Friday Sermon – Khalifatul Masih V – Mirza Masroor Ahmad – Year 2015
There is a question which is being raised these days with greater intensity than before by those who oppose religion. They try to influence the minds of youth particularly, and generally the society. These are the people who have become averse to religion and God due to a lack of guidance.
The question posed by them is that if one displays good morals and if worldly education leads one towards virtues, what need remains to accept any religion? They assert that religion claims that it will teach good morals yet they already have good morals without religion.
They allege that majority of worldly people have much better morals than believers in religion. Islam is particularly targeted in this reference. The majority of followers of other religions have virtually no connection with religious matters. Islam is the only religion in which the majority of those who ascribe to it express their belief openly.
Most of those who do not even practice Islam still openly label themselves as Muslim and associate themselves with the religion. The real attack here is therefore on Islam. By using various ploys and presenting different points of view they try to deviate others from religion and poison the minds of our children and youth.
Particularly in the Western system of education, there is greater focus given to critical scrutiny and research. This is certainly very good and attention should be paid toward this. However the right method of doing so should be devised. Anyway, the youth or children entering youth approach their parents and other adults
With various questions that arise in their minds in search for answers or solutions. Either the mother or the father does not have time to answer them due to work and societal engagements and activities or they do not have the knowledge. And for this reason instead of answering their questions
They sometimes try to suppress them. Those entering youth are led to think that religion, regardless of if it is Islam, claims that it is the truth and it has solutions to all issues, however it does not have a practical solution for the current times.
Or they think that that there is no answer to their questions. At times it happens that children observe a disparity between the actions of adults and the teaching given to children. Children stay quiet for a period of time after learning the teachings. But once they attain freedom they stray away from religion
And they fall under the grasp of those who turn people away from it. It is for this reason that regardless of the beautiful teachings of Islam and the fact that it is a living religion, we now see Muslims who reject religion and God. Hence in such circumstances,
There is a need for every one of us to focus our attention towards how we can make ourselves true followers of religion and take care of our progeny. There is no doubt that Islam is a perfect and complete religion and has given us solutions to different problems.
The Holy Qur’an is a complete and perfect book and the Holy Prophet (sa) presents the perfect illustration of this for us. This exemplary model brought about a revolutionary change in the Companions (may peace be upon them) of the Holy Prophet (sa). They understood religion as well as morality.
In fact they also attained material success. However they attained the perception of how everything has its appropriate position. They understood where religion, morals and material progression should be placed. Hence our youth, children who are entering youth, and in particular adults who are responsible for caring for the future generations,
Should remember that we need try to understand the relationship between the reformation of morals, material progress and religion. Then we should shape our lives according to this. If adults understand this point, then they will be able to properly look after the future generations. If the youth understand this point
Then the ways of religious and worldly success will be laid open to them. They will learn how beautiful the teachings of Islam are and that those who speak against it are liars. The question being raised with greater intensity in the current times by opponents of religion, is nothing new.
Similar questions have been raised before every so often. Critics of religion have always raised other criticisms in the same manner to try to justify their objections against religion as valid. In truth they have never tried to understand religion in its essence. Further the so-called religious scholars forge false solutions
And have embroiled the educated class in further confusion as they do fully comprehend the religion themselves. In this age Allah the Almighty has favoured us by sending the Promised Messiah (as) to dispel the confusion and intricacies that arise from these issues.
The Promised Messiah (as) developed the insight in us to comprehend these concepts, making it easy for us to understand them and find a solution to them. Hazrat Musleh-e-Maud (ra) once gave a sermon in this light and he mentioned the relation between reformation of morals, material progress and religion
And the Islamic viewpoint on this; and how the Holy Prophet (sa) taught us its essence and reality through his actions and practical model. As mentioned Hazrat Musleh-e-Maud (ra) discussed this in his sermon and shed some light on it briefly. Today I will present this subject before you
While availing from Hazrat Musleh-e-Maud’s (ra) sermon. We say to the world and it is certainly true, that Islam is a religion which Allah the Almighty prescribed and revealed while keeping the exact requirements of human nature in view. Mentioning that Islam is the religion of man’s nature, Hazrat Musleh-e-Maud’s (ra) says:
Religion and morality, and those requirements of man which are related to his body, are so closely intertwined that it is difficult to distinguish between them. A person who believes in religion cannot separate morality from religion. Neither can he say that religion has made him self-sufficient and independent
From the world so that he has no necessities. If a person harbours the notion that “I do not need anything anymore” then the wheel of material progress will halt altogether. So all these things are closely linked to one another – religion, morality, and material progress.
