The Promised Messiah (on whom be peace) said that Allah the Exalted is hidden but He can be identified through His powers. One can find His Being through prayer. Every human, including kings and emperors, faces difficult times which reduce him to humility and at a loss as to what to do. During such times difficulties can be resolved through prayer.
The Promised Messiah (on whom be peace) has stated the significance of prayer in many places and in different context. His companions developed insight into this through him and had others acknowledge that their prayers were accepted.
Once an account was related to the Promised Messiah (on whom be peace) which made him laugh. It was about Munshi Aroora Khan Sahib who used to visit Qadian quite regularly in early days but later, due to his employment commitments he could not take time off work as before. Hazrat Musleh Maud (may Allah be pleased with him) recalled that it was during his childhood when on his arrival in Qadian, Munshi Sahib would warmly greet others like a long lost brother. Munshi Sahib worked in the offices of a session judge. He once asked for time off work to visit Qadian but the magistrate declined because it was very busy at work. Munshi Sahib told him it was fine but said that he would start invoking malediction from that day on. The magistrate went on to sustain great loss which cautioned him and as a result every Saturday he would ask his staff to finish work early just in case Munshi Sahib missed catching his train. And he offered Munshi Sahib to take time off, such was the impact of Munshi Sahib's earnestness.
Hazrat Musleh Maud (may Allah be pleased with him) said that people are sensitive to feeling hot or cold in varying degrees or are different in how acute their sense of smell is. The Promised Messiah (on whom be peace) recounted that some townspeople were gathered talking about the heat properties of sesame seeds. They said that no one could eat a measure of about 230 grams of sesame seed without falling ill. One of them piped up and said if anyone was to eat 230 grams of sesame seeds I would give him Rupee 5. A surly farmer was passing by and when he listened to the men he was amazed how anyone could be paid to eat something so delicious. He asked them, do I have to eat the seeds with the plant? He asked because he could not believe that a reward could be given for eating just sesame seeds and not the plant. On one hand were people who thought it was impossible to eat 230 grams of sesame seeds and on the other hand was someone prepared to eat them with along with the plant. The same principle works in the spiritual world. Prayer affects some people more than others as some are more spiritually perceptive.
A religious scholar called Maulawi Khan Malik was renowned in India during the days of the Promised Messiah (on whom be peace). His appearance was extremely simple and he could easily been mistaken for a manual worker. He visited Qadian and after listening to the words of the Promised Messiah (on whom be peace) he accepted him. Later, he went to Lahore and visited Maulawi Ghulam Ahmad, a scholar with hundreds of pupils but who himself had once been Maulawi Khan Malik's student. Maulawi Ghulam Ahmad's pupils had no idea of Maulawi Khan Malik's status which his outward appearance belied. When he said he had been to Qadian and accepted the Promised Messiah (on whom be peace), Maulawi Ghulam Ahmad was astonished and said that he was such a big scholar what good quality did he see in the Promised Messiah? Maulawi Khan Malik told him to mind his own business as he still did not know much. This riled his pupils but Maulawi Ghulam Ahmad calmed them saying that Maulawi Khan Malik was right.
An Arab came to visit the Promised Messiah (on whom be peace). When he decided to return the Promised Messiah offered him something to meet his travel expenses but he declined and said he had come to Qadian because he had heard of the claim of the Promised Messiah and had not come to receive anything. Since no one from that region who had not been in need had visited Qadian before, this was a new situation, the Promised Messiah (on whom be peace) asked him to stay on a few more days and appointed someone to do tabligh to him. However, the tabligh did not have any impact on him. It was said about him that he was a very passionate person quite unlike those in need and he was in search of the truth. The Promised Messiah (on whom be peace) was requested to pray for him. The Promised Messiah prayed for him and informed that he will be guided. The next morning the man took bai'at. Later, Hazrat Musleh Maud learned that the man had been to Hajj where he fervently did tabligh to people. Some people beat him up so much that he would faint but this did not deter him and he would start tabligh again.
