Hudhur said the significance of hospitality in the sight of God is such that He states in the Qur’an: ‘And give thou to the … wayfarer’ (17:17) In the Qur’an we also read about Hadhrat Ibrahim (on whom be peace) presented a roasted calf to his guests and indeed the Holy Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be on him) said: ‘A person who believes in Allah and the Day of Judgement should honour his guests.’
Explaining, Hudhur said this signifies that honouring of guest is important for God and for the Day of Judgement. It is an indicator of belief and is an obligation. Another hadith relates that the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be on him) said: ‘Those who believe in God and the Day of Judgement should pay the rightful dues of a guest.’ When it was enquired what constituted rightful dues, he replied, ‘[stay of] a day and a night’. Hudhur explained that certainly the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be on him) has set limits of hospitality as three days. Stay of a day is the minimum. However, in some circumstances, the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be on him) was host to people for many days and entrusted other guests to his Companions. The fundamental point that he made regarding hospitality was that of complete respect and regard, stating that it was the right of a guest. Some of the limits set by him are also there to make a guest be mindful of his obligation. Hudhur will give a discourse with reference to this next Friday.
As it is customary for Hudhur to draw the attention of the duty-holders on the Friday before Jalsa, today Hudhur spoke on the trait of hospitality which is important as regards God and the Day of Judgement and is a right of a guest. The Quranic statement to give the wayfarer his due also puts the onus on us to adopt hospitality on a large scale. Not only during the Jalsa period but also in our family life, hospitality should be the distinction of an Ahmadi Muslim.
Today, with reference to hospitality at Jalsa, Hudhur advised each worker and each family playing host at home, to give rightful respect to guests. Hudhur said if God has given an ordinary traveller, a wayfarer so much right, then one travelling in the way of God would have much more rights. Jalsa Salana UK starts from next Friday and guests from far-off countries have started arriving. Some will stay within the accommodation provided by the Jama’at and others will stay with families. The duty of hospitality towards them should be given special significance and efforts should be made about it.
With the grace of God, wherever the Jama’at is increasing there is an extensive arrangement of Langar. The Langar arrangement in the UK is probably the largest after Rabwah. It is obvious that this extent is due to the presence of the Khalifa of the time. However, the biggest merit of this permanent Langar is that a large majority, if not all the people who work for it are volunteers. They have been voluntarily giving their time for the past many years for this. In Rabwah and Qadian, there is paid staff for this work. The UK Jama’at has accomplished the duty of a permanent Langar extremely well and continues to do so. They also undertake this task very well at Jalsa. Hudhur said he was mentioning all this by way of a reminder and also for the new-comers.
The hospitality at Jalsa always impresses the guests from outside, here in the UK as well as other countries. The host volunteers/workers should also bear this in mind in future. In a way each worker presents a model of Ahmadiyyat in practice and this is a great honour. There are other duties aside from Langar duty and they should be undertaken to the best of one’s ability and with a complete sense of responsibility. No matter what task one is entrusted with, it should be not be considered insignificant. The system will only operate properly if each and every duty is given importance. No guest should be inconvenienced due to inadequacy of any task.
Next Hudhur related some incidents from the Register of companions of the Promised Messiah (on whom be peace) to highlight the significance of hospitality.
Hadhrat Shaikh Asghar Ali sahib: He said that the Promised Messiah (on whom be peace) personally looked after his guests and also always drew Hafiz Hamid Ali sahib’s attention to it. He said that he arrived in Qadian in 1902 after a long journey via train and horse carriage in rainy weather. He and his friend were given very comfortable accommodation and served delicacies. The Promised Messiah (on whom be peace) personally inquired if they were inconvenienced in any way during their stay.
