Sunday, April 28, 2019

Securing the Future of the World


The Future of our Planet

Earlier this week, on 22 April 2019 there was the International Mother Earth Day which commemorates the Earth and all the riches it has brought us through the sheer grace of God Almighty. It comes as a reminder that the Earth is in danger that we all humans have the absolute duty to protect it, each at our level!

Indeed, nature is a gift of God given to mankind to enable each and every individual lead a joyful, prosperous and peaceful life. However, the greed of people and/ or nations to accumulate wealth by all means, coupled by superfluous consumption has prevented them to make a judicious use of the free natural resources at their disposal and has put humanity in the situation it is in today.

Never before has the human race found him to be so uncomfortable, so insecure and so uncertain about the future. Calamities like flood, drought, tsunami, earthquake, tornado, fire, smoke....(Like on Monday 15 April 2019 in Paris where part of one of the largest cathedrals of France and the world, Notre Dame de Paris burned in a fire. France and the Christian world in general have witnessed the destruction of one of their biggest symbols - gone up in smoke!...)

And also intense heat and cold in every nook and corner of the world and occurring even in odd seasons and in unexpected places, are taking everyone by surprise. Disaster of such dimension never occurred before. Many experts say that such changes (i.e. climate change), brought by the hands of man itself have destroyed the ozone layer protecting our Earth, thus causing global warming and bringing in its wake many other calamities. Such natural calamities as they are termed by man have transformed into divine reminders for them to change their evil ways and to embrace a righteous way of life.

God Almighty says in the Holy Quran: Calamities have appeared on land and sea because of what the hands of the people have earned, so that He (Allah) makes them taste some of what they did, in order that they may return (to the right way).” (Ar-Rum 30: 42).

Saturday, April 27, 2019

Sri Lanka: Easter Day Bombings


Sublime Islamic teachings prohibit wanton attacks against civilians; transgression on the rights of others and the destruction of their properties. If 'enemy' is to be engaged in a war by the Muslims, the Shariah rules of military necessity, proportionality, reduction of unjust suffering on those who do not participate in the hostilities- women; children; wounded soldiers; prisoners of war, humanitarian relief agencies, etc need to be respected and provided for. Hence, wanton killings of defenceless people going about their daily lives can never be allowed to be glorified as Islamic Jihad. Indeed, such terrorism cuts at the roots of all Islamic ethics and teachings on social solidarity with other communities and the need for respecting the sanctity of their essential rights under Islamic Law.   

It is instructive to note that in a recent series of Friday Sermons, Imam-Jamaat Ul Sahih Al Islam Hadhrat Muhyiuddin Al Khalifatullah Munir Ahmad Azim Saheb (atba) of Mauritius spoke profoundly on issues of terrorism in society, especially as it contrasts with the ideals of Islam and the murky realities of our times wherein terrorism is also being practiced by groups operating in the name of the Muslims. One of the themes that Hadhrat Saheb (atba) took up for clinical examination in this context was the role of the "zealous idiots"- people who claim to profess Islam; yet know nothing about its roots and branches and who bring disrepute to the religion (Islam) through self-serving interpretations and thereby inflict much harm on society through their deviant practices. Hadhrat Khalifatullah (atba) exemplified this point with reference to the practice of 'Jihad' as 'holy war' by sections of Muslim youths (fighting their secular 'battles'  in their societies), with no regard for either text or context, nor even the subtext of ethical Islamic teachings. 

In multicultural democracies where different faiths bloom in full freedom and liberty, the rupturing of the social fabric through horrific violence can have profoundly negative consequences for all- especially the (Muslim) minorities in the land. Indeed, brainwashed and radicalized Muslim youths displaying sectarian bigotry or communal prejudice and indulging in killing of innocents need to be opposed and resisted by devout Muslims themselves. After all, standing up for justice and enjoining good and forbidding evil is a duty we owe to God and our fellow beings- Muslims and non-Muslims alike.  

