To mark the blessed occasion of Eid-ul-Fitr, the Fazle Umar Foundation English Desk has produced a translation of an Eid sermon delivered by Hazrat Mirza Bashiruddin Mahmud Ahmadra, the Promised Reformer and Second Successor of the Promised Messiahas, on 2 November 1940.
Ramadan has passed and the day which we refer to as Eid has arrived. The months of Ramadan which are sent by Allah the Exalted always end and then God bestows on His servants the celebration of Eid. The longest trial that God has determined for His servants is the month of Ramadan. For thirty days the servants of God keep the fasts; endure hunger; withstand thirst; exercise refrain and abstinence; wake through the night; offer prayers; increase their recitation of the Holy Quran; immerse themselves in the remembrance of Allah; and some even observe the Tarawih prayers. Accordingly, this 30-day month is, from a religious perspective, a time of extraordinary happiness and delight, and yet from a physical standpoint it is a trial as the servants of God must pass through hunger and thirst and refrain from their sexual desires.
However, after one month, this tribulation is brought to an end and God gifts His servants with the day of Eid. Moreover, through this, believers are taught that whenever a hardship comes from God it is always temporary and it soon gives way to happiness and ease. But those difficulties which people bring upon themselves are sometimes so protracted that they extend across generations, and at times even cast a shadow over people for centuries, and their day of Eid is not only postponed, it moves further and further away.
Therefore, people should always keep in mind that whenever a trial is prolonged, it owes itself to the faults of people themselves. Otherwise, Allah the Exalted does not set out lengthy periods of hardship. Whenever a trial is raised by Allah the Exalted it is temporary, and after a short period of time, such means and provisions are manifested which indicate that God wishes that His servants soon witness Eid. For example, in the time of the Holy Prophetsa, his companions made every effort to spread Islam and obediently follow his instructions. As a result, their Eid was quick to come. Whereas, the circumstances of the people of Mosesas show that God Almighty wished to bring for them a day of Eid in quick order, but the people themselves turned it away. God wanted them to reach the Promised Land in the lifetime of Mosesas, and from the Holy Quran it is clear that God wished for this to happen 40 years earlier [than when it transpired], but the people delayed it. Thus God wanted them to experience Eid as soon as possible, but through their actions they caused it to be postponed until a later time.
Our community ought to reflect over whether it is working towards hastening forward the day of Eid or postponing its arrival. For there is a good chance that those people who do not have a day of Eid as their goal, may be doubtful of their success. Allah the Exalted has promised to show us a day of Eid just as He promised the people of Mosesas and Jesus of Nazarethas. How, then, can our community have any doubt over its coming? Similarly, this promise must be fulfilled just as it was for the earlier prophets because the God Who lived in the time of Noahas, Abrahamas, Mosesas, Jesusas and Muhammad the messenger of Allahsa is still alive. However, our community ought to reflect over why, [in our case] the Divine help due to us has been postponed until a later date. Surely, this delay is a result of our own shortcomings, apathy and heedlessness. If we discard these traits, we will see that the time of our trials and tribulations, which the followers of all prophets are destined to face, will be reduced just as it was in the lifetime of the Holy Prophetsa. The Messenger of Godsa continued to live until he had established Islam in the Arab Peninsula and his companions did not die until they made Islam victorious over the whole world.
Allah the Exalted treats those prophets who share in the qualities of Mosesas differently to those who share in the qualities of the Messiahas. He bestows on the former governance and rule because He wishes to see the sharia practically implemented in their lifetime. However, since the latter type of prophets do not bring a new law and only teach in accordance with the previous law, therefore, it is not necessary for them to exercise worldly rule. Accordingly, [God instructs] the followers of these prophets to preach with love, compassion and humility and remain steadfast in the face of the enmity of their opponents and, therefore, by comparison He also delays the time of their progress. Since the Promised Messiahas was a messianic prophet, it was necessarily true that the time of his triumph would take longer to reach than that of the Holy Prophetsa. However, it need not take as long as that of Jesus of Nazarethas. Both Mosesas and the Holy Prophetsa shared similarities, however, their triumphs occurred at different times. It took 80 to 90 years for the people of Mosesas to reach the Promised Land. Whereas it took the companions of the Holy Prophetsa only 20 years to achieve a similar success; that is in a quarter of the time, a reduction of 75 percent.
