Sunday, March 19, 2017

'Al Ahzab', Verses 42-49: A Commentary

O you who believe, remember Allah with much remembrance, And exalt Him morning and afternoon. It is He who confers blessing upon you, and His angels (also) that He may bring you out from darknesses into the light. And ever is He, to the believers, Merciful. Their greeting the Day they meet Him will be, "Peace." And He has prepared for them a noble reward. O Prophet, indeed We have sent you as a Witness and a Bringer of good tidings and a Warner. And one who invites to Allah, by His permission, and an illuminating Lamp. And give good tidings to the believers that they will have from Allah great bounty. And do not obey the disbelievers and the hypocrites; Disregard their noxious talk and rely upon Allah. And sufficient is Allah as Disposer of affairs. (Al-Ahzab 33: 42-49).

The Prophet as “Shahidan”: Witness for the people

Just before these Quranic verses, there is the mention of Khatam-an-Nabiyyin and these verses are verily linked with the subject of Khatam-an-Nabiyyin. As the Holy Prophet (pbuh) came for the entire universe, thus, he is a Witness for one and all. And this has been proved in the other verses of the Quran also, that Muhammad (pbuh) is a Witness for all the other prophets. Therefore, “Shahidan” means that 'We have sent you as a witness for all people, be it from the past, the present and the future also. You are a witness over all the past prophets and also the prophets who shall come in the future also. You are also a Warner for all of them', which means that the Holy Prophet (pbuh) was to be a witness for the people who came before him and those who would come after him. Now, how can the Holy Prophet (pbuh) become a witness for the people whom he had not directly encountered/ met? This verily means that he (pbuh) shall become like a measure to test/ try the faith and deeds of the others.

It is the testimonial of the Holy Prophet (pbuh) which shall determine if the deed is good or not. He shall also act as a measure to test the works of the other prophets, be them past prophets and those of the future also. And now you can see how this verse is linked with the verse which mentions 'Khâtim'. Khâtim means someone who attests and he makes that particular attestation through a testimonial. If it is a good testimonial, then, through a seal, this becomes all the more a great proof that the attestation is grand and viable. Therefore, Khâtim means a measure which can deliver this testimonial for all past people, and those of the present and future also.

It is verily the example of the Holy Prophet (pbuh) which is used as a means to judge the stages and stations and actions of the past, present and future prophets. Through the words and instructions of the prophets, all these are used as measurements to determine if those prophets are deserving of forgiveness or punishment.

Therefore, “Shahidan” is something which has a great link with Khâtim. Thus, if he (pbuh) is a witness in this sense, then he (pbuh) is a Warner for some people, and for others he (pbuh) would be a Bearer of glad tidings. There are two meanings in this regard. The first is that for those who already died and who had no link with the Holy Prophet (pbuh), therefore all these warnings and glad tidings refer to their afterlife. These are the fortunate ones, who according to the practice of the Holy Prophet (pbuh) deserved forgiveness, but there are also those unfortunate ones also who did not pass the test, and neither the glad tidings nor the warning is of use to them for they did not pass the exams/ tests, and these good news and warnings were of no benefit to them in this world. Therefore, for the people who receive the message, these warnings and good news apply to them in this way, for if they put those messages into practice, then there shall be good news for them, otherwise (if they do not act upon those messages) there shall be great punishment and humiliation for them.

Thus, good news and warnings are used for the reform of our deeds in this very world, and also to manifest and reward the result of our deeds in the next world. Afterwards, Allah says that He has made you (the Prophet) someone who call other people to Allah "by the command of Allah", and "We have made you an illuminating lamp, such a lamp which has the capacity to lit other lamps".

The Prophet as 'Dai-Illallah': Calling people to God

This word has been specifically used for the Holy Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) despite the fact that each prophet and their followers were all Dai-Illallah (i.e. people who invited others to Allah). We find other words which have been used for the other prophets, and we do not find written (for any other prophet): "O prophet, you are a Dai-Illallah by the command of Allah." Thus, I have not seen this direct address whereby Allah directly tells a prophet that: "I have chosen you as a Dai-Illallah." No other prophet besides the Holy Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) has received such a title, (it is) like a special title from Allah. And he verily obtained this title because of his high station and honour.

