18 May 2018
Ramadan and Taqwa
After reciting the Tashahhud, Ta‘awuz, and Surah Al-Fatihah, Hazrat Khalifatul Masih Vaa recited verse 184 of Surah Al-Baqarah before commencing with the Sermon:
يٰۤاَيُّهَا الَّذِيۡنَ اٰمَنُوۡا كُتِبَ عَلَيۡكُمُ الصِّيَامُ كَمَا كُتِبَ عَلَي الَّذِيۡنَ مِنۡ قَبۡلِكُمۡ لَعَلَّكُمۡ تَتَّقُوۡنَ
“O ye who believe! Fasting is prescribed for you, as it was prescribed for those before you, so that you may become righteous.”
By the Grace of God Almighty, we are given the opportunity to pass through yet another month of Ramadan, which began yesterday. During this month, a large number of Muslims – in addition to fasting – also come to mosques in order to offer prayers, including the Taraweeh [voluntary congregational prayers offered in the nights of Ramadan] prayer and their attention is drawn towards it. Our mosques also become more populated during these days as compared to other days.
Nowadays, the verse which I have just recited is often being played on MTA. It reminds us that the objective of fasting, which has been prescribed is taqwa [true fear of God]. The objective of fasting that was prescribed for previous religions was also taqwa. Today, the adherents of those religions do not have their teaching in its original form, nor do they act upon it and are also devoid of taqwa. However, Islam is an everlasting religion and shall remain until the Day of Judgment. Its teaching is everlasting. The Holy Quran is preserved in every corner of the world in its original form and serves as a guidance for those who are righteous. Those, who act upon its teaching will always be on the path of taqwa and will serve as a guidance for them.
Moreover, in the latter-days, God Almighty sent the Promised Messiahas for our reformation, for the propagation of the Holy Quran and drawing our attention towards acting on its teachings and also to reveal the paths for us to follow. Furthermore, he has granted us the opportunity to accept him. Thus, it is a huge responsibility upon us Ahmadis that we understand the essence of fasting and try to attain its true objective during the month of Ramadan; which is to adopt taqwa and continuously progressing in it.
In the subsequent verses [from the one recited earlier], the details and guidelines pertaining to the commandments regarding fasting have been mentioned. Reciting the Holy Quran, following the commandments of God Almighty and paying attention towards supplications have also been mentioned. However, the summary of all this has been mentioned in this one word of the verse, that the objective is to attain taqwa. Thus, make special efforts in this month by acting upon the commandments of God Almighty and by paying attention to His worship so that your actions may assist you in adopting these practises into your lives forever. Thus, during the month of Ramadan, when we try to attain taqwa, our attention will also be drawn towards the various aspects of worship. If we fast whilst adhering to taqwa, our attention will be drawn towards safeguarding ourselves from vices and towards seeking and acting upon the commandments of God Almighty. If we are not refraining from vices, whether they are affecting ourselves or causing distress to others, we cannot fulfil the true purpose of fasting unless we abstain from such practises. If we fail to do this then then the objective of fasting will not be achieved. That is the meaning of taqwa.
Despite fasting if one harbours arrogance, takes pride unnecessarily in their actions and words, or has the habit of self-admiration whereby one desires for others to praise them, or for their subordinates to praise them and becomes elated upon listening to praise from others or yearns for this kind of praise then this does not constitute as taqwa. If we are not refraining from fighting, quarrelling, uttering falsehood and spreading disorder during the fasts, then this is not taqwa. If we are not spending our time during the fasts engaged in worship, supplications and virtuous deeds, it can neither be considered as taqwa, nor are we fulfilling the purpose of the fast. Thus, the very act of abstaining from vices and performing virtuous deeds during Ramadan enables a person to achieve the purpose of fasting. Furthermore, if a person endeavours to achieve this with steadfastness, they enable themselves to truly achieve the purpose of fasting. Otherwise, they are merely starving themselves. The Holy Prophetsa has said that God Almighty has no need for one to starve themselves if they are not achieving these objectives. (Sahih Al-Bukhari, Kitab-ul-Saum, Baab Man Lam Yad’a Qaulazzoor, Hadith no.1903)
Some people attempt to deceive others in the guise of fasting and cannot even bear the hunger for this sake. They make it appear as if they are observing the fast, when in actuality they are not. There are people who have no control over their eating and drinking as they are unable to refrain from food and drink for even a few hours for the sake of God Almighty. How can such people then restrain themselves in other matters concerning their other desires? Only yesterday a survey was published in a newspaper in relation to Muslims observing the fasts here [in the UK]. The conclusion that was drawn was that the majority of the youth merely fast as an act of pretention and that they are completely unaware of the true purpose of fasting. A Christian or a non-religious person – who in any case was not a Muslim – interviewed a youth who said that indeed, he observes the fast by having sehri [pre-dawn meal] with his family in the mornings. In his home the sehri and iftari [evening meal] were prepared regularly. The youth’s mother is sixty-four years old and suffers from diabetes. She also observes fasts and despite this, she regularly prepares various food items for them at iftari. However, the youth said that the truth of the matter is that due to the influence of the society or in order to show his family members, he pretends to fast and he had also eaten sehri in the morning that day. However, he had also eaten fish and chips for lunch and he said that there are thousands of youths like him in the UK who observe fasts in this manner.
