Ahmadiyyat Featured

Friday Sermon – Five Moral Values

FRIDAY SERMON (Delivered by Hazrat Khalifatul Masih IV at the London Mosque on 24th November, 1989) FIVE MORAL VALUES Those people who make loud claims and make big plans should pay special attention to elementary points. High buildings cannot be constructed unless the foundations are properly prepared. Basic requirements cannot be ignored by an engineer or for that matter by an expert of any kind. In the building of nations and religious communities there are two things of great importance around which revolves the whole philosophy of life. They are one’s relationship with God and with man. Islam provides directions and guidance regarding the development of both these relationships but in order to practise them it is only possible when one gives special attention to the basic and initial stages. First one should lay the foundations and then hope and pray that on them may be built magnificent spiritual buildings. At present the Ahmadiyya Community is passing through a period of exceptional importance about which I have often reminded you as we move ahead from the end of the first century of the Movement founded by Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad the Promised Messiah. This is in terms of time. The Holy Quran has made clear prophecies that the gap of time can be bridged and can be overcome if one does not let one’s moral values decline nor let one’s actions slip behind. The Holy Quran states: ©liSSj And He will raise him among others of them who have not yet joined them. He is the Mighty, the Wise (62,4). This verse carries the same message and the same glad tidings. It has been fulfilled and has revived our spirits. It is of utmost importance, therefore, that those of us who have accepted the Promised Messiah according to the prophecy of the Holy Quran have seen and proved that the time gap can be removed through moral practice. As it has in the past so will it be in the future. In this regard it is necessary for us to stop at the end of the previous century and examine carefully that our progress in practical morality has not receded. Moving forward can be in two ways. The first is to move with time which is unavoidable and over which we have no control. The other moving forward can also be in the sense that 4 REVIEW OF RELIGIONS apparently nations seem to advance but they become a prey to time. Their moral values decline. There is need for us to return to original values. The great miracle and achievement demonstrated by the Promised Messiah was the act of taking people back to original values and not of moving them away from them. There was a gap of thirteen hundred years between him and the Holy Prophet of Islam but with just one jump he reached back to the time of the Holy Prophet. So with passage or jump of time from century to century we should also make a reverse jump with a definite and determined decision to formulate a code for the future according to the standard of earlier moral values. When from this point of view I look around in this age I see that with the expansion of the Community problems are also increasing. By the Grace of Allah the Community is spreading rapidly at a much faster rate in all directions. Whereas the spread and expansion of this Community carries blessings it also carries fear and concern. Similarly as the Community expands so so does the concern increase for the spiritual training of the new generation. I decided therefore, to make subsidiary organisations of the Khuddam (male members from 15 – 40), Ansarullah (male members above forty) and Lajna (womenfolk) in all countries to come directly under my control which in my view is a wise step by which I will be able to get more work done by these organisations which would result, by the Grace of Allah, in the need of spiritual training being fulfilled instead of the organisations just building castles in the air. In this respect I wish to put two basic plans before the Community and for this reason I am especially addressing these three organisations. They will, God willing, receive detailed instructions and they will be allocated practical programmes in small and easy batches. Although I have already put forward the basic points in various forms I feel it necessary to repeat some of them. A religious community cannot be built without the development of moral character so this is the most important thing. The quicker it is done the easier it will be. The Lajna or ladies’ organisation will have to do the basic work. Also the same basic and elementary work for different age groups will be allocated to the Khuddam and Ansarullah organisations. TRUTHFULNESS The first requirement is the habit of speaking the truth. The habit of telling lies is the worst evil found in the world today. The advanced nations are considered to be established on high moral values. However they tell lies according to their needs. Their philosophies are based on lies. They indulge in bad jokes. Their mode of living and economy is based on lies. Although they seem polished and cultured the central point around REVIEW OF RELIGIONS 5 which their civilisations are established are based on falsehood. This, however, is a separate discussion. My interest is in the Ahmadiyya Community where in I particularly keep my eye on the children. Unless one inculcates the habit of speaking the truth from early childhood it becomes a difficult task to discard this habit of telling lies in later life. There are various levels of truthfulness, one person is less truthful while another is more so and yet another extremely truthful. The highest level of truthfulness is manifested in Prophethood. An Ahmadi should have no texture of falsehood in his get up. And whoso obeys Allah and this Messenger shall be among those on whom Allah has bestowed His blessings — the Prophets, the Truthful, the Martyrs and the Righteous. And an excellent company are they. (4:70) How high and magnificent are these aspirations. They start from honesty, No one can become a righteous person unless one is truthful. It is of the utmost importance, therefore, that you should teach your children the virtue of truthfulness in a gentle yet firm manner. Under no circumstances should you tolerate falsehood even if uttered in Joke. If mothers impress this on their children then other stages would become easy to accomplish. If those children who are honest and truthful are attached to the Lajna or Khuddam association they can be employed for all sorts of tasks because with honesty and truthfulness you can find that fibre on which you can put responsibility or you can make use of in yourprogramm.es. Dishonest nations remain weak and do not possess the strength to sustain high values. This, however,is a lengthy and detailed subject. You should beleive that without honesty you cannot establish high values or preform great tasks. It is extremely necessary, therefore, that