Tuesday, May 22, 2018

'Sawm/ Roza': Three Levels, Divine Rewards

The greatness of Fasting in Islam

O you who have believed, decreed upon you is fasting as it was decreed upon those before you that you may become righteous. (Al-Baqara 2: 184).

You must know that in Sawm (Roza / Islamic fasting) there is a special quality that is not present in the other fasts of other religions. Allah (swt) gave the Ummah of Hazrat Muhammad (pbuh) a special fast, which is not found in the fasts of the other prophets (as).

Even though Allah (swt) says in this verse: ʻdecreed upon you is fasting as it was decreed upon those before you’, but conditions and regulations regarding observance of fasting were taught / prescribed in the Ummah of Hazrat Muhammad (pbuh). It is written (It has been taught) that a fasting person will have a great amount of blessings and rewards for every good deed he shall do during this blessed month of Ramadan, where every good deed will be multiplied by 70, more than in normal times; for example: the observance of Farz, Sunnah and Nafl Salat (the obligatory, Sunnah and voluntary prayers). These rewards will be larger compared to those good deeds accomplished in normal days and every good deed you will make will also reap other great rewards. Even in the morning when you eat the Sehri (pre-dawn meal) and also at the time of Iftaar (breaking of the fast), everything you eat to enter the state of fasting and to break the fast will have great rewards.

A fasting person (a true and sincere faster) strictly follows the fasting regulations during Ramadan and puts them into practice, and through this he demonstrates complete obedience to his Creator, and then he even receives the Creator of the Universe as reward. Alhamdulillah. The greatest reward of fasting that a person receives then is proximity to Allah. Is there any such reward in the observance of fasting in other Ummat (communities) of other prophets (as)? Allah (swt) says:

“Fasting is for Me and I shall reward for it” (A Hadith-e-Qudsi reported by Imam Bukhari & Muslim).

This connection is sufficient to demonstrate the greatness of fasting (Sawm) in the Ummah of Hazrat Muhammad (pbuh). In the same way, the Holy Ka’aba receives all its honour thanks to its connection with Allah. Allah says: And Sanctify My House. (Al-Haj 22: 27).

Indeed, fasting (Sawm) is virtuous because of two important concepts:

(1) It is a secret action and a hidden one; because of this, no one from among the creation can find it. And then, ʻriya’ (ostentation) just cannot touch it!

(2) It is a means to subjugate (dominate) the enemies of Allah. It is because the path that the enemies of Allah embark on to deceive the sons of Adam (as) is desire. Food and drink give them the strength to fulfil their desire. That is why they find fasting difficult to observe and seek all kinds of pretexts (so as) not to fast.

Know that there are 3 levels of fasting observance: (1) General Fasting, (2) Precise Fasting, and (3) Most Accurate Fasting.

(1) The General Fast is to prevent the stomach and the private parts from fulfilling their desires. And you will notice that it is during the month of Ramadan itself, during the very fast that Satan tries to influence you through these desires.

(2) Precise fasting is to prevent (a) the eyes from looking at forbidden things (where this can induce you to commit serious sins), (b) the tongue from saying bad things (such as unnecessary/ vain words, palavers, fights, arguments because it is with that very tongue that you swear etc.), (c) the hand/s from doing bad things (for example, raising your hand over others (beating them), stealing, cheating, etc.), and (d) the ears from committing forbidden things (like listening to things that will not bring you any divine reward, and lending an ear (to listen) to conversations that do not concern you, etc.), and (e) the other members of the body from committing wrongful acts.

(3) The Most Accurate Fasting is the abstention - by the heart - from running behind this ephemeral world, and directing our thoughts towards the distance between us and Allah. An important characteristic of fasting is to lower the gaze and control the tongue. Think a lot before talking; be careful that during your conversation you do not let out a word that may harm others. In short, a control over the members of your whole body is important. This is what the verse I recited before you refers to, where Allah (swt) says, “that you may become righteous.” (Al-Baqara 2: 184).

