Friday Sermon: 58th Jalsa Salana of the Nigerian Jama'at

May 2nd, 2008

Huzur delivered his Friday sermon from Nigeria. Huzur announced that the 58th Jalsa Salana of the Nigerian Jama’at commenced with his sermon. He said it was Allah’s blessing on us that in this day and age when the majority of the world has forgotten God, Ahmadis hold Jalsas in every country to seek the pleasure of Allah and thus gather for a few days once a year with the purpose of bringing about pure change in them and to be among those who seek Allah’s pleasure. It was to bring about this revolution that Allah had sent the Promised Messiah (on whom be peace) in this world. If we do not bring about this revolutionary change in ourselves and have not gathered here with this objective then the Promised Messiah (on whom be peace) has informed us that there is no point of such a Jalsa.

He said in very clear words that he had no desire to create the ambience of a fair, gather people and display his might to the world. He said such a thought disgusted him. He also said that there are many speeches and addresses made at a Jalsa, great orators deliver speeches, scholarly matters are cited and people commend the speakers. However, he remarked that such oratory and scholarly discourses are pointless if people of the Community are not affected by them. Huzur said we have accepted the Promised Messiah (on whom be peace) and have thus gathered here so that we may make the matters we hear today part of our lives. May Allah enable us all to bring our lives to the standard which the Promised Messiah (on whom be peace) expected us to attain. Huzur added that standard cannot be attained without the unique blessing of Allah on us and in order to have the unique blessing of Allah specific spiritual endeavour has to be undertaken, a concerted effort has to be made and only then with His unique blessing Allah comes to His servant and accepts the efforts of His servant and grants His grace and makes a person do deeds that are deeds of His pleasure. Allah states in the Holy Qur’an: ‘And as for those who strive in Our path – we will surely guide them in Our ways…’ (29:70)

Elucidating the above the Promised Messiah (on whom be peace) said that effort needs to be made to change one’s nafs (self). Prayers should be made, alms should be given and every other effort should be made to join in ‘those who strive in Our way’. He said just as an ailing person goes to the physician, gets medicine and in order to be cured and healed tries all manner of means, similarly, one should make every kind of effort to remove one’s spiritual ailments. This should not be done just verbally; rather all the ways and means that Allah has stated should be employed.

Huzur said this is the task that an Ahmadi Muslim needs to continually do after coming into the bai’at of the Promised Messiah (on whom be peace). Huzur said the Jalsa Salana is also one of the means, among others, to facilitate Divine nearness and to bring a pure change in oneself. Huzur said the fact that everyone had gathered at the Jalsa and had gathered in a large number was proof of the fact that indeed after taking the bai’at of the Promised Messiah (on whom be peace) we were desirous of bringing about pure changes in ourselves. Huzur stressed that each Ahmadi present should make a concerted effort for the attainment of this in the next three days. Only then could they fulfil the objective of gathering for the Jalsa.

Huzur said that the most significant means of attaining Divine nearness was an awareness to observe Salat regularly. He said when the Promised Messiah (on whom be peace) enjoined to make an effort to bring about a change in one’s nafs, he drew attention towards observance of Salat first and foremost and enjoined to turn to Allah because when man turns to Allah with sincerity, Allah accepts his pious wishes and brings about pure change in him. Such an individual avoids what is absurd, vain, idle and wrong and is drawn towards what is good. Allah states in the Qur’an: ‘Surely, Prayer restrains one from indecency and manifest evil…’(29:46). Huzur said this is the declaration of Allah that Salat restrains one from what is indecent and evil, however, he added, one may think that there are some people who although are apparently most regular in Salat and have perhaps even performed Hajj but their general morals at times make people with no belief appear better than them. It so appears that Salat has not brought about any piety in them. In this case, what is the point of saying one’s Salat? Huzur explained that it should be understood here that here the fault does not lie with Salat rather it is the fault of those who say their Salat without its requisites. Therefore, Huzur said when the Qur’an states that Salat prevents one from evil, it also states, ‘observe Prayer’ (29:46) which signifies and means that offer your Salat with all its requisites. Huzur said when Salat is offered with its due requisites doubtlessly it prevents one from indecency and evil. Huzur added the requisites of Salat include performing wudhu, cleaning oneself, for men to offer Salat at mosque, to turn to Allah with sincerity.

The Holy Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be on him) drew attention to a most significant aspect in this matter, he said that when one stands for Salat before Allah one should do so with the thought that one can see Allah or at least have the thought that Allah is watching one. Huzur said one should be aware that God, Who is aware of the inner recesses of one’s heart and mind, is watching. There is no thought that comes to one’s mind that Allah is not aware of beforehand. Our God is the God Who can never be deceived, our God knows and is aware which Salat is offered with sincerity and to purify oneself and which Salat is offered hypocritically. Indeed only that Salat is accepted which is offered with sincerity and for the sake of Allah. This is the kind of Salat which purifies the heart and prevents one from indecency. Therefore every time an Ahmadi offers Salat, he/she should seek such a Salat. Otherwise no matter how pious one may appear, if each action, each deed of one is not borne out of fear of God, one’s Salat is not accepted by Allah. Rather due to the incongruity between one’s word and deed and one’s state of heart and mind, rather than reform one, one’s Salat become a source of one’s destruction.

