How does one traverse the narrow path of spiritual proximity in a mundane world? How does one attain nearness to Allah, the Most High? What are the qualities that transformed common human beings into Divine Messengers and raised them to the elevated status of friends of Allah?
The precepts of faith are to be practiced in an everyday life, beset with troubling choices and complex questions. In the solitude of man, he is often troubled by perceptions of his own capability and material circumstances in shaping the outcomes. Islam theorises that without the command and permission of Allah the Most High, not even a leaf moves where it does. Thus, Islam offers the empowering idea of Divine Help and succour to the believer who offers fervent prayers to Allah, the Most High and does her best. Yet, a linear understanding of this idea, which does not take account of the Divine Will, would be a mistake. In his Friday Sermon of 11 January 2013, the Khalifatullah Hadhrat Munir Ahmad Azim Sahib of Mauritius (atba) provides illuminating insights onto the difficult and complex questions of Divine proximity.
In the service of religion and humanity, a Divine seeker has purity of heart, sincerity of intention, and selflessness in practical action. Regardless of mundane circumstances, they move ahead with their noble responsibilities, with only faith as their armour. They have the courage to walk alone amidst the storms of life and the grace to grow over individual sufferings and afflictions. They have the capability to stare down the prejudices of the self and display unpretentious humility and lack of arrogance defines them in personal life. These are amongst the qualities of real Divine seekers who attains spiritual proximity and becomes the friends of Allah, says the Khalifatullah (atba). Those who adopt these attributes come under the shadow of Divine Help and communion in the varied circumstances of this present life itself, points out the Messenger of Allah of our times.
Read the Extracts from the Sermon:
“Our Lord, we have wronged ourselves, and if You do not forgive us and have mercy upon us, we will surely be among the losers.” (7: 24)
I am continuing on the same subject of the sermons of the past two weeks whereby I said that we must present us at the service of Allah, despite that we have gone beyond limits, we are beyond our control, we are weak and not worthy of reforming the world. Therefore, for each one of us, it is necessary that we create this feeling in us and we seek the help of Allah and even seek His protection.
Therefore it is necessary that you become among the close ones, the friends of Allah and to be able to achieve this proximity, it is necessary that you adopt the paths and qualities which have been indicated at the beginning (of the subject on this sermon). You must become the close ones of Allah so that no problem, no obstacle, no pain and difficulty can grip you. This is a subject about which, when you look at the life and situation of the people who are sincere in their Iman (faith), you shall understand that they are those who are engaged in the remembrance of Allah, in the worship of Allah, and at the service of Allah. They so not let the afflictions which befalls them affect them or their families and children. They give priority to caring for the religion of Allah.
When they behave like this, that is, giving the religion of Allah more value; more importance over their own family, then it is Allah Himself Who takes upon Himself to care for these people’s families, their children. And these kinds of people, they undergo all sorts of attacks, all sorts of problems and difficulties, but when you look at them, it is as if they have not undergone any attack, as if they do not face any problem or difficulty. They are in good health and there is a joy which is reflected in their faces, as if their faces are enlightened with the Light (Noor) of Allah.
They are among those who never complain. But it is Allah alone who really knows the state of their hearts. He knows how deep into afflictions they are, yet they keep a happy face. Man does not know about the states of hearts; he does not even know the state of his heart, about how Allah perceives it before His eyes. But it is a fact that those sincere people, who never complain (and who bear all situations with steadfastness and faith in Allah), they are those who let go of the world to adopt the world of Allah, and when this materialises, Allah then protect the world of these people.
It is a fact that because of the laws of nature, they have to undergo certain difficulties or problems, just like healthy plants which also suffer from some lost in condition, problems. Sometimes there are tempests, cyclones and flood, and even the good plantations get affected by all these. The planters cannot do anything to save these plants (when such calamities strike). But when Allah has the capability, and when He decrees a rescue (for His sincere servants), then He saves those He wants; He comes to the rescue. But it is a fact that those sincere people also have to a certain degree go through or taste some difficulties.
It is a subject which the Holy Quran has mentioned in great detail. Thus, I am not telling you that when you engage yourselves in work of religion, you shall not be immune to the illnesses found in this world. If you engages yourselves in the work of religion only with this thought, that illnesses shall not touch you, it is verily then that those illnesses shall touch you. This is a point of great import. If while pondering about these situations you make a deal, a compromise or “blackmail” that you think that when you opt for working for religion means that you and your family shall be rid of trials, then let me tell you that these intentions or thoughts shall be to no avail.
It is only when you engages yourselves in the service of religion, having in mind, thinking that despite that there shall be nobody to look after your family or child, it is then that Allah shall become the Protector of your family and children. You must therefore put the work of religion as priority. The rest then become the responsibility of Allah. Verily Allah does not let down His sincere servants. All these are such situations which are beyond the abilities of the sincere servants of Allah. They cannot know about all situations of the heart, about what is going on which such and such servant of Allah, but Allah see all these situations and if you want to see the application of this treatment, this care of Allah upon you (and your family) , then you must go through all these stages.
And thus, you become among the close ones of Allah so that no harm, no problem can ever attain you. Because (bear in mind) nothing on earth happens without the permission of Allah. Perceive the greatness of these words (that is, nothing happens without the permission of Allah). in fact, when you become under the refuge of Allah, therefore as a natural result which is then created in your heart, which must be made clear in you is that you must remove all the negates, such as vain discussions and amusements, anger and fights among one another.
