‘O ye who believe! fear Allah; and let every soul look to what it sends forth for the morrow. And fear Allah; verily Allah is Well-Aware of what you do.
And be not like those who forgot Allah, so He made them forget themselves. It is they that are the rebellious.’ (59:19-20)
God has made Taqwa (righteousness) a basic condition for a believer. Countless verses of the Holy Qur’an give various commandments to adopt it and maintain/uphold it. The Qur’an has called those who follow these commandments as Muttaqi (righteous) and has warned those who do not practice them about their ending.
What is Taqwa? Its summarised definition as gleaned from the Holy Qur’an is to give precedence to the pleasure of God over everything else and to consider God as One and Incomparable and the Source of all powers. Taqwa is to pay God’s rights and in order to seek His pleasure, also pay the rights of His creation. The Promised Messiah (on whom be peace) wrote:
‘It is obvious that to be mindful of the trusts of God Almighty, and to fulfil all the covenants of faith, and to employ all faculties and limbs both overt, like eyes and ears and hands and feet and others like them, and those that are covert, like the mind and other faculties and qualities, on their proper occasions and to restrain them from coming into action on improper occasions, and to be warned against the subtle attacks of vice and to be mindful of the rights of one’s fellow beings, is the way of perfecting one’s spiritual beauty.’ [Brahin-e-Ahmadiyya, Part V, Ruhani Khaza’in, vol. 21, pp. 209. Essence of Islam Vol. II p.348)
This is the standard that the Promised Messiah (on whom be peace) elucidated to us and this was also his expectation of us. A few Fridays ago Hadhrat Khalifatul Masih had drawn attention to discharging of trusts and covenants of faith with reference to [Jama’at] office holders. Today the subject was further explained.
Ahmadis are fortunate that among those who believe in this age, it is they whose attention has been drawn in fine detail to connect to God. It is a favour of the Promised Messiah (on whom be peace) on us that he has repeatedly shown us the path to those high stations which bring nearness to God. Certainly, each person has different level of piety, insight, perception etc. This is why it is commanded that everyone should try to the best of their individual capacity to fulfil the pledge made to God. If each believer tried in this regard he will be one who abides by Taqwa. Proper use of hands, feet, ears and eyes is commanded and it is obligatory to avoid whatever has been forbidden. The use of overt limbs/faculties is not only to do with discharging rights of people. There are many aspects which have no direct connection with others and these aspects are neither of benefit nor harm to people. If this matter is pondered over, we realise that one brings benefit or harm to one’s own self through certain practices. Yet, God has either enjoined them or forbidden them. By doing things that are forbidden man exits the limits/boundaries set by God and breaks them. By not doing what has been commanded man departs from what has been prescribed by God. Thus, by doing something against the commandment of God or not doing something as commanded by Him, man breaks God’s limits and becomes distant from Taqwa. The greater the distance from Taqwa grows the more one falls in Satan’s lap. This is why the Promised Messiah (on whom be peace) said that a believer should not only avoid what is forbidden but should also be ever aware of Satan’s covert attacks. Awareness of this saves one from covert attacks of Satan who attacks in different ways. There are many modern inventions which can be harmful. Rather than used for their beneficial aspects, they are at times used in ways which pose danger of satanic attacks. They take one away from worship of God and have a detrimental effect on morals. Outwardly people think it is their personal matter; what is it to anyone if one gambles, or watches late night films on the internet or TV. Or there are some other improper things people do. They think no one should have anything to do with this because they are not directly harming anyone. However, things which are contrary to God’s way distant one from worship of God, they distant one from paying the dues of God as well as paying the dues of people.
Alcohol, gambling, lewd films on the internet, improper friendships in these countries cause families to break up. They also put young people on the wrong path, even lead them astray from belief in existence of God and they end up becoming malignant for society. God has stated that one’s every limb, every faculty and every thought should be used in accordance with what God enjoins and at the proper occasion and this enhances one in Taqwa.
