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The Way of Seekers

8 FRIDAY SERMON (Delivered by Hazrat Khalifatul Masih IV, Head of the Ahmadiyya Community in Islam, on October 16th, 1987, at Detroit, Michigan, U.S.A.) 28. The Chiefs of his people, who disbelieved, replied, We see thee nothing but a mortal like ourselves, and ‘We see that none have followed thee but those who, to all outward appearance, are the means of us. And we do not see in you any superiority over us; nay, we believe you to be liars.’ 29. He said, ‘0 my people, tell me if I stand on a clear proof from my lord and He has bestowed upon me from Himself a great mercy which has remained obscure to you, how will it [are with you? Shall we force it upon you, while you are averse thereto? 30. “And 0 my people, I do not ask of you any wealth in return for it. My reward is only with Allah. And I am not going to drive away those who believe. They shall certainly meet their Lord. But I see that you are an ignorant people; 31. ‘ And 0 my people, who would help me against Allah, if I were to drive them away? Will you not then take heed? 32. ‘And I do not say to you, I possess the treasures of Allah nor do I know the unseen,’ nor do I say, ‘I am an angel.’ Nor do I say concerning those whom your eyes despise, ‘Allah will not bestow a~ good upon them’ – Allah knows best whatever is in their minds. Surely, in that case I should be of the unjust.’ THE REVIEW OF RELIGIONS 9 These verses from the Holy Quran, which I have just recited, do not merely narrate an ancient historical episode, but along with other Quranic verses and historical evidence are meant to describe a permanently established psychological phenomenon. Time and again, conditions of Noah’s era are repeated, and every time human response to them remains the same. As indicated by the Holy Quran, a great civilization and rich culture flourished in Noah’s time. The Promised Messiah has elaborated in detail that a rare and magnificent civilization existed in the age of Noah. One of the arguments put forward by the people to reject Noah was, as described in these verses: In our view, we find only low and insignificant people as your followers. None of our learned, rich and honourable persons follows you. What superiority, if any, do you have over us? How can we accept him, who is a leader of the poor, the weak, the low, and the distressed and also says his followers are superior and greater than us? ~’ .~ i~fl !’;.:~~,~, …. ‘~(A”. ~~~ . <.JI,?",,\Ji .. ~ .... .J' J Under the circumstances, we are complelled to conclude that you are a liar. Were you a truthful person, people with honour and dignity, the powerful' leaders and great nations on earth would have followed you. Noah's response to this objection is recorded in the Holy Quran: """~"'_.; t. !.i .... j-:. ... ~I'~ ~~~." .t., .... "" ... \".,(.IJ~(J ~_.Jc.$F' -' :-V"~~ ~.~~I:l~,.J \'~ ~ .... ., 'j1r~1 .,''' .... ''r .... ·'fI .. i.!.... .It" 'c.-.'1'" .,,,'''' ., ~I.:J-",,! ..... .,.::.:I,,~,.u~t ~\- ~;.;,~ "0 my people, do you not realise that God has sent me with cogent arguments and bright signs, and He has bestowed upon me a great mercy. If you are unable to recognize this mercy, and are unable to see my closeness to the Creator and His love for me, then how can I cure your blindness! Things which you value as great are insignificant in my eyes and the great blessings which God has bestowed on me remain obscure to you. How can, I impose these favours upon you? His love and bounties are supreme over everything. And one who enjoys the blessings of our Lord, he alone is indeed to be counted as great." "And 0 my people, I do not ask of you any monetary reward for my services to the nation. My reward is due from Allah alone. I 10 FRIDAY SERMON teach goodness and I give you advice day and night without demanding an favour in return. If your wealth was of any value to me I would have asked for money in return for my good works." Here the Holy Quran has given us a sound criterion based on great insight and wisdom which always makes a distinction between the truthful and the liars. People who work in the name of goodness can be one of two kinds: Those who spend out of their own pockets and make personal sacrifices prior to preaching, or those who receive millions of dollars from big governments before providing guidance or service to humanity. In this latter category, service is conditional on receipt of money. If the flow offunds ceases, so does their service to humanity. Obviously, such people give real value only to money and not to the service. If the history of the Ahmadiyya Jamaat (community) is studied from this point of view, it becomes clear that the Jamaat embarked on its mission to spread the message of goodness to nations in the West as well as in the East even when it was utterly poor and without any resources. There was no one in the world to financially help the Jamaat. At the time when Hazrat Mufti Muhammad Sadiq (may Allah be pleased with him) was sent to give the message of guidance to the great and mighty nation of America, Qadian (Jamaat Headquarters in India) was in such an impoverished condition that sometimes the Jamaat's functionaries could not even be paid their meagre allowaances for more than six months and their families even faced !itarvation. As he could not bear the pangs of the suffering of the Jamaat workers, Hazrat Musleh Maud (second Khalifa - may Allah be pleased with him) would make special appeals to some well-to-do members of the Jamaat for a a loan or trust money which would be refunded in due time. In response to his pathetic appeals, God would show mercy, and some members would send generous donations while others presented refundable trust money. A study cif the Ahmadiyya