A living, thriving spiritual role model is a psychological and emotional need of all human beings. For, they are genetically programmed, as it were, 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 innate need of the 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, the Khalifatullah Hadhrat Munir Ahmad Azim Sahib (atba) of Mauritius offered an illuminating commentary on the subtle, deeper meanings of Laila-tul- Qadr for our times.
Read the Extracts from the Friday Sermon:
“Surely We revealed it on the Night of Majesty;
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.
Alhamdulillah, by the grace of Allah the Almighty today, I continue the second part of my sermon which I started last Friday 10 August 2012 on the Night of Majesty (Laila-tul-Qadr).
As regards this special night, Hazrat Ayesha (May Allah be pleased with her) once asked the Holy Prophet (peace be upon him) what supplication she should make if she ever experience that extraordinary night of grandeur, and this is the prayer he gave to her: “O Allah! You are the Forgiving and You love to forgive, so please forgive me”.
As for the verse: “Tanazzalul-malaaa ‘ikatu war-Ruuhu fiihaa bi-‘izni-Rabbihim-min kulli ‘amr: Salaamun Hiya hattaa matla-‘il-Fajr.” [The angels and the Spirit descend therein by the permission of their Lord for every matter. Peace it is until the emergence of dawn.]
Here, many people infer from the expression “min kulli ‘amr” (for every matter) that on this night all decisions for the following year regarding the administration and other affairs of the world are determined. This deduction is not correct. Kul (every) is a relative word and its application depends on the context or the situation and covers only matters that are under discussion. For example, if on the occasion of a feast it is said that all the people have arrived, it cannot mean that all the people in the world are present there. What it means, in fact, is that all the invited guests are present.
Similarly, when the prophet of Allah Hazrat Nuh (upon him be peace) was given the following command in the chapter Hud: “We (Allah) said: “Carry in it two of all things, a pair”, it did not mean that he had to take a pair of all the animals on earth, but the order extended only to those animals that he would need later on. So here the expression “min kulli ‘amr” (for every matter) does not refer to all the matters of the world but only to such spiritual blessings and favours which are pertinent to that glorious and honourable night on which the Holy Quran was revealed.
Ar-Ruuh (the Spirit) refer to those angels who descend with the word of Allah on the hearts of the righteous infusing them with spiritual life. That is why they are called the Spirit. As for the word “Salaam” it means peace and freedom from every kind of fear or anxiety. In other words, everything that descend on that night is aimed towards the giving of physical and spiritual blessings to man. Thus if we study the Holy Quran which was revealed on that Night of Majesty (as I have explained in my previous sermon) we shall discover that it contains a message of complete peace, the chief objective of which is to save man from sin and evil, trials and tribulations and make him attain a life of peace and tranquillity.
Therefore, if a person derives the benefit of this night and through worship and strenuous efforts towards goodness, he makes his heart worthy of spiritual blessings, then it is inevitable that the angels will bring divine communication and spiritual blessings to his heart with such force that his soul shall be freed from the straight-jacket of sins and shall enter the sanctuary of peace. The question arises as to why the angels descend only on the heart of the pious human being. The fact is that it is always the heart of the pious which receives constant divine communication and spiritual blessings through angels as has been mentioned concerning it in the Holy Quran itself: “Say: whoever is an enemy to Gabriel- for surely he revealed it to your heart by Allah’s command...” (2: 98).
This verse proves that it is the hearts of righteous people that receive spiritual blessings and divine communication (not any Zaalim or Sorcerer). These divine communications receive through the agency of angels through whom Allah inspires righteousness. However, those people whose hearts are closed to spiritual blessings and who are under the sway of satanic forces will find it impossible to receive angelic inspiration.
The literal meaning of “hattaa matla-‘il-Fajr” (until the emergence of dawn) is that the spiritual blessings of that grand night extend till dawn. However, it also conveys a deeper meaning and that is, that the peace and blessings that descend on the heart of man on that night continue till the darkness of evil dissipates and heavenly light suffuses the heart.
Laila-tul-Qadr is generally known as one of the odd nights of the last ten nights of Ramadan on which the Holy Quran was revealed. But it has a deeper significance for it refers also to the period of the prophethood of Hazrat Muhammad (peace be upon him) when the Quran was revealed. This period is called night because at that time the whole world was shrouded in darkness, misguidance and unbelief. It is also called Al-Qadr (the Majesty) because the Holy Quran, that extraordinary heavenly book of divine guidance, was sent down to man, and the Holy Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him), that incomparable guide, was appointed on that night.
There can be no doubt; therefore that our prophet’s (peace be upon him) time was greater than a thousand months and superior to all other ages. The Laila-tul-Qadr of the previous and also future messengers after him cannot be compared to the actual Grandeur of his period of prophethood when his life was the Quran and the Quran was his life. The blessings that came to a believer for worship and religious service in that age cannot be compared in any succeeding age. In this regard, the Holy Prophet (peace be upon him) himself said that the recompense for giving a handful of barley in that period far exceeded the reward one would get in a later age for giving a heap of gold as large as Mount Uhud. This is because at a time of great need, a little assistance merits greater reward than great help later on when the need is not demanding.
