Al Fazl, 3 January 1915
A common allegation against Ahmadis is that they consider Jalsa Salana as a replacement for or alternative to Hajj, whereas Ahmadi Muslims consider Hajj as far more superior than any other gathering, from which one can learn basic principles in life.
In the Friday Sermon presented below, Hazrat Khalifatul Masih II, Musleh-e-Maudra explained how one could take valuable lessons from Hajj and heighten one’s spiritual experience of Jalsa Salana.
In the first Jalsa Salana of his Khilafat, on 25 December 1914, Hazrat Mirza Bashiruddin Mahmud Ahmadra delivered a Friday sermon, part of which has been translated below (Editor, Al Hakam):
After reciting tashahud, ta‘awuz and Surah al-Fatihah, Hazrat Khalifatul Masih IIra recited the following verse of the Holy Quran:
اَلۡحَجُّ اَشۡهُرٌ مَّعۡلُوۡمٰتٌ ۚ فَمَنۡ فَرَضَ فِيۡهِنَّ الۡحَجَّ فَلَا رَفَثَ وَلَا فُسُوۡقَ ۙ وَلَا جِدَالَ فِي الۡحَجِّ ؕ وَمَا تَفۡعَلُوۡا مِنۡ خَيۡرٍ يَّعۡلَمۡهُ اللّٰهُ ؕ وَتَزَوَّدُوۡا فَاِنَّ خَيۡرَ الزَّادِ التَّقۡوٰي ۫ وَاتَّقُوۡنِ يٰۤاُولِي الۡاَلۡبَابِ
[“The months of the Hajj are well known; so whoever determines to perform the Pilgrimage in these months, should remember that there is to be no foul talk, nor any transgression, nor any quarrelling during the Pilgrimage. And whatever good you do, Allah knows it. And furnish yourselves with necessary provisions, and surely, the best provision is righteousness. And fear Me alone, O men of understanding.” (Surah al-Baqarah, Ch.2: V.198)]
Hazrat Mirza Bashiruddin Mahmud Ahmad, Khalifatul Masih IIra said:
When a person goes about doing something in this world, he draws conclusions from other examples of the same type. For example, those who form a new committee look at the rules and regulations of other committees. From them, they come to know that there is a president [of a committee], so they decide that their association should also have a president; they see that there is a secretary as well, so they also appoint a secretary; they observe that there is also a treasurer, so they appoint a treasurer as well. In the same way, a newly formed trade committee requests other trade committees to share their rules and regulations. Those who form education committees benefit from other similar committees.
Hence, the formulators of every kind of committee take advantage of their precedents and follow their rules, and of course, they have to because a great fool is he who abandons what has been tried and tested already and begins to experiment on his own. If a person starts doing everything afresh, they can never succeed because no one can attain enough age in their life to test all different methods by themselves. One will indeed die during such an endeavour. Thus, it is only wise to take advantage of what has already been tried and tested.
For us, Jalsa is something that comes every year. Just as those companies draw conclusions from the rules of other similar companies, we should also draw conclusions from something similar to this Jalsa and take benefit from it. We cannot liken our Jalsa to any committee or [worldly] gathering in any way. There are many associations and committees in the world, but our Jalsa is not similar to them because they are formed by humans. On the contrary, the example we are looking for should be the work of God Almighty and established by Him. People gather in many places and fairs and congregations are held, but we do not gather for any fair. The purpose of our gathering is not to watch a show. In the world, people gather for shows, make grand arrangements and conduct business, but we do not gather here for any of that.
The question is, how should we form rules and what should we liken our gathering to? For this, we find that there is one thing in the world that our Jalsa can be likened to and that is Hajj [pilgrimage to the House of Allah]. Hajj is not a festival, nor an exhibition or a meeting of any association. It is the work of God and has been established for religion. Its foundation has been laid by the prophets of God. Therefore, we should take advantage of the rules and regulations of Hajj.
The verse that I have recited [at the outset] contains the rules regarding Hajj. Allah the Almighty says that there are certain known months of Hajj (i.e. Muharram; Dhul Qa‘dah; Dhul Hijjah, the whole month or 10 days), so what should one do who intends to perform Hajj in them? Such a one should make sure that they do not engage in rafath [foul talk], fusuq [transgression] and jidal [quarrelling] during Hajj, as it is not permissible for them. For every person who goes for Hajj, Allah the Almighty says that they should not engage in foul talk, transgression and quarrelling during Hajj.