However, despite this commonality there are also differences between them. Those who do not believe in religion try to free themselves by saying that good morals and material progress are needs of man. But a true Muslim will say that religion is also needed as it shows one the path to reach God.
Hence, there is a difference in how one perceives these three aspects and how we link them with one another. All other religions are dying. Islam is the only religion that proves the inter- connection between these aspects. However the majority of Muslims have not understood the reality of religion
And have very wrongly connected things that related to morals with materialism. So much so that they have exceeded all limits. Instead of presenting religion in a beautiful manner and attracting others towards it, they have become those who turn people away from religion.
Apart from prayers and fasting, when it comes to morals and worldly needs, despite the fact that it may relate to the establishment of an institution or for organising a gathering, they say that in our view all of it is part of Islam
And the one who does not partake in it is a disbeliever and an apostate. This is exactly what we observe in the Islamic world. When this expands it engulfs everything in it. Then it goes beyond labelling someone a disbeliever or apostate, and wars and battles are started.
Every sect has their own Fatwas (edicts) and this is the reason that in order to penetrate the society with their version of Islam, terrorist groups have created their self- established moral practices or laws and they are killing and devastating each other. In Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan,
Their self-formed laws are causing blood to be shed in the name of religion. As I have mentioned before, a French journalist stayed with members of the so called Islamic State that has been established in Iraq and Syria. He noticed certain things there in their actions and laws.
According to the knowledge he had of Islam and from studying the Holy Qur’an or Hadith, he said to certain people in ISIS who he was in touch with, that what they were doing was contrary to the Qur’an and Hadith.
The ISIS officials replied that we do not know whether this is in the Qur’an or the sayings of the Holy Prophet (sa) of Islam. This is our law and we are acting in accordance to it. This is how they have distorted the Islamic teachings.
What is going on in Yemen is also for the same reason. Air raids are being carried out on innocents on the basis of self-serving fatwas (religious decrees). It is true that both the rival factions are in the wrong, but the solution is not needless and indiscriminate killing of innocent people.
As a matter of fact, if we look carefully, we find this [behaviour] in the Islamic history- and it still goes on today- that different scholars developed their own schools of thought as a religion. All scholars, ‘maulanas’ have created their own religions.
There is no truth left in the Islam they are following (compared to the true Islamic teaching). As a result, the majority of Muslims who follow these scholars and issuers of religious decrees have been led astray. Who knows what goes on in the name of religion and spirituality?
On the other extreme, those who do not believe in religion- the Western civilized and advanced world, endeavour to explain away spirituality and morality in material terms. Even if they consider divine revelation a theoretical possibility, they call it a part of human actions. Morality, according to them, is for man’s material gain only;
And that religion is a means for the uneducated or the less educated to save themselves from crime- to an extent. They believe that the only benefit from religion is a degree of moral improvement, but only to the extent that the uneducated start fearing the punishments prescribed in religion, that too the right religion.
Their contention is that what need is there for religion for those who already possess morality? A deeper analysis, however, reveals that materialism, morality and religion are so close together that a common man doesn’t even realise where one finishes and the other begins. In order to understand this distinction,
We look at the pure life of the Holy Prophet (pbuh). He is the world’s material reformer, moral reformer, as well as its spiritual reformer. His pure life is all-encompassing and inclusive of all these things. On the one hand he says that prayer is at the heart of worship,
And on the other he emphasises spirituality. In other words, simply offering ritual prayer is not enough, nor will it resolve all problems. One has to improve the quality of one’s prayer and enhance his spirituality. Man’s relationship to God through supplications has been likened to that between a mother and her child.
