On 23rd June 2018, the Worldwide Head of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community, the Fifth Khalifah (Caliph), His Holiness, Hazrat Mirza Masroor Ahmadaba delivered a faith inspiring address at the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community U.K.’s Majlis-e-Shura. The institution of Majlis-e-Shura is the main consultative body established by the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community to discuss proposals to improve and enhance the works of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community in propagating the true peaceful teachings of Islam. Almost 500 delegates and invitees attended the Shura. The full transcript of the address delivered by His Holiness at this occasion is presented below.
After reciting Tashahhud, Ta’awwuz and Surah Al-Fatihah, Hazrat Khalifatul Masih Vaba said:
‘With the Grace of Allah, the institution of Majlis-e-Shura has become very well established within our Jama’at [Community] and it is held in all those countries where the Nizaam-e-Jama’at [administrative structure of the Ahmadiyya Community] has been established for a significant period of time. With the Grace of Allah, as you are all aware, the UK Jama’at was one of the very first Jama’ats to be established and so the institution of Majlis-e-Shura has a long history in this country, and as a result of the migration of Khilafat-e-Ahmadiyya to the UK, the members of the UK Jama’at clearly understand the vast importance and value of the institution of Shura.
Due to the presence of Khalifatul Masih, the UK Jama’at is able to receive the direct guidance and instructions of the Khalifa-e-Waqt [Khalifah of the time] on various matters throughout the year, particularly on any important or urgent issues that may arise. However, despite this, and despite the fact that the Khalifa-e-Waqt has the discretionary power to make any decision he deems fit for the benefit of the Jama’at, he still instructs the members of the Jama’at to join together in the Majlis-e-Shura to discuss and debate various important issues, future programmes and to formulate short-term and long-term proposals and programmes. Thereafter, the Khalifa-e-Waqt carefully analyses whatever opinion or recommendations are reached by the Shura and considers the finer points of the discussions before reaching his final decision.
Furthermore, I am also pleased that with the Grace of Allah, you are all now well aware that your role as Shura members is to give an advisory opinion and that the Majlis-e-Shura is not a decision-making body. Yet, even as an advisory body, you have a very important role to play and so always reflect upon your responsibilities and take them very seriously. Before contributing to any debate or discussion, you should think carefully about the issue at hand and only then present your view.
You must also keep in mind that others may have differing opinions that are sincerely held and equally valid. Hence, you should respect the right of other people to express their views and you should never think that only your opinion counts. Indeed, as Shura members you should act with the utmost humility and never think that your opinion holds greater weight than others. Such a spirit of humility will ensure that the Shura is conducted in an atmosphere of mutual respect and this will lead to a positive exchange of views and a higher standard of debate. This will ensure that whatever consensus or recommendations are reached will be of far greater value and weight.
Furthermore, you should all understand that you cannot fulfil your duties without seeking the help of Allah the Almighty through prayer. Thus, before making any contribution or taking part in the Shura, you must sincerely pray that Allah guides you in the best way. Only if you adopt Taqwa (righteousness), and only if you strive to attain the pleasure of Allah, will be you be in a position to fulfil the trusts placed in you. Every Shura member must understand that nothing can be achieved without righteousness and that no amount of debate or discussion will ever prove fruitful without it. Righteousness requires you to have a constant fear of Allah in your heart and an understanding that Allah the Almighty knows your every thought and intention. He knows if the intentions underpinning your public views are sincerely held or whether they are clouded by vested interests.
In terms of the overall Shura programme, various discussions take place about Tabligh [outreach and propagation] and Tarbiyyat [moral and spiritual training] and other issues and a consensus view is sought regarding future plans. Similarly, other administrative matters or proposals are discussed. Whilst the agenda changes from year to year, one important matter that is presented for deliberation to the Shura every year, is the annual UK Jama’at budget. Both the expected income and expenditure for the forthcoming year is analysed and deliberations take place on how to increase the Jama’at’s future budget and how to best utilise whatever funds are available.
Always remember that the budget of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community is not raised through worldly or material ways. Whatever money the Jama’at has is not based on any worldly effort or profit-making scheme, rather it is based entirely on the financial sacrifices of Jama’at members. Thus, at all times, the office bearers or those who allocate or spend the Jama’at’s money should keep in mind the spirit with which the funds have been collected.
