Friday Sermon delivered at Masjid Mubarak, Islamabad, Tilford, UK
After reciting Tashahhud, Ta‘awwuz and Surah al-Fatihah, His Holiness, Hazrat Mirza Masroor Ahmad(aba) said that some people write to him and even present various arguments to try and prove that in light of the difficulties being faced by the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community in Pakistan and various other countries, Ahmadis should not just remain patient but should retaliate.
His Holiness(aba) said that some people even cite certain examples of the Second Caliph(ra) and say that he gave permission to retaliate, however His Holiness(aba) made it clear that these things are wrongly ascribed to the Second Caliph(ra). It is possible that under very specific circumstances, the Second Caliph(ra) may have given permission to retaliate, however that too after great and careful consideration. Furthermore, if there were such instances, that response was strictly according to the command of the Caliph and was not left to the determination of other office holders.
His Holiness(aba) said that before the partition of Pakistan and India while India was under British rule, there were certain British officers who were against Ahmadiyyat who tried to say that some speeches delivered by the Second Caliph(ra) were inflammatory and they did this to try and incite an attack on him. However, they always failed in this attempt, because the Second Caliph(ra) would always advise the Community to remain patient. In fact, even the opponent officers attested to the fact that when they thought that the speech being delivered by the Second Caliph(ra) would incite a retaliation, he would take a different turn as he would urge patience and forbearance.
His Holiness(aba) said that of course this was the case, because the Second Caliph(ra) would never advise anything contrary to the teachings of Islam and the Holy Prophet(sa). The Promised Messiah(as) advised his Community to act with patience and prayer on numerous occasions. In fact he even said that if one does not possess the ability to tread the most difficult of tracts without showing patience, then they were free to leave him.
His Holiness(aba) said that he is asked about this topic by various media outlets and journalists and he usually responds that often, it has been the case that the very people who oppose the Community are the ones who eventually end up joining the Community and accept Ahmadiyyat. We too could show the same aggression being shown against us, however we are those who have accepted the Messiah of the Age who came to establish peace and who advised us to remain patient. Hence, if there are legal routes that can be taken then those can be adopted. In fact, there are times when even without taking the legal route, God manifests his means of help. His Holiness(aba) said that people are astonished upon hearing this response, and commend the fact that this is how peaceful people live.
His Holiness(aba) said that in a sermon, the Second Caliph(ra) explained the true meaning of patience. His Holiness(aba) said that he would present certain points in light of this sermon, along with guidance of the Promised Messiah(as) about patience.
His Holiness(aba) said that the Second Caliph(ra) regarded patience as an extremely important matter, saying that patience is among the foremost responsibilities of the Community of a prophet. No community has been able to succeed without patience. The Second Caliph(ra) further explained that there are two kinds of patience; the first is to show patience despite being fully capable of retaliating, and the second is to show patience under circumstances of helplessness.
His Holiness(aba) said that when we analyse the meaning of ‘patience’ in Arabic we find that its meanings are extremely vast. According to the various instances in the Holy Qur’an in which Allah the Almighty has enjoined patience along with the various meanings of ‘patience’ explained by various lexical authorities, it becomes clear that ‘patience’ has three principle meanings:
His Holiness(aba) said that in light of the first meaning, one must combat those evils which incite a person and to safeguard against those eveil which could incite a person in the future. Patience is not merely to sit calmly, rather it is to make constant efforts for inner purification. Such people also experience the help of Allah in ways that they could have never imagined. The opponents are waiting for us to abandon patience and start behaving like them so that they can claim victory, however Allah the Almighty enjoins us to employ the use of wisdom.
His Holiness(aba) said that in light of the second meaning, it is made clear that one must consistently undertake acts of virtue, and also adopt those acts of virtue which they have not yet been able to. This in fact is a means of drawing nearer to God which can be attained through prayer, as God says in the Qur’an:
‘And seek help with patience and Prayer; and this indeed is hard except for the humble in spirit.’ (The Holy Qur’an 2:46)
At another instance, God states in the Holy Qur’an:
“And those who persevere in seeking the favour of their Lord, and observe Prayer, and spend out of that with which We have provided them, secretly and openly, and repel evil with good. It is these who shall have the best reward of the final abode’ (The Holy Qur’an 13:23)
His Holiness(aba) said that patience, consistency, humility and prayer are the prime means of seeking God’s pleasure and this can only be achieved when we live our lives in a manner conducive to attaining the pleasure of God Almighty.
His Holiness(aba) said that the third meaning of patience is to avoid panicking in times of difficulty.One should always keep in mind that whatever they have is a bestowal from God Almighty. If He takes something away, then He will grant something else later. This is the mentality of those who are righteous and patient.
His Holiness(aba) said that it should be borne in mind that patience should not be the result of any weakness or worldly fear, rather patience should be solely for the sake of God and in accordance with His commandment. We enjoin patience only because it is the commandment of God Almighty. If it was merely about showing retaliation, then there must be many Ahmadis who are ready to retaliate without any fear for their own life. However, doing so would be contrary to the teachings of Islam. We despise such acts because they do not behoove the divine communities of prophets. We have pledged to safeguard humanity from all sorts of harm.
His Holiness(aba) said that on one occasion, the Promised Messiah(as) said that one’s actions should exhibit the distinction between patience and a lack of dignity. For example, if a person asks another to borrow some money, and the other person chastises and humiliates them and so the person asking thinks that since he is in the weaker position of asking the other for money, he should simply endure this and laugh along, then this would be considered a lack of dignity. However, at times for the benefit of the nation, it is necessary to remain silent. This is true patience. For example, if there is an instance where retaliating negatively impacts the society yet a person still retaliates, then this would be considered foolish. However, remaining patient for the greater good is true patience.
