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Friday Sermon: Essence of Quality Meetings and Ijtema gatherings

Sermon Delivered by Hazrat Mirza Masroor Ahmad at Head of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community.
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NOTE: Alislam Team takes full responsibility for any errors or miscommunication in this Synopsis of the Friday Sermon

Gatherings of many various kinds exist in the world or one can say that various gatherings pursue diverse goals such as consultations to achieve worldly goals, running of a government or about academia, business, sports and recreation. These gatherings are not meant for God Almighty, for His pleasure or to attain His nearness. Their purpose is not attaining the pleasure of God Almighty. However, there are some gatherings or assemblies, which serve the purposes of the faith, which are meant for devising plans to bring mankind closer to Allah the Almighty and to seek the pleasure of Allah the Almighty.

All gathering of believers, at home, work and the mosque should have the primary purpose of seeking the pleasure of God Almighty, improving spirituality and moral development. Even a seemingly 'worldly' sitting of a believer is not void of the remembrance of Allah the Almighty. Even, while performing worldly task, he refrains from all that is vain. Even if he is preoccupied with worldly tasks, he does not fail to remember God Almighty. Even in the sittings, related to worldly affairs, a believer does not speak of deceiving or usurping the rights of others, even though he may be occupied with worldly tasks. This is exactly what is expected from a believer.

Allah the Almighty states: 'O ye who believe! when you confer together in secret, confer not for the commission of sin and transgression and disobedience to the Messenger, but confer for the attainment of virtue and righteousness, and fear Allah unto Whom you shall all be gathered.'

God Almighty says, "Fear Allah, unto Whom you shall all be gathered." On day, the world that you are chasing will escape your hands and you have already forsaken religion, you will lose everything. One of the gatherings for the consultation on worldly matters is that of the UNO. Its meeting was held in the recent days and The President of America delivered a speech. The western analysts and columnists here also wrote with regards to it stating that instead of developing peace, the speech was more prone to incite disorder and chaos. However, Muslim governments must reflect on the commands of Allah the Almighty and should refrain from every kind of disorder and chaos.

Nevertheless, we must reflect upon and assess our own conditions also and always remember that Satan will never tolerate to see the Jama'at progress. Satan, according to his nature, will continue his endeavours to divide us. Thus, do not play in the hands of people who slyly criticise the Nizam-e-Jama'at i.e. administrative system of the Jama'at in private gatherings pretending to be voicing their opinions out of his sympathy for the Jama'at. The correct procedure is that they should bring their concerns to the attention of the higher administrative system of the country and to the Khalifa of the time. Criticising the system of the Jama'at in this manner is a sign of sin, rebellion, disobedience to the Holy Prophet (sa) and being far from righteousness. Thus, Allah the Almighty has also cautioned believers from partaking in such gatherings. Every Ahmadi should fervently supplicate that Allah the Almighty removes every evil aspect from the Jama'at and that He continues to bless the Jama'at with people, who tread on the path of righteousness and fulfil their duties with righteousness.

Thus, everyone should remember this important matter. May Allah the Almighty protect the Jama'at from every kind of disorder, whether internal or external. May He enable us to always partake in gatherings of virtue and righteousness, rather than gatherings of sin, rebellion, disobedience to the Holy Prophet(saw) and those that lead away from righteousness.

Mentioning the nature of the gathering of a believer and what his response should be if its standard is not befitting a believer, the Promised Messiah (as) says, "We believe, which should also be the practice of a believer, that if a person speaks then he should so clearly and openly. Otherwise, he should remain silent. If you observe that Allah and His messenger are being mocked in a gathering, you should leave that gathering lest you be counted among them. Or you should openly reply to them." The Promised Messiah (as) says "The third option is hypocrisy, whereby one sits in a gathering and agrees with the other person and though expresses his own view but only subtly."

