UK Tabligh Dept
During this past Jalsa Salana UK 2018, a photo was taken which may have been puzzling to some. Hazrat Amirul Momineenaa was browsing on two huge screens, while around him stood Ahmadis with a mixture of excitement and anxiety writ across their faces.
This is the story of that photo.
The photo was taken just after the Jumua prayer. In the preceding Friday Sermon, Huzoor said, “Today, two websites, True Islam & Rational Religion will be launched.”
After the Jumua prayer, Huzoor walked off the stage to the screens set up for this purpose. On these websites, “launch” buttons had been designed, which, when pressed by our beloved Imam, played an animation to turn on the website. The purpose of the launch was to signify the incorporation of these platforms into the body of Jamaat-e-Ahmadiyya. However, the action was not purely symbolic, for even the push of a button by Huzoor brings with it countless blessings.
An introduction to the two platforms seems necessary. Both platforms were produced by the UK National Tabligh Department. True Islam going forward is the default “brand” of future national tabligh efforts. It is more than a single campaign; rather it is an entire platform from which multiple campaigns will be launched. The first campaign, The Messiah Has Come already marked a new benchmark in UK tabligh efforts, and further campaigns will follow Insha-Allah.
The website for True Islam (www.trueislam.co.uk) is a newly created repository of information on Islam and Ahmadiyyat for public consumption. The need was felt to produce a platform that provided information about the faith in easily navigated and delineated sections, combining written material with multimedia. The idea was to provide a website that could be easily sent to a tabligh contact without fear of them getting lost or overwhelmed by multiple resources. To this end, the website goes through a wide-range of topics, providing summaries along with expandable detail. There are sections on contemporary issues (the 11 points): Allah, Prophets, Islam, Khilafat and a detailed look at Ahmadiyya theology. While much of the content is excerpted and edited from previous Jamaat resources, there are many thousands of words of original writing. It is hoped that the website will prove an invaluable resource for non-Ahmadis looking to understand the faith, and Ahmadis wishing to browse.
The next platform was Rational Religion (www.rationalreligion.co.uk). This is a website that initially began as a personal endeavour by some khuddam under the rather more controversial moniker, End of Atheism. Curiously, atheists found that name somewhat alarming, though the flagship book of the New Atheist movement being entitled The End of Faith was apparently of little concern.
This notwithstanding, after a year or so of endless online debates with atheists, the team decided that it was futile to miss out on the immense blessings of working under the guidance of Khilafat-e-Ahmadiyya, and so a request was made for the platform to come under the Jamaat Tabligh Department, which was kindly granted. Now under the Jamaat nizam, the team wished to send a more positive message into the world and rebranded the platform as Rational Religion.
The name seeks to portray the beautiful unity of rationality and spirituality that one finds in Islam. The platform has a special focus on refuting atheism. It seeks to show how the spiritual power of Islam is accompanied by intellectual rigour. By the grace of God, the YouTube channel has now a quarter of a million views, while the website has 50,000. Frequent videos and articles are uploaded countering atheist criticisms and putting forward arguments in favour of Islam. For instance, one series of videos is called Believe You Me, a talk-show discussing title questions such as “Is free will an illusion?”, and “Can you be spiritual but not religious?” Huzoor’s relaunch was a symbol of a new birth for the channel, the positive consequences of which are already being felt.
Back to the photo. The launch pages were designed, and the screens prepared. The idea of launches blessed with the touch of Khalifatul Masih was already an immeasurable honour upon team members. But our gracious Khalifa did not leave it there. In his sermon itself, beloved Huzooraa announced to the world the launch of these platforms. Then, another blessing fell fast after the first: much to the surprise of at least this team member, we were called to be besides Huzoor for the launch. As his fingers came near, a thousand prayers flitted across our mind, such as, “O Allah, pray ensure the launch buttons work, and that we are not left troubleshooting IT issues while being broadcast to the corners of the Earth!” But, Alhamdollilah, the launches went smoothly, and our beloved Huzoor left us feeling humbled, grateful and prayerful.
In the time since UK Jalsa, the team has already seen the blessings of Huzoor’s attention in myriad ways, and it is hoped that the current and future output reflects that.
Prayers are requested from all readers that these humble platforms of the UK’s National Tabligh Department are able to fulfil and exceed Huzoor’s lofty expectations!