Friday Sermon: Prayers during ones travels

April 11th, 2008

Huzur gave a discourse on prayers during ones travels in his Friday Sermon today.

Huzur said Allah has drawn attention to travel in the Holy Qur’an in various ways. Those who reject prophets of God are told to travel the earth and observe the ending of those who rejected prophets of God in ancient times. The Pharaoh’s body in Egypt is a sign of warning. Tourists in their hundreds of thousands, of all religious persuasions and of no religious persuasion, see it. If they have fear of God, it would make them stop and think about the dreadful end of the Pharaoh.

According to the prophecies of the Holy Qur’an the travel arrangements in this day and age are extremely convenient and widely available to witness signs that would deter one. However, only those can take heed who have a spark of goodness in them.

Believers, on the other hand, turn to Allah with greater fervour when they witness the ending of seditious people and seek refuge with Allah from Satan. Travels of a believer are to seek the pleasure of Allah, are a mark of thankfulness of His blessings and indeed believers begin and finish their travels with the specific prayers stated in the Holy Qur’an and those that the blessed model of the Holy Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be on him) set out for us. Like all other acts/deeds of a believer, travelling is also to seek Allah’s pleasure and to establish goodness as well as to maintain goodness.

Citing part of verse 198 of Surah Al Baqarah (2:198) Huzur said here matters relating to Hajj are stated and it is said that when one sets off for Hajj with one’s requirements, if taqwa (righteousness) is among them, only then one’s Hajj will be granted acceptance. Huzur said it is noteworthy that in any case or any situation only that journey/travel will absorb Allah’s blessings in which taqwa is the perspective and implementation of good works is the perspective. With this perspective travel/journeys made for worldly gains will also become a source of attaining Allah’s pleasure. One who keeps taqwa as the ‘provision’ for one’s travels is counted among true believers.

Elucidating verse 112 of Surah Al Taubah (9:112) Huzur defined the qualities of such a ‘believer’. (The translation of the verse reads)

They are the ones who turn to God in repentance, who worship Him, who praise Him, who go about in the land serving Him, who bow down to God, who prostrate themselves in prayer, who enjoin good and forbid evil, and who watch the limits set by Allah. And give glad tidings to those who believe.”

Citing from the writings of the Promised Messiah (on whom be peace) Huzur said the first condition to step onto the path to taqwa is sincere repentance; it distances a believer from sin. The rectification is brought about when one makes a resolute objective to completely shun all ills, which are then replaced with high morals. This leads one to worship of God and this state transpires into the third state, which is where one praises God under all circumstances. The verse then gives the tidings that travelling for the cause of Allah benefits one spiritually and temporally; a journey that is made in order to spread good is a source of blessings. The verse gives tidings to those who ‘bow down’ to God. Huzur explained that this does not simply signify the physical bowing down, rather the bowing down of one’s very soul before God and when one endeavours to seek Allah’s pleasure with each fibre of one’s being. Then there is tiding for one who prostrates to God. Huzur said indeed this signifies prostration of real sincerity. The Holy Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be on him) had said that man is very close to Allah in the prostration posture. Huzur said the verse then goes on to denote that when one achieves all the aforementioned good then one is not to limit it to oneself, rather one must spread it and must strive against ills. The verse states that there is glad-tiding when God’s servants reach this station and this glad-tiding is continual.

Huzur said may all our journeys and travels be to seek Allah’s pleasure. Huzur said he is about to embark on travels in the next few days. He will be touring the West African countries of Ghana, Benin and Nigeria. Huzur said he is going there to grace the Khilafat Centenary programmes and that the programmes of these countries are the first programmes of the Centenary as other countries have also made programmes where Huzur would be travelling. In this sense Huzur said this was a year of travels. He said prayers should be made that the profusion of blessings on the Community in the past hundred years raise us in our humility and suppress any ills. May each of Huzur’s travel be with Allah’s help and succour. May Allah’s help and succour be with him during his journeys and at the destinations. Huzur said we are humble people who cannot make it without Allah’s help. Our surety to attain Allah’s grace is none other than to turn to Him. May Allah grant success [to these travels].

The Holy Prophet (peace and blessing of Allah be on him) would say the Quranic prayer (43:14) before every journey. Huzur said in the current era of the Promised Messiah (on whom be peace) in accordance with Divine promise means of fast and comfortable transport are available, if one is thankful with this perspective and joins in with spreading of good then one receives Allah’s grace.

