Friday Sermon – Muhammad (sa): The Great Exemplar (5 April 2024)


Friday Sermon

5 April 2024

Muhammadsa: The Great Exemplar

Mubarak Mosque

After reciting the tashahhudta‘awwuz and Surah al-Fatihah, Hazrat Khalifatul Masih Vaa recited verse 63 of Surah an-Naml:

اَمَّنۡ يُّجِيۡبُ الۡمُضۡطَرَّ اِذَا دَعَاہُ وَيَکۡشِفُ السُّوۡٓءَ وَيَجۡعَلُکُمۡ خُلَفَآءَ الۡاَرۡضِ ؕ ءَاِلٰہٌ مَّعَ اللّٰہِ ؕ قَلِيۡلًا مَّا تَذَکَّرُوۡنَ

“Or, Who answers the cry of the distressed person when he calls upon Him, and removes the evil, and makes you successors in the earth? Is there a god with Allah? Little is it that you reflect.”

In this verse, Allah the Almighty states that He answers the prayers of the distressed and afflicted. In the previous Friday sermon, I also spoke on the topic of prayer in light of the writings of the Promised Messiahas on how one should supplicate and its wisdom and philosophy. I will continue with the same topic of prayer today as well.

As I mentioned, Allah the Almighty states that He answers the prayers of the distressed [al-muztarr]. A distressed person does not only refer to someone who is perturbed, but to a person whose every avenue has been closed off. Hence, when we bow down before Allah the Almighty in order to supplicate, we should do so by developing this state within us and supplicate to Allah the Almighty by saying, “We have no one besides You. We solely rely on You, place our trust in You and have come to You alone.” For our Jamaat in particular, it should be remembered that there is no one besides Allah the Almighty, who can take us out of these circumstances that are prevalent in Pakistan and in some other countries. As a matter of fact, even from an individual perspective, a person should believe that it is Allah the Almighty alone Who does everything, it is He alone Who fulfils our needs, it is He alone Who is worthy of being bowed down to, it is He alone Who provides means and even those who do not bow down before Him are recipients of His graciousness and benefit therefrom.

I mentioned one particular point the Promised Messiahas made in relation to a distressed person in the previous sermon as well; that Allah the Almighty has made it a specific sign of recognising Him that He answers the prayer of the distressed. Thus, one must develop a state of restlessness in their supplications. Hence, we should pay great attention towards prayers since it is prayers alone that will take us out of the circumstances we currently find ourselves in. As a matter of fact, it is only through prayers that the Muslim ummah can be saved from this trial, if they supplicate with full understanding and along with this, they stop their opposition of the one sent by Allah the Almighty. Nevertheless, as far as Ahmadis are concerned, every Ahmadi should thoroughly embed this fact in their minds that if they wish for their prayers to be answered then they ought to develop a state of anxiousness and restlessness [i.e., iztirar in their prayers].

The Promised Messiahas has spoken about this subject. He stated:

“Remember well that God Almighty is not in need of anyone at all. His attention is not drawn until one prays to Him abundantly and repeatedly and with urgency and anguish.”

He further states:

“[…] Anguish is a prerequisite for the acceptance [of prayers]”. (Malfuzat [English], Vol. 10, pp. 179-180)

And the state of our anguish should be that we are one hundred percent certain that all the paths of the world have closed, and now there is only one path, which is the path of God, the path of the One Who accepts our repentance, Who can remove from us our difficulties.

Thus, we should create such a state of pain in our prayers, otherwise, if this worship and remembrance of God is mere lip service, then there is no benefit of it. Regarding this, on one occasion the Holy Prophetsa said:

“I command you to remember Allah abundantly. And understand that the example of this remembrance, is like a man whose enemies are swiftly chasing him, until the man runs and takes refuge in a strong fortress and is thereby saved from the capture of his enemies. In the same way, mankind can be free from Satan, otherwise there is no other way.” (Sha‘b-ul-Iman, Vol. 2, Hadith 534, Maktab-ul-Rushd, Beirut, p. 73)

Thus, there is a great need for prayers. There are prayers from the Holy Quran, there are prayers of the Holy Prophetsa, there are prayers taught to us by the Promised Messiahas and one can also pray in one’s own language. We should pay great attention to these if we wish to save ourselves from the conditions which we are facing all around us, or the conditions which are being created.

We cannot freely pray, we cannot freely express our love for the Holy Prophetsa in Pakistan and in some other countries. We cannot freely recite the last law-bearing book of Allah the Almighty, the Holy Quran. We cannot freely and openly express any type of Islamic practices and customs. The spawns of Satan are constantly lying in wait as to when or where they can seize the opportunity to vie against one another in order to instigate an action against Ahmadis, so that they may, in their estimation, earn reward [from Allah].

Some days ago, an Ahmadi was martyred, and the killers were apprehended. When they were questioned, they said that they asked the cleric of such and such religious school as to what was the easiest way to enter paradise. The cleric responded that the easiest way is that they kill a disbeliever, and since Ahmadis are disbelievers, that is why it was permissible to kill them and murder them. In reality however, they are inviting the wrath of Allah the Almighty through their own actions.

Nevertheless, we need to develop a state of anguish in our prayers. One of the traits of those who develop this state of anguish in their prayers as explained by the Promised Messiahas in light of the Holy Quran is that such people have suffered great loss as a form of trial, not as a form of punishment. (Dafi‘-ul-Bala, Ruhani Khazain, Vol. 18, p. 231)

Today, it is only the Ahmadis who are going through such trials, who have these restrictions placed on them that they cannot even express their love of God and love of the Holy Prophetsa. These are no selfish desires, or crimes for which we face punishment, rather these are trials that we are going through.

Thus, in these days, and forever, we should be engaged in prayers and the remembrance of God. We should create a state of anguish in our prayers when we prostrate.

