Friday Sermon about the Blessed month of Ramadhan
Delivered by Hazrat Mirza Masroor Ahmad (aba) Head of the Worldwide Ahmadiyya Muslim Community, on August 28th, 2009:
Huzur recited verse 187 of Surah Al Baqarah, the translation reads, ‘And when My servants ask thee about Me, say: ‘I am near. I answer the prayer of the supplicant when he prays to Me. So they should hearken to Me and believe in Me, that they may follow the right way.’ (2:187)
Huzur said it is an immense favor of God that we are experiencing yet another blessed month of Ramadhan and today with His grace and His grace alone we are going through the sixth day of fasting.
When God states in Surah Al Ankabut, ‘And as for those who strive in Our path — We will surely guide them in Our ways. And indeed Allah is with those who do good’ (29:70) it signifies that He accepts those who endeavor for His nearness.
It has been the way of God from time immemorial that He sent His Prophets in every age who guided people on the paths that led to Him. When mankind, having gone through evolution, reached a stage of spiritual maturity, God sent the Holy Prophet Muhummad (peace and blessings of Allah be on him) to this world with the perfect religious law (Shariah) so that mankind may set forth on the way that leads to God.
One of these ways and means, is Ramadhan. The verses preceding the aforementioned verse (2:187) mention that God had prescribed fasting on earlier people, just as it is prescribed to Muslims now. As Islam is the perfect religion, it expounds the details of fasting in the most excellent manner.
The Holy Qur’an clearly states the conditions under which one may not fast, for example when ailing or travelling. The missed fasts should be made up later on. If one can, one may also give fidya (expiation). People with chronic illnesses should pay fidya.
This is a most blessed month and minor ailments should not be made an excuse to miss fasting. During the month of Ramadhan God puts special arrangements in place for forgiveness of sins.
In verse 29:70 the word Sobolona (in Our ways) signifies that the grace is for anyone who makes an endeavor with purity of intention. However, a special beneficence has been made available for those who make sacrifices during the month of Ramadhan to attain nearness to God. He creates an atmosphere in this month which facilitates attaining piety. He brings closer all the remote ways of acceptance of prayer.
Hadith relates that during Ramadhan God opens the door to Paradise and shuts down the doors leading to Hell and restrains Satan. Huzur said what an excellent illustration the Hadith gives of the grace of Ramadhan. Is it then not our utter good fortune to be experiencing the grace of yet another Ramadan.
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A Prayer from the Holy Bible
The Gospel of Matthew has been called the most Jewish of the gospels; I guess it can also be labeled as the most Muslim of the gospels. Allah is Father of all of us. Here is a prayer from the Gospel of Matthew:
And when you pray, do not be like the hypocrites, for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the street corners to be seen by men. I tell you the truth; they have received their reward in full. But when you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you. And when you pray, do not keep on babbling like pagans, for they think they will be heard because of their many words. Do not be like them, for your Father knows what you need before you ask him. This, then, is how you should pray:
Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name, your kingdom come, your will be done on earth as it is in heaven. Give us today our daily bread. Forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one. For if you forgive men when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive men their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins. (Matthew 6:5-15)
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Alislam page on Ramadhan
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Zikr Illahi (remembrance of Allah) and the human mind
By Zia H Shah MD
Our brain is made of neurons. It is no wonder that whatever we do or think has, in the final analysis, to do with our neurons or brain cells. They communicate with each other at the junctions that are called synapses, also called neuronal junction, the site of transmission of electric nerve impulses. The synapse, with its neurotransmitter, acts as a physiological valve, directing the conduction of nerve impulses in regular circuits and preventing random or chaotic stimulation of nerves.
At a chemical synapse each ending, or terminal, of a nerve fiber (presynaptic fiber) swells to form a knoblike structure that is separated from the fiber of an adjacent neuron, called a postsynaptic fiber, by a microscopic space called the synaptic cleft. The typical synaptic cleft is about 0.02 micron wide. The arrival of a nerve impulse at the presynaptic terminals causes the movement toward the presynaptic membrane of membrane-bound sacs, or synaptic vesicles, which fuse with the membrane and release a chemical substance called a neurotransmitter. This substance transmits the nerve impulse to the postsynaptic fiber by diffusing across the synaptic cleft and binding to receptor molecules on the postsynaptic membrane. The chemical binding action alters the shape of the receptors, initiating a series of reactions.
Once they have been released and have bound to postsynaptic receptors, neurotransmitter molecules are immediately deactivated by enzymes in the synaptic cleft; they are also taken up by receptors in the presynaptic membrane and recycled. This process causes a series of brief transmission events, each one taking place in only 0.5 to 4.0 milliseconds. If the same neurons get fired over and over again, the connections or synapses between them get facilitated and can be activated easily. This forms the basis of human memory and a lot of other mental activities.
Scientific studies of different addictions like alcohol and gambling have shown that in addicts certain brain cells get facilitated for these negative activities, and their synapses continue to get reinforced. These neurons and synapses get so facilitated that as a result, addicts cannot control themselves against these addictions, as these cells keep firing. In other words whatever neurons repeatedly fire in our brain, end up determining our daily life and destiny.
To overcome negative emotions, thoughts and action we need to replace those with positive ones. The month of Ramadhan is to occupy ourselves with remembrance of Allah and charge our neurons with positive and spiritual. We want to charge our brain cells and synapses with Zikr illahi, even in our idle moments and think positive thoughts, facilitating positive synapses and neurons that will determine our fate. No wonder it is said, “Watch your thoughts, for they become words. Watch your words, for they become actions. Watch your actions, for they become habits. Watch your habits, for they become character. Watch your character, for it becomes your destiny.”
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