Asif M Basit
Listening to Huzoor speak at any event leaves one wondering how complex-looking matters can be resolved in such simple ways?
As Hazrat Khalifatul Masih Vaa addressed the Majlis-e-Shura of the UK Jamaat, every point seemed more important than the other. What caught my attention in particular was Huzoor’saa emphasis on developing the habit of reading and instilling this habit in members of the Jamaat. Huzoor emphatically stated that every Ahmadi should read the books of the Promised Messiahas and should endeavour to develop libraries.
This has always been Huzoor’s desire – expressed on various occasions—that libraries should be established; from personal libraries to local Jamaat level ones; from regional to national.
We know that nations that have progressed in the world and proved their mettle have always had a very strong desire for research, and research requires a lot of reading before pen can be put to paper.
The first ever commandment vouchsafed to the Holy Prophetsa by Allah the Almighty was “Read!” Upon the Holy Prophet’s reply that he did not know how to read, it was as if Allah compelled him to read with the help of the Holy Spirit. This shows the immense importance of reading and understanding and its benefits, and it is to this habit that we see Huzoor directing us.
The spread of Islam saw huge amounts of literature being produced. Although it started off with producing and reproducing Islamic canonical material, but it soon delved into translating scriptures and literature of other religions. This led to establishment and growth of libraries in the Muslim world with material on a vast range of topics; faith, spirituality, ethics, philosophy, medicine, science, mathematics and the list goes on.
Then in the time of the Promised Messiahas, we see that he was extremely keen on collecting literature on not only Islam but also on other faiths and how they saw Islam. From his writings, we can infer that Huzooras was in touch with foreign countries and in pursuit of various types of literature on religion.
Hazrat Khalifatul Masih IIra was not only an avid reader of books but also encouraged that the habit of purchasing books be kindled in the hearts of children from the early childhood as this would develop a love for books in their hearts. He himself had a vast collection of books on all major disciplines of the world. I have personally seen his signatures in many of the books that he had donated to Khilafat Library; notes on margins of the pages also spoke of how keenly he read his books, as did the knowledge that his speeches, addresses and books were packed with.
This call to develop a habit of reading has been made to Ahmadis in the times of all Khulafa but this call in the era of Hazrat Khalifatul Masih Vaa has a particular importance.
In an age when social media seems to have redefined the term entertainment, every good habit seems to have been sucked into this modern-day blackhole. With all its benefits, social media remains to be the greatest challenge in getting the younger generation back into habits that can ensure the survival of their endangered wellbeing. So this call from Huzoor is as important as any other instruction and guidance that we receive from him.
The West, racing on the path of material progress, has established libraries on a grand scale. From residential colonies, to boroughs, to schools, colleges and universities, a library makes part of the first plan that is drawn. One university has multiple libraries; every department within a university has huge collections of books; the best thing is that they are all inhabited by people who go there to sit and read or borrow books.
So the call of the time is that the love of books be instilled in our own hearts and the hearts of our younger generations.
Alhamdolillah, Jamaat-e-Ahmadiyya has a longstanding tradition of reading and writing, and with Allah’s grace, we will Insha-Allah not let our beloved Imam down.