Self Reformation

Concluding address delivered by Hadhrat Mirza Masroor Ahmad, Khalifatul Masih V, Head of the worldwide Ahmadiyya Muslim Community on June 22nd 2008 at the Annual Convention USA.

Alhamdulillah, (all praise belongs to Allah) that with my address today, the Jalsa Salana America will come to a close. In view of  Khilafat Centenary, this Jalsa holds a great importance. Hopefully, its atmosphere will have created an effect and, according to one’s abilities and faculties, spread various kinds of blessings on every member of the Jama’at.

As I always say, and also stated to you previously in my sermons and yesterday’s address also, the purpose of the Jalsa that the Promised Messiah(as) had told us was to improve spiritually, religiously, educationally and morally. So, in this regard, the Jalsa of each Jama’at of every country has an importance, and this Jalsa too is held for the same purpose. If that be the sole purpose, then what is the need to say that this Jalsa is significant merely because of the Khilafat jubilee?

In this connection, I would firstly say that for some time, every country has been preparing its programme for the Khilafat jubilee that culminates in the special programmes of the Jalsa Salana in which the bounties of God Almighty are recounted with reference to Khilafat Ahmadiyya. The old, the young and the children have been getting ready with zeal specifically for this purpose. Thus, this preparation was carried out with particular feelings, namely, that on the completion of one hundred years of Khilafat, we should thank Allah, the Almighty, and, as far as possible, everybody should join forces to make it successful. I hope and expect from everyone that all of you will have participated with a spirit of gratitude.

Secondly, this is the first Jalsa in the United States of America in which I am present,  and as a result, a majority of members has come to participate in it: it is the Jalsa of the Khilafat Jubilee held in the presence of the Khalifa of the time. It bears a special significance for this reason. You are taking part in it with a new thought which is that Khilafat Ahmadiyya has completed its first hundred years and we can see the progress of the Jama’at everywhere. That is why we should celebrate today.

But we should remember that our happiness will only be considered true happiness (i.e. our programmes for the Centenary Jalsa will be successful, and listening to the Jalsa speeches will only be beneficial) when everybody will depart from here with the pledge that we will try to bring about a change in our spiritual, religious, educational and moral conditions, which shall be even better than before.

There were speeches that we used to hear, and of which we only enjoyed the benefit of listening to; however, we did not act accordingly, and if we did try to act on them, then after a few days, we used to forget what had been said. Worldly pursuits took precedence over admonitions to do good works; our feet were stuck where they were; or, if for a moment we did step forward, no real progress could be seen and our stepping forward could not at all be described as revolutionary.

Thus, in view of these past matters, if this Khilafat Jubilee Jalsa has stirred your feelings, your emotions and your person, then congratulations to you, for you have understood the purpose of the Khilafat Jubilee Jalsa and of my coming here, and now with a renewed pledge I accepted this pledge from you on the 27th of May. And a new determination to improve in spiritual and moral values, you have entered the new century.

However, now that we have stepped into the new century, we need to move swiftly. Revolutionary changes in the world cannot be made at a snail’s pace. Revolutionary changes require a complete transformation within you.

A hundred years ago, your ancestors brought about a revolutionary change within themselves, which, despite opposition, created a revolutionary transformation all around them. What was that change that they brought about within themselves and in their surroundings?  Was it a revolution of bloodshed? Was it caused by open warfare?  Was it some Jihad that spread terror in the area?

No, it was a revolution, the most excellent examples of which they had found in the life of Holy Prophet(saw). It was a revolution whose practical examples they had found in the life of the Promised Messiah(as), Messiah of Muhammad(saw).

Now, to bring about this revolution, what were the practical examples set by the Master and the Servant? Their practical example was to give up their lives for Allah, the Almighty, and to bow before Him. So our elders adopted these examples, and we can see its fruit in the expansion of Ahmadiyyat in some two hundred countries.

They did not possess the resources that Allah, the Almighty, has endowed us today. Despite this, they created a revolution and ranked amongst those fortunate ones about whom the Promised Messiah (as) said in the following pleasing words:

“It is proven from past practice that the companions of the prophets are those who are weak and poor people. Many big people are bereft of this fortune, as all kinds of thoughts come in their hearts. They consider themselves to be free in such matters because of their ego and hidden arrogance, as well as their high opinion of themselves. They consider it below their dignity and decorum to sit where the poor, sincere and dear ones of God gather.”

