Concluding address delivered by Hazrat Khalifatul Masih V, Head of with worlwide Ahmadiyya Community, in Jinja at the 20th Annual Convention of the Ahmadiyya Muslim community in Uganda.
Yesterday I reminded you that the days of the Jalsa Salana (Annual Convention) should be spent in prayers and the remembrance of Allah. Keep Allah in your mind and heart at all times. Pay attention to the worship of the One Allah so that you obtain the pleasure of Allah. The purpose of creation is the worship of Allah and to acquire the pleasure of Allah. So, I hope that most of you would have tried to do just that. May Allah cause the good works and the worship of those who spent these days both in their mind and by their action to increase in their morals and grant them a high spiritual status. May you cross new frontiers in attaining the nearness of Allah. May high moral values also begin to be revealed through your worship because it is just not possible that you should engage in the worship of Allah for His sake and in creating a reformation within yourselves, while your spiritual status should not move higher and that you should not pay attention to recognising and respecting the rights of others and leaving behind your evil ways.
Today, I will talk about the rights of fellow human beings i.e. Huqoq Al‘Ibaad and also about Nizam-e-Jama’at (the administrative discipline within the community).
Allah has placed great emphasis in the Holy Qur’an on Huqoq Al‘Ibaad (the rights of the creation) along with Huquq Allah (the rights owed to Allah). The Promised Messiah(as) has said that, ‘the main commandments of the Holy Qur’an are only two: (1) is the Unity of God and love and obedience to the Almighty Creator Who possesses the greatest attributes, and (2) kindness towards one’s brothers and mankind.’
Then in order to keep his community pressed to good works, the Promised Messiah(as) advises:
‘My entire Jama’at that is present here or at their places of residence, should pay heed to this last will that having entered this movement, those who maintain a relationship of belief in and discipleship with me, should know that its purpose is that they should attain high standards in good conduct, good fortune and happiness and righteousness. Intrigue, mischief, and evil conduct should not come anywhere near them. They should adhere to the five daily prayers at their appointed times. They should not tell lies. They should not harm anyone with their tongues. They should not be guilty of any wickedness. No thought of any mischief, unkindness, discord, or disorder should ever enter their hearts… Kindness to all men should be their principle and they should fear their Lord. They should protect their tongues, and hands and their motives from all filthy causes of violence and breach of trust. Impose the discipline of maintaining the five daily prayers on yourselves with great rigidity. Refrain from cruelty, oppression, cheating and deceit, and bribery, and do not cause loss to the rights of others nor resort to injustice. Do not sit in any bad company… It should be that you do not intend to cause or convey any harm or loss to any religion, or to any man belonging to any nation or group. Be a faithful advisor and counsellor to everyone… Get the habit of forgiveness and overlooking with tolerance, and work with patience and gentleness. Do not attack anyone in any inappropriate way and keep a check on your passions. If anyone deals with you in a barbaric manner, say Salam (Peace) and walk away from such a gathering…. It should be that your hearts should be clear of deceit, your hands free of cruelty, and your eyes kept apart from all impurities and, apart from honesty and kindness to the creation, there should be nothing else within you.’
Now just see what a beautiful image of Islam the Promised Messiah(as) has drawn for us. Indeed only he can go to such depths who has been bestowed special guidance from God Almighty. Therefore, we are fortunate that Allah has enabled us to believe in the Imam of the Age and the Promised Messiah(as). But, as I have said many times, to be happy only because you have believed in the Imam and have listened to his words will serve us no purpose unless we make this teaching of his a part of our lives.
You will not be able to establish the Unity of God within you and beyond you and in your future generation until the love of Allah, above all other loves, has been created in your hearts and until your lives are resigned to the total obedience to Allah. Obedience cannot be complete until we act on all His commandments, carry out all good works and abandon all the evil ways. The passion for obedience should not be merely because of a fear of Allah but in the same manner that a lover listens to his beloved. When this state of affairs is created, then it can be said that the people who act in this manner can try to establish the Unity of God, can worship the One God, can hate shirk or associating partners with Allah. They give no importance to anything above the commandments of Allah. In accordance with the teachings of Allah and due to their love of and obedience to Allah, they mould their personal desires and feelings. They adorn their good works and abandon bad ways.
