The translation of this verse is:
"Call unto the way of thy Lord with wisdom and goodly exhortation, and argue with them in a way that is best. Surely, thy Lord knows best who has strayed from His way; and He knows those who are rightly guided." (16:126)
A recommendation was included in the Majaalis-e-Shura of numerous Jamaats around the world. The recommendation was how to expand and improve the scope of Tabligh to spread the true message of Islam to the widest cross section of people possible within each country. The Ahmadiyya Jamaat UK also included this recommendation in their agenda for the Shura this year. Very productive discussions were held after which they formed their proposed programme for implementation which was sent to me for approval. Once approved, the responsibility also falls upon the members of the Shura to use all their capabilities and strength to have the recommendation actioned and to implement it themselves. So too is it the duty of office holders at every level of the Jamaat to action approved recommendations. I would like to draw the attention of every office holder that they should extend complete cooperation to the Tabligh Secretaries for the implementation of this proposal within their Jamaat. It is the duty of the National Secretary Tabligh to send the established programme of action to the Tabligh secretaries of the local Jamaats. Further, they should ensure that the plan of action is conveyed to every member of the Jamaat; that portion who are not part of the administration. Most of all understand the guidance given by Allah the Almighty in this verse and every Tabligh Secretary, every office holder and every Daeyaan Khasoosi (specialist preacher) should act accordingly. Today, terrorist organisations and so-called Muslim scholars have in their fanaticism, senselessness and use of irrational arguments defamed Islam to such a degree that the non-Muslim world believes that Islam is deprived of wisdom and is a religion lacking rationality and is for foolish and crazy people, God forbid. They believe that Islam only teaches extremism. These prevailing circumstances places a very significant responsibility upon every Ahmadi to carry out Tabligh and to form contacts, according with this command of Allah the Almighty.
We need to make efforts towards Tabligh in the manner taught to us by Allah the Almighty. Firstly, Allah the Almighty says to carry out Tabligh using wisdom (hiqmah). What is this hiqmah? Hiqmah has wide-ranging meanings, which to be successful in Tabligh, are essential for us to be aware of and to keep in view. One meaning of Hiqmah is knowledge. Knowledge is required to carry out Tabligh. Therefore, firstly you need to increase your knowledge so that when you have an intellectual discussion with someone they should be spoken to in a manner based on their level of understanding. Secondly you should be aware of where in our literature and websites the intellectual responses to their questions can be obtained from. Then, arguments should be given to the people of different religions and deniers of the existence of God, according to their mentality, outlook and viewpoints. 'Hikmah' (wisdom) also denotes 'a resolute and firm word' and 'a conclusive argument, not requiring yet further proofs to establish its validity.'
Thus, rather than engaging in lengthy discussions, one should analyse and consider an allegation and endeavour to refute it with a strong argument. Then, it is also among the tasks of the tabligh [outreach] department that they should - considering the current trends - compile such allegations and their rebuttals and make them available to the Jama'ats so that the maximum number of people may have intellectual and strong arguments at their disposal.
Moreover, 'hikmah' (wisdom) also denotes 'fairness'. One should not present such arguments during debates, which, in response, may be used against us. Muslims, who oppose us, sometimes raise such allegations against the Promised Messiah (as), which, in response, can be used against other prophets too. Thus, the tabligh department should also compile allegations of this kind and their rebuttals and make them available to the jama'ats.
Likewise, 'hikmah' (wisdom) also denotes 'forbearance and clemency'. Thus, there is a great need to employ kindness and rationality during tabligh.
Then, 'hikmah' (wisdom) also denotes 'prophethood'. Thus, discussing and presenting arguments from this point of view means that we should undertake tabligh while applying [and employing] the arguments and the teaching of the Holy Qur'an, which has been revealed to the Holy Prophet (sa).
Another meaning of this word [Hiqmah] is to refrain from ignorance. Thus, one must speak in such a manner which is easy for others to understand and dispels their ignorance. The Holy Prophet (sa) also said to speak to people according to the level of understanding of others. We must have continuity and consistency in our Tabligh programmes. It should not be that once or twice in the year one celebrates the 'Ashra-e-Tarbiyyat' or 'Ashra-e-Tabligh' [programme of ten days where special focus is given on Tabligh/Tarbiyyat], distributed literature on the streets and think one has done justice to conveying the message. Thus, it is our duty to act in line with the commandment of God Almighty to spread the message with wisdom, good advice and strong argument and we must continue to do so with perseverance. God Almighty states that He Himself will bring about the results of this, that is, who will go astray and who will be guided is only in God Almighty's knowledge. He has said in another place that you cannot forcefully give someone guidance. Your duty is to convey the message and deliver the message of truth to every person of the world. You must show others the beauty of Islam and its beautiful teachings. Only God Almighty knows who will be granted guidance and who will not. It is only God Almighty Who knows whether he will be granted the opportunity to accept or not, but in any case we have fulfilled our duty by introducing him to the true teachings of Islam.