His Holiness(aba) said that sometimes people think that when a person is wrongfully arrested there should be some sort of demonstration or riot, however this is wrong. This is exactly what the opponents desire so that they may inflict even more cruelties. At this time, even government officials support our opponents, and if we were to show some form of retaliation, then it would serve only to further exacerbate the situation. In fact there are certain examples in our history where some retaliation was shown and it only worsened the situation. However when patience was shown and the legal route was taken, then there were instances where this approach proved successful. Hence we do not retaliate because doing so would contradict the teachings of Islam. In fact, our patience has at times greatly influenced officials. Otherwise, if we were to retaliate just like the opponents, then this would have a negative impact on those to whom we are preaching the true message of Islam.
His Holiness(aba) said that we must always bear in mind that we must patiently endure temporary difficulties for the greater and long term good of the Community.
His Holiness(aba) said that the Second Caliph(ra) responded to those who say that on certain occasions in his books, the Promised Messiah(as) has used harsh language for opponents, and so we should be able to as well. The Second Caliph(ra) explained that the rank of God and His Prophets is unique. If a worldly example was to be given, then a judge can sentence a thief according to their crimes, however they cannot go around calling everyone a thief because that would create discord. Hence, by highlighting the weaknesses of others, the Promised Messiah(as) has attempted to reform them. However, when it came to himself and his own person, the Promised Messiah(as) himself said that he endures any and all personal attacks that are leveled against him. The Second Caliph(ra) recounted that whilst traveling on a horse carriage, people would pelt his carriage with stones, some even made their way into the carriage through the window. However, the Promised Messiah(as) only showed patience. It was this very patience that impacted those same opponents and drew them to accept the Promised Messiah(as). This still happens to this day.
His Holiness(aba) quoted the Promised Messiah(as) who said that a person who remains patient no longer speaks of their own accord, rather their speech becomes inspired by God. Hence, the Community should remain patient and should not respond to cruelty with cruelty or respond to cursing with cursing. Nothing can compare to patience, although patience is not easy. But Allah the Almighty helps those who are patient.
His Holiness(aba) continued quoting the Promised Messiah(as) who said that this Community would face difficulties similar to those faced by the community of Muslims at the time of the Holy Prophet(sa). However, it should be remembered that such difficulties are necessary. No one is greater than the prophets, and they endured the greatest of difficulties. The more difficulties there are, the more opportunities there are to draw nearer to God Almighty. Not only should one remain patient, but one should pray for the opponents and to harbour nothing but compassion, so that by seeing this example, they too may be impacted and drawn towards the truth. Patience can win hearts.
His Holiness(aba) further quoted the Promised Messiah(as) who said that one who does not show patience cannot be included in his community. The Promised Messiah(as) said that he endured great difficulties. People would send him letters filled with the most vile and filthy language. In fact, sometimes he would have to pay to receive the letters and open them only to find filthy language hurled at him. However through it all, he remained patient especially when it came to personal attacks against him. If ever he used strong language as some assert, it was solely for the sake of reformation. The Promised Messiah(as) said that had he not been sent by God Almighty, then perhaps the vile language used against him would bother him. But seeing as he was sent by God, then how could such things bother him?
His Holiness(aba) continued quoting the Promised Messiah(as) who said that it is a shame to see other Muslims using such foul language. But in any case, it is clear and certain that their attempts are futile and they can do nothing to stem the truth. The Promised Messiah(as) said that he was sent by God in accordance with the prophecies of the Holy Prophet(sa), and so there is no justification for the opponents to raise any objections. The Holy Prophet(sa) had to endure difficulties and hardships at the hands of his own people, yet his success was unparalleled. The people of Moses(as) accepted him, but they failed to accept the Prophet(sa) greater than him and continued to inflict cruelties. Through it all, the Holy Prophet(sa) exhibited the highest level of patience, all without drawing back his preaching efforts.
His Holiness(aba) said that once, an Ahmadi went to the Promised Messiah(as) and said that there was a person in his village who inflicted great difficulties upon him. He asked the Promised Messiah(as) to pray that this person would move away from the village. The Promised Messiah(as) smiled and said that having become part of this Community, one must act according to its teachings. If one does not endure difficulties, then how can they reap the blessings of God Almighty? One cannot imagine the difficulties faced by the Holy Prophet(sa) and his Companions(ra), yet they endured them and eventually all the opponents faltered. The same will happen with this Community, and after a period of patience, this Community will witness the fall of its opponents. Patience is also a form of worship, and God says that the patient will be rewarded without measure. Hence, our Community is being helped by God, and enduring difficulties strengthens faith. There is nothing like patience.
His Holiness(aba) quoted the Promised Messiah(as) who said that our success is not rooted in retaliation, rather it is rooted in seeking forgiveness, repenting, attaining religious knowledge, recognising God’s Majesty, and offering the five daily prayers.
His Holiness(aba) said that these are the ways towards our success. If we adopt these things as the Promised Messiah(as) has advised, then we will prove victorious. As the opponents increase in their opposition, we should simultaneously increase our worship, rather than showing some form of retaliation. Our victory is promised, God-willing. At the same time, we must employ the use of wisdom. Many problems can be solved through our conduct and prayers.
His Holiness(aba) prayed that may Allah grant us patience, the ability to pray and enable us to implement these things in order to attain His pleasure.
