Inaugural Address delivered by Hazrat Mirza Masroor Ahmad, Khalifatul Masih V, Head of the worldwide Ahmadiyya Muslim community On Friday 2 May 2008 at Hadeeqa-e-Ahmad, Abuja Road.
Allah the Almighty says in the Holy Qur’an:
O ye who believe! come into submission wholly and follow not the footsteps of Satan; surely, he is your open enemy. (Ch.2:V.209)
This commandment is not for a believer of some other faith, or a disbeliever or idolater but it says: ‘O ye who believe, you have been commanded to submit wholly and become totally obedient, failing which, you will follow in the footsteps of Satan’.
Hence, it is clear from this verse that even after believing, there is a rise and fall in the condition of one’s belief and that it continues to be attacked by Satan. In order to protect oneself from the attacks of Satan, one has been taught the prayers:
‘I seek refuge from Allah from the accursed Satan.’
We are told not to be pleased with ourselves by the mere fact that we are Muslim but have been persuaded to keep on asking for forgiveness.
In order to remain a Muslim and become a true Muslim, one is required to have good conduct at all times and one must tread along those ways that have been shown to us by the Holy Qur’an.
So the first thing that you must remember is that Islam is the name of submission. If you like to be called a Muslim, then it is necessary to show total obedience. If you think that you can do something and leave out other matters, or do something arbitrarily when necessary and ignore the commandments of Allah the Exalted, then it will be as if you have forgotten Islam and have begun to follow Satan. Remember that all your deeds should be towards goodness and the doing of good works; otherwise, you will be following in the footsteps of Satan who is an open enemy of yours.
Then, true Islam is that all those ways from which Satan can enter your heart should be closed. And, how are those ways closed? There is only one method of protecting those ways from Satan and that is to discharge the rights that you owe to Allah and His people. Close the ways from which Satan enters and open the ways from which the Merciful One can enter.
And Who is the Merciful One? The Merciful One is that God Who for the sake of His servants is mindful of this world and the Hereafter.
The Merciful One is that Lord Who created the material things in the world for the physical requirement of His servants and for their well-being.
And, the Merciful One is that God who started the sending of Prophets, one after the other, for the spiritual requirements of His servants.
One hundred and twenty four thousand prophets were sent to this world: a few have been mentioned in the Holy Qur’an but many have not.
However, Allah revealed that He had sent messengers amongst every people so that their spiritual requirements might be met. And then 1400 years ago, perfecting the faith, Allah sent the Prophet of the Last Age, the Seal of all Prophets, Hazrat Muhammad(saw) to the world and after whom there was to be no prophet bearing a new law. His Shariah and His Book were now here to stay forever.
Moreover, the Almighty Allah set out in the Holy Qur’an revealed to the Holy Prophet(saw)the proclamation that:
..among others from among them who have not yet joined them…(Ch.62:V.4)
meaning that amongst other people, there will be some individuals yet to come who will bring about a revolution within themselves and join the ones who had gone before them. They will cause pious and holy changes within themselves and will run away from the footsteps of Satan. They will be unlike the blind person who rests his hands on some person’s shoulders and walks in the footsteps of that person and who knows not whether the person on whose shoulders he has rested his hand himself actually knows the right way or not.
But when the Almighty Allah announced:
And among others from among them who have not yet joined them. He is the Mighty, the Wise. (Ch.62:V.4)
He gave the glad tiding that He guarantees to His servants that when those others (who have not yet joined them) place their hands on the shoulders of the one who is from the Almighty Allah, then the ways to goodness will be assured; and because they will be far removed from Satan, their protection will be guaranteed.
When this verse was revealed, the Companions asked who the others were who would join the ones before them.
Based on the knowledge disclosed to him by Allah, the Holy Prophet(saw) placed his hand on the shoulder of Hazrat Salman Farsi and said: ‘A man will appear amongst them, who will have been sent by Almighty Allah and even if faith ascends to the Pleiades he will bring it back to the earth.’
Then the Holy Prophet(saw)said that the man to restore faith in the world would be his Messiah and Mahdi.
