Saturday, December 22, 2018

A 'Waliullah' In Our Times

In the Friday Sermon of 23 November 2018 (14 Rabi’ul Awwal 1440 AH) delivered at Tenkasi during his recently concluded tour of Tamil Nadu and Kerala (South India); Imam- Jamaat Ul Sahih Al Islam Hadhrat Muhyi-ud-Din Al Khalifatullah Munir Ahmad Azim Saheb (atba) of Mauritius provides an illuminating discourse on the concept of Waliullah in the Islamic spiritual tradition. 

All through history, the world of Islam witnessed the appearance of several great savants; Divinely-imbued souls as the Pole Stars of the Religion and the Way; the Luminous Moons of the Faith- people whom devout Muslims over the millennium revere as no less than the spiritual heirs of the Holy Prophet Muhammad (sa). These perfect followers of the Holy Prophet (sa) had been blessed with the direct descent of Divine Knowledge, Divine Revelations, and Divine Words on their persons, and their supplications were almost always accepted. Indeed, such followers of the Muhammadan Light in the Spiritual Path, imbued as they are with divine qualities; they aspire to cultivate a direct relationship with one’s Maker and live secluded behind the curtain of Divine intimacy. Like the Qur’an says: “Verily, My Protecting Friend is Allah, Who has revealed this perfect Book and He takes into (His) protection all the righteous.” (7:197) 

A Hadith-e-Qudusi recorded in Sahih Al Bukhari reads as follows: “My servant keeps drawing nearer to Me with voluntary works until I love him. And once I love him, I become his hearing, with which he hears, his sight, with which he sees, his hand, with which he seizes, and his foot, with which he walks. If he asks Me, I will surely give to him, and if he seeks refuge in Me, I will surely protect him.” 

Those individuals with whom Allah converses more directly and frequently than with other believers belong to the class of Friends of Allah (Auliya). In the spiritual terminology, such persons are described under different ranks and stations- Wali, Muhaddith, Mujaddid, etc. - all of whom receive their light from the Divine Light and thereby revive the knowledge, wisdom and blessings of the Prophets and Messengers of the previous era. The Light of Allah emanating from theses spiritual lamps illuminate the path of the Divine seekers in Islam.

The present discourse by Hadhrat Khalifatullah (atba) is indeed an important reminder to all Ahmadis- people who revere the legacy of Hadhrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad (as) of Qadian- about the forgotten teachings of the Promised Massih (as) regarding the spiritual phenomenon of Wilayat, and the continued vitality of these teachings in every era till the Day of Judgement. Drawing specifically from the Divine revelations and additional explanations given by the Promised Massih (as) in the previous era, especially in his Revealed Sermon- Khutba Ilhaamiya; and also the Divine revelations that were vouchsafed to his humble self in the last two decades, Hadhrat Khalifatullah (atba) points to the significance of the advent of a 'Waliullah'- a special Friend of God, who speaks with the help of Roohul Qudus to illuminate the reasoning and intelligence of people in the appreciation of subtle and profound matters of Divine knowledge and to guide them in the Spiritual Way in our bewildering times.

Read the Friday Sermon Below:

'Wilayat' in the context of Islam

It gives me great pleasure to address you in this first Friday Sermon, today in Tenkasi, Tamil Nadu, during my visit here in India on “Wilayat in the Context of Islam”.

As you all know, Allah by His infinite grace has sent His elect to maintain the balance of good in the world, and save it from the pangs of evil. But this practice is not just for the past. It applies from time immemorial, as long as there are people who inhabit this ephemeral (i.e. temporal) world. Among the many ranks that Allah bestows on His chosen servants, there is the ‘Wilayat’.

The meaning of Wilayat, according to the dictionary, is ‘Al-Qurb’, that is, proximity. Al-Wilaya is derived from the word ‘Wila’, which means proximity. In the context of Islam, it means being close to the Creator and His most excellent and His Messenger, the superior of all prophets, Hazrat Muhammad (pbuh). In the general context, it could mean the divine proximity or any other proximity. But the reality of its meaning is to be close to the Creator and the Holy Prophet (pbuh). This is the definition of ‘Wilayat’ or ‘Waliyat’ according to the Shariah.

