ReflectionsNo Comments | February 2013
Reflections on the Historic European Parliament Event
We can trace back the roots of the historic EU Parliament address to the event held at the UK Parliament. There, His Holiness delivered an address to over 40 MPs, Ministers and dignitaries. That was a very historic event and was perhaps the first time ever a Parliament had been addressed in the Western world by a Khalifah of the Promised Messiah. One key feature at the UK Parliament function was that His Holiness led the congregational prayers on that visit. Here at the European Parliament event, His Holiness similarly led the congregational prayer in a room specially designated for this purpose, which is also used as a church. This was a moment of great historical significance for the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community. It is also noteworthy that when His Holiness arrived at the EU Parliament he was received by a protocol officer. His Holiness entered through the entrance where only heads of state are normally allowed and was granted facilities and protocol given to heads of states.
Previously, the All Party Parliamentary Group for the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community had been established; a UK based group consisting of numerous Members of the UK Parliament, and this group carried out significant efforts to raise the profile of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community, especially to highlight the plight of Ahmadis in many Muslim countries where they are being persecuted. About year ago the European Parliament Friends of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Group was formed. It is a testament to the peaceful and tolerant message preached by the Ahmadiyya Community that so many MEPs and MPs were prepared to support the Ahmadiyya Community to establish this group.
Often people are surprised with the level of support the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community receives, despite being a relatively very small community. Some, particularly non-Ahmadi Muslims, question why this is so. However, this is in fact testament to the peaceful and effective work being carried out by the Community under the leadership of Hazrat Mirza Masroor Ahmadaba, Head of the Ahmadiyya Community. When His Holiness recently met the Mayor of London, Boris Johnson, the Mayor was taken aback when in reply to his question, he learnt that there are roughly 15,000 Ahmadis in London. The Mayor expected the numbers of Ahmadis in London to be much higher and was undoubtedly surprised because despite being so few in numbers compared to the rest of the Muslim population, the Ahmadiyya Community has such a large presence and its members make such phenomenal efforts. The Community has built the first ever Mosque in London, constructed the largest Mosque in Western Europe—Baitul Futuh, which like all the mosques of the Ahmadiyya Community are completely self-funded—regularly holds interfaith conferences to unite communities across London, organises large-scale charity functions and regular blood drives to mention just a handful of its activities.
At the historic European Parliament event, parliamentarians and dignitaries from numerous countries were represented: Norway, Sweden, Estonia, Germany, Spain, Sri Lanka, human rights groups from China and Buddhist representatives to name just a few. On the first day of His Holiness’ visit a special lunch was arranged with various dignitaries. Guests took turns introducing themselves on the microphone, and His Holiness also imparted invaluable words of advice. Later a Press Conference was also held, many would have already seen the entire conference on MTA (Muslim Television Ahmadiyya International). Claude Moraes MEP, who is also Vice-Chair of the European Parliament Friends of the Ahmadiyya Group and one of the few Asian MEPs, said that there has been a buzz in the whole European Parliament about the arrival of His Holiness. Everyone had been discussing it and it was widely known. He said that not many Muslim leaders came and addressed them in this manner. The official magazine of the European Parliament also prominently featured photos of His Holiness and announced his imminent arrival. After the address of His Holiness, we met with several people – all of them felt that there was a certain grace and charm about His Holiness. Some expressed that he had an authority and aura, which they couldn’t explain. This reminded me of one occasion when His Holiness was returning from the United States, and we had arranged to receive him at the airport. As His Holiness came out, someone from the security team at the airport said that His Holiness appeared to be very holy and there was a certain aura about him that made him stand out from others. Similarly, at the EU Parliament event, many dignitaries and parliamentarians remarked how impressed they were by both the personality of His Holiness and his insightful words. Some guests commented that His Holiness hadn’t come to apologise – but to boldly advise them regarding their wrongs. The address of His Holiness made everyone reflect and ponder on his message – the message of True Islam.