the Ahmadiyya Community in Islam inculcates the habit of speaking the truth in the children from the very beginning. Also to keep an eye on the adults and to organise such programmes as to remaind the Khuddam, Lajna and Asarullah organisations of the essential value of truthfulness and how great is its need, not only for the members of the Ahmadiyya Community, but also for everybody throughout the world. GENTLE AND PIOUS SPEECH Another aspect of spiritual training, is to speak in a gentle and pious 6 REVIEW OF RELIGIONS manner. This may appear to be a small thing. It is very basic, As far as I have noticed in the private quarrels within the Community, the major factor involved is that people do not know how to talk gently and courteously. They speak harshly and thereby hurt the feelings of others and often they are not even aware of it just as a thorn can hurt but does not know what it is doing. The wives of such men also become the targets of their fumming outburst. Some people become spiritually dried up. They spread pain in all directions daily being unaware of what they are doing. Children should be trained and guarded against speaking like this at the outset in the homes. If they do not speak with loving respect on small matters, become rude and start quarrelling, then the parents are sure to produce an impious progeny. They will produce such descendants as will cause all kinds of problems and suffering in the nation. The parents will be responsible for they paid no attention to the training of their children in speaking respectfully. Such children can even become rude to their parents because they had been quick to raise their hands against them. It is most important to teach children good manners in their homes from early childhood otherwise when they become older they display rudeness even in school in classes, they shout at and hurt one another and become a headache for the teacher. It is then difficult to train these children, if. They should be put in care of the Khuddam or Lajna Associations they would give them trouble also. It is difficult to train such kind of children and the task of spiritual training is not easy. If the clay is not pliable and has no quality to be moulded then no matter how skilled one might be it cannot be moulded into an attractive shape. From this point of view, therefore, it is highly necessary to develop gentleness and politeness in young children along with mutual respect. If this is not done some serious quarrels can arise and sometimes reports of them reach me directly or indirectly. I feel, therefore, that if you do not teach your children to adopt respectful speech when young then there is no surety of their character when they have grown up and their ill manners can create some extraordinary dangerous situations. As a result bitter feelings can spread, the Community could become divided, hypocrisy could develop and perhaps some people might leave the Community. FORTITUDE The third moral value is fortitude which is courage in the face of odds and adversity. Right from childhood you must teach your children that if some one has said some little thing to annoy them or that if they have suffered a little in one way or another they must not worry but keep their courage high. This teaching of fortitude to your children must not just be given by words but also through your personal example. Sometimes REVIEW OF RELIGIONS 7 children may damage Or break something such as a piece of crockery, knock over an ink pot or a glass of water on the table. On such small things I have seen some parents pounce on their children, loose their tempers, use abusive language and slap them and give other kinds of punishment. Not only that but those who might have domestic servants they treat them even worse. The training which the Promised Messiah gave to his children was not just through words but through high moral example. When Hazrat Mirza Basher – ud — Din Mahmood Ahmad was a child he set fire to the manuscript of a book which he had prepared for publication and the whole household feared what might happen. When the Promised Messiah came to hear about it he simply said that it did not matter and that God would enable him to write a better one. Fortitude is developed by the example of one’s own practice and those parents who lack fortitude and patience cannot develop this quality in their children. Gentle and courteous speech is deeply linked to one’s capacity to show fortitude. Lack of fortitude always develops disrespectful speech. It is not enough just to develop a gentle manner of speaking if one does not also develop courage. Fortitude will be advantageous for our Community in the future. It can create exceptional benefits internally and externally. It does not mean that if one possesses fortitude then one should show no care or concern over losses. You will have to develop a balance between them. WASTAGE Wastage is not a good habit. Children are inclined to be wasteful and to make them understand the impropriety of this habit it is essential for them to know that God has created everything for our benefit and we should be careful and not waste anything even in small amount or quantity. When we perform ablution before commencing our prayers we should not waste any water and similarly, for further example, we should not waste any water when washing clothes. In Pakistan and some developed countries much water is wasted. Sometimes I have seen people turning on hot or cold water taps and after using just a little leave them running on and on. We must appreciate the fact that water is a blessing of God and whether or not its wastage causes a financial loss to you it is a loss to the nation. It is an act of ingratitude to fail to appreciate a blessing. Fortitude does not mean that we should not care about wastage. By way of example the meaning of fortitude is that if you suffer a loss accidently on account of somebody then you should bear it with courage and patience and should tell the person what happened. Those young people who possess a good measure of fortitude are able to bear larger losses 8 REVIEW OF RELIGIONS losses more easily when they grow up. Sometimes there are national calamities and man sees his harvest destroyed. Those who lack fortitude even over little matters sometimes even become rude to God. If something of benefit happens to a person he feels content but shows a lack of fortitude when something goes wrong and may even become impatient with God let alone with other people. The Holy Prophet has told us that if one cannot learn to thank people then one cannot be thankful to God. This is a deep philosophy which we observe daily. The person who shows patience when he is helpless shows fortitude, but that person who is carried away over a loss or trial lacks fortitude. Impatience is foolishness, ignorance and in some cases ingratitude. You should teach your children patience along