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Borders of the Holy Land: A brief study in theology and geo-politics

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    Asif Basit, Curator, Ahmadiyya Archive & Research Centre

    The borders of Israel – known as the “Promised Land” in Abrahamic religious traditions – have remained blurry and vague from when it was only a barren and unimportant Ottoman territory. It was not very long ago that what was then known as Palestine has turned into the apple of every Abrahamic religion’s eye – and political motives garbed therein – having remained neglected for centuries.  

    Explorer cum archaeologist TE Lawerence (later to be known as Lawrence of Arabia) depicted the Jerusalem of Ottoman days as a “dirty town”. Another renowned explorer, Karl Baedeker portrayed it as such: “[…] little of it indeed is to be discovered in the narrow, crooked, ill-paved, and dirty streets…” (Palestine and Syria, Karl Baedeker, Dulau & Co, London, 1876) 

    As the Ottoman Empire started to crumble and its pieces began to fall into Russian and Austrian hands, its Sultan was struck with a sudden realisation that if certain policies were not reformed, their empire will eventually fall apart. It was this state of emergency that led to the founding of what they termed Tanzimat – a department for technological and industrial advancement. (A History of the Modern Middle East, WL Cleveland and P Martin, 6th edition, Routledge, 2016)  

    It was through the transportation and travel schemes of Tanzimat that Palestine became linked through roads to the rest of the Ottoman mainland. This enabled the affluent families of Jerusalem to invest in businesses while foreign traders too gained access to Jerusalem and other Palestinian towns. 

    This happened at the high noon of colonialism when any and every promising region would attract the lustful glances of colonial powers. Its trade and industrial promise, paired with Palestinian entrepreneurs touring regions outside of Palestine, was destined to bring Jerusalem on the radar of foreign powers; and so it did in no time.  

    Although the Palestinian feudal circle continued to prosper, the economic state of peasants and the labour class faced a steady decline. Land – the guarantor of prosperity – turned into a precious commodity that left the working class ever more dependent of their feudal and industrial lords. (The Claim of Dispossession: Jewish land-settlement and the Arabs, Aryeh L Avneri, Transaction Publishers, 1982)  

    One of the factors behind the price of land soaring high in Palestine was the Jewish Europeans who had fled persecution in various countries of Europe and fled to settle in Jerusalem and its outskirts. The majority of such settlers had the financial backing of their European counterparts which enabled them to buy land and settle in Palestine. This calls for an understanding of the background. 

    Zionism and Jewish Settlements in Palestine

    Zionism – founded in the latter decades of the 19th century – was an ideological movement to instil nationalistic sentiments into the hearts of Jews living in any part of the world. Before moving on, it is important to analyse the motive behind this movement. 

    As persecution against the Jews escalated in Europe, a sense of homelessness began to emerge in Jewish circles and it was this element of fear that was exploited to inculcate the desire for a Jewish homeland. (Zionism Colonise Palestine, in The Cambridge Survey of World Migration, Robin Cohen, Cambridge University Press, 1995) 

    Theodor Herzl – the founder of Zionism – had started off with what he termed “Political Zionism” but was later to take on socio-cultural strands at the hands of Ahad Ha’am – another important pioneering figure in the history of Zionism. Therefore, founded on political and cultural ethos, Zionism called for a Jewish state where Jews could profess their faith and live their lives according to it. It was through the political engineering of Ahad Ha’am that the ideological shift from a Jewish “homeland” to a Jewish “state” came about. (The Jewish State and Jewish Problem, Ahad Ha’am, tr. Leon Simon, Jewish Publication Society of America, 1912) 

    It is worthy of noting that Palestine was initially the first target of Zionist pursuit. They remained open to accept any piece of land that could serve as their homeland/state, with Uganda and Argentina being considered at one stage. 

    In 1903, British Secretary of State for Colonies, Joseph Chamberlain, had offered Theodor Herzl a 5,000 square miles piece of land in Uganda. Herzl had brought this to the table of the Sixth Congress (held 1903) of World Zionist Organisation (WZO). A subcommittee was formed to consider the offer who, despite their inclination towards Palestine, travelled to Uganda to assess the feasibility; coming back to suggest that they did not see it as suitable. (In the Shadow of Zion: Promised Lands before Israel, Adam Rovner, New York University, 2014) 

    The seventh congress of the WZO was held in 1905, by when Herzl had deceased. The congress declared all other proposals void and voted for only pursuing the acquisition of Palestine as the Jewish homeland. Plans to materialise the agreed proposal were drawn and were soon set in motion. A major article of the plan was to set up industries, sponsor trade and provide amenities in Palestine as a means to finally take over complete control. 

    The eighth congress (1907) saw a detailed debate on how the aforementioned plans could be materialised; agreeing that to penetrate into the industrial setup of Palestine, WZO ought to have a valid enough reason. It was agreed that to craft any such reason, the WZO should establish its branch in Palestine. 

    The ninth congress of WZO (Hamburg, 1909) considered exploiting the Young Turks movement to further weaken the petering strength of the Ottomans as a means to bring about the planned encroachment into Palestine.  

    The twelfth WZO Congress was held in 1921 and was the first congress to be held after the First World War. The Zionists had remained British allies through the war and, after the defeat of Germany, had won British sympathies. (History of Zionism: 1600-1918, Nahum Sokkolow, London, 1919)  

    This congress saw Zionist leaders speak vehemently in favour of Palestine being handed over to the British as their protectorate. Support from the WZO was openly offered to the British. (For details on WZO congresses: www.jafi.org.il, under Zionist Congresses, by David Mendelsson) 

    However, the primary agenda of Zionists had always remained a separate homeland for the Jews, and that this homeland had to be a territory that should remain fully under their control. This primary motive is conspicuously evident from the diaries of Theodor Herzl. (Details: The Complete Diaries of Theodor Herzl, ed Raphael Patai, tr Harry Zohn, Herzl Press, London, 1960) 

    The British backing

    With the fall of the Ottoman Empire in 1917, Britain gained control of Palestine and got to be known as British Mandatory Palestine with Herbert Samuel being its first High Commissioner – later to be a key player in the Balfour Declaration. 

    To secure their alliance, Britain had made two pledges to its Middle Eastern allies: to establish a United Arab Emirate for Muslims of the region and a homeland for the Jews. 

    Post WWI geography left Britain with jurisdiction over the land west of Jordan River (now Israel), West Bank and the Gaza Strip (now Palestine) and the land east of Jordan river (later to become Jordan). (League of Nations Official Journal, 1922, Vol 3)  

    By the end of the first decade of the British Mandate, 120,000 Jews had migrated to Palestine; by the end of the second, another 300,000. (Decoding the Conflict between Israel and the Palestinians, Charles River Editors, 2011) 

    As discussed above, the price of land had soared to the level where it was no longer possible for the local common Arabs to even maintain even smaller pieces of land, let alone purchase anymore. The Jewish settlers – arriving and thriving under British and Zionist patronage – set on a spree of purchasing land. In a very little amount of time, Tel Aviv and its surrounding areas were flying high in their newfound technological and agricultural boom. It was quite natural for the local Arab Muslims to see this as foreign encroachment into their lands. 

    The third decade of British mandate (1937-1947) witnessed mass Jewish migration to Palestine and by 1947, their population was estimated to be around 630,000; that of local Arabs being more than a million. 

    Arab-Jewish conflicts were snowballing at such a steady pace that the British could see the avalanche just around the corner. In a very cunningly calculated “good time”, the British decided to give up their mandate of Palestine and withdrew from a land they had torn apart – a typical British-colonial withdrawal. Not keeping their promise from the war days, the British left the Jewish state and the Arab “emirate” to decide their own fate and came back to the confines and safety of Westminster.  

    On 14 May 1948, just a day before the British withdrew, the leader of the Jewish settlers, David Ben-Gurion, announced the establishment of a Jewish state in Palestine. 

    The Question of Boundaries 

    The British mandate comprised, along with the aforementioned, the piece of land that lay east of the Jordan River. With intervention of the League of Nations, the Transjordan Memorandum of 1922 declared this land out of the British mandate. This made the River Jordan a natural boundary between Palestine and the subsequently founded Jordan. (League of Nations Journal, 1922, Vol 3) 

    Boundaries and borders have ever since remained a bone of contention for Israel and the Arabs of the Middle East. 

    On the very day that David Ben-Guirion announced the Jewish state broke out a war between the Jewish settlers and local Arabs. Such conflicts soon turned into routine – conflicts and truces taking their turns in succession. However the 1967 Jewish-Arab war saw Israel’s invasion into Egypt and their conquest of Sinai. 

    It was not before 1979 that Egypt officially recognised Israel and signed the Israel-Egypt treaty that Israel withdrew its forces from Sinai. This withdrawal roughly set the boundaries of present-day Israel. 

    Biblical demarcation of Israel’s boundaries

    The outright rejection of Argentina and Uganda had not been without reason. Zionist eyes had always been set on Palestine and all that was needed to back this demand was a reason; valid enough to mobilise the masses through a sense of belonging. The persecution of Jews in Europe and Central Asia provided a sound basis to pull the Jewish masses together in their demand for a homeland.  

    As the fragmented Jewish communities did not belong to a single country, nationalism was as straightforward as is in the case of nation-states. It had to be injected through some other means. 

    This is where the Old Testament was drawn from the shelf and the words therein lay ready to get up and help. Highlighted before the Jewish masses were the chapters and verses where God had promised a land to Moses and his followers i.e. the Israelites. 

    A brief look at the verses might help understand the theological grounds of the Zionist agenda. 

    The first mention of this Promised Land is found in Genesis where God assures Abraham and his people the land of Canaan. Not fulfilled in the time of Abraham, the promise kept his people’s hopes alive who had settled in Egypt with Jacob. The Old Testament goes on to tell the story of how these Israelites made their move from Egypt but that does not happen before the time of Moses when, as Exodus suggests, God commands him to lead the Israelites to Canaan, the Promised Land.  

