English rendering of the Friday Sermon delivered in Urdu by Hadrat Mirza Masroor Ahmad, the fifth successor to the Promised Messiah, on 2 September 2016 at the first day of the annual convention of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community in Germany.
So proceeded after customary recitation of Shahada and Surah Fatihah:
By the grace of Allah, starting today, the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community Germany is holding its annual convention for three days. The convention is starting with the Friday services.
Under the direction of the Almighty, The Promised Messiah laid the foundation of the annual convention (Jalsa Salana) for the reformation of the members of the Community. We are approaching 125 years to that first convention this year.
That convention was held in the small hamlet of Qadian in a part of a mosque. Seventy-five people attended to bring about positive changes in themselves. We are seeing today the result of the pledge they made for the reformation of the world and to spread the message of Islam in the world by becoming the helpers of the Promised Messiah, may peace be upon him. Allah bestowed such blessing in their work and in their intentions that today, from the available halls and complexes in Germany, the Ahmadiyya Community is holding their convention here in the whole complex which is on a vast tract of land, and despite the vastness of the building, marquees and tents have been erected outside in the open field for some necessities. Considering worldly means, it is not possible for us to bear such huge expenses but Allah blesses the resources of the Community and thus is providing us the opportunity to hold our convention here…
As I said, the Promised Messiah, may peace be upon him, started holding these conventions upon receiving a directive from Allah and their purpose was the reformation of the members of the Community. Their purpose was to make an effort to be attracted towards God, to advance in knowledge and understanding, to bring about positive changes making them part of one’s life, to save oneself from the desires and futilities of the world, to make a pledge and a promise to spread the message of Islam in the world, and to fulfill it with all of one’s abilities and capabilities, and to enhance the relationship of love, affection and of brotherhood. The former accomplished these objectives adequately. Allah endowed so much blessing to the conventions of the small village of Qadian that today in the same manner conventions are being held in all the countries of the world where our Communities are established. The purpose of these conventions is the same as the promised Messiah had explained to be that of the convention of Qadian and that I just briefly mentioned. Thus if we are gathered here for this purpose then we are fortunate that we will be the heir of the blessings of Allah. It will be unfortunate if we or anyone of us has come here with the concept of fair that Allah directed us to gather for a righteous purpose, and we did gather, but rather than pursuing righteous end fell into worldly matters.
Thus, every Ahmadi who comes here should keep in view to cut off completely from the world during these three days. And even after this, leave with a pledge to continue with virtues that sprouted here so that you continue to be the absorbers of the blessings of Allah despite living in this world, despite being engaged in worldly affairs, as these also are necessary matters, employment and business both are necessary.
During these days engage in remembrance of Allah in addition to the obligatory and voluntary worship. Thought stay pure with the remembrance of Allah and the attention is towards the Almighty, and man is prevented from vice. This is the purpose of worship. Remembrance of Allah continues to bring to attention the obligatory worship. If a person is engaged in real worship, it in turn diverts him to remembrance of Allah. Everyone should keep this in view.
Allah has placed an article of worship in Islam this is not obligatory on every Muslim in every circumstance but yet every year hundreds of thousands of Muslims carry out this obligation. It is the obligation of pilgrimage to the House of God, that is, Hajj. This obligation will be carried out in a few days.
By bringing into attention the worship of pilgrimage, Allah pointed out to Muslims that during these days they divert all their attention to Allah as the purpose of pilgrimage is not accomplished without it.
Though, due to the atmosphere of pilgrimage, it is expected of every pilgrim, and due to the pure environment of the event, the pilgrim cannot think of anything other than the remembrance of Allah, chanting his attributes, and His praises, yet Allah also brought into attention that due to congestion, due to a large gathering at one place, some vices appear. Allah who knows the human nature. He has brought to attention three vices at this event that one has to avoid. We should be praying all the time to save ourselves from the attack of Satan and pay attention to this matter attentively.
Allah diverted the attention of the pilgrims to three vices [2:198]. First is Rafatha. Its translation is done as obscene conversation but it means foul talk, abuse, filthy and useless discussion, relating dirty stories, frivolous and frolic talk, loose talk, tête-à-tête sittings. All these are included in this. So, here, with clarity, all kind of frivolous and useless chit chat gatherings have been forbidden.
