Sunday, March 29, 2009

Divine Attribute Sattar: covers weaknesses and failings

Summary of Friday Sermon

Delivered by Hadhrat Mirza Masroor Ahmad at, the Head of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community

March 27 th, 2009

Huzur delivered his Friday Sermon on the subject of covering faults of others.

Among the names of Allah, Sattar is one. It is that Being Who is hidden and concealed and Who covers others’ weaknesses and failings and also likes the act of covering up faults. Ahadith expound that Allah likes covering of failings and modesty and covers man’s weaknesses and mistakes. The Holy Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah Be on him) said that in the Hereafter sheltering man with His mercy God will ask man if he did such and such deed. Man will confess that yes, he did. God will say I covered your fault on that day and I cover your fault again. This is the Loving God Who forgives and covers weaknesses.

The Promised Messiah (on whom be peace) said that there is no concept of this trait of God in other religions, otherwise there would have been no theory of atonement in Christianity. Only Islam presents the concept of God being a Coverer of faults. However, this certainly does not signify that because God likes to cover failings and forgives, people should become uncontrolled and have no notion of right and wrong since forgiveness is assured. A Hadith informs us that God covers up a believer in countless covers. Each time a believer commits a sin, a covers is torn until there remains no cover. This is when God says to His angels to cover His servant with their wings. If the believer repents upon being covered by the angels, Allah restores the covers; in fact He restores them nine-fold. However, if the believer does not repent God tells the angels to abandon him. This is when all the failings and sins of the person are made apparent. Huzur said each believer should always strive to be one who repents, seeks God’s forgiveness and thus attain a measure of God’s trait of being Sattar.

The Promised Messiah (on whom be peace) said that it is the requisite of the Divine attribute of being ‘Master of the Day of Judgement’ God that He lets His servants succeed. It is through His attribute of Raheemiyat (quality of being Merciful) that He covers the faults and failings of His servants. The God of Islam is Rahman (Most Gracious) and He thus blesses regardless of any effort made by man. As He is the ‘Master of the Day of Judgement’, He covers the faults and weaknesses of His servants. A worldly government would never be bound by such a thing but God’s governance is limitless and He confers on whoever does good works and He covers weaknesses. Thousands of failings of mankind are known to Him but He does not disclose them.

God likes modesty, but this does not signify that He is modest to state something, rather He protects His servants from any potential embarrassment. However, when and if the stage is reached where man is brazen and does not benefit from God’s covering of faults, he is then humiliated. Indeed, God does not protect the shame of those who are incorrigible and their most concealed and hidden sins are also revealed. Huzur said we should continually pray that God keeps us in the wraps of His covers.

Huzur said the Holy Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be on him) ever prayed to God in this regard although God had promised him every kind of protection and the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be on him) had said that even his Satan had become a Muslim. However, his prayers were made to counsel us. May Allah enable us to put them in practice. One of his prayers is:

‘O’ Allah, cover my nakedness and alter my fears into peace. O’ Allah protect me from the dangers that are ahead of me and those that are behind me and those that are to my right and those that are to my left and those that are above me. I come into the refuge of Your greatness from those dangers that may seize me from underneath.’

Huzur also read a prayer of the Promised Messiah (on whom be peace) which translates as follows:

‘O’ my Benefactor and my God. I am a useless servant of Yours, sinful and negligent. You saw me commit injustice upon injustice and granted blessing upon blessing and saw sin upon sin and conferred favour upon favour. You have always covered my faults and bestowed Your countless blessings on me. Pray, now too have mercy on this hopeless and sinful person and forgive my audacity and my ungratefulness and grant me salvation from this grief of mine for none other than You can help.’ Ameen Thum Ameen.

Another prayer of the Promised Messiah (on whom be peace) is:

‘O’ Lord of all the worlds, I cannot [adequately] express gratitude for Your blessings. You are extremely Merciful and Benevolent and You have granted countless favours on me. Forgive me my sins so that I am not destroyed. Place your pure love in my heart so that I attain life and cover my faults and make me do deeds which please You. I seek refuge with You from Your wrath befalling me. Have mercy and protect me from the torments of this world and the Hereafter for all grace and blessing is in Your hand.’

