We should remember and revisit the commandments given by God in the Holy Qur'an. Those given the responsibility to remind others about the commandments should indeed do so. Those with such responsibility are missionaries and office-holders. With the grace of God the Jama'at operates on central as well as auxiliary levels and these in turn have office-holders from national to neighbourhood level. Each of these office-holders is expected to discharge of the responsibilities as helpers of Khilafat; i.e responsibilities of Khilafat on a wider scale. If all missionaries and office-holders were to understand this a revolutionary change could come about. This entails the person given the responsibility to have the awareness that having devoted/dedicated their life or having received a Jama'at obligation they should first self-reflect if they are abiding by God's commandments and presenting themselves as a role model so that they can remind others about their responsibilities. If they only remind others while not practicing on the commandments themselves it a great cause for concern and they should engage in istaghfar (seeking forgiveness from God).
It should be clear to all office-holders that advising others is not just the responsibility of the Ameer, or the presidents of Ansar, Khuddam or Lajna or their respective tarbiyyat secretaries. Each secretary, for example those serving for hospitality or sports should all present themselves as role models in this regard. If this was put in practice it would ensure that more than fifty percent of Jama'at would abide by commandments of God, be they regarding attending the mosque or be they about paying dues of mankind.
Any person serving Jama'at should first self-reflect and see how much he is abiding by the commandments, change himself for the better and then advise others. Similarly, each Ahmadi who says that he took bai'at to bring pure changes in his life should repetitively keep God's commandments in view. Not only would this bring about their own reformation it will also enable them to impart true morals to the world. Special attention should be given to this and Divine commandments should be looked for and practiced.
Last Friday sermon was based on some qualities of true believers; today again some other qualities were expounded.
Ramadan is a great source of reformation. While it draws us to worship of God it also makes us look at our weaknesses. We should thus make full efforts during this month to make good our shortcomings. If we do not do so we will only be partaking of sehri and iftar with no effect on our practices to enhance our spirituality and morality. It would be like a case of those who come up with excuses when they are asked to fast or asked to offer optional Prayer or Taraweh or asked to offer congregational Prayer. But when they are asked regarding iftar they readily agree saying of course they are not that bad at practicing religion. We should not be like such believers who make a mockery of faith and their situation is indicative of the rather sorry state of Muslims.
The standards of those who accepted the Promised Messiah (on whom be peace) should be very high. With the exception of proper justification for not fasting, they should keep fasts and have a most excellent level of worship of God and read the Holy Qur'an during Ramadan. Hazrat Jibraeel used to specifically have the Holy Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be on him) repeat the Qur'an during this month. Thus everyone should pay special attention to recitation of the Qur'an and search God's commandments and practice them. Taraweh Paryers are not obligatory in Ramadan. They were started in the time of Hazrat Umer (may Allah be pleased with him) to facilitate those who could not offer Tahajjud. Indeed, those who can wake up early should offer Tahajjud. These days there is little time to offer Tahajjud, so a few should be offered. It is not essential to offer Taraweh Prayers when fasting and Tahajjud is also not obligatory. However, optional Prayers should be offered during Ramadan and Tahajjud is encouraged even outside of Ramadan. This clarification was made because someone had said that it was essential for a person keeping fast to at least offer eight units of Prayers or Taraweh. This is not a condition of keeping fast. However, reading of Holy Qur'an is desirable and commendable. Indeed, one should try and further adorn one's worship during Ramadan and spend as much time as possible in remembrance of God. Efforts should be made in the special atmosphere of Ramadan to overcome any weakness in offering Prayers and this should be done with the intention of making it a permanent part of one's life. Everyone should have a very clear understanding that Salat/Prayer is a one of the fundamental commandments of God.
Most people focus on worship of God during Ramadan because it is a month of blessings and acceptance of prayers and they wish to seek the beneficence. It should be remembered that God knows what is in the depth of our hearts and knows our intentions and sees our practices in accordance with our intentions. Therefore we should focus on worship of God with the intention of abiding by righteousness and make the worship offered in this month part of our life. If we get used to offering Tahajjud or optional Salat, we should try to make it a constant part of our lives. God states: 'O ye men, worship your Lord Who created you and those who were before you, that you may become righteous;' (2:22) Explaining the Promised Messiah (on whom be peace) wrote: 'O people worship the God Who has created you…He alone is worthy of worship Who has created you, that is, He alone is Ever-Living, so it is Him you should love. Thus faithfulness is in having a special connection with God and in considering everything else nothing compared to Him.' (Tafseer Hazrat Masih e Maud, Vol. I, p. 454)
We know on an intellectual level and also have belief that God created us and it is God alone Who is Ever-Living and listens to prayers and we should love Him. Still, most people do not make the needed special effort in this regard which would make everything else nothing by comparison. The special atmosphere of Ramadan takes one towards forging this connection but afterwards gradually the process stops. We should prove from our actions that everything else is nothing to us when compared with God. The above verse states worship God so that you develop righteousness. Purpose of worship of God is not only to recognise God but is also to inculcate righteousness and attain spiritual heights and develop insight into Divine attributes. Indeed insight of Divine attributes is what makes us consider everything as nothing compared to God. In the verse above God states '…worship your Lord…' . The Arabic word here is Rabb رب which is a Divine quality to create, to nurture and to develop. Thus it signifies that all progress of man is associated with God and while His worship alone will grant physical beneficence of His quality of Rububiyyat (quality to create, nurture, sustain)it will also provide spiritual nurturing and progress. Offering worship of God with its due requisites will give us spiritual beneficence of this Divine attribute and this will enhance us in righteousness making our spirituality not just limited to Ramadan but sustained throughout the year.
