Friday Sermon delivered at Masjid Mubarak, Islamabad, Tilford, UK
After reciting Tashahhud, Ta‘awwuz and Surah al-Fatihah, His Holiness, Hazrat Mirza Masroor Ahmad(aba) recited the following verse of the Holy Qur’an:
‘And when My servants ask thee about Me, say: “I am near. I answer the prayer of the supplicant when he prays to Me. So they should hearken to Me and believe in Me, that they may follow the right way.”’ (The Holy Qur’an, 2:187)
His Holiness(aba) said that by the grace of Allah, we are passing through the month of Ramadan. It is a month for the acceptance of prayer, as God has announced that with His mercy, prayers will be especially accepted during this month. One strives to attain God’s pleasure during this month and to attain His blessings, hence we even abstain from food and drink. As the Holy Prophet(sa) said, God informed him that the gates of heaven are flung open and the gates of hell shut, and Satan is shackled during this month. Hence, during this month, we can truly attain the nearness of God and it would be our own misfortune if we didn’t take advantage of this opportunity.
His Holiness(aba) said that certainly during this month, there are those who still commit vices. Therefore, when it is stated that Satan is shackled during this month it is a manner of God admonishing us that if we abstain from even that which is permissible for us (i.e. food and drink etc.) for His sake, then God has shackled Satan for such people and has taken them under His protection. As the Promised Messiah(as) states, when we lessen our physical nourishment, it gives us the opportunity to increase in our spiritual nourishment. Otherwise, merely staying hungry for the entire day holds no meaning of its own if it is not accompanied by efforts to increase in spirituality.
His Holiness(aba) said that we must understand this principle and lead our lives in the same manner, as is the purpose of Ramadan. His Holiness(aba) said that the verse which he recited is from among the verses stating the importance and obligation of Ramadan. Those being spoken of in this verse are those who are “servants of the Gracious God” who wish to be freed from the clutches of Satan and come under the protection of God. Thus, God said that when such people are in a state of anxiety and fear wondering where and how they can find God, tell them that God will answer when they call unto Him. It is for such people that Satan has been shackled in Ramadan, but these efforts should not be limited to this month, rather they should become an enduring part of people’s lives throughout the year. When people fulfil the rights of God and His creation and strive to fulfil the commandments of God and attain His pleasure, then they will find that God answers their calls unto Him.
His Holiness(aba) said that fortunate are those who take advantage of Ramadan and the opportunity it affords for the acceptance of prayer. We should pray to become true servants of God, to fulfil His commandments and to complete our faith. We are fortunate to have accepted the Imam of the Age and the true servant of the Holy Prophet(sa), the Promised Messiah(as). He taught us the ways of becoming closer to God and the ways in which to pray.
His Holiness(aba) quoted the Promised Messiah(as) who said that the true means for attaining success is prayer. The Promised Messiah(as) also said that before praying, one must utilise the faculties granted to them by God and strive their utmost, and then pray to God. This is what is meant by ‘Guide us on the right path’. Some people say that if one prays then there is no need for any apparent means or effort, whereas prayer is essentially a means for procuring more means. We should pray to be among those who are sincerely devoted to God in their actions and belief. They should strive to be those whose actions draw the pleasure of God and those whose faith is completely unwavering. They believe that God can turn dust to gold and can turn the wicked into spiritual people who tread upon His path.
His Holiness(aba) said that God has stated this principle in the Holy Qur’an when He says:
‘And as for those who strive in Our path — We will surely guide them in Our ways. And verily Allah is with those who do good.’ (The Holy Qur’an, 29:70)
This month of Ramadan is certainly an opportunity to undertake this Jihad and strive towards Allah and become those who are close to Allah the Almighty, those whose prayers He answers, who adhere to His commandments, those who have complete belief in His attributes, those who are truly guided and those whose Satan is forever shackled. Achieving this certainly requires striving in the way of Allah.
His Holiness(aba) quoted the Promised Messiah(as) who said that one cannot attain God’s pleasure and nearness through laziness and slackness, rather true effort is required. His Holiness(aba) said that many people write to him saying that they prayed but their objective was not attained. They must analyse to see whether they have truly undertaken the required struggle in prayer. Then they must also analyse the manner in which they pray because God says those who truly strive in His path, who strive to attain His nearness with sincerity and strive to fulfil His commandments, then He surely answers their prayers.
His Holiness(aba) said that in a Hadith it is stated that if we walk towards God, He will run towards us. This is the grace and mercy of God, however we must truly strive in his cause. It should not be that we vow to offer prayers and do good deeds during the month of Ramadan, but then forget about all of these things for the rest of the year. If God sees that a person is praying and making efforts only during the month of Ramadan, then He can deal with us however He pleases. Certainly he can still answer our prayers so that we experience His grace and mercy in order to keep us motivated to keep striving in His way. God desires to take us into His mercy. His happiness for us is greater than a mother’s happiness for her child. Hence, before lamenting that our prayers have not been answered, we must analyse ourselves and our efforts.
His Holiness(aba) said that we should never allow our efforts or Jihad in the cause of attaining Allah’s pleasure, fulfilling His commandments and becoming His true servants to subside. In fact Ramadan should be a milestone in this Jihad.
His Holiness(aba) said that as the Promised Messiah(as) explains, if one does not strive to tread upon the path of God, then they will fall into Satan’s lap and become perverse. Thus, not only are there glad tidings in the above-mentioned verses, but there is also a warning to remain safe from the grasp of Satan.
