Hazrat Khalifatul Masih said that in the past few weeks he has been giving discourses with reference to extracts of the Promised Messiah (on whom be peace) on ways of attaining knowledge and understanding of God, love of God and the reality of the Being of God. In today’s sermon Huzoor presented extracts from this scholarly treasure regarding some ways to attain Divine nearness, their significance and the Promised Messiah’s (on whom be peace) expectations from his Jama’at.
Explaining that in order to find God it is important to have the insight and perception that real piety is in the Being of God and piety comes from Him alone and it can be attained by abiding by His teaching which in turn grants one Divine nearness and blessings, the Promised Messiah (on whom be peace) wrote:
‘In the real sense no one is pious except God Almighty, all high morals and all pieties are in Him in their entirety. As much as one breaks free of one’s nafs (self) and one’s desires and gains nearness to God, one is able to reflect Divine qualities in his person accordingly. Whatever qualities and true refinement one attains is by virtue of Divine nearness. And so it should be since creation is nothing on its own accord. The reflection of high Divine morals reflects on the hearts of those people alone who follow the Holy Qur’an perfectly. And true experience shows that the kind of high morals which are replete with pure and clear spiritual discernment and love emanate from these people and they are incomparable in the world. Indeed, anyone can make verbal claims and everyone can boast, but only these people successfully negotiate the rather narrow passageway of true experience. If others show high morals, it is out of formality and pretence. They hide their foulness and conceal their maladies and exhibit false refinement. Their veneer comes off in trivial trials. They often consider exhibiting high morals out of formality and pretence because they deem the success of everything to do with their life and living in this. If they were to follow their inner foulness all the time, it would interfere in their escapades in life. Although they have some inherent seed of morality in them, but most of the time it is suppressed under the barbs of selfish desires and is made evident only with the adulteration of their vested interests and not purely for the sake of Allah…Only those take this inherent quality of goodness to its excellence who become God’s. Seeing their souls completely free of fondness for all else God fills them with His pure morals and makes them love those morals as much as He Himself loves them. As mortals they attain a status of Divine morals in a sense that they become instruments of God through which He demonstrates His morals and finding them thirsty and hungry, He makes them drink the lucid, pure water of His special fountain.’ (Barahin e Ahmadiyya, Part 4, Ruhani Khaza’in, Vol. 1, footnote, pp. 541-542)
Explaining the concept of hypocrisy that the Promised Messiah (on whom be peace) has mentioned above, Huzoor said Hazrat Musleh Maud (may Allah be pleased with him) recounted that once an assembly of educated people belonging to high society decided to have air of informality in their gathering and this informality resulted in all manner of crass and absurd conduct exhibiting; indeed their veneer came off.
The Promised Messiah (on whom be peace) wrote about Divine nearness:
‘God Almighty is not deceived, He only makes those His friends who swim in the river of His love naturally like fish, who become His and are completely devoted to obeying Him. A truthful person can never say that everyone apart from God Almighty is impure and neither anyone has been purified nor will be purified. As if God Almighty created His servants in vain. Real spiritual knowledge expresses that it is the way of Allah from the very start with mankind that He has purified those who love Him. Indeed, God Almighty is the fountain of true purity and pureness. God Almighty puts His quality in those who are engaged in His remembrance through zikr, worship and love and thus they also partake this purity in a reflective way; the purity which is in inherent in the Being of God Almighty.’ (Satt Bachan, Ruhani Khaza’in, Vol. 10, p. 210)
Explaining that the Holy Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be on him) is the means and model to attain high moral, piety and Divine nearness, the Promised Messiah (on whom be peace) wrote: ‘We also believe that even the lowest stage of the straight path cannot become available to a person without following the Holy Prophet [peace and blessings of Allah be on him] let alone the higher stages of that path. We cannot attain to any stage of honour and perfection or of nearness to God except through the true and perfect following of the Holy Prophet [peace and blessings of Allah be on him]. Whatever is bestowed upon us is by way of reflection and through the Holy Prophet [peace and blessings of Allah be on him]. (Izala-e-Auham, Ruhani Khaza’in, Vol. 3, p. 170, Essence of Islam, Vol. 1. p. xxxi)
What is the reality of Islam and how should a Muslim be, the Promised Messiah (on whom be peace) expounded:
‘The reality of Islam is to present one’s neck to God like the sacrificial lamb; to give up one’s own designs and to be devoted to the designs of God and His pleasure; to lose oneself in God and to impose a type of death upon oneself; to be dyed in the personal love of God and to obey Him entirely for the sake of that love; to obtain eyes that see only through Him, and to obtain ears that hear only through Him, and to develop a heart that should be wholly devoted to Him, and to obtain a tongue which would speak only at His command. This is a stage where all search ends; human faculties complete their functions and man’s ego dies completely. Thereupon Divine mercy confers a new life upon the seeker through His living words and His shining light. He is honoured with the delightful converse of God. A fine light, which is not discoverable by reason and is not recognizable by the eyes, approaches close to his heart, as is said by God:
