Hudhur gave a discourse on the fine requirements of Waqfe Zindagi (life-dedication) in his Friday Sermon today, highlighting the aspirations of the scheme of Waqfe Nau. He began the exposition by reciting the following two Quranic verses:
And let there be among you a body of men who should invite to goodness, and enjoin equity and forbid evil. And it is they who shall prosper. (3:105)
It is not possible for the believers to go forth all together. Why, then, does not a party from every section of them go forth that they may become well versed in religion, and that they may warn their people when they return to them, so that they may guard against evil? (9:122)
Hudhur explained that these verses cite a group of people who dedicate their lives for religion and with the grace of God from the time of the Promised Messiah (on whom be peace) such a system has been prevalent in our Community. In the second Khilafat, life-dedication process was properly established, the Jamia was further organised and missionaries were sent abroad. These missionaries accomplished great feats. With the grace of God, with Tabligh and Tarbiyyat activities they introduced the Jama’at and this work continues to this day. Apart from Indian and Pakistani missionaries, people from other backgrounds also joined the system, especially Indonesians and Africans. May God enable them to serve with sincerity. There is another group of people in the life-devotees and these are professionals like doctors and teachers. Just as the needs of the Community are increasing and Tabligh work is extending so are the needs to have more people with religious knowledge who can carry off Tarbiyyat and Tabligh work.
Hudhur said it is clear from the aforementioned verses that it is not possible for every single individual of the Community to be constantly involved in this work and that is why a separate group of people is needed. In spite of the fact that in another place every member of the Ummah has been given responsibility but it is also stated that running of the worldly matters is also essential. Therefore, those who are busy cannot give all their time to religious work. In addition, neither everyone’s temperament is suited to do this work in a fine manner nor does everyone have the required religious knowledge and every single person cannot be given special training. Thus, there should be a body of people who should seek religious knowledge with complete concentration and then spread it. Hudhur said, MashaAllah, there are many in our Community who, in spite of having worldly professions, have great compassion for religion, but their schedules do not allow them to give time as they would like to.
This is why God states that there should be people who dedicate their lives. As Islam is a global religion, such a body of people should be from every part of the world. Extending it further, every nation should be represented in it, as the temperament and psychology of each nation is different and thus people can do Tabligh in accordance to this. Hudhur said our Community operates on this principle and with God’s grace people from different nations and backgrounds are part of the group who dedicate their lives. As the Community grows there is also need for this body of people to grow. Observing such a need, and with God’s guidance, Hadhrat Khalifatul Masih IV (may Allah have mercy on him) initiated the Waqfe Nau scheme, with taqwa (righteousness) as its basic principle. He asked parents to dedicate their offspring prior to birth and declare like the mother of Hadhrat Maryam: ‘‘My Lord, I have vowed to Thee what is in my womb be dedicated to Thy service. So do accept it of me;’ (3:36) Hudhur said when mothers dedicate their children with this prayer, they have a huge responsibility to raise the children in a way that they spend their lives in the way of God while honouring the dues. They should pray through out the pregnancy that may the child stay free of worldly filth and be a sincere servant of faith. After the birth of the child their Tarbiyyat should be such they are made aware of their Wafq from an early age, so that when the child reaches adolescence he or she dedicates him or herself with sincerity. The parents should remember that it is for them to prepare the child for Waqf, so that they present an accomplished young person to the Khalifa of the time and the Community for service of God.
Hudhur said it is erroneous to presume that as one’s child is Waqfe Nau the Community will look after his or her Tarbiyyat from the beginning. A Waqfe Nau organisation is in place, and the Community provides guidance. A commission of Waqfe Nau is established in Rabwah and a department operates in Qadian. In London the department works on a central level under direct guidance of the Khalifa of the time. In local branches Waqfe Nau secretaries have the responsibility of education and training of the children as well as counselling and guidance to make them active members of the Community. In spite of all this it remains a huge responsibility of the parents. Waqfe Nau is a most important scheme to fulfil future needs of the Community. Understanding this need, parents as well as the Waqfe Nau department should be fully active. In some areas, the department is not as active as it should be. They need to rectify this so that when these children enter practical life they can save their respective people and also attain betterment themselves. Indeed, it is the parents’ duty to raise every single child in a good way; the Community cannot afford to lose any child. But the Waqfe Nau children should be told from early childhood that their mannerism etc. should make them distinct from others and no finger should ever point to them. It is the task of both the parents and the administration to raise awareness of the Waqfe Nau syllabus among the children so that they are aware of their dedication to faith. The children should be self-motivated to learn about faith because forcible learning cannot benefit the spirit of Waqf. The Promised Messiah (on whom be peace) said people who can dedicate themselves to faith are needed.