Today, I will mention some prayers from the Holy Quran, the Holy Prophetsa, and the Promised Messiahas. It is not enough to just simply recite “Amin”; rather, we should ponder over these prayers and constantly focus on them, reciting them in a state of anguish. Aside from this, we should also continue praying in our own languages. The Promised Messiahas has also stated that we should pray in our own languages, so that one develops a state of anxiousness and it can resonate more in one’s heart. (Malfuzat [1984], Vol. 6, p. 146)

Regarding those who remember God, the Holy Prophetsa said: “The example of one who remembers God and the example of one who does not, is like the living and the dead.” (Sahih al-Bukhari, Kitab ad-da‘waat, Hadith 6407)

Thus, we should strive to be among those who are living, who always have the remembrance of God Almighty upon their lips.

Then on another occasion, the Holy Prophetsa said:

“Prayer is also beneficial for salvation from those hardships which have already descended, and it also saves you from those hardships which are yet to descend. Thus, O servants of Allah, make prayer mandatory upon yourselves.” (Sunan at-Tirmidhi, Abwab ad-da‘wat, Hadith 3548)

Thus, we should always remember the importance of prayer. As I have said, I will mention some prayers, among which the first one is Surah al-Fatihah. We should not only recite it in our daily prayers; rather, we should also recite it at other times as well. This was also included as part of the prayers to be recited to commemorate the [Khilafat] Jubilee. We should be in the habit of constantly reciting these. On one occasion, whilst mentioning a special quality of Surah al-Fatihah, the Promised Messiahas stated:

“Studying it with attention and sincerity purifies the heart, dispels layers of darkness (it removes those coverings which darken the heart) and expands the mind (it bestows open-mindedness and grants solace) and, drawing a seeker after truth towards the Holy One, invests him with such light and manifest signs that are characteristic of those who have attained nearness to the Holy One.”

It brings a person close to Allah the Almighty if they read it carefully, and they can attain the same nearness as those who are close to Allah the Almighty. It is not the case that we are unable to attain it.

“[…] And which cannot be acquired by man through any other device or plan.” (Barahin-e-Ahmadiyya, Part 4, Ruhani Khazain, Vol. 1, p. 402)

Thus, by reciting Surah al-Fatihah carefully and repeatedly, a person draws near to Allah the Almighty. Furthermore, the prayers within it are enough to create a state of anguish within a person, if they focus on them.

Then there is a prayer in the Holy Quran:

رَبَّنَاۤ اٰتِنَا فِي الدُّنۡيَا حَسَنَةً وَّفِي الۡاٰخِرَةِ حَسَنَةً وَّقِنَا عَذَابَ النَّارِ

“Our Lord, grant us good in this world as well as good in the world to come, and protect us from the torment of the Fire.” (Surah al-Baqarah, Ch.2: V.202)

Regarding this prayer, on one occasion the Promised Messiahas stated:

“The more diverse a believer’s worldly associations, the more they advance in higher ranks, because their prime objective is religion, (since religion is the prime objective of a believer, therefore his worldly associations also grant him high ranks in the sight of Allah the Almighty because he gives precedence to his faith) and the world along with its wealth and honour serves the Faith. Hence, the fundamental point is that the world must not be one’s ultimate objective. As a matter of fact, in pursuing worldly affairs, the primary purpose must be religion, and the world ought to be pursued in a manner that serves the Faith.”

The Promised Messiahas continues:

“[…] Allah the Exalted has taught us the following prayer:

رَبَّنَاۤ اٰتِنَا فِي الدُّنۡيَا حَسَنَةً وَّفِي الۡاٰخِرَةِ حَسَنَةً وَّقِنَا عَذَابَ النَّارِ

[Our Lord, grant us good in this world as well as good in the world to come, and protect us from the torment of the Fire.]

“In this prayer, the world has been given precedence, but what ‘world’ exactly? It is the good of this world (hasanatud-dunya) which becomes a means by which to reap good in the hereafter. The fact that we have been taught this prayer clearly demonstrates that in attaining the world, a believer ought to have in view the good of the hereafter. The words “hasanat-ud-dunya” as mentioned here encompass all the best means by which a Muslim believer ought to pursue the world.”

When one seeks the good of this world in this manner, they can never partake in wrong practices in order to attain the good of this world. Their faith and the pleasure of Allah the Almighty will always take precedence and one would act accordingly. The Promised Messiahas continues:

“Pursue the world in every such way that leads to benefit and goodness, not in a manner that causes pain to another human being, nor in a manner that is disgraceful or ignoble amongst the people. Engaging in the world in such a manner would definitely enable one to reap the good of the hereafter [hasanatul-akhirah].” (Malfuzat [1984], Vol. 2, pp. 91-92)

Thus, one ought to pursue the good of this world in such a manner that it becomes a means of attaining the grace of Allah the Almighty and one ought to strive in giving precedence to one’s faith over the world. If one does this only then will they truly be attaining the blessings from their prayers. On one occasion, whilst advising the Jamaat, the Promised Messiahas stated:

“Our Jamaat should particularly recite this prayer in these current times:

رَبَّنَاۤ اٰتِنَا فِي الدُّنۡيَا حَسَنَةً وَّفِي الۡاٰخِرَةِ حَسَنَةً وَّقِنَا عَذَابَ النَّارِ

[Our Lord, grant us good in this world as well as good in the world to come, and protect us from the torment of the Fire.]” (Malfuzat [1984], Vol. 1, p. 9)

This is so that we become those who give precedence to their faith over the world and also to remain protected from the fire that has been set alight by the enemies. Nowadays, in light of the current circumstances of the world, the weapons which are being used in wars are such that throw fire. May Allah the Almighty protect us from this fire and grant us the good of this world and the hereafter. Ahmadis need to especially pray for themselves and for the rest of the world.

