After reciting Tashahud Ta‘awuz, and Surah al-Fatihah, the following verses were recited, after which Huzoorra proceeded with the sermon:
یٰۤاَیُّہَا الَّذِیۡنَ اٰمَنُوۡا لَا تَقُوۡلُوۡا رَاعِنَا وَ قُوۡلُوا انۡظُرۡنَا وَ اسۡمَعُوۡا ؕ وَ لِلۡکٰفِرِیۡنَ عَذَابٌ اَلِیۡمٌ
مَا یَوَدُّ الَّذِیۡنَ کَفَرُوۡا مِنۡ اَہۡلِ الۡکِتٰبِ وَ لَا الۡمُشۡرِکِیۡنَ اَنۡ یُّنَزَّلَ عَلَیۡکُمۡ مِّنۡ خَیۡرٍ مِّنۡ رَّبِّکُمۡ ؕ وَ اللّٰہُ یَخۡتَصُّ بِرَحۡمَتِہٖ مَنۡ یَّشَآءُ ؕ وَ اللّٰہُ ذُو الۡفَضۡلِ الۡعَظِیۡمِ
[O ye who believe! say not “Ra‘ina,” but say, “Unzurna” and hearken. And for the disbelievers is a painful punishment. They who disbelieve from among the People of the Book, or from among those who associate gods (with Allah), desire not that any good should be sent down to you from your Lord; but Allah chooses for His mercy whomsoever He pleases; and Allah is of exceeding bounty. (Surah al-Baqarah, Ch.2: V.105-106)]
Lots of people are unable to exercise control over their speech and writing. Hence, the Promised Messiahas noted that sufis advance the maxim, “Courtesy is the root to all success”. So long as a person is unable to govern their words, whether spoken or written, and is not fully aware of what flows from their tongue and pen, they are hardly worthy of being called a human being.
Indeed, they are worse than animals, for even beasts steer clear of danger; yet some people never consider the consequences of their actions. For example, if an animal is dragged towards a treacherous place, such as a cave, it will resist. In his well-known work, the Masnavi, Rumi writes a parable about a mouse and a camel.
In it, the mouse catches a rope tied to a camel and drags it in the direction that the camel is walking [causing the mouse to think that it is pulling the camel along]. On approaching a river, the camel abruptly turns around, startling the mouse and dragging it at its rear. Thus, even a camel might choose to be led by a mouse, provided it does not perceive a threat; but the moment it senses any trouble, it cannot be forced along by someone who is strong and powerful, much less a mouse.
In other cases, there are animals that camouflage themselves against predators and hunters to shield themselves from danger. Conversely, human beings are often prone to making reckless comments, even though, at times, the slightest misstep can cause great harm. Allah the Exalted says:
“O believers, do not use such words that might be misinterpreted when addressing the Prophetsa for otherwise, you will squander you faith.”
That is, God says, while such people may be believers, they will eventually squander their faith. He will turn their belief into disbelief and afflict them with a severe punishment if they do not control their tongues. This impropriety will bring about their downfall.
Therefore, a person must guard against their words or risk losing their faith. I have observed that there are certain people who are far from obedient, despite referring to me as the Khalifatul Masih in their speeches and writings. Such hollow honorifics are meaningless. Shias, out of a sense of irony and jest, use the term khalifa for barbers and tailors, but this does not lessen the status of khilafat.
In the eyes of God, khilafat has an elevated station [and it makes no difference] whether people try to undermine it or not. God affirms that khulafa are divinely appointed. He says:
وَ مَنۡ کَفَرَ بَعۡدَ ذٰلِکَ فَاُولٰٓئِکَ ہُمُ الۡفٰسِقُوۡنَ
[Then whoso is ungrateful after that, they will be the rebellious. (Surah al-Nur, Ch.24: V.56)]
That is, rejecting the khulafa is a form of rebellion and whosoever turns away from them stands in defiance of God. So, while the word khalifa, in and of itself, is not important given that it may even be used in reference to barbers, rejecting and deriding the khulafa – those who are successors to the prophets of God – is fraught with peril and effectively transforms faithful people into rebellious ones.
Therefore, do not think that giving free rein to your speech and writing will be profitable for you. God Almighty says that He will remove such people from His community, as those who are insubordinate can have no connection with God. Bear in mind that anyone, even if they are a believer, who belittles a system established by God Almighty through needless and indiscreet objections will die as a disbeliever.
