Twenty pearls of wisdom from Hazrat Musleh-e-Maud’s ‘Guidance for Missionaries’

Abdul Hadi, Missionary, UK
Hazrat Musleh e Maud 1
Hazrat Musleh-e-Maudra 

In his role as the second Khalifa and the Promised Son of the Promised Messiahas, Hazrat Musleh-e-Maud, Mirza Bashir-ud-Din Mahmud Ahmadra provided invaluable advice to Ahmadi muballigheen (missionaries) during his time. His profound guidance is compiled in a book titled Zarreen Hidayat Baraye Muballigheen, which translates to “Valuable Guidance for Missionaries.” Here is a summary of some of the advice he offered, advice that holds significance for everyone:

1. Be straightforward in your statements

Hazrat Musleh Maudra advised, “In your speeches and writings, ensure that your points are not vague but clear and straightforward, and not such that later on you hesitate to state the truth or face difficulties.” (Zarreen Hidayat Baraye Muballigheen, p. 1)

2. Humble yourself completely to God when responding

Hazrat Musleh-e-Maudra emphasises:

“When faced with an opponent, surrender yourself before God the Almighty and purge your heart of the idea that you will respond [to the opponent]. Instead, believe that, in that moment, you know nothing. Let go of all your knowledge, yet simultaneously have faith that God is with you, and He will personally guide you in all matters. Pray, and even for a moment, do not entertain the notion that you are at the mercy of the enemy.” (Ibid., p.5)

3. Sleep early and wake up for Tahajjud

Hazrat Musleh-e-Maudra advises, “Tahajjud prayer is a powerful tool. European culture may deter you from it, as they go to bed at one o’clock and wake up at eight o’clock. However, you should go to sleep after the Isha prayer. While this might affect some tabligh activities, it will be compensated in other ways.” (Ibid., p. 10)

4. Pray to always lead people in the right direction

Hazrat Musleh-e-Maudra stresses, “It is crucial for a missionary to consistently pray, ‘O Allah, do not let me misguide people from the right path.’ Since the establishment of Khilafat, I have been offering this prayer.” (Ibid., p. 18)

5. Demonstrate unwavering commitment in preaching

Hazrat Musleh-e-Maudra emphasises, “When conducting tabligh and preaching, it should be conducted with fervour. Until and unless there is genuine passion, its effectiveness is diminished. The listener should perceive your unwavering dedication, recognising that you are prepared to sacrifice your life for the message, and this belief is not inherited but nurtured through personal reflection.” (Ibid., pp. 19-20)

6. Conduct self-assessment

Hazrat Musleh-e-Maudra states that one must regularly engage in self-assessment. “Maintain a record of your activities, noting the locations you visited, the topics you addressed, the types of individuals you engaged with, the reasons for opposition, and the aspects that resonated with people. This record will serve as a valuable resource for your future endeavours, offering insights into the causes of opposition and essential reflections. It will also prove beneficial to those who succeed you.” (Ibid., pp.23-24)

7. Engage in independent thought and share your ideas

Hazrat Musleh-e-Maudra advises, “When encountered with an objection, attempt to resolve them independently before immediately seeking guidance from Qadian. Through self-reflection, you will often discover the answer. It will grant you insight into numerous issues and the ability to respond effectively. While I can provide the answers, you will miss out on these valuable benefits. So, when objections arise, strive to address them on your own. After doing so, engage in an exchange of ideas; this will enhance another ability of yours. One who solely contemplates their own thoughts without engaging in discussions with others may find that their mind becomes dull. However, when ideas are shared and talked over, it sharpens the mind.” (Ibid., p. 26)

8. Strive for taqwa, i.e., righteousness

Hazrat Musleh-e-Maudra shared valuable insights on how to attain taqwa, and here are three of his points:

(i) Daily istikharah prayer: Hazrat Musleh-e-Maudra advised that to achieve taqwa, one of the methods is through istikharah. “Every day, turn to your Lord in prayer, seeking His guidance for your actions. Beseech Him to empower you to engage in deeds that align with His will and to guide you away from actions contrary to His will. If such prayer is not feasible daily, then make it a weekly practice.” (Ibid., p. 30)

(ii) Continuous praise of God Almighty: Hazrat Musleh-e-Maudra emphasised the importance of consistently reciting phrases such as Subhanallah (Glory be to Allah), Alhamdulillah (Praise be to Allah), La ilaha illallah (There is no god but Allah), and Allahu Akbar (Allah is the Greatest). He explained, “The secret of this practice is that when you praise someone, those who are praised desire that you embrace those qualities as well. When the Holy Prophetsa stressed the significance of ‘La ilaha illAllah,’ affirming the Oneness of God and the absence of any equal to Him, God Almighty declared the Prophetsa as a unique individual. By sincerely acknowledging ‘Allahu Akbar’ and reflecting God’s greatness in your heart, soul, and actions, God will exalt you. Engaging in tasbih will purify you, and if you praise Him, God will make you someone who is praised.” (Ibid., p.31)

(iii) Improve yourself through salat: Hazrat Musleh-e-Maudra said, “The ninth way to improve oneself is through salat. God Almighty states: إِنَّ الصَّلَاةَ تَنْهَىٰ عَنِ الْفَحْشَاءِ وَالْمُنكَرِ (Surely, Prayer restrains one from indecency and manifest evil.) [Surah al-‘Ankabut, Ch. 29, V.46] Salat elevates the spiritual status of a believer. Therefore, engage in salat abundantly, allowing it to lead you towards righteousness and to instil the essence of obedience within you.” (Ibid.)

