Jalsa Salana Germany 2019
5 July 2019
After reciting the Tashahud, Ta‘awuz and Surah al-Fatihah, Hazrat Khalifatul Masih Vaa enquired about the sound from the organisers before proceeding with the sermon:
“Is my voice being clearly heard right up to the back of the hall? Are all of your audio systems in place? Have you checked them?”
[The answer was in the affirmative]
One of the great blessings and favours that has been bestowed upon us by Allah the Almighty after having entered the Bai‘at of the Promised Messiahas is in the form of the Jalsa Salana [Annual Convention] so that we can strive towards improving our spirituality, morality and furthering our knowledge. Moreover, it is so that we can acquire the means to attain the nearness of Allah the Almighty and to excel in righteousness; so that we may purify our hearts in order to fulfil the rights of each other and thus fulfil the purpose for which the Promised Messiahas established the Jalsa; so that we may endeavour to turn our mutual estrangement and detachment into a state of reconciliation and closeness and so that we may rid ourselves of all things vain. The Promised Messiahas has included all of the aforementioned amongst the objectives of holding the Jalsa.
A large number of Ahmadis await the coming of Jalsa Salana all year long. As soon as the next calendar year starts, the feeling of that wait and the eagerness intensifies even further. Those who have been living here for some time await the Jalsa but particularly those who have recently migrated from Pakistan and have sought asylum here await the Jalsa most eagerly because they are unable to hold Jalsas in their own country due to restrictions by the law. Hence, for quite some time, they have become completely unaware as to what Jalsa means. Their number has also reached hundreds or even thousands and continues to increase.
Likewise, the number of those who travel for the Jalsa from other countries is also increasing and people also travel in large numbers to attend the Jalsa in Germany as well. This year even a few people from some of the African countries have come to attend the Jalsa. They include some of the indigenous African people. Indeed, one awaits the Jalsa Salana so that one may be able to fulfil the objectives of holding the Jalsa Salana. One who does not have this mindset and does not attend the Jalsa with this intention, their wait for the Jalsa as well as their attendance is useless.
Thus, every individual who is attending the Jalsa, whether male or female, should keep this in mind that are they trying to attain the pleasure of God Almighty; are they attending the Jalsa with this intention; are they trying to increase in righteousness; are they trying to fulfil the rights of others while demonstrating excellent morals and are they attending this with this mind-set. If this is not the case, then, as I mentioned earlier, their coming to the Jalsa shall be pointless and of no benefit.
Indeed, the atmosphere and environment has an impact on an individual. However, one’s individual effort is also necessary in order to absorb the [pious] effect of the atmosphere. Thus, we will have to strive in this regard so that we may be able to achieve all these objectives, become the recipients of the blessings of Allah the Almighty and thereby become recipient of the prayers of the Promised Messiahas which he offered for the attendees of the Jalsa. The Promised Messiahas has expressed his displeasure towards those people who do not attend the Jalsa with this intention and do not mould their actions accordingly.
The Promised Messiahas states, “I do not at all desire to gather those who pledge initiation to me merely in order to display worldly eminence in the same manner as the saints of this day and age. Rather, the primary objective for which I seek opportunities is to reform the creation of Allah.” (Shahadat-ul-Quran, Ruhani Khazain, Vol. 6, p. 359)
Hence, the Promised Messiahas has clearly stated that his objective of gathering people together is not to display an outward success and glory and for the sake of ostentation as modern-day pirs [religious leaders] gather people together for events and gatherings, rather the objective for which the Promised Messiahas has established the Jalsa is merely to reform the creation of Allah the Almighty, so that they may fulfil the rights of Allah the Almighty as well as the rights of one another.
Furthermore, the Promised Messiahas has not merely expressed his displeasure at those who do not reform themselves, but in fact has also expressed his aversion to it. The attendance reaches thirty, thirty-five and even forty thousand. However, to what avail is this if, after having taken the Bai‘at [oath of allegiance] and whilst fulfilling the desire of the Promised Messiahas, one’s heart is still filled with the love of the world and this love takes precedence over one’s love for Allah and the Holy Prophetsa? Likewise, what will be the benefit of our Bai’at if we fail to live in accordance with the commandments of Allah the Almighty and His Messengersa and also if the love of the world remains dominant during these three days?
