Islamabad, UK, 26 September 2021: At 3:48 pm, Hazrat Amirul Momineen, Khalifatul Masih Vaa arrived in the MTA studio based in Islamabad for the concluding session of the national Lajna Imaillah UK Ijtema of 2021.
Upon arrival, after conveying salaam, Sabeeha Khan Sahiba was invited to recite a portion of the Holy Quran and its English translation (Surah al-Anbiya, Ch.21: V.106-113).
Hazrat Khalifatul Masih Vaa then instructed all Lajna members present and watching via MTA to stand for the Lajna pledge, which everyone repeated.
Thereafter, Rizwana Ahmad Sahiba was invited to the stage to recite a nazm (Urdu poem) written by the Promised Messiah, Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmadas in honour of the Holy Prophet, Muhammad, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him.
Sadr Lajna Imaillah UK was then asked to deliver the Ijtema report. Sadr Sahiba reported that various events were held at this year’s Ijtema, including disucssions on the importance of women in Islam and how the Holy Prophetsa was seen in the eyes of non-Muslims. The Ahmadiyya Muslim Women’s Research Association also held informative discussions and exhibitions. There were also events highlighting the importance of physical health.
3,794 Lajna and Nasirat attended the Ijtema and about 1,500 were present in the final session.
Sadr Sahiba then expressed her gratitude to her teams and especially to Hazrat Khalifatul Masihaa for gracing the concluding session and requested prayers.
She then requested Huzoor’s permission to play a short video clip, highlighting some of the activities of the Ijtema, which was shown on the screen.
Thereafter, Huzooraa took to the podium to deliver the concluding address of the 2021 national UK Lajna Imaillah Ijtema.
After reciting tashahud, ta‘awuz and Surah al-Fatihah, Huzooraa said that it was a grace of Allah that after two years, Lajna Imaillah once again had the opportunity to hold its Ijtema. The primary purpose of Jalsas and Ijtemas was to improve the spiritual and moral standards – to increase moral standards and strengthen faith. If these were not the objectives, there was no point holding Ijtemas and similar events.
In today’s world, human knowledge and understanding has rapidly progressed in all secular fields and as a result, communication is now extremely advanced. Distances have eroded through modern means of travel and through electronic and digital communication, e.g. the television, Internet and radio.
“This technological revolution that has taken place would not have seemed plausible even half a century ago.”
This advancement in technology could not have been envisaged even 10-15 years ago. This is something that has never been seen before in the history of mankind. It is now possible to speak to people thousands of miles away at the same time.
This has enabled the Western nations to flaunt their way of life, so much so that the developing nations are learning about the lifestyle of the richer nations and their luxuries. This leads to feelings of restlessness and more awareness of their desperate plight. Social media and the Internet has turned the world into a global village, but this cannot always be deemed to be for the good.
A large part of the world lives on the baseline of poverty, all the while observing the lifestyles of richer countries. Instead of bridging the gap in society, technology has only highlighted the inequality and injustice that exist in society. This has fermented feelings of anguish and discontent in society.
“So where, on the one hand, rich governments and their people reassure themselves that satellite television and the Internet is providing people living in poor countries with entertainment, the reality is that technology has served to drive an even greater wedge between the haves and have-nots. Whilst many living in the developed world may prefer to turn a blind eye to this inequality, they should realise there is also a grave crisis taking place on their doorsteps and its potential ramifications are no less destructive”.
Huzooraa explained that worldliness and materialism was rampant, wherein most people were living a life of spiritual blindness. People “fail to realise to realise how superficial they have become” and remain ignorant of the far-reaching consequences of materialism.
“I am sure there will come a time when they will recognise that constant exposure to material things on the TV, on the Internet and on social media and the pursuit of vain desires has been to their profound detriment. They will see how all that they have considered as good and progressive has actually triggered a spiritual and moral malaise, the like of which perhaps the world has never seen before. They will be forced to admit that the riches of the world have left them spiritually penniless and morally bankrupt.”
There has been a rise in anxiousness and mental health issues as a result of social media and technological advancement, regarding which Huzooraa said:
“It is my firm belief that the root cause of this is that they have been trapped by their materialistic pursuits and cravings and above all, because they have abandoned faith in God Almighty.”
Huzooraa said that we lived in a world where it did not matter what a person had; rather, what mattered was what a person did not have. This serves only to increase frustrations and anxiety and is leading mankind to darkness.
If people living in the underdeveloped world were being subjected to such complex consequences, then there is no knowing how far the outcome of such things is in the epicentre of materialism – the West.