In his Friday Sermon of 26 April 2019~ 19 Shabaan 1440 AH Hadhrat Khalifatullah (atba) spoke about the dire state of the world. The excesses of the humans are putting a question mark over the very survival of our earth as a unique living space in our universe. On so many different levels, the signs around us are such that it is as though the world has turned upside down. The rising tide of mindless violence and terror across nations is such a sign as well. Speaking also against the backdrop of the recent, horrendous terrorist bombings in Sri Lanka that killed hundreds of people on Easter Sunday, Hadhrat Saheb (atba) wholeheartedly condemned the mindless killings. 

Thursday, April 25, 2019

A ‘Ta’lim Majlis’ at Mathra


Siraj Makin, the women’s collective of the Jamaat Ul Sahih Al Islam, South Kerala (India) organized a Two-Day Ta’lim Majlis (Divinity Study Programme) for the benefit of its members at the historic Noor'ul Islam Masjid, Mathra on Friday & Saturday, 19- 20 April 2019 ~ 12-13 Shabaan 1440 AH. Members of the Jamaat from different places across the State- Palakkad, Karunagappally, Kaliyikkavila, etc.- planned and reached at the Masjid well ahead of the Programme so as to participate also in the Friday Jumu'ah Namaz at the Masjid, Alhamdulillah. The Ta’lim Majlis essentially sought to build upon the earlier initiative of the Siraj Makin- the programme of 09 February 2019- to keep the members aware of the Deeni Ta’lim, and to provide them an opportunity for collective learning.

Brothers who were present on the occasion include Muhammad Sabir Saheb of Palakkad; DA Zainul Abdeen Saheb of Karunagappally; Sulfikar Ali Saheb; Na'ib Amir/Jamaat Sadiq Ali Saheb; Zachariah Ibn Zain, Munir Ahmad Azim (Jr.), etc. Mukarram Amir/Jamaat Janab Jamaluddin Raother Saheb led the study programmes/ common sessions.

The Ta’lim/ Tarbiyyat meeting took place in three different sessions through the day: morning, afternoon and evening. Na'ib Sadr Fauzia Jamal- Zain saheba led the study sessions. Rajeena Sadiq Ali saheba, Sofiya Beevi saheba, Mubeena Sabir saheba, Fa-e-zah Maryam Zain and Arshana Sabir participated actively in the various programmes: Tilawat-ul-Qur'an, Nazm recitation, speeches on Qur'an themes as well as topics from Ahadith, etc. Each one of the participating members took charge of different responsibilities entailed by the collective living at the Masjid premises for two days: Registration, reception, food, purchase, programming and scheduling, documentation and reporting, etc.

Sunday, April 21, 2019

'Shabaan': Marking 'Shab-e-Baraat'


The Month of Shabaan

Like you are aware, we are in the month of Shabaan and this is the second Friday Sermon that I am doing during this month, and so I chose Shabaan and its importance as subject of my sermon for today.

Shabaan is the eighth month of the Islamic calendar. And after the month of Shabaan, we have the blessed month of Ramadan. Hazrat Muhammad (pbuh) gave Shabaan all its importance.

On the authority of Hazrat Aisha (ra), “The Messenger of Allah (pbuh) used to fast till one would say that he would never stop fasting, and he would abandon fasting till one would say that he would never fast. I never saw Allah’s Apostle fasting for a whole month except the month of Ramadan, and did not see him fasting in any month more than in the month of Shabaan.” (Bukhari and Muslim)

In another Hadith on the authority of Usama Ibn Zayd (ra), he reported asking the Messenger of Allah (pbuh): ‘O Messenger of Allah, I do not see you fasting during any month as much as you do in Shabaan.’ He said: “That is a month to which people do not pay much attention, which is found between Rajab and Ramadan. It is a month in which the deeds are taken up to the Lord of the worlds, and I like that my deeds be taken up when I am fasting.” (An-Nasa’i).

We learn from these Hadiths that the Holy Prophet (pbuh) used to maximize this month in acts of worship. Through him, through his Sunnah, we have learned that our actions are presented to Allah, and therefore we must do our utmost best to make sure that Allah accepts our good deeds and forgives us our sins and mistakes. And Hazrat Muhammad (pbuh) had such a deep love for Allah that he used to sacrifice himself a lot for Him so that Allah would be pleased with him.

