His Holiness, Hazrat Mirza Masroor Ahmad (aba), Worldwide Head of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community, delivered the Eid al-fitr sermon today from Mubarak Mosque, Islamabad, UK- here is a summary:
After reciting Tashahhud, Ta‘awwuz and Surah al-Fatihah, His Holiness, Hazrat Mirza Masroor Ahmad (aba) said that by the sheer grace of Allah, after having passed through the month of Ramadan, He has enabled us to witness the day of Eid. But is this the only purpose of us having passed through the month of Ramadan; that we fast for a month and then at the end celebrate? In fact, we can only reap the true blessings of this bounty of Allah, when we truly understand the purpose of Ramadan and Eid. If we have truly reformed ourselves and developed good habits, then they should clearly be visible after a period of thirty days.
His Holiness (aba) said that from one Ramadan to the next, we should continue acting upon those virtuous habits which were brought about during the month of Ramadan. Only then will we witness the true blessings of Ramadan.
The Blessings of Accepting the Imam of the Age
His Holiness (aba) said that we are fortunate to have accepted the Imam of the Age, who guided us towards treading upon the path which has been established for us by God and His Messenger (sa). It is in following this guidance that we will be able to do true justice to our worship and fulfill the commandments of God. The Promised Messiah (as) clearly stated that there were two primary objectives of his advent; to help people recognise God and fulfill their rights owed to Him, and to help people recognise the rights they owe to their fellow human beings. These are the essence of Islam and the purpose of our lives. The purpose of Ramadan is to strive in fulfilling these purposes.
The True Blessings of Ramadan and Eid
His Holiness (aba) said that the true blessings of Ramadan will only be recognised when a true change is brought about. Furthermore, one will only experience the true happiness of Eid when these changes become a permanent part of one’s life.
His Holiness (aba) said that the Promised Messiah (as) has guided us as to how to become true believers. His Holiness (aba) said that he would be presenting quotations of the Promised Messiah (as) which explain how we can truly continue the blessings of Ramadan and celebrate Eid in the true fashion; what the rights owed to God are and what the rights owed to fellow human beings are.
His Holiness (aba) quoted the Promised Messiah (as) who said that to truly love God is to love Him more than one’s parents, wife, family and all other things. God Almighty states in the Holy Qur’an:
‘Celebrate the praises of Allah as you celebrated the praises of your fathers, or even more than that.’ (The Holy Qur’an, 2:201)
If we can establish this level of love, then we can say that we are celebrating Eid in the true sense. We must analyse ourselves and see if we are ready to strive in achieving this. The Promised Messiah (as) further said that the true love of God cannot be achieved simply through words, rather there must be a true and concerted effort made in this cause. Hence, along with the verbal affirmations, there must be actions to accompany them. This is the true Islam, and this is the purpose for which the Promised Messiah (as) came.
His Holiness (aba) said that life-devotees should especially consider that everything they do and every action of theirs should be solely for the sake of Allah Almighty.
Become Like Abraham (as)
His Holiness (aba) further quoted the Promised Messiah (as) who said that the story of Abraham (as) was told to show the great levels of sacrifice which one should attain. Islam seeks to make many Abrahams and instill that same spirit in everyone. We should not merely seek to follow other aulia`ullah (friends of Allah), rather we ourselves should seek to become friends of Allah. No doubt that attaining these standards requires one to walk down a difficult path, but after crossing that path is great ease and happiness. However, it is necessary to shed all bad habits and qualities. Without sincerity, one cannot attain the true pleasure of God Almighty. No one can deceive God Almighty, hence we must be truly sincere to our core.
His Holiness (aba) said that hence, we must analyse our claims of loving God. If we love Him in the true sense as described, then we will experience the true happiness of Eid.
Experiencing True Prayer
His Holiness (aba) quoted the Promised Messiah (as) who said that one should always continue seeking forgiveness from God Almighty. When one truly turns to God in repentance, then Allah turns to him with mercy and forgiveness and erases his sins and faults. To do this, one must offer their prayers with great care. One should establish the true fear of God in their hearts. Before doing anything, one should stop to think whether these actions will please, or displease God. The Promised Messiah (as) said that the purpose of prayer is not merely to go through the physical actions and postures. Rather, the purpose of prayer is to glorify God and to seek His forgiveness. When these two things are combined with true attention and sincerity, then one experiences true prayer. When one bows, their heart should bow along with them, and when one prostrates, then it should be with the true fear of God.
His Holiness (aba) said that it is in attaining such standards that we can experience the true Eid. We must analyse ourselves as to whether we are striving to attain these levels and standards, so that we may truly experience the essence of Eid.
