Hudhur gave a discourse on striving in the way of God in his Friday Sermon today. He began by reciting the following Quranic verse: ‘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.’ (29:70) Hudhur said we are currently going through the last ten days of Ramadan which are special days to attain the highest point in acceptance of prayer. Today, being Friday, is also a blessed day that comes every seven days and which also has a particular moment of acceptance of prayer. All these combined blessings draw our attention to God’s favours. Such thoughts should not be temporary, rather, as the aforementioned verse states there should be constant striving in God’s way.
Success is attained in this striving by consistently and resolutely trying, keeping in view God’s commandments. It is indeed His favour that He facilitates an environment during Ramadan when there is keenness in spiritual development. Fasting and worship in Ramadan are also a particular ‘striving’, if carried out thoughtfully.
Hudhur said each person has different capacities and inclinations, and the commandment is to seek God in accordance to whatever capacity one has. When effort is made in this regard, God shows the way that leads to Him. However, if selfish thoughts and excuses get in the way, slight effort is assumed as ‘striving’, man cannot attain God. Hudhur explained the ways and means to attain Divine nearness and to be included among those who in God’s sight ‘do good’ through various writings of the Promised Messiah (on whom be peace) that he had penned in elucidation of the particular aforementioned verse of Surah Al Ankabut.
The Promised Messiah (on whom be peace) said one who is careless and indolent cannot attain the same degree of Divine grace as one who makes an effort with all one’s might and with sincerity to search for God.
Hudhur said there are different degrees of Divine nearness which can be attained by constant striving which attracts God’s attention. One must strive in God’s way according to the means that God has taught. Belief in the unseen and perfect belief in God’s attributes inclines one to this striving. If one tries to find God purely through intellect, God does not show the way. God has not left man in dark for as regards this search. From the advent of the Holy Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be on him) till the Day of Judgement we have the Holy Qur’an as the guidance. Earlier, there were other Prophets. God also manifests signs through His Prophets to prove His existence.
The Promised Messiah (on whom be peace) said that God states He would show the way to whoever strives in His way, this is His promise. Conversely, He has taught us the prayer of ‘guide us in the right path’ (1:6). One should say this prayer during Salat with the supplication and aspiration to be counted among those who have been granted spiritual advancement and insight.
Hudhur said if this prayer, which is read in each rakah (unit) of Salat, is said with due care and compassion, wanting guidance, God grants it. It is obvious that when a wise person derives benefit through someone’s advice, he/she is grateful to the one who had advised as well as tries to inculcate a connection with them. Indeed, should try and inculcate a connection. Hudhur said it is important to understand this point, it leads to success. When Prophets and those who are commissioned by God, guide to the ways of seeking God, it is essential to follow them and stay connected to them. The Holy Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be on him) foretold about the coming of the Messiah in this age. How important it is then to pay attention to one who was to connect man with God. How important it is that rather than mindlessly reject him, by making a connection, they try to at least experiment finding the ways that lead to God. They have the prayer (1:6) to do this. Hadhrat Musleh Maud (may Allah be pleased with him) would even tell non-Muslims that although they would not say the Quranic prayer of ‘guide us in the right path’, but if they simply prayed for the straight path with an open mind, God would guide them. Many told him that the truth of Islam was unfolded to them. How important it is then for Muslims to try this formula! It is also important for us Ahmadis, who have accepted the Imam of the age, to not simply sit back but try and constantly strive in the way of finding God, especially during these days.
The Promised Messiah (on whom be peace) said that God is well aware of what is in hearts. If one is righteous He is Ghafur (the Most Forgiving) for those who turn to Him.
