Friday Sermon – The last ashra of Ramadan: Fortify prayers and repentance with durood (30 April 2021)

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Friday Sermon

30 April 2021

The last ashra of Ramadan: Fortify prayers and repentance with durood

After reciting the Tashahud, Ta‘awuz and Surah al-Fatihah, Hazrat Khalifatul Masih Vaa stated:

By the grace of Allah the Almighty, we are currently passing through the month of Ramadan. And in the next two days, we will be entering the final Ashrah [10 days]. On one occasion, the Holy Prophetsa stated that in the final 10 days of Ramadan, Allah the Almighty grants salvation from the Hellfire. (Kanzul Ummal, Vol. 8, p. 463, Hadith 23668, Mu‘assisah al-Risalah, Beirut, 1985)

Thus, in these days we must pay particular attention towards performing our worship in the most excellent manner, invoking salutations on the Holy Prophetsa [durood], seeking forgiveness from Allah the Almighty and repentance, offering prayers, fulfilling the rights due to Allah the Almighty’s worship and also fulfilling the rights owed to mankind; this is so that we can attain the pleasure of Allah the Almighty and be saved from the Hellfire. 

What was the example of the Holy Prophetsa and in what manner did he spend the last 10 days of Ramadan; what was the standard of his worship? Even in ordinary days, the standard of his worship was such that it is difficult to describe in words. However, what was the standard of his worship during Ramadan? In relation to this, Hazrat Aishara relates that he particularly strived more than ever [in his worship in Ramadan]. (Sahih Bukhari, Kitab Fazl Lailat-ul-Qadr, Hadith 2024)

From this, it is evident that it is beyond our comprehension to what extent the Holy Prophetsa would strive. Even Hazrat Aishara was unable to express this in words. Despite this, Allah the Almighty has commanded believers to follow the Holy Prophetsa, as he is an excellent model and one ought to strive to attain the same lofty standards according to one’s own capacities, which the Holy Prophetsa has established for us. Only then will Allah the Almighty listen to our prayers and only then will we be treading on the path and advancing towards the standards which are outlined for a believer. Moreover, this is the standard, which a believer should try to attain. 

Hence, during these days, we should particularly try to engage ourselves in supplications. These days, Ahmadis must pay particular attention to this. 

In some countries, Pakistan in particular as well as in some other Muslim countries, opposition of various kinds is increasing against the Jamaat and attempts are being made to ignite a fire of hatred against us. May Allah the Almighty protect us from such ploys and may He turn the evil outcome of their efforts back on to the enemy. 

Similarly, with regard to the current pandemic, we should pray for Allah the Almighty to safeguard us from it. 

We are fortunate that the Holy Prophet’ssa true servant in this era, the Promised Messiahas, not only drew our attention towards prayers but also explained how these prayers can be accepted. Alongside praising Allah the Almighty, invoking salutations on the Holy Prophetsa is also very important for the acceptance of prayers. Otherwise, those prayers become suspended between Heaven and the earth. (Jami‘ al-Tirmidhi, Abwaab Al-Witr, Hadith 486)

Furthermore, the Holy Prophetsa said, “Whoever stops invoking salutations on me has deviated from the path to Heaven.” (Sunan Ibn Majah, Kitabul Iqamah Al-Salat, Hadith 908)

We find another Hadith that the Holy Prophetsa said, “Invoke salutations on me. This act of yours will become a means of your own purification and progress.” (Kanzul Ummal, Vol. 1, p. 249, Kitab-ul-Azkar)

We also find the following saying of the Holy Prophetsa: “Whosoever invokes salutations on me with a sincere heart, Allah the Almighty will, in turn, send blessings upon them tenfold, elevate their status by 10 ranks and also write 10 good deeds on their part.” (Kitab-ul-Sunan Al-Kubra Li-Al-Nisai, Vol. 6, pp. 21-22, Kitab Amal-ul-Yaum Wa Lailah, Riwayat No. 9892, Dar-ul-Kutb Al-Ilmiyyah, Beirut 1991) 

Thus, these various narrations illustrate the importance of invoking salutations upon the Holy Prophetsa