Mosesas lived for around 40 to 50 years [after he was raised as a prophet] and continued to preach his religion. Thereafter, his people roamed in the desert for another 40 to 50 years until they reached the Promised Land. Meaning to say that it took them 80 to 90 years to attain their goal. In contrast, the Holy Prophetsa spent 13 years in Mecca and 7 years in Medina before he prevailed; a quarter of the time it took the people of Mosesas. It took 300 years for the followers of Jesus of Nazarethas to achieve [the pinnacle] of their eminence.
Today, if we continue to tread on the path of the Companionsra [of the Holy Prophetsa] and follow it with full obedience as they did, and prove ourselves to have travelled on the same path as them, it is likely that God Almighty will also bestow upon us the same sign which He manifested for them. Accordingly, we ought to prevail in 75 years which is exactly one fourth of the time it took the followers of Jesus of Nazarethas to emerge triumphant. The current year is 1940 and just prior to 1890 the Promised Messiahas took the first bai‘at. So out of these 75 years, 50 have already passed and only 25 remain. If we wish to show that we follow the path set out for us by the companions of the Holy Prophetsa and we are the recipients of the same Divine blessings the Companions received, then in the next 25 years our tabligh ought to spread to such an extent that even our enemies are forced to admit that Ahmadiyyat has been established across the world. However, the next 25 years seem insufficient for this, particularly when looking back at the past 50.
Even still, it is true that just 50 years ago there was a solitary individual in Qadian who claimed that God spoke to him and conferred on him the mission to guide the whole world. His neighbours, friends and kin heard his voice and rejected him with arrogance and hatred. They called him a liar and vowed to destroy him. Maulvi Muhammad Hussain Batalvi, who was a close friend and acquaintance of the Promised Messiahas during his youth and used to praise his [writings and] essays, said upon hearing his claim that he was the reason the Promised Messiahas achieved his fame and he would be the one to bring him down. Who could have thought that a respectable and powerful figure like Maulvi Muhammad Hussain Batalvi would commit himself to destroying someone and yet that this would not come to pass?
Furthermore, the relatives of the Promised Messiahas announced and published in various newspapers that he had made his claim only for his own economic benefit and that people should pay no heed to him. They tried to defame him and turn the whole world against him. Then I myself remember that those who used to work at his home and are referred to as kameen [servant] in the language of land holders, refused to perform their chores owing to the hatred spread by our relatives. Thus friends and foes alike tried to destroy him. But instead God prophesied to him:
دنیا مىں ایک نبى آیا۔پردنیا نے اسے قبول نہ كیا۔لیکن خدا اسے قبول كرے گا اور بڑے زور آور حملوں سے اس كى سچائى كو ظاہر كر دے گا۔
A Prophet came unto the world, but the world accepted him not; yet God shall manifest His favour and demonstrate his truth with powerful assaults. [Tadhkira, p. 128, 2009 Ed.]
[And yet despite this] a helpless and vulnerable man stood up in Qadian, a remote village where the mail was delivered only once a week and which did not even have a primary school. Nor were its residents capable of buying wheat flour worth a single rupee. Moreover, this claimant was neither a cleric nor did he possess immense wealth. (It is true that the Promised Messiahas belonged to noble family but unlike nawabs and rajas they did not own vast amounts of land).
Under these circumstances he came forward and from the very first day claimed before the world that God would spread his name to the corners of the earth. Today who can challenge the fact that his name has not been spread to the corners of the earth?
His followers who accept his claim and invoke peace and blessings on him, reside in London. There are thousands in America who, from the depths of their hearts, believe in him and every week I receive letters of devotion and sincerity from them. He has followers in Java and Sumatra and there are thousands in West Africa who believe in his claim. In a recent census, his followers numbered 25,000 in just one West African state.
Similarly, his followers have thrived in East Africa, Egypt, Syria, Palestine, Arabia, Italy, Iran, China, Japan, Russia, West America and Argentina.
