Friday Sermon: Essence of Istighfar and Sattari

March 31st, 2017

Huzur said that there is not a single human in the world who is bereft of any type of flaws and shortcomings. It is the attribute of Allah of "Sattar" that covers our weaknesses. If man's faults, deficiencies and sins were laid bare, he would find it impossible to save face before anyone at all. He has said we should also engage in Istighfar (seeking forgiveness from Him for our sins) and He will then forgive us of our sins and will conceal our failings and He will listen to our prayers.

The meaning of "Ghafr" [the root word in Arabic for Istighfar] is to cover and to conceal and more or less the same meaning applies to "Sattr".

The Promised Messiah (as) stated that the attribute of God of overlooking's others faults operates by God, despite observing man's faults and sins, concealing his faults until man transgresses beyond limits of moderation. Yet man, without even witnessing another committing a wrongdoing, begins raising a hue and cry about the other person. So reflect on how great is God's attributes of mercy and generousity. If Allah were to hold man to account for everything he does, He would destroy all mankind. However his mercy and favour is all-encompassing and supersedes his punishment.

There are many among us who, instead of concealing the faults of others, go around trying to expose the flaws in others. Yet when anyone speaks ill against them, or they find out from some source that someone has said something about them, they become extremely enraged and furious to the degree that they are prepared to fight or kill that other person. However when they themselves speak ill of others, they will brush it off by simply saying that they had only said it lightly and it did not mean anything.

We should always keep in mind the following statement of the Holy Prophet (sa) that: You should desire for others what you desire for yourself. And so when one see weaknesses in someone, instead of publicising his flaws, they should focus on engaging in Istighfar (seeking forgiveness from Allah for one's sins). To attract the blessings of Allah one should avoid constantly engaging in fault-finding in others and instead scrutinise their own condition. Only then can they attain the mercy and blessings of Allah.

Always remember that if someone's transgressions are causing harm to the Nizaam-e-Jamaat (System of the Community) or are seriously corrupting a section of people, then the matter should be reported to the appointed individuals such as the Ameer (National President) or Sadr (local President). Or you can write to me so that reformation can be initiated. Allah the Almighty does not wish for the system of the Community that He has established, to be ruined.

Huzur said he would also like to draw the attention of those who have been entrusted with Jama'at work, especially those departments tasked with reformation. They must carry out the work of reformation treading extremely carefully and also with immense compassion and sympathy. No one should feel that their shortcomings have been exposed and revealed to others by any office bearer. Allah the Almighty will say that He had given such people the opportunity to serve the Jamaat so that they can reflect the attributes of Allah as much as possible. However such people in reality would be acting in the opposite manner to Allah's attribute of "Sattar" (covering the faults of others) and thereby will become the means of creating anxiety and disorder.

The Holy Prophet (sa) stated that a Muslim is a brother of a fellow Muslim and cannot commit any cruelty or injustice against him and nor does one abandon and disown the other. Regrettably, nowadays we find that the most cruelty and injustice perpetrated against the Muslims is by the Muslims themselves and they are spilling the blood of one another. None of them pays heed to this instruction of the Holy Prophet (sa).

The Holy Prophet (sa) further stated that one who remains occupied in serving his brothers, Allah the Almighty will continue to fulfil his needs and one who alleviates the troubles of a fellow Muslim, Allah the Almighty will lesson one affliction from the afflictions of the Day of Judgment. And, one who covers the sins of a Muslim, Allah the Almighty will cover his sins on the Day of Judgment.

Thus, in order to attain the mercy and benevolence of the Merciful and Benevolent God, it is necessary to cover up and conceal the faults/sins of others. The Holy Prophet (sa) also stated that whoever covers the sins of a Muslim, Allah will cover him his sin on the Day of Judgment. In other words, Allah the Almighty certainly rewards a person who covers the sins of others.

Thus, if we seek to derive the blessings of Allah the Almighty's attribute of Al-Sattar [One Who conceals the shortcomings and faults of others], then it is imperative that we also adopt this attribute and cover the faults and shortcomings of others. No one should entertain the idea that others are full of shortcomings and he is free from them. It is purely due to the grace of Allah the Almighty that He has concealed our sins.

One should reflect deeply about his own state and also not expose other people's weaknesses. Once should always asses himself and should always remember that just as Allah the Almighty has covered his shortcomings, in the same way he is to cover the shortcomings of others.

