The Revealed Sermon
English Translation of ‘Khutbah Ilhamiyya’
by Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad of Qadian
The Revealed Sermon (The Inspired Sermon)
O servants of Allah, on this your Eid-al-Adha day, think deeply and ponder, for in the ceremony of the Sacrifice there is a hidden secret for people of understanding. As you all know, many animals are sacrificed on this day—large numbers of camels, bullocks and many flocks of sheep are slaughtered—and all this in order to seek the pleasure of Allah. And this has been the practice since the beginning of Islam until the present day. In my opinion, these sacrifices offered by us in accordance with the Shariah [Law] of Islam are beyond count, and they outnumber by far those sacrifices that used to be performed by the communities of the Prophets of yore.
In Islam, this obligation is considered among those acts that are calculated to take us close to Allah, the Most High. This act of sacrifice yields Allah’s blessings with such a speed as if we are riding an animal which is running at the speed of lightning and there is a grandeur in it like that of the deafening peal of thunder.
For this reason, the name “sacrifice” was reserved for these animals that are due to be slaughtered, for in the Hadith it is mentioned that if a person fulfils this sacrifice with sincerity, piety and deep faith, it becomes for him a means of attaining closeness to, and union with Allah, the Most High.
These sacrifices are among the noblest acts of worship in the Shariah. That is why the word for sacrifice in the Arabic language is nasika, (pl. nusuk)1. In Arabic it means both obedience and servitude. Thus, this word nusuk is used in the said language when slaughtering those animals that are legally earmarked for sacrifice. The application of the word nusuk in both senses is decisive proof that the truly pious and genuine worshipper is that person who, only for the pleasure of his Lord, completely sacrifices his self and all his powers and all those desires to which his heart has been attracted.
Furthermore, he subdues all those egoistic desires so completely that all his ambitions have been cut to shreds and have become extinct, and he effaces himself to an extent that no trace of his being remain; it is totally obliterated and the powerful breeze of annihilation blows over him and every atom of his being is blown away and dissipated by the tempestuous buffeting of this wind.
If one should contemplate the meanings that are incorporated in the word nusuk, and should deliberate on it with deep reflection and an open mind, and study it from every vantage point with open eyes, then it will not be hidden from him nor will any doubt remain in his mind that the two meanings that the word nusuk shares, point to this secret that the service which delivers a person from loss in the next life is really the slaughtering of the nafs al-ammarah (the spirit that commands evil) which embodies an overwhelming passion for evil deeds. Such a wicked ruler is it that it never ceases to command sinful actions. So, deliverance depends on killing this evil commander through complete self-effacement of body and soul in obedience to the commandments of Allah, the Most High, and, after cutting one’s self entirely from the world, making Allah one’s intimate Friend and Beloved, and enduring all kinds of bitterness so that the soul may be saved from the death of heedlessness. That is the meaning of Islam and that is the essence of perfect obedience. A Muslim is he who places his neck for slaughter at the altar of Allah, the Most High, and sacrifices the camel of his soul and places his forehead on the ground to be given up as an offering to Allah, and is never forgetful of death even for a moment.
In short, the slaughtering of sacrificial animals, which is an institution in Islam, is for the sole purpose of reminding to offer sacrifice for the purpose of making the soul submissive and it serves as an incentive for us to achieve this lofty goal. If done as a sacrifice of one’s lower self, it is also a precursor or beginning of the state which is ultimately attained after the completion of the mystic path. It heralds that state.
Therefore, it is incumbent on all believing males and females who are in search of the pleasure of the love of God to understand this truth, and to make it their cherished goal, and to impress it so deeply in their hearts that every atom of their being may be permeated with it, and they should have no peace and tranquillity until they have fulfilled this sacrifice to their beloved Lord and Master. They should not, like ignorant and naive people, feel complacent over the superficial act that is like a shell without a kernel. Instead, they should accomplish the true spirit of their sacrifice and they should fulfil the reality of it with all their rational faculties and with the spirit of true austerity. This is the station where the journey of the mystics comes to an end and the goal of the gnostics reaches its ultimate limit, and it is here that all ranks of purified souls find completion, and all the stages of the righteous and elect are fulfilled and the journey of the saints is completed. When you reach this station, then all your struggles finally end and you reach the point of self-annihilation. At this point, the tree of your journey will attain full maturity and the neck of your soul feeds on the luxurious verdure of the holy and celestial pastures just as the long-necked camel whose neck stretches to the top of the green tree.