His Holiness (aba) further quoted the Promised Messiah (as) who said that true worship is to wholly devote one’s self to God. One’s sole purpose should be attaining the pleasure of Allah. All good deeds carried out should not be done forcefully, rather one’s worship and prayers should be carried out with happiness and heartfelt desire. The sign of a true believer is that they never abandon worship and doing good deeds, for they do not do so merely for the sake of reward; rather they consider their very being to be created for the purpose of recognising and seeking the pleasure of God. When one strives in this way, then they are able to witness the bounties of God. The Promised Messiah (as) said that even experiencing hardships would be a means of happiness and contentment for him, as they would lead him closer to God, rather than leading him away from the path of God. This is the path to Paradise, and no one can attain it without treading this path.
Tread the Path That Leads to Paradise
His Holiness (aba) said that this is the essence and this is the path of attaining the true spirit of Eid. So we must consider whether we are treading upon that path which leads us to attaining Paradise.
His Holiness (aba) said that we must establish high standards in our worship, in attaining the pleasure of God, and in fulfilling the rights owed to fellow human beings. Only then will we experience true Eid.
His Holiness (aba) quoted the Promised Messiah (as) who said that a true believer never takes personal enemies, nor tries to cause anyone harm. To do so in order to uphold the honour of God and His Messenger (sa) is another matter, but even then, one should pray for such enemies, and keep in mind the moral standard established by the Holy Prophet (sa).
Importance of Reading the Holy Qur’an
His Holiness (aba) said that reading, studying and pondering over the Holy Qur’an is also the sign of a true believer. It is necessary to recite and act upon the Holy Qur’an, along with worship, in order to increase in belief and certainty. The Promised Messiah (as) said that we must read the Holy Qur’an and offer prayers with great care. We should recite the Holy Qur’an and read it’s translation so that we may understand its commandments. We should not recite the Holy Qur’an just as an ordinary book, but should do so keeping in mind that it is the Word of God. Similarly, the essence of Salat is prayer. Hence, we must offer our prayers with great care and attention, rather than simply going through the motions, without even realising what we are doing or saying.
His Holiness (aba) said that offering our prayers with great care, and reciting the Holy Qur’an with true understanding will lead us to experiencing the true Eid. We must always strive to offer prayers with great care, and must always strive to recite, ponder and act upon the Holy Qur’an.
His Holiness (aba) quoted the Promised Messiah (as) that our victory lies in the Holy Qur’an. The Holy Prophet (sa) himself said that one who has not memorised any portion of the Holy Qur’an is like an empty home. Furthermore, the Holy Prophet (sa) instructed that we should not recite the Holy Qur’an quickly, rather we should recite it with great care while pondering over its meanings.
His Holiness (aba) said that many will have recited the Holy Qur’an and memorised some portions during the Holy Qur’an. We should strive to continue this and continue revising those portions we have memorised. But we must also strive in continuing to ponder over its meanings. Then, when we continue this spirit which was established in Ramadan, we can say that we are experiencing true happiness and the true essence of Eid.
Fulfil the Rights Owed to Mankind
His Holiness (aba) said that all of these acts of prayer and worship will only benefit us in attaining nearness to God when we are also fulfilling our duties owed to our fellow human beings. The Promised Messiah (as) said that just as one claims God to be One and without partner, one should also care for His creation and serve them. Yet there are many who are not able to fulfill the rights owed to one another and commit injustices against each other. However, God instructs that humanity must become as one, and be kind and just to one another; only then can we truly establish a connection with the One true God. When we fulfill the rights owed to one another, then will we be able to fulfill our rights to God. When we do this, then we will experience the true essence of Eid.
His Holiness (aba) said that just as our attention is drawn towards matters of spirituality and worship, our attention should also remain on fulfilling the rights owed to humanity. The Promised Messiah (as) said that there are two types of rights owed to humanity; to those who have become brothers in faith, and then to humanity at large. In fact, the Promised Messiah (as) said that according to the practice of the Holy Prophet (sa), one should even pray for their enemies. The Promised Messiah (as) said that there was no enemy of his, for who he had not prayed at least two or three times. Just as God displeases for partners to be associated with Him, He also displeases for one to hold enmity against another. Hence, no matter how great of an enemy may be or no matter how much enmity another person exhibits, we must always approach others with great care and kindness, exhibiting the highest standards of morality.
His Holiness (aba) said that when we establish this standard in our dealings with one another and we pray for one another, then we will experience the true happiness of Eid.
