Huzur gave a discourse on Salat in his Friday Sermon today. Huzur cited verse 46 of Surah Al Ankabut. The translation reads:
"Recite that which has been revealed to thee of the Book, and observe Prayer. Surely, Prayer restrains one from indecency and manifest evil, and remembrance of Allah is the greatest virtue. And Allah knows what you do." (29:46)
Huzur said we are indeed most fortunate to have accepted and believed in the true and ardent devotee of the Holy Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be on him) that is, the Promised Messiah (on whom be peace). However, this acceptance puts huge obligations on us to make endeavours to spiritually attain the station that was granted to the Companions of the Holy Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be on him). If this is not our objective then we have not fully understood the purpose of the advent of the Promised Messiah (on whom be peace). Huzur said each individual of the Community should realise that he/she will be truly worthy of the Divine promises made to the Promised Messiah (on whom be peace) with regards his community when he/she will try and purify themselves. The Promised Messiah (on whom be peace) said that the use of the plural aakhareen (the latter-one) in verse 4 of Surah Al Jummah signifies that the one to come in the latter-days will not be alone, that he will be given a community who will attain the spiritual station of the earlier ones.
Huzur said Salat is the primary source of purifying the self, as the verse recited at the beginning signifies. The verse speaks of reciting the word of Allah, to spread it to others and to observe Salat, for Salat, when it is observed with its due requisites is a source of purifying the self. Huzur said it is the responsibility of each Ahmadi to focus on observing Salat, to observe each Salat at its prescribed time. The five daily prayers are the milestone from where the spiritual journey begins; it is the seed that has the potential of spiritual growth. If one is negligent with Salat, virtues are suppressed in the manner that weeds suppress the growth of a field. It is our task to make the roots of this worship so strong that it safeguards us from all evil. Indeed it is for us to observe Salat and establish it first, it is as a consequence of observing it sincerely that Salat safeguards us in return. Each Ahmadi should self-examine and see if we are fulfilling our dues to be abids (worshipper of Allah) as well as conducting ourselves with high morals and courtesy with people.
Only then will we be among those who fulfil the purpose of the advent of the Promised Messiah (on whom be peace). The Promised Messiah (on whom be peace) said that Salat alone is the virtue that dispels satanic weaknesses and that Satan wishes man to stay away from Salat because he knows it is Salat that would purify man. Fasting [during Ramadan] comes once every year and Zakat is for the well-off to observe, however, Salat is for everyone and should be observed, seeking Allah’s bounties for the treasures of Allah are always brimful all that is needed is the certainty that one is standing before an All-hearing, All-Seeing Being Who can provide in a spilt second if He so wishes. Just as a soldier would never surrender his best weapon in a battlefield Salat is the most excellent weapon for a believer and a believer should safeguard it at all costs.
Citing verse 239 of Surah Al Baqarah (2:239)
"Watch over prayers, and the middle Prayer, and stand before Allah submissively."
Huzur said various commentators have interpreted the term 'middle prayer' differently; it is an instruction in principle and 'middle prayer' can be applied to different people in accordance to their leanings towards worldly matters or their laziness that may make them negligent towards observing Salat. It can be the specific time for different people during a day when their attention diverts elsewhere by satanic enticements. If we can overcome this then consider that we safeguard our Salat and in turn Salat will indeed safeguard us. It is a continuous effort. This indeed is the condition of true obedience and one that brings about purification.
It is incumbent on each Ahmadi Muslim to honour the pledge they have taken after taking their bai'at - to demonstrate perfect obedience and endeavour to tread the path which gives the strength to contend with Satan, which strengthens the core of one's belief and one experiences one's prayers meeting acceptance in the heavens.
Huzur said sometimes two Salats are combined, at times it is due to a valid reason but at other times people simply make it a norm. Huzur said Allah has indeed fixed a time for each Salat as verse 79 of Surah Bani Israel states:
“Observe Prayer at the declining and paling of the sun on to the darkness of the night, and the recitation of the Qur'an in Prayer at dawn. Verily, the recitation of the Qur'an at dawn is specially acceptable to God.”(17:79)
Huzur read a most eloquent extract from the noble writings of the Promised Messiah (on whom be peace) elucidating the significance of the timings of the five daily Prayers. The Promised Messiah (on whom be peace) explains it with reference to a worldly phase man goes through. The time of Zuhr, when the sun, having reached its zenith has begun its decline, is likened to a time in a person’s life when he is faced with difficulty and is in a state of meekness, is anxious and in despair and makes all kinds of attempts in his restlessness, at this juncture we should reflect on our spiritual state and seek God’s help. Then, as the person’s anxiety is changed into the reality of perhaps receiving a warrant or a court summon and subsequently endures cross-examination to prove his innocence is a time likened to time of Asr; this is the time when a person should remember Allah and pray for protection from making mistakes and seek forgiveness. The scenario then changes to the court passing judgment against the person. This increases the person’s anxiety and despair. The time of Maghrib is likened to this situation when a person reflects over the day he has just spent and notices having done nothing commendable. So he turns to Allah and seeks forgiveness. The scenario then changes and the court passes the verdict, declaring the person guilty and the punishment begins. The time of Isha is compared to this, when the night is dark and nothing is visible. This time should make a believer take stock of all that he did during the day and should be mindful that the ensuing night is spent away from satanic enticements, lest one is led towards spiritual destruction. Eventually, as in a worldly scenario a prisoner is relieved upon release, a believer is pleased to receive the time of Fajr. It is as if the time of ‘ease after hardship’ (94:7) has arrived, therefore a believer should not be indolent about offering this Salat and in order to take care of one’s spiritual condition should abandon the comfort of one’s bed to observe Fajr. Indeed, each Ahmadi should endeavour to observe Salat on time as it is stated in verse 104 of Surah Al Nisa (4:104)
Huzur prayed that may Allah enable all of us to observe this most significant commandment. We cannot be really useful in the mission of the Promised Messiah (on whom be peace) who had come to continue the task of the Holy Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be on him) if we do not purify ourselves and we cannot purify ourselves unless we safeguard our Salat. Indeed the Promised Messiah (on whom be peace) called the ‘spiritual pleasure’ experienced during Salat the earthly Paradise.
Next Huzur commented on the rather sad and regrettable news that Danish newspapers have reprinted a cartoon of the Holy Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be on him) in reaction to three people arrested for allegedly plotting to kill the man who drew the original caricatures. Huzur said they have thus demonstrated their petty mindedness. When the authorities have apprehended the perpetrators then why do they seek to hurt the Muslim ummah? Huzur wondered at the fairness of those who claim to be the standard-bearers of fair play. However, Huzur said there is Allah, the Best of judges; Who is Mighty and Who will demonstrate His justice. He alone is sufficient for those who commit such odious acts.
Huzur said it was our task to explain to these people, which we have done thoroughly. We explored all the avenues, we wrote articles in response, wrote to newspapers, met with the specific newspaper people, now we entrust the matter to Allah. As for ourselves, we need to try and put the blessed model of the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be on him) in practice more than before. We have a Lord Who the Holy Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be on him) identified for us and our Lord loves the Prophet more than anyone else; Our Lord will indeed exhibit His Power. Our task is to take our hurt and turn to Him and profusely invoke blessings and salutations on the Prophet (Durud). We should pray more than before, we should try and purify ourselves more than before, we should invoke blessings on the Prophet more than before. These are the aspects that will cause them to fail and will be triumphant for us.
Huzur concluded on a prayer: ‘O Allah these people are being hurtful in presumption of their power. Remedy it, for You are All Powerful.