Thus, each Ahmadi should spend his life in this manner. Only then would your works be called good and only then, with the grace of Allah, would He turn towards us. This is the condition when it can be said that someone treads the path of righteousness. As I said the obedience to and love of God is that instead of becoming a slave of one’s personal desires, one should obey His commandments. Obviously, God has not given separate commands to each man or to each Muslim. Instead, Allah has mentioned these commandments in the Holy Qur’an which is the Final Book of Shariah (Law) and that was revealed to the Holy Prophet Muhammad(sa). These commandments run up to several thousands. All these commandments cannot be mentioned here. I will, however, mention a few.
For example, to establish the Nizam-e-Jama’at or we may call it the administrative and disciplinary structure of the Jama’at, and ensure that the Unity of God is established in our minds and the society, Allah commands that we should unite and join like the links in a chain. In connection with establishing the Nizam Jama’at, Allah requires that we should be obedient to it and only then would we be worthy of being called the ones who are obedient to Allah and His Messenger as is stated in the Holy Qur’an when:
O ye who believe! obey Allah, and obey His Messenger and those who are in authority over you. And if you differ in anything among yourselves, refer it to Allah and His Messenger if you are believers in Allah and the Last Day. That is best and most commendable in the end. (Ch.4:V .60)
See what a wonderful formula has been given to keep the nation and the Jama’at together that in order to establish the Unity of God, and maintain peace and tranquillity in society, it is necessary that you should obey Allah and His Messenger or whoever is your Amir or those in authority over you.
There are obvious clear commandments, such as those relating to Prayers, fasting, and other acts of worship, etc. Then, there are evils such as alcohol, adultery and eating pork. An Ahmadi should refrain from all these evils. But if there is a non-Islamic society, and in the unlikely event there is a command from such an authority on such a prohibition, then one does not have to obey that order of such a government. However, there are many other national laws. There are laws on promoting good works and stopping evils. Complete obedience to all such laws is obligatory for a Muslim. An Ahmadi Muslim should be very particular in this obedience because there is a Nizam-e-Jama’at established in their community. They are not without a leader. They are better trained than others in abiding by the law. By joining this Nizam-e-Jama’at, they are more experienced in obedience to authority because amongst them there are office bearers, an Amir and a Khalifa of the time.
Sometimes, some people raise the question that such and such an office bearer or Amir of the Jama’at acted incorrectly or made an error and whether or not such and such a decision of his was in accordance with Allah and His Messenger, or not? These people should also keep the Holy Qur’an before them in that if a clear lawful order is not being violated then obedience requires that such matters should be accepted so that we become obedient to Allah and His Messenger. But if they observe that something is done that is against the teachings of Islam and against the dignity of the Jama’at, then the attention of the Amir should be drawn towards it and they should write to the Khalifa of the time. Then whatever decision comes from the Khalifa of the time, and most certainly there will be no decision from the Nizam-e-Jama’at or the Khalifa of the time that is contrary to or against shariah, then it is each Ahmadi’s duty to show full obedience to such a decision. Otherwise, because of the command quoted from the Holy Qur’an earlier, he would be going beyond the obedience owed to Allah and His Messenger. A unique feature of every Ahmadi has been that he abides by the rules and regulations. So, you should also abide by the Nizam-e-Jama’at and obey in full the national laws. This is what you are commanded to do.
The Holy Prophet(sa) has said that you must obey irrespective of poverty and abundance, whether in happiness or sorrow, or when rights are being violated or there is biased treatment. In short, in every condition, it is incumbent on you to hear and obey the orders of the ruler at that time. Now see to what extent we have been reminded of obedience. Even if your rights are being violated, or not enough weight is being attached to your stand as opposed to someone else’s, or your mitigating circumstances are being ignored, even then it is your duty to obey your office bearers under the Jama’at’s administrative system, or officers under the system of your country.