The Promised Messiah (on whom be peace) said: The fact is that the reason for the creation of man is worship of God alone. As stated elsewhere: 'And I have not created the Jinn and the men but that they may worship Me.' (51:57). In truth worship is when man clears the terrain of his heart from all manner of crookedness and hardness just as a farmer prepares his land.' (Tafseer Hazrat Masih Maud, Vol. V, p. 237) He also said: There is a great need for you to understand that God Almighty created you so that you may worship Him and become His. The world should not be your objective. This is why I repetitively mention this fact, because for me this alone is the aspect behind the creation of man and this is the aspect from which man is distant.'
It is very embarrassing when a complaint is received about an office-holder not attending mosque for Salat or not offering Salat at home. There is a great need to pay attention to this because there can be no righteousness without it. Without it one can neither pay the dues of God nor the dues of mankind and there can be no blessing and such a worker cannot be a useful part of the Jama'at.
God also commands: 'O ye who believe! Do not betray Allah and the Messenger while you so often betray your trusts and you know it.' (8: 28) This is a most essential commandment and requires great attention. Betrayal is not perpetrated on large scale only but breach of trust in small matters also constitutes betrayal. The Promised Messiah (on whom be peace) included avoiding and shunning betrayal in his second condition of Bai'at (as dishonesty). Some ills give rise to other ills and betraying trusts is one such ill. God states that one who betrays neither pays the dues of God nor the dues of mankind. A person can assert a million times that he is regular in Salat but the objective of worship of God is to instil righteousness and righteousness means paying the dues of God and mankind out of love and fear of God and betraying trusts distances one from righteousness. God does not accept the worship of such a person. Let alone be an 'abid' (worshipper of God) one who betrays trusts cannot even be considered as having faith.
The Holy Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be on him) said that belief and disbelief, veracity and falsehood cannot co-exist in a person's heart. Similarly trust and betrayal of trust cannot co-exist. The Holy Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be on him) also said: A believer may have bad habits aside from falsehood and betraying trusts; he cannot (by definition) have these two habits. The subject of betrayal of trusts is a vast subject and it is expected of a believer to know its significance and its scope. The above saying of the Holy Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be on him) explain very well that the heart of a believer cannot breach trusts in three situations: sincerity in doing work for the sake of God, wishing well for all Muslims and living in harmony with Jama'at/community.
Each person who is entrusted with serving faith should self-reflect with righteousness. This will give them an idea as to how much are they paying the dues of their trust. The Holy Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be on him) also said that one who does not fulfil the rights of his brother betrays trust. Hurting them with words or with actions is not fulfilling their rights and is thus betrayal of trust. In fact it is obligatory on a Muslim to fulfil the rights of every human being and absence of this makes him one who breaches trusts. It is essential for every member of Jama'at to abide by the Nizaam of Jama'at and to abide by the conditions of bai'at. Every Ahmadi makes pledge at their respective meetings, these pledges are also trusts and not fulfilling them is betrayal of trust. It is also important to be connected and obedient to Khilafat and this is repeated in the pledges.
It should also be remembered that in domestic matters after marriage young men and women have some rights over each other and fulfilling these rights is a trust. A husband holds a trust to pay his wife haq mehr (dower). Many cases are brought up where in instances of conflict efforts are made not to pay haq mehr. The Holy Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be on him) said that a man who has haq mehr fixed at marriage with no intention to pay it is an adulterer and a person who takes a loan with no intention of paying it back is a thief. If a man seeks counsel from his Muslim brother who advises him without wisdom, he betrays trust. Indeed, some people trust others and seek their advice but they do not give them proper advice. If one does not have the required knowledge to give proper advice one should simply offer apologies and where possible give information of someone who can advise. Some lawyers give incorrect or careless advice to asylum seekers but pocket their fees. This is betrayal of trust.
