Hadhrat Khalifatul Masih recited the following Quranic verses, which are both prayers, at the start of his Friday sermon: 'And of them there are some who say: 'Our Lord, grant us good in this world as well as good in the world to come, and protect us from the torment of the Fire.' (2:202)
'Allah burdens not any soul beyond its capacity. It shall have the reward it earns, and it shall get the punishment it incurs. Our Lord, do not punish us, if we forget or fall into error; and our Lord, lay not on us a responsibility as Thou didst lay upon those before us. Our Lord, burden us not with what we have not the strength to bear; and efface our sins, and grant us forgiveness and have mercy on us; Thou art our Master; so help us Thou against the disbelieving people.' (2:287)
Hadhrat Khalifatul Masih expounded the philosophy of prayer in the words of the Promised Messiah (on whom be peace), who wrote:
'He who supplicates God at the time of difficulty and distress and seeks the resolution of his difficulties from Him achieves satisfaction and true prosperity from God Almighty provided he carries his supplication to its limit. Even if he does not achieve the purpose of his supplication, he is bestowed some other kind of satisfaction and contentment by God Almighty and does not experience frustration. In addition, his faith is strengthened and his certainty increases. But the one who in his supplication does not turn towards God Almighty remains blind all the time and dies blind….He who supplicates with the sincerity of his soul is never truly frustrated. That prosperity which cannot be achieved through riches and authority and health, but which is in the hand of God and He bestows it in whatever shape He wills, is bestowed through perfect prayer. If God Almighty so wills, a sincere and righteous person in the midst of his distress achieves such delight after supplication which an emperor cannot enjoy on the imperial throne. This is true success which is bestowed in the end on those who pray.'
(Ayyam-us-Sulh, Ruhani Khaza'in, vol. 14, p. 237 - Essence of Islam Vol. II pp. 207 - 208)
This is the brief philosophy of prayer and should be the viewpoint of a true believer. It is essential to take one's prayer to its limit. Take it to the point where either it is accepted or one's heart is filled with tranquillity. This tranquillity is borne of the assurance that whatever will come to pass through God's will, will be best for us. One is only enabled to arrive at this viewpoint with God's grace and we should also pray for its attainment.
The prayer cited first (2:202) was especially said by the Holy Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be on him) who also drew the attention of his Companions to it. At one occasion the Promised Messiah (on whom be peace) also drew attention of his Jama'at to say this prayer in the last Rakah of each Salat during the standing posture after Raku posture. Hadhrat Khalifatul Masih II (may Allah be pleased with him) also drew attention to this prayer at different times. Although it is a prayer for all times, it should be said especially these days in light of the turmoil the world is experiencing.
The Arabic word 'Hasana' (good) as used in the verse means piety, benefit, something which is good from every aspect and which has a good result. Currently Ahmadis are going through difficult times in some countries and in those circumstances making this prayer is very important. Our opponents want to deprive Ahmadis from every blessing. In such a situation this prayer seeks every kind of 'Hasana' from God's grace, including our deeds to be such that will attain us 'Hasana' in the Hereafter. In the instance where the enemy wishes to harm our businesses, may God grant us such 'Hasana' that the enemy is rendered ineffective. May God grant us 'Hasana' in such a way that we receive provision that is more wholesome and Halal than ever and may our neighbours be those who do not give us grief. May our city be a source of 'Hasana' for us and may our country be 'Hasana' for us and may the evil of the evil-doers rebound on them. May those who govern over us be compassionate, righteous and fair-minded. In some Muslim countries it is those who are in government who are a torment for the public. If those in authority currently are not capable of reformation, may such rulers be bestowed who have the right qualities.
May our friends too be those who are well-wishing, loving and helpful in times of trouble and who reciprocate piety with piety. No doubt a section of public in Pakistan follows the Maulwis and in doing so, wishes to harm Ahmadis. However, there are also those who honour friendship; we cannot criticise every Pakistani or wherever else in the world trouble is perpetrated against Ahmadis, we cannot be critical of everyone. Recently an Ahmadi who had been abducted in Pakistan, wrote to Hadhrat Khalifatul Masih. The abductors had demanded a large ransom in a short period of time and it was not possible for his family to arrange this promptly. The abductors then demanded that a certain amount was paid promptly and the remainder to be guaranteed by a non-Ahmadi. In this instance a non-Ahmadi friend gave surety and the Ahmadi was released. Indeed the non-Ahmadi friend had put his life on the line to secure the release. Thus there are people who are willing to make sacrifices for Ahmadis and who exercise piety in spite of the current situation created by the extremists and the Mullahs. Good friends are indeed a 'Hasana' from among the 'Hasana' of the world.
In Mali we have established radio station which is a source of extensive Tabligh. The opposing Maulwis who are funded by Arab countries threatened our missionary sahib. Indeed, they also carry out propaganda against us and label us Kafir etc. and at times exceed limits. In such a situation when some good, well-adjusted and influential non- Ahmadis happened to know what was going on they assured our missionary sahib and told him to carry on with his work of spreading the message of true Islam. This is also 'Hasana'. Whatever grace and blessing we seek from God, it is 'Hasana'. For example, good spouse, pious children, a life free of disease which in the sight of God has good for us is 'Hasana'. God alone knows the unseen and He alone can decide what is best for us. We can make wrong choices but God does not. Matters are brought up where trusted friends cause loss and harm in businesses. Apart from troubles associated with Jama'at, we notice in everyday life some people become the source of trouble. If this prayer is accepted then one can be saved from such personal and Jama'at related troubles and can also become recipient of God's pleasure. In the end the prayer (2:202) seeks good in the Hereafter.
