The Corona Pandemic: Our Duties and Responsibilities

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Friday Sermon

10 April 2020

The Corona Pandemic: Our Duties and Responsibilities

After reciting the Tashahud, Ta‘awuz and Surah al-Fatihah, Hazrat Khalifatul Masih Vaa stated: 

The current situation due to the coronavirus pandemic continues to worry everyone alike, be it members of our community or others. People write to me and express their concerns. They are worried due to the illnesses of their loved ones and close relatives, regardless of the nature of the illness. Due to the situation, many people are immensely worried that even if one is suffering from a different illness, but owing to their weak conditions, they may be affected by the pandemic.

Some Ahmadis have also been affected by this illness. In any case, the entire world has been engulfed by this worry.

A missionary wrote to me expressing his perplexity at the situation and that one cannot understand what is happening. He is right and it is true that one is perplexed as to what is going on in the world. However, Allah the Almighty says in the Holy Quran regarding the conditions of this present era:

وَقَالَ الْإِنْسَانُ مَا لَهَا

i.e. “And man says, ‘What is the matter with her?’” (Surah al-Zilzal, Ch.99: V.4)

A hundred years ago, in February 1920, Hazrat Musleh-e-Maudra, whilst mentioning infectious diseases, droughts and storms, gave a brief discourse of this verse by saying that previously, there used to be a rare outbreak of an infectious disease or a calamity. However, in present times, there has been a significant rise in the frequency of such calamities. (Khutbat-e-Mahmud, Vol. 6, p. 387, Friday Sermon, 6 February 1920)

I too have been saying for the last many years that after the advent of the Promised Messiahas and since he especially warned the world about calamities and heavenly afflictions, the frequency of storms, earthquakes and pandemics has increased greatly in the world. Generally, these pandemics and calamities come to caution mankind that they should fulfil the rights of their Creator as well as His creation.

Thus, in these circumstances, it is also incumbent upon us to submit before Allah the Almighty greater than before and we must also draw the attention of the world towards this as well.

Some illnesses, diseases and storms are of such a nature that when they occur in the world, they naturally impact every individual. Hazrat Musleh-e-Maudra also states that it is correct to say that certain trials have nothing to do with us. However, since we live in this world, we are also affected, to a certain extent, by various things, such as diseases and droughts. That is, we also are affected by them. It is not the case that divine communities are completely protected from them. Hazrat Musleh-e-Maudra states that the reason for this is that this would go against the designs of the Almighty God. (Khutbat-e-Mahmud, Vol. 6, pp. 387-388, Friday Sermon, 6 February 1920)

However, a believer passes through such hardships whilst submitting before Allah the Almighty and being His grateful servant. Thus, as I have mentioned, we should particularly prostrate before Allah the Almighty these days and seek His mercy and grace. Every Ahmadi should try to prostrate before Allah the Almighty greater than before.

Some people make comments that this disease serves as a sign and that there is no need to take precautionary measures or treatment, or they make other such comments, which hurt the sentiments of others.

We do not know if this is a specific sign or not. However, certainly, we do say, as I have mentioned just now and a few sermons ago when I referred to the pandemic for the first time, that this is a general sign. Since the advent of the Promised Messiahas, there has been a huge rise in heavenly and earthly calamities. Therefore, while it can be referred to as a general sign, however to link the current pandemic with the plague at the time of the Promised Messiahas and then to allege that Ahmadis who have been infected or who have died from the current pandemic are, God forbid, of weak faith, are judgements that no one has a right to pass.

The plague appeared at the time of the Promised Messiahas as a specific sign and although the Holy Prophetsa has stated that one who passes away owing to such pandemics is deemed as a martyr (Sahih al-Bukhari, Kitab-ul-Tib, Hadith no. 5733), however Allah the Almighty had revealed to the Promised Messiahas that this would appear as a specific sign and the Promised Messiahas announced this as a sign and also gave the Jamaat guidance regarding it.

