Syed Amer Safir, UK – Chief Editor & Manager
The Review of Religions is launching ‘The Existence Project’. This is based on the vision of His Holiness, Hazrat Mirza Masroor Ahmad (aba) for The Review of Religions to fulfil the purpose for which Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad (as), the Promised Messiah (as) started this magazine – to prove the existence of God.
The Existence Project will be a special section dedicated to exploring all matters related to the existence of God, from personal testimonies to rational arguments.
As part of the launch of this new section, we are truly honoured to present a special interview with His Holiness, Hazrat Mirza Masroor Ahmad (aba), Khalifatul Masih V [5th Successor to the Promised Messiah (as)] and Worldwide Head of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community.
Recently, I had the blessed opportunity to ask His Holiness (aba) a range of questions relating to God. Some questions are theoretical in nature, and some relate to His Holiness’ (aba) personal experiences. I hope and pray readers derive immense benefit from the blessed words of His Holiness (aba), which are filled with immense insight, wisdom, and knowledge.
INTERVIEW WITH HIS HOLINESS, HAZRAT MIRZA MASROOR AHMAD (ABA)
Amer Safir: Your Holiness, a question youth often ask is why, according to Islam, does God place both believers in trials and hardships and disbelievers in suffering and punishment? The question I was asked is, ‘Should there not be a clear divide made by God between a believer’s circumstances and that of a disbeliever rather than both being placed through suffering and how can both of these coexist?’
Hazrat Mirza Masroor Ahmad, Khalifatul Masih V (aba): We have to understand that in Islam there is reward and punishment. We observe that in the eras of the prophets who came before the Holy Prophet (sa), punishments descended in the form of earthquakes, storms, fire and so on. The same punishments did not appear in the era of the Holy Prophet (sa). The Promised Messiah (as) explained that during the era of the Holy Prophet (sa), the wars in themselves were a form of punishment. For example, there was the Battle of Uhud and the Battle of Hunain; however, in these battles many Muslims were also martyred. In the Battle of Badr as well, many Muslims were martyred. Although these were a form of punishment for the disbelievers, yet the Muslims also suffered losses. If these were to only impact the disbelievers, then the Muslims should have all survived; however, the Muslims also were martyred in them.
So, this tells us that Allah the Almighty has established a law of nature. As a result, when there is a war, people die from both sides. Allah had informed the Muslims beforehand that when they go to war that whilst they would inflict loss of life (on others), they would also suffer loss of life themselves. However, ultimately, it is the reward that the believer would receive of paradise and the punishment the disbeliever would receive of hell in the afterlife. The real life is not this life, but rather the life to come. We have clearly been given the concept, therefore, of the life after death being our main life, rather than our current life.
Also, for those who are martyred, Allah the Almighty has conferred upon them a lofty rank and status. Allah the Almighty has said that do not say the martyrs are dead, rather that they are living. Whilst the martyrs of Badr and the companions martyred in different battles are in paradise, their names are still alive today as we remember their virtues. In terms of the evil people in those wars, they are forgotten, and no one remembers them. If anyone does remember them, it is only in terms of their notoriety and dishonour, but for the most part memories of them are completely erased.
I mentioned recently how the son of Abu Jahl, Ikramah, complained to the Holy Prophet (sa) that people still called him by his father’s name, who was an opponent to Islam. So therefore, even after their death, the children of these ignoble people wanted to be disassociated from their name, due to their evil. Yet the names of the martyrs remained alive as we continue to reminisce about them. These are things which differentiate between them.
In short, this is why Allah the Almighty has said do not say that the martyrs have died, because their lives continue to be remembered. And so, the fact of the matter is that Allah the Almighty gives reward and punishment.
In terms of why believers also suffer, the Holy Prophet (sa) once said that the severity of the fever he was inflicted with was such that others would not be able to endure it. This is because Allah the Almighty placed him through hardships, otherwise others would question what experience he had in understanding suffering if he simply led a life of comfort. Therefore, Allah the Almighty puts true believers through suffering and trials for this reason.
Further, in the Holy Qur’an Allah the Almighty says do believers think that just because they believe they will not be placed in trial. The Promised Messiah (as), when explaining the philosophy of prayer, says that on the one hand people profess belief in
ادۡعُوۡنِیۡ اَسۡتَجِبۡ لَکُمۡ
(Pray unto Me; I will answer your prayer),
Yet on the other, Allah the Almighty does what He Wills. It is not necessary that every supplication will be accepted.