His Holiness(aba) also explained in light of the Promised Messiah’s(as) writings that certainly it is within human nature for there to be various stages in our lives. There are ups and downs. However after the down times, a righteous person fervently turns to God in repentance and seeking forgiveness out of embarrassment and then becomes resolute in striving upon God’s path. Thus, doing so requires steadfastness and a firm resolve. As we make these efforts and pray, we should repeat the prayer ‘Guide us on the right path’ as this prayer is vital for one to become rightly guided.
His Holiness(aba) explained that even in worldly terms, people must strive to attain what they desire from the world. When they strive and struggle, God bestows His blessings and they are able to attain their objectives. The same applies in the spiritual realm. If one can strive for the world, why then can they not strive to attain God’s nearness and pleasure. If they strive and struggle for this, then God will certainly bestow His blessings in their efforts so that they can achieve their purpose. It cannot be that one merely asks and automatically receives, rather there is a level of effort required. This is a basic principle which applies to all things.
His Holiness(aba) said that when a person turns to God, God will turn to them. They must however strive their utmost. Then, when they have truly tried their best, they will certainly see the light of God. One should not become disheartened, as is the case in trying to attain anything. The doors of attaining the nearness and pleasures of God are open, but require effort to get through.
His Holiness(aba) said that we cannot expect God to be bound to accept anything and everything we desire. Even in worldly terms if we consider any one of our relationships we find that this cannot be the case. Why then should we apply the same restriction to God? Hence we must believe in God, which means fulfilling the rights owed to Him and His creation; then we can find acceptance in the sight of God. If we don’t constantly nurture plants, they will become lifeless. So too is the case with our faith.
His Holiness(aba) said that in striving towards God, we must ensure that our belief is not tainted with associating partners with God in any way. Similarly, if we look to the examples of the Companions(ra), did they attain their stature only through prayer? No; in fact they were ready to lay down their lives for God and present any sacrifice in His cause. Hence, we cannot expect to attain any sort of rank in the sight of God without first striving and struggling in His way. We must strive not only with our words, but in every way possible to attain the pleasure and nearness of God. Some consider prayer to be an ordinary matter, whereas it is much more. Mere words cannot be considered prayer, rather true prayer requires bringing about a sort of death by the level of efforts made.
His Holiness(aba) said that upon reaching a certain level in connection with God, one does not even have to pointedly ask for his worldly needs to be fulfilled, as God takes that person into His protection and fulfils those needs Himself. Attaining this level however requires a great deal of effort.
His Holiness(aba) prayed that may we be able to fulfil these things and make Ramadan an opportunity for us to establish a firm relationship with Him, fulfilling His commandments, having complete belief in Him and enable us to see examples of the acceptance of prayer. May this extend even beyond Ramadan. May we become true servants of God; may we never stray from the path of God and always be the recipients of His love. May we do justice to the favour which God has bestowed upon us by accepting the Promised Messiah(as). May Allah enable us to pray in a manner that can render our prayers accepted.
His Holiness(aba) again made an appeal for prayers in light of the current world situation. He prayed that may Allah save the world from destruction and enable people to recognise their Creator.
His Holiness(aba) said that he would launch a new website and mobile application created by MTA International which comprises His Holiness’(aba) sermons on the 313 Companions who took part in the Battle of Badr. The website includes introductions of the Companions, questions and answers, maps, explanations of difficult Arabic terms and there will be new information uploaded every week. The website is www.313companions.org. His Holiness(aba) prayed that may this website prove to be beneficial.
Summary prepared by The Review of Religions.
After reciting the tashahud, ta‘awuz and Surah al-Fatihah, Hazrat Khalifatul Masih V(aba) recited verse 187 of Surah al-Baqarah and then commenced with the sermon by saying:
The translation of this verse is:
“And when My servants ask thee about Me, say, ‘I am near. I answer the prayer of the supplicant when he prays to Me. So they should hearken to Me and believe in Me, that they may follow the right way.’”
By the grace of Allah the Almighty, we are passing through the month of Ramadan. This is a month in which prayers are accepted; owing to His special mercy, Allah the Almighty has declared that prayers will be accepted in this month. Allah has enabled the fountain of His special grace to flow forth, because in this month, every action of an individual is carried out for the sake of attaining Allah’s pleasure, to the extent that one only eats and drinks at certain times as commanded by Allah the Almighty. For this reason, the Holy Prophet(sa) has explained that Allah the Almighty has said that in this month, the doors of Paradise are opened and the doors to hell are closed. In this month, Satan is shackled in chains. (Sahih Muslim, Kitab al-Siyam, Bab Fadl Shahr Ramadan, Hadith 2493)
Thus, it is our good fortune that Allah the Almighty has provided us with such means, which we can use to attain His nearness. Despite being provided with such means from Allah the Almighty, it would be a great misfortune on our part if we failed to derive the blessings from it.
During the month of Ramadan, are there no fornicators, robbers, thieves and immoral people in the world, who commit their ill deeds? They most certainly do! If everyone’s Satan is shackled, then how is it possible that they commit these evil deeds? This, in fact, is an admonishment for the believers, for those who wish to gain the nearness of Allah the Almighty. Allah the Almighty says that “in the month of Ramadan since you keep yourself away from those things that are generally permissible for you, I therefore give you the glad-tidings that Satan, who is generally allowed to roam around freely and who sought respite from Allah the Almighty in order to attack and mislead people from every direction, has been shackled today for such people during the month of Ramadan and I have taken those who observe the fast solely for My sake under My complete protection. They are reducing their [physical] nourishment and trying to increase in spirituality.” Just as the Promised Messiah(as) has said that they [i.e. the believers] reduce their physical nourishment and increase their spiritual nourishment, or try to do so, and this is the very spirit of Ramadan and fasting. (Malfuzat, Vol. 9, p. 123)
Allah the Almighty completely shackles the Satan of such people. Furthermore, Allah the Almighty also states that “I personally become the reward for the person observing the fast.” (Sahih al-Bukhari, Kitab al-Tawhid, Bab Qaul Allah Ta‘ala Yuridun an Yubaddilu Kalam Allah, Hadith 7492)
What a magnificent glad tiding this is! Hence, we should try to derive benefit from this, and we should try to enter from each of the doors to Heaven, which Allah the Almighty has opened for us.
