Members of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Women Student Association of Nigeria were blessed with an opportunity to meet Hazrat Khalifatul Masih Vaa in a virtual meeting on 26 September 2021.
The meeting started off with a recitation from the Holy Quran. At the completion of the recitation, Huzooraa said the reference of the verses recited should also be given, which was Surah al-Baqarah, verses 154-158.
A hadith of the Holy Prophetsa was then read out, followed by an extract from the writings of the Promised Messiahas. A qaseedah (in Arabic) of the Promised Messiahas was also recited along with its English translation.
Hazrat Khalifatul Masihaa asked how many students were present and their current level of education. Huzooraa was informed there were 28 students, and they were studying in college and university.
Huzooraa then permitted the students to ask any questions they had.
The first question asked was, “How can one save herself from sins that one is addicted to?”
“The first thing is that you pray to Allah the Almighty in your five daily prayers that Allah the Almighty save you from all satanic attacks […]
“We are surrounded by so many bad things in the present-day world. Today, the Internet, television and other social media actually attract us in a way which is not the right way. Quite a number of programmes shown on the television, or that are available on Internet and social media, are actually trying to deviate us from the right path – from the true teachings of Islam. And because of the lust and charm, we are attracted towards these things.
“So, the first thing is to seek Allah’s help. Only Allah can save us from Satan. This is why we say اَعُوْذُ بِاللّٰهِ مِنَ الشَّيْطَانِ الرَّجِيْمِ – ‘Allah the Almighty, save us from Satan the accursed’.
“Then, in the five daily prayers, you fervently pray for yourself, that Allah saves you; for your siblings; for your family members; for the Jamaat members; and this is how you can broaden your prayers so that you may not only be saving yourself but your atmosphere as well, your environment as well.
“Then say istighfar – make it compulsory that you recite istighfar daily, as much as you can. Also try to avoid seeing bad programmes shown on the television, or available on the Internet, or social media. So, this is how you can save yourself.
“And then, at the same time, try to increase your religious knowledge by reading the Quran and see what the commandments given in the Holy Quran are; write them down – what you have to do and what you have to avoid, and refrain from those bad things.
“In the present day, Allah the Almighty has sent the Promised Messiahas to revive the religion of Islam, to tell us the true teachings of the Quran and the practices of the Holy Prophetsa, the hadith. So, for this, he [the Promised Messiahas] has explained to us so many things in detail in his books. Whichever book is available in English – which has been translated in English – you should try to read a part of those books every day so that in this way, you can increase your religious knowledge as well.
“We have to work hard to save ourselves from the bad things and the sins of today. Otherwise, the attacks of Satan are to such an extent that with our own effort, we cannot save ourselves. We have to seek Allah’s guidance, Allah’s help in this regard.”
Before the next questioner asked her question, Huzooraa asked what she studied. She said she was currently studying microbiology and in the future desired to study medicine. Huzooraa also asked Lajna member who asked the previous question what she was studying, to which she replied that she had recently completed her BSc in mass communication. Huzooraa said:
“You have completed your degree in mass communication, then you should also try to find out the ways and means [of] how can you save yourself and your atmosphere, your environment, your surroundings from the harms of present-day media; since you are doing mass communication.”
The Lajna student said she would do so, “Insha–Allah”.
Huzooraa then returned to the Lajna member who was about to ask her question. She asked, “With the increase of divorce rates in our society, what does His Holiness advise for young couples?”
“You have to increase your tolerance threshold; boys and girls both. You cannot say the divorce rate is increasing only because of the fault of one person – the boy, or the girl; both have some shortcomings in them.”
Huzooraa said the best way to live a good married life was to “increase your tolerance level and ignore all the shortcomings you see in your spouse. Men should ignore them, women should also ignore them.” And instead, try to see the positives in one another.
“You cannot say that a person has only bad qualities – you have good qualities and bad qualities both. Men also have good qualities; women also have good qualities. Men have some shortcomings; women also have some shortcomings.
“If you realise this fact and understand that we have to ignore the shortcomings of each other, then the divorce rate will reduce, and you will live a very happy married life.”
Talking about education and marriage, Huzooraa said:
“An educated person should have very high tolerance level.”
Advising married couples who have children, Huzooraa said:
“For the sake of your children, you should bear all the shortcomings of the other person. This is how a couple can have a good, happy married life. Now your responsibility is to bring up your children in a peaceful manner, offer your children an atmosphere that is good for them, provide that environment for your children which can be helpful for their growth. And that can only be given if husband and wife are living amicably and living a happy life.”
The next question asked was, “Can a Muslim lady study engineering considering the nature of work and mode of dressing?”
Hazrat Amirul Momineenaa said:
“If there is no restriction in wearing a modest dress, then you can. You can do engineering. You can be an architect, you can be a civil engineer, you can be a mechanical engineer, you can be an electric engineer – there are so many lines of engineering, you can choose whatever you like.