Another prayer that we should particularly recite with great anguish and fervency is the following Quranic prayer:

رَبَّنَا اَفۡرِغۡ عَلَيۡنَا صَبۡرًا وَّثَبِّتۡ اَقۡدَامَنَا وَانۡصُرۡنَا عَلَي الۡقَوۡمِ الۡکٰفِرِيۡنَ

“O our Lord, pour forth steadfastness upon us, and make our steps firm, and help us against the disbelieving people.” (Surah al-Baqarah, Ch.2: V.251)

In other words, do not let any kind of fear or any situation cause us to stumble.

Another prayer which one should repeatedly offer and with great fervency is as follows:

رَبَّنَا لَا تُؤَاخِذۡنَاۤ اِنۡ نَّسِيۡنَاۤ اَوۡ اَخۡطَاۡنَا ۚ رَبَّنَا وَلَا تَحۡمِلۡ عَلَيۡنَاۤ اِصۡرًا کَمَا حَمَلۡتَہٗ عَلَي الَّذِيۡنَ مِنۡ قَبۡلِنَا ۚ رَبَّنَا وَلَا تُحَمِّلۡنَا مَا لَا طَاقَةَ لَنَا بِہٖ ۚ وَاعۡفُ عَنَّا ٝ وَاغۡفِرۡ لَنَا ٝ وَارۡحَمۡنَا ٝ اَنۡتَ مَوۡلٰٮنَا فَانۡصُرۡنَا عَلَي الۡقَوۡمِ الۡکٰفِرِيۡنَ

“Our Lord, do not punish us, if we forget or fall into error; and our Lord, lay not on us a responsibility as Thou didst lay upon those before us. Our Lord, burden us not with what we have not the strength to bear; and efface our [sins], and grant us forgiveness and have mercy on us; Thou art our Master; so help us Thou against the disbelieving people.” (Surah al-Baqarah, Ch.2: V.287)

In order to strengthen our faith we should also recite the following prayer:

رَبَّنَا لَا تُزِغۡ قُلُوۡبَنَا بَعۡدَ اِذۡ ھَدَيۡتَنَا وَھَبۡ لَنَا مِنۡ لَّدُنْکَ رَحۡمَةً ۚ اِنَّکَ اَنۡتَ الۡوھَّابُ

“Our Lord, let not our hearts become perverse after Thou hast guided us; and bestow on us mercy from Thyself; surely, Thou alone art the Bestower.” (Surah Al-e-Imran, Ch.3: V.9)

I shall now mention some of the prayers taught to us by the Holy Prophetsa.

Once, Hazrat Abu Bakrra asked the Holy Prophetsa to teach him a prayer that he should recite in his Salat, to which the Holy Prophetsa stated that he should recite:

اللّٰھم انّي ظلمت نفسي ظلما کثيرا و لم يغفر الذنوب الا انت فاغفرلي مغفرة من عندک وارحمني انک انت الغفور الرحيم

“O Allah, I have greatly wronged my soul, and there is none who can forgive except You, so forgive me and have mercy on me. Surely You are the Most Forgiving, Oft-Returning with Mercy.” (Sahih al-Bukhari, Kitab ad-da‘wat, Hadith 6326)

The Holy Prophetsa particularly emphasised Hazrat Abu Bakrra to recite this prayer.

Mus’ab bin Sa’d relates from his father that once a bedouin man came before the Holy Prophetsa and requested to be taught something which he would recite. The Holy Prophetsa stated:

لا الہ الّا اللّٰہ وحدہ لا شريک لہ اللّٰہ اکبر کبيرا اللّٰہ اکبر کبيرا الحمدللّٰہ کثيراسبحان اللّٰہ ربّ العالمين لا حول ولا قوّة الا باللّٰہ العزيز الحکيم

“There is none worthy of worship except Allah, He is One and has no partner. Allah is the Greatest, all praise is due to Him. Holy is Allah, the Lord of All the Worlds. There is no might and power but that of Allah the All-Powerful, All-Wise.”

Upon this, the Bedouin man submitted, “O Messengersa of Allah, this [prayer] is for my Lord and is in praise of Him. However, what is it that I should recite for myself?” The Holy Prophetsa stated, “Recite:

الّٰلھمّ اغفرلي وارحمني واھدني وارزقني

“O Allah forgive me, have mercy on me, guide me and provide for me.” (Sahih Muslim, Kitab adh-dhikri wa d-du‘a, Hadith 6848)

In another narration, it is mentioned that when a person would accept Islam, the Holy Prophetsa would teach him the following prayer; Abu Malik Ashjai’ relates from his father that whenever someone accepted Islam, the Holy Prophetsa would teach them the salat and would then tell them to supplicate in the following words:

الّٰلھم اغفر لي وارحمني واھدني وعافني وارزقني

“O Allah forgive me, have mercy on me, guide me, protect me and provide for me.” (Sahih Muslim, Kitab ad-dhikri wa d-du‘a, Hadith 6850)

We also recite this same prayer between the two sajdahs [prostrations], however people get up from their prostration and then quickly go back into the second prostration and it does not seem that they even recite this prayer; as if this prayer has no importance to them. However, one ought to recite this whilst carefully pondering over it. And where it mentions to be granted provisions [in this prayer] it refers not only to worldly provisions but also spiritual provisions and means for one to excel in this as well. Thus, we ought to pray with this aspect in mind as well in that while we praise Allah the Almighty, we should also pray for our own reformation, guidance and to excel in our spirituality. We should not only pray for worldly things. In fact, when we pray with great attention for the betterment of our physical and spiritual states then we shall witness every kind of blessing rain down upon us.

