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 sources, for the benefit of its readers.
What are the Responsibilities of Prophets and Caliphs?
Out of His love and mercy, throughout history, God Almighty has appointed spiritual guides so that He may bestow His teachings to humankind. The Holy Prophet Muhammad (sa) was the greatest manifestation of the mercy of God, and his advent brought with it the perfection of religion. After the demise of a prophet, God Almighty appoints his successors to continue to carry on and fulfil the same purpose. Once, His Holiness (aba) was asked about the responsibilities of prophets and their successors.
His Holiness (aba) replied:
‘Responsibility of prophet is whatever is assigned to him by Allah the Almighty. The Holy Prophet (sa) brought the religion, so his responsibility was to spread that religion, to teach the people, to make the followers know the true teachings of Islam. There are two things for which prophets come; one, to bring people close to their Creator, to Allah the Almighty. Second, to let them realize their duty to each other, to do good things and good deeds. This is the duty of prophets, and Khalifa [Caliph] is to continue the job of the prophets after his [the prophet’s] demise.‘ 
Is it Possible to Find Out Whether You Have Been Forgiven by God?
Seeking repentance is central to spiritual progress because it allows an individual to recognise past mistakes and weaknesses and enables them to shun those weaknesses once and for all. However, true repentance is no easy task. It requires a great deal of humility, determination and steadfastness. One of the most effective ways of attaining true repentance is through fervent prayers and humble supplications. Once, His Holiness (aba) was asked whether one could reach a level where they become aware that they have been forgiven by God.
His Holiness (aba) answered:
‘If one does not go back to committing the same sins and mistakes, and develops a hatred for such deeds, then their repentance has been accepted. It is not necessary for Allah the Almighty to reveal to you that he has accepted your repentance. There are various ways in which a person can come to know of this, and Allah the Almighty has His own ways of doing so. If God were to inform everyone about their repentance being accepted, then people would commit new [bad] deeds every day, and then simply seek forgiveness for them. Thus, Allah the Almighty has kept us in suspense so that one continues to seek forgiveness and repent. Even the prophets would seek forgiveness in order to increase in their ranks. So, if you continue to seek forgiveness and repent even after your repentance is accepted, then Allah the Almighty will continue to elevate your status, and you will develop an aversion to sin; this is the true essence of repentance. What benefit is there in finding out [that your repentance is accepted]? The real objective is to please Allah; ‘Their only concern, whether day or night, is how they can please their beloved.’ It is the righteous who have this concern, and hence this is said about them, not those who commit evil. ‘People who truly love God are those who would offer any sacrifice in His way; Their only concern, whether day or night, is how they can please their beloved.’ The people described here are the beloved of God, and it is they who are always concerned [with pleasing God]. Hence, what benefit will you gain by finding out whether your repentance has been accepted? Your only concern should be that Allah the Almighty saves you and anyone else from ever committing the same mistake again. The more one strives to be saved from evil and to stay away from Satan, they can rest assured that their repentance is accepted. After all, what is repentance? It is to develop a hatred for sin, and to make a vow never to commit the same sin again. This is the essence of repentance. If this is inculcated, then one’s repentance has been accepted.‘ 
How Can We Establish a Meaningful Relationship with God?
The driving purpose of life is to discover God and establish a relationship with Him. If this purpose is attained, it enables a person to feel a sense of fulfilment that cannot be achieved through any other desire. Through the teachings of Islam, God Almighty has taught many methods of building a meaningful relationship with Him and attaining His love. His Holiness (aba) was once asked how one can establish a meaningful relationship with Allah and fulfil this primary purpose of life.
His Holiness (aba) replied:
‘The best way is that you should always think that whatever you are doing, Allah the Almighty is always watching you. Whatever you do, Allah the Almighty is seeing. When you have this type of mindset that whatever you are doing Allah the Almighty is watching over you, then you will not do bad things and you will try to follow everything which Allah says to do and you try to leave all those things which Allah the Almighty says that you should not do. Always think that Allah the Almighty is seeing your every deed and action, wherever you are. You can hide yourself from the people but you cannot hide yourself from Allah the Almighty – one thing. Secondly, as Allah the Almighty has said that five daily prayers are obligatory. You have to offer these five daily prayers. When you are praying, then you pray to Allah the Almighty in your sajdahs [prostrations] that Allah the Almighty make you strong and staunch, that you have good relationship with Allah the Almighty, and Allah the Almighty listens to your prayers. And when your prayers are listened, then you will develop your relationship with Allah the Almighty in a much better way. So, never leave five daily prayers, and while you are praying, you should pray to Allah the Almighty that He should make this bond stronger and stronger than ever before.‘ 
Who Should We Please in Order to Please God?
There is no greater achievement in the world than doing something that pleases God. He loves His creation to an inconceivable extent and has provided the means of existence and subsistence for all. If one was to remain mindful of this at all times, it would be difficult not to think about ways in which one could please Him. One of the ways we are taught to please God is by serving those people who are loved by God. His Holiness (aba) was once asked, who should be served in order to please Allah.