Rafiq Hayat is the National President of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community UK
Ataul Mujeeb Rashed
Commenting on some of the vital aspects of His Holiness’s speech to the European Parliament, Imam Rashed noted that the crux of His Holiness’ message was his call for an urgent and pressing need for world unity:
The address of His Holiness was a general warning to all peoples with respect to both apparent and latent dangers that pose a threat to global peace and security today, including inter alia, calamities to the likes of a third world war. Within this context, His Holiness enumerated the message of peace delivered by the true teachings of Islam and highlighted the significance of promoting messages of peace and harmony among all nations of the world. This is a message that Khalifatul Masih Vaba delivered in his speech at Capitol Hill last summer, and finding Europe similarly placed to the United States, he echoed his words here in the European Parliament as well. He urged global leaders to act to alleviate oppression wherever it may occur in the world. His Holiness’s speech concluded to applause which transcended mere ceremonial clapping – the address had visibly impacted the listeners in a profound manner. Nods of appreciation filled the hall, and to the surprise of the attendees, the President of the European Parliament in a rare occurrence came and sat in personally to witness the concluding moments of the speech and extend his compliments to Khalifatul Masih Vaba.
It is of pertinent interest to note that the Promised Messiahas had been informed by God that the opinions of people would transform. This was evident on this occasion. Following the conclusion of His Holiness’saba speech, the guests were invited to enjoy refreshments that had been arranged in a separate hall, which afforded the attendees an opportunity to meet with the various dignitaries and intellectuals who had gathered there that day. Members of the Spanish Parliament, which also included a prominent Spanish writer, unanimously expressed their surprise and awe at a spiritual leader being able to command an audience of this nature and magnitude. They spoke of how their preconceived notions of Islam and its teachings had been dispelled, and those who had no prior knowledge of the Ahmadiyya Community were very pleased to have been apprised of its work and teachings. They all felt that the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community should be considered the definitive reference point for matters and questions pertaining to Islam and all world leaders should pay heed to its leader’s message.
Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad, Founder of the Ahmadiyya Community and the Promised Messiahas, also received the following Divine revelation: “I shall cause thy message to reach the ends of the earth.” This prophecy saw its fulfillment even during the life of the Promised Messiahas, as by the time of his demise, his message, which is in essence the true teachings of Islam, had spread to many parts of the world. Later, during the eras of his Successors (Khulafah), the fulfillment of this prophecy was repeated on numerous occasions, as Ahmadiyyat continued to expand and reach new destinations. Through Muslim Television Ahmadiyya International (MTA), the message of Islam Ahmadiyyat is now beamed to the four corners of the globe 24-hours a day. However, the function held at the European Parliament appeared to be the fulfillment of the aforementioned revelation in a new glory. Numerous MEPs, Parliamentarians and dignitaries would not have been familiar, or fully acquainted, with Islam Ahmadiyyat previously. As the European Parliament is the official body representing the majority of European countries, His Holiness thus delivered his address from a forum which reaches out all across Europe. In this sense the message of Ahmadiyyat – the True Islam – was conveyed to virtually all European countries and to many who may not have been acquainted with Islam Ahmadiyyat previously. Furthermore, the address of His Holiness received wide-ranging media attention worldwide, as was well as being documented in the Al Fazl Urdu newspaper. Alongside the event’s coverage in the international press, the Pakistani press (both English and Urdu) also featured bulletins on the speech and its significance. Even the notoriously hard lined skeptics and critics, appeared to have been silenced by His Holiness’s address – which, as a testimony to the resilience of its truth, has remained impermeable to attack by some of the fiercest opponents of the Community.
Ataul Mujeeb Rashed is Imam of the Fazl Mosque—the first mosque built in London—and Missionary In-Charge of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community UK.
Edited by Hibba Turrauf and Ayesha Malik.
Abdul Majid Tahir
Abdul Majid Tahir noted that the flag of Ahmadiyyat was raised for the first time in the European Parliament, and reflects that this perhaps is the fulfillment of the Promised Messiah’sas prediction that the peaceful and sincere message of true Islam in the form of Ahmadiyyat would be accepted as truthful in the West.
Translated by Tariq H. Malik
In the history of divine communities, there are certain days, which are recorded owing to their paramount significance. This was one such day in the history of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community, which will be considered as the foundation for great successes in the future by virtue of the true and peaceful teachings of Islam. Over 100 years ago the Promised Messiahas said:
“Every nation shall drink from this fountain and this movement will thrive and flourish until it encompasses the Earth. So, O thou listeners, remembers these words and confine these prophecies in your portmanteaux because this is the word of God which will one day be fulfilled.”
