Thursday, September 5, 2019

The Parable of Abraham's Birds

Dawa-t-Allah: Part V

And when Abraham said, ‘My Lord, show me how You give life to the dead,’ He said, ‘Do you not believe, then?’ ‘Yes,’ said Abraham, ‘but just to put my heart at rest.’ So God said, ‘Take four birds and train them to come back to you. Then place them on separate hilltops, call them back, and they will come flying to you: know that God is all powerful and wise’.” (Al-Baqara 2: 261)

The members of the Jamaat Ul Sahih Al Islam around the world have become quite familiar with the term Dawat-i-Allah which means: “The call made to men to Allah.”

This term has become familiar to you because in the past years I have continually drawn your attention to the importance of the mission for which you were created. Inviting man to Allah is the best service that man can give to man. A reminder is constantly being made to you but I fear that only a few of you will understand the full scope. If you really knew it, all the members of the Jamaat Ul Sahih Al Islam and the rest of the Muslims around the world would be at the moment I speak immersed in this blessed work.

You who are listening to me at this moment, know the importance of this task that has been entrusted to man. But most of you, that I have the happiness to tell this, are almost unfamiliar with this work. You do not know how to do it. You listen to me of course and by the expressions of your faces I know that you are determined to do something, but unfortunately as soon as you get out of here you will forget all that you have heard, and all that I ask you to do. I sometimes wonder why I have to constantly repeat it at the top of my voice to make you understand the importance of this mission, because if you do not take any action, then no one in this world can save humanity from the abyss of destruction.

The world is rapidly moving towards a point of no return. Men have turned their backs to God even though they proclaim loudly and strongly that they believe in Him but practically, the roads they follow are moving them away from Him. If you have any doubt about it, explain to me why there is no peace in this world? Why is there so much rancour and bitterness in people’s hearts? Why so much social malaise, so much fear and mistrust? Where he is, man turns his back on peace, stumbles and loses his balance; he remains an unsatisfied one, with deep fears for his future. All this cannot be the fate of those who worship God or who take the path that leads them to Him.

Reviving the Spiritually- Dead

The verse I recited at the beginning of my sermon is crucial to this subject. You need to learn how people can be revived [call back to life]; how a member of the Jamaat Ul Sahih Al Islam, who is aware of his responsibilities, should put himself at the service of Allah, and at the same time that of humanity by inviting men to our Creator. Allow me to clarify one point: according to the Holy Qur’an, all paths can lead to God. The Holy Qur’an tells us of a straight path, a path of “reason” which leads to Allah, while reminding us that if people belonging to any faith express the desire to meet Him or to be guided to Him, our task as Dai-i-Allah will not be the least disturbed and difficult, because we will be helped in this by Allah, Who in this regard, says this in the Holy Qur’an: “And as for those who strive for Our cause, We will guide them on Our paths. Allah is indeed with the doers of good.” (Al-Ankabut, 29: 70)

Man on his own is not strong enough, not enlightened enough, not intelligent enough to discover God. It is God who goes to him, who discovers him but on the condition that on his side he has this desire strongly anchored in him to reach Him and be in His company. That’s all He (Allah) expects from man - the rest belongs to Him. He is the One who opens this way and makes it easy. Allah is the One Who helps those who stumble, fall and slip in their daily lives. The only thing needed, the only force that can motivate and move man is the sincerity of his intentions. The search for God is something innate in man; so he who wants to reach Him must begin by exciting this desire, otherwise God will remain deaf to his calls.

I have observed that most Dai-i-Allah (those who call people to God) spend all their energy arguing with people without realizing that their results are null; because these people do not feel any desire to listen to the word of God or to be in His company. They are adepts of materialism who, by pure courtesy, listen to the Dai-i-Allah - their interest is elsewhere, it is purely academic, material. They take pleasure in arguing with them, especially to disapprove them. All stops only there; and the effort provided does not go beyond this stage. If the desire is not there, no matter what path a person takes, it will never lead him to God.

Abraham's Four Birds

Restoring life to those spiritually dead is the most important thing mentioned in verse 261 of Surah Al-BaqaraIf anyone does not care about God, and all that which concerns Him, he is the one who is dead, he is deaf and blind. How then will you be able to bring this dead man back to life?

This is the question that Abraham put to God thousands of years ago. “How could I do it?” He asked God – him, a humble creature, who was rejected by the society of his time and who was charged with this mission to bring the dead back to life. He added, “O my Lord, how do you bring back the dead to life? I beg you, tell me. I truly know that Your promise will be fulfilled. I know that one day those who follow me will be as numerous as grains of sand and stars. I believe in all that, but I would ask you to show me how You are doing to bring the dead back to life.” Allah then gave him this answer: “Take four birds and begin to teach them to love you. When they love you [and are attached to you] and cannot live without you, then go to the four peaks of four mountains and place each bird on each of its ridges. Call them then and Lo! they will come back to you swiftly.”

This metaphorical message addressed to Abraham is a very important instruction, a very vital lesson for the Dai-Illallah and a profound teaching in the art of preaching, in the science of bringing the ‘dead’ back to life. The first and most important lesson that can be learned is that the spiritually dead people have no interest in caring for God, to be guided to Him - you [as Dai-Illallah] will at least be considered alive to them. 

