Mangoes – A Profound Lesson in Spirituality


Qasim Choudhary, USA

This article is based on a sermon delivered by the Second Caliph, Hazrat Mirza Bashiruddin Mahmud Ahmad (ra) in which he uses the analogy of mangoes and their varying degrees of ripeness and sweetness to show that similarly, in the communities of prophets, there are people of varying ranks and degrees. It is however the best of the best which are looked at as true examples and representations of the rest. [Khutbat-e-Mahmud Vol. 10 p. 52]

It’s our favorite time of the year. Mango season. If you are anything like me, your kitchen is stacked with crates of delicious and juicy mangoes. However, every mango enthusiast knows full well that not all mangoes are the same.

It is a universal truth that things belonging to the same category or species are never alike. Take, for instance, a crate of Pakistan’s delectable national fruit, mangoes. We all love our mangoes, especially when they are sweet and ripe for the taking. However, it is possible that amongst a batch of tasty mangoes we find some bitter and unripe ones. Such an unfortunate situation does not induce us to discard the entire crate or to brand all mangoes as unpleasant or rotten. [1]

In the same manner, we come across people throughout our lives who are varying in their spiritual ripeness. At times, we encounter people who are spiritually unripe, thus they exhibit apparent weakness and moral lapses. At times, we meet individuals who are at the peak of their spiritual ripeness hence they exude a pleasant fragrance of belief and alluring spiritual radiance.

Similarly, the Promised Messiah (as), pointing towards spiritual variance states:

‘I advise the members of my Jama’at [community] that they should extend mercy to those of them who are weak and not yet mature in faith. They should try to remove their weakness. They should not be harsh towards them, and they should not be ill-mannered towards them. Rather, they should try to make them understand what they do not know.’ [2]

Portrait of the Promised Messiah (as) & Imam Mahdi (Guided One), Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad (as)

The Promised Messiah & Imam Mahdi Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad (as) of Qadian (1835-1908)

Unfortunately, some of us unfairly pass judgement based on the conduct of the spiritually unripe. The Second Caliph of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community, Hazrat Mirza Bashiruddin Mahmud Ahmad (ra), directs our attention towards an unjust criterion opponents of Ahmadiyya Muslim Community – or sometimes members of the Community themselves – construct. He states:

‘Sometimes our own members upon witnessing deficiency or frailty in another, are quick to assume that the entire Jama’at [community] is corrupt.’ [3]

Just as all mangoes are not equal nor uniformly pleasant and palatable, similarly not everyone is identical in their respective spiritual cognition and belief.

For instance, during the era of the Holy Prophet (sa) there existed the likes of Hazrat Abu Bakr (ra), who displayed unparalleled loyalty to Islam. On the other end of the spectrum, there was the chief of the hypocrites, Abdullah bin Ubayy bin Sulool. [4]

However, despite the hypocrisy and ill-nature of Abdullah bin Ubayy bin Sulool, the Holy Prophet (sa) extended kindness and tenderness towards the hypocrites. In fact, the mercy exhibited by the Holy Prophet (sa) was to such an extent that he covered the corpse of Abdullah bin Ubayy with his own shirt. [5]

Hence, the communities of all prophets contain people who have contrasting potentials and abilities. It would be foolish to isolate the weak and spiritually unripe and make them the representatives of the prophet. Nevertheless, we must be affectionate and soft-hearted towards the weak in faith. The reality is that spirituality is a journey, and one of the greatest purposes of faith and religion is to help people undertake and excel in that journey. Thus, upon seeing someone’s weakness, one should not pass judgements, scoff, mock, or ridicule; instead, it should be used as a teaching moment and lesson in order to help all progress in their spirituality and become closer to God, which is the ultimate purpose. 


Just as ripening of fruit is a gradual process, the same holds true for spirituality. As the Promised Messiah (as) aptly puts it:

‘Everything in the world progresses in stages. Spiritual advancement is no different and nothing can happen without struggle; and that struggle too must be in the way of God.’ [6]

We live in an era in which we are constantly bombarded by immorality and degeneracy. With every click, post, and channel flip we are locked in a battle with our nafs (self) and Satan. Many people are immersed in satanic distractions and struggling to stay afloat. Every moment, we are trying to sever the ropes of Satan which he casts around our necks. Commenting on the dire state of the present age, Hazrat Mirza Bashiruddin Mahmud Ahmad (ra) expressed:

‘In the time of the Holy Prophet (sa), there was not as much immorality and corruption as there is today.’ [7]

Thus, if we see someone struggling in their spiritual journey, would it not be better to avoid judgment? After all, if we can give time to our mangoes to ripen, should we not give each other the time to ripen spiritually?

تلخ ہوتا ہے ثمر جب تک کہ ہو وہ ناتمام

اس طرح ایماں بھی ہے جب تک نہ ہو کامل پیار

     Fruit remains bitter so long as it is unripe      

So too is faith—until love is perfected. [8]

About the Author: Qasim Choudhary is a graduate from the Ahmadiyya Institute of Languages and Theology in Canada, and serves as an Imam of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community in the United States of America.


[1] Khutbat-e-Mahmud, Vol. 10, pp. 52

[2] Malfuzat, Vol.2 pp. 219 [1984 edition]

[3] Khutbat-e-Mahmud, Vol. 10, pp. 57

[4] Khutbat-e-Mahmud, Vol. 10, pp. 56

[5] Malfuzat Vol.2, pp. 219-220 [1984 edition]

[6] Malfuzat, Vol.2, pp. 224 [English translation]

[7] Khutbat-e-Mahmud, Vol. 10, pp. 59

[8] Durr-e-Sameen, p. 83 [2002 edition]