Sunday, 31 October 2021, Islamabad, UK: The concluding session of Humanity First International’s 2021 Conference was presided by Hazrat Khalifatul Masih Vaa earlier today.
Hazrat Amirul Momineenaa arrived in the Masroor Hall in Islamabad at 17:34 GMT and the concluding session immediately commenced.
Huzooraa invited Raheel Ahmad Sahib to recite a portion of the Holy Quran, who recited a few verses from Surah al-Balad (Ch.90: V.5-21) before presenting their English translation.
Syed Ahmad Yahya Sahib was then invited to present a report of the conference.
Ahmad Yahya Sahib first thanked Huzooraa for gracing the event with his attendance. Due to Covid-19, the conference was not possible in 2020, but for the first time, a hybrid conference, with 65 countries and a total of 1,229 delegates and members from various countries participating, the conference was held this year. In this conference, Humanity First also celebrated 25 years since its inception.
The theme for this year’s conference was “Poverty Elimination Through Empowerment”.
After this report, Huzooraa then announced that a video, summarising the first 25 years of Humanity First, would be shown. The video presentation detailed highlights from the charity organisation’s journey and what it has achieved so far in this quarter of a century.
Following the video presentation, Huzooraa took to the podium to deliver the concluding address.
After reciting tashahud and ta‘awuz, Huzooraa said that although the event could not be held last year due to Covid-19, some people were able to attend this year while most were participating from other countries live.
Huzooraa said that it had now been 26 years since the charity was first registered formally and since then, it had achieved a lot. Huzooraa said that in some countries, Humanity First had provided rapid relief to struggling countries, while in other places, it had provided solid infrastructures to provide the basic needs to the local people.
Humanity First has set up food banks in various places and has provided meat to less privileged members of society. The homeless and orphans have also been extended help by Humanity First. Humanity First is providing farming and agriculture support, medical training and teaching a range of skills for the advantage of locals in various places. Through its Water for Life programme, Humanity First has provided clean drinking water in various places. In some places, it has established schools, care shelters etc. for the betterment of the local populace.
With the grace of Allah, Humanity First is now a very well-established and respected charity organisation. Humanity First has now reached a stage where external NGOs and similar humanitarian organisations are seeking to collaborate to achieved their own objectives.
One International NGO of a certain country expressed its desire and intention to provide funds to Humanity First so that it may carry out projects on its behalf. This demonstrates that with Allah’s grace, Humanity First has earned the trust of other humanitarian organisations, including those associated with the United Nations.
This was, of course, destined to happen as the Holy Prophet, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, said that if one’s etiquettes and conduct was good, then people would appreciate it and they could consider that they had contributed to society in a positive way.
Although we desire no reward from people and only from Allah, certain organisations and government agencies have lauded Humanity First, which testifies to the beneficial works that have been conducted by Humanity First. It reflects the fact that Humanity First has earnestly strived to fulfil the objective which the Holy Quran has instructed us to pursue, which is to serve humanity and fulfil the needs of anyone facing adversity.
In the Holy Quran, Allah has instructed us to help our fellow men and women, irrespective of cast, creed or colour. There are a number of examples from the life of the Holy Prophetsa how he served mankind. The Holy Prophetsa is an everlasting source of mercy and through his blessed words and deeds, he shone an everlasting light on the magnificent teachings of Islam. He showed that serving mankind is a fundamental teaching of Islam.
Islam teaches us to protect the orphans and provide for the needy and look after those who are suffering from ill health. Also, that one’s neighbours have a great right over them.
In one well-known tradition, the Holy Prophetsa said that the angel Gabriel had emphasised the rights of neighbours so much that he thought that perhaps they would be included in a Muslim’s rightful heirs.
The definition of a neighbour in Islam is vast. It not only includes those who live in one’s close proximity; rather, it includes many, for example, work colleagues, travel companions, subordinates etc. In reality, the scope of one’s neighbours in Islam is so vast that all members of humanity can be included in it. Thus, it is the duty of an Ahmadi Muslims to serve mankind.