His Holiness (aba) further quoted the Promised Messiah (as) who said that the Holy Prophet (sa) once said that on the Day of Judgement, God will say to some people that He is very pleased with them, for when He was hungry they fed Him, they clothed Him, gave Him water, and visited Him when He was sick. The people will say to Him that He is pure from such things, how could they have done these things for Him? God will say that His servants were in such a state and they helped them, and when they did so, it was as if they had done so for Allah. Hence, showing kindness and compassion to the creation of Allah is extremely important in attaining the pleasure of God. Hence, our purpose for helping humanity should be attaining the pleasure of God.
Strive to Make Financial Sacrifices
His Holiness (aba) said that when we do this, we will experience true Eid. The Ahmadiyya Muslim Community has established many different funds to help all different kinds of people in need in various ways. Hence, we should always strive to make contributions towards these funds and thus help those in need, in order to attain the pleasure of God.
His Holiness (aba) further quoted the Promised Messiah (as) who said that man must treat his wife with kindness. It is the kindness with which a husband treats his wife that a household becomes heavenly. It is in establishing such a heavenly household that one can continuously experience the happiness of Eid.
His Holiness (aba) quoted the Promised Messiah (as) who said that there are many who seem to remember God and utter His name, yet their actions do not reflect the same thing. Hence, our claims must be accompanied with actions. We must worship God with true sincerity. We should read the Word of God with true concentration. The true Community of God cannot be established without true and firm actions.
His Holiness (aba) said that having accepted the Promised Messiah (as) is a matter of great importance. Simply celebrating on the surface will not help us in attaining our true purpose. Rather, we must strive to fulfill the pledges we have made. Then, God bestows His favours, and when this happens, then what greater Eid can there be than this.
His Holiness (aba) quoted the Promised Messiah (as) who said that the purpose of standing shoulder to shoulder in prayer is to establish unity. We must prayer for our brothers and sisters just as we pray for ourselves, and wish for them what we wish for ourselves. Unity is a distinguishing factor. We must not let enmity creep in for the smallest of matters. But if we do not do so, then we will remain bereft of God’s blessings.
His Holiness (aba) said that in order to partake of the true Eid, we must consider whether we have acted upon this. It is not enough to meet a few relatives and treat them with kindness and compassion, rather it is only when treating everyone in the same manner that we can truly experience Eid. Not only will we experience Eid twice a year, rather when we establish these qualities, then everyday will be an Eid for us.
Prayers for Palestine & the Rest of the World
His Holiness (aba) then made an appeal for prayers. First His Holiness (aba) said to pray for the people of Palestine, who are facing hardships and persecution in their own land. They are not able to visit their own mosques and instead are required to have permits but even those are not issued to them. Then those who go to pray are attacked and are forcefully being taken out. There are many fair and just media outlets which have now started covering the injustices being carried out. The police have been spraying tear gas and firing bullets; there have even been attacks and airstrikes due to which many people are suffering and being killed. According to some reports, the Israeli police are hindering medical aid from reaching those who require it. His Holiness (aba) prayed that may Allah help the oppressed and seize the perpetrators of injustice. His Holiness (aba) said that the US State Department claims to promote justice, yet they have remained silent even after the killing of nine children, and have not issued any statement – in fact the number may even be more than nine now. His Holiness (aba) said that the New York Times has also stated according to a report by the Human Rights Watch that Israel is giving precedence to the Jewish people and that there is no justice for the Palestinians. Amnesty International has also reported that the Palestinians are being made to face grave injustices. His Holiness (aba) quoted an Israeli national newspaper which writes that the concept of justice has been skewed, whereby it is said that what is ours will always remain ours, and what is yours is also ours; and it is thus that the rights of Palestinians are being usurped. His Holiness (aba) prayed that may Allah have mercy on them and though this Eid has come at a time of great grief for them, may He turn their grief into happiness. May they also find such leadership which will help them. If the Muslim world came together, they could help such Muslims who are facing injustices, however the Muslim world is unable to come together and they have not given a united response as they should have. His Holiness (aba) prayed that may God grant sense to the Muslim leadership and to the Israelies as well so that they desist in their injustices. His Holiness (aba) said that the discrepancy of power between that possessed by the Israelis from that of the Palestinians is huge and there is no comparison. Hence, His Holiness (aba) said that we must pray a great deal for Palestine and pray for their freedom.
His Holiness (aba) said that we must pray for the entire world and for all those who are facing any sort of hardship. We should pray for all those around the world who are in need. We should pray for injustice to be eradicated from the world. We should pray that the effects of this global pandemic are erased and the world returns to normal. This however, can only happen when the world turns its attention to fulfilling the rights owed to God and His creation. His Holiness (aba) prayed that may the world have the ability to do so.
Summary prepared by The Review of Religions.