After reciting the Tashahhud, Ta’awwuz, and Surah Al-Fatihah, Hazrat Khalifatul Masih V (aba) recited verses 10-12 of Surah al-Jumu’ah and then stated:
The translation of these verses is as follows: ‘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 better for you, if you only knew. And when the Prayer is finished, then disperse in the land and seek of Allah’s grace, and remember Allah much, that you may prosper. But when they see some merchandise or some amusement, they break up for it, and leave thee standing. Say, ‘That which is with Allah is better than amusement and merchandise, and Allah is the Best Provider.’’
The verses that I recited, are from the final ruku’ of Surah al-Jumu’ah. In these verses, God Almighty has clearly explained the significance of Friday prayers. Thus, in the sight of God Almighty, attending the Friday prayers is of vital importance. God Almighty has clearly stated that when one is called for the Friday prayer, one ought to pay heed immediately and attend the Friday prayer, regardless of how busy one may be. Even if it is the peak business hour, when neglecting the business affairs and trade can result in a loss of millions for a businessman, one should not care about it and should attend the Friday prayers, without thinking about the potential loss that can occur. This is because going to the central mosque to attend the Friday prayers and listening to the Friday sermon of the imam is hundreds of thousands of times better for you than your trades, businesses and other worldly affairs. However, only such an individual can realise this, who truly understands its importance. Allah the Almighty states that one who truly understands its worth would certainly consider these trades and businesses of secondary importance.
Allah the Almighty also states that you are free to pursue your worldly pursuits after the Friday prayers. Allah the Almighty will also bless your worldly affairs.’ You should remain focused on the remembrance of Allah the Exalted, as a result of which you will be granted with greater success than before; religiously, spiritually as well as worldly.
While mentioning the importance of the Friday prayer, on one occasion the Promised Messiah (as) states: “Friday is a day of Eid, and this Eid (Jumu'ah) is more prestigious than the other Eid celebrations…. However, many people are unaware of truth of this Eid, which Allah the Exalted has commanded to celebrate every week.” This day is not given its due importance. Hence, we must be very mindful of safeguarding our Friday prayers. However, the fact is that in reality many people do not pay attention towards this and they waste their Friday prayers for the sake of worldly affairs and worldly pursuits. Allah the Exalted has stated that one should know that whatever is with Allah the Exalted is far greater than these worldly objects, wealth and pursuits. Furthermore, it is God Almighty alone Who grants man provisions. Hence, this is a matter of great importance and one that every believer should pay attention towards. We in particular, who believe in the Imam of the age, must pay special attention towards this.
Hazrat Khalifat-ul-Masih I (ra) would say that Ahmadis are in fact true believers, as Ahmadis have accepted the Imam of the age. Hence, this belief places a responsibility on us to transform our actions in accordance with the teaching of Allah the Exalted as well as to try and obey His commands. Worldly desires should not be our preferences, rather, the pleasure of God Almighty and acquiring His pleasure should be our preference. Thus, the Promised Messiah (as) has explained that one’s actions should be in accord with the teachings of God Almighty and after accepting him how one can enhance the standards of their worship and fulfil the rights due to humanity. It is necessary to bear in mind whether we have fulfilled the due rights of His worship because He has established worship as the sole purpose of our creation. He states: (Arabic) “And I have not created the Jinn and the men but that they may worship Me.” Therefore, Allah Almighty has elaborated the purpose of our creation.
Whilst stressing the importance of the Friday prayers, on one occasion the Holy Prophet (sa) stated that whoever believes in God and the hereafter, it has been made incumbent upon them to offer the Jumuah prayer on Friday, except for the sick, the wayfarer, women, children and the bondsman, as they are all compelled and have certain restraints. He then stated that he who shows carelessness to the Friday prayers due to an activity, pastime or his trade, God Almighty will also give them no regard, surely Allah is Self-Sufficient, Praiseworthy. God Almighty is not in need of anything from us. In fact, He is the One Who bestows everything, and owing to this, He requires that a believer ought to praise Him. The Holy Prophet (sa) also stated that the reward for good deeds on Friday increases manifold. Therefore, when a believer acts upon the commands of God Almighty, for the sake of attaining His pleasure, among which is the command to attend the Friday prayers and to pay attention towards prayer and worship, then this is indeed a great virtue.
