Friday, May 10, 2013

Why Obey the Divine Messenger?

Our age, in many different ways, bear witness to the great religious and spiritual loss of man. It seems as though people are under an all-pervading, evil spell which cause them trample to dust the spiritual norms of ethical life.   Restoring the sublime values of man’s eternal life requires the coming of a Divinely-raised soul: to teach what the people have allowed to be forgotten- prudence and the straight path. For, it is the enduring practice of our Ever Merciful Lord that He raises His Messenger when things go awry.  In the evocative words of Hadhrat Khalifatullah (atba), the need for a prophet of Allah, of a messenger of Allah is when man ceases to remain in the frame of spirituality and has lost all bearings on his own religious integrity and spirituality”In his Friday Sermon of 03 May 2013, the Khalifatullah Hadhrat Munir Ahmad Azim Sahib (atba) of Mauritius gave a discourse on the paramount importance of recognizing and accepting a Divine Messenger whenever he arrives in the world. 

Read the Extracts from the Friday Sermon:

He who obeys the Messenger has obeyed Allah; but those who turn away, We have not sent you over them as a guardian. (4: 81)

Why is it obligatory for people to obey the Prophets, why is it also required to recognize them and to confess to their truth? This is because the creatures do not have the ability to understand their wisdom fully. Verily, Allah in His might, exalted status and luminous countenance cannot be perceived with the naked temporal eyes. What people cannot see or touch, they cannot fully grasp, and understand. Whenever Allah sends a message, He does not personally come down on earth. He instead chooses men from among His servants on earth as Messengers to give them His message, and when the Messenger comes, then it is necessary for the people that they listen and act upon the divine messages and for that obedience to the messengers are primordial.

Allah knows that without sending a Teacher to teach a nation and later on, mankind as a whole, therefore the people cannot gain access to true knowledge of the unseen. The inability to understand His Divine Essence is apparent. Therefore, there is no choice except to appoint prophets or messengers as links between people and Allah. This Chosen Man of God, according to the divine rights which is bestowed upon him, conveys the divine commands and prohibitions to the people. His duty is to deliver the message clearly. He has no power to change their hearts. He also has to keep the people firm on some affairs whereby they can obtain the benefits and be safe from the dangers, because the people cannot decide by their own intellects what is beneficial for them and what is harmful. Allah says in the Holy Quran:

“And We did not send any messenger except to be obeyed by permission of Allah.” (4: 65)

If the obedience and recognition of Prophets had not been made incumbent on people, the sending of Prophets would have been a useless venture. Whatever Allah does, there is a purpose behind it, such a plan which Allah knows best how things will unfold. While with Allah is all knowledge, as for man, his intellect does not permit him to fully grasp the designs of Allah, except to those of His servants whom Allah unveils such plans. Just like in the case of the prophet of Allah, Hazrat Yusuf (as). It might be a shock to hear from the Holy Quran that a Messenger of Allah has “lied”. In appearance, it is a lie, but in the eyes of Allah, it is such a plan which Allah devised for His prophet so that his victory became apparent and that his evil-wishers, that is, his half-brothers could recognize their sins and repent.

Hazrat Yusuf (as) very well knew that his brother (from the same mother and father) did not steal any Kingly cup, but then he could not retain his brother with him without disclosing his true identity before all his half-brothers. And thus, through divine revelations, Allah guided him from the laws of the land at that time that he could retain his brother by making a make-belief ploy for theft, and thus, when the plan was put into motion, then Allah did His part as per His design and Hazrat Yusuf (as) and his father, Hazrat Yaqub (as) saw the realization of the promise of Allah when both of them was honoured, not only as prophets, but as honourable people in the court of the Pharaoh (King) of Egypt. And this served as a lesson for the brothers of Hazrat Yusuf (as) who confessed to their crime and repented, and ultimately submitted to the ways of Allah.