Hadhrat Manzur Ali sahib: He said that his father, who was one of the early Ahmadis related that once he and a group of seven others sat down for a meal with the Promised Messiah (on whom be peace) including Hadhrat Maulwi Nur ud din (may Allah be pleased with him). Both the dishes served were meat-based. Hudhur Aqdas repeatedly picked pieces of meat from his plate and gave them to other; Hadhart Maulwi Nur ud din also did the same. One of the guests asked how mangoes would fare after the meal. The narrator said the Promised Messiah (on whom be peace) said something in reply which he did not remember, he probably said he would get some mangoes. Just then a man arrived from somewhere and brought eight mangoes. The Promised Messiah (on whom be peace) cut the mangoes in slices and served them to the guests. He also offered the mango slices from his own share to others.
Hadhrat Fazal Ilahi sahib: He writes that he used to often travel to Qadian from Lahore. Many times the Promised Messiah (on whom be peace) invited him to his residence and personally served tea. Many a time he took meals with the Promised Messiah (on whom be peace) and on many occasions the Promised Messiah (on whom be peace) gave him food from his own plate. He relates one evening after Maghrib the Promised Messiah (on whom be peace) sat on the roof top of Masjid Mubarak. The moon of either the fourteenth or fifteenth night shone on the sky and Ilahi sahib saw a ray of luminosity exude from the face of the Promised Messiah (on whom be peace) and hit the moon.
Hadhrat Chiragh Din sahib: He relates that once at dinner at someone’s home the guests filled up the room and there was no space left for him to sit. The Promised Messiah (on whom be peace) lifted his knee and asked him to sit next to him and eat with him.
Hadhrat Zulfiqar Ali sahib: He relates that each time he visited Qadian he was served Pilao. He asked Hafiz Hamid Ali sahib why he was served Pilao at both the daily meals. He was told that when he had first arrived the Promised Messiah (on whom be peace) had instructed that he should be served Pilao. The Promised Messiah (on whom be peace) once had the cook of Zulfiqar Ali sahib make Biryani during a visit to Gurdaspur and as it was very well-made he had thought that they ate the dish often. Hence he instructed that Pilao should be made for him on his visits.
Hadhrat Badr Din sahib: He relates that once after Isha, he was out with his father that he saw the Promised Messiah (on whom be peace) with a bowl of milk and some bread asking if any guest was hungry. When he was assured that no guest was hungry, he took both of them along and went to check in the guest house. Everyone there had also eaten. Later, as they passed by a man in a shop told the Promised Messiah (on whom be peace) that he wanted to have milk and bread and the Promised Messiah (on whom be peace) handed the bowl to him.
Hadhrat Nur Ahmad Khan sahib: He relates that once he had the opportunity to go to Qadian during Jalsa Salana. Many others from his region travelled together. They arrived at Qadian late in the evening. Food was not served till late people were hungry and some complained. Someone suggested they bought some milk from the shops to ward off hunger. Many went to sleep hungry when suddenly some people emerged saying the Promised Messiah (on whom be peace) had received a revelation that the guests were hungry and they should be fed. As a result people were waking the guests up and serving them food.
Dr. Hashmat ullah Khan sahib: He relates that once during Jalsa he was to attend a meeting of Sadr Anjuman Ahmadiyya. Perhaps due to his eagerness and inexperience he waited at Masjid Mubarak for the meeting a little early. He had not eaten since morning but had stayed in the mosque after Maghrib and Isha, skipping his evening meal in order to be punctual. However, the meeting did not begin until late. By this time, Dr. sahib was extremely hungry and he remembered the intensity of the hunger pangs for a long time. Later, in his lodgings, someone brought him a piece of bread and he had only started to eat it when there was a loud knock on the door and someone said if there was a hungry guest there they should go and eat. His associates told him to go. Next morning Dr. sahib saw the Promised Messiah (on whom be peace) saying very passionately that he had received a revelation ‘O Prophet feed the hungry and the distressed’ [Tadhkirah p. 884] Dr. sahib then realised that the knock on the door late in the night was owing to this revelation.
Hadhrat Maulwi Ibrahim Baqapuri: He relates that the Promised Messiah (on whom be peace) said that all the guests should be given the same kind of food. He was told that some guests did not mind eating lentils as they did not eat them at home. The Promised Messiah (on whom be peace) replied that if the others were fed meat dishes, everyone should be and when lentils were served, they should be served to everyone.