No one should doubt who would be doing such things at pilgrimage as whoever goes there on pilgrimage with pure intention, it is expected of him that he is sacrificing everything for Allah. Hadrat Muslih-i-Mau’ud, may Allah be please with him, says,
When I went for pilgrimage, a youth was circumambulating with me. During circumambulations, he was singing songs from movies in place of prayers. He was from India.
I said to him, What is this that you are doing?
He said, I do not know the prayers chanted during pilgrimage. We are businessmen. We have a large cloth store in Calcutta. We compete with another cloth store. They are good businessmen. One of them returned after pilgrimage. He has added Hajji [a person who has performed pilgrimage] to his name on the signboard on their store. It has attracted people more to them that it is the store of a Hajji and he would have better merchandize. So, my father said to me that he could not go for Hajj due to sickness or old age or whatever, therefore, I should go to Hajj {pilgrimage] so that we may also have a signboard with Hajji on it. That is why I am here. I am performing Hajj to boost our business.
So when people go to Hajj for this purpose, then what other thought can there be not during a worship or a gathering.
Next, Allah directed against Fusuq [2:198] during pilgrimage. Do not shirk obedience and compliance. Abide by Allah’s directives. Keep on the path of virtue that you have adapted. Do not lean towards vice.
Next, Allah directs to completely avoid Jidal during pilgrimage [2:198], that is, all kind of fighting and quarrels. Hadrat Muslih-i-Mau’ud, may Allah be pleased with him, mentioned once
If people come to our conventions keeping in view the principles that Allah has outlined for avoiding vice during Hajj, an extraordinary reformation can take place
Certainly he put forward a fundamental principle for reformation. We do not say, God forbid, that the status of the convention [Jalsa] is that of Hajj as some of our adversaries blame us that we go to Qadian and give it the status of Hajj. This is incorrect. But for progress in faith and for one’s own reformation this is a foundation related by Allah. Therefore, mind these matters at large gatherings and events. If we will keep these principles in view in the gatherings for our progress in faith and for our reformation, the level of our reformation will elevate. Convention is not a worship, but it is for sure a training camp that is established for spiritual progress. If in it we do not abstain from loose talk, abuse, filthy and useless talk and tales, we will not attain its purpose. We have to avoid all these things in them. If we will save ourselves from useless talk and from useless conversation, for sure a calm, peaceful and virtue-scattering environment will be created and the purpose of the convention will be attained.
One has to avoid Fusuq, the sin of shirking the obedience of Allah. This is important. We have come here for the purpose of faith. We have to carry the burden of the obedience of Allah.
In summary, implementing the teachings of the Holy Qur’an on ourselves, we have to discharge the right of the worship of Allah and also have to act upon other injunctions.
We are directed to avoid another action that becomes a means of breaking relations and then these relations remain broken for years and quarrels linger on.
The objectives of Jalsa outlined by the Promised Messiah, may peace be upon him, in fact revolve around these three items that we get an opportunity for our reformation, reformation of our self, and avoidance of frivolities, and that attention towards Allah sprouts and special attention develops to act upon His injunction with complete obedience, and that a special relationship of love and brotherhood is established with our fellows in faith, and that we annihilate all kind of selfishness and discord.
When the Promised Messiah, may peace be upon him, saw one year that people did not pay attention to give the rights of one another and selfishness had overcome some members, and small matters had led to arguments and quarrels, he showed displeasure and did not hold the convention for one year.
Therefore, every person participating in convention should remember that as he has to pay attention to the reformation of the self in every minute matter rather than wasting his time here and there, he has to listen to the whole proceedings of the convention to fulfill the purpose of attending the convention. Matters of reformation and virtue can be found in every speech. No one can say that they did not glean anything. However eminent a scholar one may be, some item of significance can be found, or at least something is reminded, therefore, one should listen attentively.
