The subject of reformation of practices continued in the Friday sermon today with emphasis on ways and means of obtaining best results for the betterment of a large section of the Jama’at. It was expounded in the last two Friday sermons that reformation of practices is enhanced by instilling strength of resolve, which for religious purposes is strength of belief, and by removing lack of knowledge and by removing lack of capacity to implement matters. Some points were taken in today’s sermon from elucidation by Hazrat Musleh Maud (may Allah be pleased with him).
Huzoor said that he also wished to say that our missionaries, office-holders, ameers and others who have advisory capacities within the Jama’at, should particularly keep Huzoor’s discourse in view so that they may go on to reform practices of the Jama’at. Many such aspects are time to time presented by Huzoor before the Jama’at and with the blessing of MTA Ahmadis all over the world are able to listen to Huzoor’s discourses and with the grace of God this proves effective. However, it is the task of the missionaries, ameers and office-holders to formulate their programmes in accordance with these discourses so that these important matters are brought to the attention of the Jama’at again and again so that it is extremely clear to every Ahmadi and is instilled in them what their practices should entail.
The first source of reformation of practices is strength of resolve or strength of faith. Prophets of God come to inculcate this; they demonstrate fresh and living signs of God. Hazrat Musleh Maud (may Allah be pleased with him) said that the abundance with which our Jama’at has fresh signs of God before it is matchless. There is no other religion apart from Islam with signs of ever-fresh Word of God, living miracles and signs demonstrating the existence of God which cleanse human hearts from all kind of adulteration and grant it knowledge and closeness of God. Why then, do we still find weaknesses of practices in our Jama’at? Hazrat Musleh Maud (may Allah be pleased with him) said that in his opinion the reason for this is because our religious scholars, missionaries and preachers have not paid special attention in disseminating this. Just as what Hazrat Musleh Maud (may Allah be pleased with him) said 75 odd years ago was true then, it is true today and attention needs to be paid to it. And just as we gradually move away from the time of the Promised Messiah (on whom be peace), efforts should be made to have proper planning in this regard.
Why is it that we can debate the matter of death of Jesus (on whom be peace) in minute detail and can produce reference upon reference before the detractors and silence them but similar effort has not been made by the religious scholars of the Jama’at to present the correct teaching of the Jama’at before it! As a result, there are people in the Jama’at who can respond to the matter of death of Jesus (on whom be peace) very well and can respond to objections raised by Maulwis. There are many Ahmadis here too who give very good and conclusive answers on the internet and media and some send details of this to Huzoor. In this sense we are armed very well. However, very few people can be found who would have knowledge of how the Promised Messiah (on whom be peace) presented God before us and what has he said about gaining knowledge and nearness of God and the glory with which God’s Word and miracles were manifested to him. It so happens that a person may be well-versed on the issue of death of Jesus (on whom be peace) but due to having no knowledge of the aforementioned aspects, he experiences weakness of faith, his faith falters leading to weaknesses in practice. Knowledge of the issue of death of Jesus (on whom be peace) does not bring about reformation of practices. Unless religious scholars of the Jama’at, missionaries and all office-holders who are responsible to act as role models and do reformation, do not pay the level of attention which is required and do not correlate these matters with the advent of the Promised Messiah (on whom be peace), a section of the Jama’at with weak strength of resolve and which cannot reform itself, will remain.
We need to find out and analyse how many of us are eager as regards worship of God! Not just in Ramadan, or sit Itikaf in Ramadan and simply relate it for the rest of the year. Rather, by making this love of worship a part of our life throughout the year so that we have nearness of God on a permanent basis. How many of us experience acceptance of prayers through God’s love and to whom He speaks? Having accepted the Promised Messiah (on whom be peace), it is the obligation of every Ahmadi to try and attain this level for he came to bring about this very revival of Islam. If each Ahmadi knew the station of the Promised Messiah (on whom be peace) and felt the pain to fulfil the objective of his advent and was aware of how many great signs God showed for him and indeed to many of those who accepted him, then each one of us would wish for that station and make efforts to attain it. Strength of faith would be burnished to the level where it generates strength of resolve and a passion to gain nearness of God.
We copy others in worldly matters to attain something good. Each individual emulates or copies others in this regard according to his or her mind-set and capacity. For example, seeing someone wearing a nice outfit makes one want to have something similar. Nowadays television has brought the world so close that let alone people from the middle class, even the poor wish for such and such amenities. They see others have television or fridge and they also want it. They do not try to understand that perhaps the other person may have been given the item as a gift and they should not feel covetous. Immediately effort is made to take out a loan. Or some people even have the habit of requesting aid/help in such matters. Certainly, the Jama’at helps those with limited means in need of help according to its means but those who make requests should ask for legitimate items and also be mindful of their self-respect. Similarly, those who are better off also covet a newer model of television or a better car etc. and take out loans for this purpose. Huzoor explained that one big cause of the economic downturn in the world these days is the interest on the debt which was incurred to purchase such items. Interest/usury is a big curse. It is purchasing merchandise on interest which ultimately bankrupted many.