Children are being exposed to masses of content, on the Internet, on Youtube and other social media platforms. Children are viewing content on their phones, laptops and tablets, often hidden from their parents view and they themselves are not in control of what they are seeing.
“If they are streaming a video or playing an online game, pop-up adverts will frequently appear, often promoting harmful products or showing lewd content that is morally destructive and not at all age-appropriate. It is an extremely harrowing state of affairs.”
Huzooraa said caution must be exercised as parents were struggling to keep up. Research has shown that thousands, if not millions of children, have been affected by the negative consequences of social media.
The Wall Street Journal recently suggested that Instagram was leading to anxiety and mental health issues in children and teenagers. 13% of children who had suicidal thoughts in the UK admitted that it was a result of their use of Instagram. Now, other prominent organisations have realised the harms of social media. The 5Rights Foundation has stated that Facebook’s own research is a devastating indictment of the carelessness with which the technical sector treats children. These companies are stealing children’s time, mental health and tragically, their lives. Ahmadi parents should guide their children as to what is appropriate and what is not so that they may be saved from such harms.
“I also wish to remind all of you that even whilst living in the comfort of the West, you must never forget your roots an your true objectives. Certainly, most Ahmadis living in the Western world, especially those who originate from Pakistan, came here to escape religious persecution, irrespective of their place in society. Whether working as businessmen, professionals, labourers or if they are in education, Ahmadis in Pakistan continue to be the victims of grave persecution and injustice. Even very small Ahmadi children in year one or two are being harassed by other children or their teachers and this is having a damaging effect on them. In terms of higher education, certain professors and members of faculty at Pakistan universities are filled with venomous anti-Ahmadi prejudice and bigotry.
“Thus, where there is an ever-present fear of physical terrorist and extremist attacks, targeting Ahmadis in Pakistan, at the same time, there is a constant stream of psychological terrorism and extremism that is being waged against our members,” as a result of which many Ahmadis have been forced to flee their homeland.
Huzooraa said that many Ahmadis had been subjected to harsh conditions, but they endured them in the hope of providing their children with freedom to practice their faith.
Thus, “it is incumbent upon you to” to practice faith and appreciate all the opportunities offered in the West, e.g. Ahmadi girls in the UK are studying in very good schools, colleges and universities and have the opportunity to advance and progress, all the while Ahmadis girls in Pakistan are either denied such opportunities or face daily discrimination and intimidation whilst in education.
“So remember why you have this chance and never forget who you are; rather, take pride in your faith and religion.”
Huzooraa then provided advice to Lajna and nasirat on how to be better citizens and integrate in a pragmatic fashion in society.
Huzooraa highlighted various vices that the West offered as so-called “freedoms” and liberations. Huzooraa said that Ahmadi men, women and children should remember that loyalty to a nation meant to uphold the highest moral standards and to follow their religion in the best manner possible. Modern-day men and women fail to understand how immorality destroys the fabric society.
“God knows better when, but one day, they will surely realise the error of their ways and will admit the liberalism has gone too far, but by then it will be extremely difficult for them to establish higher morals in society.
“Thus, it is the duty of all Ahmadi Muslims to ensure that they stand up for what is right and have the courage of their convictions. If we are successful in achieving this, then when others come to realise their mistakes, we will be ready to guide them and to present them an alternative and better system of morals.
“Certainly, I hope and pray that our Jamaat will be there to protect society and to arrest moral decline before it reaches the point of no return. So as Ahmadis living in the West, if you truly want to contribute to society and wish to manifest genuine gratitude to this country for letting you live here with freedom of religion and for granting you opportunities to progress, the best way is to give priority to your faith over all worldly matters.”
True gratitude demands faithfulness to God and shunning everything vain and useless.
The changes in society we witness today are being imposed upon society and instead of strengthening society, they are confusing large parts of it. Many people are now beginning to question the ways that are being adopted and fair-minded people are writing on the decay in society and how values are being compromised. Good-natured people, irrespective of belief or religion, cannot tolerate morals plummeting to such a low. It now, unfortunately, becomes difficult to distinguish the morals of humans and animals.
We, Ahmadi Muslims, must adopt the highest moral standards. As members of the Jamaat of the Promised Messiahas, we must convey the message of the true Islam to others.
“It is my firm belief and conviction, that if we hold aloft the lantern of spiritual light entrusted to us by the Promised Messiahas, we will find that the help of Allah the Almighty will be with us every step of the way, insha-Allah.”
In chapter 13, verse 29, Allah states, “It is in the remembrance of Allah that hearts find comfort.” This is a lived experience of the God-fearing and righteous members of our community that true contentment is gained through the worship of Allah and not through superficial means of entertainment.
