The Nature of God

Allah – Friend of the Believers

41The Review of Religions – July 2005 As we experience in our dailylife, friendship is something which must prove its value in the communication of those who are friends, which means that the friendship is sometimes tested. In good times and especially in bad times the one who is a friend to another person will bless him always with his sweet company, he will comfort him and encourage him when he encounters difficult situations and he will send him gifts when he has achieved some success. To a greater degree, a believer who Allah has chosen out of His incomparable Grace and Mercy as His friend witnesses the same. He guides those who long for Him and burn out of themselves everything which might off e n d their friendship. So, for example, in the Holy Qur’an, Allah explains to mankind that His most beloved friend, the Holy Prophet Muhammad(sa) does not speak out of desire. This means that out of the sacred mouth of the Holy Prophet(sa) no word was uttered which was mixed with any kind of selfishness, egoism or wish for worldly or private advantage. And, of course, his behaviour and actions were accordingly honest and truthful up to the highest standard man can think of and born out of the best of intentions. Instead of caring for himself, he was lost in care for all human beings. So much so, that Allah says in the Holy Qur’an that he might grieve himself to death for sorrow over their disbelief. But he did not only worry about the spiritual welfare of people. Once, for example, some farmers asked him how to handle their crop. He told them what to do but later on they complained that the effect of his advice was not as desired. The Holy Prophet( s a ) replied that his saying was due to his own understanding. It was not a Word of God. The lesson to be Allah – Friend of the Believers By Hadayatullah Hubsch – Frankfurt, Germany 42 ALLAH – FRIEND OF THE BELIEVERS The Review of Religions – July 2005 drawn from this incident might be twofold: 1. A prophet, being one with God, is not God. 2. Even when it seems that he made a mistake, it proves to be a blessing in disguise. The blessing is that one learns out of failures and this is a universal l a w. Without it there is no progress. This is why Allah says in the Holy Qur’an that He turns the wrong a believer has done into good. Another lesson for the believers from this Tradition is that one should not compel a Prophet or Wali, that is, a friend of Allah, to say something about worldly matters. They are in the world but not of the world. If out of their pity for man they put themselves to the trouble of helping them in worldly matters, this does not mean that they leave the heavenly sphere they live in. It is only due to their hope that people may be guided through this to thankfulness and praise to their Lord. Their real task is to lead man to godliness and prepare them for the life in the Hereafter. Whereas God is limitless, they are not perfect in the sense that they cannot progress anymore. While they are perfect teachers, they too are taught by the One who Alone is All-Knowing, All-Wise and the Guide for the entire creation. This means that the perfection of a Wali always has room for improvement. In this connection, I may cite the Fourth Khalifa of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community, Hadhrat Mirza Tahir Ahmad ( r u ). Some people mentioned to His Holiness that the Pope is claimed to be without mistakes. Then they asked His Holiness if his case was the same. He replied that he does make mistakes sometimes but God would give him the chance to correct such mistakes thereafter. So whatever a Wali does, it will be crowned by success ultimately and there is no one who can change this decree. These two incidents lead to a notable remark. To witness that somebody has become a friend of Allah is not for everyone. Often Allah attires His holy friends in something which makes them appear in the eyes of the worldly- 43 ALLAH – FRIEND OF THE BELIEVERS The Review of Religions – July 2005 minded people and the hypocrites as afflicted. Being unaware of the spiritual world they measure everything with their limited mind. If they see something which does not fit their thinking outwardly, they discard it as not worth pondering about. God keeps them safe from those greedy people who love to profit from them. The friends of Allah who happen to have received such a distinction understands its inner meaning and blessing. So a friend of Allah must not look like an imposing personality, while, of course, he can. The fact is that it is not necessary that a Wa l i is known as a Wa l i t o everyone. So the manifestation of being a Wali could be something made known only to the Wa l i himself, and, of course, those to whom Allah reveals the status of a person. The Promised Messiah(as) gave to the seekers of truth in his unmatched book B a r a h i n – e – Ahmadiyya an account of what a person could witness if Allah chooses him as a friend. A Wali often experiences signs from the Unseen, from the world behind the screen of the four- d i m e n s i o n a l world. For example, he may be informed about the inner feelings of another person. The senses of a Wali could be so refined that he could be aware of things happening thousands of miles away from him. As promised in the Holy Qur’an by Allah, angels descend upon him and talk to him. Sometimes Allah puts on the tongue of a Wali words which are