Hadhrat Promised Messiah (as) says:

“I see that there are hundreds of people who have entered our Jama’at, and who barely have any clothes on them, and hardly have a sheet or a pyjama; they have no property at all. But one is amazed and astonished at their endless sincerity, love and fidelity as well as the high resolve that emanates from them from time to time, or the effects of which can be seen from their faces. They are so firm in their faith and so convinced about their belief and so loyal and sincere in their truth and steadfastness that were these wealthy and rich people who find pleasure in worldly pursuits to come to know of that bliss, they would be ready to give up everything for it.”

Today, there would be many amongst you, who are the descendants of the companions of the Promised Messiah(as).  There would be some who are the children of these companions who have just been described as having brought about a change within themselves, after accepting the Messiah of Muhammad(saw) and whose favours are being enjoyed by their descendants. Therefore, instead of being immersed in worldly matters in the improved conditions that exist in these Western countries, every Ahmadi should try to acquire high positions in the domain of spiritual and moral progress so that the continuity of the process of bringing about a change through prayers, that had been started by our elders, does not come to a halt.

We should continue to improve in good works. It is indeed a favour of God Almighty on you Ahmadis living here that besides granting you admittance to the servitude of the Messiah of Muhammad(saw), He has also granted you prosperity.

The Promised Messiah(as) has said that if materialistic people came to know of that bliss they would give up all their wealth for it. How unfortunate it is that, despite possessing both kinds of favours, some of us do not hold them in high regard.

Following my African tour, I stated that it was after a lot of sacrifice that the majority of African Ahmadis had participated in the Jalsa. The participants from neighbouring countries in the Jalsas of Ghana and Nigeria had, in reality, nothing: neither money for the fares, nor clothes. Despite the heat, they spent the three days of Jalsa in the same clothes.

On the one hand one is surprised to observe that they are trying to improve in sincerity, fidelity and spirituality, and on the other hand one is filled with pride and admiration. These are the people who are scaling to new heights. These are the people who have derived benefit from the Jalsa. Therefore, if you have come here in view of the importance of the Jubilee Jalsa, then resolve and make a pledge, calling Allah the Almighty to witness, to make whatever favours you have acquired by participating in the Jalsa a part and parcel of your life.

God alone knows the unseen. I know not nor can I know what grace has been found by men, women, old and young from this Jalsa. But I hope and pray that all participants will have tried their best to achieve the expectations of the Promised Messiah(as) under this spiritual environment.

No man is free from weaknesses and shortcomings and sometimes falls into the trap of Satan. That is why a constant and consistent effort is required. The Jalsa is a means of furthering this endeavour. The addresses made by the speakers, and my own speech and sermon, are no more than an effort to remind about spiritual and moral values and to raise their standard.

The speakers’ words, or for that matter my own words, cannot influence the hearts of the people unless everyone personally seeks help from Allah and prepares his heart for it. Even prophets cannot do this work.

The Promised Messiah(as) says:

“I know well that it is not possible for me to put these matters into someone’s heart, nor do I have any instrument through which I can insert my words into anyone’s heart. This is not unique to me; this is what had happened with all prophets.”

“You cannot guide whom you like.”

This has been said to the Prophet Muhammad(saw). Therefore, who else can guide anyone by his own will?

Our work is to advise and to convey the message. We have found this Jama’at making great progress in sincerity and love; the sincerity, love and passion for faith shown by the Jama’at is such that, observing the same, we are sometimes surprised and amazed, and even the enemy is amazed.

The Promised Messaih(as) further says:

“Nevertheless, there are thousands of people who have increased in their love and sincerity, but because of old habits and human weakness, they sometimes get so involved in worldly matters that their religion is then neglected.”

If you wish to make the impact of this Jalsa permanent, then everyone should bow before Allah the Almighty and try to bring about a change in their hearts. These speeches and this atmosphere and the special significance it has because it is the Khilafat Jubilee, are just a wakeup call to draw your attention to personally seek the help of Allah.

Then, by the grace of Allah, you will move swiftly towards acquiring higher moral and spiritual grades. Until Allah the Almighty creates a permanent realisation, even a good speaker can only make you say: “SubhanAllah (Holy is Allah), how wonderful” and my words will also be no more than temporary advice. May it so happen that personal weaknesses and Satanic onslaughts do not prevent one from fulfilling the expectations that the Promised Messiah(as) had of the members of his Jama’at.