By the definition of Wilaya, all believers are Walis and the Creator is their Wali, removing them from darkness and bringing them Light.

But among of the definitions of Wilaya, there is a special approach to the Creator, a closeness to a very high status, which refers exclusively to the Awliya (the Friends of Allah, the Saints in Islam). True believers are all close to Allah (swt), but the Awliya have a very specific and distinguished closeness; It’s not easy for everyone to attain to such status (and closeness with Allah). The Wilayat cannot be truly established without our bond of love and closeness to the Holy Prophet Hazrat Muhammad (pbuh). It is through our affinity with the Seal of the Prophets that we become Wali. Those who take the Holy Prophet (pbuh) as a model, obtain the status of the Wali, of a very great level.

The perfect character of the Holy Prophet (pbuh) is exemplary from every angle. It is not possible to list them in this sermon, but I will give you an example. Before the announcement of his messengership/ prophethood, the Holy Prophet (pbuh) lived in Mecca for 40 years. The infidels, idol worshipers, and other citizens gave him two titles: ‘Al-Ameen’ (The One who can be Trusted), and ‘As-Sadiq’ (The One who tells only the Truth). These are characteristics which are applicable not only to relatives, but also to strangers. But the Holy Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) had by his character and way of life reached the highest level of these two names/ titles. He perfected these expressions in himself, in his own conduct.

The question that arises is: What is the link between the perfect character of the Holy Prophet (pbuh) and the Wilayat?

The true answer is that the Wilayat cannot exist without the perfect character of the Holy Prophet (pbuh). It is only by establishing our bond with the Holy Prophet (pbuh), by imbibing in us his character, his manners and His proximity to the Creator, that we become Wali. It is those who take the Holy Prophet (pbuh) as a model, who join the status of ‘Wilayat’.

A perfect example of ‘Wilayat’ is in the person of Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad (as), the Promised Messiah and Mahdi of the last days. He was not only a lover of Allah, but he also had great love and respect for the Seal of the Prophets Hazrat Muhammad (pbuh). Without his affinity with the Holy Prophet (pbuh) he would never have reached the level of Awliya and Islamic Messiah, Mahdi and Prophet. Without his belief and love for Hazrat Muhammad (pbuh), Allah would never have raised him as the reflection or image of the Seal of the Prophets.

We must keep in mind that an image is never the object or the person in question. Reflection in a mirror does not mean that the image and the person are the same. No, an image reproduces the original in a mirror but can never be the original. This is the case for the Promised Messiah Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad (as) compared to the Holy Prophet Hazrat Muhammad (pbuh). He achieved the perfection of Prophet Muhammad’s prophethood (pbuh) only as a reflection. He and all Islamic Messiahs and Messengers until the end of time will reflect only the perfection and messengership of the prophet, without becoming truly perfect as he was and always will be.

The Holy Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) is such a father and prophet who gave birth to spiritual sons who also became prophets without surpassing him in status. And that’s what the Wilayat refers to. Without access to Allah and the Holy Prophet (pbuh), we could never reach the status of Wilayat or other spiritual degrees that are more advanced than the Wilaya, such as: Messiah, Mahdi, Khalifatullah, Rasullullah, etc. I say this because all the prophets, Messiahs and Islamic reformers are Awliya, but not all Awliya are prophets / Messiahs / Khalifatullah, etc.

Khutba Ilhaamiya: On Wilayat

Under divine revelations, during his sermon of Eid-ul-Adha, revealed purely in Arabic, on 11 April 1900, Allah conferred upon Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad (as) the highest rank of ‘Wilayat’ by designating it as “Khatam-an-Awliya” (The Seal of All Saints). For his time (era) and for all eras after him, all the saints and other prophets and messiahs who shall come, must imperatively come from his followers, those who believed in him, in his veracity. It is like a chain whose links intertwine each other to form it (i.e. the chain) well, in the right way, and the Holy Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) is the medallion or pendant which gives the chain its true splendour and beauty.