This is verily a serious problem, because all people must strive to clear away all vain discussions, passions and fights among one another. The majority of people who engage themselves in fights among each other or they do not make efforts to calm down and clear away their anger and passions, they are people who cannot enter the fold of the friends of Allah. Now the time has come to leave aside all trivial things which shall ignite your anger and make you lose your time. We must instead engage ourselves in the great work which Allah has vouchsafed us, an extraordinary work.
Therefore, each time I am making you understand and I shall continue to make you understand that it is absolutely necessary that you adopt these attributes, for without these you cannot come under the shadow of Allah, under the refuge of Allah, in peace. But the objective is not only to come under the protection of Allah in peace. It is not a simple thing. We must work for it. A true man is the one who come forward in the battlefield at a time when he apparently has nothing as support, but he comes nevertheless and he comes which all that he has and all that he is, and he does not mind what becomes of him, because the love, desire and passion that he has to serve the Religion of Allah is so powerful in his heart that he comes forward voluntarily to present himself and all that he has at the service of Religion (Islam).
If you have already created these types of desires in your heart, then at that moment, you become those types of people (the sincere ones) which is mentioned. But if till now you have not yet created or developed that passion, even as little as an ignition so as to create a great “fire” (that is, the desire to serve the Religion), if you have not come to this point, then even if you are understanding these words, even if you are understanding what I am saying, but you shall not benefit from all this. Therefore, this is food for thought and each one among you must ponder on his (or her) own being in detail, in such a way that no aspect of his being remains in darkness.
Afterwards, bear in mind that all people who are under the influence of their anger, whereby their anger and passions dominate them, then, it is not possible that the words of wisdom and of knowledge comes out from his mouth. When I am saying wisdom and knowledge, then it is also referring to the people who shall recognised the signs and manifestations of Allah, who are not influenced by their anger and vain passions, and they shall acquire such knowledge and wisdom, and these shall come out of their mouths and thus shut up the mouths of the so-called great scholars or knower of religion. But if you let yourself be dominated by your vain desires, passions and anger, then it is not possible that these words of knowledge and wisdom come out of your mouths. Therefore, you shall not be able to have the upper hand on the great scholars, the ones who say that they know religion better. This therefore shall be a distant memory. Thus, if you let anger and your passions dominate you, then, it is not possible that you accomplish this desire to become among the great people (that is, beloved in the eyes of Allah).
The reason is that they do not know that the desire to become among the great shall expose their interior completely. On the contrary, if you become great people, then you must adopt at all times humility. As for me, I am nothing, but I am here also because of the prayers of my great grandparents. It is with the support of prayer, of invocation to Allah that I am now at the place where Allah has (Himself) put me. But you must never become arrogant, once you climb the ladder of success, and you must never declare that it is through your own efforts and knowledge that you have reached the acquired grandeur.
This is a small example, but there are many people who say that “I want to become like such and such or even better than him”. This kind of talk or desire reflects their personal desire, their egoism. Why must we desire to become like such and such. On the contrary, we must pray like this: “Oh Allah, let me be for You.” When you become for Allah, it is then that the prayer of Hazrat Moosa (upon him be peace) becomes of actuality: “Rabbi inni lima anzalta ilayya min khayrin fakir” (Oh my Lord, I am in need of all favours that You can bestow upon me). Let all (rest) on Allah. It is Allah who shall decide which and which capacity He shall develop in you, and till which limit this capacity shall exist in you; therefore, leave this for Allah to decide.
And the plants which Allah protects, the reason that He protects them is that, verily, without Him, these plants cannot reach their maximum capacity. It is the Hand of Allah which ward off all unbelievers, and all types of unknown harm, and it is Allah who create such an environment so that these plants can flourish to their maximum capacity.
Therefore, if you want to talk with the help of the Holy Spirit – for true knowledge is the one which is attained through the Holy Spirit – if you want that to talk through the Holy Spirit, then you must remove all your vain desires, passions and anger which are concealed within you. These are the different stages that you must attain to, and which we must understand; but even the first stage we have not yet gone through. That is to say that the people who are not even conscious of who they are, they have not yet reached the first stage.
The people who have not yet the knowledge of their own selves, then what exterior knowledge shall they acquire? How can they acquire the profound knowledge? And there is so much disorder and wars in the world because of this negligence. That is to say that people do not know their own selves and moreover, they apparently want to acquire profound knowledge, and it may seem that sometimes they talk words of profound knowledge (but which it is not so). The words which instead come out from their mouths are filled with germs of disorder, chaos. But for certain people, by the grace of Allah, they do not have these types of speech which is filled with germs. Satan cannot even touch the words which come out of their mouths; Satan cannot touch their desires and hope.
Therefore, understand this great stage well, and start the journey towards that great destination. And day by day, your life must come nearer to our beloved prophet Hazrat Muhammad (peace be upon him). As soon as someone makes the intention to journey to Allah, then Allah counts such person among His servants. Therefore remove all your vain passions and the anger which is found in you. It is then that words of wisdom and knowledge shall come out of your mouth and then, the heavens above shall consider you as a profitable person which is a good contribution to the world. And your age shall be lengthened.
When I was saying earlier that the problems and difficulties shall not touch you, then, it is a fact that the people who gain in the service of Religion, their age is lengthened and that of their family also, so that the religion of Allah may profit from them. But for this you must abandon arrogant talks, and do must not lend yourselves to ridiculing (others), and it must be that your speech is free of vulgarities and bad words; such words which humiliate a person and hurts his heart. But on the other hand, a good sense of humour is totally acceptable, and it helps to bring out the beauty of Islam. Therefore, to show the true value of Islam, sense of humour is a great quality. May Allah put us on the right path and make you firm on this path always. Insha-Allah, Ameen.