Often, Ahmadis set aside their own personal needs and requirements and put themselves in difficulty so that the needs of our Jama’at can be fulfilled. If Ahmadis are making such earnest sacrifices and tolerating personal adversity for the sake of Allah’s Jama’at then the office bearers and those who prepare the budget must pay great attention to ensuring that every single penny is utilised extremely carefully and accounted for. Further, you should not be under the illusion that the Jama’at has unlimited funds; rather, whatever income is received is very limited in comparison to the various programmes and schemes that we seek to establish and deliver. Consequently, when preparing a budget or utilising any funds always follow the key economic principle of ‘minimum resources and maximum utility’.
The work of our Jama’at is no ordinary work or something small; rather, our objectives are extremely far-reaching and truly great. Yet, as I have said, the Jama’at’s available funds remain limited and so, in spite of our hopes and desires, it is not possible to fulfil every single target or to enact every plan that comes to mind. Instead, you should be realistic when preparing a budget and ensure that each department is given a fair share according to what is available and according to their respective needs and requirements.
Whilst all departments are significant in their own way, I wish to make it clear that the work of the Tabligh department is of particular importance. As I have said many times in my sermons, it was through the Holy Prophetsa that a complete, everlasting teaching and perfect Shariah [Law] was revealed. Thereafter, it was in the era of the Promised Messiahas that the spread of that perfect teaching was destined to reach its climax through the advent of modern technologies, the media and other modern-day means. Thus, we are the fortunate ones who are living through that blessed era in which the spread of Islam, the perfect religion, is destined to reach its pinnacle and so our Tabligh efforts are fundamental to the success and progress of our Jama’at. This is our divine mission and so do not ever take it lightly.
One major way to spread the message is through literature. We have been bequeathed a great treasure trove in the form of the books of the Promised Messiahas which we must spread and disseminate as much as possible. In addition, all of our other means of Tabligh are also based upon the books of the Promised Messiahas. For example, the leaflets that we publish are based upon the Promised Messiah’sas guidance and writings. Similarly, our Tabligh events, religious conferences or seminars are based upon the true teachings of Islam, as explained by the Promised Messiahas. Consequently, it is imperative that Jama’at members establish their own personal libraries with the books of the Promised Messiahas so that they can continually increase their knowledge by reading and re-reading his books.
Certainly, every office bearer and Shura member should set an example in this regard. Whether you read in Urdu or English, you should read all of the books available. Be in no doubt that knowledge is the means of Tabligh. Only if you understand your faith will you be able to logically answer the questions raised by non-Ahmadis and non-Muslims. It is my ardent desire that every member of the Jama’at be involved in Tabligh and so at a central Markaz level, a great deal of money is spent on publishing books. The UK Jama’at should take benefit of this and purchase the various Jama’at books in large quantities so that Ahmadis can increase their knowledge. Apart from this, suitable books should be distributed to members of the wider society as part of your Tabligh efforts. The Secretary Isha’at [Publications], Secretary Tarbiyyat and Secretary Tabligh should each consider this as their responsibility and should cooperate with one another in fulfilling this objective.
As I have said, the work of the Tabligh department is very important and so the National Secretary Tabligh should try to increase the scope of activities of his department and formulate new ways to spread the message of Islam. It is up to the Majlis-e-Shura, the Majlis-e-Amila [National Executive Body] and the Finance Committee to ensure that the Tabligh department is allocated a sizeable budget through which they can seek to spread the message of Islam Ahmadiyyat to every citizen of this nation. This is their mission and they should be supported by all of you in this effort.
However, at the same time, the Secretary Tabligh should be well-aware that our Jama’at’s resources are limited, as I have already said, and so the Tabligh department must seek to derive maximum benefit from whatever funds are made available to them. The Tabligh department should have ambitious and even over-ambitious plans but, at the same time, they should ensure that when it comes to expenditure every penny is carefully managed.
Regrettably, sometimes within the Amila internal issues or disputes arise. To avoid any confusion, each Secretary, whether at a national or local level, should read the rules and regulations regarding their respective Jama’at offices very carefully. They should clearly understand the objectives of their department and know what their rights and limits are. They should not seek to encroach upon the rights of others but should remain focused upon fulfilling the objectives of their department. The Secretary Tabligh should focus on Tabligh work. The Secretary Umoor-e-Kharija [External Affairs] should focus on Kharija work. The Secretary Tarbiyyat should focus on Tarbiyyat and so on.
If the respective secretaries and departments are able to fulfil their own duties it will unquestionably benefit the other departments, most notably Tabligh. For example, if the Umoor-e-Kharija department makes good contacts with officials or other external bodies it will open the doors to spreading the message of Islam even further. Similarly, if the Secretary Tarbiyyat does his job properly it will ensure that more Ahmadis are involved in Tabligh, whilst if the Ishaat department fulfils its remit by publishing literature it will also benefit Tabligh efforts. Nonetheless, the primary responsibility for Tabligh lies with the Secretary Tabligh and so he and his team should focus all their energies on fulfilling their responsibilities, whilst ensuring they stay within the limited parameters of their department.
