Jalsa Salana/Annual Conventions Muslim Television Ahmadiyya Purdah and Veiling The Americas Women's Section

The Significance of Sacrifice in Your Pledge

Address delivered by Hadhrat Mirza Masroor Ahmad, Khalifatul Masih V, Head of the worldwide Ahmadiyya Muslim Community, on June 21st 2008 to the ladies at the USA Annual convention.

Today, Allah the Almighty is fulfilling your desire to see me standing before you and directly addressing Lajna Imaillah America. In this connection, I had received many letters from you and I too wanted to address you directly. All praise belongs to Allah that He granted me this opportunity today.

Allah the Almighty has conferred many favours on the Jama’at Ahmadiya. He has made all inventions of the age for the service of the servants of the Promised Messiah(as). The Promised Messiah (as) has himself said that all these modern inventions have been provided by Allah Almighty in support of the Messiah(as). Amongst these inventions, and befitting the time, an outstanding invention is one that transmits voice and picture from one place to another in seconds, that is to say, the satellite television system. Words are inadequate to thank Allah the Almighty for bestowing this favour, through His special grace, upon the Ahmadiyya community. Programmes in different languages on the message of Islam and Ahmadiyyat, tarbiyyat (or training and reformation) of the Jama’at, as well as sermons and speeches that rank as guidance of the Jama’at, are being received instantaneously throughout the world.

There was a time when a speaker had to shout loudly. Until well into the time of the second Khalifa Hadhrat Musleh Mao’ud(ra), audio facility was not available in Qadian. When the facility became available, Hadhrat Khalifat-ul-Masih II(ra) announced that now that he was audible from the men’s area, he no longer felt a need to deliver a speech to the ladies separately unless he had to say something specific and important to them: nevertheless, he reserved the matter for consideration. In view of the importance of the ladies as well as the strong demand made by them, the necessity of a separate address to the ladies remained. And this practice continues to date.

In any case, a large number of members of the Jama’at comprises ladies and hence it is the right of Ahmadi ladies that the Khalifa of the time address them directly.

Through MTA, the Jama’at has become so aware of these traditions that both new-comers, and who are resolute in obedience, try to adopt each and every tradition of ours, of Ahmadiyyat.

As you no doubt know, a few weeks ago, I was on a tour in Africa. During the Jalsa Salana of Nigeria, the agenda drafted in accord with this tradition required that on the second day of the Jalsa, the Khalifa of the time address the Lajna, or perhaps this had been mentioned in their programme.

Anyway, due to the arrival of some dignitaries and some change in the programme at the eleventh hour, the organisers dropped the programme and I did not go to the ladies.  This change upset a large number of Lajna. They said that they had not gathered there to see the face of the Sadr Lajna or other office bearers or the Amir but had come for the Khalifa and if he was not coming, then they were returning. Yet others said that they would not eat. The administration controlled the situation with great difficulty and apologised to them. I hope your Sadr Lajna must have taken a sigh of relief that this episode is not repeating here.

Anyway, such an attitude from any Ahmadi, whether a man or woman, is obviously wrong. Hailing from new Jama’ats, the standard of tarbiyyat is not high; moreover, some tribes are a bit more emotional than others and flare into anger. However, one thing is certain and it is that for the sake of Allah the Almighty, the love for Khilafat are not only deeply rooted in their hearts but is flourishing. May Allah always increase their sincerity and fidelity.

However, I was talking about the importance of a speech to the Lajna.

Indeed, a direct speech to ladies is highly important: firstly, because more than 50 percent of the Jama’at comprises ladies; and, secondly, because women constitute that class, rather I would say, that institution in whose lap the future of every Jama’at and every nation develops and prospers.

Once Hadhrat Khalifatul-Masih II(ra) said: “If you reform 50 percent of the women, Islam will have the victory.” Thus, this is the importance of a woman and this is her status. Indeed, this must cause every Ahmadi woman and every Ahmadi girl to realise her importance and her responsibilities.

Realising this importance, women of the past offered many sacrifices. History records countless incidents. Sometimes, the standard of worship observed by females was much higher than that by males. Women’s financial sacrifices were a lot higher than those of men. Women’s sacrifices of their feelings and emotions were higher too. The sacrifice offered by women for their children was also higher than that by men. And, for that matter, their sacrifice of lives was no less than that of men. In fact, men who demonstrated great examples of bravery and valour were in fact the product of the upbringing of such women who sent their children to the battlefield for the defence of Islam saying: “if you do not give up your life then remember that you will no longer be mine.”

In short, no matter which field you look at, it was the women who not only caused a revolution but also became the source of bringing about a complete change in the destiny of man. It is a bogus allegation against Islam that Islam does not give woman an equal status.

Islam defines limits and specifies that this is the task of man and this is the work of a woman. But as for sin and virtue, the reward for good works and punishment for evil deeds that have been specified for men have also been specified for women. In fact, being in charge of the training ground, that is to say, her husband’s home, her home, and as a guardian of his wealth and his progeny, Islam has bestowed a very high status to a woman.