This condition will only arise when we bow before God, and, as I said, seek His help. Continue to repeat everything good that you hear and make it become an integral part of your lives. We should always remember the expectations the Promised Messiah(as) had of us. He says:

“As long as one does not give up one’s earlier life, and does not feel that the desire of the self that incites to evil has been extinguished and that God’s greatness has not yet settled in one’s heart, one cannot be considered a believer… Unless the believers are granted a special distinction, how can the promises related to them be fulfilled? Allah’s promise is that He will found such a community that will gain supremacy in every field. God Almighty will bestow all kinds of favours. But what is required is that each person should purify himself. Yes, Allah forgives weaknesses. Whosoever is weak and raises his hand for somebody to grasp and lift him up, will be lifted up. But a believer should not sit idle in this condition, as God is not happy at this. All efforts should be made to please God”.

He further adds:

“Our Jama’at should be such that it does not depend on mere words, but should fulfil the true purpose of the pledge. They should bring about a change within themselves. Mere propositions cannot make Allah the Almighty happy. If there is no change within you, then you are no different from others.”

So these are the expectations that the Promised Messiah(as) had of us, a part of which I have mentioned. May this Khilafat Jubilee Jalsa awaken the feelings of those who join the Jama’at of the Promised Messiah(as).

In every Ahmadi, a consciousness to bring about a change has developed. As I said, this consciousness and attention is beneficial when everyone resolves and pledges before God to remain consistent with great determination, and promises that he or she will shun all evils and weaknesses that are sinful. However, this cannot be possible without Allah’s grace. Giving up your formal life requires a great transformation.

It calls for great determination. Therefore, the Promised Messiah(as) did not confer an ordinary responsibility but a colossal task.  Hence, this work and the desire to spend the day and night in fear and righteousness, cannot allow any other thought to come to our mind. Overcoming the self that incites to evil and recognising the greatness of Allah, the Almighty, mean passing through the self that reproves to attain the state of the soul at rest. Who can attain this state merely through his knowledge and effort? Indeed, it requires one to carry the yoke of the Unity of Allah, the Almighty, on one’s neck. This cannot be achieved without handing oneself over to God Almighty.

The Promised Messiah(as) has indicated the establishment of such a Jama’at that enjoys supremacy over others.

The Promised Messiah(as) draws our attention towards the purification of our hearts and our selves. And this is why he has said: Do not sit idly by, but place your foot on every rung of the ladder and keep climbing upwards.

When everyone attains this condition, the promises will be fulfilled. The Jama’at that attains superiority will emerge distinct from the others.  What is that superiority that Allah, the Almighty, wants to give to the Jama’at of the Promised Messiah(as)? The superiority is the blessing of Khilafat. The blessings of Khilafat are such a bounty that today the Muslim Ummah(followers) desperately feels the need for it. Columns in the papers in Muslim countries are filled with the fact that the survival of the Muslim Ummah is related to Khilafat, and that all Muslim countries should try collectively to establish it; but they do not know that the bounty of Khilafat is God-given, and cannot be obtained by human effort.

In this age, if any Jama’at has been promised the establishment of Khilafat, then it is the Jama’at of the Promised Messiah(as). Therefore, after having made an oath of allegiance to the Promised Messiah(as), it is the responsibility of every Ahmadi today to stand up to defend this bounty and attend to those matters that are conditional to it. The Promised Messiah(as) has made the purification of the self a precondition for its supremacy. Furthermore, the purification of the self is obtained by strengthening faith and performing good deeds.

Allah, the Almighty, says in Holy Qur’an:

He indeed truly prospers who purifies it. (Ch.91:V.10)

However, any Ahmadi who performs the bai‘at at the hand of the Promised Messiah(as) with a purpose in view, cannot attain that purpose without purifying himself, without strengthening his faith, and without paying attention to the performance of good deeds which had been ordained by God to a pure soul; those deeds that lead to purification of the soul and to salvation from the temptations of the self that incites to evil.

When this condition is attained by the people, Allah’s promise of the bounties of Khilafat will be for them. The Promised Messiah(as) said that mere words and knowledge will bring you nothing if you are not mindful of your deeds. Whether someone is able to counter an opponent in a debate or can prove the death of Jesus Christ (as), or can deliver a solid speech on a knowledgeable subject, such knowledge is hollow if it does not bring any practical benefit to man. If a scholar’s arrogance prevents him from accepting the Promised Messiah(as), that knowledge of his will lead to an abyss of darkness. If any knowledge prevents obedience to Khilafat, then such knowledge deprives one from the bounty of Allah, the Almighty, and leaves one bereft of the blessings of Khilafat. The history of Ahmadiyyat bears testimony to the fact that those who considered themselves to be scholars 94 years ago, their condition after the split from Khilafat is pitiable today.