The Holy Prophet(sa) has also said in another Hadith that apart from you being ordered to commit an obvious sin, it is your duty to obey your officers. Therefore, this is the command of the Messenger and Allah has said that it is just as incumbent on you to obey the Prophet as it is to obey My commands. Thus, an Ahmadi should evaluate his life and see whether he is obedient to this high level to the administration of the Jama’at, and if he is not, then his claim of love and obedience to Allah would be hollow.
Then Allah says that by disobeying His commands, you would not only be earning His displeasure and wasting your works but you would also suffer in this world, as He says:
And obey Allah and His Messenger and dispute not with one another, lest you falter and your power depart from you. And be steadfast; surely, Allah is with the steadfast. (Ch.8:V .47)
So power lies in standing united within the Jama’at and being tied to Khilafat. And as stated in the Hadith, the Holy Prophet(sa) said that even if your rights are being violated, even then you have to obey. Therefore, in order to lend strength to the Jama’at in all circumstances, and in obedience to the commands of Allah and His Messenger, a believer should be steadfast and patient. In the same way, one should not take one’s differences on national matters to such an extent that other nations derive benefit from such a difference and as a result the national rating and reputation of your country is threatened. If you stand united, it will hold the key to your national progress.
Therefore, an Ahmadi should always think and spend his life in this manner. Remember, such consideration can only arise in you when you think like this on everyday bread and butter issues and your heart cries out each time you cause the smallest injury to someone, and when you abandon all kinds of evils, big and small, from within you.
Then there is another important point about the telling of lies.
The Promised Messiah(as) has urged us not to tell a lie. Now a lie is the root cause of all evils. One lie leads to another lie. Therefore, each Ahmadi should have the habit of always speaking the truth and giving true evidence. Allah has equated lies to shirk and has shown that liars are in a way associating partners with Allah. Instead of faith in Allah, they have greater faith in their trickery and deceit and the giving of false evidence so that they may escape from punishment for some crime or gain more from their lies. Some traders misrepresent and smooth talk or try to sell using a slippery language although the command is that whatever you sell, tell its good and bad points and do not hide the truth.
So with one lie, you remove yourself from the obedience of Allah and His Messenger because Allah says about His obedient servants :
…who bear not false witness … (Ch.25:V .73)
To tell lies about someone, spread false rumours, to bear false witness are all things that take one away from Allah and remove one from the obedience of Allah.
This is why when once a man asked the Holy Prophet(sa) that he had many evils within him but he could not leave all of them and requested that the Holy Prophet(sa) should tell him one that he could leave first of all, the Holy Prophet(sa) told this man to stop telling lies. Now, this is such a wise directive that on the face of it, it appears to be very small but its effects are very far-reaching. When the Holy Prophet(sa) said this, the man said that this was a minor matter and he promised that he would never tell a lie again. That man left. But his second nature was always inclined towards never doing any good work, and his mind was always thinking of evil ways. Even in today’s society we come across many who are hardened criminals and who have no sense of guilt.
Anyway, getting back to this man I was talking about just now, when he left the assembly, an evil thought crossed his mind. At the same time, he recalled the promise that he had made to the Holy Prophet(sa) that he was not going to tell a lie. What would happen if he got caught? Therefore, he abandoned the idea of that evil. Because he was a thief, when darkness fell, he planned to rob somewhere but at the same time he thought that if he got caught, then according to his promise he would have to speak the truth and he would be punished. So he gave up the idea of committing a robbery. Then he thought one day to commit adultery but the fear of being found out and not telling a lie stopped him from this evil also. Continuing in this way, he became pure from all evils.
If man therefore pledges to never tell a lie, he can be purified from any other evils. For instance, you work in an office but out of laziness you are not working, and invent a story and present an excuse that because of such and such a cause, you could not do the work, then this would be classified as a lie. There are many examples like this. If you ponder, you will begin to see them. Sometimes, some people tell lies in order to win cases in courts. By telling a lie, they are also violating the rights of others. Sometimes, the lawyer tells his client that there is only one way to win this case and that is to tell a lie and then appeals after appeals is lodged and they continue to fabricate lies. By not telling a lie, one can get rid of many evils. On the other hand, a liar gets implicated in many evils. One lie gives birth to many lies. Every Ahmadi, therefore, should save himself from this evil.
