Below is thetext of the address delivered by the head of the worldwide Ahmadiyya community Hazrat Mirza Masroor Ahmad – Khalifatul Masih V, on the occasion of Jalsa Salana in Fiji, April 2006.
An Ahmadi should be an exemplary Muslim. We should always have the excellent example of the Holy Prophet(sa) before us. And the command of Allah is:
Verily you have in the Prophet of Allah an excellent model, for him who fears Allah and the Last Day and who remembers Allah much. (Ch.33:V.22)
The Holy Prophet(sa) set excellent examples in his worship of Allah. He established high examples in honouring the rights and obligations that man owes to Allah and the rights that are due to other human beings. The standard of his worship existed before he became a prophet.
Carrying food for a few days, he used to retire to a cave and sit by himself, worshipping God. Nevertheless, his worship had not made him a recluse and cut him off from the world. He got married. He discharged the rights due to his wife and children. He looked after the rights of the poor. He took care of the rights of the neighbour. He looked after the relations and also discharged the rights due to the society.
This is why when he received the first revelation, he returned home full of fear. He mentioned to his wife, Hazrat Khadija, the incident that had shaken him to the core that day. He said that he did not know what God was going to do with him. This incident greatly agitated him.
In a state of shock he requested that he be wrapped in something warm. So after doing what she had been told, Hazrat Khadija asked him what had happened, and he related to her the whole incident.
He told her how an angel had squeezed him in a tight grip and asked him to read the following words:
Recite thou in the name of thy Lord Who created man… (Ch.96:V.2)
Hazrat Khadija replied: ‘God has not sent you that He should then give you up. Be not afraid because you are kind and considerate to your relations, help the poor and the forlorn and bear their burdens. You are restoring the virtues that had disappeared from our country. You treat guests with honour and help those who are in distress.’
So whereas he was already worshipping God and abhorred associating partners with Allah long before he became a Prophet, he was at the same time discharging all his social responsibilities. Then after the call to prophethood, his noble characteristics became all the more prominent.
He became an excellent model for the whole of mankind. There was now no way of attaining nearness to Allah without following in his footsteps. This is why after stating that you have in the Prophet of Allah(sa) an excellent model, the Holy Qur’an says that this exemplar is for him who wishes to attain nearness to Allah and wants that his end should be good. If such a person desires the life Hereafter, which is an everlasting life, then he or she should reflect those excellent examples that the Holy Prophet(sa) had established for us in himself in this earthly life. These examples are about the discharge of the rights due to the Creator and the rights due to His creation.
We Ahmadis claim that we act in accordance with everything commanded by Prophet(sa). We claim that in compliance with his command, we have believed in the Imam of the Age and the Promised Messiah(as) who was to appear in accordance with the prophecies of the Holy Prophet(sa). He presented the best examples of following the footsteps of the Holy Prophet(sa) and became his prototype in this age.
We have renewed our pledge that we will continue to abide by the commands of Allah the Almighty and the Messenger of Allah(sa) that the world of today had somehow forgotten.
We have promised that after this bai’at, or pledge of allegiance, we will not only fulfil the obligations due to Allah and His creation in our lives, but shall try our best to get our children to continue with these good works.
Then above everything else, we will try our utmost to spread this beautiful light around us.
So each Ahmadi should pledge that having become an Ahmadi, he would reflect in his deeds those lofty examples that are worthy of the religion brought by the Holy Prophet(sa) and display to the rest of the world the beauty of his character. Only when you mould your lives in this manner, can you ever hope of benefiting from the blessings and beneficence of Allah and only then can you become the inheritors of the everlasting paradise in the next life.
What was that excellent example of the Holy Prophet(sa) that we have been asked to follow?
What were those noble examples that were so liked by Allah the Almighty that He commanded that the only way to come near to Allah and to become the beneficiaries of Allah’s bounties lay in emulating the ways that His beloved Servant, Muhammad(sa) used to tread? I shall give you a few examples of his precept.