The plague that manifested in the time of the Promised Messiahas had a unique significance. Further, the Promised Messiahas instructed the Jamaat then – in fact, he told Mufti Sahibra – to publish this announcement in newspapers that “he profusely prayed that members of the Jamaat would be saved from the plague. However, he also said that the Holy Quran establishes that when Divine calamities befall the world, they engulf the righteous as well as wicked and corrupt people. As such, people would be judged according to their deeds. It is not the case that the righteous will remain completely unaffected; rather they too will be impacted.”

As I have mentioned that Hazrat Musleh-e-Maudra has explained that this is the law of nature. The Promised Messiahas further states:

“The flood at the time of Hazrat Noahas affected many, whereas there were men, women and children who were oblivious to the claims and beliefs of Noahas, but yet succumbed to the calamity.”

The Promised Messiahas says further:

“The Holy Prophetsa and the Companionsra that engaged in Jihad and their victories and successes were all a means to establish the truthfulness of Islam. Later, during the era of the Khulafa-e-Rashideen [Rightly Guided Successors], Jihad similarly took place. There were a few defeats but by and large, there were successes.”

The Promised Messiahas says:

“All of these proved the truthfulness of Islam. Nonetheless, alongside the disbelievers, the Muslims also lost their lives in these battles. Although this Jihad took place as a sign for Islam’s truthfulness, it was not only disbelievers who died, rather Muslims died as well. The Muslims who were killed or died were considered martyrs.”

The Promised Messiahas states:

“Similarly, the outbreak of the plague serves as a sign for our truthfulness, and it is possible that certain members of our community may also be martyred by this.”

The Promised Messiahas further states:

“Thus, first and foremost, fulfil the rights due to Allah the Almighty and cleanse your hearts of its inner passions. Then, fulfil the rights due to God’s Creation and develop true and sincere belief in God. With utmost humility and meekness, supplicate to Allah the Almighty. No day should pass where you do not submit to God, weeping in prayers.”

Then, the Promised Messiahas says:

“Alongside this, also utilise the practical means and resources that are available. In other words, fully and comprehensively adopt all precautionary measures.”

The Promised Messiahas further states:

“Show utmost sympathy and compassion to those individuals and their families who, by Divine Fate, are inflicted with the plague. Help and give aid to such persons and leave no stone unturned in finding a cure or treatment for them.”

However, the Promised Messiahas states:

“Let it be clear that to help such people does not mean that one should become infected themselves through close contact with the infected person by the contamination from their breathing or clothes.” (Malfuzat, Vol. 9, pp. 251-253)

Indeed, one should show compassion, however one should take all precautionary measures and keep themselves protected from its contagious effects.

Hence, what one can learn from this is that those who are helping others must take the necessary precautionary measures, for example, nowadays it is said that one should wear a mask, among other precautions. Likewise, one should refrain from visiting the homes of others unnecessarily and the government has even banned this, so we ought to abstain from doing so.

Nowadays in the UK, despite the government’s ban, there are those who still meet up in parks etc. There is only permission to go for a walk and to go out to get some fresh air and it does not mean that one can sit in a park, have a picnic and meet with others. This is wrong and the government is drawing attention to this again and again. There are those who go in their cars [to these places], but if their claim is to go and get some fresh air and exercise in the park, then they should walk to those places from their homes or even cycle. It is not correct to all sit in the car to go to such places. Councils in certain areas have now announced the [temporary] closure of car parks and that there is no permission for cars to park. In any case, Ahmadis particularly should refrain from such behaviour.

Those with the task of aiding others – a lot of volunteers from Khuddam-ul-Ahmadiyya have come forward and others are also helping out – should take all the precautionary measures, discharge their duties with prayers and avoid any kind of negligence. They should not put themselves at risk unnecessarily. That would only be ignorance, not bravery. It is sheer ignorance. Hence, we must ensure to take great care.

The Promised Messiahas then stated that if, God forbid, one were to die of this disease, they would be considered a martyr and for such a person, there is no need to perform the ghusl [washing of the body], nor to wrap them in a burial cloth.

