His Holiness, Hazrat Mirza Masroor Ahmad (aba) is a beaming beacon of Divine guidance and support. His Holiness (aba) represents the highest level of a connection with God in today’s world and thus he is the spiritual leader for tens of millions across the world, and champions the message of fulfilling the rights owed to God, and fulfilling the duties we each owe to our fellow human beings. Over the course of his Friday Sermons, addresses on various occasions, meetings with different organizations and children’s classes, His Holiness (aba) imparts invaluable knowledge and insight on a remarkably vast array of topics.
The Review of Religions is honoured to present some of these ‘Rays of Wisdom’ from His Holiness (aba) taken from various different sources, for the benefit of its readers.
Hard Work and Prayers: The Key to Success
The proverbial ‘key to success’ is something that almost every student searches for. In its pursuit, along with the desire for attaining higher education, one may put hours upon hours of effort into attaining their goals and aspirations. But can tireless efforts and hard work be enough? The beautiful teachings of Islam present a balanced approach whereby both hard work and prayer go hand in hand; it is then that one truly finds the ‘key to success’. On one occasion, a medical student asked His Holiness (aba) about how one should focus in their field of study and attain success.
His Holiness (aba) replied,
‘…whether one is a medical student or studying in any other field, they should concentrate on their studies and then, they should also focus on their prayers and in strengthening their relationship with Allah. They should offer their five daily prayers at their appointed times. If an atheist studies diligently and works hard, even whilst not believing in God, it does not matter; he will still be granted the reward by Allah the Almighty for his hard work that he puts in his studies. But an Ahmadi Muslim is someone who claims that he believes in Islam, in the existence of Allah the Almighty and has conviction that Allah the Almighty grants him His help. So, along with his studies, he will also have to prove that he has a strong relationship with Allah.
Therefore, when prayer will be accompanied with the hard work of an Ahmadi, it is then that they will attain true success. Do not think that just because an atheist attains success, therefore you should be able to attain success as well [without prayer]. There is a difference between the two and you have to consider this difference. There is a very subtle difference between the two which ought to be remembered. If you keep this in mind, then you will develop a relationship with Allah the Almighty and you will pay attention to your studies as well. In this way, you will be able to achieve your targets.’ 
How Can We Be Sure that Our Sacrifices Have Been Accepted by God?
One of the integral parts of the Islamic faith is sacrifice. Islam teaches that offering sacrifices can lead one to become a righteous person and to attaining the pleasure of God. Such sacrifices can take many forms, such as the sacrifice of wealth, desire, food and drink, time etc. Some may even sacrifice their entire lives, by presenting themselves as life-devotees to serve the faith; abandoning worldly allures and desires in order to fulfil a higher purpose. At the same time, however, the thought may cross one’s mind as to how it can be ensured that the sacrifice being made is truly accepted by God and is serving the purpose of attaining His pleasure. This was the same question in the mind of one young life-devotee, and so he asked His Holiness (aba) how one can ensure that their sacrifice is accepted by God Almighty.
His Holiness (aba) replied,
‘…The fact is that whatever pious deed that is carried out for the sake of Allah Almighty will be accepted by Him.
So anything you are doing to please Allah Almighty, for the sake of Allah Almighty, then He will accept it.
Allah the Almighty says that even if you put a morsel of food in your wife’s mouth, for the sake of attaining the love of Allah, that too will be considered as a sacrifice on your part and will please Allah the Almighty. Hence, this is the extent of the mercy of Allah Almighty. So, when you feed your wife a morsel of food with the intention of offering a sacrifice and in order to attain His love, then God Almighty will say, “I accept your sacrifice.” Thus, the Holy Prophet (sa) has described the definition of sacrifices to this extent; so what more do you need?
Whatever you are doing to achieve the love of Allah, and for the sake of Allah, Allah will accept it and consider it as your sacrifice for Him.’ 
Resolving Matrimonial Issues
The rates of divorce and marriages breaking down seem to be rising throughout the world. It is a universal issue, which can become the cause of great hardship, stress and of course unhappiness. But with the rates only increasing, one may wonder as to whether there is an underlying solution whereby such rates could be decreased. This of course would mean identifying the common issues, which could then be rectified. One person asked His Holiness (aba) about the increasing rates of marriages breaking down, as requested guidance as to what measures could be taken to decrease this number.