Mighty Striving for the Revival of the 'Dead'

Bi-iznihi” underlines another (important) matter. There is verily a lot of works which are beyond the control of man, which are not within his capacity/ power. It is beyond the scope of that limitation that the subject matter of miracle of prayer begins. And (it must be borne in mind that) all powers which people do not have, Allah verily has them all. That is why Allah sometimes tells His servants to do such works which may seem impossible to accomplish, but which then become possible with the help of Allah. When this happens, the other people marvel at what that person (the servant of Allah) has accomplished, and see him as someone extraordinary. But when this happens to the prophets in particular, these are people who do not take the credit for themselves, but they (solemnly) declare that all these accomplishments have been made possible by Allah. For example, whenever there is the mention that Jesus has brought the dead back to life, there itself is mentioned that he could do that only by the command of Allah. 'All has been made possible by the command of Allah. I (the prophet) did nothing in all this.' 

Thus, generally, the work of calling people to Allah may seem easy to accomplish, but when one analyzes it in terms of results, then this work is really difficult. This is because it involves "the revival of the dead" (the spiritually dead). Like Jesus (as) brought the dead people back to life by the command of Allah, here also the Holy Prophet (pbuh) received the mission to "revive those dead people." Therefore, it was always under the commandment of Allah that he was able to do that, otherwise it would have been very difficult for him to bring back a spiritually dead person back to life. He was able to do this particular work by being a Dai-Illallah (i.e. someone who calls others to (the worship of) Allah).

The Prophet as a "Luminous Lamp"

“Wa-Siraj-am-Munira” means that he (pbuh) is himself a Light, such a light which has the power to illuminate other lamps also. And this subject-matter is profoundly linked with the word Khâtim. It is in no way an end to his blessings, but on the contrary it is an opening towards all blessings. Khâtim means someone who has the capacity to create his own qualities in others also. One who has the ability to express (or imprint) his own qualities in others. This is the quality of man. 

The background of the verse on "Khatam-an-Nabiyyin" involves the crude and evil taunting of his enemies that he was not the father of any male child (or man), and that he was (God forbid) a loser and one deprived of descendants (generations) to carry on his legacy (as a man and father and even as a prophet). For these people, that was the end of his generation. They even used harsh words against him and which the Quran testifies. When you read the word "Khâtim" in this context, you shall clearly see that all the allegations which these people dumped on the Holy Prophet (pbuh) were all dissipated (by Allah). All these accusations disappeared in the sense that Allah says that: 'It is true that biologically speaking, you are not the father of any man, but O Muhammad (pbuh), the qualities that I (Allah) have created in you, you have the abilities to create those qualities in other people also, and there shall be many people like you who shall manifest from among your followers.' 

This is the very subject which is mentioned in the definition/ perception of “Dai-Illallah” and “Siraj-am-Munira”, that you are such a living lamp which has the ability to lit up other lamps, and these lamps shall remain ever enlightened and your light shall be spread throughout the whole world. The previous verses support this subject and the verse on "Khatam-an-Nabiyyin" comes just after wherein Allah says: “Yaaa-ayyuhallazina aamanuz kurullaha zikran-kasira”. Allah has made it a must for all believers to remember Him a lot. They need to glorify Him day and night. 

Divine Illumination on Spiritual Progeny

This subject is profoundly linked with progeny (of the Holy Prophet Muhammad (pbuh)). It has connection which such a progeny who shall be miraculous in nature. And the meaning of "Khatam-an-Nabiyyin" has been mentioned between these two subjects. On one hand, there is the allegation of the enemies that he is not the father of any man like him. But Allah mentions this in such a way that He erases those allegations. They say that he is not the father of any man, but Allah says: "Yes, he is not the father of any man like you (i.e., evil people, impious people who are sullying the honour and status of the prophet (pbuh)). And to be the father of men like you is not an honour at all. It is on the contrary a dishonour, a humiliation. And a father who leaves behind such progeny like you has no right to be proud."

We can view it (i.e. this verse) in another better way: "Yes, Muhammad (pbuh) is not the father of men who are like you, but he sure is a Prophet of Allah, and he has the capacity to produce prophets, such prophets who shall deserve blessings. He is a father who is able to produce and shall continue to produce such people who shall reach the status of prophets (i.e., prophethood)."

This subject has also been mentioned in another verse, in a more beautiful way and this shows clearly that here, in this verse there is the mention of a great good news. That great good news pertains to the advent of a spiritual progeny. First, it refers to a spiritual birth, and for this, we can find lots of examples of people whom the Holy Prophet (pbuh) had spiritually revived. There had been many from among his great companions (Sahaba) who had received the shine/ brilliance of (his) prophethood upon them.

