Friday Sermon: "Vie with one another in good", and Tehrik-e-Jadid New Year

November 9th, 2012

Hadhrat Mirza Masroor Ahmad, Khalifatul Massih V delivered the Friday sermon ( Nov 9th 2012) from Masjid Bait-ul-Futuh, UK. After the recitation of Surah Al Fatihah, Hadhrat Khalifatul Masih V recited the following Quranic verse:

“And every one has a goal which dominates him; vie, then, with one another in good works. Wherever you will be, Allah will bring you all together. Surely, Allah has the power to do all that He wills.” (2:149)

In this verse, Allah Almighty has emphasized on a commandment for all believers, which is absolutely essential for the progress of every individual in gaining nearness to God and makes a Muslim a true Muslim. The same commandment is also absolutely necessary for the communal progress of a Jama’at. This commandment relates to the goal that is set out in the verse i.e. Vie with one another in good deeds. Every human being on this planet has a goal, and he continues to make every effort to achieve it. This is true even for those who have ill intentions of causing harm to others, although the results of their objectives yield nothing but evil consequences, for example, a thief spends most of his day planning his thefts, etc. Many others make terrorism and barbarism their goal, for which they spend money, time and many other resources. They brainwash innocent children over long periods of time and use them for the vain purpose of killing innocent people through suicide attacks, etc. Unfortunately, most of these people call themselves Muslims and commit these heinous crimes against humanity in the name of religion and cause conflict and corruption in the world, giving a bad name to the beautiful teachings of Islam. Islam on the contrary teaches nothing but spreading goodness and sets the goal to a high standard of vying with one another in good deeds.

The word “wajhatun”, which is the root word for “goal” used in this verse recited at the onset of the sermon means direction, course, effort, paths, ways, means to attain an objective. Not only does a Momin direct himself on the course that is set forth by God Almighty, he must choose the right path in that direction in order to attain that objective which is to progress in the path of goodness. What that means is that one must set himself upon that path towards those good deeds, implement them and progress in them and at the same time, he must also be wary of those companions who are left behind due to their weaknesses and make every effort to ensure their progress as well. This is the only way to safeguard that the community as a whole will move forward and progress.

The Holy Prophet (saw) was sent as a mercy for all of mankind. The Jamaat that was founded by the most loyal and devoted servants of the Holy Prophet (saw) is associated with this principle which entails the fulfilment of obligations towards The Creator through worship and includes the responsibilities towards our fellow human beings through service to mankind. Service to mankind can be achieved by performing righteous acts and propagating compassion, not by committing acts of terrorism such as suicide bombings and use of other weaponry.

In this day and age, it is only Jamaat Ahmadiyya that is striving to spread peace and righteousness in its true essence, in many ways, such as propagating the beautiful and peaceful teachings of Islam, proliferating the message of Holy Quran by publishing and translating in various languages of the world, by teaching the excellent moral values, by giving the message of love to the world, by coming to the aid of those who are ill i.e. by building hospitals and clinics, and by providing education to those under privileged and remote areas of the world where access to schools is non-existent. The biggest service to humanity of course is by bringing masses under the banner of the Holy Prophet of Islam (saw). Keeping the above in mind, it can be assessed that the mission set forth for Jamaat Ahmadiyya is not an ordinary one and the pledge an Ahmadi performs at the hands of the Imam is not an ordinary pledge. To fulfil it, we must make our objective the same as one set out by God Almighty i.e. to tread the paths set forth to achieve the nearness and pleasure of God. Beyond doubt, Satan will attempt to attack us and set obstacles in the pathway, but the prayer emanated from the heart: “Guide us to the right path - The path of those on whom Thou hast bestowed Thy blessings” [1:6-7] will be the antidote to these Satanic assaults, Inshaallah.

Therefore, every man, woman, child, young and old must strive towards this goal of gaining nearness to Allah Almighty by doing good deeds as elaborated. One of these ways listed in the Holy Quran is to spend in the way of Allah i.e. to make financial sacrifices which becomes the means to propagate Islam and to serve mankind.