Once a case was brought against the Promised Messiah(as) that he sent the manuscript of his book by parcel post to the press. The rules of the Post Office did not permit any letter to be included in book post but the Promised Messiah(as) had included an envelope containing a separate letter that he had written. The owner of the press, who used to print books as a business, received this parcel from the Promised Messiah(as). Because the owner was already an opponent of the Promised Messiah(as), the owner saw an opportunity to report to the Post Office that he had received the book post that included a separate letter and as this was against the laws, the Promised Messiah(as) should be punished. The Post Office filed a case against the Promised Messiah(as). The lawyers told the Promised Messiah(as) many times that he should say that he had not put the envelope in the parcel but that the opponent had done so to defame him. As a result of this statement, the case would be dismissed because there were no witnesses. The Promised Messiah(as) would have none of this and said that he was not going to tell a lie and even if he had to face a punishment so be it. He could be fined or imprisoned. Anyhow, when the case went to court, the Promised Messiah(as) said that he had put the envelope in the packet but that he thought that his letter was on the same subject that was the subject of his book that he had sent for publication. He had no intention to cause any loss to the government. Representing the Post Office was an English officer who presented many arguments saying: ‘No, not in this way but in such and such a way. This is what the law states, etc.’ But having heard the Promised Messiah(as), the judge said to the Promised Messiah(as) that what you say is right and I therefore set you free with honour.
If man has a sincere relationship with Allah, and his intentions are good, then truth always succeeds and God manifests His Succour and Help. But if one depends on lies, then remember that you will keep getting deeper and deeper into evil ways. Therefore, always remain away from lies. May Allah protect all Ahmadis from it.
Then another major evil with which one man can cause harm to another is to use his tongue in a bad way or to abuse anyone or to hurt someone’s feelings by using indecent and foul language against someone. Allah advises a believer: You should never say anything that can hurt other people but always say only that which is good. In fact say good things alone, as Allah says:
…speak to men kindly… (Ch.2:V .84)
This command is designed to establish and promote good works in society. Everyone should respect the feelings and sentiments of others. Now just reflect for a while that when such a beautiful society is established in which everyone takes care of the feelings of others, then even the husband and wife would be happy in their homes. The neighbours would be happy with each other because no one would utter anything bad about other persons. Whenever they speak, they would address each other conscious of the feelings of others. The officer and the subordinate or junior would be happy with each other. The master and the servant would be happy with each other. And within the Jama’at you would, of course, be taking even greater care of each other. If you see something unpleasant in someone, then in order to draw his attention towards it, you would gently address him separately and with feelings of kindness draw his attention to it. Because of your kindness, the other person would listen and accept what you said. Many disputes and evils would end as a result. A healthy society would begin to emerge in which there would be nothing apart from love and feelings of brotherhood.
Then the Promised Messiah(as) has said that an Ahmadi should cause no wickedness. Each Ahmadi man or woman should save himself or herself from doing any kind of evil. Every Ahmadi should keep the fear of God in his heart and as a result this would remove evil thoughts from his mind. Even if such a thought crosses his mind, he banishes it and seeks the forgiveness of the Lord. A time will come when your mind will be free of all evil thoughts. As the minds rid themselves of such thoughts, the relationship between man and woman that Allah has caused in its lawful form to manifest itself as husband and wife, will grow stronger. Your home will begin to display an example of paradise on earth where the husband, wife and children are all trying to offer every sacrifice in order to fulfil the rights that they owe to each other.
Allah says that the relationship between man and wife should begin after marriage. If a man or woman does not act according to this principle, then he or she disobeys the commandment of Allah. When you transgress the limits prescribed by Allah, then you would fall within the grasp of Allah and no intercession would be accepted from any quarter under the Laws of Allah. There is one law for all.
Now see how not following this commandment, has resulted in the outbreak of HIV and AIDS. Each Ahmadi would have to engage in a Jihad against this disease and strive against it to protect themselves and their future generations because, due to the error of the parents, this disease can be transferred to the next generation. Plead with your people, saying: Why have you become an enemy of your own lives and of that of your descendants?
