My Jalsa Memories

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by Mishal Aziz, Raynes Park, UK

As the summer term is coming to an end, many children and students are anticipating the holidays that they have planned so they can relax and regain the energy for the next school year. However, Ahmadiyya Muslim children and students have started to count the days for Jalsa Salana 2017. Every Ahmadi waits for these blessed days year after year; it is a time to get together and gain religious knowledge and develop a stronger bond among ourselves.

In my house, the Jalsa preparation started few weeks ago when me and my mum went for duty training at the mosque and my dad started visiting Hadeeqa tul Mahdi (Jalsa venue); it felt like Jalsa was just around the corner.

When I invited my friends who are not Ahmadi Muslims to Jalsa, they were quite confused as they had never heard of something like this before. I explained to them that the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community holds an annual convention over of three days in which all people get together and enhance their religious knowledge. I showed them videos of Jalsa and they were astonished to see such a number of people attending the event. They also asked me if we hired any people to help us such as in serving food, but when I told them that thousands of people volunteer to give duties, they were quite stunned.

I shared my last Jalsa memories with them. I told them that I went to the venue a day before the Jalsa starts, I participated in duty and spent quality time with all my relatives that came from different cities. During the three blessed days of Jalsa, I put extra effort into performing Tahujjud Prayer (a voluntary Prayer offered in the night), tried to be extra nice and kind to everyone and listened to and followed the beautiful guidance given by the Khalifa (fifth successor of Promised Messiah).

My most special memory from last Jalsa was when I was standing on duty and His Holiness, Hazrat Mirza Masroor Ahmad, the head of worldwide Ahmadiyya Muslim Community passed just behind me. That feeling is something that will stay with me forever; just the feeling that he was few steps away from me was the best part of my whole Jalsa memories. I still remember, I was shivering with delight and I had tears in my eyes and the most beautiful and satisfactory smile that I could ever have.

My favourite part of Jalsa is when we do Bai’at (Pledge of Allegiance) on the 3rd day, at the hand of the Khalifa. Such a large number of people connected physically and emotionally is not a sight that you see every day; you feel special that you are connected to such a blessed community. That few minutes are something that I always look forward to every year because they give me a chance to seek forgiveness of Allah and become a better person.

After relishing the memories through this article, I am quite excited and looking forward to this Jalsa.

Jalsa Salana Mubarak!

Kalima-e-Shahadah, The Declaration of Islamic Faith

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by Ayesha Mahmood Malik, Surrey

 Your soul is oftentimes a battlefield, upon which your reason and your judgment wage war against your passion and your appetite.

Would that I could be the peacemaker in your soul, that I might turn the discord and the rivalry of your elements into oneness and melody.

But how shall I, unless you yourselves be also the peacemakers, nay, the lovers of all your elements?[1]

These words are a nostalgic poetic rendering of the deeper subtleties of the soul that manifest themselves as the spiritual challenges that man must overcome before he may reach that exalted station wherefrom a spring of spiritual blessings flow. The epitome of this spiritual station was the life and character of the Prophet Muhammad (saw) – who descended into this world when humankind’s spiritual cup had run dry, and the barren fields of man’s soul craved the water of true salvation. A spiritual draught of alarming magnitude had enveloped Arabian lands, such that an uncanny darkness prevailed over everything. Man was akin to a barbaric existence, with all propensities for morality and spirituality having been buried.

Perhaps the gravest of sins plaguing mankind in the pre-Muhammadan period was the ritual of idol worship and polytheism that had rendered the notion of the Unity of God as something fanciful or illusory. To profess in those pre-Islamic times that God was one and had no partner was analogous to blasphemy or even apostasy of the modern day. It was considered to be sacrilegious if not a complete renouncement of one’s faith. Thus, it was within this polytheist fabric of Arabian society that Muhammad (saw) the Servant and Messenger of Allah was sent to light the world with the spirit of Tauhid (Oneness of God) and God’s final teachings in the form of the Holy Quran.

Juxtaposed against this backdrop of spiritual annihilation and moral impotency, the significance of the words of the Kalima-e-Shahadah, which read, I bear witness that (there is) no god except Allah; One is He, no partner hath He, and I bear witness that Muhammad (saw) is His Servant and Messenger are profound and powerful. They epitomise the spiritual awakening and rebirth of mankind at the hand of God’s chosen one, the Seal of the Prophets (saw). Writing in his treatise, “Barahin-e-Ahmadiyya”, the Promised Messiah (as) succinctly portrays the advent of the Holy Prophet (saw) in the following words,

“…the age in which the Holy Prophet (sa) appeared stood in dire need of a great heavenly reformer and spiritual guide, and that the teachings he brought were certainly true and met all the needs of the time and encompassed all the requirements of the age. So effective and forceful was his teaching that thousands were drawn towards the truth, and the words [There is none worthy of worship but Allah] were engraved upon their hearts. The ultimate purpose of Prophethood – which is to impart teachings that lead to salvation – was accomplished to perfection [by the Holy Prophet (sa)][2].”