If you consider this life to be everything then you will not understand. However, if you consider the life to come to be the real life, you will be able to understand.
Amer Safir: Your Holiness, when trying to convince people of the existence of God, some people asked me the question as to how to discuss the subject of suffering in relation to God when a person is actually going through suffering. For example, a person may be going through a calamity, a natural disaster or as at present the Covid-19 pandemic raging. Those people say, when they tell others about God and suffering in the pandemic, when they are passing through the suffering, it becomes very difficult to discuss it and they sometimes face a negative reaction.
Hazrat Mirza Masroor Ahmad, Khalifatul Masih V (aba): The fact of the matter is whether it is a chance of 1 in 30, 1 in 60 or 1 in 100 (who perish) – it is a pandemic where people who may have vulnerabilities become infected through transmission regardless. This is the law of nature.
It is the law of nature that vulnerability exists in some people and there is a chance they will be infected and under this law of nature, a person will fall ill as a result of transmission of the illness. The law of nature does not distinguish between the weak, etc. There are some who have resistance and may survive. In some cases, there are elders who survive whereas, on the other hand, there are youth who became infected and have died. Nowadays an increasing number of younger people are falling ill. Therefore, there is also a law of nature which operates, and it is not that an individual alone is affected.
In terms of suffering, Allah the Almighty has said in a Hadith [saying of the Holy Prophet (sa)], that for one who suffers from disease or illness in this world, Allah the Almighty expiates their sins in the afterlife. If you believe this life is temporary and there is an eternal life to come, Allah the Almighty can create betterment in the next life for one who is in suffering.
You need to consider the individual psyche of the person you are addressing – but why start with this subject? We should avoid blindly, without thought or reason, beginning a discussion with a person, where you start telling one who has experienced some suffering that it is a result of their not fulfilling the rights to Allah – it is possible that the person has fulfilled the rights of Allah – and so you have to assess each circumstance and then proceed.
Sometimes people become too emotional and fail to properly resort to their intellect on how to approach this.
Firstly, instead of discussing suffering, bring them to belief in God – that is the first step. Speak to them about God’s mercy and compassion. Suffering is a topic that is to be addressed at a later stage. Sometimes we start speaking on suffering right away and this will push them away – so there has to be a sequence, some steps that you follow in the right way when approaching this and discussing with people. You should follow that sequence and plan properly how you will proceed.
Amer Safir: Your Holiness, we hear that during the pandemic some people have turned more towards God, and Your Holiness has referred to this as well in your sermons. However, there is a growing trend of people becoming ‘spiritual but not religious’. They desire some form of spirituality but do not necessarily want to join a religion. Your Holiness, could you please shed light on what is your view about this?
Hazrat Mirza Masroor Ahmad, Khalifatul Masih V (aba): First you have to see how many people are actually religious. 80% of the world has moved away from religion and amongst them is predominantly a large percentage moving away from Christianity.
If people are drawn to spirituality, then that is something good, but you have to take a scientific approach to bring about a revolution. Allah the Almighty has also established His own law of spirituality and for this spiritual revolution he has sent the prophets. The morals that we have were brought by these prophets. Prophets came to improve the spiritual standard of people and they brought true religions from God. Therefore, religion is needed and is essential and one ultimately has to revert back to religion and reflect on its need.
In Haqeeqatul Wahi [The Philosophy of Divine Revelation], the Promised Messiah (as) refers to Abdul Hakim Khan. He also believed that to attain spirituality, there was no need for religion, and that all one needed was to believe in God as One. However, how can this be true, because then one would argue that even the Holy Prophet (sa) is not needed. The Promised Messiah (as) explains that he was in error and that religion is also needed. It is the prophets who are the ones who demonstrate the existence of God to people, through signs and miracles. Without the prophets, no one would have been able to achieve complete certainty in God’s existence.
Amer Safir: Your Holiness, an argument some atheists put forward is that just saying a large number of people observed or experienced God doesn’t prove it to be true. They say many people have said they have seen UFOs or aliens but that does not prove that to be true in the same way. Your Holiness, how can we respond to this?