Zachariah's Prayer to sustain spiritual legacy

And after that, there is also the mention of a "special progeny" and to give more light on the subject, I give you the reference from the Holy Quran, that is Verse 43 of Surah Al-Imran (Ch. 3), but before this there is the verse where Hazrat Zachariah (as) was asking Allah to give him a son as a sign from Him. He was asking this favour from Allah when he had reached old age, where normally man cannot reproduce because of a lack of zeal and physical capacity. Like the Quran details, his bones have become old and his hair, white. After this appeal to Allah, he was granted his supplication and he received the good news that Allah will give him a son. Despite having prayed to Allah to beget a son, but when Allah acceded to his request and gave him the good news, he was surprised that such thing was possible. And he then asked Allah to give him a sign so that he may know and become firm in his belief that this was indeed possible! He was asking Allah such a sign so that he may know that his Promised Son was verily coming. Therefore, Allah says (in the Holy Quran), that he must keep aloof from people for three days and observe silence and he was granted only the permission to communicate with them through signs and to dedicate himself completely to the cause of Allah. Allah told him to devote himself to Him day and night and to glorify Him.

Thus, you can see that it is the exact same subject which has been mentioned just after the verse "Khatam-an-Nabiyyin". Therein was no proclamation of the cessation of prophets but on the contrary, there is the good news of the advent of a great prophet who shall rise from among the followers of the Holy Prophet (pbuh).

“Subhanakal-laahumma wa-bihamdika. Ash-hadu-an laa Ilaaha-Illah Anta. Astaghfiruka-wa-atuubu Ilayk”. (O Allah, You are free from every imperfection; praise be to You. I testify that there is no true god except You; I ask Your Pardon and turn to You in repentance.)

Then comes this verse: “Yaaa-ayyuhallazina aamanuz kurullaha zikran-kasira.” It is this same duah which Allah has shown Hazrat Zachariah (as) through revelations and as a sign of the realisation of the duah, Allah has not delayed in showing him the sign of a pious son/ progeny.

'Zikrullah' for Spiritual Blessings

Immediately after that, Allah reminds the people (i.e. the believers) to remember Him a lot and to glorify Him day and night. And as a result of this (practice), Allah shall send His blessing upon you. By His grace, He is already sending His favours, and along with these are the prayers of the angels also, and these are verily the great blessings of Hazrat Muhammad (pbuh) which flow in abundance, and which has been mentioned here.

Kansar and Khatam are thus two names for one same thing (same meaning), but it means that the blessings of the Holy Prophet (pbuh) is endless, unlimited. Therefore, this is a matter which transcends time or even place and this station is the highest and it is a blessing which has been bestowed for the people of his age, as well as the people of the ages after him. This shall be realized in such a way that people would be able to say that he (i.e. the chosen one) is verily the spiritual son of the Holy Prophet (pbuh).

Our Responsibilities Today

How shall the blessings of the Holy Prophet (pbuh) be propagated throughout the world? What works should the Jamaat Ul Sahih Al Islam do to accomplish these objectives? First of all, Allah has described the responsibilities of the Holy Prophet (pbuh) and explained that he is the "Khâtim" whose blessings is spreading throughout the world and shall continue to spread. And the greatest responsibility of being "Khâtim" was on Hazrat Muhammad (pbuh). Allah told him to increase this blessing by being in the true sense of the words, a Shahid, a Mobasshar and a Nazir, i.e., a witness, a bringer of glad tidings and a warner. Allah told him to give the message to all people for if not, the purpose of his mission would not have been accomplished. Allah further explains that 'We have made you someone who calls others to Allah.' And Allah told him that the three qualities which have been bestowed upon him are such qualities which shall enable him to accomplish these objectives.

Be a 'Shahid':  Be an exemplar of true faith

One way to call people to Allah is through a testimonial, by being a witness. Another way is through good news and the third is through giving the people warnings. The Holy Prophet (pbuh) indeed used all these three means, in an excellent way. Thus, concerning the Seal of Hazrat Muhammad (pbuh), it is indeed the best. It is a complete Seal and there are three imprints on that Seal which have been mentioned here, and which each servant of Allah (of the Jamaat Ul Sahih Al Islam) must always engrave in them. They are: Shahid, Mobasshar and Nazir.

I wished to remind you specially that all prophets give good news first and then come the warnings. And the Quran also mentions Bashir, i.e. to give the glad tidings first and then Nazir, i.e. to give warnings. This is the way of doing of the servants of Allah (under the commandment of Allah) to enable the people to approach them. It is not their work to frighten them away, but to give them the good news first so that they may change their way of life on their own accord, and to enable their sufferings to disappear, and so that they may receive all sorts of benefits/ blessings and that their burdens be lessened. Here Mobasshir has a direct link with your shahadat which means to say that a door has been opened for you to become a witness. In other words, you now need to proclaim: 'Yes, there indeed is a Living God (Allah)' and you must be ready to give your testimonial in your own person first. Allah has given the greatest proof of His existence in the person of Hazrat Muhammad (pbuh). No philosopher in the world has been able to demonstrate the existence of Allah like Hazrat Muhammad (pbuh) did in his own person. Indeed Hazrat Muhammad (pbuh) became a witness for the existence of Allah.