“But make it a point that you should wear a modest dress and you should observe your purdah by wearing the hijab etc. So, if that is not restraining you from doing your work, then you can do the work. If there are restrictions that there’s some particular dress you have to wear, and that dress is not very modest, then you should not [work]. If you are doing your work with a modest dress, yes, you can, with a hijab”.
The next question asked, “What is the best way, or approach to encourage inactive members of the Jamaat, as this is the major challenge we face in most institutions?”
Hazrat Khalifatul Masihaa said that it was integral to practice what we preach and “if you claim [to be] something different and you practice something different, that is hypocrisy.”
“But don’t be harsh; talk to whom you’re going to advise politely and with love and care.”
The next student to speak was asked by Huzooraa what she studied. She told Huzooraa she was studying botany. Huzooraa said, “So you like plants, masha–Allah.”
The Lajna student asked, “My question is on time management. To me, Your Holiness, you are the busiest person I know, yet you still manage your time so wisely. Please can you tell us how you are able to manage your time, and can you also advise us how we can manage our time as students as well.”
“You are a student, so try to get up in early in the morning […] ‘Early to bed and early to rise, makes a man healthy, wealthy and wise’ […] Then you should also seek Allah’s help that Allah the Almighty may help you in regulating your life, in organising yourself.
“Six hours of sleep [are enough] – as a student, you should take at least six hours of sleep. And then after that, you ought to keep yourself busy in studies and other activities.”
Advising on time management and reviewing the day, Huzooraa said:
“Right from the beginning of your day, when you start your day, you should write down what you have done. So, if you wake up at six o’clock for Fajr time, then write down, ‘I woke up at this time, then offered my prayer and did some tilawat, read some verses of the Holy Quran or part of the Holy Quran and then did this work, took my breakfast, got myself ready for school, for university. I went to the university; it took me one hour to reach to the university.’ If you are living in a hostel, then it is a different thing. ‘Then I studied at university from this time to this time, came back home and revised my lessons, offered my prayer, did this, did that’.
“Everything you have done during the day, you must write it down and at the end of the day to see what you have done; what are the productive things you have done, and what are the things you wasted your time on.
“In this way you will know that ‘this is my daily plan, I spent so many hours in doing good work, or productive work, and this time, I just wasted in seeing films or on social media or this and that’. So, in this way, you will know that what are the good things you have done, what are the things which were not necessary for your daily routine [that] you have done, and how you can manage it.
“For one week, you must write down your programme, [your] plan, from morning to evening. You will find out what the productive things are and what the unproductive things are. This way, you will try to manage your time accordingly later on.”
The next Lajna member introduced herself and informed Huzooraa that she had completed her degree in Islamic law. She asked for advice for Lajna members who were married, yet they were studying. She wanted to know how to balance the two.
Hazrat Khalifatul Masihaa said:
“You have to look after your house. You have to fulfil the requirement of your husband and also the requirements of your children. So, you will have to see whether you have that much potential that you can discharge both of these duties – can you do justice to your domestic commitments with your studies at the same time? If yes, then spend at least 6-7 hours on your studies and the remaining time you should give to your family.
“And take your husband also in confidence. Your husband should also be cooperative – if he is not cooperating, then you cannot manage […]”
“If you have children, then your main responsibility is of bringing up your children, taking care of your children. Try to make a good asset for the community and the nation. This is your main responsibility; that you are trying to make your children a good asset for the nation and for the community.
“If you think you have that much potential and capability to manage both things, then you should continue your studies. Otherwise, leave your studies, concentrate on your domestic commitments, and give more emphasis on your domestic commitments. And later on, when you are free to some extent, then you can continue your studies later on.
“But if your husband is cooperative and he says, ‘Yes, you can complete your studies and I will help you’, then well and good. Without the cooperation of the husband, the wife cannot continue the study and without the cooperation of the wife, the husband cannot continue his studies. So both of you have to be very kind and caring towards each other. This is how you can do justice to both things.”
The next question was by a medicine student in her fifth year. She asked how Ahmadis could protect themselves from the surge in depression and other mental challenges amongst the youth.
Hazrat Amirul Momineenaa said:
“Actually, the charms of the present-day world – to gain everything […] – is increasing. You want to obtain everything, all the facilities available. The media has also contributed to this. So, the best thing is you should have contentment. If you are content, then you will be saved from these things.
“And Allah the Almighty says,
اَلَا بِذِكۡرِ اللّٰهِ تَطۡمَئِنُّ الۡقُلُوۡبُ
“That the remembrance of Allah the Almighty will give satisfaction to your heart. So, you should also remember Allah the Almighty.
“If you are offering the five daily prayers, remembering Allah the Almighty, reading the Holy Quran, seeing His commandments and practising what Allah the Almighty has asked us to do, then you will be satisfied.”
