Friday, August 31, 2012

ISLAM and the Universality of Spirituality

Those who study and reflect upon the belief systems of religions and cultures are immediately struck by the common humanity and shared spirituality so unmistakably apparent in all of them. A profound faith in the Unity of God, a strong orientation to be good and do good to the wider society in which you dabble in, individual accountability for our every day actions- these are characteristic traits that are distinctly present in almost all religions. As a spiritual order, Islam validates this universality of spiritual experience and seeks to consolidate and build upon the profound legacy of religions that emerged before it on the horizon of humanity. The Holy Qur'an recognizes the diversity of clans, tribes, languages, religions, cultures and nations as a blessing for humankind.

In his Friday Sermon of August 31, 2012 Khalifatullah Hadhrat Munir Ahmad Azim Sahib (atba) of Mauritius shared some light upon this important theme which places the experience of Islam firmly in its wider historical and spiritual context.

Read the Extracts from the Speech:

“Surely those who believe and the Jews and the Christians and the Sabians – whosoever truly believe in God and the Last Day and do good deeds, shall have their reward with their Lord, and no fear shall come upon them, nor shall they grieve.” (2: 63)

Saturday, August 25, 2012

'Taqwah': Meaning and Essence

In his special sermon on the occasion of Eid-ul-Fitr on August 20, 2012 Khalifatullah Hadhrat Munir Ahmad Azim(atba) of Mauritius gave a discourse on the most important quality a Muslim aspires to acquire: TAQWA.

Read the Extracts from the Eid Sermon:

“...When a person does a good deed, he must do so only for the pleasure of Allah. That person must have the Taqwa, that is, piety, righteousness.  Of what essence is that Taqwa? If you ask somebody on the street, what is that piety (Taqwa), he shall be embarrassed to give you an answer. And if you tell him that it means becoming pious, he can open wide his eyes or laugh at you. In his ignorance, when he hears those words, he can laugh it off. Therefore it must be understood that Taqwa is the master of words, a key word in Islam. Taqwa designates a virtue, a quality which is precise and well appreciated by Allah the Almighty.

Friday, August 24, 2012

Islam: Responsibilities of the Youth

In his Friday Sermon of 24 August 2012, Khalifatullah Hadhrat Munir Ahmad Azim (aba) of Mauritius addressed the youth of Islam and exhorted them to seize the extraordinary opportunity they have in creatively utilizing their enthusiasm, courage and youthful zeal in the advancement of the Divine cause of our times.

Read the Extracts from the Friday Sermon:

The progress of God’s work in all areas requires enthusiasm, courage and youthful zeal. To plan and execute with clarity with a firm hand, we need new energy. Thus Allah (the Exalted) desires that young people contribute to the advancement of His cause.

He invites young men and girls to devote their strength to Him. The use of their faculties, the liveliness of spirit and the strength of their actions, glorify Allah (the Exalted) and bring salvation to their fellow men. I have a strong interest for the Youth, and I love to see them fight for the development of the character of the Muslims, the Sahih al Islam – Islam in its perfection – and
strive, by diligent study and fervent prayers, to obtain the necessary preparation for the cause of God in a proper manner. I ardently desire that our young people help each other to achieve a higher level in the experience of Islam.

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Laila-tul- Qadr and Mujaddid

A living, thriving spiritual role model is a psychological and emotional need of all human beings. For, humans are genetically programmed, as it were, with an innate capacity to rise above their mundane self and seek to reach their Creator. Without the light of Divine revelation and clear spiritual guidance and leadership in every age, men are prone to fall into trials and tribulations, error and sin, evil and misdeeds. As a religion designed and perfected by the Creator Himself, Islam offers the possibility of meeting this easily recognizable, almost inherent quest of humankind for perpetual Divine guidance. 

The appearance of a Mujaddid/ Muhaddith/ Muhyi-ud-Din /Khalifatullah/ Massih is indeed based on the glad tidings vouchsafed to the Holy Prophet Muhammad (sa) in this regard. Abu Hurairah (ra) narrated that the Holy prophet Muhammad (sa) said; Allah shall raise for this Ummah at the head of every century a man who shall renew (or revive) for it its religion."  [Sunan Abu Dawood, Book 37: Kitab al-Malahim [Battles], Hâdith Number 4278]. In its own way, the appearance of a Mujaddid to teach the Holy Book and to illuminate the Divine path confirms an enduring practice of Allah the Most High- the raising of His Messengers in every age, among every people, in every land.

