The Humanity First International Conference, attended by 130 delegates from 15 countries, was held over 2 days on the weekend of 24th and 25th January 2015, at the Baitul Futuh Mosque Complex, UK. Hazrat Ameerul Momineen, Khalifatul Masih V (May Allah be his helper), graced the conference with his presence on its first day and delivered a keynote address to the attendees.
After reciting Tashahhud, Ta‘awwudh and Bismillah, Hazrat Khalifatul-Masih(aba) V said:
“Al-Hamdu Lillah, with the Grace of Allah, Humanity First is holding its International Conference today and tomorrow and I think it is the first time that it is being held on this scale. I hope and pray that this event proves to be extremely beneficial and fruitful and may Allah enable you to fulfil the plans and strategies you are devising whilst here. I also hope and pray that Humanity First comes to fulfil the expectations that I hold of it, In Sha Allah (God Willing). And my expectations are based upon the expectations that the Promised Messiah(as) had from the members of his Jama‘at. On countless occasions the Promised Messiah(as) spoke or wrote about the need to serve humanity. In this regard, his expectations were truly vast and this is proved by the fact that he made serving humanity a condition of Bai‘at. The 9th condition of Bai‘at reads that: “he or she shall keep himself or herself occupied in the service of God’s creatures for His sake only and shall endeavor towards the beneficence of mankind to the best of his or her God given abilities and powers.” Therefore, the huge value and importance of serving others should be imprinted in the hearts of every single Ahmadi Muslim.
Allah the Almighty has granted each person many abilities or capabilities. And so it is their duty to use those God-given gifts to help others, particularly those in need. Every person should utilize his individual talents or expertise for the sake of others. For example, doctors can offer their medical services, teachers can provide education, engineers can offer their skills, whilst those people blessed with wealth can and should utilize it for the sake of others. These are just a few examples and there are many more. In terms of financial sacrifice I am pleased to say that with the Grace of Allah, there are many Ahmadis who spend in the way of Allah for the benefit of mankind and who also sacrifice their time and effort in this cause. This is the case with both office bearers and volunteers.
Non-Ahmadis are often left astounded when they hear Ahmadi professionals have gone to the most deprived parts of the world only for a desire to gain the pleasure and love of God Almighty. They are even more astonished when they hear that Ahmadis do not allow for a single penny to be wasted and so some of them even pay for their own travel and consider it an honor to offer their services, time and skills, completely free of charge. This is all due to the spirit which has been inculcated into the Jama’at by the Promised Messiah(as). On so many occasions the Promised Messiah(as) instructed his followers towards the importance of serving others and feeling their pain. For example at one place the Promised Messiah(as) has said that there are only two complete parts of faith, one is to love God and the other is to love mankind to such a degree that you consider their suffering, trials and tribulations as your own and you pray for them. And so here the Promised Messiah(as) has mentioned a beautiful distinguishing feature of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community, rarely seen elsewhere, that where they seek to serve others they do not rely only on their wealth and skills alone; rather, along with their physical efforts they bow down in sincere prayer seeking Allah’s help and assistance. They pray Allah enables them to serve with the true spirit of sympathy, compassion and love for mankind. They seek Allah’s help to develop a truly selfless spirit whereby they consider the pain and desperation of others as their own pain and desperation. They pray that they are able to remove the tribulations and suffering of other people.
We see before going to remote parts of Africa or to countries afflicted by natural disaster that quite a number of our volunteers come to meet me or write to me seeking prayers that their efforts may be blessed. And so as I said, this is a great distinguishing feature of our Jama’at that each and every act is conducted with only one sole motivation—to please Allah and to gain his pleasure. This is the spirit of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community that has been directly instilled by the Promised Messiah(as). Always remember the Promised Messiah(as) taught his followers that one type of Waqf, that is devoting one’s life or time for the sake of Allah, is to serve God’s creation and to show love towards them. This requires true selflessness and love for others. It requires that a person does not rest until he has solved the problems of others and takes the weight of their burdens on to his own shoulders. It requires that a person’s heart is consumed by a love for others, whereby he cares not for his own comforts, but rather he cares only for the comfort of others. It requires that a person is every ready to personally absolve all forms of distress for the sake of others and to consider the pain of others as though it is his own pain. It requires that person is ready to bear personal suffering or anxiety so that others can live in peace and contentment. Again and again the Promised Messiah(as) said that his followers should utilize all of their God given abilities for the sake of others.