It should not be the case that we become among those in relation to whom Allah the Almighty has said that He has no concern for those who remain hungry or thirsty. If one eats suhoor [pre-dawn meal] in the morning and breaks their fast in the evening, but they do not perform the virtuous deeds that are expected of them during the day, then remaining hungry and thirsty is of no benefit to them, nor is Allah the Almighty concerned with them remaining hungry and thirsty in this manner. We have received this message through the Holy Prophet(sa). (Sahih al-Bukhari, Kitab al-Saum, Bab man lam Yada Qaul al-Zur…, Hadith 1903)
Hence, we must understand this spirit and try to lead our lives in accordance with this, which is the objective of Ramadan. The verse that I just recited appears in the middle of the verses which deal with the subject matter of the obligation of Ramadan, its various commandments and which highlight the importance of fasting. In this verse, Allah the Almighty mentions the manner in which prayers are accepted, or those people whose prayers find acceptance. He mentions the servants of the Gracious God and those who want to become the servants of the Gracious God, who want to escape from Satan’s influence and who want to see their prayers being accepted. Allah the Almighty has outlined in the very beginning that “O Prophet(sa)! When My servants ask you, ‘Where is our God’; when they ask you in a restless manner like one who is deeply in love [with their Creator] and when they fervently make every effort in order to reach Allah the Almighty, then Allah the Almighty says that you should tell them not to worry. I am near! Hence, the first condition that Allah the Almighty has outlined in order to attain Him is to become a servant of Allah the Almighty. If a person fulfils the due rights of being a servant of God Almighty, then Allah the Almighty says that He listens to their supplications and He also shackles their Satan. He comes to help whenever Satan attacks, not just for one month of the year, which is the month of Ramadan; rather, Allah the Almighty states He shall always protect such people from the onslaughts of Satan, provided they do justice to their worship and continue to adhere to Allah the Almighty’s commandments.
One should not only carry out good deeds in the month of Ramadan alone; rather, they should continuously fulfil the rights owed to Allah and the rights owed to His creation, act upon the teachings of the Holy Quran and strengthen their faith. Allah the Almighty says that one should have perfect faith and conviction in all of His attributes, and then they will witness just how their prayers are accepted, and those who shape their lives in this way are the ones who will attain true guidance. Therefore, fortunate indeed are those among us who make this Ramadan a permanent means for the acceptance of prayers, who are the true servants of Allah the Almighty, who act upon the commandments of Allah the Almighty and who perfect their faith.
We are fortunate that Allah the Almighty has enabled us to accept the Imam of this age, the true ardent devotee of the Holy Prophet(sa), the Promised Messiah and Imam Mahdi, who showed us the path to attain the nearness to Allah the Almighty and the ways by which our prayers can attain acceptance. In one instance the Promised Messiah(as) states:
“There is only one door which Allah the Almighty has opened for the betterment of His creation, and that is prayer. When a person enters through this door whilst weeping and crying, the Benevolent Lord covers them with a cloth of purity and chastity, and encapsulates them with His grandeur, so much so that they develop a complete aversion to vain acts and improper activities.” (Malfuzat, Vol. 5, p. 438, 1984 edition)
Then, whilst expounding upon developing the necessary state for the acceptance of prayer, and the requirements for prayer to be accepted and for one to become a true servant of Allah the Almighty, the Promised Messiah(as) states:
“It is true to say that a person who does not perform appropriate action does not truly pray, but rather tests God. So, before one prays, it is necessary to make full use of one’s faculties and this is the meaning of this supplication:
ٱہۡدِنَا ٱلصِّرَٰطَ ٱلۡمُسۡتَقِیمَ
“[‘Guide us in the right path.’]”
The Promised Messiah(as) further states:
“First it is incumbent upon a person to analyse their own beliefs and actions. It is the custom of God Almighty to bring about reformation through the use of means. He creates some sort of means, which become the cause for a person’s reformation. Those people who say that when there is prayer, means have no use, should reflect”, i.e. those who claim that if one prays, then there is no need for means, materials or effort.
The Promised Messiah(as) continues, “Do such foolish ones not realise that even prayer itself is a subtle means that gives rise to other means?” (Malfuzat, Vol. 1, p. 124, 1984 edition)
Prayer is itself a subtle means and gives rise to other means.