After that come the feelings of rapture and the fragrances and the refulgent splendour from the throne of the Divine Unity of God, so that some of the remaining bonds of humanity may be cut off and after that is the infusing of everlasting life and nearness to Allah in that soul which has already found contentment in Allah and which is pleased with Him and with whom He is pleased and which is completely lost in Him. After that, the perfect man is garbed by the Divine majesty in the robe of vicegerency and is coloured with the colours of Divinity and it comes by way of reflection so as to authenticate this rank of khilafat or vicegerency. Then, he (the perfect man), descends among the people in order to draw them to the path of spirituality and to lead them to celestial lights after removing them from the darkness of the land.
This man is the inheritor of all those who have gone before him from among the prophets, and the truthful and those possessing knowledge and wisdom and the (spiritual) light that comes from nearness to Allah and he is gifted with saintliness in addition. To him also is vouchsafed the knowledge and spiritual insights of those former men who possessed deep spiritual enlightenment and wisdom from among the various nations so that his inheriting of spiritual eminence may be verified. Then this servant tarries on earth for a period ordained by his Lord of Glory so that he may irradiate the people with the light of Divine guidance. When he has illumined mankind with the light of his Lord or he has propagated the message to the point of consummation, then his mission is fulfilled and his Lord calls him back and his soul is transported to its assigned station, and that is the meaning of rafa (elevation) in the opinion of those possessing knowledge and spiritual insight. And marfu (raised) is the one who is given to drink, by the hand of his Beloved, of this cup of union, which is the river of beauty and glory. He is placed under the veil of God’s Providence and he lives in perpetual devotion to Allah and that is the ultimate height to which a seeker of truth, from among human beings, can rise.
So, do not be heedless of this rank, O mankind, and do not remain ignorant of the secret that is reposed in the sacrifices. Perform the sacrifice so that you may see the essence of it as if in a mirror. Do not forget these exhortations and do not become like those people who forget their God and are unmindful of their own passing away.
An indication of this veiled secret is given in the Word of Allah, where Allah, Who is the Most Truthful of those who can speak the truth, commands His Prophet to inform the people that his prayer and his worship and his life and his death are all for Allah, the Lord of the worlds (The Holy Quran, 6:162).
قُلۡ اِنَّ صَلَاتِیۡ وَ نُسُکِیۡ وَ مَحۡیَایَ وَ مَمَاتِیۡ لِلّٰہِ رَبِّ الۡعٰلَمِیۡنَ ﴿۱۶۲﴾ۙ
[“Say: My prayer and my sacrifice and my life and my death are surely for Allah, the Lord of the worlds” (The Holy Quran, 6:162).]
Therefore, observe how the word nusuk (sacrifice), is explained by the words ‘life’ and ‘death’. And this explanation unravels the secret behind the reality of sacrifice.
Thus, O heedless ones, meditate deeply on this. Whoever grasps the true meaning of the sacrifice and performs it with purity of heart and sincerity of intention, he indeed has sacrificed his own life and that of his sons and grandsons, and for him is an honourable reward like that which Prophet Abraham [AS] received from his bounteous Lord and concerning which a hint was given by our chosen Lord and Master [Muhammad (pbuh)] who is the leader of the God-fearing and the Seal of the Prophets. He said, and after Allah, the Most High, he is the most truthful of the truthful ones, that the sacrifices prove like mounts that transport a person towards Allah and they efface all kinds of sins and remove calumnies far from him. These are the words that have come to us from the Prophet of God, the best of creation, may peace and the blessings of Allah be on him. His Excellency, the Holy Prophet did point out in those words to the wisdom of the sacrifices in language that was like pearls in their eloquence.
How sad, nay, how distressingly painful it is that most people do not comprehend these subtle points and therefore do not obey this injunction. So, for them, Eid is nothing but taking a bath, putting on new clothes and devouring food ravenously—they and their family and relatives and their servants and slaves—and going out to the Eid prayer gorgeously and luxuriously dressed as if they were exalted chieftains and great princes. You will notice that on this day they rejoice exceedingly over fine food and likewise, they desire the best and most exquisite of apparel with no other purpose than that of ostentation. They do not entertain even the slightest idea of what the sacrifice means and for what purpose goats and cows are slaughtered. And with them, from dawn to nightfall, the observance of Eid is nothing but heavy eating and drinking and enjoying delicious things and wearing fine raiment and riding fast horses and eating fresh meat. On this day, you will see them doing nothing but wearing soft and delicate clothes, grooming their hair, applying collyrium to their eyes and perfume to their clothes and washing and making up their tresses and ringlets as a hairdresser does to women. Then, like a hen that eats its food with a few hurried pecks, they, too, perform their prayer with brisk movements in which there exists not the slightest bit of concentration and their hearts are filled with evil whisperings and stray thoughts. After this, it is a resorting to all kinds of dainty dishes and various kinds of food and gorging themselves like animals on different kinds of delicacies and giving themselves up to frivolous pursuits, and letting their souls graze in the meadows of lust, and riding on horses and carriages and on male and female camels, and even on the necks of people and bedecked in all kinds of costumes; and wasting the day in all kinds of senseless prattle and exchanging gifts of meat, and having fun and colourful merriment and indulging in sensual allurements and caprices, and laughter and uproarious guffaws, and seeking pleasure in dancing.