not his own but words of the A l m i g h t y. Sometimes he sees prophecies in a vision in symbolic language. In his dreams Allah reveals to him many secrets, either about Himself or about dear and near ones or even about conflicts, solutions of problems regarding the earth or times to come. It is also possible that the Wali hears loudly the voice of Allah coming from the outside, or meets people who died with whom he can sit and talk as if they were still alive. The higher the degree of a Wali, the more miraculous are the signs vouchsafed to him by Almighty Allah. Though these experiences are 44 ALLAH – FRIEND OF THE BELIEVERS The Review of Religions – July 2005 mostly witnessed by the Wa l i himself, while other people have no share in them except that the Wali, with the permission of Allah, disclose s them, it is also possible that due to the holy influence of a Wali those who are around him may witness the miracle too. A touch with his hand may heal, his clothes may have a healthy influence for a person, his nearness may purify and make people aware of the right path. But most of all, it is the acceptance of prayers which are a witness of a true Wali. It is not that all his prayers are heard. As it is with all sincere prayers, it could be in his case too that instead of literally fulfilling a request by prayer, Allah might give something else. But most often the prayer of a Wali proves to be so effective that one may think that his prayers are like an order. So sometimes it seems as if Allah Himself is manifesting Himself within a Wali so that his word becomes Allah’s Word. On one occasion, for example, the Third Khalifa of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community, Hadhrat Mirza Nasir Ahmad(ru), was sitting with dignitaries of the Community in one room to discuss an important matter. It so happened that an insect found its way into that room and started to disturb the gathering. Suddenly the Khalifa said in a very majestic tone to the insect that it should leave the room. Immediately the insect obeyed and flew away. So in a certain way a Wali could become a manifestation of God Himself as if he is given power above the whole world. On one occasion, for example, the Promised Messiah(as) had to appear in court. In the past and in our days too the prophets and Wa l is of Allah had been molested by mischievous elements who tried to put them down with their mean worldly and cunning plans by misusing judicial authority. During the course of the hearing of the court, the judge wished to see some sign of the prophethood of the Promised Messiah( a s ). The Promised Messiah (as) did not reply for a short time, as he was praying. Then he said to the judge that he may demand any sign, whatever it might be and he would show it. But the judge did not avail of this chance to witness a heavenly proof 45 ALLAH – FRIEND OF THE BELIEVERS The Review of Religions – July 2005 of the truthfulness of the Promised Messiah(as) and kept silent. Let us now turn to the question of how to become a friend of Allah. In the beginning one should have the great desire to make heaven one’s home. Simple thoughts lead to the conclusion that evolution and expansion of consciousness cannot end with physical death. As science teaches no energy is lost but only transformed. On e becomes aware of the need to prepare for the life Hereafter. S i m i l a r l y, an observer of daily affairs may understand easily that there is a law of action and reaction or, in the terminology of religion, punishment and reward. For a man, whose conscience is not completely blackened by his selfish endeavours, self-criticism, therefore, leads to thinking over how to improve for the sake of not getting engulfed by suffering. As heaven is on the mind, and true happiness lies in the peace one may enjoy in the heart, conse- quently one may look for ways to achieve lasting paradise. Man usually knows that nothing comes from nothing. The mind begins to ponder over the idea that there must be a Creator of everything. It is in this state of awareness that the spiritual journey begins. If one starts to study the different ways which offer salvation, one point can never be neglected. It is experience and not the idea alone which leads to the power of certainty. When, therefore, your goal is God and not to achieve mental faculties, however fasci- nating they may be, then prayer must be your first and lasting resort. To become ultimately a friend of Allah, the Lord and Master of the universe, is accordingly in the first instance possible only by the most humble and constant prayers. To exemplify this, one may reflect how one would try to win the love of a certain person who is so intelligent not to fall prey to tricks, actions of show or alluring of any kind. That heart one may win only by being worthy of its company which means to be as beautiful as it is. If one tries to win the pleasure of Allah by chanting certain words until one gets unconscious or mad, 46 ALLAH – FRIEND OF THE BELIEVERS The Review of Religions – July 2005 or if one tries to misuse Allah’s Holiness by thinking of Him as some kind of dream machine which fulfils one’s own egoistic wishes, or if one prays to Allah in a certain state of absent- mindedness, one may only incur the wrath of Allah. Allah wants to bring man up to a higher level of being which is not possible without man’s effort to use his faculties to understand his final destination. As love generally