Huzur said we should say these prayers as our routine. Huzur explained the responsibility that the Holy Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be on him) laid on believers in order to derive the beneficence of God, the Sattar. Hadith relates that Allah will protect that person from Fire who covers the honour of a Muslim woman. Huzur said he has particularly cited this Hadith with reference to when marital relationships are strained and both parties make allegations against each other. At times their respective families join in this, some of these accusations have some basis but others are completely baseless. The man’s side sometimes makes accusations that are mortifying. The Holy Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be on him) certainly enjoined to cover the honour of a Muslim woman. Huzur said at times mutual compatibility cannot be achieved in marriage, so if people want to separate they may go ahead. However, this can be achieved without making accusations. Ahmadis should avoid this. In another Hadith the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be on him) said ‘a believer who sees the failings of his brother but covers them will be granted entrance to Paradise by Allah.’

Huzur said when new relations are formed one gets to know private matters, if these are covered and discretion is maintained then God promises Paradise. The first Hadith cites protection from punishment when faults are covered whereas this Hadith cites not just protection from punishment but also blessing. The Holy Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be on him) said that a Muslim is a brother to another Muslim and therefore is not unfair to him and does not abandon him. He said the needs of one who fulfils the needs of one’s brother are always met by God and on the Day of Judgement Allah will cover the faults of one who covers the faults of a Muslim. Huzur said these should be the standards of each Ahmadi.

Huzur cited a narrative that the Promised Messiah (on whom be peace) had related. A king who liked to inscribe the Qur’an was once visited by a mullah who pointed out to the king that he had written a particular verse incorrectly. The king drew a circle around the verse and said he would check it later. When the mullah was gone the king removed the circle. When asked why he had done so the king replied the mullah was mistaken but he had still drawn the circle as a consolation for him. Huzur said despite having the authority the king had covered the mistake of the mullah.

Citing verse 13 of Surah Al Hujurat ‘O ye who believe! Avoid too frequent indulgence in suspicion, for some suspicions are certainly sin. And spy not, nor back-bite one another….’ (49:13) Huzur said the verse speaks of avoiding negative supposition and thinking ill of others – this trait is foremost in spreading evil in the world. The verse also enjoins not to pry in other people’s matters for prying leads to backbiting. This can cause notoriety for others whereas God is the Coverer of faults. Huzur said the Hadith that he cited earlier which speaks of Divine punishment for those who do not cover the faults of others illustrates that apart from causing notoriety this also causes disorder in society. When people’s secrets are disclosed enmity increases. God enjoins to live with love and affection. Huzur said some indulge in the terrible habit of informing people that your such and such friend or such and such relative said so and so about you. Huzur said if anything had been said then why did the person not counsel the other there and then? If they did not have the capacity to counsel, why did they not pray for that person and now by repeating the incident the person is committing the sin of backbiting, committing the sin of not covering the fault of another and are being a source of creating disorder and God has stated that disorder is worse than murder. The Holy Qur’an says:

‘Those who love that immorality should spread among the believers, will have a painful punishment in this world and the Hereafter. And Allah knows, and you know not.’ (24:20)

God likes covering of faults; however, those who wish to expose the faults of others and promote indecency among the believers by broadcasting evil will have torment in this world and the Hereafter. Huzur said in the Western world little concept of modesty remains. Television and the media have spread this lack of modesty and brazenness into the next generation and sadly a few Ahmadis are also included in this and this is the reason why Islam lays emphasis on Purdah and modesty. Huzur said if one discovers a failing in another and the person is flagrant about it then one should report this to the administration of the Community and also pray for the person. When one publicises an evil one is refraining from taqwa (righteousness). In situations where someone’s failing is discovered and while that person has repented and mended his/her ways the other goes ahead and publicises it, not only do they expose the faults of another, they also indulge in backbiting. In order to save the society from disorder and oneself from Hell covering the faults of others is essential. If reformation is the objective, then inform the administration of the Community. In such a case it then becomes the responsibility of the office-holders to discharge of this duty with the utmost of discretion.