Therefore, to espouse upon the worshippers of idols and false deities of those times that their beliefs were inherently misguided and held no rational basis was a grievous calumny. It followed that the challenger of what he declared as the mother of all evils – idolatry – was to present himself as the greatest benefit to mankind, reinstating the providence of One God over His creation. Thus, it was also natural that this torchbearer of God Almighty would exhibit the most perfect qualities of truth and wisdom, such that man’s journey on earth would be forever transformed into a struggle to emulate this archetype of virtue. The Holy Quran itself testifies to having rejuvenated the earth with Divine Guidance and Wisdom at the hands of the Holy Prophet (saw), God states,

“And Allah has sent down water from the sky, and has quickened therewith the earth after its death. Surely, in that is a Sign for a people who would hear[3].”

 The Promised Messiah (as), writing in his seminal work, “The Philosophy of the Teachings of Islam,” explains that God Almighty calls to witness the laws of nature to testify for the hidden law of Divine Revelation. In a beautiful narrative, the Promised Messiah (as) expounds that just as the vegetation on earth cannot survive without rain, human reason, which is akin to earthly water, cannot survive without the heavenly water of Divine Revelation[4]. God says in the Quran and the Promised Messiah (as) explains,

“We call to witness the heaven that sends down rain and the earth that sprouts diverse types of vegetation with the help of such rain, that the Quran is God’s word and His revelation, and that it decides between truth and falsehood and is not vain talk, that is to say, it has not been revealed out of time and has come like seasonable rain.[5]

Thus, since six hundred years had passed since the time of Jesus (as) and the advent of the Holy Prophet (saw), earthly water had become corrupted and dried up[6]. The Holy Prophet (saw) brought with him the heavenly water of Divine Revelation that was to provide sustenance to the earthly water of human reason such that with his coming the teachings of the Lord Almighty would be rendered complete for all times to come.

Therefore, just as God calls to witness the obvious law of nature for the hidden law that governs Divine Revelation[7], the pledge of oath taken at the recitation of the Kalima-e-Shahadah is a manifestation of the oath-taker being called to witness the Unity of God and the Holy Prophet (saw) as His Servant and Messenger. The word “shahādah” is a noun derived from the verb “shahada”, which means, “He observed, witnessed, or testified[8].” Within a legal context, the term “shahādah” connotes testifying to the occurrence of certain events such as debt, adultery or divorce[9]. Testifying in a court of law thereby entails validating the proof of claims being submitted as evidence during trial. The word of the witness who renders such testimony must conform to the highest standards of honesty and integrity. It follows, then that when a Muslim bears witness to Muhammad (saw) as Allah’s Servant and Messenger, the requirements of truth and sincerity need to fulfill the most stringent criteria since man is being called to witness God’s word.

The Kalima-e-Shahadah is then a profoundly symbolic testimony to the truth of the Unity of God and of his greatest and final law-bearing Prophet, Muhammad (saw). The recitation of the Kalima-e-Shahadah is thereby a powerful oath to the truth of the teachings of the Holy Quran and the Holy Prophet (saw) and a powerful pledge of allegiance to live one’s life in full conformity with them. In this latter sense, this testimony is unique, for not only Muslims are called to witness the truth of its claims but commands that they must surrender their lives with utmost sincerity to the Word of God and His Messenger. Thus, as we recite these words as Ahmadi Muslims, we must remain cognizant of the spiritual significance of this oath and pledge. As the Promised Messiah (as) illuminatingly writes:

Muhammad is the most magnificent imprint of the divine light;

None like him can ever be born on the face of the earth.

God sent him and spread the truth;

A new life was breathed into the earth by the advent of that leader.

He is a flourishing and productive tree of the garden of purity and perfection,

And all his progeny are like red roses[10].

Thus, we as roses of the Holy Prophet (saw’s) legacy must strive to discharge the burden of this example of pristine spirituality and war with our souls to crush its thorns. Our recitations of the Kalima-e-Shahadah must be an embodiment of this struggle such that we, too, may drink from that holy fountain that many go in search for, but only few find.

 

[1] Kahlil Gibran, “The Prophet Collection,” Axiom Publishing (2001), p.46

[2] Mirza Ghulam Ahmad, “Barahin-e-Ahmadiyya,” Islam International Publications Ltd., (2012), pp. 131-6

[3] Al Quran, Chapter 16, Verse 66

[4] Mirza Ghulam Ahmad, “The Philosophy of the Teachings of Islam,” Islam International Publications Ltd., (1996), p. 120

[5] Al Quran, Chapter 86, Verses 12-15 as explained in “The Philosophy of the Teachings of Islam,” Islam International Publications Ltd., p.186

[6] See supra note 4

[7] See supra note 4, at p. 121

[8] See, generally, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shahada#cite_note-3

[9] The New Encyclopedia of Islam, Cyril hi tom Alta Mira Press, (2001), p.416, cited at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shahada#cite_note-NewEncycle-1

[10] See supra note 2, at p. 103

My First Fast

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by Riyya Ahmad, Aldershot

A Nasirat (girls group) member tells of her Ramadhan experience

This month is Ramadhan, the month of fasting for all Muslims world-wide, and in this blessed month I have kept, by the grace of Allah, my very first fast. This is how it went ….