As I have made clear, Tabligh should be given suitable resources to help them achieve their objectives but this does not mean that they should be given a blank cheque and whatever they demand should be automatically accepted; rather, they should be considered a high priority for the reasons I have outlined. Another extremely important means of Tabligh and Tarbiyyat is the Jalsa Salana [Annual Convention] and the cost of holding the UK Jalsa is considerable and far exceeds what is collected through the Chanda Jalsa Salana. In fact, around one-third of the cost of hosting the UK Jalsa Salana is borne by the international Markaz because the UK Jalsa has taken on an international element and its impact is worldwide.
Another point I wish to make is that the Finance Committee, Budget committee or Majlis-e-Shura should not authorise excessive budgets for certain departments for no reason. The budget for each department should be proportionate to their need and it is the duty of each secretary to ensure that maximum benefit is derived from whatever funds are allocated to them and they should control their expenditure as much as possible. If every department works in this meticulous way then Insha’Allah each department can thrive and fulfil their needs. Furthermore, it is my impression that some secretaries feel a sense of injustice over the way the budget is managed or allocated. Perhaps they consider that certain departments are favoured unfairly.
Some have expressed their concerns that the Umoor-e-Kharija department has a larger budget than is required. I do not know exactly what their work expenditure is or the overall results of their expenditure, as I have received only limited reports in this regard. Anyway, I reiterate that the Umoor-e-Kharija department and all other departments should seek to reduce their expenditure as much as possible and to utilise every single penny in the most cost-effective fashion. I am sure that if budgets are formulated in the way I have suggested any such grievances will disappear.
Aside from budget matters, I also wish to mention another important point about Tabligh. Certain Jama’at members and office bearers have had reservations about recent campaigns to spread the message of Islam. They are of the view that it is merely enough to tell people that our message is ‘Love for All, Hatred for None’ and that we should not risk our relationships by going any further than this. This attitude is completely wrong. To give a very recent example, over the past few months the Tabligh department has launched a ‘Messiah has Come’ campaign and have displayed billboards in some cities. They have also promoted this campaign on social media as well. However, some office bearers have expressed their belief that this campaign will harm our existing relations and is counter-productive. Such people should realise that in order to convey the message of Islam, courage and fearlessness are a prerequisite.
Of course, Allah the Almighty has commanded us to act and speak with wisdom when preaching. Nonetheless, why should people turn against us if we simply put up a billboard displaying a photo of the Promised Messiahas accompanied by a message that the ‘Messiah has Come’ and a further message that he urged mankind to unite in love, compassion and peace? There is no reason for any reasonable and decent person to turn against us over this matter. There will always be some opponents of the Jama’at or of Islam who, no matter what, will seek to portray everything we do in a negative light, but we should not back away and hide in fear from such people.
Is it not the case that Ahmadis in Pakistan, Indonesia, Bangladesh, Algeria, parts of India and some other countries are facing greater trials and extreme persecution? Even in Africa, where our relations with the people and the governments are generally very good, in certain quarters there is strong opposition to the Jama’at and cruelties and injustices prevail. Yet despite such persecution, our Ahmadis do not shy away but continue to march forward with full confidence in their faith without fear. They are ever willing to make sacrifices and to bear severe cruelties for the sake of their faith. Are you not ready to make such sacrifices when called upon here in the UK?
If in the United States and Canada they were able to launch these ‘Messiah has Come’ campaigns, then why not here in the UK? Thus, do not be scared if some opposition arises. At least it is a sign that our message is reaching the wider public. For your Tabligh efforts to be successful you must have courage, you must show wisdom and you must have knowledge of your faith. These are the key ingredients for Tabligh.
After speaking about Tabligh, another very important task is to cater for the moral training of the new converts and to ensure that they are well-integrated into the Jama’at. With the Grace of Allah, the Nau-Muba’yeen [New Converts] department has arranged some very good programmes recently and I hope they will continue to increase their efforts in this regard and so they too require adequate funds for their various events. At the same time, the Secretary Nau-Muba’yeen should ensure that his department derives maximum benefit from any funds that are allocated.