His Holiness (aba) replied:
‘Allah the Almighty says that you should say durood [salutations] to the Holy Prophet (sa). If you say durood,
اللَّهُمَّ صَلِّ عَلَى مُحَمَّدٍ وَعَلَى آلِ مُحَمَّدٍ
كَمَا صَلَّيْتَ عَلَى إِبْرَاهِيمَ وَعَلَى آلِ إِبْرَاهِيمَ إِنَّكَ حَمِيدٌ مَجِيدٌ
اللَّهُمَّ بَارِكْ عَلَى مُحَمَّدٍ، وَعَلَى آلِ مُحَمَّدٍ
كَمَا بَارَكْتَ عَلَى إِبْرَاهِيمَ وَعَلَى آلِ إِبْرَاهِيمَ إِنَّكَ حَمِيدٌ مَجِيدٌ
[‘O Allah, bless Muhammad and his people as You did bless Abraham and his people – You are indeed the Praiseworthy, the Exalted
O Allah, prosper Muhammad and his people, as You did prosper Abraham and his people – You are indeed the Praiseworthy, the Exalted’]
then Allah the Almighty will be happy and He will listen to your prayers. It will please Allah the Almighty. So, Allah the Almighty says, whatever [is] written in the Holy Qur’an, these are My commandments, and whatever the Holy Prophet (sa) has done, that is his Sunnah [practice]. So, if you want to please Me, you follow the Sunnah of the Holy Prophet (sa). And then, later on, as prophesied by the Holy Prophet (sa), in the latter days the reformer of the age will come. So, Allah the Almighty says if you want to please Me then you accept that reformer as well who was the true servant of the Holy Prophet (sa) and whose advent was foretold in the Holy Qur’an as well. So, if you accept the Promised Messiah (as) and follow his teaching, then you will also please Allah the Almighty. Then, after that the system which has been given to us by Allah the Almighty after the demise of the Promised Messiah (as), that is the Khilafat [Caliphate]; if you are attached to the Khilafat then you will become one community and a strong community and then there will be unity. When there is unity, then Allah the Almighty will be pleased to see you that you are united. So, first thing is that when you please Allah the Almighty, then you have to follow the commandments given in the Holy Qur’an, then you follow the Sunnah of the Holy Prophet (sa), then his Ahadith [sayings of the Holy Prophet (sa)] and traditions, then also try to accept and follow the teachings of the Promised Messiah (as) which are the true teachings of Islam and the explanations and elaborations of the sayings of the Holy Prophet (sa) and the Holy Qur’an. Then in this way, you can please Allah the Almighty. When you follow all these things you will please Allah the Almighty and the ultimate goal of a person should be to please Allah the Almighty. And Allah the Almighty will be happy to see you if you are following all these things and then He will accept your prayers and He will be happy with you.‘ 
The Key to Heartfelt Prayers and the Philosophy of Durood [Salutations upon the Holy Prophet (sa)]
Prayer and worship are not mere movements and lip service. It is imperative to understand and believe the words we utter in supplication to God, otherwise, those words remain empty, ineffectual, and do not touch the heart. Thus, a prayer is considered heartfelt and true when it is understood well. Durood [prayer for sending salutations upon the Holy Prophet (sa)] is a prayer Muslims recite many times a day, not just as a testament to their love for the Holy Prophet (sa), but their love for God as well. But Durood, just like every other prayer, can only take effect if it is truly understood. In this regard, His Holiness stated:
‘I will briefly mention that a heartfelt prayer is offered when one has a full understanding as to what exactly they are praying for. Mere lip service can neither enable one to have a deep understanding of the meanings of those words, nor will it have any impact upon the heart. If the prayer does not have an impact on one’s heart, then it cannot bring about fervency and emotion in the prayer. Thus, in order for it to have an impact on the heart, it is essential that one knows what exactly they are praying for and why.
There are millions of people who recite the durood but do not even know its meaning and what the benefits are in reciting durood for them and for the Holy Prophet (sa).
On one occasion, the Second Caliph (ra) explained this and I will present a summary of it.
In the durood, ‘Allahumma salli‘ comes first and ‘Allahumma barik‘ comes after. The wisdom behind this is that ‘Salat‘ means to pray; therefore, ‘Allahumma salli‘ means, ‘O Allah! Pray for the Holy Prophet (sa).’
Now, those who pray are of two types; firstly, those who have nothing and they seek from others; the others are those who have complete authority and grant to others. Thus, when we say regarding God Almighty that He prays, it means that He instructs His creation, including the wind, water, mountains, etc. to support His servant. Therefore, ‘Allahumma salli‘ means, ‘O Allah! Grant Your Prophet (sa) all the good that is found in this world and in the Heavens. Exalt him in honour and respect.’
Thus, when Allah the Almighty decrees for something, then nothing can be greater than that because we cannot even fathom the scope of what He decrees and wills. Therefore, we present this supplication before Allah the Almighty that whatever is the greatest status in His sight or whatever rank He wishes, may He grant that to the Holy Prophet(sa).
‘Allahumma barik‘ means, ‘O Allah! The mercy, grace and rewards you have bestowed on the Holy Prophet (sa), increase them to such a degree that the entire mercy and blessings of this world are gathered together and bestowed upon him.’
Therefore, firstly Allah the Almighty will grant that what He wills, and the scope of that is beyond what we could ever imagine, and then we pray that may Allah the Almighty bless that so much that it continues to increase which becomes even more difficult to fathom or comprehend its magnitude.
Thus, when we offer these prayers for the Holy Prophet (sa) and we continue to go on offering these prayers, then we will also partake of the prayers of the Holy Prophet (sa) which he offered for his ummah [followers]. When we pray in a truly heartfelt manner for the success and progress of his religion and for him to reign supreme in the world, then Allah the Almighty will also enable us to partake of these prayers and receive the blessings of the durood because this also includes a prayer for his ummah. We will also benefit from the fruits that grow forth from the seeds we sow. This is because the prayer of ‘salli‘ is akin to sowing a seed and ‘barik‘ can be likened to the fruits thereof. [5,6]
- Meeting with Waqf-e-Nau Ireland 22 March 2019
2. Meeting with Khuddam from Germany 9 February 2019
3. Meeting with Atfal from The Gambia 30 May 2021
5. Khutbat-e-Mahmud, Vol. 7, pp. 77-78
6. Friday Sermon, 30 April 2021