Today’s Friday sermon was a continuation of short stories and fables with morals that Hazrat Musleh Maud (may Allah be pleased with him) had recalled the Promised Messiah (on whom be peace) relating to him. These ancient stories from the Indian sub-continent are being related today by virtue of the Promised Messiah (on whom be peace). Had they not be written down in Jama’at literature they would have been long forgotten where as owing to their mention in the Friday sermon they are now translated in several languages.
Some of these tales may appear to be humorous but there is always a moral to the story. The Promised Messiah (on whom be peace) used to relate that a gardener’s wife had two daughters. One was married in a family of potters and the other in a family of gardeners. Each time it became cloudy she would panic and say one of her two daughters would suffer. On asking she would explain that if it rained the daughter married in potters’ family would suffer and if it did not rain the daughter married in gardeners’ family would suffer. It is rained the clay pottery of the first daughter would be damanged and if it did not rain the gardens tended by the second daughter’s family would be effected. Likewise, the Promised Messiah (on whom be peace) related that two individuals from Qadian had some dispute. Their friends tried to reconcile them but they both insisted to take the matter to the court run by the British. They were both followers of the Promised Messiah (on whom be peace) and they both requested him to pray for them. Faced with a dilemma the Promised Messiah said he prayed that may the one who is on truth win. Requesting prayers in this way is like the story of the mother who feared that rain or no rain would affect one or the other daughter of hers because someone had to lose out!
It should not be assumed from this account that if people took matters to the courts in the lifetime of the Promised Messiah (on whom be peace) it is warrantable to do so now. Seeking justice is warrantable, yes, but it is always better if matters can be resolved with mutual agreement and out of court.
Hazrat Musleh Maud (may Allah be pleased with him) said kindness and courtesy to parents is obligatory on everyone but some young people do not give parents the due respect and do not fulfil duties towards parents. If they reach high office some people are hesitant to meet their parents of humble background.
The Promised Messiah (on whom be peace) related that a Hindu went through hardship to provide higher education to his son. The son went into civil service and reached a high rank. The father went to visit the son at a time when he was in the company of some lawyers and barristers. The father was in his unkempt rustic clothing. Someone did not like his appearance and asked who the dishevelled person was. The son was embarrassed and made an excuse as to who the father was which angered the father and he gathered his clothing and left. The son’s companions were not impressed at him and said had he told them he was his father they would have accorded him due respect.
The Promised Messiah (on whom be peace) used to say that one should not attend an event merely to listen to such and such good speaker but should see what the discourse is about and if it can be availed of. The Promised Messiah (on whom be peace) used to relate that once a preacher gave a lecture on a subject full of compassion. A rustic farmer came by and stopped to listen to the preacher. While the audience was unmoved by what the preacher said the farmer started weeping. The preacher presumed that his speech had so affected the farmer that it had moved him to tears. Addressing his audience he said different hearts feel differently. On the one hand are you listening to me for so long and on the other hand is this man who has been moved to tears after listening to me. So, he asked the farmer exactly what in the lecture had moved him so. The farmer replied that the day before his buffalo’s calf had died making exactly the same sounds the preacher was making, so when he heard him, he remembered the calf and it moved him to tears. This left the preacher embarrassed and mortified.
It is a favour of God on us that we have been enabled to accept the Promised Messiah (on whom be peace) otherwise we too may have been part of the world where Pirs make a living in the name of Islam. The Promised Messiah (on whom be peace) used to say about one such person that he used to presume himself to be at a very high spiritual station. He went to one of his followers and demanded his tax. The man said times were very hard, there was drought and he had nothing to give. Yet the Pir was unrelenting and eventually made the poor man sell something to pay him.
Hazrat Musleh Maud (may Allah be pleased with him) said that the Promised Messiah (on whom be peace) explained that the Holy Qur’an has addressed all the principles of medicine and it contains the treatment of all worldly illnesses. Hazrat Musleh Maud said it was possible that his personal spiritual knowledge had not yet reached the stage, but he could say this much that we were not in need of anything outside of the Holy Qur’an.
Some people assume that having acquired any given knowledge they do not need any experience or any advice relating to it. Whereas it is vital to be mindful that experience is important in conjunction with knowledge. A physician’s knowledge of medicine is not complete unless he practices it. The Promised Messiah (on whom be peace) used to relate that a highly academic physician went to the court of Maharaja Ranjeet Singh and met with his Muslim advisor and asked him to recommend to Ranjeet Singh to meet him. The advisor felt suspicious that he may lose his place in the Maharaja’s eyes if the physician had too much influence. He recommended to Ranjeet Singh that he should meet the physician as he was a highly academic person. Ranjeet Singh said, very well, but is he experienced in his field? The advisor replied, he will have experience by virtue of you. Ranjeet Singh understood the situation and said, is Ranjeet Singh the only one left for him to gain experience? Give him some award and send him off.