Through Humanity First, Ahmadi Muslims have had the opportunity to serve mankind, whether in their own areas or further away.
Islam teaches us to alleviate those who are suffering ill health and tenderly care for them and regularly enquire after their health. In this regard, the Holy Prophetsa said that whosever visited a sick person, a heavenly caller would announce, “May your every step be blessed and may you be rewarded with an abode in Paradise.”
Not only has the Holy Prophetsa instructed Muslims to provide relief and treatment to those who are unwell, but he also gave the glad tiding that those who made extra efforts to serve the sick would be rewarded in the Hereafter.
Consequently, those who spend out of what Allah has provided them to build hospitals, clinics etc. are those who are building their homes in Paradise. In light of this, the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community has built many hospitals and schools in different countries. However, where it is not possible, due to religious opposition, Humanity First has provided an excellent avenue to fulfil our obligations and ardent desire to serve others.
The Holy Quran says that those who protect and feed orphans are those who gain the nearness of Allah. Those who ignore their rights are recipients of His wrath. The Holy Prophetsa also repeatedly emphasised the importance of serving orphans and other vulnerable members of society.
The Holy Prophetsa once said, “Find me among the poor.” Here, he proclaims that he stands shoulder to shoulder with those who are weak and defenceless and that if a person desired to attain his love and the love of Allah, then one should seek to help those who are helpless or victims of misfortune. Unquestionably, the blessed and noble teachings and practice of the Holy Prophetsa stand as a timeless example for the Muslim community and the world at large.
“Thus, never let any opportunity to serve those who are mired in poverty or subjected to hardship slip through your fingers and never, God forbid, allow even a trace of pride to enter your mind, thinking that you are doing such people a favour; rather, it is they who are doing you a favour because they are providing you with an opportunity to gain the pleasure of God and to reap his blessings in both this world and the next.”
Huzooraa said that Ahmadis were blessed to spend their wealth to help the less fortunate and needy and it was for this reason that Humanity First was established.
Islam teaches us to serve the hungry and so, food banks have been introduced, most notably in Canada, UK and USA.
In terms of giving generously, it is narrated that the Holy Prophetsa once said:
“Each day two angels descend, one of them says, ‘O Allah, grant even more to the one who spends in charity and may there be many others who follow in his steps.’ Thereupon other angels say, ‘O Allah, may he who withholds charity and is miserly be destroyed and may all his wealth and riches come to an end.’”
It is purely with this intention that Humanity First raises funds and serves humanity and for this reason, many Ahmadis donate towards this. They have seen how Humanity First uses its “volunteer army” to ensure that maximum amount of money is spent on those who need it the most.
“Always, the primary focus and desire of every member of Humanity First should be to serve the interest of the weakest members of society, rather than to serve their own self-interest in any way whatsoever. Rest assured that if you serve Allah’s creation selflessly and for His sake alone, then surely He will reward you in this world and in the Hereafter.
“The fact that Humanity First is administratively independent of our religious administration ensures that no one can question our motivations or suggest that we gain some religious benefit or other advantage through our humanitarian service.
“Nonetheless, never forget that your true inspiration is and always will be the benevolent teachings of Islam. Do not shy away from the fact that it is your religion and belief in Allah the Almighty that motivates you to serve the cause of humanity.
“Accordingly, wherever Humanity First provides and serves, or wherever it invites donations, strive to ensure that the people know that you are inspired by Islam’s beautiful teachings and it is your religion that obligates you to serve others with empathy and a spirit of generosity.”
The Holy Prophetsa taught to cater for those who struggle with hardships and difficult circumstances. In this era, the Promised Messiahasconstantly emphasised and instructed his followers to serve the poor and underprivileged. It is for this reason that there is a special passion and desire to serve mankind.
On one occasion, while speaking about fulfilling the rights of mankind, the Promised Messiahas said:
“The most perilous and arduous challenge is to fulfil the rights of mankind because this is a test and trial that one is faced with at all times and remains constantly before a person. Therefore, one ought to tread very carefully and be mindful when taking any step in this regard.”
