Monday, February 6, 2017

'Seek God Through Prayer'

By the grace of Allah, I continue the subject-matter of my Friday Sermon which I started last week in Kerala.

Wa aqimis-Salaata tarafayin-nahaari wa zulafam minal-layl; innal hasanaati yuzhibnas saiyi-aat; zaalika zikraa liz-zaakiriin.

And establish prayer at the two ends of the day and at the approach of the night. Indeed, good deeds do away with misdeeds. That is a reminder for those who remember. (Hud, 11: 115).

In the Holy Quran, in verse 115 of chapter 11 (Surah Hud) which I have just recited before you, it is stated that ‘hasanat’, that is, good deeds, remove one’s shortcomings. Here by ‘hasanat’ is meant Salat and the presence of heart and mind during Salat. Such presence is achieved by imploring and beseeching God in one’s own language. The best prayer is Surah Al-Fatiha because it is a complete prayer. When the farmer has learnt the skill of farming, he would then be on the right path of farming and he will be successful. Likewise, you should seek the right path that leads to a union with God and you should pray to Him saying, “O Allah, I am a sinful servant of Yours and am miserable and worthless. Please guide me, for You alone can guide me. I need Your help for You alone can help me.”

You should present all your needs, be they great or small before Allah because He alone is the Provider. He who prays the most and with complete sincerity and humility, is the most good. If a person were to beg every day at the door of the most mean person, one day he too would give something. Why then would a person not find what he asks at the door of God Almighty Who is the Most Generous, without comparison. It is the case that he who asks, does eventually receive.

Ever since the world was created, there has been proof that Allah speaks to His special servants. If this were not the case then gradually the notion that God even exists would have totally disappeared. Hence, a very powerful means of proof of God’s existence is that we are able to hear His voice. There is either seeing or hearing (as a proof of someone else’s existence). These days hearing takes the place of seeing but as long as there is some veil between God and the one who prays, he will be unable to hear. When the intervening veil is lifted then the distant voice will be heard. Some people, including those who once proclaimed the contrary, say that the system of God’s communication with man has been closed. The reality of such utterances is like that of a blind person who thinks everyone is blind as there is no light in his own eyes. If it was the case that Islam did not possess the distinction (of enabling man to reach the level where God speaks to man), then Islam would have been nothing and it would have been dead like other religions. You should not, therefore, think like those belonging to dead religions, who are spiritually dead themselves and consider Islam to be dead. On the contrary, Islam is a religion the practice of which can make a person progress to such a high station that he can shake hands with angels. If this was not the case then one could legitimately ask as to why the prayer was taught to us?

The path of those on whom You have bestowed Your blessings. (Al-Fatiha, 1: 7).

It voices not only the desire for material endowment but also for spiritual endowment and blessing. So, if you wish to remain blind, why do you utter this prayer? The prayer of the Surah Al-Fatiha is a complete prayer and an extraordinary prayer such that the like of it has never been taught before by any other prophet. So, if it is no more than mere words and God has not approved them, then why are we enjoined to ‘waste’ our time, if I may say so, five times a day on this prayer? But of course, we are not wasting our time by constantly invoking Allah through the Surah Al-Fatiha. There is no stinginess of God’s character, nor do the prophets come for the purpose of being worshipped themselves. They come in order to teach that those who adopt their path come under their shade, as is stated in the Holy Quran:

In following me, you will become the beloved of God. (Al-Imran, 3: 32)

It was because the Holy Prophet (pbuh) was a beloved of God that there were such blessings showered upon him. Can it then be the case that if someone else were to become God’s beloved he would get nothing? If Islam was such a religion, one would be repelled by it. Islam, however, is not such a religion. The Holy Prophet (pbuh) has brought a spiritual ‘food’ that can be attained by whoever wishes to acquire it. He did not bring a worldly treasure nor did he come as a banker. He brought the treasure of God and he himself became the distributor of this treasure. So if that was the nature of the wealth that he distributed, and it was not a material wealth, did he take the bundle back with him? However, it is true that the blind person who has no light cannot make the claim that he possesses light and distributes it. God states in the Holy Quran:

But whoso is blind in this world will be blind in the hereafter and even more astray from the way. (Al-Isra 17: 73).

The prophets themselves possess a very high level of vision. Those who say that this vision will not be given to anyone else, won’t they themselves leave this world in a state of blindness?

If such people had true faith in the Holy Prophet (pbuh) and they sincerely believed that the Holy Prophet (pbuh) came to distribute that treasure, and that his followers are to be distinguished above all others, then they would not have denied the possibility, in the present age, of communication with God. They accept that the mother of Moses (as) received revelation from God. They should say whether any man among them have received similar revelation.

God Himself, however, has stated in the Holy Quran:

We have sent down the Quran and We shall safeguard it.

In other words, Allah is reassuring us in these terms: Whenever there occur errors in its meaning and understanding, We will appoint a Reformer for its correction and reform. You shall therefore, not think ill of Me. You should instead consider the present time which is at the head of the century. Consider also the external attacks and the inner state of your deeds and judge for yourself whether at such a time there is need for an elect by man, or a man of God or Khalifatullah. The Khalifatullah initially is the person whom Allah (swt) appoints to deputise him on earth and as such its meaning varies in relation to the person chosen by Allah for this task at any particular time. According to the Holy Quran, the first caliph from among the humans was a prophet of God in whom Allah (swt) had breathed His Spirit. The breathing of spirit and bestowing of revelation can be interpreted as one and the same thing.

So, the Khalifatullah begins (that is, come into being) with revelation bestowed specifically by God upon His servant whom He chooses to represent Him and deputise him on earth, a task for which he has to be totally honest. He must deliver the message perfectly as it was delivered to him. The choice of the person lies entirely with Allah (swt). Since the appointment of the first Khalifa (caliph), all prophets of God were caliphs on earth without exception; but their area of work depends on the nature of revelation bestowed upon them. Some prophets were given the task of deputising God among specified communities. Some were given the task by God to act upon His behalf within a race or a nation, as you see in the case of the Israelite prophets.

So, my dear disciples and whole mankind, I end my sermon here. I pray Allah (swt) to open your hearts to understand clearly the message in this sermon, and guide you all in the right path, and also to recognise the Caliph of Allah in this era, and to remain ever sincere in the path of Allah. Insha-Allah, Ameen.

---Friday Sermon of 27 January 2017 (27 Rabi’ul Aakhir 1438 AH) delivered by Khalifatullah Hadhrat Munir Ahmad Azim Saheb (atba) of Mauritius at the Jawaharlal Nehru University Campus, New Delhi, India. 

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