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A New World after Covid-19?

The Answer Lies with Tahrik-e-Jadid

By Nassar Ahmad Bhatti
Image by: Qimono

We continuously read and hear that we are living in unprecedented times, western civilisation is at its lowest point in centuries, world economies are on the brink of collapse, oil prices have turned negative due to demand drying up – all of these are scenarios that were beyond imagination just a few months ago. The world as we knew it will not be the same and the way we used to live will undoubtedly change. However, what will the world learn from this pandemic? Many will be questioning why this is happening? Some may now look to find God; they will look for answers to their questions. This is where we can turn to the blessed scheme of Tahrik-e-Jadid to give us a few answers, a scheme established under divine guidance in November 1934 by a man in India, Hazrat Mirza Bashiruddin Mahmud Ahmad – Khalifatul- Masih II (ra).

Tahrik-e-Jadid which translates as “The New Scheme”, was initiated in response to a great wave of opposition to the Jama’at which was headquartered in Qadian, India.  As Hazrat Musleh Maud (ra) launched Tahrik-e-Jadid, he laid out its purpose in a number of addresses. On one occasion, Huzoor (ra) said:

“The purpose of launching Tahrik-e-Jadid is to acquire such a fund with which Allah’s message can be delivered as far as the corners of the earth with ease and facility.” (Friday Sermon, 27 November 1942)

Tahrik-e-Jadid is not only a scheme of financial sacrifice, but a scheme that demands a complete overhaul of one’s personality and character. Hazrat Khalifatul-Masih II (ra) further explained in his book Nizam-e-Nau (The New World Order) that Tahrik-e-Jadid would be a forerunner to the scheme of Al-Wasiyyat (Nizam-e-Nau, p137). Indeed, a “New World Order” is literally unfolding before our very eyes.

As Ahmadi Muslim youth, this is our opportunity to be at the forefront in guiding the world towards our Creator. An opportunity to spread the true message of Islam and Ahmadiyyat far and wide. For this, we can take inspiration from our forefathers whose sacrifices decades ago enabled the Jama’at to spread globally. If we take a look at some of the faith inspiring incidents from the early years, it is only then that we get to understand what true sacrifice means.

It is narrated that in September 1936, soon after the launch of Tahrik-e-Jadid, 1300 members of the Community committed to do voluntary work during seasonal holidays and 200 young members dedicated their lives for the service of the Community for 3 years. Many pensioners moved to the Markaz and dedicated their life for the service of the Jama’at (Tehrikat-Khulafa, p143-144). It was sacrifices like these, and through the blessed scheme of Tahrik-e-Jadid, that laid the foundation for the Waqf-e-Zindagi scheme, which by the Grace of Allah we still see ongoing today.

In another faith inspiring incident, Hazrat Khalifatul-Masih II (ra) narrates:

“One young man on hearing about the scheme, left his home town of Sarghoda and went to Afghanistan without a passport and started doing Tabligh. The government thwarted his efforts once they found him and imprisoned him in jail. This is where he started preaching to the guards and inmates of the prison and in turn starting influencing them. The prison officers decided to file a complaint against him, the Mullahs issued a fatwa for his death, however the commanding minister stated that he is a subject of the British Empire and that he must not be killed. Thus, under the protection of the Afghani government he safely reached India.

When I met him on his return, I said to him that he should have gone to a different country, he replied immediately that please tell me which country and I will go this very instance. It is worth mentioning, that his mother was alive at the time but he was prepared to travel to another country without seeing her.” (Khutbaat-e-Mahmood, vol 16, p758)

When one reflects and looks deeper into the blessed scheme of Tahirk-e-Jadid, it is only then that we see how relevant the principles and demands of Tahirk-e-Jadid are, especially in this current climate. For example:

  • Lead simple lives
    • When explaining this further, Hazrat Musleh Maud (ra) stated that we should consume one dish at meal times. Practising this in the current climate will not only help us save funds, but is also relevant as supplies in supermarkets are running low and we are forced to purchase a limited number of items.
  • Take up minor jobs if unemployed
    • Unfortunately, many Khuddam find themselves unemployed in the current climate. Hazrat Musleh Maud (ra) stated “members should take up jobs no matter how insignificant – no individual should remain idle even if his income is two rupees.” This should act as an inspiration to the youth and they should be actively looking to take up temporary jobs in sectors that are hiring.
  • Learned Ahmadis to deliver lectures on the teachings of Islam
    • Majlis Khuddamul Ahmadiyya UK has been using online platforms to deliver lectures and talks on a variety of topics. This commenced from quite early on during the lockdown – the objective was to look after the education and wellbeing of our youth. All Khuddam should make full use of these activities.