So, if a believer hears someone talk about the Jama'at in a negative manner, highlighting some perceived weaknesses, he should tell those who say such things that "If you consider all these things to be true then you should inform the Khalifa of the time and the administration of the Jama'at but it is not permissible to talk [openly] in this manner. The Holy Prophet (sa) says 'You should attend the gatherings of such people that when you see them it reminds you of God Almighty, and their discussion increases you in religious knowledge and whose deeds remind you of the Day of Judgement." Hence this is the guiding principal which a believer should keep in mind whilst selecting the type of gathering to sit in. One should prefer gatherings where God Almighty is being remembered and discussions about the magnificence of Allah Almighty's religion are taking place.

There is another type of gathering that members of the youth are involved in. They attend such gatherings on the basis of simply having fun and for their leisure activity which have a negative influence on their behavior. There are also some cases within the Jama'at where due to bad company and the influence of immoral gatherings have caused some of our young members, who upon entering their youthful years, commit such activities which become a source of disgrace for the Jama'at when people find out that the culprit is a member of the [Ahmadiyya] community. Therefore, parents should be watchful of their children's social circle and friendships to safeguard our youth members from being in bad company. We should hold such pure gatherings in our homes that are best in terms of moral training.

On one occasion, the Holy Prophet (sa) said "When a group of people are sitting in the mosque for the recitation of the Holy Qur'an and for the purposes of education and learning, then Allah Almighty bestows tranquility upon them and they are covered by His Mercy and angels take them under their wing." It is the sheer Grace of Allah Almighty that wherever the Jama'at is established in the world it has the opportunity to organise gatherings such as Jalsas and Ijtemas. The purpose of such events are for moral training as well as to increase knowledge and to remember Allah Almighty and pray to Him. Those attending these events, should engage in constructive conversations and should always abstain from vain discourses and not waste their time.

On one occasion, the Holy Prophet (sa) said that people who sit in gatherings in which there is no remembrance of God Almighty, will on the Day of Judgement regret those gatherings. In the world, today we meet and have to interact with a number of different people including non-Muslims. However, one's close circle of friends, the people one spends most of their time with should be those who have firm faith and adhere to righteousness, so that particular individual can also increase in righteousness and piety.

The Promised Messiah (as) continues by saying: "[God Almighty] first states: 'O Ye who believe! Fear Allah'. This means that in the first instance one should profess belief and then after this, one should abandon sinful practices and keep in the company of the truthful. The company one keeps has a deep underlying effect on that individual's personality." The Promised Messiah (as) then says: "For example, if one regularly visits places where alcohol is consumed, no matter how much they abstain from it, eventually they will end up drinking alcohol."

Whilst further explaining the impact ones friendship and company has on an individual, the Promised Messiah (as) says: "When an individual sits in the company of one who is pious and truthful, then that individual partakes of that truthfulness. However, if one abandons the company of the pious and instead associates with the sinful and wicked, then that individual is influenced by evil thoughts. This is why the Holy Quran and Ahadith have stressed on the fact that one should abstain from the company of the evil and immoral. It is emphasised that if God Almighty or the [Holy] Prophet (sa) is being ridiculed in a certain gathering, then one should immediately leave such gatherings. Otherwise, they will also be counted amongst those who are guilty of blasphemy."

The Promised Messiah (as) states: "When one prays to abstain from sin, at the same time one should never forsake the measures required to achieve this. You should eschew every assembly and gathering that incites one to commit sin and also pray in this regard. Behold! Unless one has the succour of God Almighty, one can never evade those trials that are destined for him.

In other words, it is only God Almighty Who has the remedy to cure sin. Therefore, one should prostrate before Him and seek His help so that He always protects one from the evil influences of this world and the influences of evil gatherings. The Holy Prophet (sa) would recite the following prayer when leaving a gathering: 'O Allah! Holy is Thou and I swear in the name of Thine prayers that there is none worthy of worship except thee. I seek Thy forgiveness and turn towards Thee.'

Thus, this prayer protects one from the ill effects from any improper statement that is uttered and enables one to derive maximum benefit from the holy gatherings. May Allah the Almighty always protect us from the onslaughts of Satan and treat us with His mercy and forgiveness. May He always keep us attached with Khilafat and the Nizam-e-Jama'at [administrative structure of the Jama'at]. May He protect us from the evil of every mischief maker.