After his prophethood, what were the standards of his worship and the manner in which he discharged the rights owed to Allah?
In this connection, it is narrated that when he used to observe the Tahajjud prayers, his Qiyam or standing position used to be for such a long time that his feet would swell. Once, one of his wives, Hazrat Sauda, who used to observe her Prayers very regularly, joined the Holy Prophet(sa) in Tahajjud prayers. He bowed for such a long time that when the Prayers finished, Hazrat Sauda said to the Holy Prophet(sa) that the bowing position had stretched for such a long time that her nose almost bled.
Then in response to a question, Hazrat Ayesha summed up the manner of the Holy Prophet’s(sa) worship by saying that his tahajjud prayer used to be so long, adorable and beautiful that you should not ask her about its length and its beauty. That is to say, she did not have the words to draw an image of his worship. So this used to be the standard of his act of worship of which I have given you one or two examples.
Once the Holy Prophet(sa) was seen performing his tahajjud prayers so fervently that he was trembling all over and he was heard weeping again and again. Hazrat Ayesha summarised this state by saying that the sound seemed as if a pot was boiling, that is to say that the passion with which he observed his prayers sounded like a pot was boiling away. When the Holy Prophet(sa) finished his prayers, Hazrat Ayesha said: ‘O Prophet of Allah. Allah has forgiven your past and future mistakes and sins. Then why do you pray with such passion and so fervently.’ He replied, ‘Should I not then be a grateful servant of Allah.’
So these are the standards of the gratitude of our Holy Prophet(sa).
These prayers of the Holy Prophet(sa) that Allah the Almighty should continue to create such people who obey the Laws of Allah and are regular and consistent in their prayers, were, of course, for his followers and those who believed in him. His prayers were because of his concern lest his people should draw away from their Lord because whatever the Holy Prophet(sa) wanted for himself, Allah provided without his asking for it.
His prayers were an expression of his gratitude that Allah the Almighty had made him discharge his position as the caretaker for the good health of his followers. His prayers were in gratitude for the tidings of His spiritual son through whom Islam was going to triumph over all other religions.
So we who call ourselves Ahmadis can be the beneficiaries of these prayers of the Holy Prophet(sa) only when we observe our prayers in accordance with the model set before us.
Admittedly, we cannot rise 100% to the standard of the Holy Prophet(sa) but we should remember that the more effort we spend in following in his footsteps, the better beneficiaries we will become of the Holy Prophet’s(sa) prayers that he said in the dark hours of the night.
Therefore, the first thing that every Ahmadi should remember is that he must put new life into his prayers. Get into the habit of observing all your prayers, then acquire the habit of saying all your prayers in congregation and then get the habit of observing the voluntary prayers. May Allah enable every Ahmadi to do this. Amin.
The second important matter that should exist in every Ahmadi who, by performing the bai’at at the hands of the spiritual son of the Holy Prophet(sa), has renewed the pledge that he shall follow the model set by the Holy Prophet(sa) is that he should display those excellent values and discharge the rights owed to fellow human beings.
We are fortunate that we believe in that Prophet(sa) about whom the Almighty Allah has given the testimony that:
And thou dost surely possess high moral excellence. (Ch.68:V.5)
Therefore, the followers who have found such an excellent Prophet who has presented such lofty examples of high moral excellence can very well imagine the standard of moral excellence to which such followers must rise. Hence, every Ahmadi should assess himself by this standard.
Now, I shall mention a few moral values that are essential for promoting an atmosphere of love and affection and brotherhood in the world.
An excellent moral value for the maintenance of peace in the world is truth. If the world becomes steadfast on truth, many troubles can be removed.
We resort to falsehood for personal interest as a result of which dissension begins to spread in society. We rely on lies ranging from domestic issues, to social matters and then from national to international levels.
This has begun to termed a matter of convenience or expedience and it is said that it is perfectly acceptable to resort to falsehood. In today’s society, the habit of telling lies and spreading falsehood has become so prevalent that any sense of the disliked and profane has all but vanished.