Summary prepared by The Review of Religions
After reciting the tashahud, ta‘awuz, and Surah al-Fatihah, Hazrat Khalifatul Masih V(aba) stated:
Due to the hostile conditions faced by the Jamaat – particularly in Pakistan and other places – some people write to me presenting their arguments, wherein they insist that instead of just demonstrating patience, the Jamaat should also retaliate and that they have been patient long enough. They try to cite the examples of Hazrat Musleh-e-Maud(ra) claiming that he gave permission to the Jamaat to retaliate during certain situations during his time. These are all false statements that have been attributed to Hazrat Musleh-e-Maud(ra) and they have erred in their understanding of these matters. Someone may have come across or read certain incidents, but misunderstood them. Indeed, Hazrat Musleh-e-Maud(ra) took certain measures whilst remaining within the parameters of the law, but he never gave permission to protest heedlessly like rioters.
Moreover, if ever there was a campaign that took the form of a protest, it was done with the permission of the Khalifa of the time. It was not the case that every official gathered his people together and began a protest independently. Nevertheless, prior to the partition, when the British ruled over India, some British officers and some other hostile officials tried many times to label, or portray the speeches of Hazrat Musleh-e-Maud(ra) as provocative, so that he could be detained. However, they failed on every occasion, because Hazrat Musleh-e-Maud(ra) would show these opponents and government officials their true colours and would conclude his addresses by advising the Jamaat that the responsibility of the communities established by prophets is to demonstrate patience and to abide by the law. This was acknowledged even by the hostile officials at that time, who said that during Hazrat Musleh-e-Maud’s(ra) speeches, they believed that they would be able to detain him and try to arrest him on account of charges of rebellion and creating disorder. However, when the address would conclude, he would guide the Jamaat in a completely different manner than what they perceived and he would prohibit the Jamaat from breaking the law. Thus, this would destroy the schemes of these hostile officers.
Moreover, how could it be that Hazrat Musleh-e-Maud(ra) would say something contrary to the teachings of Islam and contrary to the teachings of the Promised Messiah(as)? The Promised Messiah(as) has urged the Jamaat on countless occasions to remain patient and to offer supplications. He has clearly stated that those who are on weak footing and unable to walk with me on these thorny and rocky paths, as it were, and those who are unable to act with patience, may leave me. (Anwar-ul-Islam, Ruhani Khazain, Vol. 9, pp. 23- 24)
Indeed, patience is the hallmark of the Jamaat around the world. Many politicians and journalists ask me as well and I often answer them that among those very individuals, who cause us pain and commit cruelties against us, are the people who in turn become Ahmadis. Despite these cruelties, people are also joining us, by the grace of Allah the Almighty. Our disposition was the same as theirs and we could have also retaliated in the same manner. However, we have accepted the Imam of the Age, who has taught us that in order to establish peace and in order to become the recipients of the favours of Allah the Almighty, one must act with patience. You may certainly try to obtain your rights while remaining within the parameters of the law. In certain instances, the Promised Messiah(as) has also exhorted us to leave the matter in the hands of God Almighty and not to take any legal action. He exhorted us to leave the matter in the hands of Allah the Almighty and said that God Almighty would personally come to our aid, and He most certainly did! Hence, it should be clear that this is the practice of the prophets and this is what the Promised Messiah(as) taught us; that we have to act with patience. Nevertheless, people are left astounded at this response, but also praise it, saying that this is the true response of those who live in peace.
I wish to expound further for those who have raised these points in relation to Hazrat Musleh-e-Maud(ra) in light of one of his sermons. In this sermon, Hazrat Musleh-e-Maud(ra) explained the meaning of patience in great detail and shed light upon it; in fact, thereafter, he started a series of sermons on high morals, linking them to the topic of patience. In any case, drawing on this sermon, I shall shed light on some of those aspects. Likewise, I shall also present some excerpts of the guidance imparted to us by the Promised Messiah(as), which he mentioned on various occasions with regard to the subject of patience.
Hazrat Musleh-e-Maud(ra) has stated that demonstrating patience is extremely vital and said that it is a primary and most important responsibility of those communities established by prophets, without which no community can make progress, nor can they make the world follow in their footsteps. Furthermore, no community of the past has achieved success without fulfilling this responsibility. Patience is of two kinds. Hazrat Musleh-e-Maud(ra) further explained, and he even mentioned this in his commentary on various [Quranic] verses, that one type of patience is when an individual has the ability to react to something but shows patience instead. The second type of patience is when one is powerless to confront something; hence, one has no other option but to demonstrate patience.
When one has the power to react, but chooses to demonstrate patience in the face of those who perpetrate evil and disorder, just as the opponents are treating us; we must not respond in like manner and instead display the utmost patience for the sake of Allah the Almighty. On the other hand, to show patience when one is powerless is to be content with the will of Allah and to display patience and gratitude in the face of heavenly trials.
Nevertheless, patience in Urdu means simply to remain quiet, but in Arabic, it has a very comprehensive meaning. When we look up the meanings in Arabic, we learn the true connotations of patience and how a believer must display patience. Allah the Almighty has commanded in various places that one exercise patience. Keeping in mind the true meanings of the word ‘sabr’ [patience] according to the dictionary, and in light of these commandments, we find that there are three meanings of ‘sabr’:
These are generally the meanings implied in the Urdu language.
Hence, in light of the first meaning, it is the task of an individual to resolutely and constantly combat those evils that attract Man, and to remain prepared to combat future sins that may entice him. Therefore, it does not suffice to merely claim that one is very patient, and to sit, placing one’s hands together, rather, true patience is to continuously cleanse one’s inner self. It is such people whom Allah the Almighty helps, in ways they cannot even imagine.
