Saturday, May 26, 2012

The Road to Spiritual Progress

The path to attain nearness to the Lord Almighty is narrow and slippery. One needs to traverse it through prayer, patience and concentration. One can evolve spiritually by establishing a firm relationship and bond of love with the Guided Ones who are sent by Allah the Most High from time to time. Listening to them and following their noble precepts and practices are absolutely essential for those who seek true guidance. This way one will gain right and correct belief which are free from blemishes and mythical haze. In his Friday Sermon of 11 May 2012, Khalifatullah Hadhrat Munir Ahmad Azim Sahib (atba) of Mauritius underscored the struggles involved in attaining spiritual progress and offered special guidance on how to proceed on this sublime path.

Read the Extracts from the Sermon:

“According to Islam, our beautiful and perfect religion, the only spiritual way is that of prayer and concentration. But time is needed for a person to benefit from this because until a relationship takes deep roots and a bond of love is created, its effects cannot be felt. The way of guidance is only through prayer and concentration.

It is God’s rule of nature that every spirit requires a physical mould. When such a mould is ready, a spiritual form is breathed into it automatically. It is an essential objective that you should gradually gain acquaintance with the reality which God has opened to me in the capacity of Khalifatullah of this era. There are many errors in the beliefs which have common currency among the ordinary people of Islam and also in Jamaat Ahmadiyya and these errors have arisen as a result of intermingling with the Christians. But now God has wished that the pure and bright face of Islam be shown to the world, that is, the Sahih al Islam. Clarity of beliefs is very essential for spiritual progress. The clearer the beliefs, the greater will be the progress.

Prayer and concentration are needed in this struggle because the true reality is hidden from some people by the veil of their negligence, from others by their prejudice and yet some others are kept away from it because they have no devotion to the people of truth. However, without God’s help these veils cannot be lifted and that is why prayer and concentration are needed. Ever since the system of prophethood has been instituted, it has been the case that mere talk cannot lead to any progress. It is always prayer and devoted concentration which prove beneficial.

You will observe that there was a time when the Holy Prophet Muhammad (sa) stood alone but people were attracted to his true righteousness. On the other hand, there are now thousands of Mullahs, Maulvis and Amirs who give sermons but because they are not honest and do not possess any spirituality, they do not have similar effect on people.

The ‘poisonous matter’ contained within a person cannot be removed by mere talk. What is needed is proximity to pious people and their attention. To benefit from this, adoption of their ways and an understanding of the correct beliefs, as taught to them by God, are very essential.

Moreover, when you are acquainted with the various aspects of belief in which there is a conflict between us and other Muslims, then, you will be strengthened and that will also be beneficial for the spiritual development which all of you seek. It can be discerned from such statements that you may be able to fulfil our conditions and, Insha-Allah, be able to absorb some guidance. But, remember, that the way of God is such that if two things are present, then, a person can succeed in the attainment of spiritual progress.

One is that the time should be spent in close proximity to the spiritual guide – and in the time of a Messenger of Allah, the latter is therefore the mentor around whom gather the seekers of truth and guidance – and attention paid to his conversation and, should there be anything causing doubt or apprehension, it should not be kept hidden inside but rather, such things should be aired openly and immediately so that they can be resolved and thereby allow removal of a piercing ‘thorn’ from the heart. Such attention and interaction should be beneficial for spiritual advancement. What is required is to remain in such close proximity with patience and perseverance, paying close attention to what is being said and not keeping any doubts to oneself. Doubt can have a poisonous effect which seeps deep inside and eventually destroys.

The second thing is that when a new heavenly system is being instituted, a reformer or reviver of faith is sent and because his task is to correct the errors of all factors, everybody becomes his enemy and they try to create difficulties for him to harm him.

So that when someone enters his fold, he too is subjected to all the difficulties and hardships. Enemies attack him, friends and acquaintances alike become his enemies and wherever he hopes for any assistance, it all comes to nothing. He has to enter the very difficult path of hopelessness and disappointment. Whatever hopes he had of gaining any respect or honour from people, all that is wiped out, but it is an ancient tradition that one must be prepared for such disappointments.

If a person meets these challenges bravely and courageously he will remain steadfast. Otherwise there are many who enter this realm with great enthusiasm but are not able to withstand the pressures which are brought to bear upon them and eventually they lean towards the world. Their hearts cannot bear the worldly losses that they and their families have to suffer. For such people the eventual outcome is worse than the beginning. It is essential, therefore, that the worldly abuse be borne bravely and that one is prepared for suffering and disappointments before one enters the fold of Sahih al Islam.

If such an attitude is adopted, the attainment of truth is achieved more quickly and all that he had to forego initially is returned to him by God. For a seed which must become a tall tree bearing fruit, it is necessary that it should be buried under the soil for some time. Only then will it become a tree. For this, patience is essential so that a person may humble himself before God’s will in order that he may be raised up and hence achieve further development and progress.

Before ending my sermon, I advice all of you, it is one of our principles that we live a simple life. Our gatherings are not tainted by the many outer, customary formalities which have become an essential element of the European, American, Asian or even African way of life, for if we look at the world, we can see an Americanisation or Europeanization of the world. We are not bound by empty customs only to the extent that their abandonment may lead to severe hardship or some other vice. Other than that, in the matter of eating or in the matter of joining or leaving our gatherings, we prefer a simple way of life.

May Allah enable all of you to understand the Friday Sermon of today well and guide you in the right path. Insha-Allah, Ameen