Friday, April 19, 2019

19 April 2003: 'Bai'ah Day' Ruminations


19th April 2003 is an important day in the annals of Jamaat-e-Ahmadiyya (Qadian), for it marked the end of an era and the formal beginning of another, within the larger concept and actual working of the system of spiritual succession or ‘Khilafat’ among the Ahmadi Muslims. Many Ahmadis today can relate that day with the death of the fourth Khalifatul Massih of the Jamaat-e- Ahmadiyya Hazrat Mirza Tahir Ahmad Saheb (1928-2003). Some also relate the day with the formal inaugural of a new system of ‘Khilafat’ among the Ahmadis, a Divine Manifestation with an Elect of God in our era, Hazrat Munir Ahmad Azim Saheb (atba) of Mauritius, accepting Bai’at at his hands, marking an important milestone in the sacred history of modern Islam. The first Bai’at was held in the house of Hazrat Ummul Mumineen Sadr Sahiba Fazli Amena on the second storey, at Louvet Avenue, Quatre-Bornes, Mauritius. 

Indeed one of the questions that deeply divide devout Ahmadis today relate to the events of 19 April 2003, its meanings, interpretations and implications. As is well known, it was in the final years of the caliphate of Hazrat Mirza Tahir Ahmad Saheb that a pious and devout Ahmadi Muslim mystic in Mauritius, Hazrat Munir Ahmad Azim Saheb (atba), began to make the extraordinary claim that Allah (swt) has raised him as His Elect of this era, to invite people to God and to strengthen Jamaat-e-Ahmadiyya by sharing the Divine revelations and other spiritual verities being vouchsafed to him, with the assistance of Rooh-il-Quddus. It is a matter of historic record and Divine destiny that the fourth Khalifatul Massih thought highly of the noble qualities and preaching attainments of the future Divine Elect when he was still working as a missionary-ambassador of the Jamaat-e-Ahmadiyya into the various communities and nations of the Indian Ocean region.

The emergence of the Divine Manifestation in Mauritius coincided with the decline in physical health, spiritual faculties and eventual death of Hazrat Mirza Tahir Ahmad Sahib. In his last years, the ageing caliph was already in a zone of his own, where he was in constant need of sound advice for prudent governance of Jamaat affairs. Yet, as it happened, he was badly advised regarding the nature and character of the Divine Manifestation then emerging in the horizon of Mauritius. Unscrupulous and scheming people, who worked behind the corridors of influence, suggested vanity of office and pride of legacy. Hence, when the saintly figure was reported to have made the claims of being a recipient of Divine revelations, he was expelled from the Nizam-e-Jamaat-e-Ahmadiyya under misleading circumstances. Social boycott was administratively enforced on those Ahmadis who preferred faith above the world. Instead of showing humility and open heart to understand the lofty claims and spiritual verities on offer in the new era, the Nizam-e-Jamaat chose pride and vanity in the material legacy they amassed from the past, and it is only unfortunate that the fourth caliph passed away before he could reflect on his decision vis-a-vis the Divine Manifestation in Mauritius, may Allah forgive him.

The fact that the Divine Manifestation in Mauritius has completed 16 years in relative obscurity will only surprise those who have no knowledge or understanding about the working of the spiritual realm. There are indeed many spiritual lessons and lofty insights to be derived by observing and understanding the Divine favour on the Khalifatullah (atba) and how he goes about with his deep and unwavering commitment to advance the cause of Allah and His Message in the last eighteen years. The duty of the Divine Messenger is only to convey the Message; Allah the Most High is the Reckoner. Fortunately, Ahmadis are beginning to come out of the shadow of that colossal mistake of their leadership. Increasingly, they are aware of this alternative trajectory of the Divine Favour in the Jamaat, for truth can be eclipsed, but only for a period. Like the moon, it will eventually come out of the shadow of clouds and confusions created by the enemies of truth, Insha-Allah, Aameen. 