Thus, in order to attain the acceptance of prayers and to become a servant of God Almighty, it is incumbent that one strives to beseech Allah the Almighty for His grace, and that is to cry and weep to become among the servants of God and to endeavour in this pursuit. One should pray to be counted amongst His servants. Namely, among those who, through their belief and actions, demonstrate that they belong solely to Allah the Almighty and who before praying, shape their actions in accordance with the pleasure of God Almighty and they become amongst those whose faith is unshakeable. They are strong and firm; they have firm conviction that Allah the Almighty has the power to turn even a grain of sand into gold, that He has the power to turn even the most depraved into His chosen servants and reveal to them His paths. Then, such people would become those who walk the paths that would lead them to God Almighty. This subject-matter has been mentioned by Allah the Almighty in the Holy Quran as well, that He guides those who struggle and make an effort to walk in the path of God. Allah the Almighty states:
وَٱلَّذِینَ جَٰہَدُواْ فِینَا لَنَہۡدِیَنَّہُمۡ سُبُلَنَا
That is, “And as for those who strive in Our path—We will surely guide them in Our ways.” (Ch.29: V.70)
In short, the month of Ramadan is for this very jihad [struggle]. During this month, we should try our utmost and partake in this jihad to become among those people of God Almighty who are His true servants; become among those people whom Allah the Almighty is close to; among those people whose prayers are heard by Allah the Almighty; among those people who abide by the commandments of Allah the Almighty; among those who have absolute faith and conviction in all the attributes of Allah the Almighty; among those who are truly guided; among those whose inner Satan has been shackled forever. However, as it is apparent from the words of Allah the Almighty, we must first struggle and make an effort to achieve this, and transform ourselves according to the will of Allah the Almighty. In this regard, the Promised Messiah(as) has imparted guidance to us on many occasions and in light of various aspects. Hence, in one instance, the Promised Messiah(as) states:
“How could it be that a person who is very heedlessly indolent is yet benefitting from the grace of God in the same way that a person who, using all their mental capacity, all their effort and with absolute sincerity, seeks out the grace of God. Allah the Almighty has alluded to this in another instance, where He states:
That is, ‘And as for those who strive in Our path – We will surely guide them in Our ways.’” (Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad(as), Barahin-e-Ahmadiyya Part IV, Ruhani Khazain, Vol. 1, pp. 566-567, Footnote 11)
Thus, it is clear that one who is heedless and indolent will not be included by God Almighty amongst those people who, with all their faculties and abilities, strive to attain the nearness of God Almighty and partake of this jihad.
People often pose this question in their letters to me saying that they have prayed a lot; however, they were unsuccessful in their objective. Those who say this are wrong. Allah the Almighty cannot be wrong. What one considers to be a high standard of prayer could very well be deficient in the sight of Allah the Almighty, in which case one would be required to struggle and endeavour further. Such a person should also re-evaluate the manner in which they pray.
The Promised Messiah(as) is stating that those who, using their utmost mental capacity, effort and sincerity, seek God, Allah the Almighty states that He will surely guide them to His path. Thus, we must evaluate whether we have, according to all of our intellectual capacity and human faculties, acted upon this commandment of Allah the Almighty:
“They should hearken to Me.” (Ch.2: V.187)
Are we acting in complete obedience to the commandments of Allah the Almighty? Have we exerted all our strengths to hearken to every word of Allah the Almighty? Are we abiding by the commandments of Allah the Almighty with complete sincerity and loyalty? If the answer is no, then we cannot complain that Allah the Almighty has not accepted our prayers. Thus, for the acceptance of prayers, one must first reform themselves and take a step towards God Almighty. It is incumbent that one carries out a jihad [of self-reformation]. To what extent does one need to struggle and endeavour when Allah the Almighty is so benevolent that He bestows His favour upon His people for the slightest bit of effort? His mercy, which encompasses all things, makes the jihad of an individual even easier. His mercy makes even this struggle easier. As such, the Holy Prophet(sa) states that Allah the Almighty has stated, “When an individual takes one step towards Me, I take two steps towards him. When he comes walking swiftly towards me, I run towards him.” (Sahih Muslim, Kitab al-Dhikr wa al-Du‘a…, Bab Fadl Dhikr wa al-Du‘a wa al-Taqarrub ila Allah, Hadith 6833)
Thus, Allah the Almighty is immensely benevolent to us; however, the fact remains that sincerity and loyalty are required from us. It should not be that during Ramadan, we claim that we will offer our prayers, that we will act upon the commandments of Allah the Almighty, that we will fulfil the rights of Allah and His creation, and also act upon our claims, but as soon as Ramadan has passed, we forget about God Almighty and His commandments.
If we become engrossed in worldly pursuits, then we cannot have any grievances about God Almighty and say that “God Almighty states that He will listen to the one who calls for Him, and I have called for Allah the Almighty profusely during Ramadan, however, my prayers were not accepted.” We should always remember that nothing is hidden from Allah the Almighty. He also has knowledge of the previous promises an individual had made to remain loyal but were made and broken, and at present, how such an individual is focused on virtuous acts only during Ramadan. Allah the Almighty treats such people in whatever manner He pleases. However, it is also true that Allah the Almighty accepts some of the prayers of such people so they realise that He does in fact answer prayers and that they should always be inclined towards Him.
Allah the Almighty can never wrong people; rather, He always desires to bestow His love upon them. He is such that He is more pleased and delighted by an individual who comes back to Him and hearkens to His commandments solely for Him than a mother is delighted to find her lost child. Or He is more delighted than a traveller who, after losing his camel in the desert which is carrying all his belongings, eventually finds it. Thus, these examples have been given to us by the Holy Prophet(sa) to teach us to what extent Allah the Almighty expresses His pleasure. (Sahih al-Bukhari, Kitab al-Adab, Bab Rahmat al-Walad…, Hadith 5999, Kitab al-Da‘wat, Bab al-Taubah, Hadith 6309)
Therefore, we are to blame for being negligent in fulfilling the rights of God Almighty, and on top of that, we complain that Allah the Almighty did not answer our prayers. Hence, we should all evaluate ourselves in this regard. We should pledge that we will make this Ramadan a means to seek and attain God Almighty; we will strive to act upon His commandments; we will continue this jihad to seek the love and nearness of Allah the Almighty no matter what circumstances overtake us and no matter how long we must endeavour; we will continue to strive to strengthen our faith. If we are able to bring this condition upon ourselves, then we will also witness the miracles of the acceptance of prayer. These are not mere words, but many people have attained this rank and continue to do so even today.
