Asif M Basit
Friday, 1 January 2021: Having only just finished listening to the Friday Sermon of Hazrat Khalifatul Masih Vaa, I sat trying to delve into the depth of Huzoor’s message for the new year:
Are we to celebrate? Or are we to wait? The coronavirus is still very much around and wreaking havoc across the globe. The world is still not paying heed to its Creator. The world stands at a high and steep cliff of absolute catastrophe, clutching to the edge with its toes, as though that helps avoid free-falling into the deep sea of oblivion that lies beneath. What is there to celebrate?
I delve deeper into Huzoor’s message and find that it would be wrong to see the message as one of disappointment. The message is all about diagnosis, remedy and treatment – a full package to move forward in life and in the right direction. The message has it that the deadly pandemic is a reminder of the Almighty, Whose knowledge, power and grasp on our lives can never be surpassed; Who, from time to time, makes us realise that mankind can progress, but not to the level where the Almighty God can be seen as left behind – He alone stays on top of everything that happens in the Universe.
The breadth and depth of the message are so universal that it spans over all circles of humankind. Common men like myself saw it addressed to us, but it would rise like a mighty tide to the height of world leaders who run the affairs of the modern-day world. As soon as it appeared to be flowing calmly through the spiritual fields of human conscience, it suddenly fell with great force, like an expansive waterfall on to the lands where injustice lurks in every nook of society.
So, from someone sitting peacefully on their sofa at home, to those sitting in prisons for professing their faith and to those who have locked them up; from those who consider worldly knowledge to be sufficient in overcoming the deadly pandemic, to those who see their connection with God only restricted to belief and not practice; from those who turn a blind eye to the political aftermath of the pandemic to those who allow the world economy to turn into a ferocious beast, the message is for every single individual of the world population.
As soon as the Friday Sermon came to an end with this message, I paused the YouTube stream and ran downstairs to catch the Friday prayer. My mind was restless to see what other Muslim leaders had to say at the turn of the year and the decade.
So after the Namaz, I sat at my desk and combed through the Internet. I found nothing. I tried using an even finer comb to go through social media accounts of Muslim leaders (and non-Muslim ones also). Again, I found nothing of the scale of Huzoor’s message. Since that would be an understatement, I must say that I found nothing even remotely close to the scale and magnitude of the message given to the whole world by Hazrat Khalifatul Masih Vaa at the dawn of the new year and the new decade.
I turned to secular world leaders who boringly kept referring to the “light at the end of the tunnel” and were tirelessly attributing this light (which is still more of an illusion) to their own worldly efforts. Vaccines and inoculations, mass testing, test-and-trace, self-isolations, quarantines and what not! I was astonished to see that the world of science had not moved an inch forward from their century-old means and resorts – nothing much different from the influenza pandemic of 1918.
Naturally so, I felt the urge to go through what Hazrat Mirza Bashiruddin Mahmud Ahmad, Khalifatul Masih IIra had called his Jamaat and the world at large to at the outbreak of the influenza pandemic.
The 6 September 1919 issue of Al Fazl Qadian carried a news on its front page that read:
“After the Asr Salat on 30 August, Hazrat Khalifatul Masih II[ra] delivered a speech about the influenza pandemic whereby he gave guidance on physical and spiritual precautions in the wake of the outbreak …”
It further read that the full text of the speech would follow in the next issue. I scrolled to the next issue, which had come out on 13 September 1919.
As I read through the full text, I felt my belief in Khilafat-e-Ahmadiyya strengthen with every word. I was felt more and more convinced that with the advent of the Promised Messiahas, his Khulafa were now to be the reformers prophesied by the Holy Prophetsa of Islam – meant to appear at the head of every century.
At the start of the 20th century, Allah the Almighty had sent a mighty reminder of his existence in the form of a pandemic that left humankind helpless before it. At the same time, there was a reformer calling the world to realise that they were going through a test of their faith and that they ought to turn to their Creator for help.
Now, at the turn of the second decade of the 21st century, we have another sign of a similar scale and we also have, in the form of Hazrat Khalifatul Masih Vaa, the reformer of this time calling the world to turn to God Almighty before it is too late and the damage becomes irreparable.
Hazrat Mirza Bashiruddin Mahmud Ahmadra, in this historic speech, explained the vastness of the scale of the pandemic and said:
“First and foremost, our belief in Allah being the only protector from any adversity and hardship, should make us bring about in ourselves such change and show such endeavour, through absolute obedience, that He becomes pleased with us.
“… If we were to obey Him with complete submission, why would He not show extraordinary grace in the wake of this deadly pandemic?
“Secondly, more time should be spent in invoking Allah’s tasbih and tahmid …
“… Thirdly, remember that prescribed chanda is not sufficient as alms-giving and charity. Although the prescribed chanda is beneficial in this regard, but more should be spent to fulfil the needs of the underprivileged, as it is this form of charitable spending that repels hardships and troubles …
“Fourthly, we should fall before Allah and pray fervently to Him … Praying for the betterment of others is a great means of prevention from difficulties and hardship …
“All the above are means of spiritual nature, but these should be topped-up with physical precautions. The Promised Messiahas said that one who does not observe physical precautions tests Allah the Almighty – as if to say, ‘Let’s see whether Allah saves me or not!’ …
“I would also like to tell you about something which is both of spiritual and physical nature: Never despair and never be disappointed. Disappointment is a spiritual and a physical disease; spiritual because it leads to disbelief and physical as it leads to a weakened body which attracts infection …”
As 1919 took the turn in to the new year, Hazrat Musleh-e-Maudra, undeterred by the devastating spread of the pandemic and the crumbling global economy, launched a scheme for building a mosque in London. Pair the launch of this scheme with his message at the end of the previous year and one can observe what Khilafat-e-Ahmadiyya is all about.
