Huzur delivered today’s Friday Sermon from Pennsylvania, USA. The USA 60th Jalsa Salana commenced with Huzur’s sermon. Huzur said for a long time it was the wish of the US Jama’at as well as Huzur’s wish for him to visit USA. The Jalsa Salana that takes place in all the countries of the world was started by the Promised Messiah (on whom be peace) through Divine permission and it is blessed by the prayers of the Promised Messiah (on whom be peace). Although the first ever Jalsa that the Promised Messiah (on whom be peace) held was only attended by seventy five people but these people were trained by the Promised Messiah (on whom be peace) and they had a special bond with Allah, they were highly developed in their faith. The light of their belief and certainty of belief had absorbed Divine grace and Allah had greatly blessed their endeavours. They were ardent devotees of the Promised Messiah (on whom be peace) and had spent that first Jalsa gathered around their beloved Messiah in a mosque. Their spiritual insight at the time would have given them a perception that this Jalsa was going to extend from the four walls of a mosque to a ground and not just a ground in Qadian rather in grounds around most countries of the world and the Jalsa Salana would not suffice on small grounds rather it would expand to acres and acres of ground. Huzur said Jama’ats around the world are now purchasing land encompassing huge acreage. Huzur said the USA Jama’at had also bought some land and built a beautiful mosque there (Bait ur Rahman) and held Jalsa there for some years. Later, venues were hired to hold the Jalsa Salana just as the venue from where Huzur delivered today’s sermon and where the current Jalsa is being held. Huzur said now USA Jama’at is also looking for land to purchase. All this makes one ponder and indeed convinces one that the Divine promises made to the Promised Messiah (on whom be peace) were true. Huzur said this is the same USA where the early Ahmadi missionaries were imprisoned and were not allowed to do Tabligh. Later Allah removed the impediments and today the Jama’at is looking at purchasing land in the region of a hundred or two hundred acres.
However, Huzur said, we should be mindful that our objective is not to purchase large areas of land or to increase the attendance at Jalsa. The Promised Messiah (on whom be peace) did not wish the Jalsa to project self-acclaim, rather he wished to make a Jama’at of people who excelled in taqwa (righteousness), to make an army of people who honoured the dues of mankind. Huzur said we should be mindful that once we have joined the community of the Promised Messiah (on whom be peace) we cannot come into the sphere of peace and security without making any effort. We need to understand our obligations and just as more and more time is elapsing from the life-time of the Promised Messiah (on whom be peace) our endeavours and striving need to be that much more. Each parent will have to check their practices to present a good model for their children. In the Western countries in particular but all over the world in general, in this age of materialism, if the parents do not seek Divine nearness, they would be excluding themselves and their children from the sphere of peace and security. People would be uttering Allah’s name but their practices would be negating their utterances.
Huzur said the Promised Messiah (on whom be peace) explained that the objective of the Jalsa is that the regular and frequent gathering would turn people to the Hereafter and would inculcate humility and honesty. Huzur said many of us would have read or heard the Promised Messiah’s (on whom be peace) words in this respect but worldly matters create remoteness. It is human nature to forget, moreover, Satan has declared that he would lead people astray. This is the reason Allah commanded the Holy Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be on him) to continue to admonish so that people are given new ways to protect themselves from Satan and this is the task for which the Promised Messiah (on whom be peace) was sent and this is also the task of Khilafat so that there are people who act on ‘And obey Allah and the Messenger’ (3:133).