The Promised Messiah(as) states:
“1,300 years have elapsed since this verse was revealed and there is no doubt that since then, every person who strove in light of the message conveyed in this verse has benefitted from their share of the promise
“[‘We will surely guide them’]; they continue to benefit now and will continue to do so in the future as well.” (Al-Haqq Mubahathah Dehli, Ruhani Khazain, Vol. 4, p. 192)
Hence, we must strive to be among those who partake of these blessing of Allah the Almighty. We should never allow our jihad to decrease; whether it is our jihad to attain the pleasure of Allah the Almighty, the jihad of adhering to the commandments of Allah the Almighty, the jihad of following the commandments of the Holy Quran which number more than 700, the jihad of having complete faith, or the jihad of adopting the attributes of Allah the Almighty. Every step we take should be towards progress and this Ramadan should be a milestone in this jihad.
I will present some more quotations and extracts of the Promised Messiah(as) on this topic. This is a topic which one must understand by listening to it over and over again. If this truly becomes a part of our lives, then we can bring about a transformation in the world. The Promised Messiah(as) states:
“As we observe clearly that in our worldly life, there is an inevitable result for every action of ours, and that result is the act of God Almighty, the same law operates in religious matters also. For instance, God Almighty states in the following two examples:
ٱلَّذِینَ جَٰہَدُواْ فِینَا لَنَہۡدِیَنَّہُمۡ سُبُلَنَا
“[‘(As for) those who strive in Our path – We will surely guide then in Our ways.’ (Ch.29: V.70)]
فَلَمَّا زَاغُوٓاْ أَزَاغَ ٱللَّہُ قُلُوبَہُمۡ
“[‘So when they deviated (from the right course) Allah caused their hearts to deviate.’(Ch.61: V.6)]
“This means that in consequence of the full striving of a person in seeking God, the inevitable act of God is to guide him along the ways that lead to Him. As a contrast, it is said: ‘When they deviated from the right course and did not desire to tread along the straight path, the divine action followed in that their hearts were made perverse.’” (Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad(as), The Philosophy of the Teachings of Islam, p. 125)
This is another perspective presented by the Promised Messiah(as); Allah the Almighty states that if we strive to attain His path and then reap its rewards as a result, we must remember that there is also an opposite side to this as well. If one does not tread upon His path, then our hearts will become perverse. The acceptance of prayer aside, the result of refusing to tread upon Allah’s path will lead us to landing in the lap of Satan. A person who finds themselves in the lap of Satan ruins their life both in this world and the Hereafter. Therefore, where on the one hand this statement bears glad tidings, on the other, it contains a warning from Allah the Almighty. Expounding further, the Promised Messiah(as) states at another instance:
“A person undergoes many different changes in state; in the end God Almighty removes the weakness of righteous souls and out of His generosity bestows upon them the ability to establish piety and virtue. That person then considers all those things to be undesirable which God Almighty considers to be undesirable and he begins to love all that which God Almighty loves. At that stage, he attains such strength after which there can be no weakness and he is bestowed such passion after which there can be no laziness. He is granted such righteousness after which there can be no sin. The Lord, most Benevolent becomes so pleased with him that such a person can no longer err. However, such blessing is only bestowed after a while. In the very beginning, one falters many a time due to their weaknesses and falls short of his purpose; but eventually upon finding him to be sincere, the Higher Power draws him near (Allah the Almighty’s power draws that person towards Him). This is the same thing which Allah the Almighty indicates when he states:
“[‘And (as for) those who strive in Our path – We will surely guide them in Our ways’.]”
The Promised Messiah(as) explains in Arabic:
نُثَبِّتُهُمْ عَلَى التَّقْوَى وَالْإِيْمَانِ وَنَهْدِيَنَّهُمْ سُبُلَ الْمَحَبَّةِ وَالْعِرْفَانِ, وَسَنُيَسِّرُهُمْ لِفِعْلِ الْخَيْرَاتِ وَتَرْكِ الْعِصْيَانِ
meaning, “We cause them to be steadfast in virtue and faith and will certainly guide them towards the paths of love and enlightenment. We will continue to enable them with the ability to do good works and to abandon disobedience.” (Tafsir Hazrat Masih-e-Maud(as), Vol. 3, p. 626)
As I mentioned earlier, the Promised Messiah(as) has guided us from various perspectives in light of:
وَٱلَّذِینَ جَٰہَدُواْ فِینَا
and has thus opened the doors of knowledge and understanding. With regard to this quote, the Promised Messiah(as) has painted a picture of human nature and explained that a person cannot always remain in the same state. There are always ups and downs in our disposition; however, a pure-natured person learns from even his mistakes; he repents and seeks forgiveness, he submits himself before Allah the Almighty and is embarrassed due to his weakness. He then once again goes forth in the jihad of searching for Allah the Almighty, upon which Allah the Almighty’s love comes into action, His forgiveness comes into action and He comes running towards His servant, granting him the ability to establish piety and virtue. When, by the grace of Allah, a person is granted the ability to establish piety and virtue, then his every action is for the sake of attaining God Almighty’s pleasure. He becomes free from every sort of weakness and indolence and treads upon the path of righteousness, thereby being saved from sin. A person who attains such pleasure from Allah the Almighty no longer commits such faults which would incur God Almighty’s displeasure.
“However, bear in mind that in order to achieve this, one must strive continuously.”