Hence, this is the reality of the fast for some people. Furthermore, even if some people bear hunger for the entire day, they do not pay attention towards prayers and worship as they should do. They offer a few formal prayers and that is it. They pay no heed towards the commandments and restrictions of God Almighty. Such fasts do not fulfil the purpose of attaining taqwa, which God Almighty has prescribed. Thus, after having accepted the Promised Messiahas it is a great responsibility upon our shoulders as Ahmadis to try and do justice to the true spirit of fasting and to understand what taqwa is and how to attain it according to the commandments of God Almighty. The Promised Messiahas has informed us on various occasions who a righteous person is. The true comfort and pleasure is acquired through taqwa and not through worldly pleasures and he has also explained in what manner we should perform virtuous deeds. In order for a person to become a true believer, they must perform every deed of theirs in accordance with the desire of God Almighty and in order to acquire His pleasure. This is the very aspect which distinguishes a believer from a disbeliever. The Promised Messiahas also informed us that a person should excel in their cognisance of God Almighty. Every coming day should allow us to progress in our understanding of God Almighty. We should not become stationary at one place, nor should we become like those people who observe fasts due to the influence of society and as an act of pretention as mentioned in the aforementioned example. Rather we ought to excel in taqwa. Nevertheless, I will now present various extracts of the Promised Messiahas in relation to taqwa.
Whilst advising us to tread on the path of taqwa in order to attain the pleasure of God Almighty, as well as mentioning the fact that taqwa is the essence of all Holy Scriptures, the Promised Messiahas mentions his revelation and states (in reference to the Jalsa), “Yesterday, on 22 June 1899, I repeatedly received this revelation from God Almighty: ‘If you become righteous and tread on the subtle paths of taqwa, God will be with you.’”
The Promised Messiahas stated, “This created a great sense of agony in my heart as to what I should do so that our Jamaat adopts true taqwa and purity.”
The Promised Messiahas further stated, “My supplications are so prolonged that sometimes I am overcome with sudden weakness during my supplications and at times I faint and reach a state of near death.”
The Promised Messiahas continues, “Until a Jamaat does not become righteous in the sight of God Almighty, it cannot be endowed with Divine succour.”
The Promised Messiahas states, “Taqwa is the essence of the teachings of all Holy Scriptures and that of the Torah and the Gospels. Through one word alone, the Holy Quran has manifested the grand desire and pleasure of God Almighty”, i.e. in the word taqwa.
The Promised Messiahas then says, “I am also pondering of making a distinction between those who are truly righteous, who give precedence to faith over the world and have devoted themselves to God from among my Jamaat and entrust them with certain religious duties. Following that, I will be the least concerned about those people who are continuously engulfed in worldly endeavours and spend their days and nights in pursuit of this futile world.” (Malfuzat, Vol.1, p. 303)
Thus, this was his heartfelt desire that every member of his Jamaat should tread on the path of taqwa, instead of being troubled by the mere plights of this material world.
Following this, turning our attention to the fact that the essence of the Sharia [Islamic law] is in fact for us to tread on the path of taqwa and that if we desire for our prayers to be accepted we should tread on the path of taqwa, the Promised Messiahas states, “They ought to adopt a way of taqwa because it is taqwa alone that sums up the Sharia.” The Promised Messiahas is addressing the Ahmadis here. “If one were to briefly describe the meaning of the Sharia, it could be said that its essence is taqwa. There are many ranks and levels of taqwa. However, if a seeker faithfully traverses the elementary ranks and levels of piety with steadfastness and sincerity, they ultimately attain the highest grades due to their virtue and desire to seek the truth.”
Thus, it is important to pay attention towards virtuous deeds with steadfastness, irrespective of how great or small they are.
