind…’ are truly clear to us.
The reminding of the affinity between Ramadan and the Holy Qur’an will be clear to us when we will try and make special effort in this month to look for the commandments of the Qur’an. Ramadan reminds us, draws our attention to look for the commandments within the Qur’an and then put them in practice and make them a part of life. In light of the teaching of the Holy Qur’an Ramadan reminds us to engage in remembrance of God in an enhanced manner and this obligation is fulfilled by worship of God, by offering Salat in an adorned manner, on time and to seek the pleasure of God as well as by fervently offering optional Prayers and by engaging in remembrance of God. These obligations draw us closer to God and make Him close to us so that the distance between man and God is removed.
Ramadan reminds to hold on firmly to the rope one end of which is in the hand of God and He has dangled the other end on earth for those who seek His nearness. One who grasps it will find God.
Ramadan reminds us that God states: ‘…I am near…’ (2:187). We should heighten the levels of our worship and find this beneficence.
Ramadan reminds us to try and pay the dues of God’s creation, His people, more than before. God has indeed drawn attention even to the rights of others, as for the mutual rights of Muslims, He has stated: ‘…tender among themselves…’ (48:30)
Some people overlook the rights of their own; in fact some overlook the rights of blood-relations. Hazrat Khalifatul Masih sometimes receives letters from young women who say that parents differentiate between sons and daughters. At times, if property settlement is done by the parents during their lifetime, some families deprive the daughters and bequeath everything to sons. In order to cover themselves, they do ask daughters if they have any objection, and daughters concede out of embarrassment and parents think they have been fair. This is not fairness rather it is transgression and is against clear directive of the Holy Qur’an. It is astonishing that there are such parents in this day and age who are so unfair. It is also good that there are such young women in this day and age who sacrifice their right for the happiness of their parents. However, they should remember that if their sacrifice is not sincere then they are making their parents sinful through it. Hazrat Khalifatul Masih said that he would say to such cruel parents one more time to fear God and brothers who exceed in selfishness and put pressure on parents to hand over the property to them while depriving the sisters are filling their bellies with balls of fire. They should fear God and pay attention to reform themselves. This detail was mentioned because it was important to state it.
Resuming the subject of what Ramadan reminds us, Hazrat Khalifatul Masih said when we experience Ramadan it reminds us that in light of the teaching of the Holy Qur’an every Muslim should inculcate spirit of sacrifice. We should self-asses regarding the promise that we make for the sake of God and His Community and for the sake of Khilafat e Ahmadiyya to sacrifice our life, property and time. We should fulfil the promise and gauge as to how much fervour do we have to fulfil the promise and look up the commandments of the Qur’an in this regard and also look up commandments regarding each other.
Ramadan also draws our attention to the pain the Holy Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be on him) felt to save the world from destruction and wrath of God. And how intensely and sorrowfully he prayed to God in this regard and what should we be doing to pay its dues.
Ramadan comes to remind us about the mission that God entrusted to our master, the Holy Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be on him) in the Hira cave and then asked him to accomplish it outside of the cave and how we should carry out the task of disseminating the teaching according to his blessed model and his directives. How indeed should we follow the directive to spread Unity of God and the message of Islam and make the message of ‘… guidance for mankind…’ widespread.
Ramadan reminds us that we will be able have true insight of giving precedence to faith over worldly matters if we reflect over the solitude of the Hira cave.
Ramadan reminds us that if we proclaim to love the Holy Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be on him) we should keep every aspect of his blessed model in view and try to emulate it.
This month has come by to remind us to find out how did the Companions of the Holy Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be on him) earn the station whereby they are worthy of the salutation of ‘may Allah be pleased with them’. Indeed, the Companions are also a model for us.
This month also reminds us to try and take ourselves back to the time of the Holy Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be on him). Of course, we cannot travel back in time but the teaching of the Holy Qur’an is before us in its original form which facilitates reflection and appreciation of that time.
This month is here to remind us to tell the world that the teaching of the Holy Qur’an alone is about establishing peace and the blessed, perfect model of the Holy Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be on him) is the one to establish peace in the world.
This month comes to remind us that the Holy Qur’an is the Book that gives all its commandments with reasoning, therefore it should read with careful reflection so that we can be included among those about whom God has stated: ‘They to whom We have given the Book follow it as it ought to be followed…’ (2:122) That is, they pay the dues of reading as it should be read, they reflect over it as it should be reflected on and who pay the dues of whatever they have read, listened and reflected on. If we do not follow this then our claim to be Muslim is mere verbal profession and we will be included among those about whom God has stated: ‘And the Messenger will say, ‘O my Lord, my people indeed treated this Qur’an as a discarded thing.’ (25:31)
While this month gives us many glad-tidings it also puts many responsibilities on us, it alerts us to self-assess as to how much are we practising its teachings and how much are we doing to allay the concerns of the Holy Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be on him). Otherwise, neither the Qur’an will be of any benefit and nor will Ramadan.
God has given hundreds of directives relating to how He wishes to see true believers and in this age attention has been drawn to reformation through the Promised Messiah (on whom be peace). Hazrat Khalifatul Masih said he had only briefly pointed out the matters which Ramadan and the Holy Qur’an remind us, but the Qur’an has hundreds of commandments which need to be looked up and practised. This cannot be attained without God’s grace and God states that His grace should be sought through prayer. Hazrat Khalifatul Masih wished to mention two among hundreds of directives of the Qur’an today because they are very important regarding mutual relations and societal peace not least their real benefit, which is to seek nearness to God by obeying His commandments.