He went as far as saying that his followers should set aside all forms of religious differences and even seek to help and comfort those who oppose them. Therefore, this is the level and standard that Ahmadi Muslims should reach for, whereby they put aside all differences and are ever ready to help all people, irrespective of their backgrounds. Only when a person reaches this standard can it be said that they are serving humanity with the required spirit. Certainly, this is the very basis and spirit with which Humanity First was named, that first of all ‘humanity,’ and one’s own pleasure and comfort is secondary. Thus, every person associated with Humanity First, whether they are part of its executive body, are workers or volunteers should understand this philosophy and spirit. Every member should utilize their abilities and skills for the sake of others and should be ready to accept any form of discomfort, hardship or sacrifice for the sake of giving peace and comfort to those who are in need or who have been deprived in any way. They should not seek any worldly reward, but their sole motivation should be the love and pleasure of God Almighty.
The benefit of serving others is such that the Promised Messiah(as) has aligned human compassion with spirituality by stating that loving others is a great means of worship and a way to attain Allah’s blessing and rewards. Which Ahmadi Muslim could every wish to deprive himself or herself from Allah’s bounties and rewards? Keeping these points in view, I say to every member of Humanity First, no matter where in the world they are living or serving, that they must conduct their duties with sincerity and heartfelt love for others. Indeed, you should not just maintain your current level of work, but you should constantly seek to build up on your efforts and further improve the good work and good name of Humanity First. Through your activities in Humanity First you will also engage with non-Ahmadis and draw them to serving humanity. In this way you will be bringing others towards Allah and enabling them to also become recipients of God’s blessings. Thus, you should always maintain the highest standards of conduct and sincerity and be a positive example for others to follow.
One further point I would like to make is that there are some people who believe that Humanity First needs to be kept completely separate from religious obligations. I should make it clear to them that it is religion that has taught us the importance and value of serving humanity. It is Islam that has taught us that serving others is a great means of gaining Allah’s love and nearness. Indeed, religion itself is the very motivation and inspiration underlying the objectives of Humanity First. And so to say that Humanity First should be independent and free from religion is completely wrong. There may be certain occasions where the rights due to mankind can be temporarily prioritized even above the rights due to Allah. For example, if a person is drowning, then a person is of course permitted to delay his Salat in order to rescue them, but the office bearers and workers should remember that such permissions are for exceptional circumstances. It should not be that at a day to day level your focus does not remain on prayer. You should not think that charitable work is enough on its own simply because the Promised Messiah(as) has said serving humanity is considered as worship. Remember that Allah has kept some rights for Himself. And so we must always pay attention to fulfilling them. As I said before, it is our distinguishing feature that we seek Allah’s help and so fulfilling the rights of worship are of paramount importance and the Promised Messiah(as) has also emphasized on this.
Every member of Humanity First should remember that it is through prayer and prayer alone that his or her efforts will be blessed. All positive results are due to Allah’s blessings. When we serve humanity for Allah’s sake and then bow down to Him, we will be fulfilling both the rights due to Allah and the rights due to mankind. In this way we will earn countless of Allah’s blessings and rewards whilst a worldly person will only be rewarded for his physical efforts. This is the very reason that our efforts are continuously blessed and In Sha Allah will always continue to be. Certainly the scale of the work being done by Humanity First far exceeds the funds that it has available. Other charities could not do ten percent of the work that Humanity First does with the same amount of money. This is all a result of Allah’s grace and blessings and you should remember this at all times. May Allah enable Humanity First to go from strength to strength and enable all of you to work with that spirit of sincerity and love for Humanity, which the Promised Messiah(as) inculcated and taught us, Amin.”