Delivering his Friday sermon from Melbourne, Australia, Hazrat Khalifatul Masih related that the Promised Messiah (on whom be peace) said: ‘I was sent to strengthen faith and prove the existence of God to people because the spiritual state of every nation has greatly weakened and the Hereafter is considered mere fables. Every person’s practice shows that he definitely does not have the belief and reliance on Allah the Exalted and the Hereafter as the certainty he has about the world and its pomp and circumstance and the reliance he has on worldly ways and means. Tongues utter a lot but hearts are overcome by love of the world. This is the very state in which Jesus (on whom be peace) found the Jews and as it is wont of weakened faith, the moral condition of the Jews had much deteriorated and love of God had cooled off. It is the same condition in my time and I have been sent so that the age of truth and belief returns and Taqwa (righteousness) is instilled in hearts. These matters are the ultimate cause of my being. I have been told that having become distant, the heavens will come closer to the Earth once again.’
Hazrat Khalifatul Masih said that those of us who claim to be in the Bai’at of the Promised Messiah need to self-analyse as to how much are we fulfilling the objective of his advent. He said that he had come to strengthen faith, therefore we need to analyse if our faith is inclined towards being strengthened. He said faith is strengthened by perfect belief in God, but there is too much reliance on worldly resources. Today reliance on God has become secondary while the importance of worldly people and worldly matters has become foremost. We find this to be the situation when we look around. We need to look around not to see if the world relies more on worldliness, rather we need to analyse ourselves whether we rely more on worldly sources. If we have not recognised the Being of God, as it is due, even after taking Bai’at, then it is of no value to call ourselves Ahmadi. If today we please our worldly masters more than God, then we do not fulfil the objective of the advent of the Promised Messiah (on whom be peace). Do we give preference to worldly rituals over faith?
The Promised Messiah (on whom be peace) said: ‘There is verbal professing deeming God above all, but actions show that hearts are overwhelmed by love of the world.’
It can be seen all around, among Muslims as well as non-Muslims that love of the world, idle pursuits and indecency has greatly pushed back remembrance of God. Owing to love of God, Muslims are enjoined to Pray five times a day, however it is different in practice. Ahmadis need to first self-analyse themselves whether they are trying to observe Salat according to the commandment of God or not. If not, then we are negating the claim of the Promised Messiah (on whom be peace) that the objective of his advent was to strengthen faith in God, to bring heaven closer to the Earth. Indeed, deficiency of our faith and practices does not negate the claim of the Promised Messiah (on whom be peace) per se, but it deprives us of the blessings associated with him and it leaves our claims as mere verbal professing. Rather than scrutinise the state of others’ faith, each Ahmadi needs to analyse himself as to how much is he fulfilling his pledge of Bai’at and the objective of the Promised Messiah (on whom be peace) and is doing good works and up to what extent is he fulfilling the covenant of giving precedence to faith over worldly matters.
The Promised Messiah (on whom be peace) stipulated ten conditions of Bai’at. He said that anyone wishing to be part of his Community should keep a strong bond with him and fulfil the ten conditions. Many a time the Promised Messiah (on whom be peace) advised us stressing the point with great pathos that if those who associate themselves with him do not instil distinct change for the better after becoming Ahmadis, then there is no difference between them and the others. We should try and attain the standard that the Promised Messiah (on whom be peace) expected of us.
The Promised Messiah (on whom be peace) thus advised his followers: The benefit of Bai’at is not ritualistic. Such a Bai’at does not have blessings. One can only attain blessings of Bai’at when one progresses spiritually and connects with love and sincerity to the one whose Bai’at has been taken. It is most important to develop these connections. If a seeker does not develop these connections and does not make efforts then any complaint by him is pointless. Connection of love and sincerity should be developed as much as possible and one should imbibe the tenor of the one whose Bai’at has been taken in practice and in creed. One should swiftly turn to honesty and worship of God and hold oneself accountable from morning till evening!
The Promised Messiah (on whom be peace) said not to assume that God is pleased merely by one taking Bai’at. Taking Bai’at is only the outer shell while the core/kernel is within. He said one’s condition should not be like eggs which have no yolk or white and which are discarded. One should scrutinise oneself whether one is mere shell or is there a kernel within!
