Frasat Ahmad, Missionary, USA
As Easter Weekend approaches, a quiver of unrest has fallen upon the Christian world. As Covid-19 has forced billions of people across the world to stay home (www.aljazeera.com/news/2020/04/coronavirus-world-staying-home-200406122943899.html) and millions to forego church services, many Christians are left wondering, “How will I celebrate Easter this year?”
As a Muslim Missionary, I believe in the Messiah, Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmadas. I may not celebrate Easter, but I understand the distress of a Christian in seeing their church closed this weekend. I know first-hand how cathartic congregational worship can be as I (used to) lead daily prayers at my mosque. I empathise with Christian worshippers who long for the comfort and power that their church offers.
But this Easter, Christians should take comfort in knowing that the physical confines of the church cannot limit the celebration of Christ. In these trying times, Christians (and Muslims) can still inculcate Christ’s spirit of sacrifice and service to humanity. Love thy neighbour. It’s the Great Commandment (Matthew 22:39). For the time being, in keeping our churches and mosques closed, we fulfill this commandment by keeping our neighbour safe from contracting disease. What’s more Christ-like than that?
And in this regard, who was more Christ-like than the Promised Messiah, Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmadas?
The Second Coming of Christ brought the first’s spirit of sacrifice and service to a pinnacle, as he pens:
مرا مقصود و مطلوب و تمنا خدمتِ خلق است
ہمیں کارم ہمیں بارم ہمیں رسمم ہمیں راہم
“My purpose, yearning and heartfelt desire is to serve humanity; This is my job, this is my faith, this is my habit and this is my way of life.”
The Christ of Bethlehem physically fed thousands of people. He washed their feet. He healed the sick and infirm. He was his brother’s keeper.
The Christ of Qadian fed millions through his spiritual bounty. He washed their souls. He spiritually healed those empty souls bereft of the recognition of Allah. He not only became his brother’s keeper, but also instructed an entire Community to do the same.
Even today, his Khalifa, Hazrat Mirza Masroor Ahmadaa, has spent, in total, the better part of three years of his Khilafat touring the world, imparting this same message:
“At all times, we should utilise our capabilities and skills to the very maximum in order to remove the hardships of innocent people and to comfort those stricken by grief. We should be there to wipe away the tears of those who have been left bereft, heartbroken and vulnerable. We should be there to give hope to those who were previously hopeless.” (Address to Humanity First International Conference, 3 March 2018)
Today, with Covid-19 disrupting our lives, we can all find comfort in knowing that even if we cannot visit our places of worship, we can still worship God by giving hope to the hopeless and removing their hardships. 815 million people across the world suffer from chronic undernourishment (www.worldhunger.org/world-hunger-and-poverty-facts-and-statistics). In America alone, 15 million households suffer from food insecurity (www.ers.usda.gov/webdocs/publications/90023/err-256.pdf?v=0).
During these trying times, we can worship God by checking up on refugees, widows and elders who are most vulnerable. We need to set up online portals to educate our community on how to manage our finances, how to find employment and what supplies we should (and should not) be stocking during these uncertain times.
But it is not enough to merely make a call for such actions; “Most hateful is it in the sight of Allah that you say what you do not do” (Surah al-Saff, Ch.61: V.4). “Be ye doers of the word, and not hearers only” (James 1:22).
Thankfully, I know that across all 62 of our chapters in America, members of Jamaat-e-Ahmadiyya USA are implementing the above measures to help the helpless. Thus far, we have delivered supplies to more than 1,300 families across America. We have joined with the American Red Cross to answer the call of our government to combat the severe shortage of blood donations. With governmental permission, our mosques are re-opening – not for congregational prayers, but as blood donation sites.
As Christians celebrate the resurrection of Jesusas Christ this weekend, anyone can appreciate resurrecting his spirit of sacrifice and service to humanity, especially Ahmadi Muslims.
As the second Messiah pens: “Treat all the creation of God with such deep love as though they are your close family members. Treat mankind in the same way that a mother treats her child.”