Friday Sermon delivered at Masjid Mubarak, Islamabad, Tilford, UK
Ramadan – A Month of Prayer, Invoking Blessings Upon the Holy Prophet(sa) & Seeking Forgiveness
After reciting Tashahhud, Ta‘awwuz and Surah al-Fatihah, His Holiness, Hazrat Mirza Masroor Ahmad(aba) said that by the grace of Allah, these days we are passing through the blessed month of Ramadan, and in a few days, will be entering the last ten days of Ramadan. The Holy Prophet(sa) has said that the last ten days of Ramadan are of attaining salvation from Hell. Thus, we must pay special attention towards our prayers especially during the last ten days of Ramadan, so that we may attain the pleasure of God Almighty and be saved from the hellfire.
The Holy Prophet’s(sa) Standard of Prayer During Ramadan
His Holiness(aba) said that the state of the Holy Prophet’s (sa) prayers during the last ten days of Ramadan cannot even be described in words. Regarding the state of his prayers during the month of Ramadan, Hazrat A’ishah(ra) relates that he strove harder in his prayers than was seen at any other time.
His Holiness(aba) said that the Holy Prophet(sa) is the perfect model for us, and we must try to establish the same standards set by the Holy Prophet(sa). Then will Allah Almighty be pleased with us, and then will we be regarded as true believers. Thus, we must immerse ourselves in prayers, especially during these days.
His Holiness(aba) said that Ahmadis in particular must pay heed to this, as Ahmadis around the world are facing great hardships. His Holiness(aba) said that we must pray to be saved from the evil of the opponents of Ahmadiyyat. His Holiness(aba) said that we must also pray to be saved from the pandemic which the entire world is currently experiencing.
Invoke Blessings Upon the Holy Prophet(sa)
His Holiness(aba) said that in order to have our prayers heard, it is necessary to send salutations upon the Holy Prophet(sa). It is narrated that once the Holy Prophet(sa) said that one who abandons sending salutations upon him, abandons the path leading to Paradise. On another occasion, the Holy Prophet(sa) said that one who sends salutations upon him, God will send ten salutations upon that person, and will raise them up ten ranks and will record ten good deeds under their name. This gives us an idea of how important it is to send salutations upon the Holy Prophet(sa).
His Holiness(aba) said that we must make sending salutations upon the Holy Prophet(sa) a regular habit in our lives. Not only so that our prayers may be answered, but so that we may establish purity throughout our lives, so that we may attain the nearness of God and increase in our spirituality. We should not merely claim to have accepted the true servant of the Holy Prophet(sa), rather it must also reflect in our actions.
A Revelation of the Promised Messiah(as) Regarding Durood
His Holiness(aba) presented a quotation of the Promised Messiah(as), explaining a revelation he received in which he was commanded to send salutation upon the Holy Prophet(sa). The Promised Messiah(as) said that this proved that everything he had received was on account of his complete obedience and submission to the Holy Prophet(sa). Thus, the rank of the Promised Messiah(as) was bestowed upon him on account of being the true servant of the Holy Prophet(sa) and being wholly devoted to him and fulfilling his mission.
His Holiness(aba) narrated an incident of the Promised Messiah(as), in which he states that one night he sent salutations upon the Holy Prophet(sa) so profusely that his heart was overcome. He then saw in a dream, that angels were coming to him with vessels of light filled with pure and sweet water. The angels said to the Promised Messiah(as) that these were the blessings on account of his sending salutations upon the Holy Prophet(sa). On another occasion, the Promised Messiah(as) saw a dream, in which people were searching for a true servant of the Holy Prophet(sa). When they came across him, they said, ‘this is the person who truly loves the Messenger (sa) of Allah’.
His Holiness(aba) said that as those who have accepted the Promised Messiah(as) and strive to carry forth his mission, should we not be the ones to tell the world that through the true servant of the Holy Prophet(sa), we have understood the true spirit of sending salutations upon him. During the month of Ramadan especially, not only do we pray for ourselves, but we strive to spread the message of the Holy Prophet(sa) throughout the entire world; and strive to help people realise that this alone is the faith which can establish a true connection between man and God and this is the faith which claims that due to the love of the Holy Prophet(sa), God answers the supplications of his followers.
His Holiness(aba) said that it is our responsibility to spread this message to the entire world. If we wish to partake of these blessings in this life and the hereafter, then we must continuously send salutations upon the Holy Prophet(sa). If we do so, then we will see that plots and schemes of the opponents falter right before our eyes. We will see ourselves and our future progenies strive and prosper in spirituality. We will see magnificent examples of the acceptance of prayer, both on an individual level and collectively. However, the condition is that we must have sent salutations upon the Holy Prophet(sa) with true sincerity.
His Holiness(aba) said that one can truly and sincerely pray only when one knows what they are saying. To simply utter words cannot have the same impact on the heart. And if the heart is not impacted, then the necessary fervor cannot come about. Thus, it is necessary to know the meaning behind the words one is saying. There are many in the world who repeat the words of the durood [prayer for sending salutations upon the Holy Prophet(sa)] yet they do not know what it means.
His Holiness(aba) said that he would be presenting the meanings of the durood in light of the writings of Hazrat Mirza Bashirdduin Mahmud Ahmad(ra), the Second Caliph of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community.