Hazrat Mirza Masroor Ahmad, Khalifatul Masih V (aba): We observe that the Holy Qur’an describes matters such as the Big Bang and black holes. The Qur’an makes numerous prophecies and speaks of the seas joining together and many others. Then, the Promised Messiah (as) made many prophecies. Hazrat Musleh Mau`ud (ra) [Hazrat Mirza Bashiruddin Mahmud Ahmad, second Successor to the Promised Messiah (as)] mentioned prophecies, such as in Invitation to Ahmadiyyat, about the progress of Ahmadiyyat. Many of these prophecies or descriptions no one could understand at the time, yet all these prophecies continue to be fulfilled until today and the world witnessed these prophecies coming true. Today we observe many of these past prophecies coming to light and all of this tells us that there is Some Being. Whether one is a Christian or Muslim or otherwise, these things tell us there is a God. And God informed the prophets beforehand about matters that would come to pass. For example, God told the Promised Messiah (as) that x and y would come to pass and then it happened exactly as such. The Promised Messiah (as) prophesied that the plague and wars would happen and then they happened. Many of his prophecies that he made are still being fulfilled. Even astrologers predict things about people by looking at stars – this demonstrates there is some concept in people of this – the question is where do they get their knowledge from? You have to see what percentage of their predictions come true and what percentage of the prophecies of prophets come true. You have to compare the strength of the predictions of astrologers with the strength of the prophecies of prophets. And so there are many factors that need to be considered.
Amer Safir: Your Holiness, in terms of communication with God and experiencing God, is this limited to humankind, or can animals also communicate with God?
Hazrat Mirza Masroor Ahmad, Khalifatul Masih V (aba): Animals have been given instincts relevant to their needs and actions they need to perform. Sometimes animals have been given particular heightened senses. Dogs for example have an excellent sense of smell. They can use it to hunt prey effectively and also sniffer dogs are used for this reason in narcotics for detection. Other animals possess other types of attributes and characteristics for their needs. They can neither go beyond nor reduce the conferred character which they have been granted by Allah the Almighty. Indeed, one can train an animal to better use their qualities. However, the characteristics they are endowed with cannot be reduced nor exceeded, and after some training they cannot surpass that. Animals have all been given unique traits. In some environments, wild animals will form a herd to protect themselves. Thus, God has granted animals instincts to perform their roles.
Humans, however, have been given intellect as well. In terms of an outer form all animals including humans have been given one; however, humans have also been given the ability to worship and also intellect. Animals are limited in their purpose in terms of the functions their bodies can form, whereas humans in addition to their basic purpose, also have been given an additional purpose, which is referred to in the Holy Qur’an as:
وَ مَا خَلَقۡتُ الۡجِنَّ وَ الۡاِنۡسَ اِلَّا لِیَعۡبُدُوۡنِ
‘And I have not created the Jinn and the men but that they may worship Me.’
Therefore, humans and jinns have a purpose which is not found amongst other animals. Humans have a higher purpose and thus naturally the soul will encounter more communication with God as a result.
Spiritual progress and the concept of heaven and hell only relate to human souls because they have been given a purpose in life, whereas animals have a specific function in life within nature and have been given a role which they enact in their life and they are unable to do anything outside of that sphere.
Amer Safir: Your Holiness, I had a question in terms of communication with God, which is how does a prophet or khalifa [caliph or successor to a prophet] know when they have been informed of something directly by God, as opposed to it being their own thought?
Hazrat Mirza Masroor Ahmad, Khalifatul Masih V (aba): First of all, there is a difference in the status and rank of prophets and the khalifas. We have to understand the degrees of ranks. A khalifa cannot possess all the qualities of a prophet. Hazrat Musleh Mau`ud (ra) has explained in great detail that prophets have a unique status, and a khalifa cannot possess all the qualities of a prophet. All the khalifas from the Promised Messiah (as) until me, have reflected some of the character and colour of the Promised Messiah (as), and some emphasised certain teachings or attributes more. However, none of us khalifas can reflect all the attributes of the Promised Messiah (as). Hazrat Musleh Mau`ud (ra), through his special qualities, was as close to a prophet as possible, but even he did not encompass all of the Promised Messiah’s (as) qualities and neither have any of the khalifas after him. So firstly, it is important to understand the difference between prophets and khalifas .
