Friday Sermon: Ways of seeking Allah's Protection

In the Name of Allah, The Most Gracious, Ever Merciful.

Love for All, Hatred for None.

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Friday Sermon: Ways of seeking Allah's Protection

Sermon Delivered by Hazrat Mirza Masroor Ahmad at Head of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community.
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NOTE: Alislam Team takes full responsibility for any errors or miscommunication in this Synopsis of the Friday Sermon

After reciting the Tashahhud, Ta'wwuz, and Surah Al-Fatihah, Hazrat Khalifatul Masih V (aba) stated: (Arabic)

The translation of these verses is as follows: "In the name of Allah, the Gracious, the Merciful. The Praiseworthy, the Lord of Honour. The revelation of the Book is from Allah, the Mighty, the All-Knowing, The Forgiver of sin and the Acceptor of repentance, Severe in punishment, the Possessor of bounty. There is no God but He. Towards Him is the final return." (40:1-4)

The second verse is Ayatul Kursi (2:256). Its translation is as follows: "Allah — there is no God but He, the Living, the Self-Subsisting and All-Sustaining. Slumber seizes Him not, nor sleep. To Him belongs whatsoever is in the heavens and whatsoever is in the earth. Who is he that will intercede with Him except by His permission? He knows what is before them and what is behind them; and they encompass nothing of His knowledge except what He pleases. His knowledge extends over the heavens and the earth; and the care of them burdens Him not; and He is the High, the Great."

These four verses, including the Bismala, are from Surah al-Mu'min and the other verse, as I have already alluded to, is Ayatul Kursi, which is a verse from Surah al-Baqarah. It is narrated by Hazrat Abu Hurairah (ra) that the Messenger of Allah (sa) said, "Whoever recites from "Ha Mim" - up to – "ilaihil maser" of Surah Al-Mu'min and Ayatul Kursi in the morning, he will be protected as a result of it until he enters the evening. And whoever recites them in the evening, he will be protected until the morning as a result of it." "Ha Mim" is the second verse of Surah al-Mu'min, the first one being bi-smi llāhi r-Raḥmāni r-Raḥīm, "Ha Mim" stands for the words "Hameed" and "Majeed". Hameed means the Praiseworthy, Who alone is deserving of true praise. In other words, it is only God the Exalted, Who is the Praiseworthy.

The Promised Messiah (as), elucidating the word 'Hamd' states: "It should be clear that Hamd is praise which is offered in appreciation of commendable action of one worthy of praise…. The true reality of Hamd is that it is only for the Being Who is the source of all Grace and Light and exercises Beneficence intentionally and not in ignorance or under compulsion." The Promised Messiah (as) further states: "All these meanings of the word Hamd are found only in Allah, the All-Knowing, the All-Seeing."

Further elucidating the term Hamd, the Promised Messiah (as) states: "Hamd is verbal praise which is offered to honour a mighty and noble being for His acts of beneficence." It means that those, worthy of praise are all occupied with His praise. All glory and all praise or all features worthy of praise are found in Him. Thus, it is this comprehension of the attribute of Praiseworthiness of Allah the Exalted, that we must achieve, so that we may comprehend His other attribute too.

Then, Allah the Exalted states that He is "Majeed", the Lord of Honour and the Noble. Allah the Exalted is the most Praiseworthy and Exalted, the height of which cannot be reached by any person. That Being, Who has no limits to His blessings. He gives and continues to do so and does not fatigue. Thus, whilst reciting this verse, these meanings of Allah the Exalted being the Lord of Honour should be kept in mind; firstly the meaning of Hamd [praise], followed by the meaning of Him being the Lord of Honour.

Following this, He states that He is Aziz, the Mighty. In other words, He possesses powers and is mightier than all mighty ones. It is impossible to defeat Him. Every honour belongs to Him. His worth and value is immeasurable. He is dominant over all things and no one can be like Him. This is the meaning of 'Aziz, i.e the Mighty.

Following this, He states that He is Aleem, the All-Knowing. He possesses knowledge of all things; those that have come to pass and those that are yet to occur in the future. Nothing is hidden from Him and His knowledge completely encompasses everything.

God Almighty is the Ghafiruz zumb, Forgiver of sin i.e. He forgives sins. Hence, one should submit to Him and seek forgiveness for his sins. The Promised Messiah (as) stated: "The light, which a person acquires, is temporary. In order to keep and maintain it forever, Istighfar, seeking forgiveness, is required."