His Holiness(aba) said that when we say, ‘O Allah, bless Muhammad(sa)’ it means that may Allah bestow all that is good upon the Holy Prophet(sa). We do not know the extent of the good that God can bestow; thus we leave it to God to bestow all the good which is in His infinite knowledge, upon the Holy Prophet(sa).
Then, when we pray ‘O Allah, prosper Muhammad(sa)’, we are praying for God to increase those blessings which he bestowed upon the Holy Prophet(sa) as was previously prayed for. This would also apply to the prayers made by the Holy Prophet(sa) for his people. Thus, we can also benefit from this prayer as well.
His Holiness(aba) said that simply uttering these words is not enough. Not only must this prayer be made with the sincerity of heart, our actions must reflect it as well. We cannot be like those who take to the streets vehemently proclaiming their love for the Holy Prophet(sa), yet they block the streets and even hinder the sick from reaching the hospital. Hence, our actions must also reflect the words which we are uttering, and our actions must reflect the true teachings of the Holy Prophet(sa). It is only then that we can benefit from sending salutations upon the Holy Prophet(sa).
His Holiness(aba) said that God Almighty Himself has commanded believers to send salutations upon the Holy Prophet(sa). It is stated in the Holy Qur’an:
‘Allah and His angels send blessings on the Prophet. O ye who believe, you too should invoke blessings on him and salute him with the salutation of peace.’ (33:57)
The fact that God and His angels send salutations upon the Holy Prophet(sa) shows just how important it is to do so. Furthermore, we learn from this that by continuously sending salutation, the Holy Prophet’s (sa) rank continues to increase. When we send salutations, then we too will partake from its blessings. Then, when we receive these blessings, it is upon us to be grateful, and we can be grateful by sending salutations upon the Holy Prophet(sa) even more than before. This in turn will afford us even more blessings, and the cycle of sending salutations and receiving blessings will be ongoing.
His Holiness(aba) prayed that may we be able to fulfill the responsibility of sending salutations upon the Holy Prophet(sa). He then recited the durood sharif:
‘Bless O Allah, Muhammad and the people of Muhammad, as You did bless Abraham and the people of Abraham; You are indeed the Praiseworthy, the Glorious! Prosper, O Allah, Muhammad and the people of Muhammad, as You did prosper Abraham, and the people of Abraham; You are indeed the Praiseworthy, the Glorious!’
Importance of Seeking Forgiveness
His Holiness(aba) said that the second thing which he wishes to draw attention towards is seeking forgiveness, specifically through the following prayer:
‘I seek forgiveness from Allah, my Lord, for all my sins, and turn to Him.’
His Holiness(aba) quoted the Promised Messiah(as) in explanation of this verse, who stated that this prayer means that may God cover the faults which have been committed, and may God save the person seeking repentance from the innate weakness which every person possesses. Just as God has created man, He has also created the means for man to be saved from faltering. Thus, God has commanded that we must seek forgiveness, and we can only be saved from faltering by continuously seeking forgiveness from Him.
Seeking forgiveness through this prayer also enables one to fulfill the commandments of God. It should not be prayed only after one commits a fault, rather it should be done on a continuous basis, so that one may also be saved from the potential of committing future faults, and thus attain nearness to God. Thus, it is imperative to seek forgiveness both when a fault is committed and even when it is not committed. Satan is ever-ready to strike at any time. Thus, God states that in order to be saved from such attacks, we must constantly make use of this prayer.
An Example of God’s Mercy
His Holiness(aba) said that the mercy of God is extremely vast. In fact, God Almighty Himself has stated that His mercy encompasses all things. This is explained through a story related by the Holy Prophet(sa). There was a person who had committed 99 murders. He felt bad and went to a person to ask if he could be forgiven. That man said that after having committed 99 murders, there was no way for him to be forgiven; so he killed that man, and thus killed 100 people. He then went to another person with the same question. That person told him that the door to God’s mercy is always open, and told him that he should travel to such and such place where he would find people who supplicate to God. He should join them and seek forgiveness. However, he could never return to his former city, as true repentance is to never return. Thus, he set out for that place, but he died along the way. The angels for mercy and punishment came to determine his fate. The angel for punishment said that he should be punished for his crimes, whereas the angels for mercy sought for him to be forgiven. It was decided that it would be seen whether he was closer to the origin of his journey or closer to his desired destination, and that would determine what his fate would be. When they measured, he was only slightly closer to his destination, and so God showed mercy and he was taken to Paradise.
His Holiness(aba) said that this is a question which many youngsters ask these days, as to how vast the forgiveness of God truly is, and as to whether they can be forgiven. It is a known fact that God turns with mercy to those who turn to Him. The Holy Prophet(sa) has said that one who walks towards God, God runs towards them. Thus, the month of Ramadan is the prime opportunity for turning to God, and seeking forgiveness and repenting.
His Holiness(aba) said that as Ahmadis who are facing great hardships, the one solution is for us to establish a connection with God Almighty. When we do so, and when our durood and our seeking forgiveness is accepted by God, then we will be saved from the grasps of the opponents.
His Holiness(aba) said that in our prayers during Ramadan, we must pray to be saved from the evil of opponents. We should pray for those who are going through hardships, that they may be granted ease. The Ahmadis in Pakistan should particularly pray as well. His Holiness(aba) also said to pray to be saved from the current pandemic which the world is facing.
His Holiness(aba) prayed that may we become those who sincerely send salutations upon the Holy Prophet(sa) and truly seek forgiveness.
Summary prepared by The Review of Religions.