Just as it states in the Qur’an: ‘So woe to those who pray’ and then explains: ‘But are unmindful of their Prayer’. (107:5) & (107:6) Huzur explained that these are people who apparently are engaged in offering Salat but their minds are inclined towards worldly matters. Some of them have also performed apparent Hajj but their Salat and their Hajj does not bring about any pure change in them. They forget in their practical daily lives that Allah does not just watch one’s Salat but is also aware of each word, each deed in one’s life in general. Therefore, Huzur said, it is essential to make each deed of one correct in order to have one’s Salat accepted. Otherwise Allah states if one’s word and deed are not the same then one falls in the category of , ‘Those who show off’ (107:7). Huzur added the Salat by those who show off causes destruction for them rather than prevent them from evil.

Huzur said it should always be remembered that we have accepted the Imam of this age and claim that we are better than others. This claim on its own is not sufficient, we need to bring about a revolution in ourselves; for this we will have to offer Salat that prevents from all kinds of evil, the Salat that would take us further in all good deeds. If observance of Salat is not bringing about a revolutionary change in our lives, then we ought to be concerned. It is the duty of an Ahmadi Muslim, a believer to first and foremost safeguard one’s Salat, to make one’s Salat the measure of other moral changes in oneself or consider one’s high morals to be the measure of acceptance of one’s Salat. Huzur said if we are not engendering high morals, if we are not trying to prevent ourselves from the ills of the world, then it means that we are not making endeavours of spiritual nature and are not safeguarding our Salat. An Ahmadi should always be mindful that in the striving to bring about pure changes the first step is observance of Salat. Then there is remembrance of Allah and in accordance with one’s capacity, giving of alms and other charity. The Holy Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be on him) said that alms-giving and charity also removes calamites. Huzur said in this day and age what calamites other than materialism, immorality and negligence of worship can there be that are destroying our lives? Therefore, as much as one can afford one should give alms and charity and do it for the pleasure of Allah and not for pretentious reasons. Whatever is done to seek the pleasure of Allah is certainly granted acceptance with Allah because Allah is aware of one’s intentions. A deed done with good intention certainly enhances one’s piety.

The Promised Messiah (on whom be peace) said that in order to bring pure changes in one’s nafs all manner of effort and endeavour should be made and all those morals should be adopted that Allah has commanded. For example it is commanded to speak with each other softly, gently and politely and treat each other politely. He commands to honour trusts. Huzur said each task of an office-holder [of the Jama’at] is a trust with them. To discharge of it faithfully is honouring the trust. We should always remember that Allah does not like those who are perfidious and one who is excluded from Allah’s affection neither prospers in this world nor the Hereafter. At times one is chastised by Allah for not honouring one’s dues by temporarily buckling in to vain desires. Huzur said just as he had said earlier, Allah is watching over every single deed of ours. One can deceive man but cannot deceive God. One should always set high standards of honouring trust.

One must also fulfil what one has pledged. Each Ahmadi has made a pledge, has renewed a promise that after taking bai’at on the hand of the Promised Messiah (on whom be peace) one would honour the dues of worship of God as well as other commandments of Allah. Huzur said it should always be remembered that each act that we undertake to seek the pleasure of Allah is an act of worship.

Among the high morals enjoined one is to always speak the truth. Honesty and truthfulness that entails saying the right word (qawl e sadeed) a word with no crookedness; to say the obvious and the evident and not be deliberately ambiguous. There is also the commandment to avoid and shun jealousy and envy. Envy burns one up internally and it also leads one to harm others. It does not behove a believer to be envious or jealous. Huzur said one should shun jealously and also pray to be prevented from it. He said in this day and age there are many who are envious and jealous of the progress of our Community. They appear friendly outwardly but try and harm us covertly. Huzur said if we are not as one and are envious of each other in certain matters how could we prevent ourselves from the envy of the others? Therefore we should be an excellent model of mutual love and harmony.

Allah also commands to avoid what is absurd vain and idle because many such matters lead one into satanic spheres. Huzur said there is a long list of Allah’s commandments. Addressing the Nigerian Jama’at Huzur said that he would say to the Jama’at as well as the auxiliaries to plan programmes that promote and inculcate high morals within the organisations. The morals of the old Ahmadis should be raised and high morals should be inculcated in the new Ahmadis. The auxiliaries should attempt to absorb the new converts as they go along.

Huzur said he would elucidate basic morals in his next two addresses [of the Jalsa]. He said these matters should be listened to carefully and put in practise. Huzur said it should always be remembered that the Khilafat Centenary is a blessing of Allah that He has promised to those who are firm of faith and who do good deeds. It should always be remembered that we have to establish high standards of observance of Salat and have to safeguard our Salat. Allah has promised Khilafat specifically to those who worship. Therefore pure changes should be brought about with great concern and focus. Huzur said the Nigerian Jama’at has experienced first hand what the blessings of Khilafat are; they should thus greatly value this blessing. Huzur said the Jama’at knew well that those who separated themselves along with mosques have no status today. However, those who adhered to the blessing of Khilafat and endeavoured to honour their pledge of bai’at have been immensely rewarded by Allah. Huzur said today the success of the Jama’at can be witnessed in every city and the presence of people in their thousands at the Jalsa was a proof that there is indeed blessing in Khilafat. Huzur prayed that may we always be aware of our responsibilities, may Allah so enable and continue to bless with the grace of this blessing [of Khilafat].