Hudhur explained that God fulfils His promise when one turn to Him. Just as He promises to show the way to one who endeavours in His way, illuminating their way, it is stated about those who turn away that they fall in darkness. ‘…So when they deviated from the right course, Allah caused their hearts to deviate, for Allah guides not the rebellious people.’ (61:6)
The Promised Messiah (on whom be peace) said that just as in our worldly life each action has an effect, similar is the law of religion. As God states in the two instances: ‘And as for those who strive in Our path — We will surely guide them in Our ways.’ and ‘So when they deviated from the right course, Allah caused their hearts to deviate’. Hudhur remarked that it is man’s misfortune that he distances himself from God. Hudhur said a friend from outside the community came to visit Hudhur from Pakistan and asked what was the reason for what is happening in the country [Pakistan] and when and how will it get better. Hudhur told him there were only two things to keep in view. God states come to Me, make an effort, endeavour. Hudhur said he gave the reference of this Quranic verse. God states make your utmost effort and I will show the way. Hudhur asked the person, was the state of affairs so? He replied it was quite the contrary. Hudhur responded to him that when the situation is thus, God’s second action comes into play. Hudhur said collectively the Pakistani nation has to change its train of thought. The Pakistani media is raising a hue and cry, by making certain statements it has gone to extremes and Hudhur would not like to repeat. Yet no one is trying to make concerted effort to stop the instances of barbarity. May God have mercy.
Explaining how God treats good-natured people, the Promised Messiah (on whom be peace) said that ultimately God removes the shortcomings of good-natured people and gives them strength for piety. All that is unpleasant in God’s sight becomes unpleasant for them. God blesses all efforts made by them. The ways that are dear to God become dear to them. They are granted strength which does not weaken, fervour which does not wear out and taqwa (righteousness) which is not followed by sin and God’s pleasure is thus attained, but this grace takes time in being granted. Man stumbles a lot in the beginning due to his weaknesses but as his constant striving continues and God sees the resoluteness, God draws man to Him as stated: ‘And as for those who strive in Our path — We will surely guide them in Our ways.’ It is a long and constant endeavour which gives permanence to taqwa and belief and one finds the ways of Divine love and knowledge.
Elucidating the verse ‘And as for those who strive in Our path — We will surely guide them in Our ways.’ in another place, the Promised Messiah (on whom be peace) says that the entire matter rests on striving, without which nothing can be attained. Some people erroneously cite that Syed Abdul Qadir Gilani (may Allah have mercy on him) turned a thief into a chief in one look. It is all misconstruction; people assume that one can achieve spirituality by certain people blowing on them. Those who rush in matters with God are destroyed. Like any progress in the world, spiritual development is also gradual and nothing can be attained without striving and this striving also has to be in accordance to God’s commandments, rather than any self-made spiritual exercises. This is what God commissioned the Promised Messiah for. Striving is required for the door of spiritual knowledge to open, striving that is carried out in the ways taught by God and in following the blessed model of the Holy Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be on him). Many people leave this and visit Pirs and Faqirs (ascetics) to seek their ‘blowing’. This is a sin. Guidance comes from God alone. He opens the ways of spiritual knowledge to those who search for Him with sincerity of heart, those who search for Him merely for the sake of sincerity and earnestness. However, anyone trying on an experimental level for derision is left deprived.
Hudhur explained that Muslims visit shrines, wear amulets, they reckon these solve their problems or efface their sins, regardless if they offer Salat or not. Some ascetics also presume they can give guidance and tell people that they have become pious by simply giving them an amulet. Likewise some people hold gatherings, the odd Ahmadi also gets involved, in which they try alternative ways of dikr assuming they can forgo Salat.
The Promised Messiah (on whom be peace) said that God wishes to imbue everyone in the colour of His knowledge. ‘Say, ‘We will adopt the religion of Allah; and who is better than Allah in teaching religion, and Him alone do we worship.’ (2:139) Hudhur said each believer should try and imbue in the colour of God, adopt the colour of Divine attributes. This signifies that man has the capacity to espouse Divine attributes. The Holy Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be on him) said that God created Adam in His form. Hudhur explained that God is Sattar (Coverer of faults), partaking of this attribute we should also practice covering the weaknesses of others. God is Shakur (Most Appreciating), although when applied to God the term ‘Shakur’ has different significance, man should be thankful. Then there is the expansive Divine attribute of Rabbul Alameen (Lord of all the worlds). Keeping this in view, man can be a rabb in his/her limited sphere, like parents in relation to their children. The Promised Messiah (on whom be peace) said that one finds God when one looks for Him by being in Him. This signifies adopting His attributes. God is Rahman (Most Gracious) and Raheem (Ever Merciful). His mercy is His overriding attribute.