Therefore, to become the recipient of this bounty, it is necessary to purify the self. It is necessary to act upon the commandments of Allah, the Almighty. It is necessary to fulfil those conditions that must be fulfilled by those to whom the promise of khilafat has been made and who have been mentioned in the Holy Qur’an.

The Aayat-ul-Istikhlaaf (Ch.24:V.56) is frequently referred to in the Ahmadiyya Jama’at. For some years now, we have been hearing part of it on MTA from time to time. It is highlighted with reference to the Khilafat Jubilee in every Jama’at periodical and in every function. But is it enough that we read about it, and that those who have the habit of reflecting, seeing the bounties that are being showered upon the Ahmadiyya Jama’at, should simply be pleased at seeing its practical fulfilment?  If that be so, then remember: this was not the purpose of the advent of the Promised Messiah(as) nor was it the purpose of the establishment of Khilafat, nor is it the purpose of those who have claimed to be closely connected to Khilafat, nor indeed should it be so.

Who are the real beneficiaries, the ones who truly value this bounty? Details of this subject are given in Surah Al-Nur,(Ch.24) but the brief condition of the true beneficiaries of this bounty referred to in the above mentioned verse is that they should be absolute in faith and perform good deeds and as a result Allah, the Almighty, will strengthen them. He will improve their spiritual, religious and practical conditions, because a believer does not come to a standstill at any one spot. Marching under the banner of Khilafat, you will attain success. The prayers of the Jama’at and of Khilafat will bring about a change, peace and security in exchange for fear. As a result of the blessings of Khilafat, the Jama’at will become a solid foundation: whoever confronts it will be smashed to pieces.

When we look today at the hundred-year history of the Ahmadiyya Jama’at today, we find this promise of God Almighty being fulfilled in a glorious manner. I do not have time to repeat the full account of our history, neither of the various plots hatched against the Jama’at, nor of the attacks launched on it, not to mention the internal and external attempts that were made to weaken the Jama’at. I already mentioned this briefly on the 27th of May function.

Everyone among you is a witness to the fact that the Ahmadiyya Jama’at is making dynamic progress. Even the opponents have to admit that this Jama’at enjoys the physical support of Allah, the Almighty. Your spiritual and moral progress is entirely dependant on Khilafat; you should inculcate this principle in your future generations.

So assess yourselves, reminding yourselves that you have to strengthen your faith and pay greater attention to the performance of good deeds so that you continue to be the recipients of Allah’s bounties promised by Allah, the Almighty. By absorbing the grace of Allah, always continue to exchange your fears into security and peace; continue to be those upon whom Allah, the Almighty, looks with love; always create means of survival for yourself and for your children. Remember, our survival does not depend on luxuries of the world but on the happiness of Allah, the Almighty, and on endeavouring to become the dwellers of paradise in the hereafter.

What is faith and what are righteous deeds? In this connection the Promised Messiah(as) expounds the meaning of Surah Al-Baqarah, and states:

Give glad to those who believe and do good works, that for them are gardens beneath which flow streams.  Whenever they are given a portion of fruit therefrom,  they will say: ‘This is what was given us before’ and gifts mutually resembling shall be brought to them. And they will have therein mates perfectly pure and therein will they abide. (Ch.2:V.26)

Hadhrat Promised Messiah(as) says:

“In this verse, God Almighty has described faith as a garden beneath which rivers flow, and has thus indicated that faith is related to righteous action as a garden is related to the water of the river or stream. As a garden cannot flourish without water, faith cannot survive without righteous action. If there is faith but no righteous action the faith is in vain; and if there are actions but not faith, the actions are mere show or display. The reality of the Islamic paradise is that it is a reflection of the faith and actions of a person in this life and is not something that will be bestowed upon a person from outside. A person’s paradise is developed inside him and everyone’s paradise is his faith and his righteous actions, the delight of which begins to be tasted in this very life and one perceives the hidden gardens and streams of faith and righteous action which will become concretely manifest in the hereafter. God’s holy teaching instructs us that pure and perfect and firm faith in God, His attributes and His designs, is a beautiful garden of fruit trees, and righteous actions are the streams”. (The Philosophy of the Teachings of Islam pp.90-91)

“God Almighty has mentioned good deeds along with faith in the Holy Qur’an. The A’maal-Saalihah (righteous deeds) are those in which there is not an iota of disorder. Remember that the actions of human beings are under constant threat from thieves. Who are these thieves? They are ostentation (that is, when a person does something to show off);   Ujb (or self pride, that is, to feel elated at one’s own doings); and also various types of wicked deeds and sins which one commits. By these, one’s actions are completely ruined. A’maal-Saalihah are those in which there is no thought of injustice, self-praise, showing off, arrogance, or usurping the rights of others. As good deeds lead to salvation in the Hereafter so is a person protected in this life. If there is one person in the household performing good deeds the entire household is saved. Remember that until you have good deeds, mere belief is useless”. (Al-Badar Vol.1 p.9)

