Bismillah Ir-Rahman Ir-Rahim
Firstly, I would like to this opportunity to congratulate the new board members of the Jamaat. May Allah the Greatest increase them with zeal and strong faith so they can continue propagating Islam. Since today was the AGM it only made sense to keep the tradition alive by presenting on instructions and guidelines of our Jamaat. My inspiration came from the book, “Instructions and Guidance of the Ahmadiyya Jamaat” by Maulana Muhammad Ali. Has anyone read the book? On the first page Maulana states that “For every Ahmadi to read from start to finish, and to note whatever applies to him and to put it into practice” Its only 27 pages and encourage you all to read it.
A while back I was having a discussion with my younger brother on the dinner table and he asked why is the Jamaat called Ahmadiyya Anjuman Ishaat-I-Islam and wouldn’t it be easier if we just called ourselves Muslims.
In all fairness I think we all can appreciate his question. My response to him was that imagine a society is corrupted by wrong notions or beliefs which affected the progress of that society and one man knew of the corruption and planned to make people aware of it. What steps will he need to take to make that happen? He will need followers who share the same vision as him. Formulate a society and give it a name to distinct itself from the rest. And offcourse need money to fight corruption. I than explained that in our Muslim Umma there are wrong notions which lurks in every corner and it affects the propagation of Islam such as; Muslims are still waiting for the arrival of an Israelite Prophet, Jesus Christ (may peace and blessing of Allah be upon him). They believe he is up in heaven without basic necessities such as food, water and sleep. They believe that the Mahdi will accompany Jesus to fight disbelievers with sword, killing everyone who doesn’t believe in Islam which I am sure we all can visual how bloody will that be. And to believe there will be coming of another Prophet after Prophet Muhammad (may peace and blessing of Allah be upon him) when the Qur’an is clear on Khatam an nabiyyin. These are some of the reasons why Hazrath Mirza Gulam Ahamd Sahab formed the Ahmadiyya revolution to fight corruption which hampered the progress of Islam. I also explained to him that there is no harm in giving special names to Muslims who have a purpose. Allah the greatest gave Muslims special names for example, Muslims who left their livelihood to make the journey to Medina were called Muhajirs and the people of Medina Ansars (helpers) because they dedicated everything to ensure comfort for the Muhajirs.
Before I talk about the distinctive features of our Jamaat, I think it is important to mention what kind of benchmark did Maulana Muhammad Ali had visioned for us. The core objective of our Jamaat is propagation of Islam so how do we actually achieve that as an organisation. We achieve this by responding to one will and one voice. Similar to the characteristics of a human body. As soon as it wills to do something, all its organs set to work towards it. E.g. Eating Or when you start the engine of a car, all it components come into action. This is how the members of our society should come together responding to the one voice. The one voice can be the voice of an individual or that of a whole community. The voice of the community is taught by Islam and not the voice of an individual. Our Qadianni friends follow the voice of their Khalifat. Our Jamaat follows the footsteps of Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) where he ensured mutual consultation with people before making decisions. The reason for consultation is that every member of the Jamaat can be given the opportunity to express their opinion. Accepting every bodies opinion will be chaotic so whatever decision is favoured by the majority becomes the call of our society and just like the components of the car engine, we all must come together to listen and act upon the call. The call to propagate Islam.
Propagation of Islam is one of the distinctive features of our Jamaat. I am not saying that others do not propagate however our Jamaat was established to spread the wisdom of the Holy Qur’an and to illustrate the pristine teachings of Prophet Muhammad (pbuh). Mirza Ghulam Ahmad Sahib, the Mujaddid of the fourteenth century broke the doctrines of Christianity which was the greatest obstacle in propagating Islam. Our task is to take Islam to the world till it trumps over all religion as directed by Allah the greatest in (9:33) “He will make it prevail over all religions” Mirza Sahib had only one anxiety and that is how can the name of Allah reach distant lands. He prayed in the middle of the night, and for which he wept in the court of law. We have taken a pledge to help Mirza Sahib to continue in doing Allah’s work. A pledge is not to be taken lightly because Allah is the witness of your pledge and His hand is on top of the hand of the people making the pledge. Each member of this Jamaat must instil this at the forefront of their minds. No doubt propagation of Islam is not an easy task because it requires self-reformation, knowledge, tolerance, broad-mindedness, money and lots of sacrifice. This is the second distinction of our Jamaat.