After taking Bai’at one should develop one’s faith as well as love of God and borne of this love of God one should develop love of His beloved Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be on him) and the Promised Messiah (on whom be peace), Khilafat and love for each other.
The Promised Messiah (on whom be peace) said that high standard of obedience should be attained. Obedience does not mean that while one accepts the decisions of the Khalifa of the time and the administration of the Jama’at which suit one but objects to other decisions that do not suit. If one claims to have taken Bai’at then one should demonstrate perfect obedience. The claim of following the person whose Bai’at is taken and of being a Muslim is only real when one also professes that everything one has belongs to God and is for His religion. Indeed, taking Bai’at signifies selling oneself!
The Promised Messiah (on whom be peace) once advised a friend that change is essential after taking Bai’at and if no change is inculcated then the act is tantamount to deriding Bai’at. In fact only that person takes Bai’at whose previous life goes through a death and who starts a new life after taking Bai’at.
Hazrat Khalifatul Masih said with the grace of God even today we are being granted individuals of the spiritual calibre as described by the Promised Messiah (on whom be peace) which even the others acknowledge. Huzoor related some examples of this.
Our missionary from Burkina Faso writes he once went on a trip to a far off region on the border with Mali where there is opposition against us. An Imam of a mosque there said that in spite of his opposition he acknowledged that there were three excellent Muslims in the village who were exemplary and all three were Ahmadi. Thus even our opponents cannot help but acknowledge that after coming into Ahmadiyya Jama’at true change came in these people. It is examples such as these that further the cause of Tabligh. Indeed, wherever we live, we need to adopt these ways in order to further the cause of Tabligh. As the Promised Messiah (on whom be peace) said, efforts should be made to attain the high ideals and standards that he expected from us.
The Promised Messiah (on whom be peace) said that it is obligatory that man stays in such a state that even angels shake hand with him. He said after coming in his Bai’at one should be ever in awe of God’s majesty which would help remove sins. He said if one was to remain worldly there was no use in repenting on his hand, because repenting on his hand demands a kind of death so that a new life and a new birth is attained. Indeed, only sincere Bai’at was of any consequence. He said God wants heart-felt declaration from his Bai’at. One who accepts the Promised Messiah (on whom be peace) with sincerity of heart is forgiven by the Most Forgiving, Ever Merciful God and the person becomes like a new born and the angels protect him. The Promised Messiah (on whom be peace) advised his followers that once they accepted him they should begin to live their lives in a completely new way.
The Promised Messiah (on whom be peace) said: ‘The reality of Bai’at should be fully understood and it should be implemented. And the reality of Bai’at is that the one who takes Bai’at instils sincere change and fear of God and having recognised the real objective, demonstrates a pure example. Failing this, there is no benefit in taking Bai’at. On the contrary, such a Bai’at would be a greater source of chastisement, because to knowingly disobey after making a covenant is extremely hazardous.’
The Promised Messiah (on whom be peace) also said: ‘Taking Bai’at signifies being aware of the reality of Bai’at. Someone takes Bai’at in person by placing hand over hand but does not understand its real objective or does not care. His Bai’at is useless and it has no significance in God’s sight. Another person sitting thousands of miles away takes Bai’at with sincerity of heart and after accepting the reality and objectives of Bai’at, he implements what he has declared, and reforms his practices. This person is a thousand times better than the one who took Bai’at directly but did not implement it.’
We have to set examples like the one cited earlier about far-off region of Africa where Ahmadis became so exemplary that even the opponents had to acknowledge them. One of the conditions of Bai’at is to enter into a bond of devotion with the Promised Messiah (on whom be peace) which is over and above all other worldly bonds. This is being followed in far-off areas of the world even today. People taking Bai’at in the post-Soviet countries are particularly enhanced in faith and sincerity. A few of them attended Qadian Jalsa last year and after returning home one of them wrote that he had read about the blessed place in books and had seen it on TV but when he set foot there he felt the ambience of the time of the Promised Messiah (on whom be peace) come over him. He felt he could breathe easily and could lose himself from the rest of the world. He said it was impossible to put in words what he felt.
Another Ahmadi wrote that with the grace of God he was enabled to go to Qadian and take his greetings to the Mahdi as the Holy Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be on him) had enjoined. He described his feeling of hearing Adhan from an Ahmadi mosque for the very first time and offering Salat, visiting the tomb of the Promised Messiah (on whom be peace). He wrote that the sense of gratefulness he felt could not be articulated as he visited all the holy places where the Promised Messiah (on whom be peace) used to pray and live. He said the experience of being in Qadian had as if spun his head around.