“Here, I should clarify that there are some very good and beneficial forms of recreation that should be pursued, for example, regular exercise and physical activity are very important for a person’s physical and mental health. However, those forms of recreation or games that place a barrier between a person and God Almighty and which increase a person’s lust for material things must be avoided. Such activities are neither good for your health, nor for your spirituality and instead, increase a person’s anxieties.”
All Ahmadis living in the Western world should focus on their priorities and realise that the freedoms that encourage vice and deception can lead to nothing good and can only increase anxiety and cause rifts in society.
Some youngsters suggest that the limits imposed by the Jamaat curtail their freedom; but Huzooraa said it should be borne in mind:
“If they carefully analyse whatever limits are prescribed by the Jamaat, they will realise they are all entirely based upon true Islamic principles; they do not diminish a person’s rights, but to the contrary, firmly entrench them and are the means of true freedom a liberation.
“There have been cases of a few Ahmadi youth – male and female – who were extremely influenced by Western society and chose to discard their faith and beliefs; however, they came to regret their decision. They admit that they had, in the name of freedom, fallen blindly into a spiritual abyss. They express their sorrow and embarrassment and some eventually return to the Jamaat.
“Remember, a wise person always evaluated the benefits and harms before undertaking any action or reaching any decision. Moreover, a true momin, or mominah – a true believer – is he or she who acts with wisdom and calculates not only the practical consequences of any action but who focuses principally upon the religious benefits or harms.”
Huzooraa said that in free time, one could even watch light-hearted comedies, but one should also watch educational programmes. One should watch things that do not take one away from Allah. In the name of fashion and trends, Ahmadi girls and women should not compromise their modesty.
“Some Lajna members say they have covered part of their head and consider that enough. Similarly, some ladies wear overcoats in the name of observing purdah but with sleeves rolled all the way up their arms. Yet Allah the Almighty has already stated that hijab requires a woman to fully cover her hair in public and to wear loose fitting garments and ensure that her collar and chest area is not exposed.
“So, Ahmadi women should pay careful attention to protecting their modesty and chastity. Failing to do so is to violate the commands of Allah and those limits established by Islam for the sake of protecting the dignity and virtue of Muslim women. Keep in mind that any limits placed upon you by Islam are a means of guarding your honour and protecting you from the everyday risks that exist in society where women are constantly harassed, abused and exploited.
“In terms of your education, you should seek to excel”, but at the same time, Huzooraa said to avoid contact with boys on social media, or other means. Women and girls should not let the freedoms offered in society to exploit their modesty.
Ahmadi Muslim men and women should respect the honour of their family and society, which should always be safeguarded.
Huzooraa said some women wrote to Huzooraa that they or their daughters deemed purdah to be a state of one’s heart and so they queried the physical need for purdah in clothing. Huzooraa said such a notion was “entirely wrong” and were, in fact, societal influences that sought to take one away from God.
“What I am saying is not based on Pakistani or Asian culture; rather, these are the universal teachings of Islam, applicable to all Muslims, regardless of where they hail from.”
Ahmadi women everywhere in the world, should live according to Islamic teachings and protect their modesty at all times.
Huzooraa said that if a person was free from all complexes regarding their religion and faith, then it would open up doors to tabligh and welcoming others to the fold of the true Islam. Such people were now, by the grace of Allah, entering the Jamaat from the West that one is left amazed at their level of modesty and righteousness. This was a moment to reflect for all Ahmadi Muslim women.
“Without a shadow of doubt, our Jamaat is destined to progress”; however, if we do not follow through on our promises and oaths, then others would come to take our place to honour the pledge of bai‘at of the Promised Messiahas.
Huzooraa then prayed that Allah enabled everyone to act upon what he had said and that Lajna were able to fulfil the rights of worship and the rights of Allah.
At the end, Huzooraa reminded everyone that they ought to remember their responsibility of conveying the true message of Islam to all of society. This is a great task entrusted by Allah to the Jamaat of the Promised Messiahas.
“If you want to rise to this challenge, and bring about a spiritual revolution in the world, we must first start by reforming ourselves.”
We must increase our religious knowledge and increase in spirituality by worshipping Allah. We must never forget that Allah sees all, so when we are alone, Allah is always watching us, and we must act upon His commands all the time.
“It is up to us to bring about a moral and spiritual revolution in the world, so train your children so that they grow to be ready to take up the mantle of serving the mission of the Promised Messiahas.”
Huzooraa prayed that Allah enabled all Lajna members to do so.
(Report prepared by Al Hakam)