Hence, we must reflect over these matters. A few days ago, Ramadan came to an end, which was a month of spiritual reformation and progress during which believers were granted the opportunity to engage in individual worship, observe fasts and remember God. Now, another spiritual camp is being held for three days which, along with religious and educational progress, provides an atmosphere for worship and remembering God and it is an ideal opportunity to engage in all of these matters collectively. Everyone draws their attention towards worship collectively. They offer voluntary prayers, the Tahajud prayer [pre-dawn voluntary prayer] and even though they supplicate in their respective languages and whatever is in their hearts, if the entire surrounding is engaged in the remembrance of God, it also a form of remembering God as one community. If we do not derive benefit from this, then when else will we do so?
Thus, the Promised Messiahas has placed a huge responsibility upon our shoulders and has great expectations from his followers. This is not an ordinary matter. This atmosphere will only prove to be beneficial when the love of the world will decrease in comparison to the love of Allah the Almighty and His Messengersa.
Whilst living in this world and yet giving precedence to the love of God Almighty and His messengersa over one’s love for the world is indeed a tremendous act and enables one to become a true believer. We also have to engage in worldly affairs following the three days of this Jalsa. However, this training and this participation will only prove to be beneficial when we give precedence to religion over the world, despite being engaged in our worldly endeavours. During these three days in particular, we must completely eliminate the love of the world.
During the days of Jalsa here, we also observe that a bazaar [market] has been provided. Stalls are set up and worldly items are also purchased and sold here. However, the participants of Jalsa as well as those who set up the bazaar should be considerate of the fact that walking in the bazaar, shopping and trying to receive a profit for their goods is considered as a worldly pursuit. Those who visit the bazaar as well as those selling items ought to be mindful and ensure that they attentively listen to the proceedings of the Jalsa. Thereafter, during the intervals, they are permitted to go to the bazaar. However, they should then try to fulfil the rights of the bazaar and these are to say Salam [Islamic greeting of peace] to one another whilst walking around, to remain engaged in the remembrance of God and to not overcrowd the shops and push one another in order to purchase items.
Shopkeepers should sell their goods with a reasonable profit. They should not make unreasonable profits by taking advantage of the customer’s circumstances. As I mentioned, everyone, including the shopkeepers, should continuously be mindful of the remembrance of God Almighty even whilst in the bazaar.
If we instil this practise physically, it will also bring about a transformation within our hearts and develop righteousness and the love of Allah the Almighty within us. In relation to developing these virtues and righteousness within us, the Promised Messiahas further states:
“The very purpose for which God Almighty has established this Community is for the true comprehension of God that has vanished from this world and for true righteousness and purity that is no longer found in this day and age to be established once again.” (Malfuzat, Vol. 7, pp. 277-278)
Then, emphasising for us to elevate our standards of righteousness, the Promised Messiahas states on one occasion, “O ye, who consider yourselves as my Jamaat, you will be counted among my Jamaat in heaven when you truly tread on the path of righteousness.” (Kishiti-e-Nuh, Ruhani Khazain Vol. 19, p. 15)
In another place, drawing our attention towards establishing and developing the grandeur and love of Allah the Almighty within our hearts, the Promised Messiahas states:
“You should establish the grandeur of God within the hearts and not merely proclaim His unity verbally, but practically so that God may also manifest His pleasure and beneficence upon you.” (Al-Wasiyyat, Ruhani Khazain Vol. 20, p. 308)
Hence, it is these very forms of worship, which we must remain mindful of at all times and ponder over how we are able to develop true righteousness. Righteousness does not refer to performing a single virtuous deed. Rather, the Promised Messiahas has also stated in one place that true righteousness is to perform all forms of virtuous deeds and to fulfil the rights of God Almighty and His creation. (Zamima Barahin-e-Ahmadiyya Part V, Ruhani Khazain Vol. 21, p. 210)
If we asses our own conditions from this perspective, we will be able to determine what our true condition is.
Some people are good at performing their Jamaat duties outside of the home, but their families are extremely unhappy with their conduct at home. On the other hand, some of them who fulfil the due rights towards their families are not paying attention to the rights owed to Allah Almighty and fulfilling His worship. Many complaints of such nature are often received. Some people who seem to be regular in offering their prayers are guilty of usurping the rights of others around them in society. Certain individuals perform righteous deeds merely to show others, and they forget Allah Almighty is aware of their intentions and He witnesses everything.
Therefore, the Promised Messiahas states that in order to become a part of his Community, to attain the love of Allah Almighty and to become the recipients of His favours and as well as His favours and blessings, one has to strive in every way possible to correct one’s physical condition.
