In today’s Friday sermon, Huzoor(aba) expanded upon the topic of benevolence towards parents and relatives. Huzoor(aba) beautifully explained the fundamental rule of establishing a harmonious society: by being kind and compassionate to those around us. Once the basics are set up, they lead a person towards attaining the next stages of progress in religious affairs. By following these high moral standards, a person achieves the true status of a good Muslim and becomes a beneficiary to Allah’s blessings. On the other hand, Allah dislikes a person who does not strive to achieve these standards and indulges in self-pride and vanity instead. Such a person who is more interested in accomplishments to display to others is certainly wasting away his good deeds and will not be rewarded by Allah.
Who are these people towards whom one should observe an attitude of kindness and benevolence? The nearest relatives are those with whom we have blood relations. For a married person, nearest relatives include the in-laws as well. The moral teaching of being kind towards one’s relatives is identical for men and women, without any distinction. By being kind towards one’s family, the relationship between a man and wife will also flourish, as both will be considerate towards the feelings of their spouse. Such a family incurs the nearness of Allah and the household becomes an image of Paradise on earth. But this is only the picture of the basic framework. For a Momin (Believer), the standards have been set even higher. He has responsibilities towards all servants of Allah.
First and foremost are the rights towards orphans. The orphans must never be subjected to a feeling of deprivation. One must be aware of his surroundings and if there may be any orphans, one must try to fulfill their needs. The Holy Prophet(saw) has said that a person who meets the needs of an orphan will be as close to me in Paradise as the two fingers of my hand. Alhamdolillah, Ahmadi members make great sacrifices in Jama’at schemes dedicated to protect the rights of orphans. Huzoor(aba) urged the Ameers of different countries (especially in Africa, in Bangladesh, etc.) to take a survey and report to him the condition of orphans and of their needs (financial, educational, etc.) in order to set up special funds for them.
Next come the responsibilities towards the poor and the needy. This includes any human being in any kind of need. One should try to discreetly help those who would rather endure their difficulty than to extend their hand and beg in front of others.
The rights towards neighbors hold a very important place in Islamic teachings. The Holy Prophet(saw) insisted upon kindness towards neighbors to such an extent that hissaw companions thought they might be included as heirs in the inheritance. Whether your neighbors are relatives or not, one must be kind towards them. The Promised Messiah(as) has expanded the definition of neighbors to a greater extent. Heas emphasizes that one should be kind towards other students in a classroom. Similarly, one’s colleagues at work have the same rights as those of neighbors. He further includes companions during a journey and those travelers who are in any type of need amongst neighbors. He calls our attention towards our servants; one should try to fulfill their needs in sorrow or in happiness and try to educate their children. These golden Islamic teachings lead towards the development of a harmonious and peace-loving community. One must review his own surroundings and behave in a kind manner towards others in order to become a peaceful inhabitant of a harmonious community. Today, Ahmadis bear the enormous duty of re-establishing such a society in this world.
Huzoor(aba) also gave the example of those people who drag their elder brothers into the court of law to settle their family affairs. He reminded us of the Hadith of the Holy Prophet(saw), that an older brother has the same rights as that of a parent. This Hadith also advises the older brothers to be kind to their younger, as a parent would be. Then Huzoor(aba) reminded us that in a situation where a conflict arises between a man and his wife, the man should restrain himself from participating in it and the conflict will die down. His intention should be that he must be benevolent towards his wife. Huzoor(aba) recounted the incident from the life of the Holy Prophet(saw), where one day, Hazrat Ayesha(ra) was arguing with the Prophet(saw). At that particular instance, Hazrat Abu Bakr(ra) walked into the room and was appalled by his daughter’s behavior. As soon as Hazrat Abu Bakr(ra) moved forward to admonish his daughter, the Prophet(saw) stepped between them and prevented the clash. A few days later, Hazrat Abu Bakr(ra) visited the Prophet(saw) again only to see him and his wife Ayesha(ra) laughing in a pleasant manner. Hazrat Abu Bakr(ra) then asked to be included in this moment of joy as he was included in the moment of anger previously. This incident shows how sensitive Huzoor(saw) was to the sentiments of a woman. Holy Prophet(saw) protected Hazrat Ayesha(ra) in a very subtle manner and did not make a big issue out of the incident either. The Holy Prophet(saw) once told Hazrat Ayesha(ra) that he knows her really well. The Holy Prophet(saw) explained that when Hazrat Ayesha(ra) is happy with him, she refers to Allah as “Rabb-e-Muhammad(saw)” in her discourse, whereas when she is angry at the Holy Prophet(saw), she refers to Allah as “Rabb-e-Ibrahimas”. Hazrat Ayeshara agreed and said that it is merely the tongue that expressed the anger, but in her heart, there was only love for the Prophet(saw).
