After reciting Tashahhud, Ta’awwuz and Bismillah, Hazrat Mirza Masroor Ahmadaba, Khalifatul Masih V said:
All distinguished guests, Assalamo Alaikum Wa Rahmatullahe Wa Barakatohu – peace and blessings of Allah be upon you all.
First of all I would like to take this opportunity to thank all of our guests who have accepted our invitation to today’s event. We are living in extremely precarious and dangerous times, in which the state of the world is a cause of huge concern. Conflict and disorder is consuming the world and threatening international peace and security.
If we glance towards the Muslim world we see that in a number of countries the governments are involved in brutal wars with their own people. Bloodshed and senseless violence is completely destroying the fabric of those nations. Terrorist groups are taking advantage of the resulting power vacuums by taking control of certain areas and establishing their own so-called governments and rule. They are acting in a heinous fashion and committing the most barbaric cruelties imaginable, not only in their own countries, but they have now also reached Europe and the recent example of their brutalities is the Paris attacks.
In Eastern Europe hostilities between Russia and Ukraine and other European countries are continuing to flare. Furthermore, recently there has been heightened tension between the United States and China regarding the incursion of an American warship into the South China Sea. As you are well aware there is also a long running territorial conflict between China and Japan over disputed islands.
The Kashmir issue between India and Pakistan is a constant source of conflict and shows no signs of abating. Similarly, tensions between Israel and Palestine have also destroyed the peace of the region.
In Africa, terrorist groups have gained power and control over certain regions and are causing widespread destruction and devastation. I have mentioned only a few of the issues that the world currently faces and indeed there are many further examples of discord and unrest.
Therefore, the only conclusion that can be reached is that the world is now becoming engulfed by violence and disorder. In the modern world the scope of warfare is much more vast than in previous eras. Conflicts in one part of the world do not remain limited or local, rather their effects and consequences spread much further afield.
The mass media and the means of instant communication have transformed the world into a global village. In the olden days, it was possible for a war to remain confined to those who were directly involved, but now the consequences of each conflict and each war are truly global. In fact, for many years I have been warning that the world should realise that the effects of a war in one region can and will affect the peace and harmony of other parts of the world.
If we look back in history to the two World Wars that took place in the 20th century, we all know that the weaponry available at that time was nowhere near as advanced or lethal as the weapons and arsenals of today. Yet still it is said that around 70 million people were killed in World War II alone and the majority of those who lost their lives were innocent civilians. Therefore, the potential for disaster and catastrophe today is unimaginable.
At the time of the Second World War, the United States possessed nuclear weapons that, although extremely destructive, were nowhere near as powerful as modern day nuclear weapons. Furthermore, now it is not just the major powers that have nuclear bombs, but even a number of smaller countries possess them.
Whilst perhaps the major powers keep such weapons as a deterrent, there is no guarantee that the smaller countries will show such restraint. We cannot take it for granted that they will never use nuclear weapons. Thus, it is clear that the world stands on the brink of disaster.
At the end of the Second World War, your nation had to contend with the most horrific devastation and grief imaginable when hundreds of thousands of your citizens were mercilessly killed and two of your cities were demolished and destroyed in a nuclear attack that shamed humanity.
Having witnessed and borne this utterly overwhelming tragedy, the Japanese people will never desire for such an attack to ever happen again, either here in Japan, or indeed in any other part of the world. You are the people who truly understand the horrific and destructive consequences of nuclear warfare.
You are the people who know that the repercussions and after-effects of such weapons are not limited to one generation but continue for generations to come. You are the people who can testify to the unprecedented evil of nuclear weapons. Therefore, perhaps no country knows better the value of peace and security than the Japanese people.
Thankfully, Japan has recovered and is now an extremely developed nation and so keeping in view your past history, Japan must now play its role in establishing peace in the world.
Regrettably, following the conclusion of the Second World War, certain restrictions and sanctions were placed upon Japan and so it may be difficult for your nation to take huge steps or to shape the direction of the world at large.
However, your country still plays an important role in world matters and political affairs and so you should use your considerable influence in the best possible way and endeavour to bring about peace between nations and peoples.
This year marks 70 years since those desperate days in history when nuclear bombs were dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki inflicting utter destruction, misery and torment upon your nation.
Due to the fact you have built museums that paint an accurate picture of the devastation and carnage and due to the fact that some effects of the nuclear bombs still continue to this day, the Japanese people still understand how dangerous warfare and conflict can be.
As I alluded to earlier, the tragedy you bore was compounded by the fact that cruel and entirely unnecessary restrictions were placed upon post-war Japan. As the decades passed, they will also have proved a constant reminder of the catastrophic consequences of war.
When the nuclear weapons were used against Japan, the Head of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community at that time, who was our Second Khalifah, condemned the attack in the very strongest terms. He said:
“Our religious and moral teachings demand of us that we proclaim before the entire world that we do not consider this horrific act and this bloodshed to be justified in any circumstances whatsoever. It makes no difference to me whether certain governments do not like what I am saying.”
The Second Khalifah added that in the future, he did not foresee that warfare would subside; rather, he saw an escalation in violence and conflicts looming ahead.
Today, his words of warning have been proven entirely true. Although a Third World War has not been officially declared, in reality a global war is already taking place; throughout the world men, women and children are being killed, tortured and subjected to the most heartbreaking cruelties.
As far as we are concerned, the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community has always spoken out to denounce every type of cruelty and oppression, no matter where in the world it takes place, because Islam’s teachings demand that we speak out against injustice and help those who are in need or who are being maltreated. I have already mentioned how the Head of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community at the time of the Second World War spoke out to condemn the use of the nuclear bombs against Japan.
