Friday Sermon: Attributes of a Momin

August 3rd, 2012

Hadhrat Khalifatul Masih recited the following verses of the Holy Qur’an at the start of his Friday sermon today:

‘Verily, those who, out of fear of their Lord, always stand guard against sins.

And those who believe in the Signs of their Lord,

And those who ascribe not partners to their Lord,

And those who give what they give while their hearts are full of fear because to their Lord they will return —

These it is who hasten to do good works, and these it is who are foremost in them.’ (23:58 – 62)

‘Their reward is with their Lord — Gardens of Eternity, through which streams flow; they will abide therein for ever. Allah is well pleased with them, and they are well pleased with Him. That is for him who fears his Lord.’ (98:9)

In last Friday sermon a discourse was given on Ramadan and it was explained that in order to fully benefit from Ramadan, reformation of word and deed was essential. It was also explained that only that fasting attains beneficence of Ramadan which is undertaken with Khashiyyat (fear and awe) of God in heart. Each piety becomes true piety only when it is done with Khashiyyat of God.

Today, matters will be expounded with reference to Khashiyyat of God. The word Khashiyyat is used commonly, but if its essence was understood, it would enhance level of virtues. The literal meaning of Khashiyyat is generally understood to be fear, which is correct. Fear of God takes one to virtues. However, fear of God is not like the ordinary emotion of fear. Lexicons explain this by saying that connotation of awe is more present in the word Khashiyyat than fear. Khashiyyat also connotes that awe which is borne of the greatness of a Being whereas fear connotes the weakness of one who fears.

Imam Raghib said that Khashiyyat is by virtue of having knowledge of something that one is in awe of. He wrote that this is why in the Quranic verse: ‘…Only those of His servants who possess knowledge fear Allah…’ (35:29) Khashiyyat has been especially associated with people of knowledge. In addition, Imam Raghib said that those who are in awe of the greatness of God are those about whom the Qur’an states that they: ‘…fear the Gracious God in secret…’ (36:12). Such fear of God necessitates knowledge and perception of Him. Khashiyyat is fear which is borne out of the greatness of something or a Being and acknowledgment of greatness is belief that God is the Master of all powers and He encompasses everything. One can only attain beneficence from God’s power when one has full faith in His powers and has His Khashiyyat in heart.

The Quranic verse that states that only those have Khashiyyat who have knowledge does not mean that anyone who presumes to possess knowledge has Khashiyyat and anyone who is not a scholar has less Khashiyyat. Indeed, hundreds and thousands of ‘religious scholars’ of today whose words and deeds are contradictory do not understand the Qur’an. Not only have they not accepted the Imam of the age, they stoop low in his opposition. Certainly, all this compels one to think that here the definition of ‘those who possess knowledge’ must be different and people who are thus addressed in the Quranic verse are in fact not those commonly understood to be religious scholars. There are those who go through religious seminaries and there are those who are understood by worldly people as scholars, as many a great scientist has attained unparalleled knowledge in individual fields. There are some among those worldly scholars who do not even believe in the existence of God, let alone have His Khashiyyat. Therefore, we have to see which people of knowledge are referred to here.

It should be clarified here that no doubt Islam is the perfect religion and those who possess religious knowledge of Islam claim that they have the knowledge. The spread of Islam is by virtue of God’s decree and it will not take place through the scholars who have worldly interests at heart. Perhaps he has mentioned this before, during his recent USA trip Hadhrat Khalifatul Masih was asked by a TV interviewer about the prospects of Islam spreading in the USA. Hadhrat Khalifatul Masih replied to him that Islam will spread, not only in the USA but in the entire world. However, this will not happen through the so-called care-takers of Islam. Rather, it will come to pass through the Ahmadiyya Community by winning over hearts and by giving the message of peace and not extremism because extremism is against the teaching of the Qur’an and only the Ahmadiyya Community practices true Islam.

The Promised Messiah (on whom be peace) gave us insight and perception of the Holy Qur’an and explained the reality of Khashiyyat of God and said that no one has a monopoly on Khashiyyat of God and it is not restricted. Rather, the Holy Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be on him) came to take every person of the world close to God and to make people Godly people. No one can become a Godly person unless he or she has Khashiyyat of God. Indeed, many a great robber became those with Khashiyyat of God after coming into the fold of Islam.

In his pronouncements the Promised Messiah (on whom be peace) has narrated accounts of saints. Writing about Fozail bin Iyaz he said that once he heard someone reciting the Quranic verse: ‘Has not the time arrived for those who believe that their hearts should feel humbled at the remembrance of Allah…’ (57:17). This had an electrifying effect on Fozail. Expressing regret he said his pillaging could not carry on. He said it was time to march forward in the way of God and then, overcome with emotion, he started sobbing. He renounced his past and became an ascetic. Once he was in a desert when he came across some people who had encamped. He overheard one of them saying that this was Fozail’s route of plundering. He told them to have no fear for he had repented and renounced banditry. He sought apology from all the people he had harmed. And thus people [like him] who were once bandits were renowned by the salutation of rahamtullah alai (may Allah have mercy on them).

