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Five Examples Of How Khilafat Has Helped The Muslim Ummah

By Khaqan Ahmad, Birmingham West, History Editor

The Ahmadiyya Muslim community is fortunate that it is guided by Khilafat. However, the blessings of Khilafat are not only for Ahmadi Muslims but those who are not part of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community benefit from Khilafat as well. Here are five examples of how the Caliphs of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community benefit the entire Ummah.

 

Hazrat Hakeem Maulana Nooruddin — Khalifatul-Masih Ira

Hazrat Hakeem Maulana Nooruddinra (the successor of the Promised Messiahas)  was a great man of learning. Soon after he became the Khalifatul-Masih, he setup various humanitarian institutions. Furthermore, he played a vital role in strengthening the institution of Khilafat after 1400 years. This was a very delicate time as Muslims had been blessed with Khilafat on the precepts of prophethood after fourteen centuries, therefore, the colossal task of safeguarding Khilafat was something that the entire Muslim Ummah should be grateful for.

 

Hazrat Mirza Bashiruddin Mahmood Ahmad — Khalifatul-Masih IIra

In 1931, the All-India-Kashmir Committee was set up for the establishment of the civil rights of the Muslims of Kashmir and to alleviate their oppression. Hazrat Mirza Bashiruddin Mahmood Ahmadra  was elected as its first president. He sought to gather Muslim leaders with different opinions on one platform for the cause of the Muslims of Kashmir. He is known to have achieved great success in doing so. The committee turned the attention of the Muslims of Kashmir towards acquiring education and Hazrat Khalifatul-Masih IIra himself gave practical help towards this cause. The committee led by him also encouraged trade, commerce and involvement in politics among the Muslims of Kashmir.

The committee, however, faced strong opposition from the Indian National Congress and the opponents of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community. Such opponents alleged that the committee was formed by the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community in order to spread its teachings and they strongly opposed the leadership of the Ahmadiyya Caliph. However, Hazrat Mirza Bashiruddin Mahmood Ahmadra did not stop his humanitarian efforts and advised the opponents:

“They should stop this hearsay for the sake of the oppressed brothers of Kashmir. Let them come; I am ready to leave presidency but they must promise that they will follow the decision of the majority of Muslims… I assure them that even after stepping down from the presidency, me and my Community shall help them (the people of Kashmir) more than their associates. The presidency is not a thing of respect for me. Respect is gained from service. The leader of a nation is one who serves it…”

The manner in which Hazrat Khalifatul-Masih IIra championed the rights of Muslims, especially those of Kashmir, is something which has been unmatched since. Indeed, the time he spent as president of the committee was a source of great help to Muslims as a whole just like his entire Khilafat.

 

Hazrat Mirza Nasir Ahmad — Khalifatul-Masih IIIrh

In 1970, Hazrat Khalifatul-Masih IIIrh embarked on a nine-week tour of various African countries. During his visit, he attended numerous receptions held in his honour and inspected the educational, social as well as spiritual services rendered by the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community of various African countries. He established the Nusrat Jahan scheme and appealed for financial contributions from the community. Under this scheme, Ahmadi doctors and teachers are serving in various parts of Africa by running numerous medical clinics and secondary schools. Indeed, this scheme is an example of how Hazrat Khalifatul-Masih IIIrh benefitted not just Muslims but people from all walks of life and all religions. It is under this scheme that many schools, hospitals and services are functioning in the poorest parts of the world. Such an initiative was conceived and launched by the third Caliph of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community.

 

Hazrat Mirza Tahir Ahmad — Khalifatul-Masih IVrh

Hazrat Mirza Tahir Ahmadrh was a great scholar and visionary who quickened the propagation of Islam in many ways, especially with the establishment of Muslim Television Ahmadiyya (MTA) in 1994. With this came a new age of rapid communication and meant that the true teachings of Islam could be spread throughout the world. It was through MTA that the Caliph could be heard and seen globally. MTA has grown drastically since its inception and today serves as the premier platform on which the Caliph educates and spiritually nurtures the world, indeed people from all religions benefit from this.