    Moses is said to have died en route, but Joshua succeeds in taking the Israelites into the Promised Land of Canaan. A kingdom is established in the time of David and is in full bloom in the time of Solomon. 

    Therefore, the Promised Land, as suggested by the Bible, is the land of Canaan which is seen as their birth right by the Jews. Their reliance on the Old Testament to claim divine donation of the land calls for the geographical descriptions given therein. 

    In Genesis, chapter 12, God promises a piece of land to Abraham and tells him to migrate. No geographical location or boundaries are mentioned up until this commandment, but the following verses mention his migration towards Canaan. A famine struck the land and Abraham is seen retreating to Egypt.  

    Genesis, 15:18 starts to assign this land a geographical location: 

    “On that day the Lord made a covenant with Abram, saying, ‘I give this land to your offspring, from the Brook of Egypt to the great river, the Euphrates River…’” 

    Further down the line, Genesis records the same promise repeated for Isaac (26:2,3): 

    “The Lord appeared to Isaac and said, ‘Do not go down to Egypt; live in the land where I tell you to live. 

    “ ‘Stay in this land for a while, and I will be with you and bless you. For to you and your descendants I will give all these lands and will confirm the oath I swore to your father Abraham.’” 

    These verses define the southern boundary with Egypt. 

    Similar words continue to recur in chapters 25, 28 and 50 of Genesis. 

    In the Old Testament, God once again promises this land to Moses in Exodus: 

    “I will take you as my own people, and I will be your God. Then you will know that I am the Lord your God, who brought from under the yoke of the Egyptians. 

    “And I will bring you to the land I swore with uplifted hand to give to Abraham, to Isaac and Jacob. I will give it to you as a possession. I am the Lord.” (Genesis 6:7,8) 

    Leviticus 25:23 comes with terms and conditions laid out by God for Israelites to abide by as they take up the tenancy of the Promised Land: 

    “The land must not be sold permanently, because the land is mine and you reside in my land as foreigners and strangers.” 

    The Book of Numbers elaborates on the geography in more detail: 

    “The Lord said to Moses, 

    “ ‘Command the Israelites and say to them: “When you enter Canaan, the land that will be allotted to you as an inheritance is to have these boundaries: 

    “Your southern side will include the Desert of Zin along the border of Edom. Your southern boundary will start in the east from the southern end of the Dead Sea, cross south of Scropion Pass, continue on to Zin and go south of Kadesh Barnea. Then it will go to Hazar Addar and over to Azmon, where it will turn, join the Wadi of Egypt and end at the Mediterranean Sea. 

    “ ‘Your western boundary will be the coast of the Mediterranean Sea. This will be your boundary on the west. 

    “ ‘For your northern boundary, run a line from the Mediterranean Sea to Mount Hor and from Mount Hor to Lebo Hamath. Then the boundary will go to Zedad, continue to Ziphron and end at Hazar Enan. This will be your boundary on the north. 

    “ ‘For your eastern boundary, run a line from Hazar Enan to Shepham. The boundary will go down from Shepham to Riblah on the east side of Ain and continue along the slopes east of the Sea of Galilee. Then the boundary will go down along the Jordan and end at the Dead Sea. 

    “ ‘This will be your land, with its boundaries on every side’.” (Numbers 34:1-12) 

    Similar details appear in Ezekiel 47:13-20. Deuteronomy gives this land away to be occupied in full (5:31, 6:9-11, 17:11), albeit made conditional with good deeds; the same in Leviticus.  

    The Israelites settled in the land but breached the condition laid by God on two occasions; the blessing was revoked on both occasions and resulted in eviction. The Holy Quran, revealed centuries after the Old Testament, records both the occasions. 

    The agenda of geographical expansion 

    Referring to the Bible in regard to Promised Land worked well to instil the desired nationalism in Jewish communities, but it turned out to be a double edged sword. While occupation of Palestine might have fulfilled the urgent need for a Jewish homeland/state, the Zionist appetite for growth and expansion outgrew the land wrapped from all sides in Biblical verses. 

    The Zionist idea of a “Greater Israel” had been around long before the establishment of Israel. David Ben-Gurion, the founding prime minister of Israel, wrote a letter to his son in 1937 where he clearly stated that the land being awarded to the Jewish community in the British mandate. This meant, he stressed, that the Arabs will have to be driven out of the whole mandate. (Ben-Gurion records, held in Israel Defence Force Archives. Original in Hebrew, translated into English by Institute of Palestine Studies) 

    The Zionist leadership steered their agenda in the direction of full occupation of Palestine for more than six decades; Ehud Olmert, the prime minister of Israel, conceded in 2008 that the idea of a Greater Israel had become extinct and that anyone who still pursues it, is foolish. (Ha’aretz, 14 September 2008) 

    Some obsessions don’t fully go. The expansionist agenda of “Greater Israel” continues to reverberate in various shapes – through propaganda on some occasions, and heavy bombardment on others. To quote an example, Dennis Avi Lepkin has recently written a book titled Return to Mecca (2018) where he tries to make a point that the Biblical description of the Promised Land calls for the whole Arabian Peninsula to be drawn into its folds. 

    To arouse religious sentiment, he emphasises that the divine promise with the Israelites will not be fulfilled unless Mecca and Medina are occupied. This, he suggests, will not only lead to fulfilment of divine prophecy but will also result in Islam being crushed forever. 

    After the detailed discussion above, the fantasist theory of Lepkin needs no further attention. 

    The actual aim of Zionism

    Evident as it is from all historical facts, the Zionist agenda was the establishment of a Jewish state. Equally conspicuous is that theology was brought in to materialise dreams of political power more than anything. Now what to do with the theology that deters any further geographical expansion? 

    In the ambition to rule the world, Zionism now seems to be banging its head against the Biblical walls they erected out of choice. What is it that they see as their forward to spill their influence beyond the brim of a small territory?

    Whatever it is, the solution only lies in dialogue and not retaliating through violence against violence. Violence from either side is unacceptable. This is the advice that has always gone out from Khilafat-e-Ahmadiyya.


    The Holy Land and the unholy media: Reporting the Israeli-Palestinian conflict fairly

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      The ongoing injustices of Israel against the Palestinian people have unveiled a stark bias in reporting and narratives pushed by politicians and media outlets.

      As echoed on social media, news outlets and political figures have spoken out on the conflict, but have started off with the opposite end of the story – starting with Palestinian reactions and violence.

      There’s no doubt there is violence from Palestinians, which must be condemned, but as Hazrat Khalifatul Masih Vaa pointed out in a Friday Sermon in 2014:

      “Compared to Israel, the Palestinians have no power or strength. If it is said that Hamas is also perpetrating cruelty, then the Muslim countries should also stop them. However, if you are to compare the two sides, it is as if one side is using sticks to commit cruelty, whilst the other side is utilising an army and missiles to perpetrate its cruelty.” (Friday Sermon, 25 July 2014)

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      Speaking of the Israeli attempts to establish settlements in Sheikh Jarrah and to force Palestinians out of their homes – that sparked the recent violence – Saleh Higazi, Deputy Director for the Middle East and North Africa at Amnesty International said:

      “The latest violence brings into sharp focus Israel’s sustained campaign to expand illegal Israeli settlements and step-up forced evictions of Palestinian residents – such as those in Sheikh Jarrah – to make way for Israeli settlers. These forced evictions are part of a continuing pattern in Sheikh Jarrah, they flagrantly violate international law and would amount to war crimes.” (www.amnesty.org.uk/press-releases/israel-must-not-be-allowed-continue-its-rampage-against-palestinians)

      As a result, Palestinians protested in cities including Jerusalem, but were met with the untamed force of the Israeli army, which stormed into the al-Aqsa mosque – one of the holiest for Muslims – firing rubber-coated steel bullets and throwing stun grenades at worshippers. This aggression took place in the holy month of Ramadan and during the possible days of Lailatul Qadr. The First Minister of Scotland, Nicola Sturgeon rightly tweeted:

      “Attacking a place of worship at any time is reprehensible, but attacking a mosque during Ramadan is utterly indefensible. It is also a violation of international law. Israel should heed calls to halt the violence immediately.”

      In contrast to this background, reporting in the Western media has focused on the rockets fired by Hamas that came later and the “defensive” response by Israel in return.

      Most of the public reading these headlines will have no clue of the background and events leading up to Hamas firing rockets – which should be condemned – and will be sucked into the narrative that the Palestinians have been the aggressors.  

      Often, these headlines will be edited and changed due to public backlash. Even accepting that “Palestinians” are being killed in airstrikes has been difficult for news outlets.

      The New York Times, in a leading headline, said, “Gaza Militants Fire Rockets at Jerusalem; Israel Responds With Airstrikes”.

      In a now-deleted headline, the New York Post falsely reported, “Airstrikes from Hamas militants kill 20 in Israel, including nine kids.” The deaths actually took place in Gaza, including the innocent children, due to Israeli rockets.

      DW News tweeted, “Palestinian health officials in the Gaza strip say 20 people, including nine children, have been killed in fighting with Israel”. The truth is the children were not fighting at all but were killed from bombs dropped by Israel on the Gaza strip.

      In a shocking tweet headline, The New York Times reported, “Gaza militants fired rockets and the Israeli police fought with Palestinian protestors in Jerusalem, in a sudden crescendo of violence that put Israel on edge.” This deeply misleading headline completely turned the order of events and put all blame on the Palestinians for the recent violence.

      Even interviews appear to be orchestrated to start with Palestinian reactions.

      During a BBC Newsnight interview regarding the Hamas situation, Husam Zomlot, Head of the Palestinian Mission to the UK, responded to Emily Maitlis by saying:

      “[…] The UK Foreign Secretary is quick to condemn Hamas and never to condemn the Israeli atrocities on a daily basis […] Always the story begins when Palestinian reaction happens as if it started with Hamas – look at your question, your question is about Hamas, rockets, rockets.”

