An address delivered by Hazrat Mirza Masroor Ahmad, Khalifatul Masih V, worldwide Head of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community during his European 2005 official tour at a Symposium in Denmark.
I will elaborate what the local Imam of the Mosque and the Integrations Minister have said just now according to the basic teachings of the Holy Qur’an and the teachings of the Promised Messiah(as).
In order to assess any faith, its basic teachings are examined. We, being Ahmadi Muslims, also try to find out the example set by the Founder at the time when the foundations of that faith were laid. So, that means that there are two things: the basic teachings of the Book and the second, the practice of the Founder of that faith. When we examine Islam by this yardstick, we shall have to discover what the teachings of the Holy Qur’an, the Book of the Laws of Islam, were when this Book was revealed to the Holy Prophet Muhammad(sa).
In different places, the Holy Qur’an contains such commandments that God Almighty requires man to obey and it also highlights those things that God forbids. Time does not permit me to present all the do’s and don’ts set out in the Holy Qur’an, but what I have prepared, I may not be able to finish in this short address, but somehow I will try to be brief and comprehensive.
Whereas God has commanded man to obey His commands, He has also elaborated what those commandments are. And what are these commandments? God Almighty says that it is your fulfilment of two kinds of obligations. One is the obligation that man owes to the Creator to worship Him and create a bond with that Living God Who is Omnipotent and the Fountainhead of all powers, Who responds to the prayers of His people and removes their difficulties, who nourishes and brings them up, Who is extremely kind and benevolent to His people and Who rewards their smallest effort. So all these favours demand that a man should be filled with gratitude and appreciation, should bow down before Him, and, compared to Him, should regard all other powers insignificant. This is why God has commanded: O ye people who call yourselves Muslims, it is your duty to not only worship Me in response to these bounties that I have bestowed on you but also to tell the world that the sole purpose of life is that man should worship the One God.
The second important obligation or objective for which man has been created by God Almighty and Whose teachings have been given to us by the Holy Prophet(sa) is the obligation to discharge the rights owed to the people. These include not only: to treat people with kindness; to remove their hardships; to adopt higher values; to urge others towards good works and refrain them from evil; to help the poor, feed the hungry; to discharge trusts honestly; to offer sacrifice in order to help remove the difficulties that people face; to forgive others; to be patient; to honour one’s covenants; to co-operate with one another; to stay away from suspicion or speak ill of anyone; to excel in good works; to bear true testimony; but, in fact, God Almighty has gone so far as to say that the others have a right over you so much so that not even anyone’s enmity should prevent you from dealing with them other than in absolute justice and you should not resort to lies to cause them harm. So this is the beautiful teaching that Islam gives.
There are many other commandments like these but I have chosen a few. Let me now quote you about some of the commandments that I have mentioned from the Holy Qur’an so that you may understand that this is not at all a bad teaching but some extremists have given their own interpretation to it to serve their vested interests.
God Almighty has commanded us that a Muslim should enjoin what is good and forbid evil, and if you do that, in that lies your greatness as He says:
You are the best people raised for the good of mankind; you enjoin what is good and forbid evil and believe in Allah… (Holy Qur’an, Ch.3: V.111)
Now, as stated in the Holy Qur’an, you have been created for the good of mankind. So it cannot be that one should be created for the good of mankind but nothing but mischief should come from him and mankind should suffer and be terrorised by him. In fact, God Almighty has taught the Muslims to work for the good of mankind and guide them towards that which is good. Invite them towards God, your Creator, and fulfil the obligation that they owe to Him and His people. Each person should benefit from a Muslim. The Muslims should stop those who are involved in evil and cause loss and suffering to people and are killing God’s creation without rhyme or reason. In this way, they should help the afflicted and guide the cruel person to stop. Only if you do this can you be a believer in God.
These, in a nutshell, are the fundamental commands that God Almighty gave to the Muslims and if we obey these commands, this is the adornment of a Muslim. In this commandment, a Muslim has been made responsible for the good and betterment of the entire mankind but there is no licence to take up the sword and reform people by force. Instead, Muslims should try to lead those who have gone astray from the path of God towards God Almighty as He has said:
Call unto the way of thy Lord with wisdom and goodly exhortation, and argue with them in a way that is best. (Holy Qur’an, Ch.16: V.126)
Thus if anyone is engaged in evil, explain to him in the best manner that he understands. If the recommendation is good, and the intentions of the counsellor are good and not foul or filled with hatred, then the effect of such advice will be good. Nowhere is there any teaching of using force in any advice or guidance. If war erupts between nations, nations are urged to unite and act against the despot or cruel nation, but the moment it stops being cruel, hostilities should stop. There is no teaching to keep annihilating that nation out of malice or rancour. Then there is no teaching to go and finish off its people indiscriminately in order to destroy the power of a group or government. In the same way, no person living in any country has been authorised to kill people indiscriminately to obtain his personal rights or as a result of his show of strength. This is why the Holy Qur’an teaches:
…Whosoever killed a person – unless it be for killing a person (that is to say who has murdered another) or for creating disorder in the land – it shall be as if he had killed all mankind. (Holy Qur’an, Ch.5: V.33)
So this is that holy teaching that Islam has taught us in order to maintain peace in the world: that to kill a person without a cause is like killing the entire mankind. Neither an individual nor a group has any right to take the law into his or its hand and engage in such an act. But if nations rain down shells from the skies which result in indiscriminate destruction of human lives, then their action too is like the killing of the whole of mankind. Such acts, sadly, are common in today’s world. Everybody is involved in it, whether they be Muslim or Christian, the East or West. And this is happening because their love of the world and materialism has blinded them and made them forgetful of their God. Pride, arrogance and malice control their hearts. Suspicion and mistrust have grown.