The Promised Messiahas further says, “Allah the Exalted states:
اِنَّمَا يَتَقَبَّلُ اللّٰهُ مِنَ الْمُتَّقِيۡنَ
(Surah Al-Maidah: V.28)
“That is to say, Allah Almighty accepts the prayers of those who are righteous. This is a Divine promise and God never fails in His promise. In this context, He states:
اِنَّ اللّٰهَ لَا يُخْلِفُ الْمِيۡعَاد
[Surely, Allah breaks not His promise. (Surah Aal-e-‘Imran: V.10)]
“Taqwa is a necessary precondition for the acceptance of prayer.” Thus, taqwa is a key component for the acceptance of prayers. It is a fundamental condition, which cannot be removed. “Now if a person desires the acceptance of prayer in their own favour, despite their own negligence and misguidance, would such a one not be foolish and senseless? And so, it is incumbent upon our community that insofar as possible, each and every member must follow the ways of taqwa so that they can experience the pleasure and delight of the acceptance of prayer, and partake of an increase in faith.” (Malfuzat, Vol. 1, pp. 108-109, UK 1985)
Thus, in order to derive the benefits of Ramadan, the fundamental guideline is that our fasts and every deed of ours should be performed for the sake of acquiring taqwa. Many people say that we have prayed abundantly, however, our prayers have not been accepted. They should first assess their own condition and determine whether they are giving precedence to faith and they are treading on the path of taqwa or have their worldly endeavours maligned them. Thus, this is also a condition for the acceptance of prayers.
The Promised Messiahas states, “In actuality there are grand promises in support of the righteous ones and what greater promise is there that God Almighty becomes the Guardian over them. Those who are not righteous and in fact live a life of disobedience and immorality and yet claim to be dear ones of God Almighty are liars. They commit a great injustice and are guilty of an abhorrent act when they attribute to themselves to the status of sanctity and nearness to God”. This is in reference to so-called saints, “because God Almighty has set a precondition of taqwa in order to attain sainthood.” In order to become a saintly person, one has to first become righteous.
The Promised Messiahas further states, “Another precondition, rather a hallmark of the righteous is:
اِنَّ اللّٰهَ مَعَ الَّذِيۡنَ اتَّقَوۡا
“God is with them – that is to say that God grants His support to those who are righteous. The proof of God Almighty’s nearness can be found through His support.” If God Almighty continues to provide help, it means that He is with us. “They have already closed shut the door to attain sainthood and now they wish to close the door of God’s nearness and Divine support.”
The Promised Messiahas states, “Bear in mind that the support of God Almighty can never be granted to the impure and disobedient ones. It is dependent upon taqwa. The help of God is for the righteous.”
The Promised Messiahas then further states, “Another aspect [of taqwa] is that when one is engulfed in difficulties and hardships and has various needs, taqwa again is the means to resolve such difficulties.” If one seeks to find the solutions and resolve these issues, then this can only occur through taqwa.
The Promised Messiahas further says, “In one’s life, taqwa is the source of deliverance from hardships and other trials. God Almighty says:
وَ مَنۡ يَّتَّقِ اللّٰهَ يَجْعَلۡ لَّهٗ مَخْرَجًا۔ وَّ يَرْزُقْهُ مِنْ حَيۡثُ لَا يَحْتَسِبُ
(Surah Al-Talaq, V.3-4)
“God creates a way out for a righteous person from every difficulty and He grants ways of liberation from hardships from the unseen. He provides for such a person in a manner that they cannot comprehend.”
Therefore, one should offer this prayer in abundance and always be mindful of it:
وَ مَنۡ يَّتَّقِ اللّٰهَ يَجْعَلۡ لَّهٗ مَخْرَجًا۔ وَّ يَرْزُقْهُ مِنْ حَيۡثُ لَا يَحْتَسِبُ
(Surah Al-Talaq, V.3-4)
If a person is mindful of this then their attention will always be drawn towards treading the path of taqwa.
The Promised Messiahas says, “Now ponder over what man desires from this world. His greatest desire is to attain comfort and prosperity in this world and in order to achieve this, God Almighty has decreed one way and that is the path of taqwa. In other words, it is called the way of the Holy Quran or it is labeled as the right path. One should not say that the disbelievers also have worldly riches and possessions and they are embroiled in the luxuries of this life.”
The Promised Messiahas further continues, “I say to you truthfully that they may seem happy to the worldly person; those who are only devoted to the world may seem satisfied in the sight of a shameless materialistic individual, but in reality they suffer from a burning anguish and misery. You may have witnessed this on their expressions, however I can see it in their hearts. They are entrapped with chains, iron collars, and a blazing fire.” They are burning in a fire are confined in chains. “As it is stated:
اِنَّاۤ اَعْتَدْنَا لِلْكٰفِرِيۡنَ سَلٰسِلَا۠ وَ اَغْلٰلًا وَّ سَعِيۡرًا
(Surah Al-Dahr: V.5)
That is “Verily, We have prepared for the disbelievers chains and iron-collars and a blazing Fire.”
