July 25th, 2014
The last ten days of Ramadan are passing by quickly. Muslims give importance to two matters in these last ten days; one is لیلتہ قدر Lailatul Qadr, the Night of Destiny and the other, جمعتہ الودع Jumuatul Wida, known as the Farewell Friday. The significance of the Night of Destiny is real as proven through Ahadith and also the Holy Qur’an. However the concept of the Farewell Friday is something Muslims or the religious scholars have concocted through their own incorrect interpretations.
Hazrat Khalifatul Masih gave a discourse on these two issues today and availed in part an old Friday sermon of Hazrat Musleh Maud (may Allah be pleased with him) for the purpose.
Different narrators of Traditions give different date for the Night of Destiny, some say it is the 21st night other says it is the 23rd night of Ramadan while others are sure it is the 27th night. Generally speaking Traditions say that it should be looked for in the last ten days of Ramadan. The Holy Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be on him) was given the knowledge of the specific date of the Night during which a true believer experiences special acceptance of prayers. However, Traditions tell us that due to the mistake of two Muslims the Holy Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be on him) forgot the specific date. It was not an ordinary matter to have precise knowledge of the date and it was a natural desire of the Holy Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be on him) to share it with the believers. Hadith recounts that after receiving this knowledge the Holy Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be on him) left home delighted to tell others about it. However, two Muslims were having an altercation outside and the Holy Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be on him) became involved in making peace between them to such an extent that he forgot the specific date. Hazrat Musleh Maud (may Allah be pleased with him) said that not only the Holy Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be on him) forgot the date in fact its knowledge was removed by Divine command. Now this Night is looked for in any of the odd numbered nights of the last ten days of Ramadan.
Hazrat Musleh Maud (may Allah be pleased with him) raised a very important point as regards the Night of Destiny. He said the hour which is called the Night of Destiny is correlated to national harmony and unity. When we listen to the Hadith we say that had the two Muslims not had the altercation we would have known the specific date. However, very little attention is given to the very important matter that the hour which is called the Night of Destiny is correlated to national harmony and unity and is taken away from the nation which loses its harmony and unity. Sadly, many Islamic countries do not have any harmony or unity; public is fighting the public or is fighting the rulers or the rulers are unjust and cruel to the public. Cruelty is being perpetrated and is being accentuated. Due to this lack of harmony and unity the others have the nerve to do whatever they wish against Muslims. This is the reason that Israel is continuing to viciously kill innocent Palestinians. Had the Muslims been united and followed the path of God, with their immense strength, such barbarity would not have been committed. There are some rules and regulations of war. The Palestinians have no power against Israel. If it is said that Hamas also perpetrates cruelty against Israel, then the Muslim countries should stop Hamas from it. However the aggression shown by the two can be likened to one person fighting with a stick and the other an army fighting with artillery. Muslim countries assume, as the Palestinian situation was mourned in Turkey recently, they think by officially mourning they have paid their dues. The western powers are also not playing their role. What was needed was that both sides should have been strictly stopped from perpetrating aggression. We can only pray that may Allah save the victims and the innocents and peace is established. Similarly, other Muslim countries have internal strife where persecution and disorder is rife. May Allah give them sense and they have unity otherwise they will not be paying their dues of worship of God and will not be granted the Night of Destiny. In the absence of harmony the blessing of the Night of Destiny is removed and only darkness remains.