Another prayer which has been taught by the Holy Prophetsa has been related by Hazrat Aishara. She states that when the Holy Prophetsa would wake up in the night he would recite:

لا الہ الّا انت سبحانک اللّٰہ الّٰلھم استغفرک لذنبي واسألک رحمتک الّٰلھم زدني علما ولا تزغ قلبي بعد اذ ھديتني وھب لي من لدنک رحمة انّک انت الوھّاب۔

“O Allah, there is none worthy of worship except You. O Allah I seek Your forgiveness for my sins, and seek Your mercy. O Allah, increase me in knowledge, and let my heart not become perverse after you have guided me and grant me Your mercy. Verily, You alone are the Greatest of providers.” (Sunan Abi Dawud, Abwab an-nawm, Hadith 5061)

In another narration related by Hazrat Anas bin Malikra that whenever the Holy Prophetsa was concerned about a particular matter, he would recite:

يا حيّ يا قيّوم برحمتک استغيث

“O Living and Self-Subsisting God, by Your mercy I cry for help.” (Sunan at-Tirmidhi, Abaab ad-du‘a, Hadith 3524)

Hazrat Abdullah bin Amr bin al-Aasra relates that the Holy Prophetsa stated, “The prayer of the one fasting which is made at the time of breaking the fast [iftar] is such that it is not rejected.”

Ibn Abi Mulaikah narrates that when Hazrat Abdullah bin Amrra would break his fast, he would pray:

اللّٰهُمَّ إِنِّي أَسْأَلُكَ بِرَحْمَتِكَ الَّتِي وَسِعَتْ كُلَّ شَىْءٍ أَنْ تَغْفِرَ لِي

“O Allah! I ask You by Your mercy, which encompasses all things, to forgive me.” (Sunan Ibn Majah, Kitab as-siyam, Hadith 1753)

Hazrat Umm Salamara narrates that the Holy Prophetsa would supplicate:

رَبّ اغْفِرْ وَارْحَمْ وَاهْدِنِييْ لِلطَّرِيْقِ الْأَقْوَمِ

“O Allah! Forgive me, have mercy upon me, and guide me to the path that is straight, right and firm.” (Musnad Ahmad ibn Hanbal, Vol. 8, p. 610, Hadith 27126)

If the Holy Prophetsa was offering this prayer, how fervently must we offer these supplications? There is mention of a prayer of the Holy Prophetsa for himself. The blessed wife of the Holy Prophetsa, Hazrat Aishara, relates that he would say in his prayers:

اللّهُـمَّ إِنِّـي أَعـوذُ بِكَ مِـنْ عَذابِ القَـبْر، وَأَعـوذُ بِكَ مِـنْ فِتْـنَةِ المَسيحِ الدَّجّـال، أَعـوذُ بِكَ مِـنْ فِتْـنَةِ المَحْـيا وَالمَمـات. اللّهُـمَّ إِنِّـي أَعـوذُ بِكَ مِنَ المَأْثَـمِ وَالمَغْـرَم.

“O Allah, I seek refuge in You from the punishment of the grave, and I seek refuge in You from the trial of the Masih al-Dajjal [Antichrist], and I seek refuge in You from the trials of life and death. O Allah, I seek refuge in You from sin and from debt.” (Sahih al-Bukhari, Kitab an-azan, Hadith 832)

Someone asked the Holy Prophetsa, “Why do you pray so fervently for protection from debt?” He answered, “If a person is in debt, when they speak, they utter falsehood, and when they make an oath, they break it.” Undoubtedly, the Holy Prophetsa was pure of all of these matters regarding which he was praying, and he was thus offering this prayer for his people’s protection from them – that they refrain from falsehood and the breaking of oaths. We must analyse ourselves to see that if we are offering this prayer, are we truly adhering to these matters? Hence, one should make this prayer that Allah the Almighty safeguards them from these ills, and that He continues to bless us with the good of this world.

Then, there is a prayer of the Holy Prophetsa which Hazrat Aishara has thus narrated. It is a lengthy prayer, which is why I shall read the translation:

[اللّٰهُمَّ إِنِّي أَعُوذُ بِكَ مِنَ الْكَسَلِ وَالْهَرَمِ وَالْمَغْرَمِ وَالْمَأْثَمِ، اللّهُمَّ إِنِّي أَعُوذُ بِكَ مِنْ عَذَابِ النَّارِ وَفِتْنَةِ النَّارِ وَعَذَابِ الْقَبْرِ، وَشَرِّ فِتْنَةِ الْغِنَى، وَشَرّ فِتْنَةِ الْفَقْرِ، وَمِنْ شَرّ فِتْنَةِ الْمَسِيحِ الدَّجَّالِ، اللّٰهُمَّ اغْسِلْ خَطَايَاىَ بِمَاءِ الثَّلْجِ وَالْبَرَدِ، وَنَقِّ قَلْبِي مِنَ الْخَطَايَا، كَمَا يُنَقَّى الثَّوْبُ الأَبْيَضُ مِنَ الدَّنَسِ، وَبَاعِدْ بَيْنِي وَبَيْنَ خَطَايَاىَ كَمَا بَاعَدْتَ بَيْنَ الْمَشْرِقِ وَالْمَغْرِبِ]

“O Allah, I seek Your refuge from indolence and old age, from debt and from sin. O Allah, I seek Your refuge from the punishment of the Fire and the trial and punishment of the grave, from the evil of the tribulation of affluence and from the evil of the tribulation of poverty, and the trial of the Antichrist. O Allah, wash away my sins with the cool water of snow, and cleanse my heart from all the sins as filth is cleaned from white garments, and put a great distance between me and my sins, as great as the distance You have made between the East and the West.” (Sahih al-Bukhari, Kitab ad-da‘wat, Hadith 6375)

There are many aspects mentioned in this single prayer. If the Holy Prophetsa used to offer this supplication, as I have already mentioned, and the previous Hadith is similar to this, then to what extent should we pay attention to this?

Thus, it is through these prayers that we can bring about a change in our individual lives and benefit the wider community as well. However, at the same time, we must feel the same pain that the Holy Prophetsa would feel when offering these prayers. In fact, he would not only have this fervency for himself, but for his people. Therefore, when offering these prayers, we must always bear in mind the pain that the Holy Prophetsa had in his heart.