To receive Allah as reward is not easy. There is a lot of struggle to be done against yourselves. It’s not just that you stay without food and drink that you say you are fasting. No! It does not work that way. Fasting must be accompanied with all these good deeds. It is only after the fulfilment of all these good actions that your fasting - without food and drink - will gain all its value, all its merit before Allah (swt). The one who does not give up his bad deeds, such as: gossiping, quarrelling, spying, doubts, jealousy, lying, etc., then, Allah does not need that person, does not need you to deprive yourself of food and drink as it is reported in the Hadiths.

Another characteristic of fasting is that the person does not fill his stomach with food during the night. Instead, he eats the right measure, because indeed the son of Adam (as) does not fill a container worst than his stomach. If he has enough to eat at the beginning of the night, he will not be able to use it (that is, his body) for the rest of the night. Similarly, if he eats a lot at Sehri (the meal before dawn that signals the beginning of the fast), he will not behave well till the afternoon. This is because eating excessively brings about weakness and lethargy (that is, laziness), and the purpose of fasting disappears because of an excess of food, because the goal of fasting is to make the person (the fasting person) relish the taste of hunger and encourage him to give up his desires.

You must understand that an intelligent individual (that is, one to whom Allah has given intelligence) knows the purpose of fasting. So he takes on himself a burden of such a level where he feels capable (able) to do it, and that is especially to his advantage. (A companion of the Holy Prophet (pbuh)) Ibn Masud (ra) observed very little (optional) fasting and it was reported that he was accustomed to saying, “When I fast (i.e. the optional fasting), I feel weak in my Salat and I prefer my Salat to the (optional) fast.” In other words, he prefers a compulsory act, and gives it priority over an optional, additional act.

Some of the companions were weakened during their concentration in the recitation of the Quran while fasting. Thus, they fast (in this case, the additional fasts) less until they were able to have an equilibrium in their recitation. Each individual is aware of his own condition (health, capacity etc.) and knows the best way to recite (the Quran - and to perform other acts of worship).

A companion (Sahabi) of the Holy Prophet (pbuh) relates: “I heard the Messenger of Allah say during Ramadan: “The gates of Hell are closed, the gates of Paradise are opened, and the devils are in chains. An angel calls out : ʻO you who intend to do good deeds, have glad tidings. O you who intend to do evil, refrain, until Ramadan is completed’.” (Ahmad & Nasai).

A shield against hellfire 

Fasting the month of Ramadan is a shield against hellfire. The Messenger of Allah (pbuh) said: “When Allah created Paradise and Hell, He sent Jibreel to Paradise and said, ‘Look at it and at what I have prepared for its people therein.’ So he went and looked at it and at what Allah had prepared for its people therein. Then he went back to Him and said, ‘By Your Glory, no one will hear of it but he will enter it.’ Then He commanded that it should be surrounded with difficult things. Then He said, ‘Go back and look at what I have prepared for its people therein.’ He went back and saw that it was surrounded with difficult things. He came back and said, ‘By Your Glory, I am afraid that no one will enter it.’ Allah said, ‘Go and look at Hell and see what I have prepared for its people therein.’  [He saw it] with parts of it consuming other parts. He came back and said, ‘By Your Glory, no one who hears of it will enter it.’ So Allah commanded that it should be surrounded with desires. Then he said, ‘Go back to it.’ So he went back, then he said, ‘By Your Glory, I am afraid that no one will be saved from it and that all will enter it.’” (Tirmidhi, Hakim & other Hadiths reporters).

So, dear brothers and sisters of Islamic faith, when you realize that fasting kills desires and reduces its severity, and that desires lead you to hell, then you will see how fasting shall be placed (like a protection) between you (the faster) and hell, and you shall observe fasting during the month of Ramadan and after Ramadan also (i.e., in the form of additional/ surerogatory fasts) in the best possible way.

The Quran tells us about the rewards of fasting and there are verses (ayat) about those who obey Allah to be safeguarded against hell, and about fasting being a form of obedience to Allah. Several Hadiths of the Holy Prophet (pbuh) enlighten us in this context.