Fast-forward to 2020 and 2021, we see the same ethos of Khilafat-e-Ahmadiyya: In Allah we believe and to Him alone shall we turn to beseech His help and blessings in any hardship; a revolutionary catastrophe calls for a revolution in faith and whatever hardship or calamity may come our way, we will not stop propagating the message of the Oneness of God and the teachings of His messenger, Hazrat Muhammadsa.
Let us recap the magnificent message given by Hazrat Khalifatul Masih Vaa at the turn of the new year and the new decade:
“Today is the first day of the new year and also the first Friday. Pray that this year brings blessings for the Jamaat and the rest of Humanity. Owing to our responsibility, may we all be able to bow before Allah and improve our standards of worship more than before; may the rest of the world be able to realise the purpose of their creation and start to fulfil the rights of Allah the Almighty, as well as obeying Allah the Almighty in fulfilling the rights of others instead of usurping them. Otherwise, Allah the Almighty has His own ways of reminding the world of their responsibilities. I wish that we and all the rest of the world understand this to secure our life in this world and in the Hereafter.
“With our belief in the Imam of the Age – the Promised Messiah and Mahdias – have we transformed into those who fulfil the rights of Allah the Almighty and, for His sake, fulfil the rights of mankind? Or do we still need to improve ourselves, show more fraternal affection towards one another at an extraordinary level?
“So, every Ahmadi should ponder that they have been assigned a great duty and to deliver it, they must create an atmosphere of love and fraternity among themselves in the Ahmadiyya Community. Then turn towards calling others under the banner of Hazrat Muhammad Mustafasa, which is actually the flag of the One God. Only then can we succeed in the purpose of our Bai‘at and do justice to it; only then can we be the recipients of Allah’s blessings. Only then can we rightfully wish one another a happy New Year.”
“It is our duty to beautify our worship with even more prayers. If we are able to do so, then we shall surely succeed”.
“For the last one year, we have been struck by a deadly pandemic and no part of the world is beyond its reach, albeit with a variation of degree. But it seems as if the majority of the world population does not want to see the point that this pandemic could be a reminder from Allah the Almighty of our duties and responsibilities …”
Huzooraa mentioned how Ahmadis in Pakistan and Algeria are being persecuted for their faith. Huzooraa also reminded the opponents of Ahmadis that it is only the Ahmadiyya Muslim Jamaat that gives the world the true message of the Holy Prophetsa of Islam and holds high the flag of his honour.
Huzooraa then went on to mention how he had written to world leaders very recently and invited them to ponder over the pandemic as a reminder from God; also that they seemed to have paid no heed.
Through this New Year’s message, Huzooraa made it clear once again to world powers that the true source of all power and sovereignty lies will Allah the Almighty alone; it is Him Who we will have to turn to as He alone can bring about salvation from all hardships and disasters.
I wanted not to be biased so I sat in my office and browsed through the Internet to fish for any message from any Muslim leader. Through the window of my office, I saw the first day of 2021 turn from noon, to afternoon to evening and then night. I could not find any message.
All I found was the Pope’s message that was read in his absence in the liturgy that usually marks the New Years’ service. Then there was a message from the archbishop of Canterbury.
I will be completely honest and unbiased when I say that both were heart-touching messages but lacked the expanse and universality.
I was still after any messages from Muslim leaders. I now narrowed down my search and focused on Muslim organisations that had been very fond of establishing Khilafat – the offshoots of Maududism and their likes. I found none.
All of a sudden, an entry on Google caught my eye. It read: “ISIS fanatics call for attacks on New Year’s Eve”. I clicked on it and felt chills running down my spine.
“Kill the infidels” was the crux of the New Year’s message from the terrorist group that had once boasted their temporal power over an “Islamic state” and had styled their leader as the “Khalifatul Muslimin”.
I felt ashamed that such messages had gone out in the name of Islam. Then there were posters that the terrorist organisation had posted as their New Year’s message: Muslim-looking men wearing suicidal vests as they looked at the iconic New Year’s fireworks of the Eiffel Tower; other similar-looking men ready to blast off other celebrations with iconic buildings of the West in the backdrop.
I also felt immensely grateful to Allah for being an Ahmadi and for being in the Jamaat of the Khalifa who peacefully calls the world to God; who reminds the world leaders and the world population of their responsibilities and duties toward humanity; who reminds his own community not to sit content that they have verbally accepted the saviour of the age, but to get up and practically remind the world what it actually means to be a good human being, and a good Muslim for that matter.
It has only been 11 days that a challenge was sent out from Khilafat-e-Ahmadiyya to the entire Muslim Ummah – the challenge asking them to establish Khilafat if they can. Since the chilly evening of 20 December 2020, when the message went live on MTA, I have waited every single day to see what the opponents of Khilafat-e-Ahmadiyya have to say in response, but in vain.
But this message from the claimants of “temporal power of an Islamic state” and the self-styled “Khilafat” came up as the only response from the rest of the Muslim world.
I wish to take leave here without any further comments. Your comments are most certainly welcome in the comments section below.