The Night of Destiny means that night when man’s fate is determined and it is decided how he will be dealt with in the coming year. How much will he progress and advance and what benefits will he attain and what losses he will endure. Decisions of human development are always made in night/darkness. Hazrat Musleh Maud (may Allah be pleased with him) likened such spiritual development to physical development and said that the Holy Qur’an tells us that human physical development takes place in continuous times of darkness. Like the darkness of a mother’s womb where all physical development is ascertained. Lack of good nourishment in these days results in a weak baby. It is a proven fact that the environment and diet of a mother affects the unborn child. So much so that children of mothers who are fearful do not achieve much in life. Good diet and good environment during pregnancy has its effect on the unborn and this is why Islam forbids expectant mothers to fast. It can cause weakness to the unborn. Matters like divorce are also discouraged to be processed while a woman is expecting because the distress can cause weakness to the unborn. An expectant woman’s Nikah is also forbidden because the emotional upheaval can also be detrimental to the unborn. Husband and wife are taught to pray against satanic inclinations during pregnancy so that the satanic temptations that flow in the veins alongside blood are removed so that their child is free from them. Shariah has instructed special care during the days of a baby’s development in the darkness of the womb. This series of period of development in darkness extends to when the mother breastfeeds. Thus nursing mothers also do not fast. The baby is not drawn to the world at this stage but is dependent on the mother; therefore she must not fast lest it has a detrimental effect on the baby.
Physical and spiritual development takes place in darkness/night. The progress of a body of people depends on its early sacrifices and the level of the longevity of its progress is its Night of Destiny. The Holy Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be on him) said that the more a person is beloved of God the more trials he has to endure. We should reflect if the trials we face as a Jama’at in some places are Night of Destiny for us; a time when one is enabled to pray more than before. May we see this time of spiritual training and development successfully! However, if we waste our standards of keeping unity and harmony then we will not be able to avail of the Night of Destiny. If we uphold our mutual unity for the sake of the pleasure of God we will traverse new destinations. All of us should have this very important point before us that when we will pass through these trials successfully then the decisions about our development will be extraordinary. Indeed, the decisions will be made by God, He is the One Who will listen to prayers and it is Him Who bestows the Night of Destiny. It is important that we abide by the matters which are a source of attaining the Night of Destiny. The dawn that breaks after this Night is also extraordinary. These are the matters we must always have in view in order to seek the beneficence of the Night of Destiny.
The Night of Destiny is the name of that moment which gains acceptance and nothing can be more advantageous than what gains acceptance with God. We should strive for sacrifices that will be accepted. Muslims as well as the disbelievers died in the Battle of Badr. However, the death of the disbelievers was not the Night of Destiny whereas martyrdom of the Muslims was the Night of Destiny because God declared them as accepted. Trouble, trial, adversity that God does not put a value on is not the Night of Destiny; it is chastisement. However, troubles and trials which God puts a value on, that is to say calamity, torment which God decides to recompense is the Night of Decree. He has ordained a time for man when his sacrifice is accepted. The Ahmadiyya Jama’at has experienced this and continues to experience it. Wherever in the world we are faced with trails and persecution, these severe times are giving the glad-tiding of breaking of dawn. Spawns of Ahmadiyyat are being born all over the world, that is, new Jama’ats are formed all the time. In order to avail further blessings of the Night of Decree we should promise to increase our unity and harmony and if there are any cracks in it anywhere, we will promptly mend them and will fully avail of the beneficence of the Night of Decree by being an embodiment of ‘…tender among themselves…’ (48:30)
Our efforts in this Ramadan should also focus on removing personal disagreements and estrangements so that we can also enjoy the beneficence and the fruits of the Night of Destiny on a personal level and so that we may also have a measure of the blessings Allah has destined for our Jama’at. We should also be mindful that with the increase of God’s blessings on us the enemy is also increasing its efforts to create difficulties for us. We should not assume that this opposition will be limited to a few countries. The fire of jealousy tries its utmost to impede progress and this will happen everywhere. However, the glad-tiding of the Night of Decree foretells us that we will avoid the bad effects of this enmity and it also tells us of progress of Jama’at. As long as we will mould our condition according to the pleasure of God we will have the beneficence of the Night of Destiny. A believer tries for and wishes to see the progress of his Jama’at at its highest point which God has promised. Having being associated with the Promised Messiah (on whom be peace) we should adopt the ways which the Promised Messiah (on whom be peace) taught us to be part of the progress and advancement. These ways can be described in two points, which were deemed by the Promised Messiah (on whom be peace) as the object of his advent. One was to take man closer to his God and the other to make man pay the dues of man. These are the two tasks entrusted to us; to raise our level of worship of God and to eliminate differences. It is not possible if the dues of this objective are paid for people to remain estranged. If we try for this we will also understand the reality of the Night of Destiny. The Promised Messiah (on whom be peace) said at one point: ‘For man the Night of Destiny is the time of his purification.’ This is the kind of Night of Decree we should look for.
