The Promised Messiahas wrote over 80 books in Arabic, Urdu, and Persian. Excerpts of his collected works have been translated into English and organised by topic. The Review of Religions is pleased to present these excerpts as part of a monthly feature. Here, The Promised Messiahas elaborates on the subject of righteousness.
Extracts from the Essence of Islam, Vol.III, pp. 347 – 352.
In the Holy Qur’an more emphasis has been laid on virtue and righteousness than on any other commandment. The reason for this is that righteousness bestows the strength to resist all vice and urges progress towards all good. Righteousness is in all circumstances a charm that guarantees security and is a citadel for safeguarding against all harm. A righteous person can avoid many vain and harmful contentions that often lead other people to ruin. They sow the seed of dissension among the people through their hasty actions and suspicions and lay themselves open to objection.
—Ayyam-us-Sulh, Ruhani Khaza’in, vol. 14, p. 342
Elements of Righteousness
There are many elements in righteousness. It is righteousness to avoid pride and self-esteem and to refrain from unlawful acquisition and ill manners. A person who displays courtesy and good manners converts his enemies into friends.
—Malfuzat, vol. I, p. 81
Blessed is the one who adopts righteousness in a time of success and prosperity and most unfortunate is one who does not turn to righteousness after stumbling.
—Malfuzat, vol. I, p. 157
The spiritual beauty of man is to walk along all the finer ways of righteousness. They are the attractive features of spiritual beauty. It is obvious that to be mindful of the trusts of God Almighty, and to fulfil all the covenants of faith, and to employ all faculties and limbs, both overt, like eyes and ears and hands and feet and others like them, and those that are covert, like the mind and other faculties and qualities, on their proper occasions and to restrain them from coming into action on improper occasions, and to be warned against the subtle attacks of vice and to be mindful of the rights of one’s fellow beings, is the way of perfecting one’s spiritual beauty. God Almighty has in the Holy Qur’an designated righteousness as a raiment. Libas-ut-taqwa [the garment of righteousness] is an expression of the Holy Qur’an.1 This is an indication that spiritual beauty and spiritual ornament are achieved through righteousness. Righteousness means that one must be mindful even of the smallest details of the Divine trusts and covenants and also of all the trusts and covenants of one’s fellow beings, as far as it may be possible. That is, one must try to fulfil, to the best of one’s ability, all the requirements in their minutest details.
—Brahin-e-Ahmadiyya, Part V, Ruhani Khaza’in, vol. 21, pp. 209-210
True righteousness and ignorance cannot subsist together. True righteousness is accompanied by a light, as God the Glorious, has said:
That is, O ye who believe, if you remain steadfast in righteousness and hold fast to it for the sake of Allah, with firmness and perseverance, He will single you out from among your detractors with marked distinction. That is, you shall be blessed with a light which will accompany you wherever you go. That is to say, that that light would illumine all their actions and words and faculties and senses. Their intellect would be illumined and there would be light in all that they utter. There would be light in their eyes and in their ears and in their tongues and in their speech and in all their movements. The ways along which they walk would be lit up. All their ways, the ways of their faculties and their senses will be filled with light, and they will walk altogether in light.
—A’ina-e-Kamalat-e-Islam, Ruhani Khaza’in, vol. 5, pp. 177-178
Righteousness is Essential for Heavenly Knowledge
There is a great distinction between the acquisition of worldly knowledge and knowledge of the Holy Qur’an. Righteousness is not needed for the study of grammar, physics, philosophy, astronomy, medicine, etc. It is not necessary that a student of these subjects should observe salat [the five daily prayers which are obligatory upon a Muslim] and the fast and should be mindful of Divine commandments and prohibitions and should subordinate his every action and word to Divine directions. Indeed it often happens that the seekers of such knowledge become atheistic and are involved in every kind of vice. Today the world presents a remarkable spectacle. Though the people of Europe and America acquire high proficiency in worldly arts and sciences and daily make new inventions, their moral and spiritual condition is deplorable. We cannot even mention some of the scenes that are witnessed in the parks of London and the hotels of Paris and are published in the daily press.
On the other hand righteousness is an essential condition for heavenly learning and for acquiring knowledge of the mysteries of the Holy Qur’an. For this purpose sincere repentance is needed. For the door of Qur’anic knowledge is not opened until a seeker of it carries the burden of Divine commands with perfect humility and meekness and turns to Him humbly, trembling before His glory and His might. Without these he cannot obtain from the Holy Qur’an the means of fostering those qualities and faculties which generate delight and comfort for the soul. The Holy Qur’an is the Book of God and its knowledge is in the hand of God; thus righteousness is the ladder for the acquisition of such knowledge. Then how can it be possible that the faithless wicked who are evil-minded and are held prisoner by their earthly passions should achieve such knowledge? A Muslim who does not purify his soul is not bestowed knowledge of the Holy Qur’an, however high may be his proficiency in grammar and literary subjects, and however much he might enjoy the esteem of the worldly.
At this time the attention of the world is centred upon worldly knowledge and the light of Western learning continues to astonish mankind with new inventions and manufactures. Unfortunately, the Muslims also have chosen to follow the West for the purpose of fostering their own welfare and they take pride in copying Europe and America. That is the attitude of the Muslims who follow the new light. Those who are known as old-fashioned Muslims and deem themselves the guardians of the faith are caught in the niceties of points of grammar and in determining the correct manner of the pronunciation of Dallin. They pay no attention to the true meaning of the Holy Qur’an, nor are they capable of doing so as they do not address themselves to the purification of their souls.
—Malfuzat, vol. I, pp. 425-427
Qualities of the Righteous
To become truly righteous it is necessary that a person abandoning utterly such outstanding vices as adultery, theft, trespass, hypocrisy, self-esteem, scorn of fellow beings, miserliness, should eschew all low morals and should make progress in high moral values. He should behave towards his fellow beings with politeness, courtesy and sympathy and should cultivate true fidelity and sincerity towards God Almighty. He should constantly seek occasions of beneficent service. He who combines all these qualities in himself is alone righteous. The possession of any one of these qualities would not entitle a person to be accounted righteous unless he possesses collectively all of them. It is only these concerning whom it is said:
What more would they need? God Almighty becomes their guardian as it is said:
In another Hadith it is stated that God Almighty becomes their hands with which they grasp, and becomes their eyes with which they see, and becomes their ears with which they hear and becomes their feet with which they walk.
In another Hadith it is stated that God has proclaimed that he who bears enmity towards a friend of Mine should become ready to contend with Me.
Still another Hadith declares that when anyone attacks a friend of God, He pounces upon him with the fierceness with which a tigress pounces upon one who seeks to deprive it of its young.
—Malfuzat, vol. IV, pp. 400-401
1. Al-A‘raf, 7:27 [Publisher]