Explaining the concept of apparent and hidden good in the Hereafter Hadhrat Musleh Maud (may Allah be pleased with him) said that according to the Qur'an Hell is reformatory. So, when praying for good in the Hereafter we should supplicate for reformation through God's grace and not via Hell. The 'Hasana' in the Hereafter is only Paradise which is good both in apparent and hidden ways. We should remember that the 'Hasana' of this world can be a source of 'Hasana' of the Hereafter.
The Promised Messiah (on whom be peace) said that man is dependent on two things for personal well-being; one, to be free from the trials and tribulations of this brief life. Secondly, if he escapes wickedness and spiritual ills that distant him from God, that is 'Hasana' of this world, i.e. he is safe from physical and spiritual ailments. The Qur'an states, '...for man has been created weak.' (4:29) even if one's nail hurts one is troubled. Similarly, when the worldly life becomes rotten as in the case of prostitutes, then the 'Hasana' of the world is this alone that God keeps one safe from every trouble, be of this world or be it of the Hereafter. The aspect of Hereafter in this prayer (2:202) is also a fruit of the 'Hasana' of this world. If man attains 'Hasana' of the world, it is a good omen for the Hereafter. It is wrong for people to say that only 'Hasana' of the Hereafter should be sought and not of this world. Good health etc. leads to comfort in life but is also a means with which one can do something for the Hereafter. In fact, whoever is granted health, honour, children and peace in the world and whose deeds are righteous, it is hoped that his Hereafter will also be good.
When the prayer (2:202) seeks refuge from the torment of Fire it also signifies protection from fire of this world. There are many torments of fire of this world as well which if God so wills become 'Hasana' rather than torment. These days no one knows when an explosion or a bullet can injure or kill. Prayers should be made for protection from the atrocities of the extremists which are a torment of fire. In the recent outrages that took place in Karachi an Ahmadi who had gone out to get groceries was caught up in the horror and martyred. These days the terrorists have put up traps of fire everywhere. There is a great need to make this prayer for protection from these situations. Prayers should be made that one's stay at home and one's going out be 'Hasana' with the grace of God.
The second prayer recited is also most significant and needs to be made. Our attention is drawn to pray: Our Lord, do not punish us, if we forget or fall into error. Here forgetting signifies not doing something that is important. Also, not having a good appreciation of doing something on time and thinking that it is alright to be this way and considering it trivial. One should pray to be saved from this stance. Also, sometimes one does not realise the significance of something which effects advancement of one's spiritual life. One should pray to be saved from such error and if it is committed, to be saved from chastisement. However, if we knowingly commit wrong and do not reform ourselves and yet make this prayer, then it will be tantamount to jesting with God.
The prayer goes on to seek not to be given responsibility as given to earlier people for which they were chastised. The significance here is of extraordinary responsibilities and not matters like offering Salat and reading the Qur'an. This prayer, coupled with avoiding bad deeds protects one from chastisement. With reference to the earlier people and wrongs committed by them, they had corrupt rulers, the prayer also seeks protection from such rulers and if such a trial comes to pass, to make it easier to bear. The prayer goes on to say, burden us not with what we have not the strength to bear. Here, the connotation is not of ordinary trials and tribulations and it does not have spiritual significance. In fact it means that may worldly misfortunes be not beyond one's strength.
Then, it is prayed: efface our sins, i.e. whatever wrongs we have committed, may we be saved from their bad consequences and may they be covered; grant us forgiveness and have mercy on us signify that whatever we have not done may it be facilitated by God's grace and whatever wrongs we have done may attract God's mercy. Lastly, it is prayed Thou art our Master; so help us Thou against the disbelieving people. If any wrong is committed by a member of the community, the world associates such weakness to God, thus we beg for mercy, confess our wrongs and seek effacing of our sins and also seek triumph over the disbelievers through God's special grace.
Today it is not only non-Muslims whose actions are against Islam. Rather, a large number of Muslims are discrediting Islam and are making impediments in our Tabligh work in non-Muslim world by presenting their extremist version of Islam and effecting our Tabligh efforts.
A prayer of the Promised Messiah (on whom be peace) which was revealed to him: O Lord everything is subservient to You. O Lord, protect us, help us and have mercy on us.' Is very much needed today. Hadhrat Khalifatul Masih has been especially [Divinely] drawn to say this prayer. This is why each Ahmadi should say this prayer. May God keep every Ahmadi safe from all evil, grant us the 'Hasana' of the world and the Hereafter and may He forgive our sins and protect us from them in future and keep us firm on piety. Hadhrat Khalifatul Masih asked Pakistani Ahmadis to self-reflect and pay special attention to these matters and make special effort to say these prayers in Salat. Each Ahmadi should inculcate that spirit of prayer which the Promised Messiah (on whom be peace) referred to as 'carrying supplication to its limit.' May God enable us all to do this.
Next Hadhrat Khalifatul announced that he would lead two funeral Prayers in absentia. Mubasher Ahmad Abbasi sahib was martyred in the terrorist outrage in Karachi on 3 March. He was born in 1968 and leaves behind a daughter and a son.
Respected Dr Syed Sultan Mehmood sahib passed away on 3 March at the age of 90. He was an academic of chemistry with a distinguished career in teaching. He retired in 1986 and came to Rabwah where he set up schools. Hadhrat Khalifatul Masih said he was also briefly taught by Dr Syed Sultan Mehmood sahib.
May God elevate the stations of the both the deceased and grant steadfastness to their families.