      He further said:

      “It starts with the Palestinian reaction, with the symptom of the illness. It never visits the illness. The illness is that this state, Israel, the occupying state has been applying draconian measures against our people in every sense […]”

      Ned Prince, the spokesman for the United States Department of State did not clearly condemn the death of Palestinian civilians, including children and their right to self-defense, when pushed by reporters.   

      British Foreign Secretary, Dominic Raab also focused on the “rockets fired at Jerusalem” in his comment given on Twitter:

      There have been news outlets that have reported fairly and have even given a voice to the Palestinians who are being forced out of their homes in Sheikh Jarrah; for example, CNN interviewing a Palestinian writer, Mohammed El-Kurd, whose house may get taken from him in Sheikh Jarrah. Such journalism needs to become the norm

      The agendas and biases are clear for all to see and are part of the never-ending injustices our world suffers from. Western governments and media outlets are pushing their bias in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and it only increases resentment.

      Hazrat Khalifatul Masih Vaa has said:

      “However, what in reality is happening today? If anyone commits a wrong or an injustice, then the victim seeks to exact revenge in a way which is completely out of proportion and far greater than the original injustice committed. This is exactly what we are witnessing these days in the escalating conflict between Israel and Palestine.

      “The major powers have openly expressed their outrage and concern at the situations in Syria, Libya or Egypt; even though it can be argued that they were, in essence, internal matters. Yet they do not seem to be concerned about, or that concerned about, the Palestinian people. This perceived double standard is causing grievances and malice to increase in the hearts of the people from Muslim countries against the major powers of the world.

      “[…] Let it be clear that I am not speaking in support or favour of any particular individual country. What I wish to say is that all forms of cruelty, wherever they exist, must be eradicated and stopped, regardless of whether they are perpetrated by the people of Palestine, the people of Israel or the people of any other country. The cruelties must be stopped because if they are allowed to spread, then the flames of hatred will surely engulf the entire world […]” (European Parliament Address, 4 December 2012)

      Ramadan may end, its spirit should not

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        Friday, 7 May 2021: Towards the end of his Friday Sermon today, Hazrat Khalifatul Masih Vaa drew the attention of all Ahmadis towards strengthening their relationship with Allah by continuing the spirit of Ramadan.

        Huzooraa said that today was the last Friday of Ramadan and we should not observe it merely as the last Friday of Ramadan, but make it a means to set greater milestones for the future.

        Hazrat Khalifatul Masihaa said that the good deeds we were able to achieve in Ramadan should continue and also increase after Ramadan, “otherwise passing through Ramadan would be futile for us.”

        Huzooraa said that during the last Friday Sermon, he advised everyone to recite durood and istighfar. However, this advice was not only for Ramadan, but for the future too.

        Huzooraa said dajjali powers were using ever-new tactics and the false allure and splendour of this world had enchanted most people. Sometimes, Ahmadi children fall prey to this too. To counteract this, Hazrat Amirul Momineenaa said that parents should befriend their children, develop a close connection with them and educate them about the existence of God and Islam’s truth. After instilling the full conviction in them, we should attach them so closely to God, that no action or thought of theirs goes against the will and teaching of God.

        In order to safeguard the next generation, “they should have an answer to every worldly view and fitnah. It should not be that they have answers to some and not others and as a result are affected by them”, Huzooraa said.

        “However, this cannot happen until we, ourselves, increase in belief and certainty to its highest peak. […] This will be possible when our connection with God Almighty will be strong and our Namaz, our worship will be exemplary […]”

        Hazrat Khalifatul Masihaa said it was essential we understood what the Promised Messiahas expected of us.

        Today, immodesty and indecency had entered every home through the television and the internet. Children were watching things without their parents even noticing. A lot of care and attention was needed, Huzooraa said.

        Huzooraa urged the progeny and family of those revered Ahmadis who accepted Ahmadiyyat in the beginning, or were the first to convert, to pay attention to the sacrifices and the level of belief of their predecessors and to follow in their footsteps. If they did so, then they would be able to protect themselves and their progeny. Huzooraa said the progeny and family of revered Ahmadis were not guaranteed Allah’s grace due to the goodness of their predecessors; rather, every individual had the responsibility to increase in faith.

        “It is our own actions that will save us. No one’s familial relations or family can protect them.”

        Huzooraa said people prayed a lot for the worldly progress of their children, but they should pray more so for their religious future.

        In the last days of Ramadan, we should pray that Allah the Almighty protects our faith and the faith of our generations and increases our spiritual progress after Ramadan. May our worship continue to increase; may we develop a strong relationship with Allah; may we be saved from the traps of the Dajjal and may Allah bless us with both temporal and spiritual blessings.

        Hazrat Amirul Momineenaa also spoke about the coronavirus and exhorted all Ahmadis to pray that we were protected from it.

        We should pray for all the Ahmadis in the world too who were being persecuted because of Ahmadiyyat. From these prayers and by trying to acquire the love of God, all troubles would be eradicated.

        Huzooraa said mere utterances of prayer would be of no benefit unless our Salat was offered in the proper manner too.

        Hazrat Amirul Momineenaa said we should continue offering Salat as we had done in Ramadan; only then would we be able to gain the grace and mercy of Allah.

        “May Allah the Almighty enable us to pass this Ramadan […] with success and to continue these good deeds after Ramadan too.”

        Huzooraa said that the wider we made our circle of prayers and prayed for others, the more grace would we receive from God Almighty. We should pray for every Ahmadi, for their problems to be solved and as a result, brotherhood would develop too.

        Huzooraa instructed everyone to pray for the Muslim ummah and for the whole of humanity to be guided to the right path and be saved from the wrath of Allah the Almighty.  

        “Our task is to pray, to pray and to continue to pray.”

        An exemplary tifl should offer prayers, study the Quran and have good morals: UK northern region Atfal ask questions in virtual mulaqat

        On Saturday, 1 May 2021, 77 members of Majlis Atfal-ul-Ahmadiyya UK from northern regions were blessed with the opportunity of meeting Hazrat Khalifatul Masih Vaa in a virtual class.

        Atfal had the opportunity to ask Hazrat Amirul Momineenaa an array of questions related to faith, religion and matters concerning day to day life.

        As the live stream commenced, Huzooraa conveyed his salaam to everyone and enquired which mosque the Atfal had congregated in. Sadr Majlis Khuddam-ul-Ahmadiyya, Abdul Quddus Arif Sahib, who was present with Huzooraa in Islamabad, replied that the Atfal were in Darul Aman Mosque. Huzooraa replied, “Yes, I see. The one in Manchester.” 

        The class then commenced with a recitation from the Holy Quran by Zeeshan Akbar, followed by its English translation presented by Fawad Ahmad Hafeez. 

        Addressing Mohtamim Atfal, Farhad Ahmad Sahib, who was present in Darul Aman Mosque, Huzooraa asked how many Atfal were sitting in the mosque, to which he replied that there were 77 Atfal seated in the mosque. 

        Thereafter, a hadith of the Holy Prophetsa was presented by Kazeem-ur-Rahman, and its translation by Mikael Ahmad. After this, Muhammad Mahmud had the opportunity to read out an extract from the writings of the Promised Messiahas. After this, a nazm composed by the Promised Messiahaa, was recited by Nasir Ahmad Konado, followed by its English translation which was presented by Muntaha Ahmad.

        After hearing the nazm, Hazrat Khalifatul Masih Vaa said, “Jazakallah! Well done!”

        Addressing Mohtamim Atfal, Farhad Ahmad Sahib, Huzooraa asked what was next. Farhad Sahib replied that there were some Atfal who wished to ask Hazrat Khalifatul Masih Vaa questions.

        Ansar Arshad, alluding to the current pandemic, asked Hazrat Khalifatul Masih Vaa if the Promised Messiahas made a prediction of a virus or plague that would occur in the future. 

        Hazrat Amirul Momineenaa said:

        “It was prophesied by the Promised Messiahas that Allah the Almighty told him that there would be an outbreak of a plague during his lifetime, and that happened. And, apart from that, he has said that the world would have to face calamities in the future, which can be in the shape of pandemics – the outbreak of pandemics – or earthquakes, or any other type of problem which people would have to face. So, he did not precisely say that after some time, there would be an outbreak or a pandemic like Covid; but he did say that if people did not realise their duties towards Allah, and if they did not realise their duties towards their fellow being, and if they did not remember the purpose of their coming into this world, then they would have to face some hardships in the future. So, we cannot say that he precisely said that this would happen in this time […]”

        Next, Ilyas Rehman asked Hazrat Amirul Momineenaa if the UK was over the coronavirus crisis or whether there would be another lockdown. 

        Huzooraa said:

        “At least, at present, the government claims that they have now fully controlled the situation and [they say] there are only a few cases, only 25 or 30, 40 cases daily of the death toll of people. It used to be very high in the past. So, they say, ‘because 46% of the population has been vaccinated, this is why now we are somehow confident that we have overcome the situation’. But nobody knows. Every day, we see that new variants of Covid are coming up […]”

        Huzooraa further stated that if new variants of the coronavirus came, then there may be another lockdown.

        Mutal Mahmud asked Hazrat Amirul Momineenaa if being the Khalifa of the time was a difficult responsibility and asked what the most challenging aspect was of being a Khalifa. 

        Hazrat Amirul Momineenaa smiled and stated:

        “You see, the work of the Khalifa is always challenging because when you see that you are directly answerable for whatever you are doing to Allah the Almighty – for all your actions and for all your responsibilities you are discharging – then if you have fear of Allah, every moment which passes should make you God-fearing, and that is a great challenge.”

        Samar Ahmad Khan stated that due to the pandemic, life had changed drastically and overall stress in the atmosphere had increased. He enquired how one should cope with this situation and further asked if it would improve. 

