The Five Pillars of Islam

Friday Sermon Summary 21st April 2023: ‘Establishing True & Lasting Worship’

After reciting Tashahhud,Ta‘awwuz and Surah al-Fatihah, His Holiness, Hazrat Mirza Masroor Ahmad (aba) said that today is the last Friday of Ramadan. The month of Ramadan has passed by and there will be many who spent Ramadan in worship and making efforts to implement change within themselves but were not able to implement their plans as they wished.

His Holiness Hazrat Mirza Masroor Ahmad

Elevating Our Standard of Prayer & Virtue

His Holiness (aba) said that Friday is a blessed day in which prayers are especially answered. If our Ramadan did not go exactly as we planned, or as a believer’s Ramadan should be spent, we should still strive in the remaining time left in Ramadan to pray that Allah the Almighty covers our shortcomings and grants us the ability to live our lives in the manner that Allah the Almighty desires for us to. God is extremely Kind; He has not stated that there is a specific time within Friday specifically in Ramadan set for the acceptance of prayer, rather He has generally stated the importance and blessings of Friday.

His Holiness (aba) said that if today, we vow in our prayers that after this Ramadan, we will continue to elevate the standard of our virtue, will strive to increase our connection with God, until the next Friday we will pray solely for the sake of God, that until the next Friday we will strive to give precedence to the faith over worldly matters and until the next Ramadan we will continue to strive in the efforts we hoped to make during this Ramadan, then these are the ways in which we can adopt true virtue. When our worship and our actions will be solely for the sake of God, then Allah Who is the Most Kind, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful will surely bestow us with the blessings which we strove for even in a limited way during this Ramadan. The essence is righteousness and continuously striving to fulfil the commandments of God whilst fearing Him.

His Holiness (aba) said that if we continue to tread forward in this way and do not allow worldliness to overcome us, then even our limited efforts during this Ramadan will be accepted by God and He will continue to bestow His blessings upon us. This is a basic principle which we should always bear in mind. When we fashion our lives according to righteousness, then we will also be setting an example for the future generations that will allow virtue to carry forth from generation to generation. 

Maintaining Levels Achieved During Ramadan for the Rest of One’s Life 

His Holiness (aba) said that as Ahmadis, we have pledged allegiance to the Imam of the Age, and the conditions of bai’at (initiation) upon which we have accepted him are all rooted in righteousness. This is something which the Promised Messiah (as) constantly reminded us, so that we could bring about a revolution within ourselves that is not limited to a single month in the year, but is everlasting. No doubt, God has granted us the time of Ramadan as time for training, but this is so that after Ramadan, we may continue achieving new heights in righteousness, as opposed to falling to our same former state as was the case before Ramadan. 

His Holiness (aba) said that the Promised Messiah (as) was sent to elevate the standards of righteousness and for our reformation, and this is what he constantly reminded us of. His Holiness (aba) quoted the Promised Messiah (as) who said that this was the very purpose for which he was commissioned and he was told that during his time, the heavens would once again draw near to the earth. His dispensation is to continue until the end of times, and today it is his followers who must safeguard their faith and achieve its highest levels. This cannot be achieved through efforts limited to a single month, rather these efforts must transcend the month and we must constantly strive to elevate the standards of our faith. When we do this, we will be among those who have understood our pledge of allegiance and strove to fulfil it. Then we will be included among those referred to by Allah when he told the Promised Messiah (as) “I am with you and with those you love.” When Allah the Almighty is with someone, then what more do they need?

His Holiness (aba) said that we can only achieve this level when we continuously strive to achieve the love of Allah the Almighty. As a result, we will be included among the fortunate who reap the blessings of Allah the Almighty and whose prayers are accepted. This will result in us having confidence to call others towards God and to accept the True Servant of the Holy Prophet (sa). This is dependent upon achieving high standards of righteousness. Those of us who are able to understand this will continue to see the manifestations of God’s bounties. All of us can see these manifestations, so long as we mould our lives according to the commandments of God. 

Safeguarding from the Attacks of Satan

His Holiness (aba) quoted the Promised Messiah (as) who said that righteousness and ignorance cannot go hand in hand. A righteous person spends time in worship and fulfils the rights of humanity. True righteousness carries within itself a certain light which distinguishes one from others. This light will overtake every aspect of one’s life, and the paths that they tread will also become enlightened. This is the standard that a believer and a righteous person should strive for. Even after Ramadan, it should be our goal to achieve this level and standard. Fortunate are those whose every action is for the sake of God and His pleasure. On the other hand, if we do not strive for this, then our claims and our pledge will be hollow, and our efforts during the month of Ramadan will not bear any benefit. Thus, we must constantly analyse ourselves to see if we are continuously striving to achieve righteousness. It is hence that we can have the ability to combat and defeat Satan.

His Holiness (aba) said that in the current age Satan has surrounded us from every angle and without the help of God, we cannot be saved from the clutches of Satan. God’s help is with the righteous, and in a time where the attacks of Satan are stronger than ever before, we must focus more on our prayers than ever before as well. Whether through TV, social media or the countless other means, Satan runs rampant, and in such circumstances we must fear especially for our children and see that we are furnishing a sound and bright future for them. Thus, we must not relax after Ramadan, rather we must continue to increase our knowledge of the Qur’an and the faith so that a permanent atmosphere is established within our homes. We should constantly pray to be saved from the incitements of Satan and the Antichrist. 