seems to be accepted as the biggest motor of man’s longing, and as friendship is based on love, one accordingly should act like a lover of God in order to win His friendship. Real love means to prefer the beloved above oneself. Of course, Allah is not an ordinary friend. Being the source of all good, He is to be requested for love too. The Holy Prophet( s a ) taught us the prayer: O Allah, grant me Thy love and the love of those who love Thee and the love of the deeds which will enable me to attain to Thy love. O Allah, make Thy love dearer to me than my own life, my family and even dearer than cold water (to a man dying of thirst in scorching heat). (Tirmizdhi) So one should beseech Allah constantly that He may fill one’s heart with His pure love so that one may live. Another important duty of the believer is to mould himself into that state where Allah wishes him to be. Or, in other words, if one does not meet the pure and lovely wishes of the friend, how could one enjoy his company? So pray accordingly, saying, ‘O Allah put my body and my thoughts in accordance with Thy Will.’ In this connection, the advice of the First Khalifa of the Promised M e s s i a h( a s ), Hadhrat Maulvi Nuruddin(ra) could be related. He was once asked how it happened that he had become such a holy personality. He replied that this was due to his mother’s recitation of D u rood Sharif – a prayer invoking Divine blessings on the Holy Prophet(sa) – while she was breast-feeding him. Then the 47 ALLAH – FRIEND OF THE BELIEVERS The Review of Religions – July 2005 people asked him what they could do if their mothers did not do that. He replied that one should recite Durood Sharif while eating. We find the most blissful key for a believer who wishes to become a friend of Allah. It is the strict observance of everything one may learn from the Sunna, that is, the practice of the Holy Prophet(sa). The closer one follows him, in letter and spirit, the sooner one may reach the point where one’s ego is overcome by one’s piety which is a precondition for becoming a friend of Allah. The Promised Messiah( a s ) h a s explained in his book Kishti-e-Nuh how one may proceed in order to become an inmate of paradise. He says: ‘Blessed are those who for the sake of their Lord wage a war against their own self; but really narrow-minded are those who for sake of their lower self wage a war against their Lord and refuse to transform themselves obediently accord- ing to His Will. Whoever for the sake of his own self flouts an order of God, will never go into heaven. Therefore strive for the utmost that not a single letter or syllable of the Holy Q u r’an might be a witness against you, and to this aim be dedicated completely.’ The result of this A l – J i h a d – u l – Akbar – the biggest exertion in the way of Allah – is a pure heart. To achieve it, the Promised Messiah(as) taught us the prayer: ‘O Allah, show me the way by which the righteous find Thee and safeguard me against the ways of passion, hatred, envy and worldly desire.’ And Allah revealed to the Promised Messiah(as) the prayer: ‘My Lord, take away all kind of dirt from me and make me completely pure.’ He stated furthermore that to get purified one does not need to have recourse to ascetism or hardship. What is required is wisdom, understanding, will-power to suppress anger and harshness, overcoming oneself by displaying 48 ALLAH – FRIEND OF THE BELIEVERS The Review of Religions – July 2005 true love and affection, and sustaining a zeal to acquire knowledge and wisdom. Allah says in the Holy Qur’an, that only those who know do fear Him. To fear Allah, in other words to have Ta q w a, means to avoid everything which may incur the displeasure of Allah and to do everything which hopefully may win the favour of Allah. Everything done with Ta q w a brings some kind of reward. In the Holy Qur’an Allah says: O ye who believe! Fear Allah and seek the way of approach unto Him and strive in His Way that you may prosper. (Ch.5: V.36) The ways of approach can be basically described as the five pillars of Islam – confessing Tauhid or the undividable Oneness of God, observing prayers, spending of one’s wealth, fasting and performing Hajj. To elucidate these ways needs volumes of books. But in short we may say that true observance of them must rise from the heart and then step by step fill each minute of one’s life according to the need of the situation. So, for example, one may begin to feel that merely observing the obligatory prayers is not enough and ultimately reach spending every free second in the remembrance of Allah. And one may run to each nook and corner of life, trying to do good in the hope of catching through this frantic searching a glance of the illumined countenance of the Friend. Such an approach leads to what we may call nearness to Allah, or the death of the ego. And our last words are: All praise belongs to Allah, the Lord of all worlds, and may He be pleased to send His choicest blessings and peace to the best of His Creation, M u h a m m a d( s a ), the Seal of the Prophets. 49The Review of Religions – July 2005 Advertise your business in The Review of Religions and see sales scale to new heights. Existing adverts can be placed and sponsorship on regular features is available in this longest running worldwide Muslim monthly magazine in the English language. Rates available on request from the Manager at: The Review of Religions 16 Gressenhall Road, London SW18 5QL