After the prayers, I shall offer a funeral prayer in absentia for one of our African Ahmadis, respected Bilal Abdus Salam Sahib. He lived in Philadelphia, USA and passed away on 13th September – To Allah we belong and to Him shall we return. 'He was a very active member of the Jama'at in America. He was extremely kind, friendly and a loving person. He would always help others and would always be at the forefront in Jama'at activities. He was extremely devoted in his attachment with Khilafat. Whenever he would meet me, he would have a very distinctive smile on his face and his sincerity and devotion was evident from his eyes. May Allah the Almighty elevate his status and grant him forgiveness and enable the rest of his family members to also accept Ahmadiyyat.

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    Synopsis:
    • Different kinds of gatherings take place in this world to achieve various purposes, For example governmental gatherings, business meetings etc. People sit and ponder over different matters. These gatherings are usually for worldly purposes and not for gaining the pleasure of Allah. Then there are also such gatherings which are religious gatherings and are held for the sake of Allah. They make plans and programs to win the pleasure of Allah. These gatherings are loved by God and their participants will be rewarded in this life and in the hereafter. A true believer should always be in search of trying to increase his spirituality.
    • In this age, we see that Muslims are acting opposite to this teaching of God. Their hearts are shattered, not united. Their mutual consultations and contracts are against Allah and His Messenger and contrary to the principles of Taqwa. Such actions of theirs demonstrate their lack of faith in Allah. Both the political and religious leaders of Muslims are acting in this manner. Therefore, it is our responsibility to not only increase ourselves in Taqwa, but also guide Muslims according to our capacity. We should tell them that such conduct will make you subservient of people in this world and you will become worthy of punishment from Allah.
    • We should also ponder over our own conditions. Remember that seeing the progress of Jama’at, Satan will never sit idle. Those people who participate in gatherings held against Nizam-e-Jama’at (administrative system of Jama’at) are in reality deceived by Satan. Sometimes, due to lack of understanding, these people do so out of their perceived sympathy for Jama’at. If any person has any complaint against any office bearer or against the Ameer of Jama’at, he should write to the Khalifatul Masih and leave the matter to him. There is no benefit of discussing these matters in private gatherings. However, one should continue to pray for these matters to be resolved.