The Holy Prophetsa sought special protection from the trial of the Antichrist, which is at its peak in this era. Hence, as the servants of the Promised Messiahas, and thus the true followers of the Holy Prophetsa, we must pay special attention to this prayer, pray abundantly to be safeguarded from the trial of the Antichrist, and pray for the protection of the world.

There is mention in Sahih al-Bukhari of a prayer of the Holy Prophetsa during the tahajjud [pre-dawn voluntary] prayer. Hazrat Ibn Abbasra narrates that when the Holy Prophetsa would wake up to offer the tahajjud prayer, he would supplicate – this is a lengthy prayer, so I shall read the translation:

[اللّهُمَّ لَكَ الْحَمْدُ أَنْتَ قَيِّمُ السَّمَوَاتِ وَالأَرْضِ وَمَنْ فِيهِنَّ وَلَكَ الْحَمْدُ، لَكَ مُلْكُ السَّمَوَاتِ وَالأَرْضِ وَمَنْ فِيهِنَّ، وَلَكَ الْحَمْدُ أَنْتَ نُورُ السَّمَوَاتِ وَالأَرْضِ، وَلَكَ الْحَمْدُ أَنْتَ الْحَقُّ، وَوَعْدُكَ الْحَقُّ، وَلِقَاؤُكَ حَقٌّ، وَقَوْلُكَ حَقٌّ، وَالْجَنَّةُ حَقٌّ، وَالنَّارُ حَقٌّ، وَالنَّبِيُّونَ حَقٌّ، وَمُحَمَّدٌ صلى الله عليه وسلم حَقٌّ، وَالسَّاعَةُ حَقٌّ، اللّهُمَّ لَكَ أَسْلَمْتُ، وَبِكَ آمَنْتُ وَعَلَيْكَ تَوَكَّلْتُ، وَإِلَيْكَ أَنَبْتُ، وَبِكَ خَاصَمْتُ، وَإِلَيْكَ حَاكَمْتُ، فَاغْفِرْ لِي مَا قَدَّمْتُ وَمَا أَخَّرْتُ، وَمَا أَسْرَرْتُ وَمَا أَعْلَنْتُ، أَنْتَ الْمُقَدِّمُ وَأَنْتَ الْمُؤَخِّرُ، لاَ إِلَهَ إِلاَّ أَنْتَ ـ أَوْ لاَ إِلَهَ غَيْرُكَ]

“O Allah, all praise belongs to You. You are the Sustainer of the heavens and the earth and whatever is in them. All praise belongs to You. Yours is the Sovereignty of the heavens and earth and whatever is in them. All praise belongs to You, You are the light of the heavens and the earth and whatever is in them. All praise belongs to You. You are the Truth, Your promise is true, returning to You is true and Your word is true. Heaven and Hell are true. All the prophets are true and Muhammadsa is true and the promised hour is true. O Allah, I incline towards You. For Your sake I have disputed [the enemy] and sought judgment from You. So forgive all my past and future sins, those which were apparent and those which were hidden. You are the First and the Last. You alone are worthy of worship (or he said) there is none worthy of worship besides You.” (Sahih al-Bukhari, Kitab at-tahajjud, Hadith 1120)

Hazrat Abu Hurairara narrates that a person asked, “O Messengersa of Allah, I heard your prayer last night and I heard you supplicate:

اللّهُمَّ اغْفِرْ لِيْ ذَنْبِيْ وَوَسِّعْ لِيْ فِيْ دَارِيْ وَبَارِكْ لِيْ فِيْ مَا رَزَقْتَنِيْ

“O Allah, forgive me my sins, expand my home, and bless me in that which You have provided for me.”

The Holy Prophetsa said, “Do you find anything missing in this prayer?” (Sunan at-Tirmidhi, Hadith 3500)

Thus, these are the prayers of the Holy Prophetsa. At the very least, one should learn their translation or their meaning and pray in the same manner.

Then in Sahih al-Bukhari, there is a prayer:

اللّهُمَّ اجْعَلْ فِي قَلْبِي نُورًا وَفِي بَصَرِي نُورًا وَفِي سَمْعِي نُورًا وَعَنْ يَمِينِي نُورًا وَعَنْ يَسَارِي نُورًا وَفَوْقِي نُورًا وتحتي نورا وأمامي نورا وَخَلْفِي نُورًا وَاجْعَلْ لِي نُورًا

It is recorded that the Holy Prophetsa used to recite this prayer, that, “O Allah, place light in my heart, light in my sight, light in my hearing, light on my right, light on my left, light above me, light below me, light in front of me, light behind me, and grant me light in abundance.” (Sahih al-Bukhari, Kitab ad-da‘wat, Hadith 6316)

Then, another prayer of the Holy Prophetsa is recorded as follows: Ziyad bin Ilaqa relates from his paternal uncle Qutbah bin Malik that the Holy Prophetsa used to pray:

‏ [اللّٰهُمَّ إِنِّي أَعُوذُ بِكَ مِنْ مُنْكَرَاتِ الأَخْلاَقِ وَالأَعْمَالِ وَالأَهْوَاءِ]

“O my Allah, I seek Your protection from bad morals, evil deeds and evil desires.” (Sunan at-Tirmidhi, Abwab ad-da‘wat, Hadith 3591)

This is a very concise prayer that everyone can easily recite, “I seek Your protection from bad morals, evil deeds and evil desires.” If a person recites this and does so in a state of fervency, then many evils will be removed, and virtues will be established.