The above are just a few examples. All of which prove that the blessed scheme of Tahrik-e-Jadid is truly divine, that decades after its launch, all aspects of the scheme continue to be pertinent in this day and age, and will continue to do so after the lockdown and for years to come Insha’Allah.

When talking about Tahrik-e-Jadid and specifically Majlis Khuddamul Ahmadiyya, Hazrat Musleh Maud (ra) made his expectations very clear. Huzoor (ra) sates:

“I have laid out a programme before Khuddamul Ahmadiyya, and I remind them to pay heed to those matters that I have explained and always be ready to present themselves for the service of country and nation.

There is a clear picture in my mind about everything, and one part of this picture is Khuddamul Ahmadiyya. This in fact, is a spiritual upbringing and training of the army that will fight in the war against the enemies of Ahmadiyyat. That is to say, the army that will raise the flag of Ahmadiyyat with victory and success in enemy territory.” (Friday Sermon, 7th March 1939).

In the coming weeks, the UK Government plans to ease the lockdown and will announce new measures that society will be required to adopt. What these measures will look like are yet to be seen, but one thing we know is that society will start to form a new shape as social distancing and face masks become the norm. Let us pray that may Allah enable the world to turn to our Creator and give us the opportunity to shape the “New World Order” Insha’Allah.

May Allah allow us to live up to the expectations of Hazrat Musleh Maud (ra), and the expectations and guidance of beloved Huzoor (aba). May Allah also enable the Jama’at to grow from strength to strength, Ameen.

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Becoming an Abode of Comfort During Crises

As the world fights its way through a global pandemic, it is vital to address mental health more so than usual. Being a universal religion for all people of all times, Islam provides beautiful solutions to this illness.

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During one of the last major pandemics, the SARS outbreak of 2003, it was noted that there was a 30% increase in suicides in those aged 65 years and older. Clearly, the time we are going through currently is proving to be far more severe in its impact on our lives than the SARS outbreak which affected almost 8000 people and took the lives of 774 individuals.

Resilience, fortitude and patience are key characteristics of people who can soldier through times like the coronavirus pandemic; however various groups of people are at a risk of a dangerous decline in their mental health. Suicides, family break ups, addictions etc… can be amongst the consequences if left unattended. During the SARS outbreak, those patients who recovered from the deadly disease were at an increased risk of depression and post-traumatic stress disorder.

Thus, in the present climate the combined effects of quarantine and coronavirus itself can become risk factors for mental health issues. Inauspiciously, the lockdown on its own is expected to increase loneliness as well as social isolation as shown by the surveys conducted by Holmes et al. As laid out by the medical journal, The Lancet, there needs to be a response on an individual basis but also a wider effort is required from us as a society. The study published in the journal suggested that whilst individually, the care for people with mental health difficulties can be provided in a virtual manner along with interventions for people who may be feeling suicidal, however wider solutions are also needed, including financial support, housing for domestic violence victims and regulated media reporting.

Given these difficult circumstances, we must seek to support those around us. It is comforting to know that the Holy Qur’an states that at no phase of our life are we burdened beyond what our souls can bear [Holy Qur’an 2:287]. For us to comprehend this concept, we can turn to the explanation given by the Caliph of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community, Hazrat Mirza Masroor Ahmad (aba) in his Friday sermon, delivered on 29 May 2020.

