Hudhur recited the following Quranic verse at the start of his sermon:
‘Therefore remember Me, and I will remember you; and be thankful to Me and do not be ungrateful to Me.’ (2:153)
Reflecting on the Jalsa Salana of German Jama’at which concluded last weekend, Hudhur said due to the Jalsa taking place at a new venue this year the German Ameer sahib and the management were excited and certainly the Jama’at members must have also felt it. The previous venue had only one hall, the capacity of which was getting small and the marquee that had to be erected for the ladies used to get very hot during warm weather, especially for young mothers. The new venue has large halls which are all air-conditioned and other facilities are also available; hence the happiness and the excitement. However, in spite of all the arrangements under one roof everyone also had concerns. This was natural. It is a believer’s distinction to have concerns lest one’s personal preferences or human failings do not become a source of any mishap. With God’s special grace, in spite of their keenness the management kept turning to God. The Jalsa Officer sahib repeatedly asked Hudhur for prayers. This indeed is the glory of a believer, that rather than associate everything to oneself, one associates it to God and seeks His help. In addition Jalsa is something that was initiated by Divine command and God does bless it. Hudhur said some wonder if any shortcoming or deficiency remained due to the venue being new. The intention of the management is good and God covers faults and indeed, He did. For this the management should be extremely grateful to God.
Today Jalsa takes place in the entire Ahmadiyya world. Almost all year round Jalsa takes place somewhere or the other. Last weekend it was the German Jalsa and this weekend the Jalsa of USA and Canada are taking place. The concerns of here will now be the concerns and prayers of USA and Canadian management, indeed, they should be. If the Jalsa attendees understand these concerns and rather than act like guests, become part of the system, the concerns can lessen. It is God’s grace that the attendees are helpful with their attitude and their prayers and here in Germany, they extended full cooperation. May God make it so that each attendee in USA and Canada also participates fully benefitting from the spiritual sustenance and tries to understand the objective of our creation so that we may take the mission of the Promised Messiah (on whom be peace) forward. Jalsa should not be just about meeting up with friends and chatting. With God’s grace, now the standard of Jalsa speeches everywhere has improved a lot; may the attendees fully benefit from them. As the USA and Canadian Jalsa are starting today, and these are two large Jama’ats, Hudhur mentioned them as well. However, Hudhur wished to speak with reference to gratitude as he traditionally does after he has graced a Jalsa. Hudhur said it was impossible to encompass God’s blessings and grace on our Community. While in Germany it was afternoon, the day was starting in America; the sun is shining on our Community around the clock. Each day passes exhibiting new subjects of gratitude.
Hudhur remarked how can we be grateful to God? The Promised Messiah (on whom be peace) said, ‘thankfulness for you is in effect, Taqwa (righteousness) and purity…I give you the glad-tiding that you are on the frontier and none can overcome you.’ Hudhur said each Ahmadi who attended Jalsa should always try and enhance the standard of Taqwa. According to His promise to the Promised Messiah (on whom be peace) God is going to grant triumph to him. The significance here is that if we adhere to Taqwa we can be part of the promised triumph. Ahmadis in USA, Canada or the rich countries of Europe should remember that the tool of our triumph is not coming to the West, neither is it the comforts nor the wealth of these places. It is also not worldly efforts. Rather, enhancing in Taqwa is our tool. This few days’ training each year that God asked the Promised Messiah (on whom be peace) to carry out is to wash away any corrosion. It is so that people may gather and recharge their faith, so that they can satisfy themselves academically and advance in spirituality. A week after the successful German Jalsa, merely its mention should not remain; that such and such speech was good and such and such nazm was good. Rather what was heard should be practised in daily lives. Ahmadis in USA and Canada should also listen to speeches with this eagerness.
We should be grateful to God each moment by remembering His favours on us and by engaging in His remembrance each moment and by practising His commandment each moment we should make each fibre of our being grateful to Him. God will then envelop us in greater blessings; as He states: ‘Therefore remember Me, and I will remember you; and be thankful to Me and do not be ungrateful to Me.’ God does not let any good act remain unrequited. Hudhur remarked what is remembrance of God and how does God remember us? He remembers us by granting us His blessings due to our constant remembrance of Him and thus a new succession of piety and Taqwa ensues. He shows us new avenues to take us closer to Him and remembers His servants all the time by protecting them from difficulties and calamities. Man remembers God to come in His refuge and when God states that He will ‘remember you’, it signifies that He will bestow His blessings and will take one in His refuge and will open doors to all kinds of provisions in most unexpected ways. People who are thus blessed can never be stopped no matter how hard the world tries against them. It is such remembrances of God that will accomplish this world and the Hereafter for every member of the Community. This is why along with the subject of ‘remembrance’ God has expounded the subject of gratefulness.