I woke up at around three o clock in the morning to start my fast. The roads were silent and not a light to be seen apart from the glossy shine of the stars and moon. I ate and drank as much as I could and was able to. Then I prayed to God that He give me the stamina to uphold my long fast.

After I finished my Fajr Prayer I went back to bed with a feeling I had never felt before. I felt determined but I also felt a strange sort of excitement. I felt as if I couldn’t sleep.

During the day I tried to read as much Quran as I could and read all of my Prayers. But I also remembered those who were continuously fasting. Those who had no food in their homes or stomachs. Those who were less fortunate than me. I could finally sort of relate to the pain they felt.

Through the day I of course felt hungry, but whenever I thought of Allah and prayed, the hunger from my stomach would vanish and instead I felt quite full.

Then came the time to open my fast. I read my prayers and thanked Allah for enabling me to keep my very first fast. For me this was a milestone in my life, keeping an 18 hour fast. I pray in the future I will be able to keep many more fasts.

Ameen

London’s Pain

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Sameea Jonnud, Aldershot, UK

As it’s Ramadhan I was with my family preparing for the breaking of the fast at sunset, a few minutes after nine. Saturday night is family night for us and last night we were all together, parents, siblings and children, the Champions League final on the television, almost all of us rooting for Juventus so Buffon could lift the trophy. Around the London Bridge area there were also many people who had met up with friends in bars to watch the football.

Like all true Muslims up and down the country (and around the world) during the month of Ramadhan, we wait for the fast to open, before praying and eating dinner. As it was a family day we did this and then sat down to relax for a short time and catch up with one another before bed.

It was during this time I became aware of the events which had begun to unfold on the news; something was happening first on London Bridge, then Borough Market. A van had swerved into pedestrians and there were reports of knives and guns. London is the city of my birth, the city in which I grew up and despite moving away I’ve found that it’s true – you can take the girl out of London but you can’t take London out of the girl. To see the events unfolding felt personal, it hurts physically when my city is hurting.

Of course speculation started immediately that it was a terrorist attack and that it must be Muslims. Some  Muslims said on social media it can’t be Muslims, all real Muslims are breaking their fast and praying at that time. I thought of my family and all my fellow Muslim friends; it’s true, they would all be doing this.

The next fast began a few hours later; at this point the Metropolitan Police had confirmed six fatalities in addition to three attackers. Six innocent people out on a Saturday night caught up in the murderous rampage of hit and run, knife wielding madmen.

As a Muslim the thought of anyone claiming to carry out atrocities in the name of Islam is repugnant. Islam doesn’t condone the killing of innocent people, even in a state of war; the Holy Prophet (peace be on him) never condoned this either. So what is this version of Islam they claim to follow? That of Isis whose followers became famous for possessing “Islam for Dummies” rather than a copy of the Holy Qur’an? And if they justify their actions by saying they are killing unbelievers why are they setting off bombs in Muslim countries regularly killing Muslim men, women and children? This shows their murders are indiscriminate and it is innocent people in many countries who are suffering.

We are a week into the month of Ramadhan, a time when Muslims make extra efforts to please God by reading the Holy Qur’an, performing extra prayers and generally trying to be better human beings. An opportunity to feel the pain of those without food and give to charity to help the needy; Ramadhan is a time of self-reformation to make us better human beings.

What kind of Muslim would use Ramadhan to plan and carry out the murders of innocent people? How dare they hurt people in my beloved London and say it is in the name of my faith?

No, it is not Islam they are following and God does not ask for these actions which are those of criminals using the excuse of Isis inspiration as validation to carry out their murderous urges. Britain is suffering the effects as are so are many places around the world who are targets with such regularity.

Today London is in pain and so am I.

Ramadhan and Me

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Mishal Aziz, Raynes Park

Ramadhan comes and goes every year and by the time we are fully able to welcome this precious month, it is time to say goodbye to it with the hope that we would be able to see it next year. As an Ahmadi Muslim girl, Ramadhan holds a very special place in my life. It gives me an opportunity to create a stronger bond with Allah, the Almighty. It gives me an opportunity to pray more optional Prayers, early in the morning and late at night, and recite the Holy Qur’an much more than I do in ordinary days.

I am a student and I fast during my college hours, like many other Ahmadi Muslim girls. My friends find it really hard to connect with me on this aspect, that how not eating or drinking gives a person more happiness and satisfaction. They often ask me “Are you forced to fast?”