If you make yourself loved and you project the sincere image of a pious being, of a person belonging to Allah, these spiritually dead ones will eventually direct themselves to Allah through you [through your efforts]. Judging you by your kindness, they will begin to love you. You will build strong friendships with them if you help them in their needs, if you share their joys and sorrows. Introduce yourselves to others with sincerity as a source of beauty and charm - this image of your person will trigger in them the desire and the lesson of what is good. You only have to make them understand; that’s the art of conversation. You can do this by showing them your feelings, and not just giving them sermons. It is only a matter of heart and it can move them; and it is not the fine words that can bring change.

The power of the Heart for Guiding Others 

More than once, I have witnessed this in my life; it sometimes happens that some people try to reform someone and they spend their time reforming him. And they spend their time doing it to conclude at the end that the person concerned is incorrigible and that it is impossible for him [people like him] to reform.

Let me give you an example from the life of Hazrat Massih Ma’ud, Mirza Ghulam Ahmad (as) the founder of Jamaat Ahmadiyya. He had several admirable friends, and the brightest among them was Hazrat Maulvi Nooruddin (ra) who later became Caliph after him [i.e. his demise]. He had the capacity and the power to speak in him, but he lacked the gift of moving people. Compared to the Promised Messiah (as), he was only at the second level.

The power of the heart varies in different people. To prove this to you, one of the companions of the Promised Messiah (as) said that he had a friend who was an alcoholic and he was so steeped in alcoholism that no persuasion or sermon could change him. He then took him to Hazrat Maulvi Nooruddin (ra) - who was also a doctor - to Qadian who told him about the harms of alcohol. Nothing good came out of this meeting with Hazrat Molvi Nooruddin (ra).

As a last resort before leaving Qadian, he took him to Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad (as). The visit only lasted a few minutes and it is worth noting that the Messiah did not give him any lecture on the misdeeds of alcohol. He advised him to be good and kind and it was just this contact with the Promised Messiah that had completely transformed the man, and he promised never to touch alcohol again. After the interview, he spoke with his friend, the companion of the Messiah: “He told me absolutely nothing about alcohol. His piety and kindness were irresistible. I knew I could not resist it. I am a completely different man now.”

The meaning of Dai-i-Allah is that [which I have elaborated]. In the same way try to make a change in people’s lifestyles. The Promised Messiah (as) did not ask his unexpected visitor to join Ahmadiyyat. The latter accepted it of his own free will. Why this change then? It is because the man had this presentiment that Ahmadiyyat had something good in it, represented the good, and which wanted to transform the face of the world. 

Making a Difference to the World Around You

You must first start inviting people to do good, and the Holy Qur’an is filled with such teachings. Here is what verse 105 of Al-Imran Surah says: “And there is a group among you who calls towards good, who enjoins justice and forbids evil. And it is they who will prosper.”

It is a clear message, without any ambiguity. If you want to prosper, change the face of the world, that’s the way to do it. To propagate good does not need any argument. To delve into long arguments does not lead to anything. Your words must come out from the bottom of your heart and if you feel that the reaction is not the one you expect from your interlocutor, then make him understand that it grieves you enormously. It is this kind of expression that mothers express to their children who are recalcitrant. Fathers do not display any such expression.

I have observed that a mother’s expression of love for her children has much more effect than the hard line sometimes followed by the father to correct a compromising situation. The features of deep sadness and helplessness left on a mother’s face go straight to the heart of this child who refuses to get rid of his bad habits. He is aware that he has caused grief to his mother and it is from this situation that the desire for reform in him is implanted.

The Dai-i-Allah who invites people into the path of God must project the image of the one who suffers in the face of misunderstanding. The invitation to the path of righteousness must be made with the deep conviction that what man needs is goodness.

Call People to the Common Good 

I would like to clarify this point before ending [this sermon]. When you call people to our Rab (Allah), it is not necessary and perhaps not always wise for you to do so by referring only to your religion. The Holy Qur’an constantly tells you that if you love God, you must start by highlighting the attributes of God instead of glorifying the religion to which you belong. The message that your / our religion - Islam - will follow in due course. Tell those who are listening to you to stay away from bad habits - strike their imagination by telling them to follow the good things common to men, because this concept is inherent to all religions. If you start by spreading your message by introducing a controversial subject, a dispute, then it is very likely that these people will lose interest in what you tell them and they may even turn their backs and take rigid attitudes towards you, in an irreconcilable way.

So act with wisdom, kindness, love, sincerity, and piety, you will find God with you, in your humble effort to direct people to Him alone, the Creator, toward His existence, His truthfulness, and the veracity of His truths, in this world and in the hereafter. So, do not be discouraged my disciples and followers. You, Muslims, rise in goodness and act kindly and lead people kindly, with a pure heart. It was this pure heart displayed by Abraham (as) that conquered that of the Creator and he became a sincere and intimate friend of God and it was God who inspired him to revive the dead and direct them to Him. Alhamdulillah.

May Allah bless you in this noble work. Have this goodness and the desire to succeed in you, only for the pleasure of God, and not as ostentation or to please the Caliph of God (Khalifatullah)Insha-Allah, you will succeed in your pious and sincere quest. Ameen.

--- Friday Sermon of 30 August 2019 ~28 Dhul-Hijjah 1440 AH delivered by Hadhrat Muhyi-ud-Din Al Khalifatullah Munir Ahmad Azim Saheb (atba) of Mauritius.