Whosoever receives his message or learns about him, should go and convey the Holy Prophet’s salaam(greetings of peace) to him even if has to crawl on his knees on ice glaciers.
So we Ahmadis are most fortunate that we have accepted that Messiah and Mahdi. The words:
and the words of the Holy Prophet(saw) that if faith ascends to the Pleiades the one to bring it back would indeed bring it back, was also a forewarning.
This was despite the fact that the advent had taken place of the last law-bearing Prophet whose teaching was to remain till the Last Day. It was despite the fact that the Holy Qur’an incorporated all forms of knowledge; in which there were reports of past Prophets; in which there were all kinds of commandments; in which there were prophecies about the future; and which was to be preserved in its original form; neither a jot nor title – no iota of it would change because that was Allah’s promise that He would preserve its integrity as is stated in the Holy Qur’an:
Verily, We Ourself have sent down this Exhortation, and most surely We will be its Guardian. (Ch.15:V.10)
Allah the Almighty states that despite these assurances, faith will decline and the so-called believers will begin to tread in the footsteps of Satan and as a result faith will ascend to the Pleiades.
Therefore, do not think that when the Last Prophet and the Last Book are already there, there is no need for a guide. Whoever thinks that is in error. In order to join with the earlier ones, a guide is essential for among others who have not yet joined them. He is the one whose advent was to be in the 14th century (of Islamic calendar).
As I said, his advent has indeed taken place and Allah the Almighty has enabled us to believe in him. Therefore, fortunate is he who has joined him as his follower. However, is becoming a member of this Jama’at and being initiated at his hand, a guarantee for the strength of our faith? No, this alone is not enough. Having entered the Jama’at of the Promised Messiah(as) every Ahmadi should experience a distinct transformation within himself.
If after joining the Jama’at of the Promised Messiah(as) your family as well as outsiders do not observe a distinct change in you, then your pledge of allegiance is a pointless exercise. Therefore, every Ahmadi, every one who considers himself a member of the Jama’at of the Promised Messiah(as) should assess himself to see what he has gained by joining this Jama’at. He should analyse how far he has remained steadfast in the pledge that he took at the time of his initiation.
He should analyse how far has he tried to rid himself from the clutches of the Satan and how many obstacles stand in his way. He should ask which of the good works commanded in the Holy Qur’an he has adopted and which of the evil deeds in the Holy Qur’an he has tried to leave. He should assess his success in his efforts. So, this is how every Ahmadi should assess himself.
Elaborating on the purpose of his advent, the Promised Messiah(as) says:
“The task for which Allah has appointed me is that I should remove the muddiness that has arisen in the relationship between Allah and His creation and re-establish a relationship of love and sincerity…and that I should show an example of that spirituality that had been buried under the darkness of the self.”
Hence, true initiation will be genuine only when everyone who is initiated tries to attain further nearness to Allah.
What does attaining Allah’s nearness mean? It means to act in accordance with His commandments. It also means to discharge the rights of Allah on us as well as the rights of our fellow man on us.
Only then will spirituality shine in all its glory. Otherwise the sinful self will remain dominant. Satan always tries to instigate the self. If you do not create a change within yourself even after being initiated, then there can be no difference between an Ahmadi and a non-Ahmadi.
On one occasion the Promised Messiah(as) said:
“The members of our Jama’at should also be an example to other people. If someone’s life after Bai’at (initiation) is the same unholy and impure life as before Bai’at; and the one who becomes a poor example while one is in our Jama’at and displays weakness of actions or of beliefs, is cruel for he gives the whole Jama’at a bad name. He even makes us a target for criticism. A bad example is disliked by others and a good exemplar creates attraction and affection amongst others.”
So, having called oneself an Ahmadi, if a person does not inculcate a good change within himself, then he not only gives the whole Jama’at a bad name, and a bad name to the Promised Messiah(as), but breaks the pledge that he made at the time of his Bai’at with the Promised Messiah(as) that he would create virtuous changes within himself. Always remember that when an evil enters into you, then other evils start entering into you too. We should, therefore, always keep the verse of the Holy Qur’an in mind, which says:
And those who, when they are reminded of the Signs of their Lord, fall not deaf and blind thereat. (Ch.25:V.74).