My reply is always ‘No’ because in Islam you are not forced to do anything, Allah has commanded you to do certain things but He has given you free will as well so it is an individual choice to follow the commandments, to gain blessings, or go on the opposite path.

As I am studying Education and the number of children who come fasting to school make the educators assume that Muslim children have an obligation to fast from an early age however that is not true, children themselves want to fast and nowhere according to my knowledge does it say that children should be forced to fast. I remember when I was young I used to wait impatiently for Ramadhan but my mum would not let me fast because I was too young however when I turned 14, my mum gave me permission to fast over the weekend; the happiness I felt on that day was out of the world because I felt like I had accomplished something big in my life.

Another friend asked me “you claim that Allah loves you, what kind of love is that when He is asking you to starve?” I believe that Allah does not want us to merely abstain from food or drink because what benefit will He get from making us hungry and thirsty; He wants our spiritual status to improve so He wants us to refrain from falsehood, fights, wrong doings, back-biting, illegal activities, etc. I can focus on refraining from these activities while I am fasting because the hunger and thirst is a constant reminder for me that I am fasting and I have to carry out right actions.

Islam is a very considerate religion. It always has an easier way for the people who are vulnerable or caught in a situation. In the Holy Qur’an Allah says:

 “…. whoso among you is sick or on a journey, shall fast the same number of other days; and for those who are able to fast only with great difficulty, is an expiation – the feeding of a poor man….” (2:185)

This verse shows that Allah is OmniBenevolent and He cares for all His beings, He knows that some people are not able to fast because of their health, He does not force them to fast but shows an easier way which is feeding a poor person.

Every year I try to start a new good habit that I can continue even after Ramadhan. This year my goal is to start reading the translation of the Holy Qur’an so I can learn more about my religion and scale spiritual heights. (InshAllah)

May Allah shower lots of blessings in the Holy month of Ramadhan.

Ramadhan Mubarak to everyone!

Ramadan, the blessed month

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Sarah Waseem, London

 

‘And when My servants ask thee about Me, say: ‘I am near. I answer the prayer of the supplicant when he prays to Me. So they should hearken to Me and believe in Me, that they may follow the right way.’  (2:187)

The blessed month of Ramadan is here once again. Millions of Muslims around the world will be abstaining from food and drink from dawn to sunset as an act of worship. They do so because fasting is one of the five pillars of Islam. The Holy Qur’an states:

O ye who believe! fasting is prescribed for you, as it was prescribed for those before you, so that you may become righteous. (2:184)

Fasting is not unique to Islam. All the other major faiths practice fasting to varying degrees. Fasting is an integral part of the Hindu faith, but can take many forms.  This is similar for Buddhism and in both faiths, there is flexibility in the length of fasts – some being for 24 hours , while others may be shorter. Some will abstain from food and water, while others will abstain from certain foods only.

The teachings of the Judaism also incorporate fasting, both obligatory and voluntary, the most significant being the day of Yom Kippur – the Day of Atonement. This is a 25 hour fast to seek forgiveness from sins and to cleanse the soul.

In Christianity too, the major fasting period consists of the 40 days of Lent. Again, how this is observed, may be interpreted differently by people, some choosing to abstain from foods, and others depriving themselves of various luxuries.

This commonality of fasting across the major faiths is not surprising given that God has been sending His Prophets to mankind since the time of Adam. In Islam, we see the practice of fasting at its most detailed.  All healthy men and women who can fast are required to do so. However exempt from this are pregnant and breast feeding mothers, menstruating women,  those who are ill, on a journey, and children and teenagers who are still growing.  Islam is a religion of ease and there are also some exemptions for those who find the fast too hard to bear. Instead they are asked to make an expiation in lieu of their inability to fast this.

There is a hadith (saying of the Holy Prophet Muhammad peace and blessings be upon him) that God states every deed of son of man is for himself apart from fasting. God states, ‘fasting is for Me’.

The fast provides a special opportunity to gain nearness to God, to improve one’s standards of worship and to seek His forgiveness for our sins. To help us in that task, another Hadith relates that during Ramadan, God opens the door to Paradise and shuts down the doors leading to Hell and restrains Satan.

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So, the fast is seen to be of benefit to the one fasting, and not an act of deprivation.  Equally important is how we conduct ourselves during this month.  Another hadith relates that fasting is like a shield.  If someone tries to quarrel with one who is fasting, his response should be simply; ‘I am fasting’.

The month of Ramadan is part of lunar calendar and its date changes every year on the Gregorian calendar. Lunar months last between 29 to 30 days depending on sighting of the moon. Ramadan is construed as consisting of 3 parts or Ashras. The word Ashra is an Arabic word which means ten. The first Ashra: (First ten days of Ramadan) are days of Mercy, the second ten days are the days of Forgiveness, and the last ten days, those of seeking refuge from Hellfire.

For Muslims then, we have been given  an opportunity to benefit from the spirituality of this month and enter Paradise from as many doors as we can.  It is a month to increase the standard of our worship, our reading of the Holy Qur’an and alms-giving.