Abu Said al-Khudri relates that the Messenger of Allah (pbuh) said: “Fasting is a shield with which a servant protects himself from the Fire.” (Ahmad).

ʻUthman Ibn Abil-`Aas relates that the Messenger of Allah (pbuh) said: “Whoever fasts a day in the way of Allah, Allah places between him and the Fire a trench like (the distance) that (there is) between heavens and the earth”. (Tirmidhi & Tabarani).

The Messenger of Allah (pbuh) has said: “When the first night of the month of Ramadan comes, the devils and rebellious Jinns are chained up and the gates of Hell are closed, and not one gate of it is opened. The gates of Paradise are opened and not one gate of it is closed. A caller cries out, ‘O seeker of good, proceed; O seeker of evil, desist.’ Allah saves some people from Hell - and that happens every night.” (Tirmidhi, Ibn Maajah & the other Hadiths reporters).

Jabir (ra) relates that the Messenger of Allah (pbuh) said: “In every day and every night, during the month of Ramadan, there are people to whom Allah grants freedom from the Fire, and there is for every Muslim a supplication (dua) which he can make and will be granted.” (Ibn Majah, Ahmad).

Finally, we call on Allah to make this Ramadan an armour/ shield/ protection for us against hellfire. Ameen, Summa, Ameen, Ya Rabbal Aalameen.

Salat-ul-Janaza Gha’ib

And Insha-Allah, after the Salat-ul-Jumu’ah, we will pray the Salat-ul-Janaza Gha’ib/ Salat-ul-Gha’ib (funeral prayer in absentia/ prayer of the absent) of a dear and highly respected disciple of mine from Kerala, Shareefa Beevi Sahiba (1951-2018), who was the first wife of the Amir, in South Kerala, India (Mukarram Jamaluddin Sahib). May Allah illuminate Her way to Him, so that she receives Allah as Reward. Ameen.

Insha-Allah, you can read a glimpse of her life and work on the blog of the Jamaat under the charge of and written by her dear son, Fazil Jamal Sahib.

May Allah bless all members of the Jamaat Ul Sahih Al Islam in the world and help you all to reach Him in a state where Allah is pleased and happy with you all, especially through your obedience to Allah and His Messenger Hazrat Muhammad (pbuh) and the Khalifatullah He has sent you in this era (in your epoch). Insha-Allah, Ameen.

On this endnote, I wish you all: all my disciples and all the Muslims of the whole world, Ramadan Mubarak!

Monday, May 21, 2018

‘Release Nasir Ahmad Sultani’


In his Friday Sermon of 11 May 2018 (24 Shabaan 1439 AH), Hadhrat Muhyi-ud-Din Al Khalifatullah Munir Ahmad Azim Saheb (atba) of Mauritius gave a profound discourse on the significance of the Holy Month of Ramadan to the fortunes of the Muslims. Drawing on episodes of sacred history, Hadhrat Khalifatullah (atba) surveys the great obstacles early believers had to confront to establish Islam in its Arab heartland, especially in Ramadan of the years after the Hijra. Indeed the narratives of history testify that the companions of the Holy Prophet (sa) were fasting in Ramadan even as they were winning critical battles against the forces of evil and oppression in the land. Hunger, thirst, sex- no basic human needs could come in the way of great striving in pursuit of lofty responsibilities.  

Only those who know the past can shape the future. Through the vital lessons in sacred memory, Hadhrat Khalifatullah (atba) calls our attention to the grave responsibilities of today. To confront the challenges being mounted by anti-Islam forces in the world and to create a just world where the Muslim Ummah as a whole can flourish, Hadhrat Khalifatullah (atba) provides important advices and insights for the Muslim leaders of today. The spiritual discourse underscores the need for fostering the spirit of unity within the Ummah. This unity can only be forged by showing healthy respect for the diversity of thoughts and ideas among the various strands of Muslims today, especially by their States in their administrative and governance frameworks. Fundamental human rights such as freedom of speech and expression should be institutionally protected, with no one being allowed to sit in judgement over the faith/beliefs/convictions of others.  Pointing to the prevailing scenario of bewildering disunity, deepening sectarianism and intolerance, creeping injustice and social strife in the ‘Islamic’ world, Hadhrat Saheb (atba) exhorts the Muslims and their influential leaders to rise above their sectarian perceptions/ ‘majoritarian’ prejudices against their brethren in faith and to ensure justice for everyone regardless of their identity or personal beliefs.  

