Imam Shamshad A Nasir, Detroit, Michigan, USA
A few days ago, I read in an editorial [of a publication] that the Promised Messiah, Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad, peace be upon him, gave someone the following words of advice:
“The single sign of our identity is that when the time comes for Namaz [prayer], one should perform ablution and offer Namaz; this is sufficient [as our identity].”
When I read this statement, my mind immediately went to another [piece of] writing and advice of the Promised Messiahas, which was published in Majmu‘a-e-Ishtiharat (Collection of Advertisements), page 48 of the third volume. Addressing Jamaat members in this way, the Promised Messiahas states:
“So, become prudent and mindful and truly benign and good-hearted, humble, and sincere. You will be identified by virtue of the five daily prayers and by [your] moral status.”
This community was established for one identifying element which we ourselves are responsible for. In this regard, the Promised Messiahas states:
“This Bai‘at [initiation] is only to bring together like-minded righteous people so that the piety of this large party of God-fearing individuals will influence the world. The Almighty Allah established this group in order to reveal His glory and power. It was His will to enable [this group] to make progress so that love, repentance, piety, purity of soul, righteousness, peace and reformation, and kindness to humanity be spread in the world. Therefore, this group will be a unique group and the Almighty Allah will breathe strength into this group with His Own spirit. He will cleanse them of their sinful existence and will bestow a righteous change in their lives.” (Majmu‘a-e-Ishtiharat, Vol. 1, pp. 196-198)
These are the features of identification that the Promised Messiahas expects and desires from all the members of his community. Prayer and righteousness (Taqwa) are included in these characteristics.
In the Holy Quran, the Almighty Allah has identified individuals who offer prayers regularly in these words:
اِنَّمَا یَعۡمُرُ مَسٰجِدَ اللّٰہِ مَنۡ اٰمَنَ بِاللّٰہِ وَ الۡیَوۡمِ الۡاٰخِرِ وَ اَقَامَ الصَّلٰوۃَ وَ اٰتَی الزَّکٰوۃَ وَ لَمۡ یَخۡشَ اِلَّا اللّٰہَ
“He alone can maintain the Mosques of Allah in a good and flourishing condition who believes in Allah, and the Last Day, and observes prayer, and pays the Zakat, and fears none but Allah.” (Surah al-Taubah, Ch.9: V.18)
The commentary of this verse, as given by Tirmidhi in Kitab-ul-Tafsir, states:
“Hazrat Abu Saeed, may Allah be pleased with him, narrates that the Holy Prophet, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, said, ‘When you see someone coming and going from a mosque for worship, then vouch for that person as a believer because the Almighty Allah says, “Only those individuals populate Allah’s mosques who believe in Allah and in the Day of Judgement.”’” (Hadeeqatus-Salihin, Hadith 259)
Establishing Namaz, [offering] Namaz regularly and punctually, in congregation – this, in point of fact, is our identity which the Almighty Allah has defined in the Holy Quran and thereafter, the Holy Prophet Muhammadsa and God’s pure Messiahas have ordained for us. Therefore, there should be no breach, no hint of indolence nor weariness in this matter so that on the Day of Judgement, we are included among those who will be the recipients of salvation and [everlasting] prosperity.
As mentioned earlier, Jamaat-e-Ahmadiyya was founded in order to fully establish and secure [our] duty to fulfil the rights of Allah, His worship, and to be steadfast about His unity. These distinguishing features will be beneficial in our propagation efforts as well because the effect of righteousness will be to attract others towards it [Jamaat-e-Ahmadiyya], Insha-Allah.
It is narrated that once, an individual visited Hazrat Imam Jafar Sadiqrh and asked, “I am leaving to go and preach, so please tell me something I can do that will prove to be helpful in my effort to preach my religion.” The response given by Imam Jafarrh served to cover the [essence of the] entire faith; he said, “Make every effort to avoid using your tongue to preach your religion.”
