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How Can Muslims Reject the Khalifatul-Masih When They Don’t Have Anyone Else to Unite Them?

By Shafkat Mahmood
Published on December 31, 2020 at 5:01 pm
His Holiness Mirza Masroor Ahmad - Khalifatul-Masih V is the Head of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community

Strongly opposed to the Khalifatul-Masih being considered the Caliph of Islam, recently, some Muslims made the effort to take away his God-given mantle. Hazrat Mirza Masroor Ahmadaba is the Fifth Khalifah and the head of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community. His Holinessaba has been an avid defender of Islam and an orator for peace throughout his caliphate. At a time when Islam and Muslims are vilified, a Caliphate is sorely needed so that the entire Ummah can become unified. No one has done more to defend and protect the teachings of Islam than his Holinessaba.

In an era riddled with ignorance, Islam and its followers are under constant scrutiny due to its mischaracterised portrayal. A religion that spread across the world from the deserts of Arabia, on the basis of the Oneness of God; is now feared. A religion that spread across the world illuminating curious minds with knowledge; is now considered backwards. A religion that spread across the world securing freedom for all; is now viewed as the oppressor and the basis for terror. With the blessed coming of the Promised Messiah, Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad of Qadianas, began the revival of Islam. With the hand of the Almighty God resting on the shoulder of the Fifth Khalifa to the Messiah, His Holinessaba continues to separate the true Islam from all falsehood.

Since being appointed Khalifah in 2003, His Holinessaba has performed the Jihad of the modern age, by leading an international campaign to spread the true message of Islam through all forms of print and digital media. The Ahmadiyya Muslim Community, which is united at the divinely guided hand of his Holinessaba have engaged in several grassroots efforts to serve humanity. The Community’s efforts in disaster relief, charitable fundraising, building schools and hospitals, and holding interfaith dialogue encapsulates the true meaning of Islam – peace and submission to Allah.

Despite the Community’s inspired efforts to portray the true Islam under the guidance of his Holinessaba, it has faced relentless persecution, including the 2010 massacre in Lahore killing over 90 peaceful worshipers attending Friday prayers. His Holinessaba instructed his followers to reply in the same way as they have always done, by praying and turning to Allah.

“The more we bow before Allah, the Almighty, the more humility we show not only outwardly but from the depths of our heart, treading along the path of righteousness, the more we will continue to receive the bounties of Allah, the Almighty” [1] .

At a time when protesting and rioting have become normalised, the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community, under the guidance of Hazrat Mirza Masroor Ahmadaba, has sought the path of perseverance through peace and meekness.

In 2004, his Holinessaba launched the annual Peace Symposium [2] which attracted various individuals of different faiths and beliefs including ministers, religious dignitaries, politicians and parliamentarians. Each year his Holinessaba explains the Islamic solutions to contemporary issues.

“Thus, it is imperative that nations and their leaders do not focus only on their own national interests, but consider what is best for the world at large. Dialogue with other nations and communities is vital and each party should work together with a spirit of tolerance and with the shared objective of developing true and sustainable peace in the world[3].

Furthering this, he launched the “Ahmadiyya Muslim Prize for the advancement of peace”; an annual peace prize gifted to an individual or organisation that has demonstrated an extraordinary commitment to furthering peace and humanitarianism.

Untethered to any political party or agenda, His Holinessaba has counselled many national and international governments, including the UK Parliament, the European Parliament, the US Congress and UNESCO. Even in response to the unprecedented COVID-19 pandemic, His Holinessaba has written to several world leaders advising them in the best cause of action, and reminding them that humanity cannot be saved without God’s help [4].