His Holiness explained that the application of the verse “Allah does not burden any soul beyond its capacity” [Holy Qur’an 2:287], requires one to expand their knowledge and thus have we been taught to supplicate with the following prayer; ‘O my Lord increase my knowledge.’ [Holy Qur’an 20:115] This is because a person is made responsible for utilising the faculties he has been provided to gain the pleasure of Allah. This in turn benefits a person in times of peril, because they go on to enhance their perception of God through the capabilities they have been provided by God and through prayer. Thus, in times of hardship this heightened perception and mental capacity to bear hardships proves vital for turning to God and facing difficulties head on. The Merciful and Benevolent Creator has provided us with grounds to gain knowledge of His bounty and to increase our capacities so that we can turn to Him in all times, including during times of trial.

Further to increasing our capacities, we must help those who are weak around us. We must seek to inculcate an exemplary model in our homes so that we can provide support to our loved ones when they need it most. Meaning that only when we attempt to embody and adopt the attributes of our Creator, can we develop the patience to listen attentively to the hardships of our loved ones as one of the attributes of Allah the Almighty is also As-Samee’ – the Most Hearing. A loved one cannot feel comfortable sharing a deep part of their soul if we do not first gain their trust by showing them that we can provide a place for their thoughts to reside.

An excellent example of this characteristic is found in the Caliphs of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community who listen with great love and care to the hardships Ahmadi Muslims are facing and share in their grief. This was defined very beautifully by the fourth Caliph, Hazrat Mirza Tahir Ahmad (rh), when he was speaking about the people of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community opening up to the Caliph. He wrote in a poem “O my Lord, is this a heart or a place for guests to stay?” This shows the deep affection one can have for a loved one, by listening to someone with the intent only to provide comfort and rest.

This is something that we can look up to the Caliphs to understand how much love and affection they have for humanity which helps ease the hardships of those in need. Indeed, serving humanity and caring for others is a great virtue. Hazrat Mirza Masroor Ahmad (aba) explained how much love one should have for others when he gave a small glimpse into his love for Ahmadi Muslims, when he said:

“Before sleeping at night there is no country of the world that I do not visit in my imagination and no Ahmadi for whom I do not pray whilst sleeping and whilst awake. I am not doing any favour because this is my duty and may Allah enable me to ever increase in assuming my responsibilities.

Furthermore, the fourth Caliph, Hazrat Mirza Tahir Ahmad (rh), after the couplet mentioned above goes on to write in the next verse, “If I cannot ask from You [God] then who can I ask from? I am Yours and You are my God, You are my God.”

From this we learn that albeit the pious and righteous people of God provide a place for people to rest their emotions, they still themselves depend upon the Master, the Creator; Allah the Exalted.

As individuals we must instil the love of Allah within ourselves through His remembrance, so that if a trial or a difficulty may come, it will come with His pleasure, with His special care. Thus we will be able to turn to Him and create the opportunity for any of our struggling loved ones to do so too.

‘…Aye! it is in the remembrance of Allah that hearts can find comfort;’ [Holy Qur’an 13:29]

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My Lockdown Story

Luqman, a 17 year old Khadim shares how he spent his lockdown in the service of mankind in accordance with the teachings of Islam, and how it provided him with peace of mind and a sense of benefiting his community in a positive manner.

My name is Luqman and I am a 17-year-old Ahmadi Muslim, living in Milton Keynes. During lockdown, I have been helping with Khidmat-e-Khalq (service to mankind) activities, as serving mankind is an integral part of my faith. My aunt has volunteered as the Area Coordinator for our village and the neighbouring village. This role entails receiving messages from and communicating with anyone who needs help and then arranging that help. The first task was to hand out leaflets to every house, with my mum’s and aunt’s contact details if assistance was needed. My sister and I both assisted with this.

Many people responded saying how grateful they were for this support.

One of these responses was by an elderly lady (91 years old) in the neighbouring village, who lived alone and needed help with shopping. She sent the shopping list to my aunt and together, we went and did the shopping for her. It was only a small list and the trip was quite quick, but it felt great to be able to help someone who was stuck indoors. We dropped off her shopping at her front door and when she came out to pick it up, she smiled and thanked us- it was very humbling to see the gratitude on her face! I now go with my aunt once a week to do her shopping.

