Abdul Mukhlis, National Secretary Ishaat, Jamaat-e-Ahmadiyya Philippines
In January 2016, Jamaat-e-Ahmadiyya Manila, Philippines, planned to hold a symposium about the life of the Holy Prophetsa. The programme was titled, “Muhammad – Messenger of Peace.”
Jamaat Manila is a relatively new Jamaat in the Philippines compared to the older jamaats in the Mindanao area, in the South of the Philippines. The Manila Jamaat is also predominantly comprised of recently immigrated Pakistani refugees, whereas the rest of the Philippines’ jamaats are entirely comprised of local Filipino members.
The local jamaat made a lot of preparations before the program including holding organisational meetings and distributing invitations to neighbours, visiting local churches and even mosques in the local area to invite them to the programme. During the visits to the mosque, one of the local imams claimed that he had studied in Pakistan. This made us apprehensive due to the persecution of the Jamaat in Pakistan, but the imam met us in a cordial manner and promised to attend.
The symposium was being held in a conference room of a restaurant near the mission house. On the day of the programme, some of our members went early to prepare. A short while before the programme, our missionary-in-charge received a call from members that many non-Ahmadi Muslims, including some of Pakistani origin were already there for the event. When our missionary reached there, he greeted the Muslim guests with the salutation of salaam and a general conversation ensued with those of Pakistani origin. Within a few minutes, it became clear that they were not there to attend the programme, but rather to disrupt it. The Pakistani maulvis started hurling abuse at the Promised Messiahas and the Jamaat. They kept on repeating that they would not let Ahmadis hold any event in the name of Islam. When reminded that this was not Pakistan, they became even more aggressive and claimed that they would have the Ahmadis declared non-Muslim in the Philippines as well.
At this point, they were politely asked to leave and the members and the missionary went upstairs to the conference hall. But the miscreants followed us upstairs as well. They were more in number than our local jamaat. Moreover, many guests had arrived by this time and it became difficult to differentiate between those creating trouble and genuine guests.
The miscreants then became extremely physical. They ripped off our banner; started harassing our registration team and throwing or stealing our literature. They started pushing and shoving our missionary and other members. Due to the situation, some Khuddam were asked to escort the ladies back to the mission house while others were asked to involve the authorities, specifically the restaurant management and the police.
Unfortunately, the restaurant management said that they thought this was an internal matter and due to general fear of Muslims in the Philippines, they did not involve themselves.
By this time, all hope for any peaceful dialogue was over. So, our missionary and the members cancelled the programme and went to the police. The general secretary of the jamaat was tasked to file a police complaint. Unfortunately, the police let the perpetrators go. The next day, we were told by the police that there was no incident report, and they made the flimsy excuse that our president and some other members were not there personally.
The same day there were Facebook posts with the pictures of our missionary, the Jamaat’s logo and other members with blatant threats and warnings. Without going into too much detail, it took far too long for the authorities to act, and though after six months we did get some positive feedback due to pressure from higher law enforcement, but by that time it was too late to take the matter to court with any hope of a positive outcome.
The above-mentioned facts are just to set up the stage for the real story that I would like to share. From the restaurant, we returned to the mission house and it was decided that we should continue to hold the programme about the blessed life of the Holy Prophetsa, even if the audience were only members of the Jamaat. Somehow, one of the non-Ahmadis who was present at the programme knocked at the door, and for some reason, the Khuddam on security duty allowed him in. The programme was conducted as planned. Speeches were delivered by two of our missionaries about the life of the Holy Prophetsa. In the concluding prayer, our missionary-in-charge spoke passionately about the fact that no power in the world, no amount of coercion could separate us from the threshold of the Holy Prophet Muhammadsa. The programme was concluded with a passionate dua in which many members could be heard sobbing due to the events that had just taken place.
The next day, early in the morning, there was a knock on the door by some of the Filipino non-Ahmadi Muslims who had been at the programme and were greatly confused by what transpired. They informed us that the person who attended the internal event yesterday informed them about everything and they were very confused because they were told by the Pakistani maulvis and their local Filipino ulema that Ahmadis were not Muslim. Even though our missionaries were apprehensive at first due to security concerns, eventually our missionaries went to their mosque and had long sittings with them about the beliefs of the Jamaat and answered their questions in details. Those who were interested in the initial meetings were then invited to the mission house for various events.
By the sheer grace of Allah, nine people accepted Ahmadiyyat due to this event. The person who was witness to our internal programme is now a devoted Ahmadi Muslim who is very regular in attending Jamaat programmes, offering financial sacrifice, mushawarat and is also very active in tabligh, despite old age.
The Promised Messiahas states:
“Look! In agriculture, there is a use for everything. There is water. There are seeds. And yet, it is necessary to use manure, which is extremely foul. Similarly, the foul opposition of the community serves the same purpose as manure.” (Malfuzat, Vol. 5, p. 631 [1988 Edition])
The above-mentioned incident is proof that the opposition and persecution can never destroy Ahmadiyyat; rather, it acts as a fertiliser for further growth and the progress of this divine community.