56 The Review of Religions – October 2005 My dear distinguished guests, I consider it a singular pleasure and am extremely grateful to you for providing me this opportunity to meet you tonight here in this hall. Russia has always been a country of interest, not only for me but for many generations of Ahmadis. In 1905 the Founder of the Ahmadiyya Community received a revelation from God that a very dangerous situation is going to develop in Russia. If the Tsar existed at that time he would be in a very precarious state. The picture painted by him and published in Urdu poems and prose was a very dark picture. It stated that God had shown him great turbulences and trepidations in the whole of the world. He said that, ‘Although I am told and shown in visions that something like huge earthquakes are taking place, the things which are shown to me suggest that the calamity could be a war, or could be anything else. But I am shown this in the form of huge global earthquakes.’ He saw in visions fireballs from the skies falling on cities and destroying them although t h e aeroplane was not invented in America at that time. In 1905 the Wright brothers were still experimenting with their first model of an aeroplane and the news had not yet been published, even in American papers. The Promised Messiah( a s ) a l s o wrote that God had shown him that his community would spread in Russia like grains of sand. So A CAUTION TO THE Soviet Union Hadhrat Khalifat-ul-Masih IV( r a ) met some Russian guests in the Mahmud Hall, London on 14 November 1990 and addressing them, said: 57The Review of Religions – October 2005 in view of these and many other revelations of the Founder of the Ahmadiyya community, all Ahmadis felt especially close to Russia and friendly towards Russia because they thought and knew and believed in fact that the future of Ahmadiyya was destined to be deeply linked to Russia. Now I will come to a different world of today. You know what happened only a little while ago when the Berlin Wa l l c a m e tumbling down and Gorbachev ushered in a completely new era not only to Russia but to the entire world. I have to say so many things to you, but I know that time is precious for you. I don’t want to keep you for very long here so I’ll be very short now in delivering a message to you. Things in Russia have moved too fast for even the Russians to realise what is happening to them. And to rediscover their identity will take some time. For many decades Russian propa- gandists have been telling the world that countries are not built on the concept of nations but on the concept of ideologies. So forget about the nationhood and think in terms of ideologies binding various nations into one country. Almost 100 nations of Soviet Russia revolved around this central concept of com- munist philosophy. The moment it was withdrawn, they were destined to fall apart and a peripheral force was to develop to throw them apart. Nothing could hold them together because the central pivot of ideology was suddenly withdrawn. So that is why everybody was thinking what has happened to us? What is our direction? What is the orien-tation? Where shall we go from here? Is Gorbachev to be blamed for that or to be praised for what has happened? Even that question is not yet resolved. But I assure you that there was no alternative for Gorbachev. He had no choice. The economy had already collapsed to a level from where the whole system was A CAUTION TO THE SOVIET UNION 58 The Review of Religions – October 2005 about to crumble down if not by its own accord then through their wisdom. They had not chosen to reject this system and think of other possibilities for the future of Soviet Russia. The choice for him was bloody revolutions here and there; riots of hungry Russians; or accep-tance of defeat and to beat a retreat with the least possible loss. I think he chose the latter option. Now I will come to a completely different subject. I know I have said very little on the problem which is rather complicated and would have to be explained in great detail but because of the shortage of time I want to say something else now. This relates mainly to religion. Russian people have been kept away from religion for a very long time. Two generations have passed since and three gener- ations of a practically godless society has left Russia in a state of vacuum as far as religion is concerned. From the economic point of view, again you have been led into a vacuum. Capitalism was rejected and left behind. The socialist philosophy has failed. What next? So the question is, will you return to the point in history where the revolution took you away from the rest of the world into a completely different age and sever your ties with the rest of the world? Will you return to that point? Or will you advance further? If so, in what direction? Will you choose to advance and not to look back? What I am afraid for you is this, and it deeply worries me, that if you do not return to your past, the past will come to you. The same capitalism you rejected and wisely so at the time, wisely in a different sense, will now come to you, saying: “‘Look here, we were the answer to your problem. Why did you turn your back to us?’” The same Christianity of some hundred years ago which you left behind about 70, or 80 years ago would be presented to you in the same form stating: ‘We still hold A CAUTION TO THE SOVIET UNION 59The Review of Religions – October 2005 good. We are still surviving. Your religious requirements need us!’ So the same Christianity of the past ages would be presented to you in new silver platters. And the same will happen with the orthodox Islam from which Russian Muslim states had practically walked away. Only some memories of Islam were left in the form of monuments like mosques or very old people who still went to the mosques; otherwise only the name was left. That Islam of the past will come again and will be presented to you: ‘This is what you left behind. Come, and start your journey once again.’ But I assure you in all sincerity that that capitalism will still have the same dangers that it held 70, or 80 years ago. It is not an answer for you. That Christianity, the version which existed then and which still exists in some forms, is no answer for your religious requirements. That orthodox Islam, which preaches that the sword should be used for delivering messages; that coercion must go with faith, that Islam is not going to serve you any good purpose. In the name of Islam people will come to you only to excite you; to excite not only your fancies but to boil your blood against the other Russian countries and states in the name of Islam. It will tell you to take to the sword in the name of God and start the so-called ‘holy war’ against the rest of the Soviet states. And this they will tell you is Islam and the only way for you to win back your past lost glories. But the new generations of Russia do not know much about what is Islam. They will be astounded and wonderstruck to hear different voices in the name of Islam coaxing them to take the sword in the holy name and fight. Against what? For what reason? Why? They will tell them that, ‘to regain your lost national glory, religion must be exploited or be A CAUTION TO THE SOVIET UNION 60 The Review of Religions – October 2005 permitted to exploit you.’ That is the only logical answer they can present to you. But then the other questions will arise which will be very difficult for you to answer or to understand. An Islam from Iran will be introduced into Russia, particularly in Azerbaijan and such states. And it will tell them that Islam is Shi’sm. And another Islam from Saudi Arabia will come and tell you this is not Islam. It is all falsehood. This is Islam which we carry in our hands. Then a further version of Islam from Libya and Syria would be introduced to you followed by yet another from Pakistan through Afghanistan which will be smuggled into Russia. What is this nonsense? Does God play such games? This is the question. Then when you become intimate with these so-called messages of Islam and try to find out what Islam is – they will tell you fantastic stories in which you will not be able to believe. Seventy years of rational thinking, godless thinking has taken so much away from you of course, but it has also left some benefits behind. That is true unbiased, natural, logical thinking. And this Islam and that C h r i s t i a n i t y, which will be presented to you, would no longer appear to be logical and rational so that you can not only believe but also understand the philosophy of these things. Similarly the capitalism which is shining so beautifully at you, seen from Russian territories, so pretty, so attractive, so wonderful with all this Western civilisation, when you begin to see it from close quarters then you will realise that it has all the ugliness which once turned you away from it. And it has not reformed. There is misery all around here. There is lack of satisfaction. There is lack of peace and a rise in crime – more so where the society is richer. There is more madness in America than anywhere else in the world; more AIDs, and more threats to human health. Is this the capitalism which you will return to, or will A CAUTION TO THE SOVIET UNION 61The Review of Religions – October 2005 come again to you? Will you accept that? So in the end, this is a vast problem and it has so many facets which have to be discussed in rather greater depth and length but I have just given you a taste of what I am thinking. I have just attempted to make you share some of my concerns for you and my worries. The answers to all these questions cannot be discussed here. But some of the answers you will find in the literature to be presented to each of you from the Ahmadiyya Community. But the problem is much wider and deeper than a small packet of literature to answer all the questions raised. In the end I would like you to understand that as the Head of the Ahmadiyya Community I offer my most sincere services with a completely unselfish attitude and intention to help you in understanding things and to help you in looking for a new future in a direction which so far has not dawned upon you. So as far as my services are concerned and those of my community, we will remain at your service. Those of you who are interested to continue this communication will always find us ready and willing to help and serve. I will end with a last note – consider it a warning or admonishment or whatever you may call it – it is very sincere advice. Do not take hasty decisions. You are not in a position, and I repeat, you are not in a position to take hasty decisions at this juncture of your history because the light and atmosphere are changing. If you walk during broad daylight into your room, however well it may be lit, it takes you some time to begin to see what is where and to see in detail what is in that room. When you change from one area to another it takes your eyes some time to readjust to the same surroundings, even in the same light. A huge and big change has occurred. So do not permit yourself to take hasty decisions. Watch very carefully and slowly, A CAUTION TO THE SOVIET UNION 62 The Review of Religions – October 2005 and study all the various messages and people and gestures which will be shown in your direction, in a friendly manner of course. The force will also come in the guise of friends, I assure you. Take your time and decide slowly, without hasty actions and hasty decisions. Only then will you ultimately be led to a new future for your destiny as the Russian people. But if you permit yourself to be carried away by the heat of moment, then I assure you, you will be led into huge chaos. I also fear civil wars here and there. The falling apart of a great empire does not occur in quiet, peaceful ways. Even if a building collapses it creates huge noises and turmoil. So you are one of the biggest powers on earth which is now breaking apart. If you do not move wisely and cautiously great harm will come to you. I assure you, as far as the Ahmadiyya Community is con- cerned, we are always at your disposal and to begin with we have started a campaign of producing literature we believe you need today. We are trying to distribute it to all the corners of Russia. And also I have told the entire community in the world to continuously pray for you. I know it may not mean anything to you – some of you, I mean. Those who have forgotten their touch with God may consider it as just nothing, a lip service. But it is not a lip service; it is a service of the heart. We pray from our heart and we know that God listens to prayers. So Insha Allah (God willing) we will continue to pray for you and hope that when I come to visit Russia again in the near future I will be able to meet all of you again. And hope that whenever you come here again you call on us, and find time with us. Thank you. A CAUTION TO THE SOVIET UNION 63The Review of Religions – October 2005 Advertise your business in The Review of Religions and see sales scale to new heights. Existing adverts can be placed and sponsorship on regular features is available in this longest running worldwide Muslim monthly magazine in the English language. Rates available on request from the Manager at: The Review of Religions 16 Gressenhall Road, London SW18 5QL We hope you have enjoyed reading this edition of the magazine. The Review of Religions will continue to provide discussion on a wide range of subjects and welcomes any comments or suggestions from its readers. 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This meeting with guests from the former Soviet Union presents a profound insight into the consequences of the collapse of the former Soviet Union.