In this regard, Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmadas, the Messiah of this age advised members of his Jamaat in his publication Izala-e-Auham on page 546 of Ruhani Khazain, (under the heading, “Guidance for those friends who have entered into the Bai‘at”):
“O my friends, who have entered into a bond of allegiance with me [taken my Bai‘at]; may Allah enable me and you to act in ways that will become the source of His pleasure. … How can we make the Almighty Allah pleased [with us] and how can He be with us? Allah has repeatedly responded to me that ‘righteousness’ is the answer.
“Therefore, O my dear brothers! Make every effort to become righteous. Without practical examples, all talk is useless, and without sincerity, no action is acceptable. Hence, the essence of righteousness is that you shun all ills and take a step towards Allah Almighty and give due regard to the finer aspects of virtue.
“First of all, become humble, cleanse your hearts and be sincere. Truly become meek of heart, free from flaws, gentle, forbearing and humble because every virtuous or evil deed is born in the heart. If your heart is devoid of evil, then your tongue will be devoid of evil as well. Your eyes and all body parts will behave in such a manner as well.
“Every light or darkness is born first in the heart, then spreads slowly to the rest of the body. Therefore, keep prodding your heart like a betel leaf eater keeps rotating and pruning betel leaves to discard the rotten parts. Similarly, keep evaluating your secret thoughts, feelings, habits and actions. Keep discarding any lowly thought, habit, feeling and action lest your heart becomes impure and you [yourself] are discarded.
“Then after this, keep making every effort and also implore Allah Almighty for courage and strength to show your pure intentions, thoughts, feelings, and desires through your physical actions and outward behaviour. In order for your righteous deeds to attain the highest status, any unwanted thought that you have should be kept in your heart, as such thoughts can never elevate your status. Make room in your heart for the magnificence of the Almighty Allah and keep His Majesty in (clear) focus.
“If you wish to attain salvation, then follow the religion of humility and meekness, shackle yourself to the teachings given in the Holy Qur’an because the evil one will be destroyed, and the rebellious will be sent to Hell. Those who adopt humility are saved from death.
“Do not worship the Almighty Allah to demand riches of this world, as these thoughts will make you stumble. However, you should worship Him because He [Alone] holds the true right to be worshipped. Worship should become your life, and you should consider worshipping Him as a reason for living. The only reason for all your good deeds should be to attain acceptance by the True Beloved and Benefactor as anything less than that is cause for stumbling.
“God is a Great Treasure. Be ready to face difficulties in order to reach Him. He is extremely sought-after, so be prepared to sacrifice your lives for Him. O dear ones! Do not look down on the commandments of the Almighty Allah with ingratitude. … Follow His commandments like a child. Offer Namaz, offer Namaz as it is the key to prosperity. When you stand up to offer Namaz, do not behave as if this is merely a custom, rather perform physical as well as spiritual ablution beforehand and cleanse your body from any ungodly thoughts, and only then stand up to offer Namaz which is secure in these two [kinds of] ablution. Offer lots of prayers within your Namaz, supplicate abundantly in your Namaz, and develop the habit of crying and imploring, so that [His] Mercy descends on you.”
To conclude this advice, the Promised Messiahas says:
“It should be that the complete picture of Islam is evident through you; your forehead should show signs of the effect of prostration, and the grandeur of the Almighty Allah should be reflected in you. … Be steadfast in belief of the unity of God, commit to offering Namaz, give precedence to the commandments of the True Master over everything else, and bear all difficulties for the sake of Islam.
وَ لَا تَمُوۡتُنَّ اِلَّا وَ اَنۡتُمۡ مُّسۡلِمُوۡنَ
‘And let not death overtake you except when you are in a state of submission.’ [Surah Al-e-Imran, Ch.3: V.103].” (Izala-e-Auham, Ruhani Khazain Vol. 3, pp. 546-552)
(Translated from Urdu by Wajeeh Bajwa and Anisa Bushra Salam Bajwa, Jacksonville, Florida, USA)