Through the glad tidings that paradise lies under the feet of mothers, we are told that by providing good education to your children, and that includes boys and girls, you can make them inheritors of heaven and make them invaluable persons for your family, the Jama’at and also your nation. You too will receive the glad tidings of a heavenly abode and make your children worthy of it. On the other hand, by providing poor training to your children, you will not only earn a bad name in this world but will become the recipient of Allah’s wrath in the Hereafter.

Hence, Hadhrat Musleh Mao’ud(ra) was informed by Allah Almighty that the transformation of 50 percent of women would lead to the triumph of Islam. You should always observe this important fact. Being an Ahmadi Muslim, the foremost purpose of every Ahmadi woman should be to be ready for all kinds of sacrifices and strive for the victory of Islam.

Lajna and Nasirat take the pledge in every Ijtema and at every meeting. Most of you who live in this country, by the grace of Allah, are well-educated. You are mature in your thinking. I hope that when you repeat your pledge, you reflect over the words it contains. Lajna affirm that they shall always be ready to sacrifice their lives, property, time and children for the cause of the faith and the community, shall always adhere to truth and shall always be prepared to make every sacrifice for the perpetuation of the Ahmadiyya Khilafat.

Similarly Nasirat repeat the pledge that they shall always keep themselves ready to serve Islam, their nation and their country and shall always adhere to truth. Nasirat should not think that they are little girls and their responsibilities are less than those of Lajna. Although you are young in age, the same responsibilities of Lajna are going to be vested in you.

Therefore, prepare for this objective, so that when these responsibilities fall on you tomorrow, you are equipped to discharge them better than your predecessors. Time passes quickly. So understand your responsibilities in this age.

Lajna should reflect on the last sentence of their pledge. This is a very great responsibility, placed on Ahmadi women that they will always be ready to sacrifice everything for the sake of Khilafat.

The Holy Qur’an tells us what Khilafat is, and how it will be established. In the system of Khilafat that followed the Holy Prophet(saw) the choice was apparently made by the people but was in fact made by God. Before the Holy Prophet(saw) there were Khilafats following the prophets but such Khalifas came in the person of prophets directly appointed by God Almighty. After the Holy Prophet Muhammad(saw) there was Khilafat-e-Rashida (the rightly Guided Khilafat) which was followed by a series of mujaddins or reformers and that was somewhat like a khilafat. Then God Almighty commissioned the Promised Messiah(as) who appeared in accordance with the prophecy of Hadhrat Muhammad(saw) as his faithful servant to re-establish his sharia (law). After the demise of the Promised Messiah(as), in accordance with the promise of Allah, the system of everlasting khilafat started.

After these introductory comments, I would like to say that the system of Khilafat will now remain forever and this is not conditional on our sacrifices.

The pledge that you make is not undertaken with a view that were you not to offer the sacrifices, khilafat would be in danger. By the grace of Allah, the Almighty Ahmadiyya Khilafat is not in danger. The meaning of sacrifice for perpetuating khilafat is that each Ahmadi woman and man, boy or girl, pledges that he or she would offer every kind of sacrifice. They would render themselves worthy to witness that this promise is fulfilled and continues to be fulfilled in themselves and also amongst their future generations.

Allah the Almighty has promised those people who are strong in their belief and do righteous deeds that if they develop these two characteristics, they would be blessed with bounties as were the people before them. So, therefore, when an Ahmadi women or girl pledges that she will offer every sacrifice for perpetuating Khilafat-e-Ahmadiyya, she pledges that she will continue to attain greater progress, and that she will endeavour her best to perform all those deeds which God Almighty commanded her to do and scale to higher values in them.

When an Ahmadi woman makes this pledge, she also pledges that by reforming her personal actions, and continuing to improve herself, she will fulfil this responsibility in a better manner because she is also responsible for her children’s training. Where she will pay attention to their secular needs and education, she will also pay attention to their religious and spiritual education, so that they too become worthy and deserving of this reward and are blessed as promised by Almighty Allah in respect of those who adhere to Khilafat.

So, an Ahmadi lady must understand her responsibility in this context, because the virtuous deeds of an Ahmadi woman are not confined to herself but transfer from one generation to another. In this way, a believing woman becomes a guarantor for strengthening the faith in her generation and for the propagation of Islam. Thus, every woman has to strive for it. Allah the Almighty has described a sign of true believers in the Holy Qur’an as follows:

And those who, when they are reminded of the signs of their Lord fall not deaf and blind there at. (Ch.25:V.74)

In this verse, no distinction has been made between believing men and believing women.

Who other than the Jama’at Ahmadiyya can claim in this age that having believed in the Promised Messiah(as), we have those pious changes that have been ordained by Allah Almighty and His Prophet Muhammad(saw)?

How can it be, that on the one hand we should be reminded of the commandments of God and His Messenger and we should pretend that we have not heard them or having seen the signs we should act as if we have not seen them?

