Friday Sermon: Ahmadiyya Muslim Community in Italy

April 16th, 2010

Hudhur delivered his Friday Sermon from Baitul Tauheed in San Pietro in Casale, Italy. Hudhur said it was with God’s grace that today Friday Sermon was being broadcast Live worldwide from Italy for the first time. In spite of members of the Community residing in the country for a long time in a reasonable number we do not have a centre or a mission house there. Some two years ago the site [from where the Sermon was relayed] was purchased, may God enable the construction of a mosque there and remove the hurdles in this matter. Hudhur said locals oppose the building due to their anti-Islam sentiments which are precipitated by the acts of certain Muslim groups. Those who have animosity against Islam will find any excuse to bring it into disrepute; it gives them a chance to fan the flames of ill will. Hudhur said prayers should be made that the hurdles are not only removed in this area but that we are also enabled to build a mission house in Rome.

Hudhur said God is enabling the Ahmadiyya Community to build mosques in Europe. We do come across impediments and we also face rejections in terms of acquiring sites. However God finds us incredible ways to achieve our purpose. The drive to build mosques in Europe is from God. It is not due to any brilliance of our own or even our hard work. This centre also faced opposition. When the councillors and the locals were introduced to the Community and the true teachings of Islam, many councillors including the mayor of the area supported us. Hudhur said the other day the mayor had said at a reception that there should be no impediment in the building of a mission house here.

Hudhur said all this places a huge responsibility on the Ahmadis living in Italy. They should be mindful that they live in a country a part of which has the centre of Catholicism and where papacy is established [Vatican], albeit it is reduced to a paradigm of worldliness but a large majority of Europeans are Catholics who believe in the Pope. Now, in accordance with the decree of God, the Messiah of Muhammad (peace be on him) has to raise the banner of Islam in the entire world and has to gather pious souls at the feet of the Holy Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be on him). Hudhur said this is the task of Ahmadis. We do not even have a missionary in Italy. The missionary from Switzerland visits here. We are working at having a permanent missionary in place here. This raises the responsibility of each Ahmadi in Italy more to bring about such a change in them that they represent high moral and spiritual models of ordinary people, thus endorsing the suggestion that a missionary too would have high moral and spiritual standards and this facilitates in removing any hurdle in his arrival. Each Ahmadi has to become an ambassador of their faith. Hudhur said it should be clear that once a missionary arrives here the level of responsibility for Ahmadis will not lessen. Rather they will need to raise their moral and spiritual levels to such extent that the entire country has a network of our missionaries and mosques established. Hudhur said this is the centre of papacy, and it is not an ordinary concept to envisage a majority of Muslims here. It is a tremendous task. If Ahmadis in Italy honoured their pledge of Bai’at and stayed connected to Khilafat e Ahmadiyya then one day or the other they will see a majority of followers of the Messiah of Muhammad (on whom be peace) in this country. If not those present, their progeny will definitely experience it. When Christianity spread in Italy after the suffering of the Unitarian Christians for many hundreds of years, it was with the concept of trinity. Now Ahmadis have to spread Ahmadiyyat, the true Islam in the country and change the concept of trinity back to Unity of God.

InshaAllah the servants of the Messiah of Muhammad (peace be on him) will continue to give sacrifices to spread this message in the world. These sacrifices will come to pass when we will abide by taqwa, will understand our object of birth, will keep an eye on our own condition, will give precedence to faith over worldly matters, will have exemplary mutual relations, will have a strong tie with the system of Jama’at, will maintain a bond of obedience and sincerity with Khilafat e Ahmadiyya, will keep the pledge of Bai’at with the Promised Messiah (on whom be peace) and will endeavour to abide by the kingdom of God and His Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be on him).