Thus, on contemplating the calamities that have befallen Islam, we recite Inna lil-lahi wa inna ilaihi rajiun, that is, to Allah we belong and to Him is our eventual return. And our hearts become grief stricken on witnessing these days of misfortune. Sinfulness is rampant and restlessness predominates. So, in the time of this black night and in the hour of this fierce tempest of darkness, Allah’s Mercy demands (that He sends) a light from heaven.
Thus will it happen now, too, because the descent of the Messiah from Heaven has been ordained as a sign that his hands will not even touch earthly means. Only with water from Heaven will he irrigate the orchard of Islam, for now Allah, the Most High, wishes to display the miracle that for its propagation, Islam does not stand in need of the sword nor of human means.
Thus, in the face of this clear prohibition and the presence of the hadith that the Promised Messiah will put an end to wars, if anyone still takes up the sword and desires to wage war, it is as if he wishes to obscure the miracle that Allah, the Most High, wants to manifest to the world, that is, to make Islam triumphant on earth and beloved by mankind even without human means.
I am that light and that Mujaddid [Reformer] who has come by the command of Allah, and the servant who is aided by the Almighty, and I am the Promised Mahdi and the Promised Messiah and I have descended from my Lord with such an elevated status that none from among mankind is aware of its sublimity. My secret is hidden and is distant from many men of God despite the fact that common people can gain knowledge of it. My rank is far removed from the reach of the divers or people with mundane knowledge. My spiritual elevation is loftier than one can imagine and my travelling on the path of Allah is swifter than that of the most fleet-footed camels.
Do not compare me with anyone else, nor liken anyone to me. Do not destroy yourself through doubt and opposition (to me) for I am that kernel that has no shell and that soul that has no body, and I am that sun whose light cannot be obscured by the smoke of enmity and malice. If you should search for someone like me, you will never be able to find him even if you should seek him with the aid of a lamp.
This is not an idle boast but a grateful acknowledgement of the favours of Allah, Who has planted this beautiful young tree. I have been bathed in the water of light, and I have been cleansed in the fountain of Divine purity and I have been washed clean of all dirt and impurity. My Lord has honoured me with the name Ahmad [the greatest praising one]. So, honour me and be not hostile to me and sink not into the pit of despair in your affairs.
Whoever has praised me unstintingly and has not withheld any kind of reverence has indeed spoken the truth and is not guilty of the crime of lying; but whoever belies me, indeed speaks untruth and only incites the anger of his Lord. So, woe on that man who has fallen into the abyss of doubt and has broken his covenant and has polluted his heart with the evil insinuations of Satan. I have come from a very honoured and elevated Court so that my Lord may display through me some of His attributes of power and beauty; that is, in order to dispel evil and to usher in the face of goodness, for the time was ripe for the removal of this evil which had surpassed its limit and it was ripe, too, for the exaltation of righteousness which was gradually disappearing from the earth. Therefore, the grace of Allah willed that this Age be given what the prevailing state of affairs cried out for, in order that He may shower His mercy on men and women.
He has made me a manifestation of the Messiah, son of Mary, in order that He may extirpate the roots of evil and apostasy and He has made me the manifestation of the Mahdi, Ahmad [Prophet Muhammad (pbuh)], the most Honourable, in order that He may shower blessings on people and send upon them the rain of knowledge and guidance once more, and cleanse mankind of the dirt of sloth and sinfulness. Thus, I have come in the colour of two yellow garments which are dyed with the attributes of power and beauty. I have been given the power of taking and giving (of spiritual) life and it has been granted to me by Allah, but that glory is really a sign of my coming as the manifestation of the Prophet Jesus and it is from Allah, the Lord of Glory2.