He then said:
“There will be a new heaven and earth. Now, those days are near, when the Sun of truthfulness shall rise from the West and Europe will come to know the true God.”
This was the day when 28 European nations instantly ‘drank from the fountain’ of the Promised Messiahas and the sun of truth rose from the west with grandeur and majesty. Hazrat Khalifatul Masih Vaba presented the beautiful, truthful and sincere teachings of Islam with eloquence. He informed the European leadership of its shortcomings and double standards in a manner through which it became evident that a person appointed by God could only perform this task. It is noteworthy to mention here that interestingly, the flag of Ahmadiyyat was raised in the European Parliament for the very first time. Raising a flag in the European Parliament marks a sign of great recognition for the Ahmadiyya Community, for it seems it has started winning over the attention of the world for presenting a compassionate and tolerant version of the faith. In one of the battles fought in self-defense in early Islam, the hands of the Companionsra of the Holy Prophetsa were severed while defending the flag of Islam, but they did not let the flag fall to the ground. As His Holiness was speaking on one side there was the flag of European Parliament and on the other was the flag of Ahmadiyyat, which represents the true and peaceful teachings of Islam. 30 countries were represented and more than 200 representatives attended this historic event of the European Parliament. The guests gave their undivided attention to His Holiness. During his address, there was pin drop silence and it felt as if the words of the Khalifah of the Promised Messiah were being instilled in the hearts of the listeners. After the United Nations, the European Parliament is amongst the most influential organisations in the world. His Holinessaddressed the leadership and politicians of this very prestigious organisation and he reminded them of their responsibilities forthrightly. Only a man inspired by the Divine could have achieved such a courageous act of reminding politicians of their duties as human beings. When His Holiness was delivering his speech, the representatives of 30 European countries were listening respectfully and attentively. This was indeed a sign of the truthfulness of the Promised Messiahas, who stated:
“I say with full assertion and resoluteness that I am established on the truth. With the grace of God Almighty, I will be triumphant in this field. Whenever I look at this world with far sightedness, I see this entire world subjugated to the truth. Soon I will be granted a glorious victory because another tongue is conversing to aid my tongue and another hand is at work to aid my hand which the world cannot perceive, but I do perceive.”
This prophecy of the Promised Messiahas was fulfilled right before the eyes of all the attendees and the entire world witnessed its truthfulness in the European Union Parliament. The address of His Holiness appeared to bring about extraordinary change in the hearts of many of the attendees. Even those previously unacquainted who attended the event could not help but express their sentiments of gratitude. For example, Dr Bishop Amen Howard of Switzerland had the chance to attend this event; he is a member of Interfaith International and the founder of “Feed a Family”, a charitable organisation. A day before the event, he had injured his eye severely due to an accident in the snow. Regardless, he traveled to Brussels for the function. After the press conference and the address by His Holiness, he had the honour of shaking his hands. He was truly happy and he expressed his thoughts in the following words:
“This person is not a magician but his words have a magical affect. His tone is mellow but the words coming out of his mouth contain an extraordinary strength and grace. I have not seen such a courageous person in my entire life. If this world was to get three people like him, then world peace could be accomplished not in months but days and this world would become a home for peace and brotherhood. I did not have a good impression of Islam but your address has changed my viewpoint regarding Islam.”
May God enable all parliaments to build bridges with the Ahmadiyya movement and grant them the opportunity to promote the true Islam to the world, reflected so beautifully by the motto of the Ahmadiyya Community: Love for All, Hatred for None.
Abdul Majid Tahir is the Additional Director of Foreign Missions of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community.
Edited by Tariq H. Malik and Murtaza Ahmad
Naseer Qamar noted that the distinctive difference separating the address of His Holiness from that of other religious leaders is his exemplary conduct and also the practical model established by the members of the Ahmadiyya Community worldwide.
