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Merits of hospitality and Jalsa Salana UK

Summary of Friday Sermon

delivered by the Head of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community

July 20th, 2007

NOTE: Alislam Team takes full responsibility for any errors or miscommunication in this Synopsis of the Friday Sermon

In light of the Jalsa Salana UK starting from next Friday, Huzur gave a discourse on merits of hospitality in his Friday Sermon today.

Huzur said with the seat of Khilafat in Britain for the past 24 years, the UK Jalsa Salana has taken on the status of the International Jalsa.

Huzur said Hadhrat Khalifa tul Masih IV (may Allah have mercy on him) worked extremely hard to personally train the UK Jama’at in the traditional ways of preparing and organising a Jalsa and along with taking personal interest in the matter he consulted those in Rabwah who were well-versed and extremely experienced in Jalsa organisation. Huzur said in his opinion the UK Jama’at is now sufficiently trained to organise the Jalsa well and without any sense of trepidation or organisational blip.

Huzur added that he sometimes feels concerned about the organisational aspect of holding a Jalsa in Pakistan. When InshaAllah the situation will improve there, we will be able to hold Jalsa. Those who used to serve at the time of the last Jalsa held in 1983 would now be getting old and some would have departed from this world whereas the next generation would be completely inexperienced. However, Huzur said he is nevertheless heartened by the way Allah’s grace is showered on the community of the Promised Messiah and indeed by the sense of absolute devotion of the Ahmadi that Allah would indeed facilitate the organisation of a Jalsa there.

Huzur said today’s sermon would focus, as it is traditional before Jalsa, on aspects of Jalsa for the volunteer workers. He said men, women, the elderly, girls and boys in the UK Jama’at now understand the tasks regarding Jalsa very well and understand their duties. However, as reminding is enjoined so that any deficiency may be redressed, it also provides an opportunity for the blessed model of the Holy Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be on him) to be reiterated as well as the examples of his true and ardent devotee, the Promised Messiah (on whom be peace) to come to the fore.

Huzur said the significance of hospitality in Islam is great, he cited verse 70 of Surah Hud (11:70) and said that the essence of hospitality is that when guests arrive there should be no sense of frustration, rather whatever best one can arrange should be offered to the guests. Huzur said this verse does not in any way suggest that the food prepared for guests should be lavish. The verse speaks of a time when people kept goats and sheep and this was the source of readily available food.

The true Islamic civility as regards hospitality is to serve the guests with cheerfulness. All Muslims should imbibe this civility and Ahmadis should pay particular attention to it, specifically towards those who will be arriving as guests of the Messiah. We should be ever mindful that the people arriving for Jalsa are most dear to us, if each person serves with this fervour; the pleasure derived would be unique.

Huzur said he had met a few Jalsa guests who have travelled out of Pakistan for the first time, who have no relatives here and have travelled exclusively for the Jalsa and to meet the Khalifa of the time. These are simple people from rural backgrounds and will have difficulty with language etc. However, they are most sincere people and all stops should be pulled in serving them.

Huzur cited a few Ahadith to elucidate the concept of hospitality. Indeed, the Holy Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be on him) said that hospitality was a symptom of faith. Huzur said this notion was not limited to one’s near and dear ones, rather each guest, regardless of religion, was served well and taken care of. The Holy Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be on him) also had guests who stayed for longer duration, people who took blessings from his hospitality for days. However, such instances were without formality and whatever was available was served and offered to them. Huzur explained that after the victory of Mecca when notable delegations would come to meet with the Holy Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be on him) he would allocate their board and lodging among his Companions and would later ask if the guests had had satisfactory stay. Huzur said when a guest would arrive he would first inquire from his own household if there were provisions for the guests, if not, then he would inquire his Companions as to who would take the responsibility.

Citing a few other examples of the lofty sense of hospitality of the Companions of the Holy Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be on him) despite their own meagre means, Huzur quoted verse 10 of Surah Al Hashr (59:10) which was revealed at the time of one such instance.

Referring back to the Jalsa guests Huzur said these are guests who are coming to partake of spiritual food, a beneficence which the worldly governments are denying them, so, in order to meet this need these people take on financial hardship. They have neither materialistic advantage nor any worldly gain on mind, some do not have anyone to meet up on this end, some, Huzur said tell him that they have been trying for a visitor’s visa for years which they have eventually got. When they meet Huzur they are extremely emotional and display extraordinary sincerity and devotion.

Huzur said the volunteer workers at Jalsa should be pleased that Allah is granting them an opportunity to earn reward. Guest should be served regardless of their appearance or social status, rather the sincerity with which they have travelled for Jalsa, should be kept in view.

Huzur also related a few incidents from the life of the Promised Messiah (on whom be peace) illustrating his supreme sense of hospitality. Huzur said each volunteer worker at Jalsa should serve the guests with a sense of honouring his/her obligation of hospitality and without any care to their own inconvenience, because, Huzur said in order to honour rights one has to forgo convenience.

Huzur said the excellent examples of the Holy Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be on him) and those of the Promised Messiah (on whom be peace) are there so that we may endeavour to ever keep them alive. It is indeed Allah’s grace on us that He has enabled us to be the recipient of the blessings that He has decreed for the service of such guests. Therefore each and every volunteer worker should demonstrate supreme courtesy to each guest that they come across in the course of their duty. Certainly, Huzur said sometimes misunderstanding may lead the guests to be unfair. However the volunteer workers should maintain fortitude.

Huzur explained that some guests may unintentionally misuse some facilities as they are not used to them. For example the cleaning of toilets etc. should be handled by the volunteers, rather than complain that the guests have made a mess. Huzur said we have been left the model of the Holy Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be on him) who washed soiled bedding - that was left by a guest who was a non-Muslim - himself because he said it had been left by his guest.

In short, the fundamentals for each volunteer worker are patience, fortitude and courtesy in addition to the most important aspect of prayer (dua) because without dua we cannot accomplish anything. Huzur also counselled not to miss any Salat during duty. Huzur prayed that may Allah enable everyone to do their duties with affability and may the guests be pleased with the workers and the workers be pleased with the guests.

Huzur said there is concern over the current rainy weather as the ground at Hadiqa tul Mahdi is soft. Huzur explained that today his delay at arriving for Jummah was also caused by rainfall which in turn had caused traffic chaos.

Huzur also appealed for prayers for Pakistan where the situation is deteriorating each day, hundreds have been killed, Muslim is killing Muslim, despite the mention in Hadith that a Muslim who kills a Muslim does not remain a Muslim. May Allah give them some sense and may He save the country. When internal dissension occurs the outsiders take advantage of the situation. May Allah protect the country in every way and may Allah give sense to those who are preparing their own ruin.