Friday Sermon 2 February 1996
Now that we have entered the second phase of Ramadan it seems that the days and nights have speeded up. *أَيَّامًا مَّعْدُودَاتٍ ['A few days'] really means that they are the best days but how few so one should earn whatever one can during this time to the extent that it can be utilised all the rest of the year: And when My servants ask thee about me: I am near. I answer the prayer of the supplicant when he prays to Me. So should they respond to Me and have firm faith in Me that they may be guided aright. ('The Holy Quran'. al-Baqarah [The Heifer]: 186, 187). In one way the subject of وَإِذَا سَأَلَكَ عِبَادِي عَنِّي فَإِنِّي قَرِيبٌ ['And when My servants ask thee about me: I am near'] is a general invitation proclaiming that God is not far He is always with one. Allah is extremely nearby and listens to everyone’s prayers during the month of Ramadan. We should have a complete and sincere faith in Allah. Another meaning is that every moment of the life of Muhammad the Messenger of Allah bears witness that 'I am near so if you want your cry to be answered in the same manner as the cry of Muhammad the Messenger of Allah is answered then the way to do it is فَلْيَسْتَجِيبُوا لِي وَلْيُؤْمِنُوا بِي ['So should they respond to Me and have firm faith in Me']. Nobody earned proximity to Allah more than Muhammad the Prophet and Messenger of Allah because every time he was called by God he answered 'I am here my Lord I am here' and took it upon himself to please Allah. So utilise all your energies in acquiring Allah’s pleasure. God comes ever nearer during Ramadan although God is always near but there are certain days of union. This season is one of meeting with God. God is Himself what we receive and take with us in this period of closeness. This nearness is not a stationary position rather it has never ending stages. Now that God is at His closest in this month we should hold onto Him so it is impossible to let go for the whole year. Earn God so that He is seen to be near that the signs of His proximity begin to appear in you. Every night during Ramadan open the pages of your account books and start going closer to God so that He will never leave you aside. Pray for yourselves in the remaining period of Ramadan and try to recognise the extent to which you have welcomed God and whether it was to the same extent that He turned towards you. Discover the God who is perfect beauty and who can be seen from afar as well as through the eyes of strangers. Incidentally I draw your attention towards avoiding formalities during Iftar [breaking of the fast]. It is good to hold Iftar but to enliven them in a way that highlights one who prepared good food and turning them into a social function is against the dignity of Ramadan. To create an innovative custom out of holding Iftar parties and to collect finances for this purpose is a complete clash with the spirit of Ramadan. The real Iftar is where you seek out the hungry and go to them and relieve them of their hunger and lighten their burden. Open your hearts out for the poor. The actual purpose of staying hungry is to understand the plights of a poor brother. Only then will God dwell in your bosoms for ever. That is the satisfaction in helping the poor. Pray that Allah may grant us lasting nearness which is also known as the Boon of the Holy Spirit. There will be a Bayat [Initiation] ceremony held today following the Jumma and Asr prayers. He is a Russian friend, a very great artist and the President of the Theaters Association of his country and a Member of the Senate during the Gorbachev era. He has been in contact with Ahmadis over there. He wishes to offer the Bayat after the Jumma. * A few days, but whoso is ill or travelling should do so on a corresponding number of other days; and for those who find fasting an unbearable strain is an expiation in the feeding of one in need. But anyone who is anxious and obedient in doing a good deed it is indeed better. And fasting is good for you if only you knew. ('The Holy Quran'. al-Baqarah [The Heifer]: 185). The text http://www.alislam.org/urdu/sermon/FST19960202-UR.pdf © The Tahir Archive / MTA International, 2015.
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