Hudhur said those Waqfeen (life-devotees) who dedicate their lives after learning religion or those Waqfe Nau children who are studying at various Jamias should remember that the religion to follow is the one taught by the Holy Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be on him). Hadhrat ‘Aishah (may Allah be pleased with her) explained to us that his deportment was a personification of the Holy Qur’an. Although everyone is commanded to follow the blessed model of the Holy Prophet (peace and mercy of Allah be on him), those who dedicate their lives have a greater obligation towards this. They should establish good models so that they can summon people to God.
Elucidating his expectation of those who dedicate their lives to faith the Promised Messiah (on whom be peace) said they should put their words in practice. Hudhur said he wished to say to all Waqfeen and those studying at Jamias to always keep this in view and to always self-reflect if their knowledge and their practices are comparable. Lest while we preach that negligence in Salat is a sin we are ourselves indolent in this regard. And while we advice others against bad practices at weddings which are harmful innovations, regarding which the Khalifa of the time and the administration of the Community does not allow us , which God, His Prophet and the Promised Messiah have disallowed, we ignore those practices at the weddings of our children or relatives. Or we attend weddings where these practices take place and do not advice against them or do not walk away from places where they are taking place. If religious knowledge has been sought, it should be practiced upon.
The Promised Messiah (on whom be peace) said Waqfeen should be completely free from arrogance and conceit. Hudhur said each person who is Waqf should self-reflect, those who are practising as well as those who are at Jamia. This year the first contingent of Waqfe Nau are graduating from Jamia Canada. It is possible that some Waqfe Nau are already missionaries in Pakistan. It should be remembered that humility is a missionary’s distinction; however, it is also important to maintain dignity.
Instructing the Waqfeen, the Promised Messiah (on whom be peace) said, they should study his books abundantly, so that their level of knowledge is of an excellent level. Hudhur said this is important both for those who are practising their Waqf or those at Jamia.
The Promised Messiah (on whom be peace) said it is also important for a missionary to be thrifty/economical. He said if they are not economical enough according to his principles they cannot be given complete responsibility. Hudhur explained that the said principle is the model of the Companions of the Prophet (may Allah be pleased with them) who underwent extreme frugality. Hudhur said God granted the Promised Messiah (on whom be peace) elder missionaries whose thrift was enviable. Today, the Community’s finances are better and with God’s grace efforts are made to look after missionaries, although lack and hardship still occur in places. However, once life-dedication is made for the sake of religion these difficulties have no significance. There are Jamias in the UK, Germany and Canada and the Canadian students are about to step out in the practical world. Students from Jamias in Indonesia and Africa are posted locally but students of Jamias in the Western world should be mindful that they will have to go wherever they are posted. This is the spirit of Waqf. It is possible that they are posted in Africa and are troubled by the harsh weather conditions there. There are many facilities available nowadays. The early missionaries faced a lot of hardships.
Next Hudhur related incidents of some early missionaries to illustrate the level of their sacrifice. Hadhrat Syed Shah Muhammad sahib served for eighteen consecutive years in Indonesia. He lived on a very small allowance and never asked for help. He supplicated God for all his needs. On his return to Pakistan from Indonesia via sea he only had one overcoat and two outfits. The thought crossed his mind on the ship that he was returning after such a long period of time and did not even have new clothes to wear on arrival at Rabwah. He then felt that he should not have had such a wish, it was against the spirit of Waqf. He repented. When the ship docked at Singapore he saw a man carrying a bundle approach the ship. The man went to the captain of the ship, spoke to him and then came to Shah sahib, and embraced him, telling him that he was an Ahmadi. He explained he was a tailor and had read about Shah sahib’s trip back to Rabwah via Singapore in Al Fazl. It was his wish to meet him and give him a gift. As he had seen his photographs he also had some idea of his size, so he had made him some clothes. It brought tears to Syed Shah sahib’s eyes how God had inspired an unknown Ahmadi to fulfil his wish. He wrote that if a missionary only turns to God for help, and does not ask anyone else, God provides from the unseen.
