Hudhur gave a discourse on thankfulness in his Friday sermon today. Hudhur said all praise belongs to Allah, last Sunday the UK Jalsa Salana successfully concluded with His grace. Our heads are bowed to God in gratefulness, indeed, should be bowed, for it is with His grace alone that everything concluded in such a fine manner.
It is established in the very beginning of the Holy Qur’an that true believers start everything in the name of God. So that God’s help may be with them through out and they may remember Him. The first verse of the Qur’an is: ‘In the name of Allah…’ thus declaring that the great Book is being read in the name of God.
Believers are enjoined to start everything in the name of Allah. The Divine attributes that are mentioned next are Rahman (Most Gracious) and Raheem (Ever Merciful). Hudhur explained that Rahman God is One Who is extremely Kind and Benevolent and it is by virtue of His quality of Rahmaniyyat that He bestows His graciousness and puts all sorts of arrangements in place for mankind. By virtue of His Raheemiyyat, in addition to His general benevolence, God’s grace is manifested for those who are servants of the Gracious God. When a believer supplicates for help and is expectant of Divine succour, God manifests His support and help. Hudhur said such were the manifestations that we experienced at Jalsa Salana. These were borne of God’s Rahmaniyyat as well as Raheemiyyat and they generate thankfulness and it is this gratitude that makes us servants of the Most Appreciating God (Al Shakur) and we thus receive His beneficence at every juncture. As the Qur’an states: ‘…If you are grateful, I will, surely, bestow more favours on you;’ (14:8).
Hudhur said, with His blessings God removed some of our concerns and concluded the Jalsa amidst immense blessings. In order to continue to experience these manifestations of Divine Rahmaniyyat and Raheemiyyat we need to continue to seek His beneficence. The Promised Messiah (on whom be peace) said that nothing in the spiritual or worldly realm can conclude without these two graces. He said if one pondered one would realise that both these Divine qualities are continually at work. Rahmaniyyat has been in action long before the creation of man. It facilitates and provides all the arrangements needed for man’s existence which man cannot even conceive to attain through his own efforts. Similarly, Raheemiyyat manifests itself when man employs his God-given capabilities to accomplish something. Raheemiyyat does not allow efforts to go in vain and they bear fruits.
Hudhur said the planning of Jalsa and the hard work put in by the workers draws the attention of believers to God’s blessings and rather than associate success to their efforts, the good conclusion of all matters makes them grateful to God. Such gratefulness is truly being servants of Al Shakur.
The Qur’an draws attention in many other places that it is the sign of true believers that they are grateful. ‘…Surely, Allah is gracious towards mankind, but most of them are not thankful…’ (10:61). It is thus God’s grace that He facilitates man’s spiritual and worldly progress. When a believer experiences these blessings his or her gratefulness is increased. The best form of thankfulness is expressed by observing the prescribed Prayers, to supplicate God and to associate all good to His grace. Such is the perception of those who begin everything in the name of God. When a believer attains this insight he/she has no option but to express thankfulness by praising and extolling God. Surah Al Fatihah makes it clear that once something is begun in God’s name and His grace is experienced, it should be declared five times a day in every unit of Prayer as well as in general prayer that All praise belongs to Allah, Lord of all the worlds that He facilitates everything. The Promised Messiah (on whom be peace) explained that God has started the Holy Qur’an with the Arabic word ‘Hamd’ (praise) in His glory as opposed to words Madh (applaud) or Shukr (thankfulness) because the word Hamd encompasses the other two words.
Praising God is not simple thankfulness, rather it is a declaration that not only did God provides all the necessary arrangements for mankind with His grace, but also rewards whatever effort is made by man, accepting prayers and bestowing grace. This grace comes regardless of deficiency in our effort and prayer, reforming it all and bestowing the most excellent outcome. Indeed thankfulness of God is not ordinary thankfulness. He covers our faults, graciously corrects us and enhances the standards of our efforts, enhances them to such a degree that mere human endeavour could never attain the results that are achieved. When we praise God with this viewpoint, He further blesses us. This is something we need to be ever aware of.
Following praise and thankfulness to God, He also draws our attention to be grateful to one another. This kind of thankfulness is the right of any person who has done any favour to us and it is the way of the servants of the Gracious God to practice it. The Promised Messiah (on whom be peace) said that dues of Allah cannot be discharged without discharging the dues of mankind and the Holy Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be on him) said that one who is not grateful to people is also not grateful to God. He would be extremely grateful to anyone who served him in any small capacity. It was indeed his gratefulness towards the people of Medina that even after the victory of Makkah he chose to live in Medina. True believers should try and follow the great model of the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be on him).