It is reported of the Holy Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) that spending in the cause of the poor was a routine daily practice with him which has been likened unto a breeze, never ceasing to bring comfort and solace to the needy. However, during Ramadan, that the breeze seemed to pick up speed and blow like strong winds.

Ramadan then is a means to attain the high standards of spirituality  This is a most special month of acceptance of prayer and the greatest prayer is when God’s nearness is sought, and communion with Him is prayed for. And the greatest joy for the believer is when he or she finds that and then all of one’s other wishes and desires are taken care of.

May this month of Ramadan be very blessed for all!

The True Khalifa of Islam

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By Navida Sayed

Khilafat is a very important concept in Islam which safeguards permanence of religion. Khilafat, which is also referred to as Caliphate in the western world, began in Islam with the four consecutive Rightly-Guided Khalifas who led Muslims after the Holy Prophet Muhammad’s (peace be on him) death. However Prophet Muhammad (peace be on him) prophesied about Khilafat during his lifetime. He said:

“Prophethood shall remain among you as long as Allah shall will. He will bring about its end and follow it with Khilafat on the precepts of Prophethood for as long as He shall will and then bring about its end. A tyrannical monarchy will then follow and will remain as long as Allah shall will and then come to an end. There will follow thereafter-monarchical despotism to last as long as Allah shall will and come to an end upon His decree. There will then emerge Khilafat on precept of Prophethood.” The Holy Prophet said no more
(Masnad Ahmad)

 In the current times, in search of a meaningful and authoritative leadership with a vast desire for caliphate some Muslims around the world have fallen prey to and are being exploited by extremists. The media has provided huge coverage to the self-constructed IS caliphate in the Middle East since its inception, resulting in an extreme misrepresentation of Islam by the political and militant Caliph of IS directing Muslims to fight and wipe out the non-Muslim world.

The IS caliphate is an ideology borne of geo-political and economic reasons and extremely misconstrued distortions of Islam to satiate their own desire. The leader of the IS has misled and lured many Muslims merely by his own self-proclaimed title as a Caliph. Many misguided Muslims especially disaffected youth believe that the IS leader is a true caliph enabling IS to successfully recruit Jihadi brides and suicide bombers.

There is absolutely nothing Islamic about the leader of IS or his followers, they follow their own path of exploitation, bloodshed, brutality and murder. They are vagabonds in the guise of Muslims without true Islamic or Godly values. The crimes of IS and their brainwashing of suicide bombers clearly reflects how IS followers have forgotten their Creator and become steeped into barbarity in their ruthlessness.

The entire world is in a state of turmoil, and Muslims in particular are facing astounding difficulties, both as a result of their own wrong actions and as a result of their own failure to accept the signs and guidance contained in the Holy Qur’an and the Hadith. Consequently, Muslims are in a state of loss and endeavour to find peace in the world. The Muslim Ummah desperately yearns for unity, and true Khilafat is the quintessence of this unity.

The Khalifa of Islam, the spiritual leader of Ahmadiyya Muslim Community, is the only solution for the problems that the Muslim world faces. The Holy Quran tells us,

‘Allah has promised to those among you who believe and do good works that He will surely make them Successors in the earth, as He made Successors from among those who were before them; and that He will surely establish for them their religion which He has chosen for them; and that He will surely give them in exchange security and peace after their fear: They will worship Me, and they will not associate anything with Me. Then whoso is ungrateful after that, they will be the rebellious.’
[24:56]

Khilafat is a divine blessing and without it there can be no solidarity, cohesion and unity amongst Muslims. No one other than Allah can guide individuals towards true Khilafat

Today the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community is the only Muslim community in the world that is united at the hand of one leader, who is known as Khalifatul Masih. He is the successor to the Promised Messiah, Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad of Qadian (peace be upon him). After his demise in 1908, critics awaited the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community to fall apart bringing an end to Islam’s revival. However, God so decreed that the institution of Khilafat was re-established in Islam on 27 May 1908. Prophet Muhammad’s (peace be on him) prophecy was fulfilled, and the rest as they say is history; community of Muslims who accepted the Khalifa has grown remarkably since.

The Ahmadiyya Community stands witness to the fact that when a Khalifa passes away, his death brings a great shock to the Community of believers. Everyone becomes fearful and apprehensive and turns to Allah fervently praying. In this process of repentance of sins through prayers every individual seeks Allah’s guidance and prays for a rightly-guided Khalifa who is elected by the community.

The Ahmadiyya Khilafat is spiritual and religious in nature primarily focusing on moral and spiritual matters but also giving words of advice to worldwide political leaders through correspondence to uphold justice and social harmony. The Ahmadiyya Khilafat holds the motto of ‘Love for all, hatred for none.’ Following the teachings of its founder, it believes and practices the Jihad of the pen. It categorically condemns terrorism, and rejects violent extremism. It teaches loyalty to one’s nation and obedience to the law of the land where one resides.