Translated by Tariq H. Malik
One of the aims of the Promised Messiahas was to eradicate the misconceptions about Islam that were forged by its detractors, and to bring to light the beautiful teachings of Islam to the world – the Islam practiced by the Holy Prophetsa. The Promised Messiahas said:
“God has promised me again and again that He will give me great success and fill the hearts of men with love for me, and He will proliferate my group in the entire world, and He will give precedence to my sect over all other sects”.
This prophecy was repeatedly fulfilled during the life of the Promised Messiahas and his Khulafah(Successors). The Promised Messiahas worked tirelessly towards this aim and he conveyed the true teachings of Islam to all. He strove to ensure that the teachings of Islam were presented to both prominent political and religious leaders as well as ordinary people. He penned, “A Gift for the Queen”, inviting Queen Victoria to Islam and also presented the message of Islam to Bismark, the Prince of Germany. This practice has continued through the years of Khilafat-e-Ahmadiyya – the Successors to the Promised Messiahas. During the Fifth Khilafat of Hazrat Mirza Masroor Ahmadaba, the efforts for this outreach have increased considerably, primarily because the world has become a global village thus Islam is being criticised on a greater scale than ever before. Common misconceptions such as, Islam promotes terrorism, are growing. The threat of a nuclear war and a third world war is also greater than at any point in history. As such, His Holiness has striven to inform the most influential leaders of the world about the true and peaceful teachings of Islam and has urged them to take measures to ensure world peace. He wrote letters to many of the world’s most influential leaders and he addressed the key challenges faced by Western nations at a historic address delivered at the House of Commons, Capitol Hill and the Military HQ in Koblenz, Germany. It is in continuation of this on-going effort that we find the address of His Holiness to MEPs and dignitaries at the European Parliament.
The Khalifah of the Promised Messiahas however is distinct from other religious leaders. This can be summarised in two aspects. Firstly, his personality has a huge impact in his words because his character is replete of righteousness and honesty and thus the listener knows that these are sincere words. This is a point acknowledged and appreciated by numerous guests in every function he addresses. Secondly, His Holiness presents the practical example established by millions of Ahmadis all around the world. He has a huge following that abide by the commands of their Khalifah. When any other Muslim leader stands up to speak before the West and promotes Islam’s high values, criticisms are raised about the atrocities, injustices and wrongdoings occurring all over the Muslim World, thus rendering his words of little practical value. However, when His Holiness addresses the West, he points to the 202 countries of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community where it is currently established in and explains that the practical example of all the teachings of true Islam he presents can be found practiced by millions of Ahmadis across the world. Ahmadis are loyal, peaceful and law abiding citizens who love their country, are good neighbours, often participate in blood drives, hold interfaith conferences, raise money for all types of charities, endeavour to integrate into their local society, never create disorder or disrupt public peace. Even when Ahmadis are attacked violently in countries where they are persecuted, they only respond with prayers, love and by presenting rational arguments. The 124-year history of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community bears testimony to this. If this practical example were lacking, then mere words would not impact people’s hearts. This is precisely the key ingredient, which has a tremendous impact on people. Take for example his following quote from his European Parliament address:
“The fact that I speak about the need for peace and mutual love is not because of any new teaching brought by the Ahmadiyya Community. Whilst it is certainly true that to bring peace and reconciliation was one of the major objectives of the advent of the Founder of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community, the reality is that all of our acts are due to the teachings that were revealed to the Founder of Islam, the Holy Prophet Muhammadsa.
Furthermore, the Holy Prophetsa said that the Messiah would appear in the world as a “Hakam” and “Adl” (Judge and Arbiter), eradicating the differences between the people and uniting them. At the European Parliament function, during a special dinner attended by His Holiness and key dignitaries on the day before the main function, Claude Moraes MEP made a very interesting remark regarding the visit of His Holinessaba. He noted that normally politicians raise voices against one another in disagreement, however, when those same politicians are in the presence of His Holiness, they forget their differences, unite and listen to him. As the Khalifah of the Promised Messiah is divinely supported, it brings the best out of everyone. Through the opportunity of being close to His Holiness and his community, even these political leaders are compelled to acknowledge the truth.
Naseer Qamar is the Director of Publications for the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community and the Editor of the Urdu newspaper Al-Fazl International.
Edited by Hibba Turrauf and Mariam Malik