Friday, January 15, 2016

Divine Elects and the Light of Revelation

« Wa immin Ummati illaa khalaa fihaa Naziir. »
There is no nation but has had its Warner. 
(Fatir 35: 25)

As Allah (swt) is the Lord of all mankind, He has equipped all humans with the power to think for themselves. And thus, He could not deprive any nation of His guidance. Like the verse of the Holy Quran which I have recited before you, in which it is said: “There is no nation but has had its Warner”.

Allah (swt) has sent His messengers among all nations and in all ages, and like the sun lights up the whole world, the light of revelations has ever lit up the darkest corners of the earth. If today we cannot discover the light of revelation among a particular people, it does not mean that no prophets have appeared among them, but the truth is that these people have allowed their national traditions and faith to die out.

Over time, most people believed that (divine) revelation was limited to the founders of their respective religions, and even those who believed that divine revelation was given to those who profess other religions did that, more like a kind of personal tribute to the founders of these religions because of the services they had rendered to the cause of humanity than the result of the acceptance of the doctrine of the universal providence of God. For example, today we see that Christmas has become a national and international festival where even the adherents of other religions like the Hindus celebrate it with fanfare. Why? Is it because of their belief in Jesus just like the Christians have in him? Or is it simply because of the attraction of this festive celebration and as a tribute to the Christian beliefs about Jesus’ birth? They are fully engaged in this feast while in reality they do not believe in the authenticity of Jesus as a prophet, or even (may Allah forbid) as son of God, a belief that the majority of Christians espouse.

The services rendered to humanity by the righteous servants of God have certainly been preserved in history, but God’s attributes and words also reflect the fact that each nation, whether its traditions have been preserved or not, had its prophet and to receive guidance through prophets is the right of humanity that God never ignores. This doctrine has opened for all nations the doors of God’s love to the point that it has put the internal relations of humanity on a consistent and friendly basis and preserved the founders and righteous men of all religions from all kinds of insults.

The world has seen the greatest universal prophet for all humanity, for all nations, for all peoples of the world. This greatest prophet is indeed our beloved prophet Hazrat Muhammad (pbuh). He was raised among the Arabs as the universal prophet for the entire human race. Although he was the last prophet bearer of divine laws, with the last code of revealed laws, i.e., the Quran, the complete Holy Book, which contains the necessary lessons for the needs of all times, the doors of revelation and spiritual advancement are, however, still open and will continue to be forever.

In the presence of a perfect code there is no need for any new law and yet the man still needs to reach God’s realization. No new law can be revealed, BUT the door of prophethood that can be reached by spiritual perfection is open and should remain open all the time for God is our providence as much as He was for our ancestors. The more a book is perfect the more it needs to help in the advancement of knowledge. So, a book (i.e. the Holy Quran) that contains a complete code of teachings adapted to the needs of each era and which provides a remedy for all ills and means for the moral and spiritual development of every age must be a revealed book of God, for it explains the philosophy of human development and it is beyond the capacity of human reason to master the philosophy of the development of an ever-changing entity or being.

Reflecting on the Holy Quran we see that whenever religious leaders are corrupted, they become instruments of diversion (for the people) from the right path. For example, it is said in the Holy Quran:

“Wa inna kasiiral-la-yuzil-luuna bi-ahwaaa ihim bi gayri ‘ilm”. And most surely many would lead (people) astray by their low desires out of ignorance. (Al-Anam 6: 120).

“Itta-khazuuu ahbaa-rahum wa ruhbaa-nahum arbaabam-min duunil-laahi wal-Masii-habna Maryam.” 

They took their high priests, their monks and the Messiah son of Mary, rather than God, for their lords. (At-Tauba 9: 31).

Many people give the rank of God to their scholars, their religious leaders (Pirs), their caliphs in the time of deviation, i.e., they act according to the directives of the (corrupted) Ulema, the caliphs etc. even if these guidelines are clearly contrary to the (Islamic) Shariah. These Ulema, caliphs, religious leaders drive the people down the wrong path to satisfy their passions. Allah (swt) has proclaimed that all these things are condemned:

“Say: I warn you by revelation.” (Al-Anbiya 21: 46)

In other words, I warn you by divine revelation, but you do not take it into account and drive people to aberration so as to gratify your personal desires. Verily, the true guidance cannot be without the help of revelation that alone can give knowledge. God says:

“Indeed, the guidance of Allah is the (only) guidance. If you were to follow their desires after what has come to you of knowledge, you would have against Allah no protector or helper.” (Al-Baqara 2: 121).

When the darkness of misguidance (deviation from the right path) spreads, God sends His prophets to save the people from that darkness and put/ guide them on the right path. Moreover, whenever religious leaders deceive people to gratify their personal desires, the presence of a prophet becomes necessary because people trust their theologians (so much so much that they corrupt those people’s minds); but the latter distort the Shariah and lead people to bad practices, bad Bidat (innovations). The prophet of God then comes to restore the morality of religion.