His Holiness (aba) quoted the Promised Messiah (as) who said that the Antichrist is a manifestation of Satan. It has been foretold that in the Latter Days there would be many battles with Satan, but eventually Satan would be defeated. However, this is dependant upon people treading the paths of righteousness. The ultimate defeat of Satan was to come at the time of the Messiah. However God has promised that the believers and those who follow the Promised Messiah (as) would be victorious until the Day of Judgement, however only those who truly follow the Promised Messiah (as) can be included among that group of true believers. Hence, we should constantly analyse ourselves to see if we are fulfilling the requirements of being included among that group of believers, otherwise weeping in prayer for a few days during the month of Ramadan will render no lasting benefit. 

His Holiness (aba) quoted the Promised Messiah (as) who said that by following him and adhering to his teachings one can not only be saved from Satan but can overcome Satan. By truly following the Promised Messiah (as) and adhering to his teachings, one can be included in the promise of God made to the Promised Messiah (as) that, “Surely I will protect all those in your home.” Hence, Satan cannot be overcome by mere words, rather being victorious over Satan is dependant on our actions and the manner in which we carry ourselves. The perfect example for us is the Holy Prophet (sa), whose Satan became Muslim. 

The Effect & Result of True Prayer

His Holiness (aba) quoted the Promised Messiah (as) who said that if one observes the Holy Qur’an, they see that it begins with a prayer and ends with a prayer. This is a clear indication that nothing can be achieved without God. Until one attains the grace and blessings of God, they cannot accomplish anything. Even to attain His grace and blessings, one must pray. And prayers are not mere words, but true prayers constitute bringing a sort of death upon one’s self. True prayer has a magnetic effect which attracts grace and blessings. But such magnetic prayer cannot be considered that in which one’s thoughts wander here and there and are more occupied with worldly matters. Rather it is true prayer which is completely devoted to God that can open to doors for success It is clearly stated in the Holy Qur’an:

‘Surely, success does come to the believers, Who are humble in their Prayers.’ (The Holy Qur’an, 23:2-3)

His Holiness (aba) continued quoting the Promised Messiah (as) who said that a natural result of true prayer is that one’s desire for the world gradually diminishes. It can never be said about a person who prays in such a manner that they have forgotten God, rather those who give precedence to the world are those who have forgotten God. Those who pray in the true sense are not overtaken by the worldly work that they do, rather, their prayers keep them focused upon God. 

His Holiness (aba) said that true worship constitutes that its impact is evident in our apparent lives and upon our souls. Such worship takes us towards a higher level of morality and saves us from becoming engulfed in worldliness and from the clutches of Satan because such a person is in the protection of God. Such worship cannot be blemished with the thought of anything other than God. 

Why Prayer Sometimes Remain Unbeneficial

His Holiness (aba) said that the essence of prayer is worship. One can offer prayer, but it is of no benefit if it remains bereft of true worship. Otherwise, one can simply go to the mosque and offer prayer and then go on committing cruelties, as the various terrorist organisations of today do. Hence, it is the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community who should establish the true example of prayers that draw the blessings and pleasure of Allah the Almighty. Once we do this, then we will have done justice to our pledge of allegiance with the Promised Messiah (as) and we will also have truly benefited from the month of Ramadan. 

His Holiness (aba) quoted the Promised Messiah (as) who said that true prayer is that in which a person’s heart melts. It should also be remembered that we must not safeguard our prayers with the thought that God requires our prayers. God is not in need of anything, rather we are the ones who desperately need God and it is for this reason that it is imperative for us to safeguard our prayers. 

Prayers of His Holiness (aba)

His Holiness (aba) prayed that may we be able to worship in the true sense. May our prayers never be the type that displease God. May we inherit the blessings of God. May we establish a connection with God and partake of the promises made by God to the Promised Messiah (as). May we inculcate the habit of worship in our future generations so that they may be saved. As the Promised Messiah (as) said, when true worship is established, then Satan cannot cause any harm. It will be our good fortunate to elevate our standard of worship and thereby be included among those who do justice to being part of the community of the Promised Messiah (as). Doing so requires us to ensure that no part of our day or night goes without prayers. May Allah the Almighty enable us to live our lives according to the teachings of Allah and His Messenger (sa) and according to the desire of the Promised Messiah (as). May the pleasure of Allah be our ultimate objective. Let us vow to never rest until we have developed such a righteous change within ourselves that enable us to live in a manner that pleases God and in a manner that hinders Satan from infiltrating our lives. May Allah the Almighty enable us to do so.

His Holiness (aba) urged prayers for Ahmadis in Pakistan, that Allah may keep them safe from evil ploys of the enemies. Pakistani Ahmadis should especially pray for their condition, and ensure that these prayers are not limited to a few days, but are continuous. They too should vow to mould their lives in a manner that pleases God. His Holiness (aba) also urged prayers for Ahmadis in Burkina Faso, Bangladesh, Algeria and Ahmadis residing throughout the world, that Allah saves everyone from the evil ploys of the opponents. His Holiness (aba) prayed that may Allah enable us to bring about virtuous changes within ourselves. May He grant us the ability to establish true prayers and may He accept those prayers.

Summary prepared by The Review of Religions