Hudhur said God has given an opportunity to Ahmadis of Pakistani origin to leave their country due to the situation there and come here. There is freedom of religion here and the majority have improved lives in financial terms. They should be grateful for this and the way to express gratitude is to keep all of the above in view. The Ahmadis in Italy are also from African countries, mostly Ghana as well as some from Morocco and Algeria. God has given all of them an opportunity to better themselves in financial terms. From among the African Ahmadis there are many who either were enabled themselves to abandon trinity and accept Islam or their parents did. They should now spread the message to Christians. Their responsibility is increased as God has also granted them financial improvement. Hudhur said this is also the responsibility of Arab Ahmadis; they should facilitate to take the beneficence of the spiritual sustenance that they have received from the Promised Messiah (on whom be peace) to others. In light of the saying of the Holy Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be on him) that a true Muslims likes for his brother what he likes for himself, they should take the message of the true and ardent devotee of the Holy Prophet to their relatives and their countrymen. Then alone will they pay the dues of being Ahmadis. Hudhur said some Ahmadis from Morocco and Algeria told him that their acceptance of Ahmadiyyat came about when they saw the blessed face of the Promised Messiah or some other sign in dream. God made this happen due to some virtue of theirs and they cannot return this Divine favour throughout their lives. God states: ‘The reward of goodness is nothing but goodness.’ (55:61). The Qur’an enjoins us to be always kind to our parents because of the kindness they extend to us in our infancy. Hadith relates that we cannot ever reciprocate this favour of parents. Hudhur said conversely God’s favours on man are immeasurable and thus our obligation to try and return His favours should be corresponding.

Hudhur said God’s general beneficence is dispensed through His quality of Rahmaniyyat (being Gracious). On top of this if He also guides one spiritually, it becomes a tremendous favour and man cannot, no matter if he wants to, ever return this favour. An Abd Rahman (servant of the Gracious God) has only one way to adopt and that is to relate the blessings of God for the rest of his life and be a grateful servants. It is the task of an Ahmadi to spread this message in his environment. To the Moroccan and Algerian Ahmadis Hudhur said while the favour of God cannot be returned, one can express one’s thankfulness by spreading the message. Hudhur said this was not specific to Pakistani, African and Arab Ahmadis. There were also Bengali Ahmadis living in the country and this task was for every Ahmadi of every ethnicity. Our lives will end but we will never be able to return God’s favour. Indeed, we can try and attain His pleasure, providing our each word and deed is purely to attain His pleasure.

Hudhur said God has enabled us to be part of those who obeyed the command of the Holy Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be on him) and just as God favoured the earlier-ones, He blessed the latter-ones. He states: ‘…It is you on the contrary, whom Allah has favoured by guiding you to the true faith, if you are true in your claim to be believers. (49:18). Hudhur said thankfulness of this favour is in increasing one’s faith and for this one has to inculcate taqwa and keep God’s pleasure in view. He states: ‘And I have not created the Jinn and the men but that they may worship Me’. (51:57). Hudhur said only a worshiper of God can be truly called an Abd Rahman. In addition to the five daily Prayers, remembrance of God is also a form of worship, as is undertaking any task for the pleasure of God. However, Salat is the core of all forms of worship. Therefore, the first thing to do is safeguard our Salat. A centre is going to be built and then there will be endeavour to build a mosque, then some Ahmadis of Rome have asked Hudhur for prayers that may they be able to build a mosque in Rome. A great source to gain acceptance for all this, to gain acceptance for any good cause is to turn to God, to draw attention to one’s worship of God, worship that is the core of all forms of worships. Any centre or mosque will not burnish faith if this is lacking. Hudhur said the Promised Messiah (on whom be peace) said our triumph will come about with prayers.

Hudhur said God has stated in the very beginning of the Holy Qur’an that after faith in the unseen one must observe Prayer. (2:4) Hudhur said it is essential to observe Salat in order to traverse the stations of taqwa. He said he has met many people during mulaqat who have given great sacrifices but are weak in observance of Salat. They realise it and ask for prayers. Hudhur said prayer works in this instance only when one also makes a practical effort; otherwise it is deceptive to request prayers, deceptive to the person who is being requested and deceptive to God. What is needed is to come out of this deception and do a jihad with the Satan of one’s nafs (self). When there will be sincere effort, Salat will become foremost preference.