How can those who commit barbarity in His name find His way? Hudhur said today again we have received sad news. Terrorists attacked our mosque during Friday Prayers in Mardan [Pakistan]. However, due to timely action of the Khuddam on duty they were not successful in coming inside the mosque. They threw grenades, one suicide attacker was injured and then blew himself up. Because of this the gate of the mosque and some walls fell. A few Khuddam on duty were injured and one Khadim was martyred, Inna lillahe wa inna illaihe rajioon. May God elevate the status of the martyr and heal the injured. The other assailants fled. What sort of people are these who perpetrate these acts in the name of God? They can never be called godly, for they attack those who worship God in the name of God. Two days ago they attacked a Shia rally taking many innocent lives. The hearts of the perpetrators are so deviant that it appears there is no turning back for them. Those who help them or those who have power but do nothing about it are also culpable. May God soon rid the country of these oppressors and also rid the world, for they have now spread in the world.
The Promised Messiah (on whom be peace) said that those who endeavour ultimately find guidance. Just as a seed grows with water supply and even destroys itself in order to grow into a plant, unless one supplicates God daily for help, His grace will not come and change cannot come without Divine help.
The Promised Messiah (on whom be peace) said the Companions of the Holy Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be on him) did not reach their elevated stations through ordinary worship. Most people wish to reach the heavens by a simply blowing of the mouth. None can have the lofty station of the Holy Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be on him), when he did not avail of ‘blowing of the mouth’ then who else is there to do it? He spent extended, arduous hours in the Hira cave in worship of God after which he received Divine grace. Unless one annihilates oneself in God’s way, there is no reciprocation. However, when God sees that man has tried his very best and has assumed a kind of death on himself to seek God, this is when God reveals Himself to the person.
One who endeavours and strives in God’s way is never unsuccessful, as indeed God states: ‘And as for those who strive in Our path — We will surely guide them in Our ways.’ If we can feel sympathy and compassion for someone staying up late preparing from exams, could God let the hard work of one wishing to seek Him go to waste? Most certainly, never.
When the Holy Spirit helps a believer it is simply a blessing of God. It is given without exerting any effort to those who truly believe in the Holy Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be on him) and the Holy Qur’an and is thus borne out of belief. The condition for its conferment is that one is truthful and steadfast. However, the Divine guidance as stated in: ‘And as for those who strive in Our path — We will surely guide them in Our ways.’ is not granted without striving. One who is inclined to God, God also inclines to him. If one is not indolent and makes endeavour, when his endeavour reaches its highest point he witnesses God’s light. The condition for success is not to lose courage.
Islam grants true spiritual knowledge, which brings about a death to life of sin, which in turn gives a new lease of life. The reason every person cannot attain this is because it is not attained without striving, repentance and completely submitting to God, as stated in: ‘And as for those who strive in Our path — We will surely guide them in Our ways.’
It is because of their striving in the way of God that the Companions of the Holy Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be on him) were likened with stars by God. God stated that such was their brilliance that anyone who followed them would find guidance.
The Promised Messiah (on whom be peace) said that the real objective of his bai’at is to attain love of God and a loathing for sin. If one did not strive in the way of God and did not pray after bai’at, one in fact dishonours the bai’at.
Hudhur prayed that may each one of us understands the essence of this and may our efforts ever be to move onwards and to fulfil our pledge with the Promised Messiah (on whom be peace) and to attain God’s pleasure. May we never be embarrassed in front of God by showing weakness in our promise and deficiency in our effort. May He continue to enable us to fulfil our promise and to seek His nearness and may we spend the remaining days [of Ramadan] in prayer more than before. May God Himself become our Shield and may He bring about the chastisement of our enemies.
Hudhur said he anticipated offering funeral Prayer in absentia of today’s martyr next week. But his details had been received and Hudhur announced he would lead his funeral Prayer after Friday Prayer. The martyr’s name was Shaikh Amir Razzaq. He was 40 years old and was currently serving as a Waqfe Jadid secretary. He was badly injured in the explosion during the terrorist attack and passed away on his way to hospital. He leaves behind a widow and two children. His burial will InshaAllah take place in Rabwah.