It is in order that I may obliterate the evil of heresy which is flourishing among the tenets of those who have gone astray and is still strongly prevalent and is still ablaze in its full force and which, in the sight of Allah, the Knower of all things, is the most despicable of all evils. And this glory is granted to me also so that in this way I may bring back the beauty of the Oneness of God which is gradually disappearing from the tongues, the hearts and the actions of people. But that beauty which I have received is really the influence of the one whose manifestation I am and which has been named by Allah, the Most Gracious, as the manifestation of Ahmad [Prophet Muhammad (pbuh)], and by means of this I may establish the foundations of spirituality (religiosity).
I have also been commanded to kill the swine of corruption, unbelief and deviation which are trampling the pearls of truth under their feet and are ravaging the fields of people and are ruining the gardens of their faith, self-discipline and good deeds. This killing is by means of heavenly weapons and not by earthly sword and arrow as is the opinion of those people who are bereft of truthfulness; for they are themselves astray and are therefore misleading many of the ignorant ones. For, indeed, I have been prohibited from fighting against the disbelievers, for, concerning me, it was already decreed that I would put an end to wars and I would not resort to bloodshed. Thus, no jihad remains except the jihad for the cause of Islam with words, signs and arguments.
I have been ordered, too, to fill the houses of Muslims with wealth and other means of spiritual sustenance. This wealth is not of silver nor of gold but it is the treasure of knowledge, piety, guidance and certainty of faith. Furthermore, this treasure makes one’s faith stronger than the mountains, and those who are bent under a heavy load are given good news. So, receive the glad tidings that your Messiah has come to you and the Most Powerful God has anointed him and blessed him with the gift of eloquent speech and he is protecting you from that group which is travelling through the land spreading misguidance. He is inviting you to Allah and is dispelling every doubt. So, congratulations to you, for the Promised Mahdi has come to you with an abundance of wealth and provisions piled up high, and he is making strenuous efforts to return that wealth which is slipping away from you, and to recover (the spiritually) dead from the graves and to bring back prosperity which was lost even in your very lifetime. This is not a fabricated saying but it is Allah’s light which contains mighty signs.
Dear people! I am that Messiah from the Muhammadi dispensation and I am Ahmad, the Mahdi, and indeed my Lord is truly with me from the time that He sent me to the time of my departure. I have received that fire which will destroy evil, and I am that deliciously sweet water and the Star of Yemen and the spiritual shower. For those who give me grief, there is a sharp lance and my supplications are an efficacious and proven medicine. I try to exhibit my spiritual power and its beautiful blessings to one and all to guide them to the path of Allah. In one hand I hold a weapon with which to destroy the ingrained habits of injustice and sin and in the other, a beverage with which to revivify the hearts of mankind; that is, an axe to annihilate and a breath for giving life.
This power is bestowed on me because, as was the case with the Prophet Jesus [AS], people wish to destroy me, too, and the attribute of beauty is granted because my mercy and compassion, like that of my master, Ahmad [Prophet Muhammad (pbuh)], show the path towards Divine guidance to a people who are heedless of their Lord, the Most High.
Do you wonder, then, at this, and do not consider the present age and its requirements? Do you not see that this age needs to have recourse to Allah, the Most High, so that one nation may be shown His attribute of glory and that another may be aware of His attribute of beauty? Clear signs have been manifested and mysteries have been disclosed and all controversies are disappearing. So why do you not see? The eclipses of the sun and the moon have already taken place but you have not perceived their significance. Many men have died as prophesied and many have been killed, too, in fulfilment of a prophecy, but still you do not take stock. Many signs have appeared in my support, yet you pay no heed. On my behalf the heaven and earth and water and clay have borne witness but you show no fear whatsoever. Reason and Traditions of the Holy Prophet (pbuh), and mystic signs have provided unquestionable testimony and there have been manifestations of other mutually corroborative signs and dreams and visions, yet you persist in denial. In the view of those who think deeply, these signs are certainly imbued with grandeur. And the Star of Ages has risen and almost a fifth of this century has passed, so if you know, tell us where the Mujaddid [Reformer] is?
