Friday Sermon: Gratitude - a source of blessings

September 14th, 2012

The UK Jalsa is a much awaited event. As explained before, due to Khilafat it has a central status and the world also benefits from it in a geographical sense. Although Germany and other European countries are close to its time zone, people around the world have better awareness of London time or are familiar with it because the British ruled over other countries for a long period. London is also more accessible to people and due to this there is more international representation at the Jalsa here.

We saw that with the grace of God, UK Jalsa successfully concluded on Sunday. The post-Jalsa Friday sermon usually addresses two subjects: firstly gratefulness; to God and also to the volunteer workers and secondly identification of any weaknesses or deficiencies noted during the Jalsa to improve future organisation.

In terms of gratefulness to God, this year grace of God enabled the message of Ahmadiyyat that is true Islam to be taken to every corner of the Earth. This was also achieved in places where the task apparently looks difficult. This was experienced during the tours of Hadhrat Khalifatul Masih and he has spoken about these experiences. Grace and blessings of God were observed with new glory this year in Europe, Africa, America and Britain and everyone witnessed and experienced this during the UK Jalsa. This should make us further tread the ways of gratefulness and may each triumph and Divine succour take us to renewed stations of gratefulness. It is God’s promise that gratefulness brings greater blessings. It is stated: ‘…If you are grateful, I will, surely, bestow more favours on you…’ (14:8). God certainly bestows and it is man’s own ungratefulness that sometimes leaves him deprived. God is Self-Sufficient and does not need anyone’s help, He does not need anyone’s blessing and is not in need of man’s gratefulness. He is the Master of all wealth and all power. However, when God bestows His blessings on man, He sees whether man is grateful or not. With reference to Hadhrat Sulaiman (on whom be peace) the Holy Qur’an states: ‘…that He may try me whether I am grateful or ungrateful. And whosoever is grateful is grateful for the good of his own soul; but whosoever is ungrateful, truly my Lord is Self- Sufficient, Generous.’ (27:41) Gratefulness to God is to inculcate demonstration of high morals. It is the misfortune of worldly people that they forget to be grateful to God in prosperous times. The ‘self’ assumes that all success is brought about due to personal hard work and good planning. God states in the Holy Qur’an: ‘…but few of My servants are grateful.’ (34:14)

True believers are always grateful to God. Ahmadis, who have accepted the Imam of the age, are always grateful, indeed, they should be grateful. The shower of God’s blessings encourages them that they are included among those on whom God bestows His grace and they associate every success to Him. Hadhrat Khalifatul Masih has seen the management of UK Jalsa as well as the workers tearfully attribute their success to God’s blessings. As long as we will be grateful servants of God we will experience His blessings. Each person from the Jalsa management, each worker, each attendee of Jalsa and each Ahmadi who participated in the Jalsa via MTA should sing praises of God and prostrate before Him with gratefulness. The more sincere our prostration of gratefulness to God, the greater will be the shower of His blessings and we will gain perception of God’s attributes and thus a new succession of His glorification and gratefulness will start.

Today we can say that it the Ahmadiyya Jama’at that is experiencing showers of Divine blessings. Our opponents, with their hoards of wealth make efforts against us; governments are intent on trying to eliminate us and incite the masses for this purpose. In short no stone is left unturned to finish the Ahmadis. If constant blessings and grace of God was not with us, this worldly effort would have eliminated us a long time ago. These foolish people do not understand that in the current age this is the only community of grateful people which, having raised its head from prostration to God, sees His blessings, and it prostrates before Him once again with gratefulness and in His glorification. This indeed is the blessed model presented to us by our master, the Holy Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be on him) and it attracts continual blessings of God, Who is the Master of ceaseless treasures. Such blessings are being showered on the Ahmadiyya Jama’at. If only our opponents understood this reality and stopped contending with God.

Which of the blessings should be mentioned which have showered on us this year. From where can that ‘tongue’ be brought which would express gratitude adequately? As the Promised Messiah (on whom be peace) says in one of his poetic verses:

From where do I summon the eloquence [tongue] that would aptly convey my profound thankfulness’

However, we can certainly try and express our gratefulness so that we continue to be the recipients of God’s blessings and grace. May God perpetuate this important subject in our generation upon generations to come. Even a cursory glance at God’s blessings on us makes a very long list which demands that we express gratefulness. In places success of schools and hospitals run by the Jama’at compels us to be grateful, in places the peaceful faces of cured patients from Jama’at-run hospitals and their prayerful words for the Jama’at draw our attention to gratitude, in places the joy of disadvantaged children at the facility of water supply which is provided through our service to humanity makes us extol God. These children, seven or eight years of age, used to have to walk for miles to fetch water but now have water supply on their doorsteps are grateful to the Jama’at and the Jama’at, in turn is grateful to God. In places when we hear of Jama’at acquiring mission houses and mosques, we are grateful to God and we glorify God and prostrate before Him when we hear amazing incidents of enhancement of faith. In places we are grateful to God for providing us remarkable resources in this age to publicise Islam; resources which could not even be imagined twenty or thirty years ago. At times we glorify and praise God for introducing Ahmadiyyat each year in some country or the other and thus we witness the fulfilment of the revelation of: ‘I shall carry Your message to the ends of the Earth’. On one hand our opponents have raised ruckus against us, but there are some among them whose nature is filled with love and they invoke blessings on the Holy Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be on him) as well as his true and ardent devotee, the Promised Messiah (on whom be peace). No amount of enmity can stop them from accepting the truth.