Regarding the khalifas, through special prayer, Allah places in our heart a profound satisfaction that such-and-such should occur and this is how we know it will be beneficial and is the right course. If a khalifa decides something himself (which he has not been directly informed of by Allah) – as we do not say a khalifa cannot make mistakes – if the decision of the khalifa relates to the Jama’at [Ahmadiyya Muslim Community] and is for its benefit, Allah the Almighty grants protection from any negative effects manifesting, even if the khalifa makes an error. This is something I have explained before as well.
Amer Safir: Your Holiness, if I may ask, can you kindly enlighten on how you personally communicate with God?
Hazrat Mirza Masroor Ahmad, Khalifatul Masih V (aba): Through prayers or a dream, or in some way or the other, Allah places in my heart what should happen. This informs me that this is from Allah the Almighty and is the best action to take. Sometimes it is in prayers, sometimes it is a feeling in the heart and sometimes I see a dream and I come to know this is from Allah. Sometimes it is a feeling that is so emphatically ingrained in my heart from Allah or which emerges repeatedly, again and again during prayer that gives me the firm realisation that it is God’s will. I do not say that I receive revelation, but sometimes Allah informs me by way of a Qur’anic verse, and I know the matter is from Allah through its meaning and interpretation.
Amer Safir: Your Holiness, do you experience kashf (visions)?
Hazrat Khalifatul Masih V (aba): Sometimes when I am praying for a person, their face appears before me during the prayers. I cannot say that this necessarily is a kashf or that I have seen a kashf, but some special state develops in prayers.
Amer Safir: Your Holiness, I was intrigued when you once mentioned in a sermon, that when people came to meet the Promised Messiah (as), he was sometimes shown a vision by Allah the Almighty regarding their state. Your Holiness, when people come to meet you, does God the Almighty also inform you about the state of that person?
Hazrat Mirza Masroor Ahmad, Khalifatul Masih V (aba): This is possible, but sometimes I can tell just by reading the countenance of a person. Sometimes I inform someone something about them or what will occur, and they think I have been informed about it by Allah, whereas I know just by reading their face, from their body language or through general or loose observation. Even psychiatrists can also deduce this through observation. And also, sometimes, Allah does inform me in my heart regarding a person or about some serious vice or shortcoming within them and this then develops a sense of deep revulsion in my heart.
Amer Safir: Your Holiness, these days, based on your guidance, we are collecting personal experiences of Ahmadi Muslims whose prayers were accepted by God. My question is with relation to people of other faiths who make similar claims about their prayers being accepted by God. We observe on TV channels or call-in shows Christian priests or non-Ahmadi Muslim Imams praying for people and then it is claimed the prayers apparently worked immediately. Should we believe such personal accounts to be true?
Hazrat Mirza Masroor Ahmad, Khalifatul Masih V (aba): We must continue publishing our accounts regardless of what others say. Whether their claims are true or false we cannot determine. That is not our concern and we simply should focus on featuring our personal experiences. Sometimes people also make false claims. Even the Holy Prophet (sa) said that people sometimes attributed wrong claims to him. There are non-Ahmadi Muslims who make claims that they have had dreams in which they saw every prophet from Adam (as) onwards. Whether they really saw this is a matter for them. We cannot say and our role is to continue to present our experiences. The Promised Messiah (as) said that Jesus (as) said, if one possessed even an iota of faith they would be able to cure leprosy or the sick. This is what happened in Jange Muaqaddas [The Holy War], where the Promised Messiah (as) said to the Christian priests that they should prove this by curing the sick people that were present, by laying their hands on them to demonstrate they are true believers and had attainted salvation. However, the priests failed to display this and fled.
Moreover, the problem is you people believe that you have to ensure people convert, whereas this is wrong. We cannot make anyone convert. We are only presenting personal experiences. It is not for us to believe that we will change people’s faith. Allah the Almighty even instructed the Holy Prophet (sa) to only convey the message, but that even he would not change their hearts; rather, Allah said it is His work to change the hearts of people.