The Promised Messiah (on whom be peace) said the real objective of whatever strengths and faculties man has been granted is to seek knowledge of God, to worship Him and His love. No matter how wealthy a person may be, how high-ranking a position he may have, may have attained kingship, or be a great philosopher, ultimately he leaves these worldly constraints in a state of yearning and his conscience never concurs with him in the tricks and deceptions of this world. Hudhur said if one self-reflects and self-examines then the conscience makes one restless. An Ahmadi has been enabled to accept the Imam of the age and due to some virtue of ours God has associated us with the Jama’at, thus our conscience repeatedly reminds us. Hudhur said this is why some write to him most sincerely in this regard.

Hudhur said if after accepting the Promised Messiah (on whom be peace) our attention is not drawn to spiritual development then we are negating the favour of God bestowed on us. God states: ‘…and you were on the brink of a pit of fire and He saved you from it…’ (3:104). Hudhur said it is God’s favour on us that He has associated us with the Community of the Promised Messiah (on whom be peace). Today Muslims say most vehemently that the ummah can only be managed if there is a system of Khilafat. However, they are not willing to accept the system of Khilafat that has been in place according to Divine promise. They do not understand the long period of darkness in Islam post-Rightly Guided Khilafat came because of disobedience of the Quranic statement: ‘And hold fast, all together, by the rope of Allah and be not divided;’ (3:104). When the divisions arose taqwa became remote. However, God keeps His true promises and He arranged for the final triumph of Islam by joining the latter-ones with the earlier-ones. The blessings of the Messiah about whom the Holy Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be on him) foretold cannot now be attained without associating oneself with his Khilafat. Hudhur said he calls on to practice taqwa and hold onto the ‘rope of Allah’ for God has saved us from the pit of fire. However one’s piety alone will not be of avail to attain this, God’s help is yet required and for His help one needs to turn to Him. It is conditional to abide by taqwa in order to be part of the Community and benefit from the blessings of Khilafat. God has made the blessing of Khilafat conditional to belief and good deeds. He states: ‘O ye who believe! fear Allah as He should be feared; and let not death overtake you except when you are in a state of submission. (3:103). Here the attention of a true Muslim is drawn to the fact that the objective of life cannot be attained without taqwa. While a true believer fears that some of his/her deeds may cause chastisement, he/she is hopeful that if he/she turns to God with sincerity God’s expansive mercy will accept their humility. The reference of ‘let not death overtake you except when you are in a state of submission’ signifies that we should always spend our life to please God so that when death overtakes us, we are making an effort in accordance to our individual capacity to please Him. Man is but flawed and weakness can overcome us, this is why we should always seek God’s help that death may not come to us sans submission. God then makes it possible for us to depart from this world in a state of belief and taqwa. Hudhur said it is most significant to pray for one’s good ending.

The Promised Messiah (on whom be peace) said that although death is a most certain reality no one know when it may come. This is why a wise person should be always prepared for it. This is why man should always keep his affairs in order and unless he pays the dues of God and dues of mankind, he cannot succeed. Elaborating on the concept of dues of mankind, the Promised Messiah (on whom be peace) said they are of two kinds: one kind is towards one’s brothers in religion with whom one has religious accord, second kind is sincere compassion towards humanity in general. The biggest obligation is to worship God. Even if there was to be no concept of heaven and hell, one’s personal love of God should not waver. He said compassion for mankind was his religion and unless one prays for one’s enemy one’s heart is not cleansed properly.

Hudhur said if this is the criteria for an enemy, what must we instil in our hearts as regards each other? Taqwa requires everyone to be cooperative with office-holders and each office-holder to be cooperative with the office-holder above him. Although the auxiliary organisations are independent in their own sphere and work under the Khalifa of the time, yet they are bound by the administrative and management system of the Jama’at. If success is to be made of the Tabligh and Tarbiyyat ventures then work will have to be undertaken as one.

Hudhur said at the most if there is some conflict it should be brought to Hudhur’s notice but there should be no wavering in the spirit of obedience. He said obedience needs to be carried out on every level for it to become a source of gratitude. Each Ahmadi, especially the office-holders should present excellent models. It is the obligation of both men and women to bring about pure changes in themselves and to pay the dues of God and mankind and also bring their children up on the Islamic model. Hudhur said there should be a distinction between an Ahmadi child and another. May this new generation go on make a tremendous effort to spread true Islam and may the message continue to spread. May God enable all to do this.