We have been commanded to convey the message and we cannot hold back from this, nor will we do so. We will complete what we must do. Only God Almighty knows who will be guided and who will not. We will fulfil the task given to us but at the same time it is the promise of God that He and His Messenger will prevail, God willing. That is why we have hope that one day the majority will come into our fold. The Promised Messiah as has also given some guidance which expounds on this verse I recited. "God Almighty knows that I have never forsaken kindness and tenderness when replying, (in other words, it never happened that he abandoned politeness and speaking kindly, and he was always spoke with kind and gentle words) apart from a few times where there were extremely foul and mischievous writings from the enemy and I adopted a firm approach to some extent."
Therefore, we should always keep this distinction in mind and not show any kind of pliancy whereby we completely lose our sense of integrity and honour simply because we feel we have to preach and convey the message to others. Though we are not to quarrel and create disorder but at times it is necessary to rebut and counter what is being said. In any case, to use wisdom is necessary; it is important to adopt a soft tone and to demonstrate good morals but at the same time it is also important to actually say wrong to what is wrong. Thus, one should always remember that wisdom does not mean to show cowardice and nor to testify to something incorrect in order to draw someone closer to yourself. For instance, nowadays the worldly people have enacted such laws in the name of freedom which the Shariah [Islamic law] completely forbids. If we speaks out against them, they say that though Ahmadis claim to be free from any kind of extremism and speak out against it and demonstrate that they are not extreme, however they are also extreme in regards to certain issues. The examples they give is the issue of shaking hands with women or homosexuality. We do not need to fight but we must say wrong to what is wrong.
Recently, here in the UK a member of a political party, who had become widely popular that he was going to stand as the candidate for the party leadership, announced that he cannot stand for the party's leadership because he was against homosexuality and abortion and both of these matters are such that society cannot tolerate anyone speaking against it. As far as the issue of homosexuality is concerned, the Holy Quran and the Bible both mention that when this ill became widespread within a people, they are ultimately punished by God Almighty. However, in regards to abortion we deem it permissible in certain circumstances. Similarly, another political leader handed in his resignation a few months ago because he was against homosexuality and said that as a result of this he had been split between choosing politics and his faith, therefore in order to safeguard his faith he stepped down from the party's leadership.
Thus, if worldly people whose religion is not even in its original form are sacrificing their worldly affairs for the sake of their faith and do not show any kind of pliancy or cowardice, then how strong should be the faith of those who believe in the final and everlasting Shariah? The office-bearers [of the Jama'at] should pay a lot of attention to this as I have observed that they are more prone to expressing such weakness. One should not be worried about the opposition because it is opposition that opens new avenues for Tabligh [outreach]. The Promised Messiah (as) states: 'The stronger the force of falsehood is which opposes the truth, the power and strength of the truth becomes equally greater.'
The Promised Messiah (as) further states: 'It is also commonly said among the landowners/farmers that the more intense the summer heat, the stronger the monsoon.' The Promised Messiah (as) further states: 'This is a natural phenomenon; the stronger the opposition of the truth, the more it shines and reflects its splendour. We have experienced this for ourselves in that wherever we were strongly and vociferously opposed, a Jama'at was established there. And, wherever people heard us and remained silent, there was less progress.'
We witness this even today. Recently in Germany, I met a very prominent non-Ahmadi guest from Algeria who had come to see me. He said that no doubt currently your Jama'at is experiencing a lot of hardship but it has become introduced to almost the whole country due to this opposition and people have come to know of the Jama'at. For Tabligh it is also very important that there is concurrence in one's speech and practise. One should practise what he preaches and it is only then that one can utter words of wisdom and also have an impact on others when there is harmony in one's speech and practise. The speech of one who preaches will only be impactful when there is consistency in their speech and actions. The Promised Messiah (as) states: 'If such people possessed the knowledge and practised what they preach then what need was there for the Holy Quran to state: [Arabic Text] - why do you say what you do not do?
The Promised Messiah (as) further states: 'A Momin [believer] should not lead a double life and should always be distanced from cowardice and hypocrisy. Always keep your speech and practise wholesome and show harmony between them both just as the companions did. You too should tread upon their footsteps and demonstrate your sincerity and devotion.'
First become a model yourself and then preach the message of Islam and spread its excellences throughout the world. In order to do Tabligh, one needs to bring about a pure change within themselves. When one becomes a true model of a Muslim then there is no question of people's attention not being drawn towards you. It is by observing your very example that people's attention will be drawn towards you and in this way without even formally doing any Tabligh, the avenues of Tabligh open up. May Allah the Almighty enable us to adhere according to this.