Hazrat Khalifatul Masih said many have not had the chance to go to Qadian but their sincerity and loyalty was very high and their main concern is their spirituality. When Huzoor was in Singapore a few weeks ago many Ahmadis had travelled there from Indonesia. Some could not afford the fare and they sold their property to manage the fare money. Their requests for prayers were for their children to stay firm on faith and not to waste what they had gained. Their love of Khilafat is intense and it is merely for the sake of Allah.
Relating more examples of new Ahmadis giving preference to faith over worldly matters Huzoor said Ameer Sahib France wrote that Abdul Aziz Sahib, a new Ahmadi was in search of employment for a while when he was told that Hazrat Khalifatul Masih was going to grace Jalsa Salana Germany in June. He said he was going to attend Jalsa at all cost because he had a fervent wish to meet Hazrat Khalifatul Masih. When he was later contacted regarding going to Jalsa he said that he had found employment that very day and if he took leave so soon after starting he may be dismissed. Huzoor said in spite of the unemployment situation in the world, especially in Europe, he still said that he would definitely go to Jalsa and if that meant he lost his job, so be it, he had to meet Hazrat Khalifatul Masih. He was later enabled to take direct Bai’at.
Our missionary from Mali writes that a new Ahmadi Adam Sahib was asked to attend a Khuddam meeting at the exact time he had an important work meeting. He came to the Jama’at meeting and was delayed for his work meeting. His boss could have been annoyed with him, but he was pleased to see him and also gave him a motorbike as a reward. Adam Sahib believes this happened as a blessing of Ahmadiyyat.
Hazrat Khalifatul Masih said that he met a few people at the Australian Jalsa, a couple of them were from Fiji, who were new in their employments but they left the jobs to come to the Jalsa, whereas some people in Australia did not attend Jalsa when they should have.
Umer Sahib from Ivory Coast wrote that days to Jalsa Salana Ivory Coast were getting closer but he did not have to means to travel to it. He prayed to God that His Mahdi was truthful and he wished to attend the Jalsa and prayed for God to provide for his travel expense. Meanwhile a non-Ahmadi acquaintance asked him that he too wanted to attend the Jalsa. Umer Sahib had both the names registered in the Jalsa list. Two days remained but there was still no money for travel and he kept praying. Umer Sahib had to go to a nearby village where someone gave him Francs 20,000 and said the money was for him. Francs 16,000 paid for fare for two and the rest of the money other expenses. Such grace of God certainly enhances faith. Likewise, suspicions can also arise in these faith-filled hearts, that God forbid Ahmadiyyat is false or any doubt about the existence of God, but these people are progressing in their faith!
Our missionary in Switzerland writes about an Ahmadi young woman living in Europe. She was acquiring professional education whilst also working in a firm. She was the only Muslim in the firm and was provided facility to offer Salat. While she was there, her firm suddenly grew and they added two new buildings and hired new people. The young woman declined to do mixed swimming in the sports period in the college that she attended. The college administration pressurised her regarding this and complained to her employers who also pressurised her and said she ran the risk of being dismissed. The young woman stayed firm on her faith and due to the harassment eventually left the job herself and joined a private college. When she left the firm, God demonstrated something amazing. The firm went into loss and employees had to be made redundant. A meeting was called to discuss the causes of the loss and someone at the meeting said it appeared as if the loss was due to the malediction of an innocent. Someone from the firm emailed her and said that she had been the topic of their conversation for a few days after she left but was then forgotten. Now that the MD had said in the meeting that it appeared the firm’s loss was due to the malediction of an innocent person, she was once again being discussed by people at the firm and everyone agreed that she was indeed the innocent who had been mistreated by the firm. Meanwhile, her direct manager who had harassed her was dismissed. The young woman passed her exams with good grades. She had given precedence to God’s pleasure and her worldly wishes were also fulfilled.