It is God’s grace that He blesses and when man shows gratitude another series of Divine blessings begins. In the end of the aforementioned verse, God again draws attention not to ever be ungrateful. Indeed, having seen the grace and blessings, no sensible person can be dismissive. However, when in spite of remembering God, one does not put things in practice, unconsciously one can become ungrateful. When one is greatly drawn to another person and is always thinking of them, one looks at that person, waiting to act upon anything the person says. Thus, if we claim to remember God, it is also important to look at Him. Then alone can the condition arise which is the condition of real gratefulness. Thus in one single verse God has ascertained ways for a believer that take him from gratefulness to His nearness which indeed is the desire of a believer. Each Ahmadi should ponder over this subject.
Next Hudhur spoke with regards the German Jalsa. As mentioned, it was held at a new venue. And while many facilities were available, many deficiencies may have also been noted. However, the management cannot be blamed for these. Indeed, it is not possible to attain 100% perfection in human efforts, perfection belongs to God alone. As such there is always room for improvement. Man’s task is to pray and make one’s full effort and then leave the matter to God. One is also enjoined to be grateful for the outcome.
Hudhur said he noted a few things and others were reported to him which he would mention now for future betterment. If those who only criticise really wish for betterment then rather than talk among themselves they should inform the management and should pray for the management. Hudhur added that the management should also listen to these matters liberally and note them down in the Red Book.
One shortcoming that has already been noted is that the sound resonated in the hall. Quite a few people could not hear the Friday sermon in the hall properly. Later, the management tried to put it right but there was no distinct improvement. Next year, either the sound system needs to be improved or the stage should be placed elsewhere. It is very important to see to this. It would be extremely difficult for people to sit quietly without this matter addressed. Men would probably manage to remain quiet, although young boys of 10 to 12 years of age cannot do so. However, it would be difficult for women to remain quiet especially in the area designated to ‘mothers and children’. Hudhur said one good thing he noted among the women’s side this year was that in spite of the defective sound, for which they sent many messages to have the problem rectified, during Hudhur’s address they remained silent. Hudhur said he had observed such patience for the first time among Germany women. Some may think it was perhaps due to the fact that it was hot outside and the hall was air-conditioned, but we should make a positive inference. Some three to four years ago Hudhur had warned the ladies in Germany that they would not have a Jalsa if the noise level continued and since then they are inclined towards improvement. Hudhur said this year young children were also seated in the same hall with just a curtain as a partition. A curtain cannot be a good sound barrier. Young children’s area is obviously noisy. A better arrangement should be made next year. Hudhur said apart from this there were small shortcomings which the management should try and overcome next year and should ask people to let them know if they had noted anything. We should always step towards improving ourselves and generally speaking this is what happens.
The outside guests from Germany and other neighbouring countries had a very good impression of the Jalsa. Whichever guest Hudhur spoke to told him that they were impressed with the arrangements, the mutual love and bond of the Community and the duty-holders. Thus, Hudhur said Jalsa can be a source of Tabligh. We should conduct ourselves as ambassadors of Ahmadiyyat. Indeed, some people who are close to us are influenced by good deportment at Jalsa and move on to taking Bai’at, as this year again some Bai’ats have taken place. Hudhur related an embarrassing incident from the Jalsa where a new German convert had his wallet stolen. However, he narrated the incident as a matter of his personal Tarbiyyat, although it is great cause for concern for the Khidmat e Khlaq department. The young man narrated the incident with the perspective that he used to have a great temper and would easily pick up a fight. This was before he became an Ahmadi. He said had he lost his wallet before he became an Ahmadi, he would have quarrelled with everyone around and would have dealt with the management very aggressively. However, Ahmadiyyat has taught him patience and this is a great change. Hudhur remarked such things do not come to pass without the grace of God. Therein is a lesson for the Ahmadis who have been in long-term Tarbiyyat and still cannot control their temper. One distinction of being an Ahmadi should be to have control over one’s emotions and show patience. Hudhur said we can observe lessons from Jalsa shortcomings.