Movement would reveal that for years financial constraints were of such great magnitude that the functionaries were paid their meagre allowances out of loaned and borrowed funds. Allowances given to the present day devotees bear no comparison with allowances paid at that time. The allowances paid in those early days were hardly enough for survival, and as I have said, the Jamaat barely managed to give them after several months. Under these strained and desperate circumstances, a dervish devotee was sent by the Ahmadiyya Jamaat to the United States with the message of Islam. This indeed was the point that Noah was trying to explain to his people. He was least interested in their wealth. He and his followers were making sacrifices even before giving any advice or guidance to others. Why did not Noah's people understand that greatness was not in being wealthy! Real greatness lies in man's nobility and his relation with God. Noah's nation wanted him to notice and honour the rich. How could Noah honour the rich and turn away from the poor who were ready to offer THE REVIEW OF RELIGIONS 11 everything for the sake of God and who came to him to serve God's true religion? Should he throw them away because they were pennyless, or because they had no worldly status, or discard them because the colour of their skin was black, or because they were slaves? Even at that time, powerful and rich nations had slaves which not only included blacks, but all other races also. Noah told his people that in their eyes those who had neither wealth, nor worldly status, nor national superiority were a despicable lot and should be ignored. He further told the people that they were wrong in asking him to adopt their criteria before they agreed to listen to him. This dialogue between Noah and his people also indicates that Noah himself belonged to an elite ruling class which enjoyed a high status and authority, and people of his class felt embarrassed and disgraced when Noah started embracing the low and poor. The elite, therefore, wanted nothing to do with him. They would have gladly accepted him if he had confined his work to the elite group and excluded the poor and the lowly. By not adopting their course, they claimed Noah had disgraced his class of people. In response to this, Noah said: "Y ou are unaware of the greatness granted to my followers by God. My reward is due from Allah alone. In no case will I reject or drive away those who believe in God. They will surely attain closeness to and love of God. And none has a greater status than those who have found nearness to their Lord. As a matter of fact, I consider you extremely ignorant and foolish. You do not realize at all how many blessings were to pe bestowed upon you, which you have forfeited by being involved in matters low and mean." He further said: "Not only do I love those poor people who become servants of Allah, but I would also like to make you aware of 'another truth. Those who do not have a natural inclination to love the poor, and choose to regard them low and mean, will not be spared of God's punishment, and no one will be able to help them. 12 FRIDAY SERMON #I .,;'r'.!. ~'J,""=~"'l". .;'." .- , ,~" ,,, ,.. ,~t , /;)J) ~ 'Ci\ i""-!J'> 1J1 “..h:J~ ‘-lit”””‘! ~ I ~ ~-‘ If I reject and repel these poor people, who is going to safeguard me from Allah’s chastisement? Why then you do not understand and heed?” Then reverting to the matter of wealth, he said: “I do not claim to possess any worldly treasures, and I cannot give you any wealth. Neither do I claim to have the secrets of the unknown, nor do I claim to be an angel. Yet I cannot say that God will not bless the poor people whom you despise due to your wealth and status.” This is a way of expression used in Arabic and in English as well. In a sentence with a double negative, the intent is to give more force to the idea of the positive. It means that Noah was saying that he did not claim to be an angel or to have the knowledge of the unknown or to possess wealth. Rather he was merely a human being who was a recipient of many blessings from God – yet he was absolutely sure that his followers would also. receive “KHAIR” – wealth and prosperity of the world. The word “KHAIR” means worldly wealth, as “HASANAH” initially means spiritual and moral blessings. Worldly blessings also are included in the meaning of “HASANAH” but as a secondary meaning. Fundamentally, “HASANAH” indicates virtues, excellences, spiritual and religious blessings. The temi “KHAIR” in the Holy Quran fundamentally means wealth and material possessions, although other related meanings are also implied. This matter indicates that Noah was giving the message inspite of his limited knowledge and resources. He was certain God would grant in abundance even worldly wealth to -his followers and to their coming generations. In other words, if his nation was interested in matters of material wealth and status, then they were being warned that they would become poor and low, and likewise the poor followers of Noah would become rich and progressive. At the end he says: “God looks into the hearts and bestows His blessings and glory on the basis of real intentions nourished by people in their hearts. God knows best what is in their hearts, and how much they love Him in their hearts, and to what extent they are willing to offer sacrifices. THE REVIEW OF RELIGIONS Though they do not have much in material possessions, they are ready to offer whatever they have for the sake of God. God values and loves what is in the hearts. and if I do not treat them in a manner ordained by God, then I would be a great loser and may become one of the transgressors.” :”~ I tit .; …. ~ “:: ~I~ljl~~ 13 From this brief interpretative translation of these