Reformation-Part IV

29The Review of Religions –May 2003 [Translator’s Note: All references to the verses of the Holy Qur’an are given in Arabic as they occur in the text. The English translation, presented in Italics, is taken from the translation of the Holy Qur’an by Hadhrat Maulwi Sher Ali Sahib(ra). Where the Promised Messiah(as) has himself stated a certain interpretation of the Arabic verse, this is incorporated in the main body of the text]. One of the signs of N a f s e- Mutmainnah, the spirit at rest, is that it finds comfort and peace in the company of those who are themselves at peace. On the other hand, the person whose soul is [at the lower stage] of ammarah, will display signs of Nafse-Ammarah, of the soul that incites to evil. M o re o v e r, the person who keeps company of those who possess Nafse-Mutmainna will also begin to feel a sense of Reformation – Part IV The founder of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community was Hadhrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad(as). In 1891, he claimed, on the basis of Divine revelation, that he was the P romised Messiah and Mahdi whose advent had been foretold by Muhammad, the Holy Prophet of Islam (peace be upon him) and by the scriptures of other faiths. His claim constitutes the basis of the beliefs of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community. Presented below, in translation, is the fourth part of the address delivered on 26 December 1903 by Hadhrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad of Qadian, the Promised Messiah and Mahdi (may the peace and blessings of Allah be upon him). The Urdu text of the speech is taken from Malfoozat, Volume 6, and PP 249-255. Malfoozat is the title of the ten volumes that contain the collection of discourses, speeches and addresses of Hadhrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad(as) of Qadian, the Promised Messiah and Mahdi. Translated by Amatul Hadi Ahmad 30 The Review of Religions – May 2003 contentment within him, a sense of peace and tranquility. The first reward that is granted to the one who attains the stage of Nafse-Mutmainna is that he finds comfort in God, as is stated [in the Holy Qur’an]: And thou, O soul at peace! Return to thy Lord well pleased with Him and He well pleased with thee. (Ch.89: V:28-29) That is, God, addressing the soul that finds peace and comfort in God, states: ‘Come to your Lord—He is pleased with you and you are pleased with Him’. There is a very deep point of spiritual wisdom in the statement: ‘God is pleased with you and you are pleased with Him’. The fact is that until a person reaches this stage, and remains in the state of L a w w a m a, the ‘self-accusing spirit’, he is in a kind of ‘battle’ with God—that is to say, at times he is disobedient [to God] at behest of the self. However, upon attaining the state of Mutmainnah, this war comes to an end and there is a truce with God. At that point, when no resentment remains and the war ends, a person becomes contented and pleased with God and God becomes pleased with him. This point should be well remembered that every person [is inclined to] fight with God. There are occasions when it so Reformation – Part IV THE TRUTH IS THAT REAL FAITH DEVELOPS ONLY WHEN A P E R S O N I S AT A S TA G E THAT GOD’S WILL IS THEIR W I L L A N D T H E R E I S N O RESENTMENT OR TIGHTNESS IN THEIR HEARTS. ON THE CONTRARY, THEY ARE READY TO ACCEPT WITH COMPLETE S AT I S FA C T I O N W H AT E V E R GOD MAY DECREE. 31The Review of Religions –May 2003 happens that a person prays to God and has great expectations for his desired objective but his prayers go unanswered or something happens that is against his expectations, he then begins to ‘fight’ with God. He shows ill feeling towards God and displays signs of discontentment with God. H o w e v e r, the pious and the true servants of God are never at war with God because they are at the stage where they are at one with God’s will. The truth is that real faith develops only when a person is at a stage that God’s will is their will and there is no resentment or tightness in their hearts. On the contrary, they a re ready to accept with complete satisfaction whatever God may decree. In the verse: Return to thy Lord well pleased with Him and He well pleased with thee. (Ch.89: V. 29) The words point to exactly this. This is the highest state of p l e a s u re and acceptance. At this [spiritual] station there is no fear of being tried or of faltering. At all other stages t h e re remains the danger of [faltering in] trial but when one is totally satisfied with God’s will and there does not re m a i n any cause for resentment or complaint, then there awakens the true and real personal love [for God]. Until such a personal love for God is awakened within, a person’s faith is in a state of great danger. However, when personal love for God develops within, a person attains safety from the attacks of Satan. One should try to attain this personal love [of God] t h rough prayer—until this develops, one remains under the rule of Nafse-Ammarah and is imprisoned within its clutches. The people who are under the rule of Nafse-Ammara appear to be uttering the [Punjabi] saying: This world is sweet—who has seen the next? Reformation – Part IV 32 The Review of Religions – May 2003 Such people are in a state of grave danger and so are those who are at the stage of Nafse- Lawwama as they are friends of God one minute and the next they are with Satan. They are not of one colour because their battle against the self has begun but it is one in which at times they are victorious and at other times the self wins. They are, nevertheless, praiseworthy because