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worship none but Allah. I am to you a Warner, and a be arer of glad tidings from Him; And that you seek forgiveness of your Lord, and then turn to Him. He will provid e for you a goodly provision until an appointed term. And He will grant His grac e to every one possessed of merit. And if you turn away, then surely, I fear for you the punishment of a colossal day.’ (Surah Hud, verses 3 & 4) Hudhur said today there is turmoil everywhere in the world in one shape or the o ther. This is a result of man forgetting his objective of creation, that is, inc lination towards worship of God and endeavour to gain Divine nearness. Indeed, D ivine nearness cannot be attained without worship of God. Explaining, Hudhur sai d worship of God does not only entail offering the five daily Prayers. It includ es offering them with due care and devoutness. It also necessitates keeping God in view in every matter and making an effort to imbue oneself in Divine hue. It necessitates following the blessed model of the Holy Prophet (peace and blessing s of Allah be on him) in every matter and it also includes keeping the Divine at tributes in view and trying and adopting them on a human level. One’s best effort to pay the dues of God and the dues of mankind are also necessary for this. Prac tising these aspects make a Momin (believer) one who pays the dues of worship of God. Explaining the essence of the Quranic teachings, the Promised Messiah (on whom b e peace) said: ‘…you should worship none but Allah…’. The truth of the matter is that th e real reason for the creation of mankind is worship. Just as it is stated elsew here: ‘And I have not created the Jinn and the men but that they may worship Me.’ (5 1:57). True worship is when man removes all hardness and crookedness and makes t he terrain of his heart as clear as a farmer clears his field…as collyrium/ kohl i s ground extremely finely so that it can be put in eyes. Similarly, state of wor ship is when the terrain of heart is free of grit, pebbles and unevenness and is so clean as if it embodies pure soul. If a mirror is cleaned in this manner one can see in it and if soil is thus treated, all kinds of fruits grow in it. Ther efore, if man, who has been created to worship God, cleans his heart and does no t let any grit, pebbles or unevenness remain in it, God will be seen in it.’ The P romised Messiah (on whom be peace) further said: ‘This is the reason you should no t rest until such time that, apart from God, you free your heart of grit and peb bles and make it clear like a mirror and fine like collyrium.’ Explaining, Hudhur said one has to continually try to reach such a state. In ord er to protect ourselves from the disorder around us and to seek God’s grace, there is need to connect to God with sincerity. Most people are not directly involved in evil or disorder but the environment influences them one way or the other an d one becomes a part of transgression subconsciously. A broad example of this is in the persecution of Ahmadis around the world, in particular in Pakistan. Peop le who do not even have any knowledge about Ahmadiyyat attest documents that use vulgar language against the Promised Messiah (on whom be peace). Rather than Go d, the worship of such people subconsciously is aimed at gaining nearness of wor ldly people. Corruption in religion destroys discharging of the dues of God and dues of mankind. This is what happens in history of religion. Once corruption ap pears in religion, God sends His Prophets to reform people who directly alert pe ople towards worship of God. Thus God sent the Holy Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be on him) and taught the ways of worship of God through him. He was t he perfect man who imbibed Divine attributes to the highest degree, as much as i t is humanly possible to imbibe them. God commanded that the example of the Holy Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be on him) was a blessed model for us to follow and it was the way to reach God. This did not simply signify that his Sal at was worship, rather his every word and every practice was worship of God. And thus religion was perfected with the Shariah that was revealed to him. However,
God also declared that, as in earlier times when with the passage of time peopl e turned away from the basis of religion, this would also happen in Islam. Altho ugh the Holy Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be on him) was the last law-b earing Prophet and there was to be no more religious law after him, yet such a c ondition would come to pass and when it would reach its worst point, in his subs ervience his true and ardent devotee would come to once again establish religion in the world. He would explain the reality of worship and he would do this owin g to his subservience to the Holy Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be on hi m). Unfortunately a large majority of Muslims have not understood this. Hudhur said as the aforementioned verse cites ‘…I am to you a Warner, and a bearer o f glad tidings…’, the Holy Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be on him) was a Wa rner then and remains to this day. His era will last till the Day of Judgement a nd he still warns and alerts people. Hudhur explained that a ‘Warner’ is not someone who only warns people, rather he also alerts people to avoid what is bad. For e xample, in spite of verbally professing the Kalima (pronouncement of Muslim fait h) if one does not practise all aspects of religion, one is in loss. On the othe r hand, the glad tiding is in the advent of one who was promised to come in the latter days to facilitate nearness to God and teach ways of worship of God. The Promised Messiah (on whom be peace) says: ‘It is true that man cannot attain t his objective without the help of a pure-natured person. Therefore, for this arr angement and accomplishment, Allah the Exalted sent the perfect model of the Hol y Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be on him) and then started a lasting su ccession of his true successors so that the Braham priests who have no awareness of their ending could be refuted. It is a proven fact that a young person who i s not from a farming family will cut off plants as he weeds. Similarly, spiritua l farming cannot be done in a perfect manner unless one is under a perfect perso n, who has accomplished all the stages of sowing, irrigation and weeding. This i llustrates that man is in need of a perfect spiritual teacher. Without a perfect spiritual teacher, worship by man is like a foolish and unaware child sitting i n a field cutting off plants, while in his assumption he is weeding. Do not ever assume that you will learn ways of worship on your own. Certainly not; not unti l the Prophet teaches, the paths of complete and devout absorption in God cannot be found. The natural question thus arises, how can this difficult task be fulf illed? God Himself gave its solution.’ Explaining, Hudhur added, the solution given by God is Ishtighfar. Hudhur also s aid that in this age and for always, the successor of the Holy Prophet (peace an d blessings of Allah be on him) is the Promised Messiah (on whom be peace) whom God has also called Khatamul Khulafa (seal of all Khulafa). God certainly guides those who engage in sincere Istighfar and try to fulfil the dues of worship of God if they follow the true successor. The second verse recited at the beginning of the sermon teaches ways of Istighfar: ‘And that you seek forgiveness of your L ord, and then turn to Him. He will provide for you a goodly provision until an a ppointed term. And He will grant His grace to every one possessed of merit. And if you turn away, then surely, I fear for you the punishment of a colossal day.’ H udhur explained that Istighfar washes away spiritual corrosion but it requires c onstancy. Real Istighfar is in repenting those sentiments which displease God. T his leads to a state of ‘turning to Him’ and thus man gains nearness to God. True Is taghfar does not constitute mere words. One has to try and change one’s inner self and this is what attains nearness to God and brings about spiritual and worldly benefits and one is a recipient of God’s blessings. In light of this verse, the Promised Messiah (on whom be peace) says: ‘Remember, t he Muslims have been bestowed two things; one for obtaining strength and the oth er for the practical demonstration of the strength that has been obtained. Istighfar is for obtaining strength. It is also called seeking help. The Sufis h ave said that as physical strength and power is fostered through exercise, in th
e same way, Istighfar is spiritual exercise. Through it, the soul obtains strength and the h eart achieves steadfastness. He who desires strength should do Istighfar.’ (Essenc e of Islam Vol. II, p. 246) The Promised Messiah (on whom be peace) also said that through Istighfar man tri es to suppress and cover those sentiments and thoughts which keep one away from God. Thus Istighfar means that one overcomes those toxic matters which attack an d try to destroy man and having avoided impediments of the way which leads to im plementation of the commandments of God, one actually practises these commandmen ts. The Promised Messiah (on whom be peace) said that God has placed two kinds o f matters in man; one that is delegated by Satan and the other which is antidota l/curative. When man is arrogant and conceited and does not take the help of the curative matter, the negative matter becomes dominant in him. However, when man has a very humble and meek view of himself and feels he is in need of God’s help, God generates a spring in him through which his soul is softened and flows out and this is what is meant by Istighfar. That is, having found the strength, man overcomes the toxic matters. Explaining, Hudhur said the softening and flowing o f soul is not attained by mere verbal professing of Istighfar. Rather, it should be borne out of heartfelt emotions which flow in tears of the eyes in the Prese nce of God; this is Istighfar. The Promised Messiah (on whom be peace) said, ‘In s hort it means that stay firm on worship. Firstly obey the Prophet (peace and ble ssings of Allah be on him), secondly always seek help from God. Yes, first seek help from your Lord. When the strength is granted, turn to God.’ Further elucidating, the Promised Messiah (on whom be peace) said: ‘Istighfar and Taubah (repentance) are two separate matters. From one point of view, Istighfar has priority over repentance, inasmuch as Istighfar is the help and strength whi ch are obtained from God and repentance means standing on one’s own feet. It is th e way of God that when a person seeks help from Him, He bestows strength and wit h that strength the supplicant stands on his own feet and thus possesses the fac ulty to do good, which is called ‘turning to God’. This is the natural sequence of i t. It is appointed for seekers that they should seek help from God in every cond ition. Till a seeker obtains strength from God, he can do nothing. The strength for repentance is acquired after Istighfar. If there is no Istighfar, the facult y of repentance dies. If you will thus follow up Istighfar with repentance, the result will be as set out in the verse: ‘He will provide for you a goodly provision until an appointed term.’ This is the way of God, that those who follow up Istighfar with repentance will achieve their cherished grades. Every sense has its limits within which it achie ves its high grades; not everyone can be a Prophet or a Messenger or a Truthful (Siddiq) or a Testifier (Shahid). (Essence of Islam Vol. II, p. 245) The Promised Messiah (on whom be peace) further said that each seeker attains gr ades in accordance with his capacity and this is what the verse ‘And He will grant His grace to every one possessed of merit’ signifies. However if a person possess es extra capacity, God would grant him extra in his spiritual endeavours/exercis e. He said God does not deprive anyone his due. Next Hudhur related some accounts of the spiritual assemblies graced by the Prom ised Messiah (on whom be peace). Once a person asked the Promised Messiah (on whom be peace) for a Wazifah (formu laic prayer). The Promised Messiah replied: ‘Say Istighfar profusely. Man has only two conditions; either he does not commit any sin or Allah the Exalted saves hi