verses, it is clear that although Noah’s period is far back in history, the subject matter still relates to the present day condition in America. Here too lives a race which is looked down upon by other!’,. Their own countrymen who are of white colour mistreat them. Although the law of the land establishes some rights and liberties and gives equal opportunities, in actuality these people remain impoverished. They are seen doing the lowest jobs in the streets and in factories. The fact is that the actual power and authority are still in the hands of the whites. Consequently, the blacks live in an agitated state of extreme distress. As far as Islam is concerned. it is a uriiversal religion which does not discrimi~ate between races. It forbids mistreatment of people due to their race or colour. Yet at the same time it does not allow the discriminated to take revenge or act unjustly. Islam is a religiOn of balance and does not ailow any injustice. Therefore, I am making it clear that Ahmadiyyat does not take sides or discriminates between people. According to Ahmadiyyat, all human beings are equal and enjoy the same status. If Ahmadiyyat makes any discrimination. it is between the oppressor and the oppressed. Discrimination is not based on the colour of the skin. At the moment I do not intend to go into the details of this subject. At present I would like to say a few important things in the light of these Quranic verses to all Ahmadies regardless of their colour – be they black, white, or any other colour. The fact of the matter is that immigrant Pakistanis who have settled here are victims of a type of complex, namely. the inferiority complex. In fact. this inferiority complex has nothing to do with shade of (;01 our – may it be pure black or lesser black. This complex develops due to narrowness of heart and mind. Narrowness of heart and mind of a person, regardless of his colour. always expresses itself in a feeling of inferiority. Many ills of human society grow out of this complex. but the consequences are extremely devastating if people become its victims in the realm of religion. These verses of the Holy Quran tell us that truth and inferiority complex cannot exist together. The two are in direct opposition to each other and cannot flourish together. Truth suffers greatly at the hands of this complex. Like a thing destroyed by termites. one looses faith due to an inferiority complex. It preys upon truthfulness and nobility of character. However. at times. it may be temporary. For example. immigrants from Pakistan. Bangladesh. or any Arab country may feel that they are financially better off as compared with the blacks. and further may feel that their colour is lighter. Thus. unconsciouly they tend to become a part of the social set-up of the whites. By 14 FRIDAY SERMON making closer relationships with the whites, they may feel a kind of superiority over others. In my opinion, this is not a consciously developed attitude in most cases. For if it was a conscious effort, they could not remain true Ahmadies. They would immediately become untrue and faithless because they would contradict the Holy Quran’s fundamental teaching. However, as I have stated, man is a victim of a thousand deceits. He does not realize his own weaknesses throughout his life. Sometimes, at his death-bed, he is amazed to realize how he has spent all his life in ignorance. Therefore, it is necessary that after a thorough analysis of the situation, he should be made to face the reality in such a way that he is helped to understand what and why he is doing something wrong. It should then be explained to him why he should stop what he is doing wrong. However, I am not blaming all the immigrants for making a conscious mistake; -nevertheless, this is happening due to a lack of understanding, and a vast majority of them do become a prey to such ills. Quite a long time ago, when there were not many Pakistanis in America, one person told me that in his opinion, the greatest problem in America was, God forbid, that our missionaries had made a blunder by first preaching to the blacks. Consequently, the blacks were joining Ahmadiyyat in great numbers, and thus the doors were being closed for the whites to join Islam. This statement depicted the same inferiority complex which existed in Noah’s nation. It was foolishly being implied that people with relatively lesser social status remain disregarded even though they had accepted God. Religion would be honoured only when the whites would join it; and without the whites, the religion would not be honoured. I felt nauseous after hearing such rubbish and foolish talk. The Holy Quran explains that even thousands of years ago, God’s intelligent servants possessed such brilliant understand- ing that they realized where true greatness lies. They knew when God blesses the poor and those wrongly perceived to be insignificant, they gain the highest position and status in the world. Religion is honoured by them for coming into it, and if they leave the religion, it would be a disservice to the faith of God. Those who do not give any importance to religion do not dishonour the faith by not joining it. How can the doors of religion be closed to those who are honoured by God? If they strive to grow in righteousness and to offer greater sacrifices, they cannot be stopped because of their colour, their nationality or their financial standing. These doors are not closed outwardly but the hearts are locked. Attitude is changed. They are being looked upon unkindly. Instead of embracing them with love, they are kept at a distance. A curtain is drawn. Obviously, no one ever saw that doors of any mosque were physically closed to any Ahmadi who came from these people. His entrance was never