Tuesday, January 29, 2008

The Signs of God - Friday Flames - Part III

Continuing with his discourse on verse (2:130) of Surah Al Baqarah today Huzur elucidated the fourth aspect of the Abrahamic prayer or the fourth excellence of the great Prophet, which, according to Hadhrat Ibrahim (on whom be peace) was required in the Seal of all Prophets to last till the Day of Judgement and which the Qur’an declares to have been fulfilled in (62:3).

Each Prophet of God brings teaching which seeks to attain the pleasure of God and purify his followers. The unique purification that these verses refer to is by virtue of the decisive verses of the Holy Qur’an, the like of which had not been revealed before. The teaching of the Qur’an is full of wisdom and each commandment has been mentioned with the reasoning behind it. Each word is a Sign facilitating unparalleled purification. This Book will now continue to purify till the Day of Judgement, its teaching has not omitted any aspect therefore it could not have excluded purification. The Holy Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be on him) is the purifier of every person to be born till the Day of Judgement.

Explaining the Arabic word ‘tazkia’ (purification) Huzur said it connotes something enhanced, augmented; something that grows/develops as well as to make pure. The significance of ‘growth’ is of two kinds; one is to grow/develop in one’s self and the other is to grow in numbers and in apparatus/logistics. The purification is also of two kinds; that which is obvious and that which is ‘internal’. Hadhrat Musleh Maud (may Allah be pleased with him) said that this great Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be on him) that the verse (2:130) speaks of, would not only purify the minds, rather by imparting wisdom, he would also purify hearts and these hearts would be filled with love of God and would reflect Godliness and onlookers would recognise these people to be people of God.

Huzur said this should be our aim and our objective and we should continue our endeavour towards attaining this, only then will be able to derive beneficence from the teaching of the Muzakki (purifier). Huzur explained that the Companions of the Holy Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be on him) had imbibed his ways. Considering their previous existence, this was a great Sign from God and indeed a miracle. Huzur then read an extract from the writing of the Promised Messiah (on whom be peace) which expounded the meteoric changes that manifested in the Companions after they believed in the Holy Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be on him); changes which transformed their earlier existence of barbarity and savagery into devoutness. This revolutionary change came about because they sought beneficence from the holiness of the ‘purifier’. The very same faculties that previously did not distinguish sin and wickedness strove to do good. Not only did they purify their hearts from the blessed company of the Holy Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be on him) rather they spread the good message and identified their Lord through the resplendent Signs.

As explained before, one meaning of the word ‘tazkia’ is to grow in numbers, therefore, Huzur said people will continue to believe in the message of Islam and a time will come when this faith will be triumphant over all other faiths. The earlier changes did not come about overnight, however, in accordance with the Abrahamic prayer those errant for generations were reformed in a spectacular way. Today we witness that there is Divine promise for the accomplishment of the mission of the Promised Messiah (on whom be peace). Temporary impediments should not generate despair. History bears witness that as long as his followers adhered to the teachings of the ‘purifier’ they won over hearts.

We have witnessed this in the time of the Promised Messiah (on whom be peace) as well. In order to purify ourselves we need to put the teachings of the Holy Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be on him) in practice. Once we have done this no force on earth can stop our triumph. Did all the restrictions put on us in Pakistan impede our progress? On the contrary, our progress accelerated as never before. Huzur addressed Ahmadis wherever in the world they face problems and said that they should not be unduly concerned. In Indonesia due to the mullah’s pressure the government is being harsh and is forcing things on us which have nothing to do with us even remotely. Huzur said to the Indonesian Jama’at that if their government exhibits cowardice and puts restrictions on them, let it do so. This will only end in a manifestation of pure people for the world to behold. The history of the Community bears witness that each and every impediment placed in its way has worked as an impetus for a higher flight. Indeed we declare that Mirza Ghulam Ahmad Qadiani is the Messiah and the Mahdi about whom the Holy Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be on him) had prophesised. By coming into the subordination of the Holy Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be on him) Allah gave him the status of a non-law bearing prophet. This Community shall grow, indeed it is growing and no force on earth can stop this because this is the Community of the true and ardent devotee of the ‘purifier’. The more we will purify ourselves, the greater will be the help and succour of the Holy Spirit. (58:23)

Further expounding the subject Huzur said it is the believer’s task to reflect over the Holy Qur’an and the advice and counsel of the Holy Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be on him).

The Holy Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be on him) said ‘Avoid oppression because oppression will manifest itself as darkness on the Day of Judgement. Avoid greed, avarice, and malice as it destroyed the earlier people.’