In the following verse, Allah the Exalted [while addressing the believers with regard to] the Holy Prophetsa says:
یٰۤاَیُّہَا الَّذِیۡنَ اٰمَنُوۡا لَا تَقُوۡلُوۡا رَاعِنَا وَ قُوۡلُوا انۡظُرۡنَا
[O ye who believe! say not “Ra‘ina”, but say, “Unzurna”. (Surah al-Baqarah, Ch.2: V.105)]
However, this commandment is equally applicable to others who are worthy of respect. For example, God elevated Hazrat Abu Bakrra to an exalted station. When discord arose [within the Muslim community], Abu Bakrra declared that even if the entire world stood against him, he would not hesitate in confronting those who refused to pay the [zakat] with the same spirit and commitment as they did during the lifetime of the Holy Prophetsa, even if their dues were of as little value as a small rope. (Tarikh Al-Khulafa lis-Sayuti, p. 51,  Delhi)
So do not think that showing disregard to your rulers is a minor affront and confined to an individual. It is imperative everyone show respect to those in positions of spiritual or temporal leadership. Would a person not face punishment if they disgraced a worldly sovereign?
I have narrated the following story many times. There used to be a famous poet, Insha-Allah Khan, who wished to remain unequalled in his ability to praise the king. Once, a person admiringly asked, “How noble is our King?” Insha-Allah countered, “Just noble? How most noble is our King?”
The word anjab, which means “most noble” can also be interpreted as “son of a slave”. It so happened that the king was born to a bondwoman. No sooner had Insha-Allah uttered these words that all around him fell silent, construing his remark as a jibe against the sovereign. At the king’s command, he was sentenced to prison and while there, he lost his mind and perished.
In short, feigning respect for me is meaningless. In a recent letter I have received, the writer alleges that I made a judgment against him because he came from an underprivileged background.
However, anyone who issues verdicts on the basis of social rank and status is both wicked and corrupt, let alone being worthy of the status of Khilafat.
Still, I do not concern myself with people who, in my opinion, are opponents of the community, even if this means that all of them desert me. It is God Who has appointed me the Khalifa, and not any individual. A person appointed by other people cannot be protected by them.
For example, if God caused such a person to die from a fatal disease, there is nothing that his selectors could do about it. Any khilafat which does not emanate from God is a curse.
Similarly, I have no desire whatsoever for being addressed as the Khalifatul Masih. I affirm my belief in the divinely established Khilafat and disregard all khilafats instituted by human beings. It is alleged [in the same letter] that I fail to dispense justice or aid the poor. If I am unjust, why does this individual maintain ties with me?
An inequitable person is of no benefit or value. Such people can do me no harm. I have been called far worse things: a murderer, a usurper of the movement and been referred to in other abusive ways.
Therefore, this particular allegation is nothing more than a minor insult. A person pleading a case always thinks that they are in the right. However, they have to accept whatever verdict is given by the court. Allah the Exalted says:
فَلَا وَ رَبِّکَ لَا یُؤۡمِنُوۡنَ حَتّٰی یُحَکِّمُوۡکَ فِیۡمَا شَجَرَ بَیۡنَہُمۡ
[But no, by thy Lord, they are not believers until they make thee judge in all that is in dispute between them. (Surah al-Nisa, Ch.4: V.66)]
That is, “Such people cannot become true believers until they wholeheartedly accept your decisions.”
When they have no choice but to submit to verdicts made by worldly courts, why do they refuse to accept rulings passed by God’s appointed khulafa? After all, if worldly courts can issue judgments, surely God can too? A person who gives verdicts on behalf of God carries in their hand a sword, which, though it cannot be seen, strikes hard and causes lasting ruin.
Whereas the sphere of a secular court is limited to this world, [the court of] God is convened in the next life. His punishment, though seemingly unobservable, is ferocious. Therefore, show restraint in your written and spoken words. And if you do not refrain from objecting to the khilafat established by God, you will be granted no respite and divine wrath will fall upon you in ways you cannot imagine.
May Allah the Exalted enable you to recognise the status of the one He has chosen for you. A person does not attain [spiritual] rank because of who they are. The Holy Prophetsa was not superior to others because of his Arab ethnicity or lineage, but rather because of the status that God had bestowed on him. I am merely a human being. Nothing more. But given my divine status, if you do not forgo such disrespectful behaviour, you will be punished for it.
Therefore, [again] certain matters may seem trivial to you, but they hold great significance in the sight of God. May God give you insight into these issues. Amin.
(Al Fazl, 7 July 1917)