The Friday sermon was delivered at Masjid Bait ul Islam in Toronto, Canada.
After reciting Surah Al Fatihah, Huzoor (aba) said that after the occasion of Jalsa Salana, he generally gives his feedback on the event during the sermon. By the grace of Allah Almighty, the USA and Canada Jalsas, which were organized at an interval of one week from each other, were held in the past two weeks. Huzoor (aba) said that in these instances, he not only gets a chance to directly address Jamaat members, he also has the unique opportunity to gain first-hand information about specific issues, and the moral and spiritual standing of Jamaat during his meetings, which then assist him in imparting specific instructions to guide Jamaat members. In this context, the tour to USA and Canada was very beneficial and Huzoor (aba) said that he hoped and prayed that the Jamaat members, men and women also derived benefit from his visit. Besides this, meetings with certain prominent personalities and politicians also take the introduction of Jamaat Ahmadiyya to a wider circle. By the blessings of Allah, both countries are breaking ground in this field.
In any case, Huzoor (aba) said he wished to elaborate upon the topic of gratitude towards Allah Almighty in face of such successes that are granted to Jamaat. Each and every Ahmadi Muslim should be extremely grateful to God Almighty for enabling him/her to participate in the Jalsa Salana, which was such a blessed and auspicious occasion. However, the true objective of Jalsa Salana is to bring about a pure transformation within oneself, such that these transformations do not remain temporary but should become permanent, and this by implementing continuous efforts in our lives.
Huzoor (aba) reminded us that as a believer delves deeper into the topic of gratitude towards Allah, he becomes a recipient of even greater blessings from Allah Almighty. God Almighty, Who is True to His Word, promises His righteous servants:
And remember also the time when your Lord declared, ‘If you are grateful, I will, surely, bestow more favours on you.’ (14:8)
Therefore, Allah Almighty increases His favours upon those who are grateful to Him. For an Ahmadi Muslim, the biggest favour upon him/her is that God Almighty has enabled him to believe in the Imam and Mahdi of this age, who has come to guide the entire world. Every Ahmadi must make every endeavour to understand this topic of gratitude, so that he/she may become the recipient of God’s favours, and not become someone who is ungrateful to God, and thus become the recipient of God’s wrath.
By migrating to Western countries, Allah Almighty has indeed bestowed upon you worldly blessings as well. Many are better off than they were previously. Those people are surely gaining the displeasure of Allah Almighty who migrated to these countries on the basis of being persecuted due to their faith, sought asylum, and when their conditions ameliorated, they started criticizing Jamaat, to the extent that they distanced themselves completely. In any case, Jamaat does not care about such people. Indeed, the separation of such people from Jamaat is also a blessing of Allah Almighty; however, every Ahmadi must remember that his/her gratitude will only be meaningful if the intention and the objective is to gain the pleasure and nearness of Allah Almighty and to this end, he/she brings about a pure transformation within him/herself by following the model of our beloved Prophet Muhammad (saw). It is narrated in the traditions that the Holy Prophet (saw) would enumerate all of the day’s blessings of God before going to sleep at night and would thank Allah Almighty for all His favours and would praise the Lord, Who bestowed upon him His Grace and Beneficence and granted him the bounties of life. His feet would swell during his worship of The Divine. When he was asked why he bore such burden, he would respond by saying should he not be grateful to Allah for all His favours? We should thus follow his model.
God Almighty states:
Say, ‘If you love Allah, follow me: then will Allah love you and forgive you your faults. And Allah is Most Forgiving, Merciful.’ (3:32)
This is the way to attain God’s love, which in turn reaps further rewards. The Holy Prophet (saw) was not grateful for worldly blessings alone, he would express his gratitude for shelter against difficulties and trials, to the extent that he was thankful in the most trivial matters as well. We must also emulate his example and incorporate these standards of gratitude in our lives. God Almighty then increases His blessings upon these people, so it is in favour of man himself to be grateful to God. God Almighty says:
“And whosoever is grateful is grateful for the good of his own soul; but whosoever is ungrateful, truly my Lord is Self- Sufficient, Generous.’” (27:41)
Huzoor (aba) said that gratitude should not only come in form of words or speech, but in practical actions as well, such that every part of a person’s body and organs should express this form of gratitude. What is gratitude? Gratitude is that a person’s entire existence should prostrate before God in humility and express his Love for Divine, to make efforts to gain that Love, to affirm that every blessing in his life is from God indeed, to declare, with words from the tongue, the praise and glory of The Lord, and to utilize His gifts such that they become a source of gaining God’s pleasure. Allah Almighty showers such servants with increased blessings and bounties.