These Jalsas are arranged for this very reason which is to direct our attention towards performing good deeds. The speakers should also highlight this in their speeches. A special spiritual environment has been created for us so that our every action reflects the pleasure of the Almighty. In order to achieve this objective, on one occasion, the Promised Messiahas stated:
“Remember that only those people are perfect servants of Allah Almighty regarding whom He states:
لَّا تُلۡھِیۡھِمۡ تِجَارَۃٌ وَّلَا بَیۡعٌ عَنۡ ذِکۡرِاللہِ
That is, ‘Neither merchandise nor traffic diverts them from the remembrance of Allah’ (Surah al-Nur, Ch.24: V.38).
When the heart establishes a true bond and a loving relation with God, then it cannot be separated from Him. Its condition can be understood when compared with someone whose child is sick. Regardless of where this person goes or engages in any work, their heart and attention will be focused on their child. Similarly, those who establish a true bond and loving relation with God Almighty never forget Him in any condition.” (Malfuzat, Vol. 7, pp. 20-21)
Hence, this is the condition that the Promised Messiahas desires to see in us and we are gathered here to strive in this regard. Every one of us must endeavour for this, and we should also pray to God Almighty that we can attain this state. When we accomplish this condition and strive towards this, then Allah Almighty will even remember us as He states:
اُذْكُرُوا اللهَ يَذْكُرْكُمْ
[“Remember God Almighty and He will Remember you.”]
So, fortunate are the ones who are remembered by Allah Almighty. May Allah Almighty grant us such manifold blessings purely for the sake of remembering Him despite our worldly engagements, and we should endeavour particularly in this regard during the days of Jalsa that we sincerely remember God Almighty and in return, may Allah Almighty never forget us and bless us with His grace.
Therefore, the participants of Jalsa and those who are on duty should endeavour to engage in the remembrance of God throughout these days and should strive to attain the nearness of God Almighty. What greater reward can there be than Allah Almighty always remembering His servants? Therefore, we should strive to attain this and only then will we be considered a part of the Promised Messiah’sas Community in the heavens according to his words.
The following words of the Promised Messiahas should make us deeply concerned:
“You shall be considered amongst the members of my Community in the heavens when you truly tread the path of righteousness.”
Many people among us have been rejected by their relatives after taking the Bai‘at. Many of you sitting here migrated due to the hostility that you had to face from opponents because of accepting Ahmadiyyat. The law of the land [in Pakistan] restricted our religious freedom, but despite all of this and regardless of all these afflictions, those Ahmadis who are enduring these trials in Pakistan or in certain other countries – or there are some among you as well – how much of a loss would it be for us if we are not counted among the members of the Promised Messiah’sas Community and we are not among those who are the fortunate ones whom Allah the Almighty does not forget?
Hence, offer fervent supplications during these days of Jalsa. We should pray that we may not become those who are not accepted by Allah Almighty, rather we are considered among those people who Allah Almighty remembers. May we be able to establish a firm bond with God Almighty and be able to remove the darkness from within our hearts.
Remember Allah much and offer prayers during the proceedings of the Jalsa, in the intervals, and at night as well. Make a solemn pledge that “O Allah! We are participating in this Jalsa with pious intentions, which was established through Your special divine succour and decree. We are attending this Jalsa for the sake of attaining Your pleasure and to increase Your remembrance and to attain Your love. Grant us all the blessings which You have established with this Jalsa and inculcate the pious transformation within us that You desire, for which You sent the true servant of the Holy Prophetsa in this world so that we can sincerely take part in pledging allegiance to him.”
Therefore, when we seek Allah Almighty’s help and spend these days offering salutations on the Holy Prophetsa and seeking repentance and we devote our days solely for the sake of Allah Almighty, then the standards of our worship will increase and we will able to fulfil the rights due to God’s creation owing to our bond established with Allah Almighty. One of the objectives of Jalsa Salana which the Promised Messiahas has mentioned is that the members of the Jamaat should become acquainted with one another. (Aasmani Faisala, Ruhani Khazain, Vol. 4, p. 352)
It is essential that, on the one hand, whilst those newly entering the Jamaat become acquainted and develop a relation of love owing to them accepting, at the same time, the already established relationships amongst the Ahmadis should be further strengthened. Allah Almighty grants immense blessings to a person who loves his brother for the sake of God Almighty. Hence, spend these days as a means to remove past grievances and not become like those who, owing to the previous discord, further rekindle their rage and anger upon meeting each other at the Jalsa.