Be a 'Mobasshir': Introduce the Benefits of 'Deen' to People 

The Jamaat Ul Sahih Al Islam must become a Mobasshir and then a Nazir, i.e. a bringer of glad tidings and a warner. And it has the duty to warn others of all sorts of dangers which are hovering over them, and you people of the Jamaat Ul Sahih Al Islam need to become good counselors for the people in society, so that their problems be averted or resolved. Therefore, by the grace  of Allah, despite the difficulties we find ourselves struggling in (Jamaat Ul Sahih Al Islam), but nevertheless there is a peacefulness, tranquility and sheer heavenly happiness which surround us. On the other hand, those who create problems for us, those who calumniate the Holy Prophet (pbuh) their seemingly 'peace' is indeed hell for them.

Be a 'Nazir': A Whistle Blower who stands up for ethical responsibility

When giving someone a warning, this in no way means that: "go, you are condemned to hell!" This is not done! But the warning must be given in such a way that you feel also the pain of your fellow human beings/ brothers and sisters. And it is indeed in that perfect way that Hazrat Muhammad (pbuh) warned the people, never like today's mullahs (and those who came later after him who became corrupted) who proclaimed (and keep proclaiming) that: "Your lot is hellfire!"

Hazrat Muhammad  (pbuh) used to warn the people, but at the same time, he felt their pain.

And Allah told him: "O Muhammad, in what way are you warning them? You are warning them but yet you are feeling for them (i.e. having mercy for them)?" Likewise at the beginning of the Divine Manifestation when we were undergoing all sorts of trials, persecutions, Allah revealed me that one day, when you will look at them, you shall have pity for them. You are now in pain because of what they are doing, but there will come a time (when the punishment of Allah shall seize them, when you shall see their conditions) when you shall pity them.

Thus, it is in that purely Muhammadan (pbuh) - Islamic - way (in the way which Hazrat Muhammad (pbuh) acted) that warning must be given and it is only then that warnings shall act as a means to revive the people, and the people shall not avoid you (and/ or despise you) but they shall come to you with opened arms.

Be a 'Dai-Illallah' in this era of wild freedoms

The world as a whole (all people) are presently under the influence of the worldly attractions and they prefer to enjoy the maximum the advantages which the world has to offer disregarding the fact that these temporary enjoyments are leading them to destruction instead of giving them life. These people think that this is indeed freedom (i.e. they take the prison which this world verily represents as freedom). Thus, when the world is tied in these shackles of "freedom" and enjoyments, it is your duty (as a Dai-Illallah) to invite those people to the "prison" of the laws which have been revealed to the Holy Prophet (pbuh). In other words, worldly enjoyments equates to freedom for them whereas the worship of Allah and all that it entails seem like a prison for them. 

Seek to Change Perceptions through Duahs and Help of Allah

There is no denying the fact that in the "prison" of the laws of Allah, there shall be restrictions which they shall have to abide night and day. Therefore, it is your duty to invite these people to the prison of the laws revealed by the Holy Prophet (pbuh). To invite them on this (righteous) path, it is not an easy way, and whatever way you proceed to do this work, you shall not be able to conquer their hearts because to be able to do that, one needs the help of Allah through prayer (duah). It is only with duahs that hearts can be conquered (to Allah). Hazrat Muhammad (pbuh) changed the life of the spiritually dead through prayer and the help of Allah. Therefore, we also in the Jamaat Ul Sahih Al Islam, we need to recite this prayer (duah) very often: “Rabbi arini kaifa tuhyi-al mawta”, “O my Lord, show me how to revive the dead.” Ameen.

If you are deprived from such blessings, this means that you have been unsuccessful in your life; you life amounting to nothing worthy. You need to witness the manifestation of your own spiritual fruits with your own eyes and enjoy them. And you need to manufacture your own lamps which shall be able to illumine other lamps. Insha-Allah.

“Subhanakal-laahumma wa-bihamdika. Ash-hadu-an laa Ilaaha-Illah Anta. Astaghfiruka-wa-atuubu Ilayk”

O Allah, You are free from every imperfection; praise be to You. I testify that there is no true god except You; I ask Your Pardon and turn to You in repentance. Ameen.

--- Friday Sermon of 17 March 2017 (17 Jamad'ul Aakhir 1438 AH) delivered by Khalifatullah Hadhrat Munir Ahmad Azim Saheb (atba) of Mauritius.