Reproduced below are certain brief comments and points mentioned at the beginning of the Friday Sermon of 19 April 2019~12 Shabaan 1440 AH by Imam-Jamaat Ul Sahih Al Islam Hadhrat Muhyi-ud-Din Al Khalifatullah Munir Ahmad Azim Saheb (atba) of Mauritius on the significance of the aforesaid historical event : 

Alhamdulillah, Summa Alhamdulillah, today (19 April) marks 16 years that a historical event happened within the framework of the Divine Manifestation of this era. The first Bai’ah (oath of allegiance) in the hand of Allah was made and that day also marked the death of the 4th Caliph of the Ahmadiyya Movement. Before I get up to deliver my sermon, I feel that I shall receive many important messages from Allah. These revelations may come down during or after my sermon. Anyway, these are messages [they are coming and Huzur (atba) is aware of it] that I must share – soon – with you my dear disciples and all humanity, Insha-Allah.

[The Caliph of Allah - Khalifatullah (atba) - then spoke of this important day in the annals of the history of the Divine Manifestation and the Jamaat Ul Sahih Al Islam. He recounted how he and the one who was always by his side to write down the divine revelations - and to whom Allah had made great favours (Z. Domun Saheb) - gathered with the believers of the Divine Manifestation at that time for the study circle at Quatre-Bornes. That day was the day when the 4th Caliph of the Ahmadiyya Movement died, and Z. Domun Saheb asked Amir’ul Mumineen, Munir Azim Saheb, a question about whether he had received any revelation about giving Bai’ah (oath of allegiance) to the believers.

Wednesday, April 17, 2019

Living under the Gaze of God


The Promised Messiah Hadhrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad (as) of Qadian (1835-1908) always spoke of God as an experiential reality. For him, the quest for the Divine was not a philosophical inquiry or an intellectual fascination, but a comprehensive belief system experienced with perfect certainty. Notwithstanding the disappointments he encountered in his mission- the contrast between the Divine reality as he felt it, and the difficulty he encountered in getting people to recognize the same- the Promised Messiah (as) went on advising people on how best to lead their everyday spiritual life: calling to the sublime reality of God; exhorting them to develop God-consciousness in all that they do; and emphasizing the need for being just, respecting the sentiments and rights of others. 

In a discourse on 16 May 1898, the Promised Messiah (as) underscored the role of individual believer within the spiritual community- of the need for becoming righteous and also of joining with the beloved/saintly people of God- in shaping our destinies in these troubling times. After all, the purpose of our actions is to invite Divine approval and satisfaction, as against going in the direction of causing Divine anger and punishment. Since the essence of faith is the love and worship of the Divine- who is the Lord of the Universe and all its creatures-, believers need to conform to the Divine commandments in all their settings, including mutual relations with our fellow humans. When people rid themselves of jealousy, mockery, arrogance, hubris and other ills of evil within human nature; when people cultivate within themselves the feelings of empathy, understanding, compassion and goodwill; they form a community of righteous people attaining true solidarity and collective progress under the gaze of God, observes the Promised Messiah (as). 

Read the Extracts from the spiritual Discourse Below: 

These are truly fragile times. Everyone ought to fear the wrath of Allah Almighty, for He has no care except for those who are His pious servants. Foster brotherhood and love amongst yourselves; forsake barbarity and mutual dissension.Withdraw completely from all forms of jest and mockery, for mockery moves the heart far away from the truth. Treat one another with respect. Each and every one of you ought to give preference to the comfort of your brother over themselves.

Reconcile sincerely with Allah the Exalted and become subservient to Him once again. The wrath of Allah Almighty is descending upon the earth and only those will be saved who fully repent of all their sins and return to God.

Remember that if you bring yourself to obey the commandments of Allah Almighty and endeavour to support His chosen religion, God will remove all the obstacles in your way and you will be successful.

Saturday, April 13, 2019

What 'Jihad' Really Means


Which Jihad ?

'Jihad' is a religious duty, an act of faith, prescribed by the Holy Quran for every Muslim. 

Alas, Islamic teachings are, on the one hand, so little known by Muslims, and on the other, so vilified by non-Muslims, that many false conceptions have settled in people’s minds. 

For many people, it seems convenient and legitimate to cover under the term jihad (holy war) any struggle to settle a dispute where their interests are at stake (and thus, all means, even the most reprehensible, seem to be good). For the non-Muslim jihad has long been equated with the holy war against non-believers, for the spread of Islam. It seems to me necessary - through this series of sermons on jihad, terrorism and Islamophobia - to return to the sources of Islam, through the Holy Quran and the traditions of the Holy Prophet (pbuh) to explain what jihad really is, for the objective minds.