‘Dua’ [prayer] literally means ‘to call out’. One calls out only if one is confident that there will be someone who will come to help. You do not call your enemy for help. What should we take into account when we pray (or call out) or want to pray? According to Hazrat Musleh Maud (ra)
We should consider three things to make prayers successful: One should have full confidence that the prayer will be answered. One should have complete faith that whoever is being called upon has all-powers to extend help. A natural inclination that takes man away from all other associations and instead leads one towards Allah alone,
Or whoever the loved one is, being called upon for help. The first two points are logical. It would be completely nonsensical to pray to such an entity if you do not believe that your prayer will be answered or if the entity being called out is incapable of helping.
In that case, it is futile to pray. The third point is the natural inclination that turns one away from everything else, and takes the person solely towards the beloved. The example of mother and child has been used before. The natural inclination of the child towards his mother
Makes him call out to her regardless of her ability to help or not. If a child is about to drown, even when he knows that his mother cannot swim, he will still call out to her and her alone, if she is close by. The child will not call out to anyone else.
This is an emotional connection, about which the Holy Prophet (pbuh) has said that dua (prayer) is at the heart of worship; that is, faith is incomplete without prayers. Thus the Holy Prophet (pbuh) has likened this relationship to that between a mother and a child, such that man runs blindfold towards God.
The second aspect is morality. We find such subtle and intricate demonstrations of morality in every aspect of the Holy Prophet (pbuh)’s life that are impossible to appreciate even for the keenest of observers. These subtleties can only be appreciated if he guides us towards them himself.
Take relationship with wives and expression of one’s love as an example, which are very essential for a harmonious family life. It is one of the basic morals. With regards to his wives, the Holy Prophet (pbuh) was so careful about the subtleties of behavior that he would drink water putting his lips
Exactly where the lips of his wife had touched the vessel. This is seemingly a very small gesture, but in fact is a subtle point of human nature. The depth of human love becomes evident not only through big gestures, but through such small ones too. Looking at his life sketch,
One also comes across so many major virtues which he displayed peerlessly, it seems that he spent all his life studying and teaching only morality. His example and teaching about things such as human relations, inter-family relationships and details of one’s personal character
Such as refraining from falsehood, dishonesty and ill assumption are all so complete that no else can demonstrate such exemplary behaviour even in twenty lifetimes. Thirdly, the teachings of the Holy Prophet (pbuh) provide guidance in material and worldly affairs as well. For example when new cities or developments are planned and populated,
Aspects of civic life such as keeping the roads wide and provision of clean water are carefully considered by major civil engineers and other top experts. The Holy Prophet also guided us towards such matters. He guided us to keep the streets clean. He guided us to make the houses spacious and ventilated.
He has provided guidance towards all material and worldly aspects of life, be it the affairs of the state, cultural aspects of life or of civilization or matters of trade, commerce and industry. A study of his life gives details of all of these from his example at their appropriate places.
Despite this, unlike today’s religious leaders, he did not declare all of these aspects of life as a part of religion. An incident highlighting this has been reported from his life. Once some farmers were planting date palms, and were pollinating male and female seeds manually (male and female seeds are different for date palms).
The Holy Prophet (pbuh) happened to pass by and made the observation whether it was necessary to mix the two, and would they not naturally pollinate by wind? As a result, the farmers stopped mixing the two. That year, or the following year, date production fell far below that of the previous years.
When the Holy Prophet (pbuh) asked for the reason, the farmers said, O Messenger of Allah, we did so on your saying so. He said that he had (only given a suggestion) and not an order, as the farmers understood these material things better than himself. According to Hazrat Musleh Maud,
This example indicates that the Holy Prophet separated religious affairs from the material. The Prophet (saw) had asked the farmers why they were manually fertilizing the plants was the same prophet who brought Allah’s commandments, yet even though the words came out of Allah’s Prophet’s mouth, he himself declared this to be a worldly affair,
Saying the farmers knew more than he did on the subject. Today’s Muslim clergy on the other hand, start making judgments on people’s Islam and apostasy as well as inclusion and exclusion from the pale of Islam based on their utterances, however impractical.