Huzooraa said that later in the day, he would address the Ijtema of Lajna Imaillah UK and said that a detailed answer to this question would be given in that address along with other contemporary questions being raised. Huzooraa asked the Lajna to listen to the address when it would be aired.
The next question was, “Is it permissible for female Ahmadi students to participate in school politics?”
“Are you not a student in university? Since you are a student, you are permitted to be involved in all the good activities of the university […]
“What is ‘the politics’? If it is the debating society or the university union, then you can take part in that. You can stand for the university union’s president, general secretary, or councillor, or whatever it is.
“But if politics means pulling the leg of each other, then you should not involve yourself. Yes, you can stand for the presidential elections of the student union if you wish.”
The next question asked was, “Which of the Jamaat’s literature will you recommend for us students that will serve as guidance?”
Huzooraa responded by saying:
“I don’t know which of the books have been translated and available there in Nigeria.
“As a student, you are a university student, you should read The Philosophy of the Teachings of Islam – that will give you a detailed concept of the Islamic teachings and you can easily understand that […]
“Then there is the collection of passages on different topics of the Promised Messiahas from his various books. That has been consolidated in a few volumes and is called Essence of Islam. So, you can read those books. I think five volumes have been printed till today and they are very useful. They are covering different topics, so you should read Essence of Islam […]
“Each volume contains different topics and you can just choose the topic of your interest. This is how you will develop an interest in religious knowledge.”
Another student asked about being involved in cultural practices at weddings, especially when one side of the family were not Ahmadi Muslims.
Huzooraa said cultural practices which were totally un-Islamic should not be followed. “But if there are some cultural practices that are not keeping you away from the oneness of God and not involving you in shirk – making partners with Allah – then that practice can be done. There is no harm in it.
“You can perform your nikah in the mosque and later on, you can do your cultural practice, provided they are not against the clear-cut teachings of Islam and they are not keeping you away from the commandments of Allah the Almighty, and it is not giving you the concept of associating partners with Allah the Almighty.
“If the traditional things are not against the Islamic teachings, then you can perform those traditional practices, there is no harm. Otherwise, you can tell your parents that ‘my religion says that this is un-Islamic’.
“If your parents are Muslim – the majority of the Nigerians are Muslims – you can tell them even Islam does not allow it […]” and it was not whether Ahmadi Muslims allowed it or not.
The next question was what advice Huzooraa would give to Lajna members, especially with respect to purdah and considering the pressures of modern-day society.
Seeing the purdah of the Lajna member who asked the question, Huzooraa remarked:
“The purdah you are observing at present is an excellent example of it.”
Huzooraa then described the minimum purdah requirement while also using his hands to point towards the areas that were to be covered around the face and head. Huzooraa said:
“The Promised Messiahas has said the minimum standard of purdah is that you cover your hair, your forehead – half of your forehead – and then your cheeks and chin […]
“And, as I already said, wear a modest dress. So that is the minimum requirement of purdah. And even if your students are observing that purdah, that is enough for them, provided they are not doing any make-up or something of that sort. If you are wearing make-up, then you should cover your face, as you are covering.”
“Your purdah is an excellent example of the purdah and the purdah of [the] other [students] is also very good; the minimum requirement of purdah.”
Huzooraa then asked the Lajna member what she was studying, to which she said she was a law student. Huzooraa asked if she observed the same purdah she was observing during the meeting, in university as well. To this, she said she did.
The next question was, “What is the important attribute of a successful leader and how can you continue to grow and develop as a leader?”
Hearing the question, Huzooraa added, “and follower”. Huzooraa then asked the Lajna member what she was studying, to which she said counselling psychology. Answering her question, Huzooraa said:
“If you mean a political leader or a leader of your country, then they should be honest. They should feel the pain of the people, of the public. And instead of just feeding themselves from the public money and increasing their bank balances here in the country and abroad, then they are not good leaders.
“If you are a true leader, a good leader, you have to be very honest and be caring of your people. These are the best qualities.
“And do justice as well. So, a good leader should be honest and should be showing absolute justice in every respect, hard-working, sincere to the country and the public and the nation.
“These are the qualities, which, if your leader has them, then he is a good leader.
“If not, then I hope that Ahmadis should emerge as good leaders in future so that you can run your country in the best way. Otherwise, the leaders of third world countries are trying to spoil our countries.
“Even if it is a spiritual leader, a spiritual leader should also have the same qualities. If it is the leader within the Jamaat, your amir, your president, they should also have the same qualities.”
At this, Huzooraa said the time was over and those who were not able to ask their questions could do so at the next opportunity.
Turning to Sadr Lajna Imaillah Nigeria, Hazrat Amirul Momineenaa said, “I think there were quite a number of questions asked and I hope your girls are now satisfied to some extent, if not fully.” Sadr Sahiba thanked Huzooraa.
Hazrat Khalifatul Masih Vaa then conveyed his salaam to all the students present and the meeting came to an end.
(Report prepared by Al Hakam)