On 16-18 September 2022, Lajna Imaillah UK held their annual ijtema in Kingsley, Hampshire. On the final day, Hazrat Khalifatul Masih V, may Allah strengthen his hand, graced the ijtema with his presence and formally concluded the event with an address.
At 12:21 BST, Hazrat Amirul Momineenaa arrived at the main Lajna marquee and began the proceeding of the final session by inviting Noor Odeh Sahiba to recite a portion from the Holy Quran followed by its English translation: Verses 2-5 of Surah Jumuah.
Hazrat Khalifatul Masih Vaa then stood up, as did all those present, and took the Lajna Imaillah pledge from everyone present. After the pledge, Huzooraa invited Shazia Tanveer Sahiba to read an Urdu poem of the Promised Messiahas. The poem painted a picture of how Allah the Almighty’s grace blessed the Promised Messiahas and granted him an abundance of followers and fame despite being previously unknown to the world.
Thereafter, the ijtema report was read out by Dr Fariha Sahiba, Sadr Lajna Imaillah UK. She reported that after 2019, this year was the first full-fledged ijtema. The theme was “Messiah Has Come” which the ijtema events and presentations were based on. There was also an exhibition which displayed information about how the grand prophecies of the Promised Messiahas were fulfilled. There was also a memorial for the late Queen Elizabeth II. Academic competitions were held throughout the ijtema and some sports competitions were cancelled out of respect for the Queen’s demise. Sadr sahiba said that according to Huzoor’s instructions, the lajna who had achieved academic excellence, received their awards during the ijtema. The total attendance of the ijtema was 6,830. A short video highlight presentation of the ijtema was then shown.
Huzooraa then took to the podium, conveyed “Assalamu alaikum wa rahmatullah”, and after reciting tashahud and ta‘awuz said that through Allah’s grace, following the last few Covid-affected years, Lajna Imaillah UK were blessed to hold their national ijtema on a larger scale. “I hope and pray you would have greatly benefited from the various programmes”, Huzooraa said.
Huzooraa said every lajna member should reflect and ponder over “what it means” to be a member of Lajna Imaillah. Huzooraa said that when Hazrat Khalifatul Masih IIra established Lajna Imaillah he gave great thought before naming it. “Lajna Imaillah” literally meant a community of the servants of Allah the Almighty.
Huzooraa said when the pledge was made to be part of these servants, lajna members should understand their responsibilities. Huzooraa said:
“All members should place close attention to protecting their faith – they must strive to reach the spiritual level and height required of a true believer. […] The standard of faith required of a true believer far exceeds the mere acceptance of Islam. Anyone who recites the kalima, they are a Muslim, but not everyone can say they are a believer or they have acquired true faith.
“Proclaiming that Allah the Almighty is the One and Omnipotent God, the Holy Prophetsa is His Messenger and Islam is a perfect religion, represents only the most basic level of belief. Absolute faith requires a far higher level of belief and understanding and one cannot reach that level until and unless they act upon all of the commands of Allah the Almighty.
“So the first thing that every Ahmadi must remember is that they must strive to become complete in their faith and belief. Regarding this, the Promised Messiahas has said:
“‘Believers are those whose acts and deeds testify to their faith – upon their hearts, their faith is engraved. Believers are those who give precedence to their Lord and attaining His pleasure above all else.’
“So, giving precedence to one’s faith over everything else is paramount and fundamental to attaining the status of ‘a believer’. Remember, giving precedence to one’s faith is a pledge that every Ahmadi makes when they take the bai‘at and it is also a core tenant of the respective pledges of each of the auxiliary organisations.”
Huzooraa quoted the Promised Messiahas who said that believers “tread steadfastly upon the narrow and difficult path of righteousness for the sake of God and they become immersed in His love.”
Huzooraa said true believers did not just follow the path but remained on it firmly, no matter what challenges they faced. They understood that our life’s purpose was to attain Allah’s pleasure. The Promised Messiahas said:
“True believers are those who stay far away from all those things that, like false idols, are an obstacle in the way of God.”
“We live in a society and a time where at every turn there are temptations that lead a person towards sin or to act in a way that incurs the displeasure of Allah. Indeed, often people do not even realise their conduct is wrong. For example, some people do not keep good relations with their neighbours and fail to fulfil their rights. Further, mocking or taunting someone is entirely wrong.