The mystical phenomena of Divine revelations and the descent of the Holy Spirit on the Night of Majesty (or Laila-tul-Qadr) is a theme with profound spiritual connotations and has inextricable linkages with the appearance of a Divinely-raised soul in Islam. In his Friday Sermon of August 17, 2012,  Khalifatullah Hadhrat Munir Ahmad Azim (aba) of Mauritius offers an illuminating commentary on the subtle, deeper meanings of Laila-tul- Qadr for our times.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

I'ithikaaf and Laila-tul-Qadr

In an article published in the Mauritius-based news paper Le Mauricien on 14 August 2012 Imam-Jamaat Ul Sahih Al Islam Khalifatullah Hadhrat Munir Ahmad Azim (aba) explained the significance of the last Ten days of the Fasting Month of Ramadan for the spiritual life of the believers. Drawing upon Qur’anic promises and Prophetic traditions and the long-established Muslim practice of going into a spiritual retreat (I’ithikaaf) in those days, the messenger of Allah of our times exhorts Muslims to do plenty of acts of worship which shall earn him (or her) the pleasure of Allah”.   

For the benefit of our esteemed readers, we are reproducing the article below:

Our Muslim brothers and sisters have prepared themselves to go into retreat during the ten last days of Ramadan to seek the “Laila-tul-Qadr” (that is, the Night of Destiny). They are into retreat in the Mosque, and are in another state of mind to concentrate themselves wholly on such acts of worship as the obligatory prayers, the voluntary prayers, the remembrance of Allah, reading of the Holy Quran and even devoting them to the learning of Deen and working for the spread of the message of Allah. In a nutshell, they shall do such acts which shall profit both their soul and Islam, be it in this world and the hereafter.
What is the Laila-tul-Qadr

Both the Quran and Sunnah provide us an insight into the meaning of such a night and its impact on the lives of Muslims. In the Holy Quran, Allah says: 

Surely, We have revealed it (that is, the Qur'an) during the Night of Destiny. And what will make you understand what the Night of Destiny is? The Night of Destiny is better than a thousand months. The angels and the Spirit descend therein by the command of their Lord, with the divine order on everything. All is peace until the appearance of dawn.” (Chapter 97, verses 2-6)
Traditions relate that the Holy Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) was on his way to inform the Muslims of the date of the Night of Destiny, when he encountered two persons who were quarrelling, and thus because of that interruption, he forgot its specific date. He expressed hope that it was good for Muslims. His noble wife, Hazrat Aisha (ra) informs us: The Messenger of Allah (pbuh) used to go in seclusion in the mosque during the last ten days of the month of Ramadan, saying 'Look for the Night of Destiny in the odd nights of the last ten days of Ramadan.'” (Bukhari and Muslim). So, the possible nights for this blessed night are the 21st, 23rd, 25th, 27th and 29th.

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Ramadan and the “Lay-latul-Qadr”

The month of Ramadan is that which the Quran was revealed.” (2: 186). The holy month of Ramadan carries with it the Divine promise of a thousand blessings for the believers. Believers seek to attain nearness to Allah the Most High in this holy month by engaging in a lot of Zikr, Tilawat Quran and Salaat / Namaz (both Farz and Nawafil). In his Friday Sermon of 10 August 2012, the Khalifatullah Hadhrat Munir Ahmad Azim Sahib (atba)of Mauritius explained the special blessings of Ramadan by linking it with Surah Al- Qadr, the 97th Chapter of the Holy Qur’an. The Khalifatullah, then, explains the Holy Prophet’s practice of offering Tarawih prayers in Ramadan and clarifies its relation with the Tahajjud prayers and also the number of Rakaat in Tarawih prayers by describing the historical/special circumstances in which Hadhrat Umar (ra) asked for additional prayers to be offered in Ramadan.    

