04 Jul Friday Sermon: The Essence of the blessed month of Ramadhan
‘O ye who believe! fasting is prescribed for you, as it was prescribed for those before you, so that you may become righteous.’ (2:184)
It is merely with the grace of God that we are currently experiencing yet another Ramadan; a month of limitless blessings. God states that fasting is made obligatory in this month not to simply remain hungry from morning till the evening but so that righteousness is adopted.
The Promised Messiah (on whom be peace) said: ‘A person who keeps fast should always have it in view that fasting does not simply signify remaining hungry. Rather such a person should engage in remembrance of God so that he can attain devotion to God and is able to forsake worldly desires.’ He said: ‘Fasting signifies this alone that man gives up one kind of bread, which is for physical sustenance and takes the other kind of bread which is a source of contentment for the soul. People who fast only for the sake of God and not as a mere ritual should stay engaged in hamd (glorification of Allah) tasbih (saying SubhanAllah) and tahlil (saying la ilaha illa Allah/there is no god but Allah) to have the other kind of sustenance.’
Indeed, true believers should engage in hamd and tasbih during Ramadan more than before and raise their standard of worship in order to attain the beneficence of the sacred month. The Holy Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be on him) said that fasting is a shield and it is a strong fortress against fire. However this is so when everything man does is for the sake of God and his night and day is spent in remembrance of God and he treads the path of righteousness.
God states that when a person fasts with this mind set and also pays the dues of mankind his fast becomes for God and God is the reward for the fast. Virtues of such people are not temporary; they do not abide by them only during Ramadan. They have real insight of righteousness and they link one Ramadan with the next Ramadan. This is what we should aim for; not adopting righteousness temporarily and not fasting on a superficial level merely to remain hungry and thirsty. We should understand the essence of the spirit of Ramadan and not merely wish each other ‘Ramadan Mubarak’ and remain negligent. Attainment of righteousness should be ever present in our mind every day when keeping fast in the morning and when breaking fast in the evening. We should not respond in kind to anyone being aggressive to us. Rather, we should remain silent and simply tell them that we are fasting. We should be mindful that there is no esteem in showing someone down and retorting back to them, rather it is in gaining pleasure of God. We should be mindful as to who is honoured by God. As it is stated: ‘…Verily, the most honourable among you, in the sight of Allah, is he who is the most righteous among you…’(49:14)
An extract of the Promised Messiah (on whom be peace) which would shake anyone with fear of God reads: ‘Only that person is honourable in the sight of Allah the Exalted who is righteous. God will only keep the community of the devout and will ruin the other. This is a sensitive aspect and two cannot be together here, that is, the righteous and the mischievous and foul cannot be in the same place. It is essential that the righteous is upheld and the wicked is ruined. Since God knows who is righteous in His sight, it is a grave cause for concern! Fortunate is the righteous and wretched is one who comes under [God’s] curse.’
Fasting promotes righteousness and thus is God’s favour and grace on mankind that He puts Satan in fetters during Ramadan so that righteousness can be attained with ease. However, if other matters are given importance during fasting and one is embroiled in a false web of egotism, then fasting will not avail. The Promised Messiah (on whom be peace) has said that it is duplicitous not to break away from such false webs after coming into his Bai’at. Outwardly announce to have adopted righteousness but have foulness in heart! He has indeed called it a grave cause for concern that only God decides who has righteousness. Therefore, the only recourse is repentance, istighfar (seeking forgiveness from Allah), tasbih and hamd.
However, our God is Loving, may we be sacrificed on Him. He states that during Ramadan He comes very close to man so that man may seek as much beneficence as he can. This spiritual camp lasts one month and should be fully availed of. During this month acts of virtue for the sake of God reap manifold reward as compared to ordinary days. Therefore, rise and adorn your worship in accordance with God’s commandment with the promise that this adornment will be permanent. Rise, and beautify your practices in accordance with the pleasure of God with the intention to try and make them part of your life. Rise, and attain true insight and perception of giving precedence to faith over worldly matters during this month with the thought that now it be your objective of life and keep this in view: ‘…and barter not My Signs for a paltry price…’ (2:42) These are the thought processes which will avail true benefit of Ramadan.
God does not simply command righteousness, He informs us that righteousness is for our own good and if we follow Shariah, then God will become our Friend while worldly people cannot benefit us in any way! It is stated: ‘Verily, they will not avail thee aught against Allah…’ (45:20)Therefore, rather than look for superficial refuges with people, search for the perfect refuge of God, Who is a ‘…Friend of the righteous…’ (45:20)God states that He loves those who do things for His sake and with righteousness: ‘…verily, Allah loves the God-fearing.’ (3:77). What more could one want after receiving God’s love? And after finding blessings of this world and the Hereafter! God states that the worldly people cannot attain the ending of the righteous, those who endure the persecution of the worldly people and only seek God’s help and do not submit to the apparent power of worldly people. Such people will be given power in this world and eventually it will be them who will triumph, InshaAllah.
