Thursday, February 2, 2017

How to Progress in Matters of Faith

The Road to Progress

It is my duty to advise to those who have taken the oath of allegiance and enter in the Jamaat Ul Sahih Al Islam, be it here in Kerala and elsewhere in the world, and I will say the same thing as Hazrat Massih Ma’ud Mirza Ghulam Ahmad (as) has said before me because I am the true servant and messenger of Allah and an obedient follower of Hazrat Muhammad (pbuh) and the Promised Messiah (as). In this era, Allah (swt) has raised this humble self as the Khalifatullah, to continue the work of the Holy Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) and that of the Promised Messiah Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad (as).

So, my dear disciples, here (in Kerala) and around the world who have taken the oath of allegiance and enter in the Jamaat Ul Sahih Al Islam, let me remind you that the initiation itself is like sowing the seed of goodness. If a gardener does not take care of his newly planted trees and seedlings, neither watering them nor protecting them, his plants would go to waste. Similarly, Satan is always there with human beings so that if a person does not take care to protect the good deeds he has performed, they will go to waste. 

All people including the Muslims, perform the duties of their religion but they do not make any progress. The reason for this is that they do not think of developing further their sphere of good acts and hence their deeds enter the fold of custom and tradition.
Consequently, if a person is born in a Muslim home, he begins to recite the Kalima (or Shahada, i.e. the attestation of faith) and if he is born into a Hindu home he starts to chant the name of Ram, Krishna etc.

You should remember that at the time of initiation there is a great blessing in making a statement of repentance. If there is also added to this the promise that one will give greater precedence to matters of faith over worldly concerns, then there will be progress. However, the fulfilment of the promise of giving precedence to faith is not one that is entirely in your own control. God’s help is greatly needed in its achievement. As Allah states, in the Holy Quran:

“And those who strive for Us - We will surely guide them to Our ways. And indeed, Allah is with the doers of good.” (Al-Ankabut, 29: 70).

That is, those who strive in the Our path shall ultimately attain guidance. Just as a grain of seed that is kept without water and care is devoid of blessing and thus perishes, so will it be the case with you if you do not remind yourselves daily of your promise (to give precedence to your faith) and if you do not call upon God with prayers to help you in this task with His blessing. Change is impossible without the help of God. Thieves, adulterers, and other bad people do not stay in the same state all the time. They, too, at times show concern about their inner state. This is the case with every person who carries out an evil deed. What this shows is that there is necessarily in man the concern to do good but for actually turning such a concern into action, he is in great need of God’s help. That is why five times daily there is the injunction to recite Surah Fatiha in which are contained the words:

“It is You alone we worship and it is from You that we seek help.” (Al-Fatiha, 1: 5).

This verse points to two things - in carrying out every good deed, one should make full use of one’s capacities, one’s effort and good planning (as well as prayer). This is hinted at in the word “na‘abudu’” (we worship) because a person who merely utters words of prayer and does not make the accompanying effort, cannot succeed. Just as the farmer who does not make any effort to take care of the seedlings he has planted cannot, consequently, hope to see the fruit of those plants.

Such is the practice of God! If a seed is planted and then only prayers are uttered for the growth, one would be deprived of its fruit. For example, if there are two farmers and one of them works hard on his land and irrigates it well, he will necessarily be more successful. The other farmer who does not work very hard or does very little will see that the development of his plants will be slack giving such low yield that he would probably be unable to even pay the government taxes levied in his land and he will always remain poor.

Matters of faith are of a similar nature. There are, to be found within the sphere of faith people who are hypocrites and people who are useless. There are also to be found within the same realm people who become pious, people who become holy and people who become saints and attain a status in the sight of God. 

There are some people who have been offering Salat (prayers) for over 40 years and yet it is as if they are no further than the first day and they have not undergone any change whatsoever. Such people do not feel the benefit from 30 days of fasting. There are many who state that they are accomplished righteous people and have been offering Salat for a long time yet they do not have the signs of assistance of God. The reason for this is that their worship is customary and traditional. They only follow what others do. They do not think of progressing. Hence, they stay at the first step. The state of such people is not far removed from that of animals. The Salat of such people brings affliction from God.

True Salat is that which brings with it progress. Just as a patient being treated by a doctor will notice if his condition is daily getting worse instead of better. After a few days, the patient will get concerned that the prescription is not curing him and that it should be changed. Similarly, to adopt just a customary form of worship is not the right course. The performance of Salat involves prayer and 'darood' (i.e. calling blessing upon the Holy Prophet (pbuh)) which are in Arabic but it is not forbidden that you should also pray in your own language. If this is not done, there will be no progress. It is the commandment of God that Salat should be in a state in which there is presence of heart and mind, humility and supplication. It is the people who try to perform Salat in this manner, whose sins are washed away.

Therefore, my dear disciples, you should give yourselves wholly in prayer, in devotion to Allah. You should take that exquisite plunge into the pool of divine mercy to taste the love of God Almighty. Allah calls out to you to worship Him alone and not to associate either tangible or intangible gods along with Him. What I mean is that nothing should stand in your way to Allah. Whenever Allah calls you, there should be no obstacles of your own making to beguile you from meeting Him, and verily Salat is the truest form of meeting with Allah which Allah, God Almighty has given you, us all, five times a day. 

So be true to Allah, and heed the Messenger, Khalifatullah whom Allah has sent to you in this era so that you may attain to salvation. Insha-Allah. May Allah bless you all, and may Allah pour His blessings upon this visit of mine to India, and more precisely, here in Mathra, Kerala. May Allah inspire your hearts for great tasks for His cause in this era, up till your last breath on earth. Insha-Allah, Ameen.

--- Friday Sermon of 20 January 2017 (20 Rabi'ul Aakhir 1438 AH) delivered by Khalifatullah Hadhrat Munir Ahmad Azim Saheb (atba) of Mauritius at the Noor'ul Islam Masjid, Mathra, Kerala.