Hazrat Khalifatul Masih said: ‘Therein is a lesson for our young women/girls that God’s blessings come your way if faith is given precedence over worldly matters. It is not essential to adopt everything of here [the West]. Adopt their good points but avoid their bad points. Girls are not forbidden from swimming, they should definitely swim but not in a mixed situation; girls should only swim with girls. Swimming is good and everyone should know how to swim. Nowadays swimming is all the rage for girls, but my grandmother used to tell me that she was a very good swimmer. There were no swimming pools in those days and swimming was done in canals. This is more than a hundred years ago when she used to swim and was a very good upstream swimmer. Our women should swim but it should be done under ‘ladies only’ arrangement. This can be done, I have seen in many places in Europe that effort was made and this was made possible.’
A sincere friend who is a high court judge and an appeal court judge in Ghana was paid tribute there. It was said that although he was human which meant he was fallible, but he had never committed any corruption of any kind. So much so that he did not even accept thank-you gifts. He had no element of corruption in him. Ghana Bar Association found him to be an honest, hard-working and incorruptible judge. This is the kind of revolution that comes in the lives of those who accept the Promised Messiah (on whom be peace) and understand the reality of Bai’at. This is of course quite the opposite of how judges in Pakistan operate. They reach decisions and then alter them out of fear of the Maulwis. Many decisions were made in favour of the Jama’at, in favour of the oppressed/victims by the High Court and the Supreme Court but were later altered. It is indeed the honour of the Jama’at that no one can lift the finger of blame at them and every Ahmadi should try and achieve this.
One of the ten conditions of Bai’at is that one will endeavour to benefit mankind to the best of his/her God-given abilities and powers. The president of Sierra Leone attended and addressed their 52nd Jalsa Salana and paid tribute to the Jama’at. He said he was there to pay tribute to the services of the Ahmadiyya Jama’at to the nation and as the president wished to mention the respect the government and the people of the country had for the Jama’at. He said that it was a practical demonstration of the motto of the Jama’at ‘Love for all hatred for none’ that without any distinction education was being given through schools and without any distinction healthcare was provided through hospitals. He said he thanked the Jama’at in his capacity as the president.
Hazrat Khalifatul Masih said those with the wealth of oil did not come to help in the region but now seeing the influence of the Jama’at there, representatives of some Arabs have started coming there with promises of schools, colleges and hospitals. May God keep the sense of justice of the people of the region intact and may they never be unjust.
A Sierra Leone politician also addressed the 52nd Jalsa Salana of the country. He said that he had attended UK Jalsa Salana many times and was aware of the high qualities of people there and their practices according to Islamic teaching. He said all this led him to believe that Islam’s future will be bright due to Jama’at Ahmadiyya. He said if they could not join the Jama’at, they should also not say incorrect things about the Jama’at borne of lack of knowledge. He said in light of the theme of the Jalsa and the posters and banners that were on display, Ahmadis truly loved the Holy Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be on him).
A new Ahmadi lady Ayesha Sahiba from Spain wrote to Hazrat Khalifatul Masih that she and her Ahmadi husband lived with their non-Ahmadi in-laws. When they sit together they backbite which pains her a lot. After taking Bai’at she has stopped handshake with men, the in-laws do not like this. She wrote that the husband and wife were living in this situation with patience and asked for prayers that may God grant them a separate home where they could freely practice the teachings of the Imam of the age.
No Ahmadi girl/young woman should have any complex of any sort that they cannot greet men. When handshake with men is not allowed then this should be followed. Similarly men should try and no do handshakes with women. If God’s grace is to be had, then all apparent small commandments should be followed.
A Sahib writes from India that non-Ahmadi Ulema (religious scholars) and extremists attacked our mission house and took over it and said they would lead Prayers and if Ahmadi wished to join they could. Not a single Ahmadi offered Salat behind them and stayed steadfast. How can Salat be offered behind an Imam who does not accept the Imam of the age who has been sent by God?
The Promised Messiah (on whom be peace) said: ‘I know very well that it is not my task to put these matters in others’ hearts. And I do not have any such apparatus with which I could convince hearts of what I say.’ He said: ‘Thousands have developed in love and sincerity, but owing to old habits or human frailty, they partake of worldly matters in such abundance that religion is neglected.’ He also said: ‘Our purpose is for them to be purified and selfless to such an extent that compared to faith they do not consider worldly matters much. And all kinds of negligence which are a source of distance from God are removed. Unless this is inculcated, the situation is hazardous and unsatisfactory.’
We need to particularly self-analyse and adapt our lives according to the pleasure of God. May God enable us to do so!