Today Hudhur based his Friday Sermon on true believers, positive resolve and absence of despair even in most challenging of times and recited the following verse at the start of the sermon: ‘And when My servants ask thee about Me, say: I am near. I answer the prayer of the supplicant when he prays to Me. So they should hearken to Me and believe in Me, that they may follow the right way.’ (2:187).
Announcing the start of Qadian Jalsa on 26 December, Hudhur recalled the delightful ambience of the Jalsas that were held at Rabwah until 27 years ago. The three Jalsa days at Rabwah used to be faith-inspiring. School children would fill in duty-forms in advance and carry out duties most enthusiastically, whether of their own choice or those assigned to them. The generation born in the past 27 years obviously does not have the experience of doing duties. Some, whose families do not recall those times, may not even have an insight into the practice. Hudhur expressed his hope that established families of Rabwah have kept the memory of Jalsas alive. He said this is not to give the new generation any sense of yearning; rather, it is to create a resolve that temporary restrictions will not dampen our spirit. We ask our God for everything and such matters cannot falter our conviction whether those days will return or not. The new generation should be aware of those days when all young and old used to spiritually satiate themselves and Rabwah was adorned like a bride, shops were decorated, temporary bazaars were set up to meet the needs of the guests, special buses and trains were in service and every household eagerly prepared for the guests. Some families would give their entire house up for the guests and pitched tents in the courtyard for themselves. People of Rabwah displayed wondrous sense of sacrifice, serving the guests cheerfully. Hudhur said these are not imaginary matters, these delights will definitely be restored. Our task is not to despair of God’s mercy and continue to ask Him for we are firm in our belief that: ‘He said, ‘And who can despair of the mercy of his Lord save those who go astray?’ (15:57). Thus, we do not despair that those days will not return or how will they return. They will return because we believe in God’s power.
The Promised Messiah (on whom be peace) wrote that when persecution reaches its height, God comes to the aid of His humble servants and while all other schemes come to an end, God’s scheme remains. God states: ‘And He it is Who sends down rain after they have despaired, and spreads out His mercy. And He is the Protector, the Praiseworthy’. (42:29). Hudhur said when God comes to the general help of people in despair with His mercy, how much greater would be His confer on believers about whom it is stated: ‘Allah is the Friend of those who believe…’ (2:258). He does not put them in despair and most certainly comes to the aid of those among them who excel in humility and thus declares: ‘And He accepts the prayers of those who believe and do good works, and gives them more out of His grace…’ (42:27) God’s bestowment is beyond human thinking.
Addressing those who have come to attend the Qadian Jalsa, in particular those from Pakistan, Hudhur said only the astray despair of God’s mercy while we are the followers of the Mahdi of latter-days who have been taught to walk on the straight path. Ahmadis are cognizant of this and it is the reason why they can endure hardships for God’s sake and do so in a dignified manner, keeping their tears only for God. Hudhur said the odd person is perturbed by the difficulties and writes to Hudhur that troubled times continue and asks about the ‘short while’ after which times were to be better. Hudhur said short periods of time have no significance in the life of nations. Progressive people keep general advancement in view. The speed of our progress has gone up manifold, even in Pakistan. Indeed, some restrictions have been placed on us there, we have also endured loss of life, people of the Community there and the Khalifa of the time are anxious to meet each other, yet, God has graced us with the blessing of MTA. Although there are restrictions on Ijtima and Jalsa in Pakistan, but Ahmadis there are able to see many Jalsas and Ijtimas around the world on MTA. Thus, God did not stop dispensing spiritual food and we should never entertain hopelessness and should mould our restlessness into prayers.
Hudhur said he reflects over the delightful and pure Jalsa atmosphere of Rabwah and reflects on God’s decree of triumph for Ahmadiyyat, which is the destiny for the religion of the Holy Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be on him) to dominate in the world, the very destiny to include majority of the world in the Community of the Muhammadan Messiah, destiny to make the truthfulness of the Promised Messiah (on whom be peace) evident on people of the world, including those of Pakistan. We should continue to supplicate for this Divine destiny in our sincere prayers. Hudhur said he recalls the Jalsa delights of Rabwah and with it crowds of people but never any chaos. Men and women would walk on separate sides of the road. Every man would be mindful of sanctity of women and every woman would be mindful of her modesty. There was never any question of crossing another’s way. This sight takes one to the streets of Medina, where in one tradition the Holy Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be on him) enjoined women to walk by the wall side of streets and they obeyed this to the letter.
