On 17th December 2012, the worldwide Head of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community, Hazrat Mirza Masroor Ahmad(aba), Khalifatul Masih V, inaugurated the first Jamia (theological institute for training missionaries) of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community in mainland Europe, in the city of Reichstadt, Germany. A special function was held in which His Holiness delivered a keynote address to the students of the Jamia explaining their responsibilities and the purpose of the institution. Dignitaries, journalists and local residents were all invited to the historic occasion, and they came to learn first-hand of the teachings inculcated and the message that would emanate from the Jamia.
Werner Amend, Mayor of Reichstadt, said:
“This is no ordinary day. This is a special moment for our city. Even in a majority Muslim county, it is a significant event for an institution to open for the training of Imams. For such an institution to open in Germany is extraordinary.Only a few years ago Islamic studies was newly introduced in some German Universities. However, today holds far greater significance. This institution was established by the Ahmadiyya Community and is the first of its kind in Germany. At present in Europe the only similar institution is found in London, but London’s population runs into millions whereas the population of Reichstadt is just 22,000. This shows how significant today’s event is. I am delighted that Reichstadt will, in a sense, become the centre for the Ahmadiyya Community…I see this this inauguration as a symbol of integration.”
The Mayor later remarked that His Holiness in his address had expressed words from the heart and had imparted a very positive and crucial advice when he said to the students that they should act upon the teachings they learn and present their practical models.
Wolf Walther, Secretary of the German Islam Conference, met with students of the Jamia and later said that he had been extremely impressed by the Jamia and the address of the His Holiness. He said that he thought it was an excellent gesture by the Ahmadiyya Community to invite the local mayor and other dignitaries to the opening. Mentioning how impressed he had been by the personality of His Holiness, he remarked that he had appreciated the advice of His Holiness to the students of the Jamia that they should ensure they always met with local Germans with love and affection and in a friendly manner.
Dr. Rudolf Kriszeleit, Secretary of State for Integration and Europe in the Hesse Ministry of Justice, said:
“In the context of integration and from a general political perspective of the public, it is very appropriate and important that this institution has been established in which Imams will be trained. Such Imams will be trained here who speak the German language, are familiar with German history and culture and also live here…for this reason they will become excellent means of contact for the Muslims of the country…It is my desire that Jamia Ahmadiyya successfully achieves its aims.”
The inauguration was widely reported in regional newspapers and TV stations. After the event a press conference was also held in which various questions were presented to and then answered by His Holiness.
Keynote Address by Head of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community
Translated from the Urdu by Abdul-Quddus Arif, edited by Amer Safir, Murtaza Ahmad and Tariq H. Malik (The Review of Religions)
After reciting Tashahhud, Ta’awwuz and Bismillah, Hazrat Khalifatul Masih V(aba) said:
“Today at this present moment in time, sitting amongst us, aside from the students of Jamia Ahmadiyya and other Ahmadis, are distinguished guests who have no connection with Islam and belong to other faiths. Thus, first of all, I would like to thank all of them for attending our function and gracing us with their presence. They have expressed the fact that the Ahmadiyya Community presents a peaceful Islam, which is the true Islam. They have expressed that there should be mutual relations between different faiths and that the educated youth of this country have enrolled as students in this Jamia Ahmadiyya to acquire knowledge, in order that they may present the true image of Islam to the citizens and inform them of the true Islam and to also remove the misconceptions regarding Islam that have arisen owing to some extremists. Nevertheless, all these expressions are such that show that they have certain expectations from the Ahmadiyya Community. God willing, as the past 123/124 years of the history of the Community bears witness, Ahmadiyyat is the true Islam that presents love, affection and brotherhood, and God willing they will see that the graduates from this institution will convey the true picture of this Islam to the citizens of this country.
Here, I would like to add a point further. The students of “Germany” and “those who have been educated here” have been repeatedly mentioned; however, in this Jamia Ahmadiyya, students from other European countries like Belgium, Holland and other countries [France] are also studying here. So German students are not the only ones studying here, in fact in this small city, as the respected Mayor said, that after London, this small city of Reichstadt is where Jamia Ahmadiyya has been established to teach Islamic studies. This institution has been established in a city that not only has German students, but students from other European countries also come to acquire knowledge. Thus, from this small city, a light of knowledge is to emerge and disseminate across the whole of Europe. The European Union is working in unison due to social, economic and political reasons; however, the Europeans are not paying attention towards religion. Therefore, it is the Ahmadiyya Community that has united Europe in the city of Reichstadt in another way. From here, the propagators of the true teachings of Islam will spread across Europe and it is even possible that they will present the true picture of Islam beyond Europe. Thus, accordingly, this city has been granted a great distinction.