In the verse recited at the start God states that after believing adopt Taqwa. The attractions and comforts of this world should not be everything. Rather, one should see what one has done to seek God’s pleasure because these are the deeds which will avail in the next world while the attractions, comforts and enjoyments of this world will remain here. One should self-reflect; root of sin is in man becoming careless and forgetting God. If one wishes for eternal blessings one should follow God’s way.
The first of the two verses recited at the start is among the verses which are read at Nikah. It draws attention to future life as well as the next generation enhancing in piety because pious children are a source of God’s pleasure. Pious children not only adorn their own ending they also elevate their parents’ station in the Hereafter by praying for them. God states here that it should be remembered at the time of marriage that the attractions, comforts and enjoyment of this world are temporary things. Marriage and worldly union is a temporary pleasure. Real delight is in seeking God’s pleasure which is attained in this world as well as its fruits are enjoyed in the next world. God repeatedly enjoins to stay firm on Taqwa and do deeds that will adorn this life as well as the Hereafter and to remember that He is aware of everything. Every small and trivial act of ours is being accounted for. There is so much need to tread carefully.
The Promised Messiah (on whom be peace) said in a gathering/assembly: ‘In Islam, real life requires a death, which is harsh, yet one who accepts it is the one who ultimately gains life. Hadith states that man considers worldly desires and pleasures as paradise, although they are like hell. Pious person accepts difficulties in the way of God and that alone is paradise. There is no doubt that the world is finite and everyone has been born to die. A time comes when eventually all friends, associates and dear ones are separated. All the improper happiness and pleasure that is considered as delight, materialises in bitterness. True wellbeing and happiness cannot be attained without Taqwa. And abiding by Taqwa is like drinking a toxic cup. God Almighty facilitates all the delights for the righteous: ‘…And he who fears Allah — He will make for him a way out, And will provide for him from where he expects not…’ (65: 3- 4) Thus, the underlying principle of wellbeing is Taqwa. However, in order to attain Taqwa, we should not make conditions. Once Taqwa is adopted, one gets what one asks for. God Almighty is Ever Merciful and Generous; adopt Taqwa, He will give you what you wish.’ (Translated from Malfuzat, Vol. V, pp. 106 – 107)
Indeed, by adopting Taqwa one receives all manner of grace from God, however one should constantly self-reflect and see if one is abiding by the pledge of giving precedence to faith over worldly matters and the pledge of treading on the path of Taqwa and keep one’s word and deed congruous.
The Promised Messiah (on whom be peace) further said: ‘The passage of Taqwa is very difficult and only that person can negotiate it who completely abides by God Almighty’s will and does what God wants and does not follow his own preference. Nothing can be availed from pretence; therefore what is needed is God’s grace. This can come to pass if one prays in conjunction with making effort. God Almighty has enjoined both prayer and making effort.’ (Translated from Malfuzat, Vol. VI, p. 227)
The Promised Messiah (on whom be peace) also said: ‘None can be purified unless God Almighty purifies him. When the very soul of a person falls on God’s door with humility and meekness, God Almighty will accept his prayer and that person will become righteous and will be worthy of understanding the religion of the Holy Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be on him). Otherwise, whatever proclamations about religion he makes and his worship etc. is of customary nature that he follows by merely emulating his forefathers without any essence of reality or spirituality.’ (Translated from Malfuzat, Vol. VI, p. 228)
The Promised Messiah (on whom be peace) said: ‘Attain Taqwa because Taqwa is followed by God Almighty’s blessings and a righteous person is saved from the calamities of the world.’
With God’s grace, we experience many blessings of God in our capacity as a Jama’at as well as we progress as a community. We also witness God’s special treatment with the Jama’at that how He takes us out of the enemy’s snare in critical times. A good number of members of Jama’at abide by Taqwa and seek pleasure of God. Yet, we should always try that after taking Bai’at we attain that standard of Taqwa which befits a true Muslim and which the Promised Messiah (on whom be peace) expected of us. We should always remember God. Indeed, God states that it is not His loss if we forget Him, however, our negligence will be detrimental to us. Those who forget God have weak faith and overlook that they have to face Him one day. Their practices are such that their moral and spiritual condition declines, to them world takes precedence over faith. What treatment they will be given in the Hereafter, God alone knows, but those who are too involved in this world also lose their inner peace in this life. We see people utterly incapacitated at a little financial or worldly loss.