In another place the Promised Messiah (as) says:

“Good deeds are not according to your own whim and determination [ie. Good deeds are not those done according to one’s own liking. ‘Amal Saalih is not to be interpreted on one’s own.] In fact, good deeds are those in which there is no disorder of any sort. The word Saalih is an antonym of Fasaad (disorder), for example, just as food is wholesome (Tayyab) when it is neither raw nor burnt nor stale nor substandard – it should be such which is assimilated quickly –  likewise, it is necessary that there should be no disorder in good deeds, that is, they should be sanctioned by Allah, the Almighty, and sanctioned by the traditions of the Holy Prophet(saw). Moreover, there should be no laziness, nor self-praise, nor showing off, nor should it be by whimsical determination. When a deed is like that, it is called a good deed, like a philosopher’s stone.” (AlHakm Vol.8: pp.14-15)

So these are the words of the Promised Messaih (as).These various excerpts that I have presented clarify the meanings of faith and righteous deeds, as explained by the Promised Messiah(as) . Do not think that just because we have believed in the Promised Messiah(as), there is no more to be had.

If God Almighty says to the believers of Hadhrat Muhammad(saw):

Say you have not believed yet; but rather say: ‘We have accepted Islam.’ (Ch.49:V.15)

There is a lot to be done for strengthening the faith. Therefore, in view of this commandment of Allah, it should make us concerned and cautious. We should search such matters that strengthen the faith and that inspire us to attain ever-higher standards of faith. Allah, the Almighty, has described various characteristics of those who have complete faith and of those who improve their faith. If all of us examined ourselves, then the condition of our faith would emerge automatically. If there is any weakness, our attention will be drawn towards it; thus, while referring to the promise of Allah, the Almighty, whenever we ask anything from Him, we will question whether we are following His commandments.

So they should hearken to Me and believe in Me. (Ch.2:V.187)

Here, Allah, the Almighty, has addressed His servants as those who need to take steps to improve their belief.

I shall now present some of the characteristics of true believers that are mentioned in the Holy Qur’an. Allah says:

…who believe in the unseen, and observe Prayer and spend out of what We have provided for them (Ch.2: V.4)

That is to say: Believe in Allah, the Almighty, and make it such a belief that increases “Irfaan” – roughly translated as comprehensive knowledge – moreover, observe Prayers with full attention to the five daily prayers, and, as far as possible, in congregation and this is what is meant by observing Prayer as instructed by Allah, the Almighty.

Allah, the Almighty, says in another verse:

Watch over Prayers and the middle Prayer, and stand before Allah submissively. (Ch.2:V.239)

This is about watching over the Prayer and in particular over the prayer that arrives in the middle of things that come between God and His servant because of worldly needs; thus, work, trade or involvements make us neglect the Prayers. This is something that again weakens the faith.

We need to pay greater attention to this, in this age when Prayers were going to be ignored because of occupations and preferences. God, Who is the Knower of the Unseen, knew what would happen in the Latter Days and what the priorities of the people would be. This is why our attention has been drawn toward the Jumu’ah Prayer in Surah Al-Jumu’ah (Ch.62). The reference to the Friday Prayer does not mean that one should come to offer the Friday prayer and that there is no need to attend to the other prayers. Such an interpretation would contradict the commandment to which I have referred before. Safeguarding prayers is an important commandment.

The purpose of describing it here is that at the time of the Promised Messiah(as), man would become so engrossed in materialism, and would be so afraid of incurring a loss in his trade, that he would neglect the Jumu’ah prayer, which is an important form of worship and to which the Holy Prophet(saw) gave special importance.

As many people as possible should gather in a central place to offer the Prayer in which the sermon bears a special significance. Allah the Almighty says that in these Latter Days, those who apparently believe would forget the importance of the Friday congregational Prayer. Trade and worldly affairs would become more important to them. Allah, the Almighty, says that the grace and bounties that Allah has, are far more beneficial than your worldly pursuits and trades, for you do not derive merely material benefit from them but benefit in the Hereafter as well. Allah says, your progress in the belief in the unseen leads to the nearness of Allah.