The second matter is that of the Farewell Friday! Strange concepts have crept in about this. It is a favour of Allah that He enabled us to accept the Imam of the age who purged us of erroneous concepts as indeed an Ahmadi should be purged of such matters. Non-Ahmadis consider that by attending the last Friday of the month of Ramadan even the Salat one has knowingly missed over the year is pardoned and man is purified from all evil. All blessings of Allah are garnered by observing the last Friday of Ramadan. In their assumption God’s Divinity is, God forbid, dependent on their four prostration postures and it is their great favour that by performing four prostrations they, God forbid, establish God’s Divinity! There is no benefit for such people in Ramadan or indeed in the Night of Destiny. God’s commandments are a favour on us for therein is our good and advantage. Abiding by God’s commandment is not a burden that we should try and find excuses to avoid them. One finds excuses against punishments and penalties. Sensible people do not avoid something that is advantageous. Who does not want to have offspring, who does not wish to get better from illness, who does not want to have knowledge for himself and for his children, who does not wish for his near and dear ones to be happy and content, who does not want respect and honour for his children! Excuses are found for contrary things! Whereas God’s commandments and instructions are for our own good! We should pay attention to God’s commandments be they about worship or other matters, they are all for our good. Considering any commandment of God as a burden is depriving oneself of beneficence.
We were given life by God and He ordained a purpose for this life of ours, as stated: ‘And I have not created the Jinn and the men but that they may worship Me.’ (51:57). This worship by men and the Jinn which is deemed as the purpose of creation is not associated with any special day or special Friday! It signifies every Salat and every Friday which is obligatory apart from the optional Prayers which one observes according to one’s capacity. As worship is the basic purpose of our creation there is great need to pay attention to it especially as it is for our own good! God’s Divinity is and will remain regardless of our worship, but if we worship Him, along with His favours, we will also be recipients of His blessings. It should always be remembered that our faith will only be pure when we will practice God’s commandments. A sincere believer has a connection of friendship with God and friendship is bilateral. Friends make each other see their point of view with sincerity. This fact also guides us to the concept of acceptance of prayer. If we abide by God’s commandments with sincerity He will also listen to us. Sincere friends do not wish ill for each other. When worldly friends do not wish ill for each other how can God, Who is Most Loyal and values loyalty more than anyone, wish ill for His servant? One only receives grace and blessings from God as a result of sincerity of faith.
If a worldly friend who is sincere takes actions which appear to be damaging for us, owing to his sincerity we think that there is bound to be a good enough reason for him to do what he is doing and we are sure that our friend does not intend to harm us. How can we then presume about God that He would put us through pain? However, if God’s commandments are not acted upon it is probably thought that they are a burden. If this is the case then our friendship with God is not true or God forbid, God does not have the attributes of mercy and compassion and is Unjust and chastises without reason. Of course the latter is untrue and wrong. God is Ever Merciful and Compassionate. However, the sincerity of our friendship can be flawed; it could be a weakness of ours that makes us unworthy of His mercy! For this we need to focus on our condition and make our faith stronger and practice God’s commandments while considering them as mercy and blessing. With this thinking every practice strengthens our faith and God’s commandments are instilled in hearts. In developing countries some officials makes their own rules over and above the law and harass people and people do not wish the officials near them. However, the commandments of God are not like those of unjust officials, they are a source of mercy. Every commandment of God brings mercy and leaves behind countless blessings. Timings of Salat are not prescribed so that one may quickly offer Salat and be rid of it. Fasting in Ramadan is not to be whiled away like other forms of worship, performed as others around you perform and be rid of it.