This makes it very clear indeed who true believers are. They are those who reflect upon the commandments of Allah.
If they do not have their sight fixed upon the commandments of Allah, they will be like the blind and deaf.
Now, I would like to draw your attention towards certain important injunctions of the Holy Qur’an.
Amongst the injunctions I take up, the foremost moral value is truthfulness and honesty. Allah says in the Holy Qur’an:
…Shun therefore the abomination of idols, and shun false speech.(Ch.22:V.31)
By placing falsehood and idol worship on the same standing, Allah has drawn our attention towards the fact that falsehood is the same as worshiping idols.
Now, on the one hand we should claim to believe in one God and should have renewed this affirmation in the pledge that we undertake at the hands of the Promised Messiah(as) that there is but One God, and on the other hand despite this declaration still seek the support of falsehood, or, not speak the truth, is tantamount to worshipping idols. It is like denying that God is the Master of all Powers and thinking that your falsehood has more power than Allah.
For example, if someone commits a mistake, then by standing firm on the truth, if he admits his mistake and thinks that, in accordance with the command of Allah, even if he suffers a loss, there is no problem but the Almighty Allah will make good the loss, for He knows well my heart and he rewards good deeds, then all this will be a source of drawing him nearer to the Almighty Allah. Otherwise, evil habits will continue to multiply.
And, man will resort to falsehood at every step. If he is a businessman, he will rely on lies when trying to sell something in his business. If he is an employee, he depends upon falsehood to keep his boss in doubt about his work. If he is a husband, he tries to leave his wife in doubt. If she is a wife, she tries to keep the husband in uncertainty.
Then, a woman as a mother has a very high status. A woman is an architect of the future generation. If a woman acquires the habit of telling lies, the whole generation will be involved in this evil habit. Because of such lies, the children begin to be involved in one evil after the other.
In the Hadith, there is the account of a person who came to the Holy Prophet(saw) and said to him: ‘I have in me many evils. I cannot leave all these evils at a stroke. Tell me a way by which I can give up one bad habit to start with.’.
Now see, having believed, he wanted to bring about a pure change in himself. He wanted to become a true believer and that is why he said the straightforward word that he wanted to give up evil habits but he could not give them all up at once. Therefore, he wanted to know a way by which he could give up one evil to start with and then, slowly, give up all the others.
Anyhow, the Holy Prophet(saw) asked him to give up the telling of lies. He said to the Holy Prophet(saw): ‘What you have told me is very easy.’
When he got home, he thought of robbing someone but realised that were he to be caught, he would have to speak the truth because of his promise and, as a result, he would be punished. The next day, he thought of committing adultery, but again thought that he would be punished if caught. Every time he thought of some evil deed, he was restrained by his promise of not telling a lie and speaking the truth and that were he to commit the evil, it would result in either punishment or shame and disgrace.
This is how all his bad habits disappeared, by giving up one bad habit. After a while he mentioned to the Holy Prophet(saw):‘By making me give up one bad habit, you made me give up all evils.’
Therefore, every true believer must remember that telling a lie, bearing false witness or sitting in the company of liars, are practices that create a distance between a believer and his faith. In one place, Allah the Almighty, mentioning a sign of believers says,
…who bear not false witness… (Ch.25:V.73)
In short, a believer never speaks falsehood nor does he bear false witness. Sometimes when they give false testimony, people are not conscious of it. In our courts, especially in the courts of less developed nations, false witnesses are produced.
If there is a business dispute or a dispute about property, the lawyers sometimes compel their clients to bear false witness lest the case is determined against them.
The Promised Messiah(as) was once involved in a court case where he was accused of breaking postal regulations by placing a letter in a parcel post to save money. His lawyer advised him to say that he had not done this but that the other party might have done this.
The Promised Messiah(as) said: “Why should I tell a lie when I did put the letter in the parcel?” The lawyer said that if that was the case, the Promised Messiah(as) need not have hired him as a lawyer. In other words, if I am to be employed as a lawyer, you will have to use lies as a tactic.
