The article below – written by Hazrat Mirza Bashir Ahmadra, son of Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmadas – has been translated to English by Al Hakam from the original Urdu in the 5 November 1937 issue of Al Fazl.
Hazrat Mirza Bashir Ahmadra (1893-1963)
The blessed month of Ramadan is approaching; in fact, by the time this article gets published, Ramadan may have already begun. As friends will be aware, this is a very blessed month.
As regards Ramadan, Allah the Exalted says, “I become closer to My servants during this month.” A large reason for this is that special emphasis is paid to the worship of God and His remembrance.
Aside from fasting, which in its own right is a superior form of worship, the month of Ramadan sees an increase in nawafil [supererogatory prayers], recitation of the Holy Quran, prayers [in general] and other forms of remembrance of Allah. Due to this, this month is regarded by God as a blessed and superior month.
Therefore, I wish to draw the attention of everyone to learning the reality of this month and after learning about it, spending this month in the manner that is expected by Allah the Almighty and His Prophet.
First and foremost, unless one has a proper excuse as outlined by the Shariah, everyone should fast all the days of this month. Whilst fasting, everyone ought to remember the blessed purpose behind fasting, which Islam has described, so that fasting is not limited to hunger and thirst but adopts a spiritual purpose too.
Secondly, the Tarawih prayers should be offered with due diligence, the preferred hour for which is sehri [pre-dawn period], but for those not able to do so, there is the provision of offering it after Isha prayers.
Thirdly, special attention should be paid to the recitation of the Holy Quran and special efforts should be made to complete one full reading of the Quran at home.
Fourthly, special attention should be given to prayers in this month. Aside from being a superior form of worship, prayers are a most effective method of fulfilling one’s desires. Precedence should be given to praying for the triumph of Islam and Ahmadiyyat and thereafter, personal prayers should be made.
Fifthly, special focus should be made to offering sadaqah and giving in charity as this plays a crucial role in ridding oneself of trials and tribulations and acquiring excellence.
It is my hope that our friends bear in mind the aforementioned five points during the blessed month of Ramadan and adopt these virtues not by way of ritual, but with utmost sincerity and dedication, so that, insha-Allah, they earn tremendous spiritual benefits.
Aside from this, I wish to make an appeal, which I have made in previous years, and that is for all friends to choose one personal weakness and vice and make a personal promise to God to abstain from it and completely rid themselves of it, so that when Ramadan comes to an end, they may be pure from at least one weakness.
This appeal was originally made by the Promised Messiahas and, by the grace of God, is an effective means of spiritual purification.
Some individuals are not accustomed to introspection and despite their weaknesses, they are oblivious to their spiritual flaws that require purification. For this reason, I present a list below of such spiritual weaknesses and vices that people possess nowadays. Friends can select one aspect from this list and make a personal promise to God that through His grace and help, they will rid themselves of such a weakness in the future.
The list is as follows:
1. Negligence in offering obligatory Salat
2. Negligence in offering Salat in congregation
3. Not offering Salat behind an imam due to a quarrel with him
4. Carelessness in physical purity while offering Salat
5. Negligence in offering sunnah Salat
6. Negligence in offering Tahajjud Salat
7. Negligence in fasting i.e. to miss a fast for no permissible reason
8. Negligence in completing the fasts later that were missed during Ramadan and offering fidya for the missed fasts
9. Negligence in paying Zakat despite being financially liable
10. Negligence in investigating and finding out if one is or is not liable to pay Zakat
11. Negligence in paying towards the Jamaat’s chandas according to the prescribed rates
12. Negligence in paying towards the chandas on time
13. Negligence in taking part in the Wasiyyat scheme, despite being financially able
14. Negligence in paying towards Wasiyyat in one’s life, or taking appropriate steps to avoid disputes in this regard after one’s death, despite knowing that disputes may arise after
15. Negligence in paying a higher rate of Wasiyyat, while being fully aware that one can offer more
16. Negligence in performing the responsibility of tabligh
17. Negligence in drawing the attention of one’s family members, neighbours and friends to tarbiyat-related matters