Today Ahmadis are persecuted in Pakistan and other countries and they are told that if they listen to the persecutors all their troubles will be removed and they will be embraced by them. However, we have to be mindful that all this is deception. What they today deem to be their success will become their failure. The very worldly supports that they rely on to perpetrate extreme persecution will be blown to dust like rotten timber. God enjoins patience and to seek His help alone and promises that those who comply will be made successors in the earth. This was the promise made to the Holy Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be on him) and owing to his grace, was also made to the Promised Messiah (on whom be peace). Indeed, sacrifices will have to be made but it will be these very sacrifices which will lead to success and will enhance levels of righteousness and give the glad-tiding of: ‘…and the end if for the God-fearing.’ (7:129).
If the Muslim Ummah understood the reality and became helpers of the Promised Messiah (on whom be peace) all the restlessness in Muslim countries and people would be removed. The disorder and mayhem in the name of Jihad would change into love and peace! Neither the leaders nor the clergy has any righteousness and as a result the public which is under their influence is also devoid of righteousness. They get ensnared by the extremists and perpetrate acts which are far-removed from righteousness. The clergy tempts them with nearness to God to commits wicked acts. There is no one to advise these young men and other Muslims that what they do is not piety, it is not Jihad, and in fact it is far-removed from righteousness. And God has identified believers as those who are: ‘…tender amongst themselves…’ (48:30)! God would never make the ending of such people good and would never make such cruel people successors in the earth!
Could God make those who raise slogans of ‘Khilafat’ successors in the earth? Could the Gracious God help the oppressors? The God Who sent the Holy Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be on him) as ‘mercy for all the worlds’! Would He allow the oppressors to flourish in the world in the name of His beloved Prophet? Most certainly, He will not. Khilafat was to be established with Divine help and succour in accordance to the prophecy of the Holy Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be on him) through the Promised Messiah (on whom be peace) and it has been established. Any other slogan raised in the name of Khilafat is a way to acquire worldly gains in the name of faith and to seize governance.
Huzoor said that last Friday he was interviewed by a TV channel and he told them that the rightful Khilafat is already established. Khilafat cannot be established through oppression, it is established through Divine help and succour. If only the Muslim Ummah also understood this, their mutual fighting and power struggle would stop. We need to also pray for the Muslim Ummah during Ramadan; because of them the anti-Islamic factions are getting opportunities to bring Islam and the Holy Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be on him) in disrepute. Recently, in light of this furore over Khilafat, a religious studies professor made some offensive observations about Khulfa e Rashideen and the Holy Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be on him). The Muslim clergy and government leaders are too occupied with grabbing power and then safeguarding it. If anyone responds to such offensive allegations, it is the Ahmadiyya Jama’at and we have responded.
These people who are anti-Islam and harbour rancour about the Holy Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be on him) have now made a new film about the Holy Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be on him) and Hazrat ‘Aishah (may Allah be pleased with her) which is being simultaneously released today in Washington and Berlin. These people assume they can, God forbid, make the Holy Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be on him) a target of derision. Their life in this world and the Hereafter will be ruined but they cannot see their ending. God states such people reach bad ending. Protest against this film while remaining within the constraints of law will be raised. Huzoor only found out about this yesterday and has instructed the German Jama’at about it and Huzoor said USA Jama’at should also make full efforts in this regard. However, Huzoor said that an Ahmadi’s true expression of love for the Holy Prophet and upholding his glory and greatness is in reciting Durood in abundance. ‘Holy is Allah the Praiseworthy, Holy is Allah, the Great. Bless O Allah Muhammad and the people of Muhammad.’ Every Ahmadi in the world should fill the air today and during Ramadan with Durood. While this is our response to the attacks of the enemy, it also instils righteousness in us and it is righteousness which gives us the glad-tiding of good ending. The enemies of Islam will be reduced to smithereens and will be blown away while success and good ending will be for the truly righteous. InshaAllah!
Muslim Ummah needs to understand that satanic forces have tricked them into fighting with each other. From where has such sectarian violence suddenly appeared? It is kindled by certain external forces so that Islam can be brought into disrepute. These forces are attacking internally by instigating sectarian fighting while their external attacks comprise of making offensive films about the Holy Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be on him). They are aware that in reaction to such films the Muslim world will come into the grip of a wave of indignation and there will be rioting and disturbances which will provide further fodder to those powers to bring Islam in disrepute. These satanic forces have created a satanic whirlwind and there is no one to pull Muslims out of it. And they reject the only way out that there is for them! Prayers should be made that they come to their senses and accept the Promised Messiah (on whom be peace) and experience Islam’s triumph.