The fifth and current Khalifa of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community, Hazrat Mirza Masroor Ahmad (may Allah be his Helper) serves as the worldwide spiritual and administrative head of millions of Ahmadi Muslims spread across 206 countries. Hazrat Khalifatul Masih V (may Allah be his Helper) is a world leader like no other, connected with members of his community through written correspondence as well as meeting many of them on a daily basis. Every Friday he gives a Friday sermon simultaneously translated in up to six languages addressing Ahmadi Muslims worldwide.

The Ahmadi Muslim community feels a sense of security and peace under the rightly- guided Khalifa to such an extent, that parents of Ahmadi children have been dedicating their child for the service of Islam before their birth in a scheme called Waqfe Nau. The Ahmadi Waqfe Nau grow up and renew their pledge for the sake of faith at the age of 18. Today there are over 68000 Waqfe Nau children around the world. Most of the boys are young missionaries but overall both the girls and boys excel in academic qualifications and careers in medicine, engineering, science, languages, teaching and many other careers. The Ahmadiyya Muslim Community is very aware that the only way to true salvation is by worshiping One God and serving humanity and working towards peace. Hazrat Mirza Masroor Ahmad (may Allah be his Helper) is the world’s leading Muslim figure promoting peace and inter-religious harmony and the true Khalifa of Islam.

 

 

 

A True Khalifa And His People

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Maleeha Mansur, Hayes, UK

Turning fear into peace

Every evening in the suburbs of Surrey, two to three dozen families emerge from a humble office – some with tears of joy flowing down their faces, others mesmerised and still absorbing the moments they have just had the fortune to witness. Whilst this incredibly special and faith-inspiring experience lasts only a few minutes, yet it leaves a deep and lasting impression on them. Whether it be a child, a man, woman, academic, professional or a retired elder – all unanimously vow to strive to surrender worldly pursuits, for a most noble cause – to attach themselves with God and to serve His Creation. What could bring about such a revolution within a few moments? What lies behind the doors of this humble office? A Man of God – the fifth Khalifa and supreme head of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community, Hazrat Mirza Masroor Ahmad (may Allah be his Helper).

Whilst these humble followers may have spent only a few minutes in the presence of the Khalifa, the personality they encounter is so overpowering with love and righteousness that it is able to transform them in extraordinary ways and turns their fears into peace.

Love like no other

This love certainly is a two-way phenomenon but it is ever so imbalanced. Despite, the pinnacle of love the Khalifa’s followers have for him, collectively it still only equates to a drop in the ocean as compared to the love of the Khalifa for his people. Certainly, this true Khalifat has no parallel. As so lovingly stated by the Khalifa,

‘there is no problem, be it of the Community or of someone’s private life of which the Khalifa of the time is not aware, for which he does not make practical efforts and does not turn to God to pray!’[i]

The Khalifa once humbly explained that

‘there is no country in the world that I do not go to in my imagination before falling asleep and for whom I do not pray while sleeping and while waking. I am not saying this to count favours, no, this is my duty and may Allah the Exalted make me perform my duty more than ever.’[ii]

Certainly, no other leader exhibits such concerns and love for each and every aspect of his following.

On his tours around the globe, the sentiments of love are repeated in each and every continent of the world. In Africa, women run along the car of the Khalifa with their young children in their arms, desperately drawing their child’s attention to the Khalifa so that they might see the Khalifa. In Canada, young boys choose to happily wait for hours in the freezing cold with their fathers that they may gain a glimpse of their beloved Khalifa, boldly stating “…we have to see Huzoor [the Khalifa] no matter cold, no matter rain, no matter anything”.

It is a peculiar love, with no resemblance or parallel. Certainly, this love cannot be instilled by people, it is God alone Who can create such love, as God Almighty says it is He who

“…has put affection between their hearts. If thou hadst expended all that is in the earth, thou couldst not have put affection between their hearts, but Allah has put affection between them.’[iii]

 Charismatic persona

One could say the love and awe-inspiring personality of the Khalifa conjures feelings which could be explained as addictive, once one experiences the company of the Khalifa, one yearns for more. Certainly this is true not only of his followers but of individuals unaware of the wonders they are to encounter when meeting the Khalifa. On his tour of Australia, a photographer of the Daily Telegraph happened to have the opportunity to photograph the Khalifa whilst covering an interview with His Holiness, but afterwards he asked to return and photograph the Khalifa further, for no reason other than that he found the blessed face of the Khalifa “extremely beautiful and radiant and so simply wished to take more photos of him.”[iv]

Time, and time again, we see academics and politicians giving advance notice that due to their prior commitments they will have to leave gatherings with the Khalifa early but are compelled to stay once in the company of the Khalifa due to the love and spirituality they experience. That is, despite the Khalifa himself reminding them of their other engagements. On his visit to the Canadian Parliament, two Parliamentary events due to take place that evening were cancelled because many MPs indicated they did not wish to miss the Khalifa’s address to Parliament.

