Sunday, May 12, 2013

Saints and the Trajectory of Divine Light

After the death and departure of the Holy Prophet of Islam (sa), Islam could survive and flourish as a religious order and Muslims as a community through the centuries against all odds. On the temporal field, the Muslims achieved great progress and built magnificent empires and astounding forts and palaces and their victories and progress went on to attain an entire civilizational scale thanks to their massive impact wherever they went. As it happened, however, in the ebb and flow of time, their material fortunes declined and the single community disintegrated into splintered sects and partisan groups. On the contrary, regardless of the political fortunes of the Community, spiritual Islam continued to be vitalized and straddle on the lofty trajectory of Divine light almost every century or so with and by the appearance of noble saints, Revivers of faith and Vicegerents of Allah as the Guided Ones in the community. It is through the spiritual insights and practical example of these Divinely-blessed saints that Islam retains and continues to expand its appeal as a religious order among the masses in all the corners of the earth.

In his Friday Sermon of May 10, 2013 the Khalifatullah Hadhrat Munir Ahmad Azim Sahib (atba) of Mauritius provides illuminating insights on this spiritual subject of profound depth and sublime complexity. In this speech, Hadhrat Khalifatullah (atba) offers a profound commentary on the Qur’anic promise of mighty success for the sincere believers by describing the qualities and faculties of the Divinely-raised saints who are allowed to establish live connection with, and receive communications from, the Creator. While the Khilafat of a Divine Messenger may continue among his physical progeny so long as they remain in the straight path of Allah, the trajectory of Divine light and blessings may alter and embrace the spiritual progeny when Allah deems it so necessary. In our times, the Khalifa of the Ahmadiyya community has been stripped off the benefit of Divine revelations in spite of claiming themselves to be the followers of the Promised Massih (as) and on the contrary, Allah has blessed a spiritual progeny of the Promised Massih (as) with the Divine Light and favour. Significantly, the Sermon also specifically contains an important Divine revelation received in the early days of the Divine Manifestation in Mauritius, clearly conveying the lofty spiritual status of the Khalifatullah (atba) in our times.

Read the Extracts from the Friday Sermon:

“... And whoso obeys Allah and His Messenger, shall surely attain a mighty success.” - (Quran 33: 72)

Allah the Almighty has without any doubt made Hazrat Muhammad (peace be upon him) become the door through which all people can accede to success, victory. His prophethood is so powerful that it supersedes the status of all past prophets as well as all future prophets; such prophets who already came and those who shall come after him. Allah has preserved the prophets in the best of deposits and makes them stay in that exceptional place till their appointed time when they have to come in succession to accomplish their missions on earth. Allah took care to preserve the essence of their purity through the choice of their parents; such parents chosen and purified by Allah, making them apt to receive His prophet. And each time that a predecessor dies, then the next one comes to replace him for the cause of the religion of Allah.

Allah says that the one who obeys Him and His Messenger, each time He sends His representative, His guide through the Holy Spirit, then the one who follows the directives which this Messenger receives from Allah, then that person comes under the refuge, the protection of Allah. This is because, whenever he receives a divine instruction through the prophet of Allah, he does not turn his back or base himself on his own conception of revelation and of the Divine Manifestation. Therefore, this person follows the Messenger of Allah, whether they are in the form of the instructions and guidance which Hazrat Muhammad (peace be upon him) left as inheritance for the Muslim Community and also be it in the form of divine instructions which this person receives from the Messenger of Allah whom Allah has sent in his era so as to make him put into practice the Islamic teachings as it should be. Therefore, this kind of person shall verily receive great success, a great victory, be it in this temporal life and in the hereafter.

After the departure of a Messenger of Allah to His Rab (Lord), Allah does not let his efforts go in vain. He makes the true seekers of truth connects with the teachings of that prophet and Allah opens their eyes so that they may accept in great number this truth. Allah purifies these people because they represent tomorrow’s hope and Allah chooses the Messengers from among the family of that prophet, that is, his true followers, so that they may enjoy the divine favours and the proximity of Allah, and it is from their own circle that Allah sends forth the Holy Spirit so that the one He has chosen from among these followers becomes such a person who is purified by Allah Himself. This is because he is to replace the deceased prophet of Allah, and thus he has to take the torch of that Messenger of Allah (continue the same mission). Very often, the family of the prophet of Allah is composed of his own biological children, and also his spiritual children. Allah honours both categories of family of His Messenger, and when after many years, those who have received the divine favours, divine revelations mismanage the people, then Allah change the trajectory of His Light like we are witnessing in this era. But Allah holds true to the promise He made with His Messenger and He raises from among his spiritual children such a one who shall do his work, to honour his mission and truthfulness.