We cannot draw any definite conclusion when others present such claims. Take, for example, an astrologist or atheist doctor who administers treatment or medicine. You cannot say that, as he is an atheist, the treatment will not work. A person who believes in a healer, even if that healer is adulterous or immoral, the medicine or treatment he administers can still have an effect. However, sometimes with such people it is a psychological effect that they develop when one is being treated by such people. One is overwhelmed in that mental state and does not really get cured. The person experiences temporary feelings and emotions which make them perceive that they are cured and feeling better, but it is not necessarily long-lasting healing. The real question is whether such a person obtains true inner satisfaction and tranquillity in the heart. In Africa there are people who wear crosses, but say they have peace at heart, but will we accept this claim? We will not because this constitutes shirk– associating partners with Allah. The fact is others can make claims, but Allah knows best – and that is a matter for them, however, we will continue presenting our own experiences.
Amer Safir: Your Holiness, a question that has been raised is that when someone has a personal experience with God, non-Muslims may question its authenticity because there will not be independent witnesses to testify to that experience.
Hazrat Mirza Masroor Ahmad, Khalifatul Masih V (aba): If someone has a personal experience and finds God and God communicates with them, whereby they are drawn towards the Jama’at, the individual undergoes an inner transformation in their character. This change is then witnessed by their family and household who testify to how their moral standards have become much higher. Through a dream or otherwise a person undergoes a transformation through the personal experience. There was an example of a father who said to his son who went through such a personal experience, that your religion is true and I have witnessed positive change in you, yet I will not accept your religion. In essence there is some power, some force which infuses these changes in them. These are not outwardly visible experiences, but rather transformations that occur inside a person.
Amer Safir: Your Holiness, if I may ask, can you relate any personal experiences with God or of acceptance of prayers?
Hazrat Mirza Masroor Ahmad, Khalifatul Masih V (aba): From childhood when I was 12 or 15, I prayed and sometimes within 15 minutes my prayers were accepted. In school I prayed for my studies and Allah listened to my prayers and I was able to pass. I hesitate to give my own experiences because it is not in my nature. I generally refer to it indirectly in my sermons, etc., but I try not to say it directly. The fact of the matter is the Promised Messiah (as) has said that it is Allah who fulfils one’s pious wishes and shows dreams and this is Allah’s decree and not on account of one’s piety. It is not anyone’s own qualities or achievement that have made that possible, rather it is Allah’s grace.
اَللّٰہُ نُوۡرُ السَّمٰوٰتِ وَ الۡاَرۡضِ
‘Allah is the Light of the heavens and the earth.’
I saw these words in my dream, where they were written across the whole sky as far as I could see from one side to the other. This increased my knowledge and wisdom in the attributes of Allah more than before.
Allah alone knows all things.
I have mentioned before that sometimes I pray and I find the solution to the issue I am facing from Allah in my prayer, and Allah informs me.
ينصرك رجال نوحي إليهم من السماء
‘Men will help you whom We shall direct from heaven.’
This was a revelation of the Promised Messiah (as). I saw these words written in my dream and whilst I was waking up, I was uttering this on my tongue. I was perhaps in a state between dreaming and waking up. I understood the meaning of this to mean that that Allah the Almighty would help me in extraordinary ways. Even before Khilafat as well, Allah the Almighty granted me His help whatever the circumstance. However, after Khilafat Allah the Almighty granted his help in countless and innumerable ways. Whilst I had been deeply worried, however Allah the Almighty made me understand the meaning of it and demonstrated it. The help and succour of Allah became permanent and His help is constantly and always with me. The meaning of this was that Allah would grant His help through sending such people Who He Himself would instil to support me. Through this way, Allah the Almighty continues to confer His help upon me.
Amer Safir: Your Holiness, I am interested to learn more about the concept of dum with Surah Fatihah. I have heard from some people that when they visited you, you placed your hand on them and prayed and later they reported being cured of their ailments. What is the concept of blowing with one’s breath in dum or of physically putting a hand over a person when offering a prayer?
Hazrat Mirza Masroor Ahmad, Khalifatul Masih V (aba): In a Hadith when the Holy Prophet (sa) learnt a companion had treated an ill person, he asked how he treated him. The companion said he recited Surah Fatihah and the Holy Prophet (sa) asked how he knew to use Surah Fatihah– to which the companion replied because it has shifa (cure) and this is why he used it. The Holy Prophet (sa) was pleased by this, and said it was correct to recite Surah Fatihah.
The first thing is to have complete conviction that the one you are praying to or thinking of can answer prayers and has the power to heal. The Promised Messiah (as) has said belief and conviction are essential.