 

 

Hazrat Mirza Masroor Ahmad — Khalifatul-Masih Vaba

As the current leader of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community, His Holinessaba has proactively championed the cause of Islam and is a constant source of guidance for all Muslims. In a time where Islam’s teachings are misinterpreted and portrayed in the wrong manner, Hazrat Mirza Masroor Ahmad, Khalifatul-Masih Vaba, continuously preaches the true teachings of Islam, thus defending Islam and allowing Muslims to be presented in a positive manner. He has visited almost every part of the world and spoken in various parliaments to explain and educate the world as to the true message of the Holy Prophet Muhammadsa. This is why many Muslims turn towards him at times of crisis for guidance.

The Caliphs of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community have not just been a source of guidance for those who have entered the fold of the Community, but the entire Muslim Ummah has benefitted from them since the inception of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Caliphate in 1908.

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The Independence of God

In order for God to manifest Himself, He requires His creation. Does this not contradict His attribute of Independence?

Allah. God. Lord of all the worlds. What does God’s name and His attributes signify? Do God’s attributes indicate that His Majesty is confined to our own realm of being? Or, perhaps that His Worship extends beyond the limits of existence as we know it? How can we say that God is Limitless when the Holy Qur’an specifically mentions one hundred and one attributes?

These are some of the questions upon which this article hopes to shed a slim ray of light for the benefit of our readers in response to the proposition that shapes our title, as well as to perhaps prompt a latent disposition for developing a deeper and more meaningful understanding of the Beloved.

The outline of the concept put forward by Islam concerning the relation between God’s attributes and His Being can be derived from the opening two verses of the first chapter of the Holy Qur’an.

بِسۡمِ اللّٰہِ الرَّحۡمٰنِ الرَّحِیۡمِ
“In the name of Allah, the Most-Gracious, Ever-Merciful.” [1:1]

Here, in the first verse, the Arabic word used for “name” is ism. In fact, ‘name’ is a loose translation of the Arabic. Ism draws on two fundamental sources, which in Arabic are wasm and samud. Wasm connotes a mark or a label, so name in relation to wasm derives an arbitrary nature, for example, ilāh in Arabic is used for any concept of a god or gods, but the proper noun by which God refers to Himself in the Holy Qur’an is Allah. This is the personal name of God, the closest English translation of which is ‘God’. Samud however, derives a meaningful nature and connotes height. This accounts for the qualities attributed to one’s name, hence, we recognise God’s attributes as His names. Accordingly, when Allah is used in view of this understanding of ism, we recognise His personal name as well as all of His qualities which are described in the Holy Qur’an and also observed by human beings. For this reason, to a Muslim, the name Allah brings with it an immense feeling of love.

Reflecting on the title of this article, the question is proposed with consideration to the Islamic concept of the operation of God’s attributes in their totality, essentially putting forward the question: if God’s attributes as described in the Holy Qur’an, are the means through which He is meant to be recognised, how then could He exercise His Godliness (i.e. be God) without His creation? This question takes root in a misunderstanding of the concomitance of God’s attributes. Islam holds that God’s Perfection is demonstrated by the harmonious operation of His attributes, and directs our focus, for example, to the first four attributes mentioned in the Holy Qur’an, which are appreciated as encompassing the essence of them all.

Both the Bible and Holy Qur’an talk about man being made in God’s likeness or His image. Hazrat Mirza Tahir Ahmad Khalifatul-Masih IVrh, on numerous occasions, has explained that the only appropriate understanding of this is that the human psyche is the best reference for reaching an understanding of God, but that this is the extent of our reach on this matter. The way that a piece of art, while it cannot be recognised as being wholly equal to the artist himself, is infused with their impression. In light of this, when we examine how the Holy Qur’an proposes that one fulfils the purpose of their existence, we learn that it is to imitate God by nurturing and practising His known attributes so far as is within our capacity. The Promised Messiahas in The Philosophy of the Teachings of Islam, dedicates some fifty-five pages to explaining that moral values being exercised on their proper occasions is the path to becoming a godly person. This can only point to the understanding that God’s perfection is not in exhibiting all of His attributes concurrently for each and every cause, rather that each attribute at the time of their operation, is manifested perfectly.