To increase one’s spirituality, discharge the right of the worship of Allah. There should also be attention towards the rights of people. There is no question of quarrels or fighting here. To glean the true blessing from this convention, the question is not whether a quarrel takes place or not. For attaining the true blessings of Allah and to benefit from the prayers of the Promised Messiah, ones whose old quarrels persist, not that they quarrel here but that they should vie with one another in seeking reconciliation and end their disputes. Vanquish your ego. Due to old disputes, I know that every year at the convention there is unpleasantness among people among some families and among some persons, and some persons also fall into argumentation. Everyone is here at the convention. Two estranged persons come across. Every Ahmadi is to come here. We cannot say why this came and that did not. Among estranged persons, among men and women, while their old rivalries yet continue when they see each other, there are signs of displeasure and estrangement. Sometimes some people say something scathing even from far away and it is pretended that the other party was not addressed and the comment was occasional, while the comment is made intentionally to incite the other party. The other party bearing rancor in their heart also retorts something in rage. They shirk the obedience of Allah through a frivolous action and then sometimes the matter leads to a face-off. If one does not have control over his emotions then it is better that they themselves withdraw from the surroundings of the convention and do not participate in the convention. There are only a few such people who end up defaming the Community. They earn the displeasure of Allah by coming to the convention rather than enjoy the blessings of the convention. Will Allah ever like that believers gathered for a good cause increase disorder and mayhem rather than earn spiritual progress and virtuous objectives?
When Allah mentioned the ones attaining success, after mentioning the ones who are humble in their Prayers, He mentioned the ones who avoid frivolities. Allah says,
Surely, success does come to the believers,
Who are humble in their Prayers,
And who shun all that which is vain… (23:2-4)
We have come here for a virtuous purpose. Almost everyone joins in the Prayers but Allah enjoins to offer Prayers humbly, offer Prayers in complete obedience of Allah, and that the prayers are not for show.
To create a unity is also a purpose of offering Prayers in congregation, to come in the presence of Allah as one body so that the spirituality and virtue of one another seep into each other and is absorbed by each other. Ones who will be offering Prayers humbly and will be bowing before Allah in sincerity, their imprint will also be on the ones at a lower level standing next to them but only when the Prayers will be offered in a state of His complete obedience and humbleness. Some write me that they relish the Prayers at Jalsa offered in humbleness and humility. Everyone should try to attain this pleasure so that they become among the believers who are to see success and triumph. Allah has devised different means for the successful and triumphant. True and complete success is attained by adopting these means.
It is apparent from the verses I have recited that the second means Allah has mentioned is avoiding frivolity. During Jalsa and after every Ahmadi should pay special attention to this side too. Hadrat Khalifatul-Masih I, explaining al-Laghw [frivolity], said that all kinds of things come in it—all kind of lies, all kinds of sins, playing cards, gambling, gossiping, finding faults—all these are included in it. He has given the example of card games and gambling; it reminded me a picture sent on Whatsapp. Pious environment and pious places have no effect on some people. I have mentioned a person and gave his example who went for Hajj. The picture I am mentioning was of people at I’tikaf. Some are reading Qur’an and other books but some were playing cards in the visible environment of the mosque. The comment on the picture identified it as the Mosque of the Prophet. This is the condition of some people that do not resist frivolity even in their worship yet they are bona fide Muslims and Ahmadis infidel. These people are practically joking with Allah. Who can be a greater transgressor than them. When we see such examples of others, we should learn a lesson from them that such things may not appear among us. At the same time we should thank God that he gave the opportunity to accept the Imam of the age who persistently diverted our attention to avoid such frivolities. The promised Messiah, peace be upon him, says with regard to frivolities at one instance,
Freed people are those who separate themselves from frivolous actions, frivolous matters, frivolous engagements, frivolous sittings, frivolous company, frivolous relationships and frivolous emotions.
The Promised Messiah, may peace be upon him, has identified all frivolities. All the matters the Promised Messiah has mentioned, they are all related to each other. One frivolous action leads to another frivolous item. And if we ponder, frivolous action, discussions and engagements are carried out be the ones who join frivolous sittings and are a result of the company of frivolous people and interaction with them and generated by frivolous emotions in regard to small matters. I have given the example of playing cards while at I’tikaf. They are sitting in the mosque for I’tikaf but rather than fulfilling the right of worship, they are engaged in frivolities. Ones in the company would also be same kind of people as they. The company of such people destroys even when they are sitting in the mosque. Such positive changes should come about in the people coming to the convention that not only during the days of the convention but also even after that the ones who are in our company are the ones who avoid frivolities. Ones who are such company are never rejected. They are the ones who are accepted by Allah. Our manners should be excellent, the standard of our truthfulness should be excellent that bring about positive changes in the ones who observe us.