However, for us – who claim to be the followers of the Promised Messiahas and claim that without him, it is not possible to understand the true status and rank of the Holy Prophetsa – it is incumbent to develop a true understanding of the importance of durood and strive to recite it as much as possible. And it should not only be recited so that Allah the Almighty accepts our prayers; rather, we should recite this so that we may instil an everlasting purity within our lives; so that we may draw closer to Allah the Almighty; so that we may bring about a pure change in our lives and attain religious and spiritual progress through the recitation of the durood

Our claim of having accepted the true admirer of the Holy Prophetsa should not be just mere lip-service; rather, our every action should reflect the fact that we have accepted the Promised Messiah and Mahdi, regarding whom even the angels in the Heavens declared, “This is the man who loves the Holy Prophet[sa] the most.” (Barahin-e-Ahmadiyya, pt. 4, Ruhani Khazain Vol.1, p. 598)

Regarding the following revelation which the Promised Messiahas received: 

صَلِّ‭ ‬عَلٰي‭ ‬مُحَمَّدٍ‭ ‬وَّاٰلِ‭ ‬مُحَمَّدٍ‭ ‬سَيِّدِ‭ ‬وُلْدِ‭ ‬اٰدَمَ‭ ‬وَخَاتَمِ‭ ‬النَّبِيّيْنَ

“Call down blessings on Muhammad and the progeny of Muhammad, who is the Chief of the children of Adam and is the Seal of the Prophets, may peace and blessings of Allah be upon him”, the Promised Messiahas said: 

“This indicates that all these ranks, munificence and favours are on account of him [the Holy Prophetsa] and are a reward for loving him. Subhanallah [Holy is Allah]! What high ranks the chief of all creation has in the presence of the One True God and what kind of nearness does he have to Him that his admirer becomes the beloved of God, and his servant is appointed the master of the whole world!” 

In other words, one who does true justice to his subservience to the Holy Prophetsa attains such a rank in the sight of Allah the Almighty that the entire world unites to serve him. Thus, the status of Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad Qadiani, the Promised Messiah and Mahdi is owing to his complete subservience and love for the Holy Prophetsa. It is because the Promised Messiahas was a true devotee of the Holy Prophetsa that Allah the Almighty declared him to be an ummati prophet, who was going to appear in subservience to the Holy Prophetsa and further his mission. He was sent for the propagation of Islam. 

The Promised Messiahas states:

“At this time, I recall that one night, this humble one recited durood so abundantly that my heart and soul became fragrant therewith. The same night I saw in a dream that angels were carrying into the house of this humble one water skins filled with divine light in the form of pure and clean water and one of them said, ‘These are the very blessings which you had sent to Muhammad, may peace and blessings of Allah be upon him.’

“I recall a similar wonderful experience. Once, I received a revelation which indicated that there was a vigorous discussion in the High Assembly in Heaven. That is, God’s will for the revival of the Faith was surging, but the appointment of the man to revive the Faith was not yet disclosed to the High Assembly, and this is why they were in disagreement. It was at this time in the dream that I saw people searching for a reviver. A man appeared before my humble self and, pointing towards me, said:

هٰذَا‭ ‬رَجُلٌ‭ ‬يُّحِبُّ‭ ‬رَسُوْلَ‭ ‬اللّٰهِ

“Meaning, ‘This is the man who loves the Messenger[sa] of Allah. The meaning of this statement was that the principal qualification for this mission is the love of the Holy Prophetsa and that this quality was definitely found in me.” (Barahin-e-Ahmadiyya, pt. 4, Ruhani Khazain Vol.1, pp. 597-598, sub-footnote 3)

Thus, we believe in the Messiah and Mahdi, who was sent by Allah the Almighty for the rejuvenation of faith. He was sent for the important task of the renaissance of Islam and to gather the entire world under the banner of the Holy Prophetsa and in his subservience. The Promised Messiahas attained this status owing to his deep love for the Holy Prophetsa. Thus, we, who have joined the community of this true devotee of the Holy Prophetsa and at every occasion pledge that we shall give precedence to our faith over all worldly pursuits, is it not a huge responsibility therefore of ours that whilst helping to further the mission of this reviver [of faith] and whilst fulfilling our pledge and invoking salutations upon the Holy Prophetsa [durood], we become the helpers and supporters of the Promised Messiah and Mahdi? We are to inform the world that the person whom they consider has dishonoured the Holy Prophetsa, God-forbid, in fact, is the one who loves him the most. 

