Jazib Mehmood, Jamia Ahmadiyya International Ghana
Last week, the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community in the UK held its 57th Annual Convention in Hampshire. And although it is held in the UK, it has blossomed into an international convention that is attended by Ahmadis all over the world due to the presence of the head of the worldwide Ahmadiyya Muslim Community, Hazrat Khalifatul Masih Vaa.
Whether you attended the convention in person, or watched it live from home, you will most likely have seen or heard the famous slogan of the community: Love for All, Hatred for None.
In this short piece, we will dive a bit into its history and find out what this slogan means.
History of an Ahmadiyya motto
It was in 1936 that Hazrat Khalifatul Masih IIra first addressed the idea that had sprouted among the scholars of the Jamaat that the Jamaat should have a motto. Some scholars had suggested verses of the Holy Quran like:
“Vie, then, with one another in good works.” (Surah al-Ma’idah, Ch.5:V.49) On the other hand, some had advocated for Urdu phrases like “I shall give precedence to my faith over the world”.
In his Friday Sermon on 28 August 1936, Hazrat Khalifatul Masih IIra spoke about how the motto of the Jamaat could not be any one verse of the Holy Quran, since the entire Quran was a source of guidance for us.
Instead, he explained that the true motto of the Jamaat is the shahadah:
لَا إِلَه إِلّا اللهُ مُحَمّدٌ رّسُولُ اللّٰهُ
Meaning that there is none worthy of worship except Allah and Muhammad is His Messenger. This, he stated, proclaimed the Unity of God, and combined within it all the commandments of the Holy Quran. (Khutbat-e-Mahmood, Vol. 17, p. 564)
The slogan “Love for All, Hatred for None” was bestowed on the Jamaat by Hazrat Khalifatul Masih IIIrh, who first voiced the words in Spain. Addressing a large congregation at an event where Huzoorrh laid the foundation stone of the first mosque in Spain in 700 years, he stated:
“Islam teaches us to live with mutual love and affection and with humility. It teaches us no distinction between a Muslim or a non-Muslim. My message to everyone is that you must have ‘Love for All, Hatred for None!’” (The Review of Religions, March 2008, p. 52)
Since then, the Jamaat has adopted these words as its slogan. Explaining the meaning of these words, Hazrat Khalifatul Masih Vaa states:
“We also use this slogan [i.e., Love for All, Hatred for None] to make it clear to the world that Islam teaches love, peace, and kindness, and it is not correct to associate cruelty and viciousness with the faith of Islam. We employ this slogan to signify that we wish to live together by breaking down walls of hatred.
“When we serve humanity in any way at all or when we disseminate the message of Islam, we do so because we have love for every person in the world, and we wish to remove hatred from each heart and instead sow the seeds of love. We do so because this is what our master, the Holy Prophetsa taught us.” (Friday Sermon, 9 May 2014; Al Fazl International 30 May 2014, Vol. 21, Issue 22, p. 5)
How can we love everyone?
Some people raise the question of whether it is possible to love everyone since there are many bad people in the world. There are many people for whom Allah the Almighty has also clearly stated in the Holy Quran that He does not love them.
In this regard, the Promised Messiahas beautifully explains that we must hate their actions but not their persons. Explaining the teachings of Islam in this regard, he states:
“The Quran does not encourage you to love your enemies. Rather, it teaches you to dissolve your personal enmities and show compassion to everyone. But, those who oppose God, your Messenger[sa], and the Book of Allah are certainly your enemies.