Thus, there is no territory or country on earth where his message has not reached, but 50 years before today no one would have guessed he would achieve such magnificent success. However, this success was not attained without enduring hardships. He faced severe opposition from friends and foes alike, from the authorities and from the general public. [Indeed there was a time that] whenever an Ahmadi would visit Qadian, their name was recorded by the authorities. [There was even] a police constable who was dispatched to Qadian and who would note down the names of all visitors. Qadian was, in the eyes of authorities, a place of miscreants where visitors were kept under surveillance. This opposition continued for a long time, but one by one the Promised Messiahas drew people towards him, and Ahmadiyyat progressed to such an extent that the total number of Ahmadis residing today in Qadian exceeds that of the number who gathered for the annual conventions in Qadian during the lifetime of the Promised Messiahas. In the last Jalsa Salana held in his lifetime, the attendance figure was 700. And this was considered to be such a manifest sign that during one Jalsa, Huzoor went for a walk but returned shortly afterwards saying that it was too difficult to do so in such a large gathering and indicated that he thought his end was near because the prophets of God are called back when their mission achieves success. Hence, back then a gathering of 700 people was considered a manifest sign of Allah the Exalted, whereas today at a regular gathering in Qadian there are usually 3000 to 4000 people. Again, it used to be that during the Jalsa Salana a gathering of 700 hundred people was considered a great sign and now our circumstances are such that at the Jubilee Jalsa, 42,000 people were in attendance.
No doubt this is a miraculous rate of progress, but it is still not such that it makes the world think that it cannot compete with Ahmadiyyat. True progress is that which makes the enemy succumb. Such a victory has not yet been achieved by us even in Qadian and indeed cannot be attained until people from the north, south, east and west accept Ahmadiyyat and accept that there is none worthy of worship except Allah and Muhammadsa is His messenger.
This victory will not come from just the acceptance of the people of India or Asia or Africa or America. Rather until people belonging to all continents do not come together under this banner, the spiritual reform which has been decreed [to be undertaken] by Ahmadiyyat cannot be achieved.
Therefore, our community should look towards the next 25 years as if their life or death depended on it and all members should commit themselves to spreading the message of Ahmadiyyat. If they are able to preach to their relatives, they should do so. If they are able to preach to strangers, they should do so. If they are able to preach in their own countries, they should do so. And if they are able to preach abroad, they should go and do it. All members should commit themselves to this undertaking with zeal and fervour. They should spread the light of God Almighty which has enlightened their own eyes, because as the progeny of Adamas all the people of the world are our brothers and it is our duty to share with them the riches God has blessed us with. They belong not only to us but to all people. Though they do not ask for their share, it goes against decency to withhold something from your kin regardless of whether they ask for it or not. An honourable person is not satisfied until they hand over to their kin what is their right.
Thus we have been given a great responsibility and been charged with the safekeeping of an incredible trust, which in truth belongs to all the children of Adamas, and until we spread this guidance amongst all people we will not be deemed to have been successful before God.
Accordingly, I say to all those members of the Jamaat who are present at this Eid gathering that they should direct their focus towards tabligh more than ever before. And wherever our Jamaat is established, all of them should immerse themselves in the tabligh of Ahmadiyyat so that in the next 25 years, and in consideration of that which the Companions of the Holy Prophetsa had over the people of Mosesas and that which the community of the Promised Messiahas has over the community of Jesus of Nazarethas, we are successful in bringing the whole world beneath the banner of Islam and so that only one religion and one prophet prevails over the world and like the first Adam, the second Adam should unite the world at one hand to ensure that the Kingdom of God is established in the world just as it is in heaven and that the people of this world extol His glory just as the angels do.
I will now lead the silent prayer. All friends should also pray that Allah the Exalted removes our faults and heedlessness and provides us with the opportunity to show the entire world His radiant and illuminated countenance and spread Islam across the earth. May He bless our words and make effective the things we say and set a place for truth in our hearts so that not a single one of our steps is tainted with falsehood and injustice, and instead, all our actions are based on truth and fairness and our hearts are awakened with sympathy for our fellow beings. May God protect us from arrogance and inequity and imbue our hearts with feelings of love, compassion and empathy and fill them with His love so that both our worldly and religious lives are set aright and beyond this so that the worldly and religious lives of the entire world are also put to order.
(Al Fazl, 13 November 1940)
(Translated by the Fazle Umar Foundation English Desk)