Not a second unsacrificed

One may wonder, how does a person with followers in tens of millions, spread in over 200 countries, have such a deep and meaningful relationship with each and every one. This relationship and communication takes many forms. At a glimpse – the Khalifa delivers weekly Friday Sermons broadcast globally via the community’s 24 hour satellite channel, as well as multiple additional addresses each month at various occasions, such as religious celebrations, annual conventions of the community, mosque inaugurations and other ceremonies. The Khalifa holds classes with the youth of the community who openly enquire about matters of religion, academia and even those personal to the Khalifa which he graciously answers in depth. Daily, the Khalifa leads a congregation of followers in the five daily Prayers, responds to thousands of letter from his followers and holds family meetings open to all members of the community as well as office meetings to address various issues pertaining to the community and its mission. His tours around the globe enable distant followers to meet their beloved Khalifa, and so, despite being a worldwide leader, the Khalifa is in tune with his followers like no other. With such a packed schedule, one humbly observes that certainly this is a Divinely inspired individual, whose every iota is wholly dedicated to his mission.

Certainly, the Khalifa is an embodiment of unparalleled selfless leadership. Hence, it is no wonder that the Khalifa’s followers proudly announce their dedication to him; for they know with certainty that their dedication is to none other than the ‘rope of Allah’, a living epitome of fulfilment of one’s obligations to God and to Mankind.

 

[i] Friday Sermon delivered by Hazrat Mirza Masroor Ahmad on 6th June 2014

[ii] Friday Sermon delivered by Hazrat Mirza Masroor Ahmad on 6th June 2014

[iii] The Holy Qur’an Chapter 8: Verse 64

[iv] Huzoor’s Tour of Australia 2013 A Personal Account Part 1, by Abid Khan, pp. 21-22

Caliphate or Khilafat?

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 Munazzah Chou, UK

The concept of caliphate is the idea of leadership of Muslim society according to the will of God. Many Muslims have embraced the argument that such an institution is the best way of ordering society but the form it should take has been interpreted in many ways. Western writers have referred to caliphate as a ‘many-splendored’ concept, about which ‘there is no one way, no single template or legal framework’ by which to define it. They cite caliphs through history of many different sorts; warrior caliphs, pious caliphs, intellectual caliphs, pleasure-loving caliphs, incompetent caliphs, cruel and tyrannical caliphs. Some suggest that the ‘interpretations of what constitutes a legitimate caliph are so loose that it’s surprising how few caliphates have been declared…’ They suggest that this can be explained by the fact that any declaration would have been ‘Pythonesque in its deluded grandeur.’ That ISIS held control of as much territory as Hadhrat Abu Bakr, the first Rightly-Guided Caliph—the claim to Caliphate made by Baghdadi looks far more credible and the ‘mass executions and public crucifixions have also done much to erase any lingering aura of comedy.’

Caliphate is an English term which may well be nebular or ambiguous but the concept of khilafat, the original Arabic word, in the true Islamic sense has specific application. The Holy Quran refers to khilafat as a favour from God. The Holy Quran lays emphasis on the moral and spiritual requirement for the believers to receive the favour of khilafat. Much of our understanding of khilafat is based on the following Quranic verse:

‘Allah had promised to those among you who believe and do good works that He will surely make them Successors in the earth [khalifas], as He made Successors from among those who were before them; and that He will surely establish for them their religion which He has chosen for them; and that He will surely give them in exchange security and peace after their fear: They will worship Me, and they will not associate anything with Me. Then whoso is ungrateful after that, they will be the rebellious.’ (Surah Al-Nur, Verse 56)

In this verse, the Holy Quran presents the institution of khilafat as a reward for collective piety, i.e. to ‘those who believe and do good works’. Thus God’s promise to establish khilafat as a blessing for mankind is firmly rooted in the moral and spiritual condition of sincere believers. When these conditions are fulfilled they will be made the leaders of nations; their state of fear will give place to a condition of safety and security, Islam will reign supreme in the world, and above all the unity of God will become firmly established.

In the book of Ahadith, Musnad Ahmad by Imam Ahmad bin Hambal, there is a Hadith narrated by Hadhrat Huzaifa (may Allah be pleased with him) that the Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings of Allah be on him) said:

‘Prophethood shall remain among you as long as God wills. Then khilafat on the pattern of prophethood will commence and remain as long as He wills. A corrupt monarchy shall then follow and it shall remain as long as God wills. There shall then be a tyrannical despotism which shall remain as long as God wills. Then once again khilafat will emerge on the precept of prophethood.’
[Masnad-­Ahmad, Mishkat, Chapter Al-Anzar Wal Tahzir].