“Governments need to make policies that establish and protect mutual respect, through which hurting the sentiments of others or causing them any type of harm should be outlawed. With regard to the immigrants, they must enter with a willingness to integrate with the local people, whilst the locals should be ready to open their hearts and display tolerance.” (The Khalifa of Islam addressing the European Parliament [5])

When it comes to a global and multicultural religion such as Islam that forms the institutional basis of many governments across the globe, one would expect that such countries would mirror the way of the Holy Prophetsa and reflect his peaceful teachings. Unfortunately, violence, terrorism, discrimination and racism are themes that are synonymous to many Muslim countries.

Along with widespread persecution of Ahmadi Muslims, the most prominent religious discrimination is in Saudi Arabia, the epicentre of Islam. Shias face oppression in both Eastern and Southern regions. According to a 2009 Human Rights Watch report, Shiite citizens in Saudi Arabia “face systematic discrimination in religion, education, justice, and employment” [6].

Egypt also, with its 90% Muslim majority, fails in implementing societal peace and civil liberty. Human Rights Watch reports “since President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi secured a second term in a largely unfree and unfair presidential election in March, his security forces have escalated a campaign of intimidation, violence, and arrests against political opponents, civil society activists, and many others who have simply voiced mild criticism of the government. The Egyptian government and state media have framed this repression under the guise of combating terrorism” [7].

And Iran, an almost exclusively Muslim country, struggles in affording rights to all and establishing justice. “Women continued to face entrenched discrimination in family and criminal law, including in relation to marriage, divorce, employment, inheritance and political office. Authorities failed to criminalize gender-based violence against women and girls, including domestic violence and early and forced marriage, which remained widespread” taken from amnesty.org in regards to women’s rights in Iran [8].

How is it that nations that pride themselves on following in the steps of the Holy Prophet Muhammedsa fail to give their own people the right to be free, and be equal? The Holy Prophet Muhammadsa said: “A white has no superiority over black. Nor a black has any superiority over white, except by piety and good action

Thus, His Holinessaba, the true Khalifah of Islam, carries the torch of Islam saving humanity from sinking into a dark void of hatred and sin, through his prayers and his actions. Addressing the female members of his community he said “Islamic teachings are unambiguous. If women are precluded from doing certain jobs, this is not because they are deemed incapable or because their rights are being compromised, […] as far as the rights are concerned, they are equal” [9].

His Holinessaba has captured the essence of Islam and promoted its teaching in today’s world. In a recent interview, addressing the racial injustices that grappled America, he said that it was the  duty of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community to condemn brutality and to make every single possible effort to highlight the long-term injustices against black people in the United States. He said that we must not only advocate on their behalf but also strive to achieve justice and equality [10].

This Khalifah of Islam does not yearn the pleasures of this world or its people. He endeavours to please only God and to bring humanity closer to Him. How can anyone deny Hazrat Mirza Masroor Ahmadaba his God-given mantle as Khalifah, especially when the world has no other antidote to its self-consuming poison?

 

[1] His Holiness (aba)’s sermon on the occasion of Khilafat centenary, https://www.khalifatulmasih.org/articles/centenary-address/

[2] https://peacesymposium.org.uk/the-ahmadiyya-muslim-peace-prize

[3] His Holiness (aba)’s sermon at the national peace symposium 2019, https://www.alislam.org/articles/true-sustainable-world-peace/

[4] More information can be found here: https://tariqmagazine.org/caliph-of-peace/, https://www.reviewofreligions.org/26918/letters-sent-to-world-leaders-by-head-of-ahmadiyya-muslim-community-during-covid-19-pandemic/#leaderssame

[5] “Khalifa of Islam makes historic address at European Parliament”, https://www.alislam.org/press-release/khalifa-of-islam-makes-historic-address-at-european-parliament/

[6] Human Rights Watch Report on “Saudi Arabia: Treat Shia Equally”, https://www.hrw.org/news/2009/09/03/saudi-arabia-treat-shia-equally

[7] Human Rights Watch report on Egypt, https://www.hrw.org/world-report/2019/country-chapters/egypt

[8] Amnesty International’s report on Iran, https://www.amnesty.org/en/countries/middle-east-and-north-africa/iran/report-iran/