Consequently, such people ruin the environment of the Jalsa as well and instead of inheriting the bounties of Allah Almighty, they incur His curse and displeasure. The Promised Messiahas has established Jalsa Salana amongst the signs of Allah. Hence, those who dishonour the sanctity of the signs of Allah become recipients of His wrath. (Iftatahi Taqreer Jalsa Salana 1931, Anwar-ul-Uloom, Vol. 12, p. 389)
This is, therefore, a cause of great concern. Whosoever harbours any kind of grudge for anyone, ought to extend the hand of peace and reconciliation. Create such an environment that instead of falling prey to self-esteem and ego and burning in the fire of jealousy, establish a beautiful environment of peace and security. One should always remain considerate of the saying of the Holy Prophetsa that a Muslim is one from whose hand and tongue no Mulsim is harmed. (Sahih al-Bukhari, Kitab-ul-Iman, Hadith no. 10)
We should reflect upon this saying and assess whether these instructions are reflected through our actions and whether our conduct is in accordance with it. Can we affirm that we are totally acting on upon these guidelines? If this is the truth and everyone claims that is the truth, then there should not be need for matters to escalate to the Qaza [jurisprudential board] or worldly courts in order to seek one’s rights.
I say this with immense regret that some people who attend Jalsas get involved in physical altercations due to small and insignificant matters and past grievances. At times, the police has to be called. Is this the dignity of a believer? Are these the actions of those who are members of the Promised Messiah’sas Jamaat? Certainly not. Whether the Jamaat expels such persons from the Community or it does not take that action against them, they are no longer part of the Jamaat in the sight of Allah Almighty, and according to the saying of the Promised Messiahas, such people are not a counted among his Community in the heavens.
Therefore, evaluate yourselves and do not have double standards. Such people should cleanse their hearts from this filth, and they should adopt the ways of forgiveness, pardon and truce. Demonstrate to the world that after accepting the Promised Messiahas there has been a revolutionary change within us.
Similarly, there are also the office bearers and those who have various duties for Jalsa. They should also take special care to ensure that their character and morals are of a very high caliber in these days. Even those workers who, in normal days, held any differences with one another, should try to excel the other by being first toward reconciliation and achieving a fresh start with the other, rather than seeking retaliation.
Every individual who comes to Jalsa is a guest, and it is the responsibility of every office-bearer and Jalsa volunteer that they – having removed all personal differences – demonstrate a most hospitable and graceful attitude. It is particularly imperative for the office-bearers that they should possess a greater deal of tolerance. Hence, office-bearers should consider themselves servants in every situation, while the members of the Jamaat and attendees of the Jalsa should consider the office-bearers representatives of the system of the Jamaat. Only then can situations of aggression and harshness improve, and only then will personal disagreements subside.
I must also say with a great regret, that the office-bearers of certain Jamaats here have not truly honoured their responsibility. I am not saying this concerning the environment of the Jalsa. Even in normal circumstances, these people have, instead of treating their Jamaat-related responsibility (which is serving the faith) as a grace of God, they treated it as any other worldly office, as a result of which they have had to be replaced.
Hence, if such people have come to this Jalsa, then they should strive to remain immersed in worship, the remembrance of Allah and adopt humility. If, in their opinion, the decisions that were made concerning them were wrong, even then they should adopt the ways of meekness, and, having done this, they should bow themselves before Allah the Almighty, and ensure that they do not allow any negativity to enter their hearts about the system of the Jamaat. If the decisions which have been made are wrong, then Allah Almighty possesses knowledge of all things. He possesses knowledge of the unseen and of the present. If one adopts humility and bows before Him, He accepts prayers and removes the supplicant from difficulties.
It should always be remembered that the ultimate objective is not to hold an office, but to fulfil the conditions of one’s Bai‘at. Whether one is an office-bearers or a member of the Jamaat, they ought to strive to fulfill the dictates of their Bai‘at.
While advising on how to fulfil the conditions of Bai‘at, the Promised Messiahas states:
“O ye members of my community! May God, the Almighty and the Benevolent, always be with you. May He grant you means in preparation of the final journey as he prepared the Companions of the Holy Prophetsa. Beware! This world is transient. Cursed is the life which mainly concerns itself with material gains and most unfortunate is he who hankers after this world. If there be such a man among my followers, then he has joined us in vain, for he can be likened to a withered branch of a tree which cannot bear fruit.
“O ye fortunate ones! Hasten towards me and join my fold, for I have come with the teaching which ensures your salvation. Believe in One God and do not make anyone His partner from the earth or heavens. God does not forbid you from the use of material resources, but he who relies totally on them is akin to an idolater. From the earliest times, He has been warning you that salvation cannot be attained except through a pure heart. You must, therefore, become pure-hearted and discard personal jealousies and hatred.