This cannot be achieved through temporary efforts; rather, it requires constant effort, which will result in virtues and the acceptance of prayer becoming a part of one’s life.
On another occasion, the Promised Messiah(as) stated:
“‘We will show Our ways to he who strives in Our path’. This is a promise. Then, we have also been taught the prayer:
“‘Guide us in the right path’. Hence, one should keep this in mind whilst offering prayer and beseech with the hope that they may also be included among those who have attained success and insight. It should not be that he passes on from this world bereft of insight and spiritually blind.” (Malfuzat, Vol. 1, p. 120, 1984 edition)
Hence, in order to reach the stage where Allah the Almighty guides His servant to His path, it is also essential to recite the following prayer and one should repeat this often while reciting Surah al-Fatihah:
[“Guide us to the right path”].
There is an incident recorded about an elder from Qadian and what his condition would be while offering prayer. The narrator says that once, a companion of the Promised Messiah(as) was standing in prayer in a corner of the Mubarak Mosque. He was weeping in fervent prayer and had been standing for an extended period with his arms folded. The narrator says he could also hear a faint sound and so he became curious and thought to go closer in order to hear what he was saying and found that he was constantly reciting:
[“Guide us in the right path”] while weeping profusely. Hence, one should offer this prayer a great deal in order to attain guidance.
Then, the Promised Messiah(as) states:
“It is a true promise of God Almighty that whosoever searches for His path with a sincere heart and pure intentions, Allah will in turn open the path of guidance and wisdom for that individual, as Allah has stated:
“‘And as for those who strive in Our path – We will surely guide them in Our ways.’ The meaning of ‘those who strive in Our path’ is that a person ought to strive with the sole intention of finding God and for them to set out to establish a connection with Him with full sincerity.” Such a person has no worldly objective in mind and their sole purpose is to find God Almighty with true sincerity. “However, if a person does this by way of mockery and ridicule, then such a person is unfortunate and will remain deprived.”
The Promised Messiah(as) further says:
“Therefore, keeping this fundamental principle in view, if you strive with a sincere heart and continue to pray, then Allah is Most-Forgiving and Merciful. But if a person does not care in the slightest about Allah, then Allah the Almighty is Self-Sufficient.” (Malfuzat, Vol. 6, p. 439, 1984 edition)
In such a case, Allah the Almighty will show no concern for that individual.
The Promised Messiah(as) then says:
“In all worldly activities, man has to strive initially.” With regard to worldly endeavours one has to put the effort in, such as in one’s work. This is the example in day-to-day life. “When a person struggles, then Allah the Almighty sends down His blessings. In the same manner, only those individuals achieve excellence who strive in the way of Allah. For this reason, Allah has stated:
“Therefore, one ought to strive because striving is the key to success.” (Malfuzat, Vol. 7, p. 224, 1984 edition)
Thus, if we exhaust all our efforts in order to achieve our worldly goals, then why do we not exhaust all our efforts in order to find the paths that lead to God? Why do people assume that if one simply utters a phrase they would find God Almighty or that He would accept their prayers?”
Even here, the same issue has been mentioned regarding those who say that their prayers are not accepted; however, such people must first analyse themselves. It cannot be the case that it would be simple to find the path to Allah the Almighty but then one would have to put effort in order to attain worldly objectives. The same principles apply in all matters.
With regard to striving in order to forge a connection with Allah the Almighty, the Promised Messiah(as) has written in another place:
“Those people who strive in Allah’s path, are eventually guided towards the right way. Without effort and irrigation, just as a seed fails to thrive, and in fact is destroyed, in the same way, unless a person vows each day and supplicates to God for His help, divine grace will not descend, and without divine help, it is impossible to bring about a transformation.” (Malfuzat, Vol. 7, p. 225, 1984 edition)
Thus, this is the law of nature and it is necessary in order to find the path to Allah. After planting a seed, just as a farmer does not sit idle, in the same way, if a person professes belief and remains idle, they will achieve nothing. Rather, one must strive and protect the flower of faith [as it were].
“Whosoever turns towards Allah the Almighty, in turn, Allah the Almighty turns to that individual. Indeed, it is vital for one to try their utmost not to err. Then, when one’s struggle and effort reaches their pinnacle, it is at that point that they will see the light of Allah. In the verse:
there is an indication that one ought to strive and do justice to it – it should not be the case that if water can be found at a depth of 20 feet, one digs only two feet and gives up.”
If water can be found by digging 20 or 30 feet, one cannot stop after digging two or four feet saying that no water can be found.
“In every task the key to success is to never give up. Then for this ummah, Allah the Almighty has vouchsafed that if a person prays and purifies themselves, then all the promises found in the Quran will be fulfilled in their favour.” Whoever makes an effort and prays to their utmost and also purifies themselves, then all the promises found in the Holy Quran will be fulfilled in their favour. “But the one who acts contrary to this will remain deprived, because Allah the Almighty is most honourable. Certainly, He has established paths that lead to Him, but the doors to enter are narrow. Only the one who drinks the bitter cup of hardships can reach there.” One has to put in the effort “driven by the worry of their worldly endeavours, people put themselves through great hardships.”
“Driven by the worry of their worldly endeavours, people put themselves through great hardships, to the extent that some even destroy themselves owing to it, but they do not wish to endure even the prick from a thorn in the way of Allah the Almighty. Until a person shows truthfulness, patience and loyalty, Allah does not send down His Mercy. How then can one see the signs of Allah’s mercy?” (Malfuzat, Vol. 7, p. 291, 1984 edition)
This is the answer to those people who claim, as mentioned earlier, that they prayed a lot, but their prayers were not accepted. In other words, they try to bound Allah the Almighty that they will present themselves before Allah when they wish, and only when they are in need, and that – God forbid – Allah is compelled to accept their prayers according to their wishes. However, as the Promised Messiah(as) has stated that even in one’s worldly affairs and relations, this is not the case, then why does one expect that in matters relating to Allah the Almighty, in that everything will happen as one pleases and without any effort.