m from the bad ending of sin. Therefore, both these meanings should be kept in m ind when saying Istighfar. Firstly covering of past sins is sought from Allah th e Exalted and secondly capacity to be protected from future sins is sought from God. However, Istighfar is not fulfilled by mere verbal utterance; it should be from the heart. It is important to also supplicate in one’s own tongue during Sala t.’ Once a man appeared in the Promised Messiah’s (on whom be peace) company and said that had certain flaws, he had been to many Pirs (ascetics) but could not remain convinced of any of them for long. He said he had the flaw of backbiting, he wa s not inclined to worship and had many other deficiencies. The Promised Messiah (on whom be peace) responded: ‘I understand, your real problem is impatience. The rest are its conditions. When man is not impatient in his worldly matters and wa its for results patiently and with constancy, why then does he demonstrate impat ience in Presence of God? Does a farmer sow his seeds and starts thinking of har vest in one day? Or as soon as a baby is born wants him to grow up and help him? There are no precepts and examples of such rush and haste. One who wishes to be so hasty is very silly. A person who can see his flaws as flaws should consider himself very fortunate, otherwise Satan shows bad deeds and immoral acts in goo d and beautiful light. Thus, you should give up your impatience and seek capacit y from Allah the Exalted with patience and constancy and ask forgiveness for you r sins. There is nothing apart from this. A person who comes to people of God wi shing that they may blow on him and reform him, wants to govern God, whereas thi s should be approached submissively. Unless one leaves all worldly powers, nothi ng can be attained. When an ailing person goes to a physician he relates many pr oblems, but the physician recognises and diagnoses the real problem and starts i ts treatment. Similarly, your problem is impatience. If you cure that, if God wi lls the other problems will also go away. Our creed is that man should never los e hope in Allah the Exalted and should continue to seek until he is in the throe s of death. Unless man takes his patience and seeking to this limit, he cannot b e successful. Allah the Exalted is Powerful and if He wills He can make one succ essful in an instant…there are two kinds of diseases, one Mastavi (straight, direc t) and the other Mukhtalif (diverse). Mustavi disease is that which has apparent pain and man is concerned about its cure but does not have any care for Mukhtal if disease. Similarly, some sins are perceptible while others are imperceptible to man. This is why it is needed that man should always engage in Istighfar. Wha t is the benefit in going to graves? Allah the Exalted has sent the Holy Qur’an fo r reformation. If it was God’s law to reform by blowing, why would have the Holy P rophet (peace and blessings of Allah be on him) endured so much persecution for thirteen years in Makkah? He could have had influence over Abu Jahl. Let alone A bu Jahl, Abu Talib even had love for the Prophet. In short impatience is not goo d. It can lead to destruction.’ Once a person requested for prayers regarding his debt and the Promised Messiah (on whom be peace) said: ‘Say Istighfar profusely. This is the method for man to a void grief. Istighfar is the key to progress.’ Hudhur added that only that Istighf ar will unlock the doors of progress which is sincere. Once a person asked for prayers that he may have children and the Promised Messi ah (on whom be peace) said: ‘Say Istighfar a lot. It effaces sin and Allah the Exa lted also grants offspring. Remember, belief is very important. God Himself help s that person who is perfect in belief.’ At another instance the Promised Messiah (on whom be peace) said, ‘Man should say Istighfar for protection against weakness es. Istighfar works to avoid chastisement of sin like a prisoner pays a penalty to secure his release.’ At another instance the Promised Messiah (on whom be peace) said: ‘It is necessary that man always engages in Istighfar and Taubah lest bad deeds exceed limits an d incur the wrath of Allah the Exalted. When Allah the Exalted looks on someone with His grace, He usually instils that person’s love in hearts. However, when man’s
evil exceeds limits, his disapproval is willed in the heavens and in accordance to the will of Allah the Exalted people’s hearts are hardened for him. Yet, as so on as that person turns to the Divine threshold with Istighfar and Taubah and se eks refuge, tenderness is generated clandestinely and without anyone realising, seed of love for that person is sown in hearts of people. In short, the formula of Istighfar and Taubah is tried and tested and does not fail.’ Today the bad deeds of people of this world have created turmoil. Those leaders who presumed to be the beloved of the masses are the worst in the eyes of the ma sses and there are signs that the turn of those who are still considered favouri tes is imminent. The changes in governments resulting from the turmoil around th e world have generated further disorder. We should pray a lot that God may save the world from disorder. Istighfar helps in fulfilling the objectives of worship of God, and enables one to pay the dues of God and the dues of mankind, it stre ngthens the bond with one sent by God and thus saves man from the turmoil of thi s world and from God’s displeasure, it keeps one on the paths that lead to Divine nearness and it also fulfils one’s personal needs and takes one out of problems. M an becomes the recipient of numberless blessings of God through Istighfar. God h as blessed us that we have recognised the Imam of the age, who has guided us abo ut worship, seeking God’s nearness and how to garner His blessings. In order to tr uly benefit from this we should constantly engage in Istighfar. May God enable u s all to do so.