forbidden. Nevertheless, if you really search your hearts, it is possible that you may find that unfortunately you had locked your soul’s door to them. Or if you had not locked it completely, you had at least half closed it to them. You did not desire to keep it wide open so that they could gladly enter into it. Due to this attitude, the Jamaat Ahmadiyya THE REVIEW OF RELIGIONS 15 suffered a tremendous loss beyond your imagination. What a truthful statement Noah had made: “If I drive them away, this would be such a great sin in God’s sight that none among you would be able to help me when Allah’s decree would be enforced.” What a glorious time it was – full of glad tidings – when Hazrat Mufti Muhammad Sadiq, first Ahmady Missionary to U. S. A. (may Allah be pleased with him) came here. He threw wide open the gates of Ahmadiyyat for those who are called the blacks, and received them warmly with open arms. In those days sending a telegram was a rare thing. Usually people would write letters. Telegrams were sent only as an exception. Even on an urgent occasion people would write a letter but ask the addressee to consider it as a telegram. It was a common practice to do so in the villages of the Punjab. In those days Hazrat Mufti Muhammad Sadiq got so excited that he started sending telegrams one after another to Qadian telling the Jamaat about a revolution here and there. People were joining in great numbers,.and entire communities were being converted. The Khutbas (Friday Sermons) of the time of Hazrat Musleh Maud , the Khalifa of the time, (may Allah be pleased with him) were full of Allah’s praise that a representative of a very poor community, whose workers do not have food in their homes, goes to the richest country in the world and conveys good news that by the grace of God, the hearts of the people are opening up towards Islam. No one ever asked him whether they were blacks or whites who were joining Islam. No one ever asked Mufti Muhammad Sadiq Sahib what was his policy and approach. Was he converting only the black and leaving the whites behind? Whoever came forward to join Ahmadiyyat was a servant of God, and as such was greeted and embraced by the servants of God. Every pewcomer brought with him blessings of righteousness. And every righteous person enhanced in his light of righteousness all the more. If the pace of progress of that time was maintained, it was not improbable that today, by the grace and mercy of God, a great number would have been in Ahmadiyyat – the true Islam. America would have been distributing blessings to the world instead of being a source of all sorts of evil. The world would have been receiving mundane as well as spiritual blessings from here. This country would have emerged for the rest of the world as a great benefactor. It is such a great and powerful nation that if it adopts true Islamic civilization and values, and Iink~ itself with Khilafat, it will definitely become the greatest nation on earth. No worldly intrigue or power will ever be able to subdue it. It will rise up with such a force that it will be impossible for the entire world to suppress it. The use of words ‘rise up with such a force’ should not be interpreted literally because Islam does not allow any aggression. It forbids revolt and teaches humility. It exhorts us to become humble human beings, and tells us that God loves meekness and humility. But still therein is a profound secret. In consequence, the nations that become humble in wake of God’s love, grow 16 FRIDAY SERMON and acquire attributes of God’s power. Upon them God bestows His own greatness and glorious strength and thereafter no other nation in the world can suppress them. Therefore, I am saying that today the course of human history would have been different, today the sun of Islam would have risen from the land of America. You could have witnessed the prophecy that the sun will rise from the West. It is unfortunate that some, due to their own sick mentality, feel themselves superior over servants of God who are less privileged, and treat them with arrogance. You may not be such an insolent one, yet you did not exhibit the desired love and affection for them. ·Later on, many false versions of Islam began to surface. Organizations came into existence in the name of Islam, and were financed to propogate Islam in America. Noah’s statement proves them wrong since they did not come forward to propogate Islam until they received huge amounts of money. Therefore, their intention was not to help other nations through goodness but they were induced to undertake their work through greed of money and wealth. Nevertheless, people in great numbers turned to these organizations which gained significance and strength because the Ahmadiyya Movement left the field open for them. But as these organizations lacked true and righteous leadership, they started to use new converts for wrong purposes. For personal or political ends, they encouraged them to commit crimes and heinous deeds. They are given a wrong perception of righteousness, and are trained in any organized way to do things forbidden by Islam. Various people become Muslims under different labels, and each financier has his own personal or political axe to grind, knowing that they are a potent force. If this force had entered Ahmadiyyat, it would have become a much greater power because this would have been in the hands of God. A power in the hands of the people tends to be misused, but in the hands of God it becomes a source of countless and universal benevolence for the whole world. I cannot put the fault on anyone either of the past or the present. But I can say that in the narration of this incident of Noah’s time the Holy Quran presents a universal truth. The Holy