Then, it is recorded in a narration that Hazrat Abu Umamara relates, “The Holy Prophetsa recited so many prayers that we could not remember them. (Whenever he was sitting he would be teaching prayers; he recited many prayers; there were so many prayers that they could not even remember them all.) We submitted to the Holy Prophetsa, ‘O Messengersa of Allah, you have recited many prayers, however, we do not remember any of them. Upon this, the Holy Prophetsa said, ‘Should I not tell you a prayer which is the essence of all those prayers?’ (Listen closely to what he said). The Holy Prophetsa said, “You should pray:

[اللَّهُمَّ إِنَّا نَسْأَلُكَ مِنْ خَيْرِ مَا سَأَلَكَ مِنْهُ نَبِيُّكَ مُحَمَّدٌ وَنَعُوذُ بِكَ مِنْ شَرِّ مَا اسْتَعَاذَ بِكَ مِنْهُ نَبِيُّكَ مُحَمَّدٌ وَأَنْتَ الْمُسْتَعَانُ وَعَلَيْكَ الْبَلاَغُ وَلاَ حَوْلَ وَلاَ قُوَّةَ إِلاَّ بِاللّٰهِ]

‘O Allah, we seek from You the very good which Your Prophet Muhammadsa sought. We seek Your refuge from every evil which Your Prophet Muhammadsa sought Your refuge from. You are the true Helper; we pray unto You Alone. Without the help of Allah, we possess not the capability of virtue, nor the strength to safeguard against the attacks of Satan [and there is no might or power except with Allah].”’” (Sunan at-Tirmidhi, Hadith 3521)

If we were to offer this prayer, then not only would we increase in our love for the Holy Prophetsa, but we would also offer such all-encompassing and comprehensive prayers from the depths of our hearts.

Then there is a prayer for pardon and forgiveness; Hazrat Abu Musa Ash’ari’sra son relates from his father that the Holy Prophetsa used to pray:

[رَبّ اغْفِرْ لِي خَطِيئَتِي وَجَهْلِي وَإِسْرَافِي فِي أَمْرِي كُلِّهِ، وَمَا أَنْتَ أَعْلَمُ بِهِ مِنِّي، اللّهُمَّ اغْفِرْ لِي خَطَايَاىَ وَعَمْدِي وَجَهْلِي وَهَزْلِي، وَكُلُّ ذَلِكَ عِنْدِي، اللّهُمَّ اغْفِرْ لِي مَا قَدَّمْتُ وَمَا أَخَّرْتُ وَمَا أَسْرَرْتُ وَمَا أَعْلَنْتُ، أَنْتَ الْمُقَدّمُ، وَأَنْتَ الْمُؤَخِّرُ، وَأَنْتَ عَلَى كُلِّ شَىْءٍ قَدِيرٌ]

“O my Lord, forgive my mistakes, my lack of knowledge, all of my transgression in my matters about which You know best. (This is a prayer being made by the Holy Prophetsa, in whom such evils are not even possible to fathom. He possessed only virtue. However, he said these things in order to teach his people.) O my Allah, forgive my faults; the mistakes I have made knowingly and out of ignorance, all which I would have committed. O Allah, forgive all those faults which I have committed before and all those which I committed later; those, that I have committed in secret and those which I have committed in the open.  You are the First and the Last and You have power over all things.” (Sahih al-Bukhari, Kitab ad-da‘wat, Hadith 6398)

This is a narration from Sahih al-Bukhari and these have been narrated so that we may offer these supplications. These prayers have been taught for us. Then a prayer for times of difficulty and anguish is mentioned as follows:

لَا إلَهَ إِلَّا اللّٰهُ الْعَظـيمُ الْحَلِـيمْ، لَا إِلَهَ إِلَّا اللّٰهُ رَبُّ العَـرْشِ العَظِيـمِ، لَا إِلَـهَ إِلَّا اللّٰهْ رَبُّ السَّمَـوّاتِ ورّبُّ الأَرْضِ ورَبُّ العَرْشِ الكَـريم

Hazrat Ibn Abbasra narrates that that the Holy Prophetsa used to pray the following during times of difficulty: “There is none worthy of worship but Allah, the Mighty, the Forbearing. There is none worthy of worship but Allah, Lord of the Magnificent Throne. There is none worthy of worship but Allah, Lord of the heavens and Lord of the earth, and Lord of the Noble Throne.” (Sahih al-Bukhari, Kitab ad-da‘wat, Hadith 6346)

There is a prayer for times of trials. Hazrat Abu Hurairara narrates:

كَانَ رَسُوْلُ اللّٰہِ صلي اللّٰہ عليہ و سلم يَتَعَوَّذُ مِنْ جَهْدِ الْبَلاَءِ، وَدَرَكِ الشَّقَاءِ، وَسُوءِ الْقَضَاءِ، وَشَمَاتَةِ الأعداء‏

Hazrat Abu Hurairara narrated that the Holy Prophetsa used to seek refuge from the trouble of affliction, meeting with wretchedness, an evil decree, and the gloating of enemies. (Sahih al-Bukhari, Kitab ad-da‘wat, Hadith 6347)

There is a prayer to be saved from the evils of this world:

اللّٰهُمَّ إِنِّي أَعُوذُ بِكَ مِنَ الْبُخْلِ، وَأَعُوذُ بِكَ مِنَ الْجُبْنِ، وَأَعُوذُ بِكَ مِنْ أَنْ نُرَدَّ إِلَى أَرْذَلِ الْعُمُرِ، وَأَعُوذُ بِكَ مِنْ فِتْنَةِ الدُّنْيَا، وَعَذَابِ الْقَبْرِ

Mus’ab bin Sa’d bin Abi Waqqasra relates from his father, who said, “The Holy Prophetsa taught us the following words just as someone teaches how to read and write (he lay emphasis on them just as is done in teaching how to read and write. What was that prayer that he taught?):

‘O Allah, I seek Your protection from miserliness, I seek Your protection from cowardice, and I seek Your protection from being returned to the worst part of life. I seek Your protection from the trials of this world and from the torment of the grave.’” (Sahih al-Bukhari, Kitab ad-da‘wat, Hadith 6390)

This is a very comprehensive prayer.