Our opponents desire for us to forsake patience and act in the same manner as them, so that they may succeed in their objectives. However, Allah the Almighty commands us to act with wisdom, to analyse ourselves to see if what we say is in accordance with His commandments, and to thus act accordingly.
In light of the second meaning, it can thus be described that a person remains consistent in carrying out good deeds that they are already undertaking, and strives to adopt other virtuous deeds that they are yet to carry out. This is a type of patience as well. This in truth is what will grant a person the nearness of God Almighty, and this nearness can be attained through outward manifestation and with prayers, regarding which Allah Almighty states in the Holy Quran:
وَاسۡتَعِیۡنُوۡا بِالصَّبۡرِ وَالصَّلٰوۃِؕ وَاِنَّہَا لَکَبِیۡرَۃٌ اِلَّا عَلَی الۡخٰشِعِیۡنَ
“And seek help with patience and Prayer; and this indeed is hard except for the humble in spirit.” [2:46].
Only those who fear Allah, are humble and seek the pleasure of Allah are able to display such patience. Then, in another instance, Allah states:
وَالَّذِیۡنَ صَبَرُوا ابۡتِغَآءَ وَجۡہِ رَبِّہِمۡ وَاَقَامُوا الصَّلٰوۃَ وَاَنۡفَقُوۡا مِمَّا رَزَقۡنٰہُمۡ سِرًّا وَّعَلَانِیَۃً وَّیَدۡرَءُوۡنَ بِالۡحَسَنَۃِ السَّیِّئَۃَ اُولٰٓئِکَ لَہُمۡ عُقۡبَی الدَّارِ
“And those who persevere in seeking the favour of their Lord, and observe Prayer, and spend out of that with which We have provided them, secretly and openly, and repel evil with good. It is these who shall have the best reward of the final Abode.” [Surah ar-Ra‘ad, Ch. 13: V. 23]
This abode and this world is temporary. There are trials here, but the final and lasting abode is granted to those who seek the pleasure of Allah the Almighty.
Therefore, patience is another word for seeking Allah the Almighty’s pleasure with resolve, humility and prayers. This is only possible when we transform our state and our lives to be in line with Allah the Almighty’s teachings and when our objective becomes to attain the pleasure of Allah.
Then, as has already been mentioned, one meaning of patience is to not bewail or lament. In times of trials, illness, financial loss, or any other trouble, one must not become anxious, or wail out of despair, saying, “What has Allah done.” These are signs of impatience. To hold grievances against Allah is completely wrong. One must always have the mindset that whatever one possesses is due to the blessings of Allah the Almighty. One day Allah takes something away; another day He gives something instead. Those who think in this way are true believers, and it is these who, in the estimation of Allah, are deemed those who demonstrate true patience.
These are the three meanings of patience. However, it should always be remembered that patience should not be the result of weakness or any sort of worldly fear. Rather, only when it is solely for the sake of attaining the pleasure of Allah the Almighty can it be considered true patience, which draws the blessings of Allah the Almighty. If, in the face of cruelty inflicted by an official or a king, one remains silent only because Allah the Almighty has commanded patience, then this can be regarded as true patience. However, if one does so for fear of their own life, then this would be considered wrong. We enjoin patience only because it has been commanded by Allah the Almighty. Otherwise, if it were the case of retaliation alone, then there are many Ahmadis who anxiously wait for an opportunity to give these oppressors a taste of revenge without any fear for their own lives. However, we will never do such a thing, because it would contradict the teachings we have been given and we despise such actions because they do not behove the communities of prophets. In our pledge of allegiance, we have vowed to protect humanity against every type of evil. The Promised Messiah(as) has strictly forbidden us from such actions.
With reference to patience, Hazrat Musleh-e-Maud(ra) has also elucidated that one’s actions should demonstrate a clear distinction between patience and having no honour or shame. For example, if one is in need and goes to another in order to ask for some money, and the person he goes to responds by chastising him, calling him indecent and shameless and humiliates him, yet the person who went to him simply laughs and avoids addressing the matter with the thought that he is in need and so he should simply bear these insults, then this constitutes a lack of honour and dignity. However, there are times when patience must be shown for the sake of the nation and for the faith and this requires one to stay silent. Such patience has nothing to do with one’s personal affairs. Hence, this can be regarded as true patience, not a lack of dignity. For example, if there is a situation where retaliation would cause difficulty to the nation, yet one still launches an attack rather than exhibiting patience, then such a person would be considered foolish because their actions caused harm to the entire nation. Therefore, when one refrains from retaliating for the sake of their nation’s betterment or to protect the world from harm, then this can truly be regarded as patience.