    • The Holy Prophet (saw) and his servant in this age, the Promised Messiah (as), have explained for us the etiquettes of participation in gatherings. The Promised Messiah (as) says that our point of view is this that when one speaks, he should either make his point in entirety or stay silent. When you see Allah and His Messenger being mocked in any gathering, either leave swiftly or reply boldly. The third way is of hypocrisy where one continues to sit, somewhat agrees and also tries to partially respond. Huzoor (aba) said that Ahmadis should stay away from hypocrisy and demonstrate pride for Jama’at. We should tell people that if they have any complaints, they should either write to the Khalifa or stay silent.
    • Once a companion asked the Holy Prophet (saw) to advise him. The Holy Prophet (saw) said to observe Taqwa and when you enter any gathering, stay there if they are discussing something good and leave it if you find the gathering to be repulsive. Another Hadith states that the Holy Prophet (saw) was asked that what kind of gatherings should we attend? He replied that you should go to such gatherings which remind you of Allah and the hereafter, and which increase your religious knowledge.
    • Therefore, the youth of our Jama’at and their parents should be especially careful that they do not participate in any such gathering which falls outside of limits set by Islam. The Promised Messiah (as) has said that we should always remember that one’s company and gatherings has gradual impact on him. For example, if one goes to liquor shop every day, a day will certainly come when he will also start consuming liquor. Huzoor said that by the grace of Allah, Jama’at organizes many gatherings, such as Ijlaas, Ijtima, Jalsa Salana etc, which are true Islamic gatherings. Therefore, we should participate in these gatherings and try to increase ourselves in Taqwa and righteousness. May Allah enable us to always stay away from harmful and sinful gatherings and keep us attached to Nizam-e-Jama’at and Khilfate-e-Ahmadiyya. Ameen
    • Huzoor also announced the funeral prayer in absentia of Respected Bilal Abdus Salaam of USA Jama’at.
    • دنیا میں بہت سی قسموں کی مجالس مختلف مقاصد کیلئے منعقد ہوتی ہیں۔ مثلا حکومتی مجالس، کاروباری مجالس وغیرہ۔ اور ان میں لوگ مل کر بیٹھتے اور سوچتے ہیں۔ یہ سب مجالس دنیا کیلئے ہوتی ہیں خدا کیلئے یا خدا تعالیٰ کی خوشنودی کیلئے نہیں ہوتیں۔ لیکن بعض ایسی مجالس بھی ہوتی ہیں جو دینی اغراض کیلئے ہوتی ہیں۔ لوگوں کو اللہ تعالیٰ کے قریب کرنے کیلئے ہوتی ہیں۔ ان مجالس کا مقصد صرف یہ ہوتا ہے کہ ہمارا جو کام بھی ہو اور جو پروگرام بھی بنائیں انکا مقصد اللہ تعالیٰ کی رضا ہو۔ ایسی مجالس خدا تعالیٰ کو پسند ہیں۔ اور ان میں شاملین کو اللہ تعالیٰ اس دنیا میں بھی اور آخرت میں بھی نوازتا ہے۔ بس ایک مومن کا کام ہے کہ وہ اس کوشش میں لگا رہے کہ ہم نے اپنی روحانیت میں کس طرح بڑھنا ہے۔
    • مسلمان اللہ تعالیٰ کے اس فرمان کے خلاف چل رہے ہیں۔ ان کے دل آپس میں پھٹے ہوئے ہیں۔ ان کے مشورے اور معاہدے تمام کے تمام اللہ تعالیٰ اور اس کے رسول کے خلاف ہیں اور تقویٰ کے خلاف ہیں۔ اور ان کے یہ کام ظاہر کرتے ہیں کہ انکا اللہ تعالیٰ پر ایمان ختم ہو گیا ہے۔ یہ حالت دونوں سیاسی اور مذہبی لیڈروں کی ہے۔ پس آج یہ ہماری ذمہ داری بنتی ہے کہ نہ صرف اپنے آپکو تقویٰ میں بڑھائیں بلکہ جس حد تک ممکن ہو مسلمانوں کو بھی سمجھانا چاہئے۔ ان کو بتانا چاہئے کہ یہ حالت تمہیں دنیا والوں کا بھی غلام بنا دیگی اور اللہ تعالیٰ سے بھی سزا پاؤ گے۔
