An address delivered at the Parklands Primary School, Nairobi by Hazrat Mirza Masroor Ahmad, Khalifatul Masih V at the 40th Jalsa Salana (Annual Convention) of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Mission, Kenya.
Today, by the grace of Allah, the 40th Annual Convention of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Mission of Kenya is being held.
Let me remind those taking part in this Convention and who call themselves Ahmadi Muslims and who claim that Allah has enabled them to believe in the Promised Messiah(as) that they should always remember that it is not enough to believe in the Promised Messiah(as) alone. Believing in the Promised Messiah(as), of course, serves a very big purpose and it is important that we should attain this goal. And, you may well ask, what is this great purpose? It is a Divine purpose for which God Almighty sends His appointed persons as His messengers and prophets and it is for this purpose that Allah sent the Promised Messiah(as). This purpose is best expressed by the Promised Messiah(as) who states:
‘The primary purpose of the advent of prophets, on whom be peace, and the glorious aim of their teachings and their preaching is that the people should find their Lord and they should be saved from the life that is drawing them to Hell and destruction and which is also called a life steeped in sin. In reality, this is the main goal ahead of the prophets. So at this time too, the purpose of my coming and for which God has commissioned me and the movement that God Almighty has established, is the same purpose shared by all prophets. In other words, I want to tell and in fact show what God is and I want to guide you to the right way to avoid sin.” (Malfoozat Vol. 3 p.11)
So it is very obvious that the purpose of our being an Ahmadi and being called an Ahmadi will only be served when we adopt the ways of the teachings of the Promised Messiah(as) which in fact are the true teachings of Islam the understanding of which was given to him by God Almighty because of his complete love for the Holy Prophet Muhammad(sa).
Let me explain this in another way. The basic teaching is to create a bond with God Almighty, to worship Him, to try to avoid all kinds of sin and to honour the rights of His human beings. Therefore, the foremost thing, as the Promised Messiah(as) has stated, is the worship of God Almighty, righteousness towards Him (that is to say, to love Him so much as to fear anything that might invite Allah’s displeasure) and to recognise Him. If this is created in every Ahmadi, then know well that you have attained that goal.
Now, we have to see what worship is. In this connection, Allah says: And continue worshipping thy Lord, till YAQEEN, that is literally to say, absolute belief, or in its broader meaning, a form of death comes to thee. (Ch.15:V.100)
In other words, never tire of worship. Never let it cross your mind that I have prayed for such a long time, that I have sought Allah’s help in such and such a thing I need, yet He does not listen to me. What is the use of such prayers and such worship? An Ahmadi should never think in such a way. Such worship has no use. Pray so that Allah is pleased with you. When you worship God Almighty, pray with the thought in your mind that if Allah does not accept such and such prayer of mine, then there must be something in my desire that is not for my benefit. Your idea of worship should not be that if Allah listens to me and gives me everything that I ask for, then I will worship or else what is the use of praying to Him. The Promised Messiah(as) says that you should not think like that but pray with a different kind of thinking in your mind. You can only be called a believer when every moment is spent by making sure that this world which is a false life is not ended and a new life cannot begin without a connection with God Almighty. Do not sit in comfort till such time that you are fully satisfied that God is pleased with you. Hence, the Promised Messiah(as) states:
‘It is vital that a believer should not tire of worship nor slacken till such time that this false life is reduced to nothing and in its place a new life that is everlasting and comforting begins to emerge. And, until the pain and anguish of this temporal earthly life is removed and creates in one a delight in one’s faith and belief and a peace and tranquillity in one’s spirit, rest assured that till one reaches that state, that belief is incomplete and wrong. This is why Allah Almighty has stated here that you should continue to worship till absolute faith is achieved and all veils and shrouds of darkness are drawn away and one understands that I am not what I used to be before, but now, there is a new country, a new world, a new sky and I too am a new creation.” (Al Hakm Vol.4: p.31 dated 31 August 1900)
So remember that if you want to attain closeness and nearness to Almighty Allah, to become recipients of His pleasure, to be granted such an everlasting life that is full of bliss and happiness, want to spend this worldly life filled with happiness and to gain nearness to God in the life after death and receive God’s love, then become true worshippers of Allah.