In those days, the people who were overtaken by the plague would be treated as a martyr. However, the government here has granted certain permissions where we can perform the ghusl and also wrap the deceased in a burial shroud. In those days, the Promised Messiahas stated that in such extremely difficult circumstances, there was no need to do so.

He then particularly advised that one should keep their homes clean. The Promised Messiahas gave particular instructions in this regard and said that alongside keeping the homes clean, one ought to keep their clothes clean as well. One’s garments and drains should be regularly cleaned.

Here, the entire sewage system is underground, but drains are open particularly in less-developed countries. So it is very important to also keep the open drains clean.

The Promised Messiahas said very specifically that the most important of all is that one should keep their heart clean and to reconcile with God Almighty. (Malfuzat, Vol. 9, p. 253)

 Thus, in these circumstances due to the pandemic, where everyone has been affected, and as I mentioned that people have also been writing to me as well, they ought to pay particular attention to this as well. We should always remember that the path to prayer is always open to us. We must prostrate before God Almighty with the conviction that He has kept the path to prayer open for us and that He listens to our supplications. If one bows before God, being ever-inclined to Him, He answers our prayers in whatever manner He deems best. In general, we should be praying for ourselves, our dear ones, our relatives, for the Jamaat and for mankind in general. There are many in the world – among whom there may also be Ahmadis as well – who do not have precautionary equipment or medical facilities available to them, nor do they have the adequate provisions for food and drink. May Allah the Almighty have mercy on them all and on us too.

We are striving as a community to provide food and drink etc. to each and every Ahmadi, but there may well be shortcomings. And there may well be shortcomings in our efforts, but despite this, not only do we try to make food and medication available to Ahmadi households, we even extend our aid, medication and food etc. to non-Ahmadis wherever there is a need and we offer this service selflessly and purely out of sympathy.

Even still, certain prejudiced media outlets or self-proclaimed ulema [scholars] criticise us saying that the service we Ahmadis render or the food and medical supplies we provide in order to help others is only to preach to them and to facilitate our means of tabligh [propagation of the faith] to them. In any case, we are not affected by these allegations in any way whatsoever as Allah the Almighty knows our intentions and true passion.

I shall repeat again today that in this current time, pay particular attention to prayers, pay attention to prayers, pay attention to prayers! May Allah the Almighty protect the Jamaat in every aspect – on an individual basis and as a Community. May Allah enable me and you all to supplicate and partake of the blessings of the acceptance of our prayers.

I would like to say something to all Ahmadi businessmen and that is that they should not unnecessarily try to make extra profit during these days. Instead of trying to make extra profit, especially those people who trade in food items and other essentials, they ought to sell them at a rate to make the least amount of profit.

These are the days in which we can serve humanity and the Promised Messiahas also advised us to inculcate a sense of compassion within us. These are the days in which we can fulfil the rights owed to mankind and also draw closer to God Almighty. May Allah the Almighty enable every businessman to, instead of trying to maximise their profit, show a sense of compassion when running their business during these circumstances.

I will now speak about an extremely loyal worker and servant of the Jamaat, Respected Nasir Ahmad Saeed Sahib, who, owing to divine decree, passed away on 5 April [2020].

‫اِنَّا لِلّٰہِ وَاِنَّا اِلَیْہِ رَاجِعُوْنَ

“Verily to Allah we belong, and to Him shall we return.”

Nasir Ahmad Saeed Sahib was born in 1951 in a village in Daska, district of Sialkot. His father’s name was Taj Din Sahib and was an Ahmadi by birth. He completed his studies until the eighth grade in middle school and did not pursue any further education. Under Nazarat Umur-e-Aama, he was enrolled in Amla Hifazat-e-Khas [Security Staff] in 1973.

After Hazrat Khalifatul Masih IVrh migrated from Rabwah – I believe Hazrat Khalifatul Masih IVrh migrated in April 1984 – he was transferred to London from Rabwah in 1985 and continued to serve. According to the official administrative system of the Jamaat, although he reached the age of retirement in October 2010, however he continued to render his services. By the grace of Allah the Almighty, he had the opportunity to offer duties from the time of Hazrat Khalifatul Masih IIIrh until now.