We are the ones who truly invoke salutations upon the Holy Prophetsa [durood] after having gained insight of its true meaning and essence from the ardent devotee of the Holy Prophetsa. We are the ones who not only pray for ourselves in the month of Ramadan, but we anxiously ponder over how we can propagate the name of Muhammadsa and raise aloft his flag throughout the entire world and how we can help bring people into the subservience of the Holy Prophetsa, thereby enabling them to reform their lives in this world and in the next; how we can make them feel a sense of pride in them being subservient to the Holy Prophetsa and being associated with the name of Islam and understanding that this is the only faith which can guarantee the peace and prosperity of the world; [how we can make them understand] that this is the only faith that enables one to establish a connection with Allah the Almighty and that this alone is the faith which claims that even today Allah the Almighty accepts the prayers of the followers of the Holy Prophetsa owing to their love for him.  

Thus, this is a huge responsibility we Ahmadis have been entrusted with because we have to now inform the rest of the world. We also have to reflect as to how truly and sincerely we are fulfilling this responsibility and thereby attaining the grace and blessings of Allah the Almighty. 

If we truly want to continuously receive this grace and blessings then we have to continue invoking salutations upon the Holy Prophetsa [durood], individually and also collectively as a community as well. If we do this, then we will witness for ourselves how Allah the Almighty, out of His grace, will completely destroy and annihilate the evil ploys and plans of the enemy. And Allah the Almighty will see to the enemy Himself. We will witness how we and our future progenies will continue to excel in spirituality. We will witness the signs of the acceptance of our prayers offered in a personal capacity and also the prayers offered collectively as a community as well. 

This is something that can never be proven false, for the Messengersa of Allah has assured us of this by stating that the prayers which are offered whilst praising Allah the Almighty and invoking salutations upon the Holy Prophetsa [durood] will indeed fulfil all of one’s needs, provided that this durood is offered with the true sincerity of the heart and there is a true yearning for the Holy Prophetsa to be exalted in his rank and status and also provided that these prayers are offered with a true heartfelt desire. However, this can only happen when one understands its deeper meanings and the wisdom behind it [i.e. the durood]. 

I will briefly mention that a heartfelt prayer is offered when one has a full understanding as to what exactly they are praying for. Mere lip service can neither enable one to have a deep understanding of the meanings of those words, nor will it have any impact upon the heart. If the prayer does not have an impact on one’s heart, then it cannot bring about fervency and emotion in the prayer. Thus, in order for it to have an impact on the heart, it is essential that one knows what exactly they are praying for and why. 

There are millions of people who recite the durood but do not even know its meaning and what the benefits are in reciting durood for them and for the Holy Prophetsa

On one occasion, Hazrat Musleh-e-Maudra explained this and I will present a summary of it. 

In the durood, “Allahumma salli” comes first and “Allahumma barik” comes after. The wisdom behind this is that “Salat” means to pray; therefore, “Allahumma salli” means, “O Allah! Pray for the Holy Prophetsa.” 

Now, those who pray are of two types; firstly, those who have nothing and they seek from others; the others are those who have complete authority and grant to others. Thus, when we say regarding God Almighty that He prays, it means that He instructs His creation, including the wind, water, mountains, etc. to support His servant. Therefore, “Allahumma salli” means, “O Allah! Grant Your Prophetsa all the good that is found in this world and in the Heavens. Exalt him in honour and respect.” 

Thus, when Allah the Almighty decrees for something, then nothing can be greater than that because we cannot even fathom the scope of what He decrees and wills. Therefore, we present this supplication before Allah the Almighty that whatever is the greatest status in His sight or whatever rank He wishes, may He grant that to the Holy Prophetsa.

