Hafiz Ijaz Ahmad Tahir
Lecturer, Jamia Ahmadiyya UK
وَ مَنۡ يُّهَاجِرۡ فِيۡ سَبِيۡلِ اللّٰهِ يَجِدۡ فِي الۡاَرۡضِ مُرٰغَمًا كَثِيۡرًا وَّ سَعَةً ؕ وَ مَنۡ يَّخۡرُجۡ مِنۡ بَيۡتِهٖ مُهَاجِرًا اِلَي اللّٰهِ وَ رَسُوۡلِهٖ ثُمَّ يُدۡرِكۡهُ الۡمَوۡتُ فَقَدۡ وَقَعَ اَجۡرُهٗ عَلَي اللّٰهِ ؕ وَ كَانَ اللّٰهُ غَفُوۡرًا رَّحِيۡمًا ۔
“And whoso emigrates from his country in the cause of Allah will find in the earth an abundant place of refuge and plentifulness.” (Surah al-Nisa, Ch.4: V.101)
This promise of God was fulfilled with prophets of the past and their true followers, and similarly is valid and effective for all ages and time.
Prophets of Allah were forced to leave their homelands amidst hostile environment created by their opponents. Hazrat Abrahamas migrated from Ur (Iraq) and travelled all the way to find the Promised Land with his true followers. Abrahamas fled from the idolatrous people who desired to murder him.
Allah the Almighty commanded Hazrat Abarahamas in the following words?
“Now the Lord had said unto Abram, ‘Get thee out of thy country, and from thy kindred, and from thy father’s house, unto a land that I shall show thee.’” (Genesis 12:2)
“And I will make of thee a great nation, and I will bless thee, and make thy name great; and thou shalt be a blessing.” (Genesis 12:1-3)
During his travels to Haran, Moab, later to Egypt and then to what we today know as Palestine, his message became more commonly known and his following grew abundantly. Wherever he travelled to, he devoted his time in spreading the message that Allah the Almighty had bestowed upon him, and in return, Allah endowed both his sons Isaacas and Ishmaelas with mighty nations in the form of progeny and following.
God said to Abrahamas, “Sarah thy wife shall bear thee a son indeed; and thou shalt call his name Isaac: and I will establish my covenant with him for an everlasting covenant, [and] with his seed after him. And as for Ishmael, I have heard thee: Behold, I have blessed him, and will make him fruitful, and will multiply him exceedingly; twelve princes shall he beget, and I will make him a great nation.” (Genesis 17:19-21)
In fulfilment of this divine covenant, two great nations emerged through Prophet Abraham’s progeny: the Israelites and the Ishmaelites. Both were rewarded by God with great blessings as it was promised to them.
Many prophets like Jacobas, Josephas, Mosesas, Davidas and Solomonas were born among the Israelites. Through Ishmaelas, the king of all prophets Hazrat Muhammadsa was born and, as promised to Abrahamas, we know that his message spread to all parts of the world and people from all nations of the world accepted him.
Before hijrat (migration), Hazrat Abrahamas was not only abandoned by his family but was also issueless. Such a person, for his piety and for the obedience that he showed to Allah’s commandments in all matters, was given the status of prophethood and his travelling from one land to another brought a whole array of fruitful results; the blessings that we witness to this day.
A few hundred years after Hazrat Abrahamas came another man of God, Mosesas, who fled from his homeland so that those who believed in the One God could profess and practice their religion freely and spread the message further.
He saved them from the atrocities of their tyrant king who had proclaimed divinity. Mosesas migrated, along with his followers, from Egypt to the desert of Sinai. Right from its onset, the journey of his hijrat came with many challenges and difficulties. But as he and his followers remained steadfast, all hurdles in the way of their faith were removed by Allah’s will. He strived to propagate the message of Allah under all circumstances up to his last breath. Soon after his demise, Canaan, the land promised to his forefathers, was given to his nation that settled their under the leadership of Joshua the son of Nun.