        Hazrat Amirul Momineenaa said:

        “As long as the fear of Covid remains, we cannot say that you will be able to do your normal activities. So, as I have already told you [Atfal], there is still a fear of a second variant or the reoccurrence of the same Covid even. Although it is said that those who have been vaccinated are secure and safe and they are immune, but nobody is immune to this type of pandemic. If your immunity develops in one type of virus, then another variant is coming. 

        “But, at the same time, since you are sitting at home, you should change the pattern of your activities. Involve yourself in reading books. Now, schools have been reopened, right?” 

        To this, the tifl answered in the affirmative. Huzooraa added:

        “Now you are going to school. So, at least the activities you were doing in school have started now […] The best way of spending your time [after school] is that you should spend some time, after completing your homework, reading the books of the Promised Messiahas or other Jamaat related literature. This is how you can increase your religious knowledge and increase wisdom and increase your faith as well […]”   

        Kashif Ahmad, 15, asked Hazrat Amirul Momineenaa what the different ways and methods he adopted for doing tarbiyat of his children were when they were 15. 

        Hazrat Amirul Momineenaa smiled and said:

        “I think my children’s mother played a vital role in training them, instead of myself. The best way is that a father should set an example for his children. If fathers are offering the five daily prayers, they can ask their children to offer the five daily prayers – offering five daily prayers is the best way to discipline your children. 

        “Then, when the father is doing tilawat, reading the Holy Quran daily, then the children will know that their father is doing it, ‘So we should also do it’ […] So when you become a father, you should try to follow these instructions.”

        Yaqoob Ahmad, 13, asked Huzooraa the qualities and characteristics an exemplary tifl should have.

        “An exemplary tifl,” Huzooraa said, “should be very regular and punctual in offering the five daily prayers. After the age of 10, it is obligatory for you to offer the five daily prayers and, if possible, in congregation. 

        “Then, try to do tilawat – read the Holy Quran daily – even if it is one or two rukus, or a small portion of it. 

        “Then, an exemplary tifl should morally be very good, well-behaved. When you go to school, students should know that this boy is very well behaved […]”

        Next, Jahanzeb Khan, 15, quoting from the Holy Quran, asked Huzooraa why there were so many sects in Islam. 

        Hazrat Khalifatul Masih Vaa said that it was the prophecy of the Holy Prophetsa that in the Latter Days, the Muslim ummah would be divided into sects. 

        Huzooraa added:

        “Each sect will think that they are on the right path. They [the various sects] will have different points of view, and each sect will think that their point of view is the best and they are following the true teachings of the Quran and they are following the sunnah of the Holy Prophetsa. In the present Muslim sects, there are some sects who are following the Holy Quran and do not believe in hadith; some are following hadith and give more preference to hadith [than the Holy Quran]. And some others have different point of views […]

        “Now, the Holy Prophetsa said, ‘When this happens, then at that time, a reformer will come who will follow my true teachings, who will guide you and he will be called the Messiah and Mahdi, the rightly guided person. And the person who is rightly guided, will guide you in the same way.’ 

        “We believe that that person whose advent was foretold by the Holy Prophetsa came in the person of Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmadas of Qadian. He said, ‘Allah the Almighty has appointed me as the Messiah and Mahdi of this age, according to the prophecy of the Holy Prophetsa, and He has made the right teachings [of Islam] clear to me. So, I am also the person who will decide what is right and what is wrong.’ He [the Promised Messiah] is hakam and adal […]”

        Huzooraa then asked Jahanzeb Khan if his question was answered and said that he may write to him further in a letter. 

        Following this, Zishan Ahmad, 15, asked Huzooraa how he spent his time on Eid.

        Huzooraa smiled and said:

        “Before Eid prayer, normally I spend some time to prepare my khutba. And after Eid, when I come home, I see my children, my family members and also, I call some of my friends, my relatives and say ‘Eid mubarak’, or receive calls from them. And then, normally, I come to my office and start working again. 

        “Then after the Zuhr prayer, I take lunch with my family members and after that, my routinely work starts again, as I spend on normal days. So, there is not much difference apart from this, that on Eid days, I receive ‘Eid mubarak’ calls from different people and also, at the same time, I sit together with my family members for one hour and take my lunch with them.”

        Zain Shakeel, 13, asked if a person, who passes away, is able to meet with his beloved ones who have also passed away before. 

        Answering the young tifl, Hazrat Khalifatul Masih Vaa stated:

        “Yes, if a person has done good deeds, and he is going to Paradise, he will see all his loved ones who have gone to Paradise. And also, at the same time, those loved ones who have done good deeds and they are in Paradise, they will also see him there […]”

        Zishan Ahmad Ranjid asked Huzooraa how one could focus in class [in school] when there were a lot of distractions. 

        Hazrat Amirul Momineenaa, answering the question, stated:

        “[…] You should try to sit at the front […] change your seat; don’t sit with the students who are creating mischief and joking all the time.”

        Umair Ahmad Sherani, whilst asking his question, said that Hindus prayed to idols so that God may answer their prayers. In Islam, he said, unless you send durood on the Holy Prophetsa, then the prayer would not be accepted. He asked how Islam differs from the two. 

        Huzooraa said:

        “Hindus have made different gods for different things. And they believe that their prayers are only heard when they pray to Allah through these idols […] 

        “In the case of durood sharif, it is a different situation. Allah the Almighty says that ‘the Holy Prophetsa is a human being, and he is the person whom I love more than anything and any person in the world’ […] Allah the Almighty did not say that when we say durood, the Holy Prophetsa would convey our message. Allah says that ‘since I love this person [Prophet Muhammadsa], so when you praise him then I will accept your prayers because you also love the person whom I love’[…]”

        Sharib Ahmad asked Hazrat Amirul Momineenaa how we could bring people towards Islam Ahmadiyyat. 

        Huzooraa stated that it was important for one to show a good example before the world. 

        “The first thing,” Huzooraa said, “is your behaviour. If your behaviour is good, people will get attracted towards you. And in this way, you can make more friends. When you make more friends, they will ask you, ‘Why are you different from others?’ Then you can tell them, ‘Because I follow the true teachings of Islam.’ So, then they will ask you questions about Islam. In this way, you can convey the message of Islam.”

        Momin Gondal, 14, said that fasting was not obligatory at his age and asked what response could be given to those who asked and questioned him as to why he did not fast.

        Hazrat Amirul Momineenaa said:

        “Fasting is obligatory for a mature person […] Your age is the age of nourishment; you are growing. So you can tell them that because of this, Allah the Almighty has said that when a person is fully grown, then he should fast […]”

        At this, Hazrat Khalifatul Masihaa conveyed his salaam and the meeting came to a close.

        (Report prepared by Al Hakam)

        Mulaqat with Huzoor leaves lasting impression on UK Atfal in Manchester

        0

        Farhad Ahmad, Mohtamim Atfal, MKA UK

        Majlis Atfal-ul-Ahmadiyya UK were honoured once again by having a virtual mulaqat with Hazrat Khalifatul Masih Vaa. The mulaqat was held at the Darul Amaan Mosque in Manchester, in which 77 Atfal participated. This was the third of the three blessed opportunities that the Atfal of the UK had within a period of two weeks. 

        Whereas on the previous two occasions, Atfal from the South and the Midlands of the UK had the opportunity to be a part of the mulaqat, on this occasion, Atfal from the North of the UK had the privilege of being in the company of their beloved Imamaa.

        Whilst some felt nervous, all were excited and felt blessed to be part of this historic moment.

        Fawad Hafeez, 14, from Hartlepool Qiadat, said: 

        “Huzoor’s smile stood out the most. Huzooraa was very open when answering the questions.” 

        Zeeshan Akbar of Scotland said:

        “I was a bit nervous whilst reciting tilawat in front of Huzooraa, but was relieved when it was over as I could enjoy the whole mulaqat peacefully. There was a lot of preparation going into this mulaqat and there were a lot of Jamia teachers and Jamia students helping me.” 

        Muhammad Ibrahim of Yorkshire expressed:

        “I was counting the days until the mulaqat; this was my first class with Huzooraa.”

        Faris Ahmad from the West Midlands region was over the moon when he was given the opportunity to see Huzooraa. At first, his name was not amongst those who had the opportunity to be part of the mulaqat in Birmingham and though this brought him despair, he was elated when he heard that he was given the opportunity in the mulaqat taking place in Manchester Mosque as some space opened up there! 

        Harris Jibrael of Manchester West said: 

        “The mulaqat was very fascinating and educational. It was a once in a lifetime thing.”

        Nasir Ahmad of Scotland said:

        “When I found out I was selected for nazm, I would practice a lot for the nazm, I would practice every day after school.”

        When organising the mulaqat, once again the health and safety of the attendees was tantamount and so everyone was tested and all government guidelines were strictly followed in line with the instructions of Hazrat Khalifatul Masihaa.

        The blessings of mulaqats are certainly not restricted to the 270 Atfal who attended the three mulaqats; rather, the precious gems of guidance Huzooraa granted the Atfal and the time Huzooraa spent with the Atfal where Huzooraa spoke to them and did their tarbiyat directly, we hope to try and make sure those gems become a guide for all the Atfal across the UK and we all follow Huzoor’s guidance.

        May Allah enable the Atfal to become true devotees of Khilafat and may we value and cherish the guidance of Huzooraa and implement it so the guidance of Huzooraa becomes a daily part of the life of Atfal and Khuddam. Amin

        Short reminders about Lailatul-Qadr

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        Usama Mubarak, Student Jamia Ahmadiyya UK

        With less than a week left of Ramadan, we still have time to try and attain Lailatul-Qadr – the Night of Destiny – which is better than a thousand months. 

        Here are some aspects to keep in mind. 

        When does one seek it? 

        The Holy Prophetsa said: 

        “Look for Lailatul-Qadr on the odd-numbered nights during the last 10 nights of Ramadan.” (Sahih Bukhari, Kitab Fazlu Lailatil-Qadr)

        Therefore, it may fall on the 21st, 23rd, 25th, 27th or 29th of Ramadan.