We should always keep this point in mind. Some people become very passionate when someone is arrested by the police and say that there should be some sort of demonstration or riot; all such things are wrong. The enemy desires this sort of reaction so that they have an excuse to cause even more difficulties. They would meet with those officials who are already against us and urge them to seize Ahmadis and impose even more restrictions on their organisation. Or they would go to the government, where some, in fact, most officials are also against us. In fact, some government officials even secretly protect and support them. It is on such occasions that the hypocrites also seek to benefit. When such reactions were shown in similar circumstances, then we saw that the situation worsened. This is exactly what will happen because, as we have experienced, when this sort of reaction is shown, the circumstances only become more dire. There are certain instances in our Community’s history in which there was greater harm than benefit [as a result of retaliating]. When patience was shown and the legal route was taken in an attempt to better the situation, then even if not one hundred per cent of the time, but most of the time it proved beneficial. In any case, we convey the message that we also belong to this nation and of course, we are also susceptible to showing a less-than-ideal response, or such a reaction could be shown by an individual; however, we never do, because this is against the Islamic teachings. [This approach] gradually has a positive impact on some officials and we have experienced this to be the case. If we start responding to vulgarity with vulgarity or brutality with brutality, then we will be leaving a negative impression instead of a positive one upon those to whom we are preaching. In that case, they would be justified in questioning what positive change came about in these [Ahmadi] people after the advent of the Promised Messiah(as) which would encourage them to join the Community; [they would say] their actions are similar to those of their opponents. It has been the practice of prophets and their communities to tread with patience and prayer, just as Allah the Almighty and the Holy Prophet(sa) commanded, and the Promised Messiah(as) taught. Therefore, we should always remember that we must endure temporary and minor difficulties with patience for the greater benefit of the Community. In fact, on one occasion, Hazrat Musleh-e-Maud(ra) even said that at times we do not need to knock at the door of the law; we should simply bear difficulties with patience. Hazrat Musleh-e-Maud(ra) cited the Promised Messiah(as) who said that some may assert that he used strong language in some of his books and thus this gives us the liberty to do the same. Such people should remember that Allah the Almighty and His Messengers have a distinct stature. In the worldly sense, we see that a magistrate or a judge can determine that someone is a thief because this is their duty and their right, based on which they can determine a punishment in an attempt to reform the perpetrator. However, not everyone has the right to label others as thieves or guilty of a crime. If they were to do so, it would create disorder. Hence, if the Promised Messiah(as) showed people their weaknesses and brought them to light, he did so for their reformation and to save people from their false notions. As for his own person, the Promised Messiah(as) states:
گالیاں سن کر دعا دیتا ہوں ان لوگوں کو
رحم ہے جوش میں اور غیظ گھٹایا ہم نے
“Upon hearing their curses, I pray for them. Mercy rises forth, for we have suppressed our anger”.
This is the very teaching that the Promised Messiah(as) imparted to us: that we must endure the difficulties inflicted by others with patience. Hazrat Musleh-e-Maud(ra) gave the example of an incident from the life of the Promised Messiah(as). On one occasion, the Promised Messiah(as) was travelling to Lahore in a carriage, when some troublemakers in the city began pelting him with stones that would strike his carriage – it was a horse-drawn carriage that was enclosed. However, the Promised Messiah’s(as) facial expression did not even change in the slightest owing to their actions, despite the fact that some stones caused the window to break and would land inside. This patience exhibited by the Promised Messiah(as) was the very thing that influences scores of these people to enter into his servitude and accept him. These are the same moral qualities that we must exhibit today. If someone is unjust due to personal gain, and on account of harbouring malice and enmity, then Allah the Almighty Himself will take them to task, on the condition that our patience is accompanied by prayer. During the time of the Holy Prophet(sa), there were many who accepted Islam upon seeing the patience of the Holy Prophet(sa) or his Companions. We find such examples in this era as well, as Hazrat Musleh-e-Maud(ra) states that during the time of the Promised Messiah(as), people joined this Community after seeing the patience of the Promised Messiah(as). (Khutbat-e-Mahmud, Vol. 9, pp. 130-140)
We witness this even today, and many write letters to me from various countries about those who enter the fold of this Community upon learning about this history.
On one occasion, whilst urging the Community to show patience, the Promised Messiah(as) said:
“Patience is a great excellence. One who demonstrates patience and does not speak out in anger does not speak of his own accord; rather, God Almighty speaks through him. The Community ought to show patience and not respond to the enemy’s cruelty with cruelty or slander with slander. Those who reject me are not obliged to speak courteously. (They are not obliged to say the name of the Promised Messiah(as) respectfully.) Many examples of this can be found in the life of the Holy Prophet(sa). There is nothing like patience, yet demonstrating it is an arduous task. Allah the Almighty assists the one who demonstrates patience.” (Malfuzat , Vol. 8, p. 200)
Furthermore, describing the circumstances facing the community and mentioning the difficulties of new converts while also advising them to remain patient, the Promised Messiah(as) states:
“My Community will face the same hardships faced by Muslims at the time of the Holy Prophet(sa). The first difficulty that presents itself is that when a person enters this Community, their friends and family immediately sever ties with them. Sometimes this is true to the degree that even parents and siblings become enemies; they refrain from saying ‘Peace be on you’ and even refuse to attend their funerals. We have experienced many such hardships.”
The Promised Messiah(as) continues:
“I am aware that there are some men of weak temperaments who become troubled by such hardships. However, bear in mind that experiencing such hardships is necessary. You are not above the prophets and messengers, all of whom also endured these hardships. Hardships come to strengthen one’s faith in God Almighty (difficulties arise to bolster one’s faith), to bring about a purifying transformation and to keep one engaged in prayer. Thus, it is necessary for you to follow in the footsteps of the prophets and messengers and demonstrate patience. You will not incur any sort of loss. A friend who abandons you on account of your accepting the truth is not a true friend. If they were true friends, they would stay by your side. Instead of quarrelling and conflicting with those who abandon you because you chose to become a part of the Community established by God Almighty Himself, you ought to pray for them in seclusion.”
One must not only abstain from quarrelling with them, one should also pray that Allah the Almighty grants these people the same insight and understanding He granted you through His grace. The Promised Messiah(as) did not simply forbid conflict and disorder, but also enjoined prayer. He instructed us to be compassionate so that others could also recognise the truth. The Promised Messiah(as) further states:
“Your pious example and excellent conduct should prove that you have adopted the right path. I have been commissioned to remind you again and again to avoid all places of disorder and corruption and to adopt patience after being slandered. Respond to evil with goodness, and if anyone resorts to creating disorder, remove yourself from them. (It has been ordained by the Holy Quran to leave such an area and respond with tenderness.) Often, it is observed that a person becomes overzealous in their enmity and adopts a stance that is malicious, i.e., their opposition can cause disorder, thereby provoking bystanders. However, when such people receive kindness in return and no retaliation for their slander, they themselves feel shame and embarrassment.”