    • پس ان باتوں کو ذہن میں رکھتے ہوئے ہمیں اپنا بھی جائزہ لینا چاہئے۔ یہ یاد رکھنا چاہئے کہ جماعت کی ترقی کو دیکھ کر شیطان کبھی بھی آرام سے نہیں بیٹھتا۔ پس وہ لوگ جو نظامِ جماعت کے خلاف مجالس میں شامل ہوتے ہیں وہ شیطان کے دھوکہ میں آ جاتے ہیں۔ یہ یاد رکھنا چاہئے کہ ان کی کم سمجھی کی وجہ سے اپنے خیال میں بعض دفعہ یہ لوگ جماعت کی ہمدردی کے خیال کے تحت ایسا کرتے ہیں۔ اگر کسی شخص کو عہدیداران یا امیر کے خلاف شکایت ہو تو خلیفہ وقت کو لکھ دینا چاہئے اور اس کے بعد خلیفۂ وقت پر چھوڑ دینا چاہئے کہ اس کے متعلق کیا کرنا ہے۔ مجالس میں ان باتوں کے ذکر سے کچھ فائدہ حاصل نہیں ہوتا۔ ہاں انسان کو ان امور کے متعلق دعا ضرور کرنی چاہئے۔
    • آنحضرت صلی اللہ علیہ وسلم اور آپکے غلامِ صادق حضرت مسیح موعود علیہ السلام نے ہمیں سمجھایا ہے کہ کس طرح کی مجالس میں ہمیں شامل ہونا چاہئے۔ حضرت مسیح موعود علیہ السلام فرماتے ہیں کہ ہمارا مذہب تو یہ ہے کہ انسان بات کرے تو پوری کرے ورنہ خاموش رہے۔ جب دیکھو کہ کسی مجلس میں اللہ اور رسول کے خلاف ٹھٹھا ہو رہا ہے تو یا تو اٹھ کر چلے جاؤ یا کھول کر جواب دو۔ تیسرا طریق نفاق کا ہے یعنی مجلس میں بیٹھے بھی رہنا اور دبے دبے الفاظ میں جواب دینا۔ پس حضور نے فرمایا کہ احمدیوں کو نفاق سے بچنا چاہئے اور بےغیرتی نہیں دکھانی چاہئے۔ لوگوں کو بتانا چاہئے کہ اگر کوئی شکایت ہے تو خلیفہ ٔوقت کو لکھیں ورنہ خاموش رہیں۔
    • ایک مرتبہ آنحضرت صلی اللہ علیہ وسلم سے کسی نے پوچھا کہ مجھے کوئی نصیحت کریں۔ آپ نے فرمایا کہ اللہ کا تقویٰ اختیار کرو۔ اور جب تم کسی مجلس میں جاؤ اور وہ نیکی کی باتیں کر رہے ہو تو وہاں ٹھہرجاؤ اور اگر ایسی مجلس میں جاؤ جسے تم ناپسندیدہ پاؤ تو ایسی مجلس کو چھوڑ دو۔ پھر ایک اور حدیث میں آتا ہے کہ آپ صلی اللہ علیہ وسلم سے دریافت کیا گیا کہ ہم کن لوگوں کی مجلس میں بیٹھیں۔ آپ نے فرمایا کہ ایسی مجالس جن سے خدا یاد آئے اور دینی علم میں اضافہ ہو اور آخرت کا خیال ذہن میں آئے۔
    • پس جماعتی نوجوانوں اور انکے والدین کو خاص طور پر اس طرف توجہ دینی چاہئے کہ وہ ایسی مجالس میں شامل نہ ہوں جو اسلام کی حدود سے باہر ہیں۔ حضرت مسیح موعود علیہ السلام نے فرمایا ہے کہ انسان کو یاد رکھنا چاہئے کہ مجلس کا اثر آہستہ آہستہ انسان پر ہوتا رہتا ہے۔ مثلا اگر کوئی شخص روز شراب خانہ میں جائے تو ایک دن آئیگا کہ وہ شراب پی بھی لیگا۔ حضورِ انور نے فرمایا کہ اللہ تعالیٰ کے فضل سے جماعت کو مختلف پروگرام مثلا جلسہ ،اجتماع، اجلاس وغیرہ کو منعقد کرنے کا موقع ملتا ہے جو حقیقی رنگ میں اسلامی مجالس ہیں۔ پس ان مجالس میں زیادہ سے زیادہ شامل بھی ہونا چاہئے اور اللہ تعالیٰ کا تقویٰ اختیار کرتے ہوئے ان مجالس کا حق بھی ادا کرنا چاہئے۔ اللہ تعالیٰ ہمیں توفیق دے کہ ہمیشہ بری مجالس سے بچتے رہیں۔ اور ہمیشہ ہمیں نظامِ جماعت اور خلافتِ احمدیہ سے منسلک رکھے۔
    • حضور نے آخر پر مکرم بلال عبدالسلام صاحب آف امریکہ کے نمازِ جنازہ کا بھی اعلان فرمایا۔
    About Friday Sermon

    The Jumu'ah (Friday) prayer is one form of congregational worship in Islam. It takes place every Friday. Regular attendance at the Jumu'ah prayer is enjoined on the believer. According to a Saying of Muhammadsa this congregational prayer is twenty-five times more blessed than worship performed alone. (Bukhari)

    Friday Sermons in the Quran

    “O ye who believe! When the call is made for Prayer on Friday, hasten to the remembrance of Allah, and leave off all business. That is best for you, if you only knew.” more

    Friday Sermons in the Hadith

    “… (He who) offers the Prayers and listens quitely when the Imam stands up for sermon, will have his sins forgiven between that Friday and the next”(Bukhari)