        Significance 

        The Holy Prophetsa said: 

        “Whoever stands for the prayers in Lailatul-Qadr [the Night of Destiny] out of sincere faith and hoping for a reward from Allah, all their previous sins will be forgiven.” (Ibid)

        A misconception 

        Hazrat Khalifatul Masih Vaa narrated an incident of the Companionsra of the Holy Prophetsa to shed some light on a matter that some people still misconstrue today:

        “It is mentioned in one narration that Zir bin Hubaish asked Hazrat Ubayyra Bin Kaab, ‘Your brother, Ibn-e-Mas‘ud[ra], says that if a person worships and prays for the entire year, he will attain the Night of Decree.’ He responded, ‘May God have mercy on him. He was simply stating this to make people realise not to put all of their hopes and attention on this one night. He knows very well that the actual Night of Decree takes place in the last 10 days of Ramadan.’”

        Huzooraa explained:

        “The Companionsra [of the Holy Prophetsa] knew very well that only the supplications of the last 10 days of Ramadan are not what enable one to experience the Night of Decree.” (Hazrat Mirza Masroor Ahmadaa, Friday Sermon, 27 August 2010)

        What to pray during Lailatul-Qadr

        Hazrat Aishara asked the Holy Prophetsa what to say if one were to experience Lailatul-Qadr. The Holy Prophetra responded by saying following prayer should be recited:

        اللّٰهُمَّ‭ ‬إِنَّكَ‭ ‬عَفُوٌّ‭ ‬تُحِبُّ‭ ‬العَفْوَ‭ ‬فَاعْفُ‭ ‬عنِّيْ

        Translation: “O Allah, You are the Most Forgiving, You love forgiveness, so forgive me.” (Sunan Ibn Majah, Kitab al-Dua)

        The Holy Prophetsa also read the following prayer in great abundance:  

        اللّٰهُمَّ‭ ‬أَجِرْنِي‭ ‬مِنَ‭ ‬النَّارِ

        Translation: “O Allah, protect me from the hell-fire” (Sunan Ibn Dawud, Kitab al-Adab)

        The true effects of Lailatul-Qadr

        Talking about the significance and effect of Lailatul-Qadr, Hazrat Khalifatul Masih Vaa said:

        “If one believes to have experienced Lailatul-Qadr – the worship of which night is better than the worship of 1,000 months – and that they do not need any more worship, then they are false. The pleasure of Allah’s love enhances a believer [in rank] as a servant of God Almighty and as being obedient to His commandments, more than before. So when such a level is attained, the beneficence of Allah begins to shower [upon him]. Then Allah states ‘I will listen to your prayers [as] you have endeavoured, stepped forward and strived to gain My nearness; you have fulfilled and taken care of your pledge; now, if you continue to do so, then I will also continue to bless you.’ (Hazrat Mirza Masroor Ahmadaa, Friday Sermon, 27 August 2010)

        The wisdom behind Lailatul-Qadr is beyond our comprehension. Had this day been attributed to a prescribed date, we may have taken the blessings of seeking it, for granted. 

        Answers to everyday issues – Part XIV

        Part I – Part IIPart IIIPart IVPart VPart VIPart VIIPart VIIIPart IXPart XPart XIPart XIIPart XIII

        Guidance regarding basic Islamic issues – which Hazrat Amirul Momineen, Khalifatul Masih Vaa has given on various occasions in his written correspondence and during MTA programmes – is being officially published below for everyone’s benefit.

        Zaheer Ahmad Khan, Head of Records Department, Private Secretariat, London

        Can one recite the Holy Quran on a mobile device during menstruation?; Why does the Holy Quran refer to some people who are not prophets as “the chosen ones”?

        Hazrat Amirul Momineenaa was asked:

        1. about the issue of ladies reciting the Holy Quran on mobile devices during menstruation

        2. why the Holy Quran had used the word اصْطَفَاكِ [He has chosen you] for Hazrat Maryam since she was a woman and not a prophet? 

        Huzooraa, in a letter dated 14 January 2020, gave the following reply: 

        1. “A woman may repeat the previously memorised portions of the Holy Quran by way of zikr [i.e. remembrance and reflection] in her heart during menstruation. Moreover, she may also read out a portion of it in order to teach it to children. However, she may not recite it in the regular manner. 

        “Likewise, a woman is not allowed to recite the Holy Quran in the regular manner during menstruation using computers or mobile devices even though she would not be physically holding the Holy Quran. However, she can read the Holy Quran on such devices, for instance, to search for a reference or to provide someone with a reference. There is no issue with that.”

        2. “As far as the usage of the word اصْطَفَاكِ [I have chosen you] by the Holy Quran for Hazrat Maryam is concerned, the Holy Quran and the ahadith show that this word has not only been used for prophets but also for other people ‘chosen’ to carry out any extraordinary or important task. Hence, the word is used in the Holy Quran by Hazrat Abrahamas and Hazrat Jacobas to tell their children that Allah the Exalted had ‘chosen’ an extraordinary religion for them. It reads:

        يٰبَنِيَّ اِنَّ اللّٰهَ اصۡطَفٰي لَكُمُ الدِّيۡنَ فَلَا تَمُوۡتُنَّ اِلَّا وَ اَنۡتُمۡ مُّسۡلِمُوۡنَ

        ‘O my sons, truly Allah has chosen this religion for you; so let not death overtake you except when you are in a state of submission.’ (Surah al-Baqarah, Ch.2: V.133)

        “Furthermore, the Holy Quran has used this word while describing the superiority of the progeny of Abraham [Aal-e-Ibrahim] and the progeny of Imran [Aal-e-Imran] over the peoples of that era. It states: 

        اِنَّ‭ ‬اللّٰهَ‭ ‬اصۡطَفٰۤي‭ ‬اٰدَمَ‭ ‬وَ‭ ‬نُوۡحًا‭ ‬وَّ‭ ‬اٰلَ‭ ‬اِبۡرٰهِيۡمَ‭ ‬وَ‭ ‬اٰلَ‭ ‬عِمۡرٰنَ‭ ‬عَلَي‭ ‬الۡعٰلَمِيۡنَ

        ‘Allah did choose Adam and Noah and the family of Abraham and the family of Imran above all peoples.’ (Surah Al-e-Imran, Ch.3: V.34)

        “Similarly, it is mentioned in ahadith that the Holy Prophetsa was asked as to which zikr was most liked by Allah the Exalted. He replied:

        مَا اصْطَفَاهُ اللهُ لِمَلَائِكَتِهِ سُبْحَانَ رَبِّي وَبِحَمْدِهِ سُبْحَانَ رَبِّي وَبِحَمْدِهِ

        ‘The zikr “preferred’ by Allah for his angels is “Subhana Rabbi wa bi-hamdihi, subhana Rabbi wa bi-hamdihi” [Holy is my Lord and to Him belongs all praise. Holy is my Lord and to Him belongs all praise]’ (Sunan al-Tirmidhi, Kitab al-Da‘waat)

        “Thus, the word اصْطِفَاء means to choose, to prefer and to select. That is to say, to bring someone closer because of their most excellent qualities or to accord them a station in one’s vicinity on account of their good deeds. 

        “Although Hazrat Maryam was not a prophet of God, Allah the Exalted had endowed her with such excellent qualities that upon seeing these very qualities, Hazrat Zakariaas, a prophet of Allah, wished to have children like her. Thus, thanks to the prayer of Hazrat Zakariaas, Allah the Exalted blessed him with a son in the form of Hazrat Yahyaas who was also a prophet. 

        “Owing to the Israelites’ constant disobedience to God’s prophets, and their mockery and denial of them, Allah the Exalted granted Hazrat Maryam a son in the personage of Hazrat Jesusas who was a prophet but none of the men from among the Children of Israel had any part in the birth of that son. Following that, the great blessing of prophethood was taken away from the Children of Israel forever. 

        “Thus, it is due to her extraordinary qualities, that Allah the Exalted used the word اصْطَفَاكِ [He has chosen you] for Hazrat Maryam in the Holy Quran.” 

        Status of those who died during the Battle of the Camel; A woman’s testimony; The testimony and inheritance of a hermaphrodite

        Huzooraa was asked:

        1. about the status of those who died during the Battle of the Camel

        2. about the status of ahadith reported by Hazrat Aishara, assuming that a woman’s testimony was worth half 

        3. about the testimony and inheritance of hermaphrodites. 

        Huzooraa, in a letter dated 14 January 2020, gave the following reply: 

        1. “The truth of the Battle of the Camel is that the culprits behind this entire episode were the same seditious insurrectionists who had occupied Medina after killing Hazrat Uthmanra. This war was also provoked by those miscreants by creating a misunderstanding between the two Muslim groups and by instigating many mischievous acts themselves. There are shrouds of centuries obscuring the historical events of that era from our modern-day view. Numerous ambiguous aspects and narrations also pose a barrier. Moreover, many confusions have also been created deliberately.

        “However, the eternal truth is that which the Holy Quran has proclaimed. That is that Allah the Exalted used the enviable words of رَّضِيَ‭ ‬اللّٰهُ‭ ‬عَنۡهُمۡ‭ ‬وَرَضُوۡا‭ ‬عَنۡهُ [Allah is well pleased with them and they are well pleased with Him] for the Companionsra of the Holy Prophetsa and for ‘those who followed them in the best possible manner’. Those who came after them are described as invoking the following prayer for them: 

        رَبَّنَا اغۡفِرۡ لَنَا وَلِاِخۡوٰنِنَا الَّذِيۡنَ سَبَقُوۡنَا بِالۡاِيۡمٰنِ وَلَا تَجۡعَلۡ فِيۡ قُلُوۡبِنَا غِلًّا لِّلَّذِيۡنَ اٰمَنُوۡا

        ‘Our Lord, forgive us and our brothers who preceded us in the faith, and leave not in our hearts any rancour against those who believe.’