Indeed, in this day and age, there are many who are shameless and persist in their cruelty, but there are also those who feel ashamed. They feel regret and remorse for their actions.
In my previous sermons, while mentioning some incidents from Bangladesh, I gave the example of a boy among the rioters who was confronted by a boy from our Community. He asked the rioter, “Do you know the reason behind what you are doing?” The rioter then realised [what was happening] and dropped the stone or brick that he had in his hand.
The Promised Messiah(as) states: “I say to you truthfully never to discard patience. Patience is a weapon that can achieve things that a canon cannot. Only patience can conquer hearts. Surely, you must bear in mind that it pains me greatly when I come to know that, despite being a part of this community, a member has quarrelled with another. I am severely opposed to such behaviour, and God Almighty does not desire that the Community destined to be an example for the world adopts a path other than that of righteousness. In fact, I shall also inform you that Allah the Almighty has emphasised this matter to such a degree that, having entered this Community, if an individual does not act with patience and tolerance, then he is not part of this Community.”
This is a serious warning that we should all be mindful of.
“One reason why you become enraged is that people hurl foul abuse at me”. (The Promised Messiah(as) says that people use vile language against him and as a result, [Ahmadis] become enraged.) Instead, resign this matter to God. You cannot pass judgement on this. Leave my matter to God. Observe patience and tolerance upon hearing their slander. You are not aware of the extent to which I endure their slander. I often receive letters filled with vile abuse, and sometimes I receive this abuse through postcards as well. Those letters are unpaid and I have to pay for their postage. (The letters are sent with postage unpaid. They were sent without a stamp, which would have to be paid for. After opening the letters, he would find nothing but vile abuse.) Their slander was so abominable that I am certain no prophet had to endure such insults. I do not even consider Abu Jahl to be capable of such language. (Even Abu Jahl did not resort to this degree of slander.) However, one must endure this. If I observe patience, it is your obligation to also observe patience. A branch is not superior to the tree itself.”
The Promised Messiah(as) demonstrated the pinnacle of patience. It is, as Hazrat Musleh-e-Maud(ra) also stated, that in his own defence, the Promised Messiah(as) demonstrated absolute patience. If, according to the claims of people, the Promised Messiah(as) was harsh in his approach, then it was for the purpose of reformation. This was a right granted to him by Allah the Almighty. Not everyone is granted this right. Thus, if we have not been given this right, then by adopting harsh measures, instead of bringing about reform, the chances of us spreading disorder increase.
The Promised Messiah(as) further states:
“How long will they continue to hurl vile abuse at me? Eventually, they will tire, yet their slandering and mischief will never cause me fatigue. Thus, we too shall never tire. If I had not been sent by God Almighty, I would have undoubtedly been fearful of their slander. However, I know with certainty that God has appointed me. Why then should I be concerned about such meaningless words? This cannot be! Deliberate over this: who has their slander damaged more; me or themselves? Their community has withered, while mine has grown. Our community is growing from the numbers [joining us from] their ranks. If such slandering could become a hindrance, how has the membership of this Community exceeded 200,000?”
When the Promised Messiah(as) made this statement, he mentioned that the Community comprised 200,000 members. Today, by the grace of Allah the Almighty, his message and community have reached every country of the world.
Did this all happen due to any protest or demonstration of power? Not at all, in fact, this is the result of sacrifices, patience and prayers. Thus, in order to attain this grand objective, we need to continue demonstrating patience. The Promised Messiah(as) further states:
“Have these people come from among them or from somewhere else? They issued edicts of kufr [disbelief] against me, but what was the ultimate impact of those edicts? The Community continued to grow. If this Community was established through ploys and deceit, then such edicts indeed would have had an impact and this edict of disbelief would have caused a huge impediment in my path. However, no mortal being possesses the power to destroy that which is from Allah the Almighty. All of the ploys hatched against me by the opponents have only left those, who can truly see the reality, in envy of me.
“I emphatically state that those who oppose me are as if they are placing their hands against a great river that surges forth with all its power and by doing so they desire to stop it, (i.e., the water is flowing in the form of a river and by placing their hand inside it they desire to stop the flow of water). However, it is plainly obvious that it cannot be stopped. They desire to stop this through their verbal abuse, but let it be known that this shall never be stopped. Does it behove an honourable person to utter profanities? I express my regret at these Muslims, [wondering] what kind of Muslims they are, who brazenly utter foul language. (For example, they utter all kinds of verbal abuse in their religious gatherings in Pakistan.) I swear by Allah the Almighty, I have never even heard such vulgar profanities being uttered by the lowliest of people as those uttered by these Muslims. In fact, their foul language reflects their true condition. (By uttering obscene language, they are only reflecting their own inner condition in terms of their thinking and conduct.) They acknowledge that they are unrighteous and disbelievers. May God Almighty open their eyes and have mercy upon them, (Ameen).”