Allahumma barik” means, “O Allah! The mercy, grace and rewards you have bestowed on the Holy Prophetsa, increase them to such a degree that the entire mercy and blessings of this world are gathered together and bestowed upon him.” 

Therefore, firstly Allah the Almighty will grant that what He wills, and the scope of that is beyond what we could ever imagine, and then we pray that may Allah the Almighty bless that so much that it continues to increase which becomes even more difficult to even fathom or comprehend its magnitude. 

Thus, when we offer these prayers for the Holy Prophetsa and we continue to go on offering these prayers, then we will also partake of the prayers of the Holy Prophetsa which he offered for his ummah [followers]. When we pray in a truly heartfelt manner for the success and progress of his religion and for him to reign supreme in the world, then Allah the Almighty will also enable us to partake of these prayers and receive the blessings of the durood because this also includes a prayer for his ummah. We will also benefit from the fruits that grow forth from the seeds we sow. This is because the prayer of “salli” is akin to sowing a seed and “barik” can be likened to the fruits thereof. (Khutbat-e-Mahmud, Vol. 7, pp. 77-78)

However, the condition for this is that [these prayers] have to be offered with utmost sincerity of the heart and with pure intentions. Moreover, one should practise the teachings of the Holy Prophetsa and pay attention towards fulfilling the rights of Allah and the rights of His creation. We ought to do true justice to being the followers of the Holy Prophetsa

It should not be the case that one carries out injustices in the name of Allah the Almighty and His Messengersa and then also recites the durood hoping to become a recipient of those blessings which one receives owing to reciting the durood; [for example] those who break the law and inflict hardship on people and yet claim to love the Holy Prophetsa and send salutations upon him and therefore believe that they should not be stopped from their deeds; furthermore, blocking roads so that patients are unable to reach hospitals and then saying that they are doing this in the name of Allah and His Messengersa – all these actions are against the clear commands of the Holy Prophetsa and are tantamount to disobeying his commands. 

Allah the Almighty has never granted permission to do such a thing, nor did the Holy Prophetsa and nor does invoking salutations on the Holy Prophetsa benefit such people. Instead of elevating the rank and honour of the Holy Prophetsa, this is an abhorrent attempt to discredit him and an attempt to smear the name of Islam. It should always be remembered that Allah the Almighty severely punishes those who commit injustices in the name of Allah and His Messengersa

Thus, today, it is only Ahmadis who can explain the correct understanding of durood to the world. Therefore, during this Ramadan, where we must pay particular attention towards invoking salutations on the Holy Prophetsa, we must try to bring about virtuous changes within ourselves, which is essential for our durood to be accepted. If this is accepted, then it is beneficial for that individual as their prayers will be accepted and it will improve their spiritual condition. When one progresses in their love for the Holy Prophetsa, they will then receive the true nearness of Allah the Almighty. And one’s durood offered earnestly will, in turn, provide the means for the ummah of the Holy Prophetsa to progress. 

One can further learn of the importance of durood by the fact that in the Holy Quran, Allah the Almighty has instructed the believers to invoke salutations upon the Holy Prophetsa. Allah the Almighty states:

اِنَّ اللّٰهَ وَ مَلٰٓئِكَتَهٗ يُصَلُّوۡنَ عَلَي النَّبِيِّ ؕ يٰۤاَيُّهَا الَّذِيۡنَ اٰمَنُوۡا صَلُّوۡا عَلَيۡهِ وَ سَلِّمُوۡا تَسۡلِيۡمًا

“Allah and His angels send blessings on the Prophet. O ye who believe, you [too] should invoke blessings on [him] and salute him with the salutation of peace.” [Ch.33: V.57]

Thus, invoking salutations upon the Holy Prophetsa is of such importance that Allah the Almighty and His angels invoke salutations upon him. 

Here, the meaning of “Allah praying” [“send blessings”] is further clarified in that Allah the Almighty constantly elevates the status of the Holy Prophetsa and also provides the means to establish his grandeur and honour. In this era, Allah the Almighty has entrusted the Jamaat of the Promised Messiahas with following this command in the correct manner and invoking salutations upon the Holy Prophetsa. Through this, one would become the recipient of the blessings from Allah the Almighty and receive blessings from the prayers of the angels, because if the angels send blessings upon the Holy Prophetsa, then these blessings would also reach his true ummah and true followers. 