Secondly, there should be no element of shirk [associating partners with God]. One should only consider in their heart that this is the blessings and Grace of God.
Sometimes when I do this, I reflect in my heart that the Promised Messiah (as) has said Allah revealed to him:
بادشاہ تیرے کپڑوں سے برکت ڈھونڈیں گے
‘Kings shall seek blessings from thy garments.’
Furthermore, the ring of the Promised Messiah (as) is based on a revelation:
اَلَیۡسَ اللّٰہُ بِکَافٍ عَبۡدَہٗ
‘Is Allah not sufficient for His servant?’
Therefore, I feel there must be some blessings attached to it. So sometimes I rub the ring on people in this manner and pray for them. However, I do so only when Allah inspires me in my heart. Or if someone repeatedly requests it, I sometimes do it when I am inspired in my heart by Allah who says there is no harm in doing so. I do not do this for every single person, rather only those I am inspired by Allah to do it for.
In the manner that we have physical cures, this is a spiritual cure, but it is not the case that it will always necessarily prove 100% successful, because the cure only occurs with Allah when He so wills and when He so pleases.
Normal prayers and supplications are indeed made for something but the extra element here is the tabarukat. This revelation constitutes Allah’s own words in the Qur’an and was also a revelation to the Promised Messiah (as). The truth is that if Allah is sufficient, then He is also sufficient to infuse blessings in this.
I have seen sometimes people have been miraculously cured and removed of their illnesses. At times I did not even harbour as much expectation for the cure to occur but when people returned, they said they had been cured, and this is because it is Allah’s doing that made this possible. However, I am not like the pir or faqeers (so-called religious ascetics and spiritual healers and guides) who perform this like a professional task and who will routinely perform it for every single person who comes to them.
Amer Safir: Your Holiness, turning to the prayer itself and praying to God, I have always been intrigued when the Promised Messiah (as) said to make expressions ‘like you are crying, in order to actually cry in the prayer if you unable to’. I have always wanted to learn more about this. Can His Holiness please explain what this actually means and how to achieve this?
Hazrat Mirza Masroor Ahmad, Khalifatul Masih V (aba): This is because our outer state influences our inner and spiritual state. When we form expressions and features, we do it so that perhaps Allah the Almighty will see our expressions and it will have an effect.
As an example, sometimes a person can display outward features of anger and then actually become angry. During my early childhood, it so happened that as a joke with my friend, I displayed outward expressions as if I was angry. My friend then thought that I really was angry and retaliated in a way that then led to me actually becoming angry. So, in my childhood I have experienced these things through such incidents.
The Promised Messiah (as) has said that your outer state has an effect on your soul. If you outwardly try to develop features of crying and form such expressions, you may start to shed a tear, and when you shed a tear you will feel the inner longing and pain, which will lead you to really start crying and this will then turn your attention towards prayer.
There used to be a joke that our missionary, Mirza Lutfur Rahman Sahib, went for Hajj and was sitting in Masjid-e-Nabawi [Mosque of the Holy Prophet Muhammad (sa)]. He was trying his best to cry a lot but could not do so. He said, I was just getting up from sajdah [prostration] when a crowd of people approached and someone from among them kicked me on the back really hard, and I shrieked out loud and exclaimed. He said I started crying in pain, and then instinctively fell into prostration in agony and cried profusely and was able to pray to God in this state. So he said sometimes a kick in the back can help one towards developing the state of prayer!
The Promised Messiah (as) has said the physical state has an effect on the soul and the soul has an effect on the outward state.
If you harbour immoral or impure thoughts then it will manifest itself on your outer condition and state, and if outwardly you give due attention towards prayer for the sake of trying to form piety, your soul will eventually become pious.
Amer Safir: Your Holiness, based on your explanation, my question is when waking up for Fajr [the prayer offered right before dawn] or earlier, normally we are in relaxed clothes or night suits. I have heard it is better to dress properly when praying?
Hazrat Mirza Masroor Ahmad, Khalifatul Masih V (aba): Physically we perform ablution for this same reason, to purify ourselves, sharpen our senses and become clean and pure to be prepared for prayer.
However, one who does not even have recourse to proper clothes to wear, their preparation would entail to simply wash and get ready for the prayer.
Generally, one should not wear their night suit and then start prayer; rather, one should be clean and dress properly to prepare for Tahajjud [voluntary pre-dawn prayer]. The outer purity has an effect on the inner purity.
