Friday Sermon – Staying faithful to your trust (18 August 2023)


    Friday Sermon

    18 August 2023

    Staying faithful to your trust

    Mubarak Mosque 5

    After reciting the tashahudta‘awuz and Surah al-Fatihah, Hazrat Khalifatul Masih Vaa stated:

    Allah the Almighty says in the Holy Quran:

    اِنَّ اللّٰہَ يَاۡمُرُکُمۡ اَنۡ تُؤَدُّوا الۡاَمٰنٰتِ اِلٰۤي اَہۡلِہَا

    “Verily, Allah commands you to make over the trusts to those entitled to them.” [4:59]

    It is related in a Hadith that the Holy Prophetsa said that any office or position wherein one oversees the affairs of the people or has authority over them, is also a trust. (Sahih Muslim, Kitab-ul-Imarah, Hadith no. 4719) As such, any office within the administration of our Jamaat or any service that someone has been assigned, are also trusts. We elect office-bearers at every level of the administration of our Community; from a local level to a central and national level. The same applies to the central administration, and [the office-bearers] in the auxiliary organisations are appointed in the same manner. Whether it is the central administration or the administration of an auxiliary organisation, office-bearers are appointed at every level of the administration, from local to central level, and this is usually done through elections. Hence, it is the commandment of Allah the Almighty that when you elect these office-bearers, you should elect such individuals, who, in your estimation, are most suitable for the task and able to do justice to the task entrusted to them. You should not take friendships or relations into account at the time of elections. At times, some office-bearers are appointed directly by the central administration or by the Khalifa of the time, with the purpose of appointing someone who is most suitable for the task. However, at times, there can be a mistake in the judgement, or their character changes after they have been appointed [to a certain office] and the humility, diligence and spirit of performing one’s tasks with justice that an office-bearer should possess, no longer remain. As such, the responsibility for the behaviour of such an individual will be on him, not on the one electing him. In any case, we should endeavour to elect the best people from among us, and we should do so after praying for this.

    Nevertheless, it is generally the endeavour that whoever is being appointed for a certain task is not someone who is exceedingly stepping into the spotlight solely for the sake of becoming an office-bearer. If the name of such an individual is occasionally proposed for an office by the members of the Community, if the central administration or the Khalifa of the time is aware of his affairs, then he is not entrusted with the office, and this is exactly in accordance with the teachings of the Holy Prophetsa. There is a narration in regards to this that two individuals approached the Holy Prophetsa and said that they should be entrusted with such and such a task as they were  worthy of it. The Holy Prophetsa said, “Whomever I appoint for a certain position, Allah the Almighty supports him. And whoever takes on a position out of his own desire is not helped by Allah the Almighty. His undertakings are not blessed.” (Sahih al-Bukhari, Kitab-ul-Ahkam, Hadith 7146 & 7149)

    Therefore, you should never desire or seek to acquire an office. However, you should most certainly be passionate about serving your faith; if you get an opportunity, you should serve your faith, and whatever this service entails, you should try to fulfil it in the best possible manner. Hence, it is not right to desire any office, or to desire to become a supervisor in any office. Indeed, it is admirable to have the passion to serve in any way necessary. Therefore, those who are electing should bear all of this in mind. They must always remember the commandments of the Holy Quran and instructions of the Holy Prophetsa, that after praying, the ones they deem most worthy for any service must be elected. Furthermore, if one has the desire for any office, the administration of the Community and the election forum should discourage that person, and the electors should exercise their right to vote with justice.