“If those who utter such verbal abuse are in their millions, even then they cannot do any harm to God Almighty. They are aware that by doing so they will only incur the cost of a [postal] card, but they fail to realise that along with the loss of this money, they also blemish their record of deeds. (By writing such profanities, they tarnish their record of deeds as well.) Moreover, I do not understand why they even hurl such verbal abuse. Is it simply for the reason that I say that one should not abandon the Holy Quran; one should not dishonour the Holy Prophet(sa)? I am utterly amazed that, despite the fact that it is written in the Holy Quran that Jesus(as) has passed away and he shall not return to the earth, they do not wish to accept this and remain bent upon a concept that is contrary to the Holy Quran. If I had not appeared and if God Almighty had not established this community, then they could’ve said whatever they willed, because there was no one from among them to revive them and warn them. However, now that God Almighty has commissioned me and I have been declared the Hakam [judge] by the Holy Prophet(sa), they have no right to criticise me upon my declaration. Righteousness would have necessitated that they listen to me, ponder over it and not hasten to reject me. I truthfully say that upon my advent they had no right to speak against me, for I have come from God Almighty and have appeared as the Hakam [Judge].” (Malfuzat , Vol. 7, pp. 203-206)
The great level of patience demonstrated by the Holy Prophet(sa) in accordance with the commandment of Allah the Almighty is matchless. Whilst mentioning this, the Promised Messiah(as) states:
“The people of Moses(as), the Israelites, accepted him immediately; therefore, he did not have to face any sorrow, hardship or challenge from his own people. (Moses(as) did not face any hardship from his own people, rather it was from the Pharaoh.) On the other hand, the Holy Prophet(sa) faced hardships and rejection from his own people. In light of these circumstances, how extraordinary was the success of the Holy Prophet(sa) which is the greatest testimony to his excellences and qualities. In accordance with the will and command of Allah the Almighty, when the Holy Prophet(sa) started to preach his message, the very first challenge he faced was the rejection of his own people. It is written that the Holy Prophet(sa) invited the Quraish for a meal and then asked them to answer his question: would they believe him if he told them there was a huge army behind the mountain that was waiting for an opportunity to launch an attack against them. All of them unanimously exclaimed that indeed, they would believe it to be true because they always found him to be truthful and trustworthy. When they had made this affirmation, the Holy Prophet(sa) stated, ‘I truly tell you that I am a Messenger of God Almighty and I warn you of an impending punishment.’ As soon as he had said this, everyone became infuriated and an evil one among them said:
تَبًّا لكَ سَائِرَ اليَومِ
(In other words, he expressed [his desire] for the Holy Prophet(sa) to be destroyed, God-forbid.) What a pity that the very teaching that was a means of their salvation and prosperity, these people who were unheedful of the afterlife, expressed their dislike towards it and began to oppose it. Now, reflect upon the people of Moses(as) in comparison. Despite being hard-hearted, the Israelites immediately accepted the invitation from Moses(as). However, [in the case of the Holy Prophet(sa)], a prophet who was even greater than Moses(as), his people did not accept him.”
The Promised Messiah(as) was giving an example here of the people of Moses(as) and stated:
“The people of Moses(as) accepted him, but the prophet, who was greater than Moses(as), his people did not accept him. They stood up against the Holy Prophet(sa) and began their opposition. They would continuously conspire to kill him. This era [of opposition] was so long that it continued for 13 years. 13 years is not a short period of time. The sorrow and hardship experienced by the Holy Prophet(sa) during this time was so great that it is not an easy task to even describe it. They would not leave any stone unturned in their efforts to cause pain and torment and yet Allah the Almighty would continue to command them to demonstrate patience and steadfastness. (On the one hand, they were experiencing hardships and yet Allah the Almighty was commanding them to show patience and steadfastness.) This is the true meaning of patience and they were continuously commanded to demonstrate it just as the earlier prophets demonstrated patience. The Holy Prophet(sa) demonstrated an excellent standard of patience in the face of these hardships and continued to actively preach; in fact, he would always continue to make progress. The fact is that the patience demonstrated by the Holy Prophet(sa) was not like that of the earlier prophets. This is because [the earlier prophets] were sent for a particular people and so the hardships and torments they faced were limited to [those, received from] those people alone. In contrast to this, the Holy Prophet’s(sa) level of patience was far greater. This is because not only did his own people oppose him and cause afflictions, but even Christians became his enemies. When they were told that Jesus(as) was a servant of God and His messenger, they became infuriated as they deemed him to be god. However, the Holy Prophet(sa) came and revealed the truth. It is a matter of principle that one who adopts something as their god and worships it, it is not easy to abandon their belief, rather it is very difficult. This doctrine of the Christians had become firmly rooted in them, therefore, when they heard that the Holy Prophet(sa) had turned their imaginary god into a human, they became his bitter enemies. (On the one hand, his own people, who were idolaters and who rejected him became his enemy, and on the other hand, the Christians also opposed him.) Furthermore, idolatrous practices had taken root amongst the Jews. (Then there is mention with reference to the Jews.) Idolatrous customs had taken root amongst the Jews and they completely rejected the Messiah. They were not prepared to accept Jesus(as). When the Jews were warned, they too rose up in opposition. Thus, Jews, Christians, idolaters and those of other faiths all turned against him. This is because the Jews considered Jesus(as) to be an imposter and a liar – God forbid. The Holy Prophet(sa) told them that they themselves were liars in their accusation of falsehood. Jesus(as) was a pious prophet of Allah the Almighty. Aside from this, one main reason for their enmity was that, in their ignorance and foolishness, they thought that the Seal of the Prophets was to be an Israelite, considering it to be Allah’s practice in accordance with the Torah. They misinterpreted the words of the prophecy about the final prophet, because the wording used was ‘from among thy brethren’. They considered this to mean that he would be from among the children of Israel, whereas the prophecy referred to the children of Ismael(as). Hence, when they heard the claim of the Holy Prophet(sa) in that he is the Seal of the Prophets, all their hopes were vanquished and everything they had envisaged about the prophecy in the Torah was declared to be false. Owing to this, they burned with rage and they rose up in opposition.” (Malfuzat , Vol. 7, pp. 198-200)
An Ahmadi from a village came to see the Promised Messiah(as) and mentioned the opposition he faced from a cleric in his village. He requested prayers, saying, “There is a cleric in my village who works in the Madrasa [school] and is a staunch opponent. He causes me a lot of pain. Your Holiness, please pray that Allah the Almighty may cause him to be transferred from there.”