The annals of the 125-year-long history of Jamaat Ahmadiyya is a witness that members of this community have made colossal financial sacrifices and this has become a distinctive feature of this Jamaat. Those who do not belong to this community are amazed at this aspect and that is only because they cannot fathom the true spirit which is inculcated by God’s commandment of vying with one another in good deeds. The Jamaat Ahmadiyya upholds this commandment by making not only financial sacrifices, but sacrifices of one’s life, time, honour and in many other ways. No government and no enemy can stop the progress of the Jamaat until this spirit of sacrifice is maintained by members of this community, Inshaallah. I am amazed at those members of the Jamaat, who have grasped the deep philosophy encapsulated in this commandment and make financial sacrifices of the highest standard year after year with a demonstration of great steadfastness and persistence. Every year new converts, and old Ahmadis, members from all economic levels (poor, mediocre, rich), all members make financial sacrifice with great zeal and loyalty. Wherever there is a weakness, it is due to the people who are given the responsibility of reminding the members about these obligations rather than a lack of devotion or loyalty. The majority of the Jamaat members belong to the underprivileged stratum of income earners, therefore the large party of those who make financial sacrifices also belong to the same group, and they make these sacrifices by giving up their personal desires and instead, contributing to these financial schemes. The more affluent Ahmadis also make the sacrifices, but in comparison their sacrifice does not affect their lives in the same proportion.

In many Western countries, Ahmadi members are living a very comfortable life than what they were living in their homelands. It is therefore a matter of great responsibility that they should analyse whether there is any progress in their sacrifice from one year to the next. If not, then it is a dilemma of great proportion that should be a cause for reflection.

There are many financial schemes in the Jamaat system, some of which are fixed, but others are implement as required in order to complete certain projects at a local or national level (e.g. construction of mosques, etc.). Many Jamaat members participate in these schemes also. It should however be borne in mind that the Tehrik-e-Jadid and Waqf-e-Jadid are solely international schemes which are not left to the discretion of the local or national Jamaat. In some cases, where collections under these schemes are re-distributed locally or nationally, it is done so with the approval of international headquarters ( Markaz) only.

Sometimes, questions arise, although at a very minimal level, as to why must I participate in these international schemes, when the funds generated will not be spent at local level. Instead, I will participate in the financial schemes that will favour the local projects. Such questions should not arise in the first place because any financial sacrifice, big or small, is made only for one objective and that is to gain the pleasure of God Almighty. Secondly, international headquarters has considerable expenses, including but not limited to overseeing projects in underprivileged countries across the globe (Africa, Asia, Europe, etc.), sponsoring the education of talented students, and many others. Thirdly, the true spirit and essence of the Quranic verse recited at the onset of the sermon is that the weak members of the Jamaat must also be given the opportunity to progress and the privileged members must make certain sacrifices to empower these weak members. The same Quranic verse goes on to say: “Wherever you will be, Allah will bring you all together.” This means that when everyone shall be called upon as a group, those who displayed lassitude and criticized the system and remain entangled in the web of these useless questions will be brought to accountability. Therefore such questions are against the spirit of Jamaat teachings.

Here is how some funds are spent. In Africa, many mosques and clinics along with radio stations are being constructed. Mosques in Ireland, Valencia (Spain), Kampala (Uganda) and Ivory Coast are being constructed with partial or complete fundings provided by Headquarters (Markaz). The expenses of the Mubalagheen (Jamaat missionaries) are also covered by Markaz. Many mosques and mission houses in other parts of the world, such as India, Bangladesh, Philippines, Nepal, Guatemala, Marshall Islands, etc. are also funded by this scheme. Similarly, the education of about 4500 talented students, including 350 those who are studying at a higher level (post-graduation), is also sponsored by Markaz. Projects such as providing water, electricity, radio stations are also implemented by Markaz grants. All these projects are done for the progress of Jamaat Ahmadiyya and to demonstrate to the world the true teachings of Islam by providing these services to mankind.

All those participants who make financial sacrifices but are not in the forefront of providing these services to humanity also become part of the bigger picture and are also part of reaping the rewards from God Almighty. It should be noted that local Jamaats (in underprivileged countries) must not make the assumption that all such projects are funded by the headquarters; it is highly commendable that many of the local projects are indeed funded by the financial contributions of local Jamaat members.