The incident is recorded in the Bible in the following words:
“Now after the death of Moses the servant of the Lord, it came to pass that the LORD spake unto Joshua the son of Nun, Moses’ minister, saying, Moses my servant is dead; now therefore arise, go over this Jordan, thou, and all this people, unto the land which I do give to them, [even] to the children of Israel. Every place that the sole of your foot shall tread upon, that have I given unto you, as I said unto Moses. From the wilderness and this Lebanon even unto the great river, the river Euphrates, all the land of the Hittites, and unto the great sea towards the going down of the sun, shall be your coast. There shall not any man be able to stand before thee all the days of thy life: as I was with Moses, [so] I will be with thee: I will not fail thee, nor forsake thee. Be strong and of a good courage: for unto this people shalt thou divide for an inheritance the land, which I swear unto their fathers to give them.” (Joshua: 1-7)
With this land given to them by Allah the Almighty, they found the freedom to practice their religion and this hijrat proved for them to be an abundant and plentiful refuge. This God-gifted land was to later flourish into one of the mighty empires of the world where Israelites lived prosperously under the prophethood of Davidas and Solomonas.
Thus, Allah kept his promise that he made while Abrahamas was leaving his homeland.
Fourteen hundred years after Prophet Mosesas, a promised reformer came for the Israelites, who had forsaken their true faith and had gone astray. Jesusas, son of Mary, the long awaited Messiah of the Israelites, was divinely appointed to revive the message of God. His people humiliatingly rejected him and tried to blemish him with an accursed death through crucifixion. His own people turned against him and rejected the message of revival that he had brought from Allah. Since Allah never leaves his chosen ones alone, Jesusas not only survived this great ordeal but also undertook a hijrat, fleeing to the Eastern lands. He travelled extensively as part of his hijrat in pursuit of the lost tribes of Israelites. He was granted success in his search and he was able to impart the teachings of Allah the Almighty all along his route and later in the Himalayan lands where he had finally settled.
He too had left his country in the cause of Allah and was accepted by many nations around the world. As the Holy Quran mentions that he was revered in this world and hereafter. Even the name “Messiah” has an innate meaning of sayyahat which means travelling. This interesting reference to his Messianic title indicates to the importance of his migration. Ibn Kathir, in his great work Bidayah wa an-Nihaya, relates:
“It is said that he [Jesusas] was called Messiah for the travels that he undertook and for having fled his homeland in the way of his faith.” (Bidayah wa an-Nihaya, Vol 2)
The Holy Prophet Muhammadsa
Then came the time when Allah’s promise to Abrahamas was to be fulfilled once again, but this time with the greatest grandeur. From among the Ishmaelites, a great and final law bearing prophet, Hazrat Muhammad, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, was sent to not only his nation but to all peoples of the world.
His people tried to create hurdles in the way of propagating and practicing his religion. The Holy Prophetsa and his followers were severely persecuted in their hometown of Mecca, from where he had to migrate with his people to the town of Yathrib, later to be called Medina. This migration, known in Islamic History as Hijrat-e-Medina (or Hijrah), was through divine commandment and, as a result, was blessed with great rewards from Allah the Almighty. It was after this migration that the days of glory dawned upon the small immigrant community that rapidly transformed into a city, later into a state and then emerged as a global phenomenon; a revolution in every sense of the term.
This great hijrat – which he undertook on a Monday – brought about great blessings right from the time when it was underway. En route Medina, the Holy Prophetsa was followed by enemies, but was protected miraculously in the cave of Thaur. One of the enemies had been able to track down the Holy Prophetsa but ended up accepting Islam rather than killing him as had intended.
The Promised Messiah, Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmadas
The Holy Prophetsa of Islam had informed his people that when they too would go astray like the Israelites, the same Mosaic pattern would be repeated with a messiah being sent to reform the initial teachings of Islam.