The misunderstanding demonstrated by the question at hand, however, indicates that God must always be exercising all of His attributes simultaneously. This is dismissible as a useless and superficial understanding of God. For example, it would be impossible to reconcile the idea that God may exact vengeance on any creation of His whilst also granting forgiveness for the same cause. To take on this perspective would be to completely undermine the principle attributes of God recognised across all worldviews, for example His Justice and Wisdom. One of these is encompassed in the second verse of the Holy Qur’an:

اَلۡحَمۡدُ لِلّٰہِ رَبِّ الۡعٰلَمِیۡنَ
“All Praise belongs to Allah, Lord of all the worlds,” [1:2]

Rabbul-‘Alamin, which is rendered into English as “Lord of all the worlds”, in its true essence means the Developer of all spheres of existence. With the claim that God has the power and freedom to create universes beyond the one to which we belong, it would be entirely inconsistent to limit God’s attributes to those which are applicable to our existence or are perceptible to our limited faculties. If one recognises that those spheres of existence subsumes the minuteness of atoms, whose complexity is likened to a universe in and of itself, why can they not then also extend beyond the farthest reaches of existence as we know it? In the Holy Qur’an, God is described as being the Incomprehensible, or the Subtle, pointing to the Power and Will of God beyond detection by human senses or consciousness.

With this in mind, it is important to point out that the beginning of mankind’s capacity for, and guidance towards, the recognition of God does not signify the beginning of His existence. This would be like claiming that atomic particles were non-existent before 1897, simply because men did not possess adequate instrumentation or understanding for acknowledging them before that time.

The Holy Qur’an was bestowed on mankind to teach the fullest means by which man may meet his Creator through the use of the faculties granted to him in this life. Therefore, it must be in this light that the attributes of God presented therewith, are to be appreciated. In fact, God Almighty unmistakably tells us in the Holy Qur’an that the reality of His attributes far outreaches human conception. He states:

قُلۡ لَّوۡ کَانَ الۡبَحۡرُ مِدَادًا لِّکَلِمٰتِ رَبِّیۡ لَنَفِدَ الۡبَحۡرُ قَبۡلَ اَنۡ تَنۡفَدَ کَلِمٰتُ رَبِّیۡ وَ لَوۡ جِئۡنَا بِمِثۡلِہٖ مَدَدًا
“Say, ‘If the ocean became ink for the words of my Lord, surely, the ocean would be exhausted before the words of my Lord came to an end, even though We brought the like thereof as further help.’” [18:110]

 

So, what can we take away from all of this? For one, the Holy Qur’an reveals one hundred and one attributes of God in relation to the human capacity to understand them. The verse quoted makes it clear, however, that there are more. Many more. This takes us back to the word ism. When used in the context of Allah, it indicates a mark or loftiness. Undeniably, there is no other being to whom this can be applied so truthfully or comprehensively. Secondly, it is incoherent to hold both beliefs, that God is the Lord of all the worlds but that this is the only world to have ever existed, as this would rely on upholding the application of some attributes of God at the cost of others. Therefore, this could in no way be a position held in view of God’s attributes being in perfect agreement, as they are so incontrovertibly described to be in the Holy Qur’an and demonstrably manifested in every aspect of being. Hence, there is no reason to believe that God, as understood in Islam, is reliant on His creation as the means of His Sovereignty or Being.

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Zikr-i-Ilahi & the Tahajjud Prayer

The world was a very different place 104 years ago. By 28th December 1916, the Great War had entered its 884th day. The Ottoman Empire’s power was fading as it had to contend with the Arab revolt, which saw the city of Mecca attacked and overthrown, while Medina was placed under a siege that would last for over two and a half years! And all of this was against the backdrop of World War I.

Like the rest of the world, ordinary folk thousands of miles away in Great Britain had to contend with the harsh reality of food shortages while the social elite mourned the death of famous Austrian composer Eduard Strauss.