    Generally, the elections are conducted in a way whereby the office-bearers of the centre on a national level will present their recommendations for the elections along with the election results to the Khalifa of the time, and the decision lies with the Khalifa of the time as to whether he shall select the name with the most votes, or one with fewer votes. At times, there are circumstances surrounding an individual that only the centre and the Khalifa of the time are aware of, and ordinary people are not. In any case, it is not necessary for the person with the most votes to be elected. Likewise, in accordance with the guidelines, approval for some is given by the central administration for the national elections, and if there are any amendments to be made, permission is sought from the Khalifa of the time. Nevertheless, efforts are always made for the best possible workers to be selected for an office, however, at times one must be selected from those available. But even in this case, the electors must bear in mind that only those who can fulfil their trusts to the best of their abilities should be chosen, and it should not be the case that one’s suggestion in favour of a person is due to their desire for the office, or due to friendship or kinship, or that one raises their hand only because a majority of hands are raised for a certain individual. This negates the commandments of Allah the Almighty and the instructions of the Holy Prophetsa. Even though the central administration elections are not taking place this year, as they have already taken place, in certain places the elections for the auxiliary organisations are due to be held, such as the Ansar, Khuddam and Lajna. Hence, no matter who is elected, members of these organisations must exercise their right to give their suggestions in line with the commandments of Allah Almighty. They should do so after supplicating, and give their recommendations with justice to the Khalifa for who is best in their opinion. Only when we fulfil this obligation with justice can we play a positive role in the progress of the Community and become the recipients of Allah the Almighty’s pleasure. With this, I wish to now draw the attention of the office-bearers towards their responsibilities. Indeed, the office-bearers have already been elected, however, they must always realise their responsibilities and always keep in mind that Allah the Almighty has given us the opportunity to serve, and so we must always strive to fulfil our duties to attain His blessings and pleasure, whilst rising above all kinds of vested interests. Complaints are received about certain office-bearers that they do not display humility, and that, after holding that office, they have become a completely different person. I do not say that they have become Pharaoh-like, but they begin to consider themselves to have a significant status. This is especially unacceptable if it is developed in the elected office-bearers who are life-devotees. After some life-devotees have been appointed as general secretaries, complaints are received in relation to them that they behave very arrogantly and do not even return the greetings of peace. Those who display such behaviour must reform themselves, and after Allah the Almighty has granted them the opportunity to serve, they should bow down to the ground and meet everyone, young or old, with love and humility. You have been appointed to serve the members of the Community, not to overawe them in your official capacity. Then, there are also those who do not carry out their work in the correct manner. Some matters are sent for reports from myself here, yet they remain in draws, and if they are not reminded and asked repeatedly, they then have to send an apology six months or a year later stating that they made a mistake and were unable to pursue it on time. If this is their behaviour with and treatment of the letters from the centre and from the Khalifa, then how can it be expected of them to treat the general members of the Community in a good manner? Such people must reform themselves, or else they will be relieved of their duties.

    I would like to draw the attention of office-bearers to other responsibilities. The first is that you adopt humility, and strive to do full justice in fulfilling the responsibilities assigned to you. It should always be borne in mind that Allah is the Watcher over us and sees all our actions. After receiving an office, we do not simply have free rein; rather, we come under the scrutiny of God Almighty to an even greater extent. People have been elected to these offices, and the Khalifa of the time has approved for them to serve, having placed his trust in them. Hence, we must strive to maintain this trust and expend our efforts in utilising all of our capabilities in this service in the best fashion. Only with this thought in mind can one develop the spirit of working correctly, and only then will the members of the Community cooperate. The majority of complaints received from office-bearers are that in certain departments, members of the Community are not cooperating. Of course, it is the responsibility of the members to cooperate with those whom they have themselves elected, but at the same time, it is also the duty of the office-bearers to display their best examples before the people.

    I have received a report about an office-bearer, stating that he does not give the correct amount of Chanda in accordance with his income, nor does he wish to attain permission to pay Chanda at a lower rate. What sort of example is such a person displaying to others? How can he tell others to make financial sacrifices? Therefore, one’s personal example is of utmost importance. There is a great need to seek forgiveness. There is a great need to remain occupied in the remembrance of God Almighty. There is a great need to analyse ourselves. If a Tarbiyat secretary is himself not paying attention to offering the five daily prayers, how can he encourage others to do so? Likewise, if a life-devotee and missionary is not paying attention to offering voluntary prayers, how can he advise the members of the Community to pay attention to their prayers? The Promised Messiahas has drawn our attention to the fact that non-Muslim clerics give advice, but their actions are not in accordance with their advice, and therefore, their words have no effect. (Malfuzat [1984], Vol. 1, p. 64)