In terms of worldly matters people copy and emulate others but we do not emulate and copy in religious matters. We do not emulate the model of the Promised Messiah (on whom be peace) and his companions in doing which there is no question of incurring any loss, in fact there is immeasurable gain! What is the reason then, that we do not emulate these models? It is quite evident that either knowledge of these matters is not given therefore realisation is not generated or the knowledge given is few and far between and we forget that God demonstrates His fresh signs even today and our attention to these matters is negligible. Whereas during the course of the day we repeatedly see adverts for worldly things and acquisition of material things gets entrenched in our minds. If question is ever raised about the validity of acquiring certain items due to lack of funds, the response is that do the poor and their children not have sentiments! Curiously these sentiments do not come to the fore when for example revelations of the Prophet Messiah (on whom be peace) are mentioned. No desire is expressed to be recipient of Word of God and His sign and love! A main reason for this mind-set is that our religious scholars, our missionaries and office-holders do not try to repetitively mention in their respective circles that efforts should be made to attain love of God as indeed there is need to do so! Or their own examples are such that they do not draw attention of others. Incidents of God’s help and succour and His signs demonstrated for the Promised Messiah (on whom be peace) and his companions are not mentioned with the required stress and as a result they do not instil the belief that God did not limit His attribute to time and place and He demonstrates His attributes today as He did before. If such matters are explained repetitively and ways to connect to God are also explained and the promises God made to the Promised Messiah (on whom be peace) are mentioned, children and youngsters would never raise the question why prayers are not accepted. When connection with God is strong, the philosophy of prayer is understood. What needs to be told is that in this age nearness to God can be gained by connecting to the true and ardent devotee of the Holy Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be on him) and God manifests Himself with all His glory. If seeking piety and nearness to God becomes widespread in our Jama’at, we can have a large group of people through whom sin can be erased to a great extent. Claim cannot be made to erase sin completely, however sin can be overcome to a large extent and a large section of the Jama’at can be of people who can overcome sin. For this purpose, missionaries, ameers and office-holders should try to reform in their individual spheres and reform people by telling them that God informed the Promised Messiah (on whom be peace) that those who will follow him completely will gain Divine nearness and God listens to most prayers of such people. With the grace of God we have such people in our Jama’at. They write to Huzoor about their experiences and Huzoor often relates them. These experiences motivate and inspire others to emulate them so that a close connection with God is established.
The Promised Messiah (on whom be peace) once said: ‘No other body of people in the world has accepted a God Who answers and listens to prayers. Most certainly a Christian cannot say that he has accepted Christ who listens to his prayers and answers! There is only One God Who speaks; the God of Islam, Who has been presented in the Holy Qur’an and has stated: ‘Pray unto Me; I will answer your prayer…’ (40:61) And it is completely true that if a person believes in Allah the Exalted with true intention and purity of heart, and makes spiritual endeavours and remains engaged in prayers, ultimately his prayers will definitely be answered.’
If these matters are repetitively presented before the Jama’at, it can greatly fortify strength of resolve which can overcome thousands of sins and can grant Divine nearness that would never falter. The purpose of the advent of the Promised Messiah (on whom be peace) was indeed to save mankind from sin and to forge a relationship with God which would make pleasure of God precedent over everything and His worship would be offered with eagerness. Huzoor related a few examples of how Ahmadiyyat brought about lifestyle changes in people.
Our missionary from Kyrgyzstan writes that an Umer Sahib who is now 58 years old took his Bai’at in 2002. He was a born Muslim but held communist views. Umer Sahib says that the day he took his Bai’at was a memorable day which he equates to a new birth. He had tried many other religious communities but found no change in himself. Since taking Bai’at he has undergone a spiritual revolutionary change. Salat was something alien to him before Bai’at but now five daily Prayers have become an integral part of his life and it is not conceivable for him to miss Tahajjud Prayer. He says his heart is filled with the belief that if a person sets out to search the truth, he finds his destination which becomes a source of spiritual training for him and he finds tranquillity of heart.
Our missionary from Africa writes that Idrisso Sahib, who took Bai’at in 2013 says that he was born to an idolatrous father on the day of Eid, and was thus given a Muslim name and made a Muslim. He used to go to the mosque as a youngster but once returning from Friday Prayers he sustained an injury which made him question why he sustained an injury after worship of God, so he became a Christian. He moved from church to church and denomination to denomination. Meanwhile he had a disagreement with his wife and faced many problems. Many Reconciliation efforts were made between him and his wife but to no avail. It was at this time he met an Ahmadi who did Tabligh to him. He told Idrisso Sahib that he had tried all ways and means but none had worked and he offered his formula which was to pray to God. He said he too would pray for Idrisso Sahib and his wife to be reconciled and as the condition was for both of them to pray with sincerity of heart it would be heard and once Idrisso Sahib’s problems were resolved he would have to accept it as a result of the truthfulness of the Imam of the Ahmadi person. Gradually all problems faced by Idrisso Sahib were resolved and he was reconciled with his wife. He now says that this way is the real way of Islam and he called his situation a sign of the truthfulness of the Promised Messiah (on whom be peace). A huge transformation has come about in him. This is also a sign for our long-term Ahmadis whose families are filled with anxiety. Problems are brought before Huzoor where husbands do not pay their dues and wives do not pay their dues. People should strengthen their belief and try for reformation of their practices. They should turn to God and their problems will be resolved. Everyone should try this method and abandon egotism and not follow mind-set of how to retort to each other etc. Rather, help should be sought from God Who shows the right way.