What is rafath? It means sexual relations. This is also forbidden in Hajj, but it has other meanings as well which are also relevant here and they are: abusive talk, profanity, foul talk, filthy stories, talking nonsense and about vain things, as is called in Punjabi “gappain maarna”. Allah the Almighty says that if one goes to Hajj, they should not use any kind of foul language, nor should they narrate filthy stories or engage in idle talk.
Fusuq means to stop obeying and submitting. It is the duty of the pilgrims not to deviate from the obedience of God Almighty, but rather to fulfill all the commandments.
Where there is a gathering of people, quarrels can take place because people have different temperaments and some of them can be stubborn. Therefore, they fight over petty things, for instance, “So and so took my place”, or “so and so pushed me”, etc. It is for this reason that God has said not to quarrel. In this way, Allah the Almighty has told the Muslims to remember these three things when they go for Hajj.
Today, it is the first day of Jalsa, and our Jalsa is similar to Hajj. God Almighty has established the institution of Hajj for the advancement of believers. Today, Hajj is useful for Ahmadis from a religious standpoint, but Ahmadis cannot achieve its main purpose, which is the advancement as a nation because the place of Hajj is in the custody of such people who consider it permissible to kill Ahmadis. God Almighty has chosen Qadian for carrying out this work. Those of us who have the opportunity by God Almighty perform Hajj. However, the real benefit that is to be gained from Hajj is attained by them from Jalsa Salana.
Allah the Almighty says that those who set out for this purpose should not engage in foul or vulgar talk; they should not disobey any commandment of God and should not quarrel.
Thus, I advise you that if you wish to benefit by coming here, then follow these instructions. There are many other places where people engage in idle talk, gossip and listen to or narrate vulgar stories. However, the Promised Messiahas drew out his sword to destroy all such things and God Almighty thus removed them through the Promised Messiahas and established this gathering. A person who does not set aside foul talk, transgression and quarrelling during the days of Hajj, their Hajj is useless and futile. In the same way, the person who comes to this Jalsa and does not abstain from these things, is deprived of the reward and its benefit.
Allah the Almighty says:
وَمَا تَفۡعَلُوۡا مِنۡ خَيۡرٍ يَّعۡلَمۡهُ اللّٰهُ
[“And whatever good you do, Allah knows it.” (Surah al-Baqarah, Ch.2: V.198)]
You will face challenges in letting go of the aforesaid things; there will be difficulties. For example, let us suppose someone verbally abuses a person and the person on the receiving end of that abuse says that their self-respect cannot tolerate such an act and they will surely seek revenge. To show patience for such a person will be somewhat difficult, but Allah the Almighty says that if they do this for God, it shall never go to waste. Whatever good you do, God knows it well. One takes great pains to please one’s superiors and rulers and wants them to acknowledge their services, but when a person is aware that there is a God Who sees and knows what they suffer for His sake, should they not then readily take on difficulties for God?
[“And furnish yourselves (with necessary provisions).” (Surah al-Baqarah, Ch.2: V.198)]
When people go on a journey in the world, they endure many kinds of hardships. They gather resources and other items to provide for their travel. Allah the Almighty says that this gathering of people in one place [for Hajj] is to help them prepare for their journey to the Hereafter. As they make provisions for their small worldly trips, they should do the same for this [journey], and the best provision is to adopt righteousness. In doing so, they should also be ready to bear hardships and difficulties. If a person in this world is not prepared to bear any pain and suffering, it is because they think that if they do so, they will have to lose something. For example, if someone is verbally insulted, that person will think that if they do not respond and remain silent, it will be insulting and humiliating. Hence, people refuse to suffer because of the risk of loss. Allah the Almighty says:
وَاتَّقُوۡنِ يٰۤاُولِي الۡاَلۡبَابِ
[God says] “Nobody can harm you in Our presence, so, O men of understanding, fear Me alone. If you fear Me, who can harm you?”
Always remember that rafath, fusuq and jidal are forbidden at all times, but for this particular occasion, this has been further emphasised because a person cannot control this forever; however, they can force themselves to do so for a specific period of time. For example, if a person is verbally abusive but has to go in front of their superior, they will bite their tongue and control themselves. Allah the Almighty says that as now we have gathered in one place by His order, we must absolutely refrain from these things on this occasion. Allah knows best what good we will earn by discarding them.