The Promised Messiah (on whom be peace) said ‘People of our community should pray for a brother when they notice any failing in him. However, if they do not pray and mention it to others thus taking it further, then they commit sin. Which failing is such that it cannot be overcome? This is why one should always help a brother by praying for him.’ He also said, ‘Some people are weak, just like one recovering from a severe illness. Some have acquired some strength. What is needed is that one privately counsels whoever one finds to be weak. If the person does not abide, then pray for him/her. If both these actions are not beneficial then consider the matter to be pre-destined…it is certainly not the teaching of the Holy Qur’an to notice a failing and spread it and go on citing it…Allah the Exalted is Sattar, you should ‘reflect the high morals of Allah, [adopt His attributes on a human level] we do not mean to say that one should support failings rather do not circulate them and do not backbite because according to the Book of God this is sin.’

Huzur said these are the aspects we need to inculcate in our Community. The Promised Messiah (on whom be peace) repeatedly drew the attention of the Community towards prayer and covering the faults of others. May Allah enable us to put his teachings in practice and thus always partake a measure of God’s trait of being Sattar. May God, with His grace, put disgust in our hearts for all things evil and may we always be inclined to virtues and thus fulfil the objective of the advent of the Promised Messiah (on whom be peace).

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Trials and Hardships: Trust in Allah

Allah tells us that we will be tested. He also makes it clear to us what is expected from us when we undergo these trials and what our reward will be if we are successful.

He says: “Be sure we shall test you with something of fear and hunger, some loss in goods, lives and the fruits (of your toil) but give glad tidings to those who patiently persevere. Those who, when misfortune strikes them, say: ‘Indeed we belong to Allah and to Him is our return. Those are the ones upon whom are blessings and mercy from their Lord and it is those who are rightly guided.” [Sûrah al-Baqarah: 155]

The Prophet (peace be upon him)said: "No fatigue, illness, anxiety, sorrow, harm or sadness afflicts any Muslim, even to the extent of a thorn pricking him, without Allah wiping out his sins by it." [Sahîh al-Bukhârî and Sahîh Muslim]

In another narration, the Prophet (peace be upon him) said: “No Muslim is afflicted by harm, whether it is but the prick of a thorn or something worse, without Allah expiating his evil deeds on account of it and his sins falling away from him like leaves off a tree.'" [Sahîh al-Bukhârî]

The Prophet (peace be upon him) said: "When Allah desires good for someone, He tries him with hardships." [Sahîh al-Bukhârî]

The Muslim may be tested by all sorts of difficulties like sickness, lack of income, and disobedience from his children. In fact, the many afflictions that may beset a person are incalculable. This is the point that the Prophet (peace be upon him) was stressing when he mentioned: “fatigue, illness, anxiety, sorrow, harm or sadness …even to the extent of a thorn pricking him”.


Every one of us is being tested by Allah. He tests us all in different ways. We should not assume that the difficulties that we face in life are punishments or are signs that Allah is displeased with us. Likewise, we should never construe the success and pleasures that others enjoy as signs that Allah is pleased with them or that they are privileged. Sometimes, quite the opposite is true.

The Prophet (peace be upon him) said: “If Allah wants good for his servant, He hurries on His punishment in this world, and if He wills ill for a servant, he holds back punishing him for his sin so He can give it to him in full on the Day of Resurrection.”

Allah makes it clear that everything in our lives – the good and the bad of it– is a trial for us. How will we cope in the situation that Allah has placed for us? Will we be grateful in prosperity and patient in affliction or will we be arrogant and disobedient?

Allah says: “Every soul shall taste of death. And We will test you with evil and with good by way of trial. And to Us is your return.” [Sûrah al-Anbiyâ’: 35].