In order to strengthen faith, Allah, the Almighty, has drawn our attention towards worship so that the Aakhireen (believers living in the Latter Days) can be beneficiaries of such bounties. Drawing our attention towards Friday Prayers, Allah, the Almighty, tells us: By neglecting the prayers your condition will worsen so that you will even find the observance of just one day per week, namely, the Friday Prayer, a burden; and gradually you will distance yourselves from worship.

Thus, you will forget the purpose of joining the Jama’at of the Promised Messiah(as); and as for the bounty of Khilafat that you mention with great pride, it will be taken away from you.

So, every Ahmadi should remember that materialism should never draw him away from the observance of prayers. After belief in Allah, the Almighty, Prayer is the guarantor of our survival.

That is why I emphasise this time and again everywhere, namely, that if we attain this fundamental objective with sincerity and loyalty then we will become true beneficiaries of divine favours and will make our lives, both here and in the Hereafter, excellent.

It is narrated in a Hadith that Holy Prophet(saw) said:

“The five daily Prayers and the Friday Prayer to the next Friday Prayer and the observance of Ramadan to the observance of the next Ramadan atone for all defaults in between so long as capital sins are shunned.” (Muslim)

Thus this Hadith makes it clear that these obligatory acts atone for major defaults. Therefore, those who think that it is enough to observe the ‘Eid Prayer each year, should remember that ‘Eid Prayer is the shield for the Friday Prayer and the Friday Prayer is the protector of the five daily Prayers and each Prayer is the guardian of the next Prayer and atones for major sins.

Allah says in the Holy Qur’an:

If you keep away from the more grievous of the things which are forbidden you, We will remove from you your minor evils and admit you to a place of great honour. (Ch.4:V.32)

Now this verse has additionally clarified that we will be protected from the major evils through the five daily Prayers, the Friday Prayer and Ramadan.

There are many people in the world who do not commit any of the major sins.  However, it should not be thought that since those who do not observe the Prayer, do not commit major sins, what is the difference between those who observe the Prayer and those who do not?

Allah, the Almighty, says that when you try to shun major sins, Allah will keep you away from minor defaults. You will be amongst those who try to become truly Allah’s and will be amongst those in whom the love of Allah continues to grow and the love of the world begins to diminish; and, as a result, you will rank among those who have been bestowed His blessings. Those defaults and shortcomings which seem difficult to get rid of, will become easier to overcome because of such worship, and, as a result, you will continue to increase in love for Allah. It is not possible that love for Allah and sin go hand in hand; nor can the Gracious One and Satan get along together.

The Promised Messiah(as) said:

“Sin is a poison which appears when man is bereft of obedience to God, of absolute love for God and of His loving divine remembrance. Just as when a tree is uprooted and is unable to absorb water, it begins to wither and its greenery is destroyed, the same is the condition of a man whose heart has been uprooted from the love of God. Thus, just like desiccation, sin overcomes him.”

Allah the Almighty has also said at another place:

Prayers restrain one from indecency and manifest evil. (Ch.29: V.46)

In this materialistic age and in the Western culture where man has made progress in every field, has reached other planets and has discovered many unfathomed secrets of nature, he has also crossed all bounds of indecency and invented means and instruments for moral depravity, obscenity and filth. Though man is the most conscious of beings, yet he is worse than animals in such indecencies. The display of indecency on TV Channels and its open show on the internet are because people have forgotten God Almighty and have neglected His worship. So, therefore, when an Ahmadi enters the new century of Khilafat, he pledges that he will bring about pure changes within himself, and the best of such pure changes is through worship, and the fear of God – a fear that incorporates the love and affection of God.

Thus, to attain the highest standards of worship and the fear and love of God within oneself, the most important way is through the observance and understanding of the meaning of prayers. If that is not the case, then as the Promised Messiah(as) has said, man becomes like a dry twig, his heart withers, the freshness of belief and deeds is terminated; and then such a man who is apparently one of the believers, due to his distance from God, is lost in the indecency in which the world is immersed. May Allah preserve every Ahmadi from this.

Then He says that to strengthen the faith, it is necessary to spend in the way of Allah. Alhamdulillah, by the grace of Allah, the Ahmadiyya Jama’at in America is advancing in this field. When I launched the scheme for the Tahir Heart Institute in Rabwah, the American Jama’at contributed more than 60% of it. May Allah grant an excellent reward to those who made sacrifices for this, it was really a  grand purpose. This excellent institute that Tahir Heart Institute established in Rabwah is serving mankind, particularly the needy and deserving. It is one of the leading state-of-the-art institutes in Pakistan.