It was feared this year that attendance at Jalsa would be half compared to previous years because the schools had reopened. However, God embarrassed this fear of ours in underestimating the members of the Jama’at with His extraordinary grace. We are also grateful that the Jalsa was successful this year in every sense. In fact some are writing to Hadhrat Khalifatul Masih and are also relating to him that Jalsa this year was better than previous years and this improvement was in every aspect. How can we then not be God’s grateful servants? We are also grateful that generally speaking, every attendee of Jalsa remained in good health and returned home safely. These were just some aspects of the Jalsa. If one was to go in details it would fill reams and reams of pages. In short, it is a succession of God’s blessings and grace which compels us to express gratefulness to Him. During Jalsa people are also grateful to people. These include various workers of Jalsa who work for different departments: those who provide facilities of accommodation, those who provide the facility of washing, those who provide the facility of cooking food and those who serve food. There are also those who clear up after food is served and those who provide the facility of security. Khuddamul Ahmadiyya are ever alert in this regard.

This year many new guests including dignitaries as well as guests who have come in previous years have told Hadhrat Khalifatul Masih that in general they found every arrangement better than previous years. For this we are grateful to God and also to the workers. There was marked improvement in every department this year and indeed this should be our aim. Human efforts can never be faultless. There was only one human, the Holy Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be on him) who was the perfect man and none other can be perfect. Indeed, even the Holy Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be on him) said that God had perfected him in matters of faith but not in those worldly matters in which God had not guided him. Thus, due to human frailties, our tasks will have deficiencies and weak points, but if we are prepared, we will continue to improve. The world may view our tasks as of high standard, but we should always seek to improve.

A guest who is a Nigerian chief said about the Jalsa arrangements that erecting a small city for Jalsa as it is done for UK Jalsa is excellent and cannot be improved upon. While we are grateful to him for saying so and also to God, we cannot say that our arrangements were the ultimate. We always keep in view that our arrangements should be enhanced and bettered. This year the accommodation of many of the dignitary guests outside the Jama’at was arranged at the newly acquired building of Jamia Ahmadiyya, UK. The location of the Jamia is very pleasant, it is on hill top and surrounded by woodland. Hadhrat Khalifatul Masih recommends those visiting from abroad to visit the place. It is one of the blessings that the Jama’at had this year and was acquired at an extraordinarily low price. It was a hotel and was used for conference purposes; therefore it provided excellent accommodation for our dignitary Jalsa guests from outside the Jama’at. It was noted that at Jalsa from the children who offered drinking water to guests to the serving adults, everyone was doing so cheerfully. These were the impressions of the guests.

Hadhrat Khalifatul Masih said that he was grateful to God and every Ahmadi should also be grateful to God, as should every Jalsa attendee be grateful to every Jalsa worker. He said he too thanked every Jalsa worker.

In general the guests this year praised the hot water facilities for showering. Special care had been given to this area this year. Officer Jalsa made a new department this year for cleaning and it was successful. The sound system has also been praised this year. If the sound system is not right the objective of attending Jalsa is nullified because people attend Jalsa to listen to discourses on God and His Messenger, and if this could not be achieved then Jalsa would be reduced to a noisy worldly gathering. There have been good reports in this regard from the men’s side. Although he has not received any complaint from women in this regard, when Hadhrat Khalifatul Masih went to the ladies session he found that the sound on the stage was not at all good and he did not get proper sound of the Tilawat and the poem [preceding his address]. The management should pay attention to this in future. A single complaint was also received from someone who was seated on the stage at the men’s side that while the sound system was very good inside and outside the marquee it was not so good on the stage. Although the person complaining also wrote that it was probably due to his hearing but Hadhrat Khalifatul Masih does not think it was his hearing. There should be arrangement for good sound on the stage as it is inside the rest of the marquee and also outside the marquee. If this arrangement cannot be made that central representatives, numbering 250 to 300, should not be seated on the stage. They should be seated in front of the stage so that they could listen properly. Similarly there should arrangement in at least one section of the mother and child marquee to receive good sound for those mothers who wish to listen. Generally complaint is received that due to the noise Jalsa proceeding are not audible [in mother and child marquee]. If professional technical help is required to improve this, it should be sought.

Attention was drawn to the sound system at Canada Jalsa. It has been reported that their sound system was improved 90% to 95% during Eid which was commemorated at the same venue. The management’s attention was drawn to this because it they were alerted to it. The audio department is a very important department and emphasis should be given to the quality of sound and no compromise should be made in this regard and even the smallest of shortcomings should be removed. Canada has been mentioned now because they were mentioned twice in Friday sermons previously due to which their management was quite anxious, so their good work has also been appreciated [today].