Allah says: “Know that your wealth and your children are but a trial and that Allah has with Him a mighty reward.”
[Sûrah al-Anfâl: 28]

Many people do not realize that they are tried just as severely with the good that they are given as they are by the misfortunes that befall them. Allah says: “And as for man, whenever his Lord tries him by honoring him and makes him lead an easy life, he says: ‘My Lord honors me’. But when He tries him by straitening his means of subsistence, he says: ‘My Lord has disgraced me’.” [Sûrah al-Fajr: 15-16]

Some people are blessed to be born and raised in good Muslim families then turn their backs on Islam, while others are born and raised in non-Muslim countries to unbelieving parents and grow up to be among the best of Muslims. I’m of the opinion, that those who are born in an environment of injustice, will rise above that injustice and become the best of believers.

We are tried with wealth as well as poverty. If we are wealthy, will we hoard our wealth or spend in charity? Will we use it for lawful purposes or squander it in vice? Will we trust in Allah in our investments, or will our avarice and fear of losing our wealth make us take recourse to unlawful means to preserve it and increase it?

If we are poor, will we be content and patient and seek lawful means to attain our sustenance or will we resort to unlawful means to meet our needs? Will we accept the fact that Allah gives more to some people than he does to others, or will we grow hateful and vindictive?

We are tested with health as well as sickness. A man with good eyesight is tested with regards to his use of it. Will he use the blessing of his sight to good purpose or to gaze at unlawful things? His good eyesight may be what takes him to Hell. A blind man is tested whether he will bear patiently with his disability. His patience in affliction may be what earns him his place in Paradise. Our goal is the Hereafter and we are all being tested.

Allah says: “It is He who created death and life that He may try you as to which of you is best in deeds.” [Sûrah al-Mulk: 2]

We may also be tested through others. We know from experience that even a small child can experience suffering as well as a person who is mentally handicapped to such a degree that he cannot understand the concepts of Islam and is not legally accountable. Though it may not be that such a person is not undergoing tests of his own; however his plight may very well be a test for those his life affects. How will they treat him? Will they care for him, respect him, and give him his rights?

We may not be able to fathom the wisdom behind why Allah decrees what He does for us or for others of His creatures. However, we must know that Allah does everything in accordance with His wisdom and bear our trials patiently.

Ultimately, we must remember the words of Allah in the Qur’ân: “He cannot be questioned for what He does but they will be questioned.” [Sûrah al-Anbiyâ’: 23]
Alhamdu lillahi nahmaduhu wa nasta 'inuhu wa nastaghfiruhu wa nu' minu bihi wa natawakkalu 'alaih. Wa na 'uThu Billahi min shururi anfusina wamin sayy 'ati a 'malina. Man yahdihillahu fala mudhilla lahu wa man yudlilhu fala hadiya lah. Wa nash-hadu alla ilaha illallahu wahdahu la sharika lahu wa nash-hadu anna Muhmmadan 'abduhu wa Rasuluh. Ibadallah rahima-kumullah. Innallaha ya'muru bil 'adli wal-ihsani wa itai Thil-qurba. wa yanha 'anil fahshai wal- munkari wal-baghyi, Ya 'izhkum la 'allakum taThakkarun. UThkurrullah yaTh-kur-kum wad 'uhu yastajib lakum. Wala Thikrullahi akbar.

All praise is due to Allah. We laud Him, we beseech help from Him and ask His protection; we confide in Him, we trust Him alone and we seek protection against the evils and mischief of our souls and from the bad results of our deeds. Whomsoever He guides on the right path, none can misguide him; and whosoever He declares misled, none can guide him onto the right path. And we bear witness that none deserves to be worshipped except Allah. He is alone and has no partner. We bear witness that Muhammad is His servant and Messenger. O servants of Allah! May Allah be merciful to you. Verily, Allah commands you to act with justice, to confer benefits upon each other and to do good to others as one does to one 's kindred and forbids evil which pertain to your own selves and evils which affect others and prohibits revolts against a lawful authority.
He warns you against being unmindful. You remember Allah; He too will remember you; call Him and He will make a response to your call. And verily divine remembrance is the highest virtue.