Upon hearing this, the Promised Messiah(as) smiled and then explained to him by saying: “If you have joined this Community, then learn to follow its teachings. If one does not suffer pain, then why would one be deserving of reward? The Messenger(sa) of Allah suffered for thirteen years in Mecca. You do not have any idea of the pain and suffering of that era, nor have you experienced anything similar. Despite this, the Holy Prophet(sa) advised his companions to show patience. Eventually, every enemy was annihilated. That era is near, when you will no longer see these evil people. Allah the Almighty has ordained for this Community to spread throughout the world. At present, they see you as fewer in number and cause you harm, but when this Community will be in the majority, they themselves will be silenced. If God Almighty so wished, they would not cause you harm, nor would He create those people who cause you harm. However, through them, God Almighty wishes to teach you patience. After showing patience for a short time, you will see that in reality, that matter is not as serious as you envisage; all those who cause you harm will either repent, or be annihilated. I receive many letters wherein people say they used to utter profanities and deemed it to be a source of reward. However, they now repent and pledge allegiance. Patience is a form of worship.”
The Promised Messiah(as) continues: “Patience is a form of worship. God Almighty states that the one who demonstrates patience will receive a limitless reward, (i.e., they will be showered with uncountable blessings). This reward is reserved only for those who are patient. Allah the Almighty has not promised this concerning other forms of worship. When a person spends their entire lifetime in the protection of another, and upon seeing them endure pain, time after time, eventually the honour of the one who gave the protection becomes inflamed and he destroys the one who was causing the other harm. In the same way, our Community is under the protection of God Almighty. Furthermore, one’s faith becomes strengthened after experiencing pain. There is nothing like patience.” (Malfuzat , Vol. 4, pp. 234-235)
Similarly, some people came to Qadian to pledge allegiance. Whilst advising them, the Promised Messiah(as) said:
“Worldly people depend heavily upon resources; however, Allah the Almighty is not in need of any resources. If He so desires, He can ensure that the work of His loved ones is completed without resorting to any resource, and at times, He helps them by creating the necessary means and at times He can destroy already established means. In short, purify your deeds, continuously remember God Almighty and do not become unmindful. Just as prey becomes trapped by the predator the moment it shows any indolence, in the same manner, those who become unmindful of the remembrance of God fall prey to Satan. Keep alive the practice of repenting and do not let this practice fade away. Never live a moment without repentance, always keep repentance in mind, for only that limb remains healthy that remains in use and the limb that is left unused becomes permanently damaged and worthless. In the same way, ensure that you continue to offer repentance, lest that [habit] becomes worthless. If one does not repent earnestly, then it is akin to a seed that is planted on stones. If a person offers true repentance, it is like the seed that is planted on exceptionally fertile land, which bears fruit at its appointed time. These days, there are many difficulties in offering such repentance.”
The Promised Messiah(as) told the new converts:
“Now, once you depart from here, you will have to put up with a lot of things, people will make up all kinds of stories saying that you pledged allegiance to a leper, disbeliever and a great deceiver, etc. They will hurl profanities (at the Promised Messiah(as)). Do not become incensed by those who do this. Do not become enraged by such people. I have been appointed by Allah the Almighty to teach patience.”
Thus, we should always remember these points. The Promised Messiah(as) has stated that they must pray to God Almighty to guide them [i.e., the enemies]. The Promised Messiah(as) has been commissioned to teach us patience. Therefore, our success lies in our following in his footsteps.
The Promised Messiah(as) further says: “The weapons that will lead us to victory are: istighfar [seeking forgiveness], taubah [repentance], (and not to react in the same manner as the opponents). The weapons that will lead us to victory are not that we react in kind, rather, the weapons that will grant us victory are istighfar [seeking forgiveness], taubah [repentance], increasing in religious knowledge, understanding the grandeur of God Almighty and offering the five daily prayers. Worship is the key to the acceptance of prayer. When you observe prayer, ensure that you offer supplications and do not show negligence in this matter. Abstain wholly from every vice, regardless of whether it pertains to fulfilling the rights of God or fulfilling the rights of His creation. Thus, abstain from every form of vice.” (Malfuzat , Vol. 5, p. 303)
Thus, these pieces of advice are the foundations of our success and progress. If, in accordance with the guidance of the Promised Messiah(as), we continue to pay heed to istighfar, repentance, the acquisition of religious knowledge and offering the five daily prayers, we will find success. No matter how much the enemy transgresses in spreading chaos and disorder, we too must exceed in bowing before Allah the Almighty. This is the secret to our success. The Promised Messiah(as) has repeatedly advised us to do this as opposed to any sort of retaliation.
Nevertheless, our victory is destined, as the Promised Messiah(as) has stated, God-willing. Indeed, it should be borne in mind that we must continue our efforts with wisdom. Much of our work can be completed with wisdom. It is for this reason that demonstrating wisdom is necessary. If every Ahmadi understands this responsibility, many problems will be solved through our conduct and prayers. May Allah the Almighty enable us to be patient and to offer supplications. Furthermore, may He enable us to act upon this guidance in order to attain His pleasure.