9. Focus on preaching, not conversion

On 5 March 1917, Hazrat Musleh-e-Maudra shared valuable advice with Hazrat Mufti Muhammad Sadiqra and another person at Madrassa Ahmadiyya. Initially, addressing the Jamaat at large, Huzoorra stated, “Hazrat Khalifatul Masih Ira used to say that while people can predict outcomes related to their work, medicine is a profession where one cannot predict much. Yet, in my opinion, even in medicine, there can be some predictability. However, a muballigh (missionary) cannot predict outcomes. There are treatments in medicine where doctors can predict specific outcomes, and those predictions align with the actual results. But a muballigh cannot say, even about the most well-intentioned person, that he will accept the truth.” (Ibid., pp. 34-35) Huzoorra further said, “In this regard, Mufti Sahib’s task is so challenging that our Jamaat should offer special prayers for him.” (Ibid., p.36)

Turning to Hazrat Mufti Muhammad Sadiqra, Huzoorra said, “Now, I want to convey to Mufti Sahib that his work is not to compel people to accept the truth; rather, it is to preach the truth. This is the duty of every muballigh.

“A muballigh who believes his mission is to convert people to Islam and make them adhere to his beliefs will either utterly fail or lose his own faith. People who went to Europe with the notion of converting individuals to become Muslims rather than the intention of conveying the truth encountered difficulty. When they observed that people were not embracing real Islam and were not converting, they felt compelled to make another version of Islam to fit their perceptions. However, if they had gone with the sole purpose of preaching Islam without the expectation of converting people to Muslims, even if not a single person had accepted Islam, they would have still been deemed successful.” (Ibid., pp. 36-37)

10. The more crucial a task, the greater the sacrifices it demands

Hazrat Musleh-e-Maudra offered this guidance, “As the work of preaching is something of great importance, it is vital for students of Madrassa-e-Ahmadiyya to put in hard work and prepare themselves for it. Always keep in mind that the more crucial a task, the greater the sacrifices it demands. Some students might be concerned about their livelihood and daily needs after their studies. If such concerns arise, they should promptly remove them. If they cannot overcome these thoughts, they should consider discontinuing their studies so that these worries do not undermine the noble work they aim to pursue.” (Ibid., p.39)

11. Acquire mastery of language

Hazrat Musleh-e-Maudra emphasised the significance of language mastery, stating, “Give particular attention to mastering the Urdu language. While learning Arabic and English is essential, make an effort to acquire proficiency in Urdu as well. Without complete mastery of a language, your ability to influence others remains limited. Having command over a language is akin to possessing magic. When opponents found themselves unable to counter the arguments of the Promised Messiahas, they resorted to attributing his speech to magic.” (Ibid., p.45)

12. Pray to emulate Prophets, not others

On 31 May 1919, during the occasion of he arrival of Hazrat Syed Zain ul Abideen Waliullah Shahra at Talim ul Islam High School, Hazrat Musleh-e-Maudra addressed the gathering. He commented, “Your superintendent suggested that I should pray for you to become like Syed Wallullah Shah Sahib. However, in my view, it is not appropriate to pray to resemble anyone other than the prophets because we are sometimes unaware of the true nature of a person we are praying to emulate.” (Ibid., p. 50)

13. Pray for knowledge to be beneficial

Hazrat Musleh-e-Maudra added, “On this occasion, we are specifically encouraged to pray for the students, but I believe it is important to pray for Shah Walliullah Shah Sahib. We should implore Allah to enable him to derive benefit from the knowledge he has acquired. There is no doubt that he has acquired a substantial amount of knowledge. However, it is said, العلم حجاب الاکبر, which means that sometimes knowledge can indeed serve as a significant barrier; hence, it is important to pray […].” (Ibid., p.51)

14. Utilise emotions alongside logical arguments

Hazrat Musleh-e-Maudra explained, “On many occasions, the power of logical arguments alone fails to evoke the desired sentiments of attraction or aversion in the audience. Sometimes, it is by kindling their emotions that people are immediately moved to accept a particular point of view. […] You may have witnessed instances where a maulvi (cleric), sensing that he is losing the debate, implores ‘O Muslims, are you not appalled to witness the insult of the Holy Prophetsa occurring in your presence while you remain silent?’ This sparks a passionate response and vocal protest. […] Employing this method incorrectly is not permissible; however, when reason supports it and it is employed in the service of truth and sincerity, then its use becomes permissible and, at times, even necessary. Therefore, we find that the Holy Quran has employed this approach on numerous occasions. Even the Promised Messiahas employed it effectively; while presenting arguments in favour of the death of Jesusas, he would assert that the Holy Prophetsa is buried on earth while Jesusas is alive in the heavens, challenging how a Muslim’s honour can justify this?” (Ibid., p. 65)

15. Be courageous

Hazrat Musleh-e-Maudra recounted a story illustrating the transformative power of courage in the context of a missionary’s role. He narrates the tale of a woman in Uganda who, due to her medical services, had managed to maintain some degree of safety from the barbaric people in her area. However, one day, these hostile individuals turned against her, brutally murdered her, and consumed her remains. Upon hearing of this incident, members of her community were undeterred; instead, many women volunteered to be sent to the same region. Consequently, a group of missionaries was dispatched to Uganda, and their unwavering courage and determination led to the mass conversion of the Ugandan population to Christianity.