According to the Quran and Hadiths there is evidence that the coming of the Holy Prophet (pbuh) and the perfection of his teaching did not mean they could not be corrupted or misguided. Instead people would be able to turn away from the right path and stray to the point that the very structure of Islam would be undermined. The Holy Prophet had even prophesied that only the name of Islam and writings of the Quran would remain. The truth would disappear completely. The Ulemas whose responsibility it was to save religion would also be corrupted so much that they would destroy it. Faced with such prospects and prophecies that have become a reality today, can it be that God has made no provision nor taken steps to protect Islam? To protect the ancient people from going astray, He always sent prophets; Will He not send down His blessing (of prophets/ divine revelations) once again to save Islam? Certainly He will. God says:

“Today I have perfected your religion for you and completed My favour upon you, and I have chosen for you Islam as your religion.” (Al-Maida 5: 4)

To perfect a religion, it is necessary that its Shariah is perfect; steps should have been taken to save it from corruption. That is why the Holy Prophet (pbuh) said: 

“Most surely God will send for this Ummah (community) a reformer at the head of each century.”

God also said: “I have completed My favour upon you.” What is the meaning of the words “completed My favour”? In the Quran it is said that when Hazrat Yusuf (as) (Joseph) told his dream to his father Hazrat Yaqub (Jacob), he interpreted it in this way: 

“He (God) will complete His favours upon you and on the family of Yaqub (Jacob) as He had completed it upon your fathers before, Ibrahim (Abraham) and Ishaq (Issac).” (Yusuf 12: 7).

When God complete His favours on someone, it means “royalty” in ordinary language, and “prophethood” in the spiritual sense. Ibrahim, Ishaq, Yaqub and Yusuf were all prophets: if there was no promise of the fulfilment of divine favour we would not have had the promise of the coming of the Promised Messiah son of Mary, and that of a reformer at the head of every century, and when deviation from the right path would have taken an alarming extension, the prophecy of the coming of a prophet was to be realized.

That is the fulfilment of the divine favours. That is the very life and hope of Islam that the Quran promises every time people go astray from the right path. With divine revelation and the arrival of prophet-reformers of the religion of Allah, Islam represents the promise of a new day where people relive the essence of Islam as it was during the first days of Islam. Insha-Allah. Ameen. This is what I wish for you in the capacity of the Elect of Allah, Khalifatullah, that you reach to Islam as a true believer, who succeeds in attracting the pleasure and love of God (Allah) upon him/ you. Insha-Allah. Ameen.

During the course of his sermon, the Khalifatullah Hazrat Munir A. Azim (atba) has mentioned the profound lesson which Shakespeare gives us in one of his masterpiece/ play/ book, “The Merchant of Venice”. 

It is the story of a Christian, Antonio and a Jew, Shylock who are enemies of each other, who cannot stand each other. But a situation arise where the Christian needed money and even his friend Bassanio could not help him, and at last he had to seek the help of that Jew whom he despised to help him in his time of needs. Huzur (atba) explains that Shakespeare wanted to display the inner evils of men, such demons which separate humankind. Jealousy and a sense of superiority to others (be it in worldly realm or in the realm of religion/ spirituality) can bring men to despicable situations. 

Antonio thought that he would never feel the need for the help of Shylock, but then Shylock also, even though such a situation arose that he could help and display humanity and kindness, yet he seized that situation to extract revenge on the Christian, Antonio. In return for the favour, (Shylock was a money-lender) he sought from Antonio a pound of his flesh in case he could not honour his debt. The fiancĂ©e of Antonio, who acted like a lawyer/ judge succeeded in putting Shylock in a fix in that which the agreement stipulated only “one pound of flesh”, and thus he had to cut only one pound of flesh, not more or less, and he did not have the right to shed even a drop of blood!

Moreover, Huzur (atba) went profoundly in analysing the nature of man and his interdependence to each other compared to other creatures, for example birds who do not depend on any other creature for his needs. 

Unlike humans, birds do not need a contractor to build their nests or any other birds to help them in their daily activities, whereas humans are interdependent on each other and yet they are the ones who create the most hatred and jealousy in the hearts towards each other; whereas birds and other creatures of Allah do not feel jealous for others like them, for they are free, and live life without any worry. 
And when they fly, it is indeed Allah who enables them to suspend in the air without falling.

---Friday Sermon of 15 January 2016 ~ (04 Rabi’ul Aakhir 1437 Hijri) delivered by Hadhrat Muhyi-ud-Din Al-Khalifatullah Munir Ahmad Azim Saheb (atba) of Mauritius.