Many quarrels and fights start in the world as a result of suspicions and mistrust. Islam teaches us to stay away from these because sometimes suspicions that lead to quarrels and disputes make one sinful. Just take a look at the world today; there are many disputes whose roots lie in suspicions. Muslims do not trust some leaders of the West. Some people of the West do not trust Muslims. The wickedness of one person or a few crackpots is thrust on all Muslim followers even though an overwhelming majority is not involved in anything that causes harm or loss to others. But when after an incident, western nations accuse all Muslims for it, then an ordinary Muslim who had nothing to do with it would naturally react by talking ill of the West. In the same way, when western nations make an incident a basis for justifying cruelties against a Muslim country or coercing it, then some Muslim cells or groups that have absolutely no connection with the fundamental teachings of Islam, engage in suicide bombings and take the lives of innocent people. If such mistrust and suspicions are cast away and by recognising each other as fellow human beings, they bridge people by removing the disparity of weakness and poverty, and sit down together, then this mistrust can be removed and peace restored.
This is the requirement of fairness and this is what justice demands. This is the teaching of Islam and Muslims should be the biggest role models of it because the sign of their being the best people is that all their actions are designed to restore the dignity of humanity.
By the grace of God Almighty, the Ahmadiyya Muslim community is pressed into conveying this message to the world and has been raising the slogan of peace, respect for humanity and love for all in all corners of the world. Having succumbed to this feeling of love and affection and kindness for human beings, we are engaged in the service of humanity in poor nations of the world. Despite meagre resources, we try to provide food and water and educational facilities to poorer people out of kindness for humanity. If instead of wasting food or planning how to stitch the poorer nations into bondage, the well-to-do nations were to provide them with the food they need and educate the people of these poorer countries, especially in the African countries, so that they become good citizens, then mistrust and disorder would disappear from the world. This is the most appropriate method of reformation.
Now I would like to tell you what the Founder of the Ahmadiyya Community taught us and what he expected from us. The Founder of the Ahmadiyya Jama’at (community), whom we accept as the Promised Messiah(as) and Mahdi and whose advent was in accordance with the prophecies made by the Holy Prophet(sa) has enjoined us to cultivate and act on that beautiful guidance. He said: If you want to be associated with me and if you want to join my Community, you will have to purify yourselves from cruelty and rebellion. He taught that the assumption of Jihad with force has ended with his advent. Perform your Jihad, he said, but in the manner that the Holy Prophet(sa) performed Jihad- e-Akbar and that Jihad is guiding people to Allah, exhorting others to righteousness, reformation of oneself and service to mankind. I give you an excerpt from his teachings.
The Promised Messiah(as) enjoins,
‘I advise you to abstain from vice and treat humanity with sympathy and justice. Cleanse your hearts of malice and rancour and you will become like angels. What an unclean and impure religion it is that has no compassion for humanity and what an unchaste path it is that is littered with the thorns of malevolence. So, those of you who are with me, do not be like those who wonder what religion means. Is it that your conduct should always be hurting humanity? No, religion means gaining that life which is within God; and that life has not been acquired, nor will it ever be acquired by anyone except when Divine virtues penetrate someone. For the sake of God, take pity on all so that Heaven may take pity on you. Come! I will show you a way by which your light will be superior to all other lights and that is that you give up all malevolence and jealousy and become compassionate to all mankind.’ (Government Angrezi aur Jihad: Roohani Khazain vol. 17, p. 14)
Then, the Promised Messiah(as) commands:
‘It is desirable that compassion for all mankind should be your principle, and your hands and tongues and notions in your hearts should avoid all foul schemes, rebellious manners and breach of trust. Fear Allah and worship Him with purity of heart and desist from cruelty, trespass, embezzlement, bribery, defrauding others and favouritism. Avoid bad company. Divert your eyes from stares and save your ears from listening to slander and never think of causing harm to any religion or a nation or a tribe or any human being. Become true counsel to everyone and it is desirable that rebellious and evil people, people of bad conduct and wicked people should never be in your company. Avoid every sin and try to gain every virtue. Your hearts should be free of deceit and your hands should be clean of any cruelty and your eyes should be clean of any impurity and there should never be nurtured in you any plan of evil or rebellion’ (Kashful Ghata; Roohani Khazain vol. 14, p. 187).
This is the summary of Islam and the beautiful teachings that the Ahmadiyya Jama’at always keeps in the forefront as guidance and this is the teaching that it is trying to spread throughout the world so that the world can recognise its Creator and fulfil the rights of each other thus creating an environment of peace and love in this world.
Finally, let me thank all the guests who spared their valuable time to attend this meeting. Thank you again.