The husband tells lies to the wife and the wife tells lies to the husband. We can see cracks appearing in the contract between a husband and wife, a contract that is supposed to be based on a dignified and scared trust. It is because of not speaking the truth that there is an absence of trust between the parties. It also has an effect on the children. Then because of not speaking the truth, the relationship with neighbours has begun to worsen. The relation between the master and servant has begun to deteriorate. The relations amongst business shareholders have begun to become bad.
Likewise, grievous misunderstandings and distances have begun to grow between one nation and another. All this is because they have stopped using the honest and straightforward truth. They have gone away from the truth.
What is the straightforwad word? It is that truth in which there is no trace of any lie. It should not have words from which double meanings should arise but it should be the unadulterated and straightforward word. This is what we are taught in the Holy Qur’an.
What is the example and directive of the Holy Prophet(sa) in this matter? I will illustrate this by the following few examples.
The standard of honesty of the Holy Prophet(sa) was so high that well before his prophethood, the people of Makkah used to call him as the Truthful and Trustworthy. This attribute of speaking the truth was so well marked in his character that the Holy Qur’an refers to it as proof of the truth of his claim. It says:
… I have indeed lived among you a whole lifetime before this. Will you not then understand? Who is then more unjust than he who forges a lie against Allah or he who treats His Signs as lies? … (Ch.10:V.17-18)
In other words ‘I have lived such a long time with you. I spent my youth with you, traded with you and adjudicated matters for you. But you have never found that I have ever indulged in the evil of telling a lie. So when I have never told a lie amongst people, then how could it be that I should forge a lie about a matter relating to God?’ The disbelievers could not deny this and kept saying that as far as the standard of his honesty was concerned, they could not deny his honesty but they could not accept that his teaching was correct. This testimony was given by his strongest enemy, Abu Jahl. The second biggest opponent was Abu Sufyan.
When Abu Sufyan appeared before Heraclius to lodge a complaint against Muslims who had gone there, he incited the Emperor against the Muslims. After the answers provided by the Muslim envoys, Heraclius asked Abu Sufyan, ‘Did your people ever charge the Prophet with lying before he announced his claim?’ Abu Sufyan had no other answer than to say, ‘No!’ to this question. Thereafter the Emperor Heraclius said, ‘I inferred from this that a person who does not lie about men will not lie about God.’
This was the standard of truth that the Holy Prophet(sa) had established that despite enmity with him, not even an enemy could accuse him of telling a lie.
What expectation does he have about truth from his followers? He admonished that always speak the truth because truth leads to good works and good works lead to paradise. He said that the one who always speaks the truth is written as the Truthful before Allah.
Hazrat Hasan bin ‘Ali narrates that he remembered the directive of the Holy Prophet(sa) clearly:
‘Leave alone that which leaves you in doubt and adhere to that which is free from doubt, for truth is comforting, falsehood is disturbing.’ (Tirmidhi)
Now see what expectations he had from his followers that they should always speak the truth because this is the means of paradise. Paradise is attained not merely after death, but by doing good works and obeying the commands of Allah, a person can begin to build his or her paradise in this very world.
While mentioning truth, I said earlier that there is unrest because of placing too much reliance on lies in matters ranging from domestic life – in which husband, wife, children, brother, sister and relatives are included – to international affairs. If by making truth the basis of all our dealings, we resolve matters, then heaven will begin to emerge on earth. You will see that as a result of the saying of the Holy Prophet(sa) that truth is comforting, falsehood is disturbing, paradise will begin on earth. Your domestic differences would begin to end. Trust upon each other would begin to grow. Because of speaking the truth, suspicions would begin to reduce and once suspicions reduce, then differences and disputes would also end. When disputes and fights end, then heaven would begin to appear in this world and the cool breeze of paradise would flow through each household.
Moreover, if international relations begin to strengthen on the basis of truth, then the government of one nation would begin to trust the government of another country.
The people of that country would begin to place reliance on the others. If any mistakes are committed, then on the basis of truth, a solution would be found in a friendly manner.