I will narrate some incidents of great financial sacrifices members of Jamaat have made in way of schemes such as Tehrik-e-Jadid. A lady from Ghana by the name of Fatima Daood Sahiba purchased a piece of land and provided funds for the construction of a Mosque with a capacity of 300 worshippers. In the city of Accra, in a village by the name of Lamnaara, many people accepted Ahmadiyyat from in and around that region. Six new mosques were planned for construction, of which four have already been built and two are still under construction. Funds for these mosques were also collected by the financial contributions of the new Ahmadi members. A lady, by the name of Sadiqa Sahiba provided funds for one of these mosques, with a capacity of 150 worshippers, and she had also funded the construction of another mosque earlier, in Accra. The Mubalagh in Ghana, Ahmad Gibraeel Sahib (who incidentally is sick and requires earnest prayers for his recovery) wrote that a new mosque is under construction and 50% of the funds required are being contributed by one member Kaba Jan Sahib alone, who is a Judge in the high Court. Ameer Sahib of France also wrote about an incident while on a trip to Marakesh. He delivered a speech on the importance of Tehrik-e-Jadid. Many of the local members are new converts, with a high level of dedication to Jamaat and love for Khilafat. A few days after the speech, one member presented a large amount of funds to the local Sadr sahib, explaining to him that this was the amount that he owed in terms of donations (Chandas) ever since he converted to Ahmadiyyat. Since he was not familiar with the concept of financial sacrifice as explained by the Promised Messiah (as) earlier, he had not paid, but now that he had learned about it, he was roused with the passion to participate in financial contributions. Bhatti Sahib from Niger writes that in October 2011, he went on a preaching mission to a village where he presented a video that spoke about Jalsa programs, construction of mosques, the advent of Imam Mahdi and financial schemes. One of the attendees stood up, spoke to his local people and walked out of the room, leaving the Ahmadi preacher worried. However, he returned a few moments later, and presented a large amount of money saying that now that he has come to know of this system of financial schemes, he has convinced all attendees to participate and then they all signed the bai’at forms also. Ameer Sahib of Uganda writes that in September 2011, during a national amila meeting, the 3-year construction plan projected for Sita land, a 17 acre piece of property about 9 miles from Kampala, was presented which would serve as site for Jalsa events. A large amount of funds was required to complete this project. 83 million shillings (local currency) were raised from among the national amila members alone present at the meeting, which would then be used for funding the project. These are only a few examples of the many consistent and substantial sacrifices that are made by Jamaat members around the world. Ahmadi members living in the affluent countries of the world must therefore not assume that their financial contributions are the sole source of funding for projects in other countries of the world, or that underprivileged countries are dependent on their sponsorship for 100% of these projects.

I now announce the new year for Tehrik-e-Jadid, which is the 79th year of this blessed scheme. The total funds raised are £7,200,700, which is £584,700 more than the total funds raised as compared to last year. Pakistan is #1 in making financial sacrifices in this scheme. Apart from Pakistan, the following countries have attained maximum collections: USA, Germany, Britain, Canada, India, Indonesia, a country of the Middle East, Australia, Switzerland and Beligum and Ghana are tied.

In per capita contributions, a country from Middle East tops the list with a contribution of approximately £157 per person, followed by USA (£118 per person), Switzerland, Japan, UK, France, Canada, Norway, Germany, and then Australia.

The number of contributors has also increases by 180,000 to a grand total of 911,000 in comparison to last year.

In Africa, the following countries made the highest contributions: Ghana, Nigeria, Mauritius, Burkina Faso, Kenya, Benin, Uganda, Tanzania, Gambia and Sierra Leone. In terms of increase in number of participants, the following countries top the list: Nigeria, Niger, Benin, Burkina Faso, Sierra Leone. Nigeria has come first according to the number of new participants in the scheme; because of this extra-ordinary rise in the number of new participants, Nigeria is now only second to Pakistan in terms of numbers of participants. Ghana must try to make progress in this sphere.

In Daftar Awal, there are 5927 participants, of whom 285 are alive.

In Pakistan, the top contributing cities are Lahore, Rabwah and Karachi, following by Rawalpindi, Islamabad, Sialkot, Quetta, Sargodha, Faisalabad, Mirpur Khas, Nawabshah, Peshawar and Bahawalpur. At the district level, the following rank the top: Omarkot, Shaikhupura, Gujranwala, Badeen, Sangharh, Narowal, Bahawalnagar, Hyderabad, Rahimyar Khan, Mirpur (Azad Kashmir) and Khanewal.

In USA, the Jamaats that made the highest financial contributions are: LA Inland Empire, Columbus (Ohio), Silicon Valley, Detroit and Harrisburg.

In Germany, the top ranking Jamaat is Cologne

In UK the top ten Jama’ats were: Fazl Mosque, New Malden, West Hill, Worcester Park, Baitul Futuh, Raynes Park, Mosque West, Cheam, Manchester South and Birmingham Central. Among the regions in the UK, the first three were; London, Midlands and North East. Among small majalis, the first few were: Scunthorpe, Bromley, Lewisham, Bournemouth, Leamington Spa and Oxford.