Furthermore, a very prominent and well-known Ahmadi Muslim, who had great standing and influence in the world, took it upon himself to defend Japan and its people. I speak of Sir Chaudhry Muhammad Zafrullah Khan, who in addition to numerous other significant international posts, was Pakistan’s first Foreign Minister and later became President of the United Nations General Assembly. Following the conclusion of World War II, he spoke out and condemned attempts by certain powers to place unfair sanctions on Japan.
When addressing the 1951 San Francisco Peace Summit, as the head of the Pakistan delegation, Chaudhry Zafrullah Khan said:
“The peace with Japan should be premised on justice and reconciliation, not on vengeance and oppression. In future Japan would play an important role as a result of the series of reforms initiated in the political and social structure of Japan, which hold out a bright promise of progress and which qualify Japan to take its place as an equal in the fellowship of peace loving nations.”
His address was based on the teachings of the Holy Qur’an and the life of the Holy Prophet of Islamsa. Based on Islam’s true teachings, he said that the victor of any war must never resort to injustice and never place unnecessary restrictions upon the vanquished party that limit their future progress and prosperity.
Chaudhry Zafrullah Khan gave this historic statement in defence of Japan because as an Ahmadi Muslim, he was not merely representing the Pakistani State, but first and foremost he was representing the exalted teachings of Islam.
And so as I have already said, you are the people who understand the consequences of warfare and cruelty more than others. Thus, at every level and in every possible way, the Japanese Government should seek to counter and prevent all forms of inhumanity, persecution and injustice. They should seek to ensure that the heinous attack they faced is never repeated again in the future anywhere in the world.
Wherever the flames of war are igniting, Japan’s leaders and people should play their role in easing tensions and establishing peace. As far as Islam is concerned, there are some people who view it as a barbaric and violent religion. They support their contentions by highlighting the fact that terrorism and warfare is rampant in the Muslim world.
However, their beliefs are entirely wrong. In reality, Islam’s teachings of peace are unparalleled in the history of the world. That is why our Second Khalifah and Chaudhry Zafrullah Khan vehemently spoke out against the atrocities committed against your nation. Very briefly, I shall now seek to explain what Islam’s teachings really are.
As a fundamental principle, Islam says that any war for the sake of geo-political or economic gains or as a means to take control of natural resources can never be justified. Further, in chapter 16, verse 127 of the Holy Qur’an, Allah the Almighty has said that any punishment during a state of war must remain proportionate to the crime committed and must never exceed due limits. Following the conclusion of a war, the Qur’an says that it is better to forgive and to display patience.
Similarly, in chapter 8, verse 62, the Holy Qur’an states that where relations between two parties have broken down and preparations are made for war, if the opponents seek reconciliation, it is incumbent upon the other party to accept their gesture and to place their trust in Allah. The Qur’an says that one should not speculate about the motivation or sincerity of the opposing party, but should always work towards a peaceful resolution. This Qur’anic teaching is a key principle for maintaining international peace and security.
In chapter 5, verse 9, Allah the Almighty has proclaimed that the enmity of a nation or people should never incite you to sacrifice the principles of justice and fairness.
Rather, Islam teaches that in all circumstances, no matter how challenging, you must remain firmly attached to the principles of justice and integrity. Indeed, it is justice that is the means of improving relations, of removing frustrations and eliminating the causes of war. In chapter 24, verse 34, the Qur’an states that if after a successful war you stipulate certain fiscal dues on the captives of war as a means to set them free, your terms must be reasonable so that they can easily afford them, and if you permit them to pay in installments, it is for the better.
A golden principle for the establishment of peace is given in chapter 49, verse 10 of the Holy Qur’an, where it says that if there is a dispute between nations or groups, third parties should seek to mediate and to bring about a peaceful resolution.
In the event of an agreement, if either party unjustly contravenes the negotiated settlement, then the other nations should unite together and use force if necessary to stop the aggressor. However, once the aggressive party withdraws they should not be unduly restricted; rather, they should be permitted to move forward as an independent nation and as a free society.
This principle is of great significance in today’s world and in particular for the major powers and international organisations such as the United Nations. If they act upon these values then true peace and justice can be established in the world and unnecessary frustrations will naturally die away.
Similarly, there are many other Qur’anic commandments explaining how to create peace in the world and how to end all wars. Our Gracious and Merciful Lord has given us the keys to peace because He desires for His Creation to live together harmoniously and to be free from all hatred and discord.
And so with these words, I would request all of you to use your influence to spread peace and harmony in the world. Wherever in the world there is disorder or conflict, it is our collective obligation to stand up for justice and to strive for peace, so that we are saved from a repeat of that horrific war that took place 70 years ago and whose catastrophic consequences continued for decades and perhaps still continue today.
Whilst on a small scale another world war has already begun, we must fulfil our duties and strive for peace before the situation escalates further and engulfs the entire world, and before those most abhorrent and deadly weapons that will destroy our future generations are utilised again.
Thus, let us fulfil our obligations and join together. Rather than grouping together in opposing blocs, we should all unite and co-operate with one another. We have no other viable option left because if a fully-fledged Third World War occurs then the resulting devastation and trail of destruction is unimaginable.
No doubt we will then consider the wars of the past to have been quite minor in comparison.
I pray that the world comes to realise the gravity of the situation before it is too late and that mankind bows down before God Almighty and fulfils His rights and the rights of one another.
May Allah grant wisdom and intelligence to those who are causing conflict in the name of religion or who are conducting wars for the sake of geo-political or economic benefits. May they come to realise how senseless and destructive their pursuits are.
And may Allah enable for true and long lasting peace to develop in all parts of the world – Ameen.
With these words I would like to once again thank you for attending today’s event.
Thank you very much.