Advising us at one instance, the Promised Messiah, may peace be upon him, says,
Another matter also is important that our Community should keep in mind and that is to keep the tongue free of frivolous talk. Tongue is the porch of the body. Purifying tongue is as though ushering God into the porch of the body. When God has arrived in the porch then coming in is not a surprise.
What is porch? It is the main gate of a house. When God has arrived near your house, has come at the door, then His coming in not far. No one can doubt that He will come in.
Thus Allah comes near those who avoid frivolity, show good manners, and use soft words, and comes so near that if there is regularity in carrying out good then God showing His grace on such people makes them His own. This is the coming of God in the house that He make that servant His own. When Allah makes someone His own then man finds opportunity to advance in worship and good. Thus, good engenders good and the door of Allah’s nearness continue to open.
We have come here, as I have already said, to seek the pleasure of Allah by bringing about positive changes in ourselves. If this is the purpose then this purpose cannot be attained just by listening to speeches for academic enjoyment until we create practical changes in us. For practical changes, while discharging the right of God in worship, we also have to discharge the rights of each other by excellent manners and by avoiding frivolities. There is need to pay special attention to this direction.
This is a blessing of Allah that He has sheltered us and our mistakes do not eminently come before others. If everyone of us surveys themselves then we will find how many mistakes there exist and how many weaknesses reside among us in comparison to the standard expected by the Promised` Messiah. These weaknesses can become a source of the defamation of the Community and the Promised Messiah. Therefore, the Promised Messiah, has given this advice to his Community:
Do not defame us by affiliating yourself with us.
If the standard of our maters is not good, we will be a source of defaming the Promised Messiah. If our manners are not good, we will be the source of defaming the promised Messiah, may peace be upon him. If we are caught in frivolities, we will be a source of defaming the Promised Messiah. It is a great responsibility that is upon us, the Ahmadis. We need to survey ourselves. At one instances, the Promised Messiah advised,
A person who want to keep his faith firm, he should advance in righteous deeds. These are spiritual matters, and actions affect tenets.
So to just say that I am a firm Ahmadi with respect to tenets is not enough. If there are no good actions, if there are no high morals, slowly weaknesses in good deeds lead to weakness in faith.
Then, focusing on Prayers, he says,
Offer Salat with depth of feeling and pray greatly.
Thus, these days and always in our Salats we should try to create depth of feeling so that our relationship with Allah is strengthened. The true purpose of attending these conventions is that we progress spiritually.
Bringing attention to good relations with each other and caring for the emotions of others, he said,
As you deal with your children with kindness, tolerance and gentleness, deal the same way with your brothers [in faith]. One who does not have good manners, I am concerned with his faith because he has a root of arrogance. Arrogant cannot be a true well-wisher of another. Do not limit your beneficence to Muslims only rather be beneficence to everyone whether he is a Muslim or a non-Muslim.
Be beneficent to everyone.
God is the Lord of everyone.
He is not the Lord of only Muslims. God is Lord of everyone whoever he may be, affiliated with any religion.
Be beneficent to Muslims especially.
We should be beneficent generally due to human relationship, then to Muslims and then to the righteous and the virtuous.
People who are righteous and are counted among the virtuous, relationship with is further enhanced and should enhance.
This is the advice which can make us the ones who bring about spiritual change in themselves. In us there will the emotions of beneficence for each other. We will be the ones wo will eliminate arrogance from our hearts. We will be the one who will converse with each other with gentleness and tenderness like we do with our children. If we will have these things then we will be avoiding all those troubles and discords that sometimes put us in trials. As I said, even at the convention such things take place. I will say again that the purpose of our gathering here is to advance our spiritual and practical condition, and we can fulfill this purpose when we pay attention with a concerted effort to discharge the rights of God and man. Thus, in these days with good attention keep this in mind. May Allah allow everyone to be able to do so.
Cooperate with the administration of the convention. Due to circumstances if some times at the entrances due to checking bear if there is delay and be patient and persevere. These large number of volunteers, men and women, boys and girls, cooperate with them wholly. Do not see what age s/he is, you should look at that the work assigned to that person and listen to what he is saying to have his/her work accomplished and that you have to act upon his/her instructions. Also pray for them that may Allah allow them to do their work adequately.
May it be so that we gain the true blessings of the convention and be the heirs of the prayers of the Promised Messiah, may peace be upon him.