In Canada the following Jama’ats were the first few: Calgary, Edmonton, Peace Village East, Surrey East, Peace Village Central, Woodbridge, Brampton, Saskatoon, Mississauga West, Vaughan North, Maple and Montreal East.

In India, the top Jamaats are Kerala, Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh, Jammu Kashmir, Bengal, Karnatak, Orissa, Punjab, Delhi and Uttar Pradesh. Financial sacrifices made at a local level were highest in the following Jamaats: Bambitor (Tamil Nadu), Kerala (Kerala), Calicut (Kerala), Hyderabad (Andhra Pradesh), Qadian, Kanali Town (Kerala), Calcutta, Mathatunag (Kerala), Chennai and Tamil Nadu.

Some incidents about Jamaat members who possess the fervour to progress in their financial sacrifices. An older lady from Farrafini, Gambia, came to the local mubalagh and asked him about who makes the highest financial contributions in that area. She was told that a local member by the name of Sambujan Sahib did. She then asked how much he contributes. She was told that he contributes 50 thousand dillasi. This lady, whose previous contributions were 1500 dilassi, pledged that although she does not have the resources, she will make her best effort to match or outdo this gentleman’s contributions.

A nau-mubain lady by the name of Wafa-ur-Rehman from Spain heard last year’s sermon on Tehrik-e-Jadid. She made a pledge of €500 and paid the amount outright. She was also informed of the other financial schemes in the Jamaat, but since she was a new convert, she was told there was no obligation and she could contribute as she thought convenient. At hearing this, she made a pledge to participate in each of the Jamaat financial schemes.

A member of Jamaat, who had arrived in Switzerland, sought to seek refuge, but his case was rejected. At about the same time, the new year of Tehrik-e-Jadid was announced. He had approximately 1000 Francs in his bank account, which he pledged towards this scheme right away, although he had saved that money for the lawyer’s fee. He prayed to God that his troubles be taken away. Soon afterwards, he was granted asylum, without the aid of any lawyer.

A new convert from Kyrgyzstan, was instructed about Tehrik-e-Jadid and he made a pledge of a large sum of money, but only after a lengthy discussion did he agree to reduce the amount, such was his intense desire to participate in this scheme of financial sacrifice.

A heart-warming story comes from Ireland, where a newly converted couple, who did not have children or were not expecting, had such a great desire that their children should be included in this scheme, that they contributed on behalf of a son and a daughter. Soon afterwards, they were blessed with the news of a child, and were told that they were having twins. The couple truly believes that is was their contribution in Tehrik-e-Jadid that they were blessed with two healthy children.

A young man from Kambitor, India wrote about his two faith-inspiring experiences. While his financial situation was stressed, he made enough profits in only one transaction that he was immediately able to fulfil his pledge towards Tehrik-e-Jadid. Secondly, a fire broke out in the warehouse where he had also stored his assets. However, even though the fire was intense and spread throughout the warehouse, his belongings were unharmed. The Muslims in that area held antagonist feelings towards the Ahmadis, but after this event, they started to respect him.

At another place in India, a lady who participated in a Jalsa where a speech about Tehrik-e-Jadid was presented, she complained that pledges were taken from the men, but not the women. She doubled her pledge in response to the speech as she felt that her initial pledge was not sufficient.

A lady from Andhra Pradesh, whose husband was in the hospital and whose daughter was about to be wedded, fulfilled her pledge by taking some funds from her daughter’s wedding with her daughter’s permission. Members of Jamaat who are in need should be taken care of.

Two young men, who owned a business together, pledged an amount of 10 thousand rupees towards Tehrik-e-Jadid. The following year, they increased their pledges to 110 thousand rupees and wrote a letter to Huzoor requesting prayers. Their business did not go very well, however, in one transaction, they made a profit of exactly 220 thousand rupees and were thus able to fulfil their pledges.

In Rajasthan, a lady earned her living by tending goats. When reminded of the Tehrik-e-Jadid scheme, she gave everything she had in her satchel.

Another lady was approached, and she asked her daughter to give 50 rupees towards this scheme. The daughter had 100 rupees, and wanted to give the whole amount. The mother tried to convince her to give only 50, but the daughter did not heed, and gave the entire amount.

May Allah Almighty bless all the participants who make great financial sacrifices, and enable the members living in affluent countries to uphold the spirit of sacrifice so that the propagation of Islam continues throughout the world. May the Muslim Ummah recognize the truth about the advent of Imam of this age and unite to form one brotherhood to establish peace in the world, Ameen.