Saturday, May 23, 2020

Ramadan: Training for True Life

The Departure of Ramadan 

The rules governing fasting are clearly defined. They must be applied with diligence and respect within the prescribed framework. Any trend beyond the prescribed limits must be discouraged and abandoned.

In fact, the real purpose of the fast, its meaning, and the spirit that animates it must dominate the heart during this sacred month. In few days, our special guest will bid us farewell. For believers, these are very sad moments because our special guest will leave us with great sorrow and sadness. Those who have benefited from this entire blessed month are very fortunate, as no one knows if next year how many of us will welcome this blessed month again.

In this month of Ramadan most of the believers have benefited enormously from these blessings by putting into practice all the Ibadat (acts of worship) prescribed by our Creator. So the month of Ramadan is a period of intense training for the next eleven months (Insha-Allah). Our hearing, sight, tongue, mind, all are subject to rigorous testing. Those who did not pray five times a day do so now. Those who did not wake up in the latter part of the night to offer prayers [Tahajjud & even Fajr], learn to do so. This discipline, practiced for a whole month, serves as a model for the next eleven months.

Allah Most High said, “O My true servants, haven’t We given you a perfect understanding which has enabled you to make great sacrifices which would have probably broken the back of the average man; but you carried this burden out of love for Me? As it is said in the following verse, “But the man undertook to bear the burden.” (Al-Ahzab 33: 73)

The Creation of Man: Divine Favours at Every Stage

The first is to understand that God has traced your future (tadbir) from all eternity. You have to know, in fact, that God was with you before you were with yourself. Now, in the same way that He traced your destiny before you even existed and you could oppose your will to Him in anything. Man/ The believer received Freewill from Him yet He keeps governing him [to that which is best] after giving him, giving you existence. So be [now] with Him as you were before enjoying existence!

He will be vis-à-vis you as He was at the time of your conception. Also consider that at all stages of your evolution, you are taken care of in the divine plan. God took care of producing you in existence, and pre-established your destiny from the very day that He determined the measure of all beings, when He asked them, “Am I not your Lord?” And they answered Him, “Certainly, we attest it.”

The first sign of concern [of God] for you is to reveal Himself to you so that you know Him, and to manifest Himself to you so that you contemplate Him. He gave you the ability to speak (He made you speak), inspired you to recognize His sovereignty (bi-Rububiyyatihi), and you immediately proclaimed His unity.

Then He made you a drop in the loins [of your genitor/ father]. From that moment He took care of you, protecting you and the belly [womb] that was to carry you. He sent His help to you through all of your ancestors (those who carried you), your male ancestors since your father Adam. Then He projected you into your mother’s womb, taking special care to make this womb a receptacle, the soil in which you would grow and the preserved place where life would be given to you.

He united the seeds [of your father and mother] that went into composition to bring you into existence, by virtue of this divine wisdom which wants that entire existence is based on the secret of duality. From this seed, He then drew an embryo (‘alaqa) ready to evolve in accordance with His will, exalted be Allah, into a fetus (mudgha) to which He imprinted your form. He built the body parts/ constitution [which is yours] and breathed His Spirit into it.

In your mother’s womb, He granted you your sustenance before you even faced existence, keeping you there the time necessary for the members to strengthen, and for the elements that make you up to solidly unite them to each other.

So He prepared you for this [present] manifestation, in which you would receive all that was intended for you, good or bad. For if He has manifested to you in this world, it is so that He may reveal Himself to you by virtue of His grace and His Justice. But when He threw you down to earth, He – Exalted be He – knew that you could not absorb solid food, having no teeth to grind it: this is why He brought up a food in the maternal chest which does not hurt your mouth... In your mother’s heart, He has placed a mercy which stimulates the rise of milk: each time it risks being interrupted, mercy makes it spring again from her chest/ breast. He then instructed your parents to look after your interests with affection and compassion. Now, this is none other than the divine compassion, which He lavishes on all of His servants in the form of their father and mother, and by which means He makes you know the Love [which He has for you]!

In reality, it is only His sovereignty that brings you plenitude, and His divinity that really takes care of you (raises you). God then forced your father to provide your education (to care for you) until puberty, out of concern for you. He did not impose any religious obligations on you until you reached intellectual maturity (that is, at the time of puberty). Until adulthood He never ceased to grant you His grace and favours; [and He will grant it to you again and again] until old age, then [after death] when you go to Him to appear before Him, then when He saves you from retribution, then when He introduces you in your place of reward, then when He takes off your veil and puts you in the presence of His beloveds: Certainly, those who fear God are in gardens and among rivers, in a place that their sincerity has enabled them to reach, near their Mighty King.