“However, even then, you ought not to exclude them from your prayers and supplications. Oppose their actions, not their persons, and seek to rectify their deeds.” (Noah’s Ark, p. 50)
Further elucidating this Islamic teaching, the Promised Messiahas states in another place:
“If it is asked that when it is forbidden to love Satan and those of satanic character, how then should we treat them? The reply to it is that the Holy Word of God, the Holy Quran, instructs us to be extremely compassionate towards them, in the same way as a kind-hearted person shows compassion towards the leper, the blind, the handicapped, etc., all those who are suffering. […]
“It is the sign of a truly compassionate person that he does not always treat the pitiable person with gentleness, but takes appropriate action concerning him as dictated by the need of the time and circumstance – at times being gentle and at times being strict. […]
“Therefore, the true purport of the Quranic teaching is that love, the reality of which is to become coloured in the hues of the beloved, is permitted only when it is for God and for righteous people and is otherwise strictly forbidden.” (The Light of the Holy Quran – Number Two, pp. 132-135)
“All I say to you is: be true”
Once, an Ahmadi asked Hazrat Khalifatul IVrh how we can love everyone when there is so much evil in this world. Huzoorrh gave the following beautiful reply:
“I think I agree with you that this noble adage is not for everyone to follow. We must follow [the] truth. Some of us cannot suppress our hatred against evil, and as such, they are forgiven – they are excused. And there shouldn’t be any artificiality in Ahmadi sentiments. Just because we write this slogan largely on different walls or banners doesn’t mean that we change our nature and become false. […]
“The point is, you should not hate anybody just because of racial differences, religious differences, or any general views. But personally, if somebody is evil – and you know him to be an evil person – I don’t see [how] anybody can help hating him, because man hates evil. If somebody commits a very grave crime against a poor innocent child, I don’t see how an Ahmadi can love him and say, ‘Love for All, Hatred for None’. […]
“It doesn’t mean that you must love Satan as well or evil personified. What [the motto] means is that, initially, this is our attitude towards everybody. This is our message to the whole [of] mankind: We are here to love you, not to hate you. But if somebody behaves in a manner that [makes it] impossible for us to continue to love him, then [we] must be forgiven [for not loving such a person].
“All I say to you is: be true. Be honest. Honestly try – again I say to you – honestly try to love everyone.” (Question & Answer Session 24 June 1991)
Responsibility of an Ahmadi Muslim
In his Friday Sermon on 9 May 2014, Hazrat Khalifatul Masih Vaa also explained in great detail that our true motto, the root of all our endeavours, is the shahadah. Huzooraa addressed the community in the following words:
“We should not feel smug by merely raising slogans that the world appreciates and through which we are praised in various places. We should be mindful that this slogan is just one source for attaining the broader objective for which man was created. Our humanitarian works, our promotion and practice of love, our rejection of hatred, and our hatred for hatred itself are to attain God’s love and to establish the Unity of God. […]
“This slogan is in fact a means to an end, the end being the objective of our lives. It is a stepping stone towards the objective for which the advent of the Holy Prophetsa took place, and then, in his subservience, the Promised Messiahas was sent by God in the current age to attain the objective. And that objective is to instil true insight into the Unity of God and to try to practise all of God’s commandments. […]
“Thus, we should not just shout or express slogans to become popular in the eyes of the world, but shout this slogan to achieve our goal. […]
“It should be remembered that all Quranic commandments are excellent and beneficial in their own right, but لَا إِلَه إِلَّا اللهُ is dominant over them all. This is the real motto, which we need to keep in sight at all times, and we need to reflect on the need for the Unity of God and its establishment. […]
“Thus, our motto, which is appointed by God, is, لَا إِلَه إِلّا اللّٰه, the rest are all details that can be useful as advice.” (Friday Sermon, 9 May 2014; Al Fazl International 30 May 2014, Vol. 21, Issue 22, pp. 6–8)
The teaching of the Holy Quran proclaimed in the words “Love for All, Hatred for None” is such a vital one that it resonates with even non-Muslims today. It is a need of the time that drives Ahmadis to shout it from the rooftops.
But at the same time, we constantly remind ourselves that our end goal is to establish the Unity and Oneness of Allah the Almighty in the world. And this, dear reader, is why when you saw the banner that proclaims “Love for All, Hatred for None” at Jalsa Salana this year, you must also have seen the shahadah on the same banner.