Today is the first day of the New Year and the year is starting with the blessed day of Friday. It is tradition to wish each other a Happy New Year, as such people are sending messages of good wishes to Hazrat Khalifatul Masih and they would be wishing each other as well. The New Year is celebrated in the Western, developed world by partying and drinking through the night and by firework displays. In fact this is also how it is now celebrated in Muslim countries. Television news was reporting last night with images of a 63-storey building on fire in Dubai alongside firework displays and it was repeatedly announced that notwithstanding the building on fire, the firework display would go ahead. Most Muslim countries are in a bad way these days but it is the way the wealthy show their materialism. Even if there had been no fire, it was the need of the time for wealthy Muslim countries to state that rather than spend on wasteful matters they would help the affected Muslims. But such is the state of affairs that a few days ago it was in the news that the most exclusive hotel in Dubai had the most expensive Christmas tree in the world at a cost of $11 million. These are now the preferences of wealthy Muslims.
Conversely, there are many Ahmadis who spent last night in worship of God or woke up early to offer optional Prayers to start the New Year. Tahajjud Prayers in congregation were offered in many places. Yet we are deemed as non-Muslims while those who create a rumpus are Muslims. In any case, with the grace of God, we are Muslims and we do not need anyone's testimonial for this. If we are desirous of any testimonial it is to be true Muslims in God's sight. And this does not come to pass by offering individual or communal optional Prayers on the first day of the year or by alms-giving or doing some other virtuous act. No doubt pious practices attract God's grace but there needs to be consistency and resolve in them. God desires constancy in piety. Along with offering Tahajjud Prayers what is needed to please God is to bring about a revolutionary pious change of hearts. This cannot be achieved by being pious for the odd few days. We should reflect as to what sort of practices do we need to adopt that will gain us God's pleasure. To this end, Hazrat Khalifatul Masih related some advisory extracts of the one commissioned by God in this age, the Promised Messiah (on whom be peace). The extracts elucidate how to try persistently and with conviction to attain God's pleasure, how to make 12 months of year and 365 days blessed to garner Divine grace.
The Promised Messiah (on whom be peace) said:
'Look at the state of the world! Our Holy Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be on him) showed through his practice and his life and death and everything was for the sake of Allah the Exalted. As for the Muslims in the world today, if one of them is asked if he is a Muslim, he will respond by uttering, Alhamdolillah. The life principles of the one he professes to follow were for the sake of God, but the Muslim of today lives and dies for the world until such times that he is in the throes of death. The world remains his object of desire. How can he then say that he follows the Holy Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be on him)?
This matter is most thought-provoking, do not consider it something trivial. It is not easy to be a Muslim. Do not be content until you instil obedience of the Holy Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be on him) and the Islamic model in you.
If you are known as a Muslim without practising obedience then your [faith] is a mere shell and the wise do not suffice on mere shell and epithets. A Muslim asked a Jew to become a Muslim. The Jew replied, do not suffice on mere name. I called my son Khalid (long-living) but buried him before evening fell. Thus, seek the reality and do not be happy on mere epithets. How disgraceful it is that one is known to be from the Ummah of the magnificent Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be on him) but spends life like disbelievers. Demonstrate the model of the Holy Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be on him) in your life and generate the same condition. Be mindful that if you do not have the same condition, you are a follower of Satan.