“A great number of weaknesses lie dormant in man, but the basest weakness is arrogance. No one would have been a nonbeliever if there had been no arrogance. Therefore, make yourself humble of heart and serve your fellow-beings with love. As you exhort or invite them to paradise you must not ever contemplate causing any harm to them in this transient world. Observe all the Commandments of God with His fear in your hearts because you are going to be called to account.
“When you stand in prayer, concentrate on seeking His succour so that He may draw you towards Himself, and purify your hearts. Man is weak by nature. All his weaknesses are removed only through His grace. So long as man does not get strength from his Creator, he cannot be rid of his weaknesses. Islam does not mean that you may merely be known as Muslims by reciting the declaration of faith. No; it fundamentally demands your souls to prostrate in all humility at His threshold and that you give precedence to each and every command of your faith over every worldly affair.” (Tadhkiratu Shahdatain, Ruhani Khazain, Vol. 20, p. 63)
And so, this is the standard which each and every one of us needs to strive to achieve – the office-bearers , volunteers and members of the Jamaat.
The Promised Messiahas has called those of us who have joined his community as the fortunate ones. Becoming the recipients of God’s grace, we joined the community of the Promised Messiahas. You, who are seated before me, possessed a special fortunate characteristic in the eyes of Allah, that He graced you and enabled you to accept the Promised Messiahas. Your acceptance of the Promised Messiahas was evidence of your good fortune, but this is only the first step, not the ultimate destination.
In order to reach the climax of this path, it is necessary to act upon its teachings, which were given to the Promised Messiahas. We will have to conduct our worldly endeavours and businesses in such a way, as has been mentioned before, so that we do not forget about the remembrance of God in the process.
God Almighty never forbids one from worldly endeavours – indeed this is an essential part of life. In fact, God Almighty forbids man to become an ascetic and living a life completely cut off from the world. God Almighty has commanded that one ought to remain connected to this world, but more importantly, God has forbidden man from giving precedence to the world over his faith.
Faith must be given precedence in every case. Every Ahmadi must always remember that behind the face of each Ahmadi is the honour of Ahmadiyyat, the honour of the Promised Messiahas and honour of Islam. Hence, it is the responsibility of every Ahmadi that they safeguard its honour, and for those whom God Almighty has given the opportunity to serve their faith and are office-bearers, this responsibility is of even more significance. They should always keep this statement of the Promised Messiahas in mind, “Let not the people defame us after having pledged allegiance to me; do not bring my name into disrepute.”
Hence, we should always keep this statement in mind. Let not anyone think that this is only for the office-bearers and that the rest are free from this responsibility. The Promised Messiahas has instructed this to all those who have pledged allegiance to him. This is why there should never be a contradiction between our actions and our words. Otherwise, our claim of having pledged allegiance, as mentioned earlier, are hollow and empty, and our participation in the Jalsa is merely a worldly engagement.
I shall now present a prayer of the Promised Messiahas which expresses his heartfelt pain he had for his followers. He states:
“I pray – and until my last breath shall go on praying – may God Almighty purify the hearts of my Jamaat, and, extending the hand of His mercy toward them, turn their hearts toward Himself; may He remove all forms of mischief and malice from their hearts and grant them true and mutual love. I am convinced that this prayer shall one day be heard and accepted, and that God Almighty shall never allow my prayers to go in vain.”
We should supplicate to God Almighty that this prayer be accepted in our favour, in the favour of our progeny, and that until the Day of Judgement, our progenies continue to reap the blessings of this prayer. For the acceptance of this prayer of the Promised Messiahas, we should also make efforts through our actions. We will have to change our own conditions, and will also need to offer heartfelt supplications to this effect. May Allah the Almighty enable us to do so.
In the next part of this prayer, which we should pray that we are not the ones who the Promised Messiahas is referring to wherein he states:
“Yes, I do also pray, that if there be any person in my Jamaat who, in the perfect estimation and knowledge of God Almighty, was always bound for ill-fortune, and whose very destiny it is that they shall not achieve true purity and Godliness, then do Thou, O Powerful God, cause them to turn away from me, just as He is turned away from You, and bring in their stead another whose heart is meek, and in whose being there is a thirst for the Almighty.”
May Allah Almighty save us from such a state in which we end up turning away from God Almighty and His chosen one. May He keep our faith firm and, in fact, go on increasing it, and may we become recipients of all these prayers which the Promised Messiahas offered in favour of his followers.
Do also continue to pray for the Jalsa to be blessed and safe from all sorts of evil, and also remain vigilant – keep a close eye on your surroundings.
May Allah Almighty continue to safeguard us against the mischief of every evil one, and the jealousy of every jealous one.
(Translated by The Review of Religions – Originally published in Al Fazl International, 26 July 2019)