In this Hadith, the promise of khilafat is connected with Prophethood on two separate occasions. In between the two eras of khilafat, the reference to “the corrupt/erosive monarchy” and “despotic kingship” is what we could term “caliphate” but not khilafat. The Arabic words showing the relationship between khilafat and Prophethood are “khilafat -ala- minhaj-e-nabuwwat”, that is, khilafat on the lines of Prophethood. This explains the principle of khilafat as a continuation of the mission of the Prophet i.e the objectives of khilafat and Prophethood remain the same; moral and spiritual development of mankind.

There is therefore, a clear distinction between khilafat and caliphate. Caliphate deals with civil and political domain of the rulers in Islamic history, but khilafat deals with moral, religious and spiritual leadership of mankind. Therefore, a political ruler who might be called “caliph” may not be a khalifa in the Quranic sense of the word.

Hadhrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad, the Messiah and Mahdi (on whom be peace), described khilafat as a second manifestation of God’s power – the advent of Prophets being the first manifestation. This second manifestation is the time of the demise of Prophets of God when the enemy thinks that the followers of a Prophet are in disarray and the community will be destroyed, ‘then God manifests His strong hand of might and sustains the collapsing community.’

After the death of Hadhrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad (on whom be peace) in 1908, after a hiatus of 13 hundred years, the divinely-guided Khilafat in Islam re-emerged in accordance with the prophecies of the Holy Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be on him) and of Hadhrat Mirza Ghulam AhmadAS. This, the Ahmadiyya Khilafat differs significantly from the ideas of some Muslim groups with misplaced aspirations of political dominance. The Ahmadiyya Khilafat is apolitical; purely spiritual and religious in nature. While other Muslims wait for a Mahdi who would wage a “bloody” Jihad against the infidels, the Ahmadiyya Khilafat upholds the motto of “Love for all, hatred for none” and expounds the true greater Jihad as that which entails overcoming sinful and immoral temptations of the self.

The Promised Messiah (on whom be peace) has reassured us of the unending blessings of this divine institution,

‘You should therefore, neither grieve over what I have told you (that the hour of my demise is nigh) nor should you be heart-broken for it is mandatory that you see God’s second manifestation. The coming of that manifestation is a lot better for you because it is eternal whose succession will not terminate till the end of days. When I go, Allah will send to you the second manifestation and it will stay with you forever.’
(Al-Wassiyat, pp. 6-7)

May Allah enable us to continue with our endeavours to become deserving of this divine blessing. Ameen

 

References

Graeme Wood, What ISIS’s Leader Really Wants, https://newrepublic.com/article/119259/isis-history-islamic-states-new-caliphate-syria-and-iraq

The Holy Quran with English Translation and Commentary, Vol. 4, pp. 1869-1870.

Khilafat and Caliphate, Mubasher Ahmad, M.A., LL.B. https://www.alislam.org/topics/khilafat/khilafat-and-caliphate.pdf

 

Attack On Children

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Sameea Jonnud, Aldershot

It was with shock I turned my phone on early this morning and saw Manchester being talked about by everyone. There is always shock when a bombing or attack happens but one involving young people always hurts more. It was with tears my teenage daughter spoke to me after waking and finding out about it; she felt it all the more because a lot of the people involved were teenage girls just like her. Her friends have attended concerts where they’re dropped off by parents who have a meal before they all meet up to go home. Seeing the parents searching for their children, teenagers trying to get to safety was heart-breaking; a terror attack is designed to inspire fear; is the heartbreak just a by-product?

My daughter went to college but messaged me from there saying she was lying low during breaks as she couldn’t face anyone; Manchester was the only topic of conversation and people were mentioning social media comments about Muslims. At school yesterday, my youngest daughter had been speaking in a lesson about the Women’s March Westminster Bridge vigil and why Ahmadi Muslim women had joined to show solidarity with their country and condemnation of terrorism; she was heartened by the response from her classmates but today has become wary of their reaction. That is the everyday result on ordinary Muslim children, of a terror attack these days.

As someone who partly remembers and has read about the Troubles I have told my children what it was like in the recent past as bombings occurred in many towns in England as well as with sickening regularity in Northern Ireland. Bombings and terror are not a new thing and when one group stops the terrorising of innocent people another group is always ready to take its place; history has shown us this down the ages.

When Islam is condemned for being violent I recall verses from the Holy Qur’an which teach me how wrong this condemnation is. Chapter 5, verse 33 says “Whosoever killed a person it shall be as if he had killed all mankind”. The Holy Prophet (peace be on him) taught respect for those of other faiths and that the innocent should never be harmed even in a state of war. That is the Islam that I follow and that the vast majority of Muslims the world over follow.

But at this moment and in an age of global media that can be small comfort when extremists begin stirring up hatred which spreads in an instant. Rather than simply showing solidarity with those affected they only talk about blame, they create divisions making it the innocent us against the violent them. At this point terrorism has gained another victory by weakening the bonds that make us stronger.

Other than simply inspiring terror, the reasons behind terrorist atrocities may be complex but whatever the case we must hold firm and stand together united against all forms of terrorism and extremism. That way we will be gaining a victory against those that work to divide us.