Quran, being the Word of God, looks at the hearts. Whatever is happening today already occured during Noah’s time and can be repeated again, therefore its truth can be tested by the results. I cannot attribute excesses to anyone, errors to any missionary, or faults to any newcomer. But I know·for certain that a collective mistake has been committed, otherwise we would not have found Ahmadiyyat as it is today in the States. Therefore, change your attitude not because you want to gain the new converts but because you yourself will be annihilated if the present attitude prevails. It will be futile to plan your actions just to increase your numbers. If you are being driven away from God due to a certain behaviour, your main concern should be your own selves. If you take care of yourselves and become Godly, God Himself will take care of others and you won’t need to devise plans to attract them. Open up your hearts towards God. Win His love by becoming righteous, humble and compassionate towards human beings and try to make them yours. THE REVIEW OF RELIGIONS 17 Beware of all kinds of arrogance in the same way as people are scared of touching a leper. Have a greater fear of arrogance than you fear a ferocious lion. There is nothing deadlier than insolence. It creeps in imperceptibly through concealed openings and entirely overpowers you. More often the preachers of humility and claimants of meekness are themselves a prey to arrogance. Therefore, it is extremely essential for immigrants to modify their outlook. They should be thankful to God that He has given them the opportunity in a foreign land to make fortunes that can be diverted towards the service of their fai th. If this cannot be done, their coming over here is useless. Then they have sold their souls and offsprings to this country. Therefore, if God has bestowed plenty upon you, bow down before Him expressing thanks that He has filled your heart’s desire. You longed for the provisions so that you could offer them to God. You asked for the wealth so that you could spend for the betterment of mankind. When you were empty handed, you had a thousand desires. God has provided you with everything, now is the time to make your dreams come true, to attain all your wishes. With this feeling, your hearts will be filled with deep gratitude. Therefore, lift up your deprived brothers, these deprived people, and embrace them, for this is the way of the Holy Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessing of God be upon him). In a most magnificent way he embodied all that he learnt from the Holy Quran, and he left an unparalleled precept of extreme beauty for others to follow in this world. The Holy Prophet (peace and blessing of Allah be upon him) has shown such a great love towards the poor that ‘ASHAAB-US-SUFF A’ (people who spent their time in the mosque to be as much as possible in the presence of the Holy Prophet) came and started living in the mosque just for the sake of love for the Holy Prophet (peace and blessing of Allah be upon him). It was indeed an expression of !ove in response to the Holy Prophet’s initial love. Some people mistakenly think that ‘ASHAAB-US-SUFFA’ neither had any work nor any skills and they, like other indigents, flocked to a place where food was available. This is totally an untrue and baseless thought. They were, infact, men of knowledge and dignity. Many among them had skills to earn money, but they offered themselves in entirety to the Holy Prophet (peace and blessing of Allah be upon him) out of sheer love. They accepted poverty in exchange for his love because they knew they would earn more of his love if they were poor. Look at Abu Hurairah (may God be pleased with him). He had lived a life of great style but, after acceptmg the Holy Prophet (peace and blessing of Allah be upon him), he stayed constantly in the mosque so that he would not miss any loving talk of his beloved master, and thus compensate himself for what he had missed earlier. The only way he could think of attaining this object was that he should stay permanently in the mosque so that he could see the Prophet whenever he came, to listen to him whenever he spoke, and to be looking at his face all the time. Abu Hurairah, because of his desire to be constantly on the look out for the Holy Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon t6m), did not move away from 18 FRIDAY SERMON the mosque and as a result used to faint because of hunger. This was the real cause of his poverty; and due to poverty he earned more love from the Holy Prophet (peace and blessing of Allah be upon him). The Holy Prophet used to say, “If you wish to locate me, you will find me among the poor and the destitute.” Moreover, he observed that on the day of Judgement, God would raise him up among the poor and the weak because he loved them abundantly. A companion asked the Holy Prophet to pray that he be raised up on the Day of Judgement in his company. The Holy Prophet enquired what specific quality he possessed. He replied that he loved the Holy Prophet and had nothing else but love for him. The Holy Prophet responded that on the Day of Judgement a person would be raised along with the one he loves. Thus the Holy Prophet’s assertion that he would be raised up among the poor proves that his love for the poor was greater than their reciprocal love. This was the reason why the poor flocked around him. Even the rich forsook their wealth and assembled around him. Because of their great love for the Prophet, people preferred to remain poor for the sake of his company. Consequently, they gained great treasures and blessings from God, so much so that the richest among the Muslims, be he a monarch, remembers their names with great reverence and affection seeking