The Promised Messiah (on whom be peace) said, 'a man who does not repent and give up trespass of the eye, betrayal of trust, bribery and every other unwarrantable means is not from my Jama'at. Every husband who betrays the trust of his wife and every wife who betrays the trust of her husband is not from my Jama'at. After accepting God as One it is essential not to usurp the rights of His creation. A person who usurps his brother and betrays him is not an adherent of 'there is none worthy of worship except Allah'. He said, 'God has related righteousness with the word raiment in the Holy Qur'an. Raiment of righteousness is a Quranic idiom. This indicates that spiritual beauty and spiritual elegance comes from righteousness. And righteousness is abiding by all trusts of God and pledges of faith as well as all trusts and pledges of mankind to the best of one's abilities. That is, practice their deeper and finer points to the best of one's capacities.'
All obligations and rights given to us are trusts. If we wish to seek God's beneficence we must abide by all trusts given to us. Another commandment of God which enhances societal harmony is: 'Those who spend in prosperity and adversity, and those who suppress anger and pardon men; and Allah loves those who do good;' (3:135). This verse expounds that further to fulfilling rights of others is the act of making sacrifice for societal harmony. A society in which rights of each other are fulfilled and are fulfilled by making sacrifices is truly a paradise-like society. We saw manifestation of this in the lives of the Companions of the Holy Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be on him). God states: '…but prefer others to themselves even though poverty be their own lot…' (59:10). It is practices like these which instil spirit of sacrifice and one sincerely wishes well for the others. The most excellent example/model of this was indeed found in the Holy Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be on him) who even forgave the killer of his daughter. Who advised to suppress anger and show high morals!
Someone was once abusive to Hazrat Abu Bakr (may Allah be pleased with him) in the presence of the Holy Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be on him). Hazrat Abu Bakr (may Allah be pleased with him) did not say anything and the Holy Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be on him) kept smiling. When the person exceeded his abuse, Hazrat Abu Bakr responded to him harshly. Displeased, the Holy Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be on him) stood up and left. At a later time Hazrat Abu Bakr (may Allah be pleased with him) submitted to him that while the man was being abusive the Prophet stayed but as soon as he responded angrily the Prophet left. To this the Holy Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be on him) responded: 'as long as you were silent in the face of the man's abuse God's angel was responding on your behalf. But when you responded Satan came.' Indeed, after this the Holy Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be on him) could not have stayed there.
Hazrat 'Aishah (may Allah be pleased with her) once said that the Holy Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be on him) did not ever retaliate any personal abuse.
The Promised Messiah (on whom be peace) said: Those who were close to God were greatly abused and were intensely persecuted but they were given the narrative of '…stay away from the ignorant.' (7:200) Indeed, the perfect man, the Holy Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be on him) was severely persecuted. He was verbally abused and mischief was made against him. But the embodiment of high morals responded by praying for his abusers because God had promised to safeguard his life and honour if he stayed away from the ignorant and he was promised that people of lax morals would not be able to attack him. Indeed this is what happened. These people were disgraced and they either fell down in his feet submitting to him or they were ruined.
The model of the true and ardent devotee of the Holy Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be on him), the Promised Messiah (on whom be peace) is also exemplary. During the court case involving Dr Martyn Clark Maualwi Muhammad Hussain Batalawi was to give testimony against the Promised Messiah (on whom be peace). In order to weaken his testimony the Promised Messiah's lawyer asked him some contemptuous questions regarding his parentage in court. The Promised Messiah (on whom be peace) stopped his lawyer from asking questions of such nature and promptly put his hand on the lawyer's mouth to prevent him from speaking. Thus, he put himself in danger in court but safeguarded the honour of his sworn enemy. The lawyer often related this incident and said Mirza Sahib was a man of amazing morals. A man attacks his honour, in fact his life. Some questions are asked to weaken his testimony and he promptly forbids asking the questions. This indeed is the station where anger is suppressed and not only are men pardoned, but kindness is extended to them.
The Promised Messiah (on whom be peace) said: True believers are those who suppress anger and forgive attacks of crude and cruel people and do not respond to rudeness with rudeness. He advised his Jama'at and said, the purpose of preparing this Jama'at is to instil righteousness in speech, sight hearing and every other faculty and a person has the light of righteousness inside and outside and is an excellent model of courtesy with no unwarrantable anger and fury. He said he has observed that people in the Jama'at still had the failing of short temper and fought with each other. Such people have nothing to do with the Jama'at. He said: I do not understand the problem in keeping quiet in response to an abusive person! Reformation of every community starts with high morals. What is needed is patience and the best way is to pray with heart-felt compassion for anyone who is abusive that Allah may correct the person. Rancour and malice should not be entertained. God too has laws just as there are worldly laws. The world does not give up its laws, why would God give up His? Unless you bring about change God will not value you. God Almighty does not like that instead of the fine qualities of forbearance, patience and forgiveness there is barbarity. If you develop in high morals, you will reach God very quickly.
May God enable us to establish such standards and make them permanent part of our lives and no matter in what capacity we serve the Jama'at, may we first demonstrate good models both at home and outside.
Prayers for progress of Jama'at and safeguard from dangerous scheming of the enemy should be made as well as for triumph of Islam along with personal prayers.