    Thus, we must spend every moment with great concern, and be very careful with each step we take. Only when this is the case can we be those who do justice to fulfilling our trusts. If, while establishing their own examples, the Tarbiyat secretaries tend to the moral training of the Community with love and affection, then they can bring about a revolutionary change in the members of the Community. Every office-bearer should offer at least two units of voluntary prayers daily for the betterment of their department, so that Allah the Almighty bestows His blessings. If the department of tarbiyat becomes active, then, in my estimation, the work of other departments will automatically improve by at least seventy per cent. Hence, it should always be remembered that office-bearers must establish their examples, especially the Amirs of jamaats, Presidents and the Tarbiyat Secretaries. So too does everyone else; it is not that if the others do not do this, then it will not make any difference. By specifically drawing attention to these departments, I do not at all mean that if the others do not adhere to this, then it makes no difference. It is only when everyone adheres to this that the Community can truly flourish. It should not be thought that not establishing one’s own example makes no difference; it certainly does make a significant difference. The actions of every office-bearer make a difference. If the finance secretary is not careful in offering their own monetary contributions, then what can they say to others, as I mentioned before? What blessings will there be in what he says? If the Tabligh Secretary does not render justice in doing tabligh, then how can he motivate others to do tabligh? Hence, every department is important. Similarly, there is the office of president in the auxiliary organisations, along with the members of their executive bodies, which are also important. The auxiliary organisations will also have to become active at every level. In some places, complaints are received about the President of Lajna and her conduct not being appropriate. Some do not treat new converts in a becoming manner. Rather than drawing them nearer, they become the reason for their moving away. These new converts are wrongfully told that “we will reform you,” whereas, according to me, it is such Presidents of Lajna who must be reformed. This happens because some people retain their positions for lengthy periods of time. During their elections, Lajna members do not consider who is actually capable and who is not, which results in issues. Then complaints are received, and when issues arise, people’s faith falters. If those electing do not carry out their responsibility of presenting their opinion with justice and the fear of Allah the Almighty, then they should not complain either. Therefore, at the time of elections, if those who are entitled to the trusts are elected, then there will no longer be any complaints, otherwise, we cannot reform ourselves. I will also say to the office-bearers that their job is not to sit on stages. Every office-bearer should carry out their duty as if they are an ordinary worker. A new convert lady who had come from abroad to attend the Jalsa told me that one aspect of the Jalsa that really impacted her was that she saw the Lajna President carrying out her duty along with the girls doing discipline duty. In any case, it was the President’s responsibility to do so and was nothing extraordinary. She would have been accountable had she not been performing her duty and overseeing everything. If the President herself does not perform duty or keep a check in this manner, then she is not doing justice to that with which she has been entrusted. Those office-bearers who do justice to their trusts become the means of reforming others, including within Lajna. The mentality which all of our office-bearers should have is that the leader of a nation is their servant, as was stated by the Holy Prophetsa. Similarly, in general circumstances, it is the responsibility of an office-bearer to establish and increase personal contact with the members of the Community. They should be with them in their times of happiness and sadness. Every member of the Community should be made to feel that the system of the Community has been established to foster mutual compassion and to take care of one another, not to create a distinction between officers and subordinates, or that some are superior while others are inferior. We are all one, as brothers. We are all striving according to our capabilities to fulfil the mission of the Promised Messiahas. This is the mentality that can beautify the system of the Community, and this is the mentality which can also draw us nearer to Allah the Almighty. By not having this mentality and acting contrary to it, will be a means of incurring the displeasure of Allah the Almighty. It is recorded in a narration in which Hazrat Ma’qil bin Yasarra states, “I heard the Holy Prophetsa say, ‘Whoever Allah the Almighty has made a guardian and responsible over others, and they are negligent in this custodianship, fulfilling their responsibility and seeking good for them, then upon their demise, Allah the Almighty forbids heaven for them and will not grant them of His gardens.’” (Sahih al-Bukhari, Kitab-Ahkam, Hadith no. 715) This is a great warning, a point of great fear and something to contemplate over.

