Friday Sermon 13 December 2002.
With today's Friday Sermon I commence on a series of sermons on the Divine attribute of al-Ra'uf [The Compassionate]: And thus have We made thee a justified nation that you may be witnesses over people and the Messenger may be a witness over thee. And We did not appoint the Qibla which thou didst follow except in order to distinguish who follows the Messenger from one who turns upon their heels. And this is indeed hard except for those whom Allah has guided. And it does not behove Allah to let your faith go in vain; for Allah is Compassionate and Merciful to people. (The Holy Quran. al-Baqarah [The Cow]: 144). The verse speaks of Bait ul Maqqadas in Jerusalem being first appointed as the Qibla [Direction for Ritual Prayer] for Muslims and the subsequent change by Divine command to face Mecca as a measure of determining the strength of faith among people in following the instructions Holy Prophet ?. It is written in 'Lisan al-Arab' [The Arab Tongue] : The denotation of the word Ra'uf [Compassionate] connotes extreme mercy and kindness and is indeed one of the beautiful Divine names. The attribute of compassion was deeper and indeed subtler than the attribute of mercy in that it denotes a Being Who is Ever Merciful. (ibn Manzur. 'Lisan al-Arab'. 1290). With reference to the Traditions of the Holy Prophet ? he indeed used to observe Salat [Ritual Prayer] facing Jerusalem before the Divine revelation making Kaaba in Mecca as the permanent Qibla. Once a companion of the Holy Prophet ? happened to be around a congregational prayer where people were facing Jerusalem and were in the posture of bowing or Ruku [Bowing]. So tremendous was their faith that upon the companion's assertion, declaring Allah as his Witness, that he had seen the Holy Prophet ? observe his Salat facing Mecca, the entire congregation changed position in the posture that they were in. When queries were raised about those companions who had passed away before the revelation of facing Mecca during Salat was made, the juncture of the verse of al-Baqarah declaring that indeed 'Allah is Compassionate and Merciful to people' was revealed. The Promised Messiah (on whom be peace) writes that 'Allah has guided the Muslim Ummah [Nation] to adopt the middle and the balanced approach and indeed 'The Holy Quran' commands and directs us towards this'. The Promised Messiah (on whom be peace) said 'Blessed is he who adopts the balanced, moderate approach'.
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