Not all men can understand the plans of Allah. The majority can perceive it as a heinous act; oh but he is a pious man or prophet of Allah and he has done such an act, or he has lied. For example, prior to him becoming a prophet, Hazrat Musa (as) killed a person, and yet Allah chose him as prophet and that ever since he was born! Only the Ulul-al-Baab (the men of understanding, the truly endowed with intellect, real intellect) can understand this for they know that whatever Allah decides must be fulfilled. The prophet of Allah is not a sinner. He can like any human make a mistake or fault, but a sin heinous in the eyes of Allah he can never commit. Allah preserves His Messengers and prophets from such fates, for He is the One to guide them ultimately on the correct path.

If we take Hazrat Adam (as), Allah did not found any inclination in him to disobey Him when he was duped by the Satan, and Allah Himself taught him the necessary prayer for forgiveness. Thus, Hazrat Adam (as) represented not only the weakness of the man that he was, but then through his contact with the Rab of the universe, he reached the stage of “beyond the body” whereby his soul reaches Allah so that Allah guides him and preserves him from being among the bloody men on earth.

If we take Hazrat Ibrahim (as), according to the Hadiths, he told some lies under duress, for example, when his and his wife’s (Sarah) life and honour was in danger. This, in no case cancels his prophethood or his closeness to Allah, for during that same occasion, when the king had bad thoughts on his wife whom Hazrat Ibrahim (as) introduced as his sister, therefore whenever his wife prayed to be saved from the evil inclinations of the man, Allah responded to her prayers and saved the honour of His prophet and that of his wife. The king feared and was so awed that he gave Hazrat Hajra (ra) to Hazrat Sarah (ra), and we all know how the plan of Allah was fulfilled whereby it is the same Hazrat Hajra (ra) who became the second wife of Hazrat Ibrahim (as), and it is through their son Hazrat Ismail (as) that we got our beloved prophet was a blessing for the universe, Hazrat Muhammad (pbuh). Therefore, we see that behind each act of His prophets, and chosen people, there is the Hand of Allah which directs them to safety.

We even see compassion in Allah for His chosen prophets whenever some among them has disobeyed or not complied with His commands. A clear example of this is the command given to Hazrat Yunus (as). The latter instead of going according to the Divine command, thought that if he went to another place, the people there shall receive well the message of Allah. The intention here, we see that his aim was to have the maximum people accept the divine message, which is a very noble intention, but in the case of Hazrat Yunus (as), when His Chief, His Patron gave him an order, he disregarded that to put forward his own judgement. But in no case did Allah abandon His prophet. He made him go through some rough times to make him realise his error, for he is after all a man of flesh and blood, but then his prophetic aura overtakes him to make him repent so much so that Allah Himself blesses him much more and delivers him of his afflictions and gives him victory by making the chosen nation accepts him in multitude.

And in the case of the noblest of prophets, when he just flexed his eyebrows with a true believer who was blind, Allah reprimanded him, for the prophet was acting on his own judgement, but when the divine will through revelation overtook him, then he could clearly distinguish who was the true seeker of divine mercy and who was not. But despite all these examples, does this mean that prophets are not to be obeyed?

Allah indicates in the Holy Quran: Obey Allah and Obey the Messenger. Allah clearly shows that the true path leading to salvation relies on obeying the Prophet of Allah, for Allah sends down His commandments, wishes and will through him. That prophet or messenger comes as the link which binds man and God. Being himself a man of flesh and blood, he connects to people, making them understand the nature of Allah while at the same time being different from them, in that which his soul is of finer quality. That quality is the divine light which emanates from him, which gives a new identity to man as the vicegerent of God on earth.

It is true that each man is to a certain extent a vicegerent of God on earth, for each has the duty to spread the message of the existence and attributes of Allah around him, be it in his familial circle, work circle, friends etc. But the need for a prophet of Allah, of a messenger of Allah is when man ceases to remain in the frame of spirituality and has lost all bearings on his own religious integrity and spirituality. He has lost what makes him human, for human means in this case, being dependant on a superior force, a superior Being who guides him to perfect himself. When man cease to rely on that superior power and think himself to be perfect and superior, then his humanity disappears. The Pharaoh and chiefs in the times of Hazrat Musa (as) are an example of it, or far more back, in the times of Hazrat Ibrahim (as), Nimrod was an example of it. Their people deified them, thus removing their garb of humanity.