    Then, it is stated in another narration that the Holy Prophetsa said, “Each of you is a guardian and will be asked pertaining to their people.” (Sahih al-Bukhari, Kitab-ul-Ahkam, Hadith 7138) This is a long narration in which custodians are mentioned, however, I will read out the relevant portions. The Holy Prophetsa says, “An Amir is also a guardian.” In other words, this also includes office-bearers, as they are also guardians and they will be questioned in relation to their people. “Their people” does not refer to those over whom they rule; rather, it refers to people whose reformation and betterment are entrusted to them. In this very Hadith, the example of a husband as a guardian is presented; a husband is the guardian of his home and women are the guardian of the children. (Sahih al-Bukhari, Kitab-ul-Ahkam, Hadith 7138) They are not guardians simply to rule; rather, they are guardians for their spiritual and moral training, in order to devise plans for their betterment and to fulfil their needs. If they are not fulfilling this responsibility, then, in accordance with the statement made by the Holy Prophetsa, paradise becomes forbidden for them. Thus, if those who have been made guardians – those who have been made office-bearers – do not carry out their duties in the proper manner and are only representatives of the Khalifa of the time in their localities simply in name, then they are defaming the Khalifa of the time and making him accountable for their sins. I mentioned the example of those who do not send their reports for months. When it comes to such people, what choice do I have but to relieve them of their duties if they do not truly reform themselves so that I, too, do not become accountable for their sinful ways? Hence, I also recite the prayer seeking forgiveness from Allah, and these people should also seek forgiveness and reform themselves. May Allah the Almighty always grant Khilafat-e-Ahmadiyya such true helpers who understand their responsibilities and fulfil their duties, instead of those who have an office simply for the sake of holding an office. This is also a matter worthy of great attention, regarding which the Holy Prophetsa states that whoever is responsible for the collective needs of Muslims, Allah the Almighty will not fulfil their needs and purposes until they fulfil the needs of the people. Not only is this the responsibility of the Khalifa of the time, but it is also the responsibility of all office-bearers who are representatives of the Khalifa of the time in their respective jamaats, which is a great responsibility upon them. It is not enough for them to simply present their opinions in the meetings of the executive committee, or simply by attending these meetings and think that they have fulfilled their duty. It is absolutely necessary for them to make plans for the benefit of others and then see to their implementation. Within the means available to us, we must find solutions to fulfil the people’s needs. In order to meet worldly needs, there are the departments of Umur-e-Aama [general affairs] and San’at-o-Tijarat [trade and industry]. Similarly, the auxiliaries must also play their part. Though our means may be limited, with the best use and the right planning, many people can be helped by them.

    One department where the Community everywhere is facing challenges is the department of Rishta Nata [matrimonial services]. This department requires extensive planning. The Community’s central administration and auxiliary organisations should work together in this regard. For this, it is again necessary for the Tarbiyat department to become more active, both in the central administration and the auxiliaries; once again, matters come back to the Tarbiyat department. If our youth are morally trained in a proper manner, then we will always be able to keep the following instruction of the Holy Prophetsa in view: In matters of marriage, one should give preference to faith over wealth, family background and physical beauty. (Sahih al-Bukhari, Kitab-ul-Nikah, Hadith 5090) If this becomes our preference, then both boys and girls will incline towards improving their religious condition and connecting with God Almighty. In this way, we will be able to safeguard our future generations. Otherwise, it is very difficult, with meagre efforts alone, to safeguard against the schemes of the Dajjal in these times. This requires exceptionally extensive planning. Every office-bearer should first reform their own homes. Furthermore, it is necessary to draw the Community’s attention to our pledge to give precedence to faith over worldly matters; this should not merely be a pledge; rather, we must demonstrate this through our actions. Only when we achieve this will we be able to compete against the Dajjal, safeguard our children, and uphold and fulfil our oaths and trusts.

    Thus, branches of the Community all across the world, their national and local administrative bodies and the auxiliaries must ponder over this and create guidelines so that they can duly fulfil their trusts.