For which of His blessings should you [thank Him most], and which of His favours should you mention [before the others]? Meditate on this word: Whatever favour you enjoy, it comes to you from God; and you will understand that you cannot in any way escape divine favour and that neither His grace nor His gifts [favours] can forget you.

So if you understand what I just explained to you, you will understand that Ramadan is the month when you took a spiritual bath and became pure like a baby. It is a sacred month to the extent that Allah Himself has promised those who would fast with sincerity, who would do their best to obtain the pleasure of Allah, who would seek Divine help through prayer and good conduct that He would be the One who would give you the reward, and that reward is none other than Allah Himself. You not only avoided eating and drinking during the prescribed hours, but you also abstained from anger, slander and all kinds of obscenities.

Not only are unnecessary discussions discouraged, but also to talk too much because all of this prevents you from focusing your attention on remembering Allah and His attributes.

Whither Ahmadis? 

In my recent YouTube post, I refuted a mullah who has set himself the fatwa of giving death sentences. Ramadan proved futile for him because he did not know how to seize its benefits to reform. In trying to smear me and my followers, he has smeared the honour and integrity of Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad (as) as a Faith Reviver, and the Messenger of Allah of his time/ era. 

He and all who think like him forget that opponents of Ahmadiyyat used his [Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad] own words to humiliate him, calling him Kafir [disbeliever]. They said that according to Mirza Ghulam Ahmad Qadiani’s own fatwas, he defined himself as Kafir (Nawzobillah). These opponents called him a liar and a madman and said he was a false prophet who came up with false revelations. He was even accused of being a British agent, who used the protection of the English to spread his false doctrines. A certain Abdul Ghaffur Khan, leader of the Jamaat-e-Islami and member of the Assembly of Pakistan said: “The foreign government granted him all the facilities to propagate his imposture and in particular in the British colonies.” And then they ask themselves the question: Since there are Ahmadis concentrated in England, as well as their caliph, is it then that this declaration is true because the Ahmadis seek the protection of the English soldiers and not divine protection? [God Forbid]

In addition, this [Ahmadi] Mullah, as well as all those who support him, forget that the Pakistani Parliament unanimously passed a resolution on 07 September 1974, according to which it qualified all Qadianis groups as non-Muslims, a term they gave to all Ahmadi Muslims.

The Ahmadis of today forget the suffering of the first Ahmadis, they forget that our mosques, our Ahmadi brothers, sisters and children were murdered because of their faith. We were forbidden to give the call to prayer (Azaan), forbidden to have a mosque and to make Salat [prayers] in it, and the Shahada was erased from our mosques and our graves, even to this day.

Oh Ahmadis, this is painful for us, is it not? Do you not realize that history is repeating itself in this new century with the advent of a new Messiah?

Remember that with the plague which ravaged the Punjab, including Qadian, the anti-Ahmadis applauded the misfortunes of the Ahmadis and celebrated by declaring that one of the members of the household of the Promised Messiah was killed by the plague. And they even said the “Mirza” Himself succumbed to the plague. [God Forbid]. Will you repeat the ignominy of the mullahs of yesteryears, and even that of those today who continue to martyr the Ahmadi Muslims around the world? Think and reform your behaviours before it’s too late.

The Joy of Eid

Ramadan has come, and will be leaving very soon. Catch up, sincerely repent to Allah. Allah is certainly Merciful and Forgiving.

So those who have kept an extraordinary discipline for the pleasure of Allah, then let this discipline practiced during this sacred month serves as a model for the eleven months to come! Insha-Allah.

After you have carried this burden, Allah (swt) gives you - gives us - the reward of an Eid.

But shall enjoy it only those who understand its true philosophy. The joy we feel is deeper than that of wearing new clothes. Of course, clothes have a certain relationship with Eid. But this Eid that awaits us does not depend on clothes.

Think of the poor who cannot afford good clothes. Doesn’t the Holy Qur’an tell us, “The clothing of righteousness is the best?” (Al-Arraf 7: 27)

Let us all pray together that Allah will accept all our sacrifices in this sacred month of fasting, and grant us a life filled with His pleasure and satisfaction, and that Allah will forgive all our excesses and open the door to His Salvation, Insha-Allah. Ameen.

---Friday Sermon of 22 May 2020~28 Ramadan 1441 AH delivered by Hazrat Khalifatullah Munir A. Azim (atba) of Mauritius.