The Promised Messiahas further states, “They cannot even come close to virtue because of the chains from God. They are quelled [under these chains] like animals and beasts or even worse conditions. Their sight is always fixed towards the world and they continue to incline towards it. At the same time, they also suffer from a burning anguish. If their wealth decreases or their plans are not as successful as they desired, they burn with anguish to the extent of becoming mad and obsessed or aimlessly visit the courts.”
The Promised Messiahas further states, “It is a fact that a person of no faith is not safe from torment. Such a person burns from within and we witness many things in this regard and also have read similar stories in the newspapers.”
The Promised Messiahas then says, “The reason for this is that such a person cannot be free from this burning anguish.” They continue to burn in their own fire of anguish and we see many such examples and read about them in newspapers.
The Promised Messiahas further states, “Thus, they are unable to find peace and tranquility which are direct results of pleasure and contentment [from taqwa]. For example, a drunkard drinks and asks for more, and continues to do so. In this way he is burning from within. Similarly, a worldly person also continues to burn from within and their desires cannot be quenched all of a sudden. True prosperity and contentment is only for the righteous and God Almighty has promised that for such a person there will be two paradises.” (Malfuzat, Vol. 1, pp. 420-421, UK 1985)
Further elaborating on the fact that true happiness and pleasure can only be achieved through taqwa, the Promised Messiahas says, “A righteous person can find true comfort even in a small hovel whereas a worldly, covetous person cannot find it even in a grand palace.” If one possesses contentment and taqwa and desires to attain the pleasure of God Almighty, then he can even survive with limited provisions. While on the other hand, the most affluent are deprived of this.
The Promised Messiahas further says, “The more one acquires of the worldly provisions, the more trails they undergo. Hence, always bear in mind that true comfort and pleasure cannot be attained by a worldly person. Do not think that having an abundance of wealth, luxurious clothes and extravagant food can be a means of happiness. Certainly not! Rather it depends on one’s taqwa. Thus, one can infer from all of this that without true taqwa one is not able to acquire comfort and happiness. So one should know that there are many forms of taqwa which are spread like the web of a spider.” That is to say that they are arranged like the web of a spider with fine threads. “Taqwa is associated with every limb of the body, and also with one’s belief, speech and moral conduct.” (Malfuzat, Vol. 4, pp. 421-422, UK 1985)
Taqwa should be reflected in one’s beliefs, words and in one’s general mannerisms. With regards to fasting there is a Hadith [tradition of the Holy Prophetsa] in which the Holy Prophetsa said that the one who fasts should always keep their speech pure and if anyone argues with them then they should simply say that they shall not retaliate. (Sahih Al-Bukhari, Kitab-ul-Saum, Baab Hal Yaqulu Inni Saimun Iza Shutima)
The Promised Messiahas says, “Whatever one utters is a delicate matter indeed. At times one may say something which is completely devoid of taqwa but makes one happy as he has said such and such a thing, yet it is certainly something very evil. From this, a fable comes to mind that a saintly person was invited by a worldly person to eat.” Now one should observe the subtleties to this, not only did he profane and quarrel, he also displayed selfishness and ostentation. These errors of the tongue, or rather sins which are committed by the tongue are as a result of a lack of taqwa and it is the same with these things.
The Promised Messiahas states, “A saintly person was once invited by a worldly person for a meal. When this saintly person arrived to eat, the arrogant worldly person told his servant to bring the tray which he had brought from Hajj and then said to bring the other tray which he had brought from his second Hajj. He then said to bring the one from the third Hajj as well. The saintly person said to the worldly person, ‘You are very pitiful; with these three sentences you have ruined your three pilgrimages of Hajj.’” His Hajj was merely for pretence and not for attaining the pleasure of God Almighty, they were devoid of taqwa.
The Promised Messiahas further states, “The saintly person then said, ‘The reason why you uttered this was so you could show that you have performed Hajj three times. This is why God Almighty has taught us to control our tongues and refrain from such vain, ill-judged and futile utterances.”
Hence, we have not only been commanded to refrain from injuring the sentiments of others through our speech. However, to show off and be selfish also leads one far away from good deeds and from taqwa. We must pay attention in this regard also.
The Promised Messiahas says, “God Almighty has taught us, ‘Thee alone do we worship’. It is possible that one could have relied upon their own strengths and subsequently become distant from God. That is why immediately the clause, ‘Thee alone do we implore for help’ has been taught. That is to say that do not think that the worship you perform is out of merit of your own strength. By no means is it such, rather as long as one does not have the succour of God Almighty and God does not grant them the strength to do so, until then one cannot do anything. Furthermore, ‘Thee alone do I worship’ or ‘Thee alone do I implore for help’ has not been stated because this would portray as if one was only giving preference to themselves,” and seems as if everything is his own doing, “and this is contrary to the spirit of taqwa.”