[9] Islam and Women’s Rights, https://www.khalifatulmasih.org/articles/islam-and-womens-rights/

[10] Review of Religion article on “Islam & Black Lives Matter – Guidance of the Khalifa”,  https://www.reviewofreligions.org/24370/islam-black-lives-matter-guidance-of-the-khalifa/

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Spirituality in the New Space Age

Where Missions Meet Missionaries

Every night, the universe reveals itself in all its galactic glow. The light of astral bodies—suns, stars and moons—streak and stipple the night sky, expanding the margins of our world as the vast cosmos comes into view. We peer into the dark of the unknown, tracing light that warps and wefts from afar, launching telescopes, rovers and probes at the sky to better understand our place in the wider universe. The latest in our mission for greater understanding was the launch of the James Webb Space telescope. But as we beam signals of our curiosity to the farther corners of the galaxy, will we be ready for what we might find?

The successful launch of NASA’s $10 billion space telescope will see an ambitious 10-year mission to seek out planetary systems hospitable to life. Propelled nearly a million miles away from Earth, the telescope will analyse infrared light, observing some of the earliest galaxy formations in the universe. The hope to find evidence for extraterrestrial life, however, raises questions on how religions may react to the discoveries found in space — questions that the Centre for Theological Inquiry hopes to answer with the help of 24 theologians.

For example, did Jesus atone for the sins of different life forms across the universe? What if other life forms were found, would our relationship with God change? Ultimately, how might religion make sense of what is out there as we take our giant leaps for mankind across the galaxy?

At first glance, it may seem that religions would struggle with such questions, and that any reverence held for theology would become obsolete in this new space age. Islam however doesn’t need to grapple with these concepts — the Quran explicitly mentions alien life and its wider spiritual significance within its opening chapter no less.

“All praise belongs to Allah, Lord of all the worlds.” – Chapter 1, verse 2

The introduction of God as ‘Rabb Ul Alameen’ (Lord of all the worlds) establishes our relationship with Him. God is not for one people, but for all creation in every plane of existence. That He is ‘Lord of all the worlds’ also speaks to the universality of His Rule and Reach — something that is referred to later on more specifically.

At another place, the Quran strikingly refers to other life forms:

“And among His Signs is the creation of the heavens and the earth, and of whatever living creatures (daabbah) He has spread forth in both. And He has the power to gather them together whenever He pleases.” – Chapter 42, verse 30

The Arabic word used for living creatures — daabah — has specific connotations to animals that are land-dwelling and move along the surface of the earth, thus indicating the existence of life beyond our planet. This verse continues on to claim that “He has the power to gather them together whenever He pleases”. The Arabic term for ‘gather’ جمع (jama’) can mean, among other things, gathering together physically or drawn closer in proximity, suggesting that we will make some form of contact with extraterrestrial life.

In another verse, the Quran mentions that there are other planets that are hospitable to life:

“Allah is He Who created seven heavens, and of the earth the like thereof…” – Chapter 65, verse 13

Here the Quran claims that just as there are ‘seven heavens’, there are also ‘seven earths’. The number seven is significant in Arabic because it symbolises repeating patterns, or multitudes of a thing. Taken together, the Quran explains that there are almost innumerable Earth-like planets that harbour life just like ours.

But this verse continues on to a more extraordinary claim:

“…The divine command comes down in their midst, that you may know that Allah has power over all things, and that Allah encompasses all things in His knowledge.”

The term ‘divine command’ can be taken to mean revelation. Thus, according to the Quran, there is life out in the cosmos that are aware of God’s existence through revelation that is sent down to them. This brings us back to the initial introduction of God in Islam as ‘Lord of all the worlds’ – all the worlds that have life and are made aware of their Creator.