The Holy Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be on him) defined ‘a destitute person’ as that individual among his ummah who will present himself on the Day of Judgement with his Salat and his fasting. However, he would have had abused people and usurped other’s property and physically harmed others. His virtues (Salat & fasting) will be granted to his victims and he will thus be ‘destitute’.

Huzur said there are individuals who observe worship of God and who give a lot in financial terms, however, they usurp other’s rights. Huzur said purity is not by virtue of what is apparent, rather it is by virtue of the state of one’s heart. Financial giving is a source of purification for those who are well-off.

Citing verses (9:103) and (9:60) of Surah Taubah Huzur said it is not simply enjoined to give alms in the Qur’an, rather it is also elucidated where it could be used. The first mention is that of the poor who are completely helpless. Next it is the needy who cannot make a start because of lack of money, then the governmental workers and then ‘those whose hearts are to be reconciled’. Huzur said at the time of early Islam this category (those whose hearts are to be reconciled) was applicable on those who wished to accept Islam but due to various predicaments could not do so or the new Muslims who faced trouble for accepting Islam. However, this does not mean that Islam pays people to come into its fold. Huzur said in this day and age providing for resources for Tabligh could come under this category. The next mention in the verse for usage of alms is for the freeing of slaves. Huzur said although this is not applicable in the current age but unfortunately in some countries, like Pakistan, people give loans to servants and put them in a kind of slavery/bondage. It is just now that voices have been raised against this practice. The government should find a mutually agreeable solution for this and should not deprive either the employees or the employers of their rights.

Huzur explained the funds can also be used to help those who have suffered losses in business as well as spent on any good cause. They are also used to help travellers who cannot carry on with their travels due to lack of funds or to help students with their studies. Huzur said if Islamic governments implemented these teachings with good intentions, an image of Islam would emerge in the world that would be unmatched by any system of the world and all objections against Islam would dispel.

Huzur said the Community, within its limited resources, tries to adhere to the Islamic monetary system. However, the Islamic governments can implement this in a much better way. Even in Pakistan there are enough resources that could eradicate poverty. Huzur said this monetary system does not just give advantage to Muslims, in fact non-Muslims also benefit from this system.

Further explaining the concept of purity Huzur cited (2:223) and said that Allah also likes apparent cleanliness. Indeed, in the teaching of Islam there are specific instructions about oral hygiene, about keeping oneself clean, one’s environment clean. For worship there is the requisite of ablution. There is the specific bath on Friday, use of scent and not to go to the mosque having eaten something with strong odour. Huzur said the standard of cleanliness among Muslims is not up to mark considering how much they are enjoined towards it.

In terms of cleanliness of the environment Huzur said we seem to have the misconception that poverty and filth go hand in hand whereas the Holy Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be on him) had enjoined that cleanliness is part of faith. Huzur related a couple of Ahadith to elucidate the matter. He said during his morning walk he notices some children looking rather unkempt just before school time. Huzur said parents should pay attention towards this matter and in places where [due to heat] one tends to perspire more, even though there can be water shortage, effort should be made to take at least one bath a day.

Huzur said cleansing of one’s heart was central. He elaborated on three vices which impede in one’s purification. One is jealousy. Huzur said this creates numerous problems. Indeed when we pray for refuge from the evil of the envier as in Surah Al Falaq (113:4) we should make an endeavour to avoid envying others as well. The Holy Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be on him) said ‘Avoid jealousy, it burns up virtues in the manner fire burns up grass.’ Huzur said if each person honoured their dues towards others there would be no jealousy or envy. If the time that people spend consumed in jealousy was instead spent constructively, they would surpass others.

The other vice is lying. Huzur said it is essential to avoid all kind of falsehood and untruth. Indeed untruth takes one closer to shirk. The Holy Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be on him) enjoined to adopt truth for he said truth leads to virtues and virtues take one to Paradise, whereas untruth should be avoided for it is a source of depravity and it takes one to the Fire. Huzur prayed that may Allah keep us all away from the curse of this practice.

The third vice that is creating a lot of problems is habitual borrowing and not returning of loans. Huzur said people make outlandish excuses at the time of return of loans and make all sorts of unfair accusations on the person who asks for his money to be returned. Huzur said this is not the practice of the pure hearted; indeed we have to adopt the ways shown to us by the ‘purifier’. Huzur said if one’s situation is such that repayment is not possible then an extension should be requested in a courteous manner or some surety may be given.

In conclusion Huzur prayed that may Allah enable us to put the teaching of the great Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be on him) in practice and be included among those about whom Allah declares:

‘Verily, he truly prospers who purifies himself,’ (87:15)

May Allah always include us among the pure.

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