Meanwhile Ahmadis should not be simply content with accepting the Promised Messiah (on whom be peace) and being connected to Khilafat. We need to enhance our level of righteousness while fasting and in order to become a true servant of God, righteousness is the key and Ramadan is a great source of progressing in righteousness and one should fully avail of it. For this God has thus guided: ‘And this is a Book which We have sent down; it is full of blessings. So follow it, and guard against sin that you may be shown mercy;’ (6:156).
If beneficence of Ramadan is to be availed, if a good ending is to be had, if doors to prosperity are to be opened and if God’s mercy is to attained and we are not to become like those without a leader and who are deceived by people who incite their emotions in the name of Islam, then God states, look at the commandments in the Qur’an and attain true insight of them and reflect over the commandments of the Qur’an through the eyes of the Promised Messiah (on whom be peace) who was sent by God in this age in true devotion of the Holy Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be on him). The Promised Messiah (on whom be peace) said that he did not consider a person to be from him who knowingly left any of the seven hundred commandments of the Holy Qur’an. As mentioned earlier in the sermon, this is a grave cause for concern. God is Ever Merciful and says that the doors to His mercy are always remains open to those who will adopt righteousness.
Sometimes people do not give importance to some commandments due to worldly gains. Wealth, children, business and other worldly pursuits appear attractive to them and they end up doing something that let alone righteousness, is even beyond the pale of morality. All provisions come from God; He is the fountainhead of all wealth. If one accumulates wealth by telling lies, by usurping others or through deceit, such wealth is not a source of good, it eventually becomes a source of evil. God says that to avoid His chastisement provision should be acquired through fair means and it is the righteous who is given provision through fair means; this provision comes from God from ways and means beyond imagination. It is stated: ‘…And he who fears Allah — He will make for him a way out,’(65:3) ‘And will provide for him from where he expects not. And he who puts his trust in Allah — He is sufficient for him. Verily, Allah will accomplish His purpose. For everything has Allah appointed a measure.’(65:4)
The Promised Messiah (on whom be peace) said that it is a favour of God that He liberates a righteous person from what is abhorrent in the world and Himself provides for such a person. God makes a way for a God-fearing person in time of every trouble and provides for him from where the person could not even imagine. He said that those who claim to be righteous but also say that they are experiencing adversity have either too many worldly desires or their claim to righteousness is erroneous. In any case what God states cannot be wrong! Some may say that disbelievers have great wealth and they live a life of luxury. However, the Promised Messiah (on whom be peace) said they may appear happy outwardly but in fact they are embroiled in a state of vexation. Such people then look for ways to achieve inner peace and tranquillity as drug addicts do. If a person is truly righteous he will have inner peace even in scarcity. Indeed, it is a blessing of God when one does not have too many unnecessary wishes! Ahmadis should try and instil these values during Ramadan where worldly pleasures are only restricted to what is permissible. Indeed, righteous people who are wealthy spend their wealth for the pleasure of God. Huzoor said he was looking at a book a few days ago about Chaudhry Zafrulla Sahib written by Bashir Rafiq Sahib. It had an incidence about a wealthy political leader who when visiting London with his family used to book an entire wing of a hotel. Once he came by himself but still booked the entire wing and said he had the money to pay for it so he could not live in claustrophobic conditions. He asked Chaudhry Sahib where he was staying. Chaudhry Sahib told him his stay was at the mission house with Bashir Rafiq Sahib where he also took his meals. The wealthy politician remarked why did Chaudhry Sahib not avail his wealth and stayed in such constrained conditions! Chaudhry Sahib told the politician that while he spent money lavishly, Chaudhry Sahib saved it and used it on education of students and on meeting the needs of the impoverished and helping the helpless. He added that the peace of mind this gave him could not be achieved by a worldly person and said that he prayed the wealthy politician would also find out about this peace of mind.
These were people who were successful in worldly terms yet they were disinclined towards worldliness. It is such righteous people who have been given the glad-tiding of paradise in both this world and the Hereafter. May God enable us to derive beneficence from this Ramadan in such a way that high standards of righteousness become a constant part of our life and may we partake of paradise in both the worlds and may our ending be good and we become true models of Islam. May we refute and rebound every attack of enemies of Islam with our words and practice and our devout prayers. Today only the Jama’at of the Promised Messiah (on whom be peace) is going to contend with anti-Islamic satanic forces. Muslim masses do not grasp their scheming, perhaps there is the odd good-intentioned leader among Muslims, and even they do not grasp the situation. They presume that they will be successful by getting outside help! When in reality they are being ensnared in the ploy which will cause their ruin. Our advice has no impact; we are sincerely concerned for them but they are against us! We need to pray for mercy for the Muslim Ummah and also pray for those Ahmadis who are being persecuted. More than anything we should pray to attain true righteousness in this Ramadan so that through it we can experience the opponents of Islam fail. May God bring about a true revolutionary change in us during Ramadan!