On the other hand, there is this Western, civilised or so called developed countries. According to them faith is unimportant, religious teachings have no value and morality has no reverence. According to this group everything is material; to the extent that according to Hazrat Musleh Maud
The question for today’s philosophers is not how God created man, but how man created God (God forbid). For them the existence of God is a result of human evolution. And even if God exists, it is nothing but the final link in the chain of human mind’s evolution.
According to them, man needed a role model; and when he could not find an exemplary one from within humans, he created an imaginary role model outside the realms of human existence. The initial attempt at creating this role model was unsuccessful. But upon further pondering and evolution of thought,
He created a perfect image and called it God. This is the concept of God according to the philosophers of the time, and for some even today. According to Hazrat Musleh Maud, these people have thus declared God to be a part of the material world.
At the time when the philosophers had created this imaginary God, many actually believed in this God. But as a result of this materialism and the belief that God is a material existence, the modern and advanced philosophers have moved so far away from religion that they have become atheists.
In fact, the majority of people in the western countries have started denying the existence of God altogether in the name of education and modernity. To them material progress and [secular] morality is the be all and end all. Today’s Muslim clergy has added fuel to these atheistic views
By declaring their personal views as religion, which is such ignorance. Deeper analysis shows that not only are today’s religious scholars mistaken, but so are those who deny religion by calling it material. As Ahmadis we are fortunate that the Promised Messiah (as) has saved us from [such ignorance]
And guided us towards the Holy Prophet (pbuh) in order to obtain the truth. The Holy Prophet (pbuh) guided us to the fact that moderation is essential, in everything. That is true religion. He says no doubt worship is essential, that it is quintessential- it is the purpose for the creation of man,
But “your body has a right over you, “your wife has a right over you and your neighbour has a right over you.” There are three ways to achieve these [standards]. First is prayer, bowing before the Lord, worshiping Him. Second is controlling one’s desires and self,
Keeping one’s emotions in check and analysing human psychology. Third is seeking scientific knowledge and honestly performing one’s professional and worldly responsibilities, which are all essential. If we think about it carefully, in order to give the body what rightfully belongs to it, one needs to pray and build a relationship with Allah.
To keep one’s emotions in check is necessary. It is the unchecked emotions that sometimes deny the body its rights, or even makes it commit excesses. By being honest we can improve our moral, spiritual and financial situation by improving our knowledge, morality and spirituality.
Similarly, giving the family and children their rights can be achieved through prayers, controlling one’s emotions and fulfilling their material needs. Similarly there are neighbours. He says that neighbours have right over us. Paying society its rights is possible by praying for them, discharging their dues, understanding their psychology
And accordingly conveying the message of Deen (Islam). It is their right that we convey this message to them. Also it is within the realms of giving neighbours and society their rights that we improve our knowledge and work hard in order to contribute in the progress of the entire country.
When every member of society works with this ethos, it will become an exemplary society in terms of spiritual, moral, material and every other type of progress. Muslims are presently in a disarray because they have stopped giving priority to Allah and His religion and forgot about the aforementioned values I have described.
Instead, they started calling their personal whims and desires as religion. They did not make the religion of God as their first and foremost priority. If they had, then they would have cared about other matters as well. Today, Muslims are following their selfish desires in the name of religion.
The consequence of which are that Muslims are in no position to tell others about the good qualities of Islam; instead by adopting this self-made religion based on selfishness, Muslims are killing one another. They have attained neither worldly nor religious success. They beg world leaders to solve their problems.
This indeed is the state of affairs of the Muslims we see in the world today. It would seem that the Western nations have made their religion subservient to their worldly systems; for them religion is unimportant and worldly things are the be all and end all.
Nonetheless, they have at least achieved success in this world. Indeed, they are misguided but they have accomplished what they regard as their objective in life even if it may be a wrong approach. But Muslims, they have nothing; neither the world, nor the blessings of the religion!