The case went to court and the Promised Messiah(as) stated that he put the letter in the parcel, firstly because he considered it to be a part of the parcel that contained a manuscript of his work, and, secondly because he was not aware of the Law and did not wilfully set out to cause any loss to the Government. The judge, who was English, exonerated him. The Promised Messiah(as) says that he had been through such cases but had never relied on falsehood and Allah the Almighty had always helped him.
He says: “How can I accept that there is no alternative to telling lies?”
This incident happened even before his elevation to the exalted status of the Promised Messiah. Therefore, remember that telling lies and bearing false witness are such misdemeanours that they can involve a person in all kinds of evil. It is such a dangerous sin that the earlier prophets had also instructed against this. The Holy Qur’an has also put great stress on this issue.
Unfortunately, nowadays lies are told for business gain, or political, or national interest. These worldly people tell lies to achieve their worldly objectives and think that their safety lies in it. But they forget that, if not in this world, and then in the next, they will be held accountable by Allah the Almighty.
Remember! Lying is such a disease that it earns the displeasure of Allah the Almighty; and Allah the Almighty considers this as grave a sin as Shirk, that is, associating someone with Him.
It is also important that truth is used to make your country progress and stand shoulder to shoulder with other countries that are more developed. Truth has made a tremendous contribution to the progress of Europe.
Whereas it is true that Europeans use falsehood in many dealings and employ different standards for their people and for others; but the secret of their progress in business and industry lies in their honesty in maintaining the standard that they fulfil their promise. The product will be exactly the same as described on the outer label. But be warned! Allah the Almighty is not a kinsman of anyone. Therefore, as long as they conduct their business honestly, they will keep on profiting; but when they stop being honest, their business and industries will close down.
Therefore, Nigeria, which is a country full of natural resources and has possibilities of making agricultural progress, can join the advanced countries of the world by using those capabilities. First of all, Ahmadis should stand up in a distinct manner and remaining steadfast on truthfulness, they should make the best use of the blessings that Allah the Almighty has bestowed on their country and thus become an example in truthfulness for their countrymen.
The second important virtue that has great bearing on the development of nations is the fulfilment of covenants and trust. Not only for the sake of national progress, but also for Human Rights and for gaining the pleasure of Allah, it is important that every trust that is placed in you is fulfilled. Develop such a high standard of discharging your obligations that every Ahmadi becomes a symbol of honest fulfilment of his trust. In this regard Allah the Almighty advises us as He says in the Holy Qur’an:
And who are watchful of their trusts and their covenants. (Ch.23:V.9)
This is the true hallmark of a believer. He fulfils whatever promise he has made; and while fulfilling his promise he also remembers the trust that has been placed in him. When an Ahmadi takes a pledge (Ba’ait) with the Promised Messiah(as) he also makes a promise.
What is that promise? Every Ahmadi knows the conditions of the pledge (Ba’ait) and I have explained in detail those conditions in my previous sermons. However, I will repeat them briefly again to draw your attention with reference to this gathering.
The first promise is that: ‘I will worship one God and will associate nothing or no one with Him. I will consider God to be Singular and Unique and Master and Sovereign of all.’ Now if you think carefully, by acting on this promise, man is forced to do good and give up evil.
That is why the second condition is that: ‘I will give up all worldly pleasures, and I will honour the rights of all human beings’.
The third condition is that ‘I will pay full attention to the performance of Salat and prayers; and will seek assistance from God Almighty by sending benedictions on the Holy Prophet Muhammad(saw) and by seeking forgiveness for my sins.
Then you pledge that, as a believer, you will never harm another human being.
You also pledge that you will never be unfaithful to Allah the Almighty and will always strive to follow the excellent example of the Holy Prophet Muhammad(saw).
You have also pledged that you will adopt humbleness, humility and shun pride and arrogance.
Then, you make a vital pledge to hold the honour and integrity of Islam above your own life and your family. What is the honour and integrity of Islam? It is not to establish the integrity of Islam by the sword or a gun but to show true teachings of Islam by your own example and conduct and to train your own progeny in the true teachings and values of Islam.