The overall hard work of the workers at the Jalsa was such that the attendees should be grateful to them. The German Jama’at is very developed in sincerity and loyalty. Hudhur noticed this during the Jalsa as well as various inaugurations of mosques. Hudhur prayed that may God always enhance this sincerity and loyalty. In particular Hudhur observed the youth to be enhanced in their sincerity. There are also weak people in the Community. If one goes askew, God raises a hundred who demonstrate good models. May God further enhance this.
An important task of Jalsa is the wind-up, especially when a place has been hired for a limited period. It was a concern here as only two days were available for these task otherwise extra charges would have incurred. As we are improving our community relations, it is important not to leave a bad impression. Alhamdolillah, according to the report Hudhur received the venue was cleaned from the inside within time. The outside area needed an extra day but this was also done within good time.
This year, people who have newly arrived from Pakistan, after seeking political asylum, worked very hard at Jalsa. Addressing them specifically Hudhur said having come abroad they should never forget that they have a life without the Community. They have no life without the Community. That way, they may gain some in worldly terms but their next generation will be destroyed. As mentioned before, the outside guests had a very good impression of the Jalsa this year. Those who are regular guests are increasingly recognising us, may God open up their heart soon. Hudhur said people can read the reports of the Jalsa that will be published in AlFazl newspaper, but Hudhur would briefly mention a few things here.
A journalist from Malta attended the Jalsa for the second time with his wife. He told Hudhur that he noted down points from Hudhur’s speeches and would go back home and write about them. He particularly liked Hudhur’s concluding address. Hudhur remarked the concluding address was specifically for the Tarbiyyat of the Community, but somehow the guest gleaned material from it. A Christian lawyer from Bulgaria often comes to the Jalsa. He listened to the matter Hudhur expounded in the address to ladies regarding divorce and ‘Khula’ and said that he really appreciated that we had an internal system of reconciliation. He said he agreed with Hudhur that tolerance is diminishing in the world. He said the rate of divorce in the world at large has hugely increased. Hudhur said the fact that he liked our internal system shows that outsiders are also influenced. Hudhur said he is extremely grateful, and so should the Community be, that the teaching of Islam is drawing people’s attention through the task that was entrusted to the Promised Messiah (on whom be peace). Those who do not heed the Community and try and resort to worldly courts should think about this.
Hudhur said a separate programme is organised with German guests and this year Hudhur had the opportunity to tell them about the teachings of Islam. Hudhur said although his speech became a bit long people listened to it most attentively. One or two people, who had to leave, did so having given their apologies. One guest told an Ahmadi that when the speech finished he looked at his watch and realised a lot of time had elapsed but the speech was so interesting that he did not feel it. Someone from US wrote to Hudhur that he had seen the speech with his Christian friend who said that the speech had a great flow. He even said that the Pope does not make speeches like this. Hudhur said it was not any effort on his part. This was the knowledge that God has filled in the Holy Qur’an and which we are taking forward through the Promised Messiah (on whom be peace) and the pious-natured acknowledge it.
Hudhur also met with Ahmadi students and told them that rather than feel any sense of inferiority complex they should make the Holy Qur’an their guide. None will be able to contend with them, if they did so. A good number of students are excelling in the academic fields in Germany. They should also be grateful that they have been granted the opportunity to seek education here [in the West]. It is their duty to keep their educational progress subordinate to Islamic teachings and become stronger by cultivating a connection with the Community.
Hudhur said MTA should have been mentioned. The German MTA worked day and night and presented very good programmes. A few young men from London had also come to help. Hudhur is still travelling and has not seen his post. When he will return to London, a pile of letters will be waiting, many of them thanking the MTA workers for their services. MTA Germany has acquired a mobile truck and housed the required paraphernalia in it. Previously they used to shift all their equipment into a large room on location, now they have the truck. MTA Germany have progressed and continues to progress, may God reward its workers.
Hudhur noticed a new thing in the German Jama’at during this trip and that is their increased links with the educated community. Khuddam have played a big role in this through leaflets distribution. It is a result of these links and networking that many from the educated fraternity, as well as diplomatic people came to see Hudhur. Also as a result of the networking Green Party organised a function in Hamburg where Hudhur also gave an address. Hudhur said people are drawn towards finding out the realty of Islam. May God bless the leaflet project as well as the other projects. Hudhur said on the one hand opposition to Islam is getting intense and on the other attention is also being drawn to it. As a mark of gratitude networking should be improved and Tabligh efforts should be increased. May God enable us to do so.