Thus, if we receive such blessings, then it is incumbent upon us to show gratitude by sending salutations upon the Holy Prophetsa even more than before. This link between durood and gratitude is a never-ending cycle which continues to benefit a true believer.

Explaining the aforementioned verse, the Promised Messiahas states:

“Just reflect upon the sincerity and devotion of our Chief and Master, Muhammad, the Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him. The Holy Prophetsa stood firm against all forms of evil. He bore diverse trials and tribulations, but did not care in the least. It was this sincerity and devotion which moved Allah the Exalted to shower His grace. It is for this reason that He states:

اِنَّ اللّٰهَ وَ مَلٰٓئِكَتَهٗ يُصَلُّوۡنَ عَلَي النَّبِيِّ ؕ يٰۤاَيُّهَا الَّذِيۡنَ اٰمَنُوۡا صَلُّوۡا عَلَيۡهِ وَ سَلِّمُوۡا تَسۡلِيۡمًا

“‘Allah the Almighty and all His angels send blessings upon the Messenger. O ye who believe! You also should invoke blessings and peace upon the Prophetsa’ [Ch.33: V.57]. This verse establishes that the deeds of the Noble Messengersa were such that Allah the Almighty did not use any specific word to praise them or outline his attributes. Although words could be found, God Himself chose not to use any in particular, for the pious deeds of the Holy Prophetsa were beyond the confines of praise” i.e. it is very difficult to comprehend the morals of the Holy Prophetsa as they were extremely lofty.

A verse of this nature does not exist in praise of any other Prophetsa. The soul of the Holy Prophetsa was imbibed with such sincerity and purity, and his deeds were so praiseworthy in the sight of God that Allah the Almighty decreed for all times to come that all future generations would send blessings upon the Holy Prophetsa as an expression of gratitude.” (Malfuzat, Vol. 1, pp. 37-38)

Thus, this gratitude will eventually be of benefit to us. In this Ramadan and all year round, may Allah the Almighty enable us to understand the importance of durood and enable us to invoke blessings on the Holy Prophetsa.

اَللّٰهُمَّ‭ ‬صَلِّ‭ ‬عَلٰى‭ ‬مُحَمَّدٍ‭ ‬وَعَلَى‭ ‬اٰلِ‭ ‬مُحَمَّدٍ‭ ‬كَمَا‭ ‬صَلَّيْتَ‭ ‬عَلٰى‭ ‬اِبْرَاهِيْمَ‭ ‬وَعَلٰى‭ ‬اٰلِ‭ ‬اِبْرَاهِيْمَ‭ ‬اِنَّكَ‭ ‬حَمِيْدٌ‭ ‬مَّجِيْدٌ

‭ ‬اَللّٰهُمَّ‭ ‬بَارِكْ‭ ‬عَلٰى‭ ‬مُحَمَّدٍ‭ ‬وَعَلٰى‭ ‬اٰلِ‭ ‬مُحَمَّدٍ‭ ‬كَمَا‭ ‬بَارَكْتَ‭ ‬عَلٰى‭ ‬اِبْرَاهِيْمَ‭ ‬وَعَلٰى‭ ‬اٰلِ‭ ‬اِبْرَاهِيْمَ‭ ‬اِنَّكَ‭ ‬حَمِيْدٌ‭ ‬مَجِيْدٌ

The second aspect which I would like to especially highlight and remind about is istighfar [seeking forgiveness from Allah] and the prayer: 

اَسْتَغْفِرُ‭ ‬اللّٰهَ‭ ‬رَبِّيْ‭ ‬مِنْ‭ ‬كُلِّ‭ ‬ذَنْبٍ‭ ‬وَّاَتُوْبُ‭ ‬اِلَيْهِ

“I seek forgiveness from Allah, my Lord, for all my sins, and turn towards Him.” This is an extremely important prayer.