The Promised Messiahas states, “One who adopts taqwa includes the whole of mankind [in their prayers]. For one’s speech alone can distance them from taqwa…” That is to say that taqwa is required in all matters and affairs. Through one’s speech, one can create a great distance from taqwa. “…in that, one can display arrogance through one’s speech and adopts Pharaoh-like traits.” People begin making very tall claims. “Through one’s words, the concealed virtues turn into acts of pretentiousness and the ill-effects become apparent very quickly.”
The Promised Messiahas states, “We learn from a Hadith that the one who protects their private parts and their tongue from all evil is guaranteed Paradise. Eating something that has been declared unlawful does not cause as much harm as does falsehood. One should not infer that consuming prohibited food is a good thing.” Lying and falsehood can cause harm, but one should not assume that eating prohibited food is a good deed and that only lying and dishonesty are harmful. So do not consider unlawful gains to be something good; it is a grave error to do so.
The Promised Messiahas further states, “It is a grave error if one considers this to be the case.”
The Promised Messiahas further states, “What I mean by this is that if one is driven by necessity to eat the flesh of swine then this is a separate matter,” as permission has been granted by God Almighty in such compelling circumstances, “but if through their words they issue an edict that eating swine is permissible, then they stray away from the teachings of Islam.” In other words, one declares it lawful to eat the flesh of swine in all circumstances.
The Promised Messiahas states, “Such a person permits that which God Almighty has deemed unlawful. Thus, it is clear from this that the harm of the tongue is very dangerous, therefore the righteous ones must strive to control their tongues and not allow any such words to be uttered which are against taqwa.”
The Promised Messiahas says, “Control your tongues otherwise your tongues will control you and you will speak in vain.” (Malfuzat, Vol. 1, pp. 421-423, UK 1985)
Many of us would have increased our Zikr-e-Ilahi (remembrance of Allah) during fasts. Your increase in remembering God Almighty should correspond with a decrease in engaging in idle and unnecessary conversations. You should make efforts towards achieving this so that you can attain the purpose of taqwa and fasting.
The Promised Messiahas says, “Always reflect on what extent you have increased in taqwa and purity. The Quran is your benchmark for this. Among the hallmarks of believers, one that God Almighty has described is that God frees a believer from the obscenities of life and becomes his Guardian and Benefactor. As God Almighty says:
وَ مَنۡ يَّتَّقِ اللّٰهَ يَجْعَلۡ لَّهٗ مَخْرَجًا۔ وَّ يَرْزُقْهُ مِنْ حَيۡثُ لَا يَحْتَسِبُ
(Surah Al-Talaq, V.3-4)
“He who fears Allah, He delivers Him a path out of every affliction and He provides him with provisions beyond his comprehension. In other words, another sign of a believer is that God Almighty removes them from dependence on nefarious needs and Himself provides for them.” In other words, useless and vain desires are removed from a believer’s heart or do not even cross a believer’s mind. This too is a characteristic of taqwa and a sign of how God Almighty treats the righteous ones.
The Promised Messiahas further continues, “For example, a shop keeper thinks that they cannot conduct their business without resorting to lies. Hence they do not desist from lying and believe that this is the only recourse for them. However, this is entirely incorrect as God Almighty becomes the Protector of a believer Himself and saves them from situations in which they feel compelled to lie.” In others words, such situations do not even arise in which they would have to speak falsehood. “Remember when someone forsakes God Almighty, then God Almighty leaves them. When God Almighty leaves someone then surely Satan establishes his relationship with such a person.”
The Promised Messiahas further says, “Do not think that God Almighty is weak, rather He is All-Powerful. When you put your trust in Him for any matter then He certainly will come to your aid.
وَ مَنۡ يَّتَوَكَّلْ عَلَي اللّٰهِ فَهُوَ حَسْبُهٗ
(God Almighty is sufficient for He who puts his trust in Him.)
“However, it is the followers of religion who are addressed in the preceding verse. Their concerns and worries were all for religion and they left all their worldly matters in the hands of God. Hence, God Almighty reassured them that He is with them. In short, one of the blessings borne out of taqwa for a believer is that God Almighty alleviates them from difficulties and grants them sincerity.” (Malfuzat, Vol. 1, pp. 12-13, UK 1985)
In other words, for a person who possesses true taqwa, God Almighty removes their worldly problems and tribulations as well, so that it does not prove a hindrance in their religious duties.
Some say that their worldly problems and afflictions are so severe that it renders them unable to give time towards religious affairs. However, if they have true taqwa, God Almighty will Himself resolve their worldly troubles and grant them the ability to serve religion.
The Promised Messiahas explains how there are two aspects to piety and how God Almighty treats those who carry out virtues. He says, “All virtues carried out by man are divided into two – the first are obligatory virtues and the second are supplementary virtues.” One is obligatory and must be performed and the second is voluntary. “Obligations are those which are mandatory, for example if one takes a loan from someone it is compulsory to repay it. Also, to recompense one’s piety towards you with piety is obligatory.”