God’s blessings for them. These are the people that Noah talked about briefly. In short, to love the poor sincerely is an exemplary precept of the Holy Prophet Mohammad (peace and blessing Allah be upon him). As far as race and colour are concerned, you know well the dignity bestowed on Hazrat Bilal. He was a black man and also a slave. When Hazrat Umar was Khalifa, he would address him saying “Our Leader, Bilal” and showed great respect by standing up in his honour. What a magnificent religion it is for which the Holy Prophet Mohammad (peace and blessing of Allah be upon him) was chosen to be its mirror who, in return eliminated his own self and presented the Holy Quran all in all. The love and compassion of the Holy Prophet (peace and blessing of Allah be opon him) for mankind and, particularly for the poor, is reflected through the following incident. There was a black person who was very poor and his features were so grotesque that he was counted among the ugliest. Some people would not look at him because of his repelling features. He was a poor labourer. Once he was standing alone and thinking with a heavy heart about his depressing life. The Holy Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) happened to pass by and, approaching this man from behind like a mother would do to her own child, he covered his eyes with his hands to see whether he would recognize him. The man realized that no one except the Holy Prophet would be so loving to a miserable wretch like him. Seizing upon this rare opportunity, he started rubbing his sweaty body and malodorous clothes with that of the Holy Prophet, and started to touch and feel him with his hands. When asked by the Holy Prophet whether he had recognized him, he said that no one but the Holy Prophet would treat a poor person with such affection, and he w~s merely taking advantage of the good fortune to touch THE REVIEW OF RELIGIONS 19 him, to hold him close and to fondle his loving body with his hands. He said he was taking full advantage of a golden and rare opportunity. Afterwards he said, ” 0 Prophet of God, who else other than you would be so much concerned about the down trodden? I am a wretched man of no value at al no one will buy me even as a slave in the market.” No, not at all. God in heaven has owned you, you enjoy His love and respect.” This is Islam. This is what we have learnt from the Holy Prophet (peace and blessing of Allah be upon him). If you go out in the streets of America with this Islam, then you will certainly be the winners. No power on earth can arrest the influence and attraction and charm of this Islam. People will come to you for this Islam because you will then be indeed the true ambassadors of the Holy Prophet rather than mere conveyors of a hollow message. The present day world does not care for envoys who indulge in lip-service only. Today many heads of states falsely pretend to be emissaries of peace and love. Should you truly endeavour to represent and reflect the moral exellences of the Holy Prophet, then you will see how much dignity and glory God confers upon you. Learn to love these people. When I meet t~em the thought of any distinction by colour never ever passes through my mind. I see them neither black nor white. I see them all full of God’s light. I personally know that among them are those whose hearts are full of the love of God. They get up in the night to offer Tahajjud prayer. In spite of being poor they always come forward and are in the fore-front in matters of financial sacrifices. Their love of Ahmadiyyat is reflected in their faces and their eyes. Sometimes, losing control over their emotions, they embrace me crying, and between their sighing and sobing I cannot understand what they say. I see nothing in them other than God’s light shining upon their faces. My heart goes out for them. My soul dances in their love. You have pledged allegiance at my hand and I have made a pledge at the hand of the Holy Prophet. You should become like this or you will not be true to your pledge of allegiance. Until you adopt this attitude you will not be able to bring a change in the destiny of America. Hundreds of thousands of Pakistanis, Arabs, Indonesians, Malaysians or Bengalies may come and settle down here, yet they cannot win this country until they come with the light of the Holy Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him). The people you may think to be low or those who are taken to be low by the world are in fact real gems with great potent force. To win God’s love, they are ready to advance faster than other nations because they have a strong sense of deprivation. Other people who are contented because they have everything become arrogant. As described earlier, Noah informed his people that their wealth had made them blind. How could he show and convince them that God’s blessings were not attracted by material possessions, rather these descend upon the deprived and the meek. Because of their sense of loss, God had sharpened the insight of the poor to recognize His blessings and accept those blessings when they descend upon them. Therefore, let them take 20 FRIDAY SERMON advantage of this situation and you should not stand in their way. Convey to them the message of love, .beauty and moral excellence of the Holy Prophet. You will then see how God changes their fortunes with His grace and bounty. These are the people who are wasting away their lives in alcoholism, music and drugs. Out of the same people many will join Ahmadiyyat and you will see a dramatic change for the better in them. There is an Ahmadi who was a musician by profession and in a short time became well known throughout America. According to experts he was to become all time best. When he became an Ahmadi, he