        “Thus, considering the evidence at hand, we can say with certainty that the victims of the evil and deception of the hypocrites, who were martyred on both sides during this war, were certainly innocent people over whom we have no authority to be the judge or to issue a fatwa on their status.”

        2. “The assumption that a woman’s testimony is worth half is incorrect. In the case that it becomes necessary to include a woman’s testimony on matters that women usually do not deal with in their day-to-day lives, the Holy Quran guides that another woman should also be present with the female witness. (Since the matter would not be related to women,) if the female witness forgets anything for some reason, the other woman may remind her. Otherwise, the testimony of only that one woman will be considered complete. 

        “Moreover, in matters particularly relating to women, the Holy Prophetsa would even decide entire cases based on the testimony of a single woman. Hence, it is narrated in Sahih Bukhari that Hazrat Aqabara bin Harith married a lady. Later on, some woman of ordinary standing came and said that she had breastfed both the spouses. The Holy Prophetsa separated the couple, despite the husband denying being breastfed by that woman.” 

        3. “As far as the hermaphrodites’ share of inheritance is concerned, they will get a share according to the gender that is more pronounced in them. If masculinity is predominant, then the male share of the inheritance will be given and if femininity is predominant, then they will be assumed female and the share of inheritance will be given accordingly. However, if both genders are manifested equally, then, according to the opinion of Hazrat Imam Abu Hanifara, the smaller of the two shares will be given to such a person.” 

        Significance of the number 40

        Huzooraa was asked whether the number 40 had any special significance in the world of religion. 

        In a letter dated 14 January 2020, Huzooraa gave the following reply: 

        “The study of the Holy Quran and ahadith reveals that there is a special relationship between the number 40 and physical maturity as well as spiritual perfection. Hence, the Holy Quran, while mentioning human birth states: 

        اِذَا بَلَغَ اَشُدَّهٗ وَ بَلَغَ اَرۡبَعِيۡنَ سَنَةً

        ‘When he attains his full maturity and reaches (the age of) forty years[…]’

        “The Holy Quran states regarding Hazrat Mosessa

        وَ وٰعَدۡنَا مُوۡسٰي ثَلٰثِيۡنَ لَيۡلَةً وَّ اَتۡمَمۡنٰهَا بِعَشۡرٍ فَتَمَّ مِيۡقَاتُ رَبِّهٖۤ اَرۡبَعِيۡنَ لَيۡلَةً

        ‘And We made Moses a promise of 30 nights and supplemented them with 10. Thus the period appointed by his Lord was completed – 40 nights.’

        “Our Lord and Master, the Holiest of all the Prophets, Muhammad, the Chosen One, may the peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, was elevated to the station of prophethood at the age of 40. 

        “It is narrated in ahadith that the Holy Prophetsa said that a human being stays in his mother’s womb for 40 days in the form of a sperm [nutfah], for 40 days in the form of a clot [alaqah] and for 40 days in the form of a shapeless lump [mudhghah]. Then, Allah the Exalted sends an angel to breathe the soul into him. 

        “Similarly, the Holy Prophetsa said that a person who prays in congregation for 40 days being present in time for the first takbir-e-tehrimah will be acquitted of the Fire and hypocrisy. 

        “The Promised Messiahas performed a chilla in Hoshiarpur for 40 days and Allah the Exalted blessed him with the grand prophecy of the Promised Son to manifest the honour of Islam and the truthfulness and greatness of the Holy Prophetsa

        “Similarly, the Promised Messiahas has said that whoever would stay with him for 40 days would surely see some of the signs of Allah the Exalted. 

        “Then, the age of 40 is called the age of maturity. That is why the men of the Jamaat enter the organisation of Ansarullah at the age of 40. 

        “Thus, these examples prove that in worldly terms, the number 40 stands for maturity and it is used to indicate perfection in the spiritual world.” 

        Who are Gog and Magog [Ya‘juj wa Ma‘juj]?; Did the Holy Prophetsa ever see the Promised Messiahas in a dream?

        Huzooraa was asked:

        1. who Gog and Magog were

        2. whether the Holy Prophetsa ever saw the Promised Messiahas in a dream.

        Huzooraa, in a letter dated 14 January 2020, gave the following reply: 

        1. “Dajjal [the Antichrist], Gog and Magog are specially mentioned among the afflictions and tribulations that Islam was to endure in the Latter Days. Indeed, all of them are various manifestations of the same trial. Dajjal is the name of the religious aspect of that trial, which means that that group will corrupt the religious beliefs and views of people in the Latter Days. 

        “The group that would destabilise the state of political affairs and destroy the political peace and order has been referred to as Gog and Magog. What is meant by both of these groups is the worldly power and the religious facet of the Western Christian nations. 

        “However, Allah the Exalted also informed us through His beloved Prophetsa that when the trials of Dajjal and Gog and Magog would arise and Islam would have weakened, He would appoint the Promised Messiah to safeguard Islam. Muslims would not enjoy material power at that time but the Jamaat of the Promised Messiahas would relentlessly work with prayers and preaching, thanks to which Allah the Exalted Himself will destroy those evils.”

        2. “The answer to your second question as to whether the Holy Prophetsa ever saw the Promised Messiahas in a dream is found in ahadith where it is stated that the Holy Prophetsa did indeed see the Promised Messiahas in a dream. Hence, the following hadith is narrated in Sahih Bukhari that the Holy Prophetsa said:

        ‘Last night, I saw a dream near the Ka‘bah. I saw a man of brownish complexion, better than the best of men you may have seen with a brownish complexion and his straight hair came down up to his shoulders. Water was dripping from his head and he was performing tawaf [circumambulating] around the House of Allah while placing his hands on the shoulders of two men. 

        ‘I asked, “Who is this?” People replied, “This is Jesus, son of Mary.” Behind him, I saw another person who had very curly hair and was blind in the right eye, strongly resembling Ibn Qatan (a disbeliever) in appearance. He was going around the Ka‘bah while placing his hands on the shoulders of a person. I asked, “Who is this?” People replied, “Al-Masih ad-Dajjal” [the Antichrist].’ 

        “Likewise, in another narration of Sahih Bukhari, the Holy Prophetsa said:

        ‘(During the night of mi‘raj) I saw Jesus, Moses and Abraham (peace be upon them). Jesus (peace be upon him) was of a red complexion and had curly hair and a broad chest. Moses (peace be upon him) was of a brownish complexion and a heavy figure. He had straight hair. He looked as if he was from the tribe of Al-Zutt.’

        “Thus, the statements regarding the two different physical appearances of Jesusas mentioned in these two narrations prove that the Holy Prophetsa saw Hazrat Jesussa, the Messiah of the Mosaic Dispensation, who was among the prophets Mosesas and Abrahamas who have passed away. 

        “They also confirm that he saw his spiritual son and most ardent devotee, the Promised Messiahas, who was to be appointed during the era of the Dajjal to confront him and to defend Islam. He saw him performing a tawaf of the Ka‘bah.”

        A virtual mulaqat of the female students and new-converts of the Netherlands with Huzooraa was held on 23 August 2020. During the mulaqat, a new convert said that they had been doing tabligh in an online Kurdish forum and amongst the participants were also some mullahs who had studied in Pakistan. She asked whether or not they should continue to do tabligh on the forum if the participants were not genuine in their search. 

        While guiding her on the issue, Huzooraa replied: 

        “If they simply want to argue for the sake of arguing, then there is no point in wasting your time. It would be better to approach some suitable people who are better than them and to preach to those who actually listen. 

        “What is the need to waste your time on someone who is obstinate, who only intends to argue and raise objections upon objections and does not have anything sensible to say? If the person has pure intentions, if he wishes to listen and if he speaks within the limits of moral codes, then that is fine and dialogue can continue. However, if he says foul things, then let go of such a person and look for other people who can speak in a dignified manner with reasonable arguments; those who present an argument to convey their view and then listen to your argument and those who analyse the entire discourse in a just manner and then determine as to who is truthful and who is wrong.” 

        Most helpful advice Huzooraa received from his parents

        During the same mulaqat of 23 August 2020, a student asked Huzooraa, “What advice of your parents has proven to be most beneficial to you?” 

        Huzooraa replied, “Never lie!”

        Should we boycott big brands for failing to give fair wages to factory workers in the developing world?

        During the same mulaqat of 23 August 2020, a student said, “These days, the news has spread on social media that big clothing brands are not paying their poor labourers in places like Bangladesh and Pakistan their due wages due to the coronavirus. Most people say that we should boycott such brands. What is Huzoor’s guidance on this?” 

        Huzooraa replied: 

        “The fact is that the big [foreign] companies do pay their workers. However, they do not approach their labourers or workers directly for this. There are people in such [developing] countries who make contracts with them and then outsource the work. So, the big companies give them contracts and then they hire local labourers to carry out the work. 

        “If they do not pay fair wages to their workers, then they are the ones who are exploiting them. The fault lies with their own countrymen, not so much with the [foreign] companies. It has generally been observed that these companies do pay their workers with the rare exception of some who may not do so. These big businesses are only able to operate because they do fair business and they pay the agreed wages in an honest manner.

        “It is a separate issue that the wages they pay are little. It is also a separate issue that they outsource the work to countries like Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, India, Pakistan, or any other third world countries for that matter, for the sole purpose that they will be able to get more work done for less pay. 

        “However, whatever wages are agreed upon, they do pay them. The sub-contractors who delegate the contract over to others who then get work done from other labourers, are the ones who are actually cheating the workers. 

        “So, what benefit would there be of boycotting such businesses? The labourers will lose whatever little incoming they are getting. Whether it is Bangladesh or any other country where such malpractices are going on, they all have their respective justice systems or [labour] laws. They should ensure that their labourers are looked after well and that the contractors are giving the workers what is rightfully due to them.”