with fortitude. As I have mentioned I have seen here in the U.K. great wastage of water. I have also seen a wastage of heating and lighting. The people show little care. Our own people from Pakistan who have taken up residence here switch on heating unnecessarily. The fire or stove is left on unnecessarily. Here women should take particular note. The water is left running unnecessarily. One can fulfil one’s need with much less quantity and so help the country. Attention to these matters helps to build a person’s character. This can be of great benefit in the spiritual training of children. Take electricity for example. I see people unnecessarily leave lights on in their home. They leave the radio or television on after they have left the room and also the lights. I often tell the children in my home that there must be a ghost living in the house because when I entered a room I found the light on and also the television. It seems that there are invisible beings who turn them on. It does not benefit any one that he should unnecessarily waste the blessings of God. I have seen this often. We have to train our children with patience and not just by being good. These two virtues go together. If you save the nation from any kind of loss then the internal result will be beneficial for you and your family. When a child trained in these things grows up it will produce great beneficial results. Those who overlook and do not care for smaller losses in business try to show fortitude by saying everything is O.K. and adopt the attitude that they will do better later. These are words of ignorance. Fortitude does not mean that if one suffers a loss one should not try to stop it. SYMPATHY j The. fourth virtue is to show sympathy for the poor and try to remove unnecessary suffering and misery. This attitude should be developed from childhood. The children of those mothers who teach them sympathy for the poor develop an inclination in their nature to do so. Such mothers, by_ REVIEW OF RELIGIONS 9 the Grace of God, help to build a great nation worthy of being the best spiritual community. Those mothers, however, who show a selfish attitude and make their children only concern themselves about their own misfortunes build a selfish nation which becomes a source of misery for other people. It is, therefore, not only necessary to develop human sympathy but without it you cannot attain the high purpose for which you have been created. The Holy Quran says: We would fail in achieving the purpose of our life if we do not teach and encourage our children to show sympathy for mankind and if we do not make them put it into practice. Children would enjoy co-operation and feel enjoyment as a result of their sympathetic activities. Unless they enjoy doing them they would not become absorbed in their lives. Until then they are merely words of admonition. There are two aspects. One is that you should tell your children stories involving acts of sympathy for people. You should encourage them to show sympathy for the poor and help in relieving distress and suffering of the inflicted. You should develop within them a passion for service to humanity and provide them with opportunities to do so. In the U.K you do not generally find so many opportunities in day to day life because this is a country in which there is a wide gap between the rich and poor. In the third world countries, however, the rich and the poor live side by side. Poverty can be felt. There it is easy for children to be given practical training in assisting the poor but also there is the problem that so great is the suffering that it seems beyond the capacity of man to rectify. It is about the situation in such countries that the poet Ghalib asked Who is it who is not in need? Whose need should we try to fulfil? The heart desires to fulfil each person’s needs. You should assist yourself and through your children. If such a habit is developed in childhood then children will take pleasure in rendering such sympathetic service and it will be ingrained within them. When they join the Khuddam or Lajna associations they will be members of good character eager to serve humanity and make it easier for these organisations to operate. RESOLVE AND COURAGE Strong resolve and courage can exist side by side with gentleness of heart otherwise if they are not combined character will be weak. Possessing gentleness of heart does not mean that such a tender hearted person should not possess strength and courage to meet and fight adversities. Hazrat Abu Bakr who was the greatest of the faithful in this 10 REVIEW OF RELIGIONS respect, was a perfect example for all time to come. Although he had derived this moral quality from the Holy Prophet he developed it stepby step to such a degree that he excelled in manifesting it. When problems commenced on the first day of his Khilafat and continued to follow then this same person who used to shed tears over ordinary distressing incidents and sympathised with people suffering minor afflictions, he faced and dealt with problems and afflictions with such great resolve and courage like a mountain stands before a heavy flood. There was no question if his slipping. Gentleness, therefore, does not mean that a person should become weak and dispirited in the face of difficulties. This positive attitude should be developed from childhood. The Promised Messiah said that defeat was not written in his nature which reveals his high moral attitude. There are those who lose heart over small things and become sick of heart if they fail in an examination, and who suffer a great shock if their wishes are not fulfilled. They begin to wonder whether God even exists. Their small world is made of straw and a minor shaking can destroy it. Those nations, therefore, which have great tasks to perform have to overcome every difficulty over centuries, have to tackle them with manliness. They have to combat each powerful enemy. If the children of these nations are not taught resolve and courage from the beginning then the future generations would not be able to accomplish the tasks required. It is essential, therefore that while you teach your children gentle and sympathetic manners you should also train them to become full of resolution and courage from which nations will learn a lesson. Our organisations should specially keep in mind these five fundamental moral values in the preparation of their spiritual training programmes and give much attention to them. I feel that their advantages will continue to reach mankind not just for the next century but for many hundreds of years to come.If the Ahmadiyya Community is firmly established on these five moral values and parents become responsible for implanting them in their children then we can depart this life in a state of peace and tranquiliry with the conciousness that we have accomplished the task with which God entrusted us, according to the best of our ability.