Huzoor (aba) said that people tell him or write to him about how wonderful the Jalsa was and how much they enjoyed it. Huzoor (aba) said that the Jalsa can only be a beneficial experience if each and every participant and attendant comes forth with a greater focus towards being a grateful and obedient worshipper of Allah and strive with a greater zeal to absorb the Love of Allah. One may make a list of all the changes he wishes to bring about in himself and then make a firm pact to practically implement those changes in his life. Then he may make a list of the vices he wishes to stay away from and make a firm pact to shun those wrongdoings from his life. These efforts should be made wholeheartedly, with all God-given faculties and abilities. Then he must praise the Lord and pledge never to misuse the blessings that God has bestowed on him. If God has granted you prosperity, then use it to gain the nearness of Allah rather than for wrong purposes.
By the grace of Allah, there are many members in USA who have been endowed with the luxuries of life. Many among them spend generously in the way of God’s work. May Allah bless them, Ameen. They should always remember the favours of God on them and be ever grateful to His Mercy. Financial sacrifice is not sufficient in itself, it must be accompanied by worship and gratitude to Allah Almighty. True gratitude can only come with true worship. In Canada, people are not as affluent financially, but the standards of financial sacrifice are high. Huzoor (aba) said however, there is a dire need to raise the standards of worship and rectify certain moral weaknesses that have come in his observation. Whether Ahmadis live in USA or Canada or anywhere else in the world for that matter, the true expression of gratitude will only happen when they bring about a complete transformation in their lives. This can only happen when they implement the teachings of the Holy Quran and fulfil their pledge with the Promised Messiah (as) by following the conditions of bai’at. May Allah Almighty enable every Ahmadi to achieve these standards of gratitude to The Divine, Ameen.
Try to analyse yourself, examine your situation, look closely at your household and assess how you can improve the standards of gratitude towards Allah. If the husband is not fulfilling his obligations towards his wife, he is not being grateful to Allah despite his other pious acts. God has rewarded him with a wife and children, therefore it is his responsibility to look after her, and by fulfilling his responsibility he is expressing his gratitude to Allah. He must remember that this is not a worldly responsibility but a God-given responsibility. Similarly, if the wife is not fulfilling her obligations towards her husband, then she is negating the expression of gratitude to Allah. And this negation shall exclude her from amongst those who are the beloved of God. Therefore every individual and every household needs to assess the situation. The day that we start practicing what we preach at every level and make it a source of Allah’s pleasure, we shall truly have implemented the profoundly significant expression of gratitude to Allah Almighty and the infinite bounties and favours of Allah shall descend continuously, in worldly and spiritual context. One must not desire the worldly luxuries; instead, it is the duty of every Ahmadi to desire favours of Allah in order to progress spiritually as well.
Huzoor (aba) then moved on to the topic of expression of gratitude to Allah that concerns him. He (aba) said that firstly, he would like to thank Allah Almighty for the fact that He has granted the Promised Messiah (as) with such a Jamaat that is extremely loyal to the Nizam-e-Khilafat. The Promised Messiah (as) had exclaimed amazement at the devotion and loyalty that was expressed by the members of Jamaat at his time as well. This extraordinary expression of devotion of loyalty, that is spread over a period of almost one-hundred-plus years, is still illuminating its lustre. Never let this devotion and loyalty die among yourselves and among the generations to follow. This expression of loyalty should be a source of gratitude for Jamaat members also, so that this bond with Khilafat remains strong generation after generation. No matter which part of the world one goes to, the bond and love and loyalty with Khilafat remains constant everywhere. Huzoor (aba) said that he witnessed this expression of extreme love and devotion in the USA and is witnessing it here in Canada as well, from children and adults alike, from men and women alike, from the youth and elderly alike. It is common perception that people in USA are materialistic, but Huzoor (aba) said that the devotion with which the Jamaat members served over the course of his two weeks stay there is exemplary, so much so that those who were on duty stayed with Huzoor (aba) throughout, did not care about their work or business. There were some who left their new jobs because they were not eligible for any time off, so that they could be in company of Huzoor (aba). May Allah make ease for all these Jamaat members and reward them for their love and devotion, Ameen. Huzoor (aba) thanked all the volunteers and participants of Jalsa Salana USA and Canada who fulfilled their duties with a sense of extreme responsibility. We should pray for these volunteers that may Allah Almighty grant them a sense of contentment such that they find even more satisfaction in the service of their faith, Ameen.