The Promised Messiahas further said:
“It is my firm conviction that even with one’s enemy, one should never act with undue severity.”
At another occasion, the Promised Messiahas said:
“To love mankind and to show compassion to others is an immense form of worship of God Almighty and an outstanding means of attaining his pleasure and rewards.”
In another instance, the Promised Messiahas said:
“Allah the Almighty repeatedly commands that irrespective of religion or ethnicity, you should show love and compassion to all people. Allah commands us to feed the hungry, free those shackled in bondage, pay off the arears of those mired in debt, shoulder the burden of others and truly fulfil the duties owed to mankind.”
Hazrat Khalifatul Masih Vaa then said, “It was to fulfil these objectives that Humanity First was founded.”
On one occasion, while instructing to show true sympathy to mankind, the Promised Messiahas said:
“Each day every person should analyse himself and see to what extent he is concerned for others and to what extent he shows love and compassion to his brothers. Compassion for others is a huge demand and responsibility that weighs heavy on mankind.”
In reference to a hadith that portrays the true magnitude to serve others, the Promised Messiahas said:
“In one hadith, it is narrated that on the Day of Judgment, Allah will say, ‘I was hungry and you did not feed Me; I was thirsty and you did not give Me water; I was sick and you did not meet or comfort Me.’ Upon this, those being addressed will ask, ‘O our Lord, when was it that You were hungry, and we did not feed you? When was it that You were thirsty, and we did not quench Your thirst? And when was it that You were sick, and we did not comfort You.’ In reply, God Almighty will say, ‘A person dear to Me was suffering in this way and you did not show any compassion or kindness to him. To show love to him would actually have been to show love to Me.’
“Similarly, to another community, Allah the Almighty will say, ‘I thank you as you showed love and compassion to Me; when I was hungry, you fed Me; when I was thirsty, you quenched My thirst.’ The members of that community will then ask, ‘O our Lord, when did we serve You in this way? We do not know ourselves.’ In response, Allah will say, ‘When you showed love and compassion to a person dear to Me, you were actually manifesting your love for Me.’”
Hazrat Khalifatul Masih Vaa then said:
“Hence, it is up to the members of Humanity First to strive earnestly, seeking the betterment and wellbeing of mankind. Never rest easy or feel satisfied with what has gone in the past; rather, look to the future and see how and where you can increase the scope of your service to humanity.”
Huzooraa said that Humanity First had earned a very decent reputation and organisations and NGOs now lauded Humanity First’s efforts.
Huzooraa carried on to say:
“It is my prayer that this spirit never diminishes, but only ever increases. I also wish to reiterate that you must never entertain even a trace of arrogance in your hearts to think that you have done great work or that you have done a favour to those who benefit from the various Humanity First projects; rather at all times, absolute humility and gratitude to Allah the Almighty should course through your veins.”
Towards the end, Huzooraa said:
“At the end, I also wish to offer my heartfelt congratulations and thanks to the volunteers and team members of Humanity First because during its first quarter-century, they have served in an exemplary way, with great sincerity and loyalty to the cause of serving humanity. The passion of its volunteers has enabled Humanity First to live up to its name and become a well-established and renowned charity and disaster relief agency.
“Alhamdulillah, each year, the scope of work of Humanity First has continued to expand and I pray that this always remains the case. May its members and volunteers be those who stand ever ready to wipe away the tears of those who are in distress or hurting in any way. May you always be ready to help those blameless souls who are the victims of their circumstances to overcome their grief, desperation and heartache. May you always stand up for the rights of the weak, deprived and vulnerable. May Allah enable all of you to play your role in serving the cause of humanity and helping those tormented by abject poverty and deprivation to stand upon their own two feet.
“May Allah the Almighty bless the efforts of Humanity First and may it never take a backward step; rather, I pray it always marches forward in its efforts to humanity. Amin. Jazakallah.”
Thereafter, Huzooraa led everyone in dua (silent prayer), after which the conference formally came to a close.
(Report prepared by Al Hakam)