Illustrating his point, Hadhrat Saheb (atba) notes the searing irony of a State (Pakistan) claiming to profess ‘Islamic’ values in its Constitution and the Laws and yet denying the freedom of conscience and of expression to its own citizens. Unfortunately for the hapless people of Pakistan, the deadly poison of competitive politics over religious/sectarian identity has cast its long shadow over the integrity and fairness of the nation’s governance structures. Of late, the national criminal law is being wantonly and rampantly misused by thuggish/fascist elements in society to curtail human rights in the land- they seek to intimidate religious minorities- including the ‘Ahmadis’; arrest and imprison contrarian individuals for their personal opinions. Nasir Ahmad Sultani, the Pakistani Muslim citizen of Ahmadi sect who claims to be a recipient of Divine revelations in this era, has been arrested by the authorities under the notorious ‘Blasphemy Law’ and he remains imprisoned even after a year. This is a clear case of abuse and excess of the legal process. For, the State and the Law should have no business curtailing the freedoms of thought, belief, conscience, speech, expression of any individual. It is indeed the responsibility of the State and the Law to protect the various manifestations of free speech so long as there is no direct incitement to imminent violence. How should we look at a Law/State that behaves like a predator than a protector of human rights?

In a society that has politically sanctioned the murder/lynching of innocents in the name of ‘Allah’/ ‘Honour of the Holy Prophet’, etc., the imprisonment of a man for his opinions might seem trifle. The administrative/judicial measure of a period of imprisonment for the accused in ‘Blasphemy’ cases was apparently to ‘protect’ the ‘accused’ from the blood-thirsty Mullahs who are baying for human blood in public meetings! Such is the dire state of affairs in Pakistan that the country sits on the brink of losing its original moorings.

Hadhrat Khalifatullah’s timely appeal for justice and respect for human rights also contains within it a Divine warning for the Pakistani society. A society that does not tolerate religious diversity and respect freedom of conscience of individuals only ends up challenging Allah’s Grand Order of Things. In the name of their mundane power to define ‘legitimate religiosity’, they are playing ‘God’ and denying justice and rights of people! When a nation’s leaders exceed the bounds, they ignore common sense and the lessons of history, only to write its destiny in bloody conflicts and thereby they finish peace (‘Islam’) in the land with their own hands- see the fate of ‘Islamic’ nations in our times- Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria, Yemen, etc. Indeed it is for the righteous people-sincere believers- to stand up for the type of society they want to be, in Pakistan and beyond.

Saturday, May 19, 2018

Ramadan in Islamic History


Alhamdulillahil Rabbil Aalameen, all praises belong to Allah Almighty, Master of the Heavens and Earth. We shall welcome once again by the grace of Allah the blessed month of Ramadan and Insha-Allah Ramadan will begin around 16 or 17 May 2018.

O Believers, Ramadan is a sacred month in which Allah (swt) constantly tries His creation and gives humanity the opportunity to attain infinite joy. Fasting is a complete purification and a means to develop awareness and recognition of the presence of Allah, and find His manifestation everywhere. And fasting allows the fasting person (i.e. the faster) to acquire more Taqwa and in truth Taqwa is a protection against all the plans of Satan, and against the suffering in this world.

Allah (swt) informs us: And whoever fears Allah - He will make for him a way out, and will provide for him from where he does not expect. And whoever relies upon Allah - then He is sufficient for him. Indeed, Allah will accomplish His purpose. Allah has already set for everything a [decreed] extent. (At-Talaq 65: 3-4).