‘…and We are nearer to him than even his jugular vein.’ (50:17)
In this manner, God honours mortal man with His nearness. Then the time comes when blindness is removed and eyes are given insight and man beholds God with his new eyes, hears His voice and finds himself wrapped in the mantle of His light. Thus, the purpose of religion is fulfilled and having beheld God, man casts aside the dirty garment of his lower life and puts on a garment of light. He waits for a sight of God and of heaven not merely as a promise to be fulfilled in the hereafter, but in this very life.’ (Lecture Lahore, Ruhani Khaza’in, Vol. 20, pp. 160 – Essence of Islam, Vol. 1. pp. 19-20)
The Promised Messiah (on whom be peace) wrote about Istighfar (seeking forgiveness from God):
‘Istighfar which strengthens the roots of faith, has been defined by the Holy Quran in two ways. The first meaning of Istighfar is to stop committing sin, which overwhelms a person when he is separated from God, and to anchor one’s heart in His love, and to seek His help by losing oneself in Him. This Istighfar is characteristic of those who are so close to God that they consider even a momentary separation from Him worse than death. They continue to seek God’s forgiveness so that He may forever keep them immersed in His love. The other meaning of Istighfar is to free oneself from sin, to hasten towards God and to be captivated by His love—just as a tree is held firmly by the earth—so that, by growing in piety, the human heart may escape from the aridity and decay of sin. Both these states are called Istighfar…’ (Four Questions by a Christian and their Answers, pp. 22-23)
There are many stations to recognise God and the highest of these stations is Divine nearness. One should not be happy at just receiving true dreams or even revelation for even Bal’am was a recipient of revelation, yet he stumbled. This is why we should seek Divine nearness and this can be attained by connecting to those commissioned by God who are constant recipients of spiritual light from God.
The Promised Messiah (on whom be peace) wrote:
‘God is Light, as He states: ‘Allah is the Light of the heavens and the earth…’ (24:36) A person who only sees the outward signs of this Light is like that person who sees smoke from a distance but does not see the light of the fire and remains deprived of the benefits of this Light as well as from its heat which burns the foulness of humanness. Those who accept the existence of God Almighty via recounted or logical arguments or supposed revelations like the apparent ulema (religions leaders) or philosophers or those who only accept existence of God Almighty borne of their spiritual powers, that is, their capacity to receive dreams and visions, but are deprived of the light of Divine nearness. They are like that person who sees from afar smoke emerging from fire but does not see the light of the fire and merely accepts the existence of fire by looking at the smoke.’ (Haqiqatul Wahi, Ruhani Khaza’in , Vol. 23 p. 14)
Writing about stations of Divine nearness the Promised Messiah (on whom be peace) said:
‘Because there are different stations of Divine nearness and connections with God, therefore when a person, who may be close to God, contends with a person who is far advanced than him in Divine nearness and love, it ultimately results in the person who is at the lower stage of Divine closeness not only ruined but also meeting his death in a state of faithlessness, just as it happened to Bal’am when he contended with Moses.’ (Chashma Ma’rifat, Ruhani Khaza’in, Vol 23, p. 349)
The Promised Messiah (on whom be peace) said that the highest station of Divine nearness was that of the Holy Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be on him) and now we see that in perfect obedience of the Holy Prophet, God has given this station to the Promised Messiah (on whom be peace). Anyone who looks for this station separated from the Promised Messiah (on whom be peace) will have an ending like that of Bal’am.
Explaining how Divine nearness is attained through the Holy Qur’an the Promised Messiah (on whom b peace) wrote):
‘It is made evident by God to anyone who contends with a person who truly follows the Holy Qur’an through His awe-inspiring signs that He is with the person who follows His Word. Just as He made it evident to Lekh Ram and his death took place in such a way that he understood very well that through it God had put a seal on the truthfulness of Islam. Thus, through His living powers God draws a follower of the Holy Qur’an closer and closer and takes him to lofty heights of Divine nearness.’ (Chashma Ma’rifat, Ruhani Khaza’in, Vol 23, p. 309)
The Promised Messiah (on whom be peace) said:
‘It should be remembered very well that there is benefit in everything. We see in the world that there is nothing that is not beneficial for man from the highest grade of minerals to rodents and insects. Whether these things are earthly or heavenly, they are projections and signs of Divine attributes. And while the attributes are entirely beneficial, imagine the level of benefits in the Being. It should also be remembered at this juncture that when these things sometimes prove detrimental that happens because of our own mistake and lack of understanding and not because these things have inherent harm in them. Indeed, man suffers loss and harm because of his own error and slip-up. Similarly, we experience trials and tribulations due to our lack of knowledge of some Divine attributes or else Allah is All-Merciful and Compassionate. The reality behind the problems we face in this world and the grief we endure is borne of our own lack of insight and understanding. It is by virtue of this insight into Divine attributes that we find Allah the Exalted to be Ever Merciful, Noble and beyond imagination Beneficial Being. Only that person can have an understanding of this benefit who becomes close to Him and this station is attained by those who are called righteous and gain nearness to Allah the Exalted.