    As an example, I gave a brief overview of the Umur-e-Aama department. The Umur-e-Aama department is part of our administration and is considered a vital department, and it is indeed. However, a notion has taken root that this department is only responsible for recommending punitive measures and giving strict admonitions. The people working under the Umur-e-Aama department all over the world should be aware that their work is not limited to just this. This is a small part of the work, however, their job is not to strictly admonish anyone. This is only the case in extreme circumstances where no solution is in sight, and punitive measures are sought. Here, I will reiterate that if the Tarbiyat department is active, then many problems for the Umur-e-Aama department would be solved, particularly those related to disputes between Community members, members engaging in wrongful acts, and enemies seeking a means through those whose faith is to create disorder through those who are weak of faith. In some instances, the Tarbiyat department has made efforts and created a special bond with the Community members. Where such efforts aid in removing the reservations and ill-thinking of members towards the administration, they will also aid in establishing and helping people accept decisions made by the Community. Furthermore, the efforts of our enemies to take advantage of hypocrites and ill-thinkers will also fail as a result.

    Thus, it is imperative that the departments of Tarbiyat and Umur-e-Aama work together in some matters. As I have already stated, the work of the Umur-e-Aama department is very vast; the department is responsible for devising plans for the Community’s economic stability; they are responsible for guiding Community members with respect to employment and other means of livelihood; they are responsible for serving mankind through various means; they are to reconcile matters of contention with love and compassion and so forth. However, the Umur-e-Aama department should not be involved in matters of Qaza [arbitration] and start passing decisions. Certainly, it is their responsibility to implement the decisions made by Qaza. If an involved party tries to evade or delay the implementation of the decision after it has been made, then it is the responsibility of the Umur-e-Aama department to advise the party that by refusing to abide by the decision, they are ruining their faith for menial worldly benefit. Such people also waste my time. They write to me over and over even though they are at fault. Many people come to their senses if they are spoken to. Nonetheless, the job of the Umur-e-Aama department is not only to recommend punitive measures but to save the people from them, and they should make all possible efforts for this cause. If they observe something wrong or feel that the welfare of the Community could be at risk, they should immediately work in conjunction with the Tarbiyat department and take help from missionaries. In doing so, they will not only protect the welfare of the Community, but they will also save the people’s faith, and this is something they ought to do. Sometimes, the behaviour of office-bearers creates a negative perception of the Community. For instance, if a person has sent a letter to the Khalifa of the time about a particular matter, and the letter is related to the office of a Local President, National President, Umur-e-Aama or any particular department, the respective officeholders are harsh towards that person for not sending the letter through them. As a result, the case is deferred instead of sending a report immediately upon the instruction of Markaz [central headquarters]. When there is no reply to the case, the person in question begins to develop a negative perception and writes to me directly. They are especially given a negative perception when they feel their requests do not reach me. When processing their cases is held up for a long time, people think that their requests do not reach the Khalifa of the time. Situations such as this also arise. On the one hand, [office-bearers] question why they were not consulted, and on the other hand, they delay looking into the matter because they were not consulted. Owing to this, a negative perception develops about the Khalifa of the time and his office. In reality, all of this is wrong. All letters are received. All letters that are received here are opened and read. It is not the case that letters are withheld. Furthermore, every request is sent to their respective branches to acquire reports. Thus, I would like to tell the members of the Community that every letter that is received here is opened, read and [the matters therein are] investigated. It is the respective departments from the various branches of the Community that delay the response. Such office-bearers should be fearful because their actions are causing a division between a Community member and the Khalifa of the time; they cause a negative perception to develop about the administration. In this way, such office-bearers become sinners. By toying with the faith of others, they become sinners. Thus, such people should be fearful. Every office-bearer should realise – especially those who are entrusted to look after the needs of the Community members – that if they show laziness in their work and do not fulfil the rights of the people, they will not only breach their trust but will be seized by Allah the Almighty. It is recorded in a narration that the Holy Prophetsa said that an imam – which also refers to every office-bearer – who closes his door to those in need, the homeless, and the poor, Allah the Almighty will close the door of the heavens for his needs. (Sunan at-Tirmadhi, Abwaab Al-Ahkam, Hadith 1333)