Ultimately, Islamic theology is replete with references to the vastness of the cosmos and the various forms of life it holds. It speaks in unequivocal, unambiguous and unadaptable terms. Man is not the only creation of God. That God is also Al-Khalaq (the Creator), who ceaselessly creates and perfects His creation, also points to other forms of life existing beyond our own planet. Rather than ending spirituality, our cosmic discoveries can validate its true origins. So as we begin to extend our reach across the stars, we may find that in the dark expanse of the universe, our spirituality shine in a new light.

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Qaid: A Leader, Brother, Khadim.

Qaideen Forum 2021

The word Qaid means leader. Throughout Islamic history the term has been used for leaders within Islamic communities, in fact, it has even entered Latin in the form of Alcayde.

But cutting across the fabric of time and the worldly connotations of the past, today it refers to a Muslim youth leader who guides and leads others in the spiritual sense. It is upon discussion of this that local Qaideen from across the UK have met in Baitul Futuh and Darul-Aman at the Qaideen Forum of Majlis Khuddamul Ahmadiyya UK.

The point of this gathering is to discuss and contemplate how to further the spirituality of thousands of Khuddam across the country. Sitting at the back and observing this event one would find something that is perhaps not mirrored in other. Most of the Qaideen are young, they’re eager to discuss how to further the Talim and Tarbiyyat of their fellow Khuddam.

The event starts off, in the opening session, with a video being played of Hazrat Khalifatul-Masih Vaba addressing a Khuddam gathering. Huzooraba explains that the role of Khuddamul Ahmadiyya is to protect Khilafat. This goes above and beyond Amoomi duties or any physical protection: true protection is to act upon the words of the Khalifah, to spread them and to get people to follow them. Merely promising that we shall fight left and right is not the actual Jihad, the true Jihad is the acting upon Huzoor’s instructions. Khuddam should look towards the Khalifah’s words, it is the specific task of Khuddam to imbue the youngsters with this spirit.

This year’s Qaideen Forum (12 December for the southern Regions at Baitul Futuh and 18th December for northern regions at Darul-Aman) is split into 2 main workshops: a discussion on the Lahe-Amal (Conduct Manual) and a interactive session on true leadership.

The interactive workshop is very enjoyable, videos of Huzoor addressing various issues that Khuddam face are continuously played. For example in one video Huzoor advises that if something is not working, Khuddam office bearers should change strategy and that Khuddamul Ahmadiyya should work according to the temperaments of people.

The discussion in the second workshop which runs simultaneously is equally important and beneficial. The Lahe-Amal (conduct manual) is discussed and the nature of Khuddamul Ahmadiyya along with its setup is explained. This workshop is delivered by 3 Naib Sadrs (Usman Ahmad Sahib, Tariq Hayat Sahib and Dr Anas Rana Sahib) all of whom have extensive experience in Khuddamul Ahmadiyya. Perhaps the most important part of the presentation, and one that captures everyone’s attention immediately is how Khuddamul Ahmadiyya began: the actual incident that led to it being established—how Hazrat Khalifatul-Masih IIra asked a group of Khuddam who were not scholars to form a board which was named Khuddamul Ahmadiyya a few days later.

Khuddam are given the opportunity to mix and socialise (with social distancing in place!) so they can learn from each other and a lot of interesting conversations take place.

At the end a collective concluding session takes place with many questions being asked by Qaideen. For the benefit of everyone some of these questions and the answers given are presented below:

1. I am a local Qaid, who can get Khuddam emails?

Answer: anyone who holds an office in Khuddamul Ahmadiyya should be conducting Khuddam activities on an official email address. For further information on this you can contact [email protected]

2. What if a Khadim says he cannot give time, do I block him out?

Answer: That would be damaging in the long run. Even if a Khadim can only give 1 hour a month, then that should be utilised and eventually when a relationship develops and the Khadim draws closer to you as a local qaid he may begin to dedicate more time

3. How can we engage with students?

Answer: There are a lot of AMSA engagements that take place over the year. Every university does have an AMSA body and they should plan their annual calendar of events accordingly. Sometimes getting students to do presentations about their own studies can help with engagement.