Regarding those who forsake the Friday Prayer without reason, the Holy Prophet (sa) gave an alarming instruction that they shall be marked as hypocrites in the book of records. Then he stated that he who misses three consecutive Friday prayers out of negligence, God Almighty shall place a seal on their hearts. Hence this is a very alarming case, for once the seal is set, the ability to do good deeds also continues to diminish, and attending the prayers and the Friday prayers unwillingly will continue to foster hypocrisy.
Thus, this is a very worrying situation which requires much attention. On one occasion the Holy Prophet (sa) instructed to offer the Friday prayers because the one forsakes offering the Friday prayers will deprive himself from paradise, even though they may be destined for paradise originally. Likewise, the Holy Prophet (sa) instructed to participate in the Friday prayers on countless occasions. Moreover, he also issued warnings to those who miss it without good reason. However, as I mentioned, many do not have a true understanding of this; they prioritise their temporary and urgent needs, but that which is ever-lasting and of greater significance is given secondary importance. They abandon their prayers and the Friday Prayer and seek to acquire their temporary worldly benefit, claiming that what difference would it make since they can seek God Almighty’s forgiveness later and so best to first pursue their worldly endeavours.
A businessman may say that he doesn’t want to lose the customer for who knows if such a customer will ever come again. Similarly, in the case of an employee who meets his superior may feel that since he is in a good mood therefore if he were to seek leave because it was the time for prayer or the Friday Prayer then perhaps his superior may become upset with him and thus he will be deprived from receiving any favour from him. If such a thought arises in a person then their priorities are completely different; their desire for the world supersedes their desire for God Almighty. Similarly, there are many other desires which instead of being given secondary importance to God Almighty, have become their foremost priority. For them their worldly desires take precedence over God Almighty. At that moment, one forgets the admonishment of the Holy Prophet (sa) that when one forsakes God Almighty and gives precedence to their worldly desires over Him, then God Almighty also forsakes that person and despite him deserving of entering paradise, he is deprived of Paradise owing to his neglectful attitude.
Thus, it is the duty of a believer to always be mindful of the fact that any trade and business, or any of their affairs for that matter, can only be blessed through grace of God Almighty. Hence, if one can only attain these blessings through the grace of God Almighty, then they ought to strive to fulfil His rights first. Therefore, everyone must try and understand this principle. If this principle is understood, then for the five daily prayers and the Friday Prayers, our mosques will remain populated, in fact they will appear to become short of space, even after Ramadan. Indeed, this was the very purpose of the Promised Messiah (as)’s advent to bring mankind closer to God Almighty and this is also the objective of our Bai’at i.e. to attain His nearness, develop a bond with Him and to become His true servant.
People pray for worldly objects and when their prayers are not accepted, they become disappointed with God Almighty. Worldly pursuits are limited to a certain sphere, however, God Almighty is limitless and has no end. When we seek God Almighty, every single person can be granted His nearness, on the condition that they develop the fervency and act on His commands. God Almighty has stated that we ought to obey Him and understand the value of His lofty status and grandeur. One ought to recognise a diamond when they see it and not consider it to be a glass pebble. When this is the case, one can find God Almighty and whosoever finds God Almighty, every blessing of this world comes under their feet. Thus, it is the duty of man to obey every injunction of God Almighty. We ought to have full conviction and belief in God Almighty and should never betray Him. Only then will we be counted amongst those people who are guided, as mentioned by God Almighty. When God Almighty becomes the friend of an individual, then all their needs are taken care of and this is a promise of God Almighty.
Thus, it is our responsibility as those who have accepted the Promised Messiah (as) to raise the standards of our worship. Continue to elevate the status of your prayers and maintain the attendance at Friday prayers, obey the commandments of God Almighty and strive to become counted amongst those people who always pray for God Almighty alone. Meaning that one ought to pray constantly for them to find God Almighty. May our prayers and worship enable us to reach the level of meeting our God. May God Almighty enable us to achieve these standards.