What are the true teachings of Islam? That a believer should be capable of transmitting love and affection all around him! One of the frequent objections that are raised about Islam and the Founder of Islam nowadays is that he (God forbid) spread Islam by the use of the sword. The fact is that he never raised his sword until the enemy attacked him. Who attacked Muslims in the Battle of Badr? They were the non-believers of Makkah! At that time Muslims did not even possess adequate weapons; but Muslims prevailed with the succour of Allah the Almighty.
During the battle, the Holy Prophet(saw) set a righteous example of his conduct by allowing the enemy to draw water from the source of water that was in the possession of Muslims; moreover, the prisoners that were taken during the battle were treated mildly. Some of the educated prisoners were freed in exchange for no more than teaching the Muslims to read. In short, Islam gives a message of moderation and mildness.
Again, when Makkah was conquered, everyone was provided safety and security. All the prominent leaders of Makkah, who had striven hard to harm the Muslims, were forgiven. It was proclaimed: ‘Nothing will be done to you if you live in peace, whether or not you accept Islam.’
The Holy Prophet(saw) used to treat Jews, Christians and non-believers with sympathy and used to try to help and benefit them.
That is why the Promised Messiah(as) took this pledge from us that we will be sympathetic to all creatures of Allah the Almighty.
Then there is the pledge that we will maintain the love and obedience of the Promised Messiah(aas) above all worldly considerations. Therefore, this is the firm pledge that an Ahmadi has taken.
Allah the Almighty says that it is your bounden duty to fulfil this pledge. This pledge is a trust that has been given to an Ahmadi; and every Ahmadi who takes this pledge, should keep in mind that Allah is watching over what he has pledged to do Neither slumber nor sleep touches Allah the Almighty. He is constantly watching as to what extent every Ahmadi is fulfilling his pledge or to see whether he is indulging in an act that may cast blemish on his pledge.
Always remember that it is possible to hide things from your fellow beings but nothing can be hidden from Allah the Almighty.
Therefore, after making this pledge, to consider a small virtuous act as unimportant is tantamount to not safeguarding a trust.
Besides the spiritual trust, you have also been given a worldly trust to safeguard. And that is your country and its administrative system. It is as important for you to fulfil this obligation as it is to fulfil your spiritual or religious obligation. How are you going to fulfil this obligation?
First of all, the right of a country is that its citizens should remain faithful to it. Indeed, it is a tradition of the Holy Prophet(saw) that love of your country is part of your faith. Therefore, it is essential for every Nigerian Ahmadi, or those who have come from different countries and are nationals of their country, to fulfil their pledge of loyalty to their respective countries. Only then will this trust be safeguarded and your obligation discharged.
A labourer should work with the intention that his effort will contribute to make his country stand alongside the advanced countries. A farmer should invest his labour to make his country agriculturally self-sufficient and never to be dependent on others. An employee should work honestly to discharge his duties and use all his faculties and capabilities to contribute to the gross national product. An industrialist should raise the standard of his products with the intention of fulfilling his obligations and to discharge his trust, so that the country can be counted alongside the advanced countries.
A government employee should fulfil his responsibilities honestly; and politicians and leaders should discharge their obligations in truest manner. They must remember that Allah the Almighty has given them this opportunity.
Always remember, that many Third World countries by which I mean developing countries in Asia and Africa have remained under the yolk of slavery for a long time. If we do not meet our obligations or do not fulfil our trust, some countries of the world have their eyes on our resources and they are ready to pounce on them like hungry wolves. Once these outsiders succeed in occupying our natural resources, they will put us into the chains of their slavery once again.
Therefore, we will have to adhere strictly to our pledge and fulfil our obligations so that a stranger dare not cast an evil eye on the resources that Allah the Almighty has granted us.
May Allah the Almighty make every Ahmadi, every Nigerian, realise his responsibilities to discharge his trust and meet his obligations so that Nigeria can really stand shoulder to shoulder with the advanced countries of the world. For this, it is the duty of every Ahmadi to pray and supplicate, because without the Mercy and Beneficence of Allah, trusts and obligations cannot be discharged or fulfilled. May Allah also enable every Ahmadi to pray.
Bukhari Kitabul Tafsir Surah Al-Jumu’ah.