“Another social wrong occasionally observed at ijtemas or gatherings is that ladies ensure there is a good place for them and their children to sit, but if another child comes towards them, they usher them away or express irritation. It has also been observed that a mother offers her child a snack but does not offer anything to the other children sitting nearby. Rather than setting a positive example of sharing before her child, the mother leaves the other children empty-handed. Such behaviour is the height of a bad manner and always remember, if you fail to show kindness to others, your children will learn the same. Conversely, if you are kind and considerate, your children will naturally observe and learn from you. […]
“True belief does not exist until there is complete obedience to Allah the Almighty. In terms of our Jamaat, complete obedience to Allah the Almighty also requires an Ahmadi Muslim to be respectful of the organisational structure of our Jamaat – referred to as the nizam-e-jamaat. Remember, our Jamaat’s nizam has been established and created by the Khalifa of the time and through the nizam the works and schemes of the various national jamaats and auxiliary organisations occur with his permission and approval.”
Huzooraa said that if a Jamaat office-bearer was not serving or acting appropriately, it should be reported to his supervisors, however, to sit “in a gathering – whether public or private – speaking against the office-bearer or complaining about the Jamaat, or aggressively confronting the person you have an issue with is wrong and contrary to the spirit of our Jamaat. Such behaviour cannot lead anywhere good” and instead grudges will be created.
“Eventually, such people start raising questions or complaints against Khilafat-e-Ahmadiyya and they fail to heed the guidance and instructions of the Khalifa of the time. Ultimately, such people become distant from their religion and lose faith.”
“Certainly, a genuine grievance or concern should not be ignored or swept under the carpet,” however, one should not start arguments and create grievances, rather one should report it through the correct channel.
“Nizam is the cornerstone of reforming an individual whilst at the same time it serves to unify and strengthen the collective bond amongst Muslims.” Keeping this in mind, Huzooraa said at jamaat gatherings we should respect those on duty and listen to them and also keep our lines during salat straight, etc. All these factors are concerned with upholding the nizam.
Hazrat Khalifatul Masihaa said:
“Today’s society has become morally corrupted and spiritually decayed as the harmful effects of the mainstream media and social media continue to drive people away from religion and belief in God. Even in schools, very young children are being taught inappropriate and immoral things which they are far too young to comprehend. As a result, children from a very young age are being conditioned by their schools – and the wider society – into a secular way of thinking and away from religious values and teachings.
“In such conditions, the onus is very much upon parents to ensure the moral training of their children. These days, even children’s cartoons or computer games include storylines or characters that are wholly inappropriate and take away children’s innocence. Children themselves should also be very much careful and vigilant about seeing their cartoons and parents should definitely supervise while children are viewing and watching cartoons.
“The long-term consequences of such exposure are extremely dangerous and can easily take our future generations away from religion and away from moral values.” Thus, parents should keep a close eye on what their children are exposed to and, “to counter the outside influences, Ahmadi parents must develop a purely Islamic atmosphere within their homes, where the commandments of Allah are acted upon and the best morals are displayed.”
Huzooraa said that children were highly intelligent and observant, and therefore parents should not possess discrepancies in their actions and deeds.
“It is vital that Ahmadi parents, very carefully, strive to better themselves so that they can properly train and guide their children.
“As I have already said, if any of the Jamaat’s office-bearers have caused you offence or acted in a way you did not think was right, strive to resolve the matter calmly by speaking directly to the person or his superior. If you are still unsatisfied with the outcome, write to the Khalifa of the time. However, never discuss such issues in front of your children, otherwise, it will have a very harmful effect on them. Ultimately, it will develop a hatred of religion within them and they will become susceptible to the superficial glamour of worldly things and come under the wrong influence of society.
“Talk to your children every day and tell them those things that will bring them closer to Allah the Almighty and His Prophetsa. As I have said many times before, it is essential that Ahmadi parents develop a genuine friendship and mutual trust with their children from the very beginning.
“Whilst this is the duty of both parents, it is especially incumbent on Ahmadi mothers to forge a loving and close bond with their children and to instil religious values within them. You should encourage your children to talk to you freely and openly, children are naturally curious and it is the duty of mothers to answer their questions. […] If the mother does not know the answer, you should search for it, rather than leaving it unanswered.
“In this regard, Ahmadi girls and women must seek to increase their religious knowledge and be aware of contemporary issues. If you increase your knowledge, it will also serve to increase your faith. Strive to develop an interest in religion in your children; explain to them why religion is important and to be valued above all else.”
Huzooraa said that the moral and spiritual training was a huge task, especially in this day and age, and mothers were to be at the forefront of this task.
The pious examples of our predecessors should guide and inspire us and our children to improve ourselves. This was so that we could join the ranks of true believers. Huzooraa said one example of true believers was that they were always truthful. White lies and other “small lies” were totally wrong. Once, the Holy Prophetsa advised a Companionra that he should abandon falsehood. Thereafter, whenever the Companionra was about to do something sinful, he would stop, as he thought that if he was asked about it, he would have to lie. Therefore through telling the truth, he reached the high ranks of a true believer.