Likewise is the sacrifice made for the building of mosques. Then there are other funds. In short, the American Jama’at is one of the advancing and progressive Jama’ats in the domain of financial sacrifices.

I recall that 10 years ago, Hadhrat Khalifatul Masih IV reminded you extensively about it. Referring to it today, I praise Allah, the Almighty, for having blessed the Promised Messiah(as) with such a Jama’at that responds immediately and positively to the call of the Khalifa of the time. So, today, therefore, just as you caused a change in yourselves in financial sacrifices, I draw your attention to the observance of prayers, worship and other righteous deeds and urge you to try to march forward towards betterment.

I hope and pray that Allah the Almighty will enrich you with the blessings of this Jalsa and that you will make progress in your spiritual condition. For the strengthening of your faith, you will keep the commandment of Allah in front of you, in which Allah the Almighty says:

…And as for those who believe, they are the foremost in their love for Allah… (Ch.2:166)

The love of Allah will never drive you away from worship. You will always rank amongst the believers, about whom God Almighty says that when they are called to determine a matter, their response is:

…We hear and we obey… (Ch.4:47)

It is not that we will accept those matters that are in accord with our wishes, and reject those that go against our desires.

I hope those among you who have shown such an attitude will bring about a positive change for the sake of strengthening their faith. I have highlighted some signs of the believers.

May Allah enable you to ponder over their intricacies and continue to enlighten your faith, so that you keep on receiving divine bounties and grace.

Allah the Almighty has promised Khilafat to those who progress in their beliefs and to the ones who perform good deeds as well. What are good and righteous deeds and why are they integral to belief?

In this connection, you have already heard the explanation of the Promised Messiah(as). Amongst the deeds that have been mentioned by the Promised Messiah(as), I elaborate further, so that everyone can assess themselves, because these are such matters that can consume their righteous deeds.

And as I had said in my Khilafat Jubilee address, the worship of such people confers no benefit to them. The Promised Messiah(as) says righteous deeds are those in which there is no cruelty. In the Holy Qur’an, Allah the Almighty has presented several examples of cruelties, some of which I present here.

In connection with matters related to ladies, when marriage ends on the rocks and divorce is considered, do not delay the matter beyond the waiting period. There are only two options: either terminate it finally in divorce or bring about reconciliation in an appropriate manner and put a stop to the matter.

Also, do not end the matter just to cause difficulties or to aggravate the situation. If you do this, it will be cruelty. You may think that you are only causing difficulty to a woman, but this will be a grave mistake on your part.

Allah the Almighty says:

…And whoso does that, surely wrongs his own soul… (Ch.2:232)

You are thinking that by causing cruelty and aggravation you are disturbing only her, but do you not know that in fact, by inviting Allah’s displeasure, you are causing cruelty to yourself.

Thus, if indeed they have the fear of God, men should pay attention to discharging the rights of women.

Then, Allah, the Almighty, says at another place that those who usurp the rights of others by eloquent speeches, also commit cruelty; and Allah, the Almighty, punishes the cruel and the oppressors because of their transgression. Allah, the Almighty, has advised the believers to perform good deeds. Therefore, those who engage in such conduct that is against the commandments of God, will be counted amongst the tyrants. So, each Ahmadi should assess himself.

Complaints are received about cruelties in the relationships between husband and wife; neither do they comply with the administration of the Jama’at nor do they listen to the Khalifa of the time. Then, when they are punished because of these cruelties, they say that they have been treated unfairly, although in reality they have been unfair to themselves.

Then in lending and borrowing, and in big-ticket business transactions, people usurp the rights of each other. They think that they have made a fool of the other party. They fail to understand that, according to Allah, the Almighty, they are only ingesting fire.

By destroying the peace in society, they are earning the displeasure of Allah, the Almighty.

Thus, being in such a condition, they belong neither to the faith nor to the world. In this connection, every Ahmadi should continue to assess himself. If on the one hand we shout slogans of peace and security, how can we, on the other hand, become the destroyers of the peace in society? Instead of spreading peace, how can we cause people agony and pain?

Then the Promised Messiah(as) says that one should stay away from self-pride and conceit, because it is such a disease where the person is so self-centred that he pays no importance to the opinion of others, nor does he pay any respect or reverence to others. It is a thing that leads to arrogance. When this disease occurs in society, it prevents one from discharging the rights of others, and as a result it opens ways for disorders. Allah, the Almighty, says in the Holy Qur’an:

…And turn not thy cheek away from men in pride nor walk in the earth haughtily; Surely, Allah loves not any arrogant boaster. (Ch.31: V.19)

Thus it is clear that the boaster and the proud are arrogant; and that is something greatly disliked by Allah, the Almighty. The Holy Prophet(saw)said: “Do not disdain doing the least good, even though it be greeting your brother with a cheerful face.” (Muslim)

In another narrative, Holy Prophet(saw) said:

“The more one is hospitable and humble, the higher will Allah the Almighty raise his status.”