Hadhrat Mufti Chiragh Din sahib: He relates that once the Promised Messiah (on whom be peace) had Pilao cooked for the visiting Jama’at from Kapoorthala but they had left Qadian. He asked for the food to be delivered to them by horse carriage at Batala train station. The carriage with food passed the guest en route and the food arrived at the station before they did. They were astonished to find out that food had been sent for them.
Hadhrat Abdul Aziz sahib: He relates that once they arrived at Qadian via train during winter. It was late, they were tired and went to sleep. After a short while he noticed that the Promised Messiah (on whom be peace) was quietly checking out the bedding of each person. If he felt someone’s bedding was not adequate, he would fetch a bed cloth from his bed and cover the person properly. He covered around seven people in this manner, fetching coverings from his own bed while everyone slept.
Hadhrat Malik Ghulam Hussein sahib: He relates that once a Maulwi sahib came for Jalsa and the Promised Messiah (on whom be peace) specifically instructed him to look after him properly and serve him suitable food as he was elderly.
Hadhrat Chaudhry Abdul Aziz sahib: He relates that he was a college student in Lahore when he went to Qadian for an overnight stay. When he prepared to leave in the morning, the Promised Messiah (on whom be peace) asked him to stay a while. When he decided to seek leave after lunch, the Promised Messiah (on whom be peace) told him that he should visit Qadian frequently and had some food packed for him to take.
Hadhrat Chaudhry Abdullah Khan sahib: He relates that once he went to Qadian. After Salat the Promised Messiah (on whom be peace) said as he had arrived just then he should have a meal. Chaudhry sahib replied it was not a meal time. The Promised Messiah (on whom be peace) smiled and said there was no fixed time for food, one should eat when one felt hungry. He sent for some food and thus Chaudhry sahib ate. He also relates that once people informed the Promised Messiah (on whom be peace) that a Pathan person did not eat if there was no meat dish served. It had rained heavily on the day and no slaughterhouse had opened and as a result there was no meat available. When the Promised Messiah (on whom be peace) was informed of this, he said ‘prepare some chicken for him’. At another time someone told the Promised Messiah (on whom be peace) that a Pathan person asked for Khithree and the Promised Messiah (on whom be peace) instructed that it should be cooked for him.
Hadhrat Chaudhry Abdul Raheem: He relates that once the Promised Messiah (on whom be peace) gave him Rupees 500 and said that he was entrusted with the Jalsa work but same food should be prepared for everyone. Later, Khawaja Kamaluddin asked Chaudhry sahib to prepare some rice but Chaudhry sahib replied to him that he had instructions to cook the same food for all and if he really wanted rice, he should seek approval first. Khawaja Kamaluddin was upset at this and remained upset with Chaudhry sahib. Hudhur explained here that while the Promised Messiah (on whom be peace) used to have special dishes cooked for people, at Jalsa everyone was served the same food.
Hadhrat Mian Abdul Aziz sahib Mughal: He relates that once Khawaja Kamaluddin put a dish on to cook late in evening. It had meat, ghee and turnips. When the Promised Messiah (on whom be peace) noticed the big pot he asked what it was. It was explained to him that it was something that would cook overnight. He said he did not like food cooked separately from the Langar. When night fell everyone went to sleep and when the flames under the pot went cold, a pack of dogs came, tumbled the pot over and ate most of the meat.