The plague has broken out, the Hajj [Pilgrimage] forbidden, deaths have increased and nations are fighting and quarrelling among themselves over gold mines. The Cross has gained the ascendancy and Islam has relinquished its position and has disappeared as if it were a traveller, and sin and transgression are overly prevalent, and people are turning to alcohol, gambling, dancing and singing. Instances of adultery and mutual violence are increasing, but the number of righteous people is dwindling. The time of the manifestation of our God is due and the words of the prophets have been fulfilled, so in what other announcement will you believe? O people! stand up for Allah collectively or individually, then fear Him and ponder deeply like one who is free from niggardliness or hostility. Is this not the time for Allah to show compassion to His servants? And is this not the time for the repelling of evil and for the compensating of hearts that are languishing for showers of rain? Has not the flood of evil risen to its limits and has not the skirt of ignorance raised its hem to the fullest? The country has become corrupt and Satan has shown gratitude to the ignorant. So, give thanks to the God Who has remembered you, and your religion, too, and saved it from destruction and has protected your tilth and your crops from disaster. And He has sent down the rain to bestow His perfect mercy on your inner wealth of soul and spirituality, and He has sent down His Messiah to remove anguish from your hearts, and He has sent the Mahdi with the gifts of goodness for you to derive spiritual benefits from them. And He has inaugurated the era of your Imam after the period of dominance by the opponents.
Dear brothers, this age of ours bears a perfect resemblance to this month of ours for this is the Last Age and this month is the last month of the Muslim calendar and both are nearing their end; and in this month the sacrifices are observed and in this age such sacrifices are very much needed for the cause of truth. The only difference between this sacrifice and the sacrifice which is needed for the cause of truth is that between the substance and the reflection that falls on a mirror. Our age is a replica of the Holy Prophet’s (pbuh) time which has already passed away. The true sacrifice is that of the soul, O men of insight. So, understand the secret of this truth.
After the Companions of the Holy Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him), you are worthier and more deserving of it. By the grace and mercy of Allah, you are the last group to be included among them. The succession of ages ordained by the Mighty God is coming to an end with our age, just as the months of Islam have come to a close with the month of sacrifices. For people of intelligence, there is a hidden sign in this.
I am the one to terminate the chain of sainthood just as our Holy Prophet was the one to bring the chain of prophethood to an end and he was the last of the prophets and I am the last of the saints. After me there will be no saint except one who will be from me and under my covenant.
My foot is on that exalted minaret which is the zenith of all loftiness. So, fear God, O you young men, and acknowledge me and obey me and do not die in disobedience. The age has drawn close and the time is approaching fast when every soul will be questioned concerning its deeds and will be requited accordingly. Calamities abound and only your faith will save you and sin is rampant. It will not soften their hearts at all. But make your selves humble before Allah
O my friends! fear the punishment of Allah. And whoever fears Allah, Paradise is prepared for him. So, do not keep the company of the heedless and those who are unmindful of their death. Ride on speedy chargers and eschew such horses that are lame, so that you may reach your Lord. Take to the path of self-extinction in Allah, so that you may be favoured with closeness to Allah and union with Him. Abandon reliance on worldly means so that Allah in His own mercy may create means for you. Cause death to your physical urges so that you may receive a new life.
Today, all possible evidence and arguments have been put to the opponents and all the excuses of the excuse-makers have been completely refuted. That entire band of misleaders and whisperers of evil has despaired of harming you. They wasted their lives in seeking the world and found no pleasure in religious truths. Indeed, they are like the blind. Today, Allah has broken their backs and they have turned back in despair.
Today, truth has been manifested for those who have eyes to see and the way of the guilty has become clear. The only one to turn away from the truth is he whom eternal deprivation has impeded, and the denier is he whose natural propensity for oppression has prevented him from accepting the truth.
Therefore, we turn away from those people in peace and on them complete proof has been fulfilled and their deserving of punishment has been established. So, if they do not turn back, then patience is beautiful and soon the One Who is Aware of their condition will give them warning.
- In the Hadith it is written that the Messiah will descend and the word nuzul (descent) has been especially chosen to indicate that that Age will be covered in darkness. Honesty, faith and righteousness will be taken up from earth, which will be filled with oppression and tyranny. However, Allah will again shed light on the earth and that light will come from above because light always comes from above. The era of the Promised Messiah has been described as a time when all the means of the propagation of Islam will be ineffective and the hands of Muslims will be without strength for the honour of Allah and he will be required to eliminate, defeat and banish far away the objection raised against Islam that it was spread at the point of the sword. Therefore, the command is that for the age of the Promised Messiah, that the sword should be sheathed and no one must raise it for the sake of religion. If they should take up the sword they will suffer defeat and ignominy from the unbelievers just as Prophet Moses’ people, whom he delivered from bondage in Egypt, always tasted defeat in battles in which they took the initiative contrary to the directives of Prophet Moses. ↩
- I have mentioned on many occasions that I have not come to wield the sword and spear but I have come with signs and holy power and beautiful explanations. Thus, my power is heavenly and not martial. ↩