With the world in turmoil, a young Hazrat Mirza Bashiruddin Mahmoud Ahmadra entered his second year as the second Caliph (Khalifatul-Masih) to the Promised Messiah, Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmadas (d. 1908). At just 25 years of age, on 28th December 1916, Hazrat Khalifatul Masih IIra used the community’s annual gathering (Jalsa Salana) as an opportunity to direct the world’s attention towards the remembrance of Almighty Allah, the one and true means by which the world could realise a lasting peace.

This speech and the profound effect that it had, and continues to have, on a great many people was recently highlighted by Hazrat Khalifatul-Masih Vaba in a Friday Sermon (19th February 2021). In his sermon, Huzooraba made reference to the methods by which one can remember Almighty Allah as outlined by Hazrat Khalifatul Masih IIra. One of these was the central importance of praying Tahajjud, the early-morning voluntary prayer.

In his speech, which would later be published in book form in multiple languages, Hazrat Khalifatul Masih IIra beautifully set out thirteen tips for how a person can discipline himself / herself to the degree that they can perform the Tahajjud prayer with great sincerity and consistency. These points have been reproduced below for our benefit.

 


 

How to Get Up at Night for Tahajjud

One way—not very useful in my opinion—is to use the alarm clock. It creates dependency and fails to produce the resolute will. If you go to sleep having resolved to get up for Tahajjud, you will be in a state of worship all night. Being determined, you will then get up. Those depending on the alarm clock, but lacking determination, will often shut the alarm clock to go back to sleep. When they do get up, they generally feel sleepy in Prayers. Their dependency prevents them from full wakefulness and alertness. However, under certain circumstances the alarm clock may be used by beginners or others.

There are thirteen methods that can assist [one] in getting up at night. Anyone who sincerely tries them will, God willing, take benefit. There may be difficulties in the beginning, but in the end these methods will prove useful. I have derived these methods from the Holy Qur’an and Hadith. It is by Allah’s Grace that these points, which remained hidden from others, have been manifested to me. To save time, I will only give my conclusions without quoting the references.

1. It is a law of nature that everything reverts to its original state if similar circumstances reappear. Often, in old age, a person suffers from his childhood diseases. The same happens to birds and trees. This law can be helpful in cultivating the habit of getting up during the night. Perform Zikr for a while after Isha The more Zikr you perform, the earlier you will get up for Zikr before the morning.

2. Do not talk to anybody after Isha Although sometimes the Holy Prophetsa continued his conversation after Isha, as a general rule he forbade it. There are two reasons: (a) if you start talking, you will sleep late and will not be able to get up early in the morning; and (b) if the conversation concerns things other than faith, your attention will be diverted. You should go to sleep while thinking of your faith; you will get up with the same thoughts. It is not forbidden to carry out office work or other important assignments after Isha. But in that case, it is better to spend some time in Zikr before going to sleep.

3. Perform Wudu (ablution) before going to bed, even if you are already in a state of ablution. It affects the heart and creates a special kind of freshness. If you go to sleep in that state of freshness, you will get up in the same condition. This is a common observation. Someone smiling at bedtime is generally smiling when he gets up; one who is crying, will wake up crying. With ablution you will be fresh at the time of sleep and fresh when you wake up. It will also help you in getting up.

4. Recite some Zikr before falling asleep; this will cause you to wake up again for Zikr during the night. The Holy Prophetsa used to perform Zikr in the following manner before going to sleep: He recited AyatulKursi (verse 2:256) and the last three chapters of the Zikr the Holy Qur’an; he then gently blew upon his hands and lightly passed them over his body three times. Then he turned towards his right and said:

اَللّٰهُمَّ اَسْلَمْتُ نَفْسِيْ اِلَيْكَ وَوَجَّهْتُ وَجْهِيْ اِلَيْكَ وَفَوَّضْتُ اَمْرِيْ اِلَيْكَ  رَغْبَةً وَّرَهْبَةً اِلَيْكَ لَا مَلْجَأَ وَلَا مَنْجَأَ مِنْكَ اِلَّا إِلَيْكَ اَللّٰهُمَّ اٰمَنْتُ بِكِتَابِكَ الَّذِي اَنْزَ لْتَ وَنَبِيِّكَ الَّذِيْ اَرْسَلْتَ

