“O ye who believe! fasting is prescribed for you, as it was prescribed for those before you, so that you may become righteous.” Alhamdulillah (all praise to Allah) - that we are being enabled to experience the month of Ramadan once more in our lives. The Holy Prophet(sa) once said that ‘if people knew about the excellences of Ramadan, then my ummah [Muslim community at large] would have wished the entire year to be Ramadan.’ Upon this, a person asked him as to what the excellences of Ramadan were. He replied, ‘Verily, paradise is decorated for Ramadan from the beginning to the end of the year.’ Likewise, in another narration, reported by Hazrat Abu Hurairah(ra), the Holy Prophet(sa) said that ‘whoever observes fasting during Ramadan in a state of faith and while self-evaluating, his previous sins will be forgiven and if you knew what the excellences of Ramadan are, you would have wished that the entire year were Ramadan.’
When man increases in faith, undertakes self-evaluation, watches over his shortcomings and actions, focuses on fulfilling the rights of Allah and the rights of people and tries to make his actions conducive to the will of Allah, only then is he granted forgiveness for his [past] sins. This is also the purpose of fasting during Ramadan, which Allah the Almighty has mentioned in the Holy Qur’an. In the verse, which I recited, [it is said that] ‘fasting is prescribed for you, the month of Ramadan is designated every year so that you may become righteous and taqwa means that every action should be undertaken for the pleasure of Allah the Almighty. Then only can you benefit from the fasting and save yourselves from the onslaughts of satan. When, you will fast with sincerity, being righteous, will you come in the refuge of Allah the Almighty.’
The Holy Prophet (sa) stated: whoever fasts during Ramadan in a state of faith while self-examining will have his previous sins forgiven. This is not something ordinary. The Promised Messiah (as) taught us that a state of faith cannot be attained to until and unless one recognises God. He further stated that we must cross the great stage of recognising and understanding God and if our understanding of God is defective or mingled with doubt or in any way weak, our faith shall never be glowing and imbued with light.
So how can one recognise God? This takes place through the manifestation of God’s Rahimiyyat (attribute of mercy) i.e. recognising God may only be achieved by means of the demonstration of God’s attribute of mercy. He further states that when God Almighty’s attributes of Rahimiyyat, grace and might are experienced, they safeguard from carnal passions, as carnal passions are brought about due to weakness of faith and conviction. Hence, it can be well understood that this faith is no ordinary matter. In fact, this is a great matter and an enormous target which we have been given, it is not only the fasting for 30 days, or preparing for the month of Ramadan, for these hold little importance. This importance can only increase when all our efforts from the training in this month are produced throughout the year. Whilst explaining the condition of faith and the way to rectify it, the Promised Messiah (as) in one place writes: “In actuality, there are two types of faith in God. One is restricted merely to the lip-service which has no effect on deeds and actions. (Faith is expressed but is not demonstrated in actions). The second type of faith in God is such which comes with practical testimony. He states: “I know that these people declare their faith in God but I see that despite this declaration, they are engulfed in the filth this world and polluted with the mist of sinfulness.”
The Promised Messiah (as) states: “Thus, the first responsibility of man should be to review their belief in God Almighty. This implies that they must not commit any deed that would indicate that they do not hold any regard for the Majesty of God, nor should it contradict any command of God Almighty.” Thus, this is the manner in which a believer can analyse themselves during this month of Ramadan.
I will also present excerpts on how one can progress further in righteousness, as explained to us by the Promised Messiah (as). Man’s faith advances when one makes progress in their righteousness. Whilst drawing our attention to this matter, the Promised Messiah (as) states: “The purpose of the teachings of the Qur’an and Islam were to develop Taqwah [righteousness], and this very thing cannot be witnessed anywhere today. People fast and also offer their prayers, yet owing to the fact that they are devoid of any righteousness, these very fasts and prayers lead them to sin.” In today’s day and age, the fact that we see acts of terror being committed in the name of Islam, where innocent people are being killed, is all taking place because there is a void of righteousness. Two days ago, approximately one hundred people were brutally killed in Afghanistan. Will Ramadan be of any benefit for such people [who commit these acts]? Will they partake of the blessings that are attached with its grandeur? Absolutely not, because these people commit acts that are contrary to the commands of God Almighty. Also because they have moved away from the commandments of God Almighty and moved away from righteousness. In complete harmony with the Holy Quran, the Promised Messiah (as) has stated: “Even prayer without righteousness is futile and is the key to hell.” It is the key that leads one towards hell. Thus, how can Ramadan be of any benefit for those who are bereft of any righteousness? As for those who commit atrocities in the name of God and His Messenger (sa), they can never partake of the blessings of Ramadan, rather they are the ones who will suffer the wrath of God. Thus, when we witness these brutal and barbaric acts, we as Ahmadis should seek repentance from God Almighty by prostrating to him even more than before, for He has separated us from these tyrants and enabled us to accept the Promised Messiah (as). We should always be mindful of our actions and should strive to strengthen our faith.
