Today, the Annual Convention of Bangladesh is starting. I was not due to address the concluding session, however they requested that I say a few things in my Friday Sermon. By the grace of Allah the Almighty Bangladesh is also a very devoted Jama'at. They are facing persecution and its members have even offered sacrifices of their life but may Allah continue to increase them in their faith. Similarly, the Annual Convention of Sierra Leone has also started today and they too have requested for prayers.
The Promised Messiah (as) has outlined the objectives of the Jalsa Salana (Annual Convention) on various occasions. However, these objectives are not limited to just three days, in fact these should be life-long objectives of every Ahmadi Muslim and they must always be mindful of them. These objectives are: to develop Taqwa [righteousness] and piety and abstinence; to develop the fear of God Almighty and instil emotions of love and affection for one another. The Promised Messiah (as) also directed his followers to adopt humility and spread the true message of Islam in whichever countries they reside in.
Today, when Islam is being defamed in the world, it is the responsibility of Ahmadis to promote the true teachings of Islam. However, this can only be achieved by forging a strong relationship with Allah the Almighty so that our efforts can blessed and also by establishing our good conduct.
Thus, the Annual Convention is held so that we can benefit from that special environment and purify our hearts. Although Ahmadis living in those countries are strong in their faith and as I said they have even offered their lives in this cause, but for the revival of Islam it is also necessary to raise the standards of our practical conduct. We must observe prayer according to the way it has been prescribed and instil the true spirit of prayer and I have expounded on this in great detail in my previous sermons. We must also strive to fulfil the rights of our fellow beings.
Expounding on the subject of Taqwa [righteousness], the Promised Messiah (as) states that Taqwa means to abstain from even the minutest aspects of evil. However, to simply refraining from evil is no quality in itself unless one practises good deeds with it.
Taqwa [righteousness] is the basic standard and can be likened to the example of a plate which has been thoroughly cleaned so that exquisite and eloquent foods can be laid on it. However, can it fill one's stomach if the plate is well cleaned but left without food being placed on it? Taqwa only purifies the body but the acts of piety is the actual food that nourishes it.
For a true Muslim, worship is a key factor. Elaborating on this point and the nature of miracles and the acceptance of prayer, the Promised Messiah (as) stated that supplicating in prayer humbles one to dust. When one supplicates to God Almighty it acts like water that washes away filth. When the soul of an individual falls like water at the threshold the One true God and presents itself in the various positions of prayer, be it bowing in Rukoo or prostrating in Sajda, this is the true depiction of Salat [prayer] as taught by Islam. If one wishes to see the true form of prayer then one must bow and prostrate with the utmost humility, ensuring God is the most beloved being to that one. At this point man ceases to exist and becomes a part of God Almighty.
The Promised Messiah (as) explained that there is a link between the soul and the body. When the soul is sorrowful one beings to cry with tears. When the soul is happy a smile breaks out on one's face, to the extent that sometimes we burst out laughing. Thus the physical postures in the prayer are linked to the soul and must be done to such a standard where it enables the soul to melt before God the Almighty. Just the physical positions in the prayers alone do not mean anything, until the soul is invested in the supplications.
When one receives true wisdom from God Almighty, only then can that individual observe prayer in the true sense; however, in order to achieve this one must strive constantly. Only when one strives and struggles can they attain the purpose of their creation.
The Promised Messiah (as) states that the most fragile and difficult injunction is pertaining to fulfilling due rights owed to mankind as this is something that one especially because we are faced with it constantly.
The Promised Messiah (as) states that one should not harbour enmity against anyone, nor should one hold a grudge out of personal reasons. Indeed, when it comes to upholding the honour of God Almighty and His Prophet (sa) then that is a different matter altogether. That individual who harbours enmity against God Almighty and the Prophet of God, he is your enemy and you should keep away from him. However even in such cases you should pray for their reformation and you should never retaliate in an inappropriate manner.
The Promised Messiah (as) then mentioned the incident of Hazrat Ali (ra) during battle, when he knocked down his opponent and sat on his chest. As soon as he did this the opponent spat in the face of Hazrat Ali (ra) , upon which he released him immediately and said: "Until now I was fighting against you in the way of Allah, but since you spat in my face I fear that a personal grudge may become the reason [for fighting]. Therefore I do not wish to kill you due to any personal enmity of mine."
Thus one should not hold grudges or harbour enmity against anyone for personal reasons. If you encounter someone who is an open enemy of God or His Prophet (sa) then you should move away from him.
May God Almighty enable us to understand the true essence of righteousness, and through his abundant Grace may He enable us to pray in a manner that would grant nearness to Him.