The Promised Messiah(as) says that till you leave behind the pleasures of the world and materialism, your worship is of no use. So make your worship also the means of getting nearer to God and praying to Him. When you reach that state within yourself that worldly matters seem meaningless in comparison to matters relating to the worship of God, then it can be said that your belief is of a standard where, apart from deriving the pleasure of Allah, you have no other desires. At that time, man begins to feel within himself that I am not what I used to be. Because of this worship, I feel that I have a new lease of life.
Now it seems that I am a being of some other world. Unlike other persons of this world, I do not have eyes fixed on this world at all times. The purpose of my existence is not merely to earn a living in this world but to discharge the duty of honouring the rights of the Creator. However, Allah does not prevent anyone from earning a livelihood, of trading, of doing a job, of farming or working in some other way. But to make these things the only purpose of one’s life and to not pay attention towards the worship of Allah and to not even think about the Being that created and nourished one, are matters from which Allah stops us. Allah says that you can only be called My people when you continue to worship Me and never become tired of worshipping Me. So the Promised Messiah(as) came to create these standards in us.
So as I have said, those of you who call yourselves Ahmadis should not sit back and rest thinking that having fulfilled the words of the prophecy of the Holy Prophet Muhammad(sa), you have accepted the Promised Messiah(as) and have now joined his Community. This is not enough, but a new country, a new world and a new sky will have to be found by you.
In this age when materialism is spread all over, sin is no longer treated a sin, when the ease and comfort of this world are all that matter, you will have to shape your actions and deeds in compliance with the commandments of Allah as Allah requires you to do. It is only when you have made this clear change within yourselves that you will be entitled to enter a new country or territory in which no one else lives other than those who seek Allah’s pleasure. The world of your heart will be totally under the control of Allah’s commandment.
Whenever you sow the seeds in such a soil, apart from the green crops of good deeds ever blowing in the wind, nothing else can grow. Over these, there should be such a sky that provides its shade and showers nothing but blessings from Allah. So this is the standard of reformation that we have to create within ourselves.
As I said before, just observing the five daily prayers will not establish the standards of worship because there are some worshippers about whom the Holy Qur’an says that they are the means of destruction as it says:
So woe to those who pray… (Ch.107:V .5)
Now, what can be a source of destruction and a curse for those who pray? It is because their prayers are only by way of show and so that people should say that such and such a Haji is a very holy man. People should say that ever since he has returned from the pilgrimage, he prays a lot. However, the prayers observed for the sake of Allah should at least have a tinge or effect of the commands of Allah. Yes, perform the pilgrimage and observe the prayers, but if in your daily dealings and your trade you are cheating people, then such a deed or such worship has no value before Allah.
If you seemingly observe the prayers but your neighbours are fed up of you, then your prayers have no value before Allah because Allah says be kind to your neighbours. The Companions of the Prophet(sa) were very kind in their treatment of their neighbours. The Holy Prophet(sa) himself always emphasised the rights of the neighbour so much so that the companions thought that the command would soon come that the neighbours are designated as inheritors of their estate.
A quality that Allah has identified about the people who worship Him is that they treat their parents with kindness. They are also kind towards their relatives and honour their rights. They also take care of the needy and the orphans and do not look down at them with pride and arrogance.
So worship is not limited to observing the prayers and performing the Hajj or pilgrimage but a true worshipper is the one who obeys the commandments of Allah and does not transgress nor exceed the limit against anyone. He tries his best never to usurp the rights of anyone or snatch the belongings of others. One who usurps the rights of another can be a rich man or a common labourer. If a common worker does not do justice to his work, then he too will be included amongst those who usurp the rights of others. If an employee does not do the work of his boss in a fair manner, then he too will be guilty of the offence. It will be just as bad as when a rich man commits a sin by usurping the rights of a poor man. Or if a civil servant does not spend full time at his work, then he too is committing a sin and his acts of worship and his prayers will not serve him any purpose.
So, the truth of the matter is that as long as the manner in which a person deals and conducts himself is not in accord with winning the happiness and pleasure of God, and good deeds are not done other than for the purpose that Allah may be pleased, and worship is not for any purpose other than that Allah may be pleased, till then he cannot benefit from the bounties and blessings of the Almighty Allah. This is what we learn from the Holy Qur’an, the Ahadith, and the teachings of the Promised Messiah(as). So every Ahmadi should try and raise his worship to this standard, because in its absence there can be no concept of Ahmadiyyat.