If someone acts virtuously towards you, then you should respond in kind and fulfil their rights. This obligation does not mean that that you are showing any favour to return someone’s kindness with similar kindness. In fact, it is a duty to return someone’s goodness in kind and is a right of the other person upon you.
The Promised Messiahas says, “In addition to these obligatory virtues are the supplementary ones. These are those virtues which are additional, for example beyond showing kindness to someone, you show them an even greater degree of compassion and concern in return.”
Thus, to return someone’s act of goodness with an equal act of goodness, however this here entails to show kindness to someone beyond what was shown to you – this is Nawafil – or supplementary virtue. These are supplementary to obligations. Through this, one’s obligations are perfected and become complete, reaching its pinnacle, as a person extends the scope of their virtuousness.
The Promised Messiahas says, “In a Hadith it is stated that the Auliyaullah [saintly people] also perfected their obligations through supplementary virtues. For example, in addition to Zakat they give other forms of Sadaqaat [charity]. God Almighty becomes the Wali [Friend] of such persons. God Almighty states that His friendship reaches a point to where He becomes a person’s hands, feet and even tongue through which they speak.”
The Promised Messiahas then says, “The fact of the matter is that a man who becomes pure of selfish passions and acts in accordance with the will of God whilst abandoning their ego, never commits an unlawful deed. On the contrary, their each and every action is in accordance with the will of God. When people fall to trial, it is always the case that their actions are not in accordance with the will of God,” i.e. as soon as one faces difficulties, they begin to act against God’s will, “and are ones which incur His displeasure. Such a one follows their passions. For example, swayed by anger, at times a person commits an action which leads to legal and criminal proceedings. However, if one determines that they will perform no action whatsoever that is against the mandates of the Book of Allah and turns to it in all their affairs, one can be certain to find guidance in it. God Almighty states:
وَلَا رَطْبٍ وَّ لَا يَابِسٍ اِلَّا فِيۡ كِتٰبٍ مُّبِيۡنٍ
“…nor anything green or dry, but [it] is recorded in a clear book.” (Surah Al-An‘am: V.60)
In other words, the Holy Quran has clearly outlined every virtue and vice, and all will be safeguarded who act upon it.
Thus, if we resolve that we shall always seek counsel from the Book of Allah, we shall certainly receive guidance.”
When people face afflictions in their worldly matters or if they commit a transgression, it is a result of not obeying the commands of God Almighty. Man will fall deeper into difficulties if he leads his life without resorting to the Holy Quran as a guide and without keeping in view the commands of God Almighty. Here, a distinction should be made that in religious matters God Almighty places man in trial and He says that He does so to test man’s piety. Hence, the Promised Messiahas says that prophets most of all are put through such trials. On the other side are worldly affairs which man faces tribulations in, which are borne out of him possessing a materialistic and worldly outlook. Although he professes himself to be a believer, he fails to make an effort to follow the commands found in the Holy Quran. This consequently embroils him in afflictions and he endures tribulations.
The Promised Messiahas states, “But he who follows his selfish passions will always suffer a loss.” Here it has been further elaborated that one who follows his egotistical wishes will suffer losses in his worldly affairs.
“Often, he shall be called to account on such instances. Allah states that the saints are a contrast to the people just mentioned, for they remain attached to Him in all circumstances. They become absorbed in Him completely. The lesser a person’s assimilation in God, the more distant they are from Him. However, if a person is lost in Allah as God desires, then the faith of such a person is beyond description. In support of such people, Allah the Exalted states:
مَنْ عَادَلِي وَلِيًّا فَقَدْ اٰذَنْتُهُ بِا لْحَرْبِ
“Meaning, He who opposes a friend of Mine, instigates war with Me.”
Such people who come forward in virtuous deeds, then God Almighty Himself supports His wali [friend] and completely destroys the enemy.
“One can see how great the eminence of a righteous person truly is and how lofty they are in stature. A person of this nature enjoys such nearness to God that their grief becomes the grief of God. How mighty, then, would the succour and assistance of God be for such a person?” (Malfuzat, Vol. 1, pp. 13-15, UK 1985)
Advising us on living a life of humility and meekness, the Promised Messiahas states, “It is necessary for the righteous to live a life of humility and modesty. This is an aspect of piety by which we must combat undue anger. To refrain from anger was the final and most trying stage experienced by many pious and holy men. Vanity and pride stem from anger and in certain cases anger itself is the result of arrogance and conceit, for anger comes about when an individual gives superiority to themselves over another. I do not desire that members of my community consider themselves superior or inferior, behave arrogantly, or look down upon one another. Only God knows who is superior or inferior. This is a form of neglect that wreaks of contempt. I fear that this contempt may grow like a seed and ruin such a person. Certain people meet those of high standing with immense respect, but truly great is the one who listens to a lowly person with humility, comforts them, gives importance to their opinion and does not rebuke them in a manner that would cause them grief. God Almighty states:
وَلَا تَلْمِزُوۡۤا اَنۡفُسَكُمْ وَلَا تَنَابَزُوۡا بِالْاَلْقَابِ ؕ بِئْسَ الِاسْمُ الْفُسُوۡقُ بَعْدَ الْاِيۡمَانِ
‘…nor call one another by nicknames. Bad indeed is evil reputation after the profession of belief.’ [49:12].”