Nasir Saeed Sahib possessed many qualities. He would carry out his duty with honesty and dedication. He had a true bond of love for Khilafat-e-Ahmadiyya. He is survived by his wife Kulthoom Begum Sahiba, one son Khalid Saeed Sahib and also grandchildren i.e. the children of Khalid Saeed Sahib. Khalid Saeed Sahib is a volunteer and serves in Hifazat-e-Khas [security staff]. May Allah the Almighty enable him to show the same loyalty as shown by Nasir Saeed Sahib and enable him to follow in his footsteps. May Allah grant patience and steadfastness to Nasir Saeed Sahib’s wife.

A maternal cousin of Nasir Saeed Sahib, Mahmood Sahib of Rabwah, who was in the army and was the same age as Nasir Saeed Sahib, writes:

“Nasir Saeed Sahib’s parents advised him to join the army as well or to pursue another job. However, Nasir Saeed Sahib replied that if he was to work, he would only work for the Jamaat, otherwise he had a small plot of land, which he would tend to.” As mentioned, Nasir Sahib then entered Jamaat employment. His relative further writes:

“He showed the utmost love and sincerity to all his friends and relatives. Furthermore, he would discreetly help many of his less affluent relatives.”

One of the Hifazat-e-Khas members in Rabwah, Shakoor Sahib writes:

“I had the opportunity to do duties alongside Nasir Saeed Sahib in London from 1990 to 1998. I always found him to be extremely loyal and an obedient servant of Khilafat. He worked with utmost honesty in all his duties and would always arrive early to perform them. If he received any confidential information, he would never disclose it to anyone, not even his colleagues and would always advise his colleagues never to disclose confidential matters.”

Major Mahmood Sahib, Afsar [in-charge] Hifazat-e-Khas, has written:

“Nasir Saeed Sahib was an extremely sincere worker. He devoted his entire life to Khilafat-e-Ahmadiyya. He had no interest in worldly comforts. His sole objective and intention was to serve his faith. It was his heartfelt desire to depart this world whilst in his service for the Khalifa and indeed this desire of his was fulfilled. He was exemplary in the hospitality of guests. He would show respect to everyone, young and old alike. He always showed respect to his seniors and never said a word of complaint and always acted on instructions obediently.”

Major Sahib further writes that he was an exemplary life-devotee and indeed, this is the truth. He worked selflessly throughout his entire life.

Haroon Sahib, a student of Jamia Ahmadiyya Germany writes:

“Many times, I witnessed that if there were grievances between two people, he would always seek to reconcile the differences between them.”

He further writes:

“I once asked him if he ever went away on holidays? He replied that for a life devotee, to serve the Khalifa and perform duties is all the holidays that one requires and this should be one’s only goal.”

Similarly, many people have written about his qualities such as his hospitality, pleasant nature, love and affection he showed to others. Although he did not hold a prominent office within the Jamaat, however he served sincerely in his capacity as a worker and he was an admired personality; whoever met him would form a close bond with him.

Naseer Bajwa Sahib of Germany writes:

“He was someone who possessed many excellent qualities. He would always look at what was in the best interest of others and would always be ready to help anyone at any time. Helping other people pleased him greatly and it was a sense of contentment for him.”

Syed Owais Sahib, a Khadim from USA has also written about him saying:

“Whenever he would come on official tour to the USA, he would greet everyone in a cheerful manner and never showed any signs of tiredness. He would meet all Khuddam in a loving manner and would advise them accordingly. One of his great qualities was that he would always encourage the youth.”

People from all different countries have written about him and it will not be possible to mention all of what they have written.

Feroz Alam Sahib has also written many of his qualities and has said that Nasir Saeed Sahib was very humble and would take great care of his guests, including Feroz Sahib when he was living alone here. Then, mentioning his worship, Feroz Sahib writes, “During the days when Hazrat Khalifatul Masih IVrh was unwell, I saw that he would be offering the Tahajjud [pre-dawn voluntary] prayers with great fervency.”