cared neither for music nor he craved for wealth which a musician’s career would have brought him. He discarded all. He is now a Dervish. He offers Tahajjud prayers regularly. Tears flow from his eyes when he utters the name of the Holy Prophet (peace and blessing of Allah be upon him). He loves the Promised Messiah (peace be 0 him) just as much as the Promised Messiah loved his Master, the Holy Prophet(peace and blessings of Allah be upon him). He is an entirely transformed person. He is changed so much that the people cannot recognize what a gifted and talented man he is. I have known him for a long time and talked to him often. God listens to his· prayers and answers him, and treats him with love and affection. You know not how many magnificent gems of great value are hidden here. If, God forbid, we failed to appreciate their worth, God too will not care a bit about us. So transform yourselves and change the present state of affairs . . For those Ahmadies that I am referring to, who have transformed themselves and are very dear to me, because I know they are dear to God, my message is try to attain grandeur of character through practising real Islam. Learn to be self-confident. Islam teaches a very special mode of life. Islam tells you that you are free, – free from all complexes including inferiority complex. When you have found God with full conviction, there is no room left for feeling inadequate. Why do you become over sensitive if someone views you either in a peculiar way or neglects you. Why was Noah not over sensitive, and why did his followers who were poor and in a similar situation not take offence? These very verses of the Holy Quran are also giving you a clear message. Being God’s glorious servant, Noah was extremely close to Him, and his handful of followers were so dear to God that for their sake He annihilated all the others in that land. The eminent personage of Noah and his followers were severely ridiculed and looked down upon by others. The Holy Quran records their plight: When they were building the ark, the chiefs· as well as the vulgar people of the ill-fated nation contemptuously passed !litter remarks and constantly mocked at them calling them thick-headed, insane and paupers who, .inspite of being constantly ridiculed, claimed that they would be saved and the rest of the nation would be destroyed. Nevertheless, these persecuted few never suffered from any inferiority complex because their faith was firm and true and they knew that they were one with God, and consequently they treated others with mercy. THE REVIEW OF RELIGIONS 21 If some<;>ne mistreats you, you do not have to feel frustrated and react in a negative way, but rather you should show mercy towards that person. If you react to someone’s misbehaviour by withdrawing yourselves from doing good, then you will draw yourself away from your own Lord. You will turn away from what is good for you and you will display insincerity to yourselves. Why then you do not understand that Islam belongs to you and God is yours. And if, in matters of morals and values, an outsider turns his back on God and Islam, what right have you and what sense does it make that you too shouid draw yourself away from God and Islam? You should have a strong feeling that God has become yours and you should not be concerned about what others think 9f you. When you inculcate this grandeur of character then you will become dominant in this country. Leaving aside religious values, I can say on psychological ground that for a nation to prosper it is imperative that it should get rid of its inferiority complex and it should advance on a straight path. It should be disinterested in the attitude of others towards it. It should not concern itself whether someone honours it or not. Such nations are born through Prophets of God who upbring and train ‘them in such a way that they not only survive but flourish while other contemporary dominant nations meet with destruction. You are the fortunate nation, and therefore you should not feel about the need of someone else embracing you. In fact, as God has chosen you for His favours and blessings, you are the one who should embrace others and sho~ benevolence and graciousness by embracing others. Therefore, it is imperative that each and every Ahmadi should get rid of all sorts of inferiority complexes. Those who are of a comparatively lighter colour and who are financially better off, their feeling of inferiority complex can and will certainly destroy them if they do not deviate from the present course. And those who are apparently considered to be of a lower status, if they remain a victim of inferiority, this complex will also certainly destroy them. The Holy Prophet (peace and blessing of Allah be upon him) has already divulged to us all profound facts of human nature. The greatest psychologist ever born, the Holy Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessing of Allah be upon him) knew God the best, and God – the Creator of human nature – taught him all about human nature. The Holy Prophet (peace and blessing of Allah be upon him) is the only true source of understanding human nature. It becomes easy to learn man’s nature if one looks at man free from all prejudice through the eyes of God. Therefore, I am saying with perfect certainty and guidance, that there is none more knowledgeable than the Holy Prophet in understanding human nature. No one before or after him can attain the height of his knowledge. Once he said that among those disliked by God are the poor who despite their poverty are arrogant. This explains what inferiority complex really means. The poor who are being despised by others, if they respond with pride and arrogance, then this is because of their 22 FRIDAY