The term jihad is derived from jahada which means making intense efforts to the ultimate limit (Al-Ankabut, 29:7). Jihad is such an important injunction for Muslims that it is mentioned in no less than 36 occasions in the Holy Quran.

Three types of Jihad

In fact, it is of such importance that all the acts of faith prescribed for the believer (prayer, fasting, zakah, and pilgrimage to Mecca) are spiritual exercises designed to overcome the weaknesses of the individual and prepare him for the accomplishment of jihad. Jihad, as it appears from the reading of the the Holy Qur’an, denotes three types of fighting:
  1. The fight against oneself (nafs).
  2. The fight against evil in all its forms.
  3. Armed combat against the visible enemy.
We can differentiate between the three types of jihad by calling them respectively Jihad-i-Akbar (greatest jihad), Jihad-i-Kabir (the great jihad) and Jihad-i-Saghir (the little/ lesser jihad). The Holy Prophet of Islam (pbuh) considered that Jihad-i-Akbar is the supreme, noblest combat and he said, when his troops returned from the Tabuk expedition: “You have accomplished the minor jihad now; there remains the supreme jihad.”

Djihad-i-Akbar:- it is the tireless fight against oneself, against one’s bad tendencies and inclinations. It is not therefore a fight of the State (the Country/ State/ Government, especially the Islamic One), but a struggle peculiar to the individual against his weak instincts/ carnal desires, such as infidelity, adultery, lies, dishonesty and materialism. However, the State has the obligation to help the citizen in this fight, creating the conditions conducive to his internal purification. It is the duty of the State to rid the social environment of any obstacle that may hinder the path of the individual to inner purity (e.g. the sale of alcoholic beverages, drugs, the practice of debauchery and games of chance).

The Holy Prophet (pbuh) said, “Purity (or Cleanliness) is half of faith.” This purity denotes the purity of the spirit. According to my analysis, a soul encumbered with unhealthy desires remains hermetically closed to divine grace. By purifying one’s soul of every bad inclination, the individual accomplishes this supreme jihad and reaches half of the faith by becoming fit to receive the grace of his Creator and to follow the path of spiritual progress.

Wednesday, April 10, 2019

A Prayer at the Ka'baa Shareef


The first House (of worship) to be established for all mankind was the one at Bakka. It's a blessed place; a source of guidance for all people; there were clear signs in it; it is the place where Abraham stood to pray; whoever enters it is safe. Pilgrimage to the House is a duty owed to God by people who are able to undertake it’. (3:97) 

Remember the time when Abraham and Ishmael raised the foundations of the House, praying, ‘Our Lord, accept this from us; for You are the All-Hearing, the All-Knowing. Our Lord, make us devoted to You; make our descendants into a community devoted to You. Show us how to worship and accept our repentance, for You are the Ever Relenting, the Most Merciful’. (2:128-129) 

The Promised Messiah, Al Imam Al Mahdi, Hadhrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad (as) of Qadian (1835-1908 AD) never had the chance during his lifetime to visit Makkah to offer his obeisance at the holy Ka’baa Sanctuary. Yet, some of his disciples could make that sublime spiritual journey during his time, and one of them was Pir Munshi Ahmad Jan. When the Pir Saheb was about to go on Hajj pilgrimage in the year 1302 AH/ 1902 AD, Hadhrat Massih Mauod (as) gave him several instructions on fervent prayers to be invoked on his own behalf while at the Ka’baa Sheriff in Makkah. In this context, when the journey for Hajj pilgrimage was to take place, the Promised Messiah (as) wrote to Pir Saheb in a letter:

Remember the request of my humble and unworthy being that when by the grace of Allah the Almighty you are granted the honour of visiting the House of Allah, please pray on behalf of this humblest of Allah’s servants with great humility and submission at that praiseworthy and blessed place in the following words:

‘O Most Merciful of all the mercifuls, a servant of yours –humble, unworthy, full of shortcomings, and unskilled—Ghulam Ahmad, who resides in the country of India, prays that:

O Most Merciful, be pleased with me.

Forgive my faults and sins, as You are Most Forgiving and Merciful.