The Promised Messiahas states:

“The true meaning and essence of seeking forgiveness or istighfar is to implore God so that no human weakness becomes manifest and so that God may support human nature with His strength and envelop it within the circle of His protection and succour. The word, istighfar, is derived from gha-fa-ra, which means to cover up. Hence, this supplication implores of God that He, with His power, may cover up the natural weakness of the person who seeks forgiveness from God. 

“This meaning is then extended to the masses at large in that God may cover up such sins which have already been committed. However, the true and proper meaning is that God protects from human frailty the person who seeks forgiveness and performs istighfar with His own divine power and grants him strength from His own strength, and knowledge from His own knowledge, and light from His own light. For after having created man, God has not left him alone, but as He is man’s Creator and the Maker of all his external and internal faculties, He is also the Sustainer of man. In other words, He safeguards with His unique support everything that He has created. God is All-Sustaining and maintains creation through His own support. 

“It is, therefore, incumbent on man that since he has come into existence by the creating hand of God, he should seek to safeguard the features of his creation from corruption through God’s support […] Therefore, this is a natural requirement of man for which he has been directed to perform istighfar. It is to this that the Holy Quran refers in the following:

اَللّٰهُ‭ ‬لَآ‭ ‬اِلٰهَ‭ ‬اِلَّا‭ ‬هُوَ‭ ‬الْحَيُّ‭ ‬الْقَيُّوْمُ

“[…] And so it is God Who is both the Creator and Sustainer. The attribute of creation was manifested when man was brought into existence, but the divine function of providing sustenance was to work ceaselessly. Hence arose the need for constant istighfar.” In order to prevent one’s [spiritual] condition from deteriorating, Allah’s attribute of All-Sustaining provides support when one constantly recites istighfar

“Every attribute of God bestows a form of grace and istighfar is needed to draw out the grace of God’s support. It is to this that the following verse of Surah al-Fatihah refers:

اِيَّاكَ‭ ‬نَعْبُدُ‭ ‬وَاِيَّاكَ‭ ‬نَسْتَعِيْنُ

“This means, ‘You alone do we worship and You alone do we implore so that Your support and providence may uphold us and protect us from stumbling lest we fall prey to weakness and are unable to worship You.’” (Ismat-e-Anbiya, Ruhani Khazain, Vol. 18, pp. 671-672)

Therefore, istighfar is extremely important in order to perform worship, safeguard oneself from the attacks of Satan and to follow the commands of Allah the Almighty. It is not the case that one should only recite istighfar after committing a sin. Indeed, at such a time, seeking forgiveness and repentance are essential to safeguard oneself from future sins and to have previous sins forgiven. In order to protect oneself from future sins, one requires the help of Allah the Almighty and this is sought through istighfar

Whether one has committed a sin or not, in both cases istighfar is of vital importance. Satan is always there to hinder us from our path and man cannot remain protected from Satan’s attacks through one’s own efforts. To say that one will abstain from future sins merely through their own effort is impossible. The only way to do this is to seek Allah’s help and Allah the Almighty states that in order to seek His help, one must recite istighfar profusely. This is the means to safeguard oneself from satanic attacks in the future and also to have previous sins forgiven. Man is weak and istighfar is vital because it grants strength. Istighfar gives one strength to overcome human frailties and protects us against the onslaught of Satan. 

Thus, istighfar will draw upon the attribute of Allah being the “All-Sustaining” and will protect the one who recites istighfar from every evil. Allah the Almighty draws close to the one who strives towards Him. Having committed a sin, if one repents and turns towards Allah the Almighty, then Allah accepts that person’s repentance. And those who strive to seek shelter in Allah from the attacks of Satan, Allah, in turn, accepts their istighfar and saves them from Satan. 

Allah the Almighty has stated himself how vast His mercy and forgiveness is by saying that it encompasses everything. 

Regarding this, the Holy Prophetsa mentioned a narration about a person who committed 99 murders. When that person felt remorse for his actions and wished to repent, he went to see a religious scholar to enquire about repenting [for his actions]. The scholar said, “You have sinned to such an extent and committed so many murders, how can you ever be forgiven?” That man killed the scholar as well, thereby making 100 murders. 