Formal prayer is also an aspect of acquiring forgiveness and attaining this light. The reason for this is that during prayer, a person repents, begs to be pardoned and seeks forgiveness from Allah the Exalted. The Promised Messiah (as) states: "This is in order for a person to open up his heart and beseech God Almighty every day. A person with insight and understanding is aware of the fact that the formal prayer is a ladder and that it is the supplications, which are offered with fervour and devotion during the formal prayer, through which he is able to be cured from these ailments."

In other words, supplications are essential for every form of spiritual and physical ailments. Furthermore, one should seek forgiveness during supplications and the formal prayer is also a part thereof. Thus, when the Holy Prophet (sa) instructed us to recite these verses, a mere recitation will not be of any benefit. Rather, we must also transform our practical state and pay attention towards ourselves as to how we are to offer Istighfar, seeking forgiveness, and how we are to protect our prayers in order to be safeguarded ourselves. Further elaborating on Istighfar, seeking forgiveness, the Promised Messiah (as) explained that the purpose of offering Istighfar is to be safeguarded from the capacity and circumstances that lead to sin and be forgiven sins. In other words, the occasion which may lead a person to commit a sin should not occur and nor should that capacity develop.

The Promised Messiah (as) states: "However, Istighfar, seeking forgiveness, does not mean to repeat the words of Astaghfirullah, Astaghfirullah, I seek forgiveness from Allah. … If offering Istighfar, seeking forgiveness, does not develop tenderness, fervour, passion and the fear of Allah the Almighty within the heart, it is of no benefit…Remember that only those words reach God, which are uttered from the heart. One should offer many supplications to God Almighty in his own tongue. … If a person continuously prays to God Almighty and offers Istighfar, seeks forgiveness, within his heart prior to the time of tribulations, those tribulations are removed by the most Gracious and Merciful God."

Thus, one should continuously offer supplications and Istighfar, seeking forgiveness, prior to facing tribulations. If a person does so, God protects him at the time of trials. Hence, there is a need to do Istighfar, seek forgiveness, and to obtain the understanding of its spirit and essence. Prayers and various ways of remembering God are beneficial when it's coupled with consistent effort towards improvement. Mere words will not benefit anyone.

Then the attribute of Allah Almighty that has been mentioned is that he is Qabil Taubh, one who accepts repentance. Taubah means to turn towards Allah Almighty whilst seeking forgiveness for one's sins. Therefore, when a person presents himself before Allah the Almighty whilst taking an oath to never sin again and to always strive to safeguard oneself from evil deeds. Then Allah Almighty accepts the repentance of such a person who turn towards Him with this level of passion and [pure] intention.

The Promised Messiah (as) says, "As Allah Almighty states: (Arabic) 'Allah loves those who turn to Him and loves those who keep themselves clean' (2:222). There is no doubt that Allah the Almighty befriends those who turn towards Him with repentance and He love those who seek virtue. … we also learn that sincere repentance is conditional to true purity and cleanliness."

Sincere repentance has to be coupled with true purity. One should have a firm intention to not commit a sin in the future. Repentance will only be accepted when this happens and there is virtue and purity.

The Promised Messiah (as) continues to say: ".., I say again that one should tread on this path with true purity and virtue. This repentance should not be mere lip service, rather it should be supported with actions. It is not an insignificant matter when the sins of a person are forgiven. Rather it is something extraordinary."

Thus, this is true repentance which then administers protection. If not, then God Almighty states that we should also bear in mind that He is Shadeedul Iqaab, Severe in punishment. In other words when man remains heedless to the commandments of God Almighty the He can also punish him.

The Promised Messiah (as) further states: "He is also Zit Taul, the Possessor of Bounty, the One Who gives abundantly and the One Who goes beyond limits in giving benefit. His giving has no bounds as He has all power, He can give whatever He pleases because His treasures are limitless."

We must return to Him in this world and also after death. So when there is the awareness that eventually we must return to God then there will be more attention paid to doing good deeds and acting upon His commandments. Furthermore, when one's state is such then surely God Almighty will keep him in His protection.

Then there is the second verse to which the Holy Prophet (sa) drew attention towards on one occasion, which was regarding Ayatul Kursi. Hadrat Abu Hurairah (ra) that the Holy Prophet (sa) said, "everything has a pinnacle and the pinnacle of the Holy Quran is Surah Al Baqarah. It comprises of such a verse which is the chief of all the verses of the Holy Quran and that verse is Ayatul Kursi."