Huzoor (aba) said that he visited several cities in USA, and all Jamaat members, whether they were the original settlers or new migrants, all expressed their love and devotion. However, Huzoor (aba) again reminded all the Jamaat members that this expression of devotion can only be meaningful if these Jamaat members prostrate towards Allah in complete submission and praise Him for His favours bestowed on them. The culmination of this topic of gratitude towards Allah is that the Khalifatul Massih and the Jamaat members become true worshippers of Allah and become grateful to Him as it behoves to do so.
In USA, Huzoor (aba) noted the interest with which the youth have taken it upon themselves to take the message of Islam Ahmadiyyat to the masses and made very good contacts outside Jamaat is commendable. However, always remember that these contacts should not be made to gain any worldly objectives, but make these acquaintances so that the true and beautiful picture of Islam can be presented to the world and to gather the world under the flag of the Holy Prophet of Islam (saw), InshaAllah. Huzoor (aba) said that a journalist from CNN asked Huzoor (aba) about the possibility of spread of Islam in USA. Huzoor (aba) responded by saying that the true picture of Islam today is only presented by Jamaat Ahmadiyya, and the possibility of its spread does not only exist in the USA but in the entire world, and this not by force, but by impressing the hearts of the masses. Therefore, our youth, men and women, who express their love and devotion to Khilafat, should remember that our objectives are not worldly, but everything we say or do should be intended for the victory of Islam. This will be achieved only when we turn and submit our complete faith in God Almighty. On the whole, the USA tour was a grand success. May the fruitful results of the tour continue to manifest even after the tour is over. Huzoor (aba) said that in certain places, new mosques and centres were also inaugurated, which demonstrates the effort and focus of USA Jamaat towards construction of mosques. This effort should be continued. Another thing Huzoor (aba) pointed out that nations that progress do not have their eye on their accomplishments and achievements alone but they assess the weaknesses and make every effort to improve on them, as this is very important. This is the way to seek guidance, record the post event notes which document all the strengths and weakness of the organizational aspects of the event. This will allow the event to improve the following year. For example, one such weakness that Huzoor (aba) diverted the attention of Jamaat USA at Jamaat level and at individual level to make arrangements in case of an economic breakdown or a war-like situation. In fact, USA experiences frequent natural disasters, such as hurricanes, etc. Therefore, wherever mosques and centres are built, long-term provisions for water and electricity must be made because without these, life is not sustainable these days. Huzoor (aba) gave an example of how a hurricane caused electricity blackouts in the vicinity of Masjid Bait-ur-Rehman during his tour (he was in Harrisburg at the time) and there was no back-up system in place to overcome this shortage. Huzoor (aba) suggested the prearrangement of generators that can quickly provide electricity, and water should also be made available.
Turning his attention towards the Canada Jalsa, Huzoor (aba) again reminded all Jamaat members, not only in Canada, but across the globe, to be grateful to Allah Almighty and strengthen this bond. Secondly, the expression of love and devotion from Jamaat members are manifest indeed. One of Huzoor (aba)’s relative who had arrived from Pakistan commented that the Canada Jamaat members have outdone by a far cry the US Jamaat members in their expression of devotion on the reception of Huzoor (aba). Canada Jamaat is larger in number and is blessed with a unique atmosphere and ambience in the Peace village, with a mosque nearby. But to truly benefit from this unique combination of elements, one must put forth the topic of gratitude before him. You have been given this opportunity to live as a community, with a mosque at your doorstep. Try to fill the mosque; that is what will beautify it. The elderly, retired members probably come for all five daily prayers, but the true objective will be fulfilled when the youth and adults alike will understand the importance of worship and flock to the mosque in grand numbers, and will establish the Jamaat traditions, when the young girls and women will look after their honour and safeguard their chastity, when both young men and women will recognize their own values, and will not be pulled by the immoral values of the society that surrounds us. True objective cannot be attained by merely raising slogans on the street, or reciting a few couplets here and there.