they perform good deeds and there is fear of God in their hearts. However, those possessing N a f s e-M u t m a i n n a h, the spirit at rest, are totally victorious as they are out of all danger and fear, attaining a place of safety and peace. Such people are in that house of peace beyond the reach of Satan. The one who is at the state of Lawwama, however, is at the threshold of the house of peace. Sometimes the enemy succeeds in launching an ‘offensive’ against him and at other times he suffers attack by lesser ‘weapons’. Thus it is that to the one possessing N a f s e- Mutmainnah, the spirit at rest, is said [by God]: So enter thou among My chosen servants, And enter thou My Garden. (Ch.89: V.30-31) This voice comes at a time when a human being takes his Ta q w a, that is righteousness, to its ultimate limit. Ta q w a, or right- eousness, has two stages. The first stage is safeguarding of oneself against sins and occupying oneself with the performance of good deeds, and the second state is to attain the station of those who are beneficent in their goodness. God will not be pleased unless this second station is achieved and this station cannot be achieved without the Grace of God. When a person abstains from bad deeds and his heart yearns to do good and he supplicates before God to this end, then it is that God assists him through His Grace and holds the hand Reformation – Part IV 33The Review of Religions –May 2003 of such a person and takes him to the house of safety and peace—it is then that he hears the voice that says: So enter thou among My chosen servants, And enter thou My Garden. (Ch.89: V.30-31) That is to say, ‘your battle has come to an end and you are now reconciled and at peace with me—come and enter the fold of my faithful servants, the fold of those who are granted a share of the spiritual inheritance and who exemplify the verse: The path of those on whom Thou hast bestowed Thy blessings . (Ch.1: V.7) ‘come, enter my Paradise’. This verse (Ch. 89 V. 29) is not, as is commonly understood, appli- cable only after death – it is a voice that is heard also in this l i f e . For those who undertake the journey in search of God, there a re diff e rent stages. The ultimate stage, the pinnacle of their spiritual journey, the point where their efforts end is the stage of Nafse-Mutmainnah, that is, the spirit at rest. At this stage the Almighty God removes all the difficulties and bestows upon them [the blessing of] entry into the fold of Saliheen, the pious, as stated [in the Holy Qur’an]: And those who believe and do good deeds – them We shall surely admit into the company of the righteous. (Ch.29: V.10) That is, those who believe and Reformation – Part IV 34 The Review of Religions – May 2003 perform good deeds, they shall most certainly enter the fold of the Saliheen, the truly pious and righteous. With regard to this point some people raise the objection that those who do good deeds are Saliheen so what is meant by allowing them entry into the fold of the Saliheen? The reality is that herein lies a very deep and subtle point which is that God describes capacities as being of two kinds. One kind of capacity is that of a person who, after a great deal of e ffort, carries the burden of goodness—he performs good deeds but he finds it to be a rduous and a burden upon his soul and inwardly there continues a struggle between him and his soul. When he opposes the wishes of his inner self, it causes him considerable pain and suffering. However, when he acts piously and does good and believes in God, as is the desired objective of this verse, then all difficulties and s u ffering disappear. The diff i – culties that he was trying to o v e rcome in his striving for righteous deeds are lifted and t h e re develops within him a natural capacity for doing good. [Goodness comes to form an integral part of his physical and mental capacities in such a way that good deeds emanate fro m him of their own accord ]1. At this point the difficulty and pain he suff e red previously in trying to do good deeds, cease to be d i fficulties or suffering. Instead, he begins to perform good deeds with a sense of deep enjoyment and pleasure . Between the two [kinds of Ta q w a or righteousness] this is the diff e rence – in the first kind, good deeds are performed but these are performed as an a rduous task and in the other kind of Ta q w a, good deeds are performed with a sense of intense pleasure and enjoyment to such an extent that goodness becomes a source of ‘nour- ishment’ without which he cannot live. The pre v i o u s element of formality and a sense of suffering in the performance of good deeds, is now transformed into enjoyment, i n t e rest and pleasure. This is the Reformation – Part IV 35The Review of Religions –May 2003 station of the S a l i h e e n, the tru l y righteous and pious, about which it is stated: them We shall surely admit into the company of the righteous. (Ch.29: V.10) Upon attainment of this stage, there remains no rebellion or resentment within a believer. Such a believer becomes secure against any inclination of the self towards disobedience and, having conquered his emotions and attained contentment, he enters the house of peace and s e c u r i t y. In the verse that follows, [God states]: And of men there are some who say, ‘We believe in Allah,’ but when they are made to suffer in the cause of Allah, they regard the persecution of men to be like the punishment of Allah. (Ch.29: V.11) That is, there are many who make verbal promises of faith and make exaggerated state- ments about the extent and intent of their beliefs, but when they are put to trial, the reality of their faith is exposed. At the time of