There are of course important Jubba/robe-clad individuals steeped in arrogance while the masses consider them pious; they do not have Khashiyyat. Those who are haughty towards people do not have Khashiyyat. What is Khashiyyat and who possesses Khashiyyat? We are most fortunate that by accepting the Promised Messiah (on whom be peace) we have come to know the true definition of Khashiyyat.

The Promised Messiah (on whom be peace) said: ‘People who fear Allah the Exalted are those who have perfect knowledge of His greatness, power, favours and beauty. By virtue of their connotation, Khashiyyat and Islam are in fact one and the same thing because the meaning of perfect Khashiyyat is bound by the meaning of Islam.’

It is essential for each believer to attain this, then alone can one progress in faith and connection with God. By calling Islam and Khashiyyat one and the same thing every Muslim has been given the position of one who possesses knowledge.

The Promised Messiah (on whom be peace said: ‘It is more or less the nature of man that he attains guidance after having perfect knowledge of Allah the Exalted. As Allah the Exalted states: ‘…Only those of His servants who possess knowledge fear Allah…’. Indeed, those of satanic disposition are outside this principle.’

The Promised Messiah (on whom be peace) also said: ‘Knowledge does not signify logic or philosophy, rather true knowledge is that which Allah the Exalted grants merely through His grace. Such knowledge is a source of having awareness of Allah the Exalted and it generates Divine Khashiyyat, as stated in the Holy Qur’an: ‘…Only those of His servants who possess knowledge fear Allah…’. If knowledge does not bring about progression in Khashiyyat of Allah the Exalted, then remember such knowledge is not a source of progression in Divine knowledge.’

There are those whose tongues do not utter anything but abuse. Could the religious scholars whose abusive words about the Promised Messiah (on whom be peace) and also our Jama’at, in Pakistan and also here [in Britain] during Friday sermons have Khashiyyat?

The Promised Messiah (on whom be peace) said: ‘Remember, it is always the foolish who slips. When Satan slipped, it was not due to knowledge but due to foolishness. If he had excellence of knowledge, he would not have slipped. The Qur’an does not condemn knowledge, rather it states: ‘…Only those of His servants who possess knowledge fear Allah…’. Half-learned Mullah is renowned as danger to faith.’

The Promised Messiah (on whom be peace) also said: ‘Godly scholar does not signify one who is only matchless in syntax or logic, rather Godly scholar is that person who is always in fear of Allah the Exalted and whose tongue does not utter absurdities. However, in the current age even those who bathe the deceased have started calling themselves scholars and have made themselves inclusive in this term. This way the word is greatly demeaned and its meaning and connotation has been taken against the will and objective of Allah the Exalted. Whereas the Holy Qur’an has state this as a quality of the learned: ‘…Only those of His servants who possess knowledge fear Allah…’. That is, only those are scholars who fear Allah the Exalted. It will now be essential to observe that those who do not have the qualities of Khashiyyat and Taqwa of Allah, are certainly not worthy of being called by this title.

Knowledge is something that is certain and absolute and true knowledge is found in the Holy Qur’an and not in Greek philosophy or in the current British philosophy. Rather, true knowledge is found in philosophy of faith. The excellence and zenith of a believer is in attaining the status of a scholar and in achieving the state of certainty of knowledge which is the pinnacle of knowledge. However, those who are not blessed with true knowledge and on whom the paths of Divine knowledge and insight are not opened, may have themselves known as scholars but they are completely deprived of the merits and qualities of knowledge. The do not have the light that is found from true knowledge. In fact such people are entirely in loss and deficit. They fill their Hereafter with smog and darkness… those who are given true knowledge and insight of God and are given that knowledge which results in Khashiyyat of God, are those who have been likened to the Israelite Prophets in Hadith.’

Hadhrat Khalifatul Masih said that the Hadith which relates that a time will come when Muslim religious scholars will be the worst of creation under the heavens and all evil will come from them and will return to them proves that everyone who is known as a scholar does not have Khashiyyat of God.