Allahumma inni aslamto nafsi ilayk. Wa wajjahtu waj hi ilayk. Wa fawwadtu amri ilayk raghbatan wa rahbatan ilayk. La malja’a wa la manja’a minka illa ilayk. Allahumma aamanto bikitabikal-ladhi anzalta wa nabiyyikal-ladhi arsalta.

O Allah, I put myself in Thy protection, and turn my face towards Thee and assign all my affairs to Thee, with complete inclination and fear of Thee. There is no refuge or protection from Thee except towards Thyself. I believe in Thy Book, which Thou hast revealed, and Thy Prophet that Thou hast sent.

All believers should perform this Zikr and then continue with another form of Zikr until sleep takes over. An important recitation during this period is:

سُبْحَانَ اللّٰهِ وَ بِحَمْدِهٖ سُبْحَانَ اللّٰهِ الْعَظِيمِ

Subhan Allahi wa bi Hamdihi, Subhan Allahil-Azeem

Holy is Allah, with His Praise;

Holy is Allah, the Greatest.

 

The condition in which a person goes to sleep stays with him all night. If someone sleeps while performing Tasbeeh (Glorification of God) and Tahmeed (Praise of God) he will remain in that spiritual state all night. It is a common observation that ladies or children, who are disturbed or are in pain at bedtime cry when they turn over onto their sides during sleep. Similarly, if someone goes to sleep reciting Tasbeeh, he will recite Tasbeeh when he will turn his side. God Almighty says:

تَتَجَافٰی جُنُوۡبُہُمۡ عَنِ الۡمَضَاجِعِ یَدۡعُوۡنَ رَبَّہُمۡ خَوۡفًا وَّ طَمَعًا ۫ وَّ مِمَّا رَزَقۡنٰہُمۡ یُنۡفِقُوۡنَ    ۝

Their sides keep away from their beds; and they call on their Lord in fear and hope, and spend out of what We have bestowed on them. (32:17)

To a casual observer, it may not appear that Muslims keep away from their beds. The Holy Prophetsa went to sleep and so do all the Muslims. But in truth their sleep is not sleep; it is a form of Tasbeeh. They appear to be sleeping, but in reality they are not. Their sides keep away from their beds; they are busy in the remembrance of their Lord.

5. Resolve firmly at bedtime to get up for Tahajjud. God Almighty has given man the power to make his mind obey his will. Philosophers have accepted this principle. Decide firmly that you will get up for Tahajjud. While your body sleeps, your mind will be alert [and] it will wake you up exactly at the desired time.

6. The sixth method is only for those who are particularly strong in faith. Instead of performing Witr (three Raka’at prescribed as essential) after Isha, leave Witr for Tahajjud In general, people are regular in performing the obligatory worship, but show slackness in the voluntary. The Witr are Wajib—[meaning] an essential act of worship, not obligatory but more important than the voluntary [prayer]. When a Wajib is combined with the Nawafil, it would strengthen one’s resolve to observe both. The soul will not rest until the Wajib has been observed. So, the Nawafil will also be observed. One who has already performed Witr may not get up for Tahajjud, even if he is awake. His soul will feel at ease. But if the Witr are still due, the soul will be restless and will awaken him. Only the strong in faith should practice this method; the weak ones may deprive themselves even of the Witr by doing so.

7. The seventh method is also for those who have excelled in spirituality. They should start offering Nawafil after Isha Prayer and continue until they begin to doze off in Prayers and are overpowered by sleep. Even though the total amount of their sleep will be reduced, they will find themselves awake at the time of Tahajjud. This method is an exercise for the spirit.

8. The eighth method has been practiced by many Sufis. I have not felt the need for it myself; but it is beneficial. If you get into the habit of oversleeping, then change the soft bed to a hard one.