The local residents, including Mayor of the City of Vaughan (where the masjid is located), are generally very impressed by the Jamaat and tell Huzoor (aba) how proud he must be to have such membership. They also concede that Ahmadis are law-abiding citizens. This is a worldly view; but we must assess our condition in view of the Quranic teachings explained by the Promised Messiah (as) in such depth. Our moral and spiritual standards are not founded on worldly regulations but those of God. Thus, we must implement Quranic teachings in our lives.
Do not look towards the earth, you should aim to see high in the sky and when this happens, then we can become grateful to Allah, that is also when your slogans and all deeds will reap the rewards of gaining the pleasure of Allah. Huzoor (aba) said that he has received a number of letters from the youth about how they have felt an inner transformation. Some girls have adopted the hijab/coat, others have written about their other changes. This is the intention that Allah will accept, and may He enable all these youngsters to become the best possible Ahmadis. This again takes us to the topic of gratitude because it is God alone Who can bring about a change within a person, therefore all those who have experienced these transformations should make them permanent, seek God’s help and guidance. Households should become safe havens where love and trust and truthfulness can flourish. If the marriages have taken place against the will of the man and the woman, then fulfil that relationship with an open heart, otherwise, let your parents know before the marriage takes place that you are not interested. The foundation of any marriage is righteousness and faith. When boys ask for a religious girl, then the boy needs to be religious as well. Such a union will yield many more households which will be reminiscent of Paradise. Do not let your eyes be squinted before all this worldly comfort. Do not be overwhelmed or overawed by the lustre of the society you live in. Do not fill your homes or hearts with discontentment. Worldly prosperity is another reason to be grateful to Allah Almighty, always remember your heritage and your past, and then try to assess the favours of God on you, which will lead you to thanksgiving. Make every effort to abolish the differences and resolve conflicts between relatives and friends, as this will cause the favours of Allah to descend on you. When I leave my house in this neighbourhood, many children raise slogans and say salam, which resonates in the atmosphere and makes it appear as Paradise. This salam should not be a superficial one, but one that reverberates through the core of the Jamaat and establishes peace here in this world and paves the way for a good future in the hereafter as well. Do not let this passion die. Strive to attain this true essence of spirituality. This will become apparent when our actions will gain the nearness of God Almighty. Every Ahmadi must understand his or her responsibility in this regard.
Huzoor (aba) instructed the organizers to enumerate the weaknesses in the red book and try to find solutions to these weaknesses when making arrangements for next year’s Jalsa. Huzoor (aba) has received certain letters filled with complaints, most specifically related to audio arrangements. Huzoor (aba) recommended a thorough investigation as to why this technical difficulty arises every year. His own observation is that perhaps certain organizational departments are not cooperating and coordinating one with the other. If this is true, then things are bound to fall apart. Therefore organizers should assess their intentions and work unitedly. Ameer Sahib should also keep a close eye and do not trust anyone without accountability. Huzoor (aba) suggested that perhaps, due to lack of discipline, a common Jalsa should be held in USA specifically in the year that Huzoor (aba) plans a visit. In any case, the members of Jamaat Canada express a sincere devotion to Huzoor (aba) and therefore he thinks that he should give another chance to the organizers to prove that they can improve the arrangements. Office-bearers who have worldly intentions or motives need to assess themselves, no one needs to tell them what is wrong. Remember it is the noble intention that will meet with success. Anything else will lead us away from the nearness of Allah, and God forbid incur His wrath instead. To the younger generation, Huzoor (aba) advises that they should keep a close eye on their positive and good actions, and to ignore their weaknesses. Canada Jamaat has established good contacts, many of whom Huzoor (aba) has met. Every Ahmadi should keep in mind that his / her action or words should always have the purpose of propagation of Islam Ahmadiyyat as a motive.
In the end, Huzoor (aba) once again touched upon the topic of gratitude, saying that in a way, the lighting of the households, the atmosphere around the mosque area, the spirit of volunteerism are all aspects of gratefulness, but these are temporary. However this gratefulness needs to be permanent and each Ahmadi must remain always ready to say “labaik” to the instructions of Huzoor (aba). Do not raise concerns such as the difficulties met in face of western norms and traditions. If the intention is true, then nothing can impede the progress. Nations that progress do not look at the difficulties they encounter but focus on their objectives and implementation of those objectives. This is what will help us bring about a revolution in this world. Huzoor (aba) prayed for the members of the jamaat in the end.