Then there is a prayer for attaining guidance; the transaltion of the narration is that Imran bin Hussainra states, “The Holy Prophetsa said to my father Hussain, ‘If you had accepted Islam, I would have taught you two statements which would have benefitted you.’” He says, “When Hussain accepted Islam, he said, ‘O Messengersa of Allah, teach me those two statements which you had promised me.’ Upon this, the Holy Prophetsa said, ‘Say:

اللّٰهم ألهمني رشدي، وأعذني من شر نفسي

“O Allah! Inspire in me guidance and protect me from the evils of my soul.”’” (Sunan at-Tirmidhi, Abwaab-ul-Da’waat, Hadith 3483)

This is another very important prayer to recite these days.

A prayer to protect against the ill intentions of opponents is as follows:

اللّٰهُـمَّ إِنا نَجْـعَلُكَ في نُحـورِهِـم، وَنَعـوذُ بِكَ مِنْ شُرورِهـمْ

Hazrat Abu Burda bin Abdullahra has narrated this; he says, “My father told me that whenever the Holy Prophetsa perceived danger from a certain people, he would pray in the following words, ‘O Allah, we make Thee our shield against them and take refuge in Thee from their evils.’” (Sunan Abi Dawood, Kitab al-witr, Hadith 1537)

These days, Ahmadis should also recite this prayer a great deal. May Allah the Almighty protect us from the evil of the opponents.

Now I will mention those prayers which have been taught to us by the Promised Messiahas, which include some directives regarding prayer and some prayers themselves. In a letter addressed to the Promised Messiahas, Maulvi Nazir Hussain Sahib Sakha Dehlvi wrote, “What is the method of attaining attentiveness?” How can one increase their attention towards Allah the Almighty? Upon this, the Promised Messiahas replied, “May the peace, mercy and blessings of Allah be upon you. The method is to continue praying for yourself in salat and do not become satisfied with offering prayer casually and inattentively. Rather, offer salat with as much attention as is possible. If you find yourself unable to focus, then in each of the five prayers, after every rak‘ah [unit of prayer] stand up and pray (meaning whilst in the standing position of the prayer), “O God! O Almighty God of Power and Might! I am a sinner, so much so that the poison of sin has penetrated my heart and every fibre of my being and I am unable to attain fervour and focus in prayer. By Your Grace and Benevolence, pardon my sins and forgive my faults. Soften my heart and establish within it Your grandeur, fear, and love, so that in this way, my hard-heartedness may be removed, thereby enabling me to focus in Salat.” (Maktubat-e-Ahmad [2015], Vol. 5, p. 471)

One must pray to Allah the Almighty in order to establish focus in Salat. 

Then, the Promised Messiahas offered the following prayer:

“O my Beneficent, O my God, I am a worthless servant of Yours, sinful and forgetful. You have observed me commit wrongdoing after wrongdoing, yet bestowed bounty after bounty. You observed sin after sin, yet bestowed favour after favour. You have always covered my faults and furnished me with countless of Your blessings. Now too, have mercy upon an incapable and sinful person such as myself and forgive my boldness and ingratitude. Save me from this grief, for there is no escape except in You. Ameen.” (Maktubat-e-Ahmad [2015], Vol. 2, p. 10)

In my opinion, this is a prayer that we must recite on a daily basis. We should analyse ourselves. The Promised Messiahas wrote this prayer in a letter to Hazrat Khalifatul Masih Ira. Keeping in mind his status and eminence, we ought to ponder as to how much we are in need of reciting this prayer. If the Promised Messiahas wrote this prayer to Hazrat Khalifatul Masih Ira, then we must recite this prayer even more and with full diligence. If a prayer emanates from the heart, it will draw the blessings of Allah the Almighty.

There is another prayer of the Promised Messiahas, which not only reflects his humility and fear of Allah, but it also reminds us that we must analyse our own conditions. The prayer is as follows:

“O Lord of all the worlds! It is beyond me to offer You gratitude for all Your favours. You are most Merciful and Compassionate, and the bounties that You have conferred upon me are countless. Forgive me my sins, be I am ruined. Fill my heart with sincere love for You, so that I may receive life. Cover my faults and allow me to perform such deeds which become the source of Your pleasure. I seek refuge in Your noble countenance lest your punishment befalls me. Have mercy, have mercy, have mercy, and save me from the calamities of this world and the hereafter. For all grace and compassion is in Your hand. Ameen.” (Malfuzat [1984], Vol. 1, p. 235)

Then there is a prayer that the Promised Messiahas penned in the beginning of Paigham-e-Sulh [A Message of Peace] which we must recite profusely. The Promised Messiahas wrote:

“O my Almighty God, my Beloved Guide! Show us the path which leads the righteous and the sincere to Thee. And save us from treading the path which leads to carnal desires, malice, spite and worldly pursuits.” (Paigham-e-Sulh, Ruhani Khazian, Vol. 23, p. 439)

In other words, we must always give precedence to our faith.

