Tuesday, August 4, 2015

True Piety: Being Mindful of God

Who is a Mumin (Muslim)? How to become a good Muslim? These are questions which Allah answered in several of the verses of the Quran and which are also found in the Hadiths of the Messenger of Allah (pbuh). Allah says in the Quran:

Righteousness (Devotion to Allah) is not that you turn your faces toward the east or the west, 
but (true) righteousness is (in) one who believes in Allah, the Last Day, the angels, the Book, and the prophets and gives wealth, in spite of love for it, to relatives, orphans, the needy, the traveller, those who ask (for help), and for freeing slaves; 
(and who) establishes prayer and gives Zakah; (those who) fulfil their promise when they promise; and (those who) are patient in poverty and hardship and during battle. 
Those are the ones who have been true, and it is those who are the righteous/God-fearing. (2: 178)

Righteousness which comes from the heart and which is a vital instrument to obtain true piety (Taqwa) is found in obedience to Allah in all the commandments which He has established for His male and female servants on earth. Be them men or women, young or old, all have duties towards Allah, such duties which they have to respect so that they may become true servants of Allah.

The Holy Prophet Hazrat Muhammad (pbuh) has said:

“How wonderful is the situation of the believer, for all his affairs are good. If something good happens to him, he gives thanks for it and that is good for him; if something bad happens to him, he bears it with patience, and that is good for him. This does not apply to anyone but the believer.” (Muslim)

But I have to mention also that there are stages in the types of believers, like Hazrat Muhammad (pbuh) expounds to us: “A strong believer is better and more beloved to Allah than a weak believer”.

Despite the fact that a believer remains a believer as he believes in Allah and all that which He has prescribed, but not all believers 100 % succeed in establishing/put into practice all that which Allah has ordained him to do. There are even some who go on to lose their faith while believing that they were doing a good deed while they were on the contrary attracting the displeasure of Allah upon them. There are some who do good deeds, partly for the eyes of Allah, and partly for the eyes of people (ostentation). Therefore, this finally annuls the deed because of the weakness displayed in the fulfilment of that good deed.

Verily, someone, especially someone who says that he is Muslim, who says that he believes in Allah and all that which Allah has told him to believe (i.e., belief in Allah, His angels, prophets, divine books, destiny and the rewards and punishments of the afterlife) shall not succeed in anything if he does not submit to the will of Allah. The devotion which he says he has (towards Allah) shall become useless if he does not follow that devotion/righteousness with sincerity of the heart.

The belief/faith which he declares to have should not be only on the lips but should be put in practice also whereby he establishes his Islam (submission to Allah) by putting into practice all that which Allah has ordained him to do; and on top of that, these practices need to be accomplished without ostentation, but rather only for the pleasure of Allah and to reap His mercy and satisfaction.

Allah has established in the Quran and through the example of His greatest prophet, Hazrat Muhammad (pbuh) how to establish and practice Salat (prayer) in such ways which are agreeable to Allah, and which shall guarantee the fulfilment of those invocations (duahs) which you do in your prayer (Salat). Salat and the positions in Salat has been established by Allah so that man recognises his inferiority before the supremacy of his Creator and that he realises that without Allah he would not even have existed in this world in which he was born: Earth. Allah has created people with earth and gave them a place to live so that they may bear in mind that one day they shall have to return to Allah and be buried in the earth on which they used to walk (and do all their activities). And on earth they either used to seek the favours of Allah or lose time in vain activities. 

Verily, not all people meditate on the favours of Allah upon them. There are those who are not at all grateful and they keep fast to the glitters of the world whereas on the other hand the true believers, are those who always remember that they shall one day have to return to their Lord (Allah) and they do all that is in their power and ability to not go beyond the limits established by Allah for them, so that they may pass (with flying colours) in all their trials/tests/exams on earth. Moreover, they see to it that they put into practice all the commandments of Allah, within the limits which He prescribed. And their faith in all that Allah has rendered sacred for them as Muslims remain solid till they meet death. They live with faith and they obtain a spiritual life which guarantees them eternal life in the pleasure of Allah for them.

And thus, they are such people who are judged exclusively by Allah as people of faith. On their own they cannot say that they have faith because they know that only Allah knows the exact measure of their faith, and that the license to judge faith of people is reserved to Allah only. But according to the guidance of Allah and of His Messenger (pbuh), they know the guidelines how to ameliorate their faith, and to make it come out from an uncertain and weak state to that of a solid and firm one. These people ascend from one stage to the other till they get the satisfaction and pleasure of Allah. They have in themselves the aim/need/desire to please Allah come what may, even if the world is against them, for to them, it is only Allah’s pleasure they seek as they know that one day it is Allah (twa) who shall judge them, not the people. Therefore, this thought gave them immense comfort and they feel their heart light (without any worries), and a tranquillity (Sakina) reinforce their hearts and make all anxieties fade away.

It is these kinds of believers who shall succeed and to whom Allah has made the following promise in the Holy Quran: “Allah has promised, to those among you who believe and work righteous deeds, that He will surely grant them in the land, inheritance (of power), as He granted it to those before them; that He will establish in authority their religion - the one which He has chosen for them; and that He will change (their state), after the fear in which they (lived), to one of security and peace: 

'They will worship Me (alone) and not associate aught with Me.

'If any do reject Faith after this, they are rebellious and wicked.” (24: 56)

We need to pray that Allah judges us as good for without His grace and mercy, we are nothing at all. There are some people who unfortunately declare that they have got the license to judge the faith of others. History is repeating itself in our era where people who pretend to be the best Muslims who have accepted all prophets and reformers and also the Promised Messiah Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad (as), but unfortunately when Allah raised yet again another of His Messiah amongst them, to recite to them His revelations and show them His signs, they react with arrogance and they seek to bind themselves more to their mundane (temporary) position of authority so that people continue to idolize them.

These kinds of people and leaders take themselves as messengers of Allah without even receiving any divine instruction to stand up and declare their mission as such (like all messengers of Allah did (and will keep on doing)); that they come from Allah. People have elected them but then they let the people think that: “The voice of the people/Amirs/Amila - Managing Committee, is the voice of God”! They have become blind by the authority and mundane power which they have received and they think that if the crowd is with them, therefore they need not worry; they think that they are secure. 

But verily, Allah detests this, and verily if these kinds of people/chiefs persist in giving wrong guidance to the people and seek to hide the truth – the true divine teachings – from them, therefore these kinds of guilty leaders shall bear the consequences of their acts before Allah (twa). They shall suffer not only in the afterlife, but in this very world too till the truth of the divine manifestation upon Allah’s true Elect (Messenger) becomes clear. And then, there shall be no doubt in the minds of the people as to who is really God-sent: The one raised by Allah and supported by the Holy Spirit (Ruh-il-Quddus) or the one whom the people have elected and who has not the power to know the hidden truths which Allah only reveals to His Elects.

May Allah open all hearts which are thirsty for His guidance and may He guide them to accept the truth after they have witnessed and recognised it. The truth is bound to triumph, even if this does not please the hypocrites and all those who seek to render the path of Allah crook and who try to misguide the people. Insha-Allah, Ameen.

-Friday Sermon of 31 July 2015, delivered by the Khalifatullah Hadhrat Munir Ahmad Azim Saheb (atba) of Mauritius.