The Promised Messiah (on whom be peace) said: ‘Taqwa and fear of God is borne out of knowledge, as Allah the Exalted states: ‘…Only those of His servants who possess knowledge fear Allah…’that is, only those fear Allah the Exalted who have knowledge. This clearly shows that true knowledge generates Khashiyyat of Allah and Allah the Exalted has associated Taqwa with knowledge. A person who is a scholar in the real sense will definitely have Khashiyyat of Allah. By knowledge, I mean knowledge of the Qur’an and not philosophy, science or current erudition because in order to attain them Taqwa and piety are not conditional. Just as a sinful, wicked person can learn them, so can a religious person. However, knowledge of the Qur’an is not given to anyone apart from the righteous and the religious. Thus, here knowledge signifies knowledge of the Qur’an which generates Taqwa and Khashiyyat of Allah.’

The Promised Messiah (on whom be peace) said: ‘One should not be deceived by the word ‘scholar’/those who possess knowledge. A scholar is one who fears Allah the Exalted. ‘…Only those of His servants who possess knowledge fear Allah…’, that is, no doubt those from among His servants who fear Allah the Exalted are the ones who possess knowledge. Their servitude and Khashiyyat of Allah is so heightened that they directly acquire knowledge and awareness from Allah the Exalted and gain beneficence from it. This status and rank is found through complete obedience and utmost love of the Holy Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be on him), so much so that a person is completely imbued in his colour.’

Thus is the reality of people who possess knowledge and their Khashiyyat of God. These extracts also draw attention to inculcating Khashiyyat of God so that one can be a true believer. This is not exclusive to any section of society and is a commandment for every Muslim.

During this Ramadan full benefit should be availed of the doors of Divine nearness that have been opened and the ambience of spiritual development is prevalent with Dars taking place. The Qur’an should be read with understanding to search for the ways of Divine knowledge that lead to Khashiyyat of God.

The verses recited at the start of the sermon speak of true believers who fear their Lord and who believe in His Signs. Signs of God signify all His commandments, all Quranic verses following which is essential. Perfect faith is by virtue of practice and is a source of inculcating Khashiyyat of God. One who has Khashiyyat of God does not ascribe partners to Him. However, sometimes hidden shirk (ascribing partners to God) is committed and this is why meticulousness is required. One should keep one’s word and deed firm on truth at all times. The fourth quality mentioned in the verses is that these people serve religion by giving their time and money, yet their hearts are fearful lest their giving is accepted or not and lest they slip at any point.

A Hadith related by Hadhrat ‘Ayesha (may Allah be pleased with her) recounts that she once asked the Holy Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be on him) that does the verse ‘And those who give what they give while their hearts are full of fear because to their Lord they will return’ mean that one could what one liked but fear God. The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be on him) replied that no, it meant that one should practice piety and also fear God.

God is Independent of all, He accepts what He wishes and does not accept what He wishes, one should always be in fear and awe of Him. Hadhrat Umme Salma, (may Allah be pleased with her) related a prayer of the Holy Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be on him): ‘O Changer of hearts, keep my heart firm on Your religion.’ When Hadhrat Umme Salma (may Allah be pleased with her) asked the Prophet the reason for the regularity with which he said this prayer, he answered: ‘O Umme Salma, the heart of every person lies between two fingers of God. He keeps steadfast whomsoever He wishes and He turns awry whomsoever He wishes.’

If this was the level of prayer of the Holy Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be on him), who was the guide, by following whose blessed model one achieves Taqwa and Khashiyyat of God, how tremendous is the need for us to draw our attention to this. A favour among the favours of the Holy Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be on him) is that he taught us ways of praying. Following is one of his prayer which all of us should say: ‘O Allah, I seek Your refuge from a heart that is not humble, from a prayer that is not accepted, from a nafs (self) that is not satiated and from knowledge that is not beneficial. I seek refuge from You from these four.’

A prayer of the Holy Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be on him) which touches the lofty heights of humility and Khashiyyat of God is the one he made during his Farewell Hajj. He prayed: ‘O Allah, You listen to what I say and You see my condition. You are fully aware of my secret matters and my apparent affairs, nothing about me is hidden from You. I am a beggar and needy in plight, seeker of Your help and refuge, afraid and frightened. I have come to You, acknowledging and confessing my sins. I beg You like a humble and meek person and entreat You like a lowly, sinful person. I pray to You like a scared blind person, my neck in bowed before You and my tears are flowing in Your Presence. My body is lying prostrate before You and my nose is covered in dust. O Allah, do not make me wretched while praying to You. Treat me with kindness and mercy. O’ You Who listens to entreaties the most, and grants the very best, accept my prayer.’

This was the great Prophet who gave us a great model of Khashiyyat of God. Each prayer of his, each practice of his was replete with Khashiyyat of God although he was the closest to God and even those who were associated with him earned the salutation of ‘raziAllah’ (may Allah be pleased with him/her). Such was his blessed, exemplary model and such was his Khashiyyat of God. If we adopt it, we too can attain God’s grace. May God enable us to understand the spirit and essence of Khashiyyat during Ramadan and may this Ramadan bring about a spiritual revolution.