trial and hardship their faith in God does not remain the same and they begin to complain—it is this that is re f e r red to as the ‘punishment of God’. Deprived indeed are those who do not attain the status of the S a l i h e e n, the truly righteous and pious. It is so because this is that state when a human being sees for himself the fruits of the d i ff e rent stages of faith and he can witness and feel the effect of this upon his own self and, c o n s e q u e n t l y, a new life is granted to him. However, this new life, first demands a death, and such re w a rd and blessing is linked to trials and tribulations. Remember this well that gre a t Reformation – Part IV 36 The Review of Religions – May 2003 blessing always comes with g reat trial and tribulation and such trial is a necessary con- dition for a true believer, as is s t a t e d : Do men think that they will be left alone because they say, ‘We believe,’ and that they will not be tested? (Ch.29: V.3) That is, do people have the notion that their verbal declaration of faith by itself should be sufficient and, consequently, they will not be tried? On the contrary, for the test of his faith, the believer has to enter a most dangerous ‘fire’ [of tribulations] from which he is saved by his faith and comes out of it safe and sound—the ‘fire’ having been transformed into a ‘bed of flowers’. After becoming a believer, one should never consider oneself to be free from trials. Indeed, in the face of trials, there is need for ever greater steadfastness. In reality a true believer is he who at the time of tribulation finds his faith to be even sweeter and more enjoyable. His faith in God’s powers and in God’s ability to manifest wonderful signs becomes even stronger and he turns to God with ever greater attention than before and, thro u g h supplication, seeks victory [over his trials] and success in being accepted by God. It is a regrettable fact that a human being should desire a high station and a high status and yet should seek to escape the difficulties that are essential for their attainment. The point that trial and tribulation is a condition of faith needs to be stressed and should be re m e m b e red well. Without it faith is not complete and no great bounty can be achieved without trial. In the world it is a common rule that for the acquisition of material things of luxury and enjoy- Reformation – Part IV 37The Review of Religions –May 2003 ment, one has to exert a great effort and undergo all manner of difficulties exerting gre a t effort. It is only after a long struggle that a person may find success and even then it is dependent upon the Grace of God [as to whether he actually succeeds in acquiring that which he seeks]. How then can it be possible that the greatest and unparalleled tre a s u re of all, that is Allah the Almighty, can be attained without any trial? In short, he who desires that he should attain God, should be prepared for every trial. It is the case that when God establishes a new system, as is being done at present time, the people who enter it at its beginning are made to suffer all manner of hardships. They have to listen to verbal abuse and threats from all sides. One group hurls one type of abuse and another group tries to hurt them with some other kind of abusive language combined with threats of expulsion from their own place of abode. If they are employees, they are threatened with loss of their employment and, if it is feasible for them, they do not hesitate to take their lives. At such times, those who show weakness in the face of trial should remember that the belief they claim to hold has no worth whatsoever in the eyes of God. This is so because at the time of trial such a person does not fear God, but fears other human beings and he does not respect the greatness and omnipotence of God Almighty. He does not, in fact, have any belief at all because he gives precedence to threats over his faith and is ready to abandon his belief. Consequently, he is deprived from entry into the fold of the Saliheen, the truly righteous. This is the summary and meaning of the verse: Reformation – Part IV 38 The Review of Religions – May 2003 And of men there are some who say, ‘We believe in Allah,’ but when they are made to suffer in the cause of Allah, they regard the persecution of men to be like the punishment of Allah. (Ch.29: V.11) Our Community should remember that unless they abandon weakness [in the face of trials] and unless they are prepared for all adversity in the path of God with steadfastness and courage, the Community cannot enter the fold of Saliheen. You have, at this time, f o rged a link with the movement established by God, it is necessary there f o re that you should be made to suffer and face tribulation. You will have to listen to abuse—you will face threats of excom- munication from the circle of your kinship. In short, you will be made to suffer all that the opponents can possibly muster. However, if you do not make such suffering and its perpetrators into your gods but have truly believed in God Almighty, then you should be prepared to bear all suffering and hardship. You should try to face successfully every challenge posed by trial and tribulation and to achieve this you should seek the help of God Almighty. If you were to do all this, I can state with complete certainty that you shall then, having entered the fold of Saliheen, attain the most great and glorious treasure that is God Almighty and, having surmounted all the difficulties, you shall enter Darul-Aman, the house of Peace. To be continued. 1. In the newspaper, Al Badr, this point was noted down as indicated by the words in brackets. Reformation – Part IV