وَمَنۡ لَّمْ يَتُبْ فَاُولٰٓئِكَ هُمُ الظّٰلِمُوۡنَ
“…and those who repent not are the wrongdoers.”
The Promised Messiahas further states:
“Do not call upon one another in a manner of reproach. For this is the way of the sinners and the transgressors. A person who scoffs at another shall not meet death until they too are subjected to the same. Do not look down upon your brethren. When you all drink from the same stream, who knows which of you is destined to drink more than the other. Worldly definitions cannot afford a person honour and greatness. In the sight of God Almighty, great is the one who is righteous. اِنَّ اَكْرَمَكُمْ عِنۡدَ اللّٰهِ اَتْقٰكُمْ’” (Malfuzat, Vol. 1, p. 36, 1985 UK)
“Verily, the most honourable among you, in the sight of Allah, is he who is the most righteous among you. Surely, Allah is All-knowing, All-Aware.” God Almighty is well aware of everything and knows whether one is showing true taqwa or merely for pretence. Since God Almighty has knowledge of everything, therefore the taqwa which He has commanded us to adopt must be done by assessing our conditions with great vigilance.
Elaborating upon how a believer who adheres to taqwa responds to any kind of success that is bestowed to him and how a non-believer expresses himself, the Promised Messiahas states, “Always keep the principle in mind that the task of a believer is to feel humbled for any success that they are blessed with, and praise God for having showered His grace upon them.” This means that he ought to attribute that success to God Almighty and praise Him for bestowing His grace upon him.
“This is how a believer advances and by demonstrating steadfastness in the face of trial, they receive the favour of God. Apparently, the success of a Hindu and a believer are similar but remember that the success of a disbeliever is a way that leads to misguidance, whereas the success of a believer opens for them the door of Divine blessing. The success of a disbeliever leads to misguidance because in turn they do not incline towards God, rather they take their own effort, intelligence and capability to be God. A believer, however, turns to God and gains a new understanding of Him. In this way, after every success, a new relationship between them and God is forged and a transformation begins to take place. God Almighty states:
اِنَّ اللّٰهَ مَعَ الَّذِيۡنَ اتَّقَوۡا
(Verily, Allah is with those who are righteous. [16:129])
“It ought to be borne in mind that the word taqwa has appeared in the Holy Quran many a time. This word is understood in light of the word ma‘a (i.e. with), which appears before it. That is to say that those who give precedence to God, in return are given precedence by God and He saves such people from every kind of disgrace in this world. It is my belief that if an individual desires to be safeguarded from every kind of disgrace and hardship in this world, there is only one way and that is to become righteous. After this, such a one lacks nothing. Hence, the success of a believer moves them further ahead and they never remain stagnant.”
The Promised Messiahas further states, “There are books which contain accounts of numerous people describing that initially they were entangled in worldly matters, rather immensely engrossed in materialism. However, it so happened that they prayed for something and their supplication was heard. After that, their state was transformed completely. Therefore, do not pride yourself over the acceptance of your prayers or on account of your achievements, rather, value the grace and favour of God.” It is only due to the Grace of God Almighty that he accepted your prayers. Therefore, instead of priding yourself over your achievement, you should ponder over the blessings of God Almighty.
The Promised Messiahas says, “It is a known fact that that success breathes a new life into a person’s resolve and determination. One should derive benefit from this life, and through it, increase in their understanding of Allah Almighty.” If one achieves success or their prayers are accepted, then this should increase them in their understanding of the nature of God Almighty. “For the greatest of all things, which becomes a source of benefit is this very cognizance of the Divine; and this develops when an individual reflects over the grace and mercy of God Almighty. No one can thwart the grace of Allah Almighty.”
The Promised Messiahas further says, “Extreme poverty too can plunge a person into misfortune. This is why it is related in a hadith:
اَلْفَقْرُ سَوَادُ الْوَجْهِ
“This means that poverty can distort one’s appearance or cause it to change in complexion. Likewise, poverty can distance an individual from faith.