Hudhur advised those attending the Qadian Jalsa, especially those who are visiting for the first time, to be aware of its narrow streets and be mindful and keep separate paths for men and women. Hudhur also enjoined regular observance of Salat at Jalsa. Around seven thousand guests have already arrived at Qadian and many more will arrive. Those coming from Pakistan will thus have a direct experience of attending Jalsa. Hudhur reminded everyone not to create chaos around any of the Jalsa sites, be it the accommodation, the dining area or the Jalsa Gah. Hudhur said chaos is caused due to selfishness, if people will exhibit a sense of sacrifice there will be no chaos. Hudhur said sometimes our detractors try to create confusion but we should never give them a chance. Hindus, Sikhs and Christians are also among Qadian residents and the Ahmadis should show respect to them all. Even if any of them says something wrong, we should keep our emotions in check.
Hudhur advised all Jalsa attendees to concentrate on prayers as there is no other objective of attending Jalsa but spiritual development. It is God’s favour that He assures us through verses like ‘And when My servants ask thee about Me, say: I am near. I answer the prayer of the supplicant when he prays to Me. So they should hearken to Me and believe in Me, that they may follow the right way.’ In this regard, there could not be a better time to pray than when the right atmosphere is there, like at the Jalsa. Today, Pakistani Ahmadis are the most distressed in the world and they should turn their distress in tearful prayers to God, Who states: ‘Or, Who answers the distressed person when he calls upon Him, and removes the evil, and makes you successors in the earth? Is there a God besides Allah? Little is it that you reflect.’ (27:63). Those who have been given the opportunity to be present at the Qadian Jalsa should move heaven and earth with their prayers and thus put their material and spiritual life in order. Hudhur advised duty-holders to engage in remembrance of God while on duty and said that true believers do not just pray for themselves in distress, they pray for the community and for the establishment of the religion of the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be on him) as well as to save the world from destruction. The prayer of such a distressed person is definitely accepted by God. Not only does God remove their troubles as a reward and apprehends those who persecute them, rather, He states: ‘…and makes you successors in the earth…’ (27:63). Hudhur said this is Divine decree and there is no question of hopelessness in it. There is no need to complain of helplessness and keep on questioning when the ‘short while’ to better times will come. If humility is persevered with, the ‘short while’ to better times will arrive, having removed all troubles and having vanquished the detractors. What is required is to honour the dues of worship of the True Creator, to safeguard against all manner of shirk (associating partners with God) and safeguard the next generation against it. This would lead to God’s blessings and beneficence.
Hudhur said our Beloved God tells us that His rewards are greater if we turn to Him with sincerity. We should never doubt whether our distressed supplication is reaching Him or not. God states: ‘…I am near…’ but the condition is to be consistent in turning to Him and to hearken to His command.
The Promised Messiah (on whom be peace) said: ‘During the interval between a supplication and its acceptance one is often subjected to trial after trial, some of which are back-breaking. A persevering and good-natured supplicant smells the perfume of the favours of his Lord in these trials and difficulties and his intelligence informs him that they will be followed by help. One aspect of these trials is that they foster eagerness for prayer. The greater the distress of the supplicant, the more his soul will be melted. This is one of the factors in the acceptance of prayer. So one should not lose heart and should not think ill of God through impatience and restlessness. One should never think that one’s prayer is not accepted or will not be accepted. Such a notion is a denial of the attribute of God that He accepts prayers.’ [Malfuzat, vol. IV, p. 434 – Essence of Islam, vol. II, p. 222]
Hudhur said in spite of the opposition, not only can we smell the sweet fragrance, by the grace of God, we are also enjoying fruits of success. Without doubt, each martyrdom of the Community brings sadness and pain, but the sacrifices of these martyrdoms are accepted by God and thus bring us fruits of success.
Today it is the Pakistani Ahmadis and Ahmadis in some parts of India and some other countries who really appreciate distress. When distressed is caused, time for acceptance of prayer is also near. Hudhur said he would therefore advise to go to the extreme of turning this distress in tearful supplication to God during Jalsa and then make this practice a permanent part of life. Hudhur prayed that may God enable us to pray in a manner that will transform our anguish into elation and may we be counted among those who have God’s loving grace.
Next Hudhur announced the sad news of the martyrdom of Sheikh Umer Javed sahib from Mardan, Pakistan. He was returning from work with his family in car when unknown assailants on motor bike fired at the car. Umer Javed sahib was martyred while members of his family were injured. Up to 18 bullet holes have been found on the car. Hudhur said the family of Umer Javed sahib has had other martyrdoms in the past yet they bravely continued to face difficulties. He was involved with the local Jama’at and had got married two years ago. His widow is expecting a child, Hudhur prayed for her good health and may God protect her from any complications. Hudhur said situation in the Frontier province [of Pakistan] is somewhat better and the chief minister of the province went to see the injured members of the family and directed the hospital staff to take good care of them. He also visited their home to pay condolences. Hudhur announced that he would lead the funeral Prayer in absentia after Friday Prayers.