His Holiness (aba) replied,
‘The cause of many divorces is the fact that materialism and worldliness have increased, whilst people’s level of patience and forbearance has decreased. Mistakes and faults are made by both the men and the women. Though they pledge to give precedence to their faith over the world, yet they do not heed the saying of the Holy Prophet (sa) that when finding suitable matrimonial matches, they should always give precedence to faith over materialism, physical beauty and wealth. If they were to keep this in mind then there would be less problems. The influence of materialism is also impacting our Ahmadi society. That is why the Islahi Committee [Counselling Committee], Secretary Tarbiyyat [moral training] of the Jama’at [Community], Secretary Tarbiyyat Lajna [women’s auxiliary organisation], Mohtamim Tarbiyyat Khuddamul Ahmadiyya [youth auxiliary organisation] and Qaid Tarbiyyat Anasrullah [elders auxiliary organisation] should work together and focus on the moral training of their respective members. They should draw attention to the fact that despite pledging to give precedence to faith over all worldly things, people do not act upon this pledge and break it. I have observed that worldly desires are increasing and patience and forbearance is declining within the women and the men. Therefore, the objection which some raise against Islam, that their marriage broke down because it was an arranged marriage and was an incompatible match is false. The [cases of divorce] are generally increasing in the world and since this is also impacting our Ahmadi society as well, we are also facing these problems.
Thus, firstly there is the issue of marriages taking place and then later breaking down. Another problem is that there are domestic issues as a result of which girls are not able to find suitable husbands. If boys are given the correct moral training, the Ansar [elders] also ensure for the moral training of their sons, and the Khuddam [youth] guide their brothers, telling them that the Holy Prophet (sa) has stated to give precedence to faith [when choosing a spouse]; likewise, if the Lajna [women] ensure for the correct moral training of girls and the girls also remain firm upon the principles of the faith; then those marriages which are settled in this manner whereby they give precedence to their faith, they will be successful and this is what has been witnessed. Those who marry giving precedence to worldly aspects often face issues…Indeed, there can be the odd case where despite this moral training, the girl is treated unjustly, or in some cases, I have seen that at times the boys are treated unjustly. It is also seen that sometimes girls get married abroad and when they come here [outside of the subcontinent] they say they do not wish to continue with the marriage and their only intention was to somehow travel abroad and then they break off their marriages; such cases also come to light. Therefore, we ought to keep all the facts in view and by keeping all of the facts in view we should look for a solution…
At the same time, the most important thing is to improve the atmosphere inside the homes and to instil these principles at home. Then, [as for] those marriages in which the boy or the girl comes over from Pakistan, one should think about the proposal carefully and not make decisions in haste, as Allah the Almighty has also said that one should pray before settling a marriage, therefore one ought to pray beforehand. Indeed, there can be cases where there are issues [despite this] but they are few and far between. But if we make a concerted effort, these issues can be eliminated.’ 
Why Has the World Not Taken Heed Despite the Manifestation of Divine Signs?
The Promised Messiah & Imam Mahdi, Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad (as) of Qadian (1835-1908)
Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad (as) of Qadian claimed to be the Latter Day Messiah whose advent has been foretold by all major religions. He claimed to be the very Messiah who was to revive the religion of Islam, as foretold by the Holy Prophet (sa) of Islam. One of the signs of his truthfulness was his foretelling of an increase in natural disasters and calamities, as a form of divine chastisement for those who fail to pay heed. One person asked His Holiness (aba) that despite the fact that these prophecies have come to fruition and that natural disasters and calamities have continued to occur, why is it that some still fail to pay heed and recognize the advent of the Messiah?
His Holiness (aba) replied,
’What happened when Prophets came in the past? Did the people in the past pay heed? They were destroyed due to [divine] punishment, except for the Holy Prophet (sa) who was the last Prophet. The punishment that befell in his time was in the form of wars; the punishments of fire, water or other such punishments did not manifest at the time of the Holy Prophet (sa). The Promised Messiah (as) has written that warfare was the form of punishment for them [i.e. the disbelievers in the time of the Holy Prophet (sa)]. Owing to this, Muslims were also martyred, but there came a time when the people eventually realised. Nowadays, we find the same situation; people are immersed in materialism. The Promised Messiah (as) has written that if people do not pay heed, then divine punishments will increase and people will be destroyed. The Promised Messiah (as) has also written that it is not compulsory that everyone has to accept Islam Ahmadiyyat to avert divine punishment. If people start to fulfil the rights of Allah the Almighty and His people; if people abstain from vulgar and immoral acts and sin, even then the mercy of Allah will be stirred and people can be saved from punishments.
At present, the world is immersed in materialism and they do not realise why these things are happening, despite the fact that we continue to warn them. In the recent past, I have written letters to world leaders in which I informed them with reference to the Promised Messiah (as) that if the people do not pay heed, then the punishments of Allah the Almighty will descend. Even now you can see that when Covid-19 came, or when any natural disaster occurs like a tsunami, storm or earthquake, some people do briefly turn towards religion and call out the name of Allah; some call out, “Allah, Allah”, others say “Ram Ram” or whichever way they know according to their faiths. They try to reform themselves so that they may fulfil the rights of one another and of Allah. However, when the punishment subsides, they go back to their old ways.
Such a state of affairs has been mentioned in the Holy Qur’an, that when a punishment is inflicted upon a people, they pray and call out for Allah, saying that if He removes the affliction, they will reform themselves. However, Allah the Almighty has also stated in the Holy Qur’an that when the punishment is averted, they become indulged in materialism once again. Thus, this is the current state of worldly people. Ultimately, if they do not pay heed and do not understand, they will eventually be destroyed. Nations before have also been ruined and now again, they are being devastated and gradually they will disappear, whilst pious people will continue to reform themselves.