Hadhrat Malik Ghulam Hussein sahib: He relates that when Maulwi Abdul Rahman sahib came to visit from Afghanistan he met the Promised Messiah (on whom be peace) through Ghulam Hussein sahib. Initially after serving the guest food, Ghulam Hussein sahib informed the Promised Messiah (on whom be peace) that a guest had arrived from Kabul and wished to meet him. At first Hadhrat sahib said he would meet him at Salat but then said that he should be showed in. The Promised Messiah (on whom be peace) sat on a divan. Maulwi sahib had brought gift of fruits and nuts and the Promised Messiah (on whom be peace) said why he had taken so much trouble of carrying everything to which Maulwi sahib replied it was his pleasure to bring the gifts. The Promised Messiah (on whom be peace) asked him if he wished to have tea or a cool beverage. The guest declined saying he did not wish to inconvenience but the Promised Messiah (on whom be peace) asked Ghulam Hussein sahib to fetch some beverage. He went indoors to Hadhrat Amman Jan (may Allah be pleased with her) who personally prepared the beverage. He offered the guest a couple of glasses, whatever remained Ghulam Hussein sahib offered to the Promised Messiah (on whom be peace) but he said, ‘take it away’. Later he told Ghulam Hussein sahib that Maulwi sahib had come from far away and instructed him to serve Maulwi sahib Pilao with one meal every day.
Hadhrat Babu Abdul Aziz sahib: He relates that once a student came to Qadian to take Bai’at at the hand of the Promised Messiah (on whom be peace). After the Bai’at the Promised Messiah (on whom be peace) asked him to stay on. He fetched bedding for him with his own blessed hands and served him food. Before he departed, the Promised Messiah (on whom be peace) had some food packed for him. The student distributed the food to his family when he reached home. As a blessing of this his mother and brother also accepted Ahmadiyyat.
Hadhrat Munshi Zafar Ahmad sahib: He relates that the Promised Messiah (on whom be peace) would not sit with the door open, rather he always put the catch on the door. Soon Sahibzada Mian Mahmood would come saying, ‘father, undo the catch’ and he would open the door for his young son. He also relates how the Promised Messiah (on whom be peace) made him sit comfortably on a visit. He says he was thirsty and looked at some water pitchers but there was no drinking cup. The Promised Messiah (on whom be peace) sussed the situation and went downstairs to fetch some glasses. He then brought two bottles of beverages and said he had intended to serve those to his friends first and would drink afterward. Munshi sahib insisted that the Promised Messiah (on whom be peace) drank first, so he took one sip. Later, when Munshi sahib praised the beverage the Promised Messiah (on whom be peace) gave one of the two bottles to him to keep and asked him to give the other one to friends.
Hadhrat Mian Khairuddin sahib: He relates that once he went to visit the Promised Messiah (on whom be peace) when a lawyer was sitting in the mosque. The lawyer asked him if he wished to partake of blessed food. He then sent a message to the residence of the Promised Messiah (on whom be peace) who sent a plateful of rice with meat broth from which a little had been eaten. Khairuddin sahib and the lawyer shared the food.
Hadhrat Master Nazir Khan sahib: He relates that someone once told him that he and some friends went to Qadian. The Promised Messiah (on whom be peace) appointed a person to serve them food and told him to cook rice for them as they hailed from the hill districts and were used to eating rice.
Hudhur explained that this year the Jalsa administration has changed the name of the VIP section to ‘reserve’. Hudhur said food at Jalsa is the same for everyone except in instances where people are not used to what is cooked.
Hadhrat Shaikh Jan Muhammad sahib: He relates that once someone in Qadian said he had come to know that quails were cooked in the kitchen could he have a couple to eat. Jan Muhammad sahib inquired from the kitchen and was told the quails were cooked for some guest from Lahore. A short while later Hafiz Hamid Ali sahib brought a couple of quails in a plate and said that he had mentioned this to the Promised Messiah (on whom be peace) who had instructed to promptly serve quails to who had asked for them and advised that the next day everyone should be served quails.
Dr. Sultan Ali sahib: He relates that he went to Qadian in 1901 and arrived at Masjid Mubarak. Someone told the Promised Messiah (on whom be peace) that he had come from Africa. The Promised Messiah (on whom be peace) inquired about the situation in Africa and prayed especially for it and then instructed that his food and lodging should be taken care of.