“Regrettably, personal or domestic issues are often bought to my attention concerning disputes amongst Ahmadis. It is not the case that only Punjabi or Urdu-speaking ladies write to me about such matters – ladies raised and educated in the West also write to complain about the behaviour of their in-laws or their family members. They sometimes also include the nizam-e-jamaat in their complaint by writing that an office-bearer is closely allied with their relative and so is not impartial. Often, when these cases are carefully investigated, it is found that there is a degree of exaggeration or falsehood on both sides.”
Huzooraa said that if both parties acted upon the truth, the matter would be resolved in a better way and darul qaza or jamaat office-bearers would be in a better position to make the correct decision.
“I reiterate that falsehood is a sin of the highest order which can quickly destroy the peace and happiness of families and cause great damage to your community.”
“We should constantly analyse our conduct and not think that certain habits or shortcomings are only prevalent in people from particular nations or regions. Indeed, due to the effects of social media and the internet, inappropriate traits and immoral practises prevalent in one part of the world are crossing borders at an incredible speed.”
Hazrat Amirul Momineenaa said that humility was another important trait for believers and even those who thought they were humble should introspect and see whether they spoke in an arrogant way for example.
“On the one hand, arrogance causes disorder and restlessness in society, it also plays a very negative role in the moral upbringing of one’s children.”
Huzooraa said a believer should also be “regular in sadqa and spending in the way of Allah the Almighty.” By Allah’s grace, most Ahmadis generously gave sadqa to help the poor and the needy and to help the Jamaat.
“Now, as the economic condition of the world worsens and people’s financial condition becomes strained, some people may think that they should focus on their own needs and tighten their giving hands. In such circumstances, we should remember those in greater need than us and help and support them as much as possible. […]
“Another basic Islamic commandment is of purdah, which in today’s world is often criticised and attacked by opponents of Islam. Consequently, some Muslim women come to believe they are being oppressed […]” The Promised Messiahas explained why the purdah was so essential for the harmony of society. Further, men are also commanded in the Quran to keep their gaze down. Therefore, to say men have complete freedom and women are oppressed was wrong.
Huzooraa referred to his address at Jalsa Salana 2022 where he spoke of professional Ahmadi women who worked whilst maintaining their purdah and when their employers sought to prevent them from wearing the hijab, the Ahmadi women took a stand and protected their faith. They made it clear that they would much rather lose their jobs than be forced to dress in a way that was against their beliefs. In the end, their employers, seeing their courage and firmness in their faith, they allowed them to maintain their purdah at work.
“Do not, therefore, submit to the pressures of the world. The commands of Allah are timeless and only if we act upon them, can we live fulfilling lives and protect ourselves and our future generations.”
Huzooraa also said to be vigilant while navigating the online world. People create profiles on social media platforms and displayed or shared their personal pictures or videos in chats. “A person may think that it is a harmless way to pass time” but such things quickly get out of hand, lead to social vices and even affect mental health. Innocent posts could also have adverse effects, Huzooraa said. There were cases of men getting images of women and then blackmailing them.
“Before joining any social media platform, you should be extremely cautious”, Huzooraa stressed.
The Promised Messiahas said:
“‘Those opposed to purdah should assess the moral standards of those nations where there is no concept of it.’ With reference to this, we can easily judge the moral standards of today’s Western society by the fact that, as mentioned earlier, in Western countries there is a growing trend and movement to teach small children in schools – or elsewhere – things that are entirely beyond their comprehension and not at all age-appropriate. They are trying to sexualise innocent young children by teaching them things they are not ready to process. Throughout history, children have not been exposed to such things at such a young age, so why now is there a need to force very small children into discussions about sex? All it serves to do is to destroy the innocence of youth and is bound to have long-term harmful effects.”
The Promised Messiahas challenged those who opposed the Islamic purdah and said if an absolutely free society did not lead to moral decline, he would accept their view. However, this is certainly not the case and immoralities flourished in such societies, as we can observe. Huzooraa said that the Promised Messiahas said that “It is clear that when men and women are young and have a licence to mix freely, the results are bound to be extremely dangerous; they are very likely to be overcome by passion and lust. Hence, there is tremendous wisdom underlying the Islamic injunction of purdah. […]”
“Islam’s teachings are based upon the reality of human nature. Thus, our Ahmadi ladies and girls must ensure that their dress remains modest and at the very least, is according to the minimum standards of purdah.”
Huzooraa said that Allah proclaimed that only those were successful, who sincerely prayed to Him and their prayers were not mere lip service.
“The prayers of a sincere woman have immense value”, Huzooraa said. Therefore, Ahmadi women should pray for everything with great sincerity.
Hazrat Khalifatul Masihaa then led everyone in silent prayer, after which he gave the opportunity to lajna to recite some poems after which Huzooraa conveyed his salaam and the session concluded.
(Report prepared by Al Hakam)