In the times of the Promised Messiah (on whom be peace) an American named Alexander Russell Webb accepted Islam. He had corresponded with the Promised Messiah (on whom be peace) which had led to his acceptance of Islam. He went on to dedicate his life to the propagation of Islam. He visited India and wished to meet the Promised Messiah (on whom be peace) but the maualwis deterred him by saying that if he met the Promised Messiah, Muslims would not make donations to him. He was tricked by this and left India without meeting the Promised Messiah (on whom be peace) but also disappointed that he did not receive help and support. He wrote to the Promised Messiah (on whom be peace) before the Promised Messiah's passing and said that he had suffered a lot by not taking the Promised Messiah's advice. He wrote, you told me Muslims have no interest in serving faith but I did not listen to you and as a result failed to meet you. Hazrat Musleh Maud (may Allah be pleased with him) said that [at the time] the Jama'at was progressing more in the USA as compared to Europe.
Hazrat Musleh Maud (may Allah be pleased with him) said that moral training of children should be done in a relaxed manner for example when they are playing. For small children this could be done through stories. These stories do not have to be unnecessarily untrue. He said during his childhood the Promised Messiah (on whom be peace) used to tell stories of Hazrat Yousuf, Nuh and Musa (peace be on them all) and for him as a child these true accounts were stories. The Promised Messiah also told an Arabian Nights tale. There can be some stories which have a moral. When children are a little older their moral training can be done during games and sports.
Hazrat Musleh Maud said when the Promised Messiah (on whom be peace) told them stories it relaxed them and sent them off to sleep and this meant the Promised Messiah could do his work. Children do not realise the serious nature of their parents' work so story-telling calms them down as they listen intently and fall asleep. Of course good, useful stories should be told.
The Promised Messiah (on whom be peace) used to tell a story about a bear. A man had a bear as a pet and they were good friends. This is a tale which is intended to convey a fact. Any tale which the Promised Messiah (on whom be peace) told had a moral to it. Anyway, the mother of the man with the bear was ill and he once sat with her helping to shoo away the flies off her. Meanwhile, he had to go somewhere so he asked his friend, the bear, to sit with his mother and shoo away the flies. The bear started earnestly shooing the flies off his friend's mother but they kept coming back. The bear felt this must be bothersome for the old lady, and shooing them off did not come naturally to him as it would to a human. So he decided to do something about it in a way he knew. He took a large stone and hit the flies with it but in the process he also crushed his friend's mother. The moral of the story is that some foolish people make friends but do not know how to keep the friendship. They may do something for the friend as a well-wisher but end up causing harm.
The Holy Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be on him) illustrated good form of friendship by saying help your brother, regardless of whether your brother is an oppressor or a victim. When one stops an oppressive friend from being cruel, this amounts to helping him! True friendship means one may even go against one's friend in order to be of use to him.
Hazrat Musleh Maud (may Allah be pleased with him) said two people had an argument. A friend of one of them got fully involved in the argument to show his support as a good friend. Due to his good nature the man who had had the argument was reconciled to the person he had the conflict with but the friend who had got involved in the argument, ended up renouncing his faith. While friends can take one closer to God, they can also cause ruin. Supporting friends should mean being sensible and controlling one's emotions.
The Promised Messiah (on whom be peace) used to relate this story. A man was friends with a bear and his wife used to mock and deride him for this. One day she scorned very loudly and the bear heard it all. The bear gave his man friend a sword and asked him to strike on his head. The man refused but the bear insisted so the man eventually struck him with the sword, the bear started to bleed and went off to the woods. The bear returned after one year and asked his man friend to see if his wound had left any mark. The man checked and said none. The bear said he found some herbs in the woods which he used to treat his wound but the wound left by the derisory remarks of the man's wife was still fresh. At times emotional hurt is much greater than any physical wound and everyone should be mindful of this to maintain societal peace. We should be careful about what we say to each other.