One of the sons of Maulana Ghulam Ahmad sahib Farrukh wrote that on return from serving abroad his father was posted at Hyderabad. He was given a small, dilapidated residence but his family was happy that their father would be near them. Seeing the rundown state of the house they asked him to request for some repair work. He got his family together and explained to them with love and wisdom that suppressing every wish and not making demands was a motto of Waqf. Life’s hardships should be accepted at every step to please God. Once, one of his sons who was an army officer and other children who had good employments, asked him to seek retirement and let them serve him. He told them he would respond them the next day. They thought he would probably agree to their request and were quite pleased. Next day, he sat them down and told them that he was an extremely humble man and their request had shaken his heart and mind. He said he had pledged to God that he would spend his life in Waqf and he feared lest he slipped in his pledge. Therefore, he said, his children should never again make such a request and should instead pray that he fulfilled his pledge.
The Promised Messiah (on whom be peace) said that a Waqf person should be able to endure the hardships of travelling, who could go from village to village and inform people about his advent. Hudhur said in the early days missionaries in India and Africa endured many hardships as funds were limited and there was much opposition.
There are many incidents of Maulana Nazir Ahmad Ali sahib where village people expelled him from their village and he spent the night in jungles in Africa. Today the good reputation of the Community in Africa is due to the hard work of these elders. Maulwi Sadeeq Amritsari sahib writes that after WWII he and Maulana Nazir sahib decided to do some Tabligh in Sierra Leone. The village they wanted to go to was across the river, and they took a boat to get to it. Maulana Nazir had been there previously, so there was already some opposition there. Some of the village people claimed to have Arab origin and deemed themselves to be proper Muslims. They had spread misinformation about Ahmadiyyat in the village and people had therefore decided not to provide any accommodation on any subsequent visit. The two missionaries simply wanted to remove the misconceptions and take the message of Ahmadiyyat Islam to the village. They planned to stay at the village for a few days. They went to the bungalow of the village chief who used to get a hospitality grant. The chief was not available and the other responsible people were hostile and there was no one to help. The students who accompanied the missionaries were African so they found accommodation but the two were left wandering in the jungle. They met a Lebanese Muslim who took them home and fed them. Neither he asked nor did they tell him that they had nowhere to stay. So, they sat by the river, an area infested by poisonous snakes and crocodiles. However, God kept them safe. As they could not sleep, they walked by the river side and then sat down. They read Quranic verses, talked about faith and then Maulana Nazir led a long and pathos-filled prayer for guidance of the village people and triumph of Ahmadiyyat. They walked some more. At 3 am they went to the mosque to offer Tahajjud. In the dark they heard strange noise from inside the mosque and a herd of goats emerged. Such was the state of the mosque of those who called themselves Muslims. The two cleaned the mosque and offered Tahajjud. Later, they gave Adhan for Fajr. Having listened the Adhan, people started to come to the mosque. When they saw them offer their Salat they said there was no difference in the way they observed Salat. Hudhur said later Ahmadiyyat spread there.
Thus is a true and practical demonstration of life-dedication for faith. Hudhur said Waqf is a process in which one has to forgo one’s wishes and endure hardships. Our newcomers to missionary work as well as Waqfe Nau members should keep these matters in view before embarking on the practical side. They should also be aware of these issues during their education and be prepared. Hudhur said many Jamia student were present before him. They should start thinking on these lines from now onward. Hudhur said a few had withdrawn their Waqf when they had heard of their posting. Therefore, preparations should be made from early on that hardships will be endured. Hudhur said this message of his was particularly for Jamia students. Hudhur said a good number of Waqfe Nau are studying in Jamias. They should try and always fulfil the pledge their parents made in view of the sacrifices of the elders and expectations of the Promised Messiah (on whom be peace).