In short it can be well understood that to be the beloved of God Almighty should be the objective of man's life because unless one is the beloved of Allah the Exalted and does not receive God's love, one cannot have successful life. And this cannot be attained until one truly obeys and follows the Holy Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be on him) who showed through his blessed model what Islam is. Instil that Islam in you so that you become God's beloved.' (Malfoozat, Vol. II, pp. 187-188)
The Promised Messiah (on whom be peace) also said:
'Islam does not allow monasticism. That is for the cowardly. No matter how extensively a believer is involved in the world, his involvement is a source of his higher spiritual status because his real objective is faith. And the world and its wealth and pomp is a means to serve faith. The main thing is that the world should not be his ultimate goal, rather, the real aim of attaining worldly goals should be to serve faith. And worldly goals should be attained in a way that they serve faith. Just as when travelling one makes use of means of transport and some provisions with the aim to reach one's destination. The transport and provision is incidental. One should seek the world in a similar manner; as a means to serve faith.' (Malfoozat, Vol. II, p. 91)
'…Our Lord, grant us good in this world as well as good in the world to come…' (2:202) [This verse} also gives precedence to the world. But which world? 'Good in this world' which is a source of good in the Hereafter. The teaching in this prayer clearly demonstrates that a believer should be mindful of the good in the Hereafter when seeking worldly goals. The term 'good in this world' encompasses all the best means of seeking the world which a believer should adopt to attain worldly goals. Seek worldly goals by all such means which only result in good and not such means which are a source of pain for another human being or a source of embarrassment for anyone. Attainment of such a world will doubtlessly be a source of attaining good in the Hereafter.' (Malfoozat, Vol. II, pp. 91-92)
'It should be understood as to what is meant by hell? One Hell is that which Allah the Exalted has promised after death and the other is in this life; if it is not for God Almighty, life indeed is a hell. Allah the Exalted does not look out to remove the pain of such a person or bring him comfort. Do not imagine that apparent wealth or power, property and respect or having many children becomes the source of pleasure, contentment or tranquillity for someone and he is in paradise by virtue of these. Most certainly not. The satisfaction, contentment and tranquillity which are rewards of Paradise cannot be found in these things. They can only be attained by living and dying for God. For this Prophets of God (peace be on them) in particular Abraham and Jacob advised: '…let not death overtake you except when you are in a state of submission.' (2:133). Pleasures of this world create impure greed which heightens craving and thirst and this thirst is not quenched as in the case of one suffering from … [some disease] until such time that one perishes. The fire of unnecessary desires and longings is like the fire of hell which does not let man's heart find comfort. On the contrary it keeps one writhing and squirming in doubt and anxiety. Therefore this aspect should not at all remain concealed from my friends that man should not be so crazed and self-absorbed in the passion and intoxication of love of wealth and property or family that distance is created between him and God Almighty.' (Malfoozat, Vol. II, pp. 101-102)
The Promised Messiah (on whom be peace) said:
'I realised that 'All praise belongs to Allah, Lord of all the worlds, Most Gracious, Ever Merciful, Master of the Day of Judgement' (1:2-4) proves that man should inculcate these qualities, that is all the qualities of Allah the Exalted…When man says: Thee alone we worship…' (1:5) he should adopt in a reflective manner, the qualities of Rububiyyat (Divine quality to nature and sustain), Rahmaniyyat (Divine quality of being Gracious), Raheemiyyat (Divine quality of being Merciful) and Malikiyyat (Divine quality of being the Master). The height of excellence in man is to imbibe in the colours of Allah and not to tire until he reaches this station. Following this, an attraction and pull is instilled in man which takes him towards worship of God and he is in a state whereby: '..and do what they are commanded.' (16:51) (Malfoozat, Vol. II, pp. 132-133)
The Promised Messiah (on whom be peace) said:
'Who is to know if he will survive from the time between Zuhr and Asr? It happens at times that one suddenly passes away. Sometimes seemingly healthy people die suddenly. Vazir Muhammad Hassan Khan Sahib had come from a walk and happily went upstairs. He had gone up one or two steps that he felt dizzy, so he sat down. His attendant offered help but he declined. He climbed a few more steps and again felt dizzy and passed away. Similarly, member of Council of Kashmir, Ghulam Muhy ud din died suddenly. Indeed, we do not know when death will come to us. This is why it is important not to be complacent about it. Empathy with faith is a significant matter which honours one in the throes of death. It is stated in the Holy Qur'an: '…surely the quaking at the appointed Hour is a tremendous thing.' 22:2). We do not deny that 'Hour' also signifies Day of Judgement, however, it means throes of death because it is a time of complete cutting off and man is separated from all things he loved and was impressed with and a kind of quaking overcomes him as if deep within he is ensnared. Therefore it is in man's benefit to be mindful of death and the world and its material objects should not be so dear to him so as to cause him difficulties at the time of parting.' (Malfoozat, Vol. II, pp. 146-147)
The Promised Messiah (on whom be peace) said about making pious changes:
'Do not live your life without fear of God. Engage in prayer and istaghfar (seeking forgiveness from Allah) and generate pious change. It is not time to remain negligent. Man is fooled in thinking he will have a long life. Consider death as close by. The Being of God is a Certainty and whoever gives the rights due to God to others through wickedness will experience a disgraceful death. Surah Fatihah mentions three groups of people…In [early] Islam if one person apostatised, the reaction would be catastrophic. Now 200,000 have become Christians and having become impure they abuse the pure being [of the Holy Prophet]. An example of those who incur God's displeasure is being shown via the plague. This will be followed by the group of those on whom God bestows His blessings.