Hazrat Musleh Maud (may Allah be pleased with him) said that the Promised Messiah (on whom be peace) related an account regarding Hazrat Musa (on whom be peace) many times. When Hazrat Musa left Egypt he met an opposing tribe. The king of the tribe was threatened of defeat so he asked a holy man to pray against Hazrat Musa. The holy man prayed and God revealed to him that Musa (on whom be peace) was a Prophet of God and prayers against him should not be made. The holy man had this conveyed to the king. The king tried the same trick which Satan used to entice Adam and gave a lot of jewellery to the wife of the holy man but the holy man said he could not pray against Hazrat Musa (on whom be peace) because he was a beloved of God. He said he had been told so by God. However, his wife insisted that he prayed as the king had wished. They took the holy man to a place to pray against Hazrat Musa but he said his heart did not open up, so they took him to a few more places. Eventually the holy man lost his faith because he prayed against Hazrat Musa (on whom be peace). Following his malediction there was chaos among the people of Hazrat Musa (on whom be peace) owing to their own spiritual failings and the faith of the holy man was also lost and his future standing as a holy person was over. This story illustrates that just as a bird flies out of one's hands faith left the holy person's heart. Developing one's spirituality and faith takes hard work but it can all be lost for something quite minor!
Hazrat Musleh Maud (may Allah be pleased with him) said that the Promised Messiah (on whom be peace) used to say a Persian proverb which means, one's hand may be busy doing work but one's heart must be filled with remembrance of the Beloved [God]. Once someone asked a holy person how many time should he remember God. The holy person replied you want to count how many times you remember your Beloved? Real remembrance of God is that which is countless. The good point in remembering Him at appointed hours is that having abandoned everything else man makes those times exclusive for God. Since both these situations are important, remembrance at appointed times and all the time, the right way is to remember God at appointed times as well as at other times, while one is standing and sitting and doing other things. The objective of Ahmadis should be to listen to matters of faith attentively and try and retain them and then put them in practice.
Hazrat Musleh Maud (may Allah be pleased with him) said that the Promised Messiah (on whom be peace) once started a series of lectures to women. He decided to test them and asked a lady who come to attend the lectures from outside [Qadian] what had he said in the lectures in the past eight days. The lady replied you have talked about God and His Messenger. The Promised Messiah (on whom be peace) was very disappointed by this answer and said that there was much negligence among our women. He said it seems they are in need of very basic [religious] knowledge and do not have the capacity to comprehend finer points of spirituality.
Hazrat Musleh Maud (may Allah be pleased with him) said compare this to the Companions of the Holy Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be on him) who listened to him day and night and then put his words in practice. They adhered to everything he said no matter how minor or major and then spread it in the world. Availing the books of the Promised Messiah (on whom be peace) is one of the foremost obligations of the Jama'at. These books should not simply be read for the pleasure of reading, rather they should be fully availed of and practiced. Even if the entire Holy Qur'an was read simply for the pleasure of it one would not gain anything. However, if one uttered just SubanAllah (Holy is Allah/Allah's glorification) just once while contemplating Divine attributes it can take one on a spiritual voyage. The Promised Messiah (on whom be peace) once said in an assembly that when we glorify God, doing so a single time can take us on a spiritual voyage. Hazrat Musleh Maud was not in the assembly but a young he knew was. The young man came to him and expressed his puzzlement at what he had heard. Although Hazrat Musleh Maud was only an adolescent at time (17 or 18) he had had such spiritual experiences so he assured the young man that this does happen. He asked how. Hazrat Musleh Maud replied that many times just by uttering Subhan Allah he had experienced spiritual flights. The young man reacted mockingly. The reason being he had never uttered SubhanAllah meaningfully or had reflected over it.
The Holy Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be on him) has explained this point in an excellent way. He said there are two phrases which are very dear to the Gracious God. They are very light on the tongue but on the Day of Judgement when deeds will be weighed in scales the phrases will prove most weighty. Whoever's scales will have these phrases will have the scales weighed down. These phrases are: Holy is Allah, the Praiseworthy. Holy is Allah, the Great. Hazrat Musleh Maud (may Allah be pleased with him) said I recite these phrases a lot and uttering them once takes one on a soaring spiritual flight.
The main aspect is to reflect over commandments of God and try and put them in practice. If God is glorified with sincerity of heart, its affect is evident. May God enable everyone to experience this, to inculcate inner strength to practice and seek God's pleasure and glorify Him so that our souls may soar and we may attain God's nearness!