Verily, Allah likes to be asked for forgiveness. The following Hadiths throws light on this fact.

On the authority of Abu Huraira (ra) that the Prophet (pbuh), from among the things he reports from his Lord (swt), is that he said:

 “A servant (of Allah’s) committed a sin and said: ‘O Allah, forgive me my sin.’ And He (glorified and exalted be He) said: ‘My servant has committed a sin and has known that he has a Lord who forgives sins and punishes for them.’ Then he sinned again and said: ‘O Lord, forgive me my sin.’ And He (glorified and exalted be He) said: ‘My servant has committed a sin and has known that he has a Lord who forgives sins and punishes for them.’ Then he sinned again and said: ‘O Lord, forgive me my sin.’ And He (swt) said: ‘My servant has committed a sin and has known that he has a Lord who forgives sins and punishes for sins. Do what you wish, for I have forgiven you.’” (Muslim and Bukhari)

Abu Huraira (ra) reported that the Messenger of Allah (pbuh) said,

“By the One in Whose Hand my soul is, were you not to commit sins, Allah would replace you with a people who would commit sins and then seek forgiveness from Allah; and Allah would forgive them”. (Muslim).

Allah created man weak so that they may come to realise that there is a superior power, a Creator who is there for them to forgive them for their weaknesses, errors and sins. Had man not been weak and sinner, then Allah would not have created man. He wanted to be worshipped and loves when His servants call Him, plead with Him and ask Him for forgiveness. He especially likes when His chosen servants, His prophets plead with him, for afterwards the rewards He spreads upon their persons are sweeter than any other mundane reward they may earn.

Therefore, the implementation of the Divine will is through obedience to the prophet when he conveys the Divine messages, for whenever he speaks under Divine will, it is not a man of flesh and blood who speaks but verily it is Allah who gives His instructions. Such similitude of Allah manifesting on His prophet is apparently in the Holy Quran. Allah becomes his feet, hand and tongue with which he delivers the message and combats with the infidels, those who are adamant in their rebellious nature and who are ever ready to cause harm to the religion of Allah and the believers.

Therefore, the guidance which Allah vouchsafes to His messenger guarantees for him safety against all sorts of affliction, and he must guard himself so that he may be free from any fault, and this solution is found in applying to the letter the instructions of Allah come what may, even though the people may not understand him or like the message, but he is after all one who delivers the message. People like it or not, but he must do his work and earn the approval and satisfaction of Allah. But error, or no error, mistake or no mistake, prophets and messengers of Allah are under the guardianship of Allah. They are of a finer soul and thus Allah shall come what may deliver them from their ordeals or self-inflicted torment and render them victorious when Allah makes them realise their mistakes, when Allah make their prophetic nature overcome the weaknesses of their temporal bodies…

A Good News

And before I end, I want to share the good news with you, about one of our brothers from India whom Allah keeps on making him go from success to success – due to his obedience to Allah and His Messenger – be it in spiritual and mundane matters. Recently, he informed me that since long he wished to become one of the officers who would one day become ambassadors of India in the world, but since the Divine Manifestation took a very important part in his life, Allah made him reach such a stage when now he is able to lecture those same officers which one day he aspired to become. I wish for him many more successes. May Allah make him Mubarak in his everyday life, because he devotes his time without hesitation for Allah, for the work of Deen-e-Islam. Insha-Allah, may he keeps on shining like a true star, a true disciple of the Khalifatullah of this age, Insha-Allah.

May Allah guide all members of the Jamaat Ul Sahih Al Islam to remain always true and firm in the Jamaat of Allah and may they reap the fruits of their labour, be it here on earth and also more than that in the hereafter, Insha-Allah.