Grant me the ability to do what pleases you greatly.

Create a separation between me and my self as East is separated from the West.

Let my life and my death and all my capacities be an offering in Your way.

Grant me life in Your love, and let me die in Your love.

Sunday, April 7, 2019

'Jihad' and the 'Zealous Idiots'


The concept of Jihad in Islam

A religion is only worthy of the name if it rhymes with common sense. If it cannot win through this, and it must use the sword to overcome its shortcomings, it needs no other argument to prove its sham. The sword it wields cuts its own throat before it reaches its target. 

The objection that the sword was used during the early years of Islam, thus attesting to the legality of Jihad, is based on an ignorance of the conditions prevailing during this period. Islam has never allowed the use of the sword to be a source of rallying. Also the Holy Qur’an forbids constraint – the use of force – in religious matter. 

Why was the sword used?

The circumstances leading to this measure had absolutely nothing to do with the propagation of religion; they are related to the protection of life. They can be summed up as thus: the inhabitants of the deserts of Arabia were barbarians who could scarcely distinguish good from bad. They had harboured a hatred for the nascent Islam and had become its worst enemies. The reason for this hatred can be easily understood. The arguments put forward by the early Muslims concerning the uniqueness of God and the Islamic truths were devastating for the idolaters of Mecca and its environs.

Soon the inhabitants of these regions realized that it was unseemly for man, the most noble of divine creatures, to submit to stone. The Meccans were thus unable to counter the new adherents on the basis of arguments. The most reasonable ones were quick to join Islam. Family ties were broken and the son separated from his parents and the brother from his brothers. This exasperated the Meccans and it became clear to them that the only recourse to counteract the spread of the new religion – which was to the detriment of their parents’ false beliefs – was the use of extreme measures. The new Muslims were thus savagely persecuted. 

Saturday, April 6, 2019

Mystical Journeying: 'Isra' and 'Mi'raj'


'..Before concluding my sermon, I would also like to say a few words about the Isra and Mi'raj of the Holy Prophet Muhammad (pbuh). It was indeed two of the most important visions and communications that the Holy Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) received from God the Almighty, for it was during one of those spiritual - and not physical - journeys that Allah ordered Hazrat Muhammad (pbuh) and his Ummah (his community) to worship (Salat) five times a day.

Importance must be given to these blessed days, not because the Holy Prophet (pbuh) made “physical” journeys to heaven, but because all communication between Allah and His Messenger was and will always be special. These experiences were purely spiritual, lived by the Holy Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) in a state between awakening and sleep, called 
“Kashf” (vision). 

Keep in mind that man can never rise to the Pleiades physically, even if he tastes the final death. His corpse remains on earth, while the soul goes back where it is destined to go.

When the unbelievers had asked the Holy Prophet (pbuh) to go up to heaven and bring them a book, here is the answer he gave them: “Am I not only a human-messenger?” (Al-Isra 17: 94)

The “Kashf” is not a definitive death. The soul is spiritually awake and connected to God through His revelation and Divine Force that draws him to Him and to a world of temporary spiritual well-being. The Holy Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) lived the most perfect “Kashf” because Allah made him cross the seven heavens to meet Him in an intimate and loving way.

Wednesday, April 3, 2019

Khalifatullah @ Gandhi Bhavan


Visit to Gandhi Bhavan 

During the recently concluded tour of South India, Imam-Jamaat Ul Sahih Al Islam International Hadhrat Muhyi-ud-Din Al Khalifatullah Munir Ahmad Azim Saheb (atba) of Mauritius and the respected and honoured members of the holy family-, apart from attending Jamaat programmes and meeting disciples, also made it a point to visit some of the charitable institutions in the region that serve the larger cause of humanity in our broken-times. An important programme in this context was the visit to the famous Gandhi Bhavan at Pathanapuram, Kerala. 

Situated on the banks of Kallada River in Kundyam, near Pathanapuram of Kollam District, the Gandhi Bhavan  is built up by a group of people inspired by the Gandhian Path of service to humanity and is led by the  humanitarian activist Dr. Punalur Somarajan. The space is dedicated for the care-giving of the destitute persons, regardless of their religious and other social origins.