        (Translated by Al Hakam from the original Urdu)

        100 Years Ago… – Jinn exist but have no clandestine effect on humans: Hazrat Khalifatul Masih II regarding jinn

        Al Fazl, 2 May 1921

        While responding to a letter from someone, Hazrat Khalifatul Masih II[ra] recently stated:

        “I believe in the presence of jinn, but I do not believe that people are possessed by them or that they bring them fruits. As people are not possessed by angels, in the same way, they are also not possessed by jinn; just as angels meet human beings, so do jinn, but [they meet people] as far as their natural entity permits them. 

        “With regard to the teachings of the Holy Prophetsa, I believe they are for both human beings and the jinn, and believing in him is also necessary for the jinn. It is also incumbent on everyone to act on the revelation that descended upon him. However, this belief of mine has also led me to believe that people can neither be possessed by them [jinn], nor can they bring any fruits for them..

        “The Holy Quran states that it was the duty of those who believed in the Holy Prophetsa to help and support him. If jinn had the power to help or aid human beings [in such manner], why were Abu Jahl etc. not possessed by them? They [jinn] did not even have to make any sacrifices [to achieve this]. 

        “Some say that jinn bring sweets etc. to people, but I do not believe in such jinn who bring sweets to Zaid [A] and Bakr [B], but for the one [the Holy Prophetsa] whom belief was necessary and obligatory – and a party of jinn even came to profess their faith in him – he would starve for three days in a row and they [jinn] would not even bring him bread. If it were not necessary for them [jinn] to believe in Muhammadsa, the Messenger of Allah, then this would have put us in doubt, that they can harm mankind, but now we are certain that they cannot do so.

        “As far as the matter of women being possessed by jinn is concerned, then these are all diseases, illusions or a result of a scientific phenomenon. For example, phosphorus shines at night and it is often seen in graveyards because phosphorus comes out of the bones and it shines, and people attribute it to jinn. Likewise, the swaying of trees etc. [is also taken as jinn]. Scientific research has now clearly shown that these are the reasons behind it all and you can understand the rest of the occurrences based on this [explanation].”

        (Translated by Al Hakam from the original Urdu in the 2 May 1921 issue of Al Fazl)

        100 Years Ago… – Jubilation on the arrival of a missionary of Islam in Ghana

        Al Fazl, 5 May 1921

        Hazrat Maulvi Abdur Rahim Nayyarra

        Salt pond from Sierra Leone

        After departing in the evening of 21 February [1921], the ship “Bruto” reached Salt Pond on 28 February at 4:30 pm. About halfway along the way, Bruto anchored in the waters of Monrovia, the capital of Liberia. 

        Liberia is a democratic state of freed African American slaves. I wanted to disembark there and convey the message of truth to the president and the members of the democratic state, but the captain said that there was no time, so I could not go ashore. 

        After Monrovia, the ship stopped at port Skandi for about two and a half days. The Muslim leaders came on board to meet us. I carried out tabligh to them and informed them about the arrival of the Promised Messiahas. I also advised them to adorn themselves with the gems of education and to recognise the age [of the Messiah]. 

        They wanted me to stay with them but the circumstances did not allow [me to do so].

        As I was in first class on board the ship, I had the good opportunity to carry out tabligh to the first-class passengers. Moreover, the young officers of the ship and the old captain remained under tabligh throughout the journey. A young English Cambridge graduate also left with a positive impact. Brother Ahmad Bowen not only converted to Islam himself but also carried out tabligh to other young intelligent officers of the ship and spent his time in observing Salat and learning the commandments of Islam, alhamdulillah.

        Goodbye to Bruto

        I said goodbye to Bruto at five o’clock in the evening and boarded the boat which came for me from the shore. 

        By the grace of Allah the Almighty, I was not a stranger when I got off the ship. The second officer, the newly converted Muslim, Respected Lieutenant Bowen’s lovely face had a special distinction among the officers waving handkerchiefs in a row. This young man kept running from one deck to another to see me until the last moment. He took a few bai‘at forms from me so that he could get other people to sign them after tabligh. May Allah bless his good intentions and increase his age. 

        Captain Nelson came for the farewell salaam and waved the handkerchief from the top deck. The respect and treatment shown to me on the ship by the captain and the officers of the ship was fresh in my heart when I landed at Salt Pond and also motivated me to pray. 

        May Allah the Almighty enlighten these noble Englishmen with the light of Islam. Amin.

        Host and commissioner of the police

        The news of my arrival was not fully circulated in the town, but Mr Pedro, my host, was present on the shore. The waves were as high as a mountain near the seashore and I was scared to see them. Finally, I landed safely on the shore and met the host and said, “Alhamdulillah.”

        Among those who said salaam to me on the shore was the superintendent of police and he also conveyed the greetings of the commissioner of police to me and said, “He is waiting for you in the nearby office.” 

        When I went there, the young British officer was waiting very respectfully. After exchanging salaam, I handed over my papers, passport, letter of Sahibzada Aftab Ahmad Sahib, report of the London Times and my card to him. Moreover, I explained the attributes of the Ahmadiyya Jamaat and the purpose of my mission, i.e. defence and promulgation of Islam. An exchange of discourse began with the commissioner and I had the opportunity to carry out tabligh, alhamdulillah.

        Salt Pond

        This town is the hub of the Central District of the Gold Coast [later known as Ghana]. Its population is only 2,700. The original inhabitants are all Christians. The Muslims [present in this region] are from Lagos and Kano. Among the Nigerian Muslims of Lagos, there are two or three young Ahmadis as well. There are two mosques of Muslims. The town has three Christian missions: Catholic, Wesleyan and Zion. The churches and schools of the first two sects are separate. The handful of members of the third sect carry out church proceedings in a house. The whole area is full of Christians. The Muslims are in small numbers. 

        Water from the well is not available here, but there are ponds. The milk, butter, sugar, bread, rice, all food items and articles of clothing come from abroad. The centre of trade is located in the district. Palm oil and the hide of monkey and rock hyrax are exported to foreign countries from here. The horses or animals used for transportation are not seen anywhere. Only small goats are found [in this area]. 

        Costs are higher here than in London. There is no place for recreation. There is a great opportunity to worship Allah and spend time intoxicated in the pure wine of faith. It is necessary to take quinine and laxatives here.

        The chief of Fante

        The original inhabitants of this region are called Fante. Around 3,000 of them are Muslims and they live in the nearby areas of Salt Pond. They have a grudge against Hausa people. [They consider] Hausa people to be mischievous. The name of the chief of Fante is Mahdi. He started tabligh of Islam 28 years ago. He has grown old now. He wished to revive Islam in his nation and to invite a missionary so he got the postal address from a Syrian of the Cape Coast and wrote a letter to Mufti Sahib at the London mission and also sent him money. I have not met him yet, but two of his leaders and a coordinator have come to confirm my arrival. The chief himself is also going to pay [me] a visit in a few days. It is no wonder that Allah the Almighty may enter the chief Mahdi into the Jamaat of Imam Mahdi. Anyway, he is being awaited.

        Hausa and Yoruba

        Hausa and Yoruba are two Nigerian nations which are part of Islam. The Hausa are of mixed Arab race. The Yoruba are native Africans. The girls of the Hausa people here are singing Arabian desert songs at the moment. One of the girls recites one verse and all the rest sing the second verse together. These people set up fires for light in the morning and evening and children recite the Holy Quran in the light of fire. The Hausa people are ancient style Muslims. They consider any modern change to be an innovation. They are completely deprived of education. The Shah Hijaz’s sermon is read out in their mosques. The Yoruba people are civilised and carry out trade. One of their delegations came to meet me. Below is one of the remarks from the answer given in response to my short speech by the amir of the delegation: 

        “Until today, people used to laugh at us that white people are not Muslims. All praise belongs to Allah that now, a white man has come here as a missionary of Islam.”

        Prayers needed

        Dear friends! I – a weak, most distant from the traveller missionaries, living in an unhealthy atmosphere and feeling lonely among the uncivilised people – request you to pray. The beauty of God’s Messiahas witnessed in a divine vision brought comfort to me and the satisfaction that comes from faith is like a shield for me. Dear ones! Goodbye. Please pray, pray and pray.

        My postal address

        All the friends should write letters to me and share the news of the Jamaat. Moreover, inform me about the news of India because I am far away from the newspaper world. My current address is as follows:

        C/o Post Master, Salt Pond, Gold Coast, West Africa.

        (Translated by Al Hakam from the original Urdu in the 5 May 1921 issue of Al Fazl)

        The exemplary young Companions: Simple lifestyle

        Rahmatullah Khan Shakir (1901-2000), Former Assistant Editor and Manager of Al Fazl

        All the Companionsra, including those who were bestowed riches, always observed simplicity in their meals and clothing. 

        Simplicity despite affluence

        Hazrat Abdur Rahmanra bin Auf was a very rich man. After his death, his inheritors had his gold bricks cut with axes to distribute them and the hands of those who cut the gold were badly blistered. Each of his wives, getting one-eighth share, received eighty thousand dinars in cash. Thousands of camels and goats were also included. Nevertheless, he transcended formalities in food and drink. Though he was liberal in entertaining guests, he did so without any ostentation. Tears would roll down his eyes when he recalled the poverty of the Muslims in the early days of Islam. (Al-Isabah, Vol. 4, p. 290; Usdul-Ghabah, Vol. 3, p. 375)

        Simple diet

        Hazrat Jabirra bin Abdullah enjoyed a high and exalted station, but led a simple and plain lifestyle. 

        Once, some Companionsra visited him at home. At the time, he was eating bread with vinegar. He came out along with his meal and sat down with them. He offered them to partake of his meal and said, “When a person is visited by his friends, he should offer them to eat whatever he has available to him. And the guests as well should not look down on anything and partake of whatever is available as formality ruins both parties” (i.e. the host and guest). (Musnad Ahmad bin Hanbal, Vol. 3, p. 371)

        Olive oil considered a dish in its own right

        In this regard, an account of Hazrat Umarra is worth mentioning. 