The Promised Messiah(as) has also advised the men to be lenient and kind towards their wives, and women in general. The Promised Messiah(as) said at one occasion that he could not even fathom a man being aggressive towards a woman, a man being physically stronger. It undermines the masculinity of a man to do so. The Promised Messiah(as) expressed his extreme grief and sorrow whenever he heard of a man abusing his wife. The Promised Messiah(as) related his own experience when he once scolded his wife, thereupon being so remorseful that he prayed to Allah for forgiveness and gave charity so that Allah may have mercy on him. The Promised Messiah(as) tried followed the example of the Holy Prophet(saw) in his dealings towards other human beings.
Another Hadith of the Holy Prophet(saw) relates that one who belongs to me [the Holy Prophet(saw)], Allah belongs to him. In another Hadith, the Holy Prophet(saw) says that one who breaks ties with his relatives shall not enter Paradise. The Holy Prophet(saw) explained that being benevolent does not mean that one return the favor of kindness, but it means that when a person is trying to break ties, the other tries to mend it. This indeed is the recipe towards creating harmonious relations with one another. It is the responsibility of each Ahmadi to be the first in extending the hand of friendship and in mediating conflicts to promote unity among the members of the community. Huzoor(aba) reminded us of the time when the Holy Prophet(saw) claimed prophethood and his own relatives turned against him. Despite the animosity, the Prophet(saw) continued to fulfill his obligations towards them as relatives. Similarly, at one occasion, the Promised Messiah(as) found out that one of his chief enemies, Mirza NizamDin, was sick. Against all expectations, heas visited him and prescribed medicine for him, which cured him of his illness. The affection of the Promised Messiah(as) for humanity was such that it led him to visit his archenemy during his sickness. Such is the example laid out for us to follow.
Huzoor(aba) then gave an account of those relatives who despite kind stance towards them continue to behave in an ill manner. He said that we should remain kind to them because the Holy Prophet(saw) has said that in such a case where you continue to be kind towards ill-behaving relatives, you are indeed gaining favors of Allah and He will bestow upon you an angel who will remain with you till you maintain such a kind stance towards them. Huzoor(aba) reminded us of an advice that the Holy Prophet(saw) gave to one of his companions. Hesaw said: always look towards someone who is financially less privileged than you so that you can count your blessings; always love the poor and the weak; and always fulfill the rights and obligations towards your relatives even if they are unsympathetic towards you. The Holy Prophet(saw) also said that if you give sadqa (charity) to a poor man, you are only rewarded for your kind deed of charity. But if you give sadqa to a poor relative, you are doubly rewarded; once for your kind act of charity, and once for fulfilling a duty towards your relative.
Huzoor(aba) then explained the concept of justice (adl), kindness (ihsan) and kinship (ita’i dhil-qurba). The least Allah expects from the believers is absolute justice. However, they are not expected to stop short at justice. They are required to move on to the domain of kindness and benevolence. They will then not only be just towards mankind, but will also learn the art of returning more than others’ dues; their generosity will benefit people without obligation. The next stage is where we are expected to extend our favors to others in such a way that no feeling of pride finds any place in this relationship. Our benevolence is extended in such a manner that we consider it to be our duty or obligation and not a favor to others. The Promised Messiah(as) explains that by being kind to others, we reap benefits in this world as well. By being kind, we will attain peace and comfort of heart and soul. Such kind deeds sustain us and contribute towards prolonging our life. Heas elaborates that Allah values the life of such a person who is kind towards others and helps them in need, therefore such a life becomes sanctified and Allah prolongs it.
In conclusion, Huzoor(aba) said that if you want kindness from Allah, you must be kind towards others.