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Our Identity – the essence of who we are

by Imam Shamshad A. Nasir (Detroit, Michigan, USA)

Alfazl International Nov. 5, 2019. Translated by Wajeeh Bajwa and Anisa Bushra Salam Bajwa (Jacksonville, Florida, USA)

A few days ago, I read in an editorial [of a publication] that The Promised Messiah (may peace be upon him) gave someone the following words of advice:

“The single sign of our identity is that when the time comes for Prayers, one should perform ablution and offer Prayer; this is sufficient [as our identity].”

When I read this statement, my mind immediately went to another [piece of] writing and advice of The Promised Messiah (may peace be upon him) which was published in “Majmooa-e-Istiharat” (Collection of Advertisements), Vol: 3, Page 48; addressing Jama’at members in this way, The Promised Messiah states:

“So, become prudent and mindful and truly benign and good-hearted, humble, and sincere. You will be identified by virtue of the five daily Prayers and by [your] moral status.”

This community was established for one identifying element which we ourselves are responsible for. In this regard The Promised Messiah (may peace be upon him) states:

“This Bai‘at [initiation] is only to bring together like-minded righteous people so that the piety of this large party of God-fearing individuals will influence the world. Almighty Allah established this group in order to reveal His Glory and Power. It was His will to enable [this group] to make progress so that love, repentance, piety, purity of soul, righteousness, peace and reformation, and kindness to humanity be spread in the world. Therefore, this group will be a unique group and Almighty Allah will breathe strength into this group with His Own Spirit. He will cleanse them of their sinful existence and will bestow a righteous change in their lives.” (Majmooa-e-Ishtiharat (Collection of Advertisements), Vol: 1, Pages 196-198)

These are the features of identification that The Promised Messiah (may peace be upon him) expects and desires from all the members of his community. Prayer and righteousness are included in these characteristics. In the Holy Qur’an, Almighty Allah has identified individuals who offer Prayers regularly in these words:

اِنَّمَا یَعۡمُرُ مَسٰجِدَ اللّٰہِ مَنۡ اٰمَنَ بِاللّٰہِ وَ الۡیَوۡمِ الۡاٰخِرِ وَ اَقَامَ الصَّلٰوۃَ وَ اٰتَی الزَّکٰوۃَ وَ لَمۡ یَخۡشَ اِلَّا اللّٰہَ

“He alone can maintain the Mosques of Allah in a good and flourishing condition who believes in Allah, and the Last Day, and observes Prayer, and pays the Zakat, and fears none but Allah.” (The Holy Qur’an, Chapter: 9, Verse: 18)

The commentary of this verse as given by Tirmidhi, “Chapters of Commentary,” states: Hazrat Abu Saeed (may Allah be pleased with him) narrates that the Holy Prophet (may peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said:

“When you see someone coming and going from a mosque for worship then vouch for that person as a believer because Almighty Allah says ‘Only those individuals populate Allah’s mosques who believe in Allah and in the Day of Judgement’” (Hadeeqatus Saleheen, Hadith No: 259)

Establishing Prayer, [offering] Prayer regularly and punctually, in congregation – this, in point of fact, is our identity which Almighty Allah has defined in the Holy Qur’an and thereafter the Holy Prophet Muhammad (may peace and blessings of Allah be upon him), and God’s pure Messiah (may peace be on him) have ordained for us. Therefore, there should be no breach, no hint of indolence, nor weariness in this matter so that on the Day of Judgment, we are included among those who will be the recipients of salvation and [everlasting] prosperity.

As mentioned earlier, Ahmadiyya Muslim Community was founded in order to fully establish and secure [our] duty to fulfill the rights of Allah, His worship, and to be steadfast about His Unity. These distinguishing features will be beneficial in our propagation efforts as well because the effect of righteousness will be to attract others towards it [Ahmadiyya Muslim Community], Insha’ Allah.

It is narrated that once an individual visited Hazrat Imam Jaffar Sadiq (may Allah be pleased with him) and asked: “I am leaving to go and preach, please tell me something I can do that will prove to be helpful in my effort to preach my religion.” The response given by Imam Jaffar (may Allah be pleased with him) served to cover the [essence of the] entire faith; he said: “Make every effort to avoid using your tongue to preach your religion.”