When one goes to a worldly court of an influential person, one would clean and prepare themselves in a fitting manner, and so you should prepare and clean yourself nicely when entering the Court of God.
Amer Safir: Your Holiness, it is said during the sajdah that personal prayers are permitted to be made and this is the position we are closest to God. I have heard many different opinions about the sequence of prayers one should adopt when in prostration. For example, does one pray for themselves first, or pray for something else and then himself? Your Holiness, what should be the order of personal prayers during the state of prostration (sajdah)?
Hazrat Mirza Masroor Ahmad, Khalifatul Masih V (aba): It depends on one’s personal state and which circumstance or matter he or she is more absorbed in. You will naturally cry and be more emotional on issues which are significant to you, and so you should pray for such issues.
The Promised Messiah (as) said he would pray for himself to strengthen his connection with Allah, for the progress of the Jama’at and then for his family and friends. The Promised Messiah (as) has explained a sequence of prayer. Every person has a different state – there are certain matters which make one more emotional. A person might be facing a pressing issue and you can start with praying for these matters as they will help you develop the correct state of prayer.
There is no hard and fast rule, but everyone should pray for those matters that develop the state of prayer and that issue which is most emotional for you.
You should first pray for your forgiveness. Further, when you reflect on the favours and Grace of God that He has conferred upon you and when you consider your own state and shortcomings, that alone will make you overwhelmed and emotional.
Amer Safir: Your Holiness, nowadays most of us are offering our prayers in our homes with our families. It sometimes happens when I am praying my two children will come and start playing or making noise around the area I am praying. Your Holiness, does this happen to you with your grandchildren at home and if so, what is the best way to deal with such situations with children?
Hazrat Mirza Masroor Ahmad, Khalifatul Masih V (aba): When I am praying at home then rarely will they come. Once in a blue moon one of my grandchildren may come, but they do not normally come when I am praying. If they do come, then yes, sometimes they act naughtily and play around and so I hold their hand to stand and say the prayer with me or I indicate to them to do so. Then they join with me in the prayer, but when my prayer is lengthy, they soon tire and then they eventually leave the prayer. Or sometimes they pray on their own next to me and then leave. This is for my smaller grandchildren. My older grandchildren do not cause any trouble as they perform their own prayers.
During the time of the Holy Prophet (sa), his grandchildren would come and sit on his back. Hazrat Imam Hussain (ra) once came and sat on the back of the Holy Prophet (sa) and the Holy Prophet (sa) performed a long sajdah. The Holy Prophet (sa) decided to prolong his sajdah and after the prayer ended, the companions asked the Holy Prophet (sa) what happened that he prostrated so long. The Holy Prophet (sa) said when his grandchild got on his back, he decided he would get up from prostration when he got off, and so he got up after.
The Holy Prophet (sa) therefore extended his prayer because his grandchild was on his back. And so this tells us there is no need to scold a child, rather explain to him or her with love. After you complete the prayer, explain to them they should pray with you whenever they come.
Amer Safir: Your Holiness, in terms of acceptance of prayers made to God, you receive a huge number of letters requesting prayers from people all over the world. I have always wondered how is it possible to pray to God for everyone who asks you for prayers as there are so many requests?
Hazrat Mirza Masroor Ahmad, Khalifatul Masih V (aba) With every letter I receive, I pray there and then as I read each letter, that may Allah bestow His Grace and Blessings. The Promised Messiah (as) also said when he received letters, he read the letters one by one, and prayed as he read each letter.
Further, in sajdah (prostration) I pray for people and think of the many requests that people have sent to me in the huge number of letters I receive. Some people are ill, some people have financial issues, there are marital issues between husbands and wives, or other problems people are facing, and I pray that may Allah alleviate all of them from their difficulties. I also pray for those who have not written to me for prayers and I pray for the entire Jama’at.
In my sajdah, nawafil [voluntary prayers] and tahajjud [voluntary pre-dawn prayers] I pray for everyone.
At night when I say Quls or Ayatul Kursi before sleeping and blow (with my breath) I pray to Allah thinking of Ahmadis wherever they are and pray for them that may Allah bless them and have mercy upon them. Just like all parents when making these prayers at night blow on their children before they sleep, when I say these prayers at night, I blow on the whole Jama’at who are like my children.