    If there is an office-bearer or someone who works in the office, who has such a mindset, then they ought to try and fulfil the needs of the people as quickly as possible whilst fearing Allah the Almighty. Or, at the very least, they should submit their reports as quickly as possible. Thereafter, it is the duty of the Markaz to assess how quickly the report can be finalised. However, to fail to reply or to put someone’s request to the side is a great crime. Thus, we should make every effort to try and attain the pleasure of Allah the Almighty. We should pay attention to every virtuous deed. The Holy Prophetsa has stated that one should adopt taqwa [righteousness] whatever the situation. If one commits a wrong act, then they should try to do a good deed. The good deed will become a means of expiating the ill deed. One should deal with others in a very kind and courteous manner. (Sunan at-Tirmadhi, Abwaab Al-Birr Wa Al-Silah, Hadith 1987)

    In another tradition, it is narrated that the Holy Prophetsa sent Abu Musara and Mu’adh bin Jabalra and appointed them as the governors of two separate areas of Yemen and instructed them, “Create ease for people and not hardship. Spread love and happiness and do not allow enmity to take root.” (Sahih al-Bukhari, Kitab-ul-Maghazi, Hadith 4341, 4342)

    This is the instruction that every office-bearer who deals with the public should adopt, and keep this as their guiding principle.

    In this manner, the office-bearers of the Community can do true justice to serving the members of the Community; play a role in safeguarding their faith; help maintain unity within the Community and also fulfil the due rights of the responsibilities entrusted to them. When this happens, then this will help create a beautiful atmosphere that will be reflective of a truly Islamic society, which is precisely what the Promised Messiahas came to establish, and we accepted him and pledged our allegiance to him.

    The office-bearers should always remember that the members of the Community have elected them, or will elect them in the future, so that they do true justice to the responsibilities entrusted to them. Even if those electing the office-bearers did not carefully ponder over their decisions at the time of electing them, it is now the duty of the office-bearers to fulfil the responsibilities that Allah the Almighty has entrusted upon them and do so with the best of intentions. They should fulfil these responsibilities while having the fear of Allah the Almighty; in order to attain the pleasure of Allah the Almighty; with the intention of becoming a true servant of the Khalifa of the time; to do their utmost to strengthen the faith of the members and to provide them with benefit. When one adopts this mindset and fulfils their responsibilities with this in mind, then Allah the Almighty shall bestow His blessings in their work and help them in every instance. If this is not the case, then it means that one is far removed from taqwa [righteousness]; and being unfaithful to Allah the Almighty and the Khalifa of the time, as well as harming the faith of those who, whether rightfully or wrongfully, placed their trust in them. The Promised Messiahas states:

    “A true believer is one who safeguards their trusts and oaths, that is, they do not overlook even the minutest aspect of taqwa [righteousness] and caution in fulfilling the trusts placed upon them and in fulfilling their oaths.” (Zamima Barahin-e-Ahmadiyya, Part 5, Ruhani Khazain. Vol. 21, pp. 239-240)

    In another place, the Promised Messiahas states:

    “A person is endowed with two kinds of qualities; one of them is to fulfil his affairs in the best manner, which means that a person is mindful of all the trusts and oaths he owes to God Almighty and does his utmost to not overlook even a single aspect pertaining to them. (No deed should go to waste in relation to fulfilling the trusts.) Similarly, it is incumbent that one shows the same kind of consideration towards the trusts and oaths he has with his fellow humans. In other words, one ought to adopt taqwa [righteousness] in relation to fulfilling the rights due to Allah and the rights due to mankind. This is what it means to fulfil one’s affairs in the best manner, or in other words, spiritual beauty.” (Zamima Barahin-e-Ahmadiyya, Part 5, Ruhani Khazain. Vol. 21, p. 218)

    The office-bearers should keep in mind that they are to develop a spiritual beauty within themselves. The office-bearers are the ones who should consider themselves as the primary addressees of these words of the Promised Messiahas. Every Ahmadi makes a pledge to tread upon the path of taqwa and to give precedence to their faith over the world, however, the office-bearers and those who have been entrusted with the responsibility of serving the Community, are especially addressed here, and they ought to be mindful of safeguarding their oaths and responsibilities entrusted to them. We should try to fulfil the responsibilities placed upon us whilst adhering to taqwa and with all our efforts. May Allah the Almighty grant us all the ability to do this.

    (Official Urdu transcript published in the Daily Al Fazl International, 8 September 2023, pp. 2-7. Translated by The Review of Religions.)

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