Huzur said the first thing the Promised Messiah (on whom be peace) cites in the extract is taqwa and taqwa is cleansing the ‘vessel’ of Nafse Ammara (the self that incites to evil) and piety is the food that is served in this vessel and it takes one to Divine nearness. Allah states in the Holy Qur’an: 'And as for those who strive in Our path - We will surely, guide them in Our ways. And, verily, Allah is with those who do good.’ (Surah Al-`Ankabut verse 70). Huzur said when a person enhances in fear and love of God, God teaches him/her ways and means to cleanse the ‘vessel’. Huzur said in the West these days there are so many different detergents and cleaning agents for dish washing, to get rid of the grease and even to kill the bacteria and get rid of odours. Housewives take particular care to wash dishes in which have been used for eggs or fish. When we take such care to wash dishes, dishes that are likely to break in our life-time or if they do not break we certainly cannot take them with us when we die, yet we take such care of these dishes. However, the vessel of our heart, which we are commanded to cleanse with taqwa and which will be of avail after we have passed away from this world, we tend to ignore. Moreover the ‘piety’ of this vessel would be of advantage to our future generation as well. Our next generations will continue to endeavour and strive for the pleasure of Allah. Huzur said food does not go off in a vessel that has been cleansed with taqwa, rather it strengthens the body with an everlasting strength, the doors to Allah’s grace continue to open and a person comes out of the pits of Nafse Ammara into a strong refuge.
The Holy Qur’an cites commandments about taqwa and temperance more than any other commandments and the reason for this is that taqwa strengthens one in the prevention of evil. Taqwa is an amulet of security for man and a righteous person is saved from many absurd and dangerous conflicts which others are embroiled in. Huzur said rather than be simply impressed by the eloquence of these words of wisdom we are required to search our hearts and we need to strive in the way that Allah has taught us. Huzur said we are so fortunate and need to be extremely grateful to Allah that not only has He called us onto His path but in this age He has facilitated clearing of these ways for us through the true and ardent devotee of the Holy Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be on him) that is, the Promised Messiah (on whom be peace) who has left us signs and directions along the way and has illuminated the darkness of the way. Referring to the earlier extract of the Promised Messiah (on whom be peace) Huzur said how do we become active in taqwa, how do we cleanse the vessel of Nafse Ammara? The Promised Messiah (on whom be peace) said by being gentle. He said that if one of his co-religionist brother used harsh tone with him, it would be a pity if he responded in the same manner. What he should do is be patient and fervently and passionately pray for the brother rather than criticise him for the brother would be spiritually ill. One cannot be a true believer unless one’s heart is tender and gentle. To respond evil with good is sign of goodness and to suppress one’s anger is an act of extreme bravery. Huzur said there are people in the community who crush their egotism, respond to evil with good and pray for each other in Salat and indeed this is how it should be. However, there are others who do the opposite. Huzur said how can it be that a believer prays for his brother, forgives his excesses and still has hatred?
Huzur said in this instance a matter that has come to his attention earlier and also during his current visit was that there were three types of Ahmadis in USA. Those of sub-continental origin including both old and new Ahmadis, then there are African American Ahmadis, who are increasing in numbers as well as in sincerity by the grace of Allah and some of whom are active members of the administration (Nizaam) of the Jama’at. Then there are the white Americans who are also increasing in piety though their numbers are not huge. Huzur said he did not see the unity that should be seen among the Pakistani Ahmadis and the African American Ahmadis on every level. He heard complaints from both sides. If the words of the Promised Messiah (on whom be peace) are reflected on, it does not behove that after joining his community the people of Pakistani origin should discriminate against the African American Ahmadis. They need to adopt those humble ways that the Promised Messiah (on whom be peace) adopted and which pleased Allah so much that He revealed a revelation: ‘He is pleased with your humble ways’ (Tadhkirah p. 845)
Huzur said as the Pakistani Ahmadis have been in the community longer, it is their obligation to blend and absorb those who are new and to foster brotherhood and to look up to the model of the Ansars of Medina and the migrants of Mecca from early Islam who truly made great sacrifices for each other . Huzur said if we are to attract the world to us we have to abandon hatred and malice and have to look after each other. What does being active in religious expedition mean? There is no greater expedition than to bring the whole world under the banner of the Holy Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be on him). If we had mutual discord how could we ever do Tabligh? How would our tasks be blessed? Huzur said whether one is of Asian origin or is an African American or a white American, if one has not brought about a pure change in oneself and is not continually striving towards it, then we are straying away form our real objective. Huzur said a few days ago he was most pleased to see a family that came for mulaqat. Huzur said seeing them spontaneously stirred up emotions of glorification of Allah. The family constituted of Afrcian Americans, white Americans and they also had a Pakistani daughter-in-law. Huzur said this is the true picture of Ahmadiyyat and Islam because Ahmadiyyat has come to join hearts. The advent of the Promised Messiah (on whom be peace) took place to make man recognise the true God and to establish love among mankind. Huzur said if this is not the viewpoint then it is pointless to claim to be an adherent of Khilafat. It is up to the Pakistani and the African Ahmadis to close this gulf. Each one of us should have the words of the farewell sermon of the Holy Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be on him) in our view in which he enjoined that all men were equal and no race or creed had any superiority over another and the only preference was due to taqwa.