If we analyse the situation today, it is because of lies and falsehood that there is so much disorder and dissension. An agreement is drawn up. Then it is breached in such a way to serve self vested interest that although overtly the agreement is still in place, yet covertly another nation is made to suffer. Today, the powerful nations are doing precisely that with the smaller nations and the rich nations are doing the same with the poorer nations.
On the pretext of aid, they ensnare poor nations in their clutches with a smooth tongue in which there is absolutely no truth. In this way, they capture the economy of the less developed nations. When the people of the effected nation react, then suspicions begin to grow further.
Quarrels and disorder spread. The ordinary people begin to lose faith in the governments. They spill out on the streets. They begin to break up their own country and cause damage that can never be justified. As a result, instead of being a heaven, the beautiful country becomes a living hell.
Therefore, lies are severe evils. The absence of truth from a people, and today the absence of truth throughout the world, is the true cause of disorder. We Ahmadis should save ourselves from this and should inculcate the habit of speaking the truth.
In this way, we at least can make our society a reflection of heaven on earth. It is possible that by seeing us, the other people within our society can also adopt truth as their way of life. To establish truth is such a good work that it can be the means of acquiring all other good values.
It is narrated in a tradition that a person came before the Holy Prophet(sa) and said that it was not possible for him to leave all evils at once. He asked him to tell him one evil that he could leave first of all.
The Holy Prophet(sa) said: ‘Leave telling lies because it is such an evil that can rid you of your other evils.’ He said that this was an easy matter and he would Insha Allah act in accordance with it. After this, he went home and whenever the thought of committing an evil crossed his mind, he recalled that if the Holy Prophet(sa) heard that he had committed such an evil, and he asked him about it, it would be a matter of great shame because he could not now tell a lie. He would have to speak the truth. Anyhow, one by one, all his evils ended.
In brief, if you want to save yourself, your peace and quiet and want to purify your society, then you will have to stay completely away from lies and tread the path of truth.
Because the responsibility of the future generation is that of women, if the ladies acquire this attribute then you will be the means of establishing heaven on earth and being a helper and assistant in this task. But remember that the reformation of women takes place only when the men try to reform themselves and make themselves the exemplar.
There are many other moral values that are mentioned in the Holy Qur’an and Hadith and it is a duty of each Ahmadi to acquire these values. It is not possible to mention them all here because I have to keep time in mind. But remember that having believed in the Promised Messiah(as) when you have renewed the pledge that you would try to obey all the commands of Allah the Almighty and His Messenger, then you should save yourselves from those evils that Allah and His Messenger have mentioned. These include high values in discharging trust and honesty. Remember that trust and honesty have a connection with honesty.
If you have honesty in you, then you will also be trustworthy and be the one who discharges the rights of people. You will also be able to discharge the trust reposed in you. The place where you work is also a trust that has been placed in you.
This is why you should discharge your trust with responsibility and honestly, whether you work in a farm or in a factory or in the civil service. Wherever you work, discharge the right and obligations of your work. An Ahmadi should be more diligent and enthusiastic about his work so that the justice is done to his work.
Then in today’s democratic world, there is the right of a vote. Whether you exercise this right in the election of office bearers for the Jama’at or the election of representatives for national government, always elect the one you believe is hard-working and one who has the knowledge and skills for that task for which he is being elected and can discharge the responsibilities entrusted on him.
Do not elect someone because he is your relative or has some other connection with you. The persons elected in this manner should continue to assess themselves that the people have placed their trust in them and hence all their work should be in the interest of the people and the nation.
Another value is the fulfilment of promises. If you fulfil your pledges, then the standard of honesty will rise automatically. The standard of vieing with one another in good works will also increase automatically.
Pledging to act in accordance with the conditions of bai’at of the Promised Messiah(as) you Ahmadis have entered Ahmadiyyat. Then there are pledges of Khuddam, Ansar and Lajna in which you repeat that you will give preference to your faith over worldly matters.