So, the real purpose for a believer is to attain the pleasure and reward of Allah, the Almighty, and that is only possible when one is free of self-pride and arrogance.

The petty matters that lead to disputes in our society are because of conceit and arrogance. Every Ahmadi should keep in mind that on the one hand, we express our uniqueness in the sense that we are those people who have been rewarded by Allah, the Almighty; but on the other hand, if we have basic weaknesses within ourselves, how can we persuade others that this is a reward?

So, if we begin to rectify such basic moral defects, we will be able to reform major weaknesses and continue to receive the bounties of Allah, the Almighty, and will earn the right to become the best part of the society. There is a list in the Holy Qur’an about good and bad deeds, or do’s and don’ts. Allah, the Almighty, has clearly explained both good and bad deeds.

One thing should be clear about good deeds. Good deeds are those that are performed at the correct and appropriate time. For example, speaking the truth is a good work and Allah the Almighty has issued instructions about it and has equated a liar to one who commits shirk (one who associates partners with Allah).

However, if you come to know about somebody’s weakness, it is wrong to publicise it. Even if it is true and based on fact, the one who publicises it will be a sinner.

If there is a weakness in someone and it is mentioned to him in the presence of others, saying: “I am only trying to make you understand”, even if it be true and it was mentioned only in view of reformation, its mention at an inappropriate time or place would nevertheless make it cease to be a good deed. If you come to know of somebody’s weakness, whether it is of a common man or of an office bearer, if you want to reform that evil, then explain it to that person separately, and keep the evil secret. Only then will it be a good deed.

There are many films being shown nowadays about theft, robbery, violence, etc.  The scriptwriters and filmmakers give the impression that if they are showed such scenes where the villains meet a sorry end, people will learn a good lesson. But in reality, children and youngsters do not learn from the ending; rather they learn ways and methods of committing evil, theft, murders, robberies and terrorism, thereby destroying the peace of society and destroying homes. Now, voices are starting to be raised against this, saying: This is wrong. Instead of reformation, one sees that crimes are on the increase.

However, Islam taught us 1400 years ago that evil should not be publicised. To stop evil, counsel wisely but in private.

So, evils in society start from little things. Therefore, it is every Ahmadi’s task to create an atmosphere in society where, instead of increasing malice, an environment of love and affection should arise. Be sensitive to each other’s feelings. Allah, the Almighty, says:

and everyone has a goal which dominates him; vie, then, with one another in good works… (Ch.2:V149)

That is to say that everyone has a purpose. Therefore, always keep this commandment in mind.

It means that you must keep an eye on your weak brothers, in respect of those good deeds that you have attained, and try to make your other brothers a part of it and take them along with you. If you find weaknesses in anybody, instead of making them public, try and reform them with sympathy and compassion, and by doing this you would be attempting to create a pure and peaceful society. This pure society is that which a Muslim has been ordered to establish, and to establish which in this age God Almighty has sent the Promised Messiah(as).

Thus, every Ahmadi should try to establish a pure society. This condition cannot arise until compassion arises in every Ahmadi’s heart. Unless everyone treats the other like his own kinsmen, unless the walls of colour, race and nationality are made to fall; unless Asian, White, and African-Americans consider themselves as Ahmadis, as human beings, equal to each other, and do their utmost to discharge the rights of others; and unless such a condition prevails in everyone, we will not be truly fulfilling our pledge, namely, that we have a true bond with Khilafat because it is only Khilafat that, by fulfilling the requirements of justice, establishes love, affection and peace. It leads to a beautiful society that treads upon the ways of God and His Messenger(saw).

Hence, if in this Khilafat Jubilee year you have renewed your pledge of allegiance, then also try to raise your faith and good deeds to a very high level.

Allah enable you to do this.

May Allah enable you to reap all the blessings of this Jalsa; may He enable you and your descendants to act on the commands of Allah, the Almighty, and Messenger(saw); may Allah bless the Ahmadiyya Jama’at of America both collectively and individually, and may He make you inheritors of the supplications of the Promised Messiah(as).

May Allah be your Protector and Helper now and along your journey. And may you always enjoy the benefits of the Jalsa, and I always receive good news from you.Amin.

Now we shall offer silent prayer, please, join me.