First is humility and humbleness which resolves many problems. God has given humility as one of the qualities of His servants who worship Him and seek the beneficence of the Gracious God. It is stated: ‘And the servants of the Gracious God are those who walk on the earth in a dignified manner…’ (25:64) God has also stated: ‘…Surely, Allah loves not any arrogant boaster.’ (31:19) There can no one who on one hand professes to believe in God and on the other hand says that he does not care for love of God. Most certainly a wise, intelligent person cannot say this. Yet, we see in practice that the cause of everyday problems is arrogance. A person who is not arrogant and as a result is also not egotistical does not get his affairs tangled. Arrogance leads to obstinacy. Many matters are brought before Hazrat Khalifatul Masih these days and the majority of these cannot reach resolution because arrogance, egotism and obstinacy prevent them from being resolved. If a Muslim needs love of God, and when Huzoor uses the term Muslim, his primary addressees are Ahmadi Muslims, then these matters need to be avoided. The beneficence of Ramadan is attained when Quranic directives are followed. It should be clear to those whose conflicts are protracted due to arrogance that conflicts indeed start because of arrogance. These people should show humility during this Ramadan and extend a hand of conciliation and try and be included in those Ebaadur Rahman (servants of the Gracious God) who walk with humility and dignity and who are always desirous to please God even if it means they endure worldly loss in the process.
Secondly, it is patience which is interconnected with humility. God states: ‘And seek help with patience and Prayer…’ (2:46) Who is it that does not need God’s help at every step? However, God states that only those can avail of this who are humble and for others it is a very difficult matter. He states: ‘…and this indeed is hard except for the humble in spirit.’ (2:46) Attention should be given to prayer with patience and humility. Indeed humility is the way of those who abide by God’s commandments, is the way of those who worship God. God’s help comes when God’s dues, as told by Him, are paid with extreme humility on every level with prayer and steadfastness and when man turns to God. Similarly, also seek the strength to pay the dues of mankind as told by God also from Him and show resilience and fortitude and as result you will be the recipient of God’s grace. God also saves one who is humble from worldly loss, helps him against the enemy, advances him in spirituality, and brings about peace in societal ties and thus God’s grace is attained. These indeed are the wishes of a true believer as indeed they should be.
Hazrat Khalifatul Masih said we should self-assess this Ramadan in light of what Huzoor has told us today, ponder over up to what extent we have planned to better ourselves and taken steps regarding this. Otherwise Ramadan will come each year for as long as we live and we will simply listen to academic points about it. The significance of ‘...guidance for mankind…’ is that one’s attention to these matters is not superficial. In fact we should reflect deeply to search for the pearls of guidance to adorn our life in this world and the other.
The Promised Messiah (on whom be peace) said: ‘Remember that the Holy Qur’an is the springhead of real blessings and is the true source of salvation. Those who do not follow it are themselves to be blamed. One group of those who do not follow it are those who do not believe in it and do not consider it the Word of God Almighty. These people are very remote. However, it is most astonishing and regrettable if those who believe that it is the Word of God Almighty and a healing formula of salvation do not follow it. Many among them have never read it in their entire lives. The example of people who are so negligent and careless about the Word of God Almighty is like a person who knows about an extremely pure, cool, sweet water spring and knows that its water is a panacea and curative for many illnesses. He knows this for certain, yet in spite of knowing this and in spite being thirsty and suffering from many illnesses he does not go near it. How unfortunate and ignorant of him! He should have drunk from the spring and satiated himself and taken delight in its delicious and healing water. In spite of being in the know he is as remote from it as someone unaware and he remains away from it until death overtakes him. The condition of this person is most cautionary and admonitory.
Such is also the condition of Muslims at this time. They know that the Holy Qur’an is the key to all successes and which should be followed. Yet, no, it is not even cared about! …Muslims should have had, and it is also important for them now, consider this spring a magnificent blessing and value it. Valuing it is in following it. They would then see how God Almighty would remove their problems and difficulties. If only the Muslims would understand and ponder that Allah the Exalted has created a virtuous path for them and they tread on it to avail of it.’ (Translated from Malfuzat, Vol. 7, pp. 181 – 182)
If only Muslims today, leaders and public who are killing each other and hundreds of lives are being lost, would follow the Holy Qur’an and accept the Promised Messiah (on whom be peace) this evil would be removed. May God give these Muslims sense to follow the teachings of the Holy Qur’an!
The Promised Messiah (on whom be peace) also tells us to reflect on the Holy Qur’an for it contains everything. He said: ‘Know very well that it presents that religion on which no objection can be raised because its blessings and fruits are fresh. Gospel does not completely elucidate religion. Its teaching may have been according to its time but it certainly is not suitable for always and for every situation. This distinction belongs to the Holy Qur’an alone that Allah the Exalted has given antidote for every illness in it and has given moral instructions for all faculties. Whatever evil has been made obvious, method to remove it has also been given. Therefore, continue to recite the Holy Qur’an and continue to pray and try and keep your conduct in accordance with its teaching.’ (Translated from Malfuzat, Vol. 9, p. 122)
This advice is also for us; we are not to be merely critical of others. We too have to follow it and practice this teaching and try and keep ourselves under its teaching so that our worldly life and ending is adorned. May God enable us to make this great Book part of our lives and attain God’s pleasure! May this Ramadan give us greater knowledge of the Holy Qur’an.