In our Holy Prophet’s (peace be upon him) time, Islam was faced with such monumental difficulties and a calamity that the extent of the need for sacrifices by way of wealth and lives is beyond description. I am not saying that such sacrifices shall not be seen again, no; It shall be seen but only as a reflection of the perfection of that unique and great golden era when the Best of Mankind (peace be upon him) lived on earth as the true and special universal prophet of Allah.
So the reward for the selfless service of those who sacrificed their lives and property for Islam in that precarious time and never swerved an inch from the path of Allah cannot be attained by those who came after when Islam had triumphed in the world and Muslim had at their command great wealth and power. But whenever the image of Islam shall be tarnished by the people who are Muslims in name only and whenever the enemies of Islam try to eradicate the pure religion of Allah from the surface of the earth, therefore the mirror image of the perfection of Islam of the times of the Holy Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) manifests itself once again to bring back the glory of Islam.
Our Holy Prophet’s (peace be upon him) lifetime was the time when the angels and the Spirit were descending on earth – on the one hand the Holy Quran was being revealed and on the other hand the heart of the believers were being suffused with spiritual life. For every act of sacrifice and selflessness there flowed a constant stream of assistance and support – angels descended, faith was revived and strengthened, hearts were invested with spiritual power and even in the midst of all these dangers the message of peace was silently working its way into the hearts of people to such an extent that eventually the dark cloud of unbelief was lifted and the divine light of guidance spread its glorious rays all over the world. Such glorious days shall come for Islam and this promised victory shall be verily the victory of good over evil, the victory of Allah over Satan and that of his allies.
Like I explained in my previous sermon, the expression a thousand months embodies a subtle meaning – one thousand months amount to almost eighty-three years. Now, our Holy Prophet (peace be upon him) has said that at the turn of every century, a Mujaddid (reformer) would appear for the revival of the religion of Islam. As every Mujaddid is a reviver of faith of our Holy Prophet (peace be upon him) therefore, his age is like a facsimile or reflection of the prophet’s age and bear a strong connection with it. And the seventeen years that make up the complete century bear superiority over the remaining eighty-three years just as the prophet’s (peace be upon him) age enjoyed supremacy over all other eras.
In other words a mujaddid’s dispensation extends on the average over a period of seventeen years and the remaining eighty-three years are deprived, as it were, of a Mujaddid. What a wonderful fact it is therefore, that the Mujaddid and Promised Messiah of the last century and I are both recipient of the same blessings, revelations and mission, that is, as Mujaddid (reformer of our respective age), Khalifatullah (Caliph of Allah), Muhyi-ud-Din (Reviver of faith) and Massih (Messiah).
As the time of the appearance of a Mujaddid is a trying time for religion and there is a crying demand for religious service, therefore the reward for worship and good actions in this period is correspondingly greater than in any other age, more so because sacrifice of wealth and lives is called for. This is the time of a Mujaddid, Reviver of faith, a Khalifatullah of the fifteenth century when Islam is beset by all kinds of dangers and attacks. There is a preponderance of false creeds and the darkness of irreligion and misguidance has overspread the earth. Therefore, for this reason, the descent of Allah’s angels and his communication are respectively much more numerous and more powerful now that in the time of any other Mujaddid and so, too, the deeper knowledge of the Holy Quran and the inspired truths that have been revealed. He comes in the mantle of the universality of the prophethood of the Holy Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) to give the good news of Islam to all souls of the world. A reflection, yes, but a blessed one for this era, for all souls living in this age!
Furthermore, a fact which of utmost important, the magnitude of blessings for divine service and sacrifice for religion in this age will never be equalled in later times when the darkness of misguidance will have been dissipated (that is, whenever Islam will be at its summit of glory – but when Islam shall be attacked by the people within and remains only in name, therefore emergence of the glory of this divine manifestation shall come again) thus allowing the sun of Islam to rise from the west and shed its rays over the whole world. Therefore all Muslims, seekers of truth and even the non-believers (for now, but for later on, you never know, they can become sincerer Muslims than others) must well bear in mind that I am comparing the era of a golden divine manifestation of glory to that when there is no divine manifestation of glory, but instead Islam has been established and is being ruled by those at its head.
It is always a chain, one confirming the other, like the Holy Prophet (peace be upon him) confirmed Hazrat Isa (upon him be peace) and all the previous prophets before him, likewise the Promised Messiah Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad (upon him be peace) came as a confirmation of the prophethood of Hazrat Muhammad (peace be upon him), and this humble self came as confirmation of the truthfulness of all prophets of Allah before Hazrat Muhammad (peace be upon him), the Holy Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) himself and also the Promised Messiah (upon him be peace) and his promised son and reformer as vouchsafed to him by Allah, Hazrat Mirza Bashiruddin Mahmood Ahmad (May Allah be pleased with him).
Therefore the blessings of the Laila-tul-Qadr as our Holy prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) himself has said in relation to this present age that a sincere Sajdah (prostration) to Allah now will be worth more than years of worship in another era. Thus, in this period of godlessness, to put religion above the world and to sacrifice wealth and lives for Islam in these vulnerable times and to devote oneself to the worship of Allah in this atheistic age will bring to the sincere devotee more blessings than that people will receive in later times when the need for sacrifices for Islam will not exist and when the oneness of Allah and true knowledge of Him will be prevalent throughout the world. Insha-Allah. Ameen.