Anyway, the Promised Messiah (as) was commissioned by Allah the Almighty in this era to reform both groups of people. Indeed, God sends His Chosen Ones in these situations so that they can provide correct guidance on how to find the right juxtaposition between religion, morality and material progress.
Their teachings appear to be only spiritual but their message has a deep connection with all three; With spiritual progress and excellence, an improvement in morals is inevitable; and high moral practices are the key to material progress. On the other hand, worldly success does not always lead to high morals.
Similarly, it does not necessarily go hand in hand that those who possess good morals also have the true faith. There is a reason for this. The main objective of God is that the people should strive towards their God. This is the purpose of the creation of man.
Hence God Almighty has placed moral reformation and material progress subservient to religion. This is so that one who pays heed to God, will automatically have all his other needs fulfilled. Allah the Exalted says that a perfect believer attains all sorts of successes; while those whose efforts are aimed at worldly purposes only,
All their hard work will disappear with this world. Hazrat Musleh Mau’d (ra) explained this with an example that people who pursue spirituality, are like those at a higher level who have stairs to access the lower levels.
However, those at lower levels do not have access to the stairs to ascend to the higher level. We learn from this that though any one of these objectives can be attained through independent means, there is a common way to achieve all three of these objectives;
That way is to establish a perfect bond with God. If one strives for morality, one can attain that. If one makes an effort for material progress, that is achievable. But the progress as a result of these efforts will be limited within the respective spheres.
Such efforts do not have the capacity to deliver a wider circle of success. But those, who strive for spiritual progress, will be able to attain everything. When the companions of the Holy Prophet (saw) took Bai’at (the oath of allegiance),
They did not take the pledge that they will make the thoroughfare wide, focus on cleanliness or pay attention to other material things. Instead, they pledged that there is no God but Allah and Muhammad (pbuh) is His servant and His messenger. This pledge led to their moral reformation,
Which certainly led to improvements in their other worldly matters. The level of truthfulness of Muslims at the time was such that it set the benchmark. Muslims had such a reputation for being fair in their business dealings that worldly people were very readily willing for Muslims to oversee their business affairs.
Muslim rulers were so just with their people that they wished Muslims to be their rulers. During the reign of Hazrat Umar (ra), Muslims had to hand over the government of Syria to the Romans, as it would have been difficult to fight an extremely large Roman Army.
At that, the Syrian people cried and pleaded with the Muslims not to leave their land. The Syrian people offered to help the Muslims defend the land, despite the fact that both the Romans and Syrians were Christians. Even then the good morals and excellent government by Muslims
Compelled the Syrian Christians to prefer Muslims over a Christian power. And so to hold a government is a worldly affair, but Muslims did not regard this as a worldly matter. Muslims achieved the position of being rulers by following their religion; therefore they conducted the business of the government based on religious teachings.
That is why; their government was so good that despite religious differences, the public wanted the Muslims kingdom to rule them. Muslims achieved “kingdom” by virtue of the Kalim “There is no God but Allah and Muhammad (saw) is His servant and messenger”. However this declaration of faith was not just a verbal expression
But also a practical one for Muslims. Those who only make verbal claims of faith, end up losing this world as well. But those who attain true faith acquire high morals and find material success. May Muslim rulers of today understand this point and lead their government on these principles.
Hazrat Musleh Mau’d (ra) said that the Promised Messiah (on whom be peace) used to narrate an account of a trader to explain the concept of developing a bond with God. Once a trader gave a large sum of money to the Qazi (Judge) of his town for safekeeping.
The trader went on a business trip. On his return journey, he asked the Qazi for his money bag but the Qazi refused point blank. The Qazi said that he did not take anything from anyone for safekeeping
And he does not get involved in things like that; he has no money bag! The trader tried to remind the Qazi by mentionin many inferences to the bag but the Qazi remained adamant that he never got involved in safekeeping of anything! This naturally worried the trader.
Someone told the trader that the King holds an open Court on a certain day and everyone has access to the King on that day; maybe the trader should try and take his matter to the King. The trader did so, but he had no evidence.