Those of you who abstain from these things during the five days of Jalsa and endure difficulties and sacrifice yourselves, Allah will never forget your good deeds; rather, He will help you let go of them for the rest of your lives. A farmer sows seeds in the field and entrusts them to God Almighty. You too, like the seeds, must put this goodness in your hearts and entrust it to God Almighty. He will Himself excel and safeguard it. The seeds must be sown, after which it is in God’s power to make them productive, and He certainly does.
Then, God Almighty has also told us what should be done in these days. Allah says:
فَاِذَا قَضَيۡتُمۡ مَّنَاسِكَكُمۡ فَاذۡكُرُوا اللّٰهَ كَذِكۡرِكُمۡ اٰبَآءَكُمۡ اَوۡ اَشَدَّ ذِكۡرًا
“And when you have performed the acts of worship prescribed for you, celebrate the praises of Allah as you celebrated the praises of your fathers, or even more than that.” (Surah al-Baqarah, Ch.2: V.201)
Here, God Almighty says to remember God the way we remember our parents. The relationship with parents is very limited, but the relationship that we have with this Jalsa, which has been started by God Almighty, is much greater. As rafath, fusuq and jidal are forbidden in Hajj and are also forbidden in this Jalsa, in the same way, we have been advised in this [verse] that as it has been instructed to remember God after performing the rituals of Hajj, our Jamaat should also remember God after listening to the speeches [in the days of Jalsa].
This commandment also includes those people who used to mention their ancestors by name when they had performed Hajj during the time of the Holy Prophetsa. Allah the Almighty said to remember Him more than they remembered their ancestors. It not only means that you should praise God as much or more than you praise your parents; rather, just as a small child cries and screams when they are separated from their parents and does not rest until they have found their parents, similarly a person should writhe and weep before God Almighty; in fact, even more than that.
Those who were commanded to remember God more than their forefathers have passed away (the Arabs used to mention the deeds of their forefathers with pride after Hajj). However, this is an opportunity for us. You must understand that those who obey these commandments and follow them will see a significant change and transformation in themselves. Moreover, when you go back from here, many will easily get rid of such weaknesses that they wanted to remove but could not do so. May God grant you this strength.
One more thing I wish to mention is that it is the winter season, so avoid the cold as much as possible. One should not go out without appropriate clothing. We try so hard that our Jamaat grows, so should we not value those who have already joined this Jamaat? We certainly value them greatly. Thus, protect your lives and avoid the cold as much as possible.
Some people offer salat in their residences. However, these are the days of carrying out a lot of worship, so prayers should be offered in congregation in the mosque. A believer should never be lazy. You have to perform even greater tasks [in the future]. There is a whole world ahead of you which you have to conquer. Those who reside in Dar-ul-Ulum should pray in Masjid Nur and those who are in Qadian should pray in either the small or the big mosque [Masjid Mubarak or Masjid Aqsa, respectively].
I advise those who live in Qadian that those who possess five attributes are never unsuccessful or humiliated, and one of them is to value one’s guests. The people of Qadian say that there are revelations of the Promised Messiahas about them and that the Promised Messiahas used very dignified words for them. Granted, this is true, but they should also prove by their actions that they truly deserve this. Thus, engage in hospitality and take care of those who have come to you.
Let no one think that these are not their guests and they do not need to serve them. You should remember that these are the guests of Allah the Almighty and you are His servants, so is it not the duty of a servant to look after the guests of his master? Certainly, it is.
Thus, these guests have accepted the call of God to the divine abode, because the words of the appointed one of God are actually the words of Allah. You should take care of them. If you are hurt by someone, bear it patiently. Do not even think of humiliating anyone. The one who insults a guest insults himself because the guest is his honour. Who is more foolish than the one who destroys his own honour or cuts his own throat? You should always show hospitality and kindness towards the guests.
If Allah the Almighty grants me the strength, I will tell you some sad truths. Someone from here once said that after they left, Christians would roam here. By the sheer grace of Allah the Almighty, only Muslims descend here today. I hope that people will stay here during the days of Jalsa and those whom Allah enables will listen to my words and I will address them.
During the khutba-e-thania [second, Arabic part of the Friday Sermon], Hazrat Khalifatul Masih IIra said:
A point has come to my mind that Allah the Almighty has said to remember God during the days of Jalsa. The benefit of this has been explained by God as:
“If you remember Allah, He will remember you.” Who is more fortunate than a servant who is remembered and called by his Master? The remembrance of God is a great blessing, whether it is rewarded or not. Thus, you should always remain engaged in the remembrance of God.
(Translated by Al Hakam from the original Urdu published in the 3 January 1915 issue of Al Fazl)