There is also another family who live a couple of roads away from us who are unable to leave the house and needed help with shopping and picking up their medical prescriptions. I have accompanied my aunt to do their shopping once. I feel very privileged to have had these opportunities to serve others. It is very comforting to know that I am helping to make other peoples’ lives easier.

I have recently been to drop off cooking supplies to a woman who collects donations and then makes hot meals, giving them out to those who don’t have access to food in these difficult times. It was great to know that the food donations were made towards a good cause and I am proud of being a part of this.

“Islam urges every person to partake in charitable giving, and that even an act of kindness towards another is charity. It also promotes community cohesion and we as Muslims are trying to spread the message of peace to create stronger bonds in society and remove any negative perceptions about Islam.’’ [AMYA Press Release]

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‘I am Equal…’

In light of the current situation in the USA, the question of race equality is again at the forefront of news headlines. Protests and riots are taking place, whilst social media is replete with people voicing their opinion. In a world of inequality, Islam provides the answer.

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Assalaamo Alaikum Wa Rahmatullahu Wa Barakatuhu. My name is Israfeel Kusi-Addo, I am 19 years of age and I am an Ahmadi Muslim Khadim originally from Ghana, currently living in the United Kingdom.

By the Grace of God, I have been given the opportunity to express my feelings on a very important topic, one which is quite close to home; racism. For me growing up in South London, racism is something that I tackle on almost a daily basis. Whether it be from the selective behaviours of teachers when it comes to resolving matters, to the frequency and way police stop and search us simply due to us “fitting a profile”, or when I go to the shop and the black lady at the till reminds me to always take my receipt as a black man, for fear of my safety. This is a very prevalent issue within our community, but more so within America.

As we all may or may not be aware, on Monday 25 May, George Floyd, an African American man was brutally murdered by a Minneapolis police officer who impaled his knee into Mr Floyd’s neck for almost 9 minutes whilst Mr Floyd had his face imprinted on the ground. At the same time 2 other officers also had him pinned to the ground whilst the remaining officer simply watched.

The injustices by certain law enforcers amongst others have senselessly killed black people in America and across the world are part of the reasons for deep rooted racism within our societies today. No matter how ‘developed’ human civilisation seems, racism seems to be deep rooted in some societies. Fortunately for me, Islam has a very simplistic, yet beautiful manner of teaching and handling racism. In chapter 49 verse 14 of the Holy Qur’an, it states:

“O mankind, We have created you from a male and a female; and We have made you into tribes and sub-tribes that you may recognize one another. Verily, the most honourable among you, in the sight of Allah, is he who is the most righteous among you. Surely, Allah is All-Knowing, All-Aware.”

Here we can see in plain sight that God denounces all forms of discrimination based on creed, caste or colour. The only measure of one’s value is how pious and righteous they are. Additionally, one’s true character can be seen as pure if they are willing to uphold human values and protect the honour, dignity and freedoms of all people, irrespective of their differences to bring about harmony and peace. This is in perfect harmony with the teachings of Islam, as the Holy Prophet (sa) stated in his farewell sermon:

“All humans, regardless of their background, are equals as humans. There is no superiority for a white person over a black person and neither is the black superior to the white. No Arab has superiority above a non-Arab and no non-Arab has superiority above an Arab.”

Islam lays the foundation of achieving true peace, yet the actions of some Muslims suggest otherwise. However, we in the Ahmadiyya Muslim community have been blessed with Khilafat and a spiritual Imam in the person of Hazrat Mirza Masroor Ahmad (aba), Alhamdulillah. Through his guidance and leadership, we are able to ponder over the true teachings of Islam and act accordingly. For instance, Huzoor (aba) has said:

“Islam proclaims that all people are born equal, no matter where they hail from or the colour of their skin.”

In another instance, Huzoor (aba) states:

“The teachings of the Holy Qur’an are universal and timeless and have established the rights of every person, of every belief, of every race and of every nation.”

This is revolutionary as unlike other leaders around the world with hidden agendas, Huzoor  (aba) advises us to use Islam as the foundation of all good things, as the only thing that we all have in common is that we have differences. Therefore, by embracing one another and following the teachings of Islam, we can surely bring about a world of prosperity, peace and harmony. Insha’Allah.

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