The Promised Messiah (as) under divine inspiration said: “I am the one who ends the chain of Saints (Wilayat), just as the Holy Prophet (Sayyidil Mustapha (pbuh)) ended the chain of prophets and he was the Seal of the Prophets (Khatam-al-Anbiya) and I am the Seal of the Saints (Khatam-an-Awliya). After me, there will be no Wali (Saint) who will come except the one who will be from me and under my covenant (Ahdi).”

This divinely inspired statement is of capital importance to all seekers of truth, for while on the one hand, the Muhammadan Ummah as a whole has closed the door of prophethood by basing their opinion on the literal meaning of the last prophet - the last brick of the construction of Islam concerning the status of Prophet of Hazrat Muhammad (pbuh), similarly after the demise of the Promised Messiah Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad (as), the entire Ahmadiyya Community in the world, especially in this century, has started a propaganda to say that the Promised Messiah is the last of Messiahs and Messengers and that there will be no Messiah after him.

Now, this divine revelation in the Khutba Ilhaamiya (Revealed Sermon) clearly explains to us that just like the Holy Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) is the Seal of the Prophets, and that through his love and affinity with him, Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad (as) has reached the highest degrees of Wilayat and prophet-reflection, likewise the one who will follow in the footsteps of the Holy Prophet Hazrat Muhammad (pbuh) and will be in his obedience and that of the Promised Messiah Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad (as), that one will also receive the title of Wali. 

And it also means that if the Promised Messiah (as) was the greatest Wali of his time and for all ages after him - the Seal of Awliya, certainly, among his followers, there will always be those who come and who will follow in his footsteps, and that God shall raise as His Wali, and among these Wali, there will be even those whom He will raise as prophets and reformers for all the Ummah in accordance with His promise established in the Quran and confirmed by the Holy Prophet (pbuh)- concerning the coming of the Mujaddid, Messiah and the Mahdi, the Khalifatullah - and the prophecies and beliefs of the Promised Messiah Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad (as).

And I tell you, O dearest disciples here in Tenkasi (in this vast land of India), and to the rest of the world, I am the Promised Messiah of this century and Allah is the One to call so, and He clothed me in the garb of a non-law-bearing prophet. I repeat. I am only a non-law-bearing prophet. Islam is my religion, the Quran - the Divine Commandment - is my Book, and Hazrat Muhammad (pbuh) son of Abdullah is my prophet, and without Allah and without my attachment to the Holy Prophet Muhammad (pbuh), I am nothing. And without my allegiance to the Promised Messiah Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad (as), I cannot claim to be Messiah because he is the father of the Islamic Messiahs, and I am his spiritual son whom Allah has sent in this century with the Holy Spirit (Ruh’il Quddus) to guide you to Him (Allah).

Verily, Allah revealed this to me on April 07, 2003 - I only mention extracts from this long revelation/ divine communication (in English) to enrich your spiritual knowledge: “O Munir Ahmad Azim, Mohyuddin of this Era, your gathering is such that not only prophets but the Holy Prophet (pbuh) himself is present. The status of your Holy Prophet (pbuh) is boundless. You are the perfect illustration of this fact, O Azim. Many of your followers have achieved the status of “Qutb” and “Abdaal”… O Munir Azim, you are known as the Reviver of Religion, you are the strength of this religion, O Mohyuddin… He who gets a drop from your Ocean is the one who will reach the destination safely O Munir Azim! ... O Mohyuddin, Saints (Wali) are always in need of you. Sainthood is yours and you are the distributor, O Mohyuddin…”

So blessed/ fortunate are you that Allah has opened your heart to recognize and accept this sublime truth in this era. May Allah cover you with His grace and keep you firm on the right path till the last breath of your lives. You are the hope of today and tomorrow. And Insha-Allah, through you, through all your pious efforts, you will reap the fruits of Allah’s love in this world and in the hereafter. 

Our goal for all is to acquire the love of Allah and to spread the news of His uniqueness in every corner of the world so that those hearts who are thirsty of Allah can come to quench their thirst for Allah at the divine source of this era, that is to say, through the Divine Manifestation and the formation under divine instruction of the Jamaat Ul Sahih Al Islam, at the head having a Messenger of Allah, a Khalifatullah, the Wali elected of God of this era. Alhamdulillah. May Allah be glorified for all this.