Our missionary from Ghana writes that a new Ahmadi Jabreela Sahib came to see him and said that it was time of harvest and his idolatrous father had asked him to make an offering to the idols for a good harvest of his crop of yams. The Ahmadi teacher told him to desist from idolatry and also keep his father away from it and taught him Dua e Istakhara. With the grace of God, he yielded a very good crop. His idolatrous father said that the God of his son was the true God and he burnt all the idols he had kept. Such is the strength of belief which is being generated in those who are accepting the Promised Messiah (on whom be peace).
Our missionary from Eldoret, Kenya writes that an ex-employee who had been dismissed somehow entered the compound of our mosque and planted a prohibited drug in the ceiling. He later reported to the police that the Ahmadi missionary dealt in drugs under the guise of Islam. The police raided the mosque and found the illegal substance. Our missionary explained to the police that this was someone’s mischief but he was not listened and they took him away and imprisoned him. The judge gave a hearing date. Huzoor was informed of the situation and Huzoor sent a prayerful reply. A second hearing took place. The missionary writes that each time he faced the judge he would look at him most attentively, then saying the words ‘gentleman, sit down’, he would turn to the lawyers and give them a hearing date. Two days before his day in court our missionary was anxious as he offered his Fajr Prayer. He prayed and then as he was about to recite the Holy Qur’an he thought of seeking a good omen from the Qur’an; open the Qur’an and seek a message from whichever word his eyes fell on first. When he opened the Qur’an his eyes fell on the verse: ‘We said, ‘Turn cold, O fire, and be a source of peace for Abraham!’ (21:70) He felt assured at the good message. Later, he went to collect his post and received Huzoor’s letter in which Huzoor had written that may God keep him safe from all harm and in His protection and may the plans of the hypocrites be unsuccessful and the Jama’at be saved from every trouble and may God grant it further advancement. After reading the letter our missionary was confident that God would bless him. When he appeared before the judge, he asked him to sit down as before and after speaking to the lawyers told him that there was no case against him and he was free to go. Thus, if faith is strong then one has belief in God’s power and one only but only turns to God. Indeed, God shows His signs. While these matters strengthen one’s own faith they also cause others’ faith to be strengthened.
The second factor for reformation of practices is strength of knowledge or having knowledge. Sometimes it is erroneously thought that some sins are big and others small. As a result it gets embedded in one’s heart and mind that some sins are small and inconsequential. Attention was drawn in a recent sermon that some asylum seekers make false submissions in their cases. Not only do they harm their own case, they are also a cause of disrepute of the Jama’at. Someone told Huzoor that after listening to the Friday sermon, an asylum seeker went to a lawyer/solicitor who is also an Ahmadi and is perhaps also serving the Jama’at in some capacity. He had probably listened to the Friday sermon. The solicitor added some incorrect information to the case saying it was important to add it as there could be no case without it, this in spite of the fact that Huzoor had said no false information should be used. Persecution of Ahmadis is so clear and evident that any solicitor’s cunning or falsehood is not needed to make up a case.
Missionaries and office-holders should also repeatedly advise against falsehood. It should be repetitively mentioned that there is no such thing as small or big sin, sin is sin and it should be avoided. Every falsehood is falsehood and this shirk (to associate partners with God) should be avoided. If one’s connection with God is strong there is no need to worry, signs will manifest themselves. Those who advice others should also remember that they themselves should be ever in search of higher levels of strength of resolve and in practical terms there should be uniformity between their word and deed. They should not be those who say something and do something else. There is need to draw attention of the Jama’at again and again to these matters and if everyone starts their task in this regard, change will be visible.
These days children are informed of certain immoralities in schools in the name of education. Our Nizam needs to actively inform children and youngsters of the reality. Parents need to be mindful of their own condition and educate themselves about the harms of the information which is given to children in the name of education in schools. Here children are taught some very unnecessary things at a very young age and the argument given is that this makes them aware to differentiate between good and bad. Whereas in fact it does not do that, rather, it instils wrong thoughts in majority of children from an early age. Parental models and surrounding models are mostly bad rather than good. Thus, missionaries, office-holders of auxiliary organisations and parents, all have to make joint effort to arrange for correct information, as opposed to incorrect information to be disseminated. We cannot stop the way things are done in schools and we cannot interfere, however by identifying to our children what is foul and immoral we can take them in confidence and show them our own good role models and save them from the effect of the environment. May God enable all of us to perform our obligations in a good manner!
Next Huzoor announced that he would lead funeral Prayers in absentia of respected Nawab Bibi Sahiba and Sheikh Abdul Rasheed Sherma Sahib.