Huzur said the African American brothers and sisters should remember that if they consider that they are being discriminated against even then they should not think that they are less than anyone. If they have a connection with Allah, the Holy Prophet, the Promised Messiah and Khilafat, then no force on this earth can diminish them and no worldly power can take this station from them. They should change their minority into a majority and set high standards of taqwa for the Pakistanis. Complaining does not solve the problem; the problem will be solved by coming together. To the office-holders, Huzur said that Promised Messiah (on whom be peace) enjoined that one is ‘waited on’ only when one serves first. If an Ahmadi comes to the office-holders they should reassure him regardless of the person’s ethnic background. If they are busy they should make alternative time for the person and if they cannot give their time then they should excuse themselves from holding the office. Huzur said despite heavy engagements he makes time to listen to the grievances of people so that mutual love is fostered. Huzur said if the office-holders were staunch his task would be halved.
Another matter that concerned Huzur in the American society was the marriage break-up. Huzur said both parities tend to deceive each other, at times the man’s family oppresses the woman. Usually it is the men who are unfair, raising the matter of like or dislike after marriage. Huzur said this matter should be resolved before hand. Once marriage takes place then decency dictates that one is committed to it. Huzur said these matters are of great concern for the parents, for the Jama’at and for him. As far as the matter of preference is considered, Huzur said the benchmark should be faith. It is not that compatibility should not be considered, however, even in compatibility the main aspect should be of religion. Addressing the young women Huzur said they should try and excel in faith so that no one can allege that they are weak of faith and that is why it is not possible to continue. Huzur said making a connection with Allah also has its own blessings. Huzur said this is a significant problem all over the world but it is more prevalent in USA. He said he does not know whose fault it is initially but towards the ends usually it is the man and his family who are in the wrong. Where children are involved harassment is caused through emotional hurt although the Holy Qur’an makes very specific and clear commandments in this respect. At times the children are taken away form the mother and when Huzur has the matter investigated lies are written to him. Huzur said people can deceive him but no one can deceive Allah. Huzur said all this is borne out of a lack of taqwa and this is on the increase which concerns Huzur. Huzur said one office-holder told him to tell the young women that these are the types of young men we have in the Jama’at if they wanted to make do. Huzur said his message to the office-holders is to make un-biased decisions. Also this remark is a bad zani (negative conjecture, thinking ill) on the Ahmadi young men as well as a bad zani on Allah that He cannot reform. Huzur said he has observed great changes through prayers and counsel. He said how could he tell the young women that there was no solution to this that they should bear up or that he should declare about the young men that they are not worthy of reformation. Huzur said having observed the sincerity among the young men he cannot believe the comment the office-holder made to him. These young men are replete with sincerity. Huzur said the office-holders should not pass on the burden to Huzur and the young men and women should self-examine and whoever is in the wrong should reform themselves and try and create a beautiful society. Attention should be given to gentleness, good deeds and worship of God, which are all the building blocks of taqwa. If each Ahmadi was to understand this reality a revolutionary change could be brought about in the true sense of the word. However, it is essential to endeavour and strive. Good deeds need to be put in practice. Huzur said there is a long list of Tarbiyyati matters that he shall address in his forthcoming speeches.
Huzur prayed that may Allah enable the attendees of the Jalsa to bring about a pure change in themselves and may they be able to fulfil the objective which one pledges to after coming into the bai’at of the Promised Messiah (on whom be peace). May Allah enable each person to do this.