God states that if you claim to have faith but make no effort to abide by Taqwa, are not drawn to pay the dues of God and the dues of people, then evidently you do not have perfect faith in God. If in this situation there is also no effort for reformation then your life in this world will be disconcerted. Not only that, such a person will be considered Fasiq (rebellious). Here, (59:20) Fasiq denotes a person who pledges to abide by commandments of Shariah but then breaches all or some of them. Other verses of the Holy Qur’an tell us that a person who is ungrateful about God’s blessings is excluded from the obedient and is considered Fasiq and of bad character. Once the pledge of Bai’at is made and precedence is given to faith over worldly matters, then no matter what the circumstances, God’s commandments should never be overlooked. It is a great favour of God on Ahmadis that they have been given a measure of His blessings, that is, the blessings of the Promised Messiah (on whom be peace) to take forward the mission of the Holy Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be on him). Indeed, Prophethood is the greatest of all blessings of God about which a strange contradiction can be found among the Muslims. They pray for it but at the same time they reject it. We are fortunate to have been enabled to accept this blessing and are included among those who will partake of this blessing. This will take place in real terms when we will measure up to the instructions and expectations of the Promised Messiah (on whom be peace). Otherwise we will be those who sink in negligence and incur God’s displeasure.
The Promised Messiah (on whom be peace) came in servitude of his master, the Holy Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be on him) to establish Unity of God and to prove the existence of God. Real Taqwa is instilled when one has complete faith in Unity of God. The Promised Messiah (on whom be peace) wrote:
‘Unity of God (Tawheed) does not signify that one utters the words La ilaha illalla (There is none worthy of worship except Allah) while having thousands of idols in heart. In fact, a person who gives any of his own work, trick, deception or plan God-like importance or relies on a person as only God should be relied on or gives his own self the kind of importance which should be given to God, according to God he is an idolater in all these instances. Idols are not just those which are made with gold, silver, copper or stone and are relied on. Rather, everything, word or deed, which is given the importance that is God’s right, is an idol in God’s sight.’ (Translated from: Siraj-ud-Din ‘Isa’i ke Char Sawalon ka Jawab, Ruhani Khaza’in, Vol. 12, pp. 349)
‘The true Unity of God, the affirmation of which is demanded by God and upon which salvation depends, is to believe that God in His Being is free from every associate, whether it is an idol or a human being, or the sun or moon or one's ego, or one's cunning or deceit; and to conceive of no one as possessing power in opposition to Him, nor to accept anyone as sustainer, nor to hold anyone as bestowing honour or disgrace, nor to consider anyone as helper or assistant; and to confine one's love to Him and one's worship to Him and one's humility to Him and one's hopes to Him and one's fear to Him. No Unity can be complete without the following three types of particularisation. First, there is the Unity of Being, that is to say, to conceive the whole universe as nonexistent in contrast with Him and to consider it mortal and lacking reality. Secondly, the Unity of attributes, that is to say, that Rububiyyat and Godhead are confined to His Being and that all others who appear as sustainers or benefactors are only a part of the system set up by His hand. Thirdly, the Unity of love and sincerity and devotion; that is to say, not to consider anyone as an associate of God in the matter of love and worship and to be entirely lost in Him.’ (Siraj-ud-Din ‘Isa’i ke Char Sawalon ka Jawab, Ruhani Khaza’in, Vol. 12, pp. 349-350. Essence of Islam, Vol. I. pp. 169 – 170)
Regarding excellence of Taqwa the Promised Messiah (on whom be peace) said: ‘Excellence of Taqwa is this alone that man’s own being ceases to be and in reality this alone is also Tawheed.’
To give precedence to God over everything else is Taqwa and this is also abiding by Tawheed. May God enable us to attain this standard!
Hadhrat Khalifatul Masih said he is going on travels and asked for prayers for his travels to be blessed in every way.