Amer Safir: Your Holiness, in terms of worship of God we say only God should be worshipped and He has no partner. Some women question the Hadith in which it says that the Holy Prophet (sa) said, had he given permission to worship anyone else, he would have asked a wife to bow down to her husband. Could His Holiness shed light on this?
Hazrat Mirza Masroor Ahmad, Khalifatul Masih V (aba): Firstly, some people say this Hadith may be weak and some say it is fine. The Promised Messiah (as) said if we consider this Hadith, then this Hadith means no one is allowed to pray to anyone except God. A good husband is something a wife should always be grateful for. Prostration here is an inference to being grateful to something and not to bow down. It means to show complete obedience. When the angels were instructed to prostrate to Adam (as), the commentaries tell us this did not mean to actually bow down, rather it meant to display complete obedience and submission. Thus, a wife should completely obey her husband.
Our parents who brought us up and nourished us are referred to as Rab [‘Lord or Nourisher’] in the Holy Qur’an. The Hadith also substantiates this. Thus, sajdah here means if a husband is a good husband you should obey him completely. This does not infer to ‘bow down’ to quarrelling husbands, for women have been given rights in Islam.
Also, we have to remember that the Holy Prophet (sa) sometimes guided people according to specific situations. Once a person came to the Holy Prophet (sa) and asked ‘what is the biggest jihad’ (struggle one should make), and the Prophet replied, ‘jihad of the sword’. This is because the person who asked was cowardly and was afraid to go to war, so for him this was the highest quality.
When another person asked the Holy Prophet (sa) what the best deed was, the Holy Prophet (sa) told him the biggest virtue for him was making financial sacrifice, because that person had shortcomings in giving charity.
To another person the Holy Prophet (sa) said serving his parents was the biggest virtue because that person was not serving his parents properly.
To a fourth person the Holy Prophet (sa) said for him the best deed was to be good to his household because that person did not treat his family well.
So, we usually combine all these Hadith and we do not consider or understand the context unless it is explained by scholars or we read the Hadith commentaries. People generalise all hadith, but sometimes in a particular scenario or context, a particular guidance was given.
Amer Safir: Your Holiness, where before the home was a sanctuary, now families face severe trial within the homes through the immoralities of the Internet and TV. And so temptations are in the home, outside the home, and everywhere.
In the face of a tidal wave of temptations in the society we live in, what advice does Your Holiness have to maintain this relationship with God once we achieve it?
Hazrat Mirza Masroor Ahmad, Khalifatul Masih V (aba): You should carry out istighfar [seeking forgiveness for your sins] and say ‘lahawl’ [saying there is no power nor strength except in Allah]. If istighfar is done properly it can be very powerful. The Promised Messiah (as) has said to save oneself from sins and to maintain this condition, carry out istighfar. The prophets said istighfar for the sake of their people and followers, not for themselves, and they said it to express gratitude for being granted protection in the past. To burn away past sins and to show gratitude to be saved from future sins, one should adopt istighfar.
These were wars that were waged in self-defense after the Muslims had been attacked.
The Holy Qur’an, 40:61.
The Holy Qur’an, 51:57. Jinn can refer to anything that has the connotation of concealment, invisibility remoteness or seclusion.
A khalifa, or caliph, is a spiritual successor. The Khulafa-e-Rashideen were the first four sucessors of the Holy Prophet (sa). Currently, His Holiness is the fifth spiritual successor to the Promised Messiah (as).
The Holy Qur’an, 24:36.
Dum is a method of supplication in which prayers from the Qur’an or Hadith are recited for a person who is ill. After completing the prayer, one blows gently into their hands or upon the person who is sick, as a physical representation seeking the mercy of God. Surah Fatihah is the first chapter of the Holy Qur’an.
The Holy Qur’an, 39:37. This Qur’anic verse was also shown to the Promised Messiah (as) in a revelation. He had this verse inscribed on a ring which he wore and which is now in His Holiness’ (aba) possession.
Taburukat refer to a relic belonging to a holy person. The ring of the Promised Messiah (as) is one example of this.
Quls refer to the last three chapters of the Holy Qur’an, which all start with the word ‘qul’, or ‘say’. Ayatul Kursi, refers to Chapter 2, verse 256 of the Holy Qur’an.