Hazrat Musleh-e-Maudra emphasises, “The courage of a missionary is profoundly impactful, as it inspires others to be brave as well. I once met someone who gleefully informed me that a missionary from the Peghamis (Lahore Ahmadiyya Movement) had been beaten up. While he shared this news with delight, I could not help but feel a sense of sadness, wondering why our own missionaries had not gone there instead. They would have endured the beatings and would have had the opportunity to demonstrate their valour and fearlessness.” (Ibid., p.73)

16. Show genuine sympathy for people

Hazrat Musleh-e-Maudra emphasises the importance of muballigheen (missionaries) demonstrating true sympathy and concern for the people they encounter. He advises, “It is crucial for muballighin to genuinely sympathise with and care about the people they interact with. Wherever you go, your actions should convey that you are their well-wisher. When people feel this connection, religious differences become less significant because the world is shaped by various sentiments beyond religious ones.” (Ibid., pp. 74-75)

17. Expand your knowledge beyond religion

Hazrat Musleh-e-Maudra stresses the significance of muballighin not limiting their knowledge to religious matters but also studying worldly knowledge. He states, “It is essential for muballighin not to be entirely ignorant of worldly knowledge, as doing so can leave a negative impression.” (Ibid., p. 75)

He further shares a story from the Promised Messiahas about a king who deeply revered a spiritual guide. The king repeatedly asked his minister to meet this guide, but the minister, who was aware of the guide’s true character, would always make excuses. Finally, the king took the minister with him to visit the guide. During the visit, the spiritual guide mentioned that serving one’s religion was a noble endeavour and cited the example of Alexander the Great, claiming that because of his service for the religion of Islam, he is remembered to this day. The wise minister, recognising the guide’s ignorance of history, made a comment that exposed the guide’s ignorance. Consequently, the king’s perception of the guide changed. (Ibid., p.76)

18. Learn effective administration and prepare your substitutes

Hazrat Musleh-e-Maudra emphasises the importance for a muballigh possessing administrative qualities. Huzoorra said that without administrative qualities, one’s sphere of influence remains limited, and one’s efforts will end with one’s own life. “Therefore, it is imperative that a muballigh should be concerned not only with the conclusion of their work during their tenure but with its continuity beyond them. This can only happen if they prepare their substitutes.” (Ibid., p.80)

19. Expand your knowledge continuously

Hazrat Musleh-e-Maudra advised that one should never assume that their knowledge is complete. Huzoor said that such an assumption fosters arrogance and causes the heart to rust. Instead, Huzoor said, maintain the mindset of a perpetual student, continuously expanding their knowledge. This approach keeps the heart vibrant and free from rust, much like a well-used sword remains sharp unless it is set aside and allowed to rust. (Ibid., p. 87)

20. As an educator, cultivate respect and ensure comprehension

On 20 June 1921, when Hazrat Qazi Ameer Hussainra was transferred from Madrassa Ahmadiyya, the students organised a farewell gathering in his honour. Hazrat Musleh-e-Maudra also attended the event and delivered an address in which he praised several qualities of Hazrat Qazi Ameer Hussainra, based on his own experience of being taught by him.

Hazrat Musleh-e-Maudra began by saying, “I was not taught by him [Qazi Ameer Hussain] in Madrassa Ahmadiyya, but I was his student in high school. I would like to share an experience from that time that I believe can be beneficial for others.” Huzoorra then continued, “Once, while revisiting old lessons to study, I found that I could recall the lessons taught by Qazi Sahib much more easily compared to the others. I cannot explain the reason for this phenomenon, but I can affirm that Qazi Sahib possessed a unique passion and desire to ensure that whatever he taught was deeply ingrained in the students’ memory.” (Ibid., pp.97-98)

Hazrat Musleh-e-Maudra went on to highlight another admirable trait of Hazrat Qazi Hussainra, saying, “It was widely perceived that Qazi Sahib maintained a stern approach towards teaching, yet the students had great affection for him. This showed that students understood that Qazi Sahib’s strictness was not driven by personal animosity but by his genuine concern for their well-being. Such qualities are rarely found in educators.” (Ibid.)

In conclusion, Hazrat Musleh-e-Maudra emphasised two essential qualities that a teacher should possess. First, they should interact with their students in a manner that fosters a loving and respectful relationship. Second, they should not merely teach to complete a lesson but ensure that students truly comprehend the material.

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