In a few days’ time, it will have been 132 years since the revolutionary day when the first 40 individuals pledged their allegiance and obedience to Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmadas, the Promised Messiah and Mahdi, forming the first manifestation of what is now globally known as the Ahmadiyya Jamaat in Islam.
While it is customary and tradition to delve into the details of this day and what commemorating the Promised Messiah Day calls for, most readers are aware that this day is a celebration of the progress of the Ahmadiyya Movement and the tremendous services of the Promised Messiahas to revive Islam for all of mankind to follow.
As it is a day celebrated on 23 March every year, it can be tricky to select subjects that stand out from all previous issues or all other newspapers, magazines and speeches. So within this paper, while care has been taken to present new and insightful facts – in fact, the team has worked extremely hard to dig deep into the avenues of history – there may also be overlapping with articles that have been presented in recent years. It should, however, be remembered that repetition of certain beliefs are necessary for the establishment of faith; the new generation deserves to be given what we got as part of our upbringing as Ahmadis.
Before outlining the various subjects covered in this edition that you can look forward to peruse over the next six days (until our next paper is out), we wish to remind our readers of another important matter.
On 23 March, we remember the Promised Messiahas and what he stood for – the unity of mankind under one banner, Islam. We, as his believers and followers, wholeheartedly appreciate what Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmadas did: staying up late into the nights to complete painstaking writings, all the while too aware of the fumes of the kerosene lamp that he had to inhale while writing in its light, yet in the hope that his followers would at least make the effort of picking up the book he was writing; praying for the world to appreciate that the answers for all the world’s issues are found in Islam; enduring atrocities on the part of jealous clerics, physically, emotionally and psychologically; sacrificing his own wellbeing for the sake of his followers (all this being just the tip of the iceberg). Yet, we must, after this day, continue to ask ourselves every day until 23 March 2022, nay beyond that, “How much have we done to carry forward his mission? What part have we played in our allegiance to Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad’sas Jamaat?”
“Well, I pay the chandas. I listen to the Friday Sermons. I offer the five daily prayers to the best of my ability. I observe fasting. I say the prescribed prayers before going to sleep and waking up, and before and after a meal. I avoid overt sins and endeavour to be a better human being.”
If this is our answer, then it is, of course, truly wonderful. But these are the basic requirements for any Muslim. If this is what was only required, then what need was there for the Promised Messiahas to express that if only he could speak the English language, he would go door to door to people’s houses only to convey the final message of God.
In this time, we must all think for ourselves what role we ought to play individually in fulfilling this heartfelt desire of a man who we claim to love.
Hazrat Khalifatul Masihaa reminds us of our obligations of understanding the Quran, studying the sayings of the Holy Prophetsa and the books of the Promised Messiahas. Moses’ people told him, “Go, you and your Lord and fight; here we are, sitting.” How many of us, in light of what Moses’ people did, have thought to tell Huzooraa, “Please, you sit here and let us go and fight; let us fight the high tide of irreligiousness and materialism; let us study the behaviour of mankind today and come back with some answers as to where we are headed and what we can do to prevent further harm; let us go to the parliaments and speak to heads of state to fix global problems so that peace may prevail; let us fight for you, for you are our leader and we shall fight in front of you and no one shall reach you without trampling over our bodies first!”
Islam is in as grave danger today as it has never been in the past. Social values have deteriorated at an all-time high. The world has drifted far away from religion and it’s safe to say that organised religion, to many in the Western world, has proven to be a failure. Religion as a whole, not to speak of Islam specifically, is quickly becoming and being seen as outdated to address modern-day challenges. Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmadas taught his followers, through his own example, to take pride in their identities and narrative as Ahmadi Muslims. We all, by the grace of Allah, have a collective identity. We must, however, remember that this identity has taken shape through the efforts and prayers of our predecessor generations and our rightly guided Khulafa. To uphold this collective identity, we all need to do our individual bit in whatever way we can.
Narratives are not built by one person alone; it takes communities to create narratives. Quranic words such as “Will you not ponder?” and “Will you not reflect?” come to mind when pondering over ways to perform our duty of presenting the message of Ahmadiyyat to the world. With every passing day, things that need pondering over and reflecting upon continue to pile up.
We are all in this together. If we firmly believe that Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad is the answer to all the problems today, then let not our future generations think ill of us for not having done enough; for having left a huge heap of problems for them to tackle on their own.
If we stand with the conviction that Khilafat-e-Ahmadiyya is going to lead us to victories, then under its leadership, we too must move. We cannot expect Khilafat to wrestle this fight alone. If the Khalifa takes two steps forward, we too must take those steps with him. If the Khalifa tells us to run, we must run. If the Khalifa tells us to wait, we must halt. And if the Khalifa tells us to reflect and find new ways of promoting the message of Islam Ahmadiyyat, then by God we must reflect and use every fibre of our being in realising the urgent need of this task and coming up with adequate, appropriate responses.
In short, our reflection over this day should not fade away with the gong of midnight that leaves 23 March behind and crawls up the calendar; rather, this mindset must continue throughout the year, for the rest of our lives.
Our Jamaat – 132 years on – calls us to duty. The faith of our future generations hinges on how we perform this duty today. The survival of Islam is conditional with the survival of the Jamaat founded 132 years ago and we are this Jamaat. Is there any room for us to slumber? Of course not.
In this issue, we have made every effort to give you different aspects of the history of the Jamaat, especially from the life of the Promised Messiahas.
Where we have presented the many names given to the Promised Messiahas in revelations, dreams and visions by Allah, we have also shared a unique, detailed and new look at the meeting between an ambassador of the Ottoman emperor and the Promised Messiah. A meeting with a meteorologist is also presented, who eventually entered the fold of Ahmadiyyat.
How did the Promised Messiahas record his revelations? How was his mission extended to the UK and beyond? What did other reform movements think of the Ahmadiyya Jamaat in its early days? What exactly is bai‘at (pledge of allegiance) and why is devotion of this sort not an outdated concept? Did the Promised Messiahas ever work before his mission as a prophet of God? If so, what did he do? What solutions did the Promised Messiahas present for contemporary problems?
These are just some of the questions that are answered in this edition.
The English edition of Al Hakam is now officially three years old, starting on 23 March 2018. We are extremely pleased to be where we are today. However, it would be impossible were it not for the constant support, love and guidance of Hazrat Khalifatul Masihaa and the growing interest among members of this beautiful Jamaat.
We request our readers to pray for Al Hakam that it lives on as the Promised Messiahas and Hazrat Musleh-e-Maudra foresaw and as Hazrat Khalifatul Masih Vaa prayed upon its relaunch. We request our readers to pray earnestly for the staff of Al Hakam, the correspondents and all contributors that Allah may reward them for their tireless efforts and expand their minds so that Al Hakam may play its part in bringing about a spiritual and practical revolution of Ahmadiyyat in the world.
Long live the Jamaat of the Promised Messiahas! And long live Hazrat Khalifatul Masih Vaa!