The Promised Messiah(as) says:
“Come towards Allah the Almighty with sincerity and then observe the display of His love.”
He further says:
“Faith without any deeds is like an orchard without a stream” – an orchard cannot flourish without water. “When a tree is planted, if the owner does not ensure for its irrigation, then that tree will eventually wither away. The same is the case of faith.
“This means do not settle for small and minute efforts; rather, one ought to strive to their utmost in Allah’s way. The soul has been likened to an ox.” (Tafsir Hazrat Masih-e-Maud(as), Vol. 3, p. 631)
Thus, Allah the Almighty states:
Meaning “those who supplicate to Me ought to have faith in Me”, faith means to do justice to one’s belief in God by fulfilling the rights of Allah and the rights of His creation.
Allah the Almighty instructs people to nourish and safeguard the orchard of their faith. Even in our homes, we see that the plants in our homes dry up if we do not care for them regularly. Then how can we leave our orchard of faith unattended.
The Promised Messiah(as) has explained this matter from another perspective as follows:
“Allah the Almighty states that those who strive in His way will be guided. This means that one must strive alongside the prophet. Striving for an hour or two and then abandoning it is not deemed as striving; rather, one must be ready to sacrifice their lives. Thus, perseverance is the hallmark of a righteous person.” (Malfuzat, Vol. 1, p. 125, 1984 edition)
Therefore, if we have pledged to give precedence to our faith over all worldly objectives, then in order to remain true to our pledge, it is vital for us to take note of what our faith demands of us, which we have pledged to give precedence to. And then we must remain established upon it with steadfastness.
“A person who endeavours to find the path of Allah the Almighty whilst instilling His fear in him and offering supplications for the achievement of this task, then Allah the Almighty, owing to His divine law of:
“that is, ‘And as for those who strive in Our path – We will surely guide them in Our ways’, He Himself takes hold of their hand and guides them to His path and grants contentment to their hearts. However, if one’s heart is engulfed in darkness and they find it a burdensome task to utter prayers and their beliefs are tainted with shirk [associating partners with Allah] and harmful innovations, then what significance do their prayers and supplications hold in order to acquire fruitful results?” (Tafsir Hazrat Masih-e-Maud(as), Vol. 3, p. 632)
Thus, we have to continually assess ourselves as to whether we are seeking the paths of Allah the Almighty with this thought in mind and whether our hearts are completely free from associating partners with Allah.
With regard to taubah [repentance] and istighfar [seeking forgiveness], the Promised Messiah(as) states:
“Taubah and istighfar are the means to attain Allah the Almighty. Allah the Almighty states:
“[‘And as for those who strive in Our path – We will surely guide them in Our ways.’]
“If one continues to endeavour in His path with all their effort, they will ultimately attain their objective. Allah the Almighty does not hold anything back from anyone.” (Malfuzat, Vol. 10, p. 107, 1984 edition)
“In light of the Quranic teachings, my understanding is that on the one hand, Allah the Almighty has mentioned in the Holy Quran His divine attributes of mercy, kindness and benevolence and also as being the Most Gracious, and on the other hand He states:
أَن لَّیۡسَ لِلۡإِنسَٰنِ إِلَّا مَا سَعَىٰ
“[‘And that man will have nothing but what he strives for’ (Ch.53: V.40)]
“[‘And as for those who strive in Our path – We will surely guide them in Our ways.’ (Ch.29: V.70)]
“Thus, in order to acquire His grace, Allah the Almighty has stipulated the condition of employing effort and to strive. The practise of the companions, may Allah be pleased with them, is a perfect example before us. Ponder at the lives of the companions; did they acquire these ranks by merely offering the basic prayers? Certainly not! In fact, in order to attain the pleasure of Allah the Almighty, they did not even care about their lives and sacrificed themselves like sheep and goats for the sake of God Almighty, it was only then that they attained such ranks.”
“I have observed many people who simply wish that they be blown on and thereby instantly be granted these ranks and have access to the threshold of the Divine.” (Malfuzat, Vol. 10, p. 205, 1984 edition)
This is not possible. Indeed, Allah the Almighty is Merciful and Benevolent, but at the same time He has stipulated a condition for those who wish to attain perfect belief that they have to strive in His path.
It is only then that Allah the Almighty continues to elevate their ranks and grants them the signs of the acceptance of their prayers. They witness the signs of His grace and mercy more than ever before just as the Companions did, who were so infused with the love of God Almighty that there is no example to be found thereof. And even if they lost their lives in the way of Allah the Almighty, they attained Paradise and glad-tidings of Allah the Almighty’s pleasure.