If knowledge is not backed up with experience it does not make one an expert on any given subject and if anyone presumes to be an expert just by gaining knowledge they will get the response that Ranjeet Singh gave. It is also very important for the general progression of the Jama’at that young people gain experience after attaining knowledge of modern subjects. Some issues need to be tackled which can only be done through experience.
After accepting Ahmadiyyat, we can safeguard our faith by keeping a strong and constant connection with the administration of Jama’at and with Khilafat as well as utilise those means which keep us connected even when we are geographically far away. Hazart Musleh Maud (may Allah be pleased with him) said there can be no progression in Jama’at work unless one is connected to the main source. He gave example of his time and said newspapers were a way to keep in touch. He said he could address ladies at Jalsa via public address system (loudspeaker). Similarly newspapers keep those who are far away connected to community. The Promised Messiah (on whom be peace) used to say that Al Hakm and Badr (newspapers) were his two arms. In the lifetime of the Promised Messiah (on whom be peace) community newspapers were very popular among the members of the Jama’at and although the Jama’at was few in numbers sale of Badr was extensive. Even uneducated Ahmadis would purchase the newspaper and give it to others to read as Tabligh. One uneducated Ahmadi who drove a horse carriage always purchased Al Hakm and when he felt his passengers were gentle people he would give them the paper and ask to read it to him. Thus he introduced his passengers to Ahmadiyyat. It is said that although he was not educated, during his time he was the source of the highest number of bai’ats.
Times have changed and now there are so many more resources available. For one, every Ahmadi should instil the practice of watching MTA for personal tarbiyyat as well as for forging a strong connection with Khilafat. We should tell friends about the Jama’at website. Many people write in to say that ever since they started regularly watching at least the Friday sermon on MTA they have strengthened their faith and feel their connection with Jama’at has also become stronger. MTA and the Jama’at web site are both very good resources for tabligh and also resources for tarbiyyat of Ahmadis and connecting them to Khilafat and the Jama’at.
Some people are mindful to better themselves especially as regards offering Salat. However, they become negligent about this when keeping company with those who are negligent. That is why it is important to have ties with those who are spiritually strong. In particular attention of Ahmadis in Rabwah and Qadian was drawn to this matter. They have local branches in close proximity and should fill and populate mosques. People who visit Rabwah from abroad write in to say that attention needs to be paid to observance of Salat in Rabwah.
In explanation of how the company one keeps can effect one, the Promised Messiah (on whom be peace) related that once a mentally ill/manic person grabbed hold of Galen (Greek physician). Once he let go of Galen, Galen asked for some bloodletting. When asked why he wanted to have bleeding performed on him, Galen replied that the way the mentally ill person came to him it appeared that he too had some element of mania in him which the manic person was attracted to.
Rather than be inclined towards people who are indolent about Salat one should be inclined towards active people and when the number of active number will increase, even the indolent will be drawn towards being active.
Once a man came to an assembly of the Promised Messiah (on whom be peace) and demanded that he would accept him if he showed a miracle. The Promised Messiah (on whom be peace) replied God is not an acrobat and does not put on shows. Everything that is from God is replete with wisdom. The Promised Messiah (on whom be peace) asked the person what benefit had he availed from earlier miracles that he was now in need of a fresh one? This is simply how obstinate people are, when they do not want to accept they follow in the footsteps of Satan and make such demands. These frivolous, pointless demands have no value in the sight of God or for Prophets of God. There are numerous signs for those who are pious.
When Hazrat Musleh Maud (may Allah be pleased with him) initiated the scheme Tehrik e Jadid (when literally translated it means the new scheme) some people raised objections (owing to the word jadid) that perhaps it was a new-fangled scheme. He explained that this scheme was in fact an ancient scheme and was nothing new. He said the use of the word jaded (new/modern) was for specific purpose. By way of example he said when a doctor treats someone for a long period of time the ailing person thinks the treatment is not working. The doctor suggests to the patient that he would give them something new. When he fact all he does is add some new element to the previous medicine and as such rightfully refers to it as new medicine.
Once an elderly lady came to the Promised Messiah (on whom be peace) complaining of a prolonged bout of malaria. He advised her to take quinine but she complained that if she took even a quarter of a quinine tablet she suffered from week long fever. The Promised Messiah (on whom be peace) realised that she was not prepared to take quinine. In India quinine was/is referred to with a particular name, a word which also has other connotations. So the Promised Messiah (on whom be peace) gave her quinine to take and gave her a different name which meant the same as the name with which quinine was referred to. The elderly lady happily took the medicine and later reported that only two or three tablets had cooled her off from the illness.