After this, he again felt remorse over his actions. He then went to see a more renowned scholar and asked the same thing. The scholar replied, “Indeed, Allah the Almighty states that the door to His repentance is always open. If you truly repent, then go to such and such place; over there you will find the people are engaged in the worship of Allah and performing deeds for their faith. Go and join them, but remember, never return to your own area again.”

True repentance is to cut off all such ties which were a means to committing sin. Therefore, in order to attain true repentance, he was not to return to the same area. Hence, he set off towards that place; however, he passed away when he was only halfway there. 

When he passed away, the angels of mercy and punishment went to him, and argued with one another, each saying that he should go with them. The angel of mercy said that this person had repented which was why he should go to Heaven. The angel of punishment said that he did not carry out a single virtuous deed during his lifetime, so how could he go to Heaven? He could not be forgiven. 

In the meantime, a third angel arrived, and in light of the situation, he became the mediator and stated that the distance from the origin of his journey to his destination should be measured and the decision should be based according to the place he was closest to. When they measured the distance, they found that he was closer to his destination [at the time of death]. Thus, on account of having repented and doing a good deed, the angel of mercy took him to Paradise. (Sahih Muslim, Kitab –Al-Taubah, Hadith no. 7008)

So these are the ways in which Allah the Almighty creates means for forgiveness. Even when an extremely cruel murderer sought repentance whilst he was in good health, God created the means for his forgiveness. 

These days, many children and youths ask about the extent to which Allah the Almighty forgives. It is clear from this narration that when Allah the Almighty states that He accepts repentance and that His mercy is extremely vast, it means that one cannot confine God’s mercy. However, the condition is that one must repent sincerely. There is a narration in which the Holy Prophetsa is reported to have said:

“By God! Allah the Almighty is more delighted with the repentance of His servant, than a person who finds their camel that was lost in the wilderness.” (Sahih Bukhari, Kitab-ul-Dawat, Hadith no. 6309)

Allah the Almighty advances towards those who strive towards Him. The Holy Prophetsa said that if a person moves a hand’s length towards God, then God moves two hand lengths towards them. If one walks towards Him, then He runs towards them. (Sahih al-Bukhari, Kitab-ul-Tauhid, Hadith no. 7405)

Hence, it is our duty to move closer to God in order to save ourselves from sin, to have our sins forgiven and also to be safeguarded from the Hellfire. Allah the Almighty has granted us this month specifically for this purpose and so we must derive benefit from it. 

On one occasion, whilst explaining repentance and forgiveness, the Promised Messiahas stated:

“Keep in mind that to reject repentance and forgiveness is akin to shutting the door of human progress. It is obvious to everyone since time immemorial that man is not perfect in himself, but in fact, he stands in need of perfection. As after his birth, he gradually widens his knowledge and is not born learned and well informed, in the same way, when after his birth he starts to become aware of his surroundings, his moral condition is at a very low ebb. 

“Observation of the condition of small children would show that most children are inclined to beat others on the slightest provocation and many of them are given to telling lies and using foul language with other children. Some steal, backbite, show jealousy and are miserly. When they grow up, they fall into the grip of the self that incites to evil and are guilty of diverse types of immoralities and wickedness which are openly corrupt. 

“Thus, for most people, the first stage of life is impure, but when a fortunate person emerges from the fierce flood of youthful desires, he turns towards God and withdraws from undesirable activities through sincere repentance and occupies himself with purifying the garment of his nature. Usually, these are stages of human life, which a person has to traverse. This shows that were it true that repentance is not accepted, it would mean that God does not desire to bestow salvation on anyone” and this is not possible because God Almighty says that He desires to grant salvation. (Chashma-e-Marifat, Ruhani Khazain, Vol. 23, pp. 192-193)

The Promised Messiahas then states:

“Let it be clear that in Arabic idiom, taubah (repentance) means ‘returning’, and that is why, in the Holy Quran, God’s name is also ‘Tawwab’, that is to say, ‘He Who is Oft-Returning’. This means that when a person discarding sin turns to God with a sincere heart, God Almighty turns even more to him. 