        Once when he visited his daughter, Hazrat Hafsahra, she offered him curry with olive oil on it. He remarked, ‘Two courses in one meal! By God, I will never partake of it.’ 

        One should remember that in Arabia, olive oil too was used as a curry with bread. (Usdul-Ghabah, Vol. 3, p. 654)

        Revolutionary change after Islam

        Hazrat Mus‘abra bin Umair was a very handsome young man. His parents were rich. Thus, he was brought up in worldly comforts. He was given to wearing very expensive clothes and perfumes. The Holy Prophetsa would say that no one in Mecca was more handsome, well-clad and brought up in more worldly comforts than Mus‘ab.

        This was only before Islam. After accepting Islam, he was so transformed under the training of the Holy Prophetsa that he ignored all formalities. He was so changed now, that once, when he visited the Holy Prophetsa, he was wearing a much-patched leather piece that only covered him from navel to knee. To see him, the Holy Prophetsa remarked, “All praise belongs to Allah! Now, the whole world should change itself.” 

        This was a youngster who, in the whole Mecca, was brought up most comfortably, but the love of God and the Prophetsa had rendered him indifferent to all formalities. (Tabaqat Ibn Saad, Vol. 1, p. 82)

        Willingness to offer help in any condition

        It has been related about Hazrat Salmanra the Persian that he was the governor of Mada‘in. But his lifestyle and dress was very simple. Once, somebody, considering him a labourer, loaded a bundle of grass on his head. An acquaintance of his told him that he was their amir and a companion of the Holy Prophetsa. At this, he became embarrassed and apologised; he hastened to take the bundle down from his head. But Hazrat Salmanra refused and said that he would unload it at his house only. (Tabaqat Ibn Saad, Vol. 4. p. 88)

        Refusing expensive gifts

        Like other Companionsra, the lifestyle of Hazrat Abdullahra bin Umar, too, was very simple. Once, somebody gifted him very expensive clothes, but he refused to accept them and said, for fear of arrogance, that he could not wear such clothes. (Tabaqat Ibn Saad, Vol. 4, p. 161)

        Simple weddings and marriage ceremonies

        The lifestyle of the Companionsra was so simple that even on weddings, they maintained simplicity. Somebody who is not rich would not embitter their lives by taking a loan; rather, whatever is available would suffice for them. Since everyone had the same spirit, none of them would consider it improper; rather, they appreciated simplicity. 

        A companion wanted to marry a woman. The Holy Prophetsa asked him if he had anything to give her as dowry. He replied that he possessed only a cloth which he wore on the lower part of the body. The Holy Prophetsa replied as to how would he cover himself if he gave that cloth in dowry and asked him to find something else. If nothing else, only an iron ring would do. Finally, the Holy Prophetsa asked him to teach her some surahs of the Holy Quran as dowry and solemnised their marriage. (Sahih al-Bukhari, Kitab Faza‘il-ul-Quran, Bab Al- Qir‘atu an Zuhril-Qalb)

        Hazrat Abu Bakr’sra simplicity

        Hazrat Abu Bakrra was an affluent and rich man and possessed a high standing in the Muslim society. Besides ancestry nobility and honour, he was the apple of the eye of all the Muslims because of his piety and devotion to Islam. But he led a very simple life; he wore a plain dress and ate simple food. (Tabaqat Ibn Saad, Vol. 3, p. 139)

        Tough training of Muslim warriors

        One of the things which Hazrat Umarra had declared necessary for the Muslim warriors was that they must not be inclined to lead luxurious lives and that bearing adversities and diligence, they should maintain hard work. Therefore, they were prescribed swimming, horse-riding, marksmanship and walking bare feet. They were also not allowed to mount a horse with the help of stirrups, take baths in proper baths or wear soft clothes. They were also directed not to stop eating in the sun. (Sunan Abu Dawud, Kitab al-Khiraaj)

        Hazrat Umar’sra simplicity

        This is a misconception that the Companions’ simple lifestyles was due to their privation. The fact is they led simple lives because this was what they deduced from the life of the Holy Prophetsa and the Islamic teachings. For them, this was a necessary part of the Islamic teachings. 

        Thus, after the conquests of Byzantine and Persian Empires, when riches and abundance prevailed, the Companionsra led extremely simple lifestyles. 

        Once, the mother of the faithful, Hazrat Hafsahra, said to Hazrat Umarra that as Allah had bestowed upon them riches, he should bring in use fine clothing and food. In reply, he said, “By God, though we have an abundance [of wealth], but I shall follow in the footsteps of my Master.” Thereafter, for a long while, he talked about the simple lifestyle and privation of the Holy Prophetsa, so much so that Hazrat Hafsahra started crying profusely. (Kanzul-Ummal, Vol. 12, p. 635, Hadith 35,958)

        Once Hazrat Umarra sat down to dine with Yazeed bin Abi Sufyan. The table was laid with delicious and excellent courses, but Hazrat Umarra refused to eat it and said, “In the name of the Lord, Who has control over my life, if you abandon the way of the Holy Prophetsa, you will be distanced from the straight path.” (Kanzul-Ummal, Vol. 12, p. 621, Hadith 35,921)

        Hazrat Umarra was a ruler of an empire, yet he never had clothes in excess of what he needed. 

        Once, for quite some time, he did not come out of his house while people waited outside. When he was enquired about the delay, he replied that his clothes had become dirty and that he was waiting for them to dry after washing them.

        Once somebody complained to him about his simple food and that it was difficult for them to eat it. He replied, “It is a fallacy of yours to think that I am not capable of eating excellent food. I swear, in the name of God Almighty, that had I not had the fear of the Day of Judgement, I too would have taken excellent meals.”

        Thus, it is clear that the simple lifestyle was not due to the absence of ability; rather, the senior Companionsra considered it a part of the Islamic teachings. (Kanzul-Ummal, Vol. 12, p. 624, Hadith 35,924)

        Once Hazrat Umarra sent some companions on an expedition to Iraq. They were clad in splendid clothes when they returned. Upon seeing their splendid clothes, Hazrat Umarra turned his face from them and refused to talk to them. They realised it and departed to their houses to change their clothes with the plain ones. Hazrat Umarra welcomed them cordially and hugged each one of them when they returned in plain clothes. This is a proof of the fact that to Hazrat Umarra, plain and simple dress was necessary according to the Islamic teachings and their frugality was not due to their privation. (Kanzul-Ummal, Vol. 12, p. 637, Hadith 35,959)

        Hazrat Uthman’sra simplicity

        Hazrat Uthmanra was one of the rich people among the Arabs and he could have maintained a princely lifestyle if he had wished to do so. But he never used the items used for elegance, so much so that he even avoided the clothes used by the middle class of the Arabs of that time. (Zurqani, Vol. 2, p. 8)

        Simple wedding of Hazrat Alira and Hazrat Fatimara

        At the wedding of Hazrat Fatimara, the beloved daughter of the Holy Prophetsa, with Hazrat Alira, she was given in dowry only a bed, bedding, a sheet of cloth, two mills and a water-skin. And the wedding feast consisted of dates, barley bread, cheese and soup, about which Hazrat Asmara said she had not seen a more lavish wedding feast in that age. (Majma al-Zawa‘id, Vol. 4, p. 50)

        Today the miserable condition of the Muslims only adds to every well-wisher’s agony. The problem is that the masses have no sense of its remedy and the leaders are disinterested in it. 

        One of the reasons for the misery of Muslims in this age is their aversion to hard work and addiction to comfortable lifestyles. Redundancy is rampant among Muslims and especially the youngsters, who are opposed to working. They avoid any job which they consider below their self-styled dignity. In addition, they have made themselves given to formalities and unnecessary extravagance. Evidently, it becomes hard for a victim of such difficulties to make sacrifices in the cause of faith. 

        The true picture of civilisation and simplicity in lifestyle of the Companionsra becomes evidently clear from the above accounts. Irrespective of their state of privation, one is bound to realise that they led very simple lives. This modest lifestyle was not affected at all in the time of abundance of means. 

        In no circumstances at all did they neglect the teachings of their divine teacher. They exhibited extravagance neither in their meals, nor in their dresses, and they maintained this modesty at weddings as well, so much so that the Holy Prophetsa got his daughter married in such a modest way that no Muslim today, even of the least means, would like to have his daughter married in that way. 

        One is embarrassed to compare the Muslims’ extravagance at weddings today with the practice of the Holy Prophetsa. Expenditures on weddings to a limited degree are agreeable for a man of means. But the dilemma of this age is that a man of limited means is overburdened with debt, which in some cases is not paid off for generations. The grandfather’s mistake makes life miserable even for the grandsons.

        The mode of sacrifices in the time of the Holy Prophetsa was altogether different from that of today. Today, monetary sacrifices are the need of the hour. It is evident that without restricting one’s monthly needs and saving up some money, one cannot make financial sacrifices whatsoever. 

        For this very reason, in order to strengthen the Jamaat in opposition to its adversaries, the Second Khalifa of the Ahmadiyya Movement launched a scheme which especially emphasised adopting simple lifestyles i.e. modest meals and clothes, and he forbade getting clothes in excess of one’s needs. 

        Similarly, he forbade other unnecessary expenses for women such as lace, ribbon and brocade etc. and other expenditures on pointless – rather, ruinous to character – activities such as cinema, theatre and circus etc.  

        To follow the above-mentioned guidelines, one may be redeemed in the Hereafter on the one hand, while on the other, it frees one from various social and financial anxieties. 

        This is an extremely useful and far-sighted idea, and if Muslims in general adopt this lifestyle today, they will earn the reward by following in the footsteps of the Holy Prophetsa on the one hand, whereas on the other, they will be freed from other social worries. And by the strength of their economic condition, they will be able to progress as a nation. 

        (Translated by Shahid Mahmood Ahmad, Missionary in Ghana, from the original Urdu, Muslim Nau-jawanon kay Sunehri Karnamey)