9. Take dinner several hours before going to bed. Eat before Maghrib Prayer or immediately after it. Sometimes the spirit is active, but the body is not. The body acts like a yoke: if the yoke is too heavy, it strangles the spirit. The stomach should not be full at bedtime. It has an adverse affect upon the heart and makes a man lazy.

10. Do not go to bed unclean. Angels associate with those who are clean; they do not approach the unclean. Once, the Holy Prophetsa was offered something with a strong odor. He did not eat it but permitted his Companions to do so. He explained to them that the angels, who visit him frequently, did not like such odors. Angels abhor filth. Once Hadhrat Khalifatul-Masih Ira went to bed without washing his hands after dinner. He saw a dream in which his elder brother wanted to present him the Holy Qur’an, but when Hadhrat Khalifatul-Masih Ira was about to touch it, his brother withdrew it and said, “Do not touch the Holy Qur’an; your hands are not clean.” Physical cleanliness affects purity of the heart. Those who are clean will have the help of angels to get up; the unclean will not be approached by them. So, keep your bodies clean.

11. The bed should be clean. Many people ignore this matter. Remember that spirituality is directly influenced by cleanliness of the bed. Take special care in this respect.

12. Husband and wife should avoid going to sleep in the same bed. Amongst ordinary Muslims, this habit can harm spirituality, but it does not affect the spiritually advanced. The Holy Prophetsa slept in the same bed with his wives. He possessed a lofty spiritual status and his spirituality could never be compromised. Ordinary Muslims should be careful. A carnal passion adversely affects spirituality. That is why Islam teaches:

 

کُلُوۡا وَ اشۡرَبُوۡا وَ لَا تُسۡرِفُوۡا

…eat and drink but exceed not the bounds… (7:32)

Why does Islam prohibit us from exceeding the limits? Because it harms spirituality. People with self-control will not suffer by sleeping together, but ordinary Muslims may find that it keeps their minds inclined towards passion. This hurts spirituality and prevents them from getting up.

13. The last method is particularly superior. It helps in getting one up for Tahajjud and saves one from many sins and weaknesses. Before retiring for sleep, ponder over whether you have any malice or harbour any rancour or prejudices against anyone. If so, remove it. The purification achieved by this exercise will enable you to get up for Tahajjud.

The heart should be totally clean at bedtime. Anybody who considers such thought to be of some worth, should remind himself that he may be free to indulge in them during the day; but he has no need for them at night. After all, he is not going to fight anybody during the night.

Once rooted out, such thoughts will generally not recur. Even if they do, their damage will not be particularly serious. The result of a thing depends on how long it has been influenced by something else. If you wipe something with a sponge, it will be moist. But if you soak the sponge for a long time, it will be drenched. Thoughts that linger and are repeated in your mind all night would overpower your heart.

Such thoughts cannot do much harm during the day because the mind is absorbed in other activities. But during the night, the mind is free to be influenced. Eliminate all bad thoughts against others that occur at bedtime, lest they become rooted. Eradicating them will not then prove difficult. Moreover, should you breathe your last during the night; you will miss the opportunity of asking forgiveness for this sin.

Once you eliminate the rancour, you will be free from it permanently. When you purify yourself at night, you will certainly be blessed with the opportunity of getting up for Tahajjud.

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Letters to Heads of State

Hazrat Khalifatul-Masih V (aba) wrote letters to world leaders – what guidance did Huzoor (aba) offer?

A total of 17 letters were sent by Hazrat Khalifatul-Masih Vaba of which 14 were to national leaders of Australia, Canada, China, France, Germany, Ghana, India, Israel, Japan, Nigeria, Russia, Sierra Leone, the United Kingdom and the United States of America.

In addition to those 14 letters, His Holinessaba also sent letters to Pope Francis and the Secretary General of the United Nations.

His Holinessaba sent the same message to France, China, Germany, India, Israel, Japan, Russia, UK, USA and Canada. Therefore, these extracts below join to formulate a single message.

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