Hadhrat Munshi Imam Din sahib: He relates that when his wife went to Qadian, she visited the Promised Messiah’s (on whom be peace) house at a time when he was taking his meal. She had her little child with her and the Promised Messiah (on whom be peace) took some food from his plate and gave it to her and asked her to feed the child.
Hadhrat Zameer Ali sahib: He relates that he used to go to the house of the Promised Messiah (on whom be peace) as a child. Once his right hand was injured as he went to the Promised Messiah’s (on whom be peace) room. He lovingly asked him to sit with him. When some carrot halwa was brought, first the Promised Messiah (on whom be peace) fed him a little and then said, ‘eat it with your left hand’.
Shaikh ZainulAbaideen sahib: He relates that special arrangements were made regarding food in the days of the Promised Messiah (on whom be peace). Hafiz Hamid Ali sahib said that once 4 huge cauldrons of rice were cooking, two of savoury and two of sweet rice. The Promised Messiah (on whom be peace) came by and asked for the lids to be lifted. He said he did not find the aroma of the sweet rice good and asked both the cauldrons to be discarded. He said if he did not like the smell of the food how could his guests like it.
Mian Allah Ditta sahib: He relates that when he went to Qadian for the Jalsa of 1906, the Promised Messiah (on whom be peace) sent portable stoves of coal for the guests to keep warm in the cold weather.
Hadhrat Mian Abdul Aziz sahib Mughal: He relates that once he arrived at Qadian late in the evening with twenty other people. There were only two and half pieces of bread left in the Langar and a little broth. The Promised Messiah (on whom be peace) sat on the roof top of Masjid Mubarak on a white sheet and others joined him. He distributed the 2.5 pieces of bread among everyone. Mughal sahib relates everyone ate to their fill.
Hadhrat Mian Muhammad Yasin sahib Ahmadi: He relates that in the very early days there would be a handful of guests, perhaps half a dozen. The Promised Messiah (on whom be peace) would serve them himself from a pan of rice.
Hadhrat Malik Ghulam Hussein sahib Mahajir: He relates that the Promised Messiah (on whom be peace) always advised him, ‘Ghulam Hussein, see to it that the guests are not inconvenienced in any way.’
Hudhur said this piece of advice is just as important today as it was for Ghulam Hussein sahib. We should pray that we serve the Jalsa guest in an excellent manner. It is not just serving food, every task is for the convenience of the guests.
Next Hudhur announced some funeral Prayers, the first one was a present funeral and the other two in absentia.
Shaikh Mubarak Ahmad sahib passed away on 10 July at the age of 90. He was a long-term resident of UK. During the era of Hadhrat Musleh Maud (may Allah be pleased with him) he had served as an assistant P.S. He also served as deputy Nazir Taleem in Pakistan. In the UK, he served in the Qadha Board . He had a very devotional relationship with Khilafat and used to regularly write to Hudhur in spite of his illness. His connection was most sincere and loyal and he was at the forefront of financial giving and was very keen at Tabligh activities. He leaves behind four daughters and two sons. May God enable them all to walk in the footsteps of their father.
Malik Mabroor shaheed was martyred in his chambers in Nawabshah Pakistan on 11 July. The assailant fired at him at close range and then fled. His brother was nearby; he gave chase and was also shot at but luckily escaped. Mabroor saheed was a lawyer and attempts had been made on his life before. He had a few one-sided enmities where people bore grudges against him for representing murder victims. In addition there was enmity borne out of his affiliation with the Jama’at which was dominant. Currently he was serving as the sadr of Nawabshah.
Razia Begum sahiba passed away in Rabwah on 25 June. She was the mother of our missionary sahib in Kazakhstan. He was a pious lady who was a devout worshipper and had a deep connection with Khilafat. She made her Wasiyyat at the age of 24. In spite of financial hardships she had complete faith that she would honour her Wasiyyat as indeed she did during her lifetime. She had endured a couple of severe accidents, including being hit by a train. Yet, she faced every difficulty with patience and steadfastness. May God elevate her status in Paradise.