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by the Head of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community
October 24th, 2003

With a few days to go before the commencement of the holy month of Ramadan today Hazur aba based his Friday Sermon on its blessings and requisites.

Reciting verses 184 & 185 of Surah Al Baqarah and with reference to the writings of the Promised Messiah (on whom be peace) Hazur aba explained that the true believers are those whose deeds are reflective of their faith. He said it is not easy to be a believer in the true sense, and it takes adopting the subtleness of taqwa (righteousness) and negating one's own self in seeking the pleasure of Allah. Hazur aba cautioned about keeping fasts in Ramadan simply for the reason that everyone else is and said that Allah has declared that rewards and benefits of all other virtues to one side, the Being of Allah Himself is the reward of keeping fast.

Citing ahadith Hazur aba said that one who fasts during Ramadan in a state of belief (Iman) and whilst sincerely appraising oneself will have all their past sins forgiven, explaining Hazur aba said one should assess and consider which bad points to shun and which virtues to adopt. There is no month better than the month of Ramadan for a believer whereas it is the worst possible time for a hypocrite, in this month Allah becomes the Protector of those who fast. During fasting one not only avoids food and drink but also shuns all things negative, especially verbal misuse. Thus one who fasts escapes wickedness and due to this severance from 'worldliness' one's spiritual insight is heightened.

Hazur aba said that enduring hunger has a great reward with Allah and therein is a message for the disadvantaged in society who bear this hardship regularly, that Allah shall reward their forbearance with great virtue. Hazur aba said the essence of fasting is to restrain one's nafs (self) and to forego taking pleasure in all manner of permissible things for the sake of Allah and that once one forfeits permissible aspects for the sake of Allah then why would not one forego that which is unwarrantable and forbidden?

Hazur aba touched upon the physiological benefits derived from fasting and stressed on the Quranic instructions regarding the exemption given to those who are not well and those who are travelling. Citing ahadith and writings of the Promised Messiah (on whom be peace) Hazur aba greatly emphasised that not to avail oneself of this exemption is deluding oneself and is indeed a sin because it is not done for the pleasure of Allah rather it is having one's own way.

Expounding the concept of fidya, expiation for those who cannot fast, Hazur aba said that it should be made in accordance to one's normal standard of living and that its objective is also to seek the capacity from Allah to be able to fast. Hazur aba said one who awaits Ramadan most eagerly but is not able to fast is not deprived of its reward.

Hazur aba enjoined the blessings of eating of sehr and of being prompt in breaking the fast at the time of aftar and concluded on the prayer that may Allah enable us all to derive blessings and beneficence from Ramadan and may the month bring many blessings for us all.