We strive for the love of Allah

The mindset of the Islamic culture stems from the conviction that Allah Ta'ala is our Creator and Sustainer.

Hence in this short stay on earth, we are to serve Him alone in the manner taught by the Holy Prophet Muhammad (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam). Thus Islamic culture revolves around the firm belief that our mission in life is to serve Allah Almighty and His creation or our community.

With this mindset, one will sacrifice one's wealth, energies and time as much as possible for the purpose of life. Indeed one will acquire the necessities of life as well, but our faith will be the guiding light and driving force. Our faith or Taqwa (righteousness) will dictate and all else will follow. Life will be regarded as a journey wherein the traveler is not too concerned about the luxuries and comforts enroute. The traveler is focused towards his final destination in the hereafter. Yet, as a result of one's obedience to Allah Ta'ala, one will be blessed with true The Head of the worldwide Ahmadiyya Muslim Community, Hazrat Mirza Masroor Ahmad, Khalifatul Masih V, has explained that the desired destination for each Ahmadi is to achieve nearness of Allah Almighty and gain His pleasure, and we must strive to attain this state till the last breath of our life through our actions, by obeying the teachings of the Holy Prophet (saw).

Many a people form emotional bonds with worldly leaders and make many sacrifices to achieve material goals, but how many make sacrifices for Allah and His Prophet (saw)? These sacrifices for worldly leaders have no significance whatsoever because they do not follow Islamic teachings.

For those who are incarcerated, you should strive hard to form a pure and unique relationship with Allah Almighty by shunning all sorts of evil (greed, dishonesty, deceit, arrogance, pride, self-indulgence, etc.). Unless and until such a bond is developed with God, one is extremely weak and is confined to spiritual obscurity and incapable of facing any adversities. Therefore, make every effort to become the bearers of spiritual light as opposed to darkness, so that you are protected against the evil machinations of Satan.

Despite every adversity within this environment, we are told to constantly seek help from Allah and develop a direct relationship with Him. This can only be done if we put forth the purpose of our creation before us, as described in the Holy Quran "I have not created the Jinn and men but that they may worship Me" (51:57).

If we bear this in mind at all times, then our efforts to shun the vices and adopt the virtues described by Allah will be fruitful. These actions will further enhance our relationship with Allah Almighty. Remember, If we seek the blessings of Allah in our life, then we must always keep the purpose of our creation in mind.

The most fundamental way of worshipping God is through offering the five daily prayers. Every man, woman, young and old should remember that if they are lagging in observing Salat, then they will not be able to meet the standards prescribed to achieve the state of the righteous people. After the belief in One God, Salat is the most important pillar of our faith and therefore, you should perform it as if you see God before you. When one presents himself before a great leader, a type of fear prevails over him. God Almighty is the Most Supreme, therefore, visualizing God during Salat will eventually make us devoted worshippers.

The Holy Prophet (saw) said that one should offer Salat as if you see God before you. But if you are unable to do so, at least recognize the fact that God, Who has power over all things and is aware of the condition of every heart, sees you.

If we practice this, then our attention will be directed to improving our standards of worship, freeing them of worldly thoughts. Those who feel that they do not and/or cannot meet these standards should not despair. Remember, these are the standards you should strive for as this is the only way to make progress and attain additional blessings of Allah. Allah Almighty says "My mercy encompasses all things" (7:157).

Since we receive everything with Allah’s blessings, He will strengthen our efforts if we advance towards Him. When we strive in this way, the entire Jamaat will benefit. By the Grace of God, there are many in the Jama'at who offer prayers during the night and are far advanced in their love for God, but the Promised Messiah (as) desired to see the majority of the Jamaat members to reach these standards, and as the numbers of those who improve in Taqwa (righteousness) increase, we shall witness the dominance of the Jama'at. Our good actions will also attract others towards us and become a source of “Dawat Ilallah” (propagation of Islam).