Hazrat Musleh Maud (may Allah be pleased with him) said similarly he named a scheme or a practice which was ancient and simply called it as ‘new’ or ‘modern’ (Jadid) but people started criticising that he had started something new! Those with hypocritical tendencies said new-fangled ideas were being introduced and the teachings of the Holy Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be on him) were being digressed.
In the lifetime of the Promised Messiah (on whom be peace) a beggar used to beg on the streets of Qadian. When he saw someone approaching from a little distance he would start his bid and beg a certain amount. As the person approached him, the beggar would bring his bid down and gradually lower it still as the person passed him and walked off in the other direction.
Hazrat Musleh Maud (may Allah be pleased with him) said those serving Jama’at should also have this mind-set to obtain something or the other. If to start off there are just the odd person, gradually with effort they will increase. We should do our tasks and see what the results are! When even worldly matters are not without results how it can be that moral and spiritual tasks will be without results? Those with erroneous thinking say we do what we do but the result is in God’s hand. From this they mean that we tried our level best but God was not on our side. How foolish it is to associate one’s own weakness and failing to God. It is God’s law that whatever we do has a consequence destined. Good or bad consequence is dependent on our own task. As far as hard work and effort are concerned, the result is in our hands. What is needed is to make effort to have definitive results and not rest until the results are achieved!
Some people write in to say they make great effort in worship of God but do not achieve their objective, their prayers are not accepted. It should be understood from this that one has not quite reached the stage one needs to be at or one has adopted the wrong way to get to the objective. Not only should the way to reach our objective be the right one but we should also be prepared to put in the required hard work.
The Promised Messiah (on whom be peace) said that when an alchemist is unsuccessful he pins it down to slight imprecision in temperature. That is, he does not lose hope in alchemy and puts it down to his own failing. Although there is no scope for hope in alchemy whereas hope springs eternal is connecting to God. An alchemist whose whole life is spent in dealing with the slightest of imprecisions in temperature does not lose hope in spite of his failure. However, if a person who wishes to attain nearness to God is not successful, he does not put it down to any defect in his practice, rather he loses hope in God and stops making effort.
Indeed, research work takes years upon years before any result is achieved.
What is needed in attainment of spirituality, closeness to God and acceptance of prayer is to keep an eye on one’s own ways and to reform and better them. To self-analyse, to keep an eye on one’s worship of God and to abide by all commandments of God and to correct one’s thoughts and intellect. God states that He is near and He listens to prays of the supplicant. Thus if one does not feel that God is near and does not experience acceptance of prayers, then somewhere along the way something is deficient in the human effort.
The Promised Messiah (on whom be peace) used to say that there are two kinds of beggars. One type of beggars call out and take whatever is given to them, if nothing is given they call out two or three times and then move on. The second kind of beggar cannot be turned away unless he gets what he begs. This kind of beggars are very few.
Hazrat Musleh Maud (may Allah be pleased with him) said that he remembered a beggar used to come to the door of the Promised Messiah (on whom be peace) and would not move until the Promised Messiah (on whom be peace) stepped out and gave him something. At times he used to ask for a fixed amount of money and if less was given he would simply not accept it. Many a time the Promised Messiah’s visitors used to make up the amount he asked. On days when the Promised Messiah (on whom be peace) was ill and did not go out he would sit there until such time that the Promised Messiah felt better and stepped out. The Promised Messiah (on whom be peace) used to say that in terms of acceptance of prayer, it is important that one is like the second type of beggar and keeps on asking and does not stop until such time that act of God proves that prayer about a specific matter should be ceased. For example these days sex of an unborn baby can be found out and in latter part of pregnancy it can be found out with quite certainty. To continue to pray in such a situation for a baby boy [if it’s a girl] is against the act of God. Indeed, prayer can be made to have a baby boy in future. At times, God discloses His will and to continue to pray against God’s will in such a situation is discourteous.
It should also be remembered that planning and prayers go side by side. One should plan and then pray with resoluteness as this attracts God’s grace. It is very important that we also plan and take practical steps along with praying for something. The Promised Messiah (on whom be peace) used to say that to pray without planning is wrong and the prayer of such a person is thrown back on him because to pray and not plan is against the law of God. It is tantamount to testing God and it is contrary to the dignity of God that man should test Him.
May we, with resoluteness, mould our condition in accordance with pleasure of God and may we pray with the apparent requisites.
Next, funeral Prayer in absentia of a martyr was announced. Qamar Zia Sahib Shaheed was martyred in his hometown in district Shiekupura, Pakistan on 1 March 2016 when assailants attacked him with knives outside his home.