Elaborating on this, the Promised Messiah (as) states: "Allah — … He is the One Who is the life of each soul and the support of every being. The literal meaning of this verse is He alone is the Living God and He alone is the Self-Subsisting and All-Sustaining God. …One must know that the Holy Quran has presented two names of God Almighty – Al Hayyee, the Living, and Al Qayyum, the Self-Subsisting. Al Hayyee means God is Living and gives life to others. Al Qayyum means He is Self-Subsisting and is the true means of subsistence of others. .. Hence, the word Hayyee requires that He be worshipped. … Its illustration in Surah Fatihah is iyyaka na'budu, Thee alone do we worship. Al Qayyum requires that we beseech support from Him. It is expressed in the words iyyaka nasta'in, Thee alone do we implore for help. … However, man's need for God remains in all circumstances, which is why it is necessary for man to continuously ask Him for help and this is istighfar, seeking forgiveness."

Then in regard to the matter of intercession in Ayatul Kursi, the Promised Messiah (as) states: "when man prays for others then this is also a kind of intercession and this should be the attribute of a believer which he should continue to act upon. …It is the command of God Almighty that the one who submits most before Him should pray for his weaker brother that he also attain that rank. This in essence is true shifa'at. So, without a doubt we do pray for our brothers for God Almighty to grant them strength and to remove their troubles and this is also an aspect of sympathy."

Then the Promised Messiah (as) states: "Since all of mankind is like one body, God Almighty has taught us over and again that .., we must busy ourselves in interceding for our brothers, i.e. to continue to pray for them in a sympathetic manner for we all have rights over one another."

There must be tremendous sympathy for one another. In fact, the Promised Messiah (as) states: "faith has two perfect branches. One is love of God and the other is to love of mankind to such an extent where one deems the troubles of others his own and to pray for them, which in other words is intercession."

If we keep this point in mind when we recite Ayatul Kursi then the feelings of sympathy for mankind will further develop. When the Holy Prophet (sa) encouraged us to recite this, it was especially to establish relationships between the believers and also to develop sympathy in the hearts for mankind in general.

At the end of Ayatul Kursi, two attributes of God Almighty have been mentioned; He is the Aly, High and none is loftier than Him in status, He is the Sovereign of the heavens and the earth and the Most Great. No one can reach His greatness, grandeur and lofty status. His greatness encompasses everything, and nothing remains outside it. The attribute of 'Azeem signifies His great status which no one can match. Azeem also means that He encompasses everything. Such is His greatness.

Expounding on this last part of Ayatul Kursi, the Promised Messiah (as) states: "God's Sovereignty encompasses all that which is in the heavens and the earth, He carries them all and this burdens Him not. He is High and no one can reach the depths of His knowledge. He is the Greatest and all else is inferior before Him. This is the mention of His throne which has been used as a metaphor in order to illustrate that the heavens and the earth are in the control of God and He is superior to them all and His greatness is boundless."

Thus, this is the great God Whose greatness is limitless. He encompasses everything and has no bounds, He encompasses everything. When one develops an understanding of these matters only then can one attain nearness to God Almighty and receive His protection. When one strives to seek the protection of God Almighty then one will, and should, also fulfil the rights of God Almighty and His creation. When these rights are being discharged then God Almighty will also grant His protection.

We should keep this subject in view and also that the Holy Prophet (sa) has stated that one who recites these verses shall remain in God Almighty's protection. It is not sufficient to simply recite these verses, in fact one should also ponder over them and adhere to them. One should also try and develop and deeper comprehension and understanding of these verses which has been granted by the Holy Prophet (sa) and mentioned in many places of the Holy Quran and have also been expounded by the Promised Messiah (as). If one acts accordingly then one shall remain in the protection of God Almighty through His Grace. May God Almighty enable us to lead our lives according to this.

After the prayers I will lead a funeral prayer in absentia of Abidah Begum Sahiba, a resident of Nawabshah and was the wife of Professor Abdul Qadir Darhi Sahib. She passed away on 22nd January at the age of seventy five. [Arabic] To Allah we belong and to Him shall we return. May Allah the Almighty bestow his forgiveness and have mercy on her. May He elevate her status and enable her children to continue her virtuous deeds.

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About Friday Sermon

The Jumu'ah (Friday) prayer is one form of congregational worship in Islam. It takes place every Friday. Regular attendance at the Jumu'ah prayer is enjoined on the believer. According to a Saying of Muhammadsa this congregational prayer is twenty-five times more blessed than worship performed alone. (Bukhari)

Friday Sermons in the Quran

“O ye who believe! When the call is made for Prayer on Friday, hasten to the remembrance of Allah, and leave off all business. That is best for you, if you only knew.” more

Friday Sermons in the Hadith

“… (He who) offers the Prayers and listens quitely when the Imam stands up for sermon, will have his sins forgiven between that Friday and the next”(Bukhari)