The Promised Messiah (as) states that perfection of one's faith is achieved by adopting the attributes of God. Allah the Almighty is Sattar, and therefore man should also partake of this attribute of Sattar and should cover the faults and sins of his brothers.

Once during a gathering in the presence of the Promised Messiah (as), the faults of a particular person were being recounted. The Promised Messiah (as) heard this and addressing the person who was saying this said: 'you have passionately mentioned and described his weaknesses, however it would have been better had you instead mentioned his qualities.

Therefore, in order to establish a society free from ills and to promote peace and love, it is necessary to cover the faults of others and instead speak of their qualities.

It is a grievous sin to publicise and spread the faults of others and this is something that every Ahmadi should refrain from. We have entered into the Bai'at [oath of initiation] of the Promised Messiah (as) and have pledged to cause no harm whatsoever to others, neither by our hands and nor our tongues, thus it is imperative to adhere to this. The wound caused by one's speech does not heal for a very long time.

The Promised Messiah (as) states that if one notices a weakness in someone then he should advise him discreetly but if he does not follow the advice then one should pray for him. If neither have effect then consider this as a divine decree and Allah the Almighty Himself will provide the means for his reformation.

If a person has accepted the promised Messiah (as) and into his Bai'at, then this shows that Allah the Almighty has accepted him. Therefore, no one then has the right to search for his personal flaws and then reveal them to others.

The Promised Messiah (as) states that it is not our practise to be haste and quick in abandoning someone. If someone's child is ill-behaved, one makes every effort to bring about his reformation. Similarly, one should not be so haste in abandoning his fellow brother.

The Promised Messiah (as) also states that the teachings of the Holy Quran certainly do not state that one should promote the faults and weaknesses of others and discuss them with others. In fact, it states:

They exhort one another with patience and mercy. The Promised Messiah (as) states that Marhama [Mercy] is that when one sees a blemish in someone, he should advise them and pray for them.

The Promised Messiah (as) states that prayer contains great vigour. The state of that individual is very pitiful who can announce the fault on another one hundred times, yet does not pray for him even once.

What did the Promised Messiah (as) wish for us to become? It was that we should adopt mercy for one another and we should become those who pray for each other and conceal each other's shortcomings.

On one occasion the Promised Messiah (as) stated that members of his Jamaat should act in a manner that when anyone witnesses the fault of another, they should pray for that person. However, if they do not pray for them and instead announce [the fault] it in a manner that it becomes thoroughly exposed, then they will be guilty of sin. Therefore, one should always assist their fellow brother by praying for them." When we assist each other in this manner, and instead of exposing the weakness of others and revealing their faults we begin to pray for them, only then will we become that true community that the Promised Messiah (as) wished for us to become.

The Holy Prophet (sa) has taught us a prayer that can grant us the protection of God Almighty and become recipients of his Divine blessings, therefore we should recite this constantly. The prayer is as follows: "O Allah! I implore from you that you protect me in this life and the hereafter. O my Lord! Grant me security and shield me in my faith, worldly matters, wealth and my household. O Allah! Conceal my shortcomings and bestow peace upon me by removing my fears. O Allah! Protect me Yourself from all dangers, and encompass me in Your security from all directions, whether it is from in front, behind me, from my right, left or even above. I seek the shelter of Your Majesty, lest I fall prey to any hidden difficulty."

After the Friday Sermon, Huzur lead a funeral prayer in absentia for Mr Malik Salim Latif Sahib who was an Advocate and also Sadr Jamaat of Nankana Sahib in Pakistan. On the 30th March 2017, he left his house at 9am for court, accompanied by his son. On the way, an enemy of Ahmadiyyat opened fire and he was martyred as a result. To Allah we belong and to Him shall we return.

The deceased possessed many qualities. He was very sociable and hospitable. Aside from showing hospitality to the guests from the centre, compassion for the poor was an evident trait of his. He was ever ready to help everyone. He was regular in his prayers and had a special connection with Khilafat. He was a brave and courageous individual. Alongside the other members of the Jamaat he faced severe persecution. In 1989 many Ahmadi homes, including the home of the deceased, were ransacked and set on fire by the opponents. Despite all these circumstances he always remained steadfast and confronted the opponents valiantly. In 2010 he had the opportunity to assist in the building of the local mosque.

The deceased is survived by two sons and one daughter. May Allah elevate the status of the deceased and may He enable his children to increase in their virtuous deeds. May He arrange for the swift capture of the opponents.