So the work of an Ahmadi is very wide. Where he has to think of himself, he has also to think of his people, and think of all mankind. When you enter a Jihad against evil in this manner and will expend your energies in promoting good works, only then can it be said that the interest of humanity rages in your hearts. When you have such feelings of love for others in your hearts, you would be able to save yourselves from all kinds of cruelty and gloom. You would never use improper means to extract your rights. You would never try to violate the rights of anyone. If you have more than one wife, you would give each wife her equal rights.
Another evil is to cause loss to someone by your deception or deceit. If you work in an office and are the custodian of its cash, or if you work in a firm and its owner gives you some sum on trust, then never ever use anyone’s finance fraudulently nor cause anyone any loss by misappropriating it.
Then those in authority in government offices sometimes demand money to do something for someone and this is what is called bribery. This is a serious ill for the developing world countries or what were known as the Third World countries. Even when inter-governmental deals are done, hands are being greased with bribery and goods are overpriced or inferior goods are obtained for full prices. In short, there are many things such as this. So, an Ahmadi, who has an obligation to clean the society, will have to first clean himself from such evils. I hope that generally Ahmadis do not have such evils but if there is even a trace amongst anyone, then he should seriously consider that by entering the bai’at (pledge of allegiance) of the Promised Messiah(as), he has pledged that he would cause good and wholesome changes within himself.
Then another evil that the Promised Messiah(as) has mentioned is unfair bias or one-sidedness. Sometimes, some people try to hide the crimes of their near ones and stand up in support of these near ones. In order to save them from the long arms of the law and punishment for the crime, they even give false statements in courts. Then those who work in offices sometimes give unfair preference to a tribesman or close relative and sometimes carry tales to their officer about a man from another tribe. They are guilty of two offences: one is the unfair preference and the second is to cause harm to a decent man through some officer.
Then the Promised Messiah(as) has given a very important advice and if people of all religions and all nations begin to act, peace can be established in the world. He has said do not intend to cause any harm or loss to any man belonging to any religion, nation or group. If all religions pledge amongst themselves that that they will not cause any harm to any believer of another faith, then peace can be restored in the world. Religion is the choice of every person’s heart. Therefore, everyone has the right to proceed according to his own conscience. Then if tribes and nations understand it well that they should not cause harm to each other, conflicts between nations would cease. Tribal wars would come to a halt. If every tribe acts within the law of the land, then such wars that cause so much loss to the nation, can never take place. The nation would begin to march forward on the path of progress. Each Ahmadi should work towards national progress in the same spirit that an Ahmadi has out of the love and loyalty for his nation. For a true and firm Muslim, loyalty to one’s country is an integral part of his faith. An Ahmadi should be more loyal than anyone else to his country. This love also requires that one should tell to the others that the secret for the betterment and progress of our country is that we should stand united in our efforts for the progress of the country and remove the differences amongst us.
As the Promised Messiah(as) has instructed we should become a true counsellor for everyone. So when you will advise your people with this anguish in your heart, saying: A long time has passed with us seeing the different state of affairs of our country, of each other’s anguish and grief, of not working diligently, of not establishing high standards of honesty, and unnecessary rage, fury and passion have given us and our descendants nothing else apart from poverty. This is why it is imperative for us to bring an end to all evils and acquire all good works in order to push our country into the front line of developed nations because this rise and decline and this war and peace will not permit the country to make any progress. Therefore, if every Ahmadi resolves to try and explain this to our people, then most certainly God Almighty will bless this. Allah enable you to do that.
May Allah enable you to become excellent exemplars of Islamic teachings by making pure and wholesome changes within yourselves and by bowing in the presence of the Almighty Allah, and may Allah enable you to become the true servants of Allah. And every Ahmadi, man and woman, young and old, should go away from here having made the resolve: We are going to make these good and pious changes within ourselves. And with the help and succour of Allah, Insha Allah (God willing) whereas we have to prepare and adorn the spiritual condition of our future generations and our own, we also have to publish and propagate these good works and raise the dignity of and respect for our nation. May Allah enable you to achieve this. May Allah convey you safely to your homes and may the blessings of this Jalsa always remain a part of your lives.
[Huzur concluded his address with silent prayers.]