It is a matter of principle and way of God from time immemorial that when He addresses a people telling them not to do something, a group from among those people always violates God's commandment. There has never been that a people were forbidden from something and none among them did not perpetrate it. God told the Jews not to interpolate (the Torah) but they interpolated. God did not state this as regards the Qur'an, rather He stated: 'Verily, We Ourselves have send down this Exhortation, and most surely We will be its Guardian.' (15:10). Therefore, stay engaged in prayers so that God Almighty may include you in the group of those on whom He bestows His blessings.' (Malfoozat, Vol. II, pp. 265-266)
The Promised Messiah (on whom be peace) said the following about righteousness:
'The righteous are given a manifestation of God and they are under the protection of God. But what is needed is that one is sincerely righteous with no measure of satanic influence. God does not like shirk (associating partners with God) and if one has some measure of satanic influence God Almighty deems it all to be from Satan. Pain experienced by beloveds of God comes to pass by Divine will. Otherwise the whole world put together cannot give them the slightest of pain. Because these people are role models for the world therefore it is imperative that they also demonstrate models of how to endure difficulties. Otherwise Allah the Exalted states that He is not concerned about anything as much as He is by taking the life of one who is His friend. God Almighty does not want His friend to experience any pain. But they are given pain because of need and expediency. Therein lies their own good because their high morals during pain become apparent. Prophets and friends of God do not experience pain in the manner, for example the Jews are being disgraced with a display of Divine displeasure and chastisement. Rather, Prophets of God demonstrate models of courage. God Almighty had no enmity with Islam yet the Holy Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be on him) was left alone during the Battle of Uhad. The idea behind this was to reveal the courage of the Holy Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be on him). He stood alone in the face of 10,000 in that he was the Prophet of God. No other Prophet had the chance to demonstrate such a model. We say to our Jama'at not to feel proud for merely offering Salat, keeping fasts or avoiding main sins like adultery, theft etc. Most people from outside the Jama'at, the idolaters etc. are like you in these qualities.
The narrative of righteousness is exquisite, attain it. Inculcate greatness of God in hearts. God rejects practices which have even a little hypocrisy. It is difficult to be righteous. For example if someone accuses you of stealing a pen, why do you get angry? Your temperance is merely for the sake of God. Any anger felt in such an instance would be because the heart was devoid of God's presence. Man does not become righteous unless he has gone through many stages of death-like state. Miracles and revelations are derivatives of righteousness but the principal aspect is righteousness. Therefore do not be too concerned with revelations and visions, rather pursue attainment of righteousness. Only the righteous have veracious revelations and any revelations received without righteousness are not dependable. They could have a measure of satanic influence. Do not appreciate anyone's righteousness by virtue of them receiving revelations, rather, analyse his revelations based on the state of his righteousness. Close your eyes to everything else and first negotiate the stages of righteousness. Uphold the models of all the Prophets of God. All of them came for the purpose of teaching the ways of righteousness. '…Its true guardians are only those who are righteous…' (8:35). The Holy Qur'an teaches the fine ways of righteousness. Excellences of a Prophet require his people to also possess excellences. Since the Holy Prophet was the Seal of all Prophets (peace and blessings of Allah be on him) he was the epitome of the excellences of prophethood. His Seal of prophethood was borne of this epitomising of excellences of prophethood. Those who wish to please God Almighty and experience miracles in an extraordinary way should make their lives extraordinary. Those who sit exams work extremely hard and fall ill (like a sufferer of tuberculosis) and become frail in the gruelling process. Thus, be prepared to endure every pain to get through the test of righteousness. When man sets out on this path Satan attacks him most strongly. However, a stage comes when ultimately Satan stops. This is the stage when man's base life undergoes a death and he comes under the protection of God. He becomes a manifestation of God and is God's successor. In summary, our teaching is that man should expend all his faculties/energies in the way of God.' (Malfoozat, Vol. II, pp. 301-302)
'It is conditional for the righteous to spend their lives in meekness and humbleness. This is a branch of righteousness through which we have to battle unwarranted anger. Many highly devout and truthful people find shunning anger the ultimate and most challenging stage. Arrogance and pride is generated from anger and at times anger itself is generated from arrogance and pride because one is angry when one gives preference to oneself over others. I do not want people of my Jama'at to consider others higher or lesser than themselves. Or feel pride towards each other or look down on them. God alone knows who is honourable and who is lowly. This is a sort of derision based on contempt and there is danger in this contempt growing as a seed grows and causes ruin of an individual. Some people are most courteous when they meet those who are important and influential but in fact important is that person who listens to the meek with meekness, is gratifying to him, respects what he says and does not say something mocking to him which could be hurtful. Allah the Exalted states: '…Do not slander your own people, nor taunt each other with nicknames. It is bad indeed to earn foul reputation after professing the faith; and those who repent are not the wrongdoers.' (49:12) Do not call each other by taunting names, this is a practice of the wicked. One who taunts others will not die until he himself suffers in a similar way. Do not be contemptuous of your brothers. You drink from the same fountain, who is to know in whose fate it is to drink more. No one attains respectability through worldly principles. In the eyes of God Almighty one who is righteous is the most honourable: '…Verily, the most honourable among you, in the sight of Allah, is he who is the most righteous among you. Surely, Allah is All-knowing, All-Aware.' (49:14) (Malfoozat, Vol. I, p. 36)
'All the faculties granted by Allah the Exalted are not to be wasted, they are developed through right and proper use…It is stated: 'Surely, success does come to the believers.' (23:2) And after illustrating the life of the righteous it is stated in conclusion: '…And it is they who shall prosper.' (3:105) That is, those who practice righteousness, believe in the unseen. They lose concentration in Salat, but then they recover and they spend out of which God has bestowed them. In spite of possible personal hazards they impulsively believe in the past and current Books of God and ultimately they reach the stage of certain belief. These are the people who are on the way of guidance. They on a road which stretches right ahead and which takes man to the station of فلاح success/prosperity. These are the successful people who will reach their destination and they have been delivered from the perils of the journey. This is why Allah the Exalted gave us the teaching of righteousness at the outset and granted us a Book which carries commandments regarding righteousness.