Hasanat Sahib, the former president of Majlis Khuddam-ul-Ahmadiyya [youth organisation] Germany and a life-devotee, has written:

“We always looked upon his sincerity in his duties and his loyalty to Khilafat with envy. On the one hand, he was an extremely simple man, yet at the same time, he had a profound wisdom about him.”

He further writes, “In my capacity as president of Majlis Khuddam-ul-Ahmadiyya, I had the opportunity to learn many things from him. He never showed any sign of his advanced years and would always remain vigilant and active like youths around him.” Hasanat Sahib then says, “I saw many times that he never accepted if anyone gave him preferential treatment owing to his age. He would want to perform duties just like the Khuddam and other security staff. He would show a lot of love and respect to those that were younger than him and we would feel embarrassed by his kind treatment. He would always encourage all Khuddam who would come to perform duties.”

He then mentions a very significant point:

“Other people would teach the youth by talking to them or organising training camps, however the training he imparted to us was by demonstrating his selfless duties, his attentiveness, sincerity and prayers.” He further says, “Whenever he would meet me, he would request to pray that may Allah grant him a prosperous end.”

Khalid Ahmad Sahib, who serves in the Russian Desk, has mentioned many qualities of Nasir Saeed Sahib, which others have also written about. However, in addition to that, he writes that not only would Nasir Saeed Sahib discreetly help those in need, but he would also remind and encourage the more affluent members of the Jamaat to also help their fellow less privileged and needy brothers and sisters.

Another notable quality of Nasir Saeed Sahib was his great hospitality towards guests, particularly during the days of Jalsa. He would always show heartfelt respect to guests who had travelled for Jalsa and would even invite many of them to his house, irrespective of whether they were from the Markaz [headquarters] or any other country. He would welcome them in his house daily, morning and evening, and casually sit with them and present them with excellent foods. He would also present each of the guests with a prayer mat that had been used in the mosque [i.e. the prayer mat used by Huzooraa] as a gift.

Mentioning the qualities of Nasir Saeed Sahib, Athar Zubair Sahib from Germany particularly mentioned his utmost loyalty with Khilafat, sincerity and that he always spoke in a very loving and soft tone. He states that he often saw that whilst on duty, if one of the team members came late to his shift to replace Nasir Saeed Sahib, he would never complain. In fact, he would express his gratitude to Allah the Almighty that he had been granted a few extra moments to serve in his duty for the Khalifa of the time. He would always be ever ready to serve in his duty and even in illness, he would not wish to be replaced from his duty early.

In fact, I have heard that even during his final illness, he enquired the time from his son [and upon being informed], he replied, “This means that I have missed today’s duty.” Even in a state of extreme illness, he was concerned about fulfilling his duty.

Hamza Rashid Sahib, who resides here [in the UK] states that Nasir Saeed Sahib was an extremely loving, supportive and pious individual. He was an example for the Khuddam. He would discharge his responsibilities with great endeavour, effort and diligence. He had the utmost love for Khilafat and would always remind the Khuddam that they should render this duty of theirs towards Khilafat with great love and should prioritise this duty above all other matters.

Syed Taha Noor Sahib, a missionary from Indonesia writes:

“Whenever Nasir Saeed Sahib met me, he would always speak to me about his time in Indonesia when he travelled in 2000 with Hazrat Khalifatul Masih IVrh.” He further writes, “When Nasir Saeed Sahib came to our mosque, there were no arrangements for laundry. Therefore, we told him that he should give us his clothes and we would arrange for his clothes to be washed from outside. However, he and his colleague with him at the time stated that they would wash their clothes themselves as they were merely appointed to serve and it did not behove their status that others should wash their clothes for them. Despite continually insisting, he did not give his clothes.”

Now, these may seem like very ordinary matters, but they reflect the true spirit of a life devotee and how a life devotee ought to conduct themselves and serves as an example for the younger generation as well.