Read the Extracts from the Friday Sermon:

“In the name of Allah, the Gracious, the Merciful. Surely We revealed it on the Night of Majesty; And what will make you understand what the Night of Majesty is? The Night of Majesty is better than a thousand months. The angels and the Spirit descend therein by the permission of their Lord for every matter. Peace it is until the emergence of dawn.” (97: 1-6)

In this Qur’anic chapter Al-Qadr (97), it is stated that the period when the Holy Quran was being revealed was a time of great blessings and the reward for worship, righteous actions and other efforts for the sake of religion that could have been attained at that time cannot be paralleled in any other age. The pronoun “hu” (it) in anzalnahu (we revealed it) refers to the revelation of the Holy Quran on the Night of Majesty.

Elsewhere in the Holy Quran it is mentioned: The month of Ramadan is that which the Quran was revealed.” (2: 186). This tells us that the Night of Majesty is in the month of Ramadan. According to the Holy Prophet (peace be upon him), it is one of the odd nights of the last ten days of Ramadan, that is, it is either the 21st, 23rd, 25th, 27th or 29th night. It has been called the Night of Majesty because it is a great grandeur and honour and which man should value with total respect and reverence. There is no doubt that the night in which the Holy Quran was revealed – an extraordinary gift and an incomparable Book of guidance to mankind – should be regarded with the highest honour and respect.

Thursday, August 9, 2012

RAMADAN: the Harmony of Good Living

In an article in the Mauritius-based newspaper “LE SOCIALISTE” published on July 31, 2012 the Khalifatullah Hadhrat Munir Ahmad Azim Sahib (atba) of Mauritius reflected on the special blessings of fasting for the human body, mind and soul. The fasting month of Ramadan is a spiritually rewarding time for the believers as it allows them to seek to reach the source of all perfection through abandoning one's ego and personal desires by focusing on Allah, the Most Exalted. [Inset: "Craving for the blessings of Allah"- a Painting by Pakistani artist Khurso Subzwari ]. 

We reproduce the article below for the benefit of all our esteemed readers.

“O you who believe! Fasting is prescribed for you as it was prescribed to those before you that you may become righteous.” (2: 184)

Fasting has been prescribed to all people before the advent of Islam. Each prophet of God came to teach their people through divine intervention a form of fasting which shall suit their needs, both physically and spiritually.

Fasting is voluntarily not eating food for varying lengths of time. Fasting in Islam can be observed with the intention to cleanse one’s body and mind from all kinds of ills, but mostly to come closer to God, for when the body and mind is cleared of food and other privations, then the soul also is cleansed. This occurs especially when fasting is observed along with acts of worship to seek the pleasure of God Almighty, our beloved Master and Creator.

Saturday, August 4, 2012

The Significance of Ramadan

In his Friday Sermon of August 03, 2012 Khalifatullah Hadhrat Munir Ahmad Azim Sahib of Mauritius (atba) explained the significance of the Fasting month of Ramadan in the Islamic Calendar. Fasting is being prescribed for the believers so that we may act righteously and guard ourselves against evil. At an individual level, fasting enables a person to bear hardships and thereby strengthens his/her ability to withstand complex problems and life situations. At another level, it enlarges the empathy and fellow-feeling in us vis-a-vis the suffering humanity. Fasting also enables a person to detach his/her material self from the preoccupations of a mundane life and to discover the spiritual side by spending time in the remembrance of Allah, the Most High.

Read the Extracts from the Friday Sermon:
What makes the ninth Islamic month so significant? The answer is to be found in the Holy Quran, in the verse which I just recited before you, in Surah Al-Baqara . It tells us:

“The month of Ramadan (is that) in which the Quran was revealed, a guidance for the people and clear proofs of guidance and criterion. So whoever sights (the new moon of) the month, let him fast it; and whoever is ill or on a journey - then an equal number of other days. Allah intends for you ease and does not intend for you hardship and (wants) for you to complete the period and to glorify Allah for that (to) which He has guided you; and perhaps you will be grateful.” (2: 186)

Commenting on the above verse, firstly, I wish to point out that this revelation says that the Quran was revealed for mankind. Whereas all other previously revealed books were meant for specific people and specific times, the Quran is a source of guidance for all peoples and all times. The month of Ramadan is therefore a sacred month because of a great event that took place during it, that is, the start of revelation of the Holy Quran.

Secondly, the Quran was revealed for the benefit of mankind with clear proofs of guidance and discrimination (from right and wrong). Therefore this book comprises all truths; such truths as mankind may stand in need of at any time and in any circumstances.