“I have seen poverty drag many people to atheism. A believer, however, does not think ill of God, no matter how stringent their circumstances, and deeming it to be the result of their own faults, they beseech God for His mercy and grace. Eventually, when this phase passes, and the prayers of a believer come to fruition, they do not forget their time of weakness, but rather, remember it always. Therefore, if you believe in the fact that one is always in need of God, then adopt a way of taqwa. Blessed is the one who adopts taqwa in times of prosperity and joy; and unfortunate is the one who stumbles, yet does not turn to God.” (Malfuzat, Vol. 1, pp. 155-157, 1985, UK)
The Promised Messiahas further says, “God Almighty safeguards the one who adopts taqwa and assists them. Taqwa means to abstain from vice and Mohsinoon are those people who not only abstain from vice, but they also carry out virtuous deeds. God Almighty has further stated
لِلَّذِيۡنَ اَحْسَنُوا الْحُسْنيٰ
“Meaning, they are the ones who carry out virtuous deeds in the most befitting manner.”
The Promised Messiahas is explaining the commentary of the verse
اِنَّ اللّٰهَ مَعَ الَّذِيۡنَ اتَّقَوۡا وَّالَّذِيۡنَ هُمۡ مُّحْسِنُوۡنَ
“Verily, Allah is with those who are righteous and those who do good.”
The Promised Messiahas continues by saying, “The phrase
اِنَّ اللّٰهَ مَعَ الَّذِيۡنَ اتَّقَوۡا وَّالَّذِيۡنَ هُمۡ مُّحْسِنُوۡنَ
“was revealed to me constantly. In fact, it was revealed to me so many times that I have lost count. God Almighty revealed this to me approximately two thousand times and the reason for this is so that the members of the Community should not simply feel assured that they have joined this Community, or that they should be confident in their profession of belief. One can only gain the nearness of God and come under His protection when one adopts true taqwa and also carries out virtuous deeds.” (Malfuzat, Vol. 8, p. 371, 1985, UK)
The Promised Messiahas then further says:
اِنَّ اللّٰهَ مَعَ الَّذِيۡنَ اتَّقَوۡا وَّالَّذِيۡنَ هُمۡ مُّحْسِنُوۡنَ
“Each day, God Almighty records the deeds of an individual. Thus, man should also prepare a record and should deliberate as to whether or not they have made any progress in carrying out virtuous deeds. One’s past and future should not be the same. The one who’s today and tomorrow, with respect to performing virtuous deeds, is the same has ultimately failed. If an individual believes in God Almighty and has complete faith in Him, he is never wasted. In fact, for that one individual, hundreds of thousands of people can be saved.”
The Promised Messiahas then narrates an incident, “On one occasion a saint was travelling on a ship. A storm arose in the sea with such ferocity that the ship was close to sinking. However, through the prayers of that man, the ship was saved. At the time of prayer God Almighty revealed to him that everyone on the ship had been saved because of him.”
The Promised Messiahas then says, “This cannot be accomplished by mere verbal discourse” (Malfuzat, Vol. 10, pp. 137-138, 1985, UK). Rather one has to strive to achieve this.
The Promised Messiahas then says, “God Almighty has vouchsafed to me
اِنِّيْ اُحَافِظُ كُلَّ مَنْ فِي الدَّارِ
(Malfuzat, Vol. 10, p. 138, 1985, UK)
This means, I shall safeguard all those who dwell within the four walls of your house from the plague. “However, in order for this to occur, everyone must adopt taqwa.”
The Promised Messiahas further says, “In order for my prayers to be accepted in your favour, you must make yourselves worthy. Only then will my prayers be accepted for you and for this, taqwa is a vital component.”
May Allah the Almighty enable us to fast and offer worship in this month of Ramadan whilst adopting taqwa. May this month of Ramadan bring blessings for the Jamaat, for all Muslims and the rest of the world. During these days, pray especially for the Ahmadis residing in Pakistan, as their hardships are increasing on a daily basis. May God Almighty shower His grace upon them. May we fulfil the rights of fasting by adhering to taqwa and may we focus our attention towards prayers. Likewise, may God Almighty have mercy on the Muslims and grant their leaders and clerics the insight to accept the Imam of the age.
Furthermore, on a daily basis there are news reports that the sparks for a world war are igniting. As for the major powers, it seems as though they are heading towards a global catastrophe at a rapid pace and there does not seem to be any sign of preventing this. Therefore, may Allah the Almighty grant special protection to the Muslims, especially Ahmadis, from the adverse effects of the war and also protect the general population from these adverse effects. If there are any chances for them to gain the nearness of God Almighty and there is hope for their reformation by which they can accept God Almighty, then may God create those circumstances by which they accept God Almighty and save themselves from destruction.
(Translated by The Review of Religions)