Adnan Zafir Sahib, who previously served as the Mohtamim for Muqami region in UK, writes:

“Nasir Saeed Sahib would particularly remind us about offering duties.” In addition to the many other qualities he has mentioned about him, such as taking care of them while they were on duty or providing them with food and water, he particularly mentioned that “he taught me the etiquettes due to Khilafat and how to form a strong bond with Khilafat.” He further writes, “He was an extremely wise person and I would always derive benefit whenever I sought advice from him.”

Athar Ahmad Sahib, who serves in Hifazat-e-Khas, writes:

“I did the Amoomi duty for 9 years; from 2011 to 2020 and after that, joined the Hifazat-e-Khas team. I once asked Nasir Saeed Sahib that he had the opportunity to serve for 48 years and served under three Khilafats, therefore if he could also impart me with some advice, whereby I could also have the opportunity to serve my duty like him. Nasir Saeed Sahib replied that in this duty, one has to keep their eyes and ears open and remain silently occupied in their work. And alongside this, one should remain engaged in prayers.”

This is a piece of advice which is essential for every life devotee. In fact, it is essential for each and every individual and office-bearer who serves the Jamaat to implement this advice. Indeed, these are words of great wisdom.

He further writes:

“He was known as Lala Ji and having done duty with Lala Ji, I learnt that when one receives an instruction from their superior, it must be fulfilled in the exact manner. He would always fulfil the instruction exactly as he was told and would ensure that we also implemented it in the same manner and he would not try to offer his own interpretations of the instruction. He would carry out the instruction exactly as he received it and would also make sure that we also did the same. If we ever said to him that others who were also shift in charge would do it in such and such manner, he would reply, ‘I am not aware of what they do, however I am going to do exactly as I have been instructed.’ Moreover, he would always pray that may God Almighty always keep him fit and active and take him in this same state when his time to depart from this world arrived and not let him be dependant on others.”

Indeed, Allah the Almighty fulfilled this prayer of his. May Allah the Almighty grant the deceased His forgiveness and elevate his station. May Allah the Almighty also bless his wife with a healthy life and grant her patience and steadfastness. As I mentioned earlier that may Allah the Almighty also enable his son, in fact his progeny, to remain attached with Khilafat and the Jamaat with loyalty.

I personally knew him from when he first came to Rabwah to serve the Jamaat. Indeed, everything that the various people have mentioned is absolutely true. He selflessly rendered his service with absolute obedience. His demise has taken place in such circumstances when not many people can gather for the funeral. He previously had a heart problem and also underwent angioplasty treatment. 

A few days ago, he fell ill and was taken to hospital and was admitted by the doctors who reported that he had suffered a serious heart attack. Later, they also reported that he had caught the coronavirus; Allah the Almighty knows best whether he caught the virus from someone before being admitted to hospital or perhaps caught it in hospital due to the current conditions. In any case, he remained in hospital for a few days and was undergoing treatment and passed away while in hospital. Owing to the current government restrictions, the funeral could not be brought here and only a few close relatives were permitted to attend the funeral. Moreover, they have stipulated the condition that the funeral can only take place at the funeral home or at the burial site. Therefore, due to the current conditions, I will lead his funeral in absentia in the future some time, insha-Allah.

As I have mentioned earlier that countless people have written about his qualities and indeed whatever they have written was truly the case as he possessed all of these qualities. As I said that he has departed this world whilst having rendered his service with utmost loyalty. From observing his life, it seems that he had fulfilled every oath that he had pledged before God Almighty. Thus, he is counted amongst those individuals regarding whom the Promised Messiahas has declared as martyrs.

May Allah the Almighty grant him a station amongst those people. Moreover, may Allah the Almighty grant His mercy and forgiveness to all those Ahmadis who have passed away due to this virus. Allah knows best the condition of each individual, however we pray that may each and every one of them become a recipient of His mercy and forgiveness. 

(Original Urdu published in Al Fazl International, 1 May 2020, pp. 5-8. Translated by The Review of Religions)

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