Huzur asked that prayers are made that his journeys are made in this spirit. Huzur said if one’s outlook is such Allah’s grace is forthcoming. Huzur prayed that may Allah’s grace and blessings be with step of the travels, may He cover our faults and may no error of ours distance us from Him.

Next Huzur cited a few Ahadith relating the prayers the Holy Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be on him) said when he was travelling. He would also always pray for the journey of his Companions. When the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be on him) encamped during travelling he would not leave without offering two rakah of Salat. He would also give alms at the start and ending of journey. Each time he returned from Hajj, Umrah or an expedition, he would say Allah O Akbar three times while climbing a height (and Subhan Allah while descending) and would pray: ‘There is none worthy of worship expect Allah, He is One and has no partner, His is the Kingdom. All praise also belongs to Him, He has Power over every matter, we are returning repenting, worshiping our Lord and praising Him.’

Huzur said may Allah fulfil all the promises made to the Prophet (peace and blessing of Allah be on him) in our lifetime and may we soon witness his banner waving all over the world.

The Holy Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be on him) said that the prayers of three persons are always accepted; the victim, the traveller and a father’s prayer for his offspring.

When entering a new town the Holy Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be on him) said the following prayer: “Our Lord! Lord of the seven heavens and what their shadow falls on, Lord of the seven earths and all that they carry, O Lord of the sha’yateen (plural of satan) and all who they have led astray, O Lord of the winds and whatever they blow about, we pray to You for the welfare and good of this town, its inhabitants and whatever is in it. We come in Your refuge from the evil of this town, its inhabitants and whatever is in it. Our Lord, bless this town for us, grant us blessing in this town, facilitate blessing for us in this town. Our Lord, grant us sustenance from its fruits and place our love in the hearts of its inhabitants and generate love for the pious-natured people of this town in our hearts.”

The Holy Prophet (peace and blessings be on him) would pray for Allah’s refuge from the difficulties of travelling, from returning in grief and from [suffering] loss after a gain.

Huzur said he also starts his forthcoming travels with these prayers, may Allah bless Huzur’s travels with the wordings of these prayers and may Huzur return safely having gathered Allah’s blessings; blessings that are perpetual and may these blessings be evident wherever the Centenary programmes are taking place. May Allah bring that day soon when the banner of the Unity of God is seen all over the world and when this ‘benefactor of all humanity’ (peace and blessings of Allah be on him) is luminous all over the world.

Next Huzur addressed everyone in general but Lajna Germany in particular. Huzur said this thought came to him in view of his travels. Lajna Germany has been anxious lest they are deprived [of this year’s commemoration]. Last year, due to lack of discipline, Huzur had placed a restriction on Lajna Germany as regards holding national Ijtema and Jalsa Salana. Huzur said he has received countless letters from women and young girls from Germany asking for forgiveness and promising not to repeat their mistake. In fact other Lajnas have also written in sympathetically for Lajna Germany. The first ever communication of this nature came from Pakistan. Huzur said his was a preventative/reformatory step and Alhamdolillah there has been a revolutionary change in Lajna Germany. Their letters signify a specific drawing towards Istaghfar and the expression of sense of allegiance and sincerity is something that can only be witnessed in the Promised Messiah’s Community in this materialistic world. One sister wrote in that her non-Ahmadi Afghan friend commented on the situation saying what terrible people they were [to incur Huzur’s displeasure], they should be thankful that they had someone to guide and reform them. She added that there is no one to help them when they are embroiled in ills.

Huzur said the purpose of stating all this is that this restriction had sent a wave of anxiety all over Lajna Germany, they prayed and they have changed their ways. Huzur said he had told the Ameer sahib and Sadr sahiba Lajna (of Germany) to quietly prepare for the Jalsa but it seemed no one had any inkling of it yet. Huzur said the sincerity expressed by Lajna and girls from Germany cannot be described. He asked them to stay assured, and added that InshaAllah Jalsa will be held. Huzur said this incident had enhanced the value/appreciation of Lajna Germany for him to a great degree, may Allah increase their sincerity and may they continue to make progress.

Huzur said everyone should pray for the Jalsas of their country and also pray for Huzur. May Allah continue to open doors of His grace and His blessings.