Hudhur said with the grace of God all Jalsa tasks concluded successfully. While we are grateful to God for this we are also grateful to all those who worked night and day for the Jalsa. Many workers started their Waqar e Aml days before Jalsa and it is still being carried out in cleaning the site. While the marquees are being dismantled by the hire companies themselves, general winding up of the entire Jalsa is a huge task. People who have carried out these tasks deserve to be shown gratitude. Jalsa guests should be most grateful to them.
Hudhur said guests from outside the community expressed their special thanks to those who provided meals, accommodation and transport. Without exception the guests praised the services provided and as before were most impressed that people belonging to diverse fields in life happily performed ordinary duties. Hudhur said another pleasant aspect of this year is that those who are rather good at criticising, who find something or the other to criticise, have also written commending letters. Hudhur said it is not possible to attain perfection in any task. He said he did not object to their fault-finding, but was mentioning it because some people criticise out of habit. In any case this criticism guides the management into the right direction and is beneficial to them. This year they have written that they observed as much improvement as was possible. Those who usually complain that people wander around the Jalsa site have said that they noticed a sense of seriousness among the attendees this year. They also noticed attention paid to worship, prayers and remembrance of God. For this, Hudhur said, the Jalsa attendees also deserve thanks that they tried to fulfil the objective of Jalsa Salana. May God make this noticeable change enduring.
Hudhur said the Ahmadiyya Jama’at worldwide keenly watches the UK Jalsa Salana, with the grace of God via MTA and people are quite expectant about the UK and German Jalsa. Otherwise a great sense of deprivation was felt in Pakistan regarding Jalsa. Many letters and emails of gratitude are received by MTA and this year they have received so many letters that it is not possible to reply to them all. Hudhur said in addition he too receives many letters sending salaam and thanks to MTA. Hudhur said MTA is run mainly by volunteers who have worked for it for the past many years with resolve. They all deserve gratitude; Hudhur said he thanked them all on behalf of the Jama’at as well as himself. Hudhur also thanked the many volunteers working for MTA outside the UK.
Hudhur mentioned the Jama’at website alislam.org and said it too plays a significant part in showing Jalsa programmes. It is also run by a lot of volunteers who dedicate several hours to the site. It is run from USA. Dr. Nasim Rehmatullah sahib, who is in-charge of the site told Hudhur that this year the site was availed of to such an extent [at UK Jalsa] that the service was effected and people sent many messages complaining about the interruptions in service. Hudhur said the website offers limited service but this year a huge number of people used it. Hudhur said the alislam.org team should think about ways to improve the standard so that a maximum number of people can avail of the site.
Hudhur said this year there were some concerns about security which were removed by the sheer grace of God. Neither was it an imaginary concern nor was it based on fear following the events in Pakistan, rather this was genuine concern and an incident did take place and the facts tell that there was evil intent on part of whoever was involved. However, the security was alert and acted on time and thus God protected against all evil. All the workers of the security department are worthy of gratitude, some of them hardly took any rest. Hudhur said security and Khidmat e Khalq departments worked very well but due to some misunderstanding in one or two incidents people got upset. Hudhur extended apologies to those families and said that owing to the pressure under which these departments were working Hudhur requested the families to forgive the workers involved and not harbour any bad feelings. Hudhur said the security volunteers remained exceptionally alert and vigilant and fulfilled their responsibilities beyond Hudhur’s expectations. Hudhur said apart from those who give duty at Jalsa, there are UK Khuddam who have been giving regular duty for the past 26 years, especially around the Fazl Mosque, people have been dedicating their time with fervour to give 24 hour duty, specifically those belonging to the Fazl Mosque halqa. Hudhur thanked them and prayed that may God reward them.
