What does it mean to have love for Khilafat?

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Arto Marttinen| Unsplash

The outpouring of love and prayers from Ahmadis around the world in response to last week’s message of Hazrat Khalifatul Masih Vaa regarding his health and successful medical procedure has been immense.

During last week’s Friday Sermon, Huzooraa informed the Jamaat that he had undergone a heart valve replacement procedure, and requested prayers for his health and a long, active life in the service of Islam and the Jamaat. In a matter of seconds, social media was flooded with heartfelt emotions and words of love and devotion from members of the Jamaat from all over the world. The Weekly Al Hakam has also received several articles and poems regarding Huzooraa. This love for Hazrat Khalifatul Masihaa is a beautiful thing, and alongside this, we must also try to reflect on our responsibilities to Khilafat-e-Ahmadiyya.

Hence, what are our responsibilities to Khilafat? They stem from the bai‘at (pledge of allegiance) we take upon entering the fold of Islam Ahmadiyyat. We continue to renew this pledge every year, at the blessed hand of Huzooraa – be it physically at any Jalsa Salana graced by Huzooraa, or virtually through MTA International.

As the Promised Messiahaa explained, “Bai‘at truly means to sell oneself; its blessings depend on that condition.” He continues to say, “The person taking bai‘at has to first adopt lowliness and humility and has to distance himself from his ego and selfishness. Then, that person becomes fit for growth. But he who continues to hold on to his ego, along with taking bai‘at, will never receive any grace.” (Malfuzat [1984], Vol. 6, p. 173)

The history of the bai‘at stretches back to the time of the Holy Prophet Muhammadsa. The early Muslims pledged at his hand to worship none but Allah, regularly offer prayers, pay the zakat, obey the Prophetsa in all affairs, and give precedence to their faith over all worldly ties. The earliest and most prominent incident of bai‘at was when the Holy Prophetsa, in 12 Nabawi, travelled to Aqabah where he met with a group of 12 men from Yathrib (later Medina). Of these 12 men, five had already met and accepted him a year prior. This group took the bai‘at and pledged their allegiance at his hand.

After the pledge of allegiance, the Holy Prophetsa said to them: “If you remain true to this pledge in honesty and steadfastness, then you shall gain Paradise. But if you show weakness, then your matter is with Allah the Exalted, for He shall do what He wills.” (The Life & Character of the Seal of Prophets, Vol. 1, p. 304)

In following this blessed model, the Promised Messiahas was divinely instructed to take bai‘at and establish a Jamaat, despite his disinterest in any fame and reluctance of being in the public eye. He published an announcement on 1 December 1888 (which is now recorded in Majmua-e-Ishtiharat [1989], Vol. 1, p. 188), saying:

“I have been commanded that the seekers after truth should enter into the covenant of bai‘at with me for the purpose of learning the way of true faith, true purity of faith and the love of the Lord and of discarding an evil, slothful and disloyal life.

“Therefore, those who perceive some of such strength in themselves should come forward to me. I shall be the sharer of their sorrows and shall try to lighten their burdens. God will bless them through my prayers and my attention towards them, provided they are wholeheartedly ready to comply with the conditions of the covenant which are divinely determined. This is a divine command that I have conveyed today. The revelation in Arabic in this context is:

إِذَا عَزَمْتَ فَتَوَكَّلْ عَلَى اللّٰهِ۔ وَاصْنَعِ الْفُلْكَ بِأَعْيُنِنَا وَوَحْيِنَا۔ إِنَّ الَّذِيْنَ يُبَايِعُوْنَكَ إِنَّمَا يُبَايِعُوْنَ اللّٰهَ يَدُ اللّٰهِ فَوْقَ أَيْدِيْهِمْ

“[‘When you have made up your mind put your trust in Allah; and construct the ark under Our supervision and Our revelation. Those who make the covenant with you enter into a covenant with Allah. The hand of Allah is above their hands.’]” (Tadhkirah [English], 2019, p. 214)]

The Promised Messiahas put forward the ten conditions of bai‘at on 12 January 1889. He announced that those who desired to do bai‘at should come to Ludhiana after 20 March 1889. The bai‘at was taken on 23 March 1889 in Hazrat Sufi Ahmad Jan Sahib’s house in Ludhiana, who had passed away earlier. This blessed house is now known as Dar-ul-Bai‘at.

In brief, the ten conditions are to: (1) Abstain from shirk; (2) keep away from falsehood; (3) regularly offer the five daily prayers; (4) cause no harm to the creatures of God; (5) remain faithful to God; (6) refrain from following un-Islamic customs; (7) give up pride and vanity; (8) hold faith and the honour of Islam dear to one; (9) remain occupied in the service of God’s creatures; and (10) enter into a bond of brotherhood with Hazrat Ahmadas, pledging obedience to him in everything good for the sake of God.

Upon pledging allegiance, we try to follow in the footsteps of the Companionsra of the Holy Prophetsa. We vow to remain devoted to our Spiritual Leader with utmost sincerity and obedience for the sake of attaining Allah’s pleasure, and commit to adhering to the ten conditions of bai‘at as outlined by the Promised Messiahas.

Thus, alongside expressing our love and devotion for Khilafat, we Ahmadis must always strive to uphold our bai‘at pledge sincerely, and reform ourselves. We must kill our egos, make financial sacrifices, serve humanity and instil this spirit in our children too, as was the vision of the Promised Messiahas.

It is imperative to turn to Khilafat for guidance and prayers in every step of our lives. We must follow all directives wholeheartedly. The Khulafa-e-Ahmadiyyat have always urged us to stay firmly attached and establish our own personal connections by writing frequent letters, be it to request for prayers or to seek counsel.

In conclusion, the responsibilities we bear as Ahmadi Muslims towards Khilafat are immense, but so are the spiritual rewards and blessings. We must constantly remind ourselves of our covenant with not only Khilafat, but above all Allah the Almighty. When we lift our hands in prayers for Huzooraa, let us bear these responsibilities in mind. May Allah enable us to always remain true and sincere servants of Khilafat. Amin.

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