18. Negligence in giving regular darses [talks] on the Holy Quran and books of the Promised Messiahas at home
19. Negligence in drawing one’s children’s attention to offering Salat regularly and not bringing them to the mosque
20. Negligence in taking part or taking an active interest in the local chapter’s [jamaat’s] events
21. Carelessness in displaying due obedience to the local amir or president
22. Negligence in frequenting the markaz and benefiting from the blessings associated with Khilafat and the markaz, despite being fully able
23. Negligence in subscribing to Al Fazl and other similar central newspapers and magazines, despite being able to
24. Showing negligence and ignorance of, or plain consideration to, mutinous or munafiq [hypocritical] people, despite witnessing their hypocritical or mutinous tendencies, by not reporting them
25. Hesitation in giving one’s honest opinion due to blood relation or friendship
27. Uttering lies about others
28. To waste one’s own time as unemployed, despite having the capability and skills to search for employment, due to considering other jobs as beneath them or not being tempted by a salary
29. To waste one’s own time and not volunteering for the Jamaat, despite having the time and capability
30. Evil gazes
31. The wrong use of human faculties
32. Breaking the boundaries of the Islamic purdah [modesty]
33. Financial irresponsibility, i.e. borrowing money or an item from someone and not returning the amount or the item at the agreed time and evading its return by giving weak or false excuses
34. Foul language, i.e. using words that are below any moral or civilised environment while in anger
35. Hookah and cigarette smoking
36. Using other harmful tobacco products, like chewing tobacco or naswar
37. Shaving off one’s beard – going against the Islamic way – after being influenced by modern-day trends
38. Against the instruction of the Promised Messiahas, settling a marriage between an Ahmadi girl and a non-Ahmadi boy
39. Accepting the marriage proposal of a non-Ahmadi girl without permission from the markaz
40. Offering the Janazah prayer of a non-Ahmadi, which is against the way of the Jamaat
41. Negligence in performing Hajj, despite being financially able and fulfilling the other criteria for Hajj
42. Negligence in showing obedience and offering a helping hand to parents
43. Ill-treatment to one’s wife or treating her harshly, or a wife’s ill-treatment and rebellious conduct to her husband and negligence in offering him help
44. Taking a bribe
45. Offering a bribe
46. Dishonesty or negligence in performing the duties of one’s position
47. Consuming alcohol or using other intoxicating substances
48. Accepting or offering interest. Nowadays there are many misconceptions about interest and on the basis of false pretences, such transactions are being approved that fall under the category of interest
49. Embezzling or unduly wasting the money of orphans
50. Negligence or carelessness in the upbringing of orphans
51. Displaying undue harshness and cruelty to one’s house staff
52. The habit of filing a court case on the smallest of matters, or turning to the courts in the presence of other, better options of mediation
53. Negligence and sloth; that is, adopting negligence and sloth, while not appreciating the value of one’s time
54. Wasting money; that is, exceedingly spending beyond one’s means
55. Spending time in disadvantageous and harmful games e.g. chess and playing cards etc.
56. Wasting food and drink
57. Showing undue love to children
58. Suspicion; that is, to always suspect the ill intention of another person’s every action
59. Undue wailing and bemoaning at the death of a relative or friend
60. Spending beyond one’s means at weddings
61. Undue bravery in taking loans and taking loans for very small expenses; rather, unnecessary expenses etc.
These are but some weaknesses that have been listed in no particular order. By selecting one or more from this list, we should make an oath to ourselves in this month of Ramadan, that from this point on, no matter what may happen, we will abstain from such and such weakness. Friends should then stand firmly upon such a resolve, in such a way that with the grace of God, no worldly power can break their resolve.
Whoever takes part in this plan should write to our department about their resolve, although they do not need to mention the weakness they have resolved to abstain from. It will suffice for them to write, “I have resolved to abstain from one/more than one weakness.”
This department promises that it will, insha-Allah, present a full list of such names every day to Hazrat Amirul Momineen, Khalifatul Masih II[ra] with a request for prayers.وَ بِاللّٰهِ التَّوْفِيْق. [And all power and strength is with Allah.]
(Translated to English by Al Hakam from the original Urdu in the 5 November 1937 issue of Al Fazl)