In terms of Tarbiyyat of new Ahmadis, it is imperative that a strong emphasis is placed upon the Tarbiyyat of older Ahmadis because it is the responsibility of born-Ahmadis or those who have been Ahmadi for a long time to guide those who have recently taken the Bai’at and to ensure they remain firm in their faith. This is only possible if the older Ahmadis are themselves setting a positive example and personally reflect Islam’s true teachings.
Certainly, it is particularly important for all office bearers and Shura members to have the highest standards of conduct and to set the very best example for others to follow. As I said before, it is essential that you all regularly read the books of the Promised Messiahas, as well as other Jama’at literature and you should encourage other Ahmadis to do the same. Furthermore, it is necessary to strive towards building a close connection with Khilafat and, in this regard, it is of utmost importance that all Jama’at members listen to the Friday Sermons of the Khalifa-e-Waqt, in which he guides the Jama’at according to the needs of the time. They should also listen to the other programmes of the Khalifa-e-Waqt.
In light of this, a concerted effort should be made through the Jama’at and through the auxiliaries to ensure that Ahmadis are constantly encouraged to listen to and pay close attention to the sermons and programmes of the Khalifa-Waqt. The office bearers and Shura members should lead the way in this effort by ensuring that they and their children are closely affiliated with MTA and watch it as much as possible. If the Tarbiyyat efforts are successful you will see that many of the internal issues or problems that arise will be eradicated. For example, if Tarbiyyat is done properly more Ahmadis will become regular in paying their Chanda at the prescribed rates and making other additional financial sacrifices.
Similarly, domestic and matrimonial issues, which have been on the rise for a long time, will decrease if husbands and wives treat each other with love and respect and focus upon the demands of their faith. Another prevalent issue is that the number of Ahmadi men marrying outside of the Jama’at is on the increase. I have instructed the Secretary Tarbiyyat, the local Jama’ats and the auxiliaries on many occasions about trying to reverse this trend so that our young Ahmadi women are able to find suitable matches. In this regard, the Rishta Nata [Matrimonial Affairs] department needs to be extremely active and focused on solving these issues. In order to improve the situation multiple Rishta Nata secretaries were appointed but the desired results have not yet materialised and the simple reason is the lack of Tarbiyyat and increasing materialism amongst the members of the Jama’at.
Further, if Tarbiyyat is done properly Ahmadis will be much more naturally inclined towards offering Salat [formal Prayer] properly and striving to attain a close bond with Allah the Almighty. The focus on prayer and worship should not be limited to the month of Ramadan but rather every Ahmadi should seek to constantly strengthen their relationship with Allah the Almighty throughout the year. Only then will we be in a position to achieve the objectives for which our Nizaam was established. Only then will the objectives of holding the Majlis-e-Shura be fulfilled. Only then will our Tabligh efforts prove to be blessed.
Certainly, if the office bearers, both at a Jama’at level and amongst the auxiliaries, pay special attention to offering their prayers in congregation the attendance at our mosques will easily reach 60 to 70 per cent of the Tajneed [membership register]. Indeed, it was to fulfil this objective of removing the ever-widening gulf between man and God Almighty for which the Promised Messiahas was sent to guide mankind.
Thus, at the end, I will conclude with the blessed words of the Promised Messiahas in which he has spoken about the need to develop true righteousness.
The Promised Messiahas says:
Every good deed is only of worth when it is based upon righteousness. Otherwise it is not accepted by Allah the Almighty.
He further states:
Our Jama’at particularly needs to adopt righteousness because the members of the Jama’at have associated themselves and pledged their allegiance to a person who has claimed that he has been commissioned by Allah the Almighty so that those who harbour any forms of malice, enmity, or are involved in any form of idolatry or have been consumed by worldliness may find salvation from all such evils.
At another place the Promised Messiahas says:
There are many parts to righteousness. To refrain from arrogance, self-praise, staying away from any wealth acquired through unlawful or unjust means and to forgo all immoral activities are all parts of righteousness.
Thus, all Ahmadis, particularly office bearers and Shura members, should abstain from all forms of wrongdoing and seek to increase in righteousness at all times. At the end, I pray that may Allah grant you all the ability to fulfil the trusts that have been placed upon you. I pray that whatever advice or opinions you express are made with the fear of Allah ingrained in your hearts and that at all times you keep the commands of Allah at the forefront of your minds.
Furthermore, if the Shura recommendations are approved by me, either as suggested by the Shura or with certain amendments, I pray that Allah the Almighty enables you to act upon them and to implement whatever is decided with firm conviction and complete obedience. May Allah enable you to fulfil all of your duties in the best possible way, Ameen. Now, please join me in silent prayer.’