So if you keep thinking seriously all the time that you have to give precedence to your faith over worldly pursuits, you will be discharging the obligations and rights due to God Almighty and also observing the rights of Allah’s creation because Allah commands us to fulfil the rights due to people.
You will also remain steadfast on truth. You will also be doing justice to serving your people and your country which are the duties of every citizen. Thus there are many other ways of good works to which Islam commands us and whose examples were established by the Holy Prophet(sa). We should act on these.
The Holy Prophet(sa) faithfully fulfilled the pacts that were drawn up with the disbelievers and the Jews. Unless the others broke a pact, he abided by each promise and each condition of every pact. And he set these examples for us so that we act upon them.
Another good work is thankfulness and gratitude about which I mentioned with reference to the Prayers of the Holy Prophet(sa). Every Ahmadi should acquire the habit of gratitude. When you have gratitude, it will cause contentment and tranquillity to develop. When there is contentment, there will be little attention paid to the satisfaction by improper means of one’s desires. Instead, the habit of hard work and bowing before Allah in gratitude will grow.
Then, another good work is forgiveness, that is to say, pardon any excesses. The Holy Qur’an states:
Let them forgive and pass over the offence… (Ch. 24:V.23)
The Holy Prophet(sa) showed so many examples of this quality that one is amazed at reading or hearing about them. Hazrat Ayesha(ra) relates that the Holy Prophet(sa) never extracted any revenge for any excess committed against himself. Once he received a roasted leg of meat from a Jewish lady. It had been spiced with some poison. The moment he put it in his mouth, he knew that it contained poison. The poison was so potent that it still left its effect. When this lady was presented before him, she admitted that she had mixed poison in it but the Holy Prophet(sa) forgave her. So, this was the standard of his forgiveness.
This is why he advised his followers that a wrestler who throws another on the ground in a wrestling match is not a champion but the one who overcomes his anger is the true champion wrestler because he has overturned his Satan.
So these few examples of good works that I have presented before you are so that they should become an integral part of your lives. An Ahmadi should be superior to others because he has believed in the true servant of the Holy Prophet(sa) in this age.
If having believed in the Imam of the Age, no change has occurred in you, there is no use in your being an Ahmadi. Therefore, if you have joined Ahmadiyat because you believe it to be true, then truth should become manifest from each action of yours.
This manifestation of truth and the pure reformation within you will serve as the means of silent propagation. It will draw you nearer to the Almighty Allah for which you have accepted Ahmadiyyat.
The Founder of Jama’at Ahmadiyya, the Promised Messiah(as) states:
‘It is incumbent on each person in my Jama’at to adhere to all these legacies (that is to say on all these matters about good works) and it is necessary that there should be no impiety or laughter and ridicule in your gatherings. Walk on earth with a good heart and clean nature and pure thoughts and remember that every mischief is not worth responding to.
This is why it is essential that you should acquire the habit of forgiveness and overlook the fault of others at most times and work with patience and wisdom. Do not attack anyone in an unjust manner and suppress your passions and egos …. and if anyone deals with you in a barbaric manner just say ‘peace’ and leave that gathering.’
‘May Allah make us such a community that you become a model of good works and guidance for the world… you be identified by the observance of the five daily prayers and moral conditions… It is necessary that your hearts are free of deceit and your hands are innocent of cruelty and your eyes are pure of all impurities and apart from veracity and kindness for the creation there is nothing within you.’
So remember that it is the work of every Ahmadi to do these good works. You can be called a true Ahmadi only when you act in accordance with this teaching of the Promised Messiah(as).
The object of holding these Jalsas is to remind ourselves about these good deeds because in this atmosphere when the emotions are a little bit different, attention should be drawn towards it so that the pledge that we made with the Promised Messiah(as), and with the Messenger of Allah and Allah the Almighty is renewed.
May Allah make everyone an exemplary Ahmadi, an exemplary citizen and an exemplary human being through whom Allah’s creation can always return His grace. Amin.