Thus, our Jama'at should be intensely concerned and be more concerned than any other concern of the world, whether they have righteousness or not!' (Malfoozat, Vol. I, p. 35)
'If you wish to attain success in this world and the next and to win over hearts then adopt purity. Use you sense and follow the instructions of Word of God. Improve and develop yourself and also be a good role model for others. Then alone will you succeed…thus develop your heart. If you wish to influence hearts inculcate strength of practice because without strength of practice verbal strength or physical strength cannot avail anything. There are hundreds of thousands of verbose people. Many are called maulawi or ulema who stand on pulpits and having given themselves grand titles, they deliver sermons. They say shun arrogance, pride and foul deeds. However, ascertain what their own practice is and their own actions are by the fact as to how much their words influence your heart!' (Malfoozat, Vol. I, p. 67)
'Had such people have strength of practice and had they practiced before they preached, what would have been the need to state in the Holy Qur'an: '…why do you say what you do not do.' (61:3) This verse explains that there were people in this world who preached what they did not practice, as indeed there are such people and will be in the future.' (Malfoozat, Vol. I, p. 67)
'Listen to what I say and remember it well that if man's words are not heart-felt and he has no strength of practice, his words will have no impact. This is what proves the tremendous veracity of our Holy Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be on him) because the successful way he won over hearts has no parallel in the history of mankind. And all this came to pass because there was complete conformity between his word and deed.' (Malfoozat, Vol. I, pp. 67-68)
'Another great trouble that befalls educated people these days is that they have no idea about religious knowledge. When they read criticism by a scientist or a philosopher, they develop doubts and misgivings about Islam. This leads them to Christianity or atheism. In such instances their parents' role is also one of great unfairness in that they did not give them any time at all to obtain religious knowledge and get them involved from the very start in activities which deprived them of the pure faith.' (Malfoozat, Vol. I. p. 70)
'I have spoken many times before on mutual love and accord in the Jama'at. Have mutual accord and stay united. Allah the Exalted gave the teaching to Muslims to stay as one otherwise they would be diminished. The commandment to stand shoulder to shoulder during Salat is to promote mutual unity and so that goodwill can permeate like electric current from one to another. If you have discord and lack unity you will be unsuccessful. The Holy Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be on him) said love each other and pray for each other in secret. If a person prays for another in secret angels wish the same for him. How superb is that. If man's prayer is not accepted an angel's certainly is. I advise you and wish to say to you not to have discord with each other.
