With the grace of God today Jalsa Salana Germany commenced. Jalsa Salana is an important part of Jama'at Ahmadiyya programmes wherever in the world the Jama'at is established.
There was a time when it was difficult for even some people within India to afford to travel to Qadian for Jalsa Salana. In this regard the Promised Messiah (on whom be peace) urged Ahmadis to save up during the year to afford travel expenses to Qadian for Jalsa. Today the number of cars in which Ahmadis living in developed countries travel to Jalsa is so huge that organisers have to make diligent car parking arrangements. Ancestors of many participants of today's Jalsa would have endured hardship to travel to Jalsa, but does anyone today feel gratefulness towards God for the comforts and prosperity they have and in turn find this to be faith enhancing? Do we match the level of faith and connection with God that our forefathers had? Some of our elders who were around at the time of the Promised Messiah (on whom be peace) and who accepted him and desired to visit him could not do so because of financial constraints. Whereas people travel from abroad on their own expense to today's Jalsas which are attended by a servant and Khalifa of the Promised Messiah (on whom be peace). In addition seekers of truth, who have not yet accepted Ahmadiyyat, also travel from different countries to participate in Jalsa.
While it is heartening that things have changed for the better and God's message is spreading fast around the world, families of elders should self-reflect as to where do they stand as regards connection with God, faith and compliance of all Divine commandments. It is a cause for concern if there is decline in this matter. We may be successful in worldly terms but our spiritual condition may ring hollow. At times man is so sunk in worldliness that he ends up in the lap of Satan and coming to Jalsa becomes a mere ritual. Efforts should be made to identify our weaknesses during Jalsa and endeavours made to better ourselves. We should pray that neither we nor our next generation ever be culpable of Divine wrath.
Jama'at is ever-expanding as God opens up hearts and enables people to join the Jama'at. May those who are joining the Jama'at to polish their faith also fulfil the requisites of attending Jalsa!
The Promised Messiah (on whom be peace) told us that the objectives of Jalsa Salana were to develop connection with God, to live one's life according to God's commandments, to pay the dues of one's brothers and to spread God's message in the world. All this demands sense of sacrifice. Jalsa Salana is not a worldly fair and it is not a source of attaining worldly objectives. People coming to Jalsa should engage in remembrance of God and do so all the time. Remembrance of God when done on individual level, also has communal significance as the individual benefits from it as does the Jama'at. Another benefit of remembrance of God is that it draws attention of others to engage in it rather than spend time in idle chat. With the grace of God, practices formed during Jalsa leave their imprint for some time and when focussed on, the imprint can last for considerable time. Jalsa days should be spent as the Promised Messiah (on whom be peace) explained and expected of us. To strengthen bond with God, and fill hearts with love of God's creation. Any misunderstandings between people should be removed during Jalsa. We will be able to take God's message to others in the real sense only when we develop a connection with Him. However, all these paths require assiduousness.
The Promised Messiah (on whom be peace) said that this world is transitory and will perish one day. It is finite by design. Therefore we should move towards understanding and connecting to God. If we move ever so slightly towards God His move towards us is greater, however, the first move has to be made by us. Some people complain that they tried everything from Salat to fasting to other forms of worship and spiritual exercises but did not attain anything. This is borne of suspicious nature. It is impossible for God to let anything go to waste which is done sincerely for Him and not reward it in this world. If our practices are to seek God's pleasure then we will garner Divine grace. We should try and come out of the darkness of materialism and endeavour to sincerely seek God's pleasure.
It is God's favour on us that He sends His chosen, dear people to earth and it is indeed our good fortune that we have accepted the one God sent in the current age. He came and taught us about rights of God and rights of God's creation and drew attention to avoid and shun individual and communal sin. If, having taken Bai'at, we do not focus on these matters we will not be fulfilling our responsibility. Prophets of God come to the world to bring revolutionary changes. God showed the Promised Messiah (on whom be peace) in a vision that he is making a new earth and new heaven and is then asked to make new man. This was indeed a manifestation of the revolutionary change he was to bring about.
The perfect demonstration of creating new earth and new heaven was of course presented by the Holy Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be on him). He came among people who had no concept of One God and by virtue of the revolutionary change he brought worship of One God became more of a nourishment for those people than apparent food. Women of that time also surpassed in worship of God. One female companion had a rope suspended from the ceiling to alert her to wake up to worship God. Companions offered their property to others who would decline, preferring to work hard to make a living. They also demonstrated amazing models of honesty. All this was by virtue of the revolutionary change brought about by the Holy Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be on him). Indeed, he honoured women and established their rights and gave them status in a society where they had no status.
Hazrat Musleh Maud (may Allah be pleased with him) compared today's society to the society of that time. He said in older times man harassed woman and was physically abusive and considered it warrantable. Man continues to harass woman, even in Europe where freedom is much hailed. The difference between older times and now is that in spite of harassing and physically abusing woman, man now asserts that it is not warrantable to harass woman. Thus his practice remains the same although his apparent assertion has changed.