SERMON inferiority complex, for they begin to retaliate by looking down upon others. The Holy Prophet (peace and blessing of Allah be upon him) said, Allah dislikes such people, too. In this case instead of winning the love of God, why to earn His wrath? If you are one with God, then by God you are great, because he who attains nearness to God, becomes great. Why then do you allow yourself to fall prey to false inferiority complex? Why do you allow satan to sow this harmful feeling in your hearts? Why do you give a chance to satan to infuse erroneous thoughts in your mind that the others are greater than you? If you enthuse the feeling of true greatness in yourself and adopt the qualities of the character of the Holy Prophet (peace and blessing of Allah be upon him), I can tell you that no one can succeed in creating any disharmony in the Ahmadiyya Community. Today some hypocrites who are foolish or ignorant, and some planted by your opponents have infiltrated among you to create disunity and disharmony. Satan always tries to create such disorder. Remember, that no power on earth can bring disunity among true believers. Therefore, anyone who due to his inferiority complex or under satanic influence attempts to arouse ill feelings in your hearts against your brother, and consequently if you feel that your love for your brother, or your respect and sense of obedience to duly designated representatives of the Jamaat are affected, then beware that such a person is not from God. He is from satan. Reject this person with full force. If everyone follows this way, no satanic influence can ever harm Ahmadiyyat. But I am surprised that some people are easily influenced and they bring to me petty complaints. A teacher. for example, gave passing grades to a student only because he was a Pakistani or had a fair colour or because he was rich, while our child was failed though he was more deserving to win in the recitation of the Holy Quran or in a poem contest. I look at them in amazement. Were it really the case, why do you forget that you belong to God and God will treat you with love. If a nation or a person sacrifices his right for the sake of God, he is elevated in rank in the sight of God. Even if you were mistreated in the manner described, you are still winners. Be merciful to that foolish person who undeservingly received some prize. He is unaware of what he is really getting. The Holy Prophet said: “When two parties bring their dispute to me and one of them pleads the matter in a deceptively convincing fashion or in a cunning way so that I may give my verdict in favour of the undeserving party, do not think that the undeserving became deserving because of my decision. He indeed has earned merely a portion of Hell. He got nothing more than that.” Therefore, if the Holy Prophet (peace and blessing of Allah be upon him) could conceivably (God forbid) give a wrong verdict based on misinformation, – and my personal belief is that he would not do so, the story is by way of illustration only – then it is possible that other much \ – t J THE REVIEW OF RELIGIONS 23 smaller people can also make a wrong decision because of lack of information. Therefore, when you react to such matters, you become guilty of two things. First, you entertained a suspicion against your brother; you do not really know why he made that particular decision. Secondly, y()u considered yourself inferior as if something was taken away from you. No one can take away anything from you. All these matt~rs are based upon the pleasure of God and no one can snatch away from you the pleasure of God. When you are denied your deserving right, your status is raised in the sight of God. And he who wrongfully acquires someone else’s share, then his status is lowered in God’s sight. Islam is a well secured sanctury. A true Muslim never feels any danger from any direction. Therefore, inculcate self-respect which is a definite outcome of a strong relationship with God. God walks with those who know how to live in humility. The Holy Prophet (peace and blessing of Allah be upon him) knew his exalted status and commanding respectability, yet he was extremely humble. This is the balance created by Islam. Humble as well as exalted, such attractive personalities manifest themselves and emerge on the horizon through Islam. May God bless America with such a community. All weaknesses may be removed. by sheer grace of Allah. Try to examine your present condition by profound self-analysis. With compassion and love, after looking thoroughly into their condition, make your brothers understand. It is urgent. A great task is in front of us. We are far behind the pace of time and we need to correct our weaknesses immediately to become a foot soldier in God’s army. Ifwe do not measure up to the challange, then in place of winning others over, we will lose our own children to satan. If you do not learn to grow and do not attempt to make your society dominant over the other society, then the other will definitely overcome you. You will become weak and less in numbers. Take heed from these lessons of history. These are immutable laws which are being taught to us by human history. You will not be treated differently. This is a nation’s unalterable des”tiny – past and future. Therefore, re-examine the situation with prayers, seek forgiveness, and develop strength of character based upon humbleness. Anyone who apparantly belongs to a specific group should resolve that he will attribute himself to the Holy Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) in such a way that superficiality of different colours disappears completely and there remains not even the thinnest veil in between brothers. May Allah give us the strength to achieve this goal. Ameen.