Thirdly, there is the instruction that whosoever is on home ground and in their normal circumstances, should fast during this month of Ramadan. Now for what reason do we have to observe the fast? Again, referring to the Holy Quran, we read: O you who believe! Fasting is prescribed for you, as it was prescribed for those before you, so that you may become righteous. (2: 184)

Friday, August 3, 2012

‘Forgo Shirk and Bid’ah in Ramadan’

[This is the second and final installment of the special video message delivered by the Khalifatullah Hadhrat Munir Ahmad Azim Sahib of Mauritius (atba) on the 10th day of Ramadan, on July 30, 2012. The first part of the essay was published here at the Sahih Al Islam Blog on August 02, 2012 and is available at: ].

Unfortunately many Muslims today have a bad conception of fasting and the activities of the faster. They stay as in a state of hibernation and spend most of their time in bed. If they come to fear Allah, they stand only for the hours of prayers (Salat) and then they go to sleep again. This sleep makes them become lazy. And their (spiritual) activities decrease. Ramadan is a time of intense activity for the true believers, who will gladly deny food and drink, and make enormous efforts in the path of Allah.

Moreover, a thing of concern for us today is the innovation in the Iftaar of the believer, that is, the breaking of the Fast. Nowadays Muslims brothers and sisters are making the Iftaar become a feast, a moment of excessive rejoice and eating and drinking. The Iftaar of the faster should have been simple for the breaking of the fast is an act of Ibaadat (worship).

This practice to make a feast out of the Iftaar in the month of Ramadan are known to occur nowadays in the Muslim Arab countries, and it is most unfortunate that in a little island like Mauritius this practice has become widespread among the other Jamaats.

Recently on my Dawa mission, I have met Muslim brothers and it is sad to see that now they are losing their valuable time in preparation of great “Iftaari” or Iftaar party. It is a shame for the Muslims to have reached such a point that the blessed norms of the month of Ramadan are not respected at all. Muslims automatically fast and rejoice excessively at the breaking of the fast.

It is known that our Nabi Kareem (saw) has encouraged the believers to break the fast really quickly and to go to perform their Maghrib prayer as soon as possible after the Iftaar, for it is a joy for the faster to break his fast and meet with his Lord. But to make a feast out of it? This is indeed out of the question!

Thursday, August 2, 2012

A RAMADAN in the times of an Elect of Allah

THE HOLY QUR'AN promises enduring divine blessings for the believers. The Holy Prophet Muhammad (sa) confirmed that at the head of every century, the Elect of Allah shall make an appearance- to guide the Ummah in the path of the Shari’ah and to teach them the hidden treasures of the Holy Book and the Divine verities. Allah, the Most High raises whomsoever He wants. And He knows where to place His message. The appearance of the Khalifatullah and Muhyi-ud- Din Hadhrat Munir Ahmad Azim Sahib of Mauritius (atba) in the new Century of Islam confirms the veracity of the enduring teachings of the Holy Qur’an. In a special video message delivered on July 30, 2012 (on the 10th day of Ramadan), the Messenger of Allah of our times calls the attention of believers to the extraordinary spiritual opportunity being made available to mankind by the Creator and reflects on the profound meaning of Ramadan.

Read the Extracts from the Special Sermon:

 O you who believe! Fasting is prescribed for you, as it was prescribed for those before you, so that you may become righteous. (2: 184)

We are living the days of Ramadan, a glorious and blessed month bestowed to us by Allah so that we can come closer to Him all the more. And if we were negligent to Him and His commandments before, therefore Ramadan comes as a training and a reminder for us to grip firmly to Deen (religion) and not to lose sight of our duty to Allah, to His Messenger Hazrat Muhammad (saw) by following his Sunnah and also to follow the Messenger of Allah, the Khalifatullah of your time.

In this present era, we are witnessing extraordinary days of Ramadan, whereby it is Ramadan everyday of our lives (that is, the believers in the Divine Manifestation) for we have got the unique opportunity to live ISLAM as in the times of the past elects of Allah, whereby Allah sends down His Holy Spirit and revelations and inspirations are spread through not only the Messenger of Allah of his time but also his pious disciples and believers who toil night and day to spread the message of Allah in all four corners of the world. Alhamdulillah.