Allah says in the Holy Quran:

“And whoever obeys Allah and the Messenger – these are with those upon whom Allah has bestowed favours from among the prophets and the truthful and the martyrs and the righteous. And excellent are those as companions.” (4: 70)

Therefore, we see how obedience to Allah and Hazrat Muhammad (peace be upon him) guides us to such a spiritual world which is well furnished with divine blessings, and when Allah bless someone, He loves that person, then He makes him go through all kinds of tests, all sorts of trials. Those who say that they are the followers of the prophets, especially now, the followers of the Hazrat Muhammad (peace be upon him), then they must be ever ready to go through all sorts of trials. Allah shall test their faith till it becomes very clear if they are sincere or not, and thus Allah already made His prophet Hazrat Muhammad (peace be upon him) understand that there shall be among his followers those who shall continue his work (they shall hold fast his torch/mission), not in the capacity of a prophet superior to him, no, but by being such a prophet who shall support 100% his prophethood. And thus all those whom Allah shall chooses from time to time from among the followers of Hazrat Muhammad (peace be upon him), Allah has already decided who He shall send when the people cease to take care of religion, when they cease to turn to Allah in the correct way.

Allah sends not just anyone. The knowledge of the invisible world is not given to just anybody, but rather it is given to only those who have a solid and sincere connection with Allah. Despite that these kinds of people can receive from time to time some true dreams and visions, but to be able to accede to sainthood, a person must absolutely get access to Allah, get a connection with Allah and discover the secrets of the invisible world which ordinary people do not receive. So as to be able to better distinguish between them, a pious and lover of Allah gets this knowledge in abundance whereas the others cannot get access to this stage.

We must bear in mind that at each moment which Allah the Almighty, from His grace gives someone the honour and status to become His Friend and makes him become close to Him, so as he become a saintly and chosen man, then He gives this person a clear distinction from among all his disciples and other pious people. Therefore, that chosen person receives four principles qualities. If we see this distinction in someone, then it becomes very important to believe in him with certainty and witness that he is one of the perfect servants and saints of Allah, such a saint (Awliya), and friend (Khalil) whom Allah Himself has chosen and has trained through His exceptional guidance.

The four qualities which distinguish the chosen men of God from the other common people are those qualities which serve as signs and miracles. Each quality is different from the others, and there is such clear distinction among them that these accomplishments culminate to a stage of miracles. Such a person (that is, the chosen man of Allah) is like a treasure which Allah has already chosen since the dawn of time (or eternity) so that he may help this world (that is, the people) to accede to this rank. About sainthood which this person receives, in the first years of the Divine Manifestation, during a communication, a conversation which I had with Allah, Allah told me (in English):

“… O Munir Ahmad Azim, you are known as the Reviver of religion, you are the strength of this religion, O Mohyuddin; He who gets a drop of your ocean, Is the one who will reach the destination safely O Munir Azim! … O Mohyuddin, saints (Wali) are always in need of you; sainthood is yours and you are the distributor, O Mohyuddin… O Mohyuddin! My relation to you is above all relations. Your status is indeed high…”

The four qualities which make a great saint (Wali) and chef of the saints are as thus:

First, this person receives divine revelations (secrets of the invisible world) by the means of supplications and other means and these revelations come with such force and abundance and his prophecies are fulfilled with such clarity that nobody else can compete with him concerning the criteria of revelation. The revelations come with such clarity, and in such abundance on only this kind of person and nobody else gets the same extent of these qualities. In other words, to be able to recognise that a person is an exceptional saint, it must become impossible for others to compete with these exceptional qualities which are bestowed upon him, in terms of the secrets of the invisible which Allah reveals to His chosen servant.

The person who receives divine revelations, his prayers (dua) are accepted and signs appear on earth and in the heavens as witnesses to his truthfulness. And this person, must receive, by means of miracles and in an extraordinary way, divine knowledge of the invisible, illuminating visions and divine help, to such extent as if a great river is gushing forth and a extremely extraordinary light is coming down from the heavens to spread on earth. And these signs must come to such a stage that they appear miraculous and incomparable for that particular era. This excellence is called excellence of the status of prophet (Nabi).

The second excellence which is necessary to demonstrate that this person is the leader of the pious and the chief of the pure people is that he must get to a superior status in terms of understanding and knowledge of the Quran. It is good for us to know that there are such teachings of the Quran which are small, medium or great. The greater teachings of the Quran bring one to the light of knowledge, the illuminating truth, true beauty and virtue and other degrees which is inferior to that stage, and thus without acceding to that superior stage they cannot possibly attain to the greatness of that truth. Only the people who possess the highest degree of purity get access to these truths, such ones whose essence or being are illuminated and who attract others towards them.

Therefore the first stage of Sidq (truth) which they attain to involves a repugnance which they get for mundane things and they have an instinctive discontent for vain matters, which are useless. After the firm establishment of this first condition, then the second stage of Sidq (truth) is characterised by devotion, enthusiasm and complete worship of one God (Allah). They turn themselves exclusively to Allah, and after firmly establishing themselves in this stage, these exceptional people (who have succeeded in the attempt to accede to this stage) accede to the third stage of Sidq (truth), and this can be called a major transformation whereby this kind of person cut all connections with the world and he demonstrates his intimate love for Allah and his rank is rendered apparent when he merges himself completely in Allah.