“Those who devote themselves to God Almighty and try to passionately seek Him and with utmost fervency, their effort and struggle is never wasted. They are most certainly shown the way and are granted guidance. One who takes a step towards God with sincerity and pure intention, God comes towards him to guide him. It is incumbent upon man to greatly ponder and instil within him a true yearning to search for the truth. One ought to adhere to the path which Allah the Almighty has outlined to widen the scope of one’s knowledge. One who becomes heedless of God, then God also does not show any concern for such a person.” (Malfuzat, Vol. 10, p. 284, 1984 edition)
“Make an effort in order to improve your inner self. Supplicate in your salat. Through charity and good deeds, and every other way try and become among those regarding whom it said:
وَٱلَّذِینَ جَٰہَدُواْ فِینَا
“[‘And as for those who strive in Our path …’]
Just as a person who is suffering from an illness goes to a doctor and takes medication, empties their bowels, does bloodletting and applies heat and adopts every kind of method to cure himself, in the same way one should employ every effort in order to cure themselves of their spiritual ailments. Not just by the utterance of their tongue, but through effort and struggle. One should adopt all the methods which God Almighty has mentioned.” (Malfuzat, Vol. 8, p. 188, 1984 edition)
Thus, these are the ways through which the paths to attain Allah the Almighty are revealed to them and also draw one’s attention towards prayers. The Promised Messiah(as) states:
“One should consider this life to be so detestable that they should try and seek a way out of it. Do not consider this life to be everything, in fact this life is only temporary and one should consider this worldly life to be filthy. One should pray because when one truly does justice in their efforts and truly prays, then in the end Allah the Almighty grants salvation and one comes away from the life of sin. This is because prayer is no ordinary thing; rather, it is a form of death. When one accepts this form of death, then Allah the Almighty saves such a person from the life of sin, which can lead to death, and in turn they are granted a pure life.”
“There are many people who consider prayer as an insignificant act. One should remember that prayer does not mean to simply offer Salat and then sit with their hands raised and utter whatever comes to the mind. One cannot benefit from such prayer because this form of prayer is just mere lip service; nether is one’s heart devoted to such a prayer, nor do they have belief in the powers of Allah the Almighty. Remember that prayer is a kind of death and just like at the time of one’s death they experience restlessness and anxiousness, similarly it is essential that one expresses intense emotion and fervency in their prayers. Hence, until one does not express such restlessness and fervency in their prayers, they cannot fulfil their objective. One ought to wake up in the night and present their difficulties before God Almighty with utmost fervency, weeping and humility. One should perform their prayers to such a degree as if a kind of death has overcome them. It is then that prayers reach the stage of acceptance.”
“The first and foremost prayer is that one should pray to become pure from sin. This forms the basis and essence for all the prayers because when this prayer is accepted and one becomes cleansed from all kinds of impurity and filth and stands pure in the sight of God Almighty, then all other prayers that one supplicates for their needs”, i.e. the prayers which are made to fulfil one’s worldly needs, etc. “are fulfilled even without one having to pray for them. The prayer to become free of sin is one that requires great effort and struggle. The most significant prayer is for one to pray that they become free from sin and become righteous and pious in the sight of God Almighty. In other words, it is essential that one first removes the initial coverings that shroud one’s heart. Once they have removed this then one does not have to employ as much effort and struggle to remove the other coverings because in such an instance thousands of ills are removed themselves owing to the grace of Allah the Almighty. When one’s inner self becomes pure and clean and one establishes a true relationship with Allah the Almighty then Allah the Almighty Himself becomes the guardian and protector of such a person. And even before one feels the need to pray to Allah the Almighty for any desire of his, Allah the Almighty fulfils it Himself.
“This is a very subtle and hidden matter and is only revealed to those when they attain this stage, but before that it is very difficult to understand this. However, this requires an extraordinary effort because prayer also requires one to make great effort and to struggle. One who does not pay heed to prayer and remains distant from it, then Allah the Almighty also does not show any concern for such a person and becomes distant from them. Showing hastiness does not work. God Almighty grants out of His grace and blessings whatever He wills and whenever He wills.
“It does not behove a supplicant to express grievance and begin to think ill upon not being granted something immediately. In fact, one ought to continue supplicating whilst remaining steadfast and showing patience.” (Malfuzat, Vol. 6, p. 406-407, 1984 edition)
May Allah the Almighty grant us the ability to adhere to this guidance and enable us to establish a strong bond with Allah the Almighty in this month of Ramadan. May He enable us to follow His guidance and develop perfect faith in Him. May He enable us to witness the signs of the acceptance of our prayers and may this condition remain permanently in us; in the month of Ramadan and extend beyond it as well. May we truly become the servants of Allah the Almighty. May Allah the Almighty reveal upon us such paths of His from which we never go astray and may He always look upon us with His loving gaze. May we do true justice to our bai‘at with the Imam(as) of the age. After acquiring this bounty of Allah the Almighty, that is to have accepted the Imam(as) of the age, may we never become deprived of it. May Allah the Almighty protect us from the evils ploys of our opponents. May He accept our prayers and cause the evil plans of our opponents to turn against them. May He continue to provide the means for the success of the Jamaat.
Also, make this Ramadan a means to have your prayers accepted. May Allah the Almighty grant us the ability to do this.
Pray also for the current condition of the world. May Allah the Almighty save the world from destruction and grant them wisdom and enable them to recognise God, Who is their true Creator.
After the Friday prayers, I will launch a website which has been created by MTA International as well as a mobile application, in which they have compiled the sermons I have delivered on the 313 companions in one place. On this website, aside from watching the Friday Sermon, members can also read the profiles of the Badri Companions(ra), and they can place bookmarks at the point they have read up to. In addition to this, there are questions and answers in the form of a quiz relating to each companion. There are relevant maps, which are beneficial, and they can also be viewed on this website. One can also listen to the Arabic pronunciation of difficult words. In addition to the content which has been uploaded so far, new research and videos will be uploaded each week. The name of the website is: www.313companions.org.
As I mentioned earlier, I will launch this website after the Friday prayer. May Allah the Almighty enable this to be means of benefit for the people.
Official Urdu transcript published in Al Fazl International, 29 April 2022, pp. 5-10. Translated by The Review of Religions.