Hudhur said this year there were some amazing experiences with reference to security. A Lajna office-holder has written to Hudhur that she went to the bazaar area with her colleagues. They had their badges on and had gone there from within the arena but on the way out the Khadim on duty insisted on checking their bags. When they explained that they had only come from within the arena and were staying inside, he still insisted he could not allow them through without checking their bags. When he was asked who had instructed him thus, he gave a very simple answer. He said, ‘Hudhur instructed in his Khutbah that even if the security people go out they should be checked on return and this instruction is sufficient for me.’ Hudhur said this reminded him of an incident in Qadian in the days of the Ahrar mischief when Hadhrat Khalifatul Masih II (may Allah be pleased with him) had said in his Friday Sermon that no one should be allowed entry in the Bahishti Maqbara without a specific code. One night he went there himself to check and he was stopped. He gave his name. The person said ‘Hudhur, I have recognised you but I am commanded by you not to let anyone in without the code, therefore you cannot go in.’ Hadhrat Khalifatul Masih II (may Allah be pleased with him) commended this. Hudhur said let alone duty-holders, the Khalifa of the time can be stopped on the instruction of the Khalifa of the time.
Hudhur said sometimes incorrect estimates are made when new arrangements are put in place. This year the entry points to the ladies arena were limited and women and children had to endure long queues. Some duty-holders have written to Hudhur that women and children stood in queues in the heat for up to two hours without complaining, consoling anxious children. The workers have written to Hudhur that they were moved to tears to see them waiting just because they were Ahmadi and had come to attend the Jalsa and were being patient because they had come with religious motivation. Thus although duty holders were moved to tears by this they had to carry on their duty as it was their obligation. Hudhur said the arrangements were improved the next day and it was only on Friday that ladies had to wait for long. The management is particularly apologising to mothers of young children and is also grateful to them. Hudhur said this incident also displayed that the patience and resolve of Ahmadi women is enduring. Had these women shown restlessness everything would have fallen into chaos. The entrance was smooth because of the cooperation of the guests. Here again one is inclined to the subject of praising God that He puts it in hearts that sacrifice is needed for the Jama’at. Hudhur said outside guests also remarked at the peaceful queues.
Hudhur said the transport arrangements were good as they were last year, Langer Khana worked extremely well; all departments deserve gratitude. After the Jalsa, police noted the extraordinary peaceful manner in which everything was conducted. The Health and Safety people had made some demands last year. This year not only were our shortcomings removed, rather Health and Safety people said they would present our exemplary work in their general report.
Hudhur said we only have God in sight, indeed should only have Him in sight, Him alone do we praise, Who covers our faults, grants us excellent outcomes and obliterates the plans of our enemy. We are grateful to God that He especially helped the workers of all departments to discharge their duties. The attendees of the Jalsa as well as those who watched it on MTA saw God’s grace showering down on everything. May God ever increase His grace on us and may we fulfil the good expectations of the Promised Messiah (on whom be peace) who said that the progress and change that could be found in his Jama’at could not be found in anyone else in the entire world. We have to move onwards in our progress and change and become those who truly praise God so that we may continue to be the recipients of His beneficence.
Next Hudhur announced the sad passing away of Mustapha Thabit sahib who died yesterday. He was born in Egypt in 1936 and was a Moosi. He moved to Canada in 1971. The newspaper Al Fazl has given details of how he took his bai’at. He leaves behind a daughter and a son. He had worked in oil companies and had served as national Tabligh secretary in Canada. He had a special fervour and enthusiasm for Jama’at work and had gathered a lot of material for MTA. He was foremost in financial giving. Hadhrat Khalifatul Masih IV (may Allah have mercy on him) once said that he gave 70% of his earning. He donated generously towards the printing press at the centre. And wrote many books as well as translated a few. He translated the first volume of the Five volume Quranic commentary as well as ‘Deebacha’. He made very good speeches at Jalsa. Hudhur said he first met Thabit sahib in 1983 in Ghana. At the time the non-Ahmadis thought that Arabs did not come into Ahmadiyyat, therefore Hadhrat Khalifatul Masih IV (may Allah have mercy on him) sent him to Ghana where he had opportunity to do Tabligh. Later he came to the UK and worked in publication and Tasneef. He experienced a trial but did so with sincerity and loyalty and God rewarded him for this. He had been ill for the past several months and wrote to Hudhur that he wished to spend the time left near Hudhur. His residence was in one of the guest houses. When he heard that Hudhur was about to visit him he quickly dashed to Hudhur first. His illness deteriorated a few days ago when he was hospitalised. He was playing a pivotal role in the Arabic programme [on MTA] and truly paid the dues of being a servant of the Promised Messiah (on whom be peace). He endured his cancer with great patience and kept on serving until such time that he was very ill. May God elevate his station in Paradise. Hudhur said his funeral Prayer will be held on Monday after his son and daughter have arrived.