Furthermore, whilst imparting guidance to us, the Promised Messiahas stated:

“The most excellent prayer is one that seeks the pleasure of Allah the Almighty and grants protection from sin, because it is through sin that the hearts become hardened and a person becomes a slave to the material world. We ought to pray to Allah the Almighty to protect us from sin, as sin causes our hearts to become hardened, and to show us the way which leads to His pleasure.” (Malfuzat [1984], Vol. 7, p. 39)

There is another prayer of the Promised Messiahas:

“We are Your sinful servants and our inner self has overcome us; forgive us and save us from the afflictions of the hereafter.” (Al-Badr, Vol. 2, p. 30)

Whilst beseeching for the world to be reformed, there is a prayer of the Promised Messiahas:

“O God, the Omnipotent! Even though it is Your practice from time immemorial that You grant intellect to children and the unlettered, and shroud the eyes and hearts of worldly philosophers and thinkers with a dark covering, but I most humbly submit at Your threshold for You to bring over a party from among them into this fold, (i.e. for God Almighty to bring a group of people towards the Jamaat who are from among the scholars) just as You have bestowed some already. Grant them the eyes, ears and hearts with which they can see, hear and understand and enable them to value the great favour which You have bestowed at its appointed time (i.e. the advent of the Promised Messiahas) and to be mindful of it. If You so desire, You can do this, for there is no such thing as impossible for You. Ameen.” (Izala-e-Auham, Ruhani Khazain, Vol. 3, p. 120)

Even today it is vital for us to follow the Promised Messiahas in offering this prayer. Only if the world, and in particular the Muslim Ummah, reform themselves and turn towards the Promised Messiahas can they reclaim their former glory, and they will be saved from the humiliation and contempt they face today. May Allah the Almighty grant reason to our leaders and scholars, and there is bound to be some from among them who have a virtuous disposition, may Allah bring them into this fold. Thus, we must offer this supplication with great fervency and passion.

Then there is mention of a prayer which the Promised Messiahas wrote in a letter to Hazrat Nawab Muhammad Ali Khan Sahibra. He wrote that one ought to pray abundantly and make humility a salient feature of oneself. One should not simply offer supplications out of habit or custom, as this is futile. A prayer which is supplicated as a mere custom or ritual is of no value. In terms of supplications, one ought to make it a habit that aside from the compulsory prayers, go in seclusion and beseech with the utmost humility in one’s own language. i.e. aside from the compulsory prayers, one ought to offer voluntary prayers. Offer prayers with humility as if an insignificant being is supplicating in the royal court of God Almighty as follows:

“O Lord of all the worlds! It is beyond me to offer You gratitude for all Your favours. You are most Merciful and Compassionate, and the bounties that You have conferred upon me are countless. Forgive me my sins, lest I be ruined. Fill my heart with sincere love for You, so that I may receive life. Cover my faults and allow me to perform such deeds that become the source of Your pleasure. I seek refuge in Your noble countenance lest your punishment befall me. Have mercy and save me from the calamities of this world and the hereafter, for all grace and compassion is in Your hand. Ameen.” (Maktubat-e-Ahmad [2015], Vol. 2, pp. 158-159)

In order for these prayers to be granted acceptance, it is necessary for us to send salutations upon the Holy Prophetsa in abundance. Without invoking salutations, our prayers remain suspended in the heavens and do not reach Allah the Almighty.

اللّٰهُمَّ صَلّ عَلَى مُحَمَّدٍ وَعَلَى آلِ مُحَمَّدٍ كَمَا صَلَّيْتَ عَلَى إِبْرَاهِيمَ وَعَلَى آلِ إِبْرَاهِيمَ إِنَّكَ حَمِيدٌ مَجِيدٌ. اللّٰهُمَّ بَارِكْ عَلَى مُحَمَّدٍ وَعَلَى آلِ مُحَمَّدٍ كَمَا بَارَكْتَ عَلَى إِبْرَاهِيمَ وَعَلَى آلِ إِبْرَاهِيمَ إِنَّكَ حَمِيدٌ مَجِيدٌ.

[“Bless, O Allah, Muhammadsa and the people of Muhammadsa, as Thou didst bless Abrahamas and the people of Abrahamas. Thou art indeed the Praiseworthy, the Glorious. Prosper, O Allah, Muhammadsa and the people of Muhammadsa, as Thou didst prosper Abrahamasand the people of Abrahamas. Thou art indeed the Praiseworthy, the Glorious.”]

We must recite this profusely. May Allah the Almighty grant us the opportunity to offer these heartfelt prayers, and may we offer supplications in our own languages as well. May we offer prayers by developing a state of anguish and fervency, wherein these prayers emanate from the depths of our hearts. Also, pray so that the blessings of Ramadan remain with us forever. May we attain the blessings of this Friday and all subsequent Fridays.

Pray earnestly for those who are imprisoned solely for the crime of professing belief in the Promised Messiahas, whether they are in Pakistan, in Yemen or in other places. May Allah the Almighty create the means for their release and repel the evil of the mischievous ones back on to them.

Pray profusely that may we and our progeny be safeguarded from the flames of war and its consequences; may Allah the Almighty protect us from this. It seems now as that the war is at our doorstep, in fact, it has already begun. The world war has begun, however, world leaders are not worried in the slightest. They think that they will remain safe and ordinary citizens will perish. But this is a figment of their imagination. They are giving precedence to their egos. They have no concern for their people. These are the schemes of the Antichrist, they deceive the people by saying they do such and such things for them. Now people are beginning to raise their voices in certain areas. But their ploys have distanced the masses from God Almighty. They [i.e., leaders] were distant from Him already and furthermore, every form of indecency and evil is rife and this is something that displeases Allah the Almighty. The consequence of this is that they will succumb to Allah the Almighty’s wrath. In all this, it is vital for Ahmadis to draw closer to God Almighty and to develop fervency in our prayers, so that we can remain protected from their evil. Pray for those people among them who have a virtuous disposition that may they remain protected from their evil.

As I have mentioned, the World War has started. The war has spread from the borders of Palestine to other areas. The attack on the Iranian consulate in Syria is a grave crime under every law, but because it was carried out by Israel, the world is silent. Now the scope of the war will widen as a result of this. There is an uproar owing to the killing of aid workers and some people have begun to speak out against it. But they were silent when it came to the killing of innocent Palestinians. They are now feeling the pain when it is their own people who have been killed. Nonetheless, we should pray that may Allah the Almighty save humanity and enable us to do justice in offering supplications.

(Official Urdu transcript published in the Daily Al Fazl International, 26 April 2024, pp. 1-8. Translated by The Review of Religions.)

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