'I have brought only two issues. Firstly, adopt Oneness of God and secondly show love and empathy for each other. Be such role models that work miracles even on others. This is the conviction that was created in the Companions (may Allah be pleased with them). Remember: '…you were enemies and He united your hearts in love…' (3:104). Remember, togetherness is a miracle. Unless each one of you likes for his brother what he likes for himself, he is not from my Jama'at. He is in trouble and calamity.' (Malfoozat, Vol. II, p. 48)
'InshaAllah a righteous community will stem from me. What is the reason for mutual discord? It is malice, conceit, self-love and emotions. I have said that I will soon write a book and will excommunicate all those who cannot control their emotions and cannot live with accord and with unity. Those who are this way inclined should understand that they will not last long unless they show good examples. I do not wish to experience any personal criticism owing to someone else. A person who is not according to my wishes but is in my Jama'at is like a dry branch. What else can a gardener do but cut him off? A dried branch takes the water alongside a flourishing branch but a gardener cannot make it green. In fact it pulls other branches down with it. Thus be warned. One who does not correct himself will not stay with me.' (Malfoozat, Vol. II, p. 49)
'Allah the Exalted states in the Holy Qur'an: '…and will place those who follow thee above those who disbelieve, until the Day of Resurrection…' (3:56). This reassuring promise was made to son of Mary born in Nazareth. But I give you glad-tidings that Allah the Exalted has also giving the glad-tiding in these words addressing the son of Mary who was to come with the name of … Messiah. Imagine now that could those who wish to be included in this grand tiding by connecting with me, be those who are at the stage of 'incitement of evil' and are acting upon wicked ways? Most certainly not. Those who truly value this true promise of Allah the Exalted and do not consider my words as fables, remember and listen with sincerity, I once again address those who are associated with me and this is not by way of an ordinary bond, rather it is a great bond. The impact of this bond is not limited to me but reaches that Being Who took me to the eminent, perfect man who brought the spirit of truth and honesty to the world. Had this matter only impacted me, I would have had no care or concern. But this is not how it is. Its impact reaches the Holy Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be on him) and God Almighty Himself! Thus, in such a situation, listen most attentively if you wish to partake of this glad-tiding and wish to be its corroboration and you have true thirst for such a great success (in that you will triumph over disbelievers till the Day of Judgement) I say only this much that this success will not be realised until you traverse the state of reproving to the state of peace.
I will not say any more than this that you are associated with someone who has been appointed by God. Listen to his words with your heart and be ever ready to put them in practice. So that you are not from those who after accepting fall in the foulness of rejection and barter eternal chastisement.' (Malfoozat, Vol. I, pp. 103-105)
'This should also be listened with sincerity of heart that there are a few conditions for acceptance of prayer. Some of them are regarding the person who makes the prayer while some are regarding the person who asks for prayers to be made. It is essential for the person who asks for prayers that he keeps in view fear of Allah the Exalted…and makes conciliation and fearing God his ways. He should please God Almighty with righteousness and honesty. In such instance the door to acceptance of prayer is opened. If the person displeases God Almighty and is in conflict with Him, his mischief and wrong ways become a hindrance in acceptance of prayer and the door to acceptance of prayer is closed on him. It is important for our friends not to let our prayers go to waste and not create any impediment in their way which may be created owing to their crude acts.' (Malfoozat, Vol. I, p. 108)
'What is needed is to adopt the way of righteousness because righteousness alone is something which can be called gist of Shariah. If Shariah was to be explained briefly, then the core of Shariah can only be righteousness. There are many stages and stations of righteousness. However, if a seeker traverses the early stages and stations truthfully and with determination and sincerity, owing to his honesty and sincere wish to seek, he attains the high stations. Allah the Exalted states: '…Allah accepts only from the righteous.' (5:28) That is, Allah the Exalted listens to the prayers of the righteous, it is His promise. And His promises are not violated, as He states: '…Surely Allah fails not in His promise.' (13:32). Thus, since the condition of righteousness is an solid condition for acceptance of prayer, would a person not be foolish if he wished acceptance of prayer while remaining negligent and lost in ways? Therefore it is essential for our Jama'at that as much as possible each one of them tread the paths of righteousness so that they may experience the rapture of acceptance of prayer and develops in faith.' (Malfoozat, Vol. I, pp. 108-109)
'Do not think that God is pleased merely by taking bai'at. This is mere flesh while the core lies within. According to most laws of nature there is a shell containing a kernel. The shell is of no use and it is the kernel that is used…Similarly a person who claims to have taken bai'at and have faith but does not have the essence of both these aspects within him, should be fearful. A time comes when the slightest of knocks reduces him to smithereens … and he is discarded.
Similarly, one who lays claim to bai'at and faith should grapple and see whether he is a mere shell or does he have a core. Unless there is a core, faith love, obedience, bai'at, reliance and following, a follower of Islam is not a true follower. Remember, it is the truth that Allah the Exalted has no value for a shell without a core. Remember well that death can strike any time but it is a certainty that death will strike. Therefore, do not suffice on mere claims and be happy. It is most certainly not a beneficial matter unless man adopts many death-like states and does not traverse through many changes and transformations, he cannot find the real objective of humanity.' (Malfoozat, Vol.II, p. 167).
May we form our lives according to the wishes of the Promised Messiah (on whom be peace) and move onwards towards piety. May we not let the prayers of the Promised Messiah (on whom be peace) go to waste, rather may we ever be the recipients of the prayers that he made for his Jama'at. Huzoor wished a Happy New Year and prayed that may God make the New year a source of numerous personal and communal blessings.