The food arrangement was generally good at UK Jalsa but at times people had to wait between two serving sessions. Officer Jalsa should look into this and also focus on this area. Those serving food can only do so when food is available. Although no complaint has been received about food marquees but Hadhrat Khalifatul Masih personally noted that at a busy time space was somewhat restricted in there. This can pose the hazard of food spilling on others’ clothes which can be embarrassing and can also cause unpleasantness. In future food marquees should be bigger and there should be more space between tables. Saving money which inconveniences the guests is neither of any use to us nor should such saving be made.

In general very good report has been received about Lajna. However, report has been received about one Lajna department that is to do with hospitality, especially which was under Tabshir, and in a sense was central and cannot be considered belonging to the local Lajna, that wrongful control was exercised there and there was discourtesy towards guests from abroad, especially the Arabs. Courtesy was also not extended at the Tabshir dinner while serving food. A guest from Singapore who had a wheeler with her was ill-treated when matters should have been explained to her politely. It should have been explained to her in a decent matter that her wheeler could not be allowed inside and should be placed outside. In this matter Tabshir management is more blameworthy than Jalsa Salana management. They should apologise to the people concerned and should engage in Istaghfar. There can be language problem with the Arabs as well as with guests coming from Singapore and Indonesia. In instances where there is language problem utmost care should be taken.

Another complaint which was very common in the past but now just the odd one is received is that when some mothers bring their children to the main marquee, rather than explain to the mothers, children are pulled out of the marquee by women maintaining discipline. This is extremely wrong and can frighten the child for life which can turn them off Jalsa. It does not matter if five to six year olds do come in the main marquee. Usually children of this age do not make noise, and do restrain when explained to by parents, especially girls behave well. If any noise is made by children, mothers should be told to leave the marquee with them but the duty-holders should not exercise any discipline on children. In every situation, in every place, we should demonstrate courtesy. All the respective departments should look into their weaknesses and note them in the red book and keep them in view when planning next Jalsa Salana because this kind of minor carelessness overshadows good works. If we are to progress, we need to be serious when paying attention and indeed, we are going to progress. Management should pay attention to this.

Congratulatory letters are being received from all over the world and people are extremely grateful to MTA workers for providing coverage of Jalsa. People have highly praised the high standard and subject-matter of the programmes MTA broadcast in addition to coverage of Jalsa proceedings during Jalsa intervals. Hadhrat Khalifatul Masih has not yet viewed them but will watch recordings as they were very well received. May God reward all the programme makers as well as those who participated in them. MTA AlArabia also provided live Jalsa coverage which was also well received. This year online MTA has been largely extended and it is reported that people in excess of 300,000 viewed the Jalsa online. May God always enhance these blessings and include us among those who are truly grateful to Him. May these blessings last forever and may next year’s Jalsa be even more blessed.

Today a lot of prayers are also needed for the world of Islam. Remember the Muslim countries and the Muslim Ummah a lot in prayers. They are trapped and continue to be trapped due to their own greed and self-serving interests as well as due to anti-Islam powers. This is crippling the Muslim Ummah in every sense and they do not comprehend what is happening to them. Deliberate occasions are created for disorder and by showing incorrect response Muslims inflict further problems for themselves. May God keep them protected in every sense and may God give them sense to follow the teaching God and His Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be on him) gave us.

Next Hadhrat Khalifatul Masih announced that he would lead some funeral Prayers after Friday Prayers. One of these funeral was present and two were in absentia.

The present funeral was of Master Malik Muhammad Azam sahib who passed away in Sheffield, UK at the age of 73. He had accepted Ahmadiyyat in 1960 and was a very pious and devoted Ahmadi. He had taught in Taleemul Islam School, Rabwah and was currently serving as secretary Wasaya in Sheffield. He was extremely keen on Tabligh and while in Pakistan endured a court case regarding this but was acquitted. He had a connection of love and devotion with Khilafat. He leaves behind three sons and two daughters. His brother Muhammad Akram sahib is a missionary serving in Manchester.

Muhammad Nawaz sahib. His father took Bai’at on the hand of Hadhrat Khalifatul Masih II (may Allah be pleased with him). Nawaz sahib was a constable in police. While he was going to his duty in Karachi unknown persons on motorbike shot him on his head and he was martyred on the spot. It is thought this was due enmity of the Jama’at. May God grant steadfastness to his children. He leaves behind his widow, two sons and three daughters.

Maryam Koryaba sahiba was sadr Lajna Gambia for the past 13 years. She passed away on the night between 7 and 8 August after brief illness. Due to the situation there she was permitted to carry on as the sadr for longer duration. She organised and strengthened Lajna in Gambia in every sense and hearkened to every service that was required and always tried to inspire Lajna to make financial sacrifices. May God elevate the status of all the deceased.