Speaker Hazrat Khalifatul Masih V(aba) Mirza Masroor Ahmad (atba)

The Abundant Blessings of the Month of Ramadan

Friday Sermon delivered by
Hazrat Khalifatul Masih V(aba)

Friday Sermon delivered at Masjid Mubarak, Islamabad, Tilford, UK on 15 March, 2024

The Abundant Blessings of the Month of Ramadan

After reciting TashahhudTa‘awwuz and Surah al-Fatihah, His Holiness, Hazrat Mirza Masroor Ahmad(aba) recited the following verse of the Holy Qur’an:

‘O ye who believe! fasting is prescribed for you, as it was prescribed for those before you, so that you may become righteous. The prescribed fasting is for a fixed number of days, but whoso among you is sick or is on a journey shall fast the same number of other days; and for those who are able to fast only with great difficulty is an expiation — the feeding of a poor man. And whoso performs a good work with willing obedience, it is better for him. And fasting is good for you, if you only knew.’ (The Holy Qur’an 2:184-185)

Reaping the Blessings of this Holy Month

His Holiness(aba) said that by the grace of Allah the Almighty, the month of Ramadan has started. The Holy Prophet(sa) said that this is a blessed month, in which God bestows an abundance of blessings upon His servants – and Allah already grants unimaginable blessings throughout the year. In this month, Satan has been shackled and God gives us the opportunity to become free from Satan’s grasp, and for this, there are no words to describe this favour of God. When we advance towards God, we find the doors of His grace open wider than before.

His Holiness(aba) said that this is a special month, especially appointed for reaping the favours of Allah the Almighty. If we have shown any prior shortcomings in worshipping God, offering voluntary prayers, reciting the Holy Qur’an, and implementing these teachings, then this month furnishes us with the opportunity to focus on fulfilling our obligations and voluntary acts of worship.

His Holiness(aba) said that arrangements are made in mosques for lessons on the Holy Qur’an, and such programmes are also made available on MTA. We should search for opportunities to draw nearer to God and then make these habits a permanent aspect of our lives so that we may continue benefitting from the blessings of Allah the Almighty. God becomes very pleased when His servant draws nearer to him; this is gleaned from a tradition of the Holy Prophet(sa), who said that when a lost servant comes to God, He feels even greater happiness than a mother who finds her lost child. And then, when God becomes pleased with His servant, He bestows His favours upon them immeasurably. Thus, we would be fortunate if we take benefit of the month of Ramadan and truly become those who attain the favours and blessings of Allah the Almighty.

Attaining the True Essence of Fasting & Shielding Ourselves From Satan

His Holiness(aba) said that in the verses he recited at the beginning of his sermon, God outlines various commandments pertaining to fasting. We are very fortunate that through the Holy Prophet(sa), God granted us such a book full of wisdom so that we may be those who tread on the paths leading to God’s nearness.

His Holiness(aba) said that in these verses, the first thing we are taught is humility, because God says that by fasting, we are not doing something specific to us, rather fasting was also prescribed upon those before us as well, even if it took different forms. However, the ultimate purpose of fasting for all was to tread with righteousness; in other words, to abandon evil and adopt virtue. We must save ourselves from evil like a soldier protects himself behind a shield. Not only does a soldier protect himself, but he also attacks, and thus by attacking Satan, we can put an end to him as well. This is the manner in which we can utilise the true essence and purpose of fasting. Otherwise, God says that merely remaining hungry does not benefit him, rather the true purpose of fasting is to inculcate righteousness.

His Holiness(aba) said that a large portion of Muslims, especially the wealthy, do not even remain hungry during Ramadan, as they are very particular about the meals they have for Suhoor (the pre-dawn meal before the fast) and Iftar (the meal for opening the fast after sunset). Conversely, there are the poor who have difficulty finding something to eat at the times of Suhoor and Iftar. But ultimately, fasting will only be accepted in the sight of Allah unless it leads to increased worship and righteousness.

His Holiness(aba) said that during Ramadan especially, the wealthy should tend to the poor. They should not simply invite other wealthy people to their Iftar dinners, rather they should also arrange Iftar for the poor. In fact, His Holiness(aba) said that he is not even in favour of elaborate Iftars in the form of dinner parties. These have taken on the form of ostentation and innovation. Instead during Ramadan, there should be a greater focus on worship and reciting and implementing the Holy Qur’an. Instead, people come home from work and then occupy themselves in these lavish Iftars. As for those who have invited others for such gatherings, instead of focusing on studying the Qur’an and the Hadith, they remain occupied in arranging and preparing the Iftar so that they may be complimented.