This grand prophecy was fulfilled, and Allah sent Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmadas as the promised reformer, Messiah and Mahdi to safeguard the fortress of Islam. A revelation vouchsafed to him by Allah the Almighty said:
indicating that his community too would have to undergo the strenuous task of migration.
This revelation was fulfilled first in 1947 with the partition of India when the community, under the leadership of Hazrat Khalifatul Masih IIra, had to migrate from Qadian in India to Lahore, now Pakistan.
It was a time of great tribulation when the entire community had to settle in migration camps and temporarily allocated buildings in Lahore. Hazrat Khalifatul Masih IIra, under divine instruction, envisioned a town where Ahmadis could profess and practice their faith with freedom.
A barren piece of land, unfertile and without water, was purchased. The world saw it as a waste of money, but Allah the Almighty showed a great sign by turning what seemed like a wasteland into a blooming city. This town, built from scratch on a barren land, turned out to be the first planned town of Pakistan with the highest literacy rate, a place equipped with amenities of education and health and an infrastructure that even state-sponsored settlements have not been able to achieve in a similar fashion. Among the first few structures built in this town was a mosque called Masjid Mubarak.
This new Markaz of the Jamaat, named Rabwah, was soon fully functional and the propagation of Islam by the Jamaat saw new heights. Hazrat Khalifatul Masih IIra lived the rest of his life in this town.
The time of the third Khilafat (1965-1982) was also spent with Rabwah serving as the Markaz of the Jamaat.
Right at the onset of the fourth Khilafat (1982), the political situation of Pakistan became such that it became impossible for the Khalifa to remain in Pakistan. This situation had been brewing for many decades, but by 1984, certain legislation – proposed by the anti-Ahmadiyya clergy and advocated by the government of Pakistan – brought about another migration for the Ahmadiyya Jamaat.
This hijrat was to be the first intercontinental migration in Islam as all other hijrats in Islam had been to the same part of the country or continent. Hazrat Khalifatul Masih IVrh moved to London and with him, the Markaz was established in the Fazl Mosque, from where it was to function for a period of three and a half decades.
As the hijrat of 1984 had happened in a state of emergency, the Markaz in London was more of a make-shift setup with offices put up in porta-cabins and residential properties around the Fazl Mosque. Despite frequent and consistent complaints by the neighbourhood and the local authorities, Allah enabled the Jamaat’s Markaz to continue functioning from whatever facilities it had.
With these very humble facilities, the Jamaat progressed manifold and it was from here that Muslim Television Ahmadiyya (MTA) was launched in 1992; literally taking the message of Islam to the corners of the Earth.
But Allah has His own ways. Just as Rabwah had remained the Jamaat’s Markaz for a period of three and a half decades, the Fazl Mosque too served as the Markaz for the same span of time. It was in this very Markaz that Hazrat Mirza Masroor Ahmadaa took office as Khalifatul Masih V and a new era of propagation of Islam began. The Jamaat’s operational growth called for further expansion in the nerve-centre of the Jamaat.
Hazrat Khalifatul Masih Vaa announced in his Friday Sermon on 12 April 2019 that – staying in line with a revelation of the Promised Messiahas, “Expand your abode” – the Markaz was now to be established in Islamabad, Surrey where the office and the residence of Khalifatul Masih would be based, along with his private secretariat and other Markaz offices.
This called for another hijrat of Khalifatul Masih and naturally, the Markaz of the Jamaat – two inseparable entities.
Our beloved Imam, Hazrat Khalifatul Masih Vaa moved to this blessed place – the new Markaz of Jamaat-e-Ahmadiyya – on Monday, 15 April 2019.
This marked another turning-point in the history of Islam. The Markaz became functional from the very first day of this hijrat.
In the words of Hazrat Khalifatul Masih Vaa, we pray that Allah makes “Islamabad” the source of spreading “Islam” to the corners of the earth.