Many Muslims today have a bad conception of fasting and fasting activities. Fasters nowadays prefer to enter a state of semi-hibernation, and spend most of their time sleeping. If Muslims really fast for Allah and have a fear for their Creator, then they will certainly remain awakened to read the Holy Quran and when the time comes for prayer, they pray and remember Allah (through Zikrullah). But there are some who get up for prayer, but after that go to sleep again. This second sleep makes them become lazy, and then they lose the golden opportunity to purify themselves through spiritual activities and fully enjoy this blessed month. They lose this divine blessing.

Ramadan is a time of intense activity for the believer where he finds himself being rid of the constraints related to food. He is therefore free to do even more effort in the way Allah (swt), and give more time in meditation (Zikr), supererogatory prayers, and the reading in abundance of the Holy Quran. He can now control his ego, his passion (Nafs), become a wiser person, more humble and get away from all kinds of sins like spying on people and gossiping about them etc. On the contrary, they must seize this opportunity to get away from all disputes (useless discussions, quarrels, hatred, jealousy, and doubts). You must focus more on doing good deeds and asking Allah's forgiveness (Istigfaar) for all your sins so that the Creator forgives you of your sins and accept your fasts and acts of worship (Ibadat).

Ramadan in history

If you know the history of Islam and Ramadan in history, then you should know that our beloved Prophet Hadhrat Muhammad (pbuh) lived close to nine Ramadan after the Hegira where every Ramadan was filled with very important decisions and showed us an example of sacrifice and submission to Allah (swt). 

Tuesday, May 15, 2018

Shareefa Beevi Saheba (1951-2018)


Shareefa Beevi Esmail Saheba, the respected wife of Mukarram Amir Jamaluddin Saheb of the Kerala South Jamaat, passed away on the early morning of Thursday, the 10th of May, 2018---23 Shabaan 1439 AH. Innal-Lilaahi wa inna ilayhi raajiuun.

Born in October 1951, Shareefa Saheba was 67 years of age at the time of her death. She was not keeping well for some months now, and the end came while she was sleeping peacefully at home. Indeed the angels came home to call her back to Allah (swt), like the Qur’an attests about the Divine decree regarding the course of all human souls: Allah takes the souls at the time of their death; and those that do not die [He takes] during their sleep. Then He keeps those for which He has decreed death and releases the others for a specified term. Indeed in that are signs for a people who give thought” (39:43).

At home, daughter Fauzia Jamal Saheba led the other women of the family in giving a proper bath to the dead body as per Islamic rites. The funeral prayer (Salaat al-Janazah) was performed under the leadership of her husband Mukarram Amir Jamaluddin Saheb of the Kerala South Jamaat after their son Fazil Jamal and family reached home from Delhi in the late afternoon. Remaining members of the family, members of the South Jamaat, close relatives and even other Muslims outside of the Jamaat also joined the Janaza prayers at the historic Noor'ul Islam Masjid, Mathra and soon thereafter, the dead body was buried at the burial space enclave adjacent to the Masjid complex before sunset. May Allah (swt) illumine her tomb, Aameen.  

Saturday, May 5, 2018

Islam: Dark Clouds, Silver Lining


The situation in the world is extremely worrying for all Muslims (and all my disciples in Jamaat Ul Sahih Al Islam) and I am again reminding you all to pray earnestly that Allah (swt) may remove the dangers which face Islam which is being encircled by dark clouds which only God can remove whenever He pleases.

There is nowhere in the world where Muslims are not in danger directly or indirectly and we do not see any intelligent Islamic response. There is only one despicable response which they know: persecuting their own Muslim brethrens and finishing Islam by their own hands. In addition to the civil wars and the religious strife which they wage between themselves but when it concerns the Divine Manifestation and the belief in the Promised Messiah Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad (as) and in this era this humble self the Khalifatullah, all the Muslim sects don't hesitate to group together to counter-attack what they term as heretics. It is on this basis that they seem to agree and help each other to crush the divine truth. Since the advents of non law-bearing prophets/ messengers after Hazrat Muhammad (pbuh), they seem to have lost their bearings when they denied and calumniated the men of God.