His Holiness(aba) said that in order to benefit from a shield, one must know how to use it, otherwise Satan attacks from all sides, how then will be protect ourselves from him? Hence, we must strive to do justice to fasting. We must strive to adopt righteousness, which is the true purpose of fasting. If we abstain from even that which is lawful, then certainly God will bestow His blessings. It is then that our Satan will become shackled. We should never underestimate Satan; he very boldly challenged that most people would succumb to his leading them astray. We must stand and oppose this challenge, proving Satan wrong.

Remaining Occupied in All Forms of Worship

His Holiness(aba) quoted the Promised Messiah(as) about the true essence of Ramadan, which is to lessen one form of sustenance that satiates the physical body and increase another form of sustenance which satiates the soul. Fasting is not about remaining hungry, rather it is to give an increased opportunity to focus on increased worship. Those who worship for the sake of God, not as a mere exercise should also remain occupied in worship and the remembrance of Allah so that they may attain the true purpose. The heart should always remain occupied in the remembrance of Allah.

His Holiness(aba) said that an important prayer which we can always recite is a prayer which was revealed to the Promised Messiah(as) – ‘Holy is Allah and worthy of all praise, Holy is Allah the Great. O Allah, bestow Your blessings on Muhammad(sa) and the people of Muhammad(sa).’ These are the paths of righteousness which can lead to the acceptance of prayer.

Righteousness is the Root of All Virtue

His Holiness(aba) said that God has commanded us to adopt righteousness in various instances in the Holy Qur’an. In fact, righteousness is a prerequisite for virtue. The Promised Messiah(as) wrote a line in his poetry saying, ‘The root of every virtue is righteousness.’ Then, God revealed the next line to him saying, ‘If this root remains, then everything remains.’ Hence, it is righteousness that leads to all virtue and purifies one from the maladies of this world and fulfils every physician and spiritual need.

His Holiness(aba) said that the Promised Messiah(as) has expounded upon the topic of righteousness on countless occasions, and he would quote a few examples.

His Holiness(aba) quoted the Promised Messiah(as), who said that true understanding of the faith cannot be attained without righteousness. Until the heart is not purified from the filth of this world, then one cannot find spiritual success and virtue. Righteousness is the key to all religious knowledge. This knowledge cannot be attained without righteousness. God states at the beginning of the Holy Qur’an in the second chapter that the Holy Qur’an is a guidance for the righteous; who are the righteous? God goes on by saying that they are those who believe in the unseen, establish prayer, spend out of what Allah has given them and they believe in that which was revealed before them. These are the initial stages of a righteous person.

The Need for the Holy Qur’an

His Holiness(aba) continued quoting the Promised Messiah(as), who said that if these are things which have been mentioned in previous scriptures then what is the need of the Qur’an? The Promised Messiah(as) answered by saying that these are just the very basic stages that have been described, such as belief in the unseen. However, if one wishes to advance from belief in the unseen to absolute certainty, then they must act according to the teachings of the Holy Qur’an. They will advance from the stage of belief in the unseen to the stage of witnessing. It is the same in the scientific world; scientists start with a hypothesis, without knowing whether it will be proven true or not. However, they begin their research on the basis of that hypothesis. God says that one should make belief in the unseen their basis and then act according to the teachings of the Holy Qur’an, and then they will witness the results. This is the true essence of belief in the unseen.

His Holiness(aba) continued quoting the Promised Messiah(as), who explained what it means to establish prayer. The initial stage is to take prayers from a state of not finding any pleasure in their prayer or having wandering thoughts during prayers which is why they do not attract acceptance and turn them into a state similar to the fervency of a person who urgently tries to find water when they are thirsty or food when they are hungry. Once, there was a man who lost something, and instead of looking for it, he said that he would pray and since his thoughts wander during prayers, he would remember where it was while he was ‘praying’. This is not true prayer, but the whisperings of Satan. True prayer is when one remembers God throughout, and not even thousands of rupees worth of business can detract their attention and thoughts from prayer. In this way one can achieve both their worldly and spiritual purposes.

