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Opinion

Forgotten Trait of ‘Gratitude’

By Usama Mubarik

“Whoever comes into this world has to pass away one day. However, fortunate are those who are enabled by God Almighty to serve their faith and community.”

– Head of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community, Hazrat Mirza Masroor Ahmad (May Allah be his Helper) [Press Releases on 21st October, 2016]

People say “you don’t know what you have until it’s gone”. Truth is, you knew exactly what you had, you just didn’t think you would lose it.

Take the example of ‘life’ itself. We understand the laws of nature laid down by God Almighty. We know that God has decreed death for all of us, as He so rightly states in the Holy Qur’an: ‘Every soul shall taste of death.’ [Holy Qur’an 3:186]

But why is it that although we claim this deep-rooted ideology of life is ingrained in our minds, we fail to anticipate the loss of life? Life could be taken from us in the blink of an eye.

Currently, the COVID-19 pandemic is taking the world by storm. A disease that has caused the government nationwide to impose restrictions and enforce a number of measures for the public to adhere to in an attempt to bring this outbreak to a halt. The bottom line is that the disease is still spreading like wildfire and nobody remains invulnerable to it, anyone could fall victim to this pandemic – we mustn’t take life for granted.

The Holy Prophet, Muhammad (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) once said: “There are two blessings which many people lose. (They are) health and free time for doing good.” [Sahih Bukhari, Book 81, Hadith 1]

It is during dire times like these that we should make an effort to remember God Almighty most and show some gratitude. We have been blessed with a roof over our head, food on our table and air in our lungs.

But one unparalleled blessing we all share, which will forever remain the biggest favour bestowed on us is that God Almighty has enabled us to believe in the Imam and Mahdi of this age. Not one community, sect or movement truly likens itself to what we have been blessed with; Khilafat. Though, we, Ahmadi Muslims, make up less than 1% of the world’s population… God chose to bless us with a divine successorship; Khilafat. If we’re not grateful now, we may not be able to seize another opportunity in this life to be grateful later. We turn to God during times of adversity but if we don’t continue to do so during times of prosperity when God willing, we overcome this pandemic, then how can we expect God to remember us?

Articles

‘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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Opinion

Ramadan in Lockdown

Ramadan. A time for prayers, self-reflection and repentance.

Photo by: Craig Adderly

Ramadan. A time for prayers, self-reflection and repentance. And although the entire world is going through an incredibly tough period, it is imperative we all maintain a positive mindset, and a great way of doing so is through this year’s Ramadan. No better opportunity will we get to worship our Lord. No better opportunity will we get to repent for our sins, and no better time will be available to us to evaluate our lives. So, it is essential we make the best use of this Ramadan in lockdown. To be able to do that we need to prepare. Physically, mentally and spiritually.

I’ll be honest, amidst these worrying times it had completely slipped my mind that this blessed window was right around the corner. So, I decided to prepare by setting myself some goals for the 30 days. Although these goals are such that would’ve been more challenging in during any other Ramadan, I see myself fulfilling them to a greater extent as a result of this lockdown.

It is a common practice to complete the recitation of the Holy Qur’an within the month of Ramadan, as it was in this month that the revelation of the Holy Qur’an commenced. During Ramadan, the Angel Gabriel (as) would revise whatever had been revealed of the Holy Qur’an up to that point with the Holy Prophet (sa). However, in the final Ramadan of the life of the Holy Prophet (sa), the Angel Gabriel (as) revised the entire Qur’an twice with him [Sahih al-Bukhari, Book 61, Hadith 129]. It is for this reason that my first goal for Ramadan in lockdown is to attempt to complete the recitation of the Holy Quran twice in these 30 days.

“Sadaqah wipes out sins like water extinguishes fire”[Jami’ at-Tirmidhi, Book 6, Hadith 74]. From this small yet comprehensive hadith, the importance of giving sadaqah (charity/alms) could not be clearer. Especially in the month in which the gates of hell are shut and the gates of heaven are open [Sahih al-Bukhari, Book 30, Hadith 9], giving sadaqah is an excellent way to attain the mercy of God Almighty. Therefore, my 2nd goal for Ramadan is to give as much sadaqah as I can, and that too on a regular basis. However, by giving sadaqah, I don’t mean to be emptying my bank balance. In fact, the Holy ProphetPBUH said that the most desirable deed to Allah is that which is done with regularity even if it is little [Sahih al-Bukhari, Book 2, Hadith 36].

Along with everything else, the main goal for every Muslim should be prayer, as without it, our fasts, our good deeds, our sadaqah, and the everything else is useless. Prayer is that nucleus around which everything should revolve. Especially in the unprecedented times in which we are currently living in, the standard of our prayers must go up.

Our beloved Imam, Hazrat Khalifatul-Masih V (aba) in his Friday Sermon on the 10th April 2020 stated:

“One should remember that prayer is the most powerful of means. One ought to pray with the belief and conviction that God listens to prayers. Pray for yourself, your family, the community and the whole of humanity.” 

Further, beloved Huzoor (aba) in his Friday Sermon of 24th April 2020, emphasising the importance of Ramadan; especially in these times, expressed how no Ahmadi Muslim should let this Ramadan go to waste. Huzooraba mentioned the fact that the whole family is at home, so it is a great opportunity for parents to themselves along with their children get closer to God Almighty, and as long as our intentions are pure, then Allah the Almighty, who is the Knower of the unseen, will accept our prayers.

In the end I pray that may this ‘Ramadan in lockdown’ enable all of us to get closer to our Creator, and may He shower the rain of mercy upon humanity. Ameen.

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