The King said that we cannot apprehend the Qazi without any evidence. However, the King came up with a plan. He told the trader that the King’s procession will come to his town on such and such a date and time.
The King asked the trader to stand next to the Qazi with the dignitaries who have come to welcome the King’s procession. The King said to the trader that during the procession, I will speak to you in a friendly informal manner.
The King instructed the trader to act as if they were familiar friends and not get afraid talking to the King in such a familiar way. The King said, I will ask you that I have not seen you for a long while,
You should respond by saying that I was on a business trip for some time. I have returned now and am trying to get my money back from someone, who I gave the money for safekeeping – and I am stuck in this quarrel with him.
The King said that at this point, I will say to you in front of the Qazi that you should have come to me to get this matter sorted. At this you should say that alright, if this matter does not get resolved soon, then I will come to you for help.
So when the King’s procession came on the appointed day, the trader followed the plan. The Qazi , who was there to welcome the King, saw everything. When the procession passed on, the Qazi came to the trader
And said that, the other day you were talking about some money for safe keeping; my memory is weak, maybe you could be so kind to remind me by telling me more about this. The trader reminded the Qazi of all the inferences he had given before.
As the Qazi has now seen the familiarity between the King and the trader, so on hearing the same account, the Qazi promptl said, ‘why did you not tell me earlier? ‘I indeed have your money bag for safekeeping and will go and get it for you straight away!’
So the friendship with a worldly King, who has only limited powers, can give someone such a status that even people in the position of great power would fear them. So is it not clearly comprehensible that someone with a true bond of friendship with God
Will be able to conquest the world, which will submit to him! The success of the companions (ra) of the Holy Prophet (pbuh) was not through worldly means, rather they succeeded in the world by following the teachings of their religion. However, this requires the strength of faith that absorbs the pleasure of God.
A person, who has attained the perfect faith, can never be devoid of perfect morals. If a person attains all aspects of morality and acts on these, he will possess the attributes of truthfulness, honesty, trustworthiness, righteousness and purity. The given consequence of this is that he will acquire knowledge, skill, competence, ability and diligence.
The natural outcome of all this would be achievement of material success. So a believer should give maximum attention to his spiritual development. Do not be like these others, who believe a verbal expression of faith is enough. The love of God is expressed only from the heart and not from the tongue.
And once the love of God is achieved, one can accomplish anything in any matter. One cannot be worthy of a prize, until one excels in a given task, similarly in the matter of religions all gains come from excellence, so we should aspire for excellence.
The Promised Messiah (as) says that only those people benefit from our existence, who have a strong bond with us. Those who oppose us with full vigour like Maulwi Sanaullah Sahib and others, achieve no benefit (as no one gives any importance to maulwis) compared to those who have a perfect bond of commitment.
If a person starts a journey towards God, he will be rewarded in the same way as people of earlier times. This can only happen, if a person makes a true and concerted effort. God is no one’s enemy. What is required is that we show perfect submission to God.
If we dedicate ourselves to the threshold of God, everything will be given to us automatically. All the resources needed for our progress will be granted to us. There is an easily understandable example that if one sits close to a fire, every part of his body warms up.
So it is not possible for someone to remain deprived of the Divine blessings, if they give up everything in order to be close to God. Thus, we should try to reach God, strive to understand the religion of God and make love of God part of our nature.
Indeed, this will lead us to the highest morals and perpetual material success. We can benefit from its blessings, if we make a true effort to see the light of God. If we make a concerted and earnest effort to seek Divine light ( Nur) , then falsehood (which is darkness) will be dispelled.
The darkness of idleness, deception, dishonesty and all other sins such as usurping the rights of others will be dissipated by the light of God ( Nur) ; our morals will constantly improve and we will attain worldly success. So while living in this society,
If we wish to save our next generations from the evils of the material world and if we want them to understand the connection between our religion and morality then we must enhance their bond with religion. We must show them that material progress is attained by sincerely following the true religion.
May Allah the Exalted enable us to do so.