What do I mean by sacrifice? The definition of sacrifice according to Webster’s dictionary is an act of offering to a deity something precious; especially: the killing of a victim on an altar. The definition of sacrifice according to the Qur’an is profound. “They struggle hard in the way of Allah with their possession and their lives” The Muhajirs (Migrants) who left Mecca. They struggled hard. Is Allah expecting similar struggles from our jamaat members? What is even deeply profound is that Allah says that your life and property is not yours. It is held in trust. And when Allah demands it from you we must cheerfully give it back. Giving it back means that even if you have to sell your property for propagation of Islam then we must follow that call or dedicating our lives for the propagation of Islam. That doesn’t mean we become monks and stop working to service Allah. “Surely Allah has bought from the believers their lives and their property; for them is the Garden”. (9:111) Dedicating our lives also means sacrificing our favourite T.V shows and social events to acquire knowledge.
We must not only rely on people giving Qur’an Dars. We must make time for knowledge. This is the third distinction of our Jamaat. That each and every one of us, whether great or small must make the fullest efforts to acquire knowledge of Islam and other religions. This is not a difficult task. Every person, despite being busy earning a livelihood, can find time to devote to increasing his knowledge. Ahmad Deedat Sahib, I think we all know him. How many of you here that he never received a formal education? “he was self-taught through experience and a penchant for reading, debating, discussion, and a profound sense of commitment to a mission and goal”. “Allah imposes not on any soul a duty beyond its scope” If reading was outside this scope He would have mentioned it. We must give highest priority to reading and understanding the Holy Qur’an then come Hadith, the life of Prophet Muhammad. We must also learn about other faiths such as; Arya Samajists and Christianity. Mention Bashaaar
The fourth distinctive feature of our Jamaat is observance of the teaching of Islam. In essence what that means of that no group or individual can be successful in taking the truth to others unless they act on those true teachings themselves. There is no point making dua for the unity of the Jamaat when the same people do not make any effort to come to Qur’an Dars. It is a false notion to think that irrespective to of my actions, I am entitled to convey to others what I believe is true on my heart. I think it is important to note that If a man’s belief is too weak to influence his own actions then how can his words influence other people? Every member of this Jamaat must have a burning desire to reform themselves first before conveying it to others and that includes me. Tolerance not just with our Jamaat members but also with the Sunnatul and Shia Jamaat.
The religion of Islam teaches us to respect all great personalities from other religions. The fifth distinction of our Jamaat is to respect all Prophets including Bhudda, Krishna and Confucius (May Allab be pleased with them all). So since Islam teaches us to be respectful towards these great personalities then why wouldn’t it not tell us to be respective full towards other Jamaats in the Muslim Umma? Consequently, we Ahmadis must honour the revered figures of all the sects of Islam. No mortal is free of faults, but we should aim to keep in view the good qualities of the leaders respected by various sects and acknowledge their work and services.
Since we must have respect for other sects in the Muslim Umma then wouldn’t it make sense to have respect and trust for one another in the Jamaat? We must think well of each other. When those who are working mistrust one another, the work suffers badly. If the workers are godly and selfless, there is as a result less occurrence of mutual mistrust. If we find a Jamaat member not acting in the appropriate manner, then what we must not do is create a doubt or suspicion which keeps on building up in our hearts till it reaches a dangerous level. This leads to damaging the unity of the Jamaat. First what is needed is that we must think well of our Jamaat members. If we receive a complaint against a member then instead of harbouring it our hearts, we must take it to those people such as the appointed officers, who can rectify it and the hold the member accountable. Nonetheless, mistakes and mistakes, and if he turns from the right way it is the duty of the community to set him straight. Mind you this is what Hazrath Abu Bakr said when accepting his Khalifat. “If I deviate, you must set me right”
It is also important to note that the appointed officers are also accountable to Allah if they do not resolve matters in an equitable manner.