A true believer always tries to hold onto these for keeps. If a true believer observes Salat just once with sincerity of heart then Salat cannot escape his heart for it has an amazing pleasure which inclines him to offer it in future. Salat is not ended with Salaam to mark departure from it, rather Salaam is said because it is God’s commandment. Indeed, Ramadan too does not leave a true believer. Hazrat Musleh Maud (may Allah be pleased with him) said that in Urdu idiom we say that we keep fast and what a fine idiom it is. We do not let go of fasting, rather, we ‘keep it’ and it always makes us a recipient of God’s grace. Hadith demonstrate that if a true believer makes a mistake his good works act as a shield for him and save him from ruination. This is how we should think about every virtue, that it should be permanent and we should not ‘lose’ it. One can really benefit from something which remains, as it is stated in the Holy Qur’an: ‘…enduring good works…’ (18:47). Likewise a Ramadan spent doing good works remains and endures, these days [of Ramadan] will be gone but the good works established during the month will not let the spirit of Ramadan leave us. True believers should make every good thing ‘…enduring good works…’. Ramadan is also worship and worship always stays in the heart of a true believer, likewise we should try and accommodate Ramadan in hearts.
The Holy Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be on him) said that when a man does something good a white mark is put on his heart and when he does another good act another white mark is put on his heart, he continues to do good acts and his entire heart becomes white. On the other hand each time a man who does bad deeds gets a black mark on his heart until such time that his entire heart is blackened. Good and bad deeds are marked on hearts. We should always try and have marks of good deeds on our heart. Ramadan is to fill hearts with good deeds; it heralds worship and other good deeds for us. We should gather these days in our heart and no one can snatch something that is preserved in one’s heart, unless of course one discards it oneself!
The last Friday of Ramadan does not come for Ramadan to depart. Rather it comes so that, if we want and avail of it, we may preserve it in our heart for always. The Holy Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be on him) called Friday an Eid and Ahadith show that during Friday a time comes when prayers particularly gain acceptance. We should avail of this blessing. Ahmadis do not go to mosques on the last Friday of Ramadan to say to Allah that they are happy to rid of Ramadan. They go to mosques on the last Friday to pray during its blessed moments that although Ramadan will be gone in a few days but O God, safeguard in our hearts the spirit of Ramadan and the worship and good works done during it and may they never leave our heart. If we adopt this stance then we will be making a very blessed use of the day. It will be most unfortunate if we forget the virtues and good works done during Ramadan. Friends and families are not happy when they part with each other, one is only happy to part with one’s enemy. Thus, a true believer cannot be happy at the parting of Ramadan. Who can be happy at the parting of blessing? Only someone most unfortunate! Today everyone should pray that may Allah associate this day with us forever and may no moment of ours part from Ramadan.
We should reflect on what Ramadan is. Its reality is: ‘The month of Ramadan is that in which the Qur’an was sent down…’ (2:186) A true believer should make the focus he has had on the Holy Qur’an during this month, a part of the rest of the year. The Holy Qur’an should be read during the entire year and effort should be made to practice it. We should descend the Qur’an upon our hearts and safeguard it therein so that we can attain it beneficence at every step of life.
May our focus ever remain on the two matters Huzoor raised today, may we understand their reality and may our Night of Destiny continue to take us to the highest point of successes, may we attain true perception of it! May what is referred to as the Farewell Friday, which is in fact the last Friday of Ramadan not be a source of letting go of the blessings of Ramadan, rather, may its beneficence be a part of our lives and may we continue to fulfil the objective for which the Holy Qur’an was sent down.
Palestinian Muslims should be particularly remembered in prayers. May Allah ease their situation and take them out of trouble.
Next Huzoor announced that he would later lead funeral Prayer in absentia of NaeemUllah Khan Sahib who passed away on 21 July 2014 at the age of 61. He lived in Kyrgyzstan and had been enabled to offer many services in Central Asian countries. He had moved to the region when Hazrat Khalifatul Masih IV (may Allah be pleased with him) had motivated Ahmadis to go there. He had his business there but also greatly served faith. He took a lot of care of our missionaries in the area and everyone says he had an extraordinary sense of honour for the Jama’at. May Allah grant him forgiveness and may He be the Protector and Helper of his family.