Two Forms of Righteousness & Availing of God’s Mercy

His Holiness(aba) quoted the Promised Messiah(as) said that there are two forms of righteousness; one related to knowledge and the other related to action. As mentioned before, one cannot attain true knowledge until they adopt righteousness. As for actions, prayers and fasting etc., do not render any benefit until one establishes righteousness. It must also be remembered that God has commanded not to associate any partners with Him, not in His Being, attributes or worship. Secondly, one should serve His creation. Then upon adopting righteousness, God says,

‘And he who fears Allah – He will make for him a way out, and He will provide for him from where he expects not.’ (The Holy Qur’an 65:3-4)

Thus, a righteous person is never in need of anyone else except God. Hence, God revealed to the Promised Messiah(as), ‘If you become Mine, then everything will become yours.’

His Holiness(aba) said fortunate are those who will benefit from this Ramadan by elevating the standards of our righteousness to a level which God desires of us.

His Holiness(aba) said in the second verse which he recited at the beginning, God sets some foundational commandments regarding fasting in Ramadan. He says that despite fasting being described, God has made some exceptions, such as those who are sick or travelling. Once they have recovered or completed their journey, then they can complete their fasts. They must fulfil the obligation, but not with an undue burden. Thus, God has kept human nature in mind and made exceptions according to the different circumstances that may arise in one’s life. There are some who are against religion and say that religious people have been unduly burdened and shackled. However, this verse refutes them, because God has created such ease that if different circumstances arise, then they can make up those fasts on any other days during the year. The same is applied in other instances as well such as nursing mothers. Furthermore, there is the option of giving alms as expiation, but even that is only for those who have the means to do so. This is the mercy of God, and unfortunate is one who does not benefit from this mercy.

His Holiness(aba) quoted the Promised Messiah(as), who said that even acting according to the exemptions stipulated by God is also a form of adopting righteousness. In other words, if one still fasts when they are sick or while they are travelling, then doing so would be a sin. Righteousness dictates adhering to even the exceptions granted by God. His Holiness(aba) commented that these days, using the platform of social media, clerics have started issuing false and laughable edicts on these topics. However, God has clearly stated that those who fall under the exempted categories should not fast. One cannot attain salvation by force, rather, they can do so by adhering to the commandments of God.

His Holiness(aba) prayed that may Allah the Almighty enable us to go through Ramadan whilst attaining His pleasure and treading upon the paths of righteousness. May He enable us to elevate our standards of righteousness. May we not search for excuses not to fast and may we not impose undue difficulties upon ourselves. May we always act according to the beautiful teachings of Islam. This Ramadan, may we attain the countless blessings of Allah the Almighty, May every day be full of blessings and mercy. May we truly benefit from Ramadan. May this Ramadan be a means for us to draw as close as possible to God. May we be granted the ability to offer prayers that are granted acceptance. His Holiness(aba) said that Ahmadis around the world should also pray for the continued success of the Community and for all difficulties to be removed. May Allah protect us from governments and the evil ploys of mischief-makers. His Holiness(aba) urged prayers for those imprisoned on the basis of their faith, some of whom are enduring very difficult circumstances. His Holiness(aba) said to pray that may we hold fast to the mantle of God so firmly, that no actions of ours ever cause us to let go and may the blessings of Allah continue to rain down on us.

His Holiness(aba) also urged prayers for the Muslim world; may Allah grant them wisdom and understanding and may they accept the Promised Messiah and Mahdi.

Safeguarding Against the Harmful Effects of War

His Holiness(aba) also urged prayers to be safeguarded from the ill effects of war. Regarding the wars being fought in Muslim nations for the sake of power, due to which the general population is being tormented by injustices – may Allah have mercy and save them from such oppressors.

His Holiness(aba) also urged prayers for the general state of the world; may Allah save us from war and its dangerous effects. Of course, Ahmadis would also be impacted – may Allah protect them. One way of safeguarding against this is for every Ahmadi to raise the standard of their righteousness – may Allah enable everyone to do so.

His Holiness(aba) said that in the UK, it seems that attempts are being made to create difficulties for Muslims. New measures are being taken to counter extremism, however commentators generally think that this change in the law targets Muslims. Allah knows best the intentions behind this, however, we should pray that Allah protects us and other Muslims from the ill effects of this.

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