Hudhur said a missionary should exude humility but also maintain a sense of dignity at the same time. They should never express their wishes in front of anyone. Hudhur said he has had personal experience of this in Africa, when times were extremely hard. But hardship should be borne without letting go of dignity. He urged experienced missionaries not to be influenced by worldliness. He said each missionary is a representative of the Khalifa of the time. He asked their families not to put undue pressure on them from a worldly perspective. The Community tries to facilitate matters but economic crisis is increasing around the world, therefore in spite of efforts inflation cannot be dealt with. The dignity of a missionary and a life-devotee is in never to mention his troubles to anyone. Only supplicate and ask God. With the grace of God, today we have similar examples as those of elders of early days but some can be impatient. Life-devotees should live within their means. Hudhur said wives of missionaries should not make undue demands and should be their helpers in the great task and the great spiritual exercise for which they have dedicated themselves.
Every missionary and life devotee should remember the words of the Promised Messiah (on whom be peace) that he said at the time of inauguration of Madrassa Ahmadiyya, He said: ‘This Madarassa should become a source of propagation of Islam. It should produce such scholars and boys who dedicate their lives and abandon worldly employments and objectives to adopt service of faith’.
Hudhur explained a few administrative matters regarding Waqfe Nau. He said a large number of Waqfe Nau boys and girls do not join Jamia to attain religious knowledge. They choose different fields. The Community is also in need of expertise in these fields. Therefore they should consult the Centre at every stage of their studies. Currently, there are 14,500 Waqfe Nau children over the age of 15 years. At this age they should themselves fill the Waqf forms. Theirs is now an age of awareness. They should decide whether they wish to continue with their Waqfe or not. It is vital for them to inform the Centre of this. Those who do not wish to join the Jamia should write in, explaining their interests and seek advice about further education. It is not for them to decide for themselves. Waqfe Nau secretaries need to be very active. They should gather the information and relate it to the Centre. Hudhur said up till now Waqfe Naur children had to decide whether or not they wished to keep their Waqf at the age of 15 years. But now Hudhur extended it to after they finished their studies. After which they should write in explaining their education and whether or not they wish to carry on with their Waqf. Hudhur said it is the task of the Waqfe Nau secretaries to ensure that they write in and formally inform the Centre. 90% of Waqfe Nau children over the age of 15 years are receiving education outside Jamias. A formal report should be prepared on this. Whether they are educated in Jamia or not, it is essential for Waqfe Nau children to gain religious knowledge. There is a Waqfe Nau syllabus up to the age of 19 years which can be extended to 20 years. It is important to study it and sit the exam. It should be the aim of the Waqfe Nau secretaries that there is 100% participation in this and the exam results should be sent to the Centre.
Hudhur said often circulars are sent out but most Jama’ats do not respond. So, Hudhur reiterated a few points. He said it is necessary that parents send a written application for Waqfe Nau prior to the birth of a child. It is not right to apply after the birth of a child. Some people also write about other matters/problems when they apply for Waqfe Nau. Hudhur said as the letters are forwarded to relevant departments, they should write about their other matters separately. Parents should send applications themselves and not other relatives, as the responsibility of Tarbiyyat lies with the parents. In Africa sometimes instructions are not followed through. Unless clearance is received from the Centre, no child can be included in Waqfe Nau. Applications of adopted children should also be made prior to birth and the child’s biological parentage will be noted down in records. It is also important that parents have the child’s details registered in central records and obtain a reference number. Some parents fail to register for a long period and then complain that there is no record for their child.
When children reach the age of 15 years, local and national Waqfe Nau secretaries should get them to renew their dedication. As Hudhur has now explained, they should also renew their dedication after finishing their studies. There is a great need to update this record otherwise we cannot properly ascertain our requirements about how many people do we need in given fields. Sometimes it is tragic for parents when a child is born disabled. As he or she cannot be included in Waqfe Nau, it is doubly tragic. May God grant such parents healthy child. The children of those parents who are excommunicated for some reason, mostly it is because they do not comply with something the Jama’at asks, are also taken off the list of Waqfe Nau. This is because if the parents cannot abide by the system themselves what sort of training can they provide for children? Waqfe Nau secretaries should promptly inform the Centre of such matters.
Those Waqfe Nau who have finished their studies and are now employed should keep regular contact with the Centre. Currently, most of them are allowed to continue with their employment on the premise that Community will call them when needed. But it is their responsibility to keep in touch and give an update on their situation every year. Similarly those who have gone into vocational training should keep the Centre informed of their progress.
Hudhur prayed that may God enable the Waqfe Nau children to be beneficial members of the Community and may He enable us to give excellent Tarbiyyat to the trust of the Community and help them become beneficial members.