The Holy Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be on him) brought revolutionary change across the board and in every sphere. It was indeed a great miracle brought about by him when un-Godly people became profoundly Godly people. This was the new earth and new heaven that came into being after his advent. In this age God asked the Holy Prophet's (peace and blessings of Allah be on him) servant to forge new earth and new heaven. Is the condition of people today the same as those who were around the Holy Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be on him)? Certainly not, in fact the pre-Islamic ignorance seems to have resurfaced and this is why God sent the Promised Messiah (on whom be peace) in accordance with His promise. There was a time when Islam was followed and practiced in all its glory but today Muslims bow down to graves. They still profess: 'There is no God except Allah…' but now it does not inspire any positive change in them because they do not understand its purport. They are Muslims all but in name. There are many among them who profess to be servants of God five times a day but their practices are idolatrous. Many well-educated people in Pakistan visit shrines of Pirs (saints/holy men) in idolatrous manner. Extremist groups and organisations are formed in the name of Islam who only seem to know one word; Jihad and that too in an erroneous context which turns people away from religion. It was critical for the Messiah to arrive at such a time to forge new earth and new heaven which he indeed demonstrated.
Someone once asked a former robber for a sign of the Promised Messiah (on whom be peace) and he responded by saying that he himself was a sign because his life had been transformed since accepting the Promised Messiah (on whom be peace). Indeed, the Promised Messiah (on whom be peace) forged new earth and new heaven in this age and transformed lives of hundreds of thousands demonstrating how new earth and new heaven can be forged. However, his vision also draws attention of his Jama'at to show what are the efforts and endeavours they are making in this regard after taking Bai'at. Are we trying to attain the level of new earth and new heaven that the Companions forged by adopting true teachings of Islam? Are our souls stirred by positive change prompting people to say these people have forged new earth and new heaven? If we want to demonstrate the new earth and new heaven forged by the Promised Messiah (on whom be peace) its biggest proof should be our individual examples! Our belief in the Promised Messiah (on whom be peace) should not be limited to creed, rather, positive change in our practice should also be evident.
Hazrat Musleh Maud (may Allah be pleased with him) said signs of the Promised Messiah (on whom be peace) are of two kinds. Fulfilment of one kind is with God whereas the other kind also has a measure of our input and will be fulfilled through us. Indeed, we should make our level best effort for their fulfilment.
There are many matters which only Prophets of God understand. The Promised Messiah (on whom be peace) expounded many matters after 1400 years which existed but Muslims did not have correct insight into them. For example the matter of all world religions being truthful although their teachings were distorted at later stages. Buddha, Zoroaster and Krishna were all truthful. People who follow the correct teachings of their leaders are in much better condition than the rest. The Promised Messiah (on whom be peace) expounded that teaching of all earlier Prophets of God was against Satan, had it been otherwise, no one would have followed them. This point is mentioned in the Holy Qur'an.
Muslims today acknowledge that all world religions are based on truth although they do not accept Promised Messiah (on whom be peace). They are pleased to inform people of other religions that Islam accepts their faith founders. Some Muslims now also acknowledge the matter of death of Jesus (on whom be peace) which is part of new earth and new heaven that the Promised Messiah (on whom be peace) forged.
Then there are matters which we have to put in practice. We forged new heaven by changing our creed by accepting Ahmadiyyat and took Bai'at. Now, forging new earth involves putting in endeavour. The Holy Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be on him) said that the heart of a believer is like earth. We have to make our hearts beneficial not only in terms of creed but also in terms of practice.
With the grace of God we accepted the Promised Messiah (on whom be peace) and now God wills our practices to become better through the Promised Messiah so that we make good the earth of our heart. The Promised Messiah (on whom be peace) provided us with the requisite blend for this and it is for us to utilise it.
We need to self-reflect. It is fundamental that every commandment of the Holy Qur'an should bring about positive change in us and as explained by the Promised Messiah (on whom be peace) we have to forge new earth and new heaven.
The Promised Messiah (on whom be peace) said that people make plans and take practical steps but ignore prayer. People rely too much on material means while prayer is ridiculed. This is a hazardous toxin spreading in the world. He said God wills to remove this toxin and it is for this reason God established the mission of the Promised Messiah. The Promised Messiah (on whom be peace) said that this is an age of spiritual conflict. Satan is attacking the fortress of Islam but God has established Ahmadiyyat to defeat him.
Every Ahmadi needs to step up for this purpose and forge new spiritual earth and new spiritual heaven. The Promised Messiah (on whom be peace) said that Divine commandments are two-fold. Firstly not to associate any partner with God in His Being, His attributes and His worship and secondly to be compassionate to mankind, not just your near and dear ones but all mankind regardless of race or religion. God wishes one to entrust the matter of one's enemies to Him and not seek revenge oneself. The humbler one is the greater is God's pleasure.
May we fulfil the expectations of the Promised Messiah (on whom be peace) in creed and in practice and may we forge new earth and new heaven and may we assist the Promised Messiah (on whom be peace) with our new earth and new heaven!