Understand this objective and change your lives in accordance with this principle. These conventions that are held also serve the same purpose. The Jama’at has no interest in showing its strength or standing by congregating people but the purpose of such Jalsas is so that those few weak souls in whom any shortcomings have arisen over the year, should be reminded what God wants and what Ahmadiyyat, that is true Islam, requires of them. We should change our lives accordingly.
The two or three days of the Convention should, therefore, be spent in supplications and worship. Pledge to purify yourself from every bad thing. Pray fervently and crying in the manner that a baby cries:
‘O Lord! Thou art the only One Who can cause these pious changes in our hearts. We have found this pure environment in which everyone is trying to reform oneself. We have discovered this environment in which all Ahmadis have gathered to observe prayers. We have found an environment in which all those who have come together are listening to good things so that virtuous changes and reformation may occur amongst them. These good things that we listen to are nothing else except matters about Allah and His Messenger. So O Lord, grant us the opportunity to listen to these good things so that we may act on these good things and try and make them an integral part of our lives. O Allah! Let it not be that in these two days there is a temporary excitement in us but when we return homes, we forget Thee and we become forgetful about the times of worship. Let it not be that we should ignore the rights of Thy people.’
Moreover, there are new Ahmadis who have not been very long in this Jama’at. Conventions are also held for their Tarbiyyat, that is, training and reformation, so that good changes should begin to occur amongst them. So whether they are new Ahmadis or old Ahmadis, if they have come to participate in the Convention with good intentions, then because such conventions and such gatherings that are intended for good deeds and making good plans, Allah showers His blessings on the participants. These blessings are so much that we cannot comprehend them.
There is a Tradition that describes such a gathering. Hazrat Abu Hurairah(ra) relates that the Holy Prophet Muhammad(sa) said:
‘Allah has angels who go around looking for a gathering engaged in the remembrance of Allah, and when they find a company so occupied, they sit down there and cover it by extending their wings. The whole environment is blessed in abundance. When the people depart, the angels go up to the heaven where Allah asks them, although Allah knows everything, ‘Where have you come from?’ The angels report, ‘We have come from Thy servants who were proclaiming Thy Holiness and Thy Greatness. They were engaged in Thy worship and were repeatedly praising and glorifying Thee and were supplicating Thee.’ Upon this Allah asks, ‘What were they seeking from Me?’ The angels respond, ‘They ask of Thee Thy paradise.’ Allah asks, ‘Have they seen My paradise?’ The angels answer, ‘No, Lord, they have not seen Thy paradise.’ Allah asks, ‘What if they saw it?’ Then the angels say, ‘They seek Thy protection.’ Upon this Allah asks, ‘From what do they seek My protection?’ They answer, ‘They seek protection from Thy Fire.’ Allah asks, ‘Have they seen My Fire?’ The angels respond, ‘No, they have not seen it.’ Allah inquires, ‘What if they saw it?’ Then the angels say, ‘They seek Thy forgiveness.’ Allah says, ‘I forgive them and grant them whatever they asked of Me and I protect them from that which they asked.’ Upon this, the angels say, ‘O Lord! There was amongst them so and so misled person who happened to be passing by and seeing the gathering engaged in the remembrance of God, sat down in it as a spectator.’ Upon this Allah says, ‘I forgive him also because those who take part in it are such people that even the one who sits amongst them can never remain unfortunate and deprived of blessings.’ (Muslim: Kitab Al-Dhikr, Chapter: Fadhal Majalis Al- D h i k r)
See how much grace and blessing is there for such gatherings where Allah is remembered, where plans are made for attaining the nearness to Allah and where plans are devised for kindness to humanity. So if you have come together with this thought, then you too are the fortunate ones upon whom the angels spread their wings of protection. The angels are praying for you.
Similarly, Allah is also pleased that these of My mortal people, despite being tempted by the Devil, did not fall prey to the temptations of Satan and instead preferred to sit in gatherings devoted to My remembrance. In this age when there are all sorts of plots hatched by Satan and when the followers of Satan lurk and hide on every corner waiting to lead man astray, the significance of such gatherings becomes all the more important.
On such people who assemble for the remembrance of Allah, Allah showers His blessings in great abundance. Allah says that even though they have not seen My paradise but having believed in Me, are eager to go to paradise and though they have not seen the Fire because of their belief in Me, seek My protection from it. Allah says further that these people are remembering Me and are favourably inclined towards Me. Because of this opinion they hold about Me, I grant them everything that they desire of Me.