Our job is to warn people and to deliver the message [of Islam]. Our responsibility is to propagate the message of Islam and to reach every single person. After that, it is up to Allah the Almighty to guide people. We should continue our work with diligence and by doing so we will be fulfilling our obligations. We should also pray that Allah the Almighty may guide the people and that nations may be saved from destruction. This is our duty which we will continue carrying out until the world remains. We do not need to be worried as to why the entire world has not reformed because we have not been appointed as guardians over them, rather we are only responsible for conveying the message of Allah and teaching them and drawing their attention towards fulfilling the rights of Allah and His creation. Along with this, we should also pray. If we fulfil this obligation of ours in the true sense and with the utmost diligence then we will not be held responsible for others. The rest is between God and His creation as to how He deals with them.’ 
‘He will be filled with secular and spiritual knowledge’ – The Fulfillment of a Grand Prophecy
Hazrat Mirza Bashiruddin Mahmud Ahmad (ra), the Promised Son ©Makhzan-e-Tasaweer
God Almighty informed the Promised Messiah, Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad (as), that he was going to be granted a son; this was to be no ordinary son, but according to the prophecy vouchsafed to him, this son would possess extraordinary qualities. He was to be a true servant of the faith, who would render incomparable services to the religion of Islam and its propagation. One part of the detailed prophecy about this promised son was, ‘He will be filled with secular and spiritual knowledge.’ The fulfilment of this prophecy later proved to be Hazrat Mirza Bashiruddin Mahmud Ahmad (ra), who would also go on to be appointed as the Second Caliph of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community. He fulfilled the entire prophecy in letter and spirit, including the fact that he truly was filled with secular and spiritual knowledge. His Holiness (aba) delivered a sermon in which he highlighted how this part of the prophecy especially was fulfilled.
His Holiness (aba) said, ‘It is a lengthy prophecy, which was revealed to the Promised Messiah (as) regarding the Promised Son and mentioned various attributes. Today, I will speak about one aspect of the prophecy which states that “He will be filled with secular and spiritual knowledge”’
An excerpt of one of the examples presented by His Holiness (aba) is as follows:
‘I will present a glimpse of the treasures of his knowledge and understanding from the age of 16, 17 or 18 until he was 34-35 years of age, which is the early period of adulthood. I will not be able to present even one-fiftieth of everything he said during this period, or perhaps not even as much. He attained a long life after this time and being endowed with knowledge from Allah the Almighty, he continued to bestow on us pearls of knowledge and wisdom.
In March 1907, when he was only 18 years of age, Hazrat Musleh Mau`ud (ra) [the Second Caliph] wrote an extraordinary treatise on The Love of God [Mahabbat-e-Ilahi], which was later published as a book. From this treatise alone it becomes evident just how Allah the Almighty began to grant him secular and spiritual knowledge from the very outset and from a very young age.
Hazrat Musleh Mau`ud (ra) stated:
“God Almighty has created mankind so that they may demonstrate their love for Him. The purpose and objective for the creation of mankind is so that they remain intoxicated in the love of God and to continue to partake of this ocean that grants eternal life.” Which life is eternal? It is the life of the hereafter. “It is through the love [of God] that one can refrain from sins and increase in spirituality. It is this very love [of God] which enables one to develop true recognition of God and without this love, one cannot attain true cognisance of the Divine.”
Hazrat Musleh Mau`ud (ra) further stated:
“Hence, in order to refrain from sins and increase in spirituality, it is essential for us to strengthen our relationship with God Almighty and to develop such devotion and love within our hearts that will bring us closer to Him; so that we may transform into a sun from which the world will derive light.”
Following this, he made mention of various religions and stated, “God is certainly One. However, every religion has its individual perspective on His Being.”
Thereafter, he presented the Jewish, Christian, Hindu and Arya faith’s concepts of God and proved that a god of such teachings and attributes could not be worthy of human worship.
Hazrat Musleh Mau`ud (ra) then presented the teachings of Islam and established that Islam alone presented God as One, Who possessed perfect and infinite qualities and beauty and Who was truly worthy of the exclusive love and worship of humankind.
As I have explained already, it is clear there is only One God for all people. However, the concept of God depicted in Islam is the true reality as compared to the portrayals of God outlined by other religions. It is through the understanding presented by Islam that one’s heart can develop the love of God. He described the attributes of God and demonstrated that no other religion details the attributes of God to the same degree as Islam does, nor is there any parallel in other religions to Islam in the manner that Islam explains the beauties and excellences of the attributes of God.
In conclusion, Hazrat Musleh Mau`ud (ra) says that Islam gives evidence of the Living God by saying that God still guides His servants even today through revelation as He did in the past. This is most significant characteristic of the Living God.’