4. I’m concerned about the physical wellbeing of Khuddam, are there any individual resources that can used during lockdown?

Answer: the Sehat-e-Jismani department has been planning and holding events such as the Khuddam Football League. But as a local qaid if there are Khuddam who cannot participate in such group activities then you should look to arrange some other form of exercise plan which can benefit your Khuddam, this can be done in by working with the national Sehat-e-Jismani team.

5. Are events taking place, I have planned my local Ijtema but am uncertain about restrictions?

Answer: Every region has a Disaster Management Committee. Before planning any event or gathering you should present your plan to them, and they will be able to advise as to whether the event should take place based on whatever the current guidelines of Covid restrictions are. This should not dissuade you from planning events, you just need to ensure that the Regional Qaid is aware and that proper planning has gone into the Covid side of the event.

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Honouring our Pledge: What, Where, When and Why?

The theme for the Khuddam year beginning now is “Honouring our Pledge”. It’s time to start evaluating whether we’re fulfilling the promise we’ve been making.

Majlis Khuddamul Ahmadiyya UK is happy to announce the new theme approved by Hazrat Khalifatul-Masih Vaba as Honouring our Pledge. Here’s a quick read to get you thinking about the theme and what the focus will be for this Khuddam year.

Of course, we all know that Islam lays particular emphasis upon fulfilling one’s promises; whether they relate to everyday matters, one’s family, work or religion. But in this case the theme refers to our Khuddamul Ahmadiyya pledge: the one where we stand-up, place our right hand above our left, and recite in unison at the beginning of Khuddam gatherings. This year’s theme is not about a pledge, rather the pledge. (Download it here!)

 

 

The Khuddam pledge goes back to the inception of Khuddamul Ahmadiyya itself. All auxiliaries within the Jama’at have their pledges according to their aims and objectives. As part of the Khuddam pledge Tashahhud is recited and then the pledge reads:

“I bear witness that there is none worthy of worship except Allah and I bear witness that Muhammadsa is the servant and messenger of Allah. I solemnly pledge that I shall always be ready to sacrifice my life, wealth, time and honour for the sake of my faith, country and nation. Likewise, I shall be ready to offer any sacrifice for guarding the institution of Khilafat-e-Ahmadiyya. Moreover, I shall deem it essential to abide by any ‘maroof’ decision made by Khalifatul-Masih. Inshallah”.

This is what we pledge (and have been pledging since we were Atfal, though the Atfal pledge speaks about honesty and not using foul language instead).

Khuddam reciting the pledge before Hazrat Khalifatul-Masih V at National Ijtema 2021.

The Khuddam pledge can be traced back to 1938 where only the first part relating to sacrificing wealth, time and honour can be found. It was later that amendments were made by Hazrat Khalifatul-Masih IIra adding to the pledge.

The Khuddam pledge talks about sacrificing four things we hold dear:

  1. Life
  2. Wealth
  3. Time
  4. Honour

Though a true Khadim is always ready to sacrifice his life—as we saw in the recent example of Syed Taalay Ahmad Sahib Shaheed—in this day and age what we are asked of most frequently is to sacrifice our wealth and time. Wealth is sacrificed in the form of chandas and charity whereas time is sacrificed by committing a certain portion of it in pursuit of the Majlis’ activities. If we reflect upon the history of Islam, this is indeed a very small sacrifice that we are being asked to make. Today’s jihad is that of self-reformation and we are not burdened as Muslims were burdened in times of the past. Therefore, this makes it even more important to ensure we are living up to the little we are being asked to commit.

Hazrat Khalifatul-Masih III leading Khuddam in the pledge. The Khuddam pledge is as old as the organisation itself.

Undoubtedly, this new year will bring a revived focus around the pledge and what it means. But on an individual level we should begin contemplating and evaluating the extent to which we fulfil our pledge.

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