Then Allah forgave an evil person who happened to sit amidst their company. But we should remember that it is the Law of God Almighty that He punishes sins also. This is why by doing good deeds and despite the means for forgiveness existing, it is important to remain resolute because true repentance is such that one should let perish the thought of any bad deed after such a realisation. Despite seeing evil, instead of being drawn towards evil, one should take a step towards God Almighty and should always seek His salvation.
So when you depart from this gathering, only go after making changes in yourselves towards piety and creating in yourselves righteousness and making these a permanent part of your lives. They should be such changes that after witnessing them in you, even your future generations should become holy. Your morals should be of such high standards that there should be no match for them.
I have been drawing the attention of the Jama’at for a long time towards this but because this is the first time I am addressing you directly I repeat myself. Whether you are a commercial trader or a small businessman, whether you are an employee or a labourer, whether a proprietor or an officer, at every place and every moment, others should know that having accepted Ahmadiyyat, this person has caused a special change within himself. He has the badge of Ahmadiyyat on him. If he works in a government department, he would never accept a bribe. If he is a trader, he never mixes his commodities nor sells a faulty object. If he is an employee or a labourer, then no one works harder than him and he does full justice to his work. You have the capacities and faculties with which you can create a name for yourselves through hard work and sincerity. The only thing needed is attention and an Ahmadi must pay attention towards it.
Another important thing towards which much attention is needed is the Tarbiyyat or training of the ladies. If we do not train the ladies and try and make them understand their faith in the same way that the men try and do it for themselves, then there can be no guarantee for the training of the future generations. So considerable attention needs to be paid to this aspect. In the Third World or the Developing World as it is now called, because of a lack of knowledge, a tendency grows amongst men that there is no need to teach the ladies anything about their faith or that they need not obtain any worldly education. Some ladies of rich families do acquire worldly education but are totally unknowledgeable about matters of faith. If this situation also exists amongst Ahmadis, then your future generations can never be trained in spiritual and moral matters. They will be of no use to their faith, nor will they be of any use to the country. Therefore, if you wish to have a radical progress and want to be leaders in secular and non-secular matters, then educate your ladies in religious and worldly matters. Their job is not just to go the market and sell some goods and thus feed the families and look after your children. Looking after the children and their upbringing is indeed their responsibility but they have also a status in society. Therefore, it is the responsibility of men to take care of the ladies and to keep them with you in religious matters. So do not forget your ladies.
Likewise, I tell the ladies that the status of an Ahmadi lady is very high. Pay special attention towards the upbringing and training of your children. Create such an environment for your children that they get religious education and also pay attention to their worldly education. Every Ahmadi child, be it a boy or a girl, should march forward in education. Education should not be abandoned because of poverty. The Jama’at should arrange it and take care of this and the Jama’at will do so Insha Allah (Allah Willing) .
If the ladies themselves scale new heights in their worship and pay attention to doing good and to their supplications and are mindful that being Ahmadis they have to reform themselves and have not become Ahmadis merely because their husbands became Ahmadis, then definitely their future generations will be such that it would be beneficial for the world as well as for the country and the nation. The ladies will be pressed in the effort that we are believers in the One God before Whom alone we bow down. It will not have its sight towards the world. It cannot be that our people continue to beg always from other people and other nations. The thought should be in the heart that the command of the Lord Whom we worship is to adopt all good values.
Therefore, I urge again that in order to save yourselves and your nation, you will have to restore yourselves to the status that you enjoyed in the past when the economy of this country was very strong. In order to regain the standing of your nation and earn respect in the eyes of the world, you will have to adopt all those excellent values towards which God Almighty has directed you and which are mentioned very clearly in the Holy Qur’an. You will have to abandon all those evils that Allah has forbidden and which are mentioned in the Holy Qur’an. And most of all, in order to gather all the blessings of Allah, you will have to pay attention towards His worship which is His right. And every person of the house and every member of the Jama’at, man, woman and child, when you bow in the presence of Allah, then most certainly, you will be the ones to bring about a revolution in your lives and in your country and the world will witness that those whom we thought were of no value are not valueless but are our equals.
Allah enable you to recognise your status. May you all be the beneficiaries of the supplications of the Promised Messiah(as) for those who participate in the Jalsa. Allah make the Jalsa a success in every way and bless it and that when you return home you return with a new spirit.
Finally, I wish to thank all the honourable guests who have taken their precious time to attend this Convention and have provided testimony of their brotherly love and affection. Allah reward them with His grace.