Having said a few words to the guests, I would now like to proceed towards my main agenda, which is to address the students today in relation to the inauguration of Jamia Ahmadiyya. The students of Jamia Ahmadiyya and the entire Ahmadiyya Community of Germany should be thankful to Allah the Exalted that He has granted us the opportunity to establish Jamia Ahmadiyya here. This was a great project. The Ahmadiyya Community does not have oil money neither does it rely upon trade. The Ahmadiyya Community is a small Community – every single project it undertakes, whether it is the building of mosques or missions, or sending missionaries abroad, or preaching programmes, or publishing literature or training the missionaries of Jamia Ahmadiyya, they are all funded by the Chanda – the financial sacrifices of members of the Ahmadiyya Community. As I have stated, this was a major project and I thought it would take a few more years to complete; however by the sheer grace of Allah the Exalted, the Ahmadiyya Community of Germany were granted the opportunity to complete this complex quickly and today we have a beautiful building wherein consists all the facilities for the students of Jamia Ahmadiyya. The students should also be thankful to Allah the Exalted for this, and a way of expressing their gratification is by completely focusing upon their education and endeavour to attain that objective for which you have entered into Jamia Ahmadiyya and this objective is to save the world from destruction; and cultivate within yourselves that love and affection for all people of the world, that which cannot be found within a worldly person. Therefore, understand this responsibility. Moreover, the ways to fulfil this objective is by acquiring education, and after the completion of this education, make a vow to spread it in the best manner possible.
How is it possible to save the world from destruction? Firstly, there are worldly and political endeavours. We are continuously giving messages of peace, love and affection. Worldly people also warn others about the circumstances of war and I have been voicing this upon various occasions. However, a preacher and missionary, who is being educated in Jamia Ahmadiyya, has to make the world aware of the existence of God the Exalted. He has to fulfil his responsibilities in order to bring people closer towards God the Exalted. He has to make the world aware that peace, justice and love cannot be achieved until the hearts realise that our every action and deed is being witnessed by God the Exalted.
Therefore, whenever you make an effort to make people aware of this; firstly, you will have to realise this and hold yourself responsible for this. You will have to practice this teaching yourself and form a relation with God the Exalted. Only then can you truly tell others Who God is and, what God’s teachings are and the degree of God’s love towards His creation, and due to this love, God the Exalted has sent prophets for the reformation of man in every age, and completed and perfected the faith at the end by sending the Holy Prophet(sa). Subsequently, sometimes faith also became corrupted due to a natural process and for the rejuvenation of this final and complete religion again, to make it practice-able for this age and to present it in its [original] beauty, He sent the Promised Messiah(as) in this age.
Thus, before you inform others, you would have to make a self-assessment about what you are. What is your relation with God the Exalted? How do you practice the teachings of Islam? How much do you love and adore the creation of God? If you bear these points in mind then, God willing, your work will continuously be blessed. God the Exalted has stated in the Qur’an that those who acquire religious knowledge should be well-versed. Therefore, to acquire – religious knowledge – is a commandment, that there should be a body of men amongst you who are well-versed in religious matters. There are many Waqifeen-e-Nau. Their parents dedicated their lives before their birth for the acquisition of religious knowledge, and then later you presented yourself; you were neither compelled nor forced to do so. You yourself volunteered and opted for this, and presented yourself to serve the faith. So now that you have learned about your faith or have come towards the learning of religious knowledge, then you should also be mindful of it. Alongside being well-versed in religion, God the Exalted has also specified the objectives that you should attain. You should warn every nation and wherever you are based, as I have already stated, bring them towards God the Exalted. Make them aware of the existence of God; make them realise the importance of religion and draw their attention towards bringing an end to misconduct and misguidance. Where God the Exalted has mentioned the importance of His dues and the importance of His rights, there He has also mentioned in detail the rights pertaining to mankind. The Promised Messiah(as) has mentioned exactly the same thing; that there are two great objectives which he has come to the world to fulfil. Firstly, to draw man closer towards his Creator, and secondly to draw man’s attention towards fulfilling each other’s rights. From this, another point that comes to light is the ending of all types of religious warfare.
Today, the picture of Islam being portrayed to the world is that Islam is an extremist religion; a religion of extremism and that Islam only promotes terrorism. To remove these misconceptions from the minds of others, you will have to change your attitudes. Your attitudes should be of mutual love and affection. Although you have been commanded ‘To be compassionate towards each other’, but along with this, there is the command that a true Muslim is he from whom every peaceful person is protected and all peaceful and loving people and every person who spreads peace does not merely protect, rather, he is responsible for safe-guarding peace as well.
This is the teaching that you have to impart to the world and this is the goal by means of which you will do justice to the responsibility of Tafaquh fideen [becoming well-versed in religious matters]. You should pay attention to this all the time. Apart from this, there are other high moral standards concerning the rights of men, which are included therein. The further in-depth you go in to this, they will become more apparent to you. It is your responsibility to acquire these details and act accordingly.
To create this true spirit, God the Exalted has given us an example in the Holy Qur’an of how this can be achieved. He states to take the example of the honey-bee; you should work in the same pattern as it does. Albeit now, bees are being domesticated and bred in combs on ground level, however even then they have a certain degree of elevation. Generally the hives of the bee are in lofty places. We observe this on the mountains and trees as God has also stated. Therefore, your thoughts should also be elevated, the vastness of your knowledge should also be touching peaks; it should not only depend upon worldly things but instead it should be scraping the canopy of the heavens. You should make the being of Allah your objective, as opposed to worldly people. This is also a lesson the honey-bee teaches us that you should keep your objectives high; the greatest height is the Being of God the Exalted. By grasping this main objective, no worldly objective can harm you in any way.