In this regard, The Promised Messiah (may peace be on him) has advised members of his Jama’at [Community] in his publication “Izala Auham,” Page 546 (‘Guidance for those friends who have entered into the Bai’at’). It is absolutely crucial to implement this advice in our daily lives. He says:

“O my friends, who have entered into a bond of allegiance with me (taken my Bai’at), May Allah enable me and you to act in ways that will become the source of His pleasure. How can we make Almighty Allah pleased [with us] and how can He be with us? Allah has repeatedly responded to me that ‘righteousness’ is the answer. Therefore, O my dear brothers! Make every effort to become righteous. Without practical examples, all talk is useless, and without sincerity, no action is acceptable. Hence the essence of righteousness is that you shun all ills and take a step towards Allah Almighty and give due regard to the finer aspects of virtue. First of all, become humble, cleanse your hearts, and be sincere. Truly become meek of heart, free from flaws, gentle, forbearing and humble because every virtuous or evil deed is born in the heart. If your heart is devoid of evil, then your tongue will be devoid of evil as well. Your eyes and all body parts will behave in such a manner as well. Every light or darkness is born first in the heart, then spreads slowly to the rest of the body. Therefore, keep prodding your heart like a betel leaf eater keeps rotating and pruning betel leaves to discard the rotten parts. Similarly, keep evaluating your secret thoughts, feelings, habits and actions. Keep discarding any lowly thought, habit, feeling and action lest your heart becomes impure and you [yourself] are discarded.

Then after this, keep making every effort and also implore Allah Almighty for courage and strength to show your pure intentions, thoughts, feelings, and desires through your physical actions and outward behavior. In order for your righteous deeds to attain the highest status, any unwanted thought that you have should be kept in your heart, as such thoughts can never elevate your status. Make room in your heart for the magnificence of Almighty Allah and keep His Majesty in (clear) focus.

If you wish to attain salvation, then follow the religion of humility and meekness, shackle yourself to the teachings given in the Holy Qur’an because the evil one will be destroyed, and the rebellious will be sent to Hell. Those who adopt humility are saved from death. Do not worship Almighty Allah to demand riches of this world, as these thoughts will make you stumble. However, you should worship Him because He [Alone] holds the true right to be worshipped. Worship should become your life, and you should consider worshipping Him as a reason for living. The only reason for all your good deeds should be to attain acceptance by the True Beloved and Benefactor as anything less than that is cause for stumbling.

God is a Great Treasure: be ready to face difficulties in order to reach Him. He is extremely sought-after, so be prepared to sacrifice your lives for Him. O dear ones! Do not look down on the commandments of Almighty Allah with ingratitude. Follow His commandments like a child. Offer Prayer, Offer Prayer as it is the key to prosperity. When you stand up to offer Prayer, do not behave as if this is merely a custom, rather perform physical as well as spiritual ablution beforehand and cleanse your body from any ungodly thoughts, and only then stand up to offer Prayers which are secure in these two [kinds of] ablution. Offer lots of prayers within your Prayer, supplicate abundantly in your Prayer, and develop the habit of crying and imploring, so that [His] Mercy descends on you.”

To conclude this advice, The Promised Messiah (may peace be on him) says:

“It should be that the complete picture of Islam is evident through you; your forehead should show signs of the effect of prostration, and the grandeur of Almighty Allah should be reflected in you. Be steadfast in belief of the Unity of God, commit to offering Prayer, give precedence to the commandments of the True Master over everything else, and bear all difficulties for the sake of Islam.

وَ لَا تَمُوۡتُنَّ اِلَّا وَ اَنۡتُمۡ مُّسۡلِمُوۡنَ

And let not death overtake you except when you are in a state of submission (The Holy Qur’an, Chapter: 3, Verse: 103).” (Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad, “Izala Auham,” Volume: 3, Pages 552-546, 1994 Edition)

Translator’s note: Any explanatory words or phrases that are added for clarification by the translator appear in square brackets [ ]. Word “Prayer” with capital “P” is used for “Salat” and “prayer” with small “p” is used for “Dua”.