“This is altogether in accord with the law of nature. God Almighty has made it part of human nature that when a person turns to another with a sincere heart, the latter’s heart is also softened for him. Then how can reason accept that when a servant turns towards God Almighty with a true heart, God should not turn to him?” 

It is a part of human nature for people to act in this manner [i.e. to turn towards one another], but to then say with regard to God Almighty that He does not turn with mercy, in spite of man turning to Him, this is not the case at all. 

The Promised Messiahas then states:

“Indeed, God, Who is Benevolent and Merciful, turns even more towards His servant.” The Promised Messiahas states that God Almighty is Benevolent and Merciful, and turns even more towards His servant. 

“That is why, in the Holy Quran, God’s name is also ‘Tawwab’, meaning ‘Oft-Returning’. Man’s turning to God is through remorse and humility and meekness, and God’s turning to man is with mercy and forgiveness. If mercy were not one of the attributes of God Almighty, no one would be granted salvation. It is a pity that people do not ponder over the attributes of God Almighty and depend entirely upon their own actions. 

“But can it be the practice of God, Who without any action proceeding from man, has created thousands of bounties for him upon the earth, that, when a weak man, being warned of his heedlessness should turn to Him, a turning which is like death and should put off his previous impure garment and should be consumed in the fire of His love, God should not turn to him with mercy? Is this God’s law of nature?” (Chashma-e-Marifat, Ruhani Khazain, Vol. 23, pp. 133-134)

The Promised Messiahas states on another occasion:

“The doors to God Almighty’s grace and bounties are never closed. If man turns to Him wholeheartedly and with sincerity, then God Almighty is Forgiving, Merciful and accepts the repentance of such a person. 

“To estimate which sinner will be forgiven [and who will not] by God Almighty is a severe affront and insolence in the presence of God Almighty. The treasures to His mercy are vast and limitless. There is no deficiency in His presence and His doors are not closed to anyone. This is not like the jobs of the British, whereby only a highly educated person would be granted a job. All those who reach in the presence of God Almighty will attain high ranks. This is a categorical promise. Unfortunate indeed is the one who despairs of God Almighty and is in a state of ignorance at the time of his demise; indeed, in such a case, the door is then closed for them.” (Malfuzat, Vol. 3, pp. 296-297)

Hence, the doors to God Almighty’s mercy are open. But it is necessary that one repents in a state of health, not whilst taking their final breath. Therefore, one must repent and seek forgiveness constantly during these days, as the month of Ramadan is a month of acceptance of prayers, and in the final 10 days, one can seek protection from Hell. God Almighty is the One Who enables one to seek forgiveness for their sins and to carry out good deeds. If we remain firmly attached to Allah the Almighty, our life will be prosperous in this world and in the hereafter. 

As I have mentioned before, the circumstances for some Ahmadis in certain parts of the world have become constrained beyond all bounds. 

There is a single answer to these difficulties – and that is to develop our relationship with God Almighty. If we develop a bond with God Almighty and our durood and seeking forgiveness are for the sake of attaining the pleasure of God Almighty, then the opponents will not be able to cause us any harm, even if they try their utmost to do so. But if God Almighty is displeased with us, no excuse in the world can be of benefit to us, nor can any effort. Thus, we must strengthen our bond with God Almighty.

During Ramadan, pray regularly in your supplications for protection against the evil of the opponents. 

As I have mentioned, Ahmadis in certain parts of the world are being afflicted with great difficulties, and Ahmadis are undergoing terrible hardships. May Allah the Almighty grant them ease and protect them from the harm of the opponents. 

The Ahmadis in Pakistan should pray especially in these days for themselves and for the Jamaat as well. 

Also, pray a lot that we remain protected from the widespread coronavirus pandemic. May Allah the Almighty save the world from this pandemic and also protect us. 

May Allah Almighty enable us to recite durood and seek forgiveness in the correct manner. 

(Original Urdu transcript published in Al Fazl International, 21-31 May 2021, pp. 5-9. Translated by The Review of Religions.)

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