Whilst explaining the true meaning of righteousness, the Promised Messiah (as) states: Real Taqwah which cleanses and purifies a person and for which Prophets appear to establish, has vanished from the world. Is there anyone who is the reflection of ‘He indeed truly propsers who purifies it.’ Purity and cleanliness are excellent virtues and angels greet one who is pure. The Promised Messiah (as) further says:
‘The second chapter [of the Holy Quran] begins with ‘It is a guidance for the righteous.’ Prayer, fasting, Zakat and so on are all accepted when a person becomes righteous.’ And so all of the aforementioned will be accepted when a person adopts Taqwah. Otherwise they will not be accepted if one is devoid of Taqwah.
The Promised Messiah (as) says:‘At this point God the Almighty erases all motivations of a person to committing sin.’ In other words if one has complete Taqwah, Allah the Almighty eradicates all temptations and instigations that entice him towards transgressing. The Promised Messiah (as) says:
‘When man is need of a wife, He [God] will provide that. When he is need of medicine, He will provide that. Whatever man is need of, God provides for that and He provides in ways that is unimaginable to a person.
Explaining further about Taqwah and steadfastness, the Promised Messiah (as) says: ‘In the beginning a true Muslim has to display patience. The Companions experienced times when they were forced to survive on leaves and at other times they did not even have a piece of bread to eat. No one can benefit another person unless it is ordained by Allah the Almighty. A person who adopts Taqwah has doors and means opened to him by Him. ‘he who fears Allah — He will make for him a way out and provide for him in ways which we he cannot comprehend…’ Believe truly in Allah the Almighty.
This verse has two parts. The first is that for those who truly believe, Allah the Almighty will find for him a way or means out and will provide him through that. The second part means that Allah the Almighty will provide for the person in ways that are unimaginable to him. The Promised Messiah (as) says: ‘Hold true belief in Allah the Almighty as you will attain everything from that. This requires steadfastness and determination. The exalted rank of the Prophets was attained through their steadfastness and patience.’
The Promised Messiah (as) says: ‘What possible use can empty and lifeless prayer and fasting give to one? (To simply pray and fast during Ramadan will not achieve anything, but rather when one does so with a permanent and determined conviction, it is then the he or she will attain everything). Thus, Allah the Almighty wants us to become righteous so that the doors of His countless grace open upon us, and particularly during the month of Ramadan, the doors to His Grace are opened upon those who instil Taqwa [righteousness] within them. In order to become righteous, one needs to not only abstain from committing vice but also to adopt virtuous deeds. Expounding upon this, the Promised Messiah (as) states: ‘In order for one to become righteous, it is necessary that after strongly abstaining from the more bold/obtrusive sins such as adultery, stealing, usurping the rights of others, displaying arrogance, contempt and miserliness, one should refrain from lowly practices and conversely seek to progress in adopting high moral qualities.’
One should refrain from all such lowly habits and progress in adopting high morals – this is a necessary condition. The Promised Messiah (as) further states: ‘One should treat others with compassion, kindness and be sincere and truthful with God. And should search for ways to serve others which are worthy of admiration.’
One should render such deeds and service to others which is truly worthy of praise and extraordinary in nature and only then is it possible for one to acquire a high level of Taqwa. One should afford good treatment to others while displaying a spirit of selflessness and should fulfil the due rights of God Almighty as well as the rights of fellow man in an exemplary manner which is worthy of praise.
Elaborating on the importance of Taqwa and the objective of his advent, the Promised Messiah(as) states: ‘The reason why I have been appointed is because the field of Taqwa is empty. There is a need for Taqwa rather than taking up the sword which has been declared unlawful. If you adopt Taqwa, then the whole world will come by your side, thus adopt Taqwa. Those who drink alcohol or where alcohol is considered a central aspect of their religious traditions have no relation with Taqwa and are waging a war against piety. Therefore, if Allah the Almighty grants our Jama’at such good fortunate people and grants them the ability to combat against evil and they seek to progress in the field of Taqwa and purity then this is a great achievement and there is nothing that can be more effective than this.’
The Promised Messiah (as) states further: ‘Our Jama’at should therefore be fearful of this because only those shall be saved who have the level of Taqwa which God Almighty desires from us. Allah the Almighty has established this community for the purpose of attaining Taqwa because the field of Taqwa is completely empty.’
After the Friday prayer, I shall lead a funeral prayer in absentia of respected Khwaja Ahmad Hussain Sahib Darwaish, Qadian, who was the son of respected Muhammad Hussain Sahib. He passed away on 31st May 2017 at the age of 92 - Surely to Allah we belong and to Him we shall return. He was born in 1926 in a village called Sekhwan, which is near Qadian. His maternal grandfather was Hazrat Mia Imam Din Sahib and also his two brothers, Mia Nizam Din and Mia Khair Din Sahib were the companions of the Promised Messiah(as). May Allah the Almighty enable his progeny and future generations to form relationship of loyalty with Khilafat. And the sacrifices he had made, may they continue to be remembered by his progeny and his future generations to come and may they form a loyal and sincere relationship with the Jama’at.