When he has firmly established himself in this stage, the spirit of truth penetrates man and he perceives all pure verities and gets access to the subjects of knowledge through revelation. His vision become all the more intense, more profoundHe feels that Allah has taken whole possession of him. This truth takes firm root in his heart and these treasures comes out from his mouth as one of the most wonderful knowledge of the Quran and such subjects dealing with Shariah (Islamic laws). And these secrets and clarification of the religion, it is only him who receives these and this knowledge becomes inaccessible to the intellectuals who follow only the ordinary and conventional knowledge. The reason for this is that the person is inspired by Allah and the Holy Spirit speaks with him (with the permission/ through the will of Allah). He gets repugnance for falsehood because he receives his teachings through the Holy Spirit and he talks through the will of Allah and it is through this Spirit that he influences the other people.

When he comes to this stage, when he reaches this state, he gains the title of “Siddiq” (Truthful) because he has succeeded in ridding himself completely of falsehood. He replaces darkness with purity and light of truth. When these verities and the great knowledge are manifested in him, then these become a sign of his truth. When the light of truth penetrates him, therefore his sacred teachings becomes like an astonishing marvel, a surprise for the world. People become dazzle by his pious knowledge which sources from his union with Allah and they are dazzle with his knowledge of truth. This quality is that of Siddiqiyya (which literally means, truth).

We must bear in mind that a Siddiq is someone who has the complete knowledge of the divine verities and he masters these verities in a perfect and instinctive manner. For example, he knows the true meaning of subjects such as divine unicity, obedience to Allah, love for Allah and he gets the perfect mastering to worship only Allah and he removes from his heart all things which are not Allah. He also receive knowledge on the true meaning of devotion to Allah, sincerity, repentance and essences of moral virtues such as patience, trust in Allah, complete submission to His will, union with Allah, truth, fidelity, forgiveness, modesty, honesty, trust and so on. And besides having this knowledge, he establishes himself firmly on all these virtues.

The third excellence that the great saints and in particular the chief of all saints of his era gets is the rank of “Shaheed – Shahada”. Through this stage, he shows the rank whereby man is victorious through the strength of his faith, belief in Allah and in the Day of Judgement, exactly as if he is seeing Allah with his own eyes. Afterwards, with the blessings of the conviction he receives, all efforts and pressure which in ordinary times he gets when he does good deeds, therefore all these pressures disappear and all commands proceeding from Allah seems sweeter than honey in his heart, and each trial which he faces seems to him like a reward. Therefore, in this way, “Shaheed” is the one who by the strength of his faith attains to Allah and he takes the good significance of the bitter aspect of destiny which Allah has ordained to materialise, and he sees the difficulties in his path as sweet as honey. That is why that he attain to the rank of “Shaheed”. This rank is a sign that the person is a perfect believer.

There is also the fourth quality which the true saints, pious people attains to, people who are completely and profoundly purified. This stage is that of “Salihin” (which literally means, on the right path). A person receives the title of “Salih” when he cleanses completely his interior and purifies himself of all wickedness. When he gets to this stage, he receives the sublime privilege and happiness from the worship of Allah and he gets to contemplates Allah (through meditation), and this contemplation is of the highest degree. For example, like taste (from the tongue) deteriorates with physical illness, it is also the case for spiritual taste whereby the spiritual flavours are ruined by spiritual maladies. Thus, a person who get this illness cannot get any pleasure in the worship of Allah and in meditation (remembrance and contemplation of Allah), and he neither gets an enthusiasm or a pleasure to worship Allah. On the other hand, the perfect man is not only pure from all these maladies, but this quality (being devoid of spiritual maladies) develops so quickly in him that this acts as a sign and a miracle.

In brief, these are the four degrees which man must make efforts to attain and it is the duty of each believer to strive to attain to all four titles. The one to be deprived completely of any of these four qualities is someone who does not have enough faith. That is why, in the Surah Al-Fatiha Allah the Almighty has ordained for the Muslims this supplication, whereby they are to implore Him to get all these virtues. This supplication is:

Guide us on the right path, the path of those upon whom You have showered Your favours.”

And verily, the explanation of this verse, part of the supplication found in the Surah Al-Fatiha is verily found in verse 70 of the Surah An-Nisa where Allah clearly shows the rank to which man can attain to when he follows with a pure heart the lead of Allah and His Holy Messenger, Hazrat Muhammad (peace be upon him). Therefore, a true prophet of Allah attains to all degrees of sainthood, martyrdom, truthfulness, and he acquires the apt ability to remain on the right path, to tread on the same path and act righteously like his model, the Holy Prophet Hazrat Muhammad (peace be upon him).

May Allah help all of us to well understand this sermon and change our life in such a way that we perfect ourselves in Islam (that is, submission to Allah) and the love of Allah so that we may attain to the rank of the beloved elects of Allah, Insha-Allah, Ameen.