God the Exalted has stated that the bee gathers nectar from different fruits to make into honey. Here, different fruits are being presented to you. Now the Qur’an is the fountainhead of all qualities, the source of all teachings and a spring that leads towards Allah the Exalted and contains the most supreme lesson about fulfilling the rights of mankind. It contains the lesson of religious tolerance and respecting the sentiments of every religion. This is the teaching that you are gaining here. In addition there are explanations in the Ahadith which have been stated by the Holy Prophetsa.. You are attaining this knowledge here. The Islamic jurists have done various commentaries on it, and you are studying Fiqh (Islamic Jurisprudence). Furthermore, you are studying comparative religions to learn other faiths. You will study Christianity, Judaism, Buddhism, and other religions so that you know what their teachings are and what are the teachings of Islam. If any faith falsely accuses Islam, then you will know what your response should be.
After attaining the knowledge of other religions, instead of expressing the negative aspects of a religion to others, you should explain the excellences of Islam. This in-depth knowledge is also vital for you. Moreover, there are some special types of honey that are only prepared for the queen-bee. This refers to your specialisation and your unique qualities. After studying and graduating, some of you will specialise in certain subjects, which would serve as a particular honey or a cure for a particular ailment. We continuously learn a strange lesson from this example. However, after attaining all this, what has the honey-bee taught us next? If you keep this example in mind, you will take a subtle lesson from this. But after learning all this, what have you really learnt? It is stated ‘Modestly follow the ways of thy Lord’, meaning that after attaining knowledge of the Qur’an, Ahadith and different religions, no arrogance or pride should develop in a missionary. He should show humility and tread the paths that are beneficial to others; the honey-bee is, for it is providing health for the sick. Our missionaries should give spiritual remedies. This should always be your aim in life. If you bear this in mind then you will see how the world will be drawn towards you, how successful you become in your goals, how the world will come to know the beautiful teachings of Islam. Whether the students who are from Germany, Belgium or have come from France or Holland and are attaining knowledge here they, God willing, will eventually graduate and become missionaries and spread the message of Islam in their countries. Every single person will return to their vicinities and be the source of spiritual remedies and you will become that remedy.
As far as attaining knowledge is concerned, I have cited this example upon many occasions; the non-Ahmadi maulawies are also very scholarly. They remember many long references and they know an array of books of Ahadith by heart. They have memorised the verses of the Holy Qur’an, with the exact reference numbers, however, since they have not been taught and trained by the Imam of the age, that is why firstly they fail to comprehend this knowledge thoroughly, and secondly this knowledge becomes a source of arrogance for them. Instead of taking them to the heavens, this arrogance makes them fall into the depths of the earth and they become those who are ever inclined to the world; their false ego and false honour does not provide them that spiritual rank that a true and genuine religious scholar and missionary should possess.
So if you bear this example in mind then you will take a lesson from this. Thus, I would like to reiterate this point that if you have presented yourself and opted for this, and if you want to become the true helpers of the Community of the Promised Messiah(as) then continuously, in this institution, increase the level of your knowledge, and morals, and make every habit of yours such that are only to be found in an extremely good-moral individual so that you may present the beautiful teachings of Islam in this area.
This is a small city and it is said that it has a population of 22,000. Even though you have studied here and have been educated here, the majority of you are Asian in appearance, with the exception of one or two students who are local Europeans. So whenever you go out into the city, people should not fear you and be alarmed about where these 100-150 boys have come from in this small city. [That they are perhaps] the Taliban or extremists or terrorists since their beards, hats, clothes, are giving a strange impression. One becomes well-known fairly quickly in a small city. Thus, by demonstrating your morals, going to the shops and the market, greeting people on the streets, meeting people with kindness and showing gentle and kind expressions on your face, the city will naturally be drawn to you and then in this area this good conduct will become part of your identity. This will become a means of spreading the beautiful teachings of Islam.
This is a great responsibility. This is not confined to the fact that after passing the seven-year course, only then will you be considered as working in the practical field. Your work in the practical field has now started. This population of 22,000 are looking to you and wondering whether the Ahmadiyya Community practices what it preaches. The true portrayal of this would be done through your actions, your conduct, your behaviour, your speech and by visiting the city and shops. Always remember, regardless of the fact that if a pupil has become a missionary or is studying in the second, third or fifth year, that you have now become a missionary in this city. You are the missionary of this city, you are the ambassadors of Islam in this city and in this country. Thus, always remember these points and understand your responsibilities. In short, pay attention towards your education with the utmost sincerity. Do not ever express anything that will result in disgrace.
May Allah enable you to follow all these instructions and may you graduate in the true essence as a missionary and a preacher and become one who spreads the light of Islam here.”