Every Ahmadi, rather every pious natured person who reflects, will see that the sun rises daily with a new sign in support of the Ahmadiyya Jama’at. We observe the promises made by the Promised Messiah(as) being fulfilled with a fresh glory.

There are many amongst you who write to me saying how they saw their problems being resolved or how they saw incidents of the acceptance of prayers. All these things draw their attention to the fact that having witnessed Allah’s treatment of them, they increase further in their faith. Therefore, advise your children; do not view the commandments of your Lord in a cursory manner. The showing off, splendour and indulgences of this world should not cause you to become deaf and dumb thereat. Allah does not care for those who are led astray and who are lost in the world and continue to be lost.

Women who do not give much importance to religion do not realise in the beginning how far back they are being immersed into this worldly luxuries. If all of a sudden they do realise it, or perchance any mishap opens their eyes, then there is nothing left for them other than anxiety and sorrow.

God forbid, God forbid that any Ahmadi ever falls into such darkness! There is nothing that can be said about the attack of Satan. The freedom of the West has destroyed many homes. This is why we are advised that all that glitters is not gold. We should always remember that the bounties of the world are no doubt made for our benefit, but we should learn how to use them properly.

Allah the Almighty has not forbidden us to earn a living, but there is a need to give precedence to faith over the world.

A woman should always remember that her primary duty is the upbringing of her children. If this responsibility is not being discharged, and money is being earned only to fulfil personal desires, this is disliked by God. Children are the biggest investment of the parents.

In this society, Satan lurks in every corner – it is a devil who proclaimed before God that he would cause Allah’s creation to go astray, that he would not only lead them astray but that God would witness that a majority of the people would follow Satan.

You can witness this scenario in all parts of the world where firstly people deny the existence of Allah, secondly, although they profess that they believe in God yet in practice they have all but forgotten God. Books are being written to deny the existence of God and these books are selling like hot cakes. So this is the time when every step should be taken with great care.

It is a time to remember our pledges. We should discharge our trusts. The biggest trust for a woman is her progeny, and to safeguard herself from committing a breach of this trust, requires great sacrifice.

Indeed, in this regard, man is just as responsible as a woman. If men are not discharging their responsibility, would it be right to violate this trust? No wise woman would say ‘yes’ to this.

In this connection, one thing should be clear that providing secular education is not the only responsibility of an Ahmadi women; indeed the religious education of children also holds the same importance. It is a great responsibility to bring a child nearer to its Creator. Some mothers state with great pride that they work, and so their husbands, and their children are studying in good colleges and schools that is all fro them. But I regret to say that their link with the Jama’at is weak. Their children’s attendance in the mosque is poor because the parents return very tired and are unable to go to the mosque.

If indeed the mosque is far away, the parents should at least exchange religious knowledge with their children at home, and make arrangements for prayers and recitation of the Holy Qur’an and explaining its meanings at home. In those homes where this practice is observed, the parents are, by and large, bringing up a well trained generation that has a strong connection with the Jama’at, by the grace of Allah, save perhaps a few exceptions. A majority is getting support from MTA. However, there is still a group, though a minority, that is negligent or not fully aware of its importance. Though they are few in number, it should nevertheless be alarming for us.  If I receive a single letter about this I begin to worry.

As it is stated in the Holy Qur’an:

Kill not your children for fear of poverty, it is We who provide for them and for you. Surely, killing of them is a great sin. (Ch.17:V.32)

It also means, that sometime parents are so engrossed in earning money that they forget that their children are being affected due to this. If necessity dictates that in a poor country parents have to work, then this of course is permitted. But I have seen some families in Western countries who forget their obligations and responsibilities and are only busy earning more and more. When parents return home late at night, it indeed affects their children.

Some men and women might be thinking now that I am counselling you whilst I am not aware of the harsh reality that America has also been stricken by economic decline for some time. Everyday food has become more expensive; then there are taxes, rent and expenses for other necessities of life. So, it is important for both husband and wife to work. Then it is alright, if this really is the situation for a family then they can work.

Nevertheless, we must consider this instruction of the Holy Qur’an, which says that to deprive your children of their right, by not paying proper attention to their religious and secular education should be a matter of serious concern for their parents. For an Ahmadi, one’s financial adversity should not be a matter of such anxiety for one as the lack of the proper education and training of one’s children.

As I have said, the greatest investment is your children, and to protect, and employ this investment in the best way, the most important thing is to create their bond with the Jama’at and to bind their relation with Allah Almighty. Many families visit me, my heart is filled with the praise of Allah the Almighty. Well-educated women with professional skills sometimes do not work just because their children need their attention. These women are neither selfish nor follow their own desires but their sole purpose is to protect their next generation. They pay full attention to their secular education and their religious education as well. They teach them the do’s and don’ts in Western society.

When these children enter their adulthood, they become a source of earning a good name for their families and become useful persons for the Jama’at as well. Seeing these children, the heart is filled with gratitude for Allah the Almighty; for despite living in this environment and in this age, such wonderful young boys and girls have been granted to the Promised Messiah(as) by Allah the Almighty.

Then there is a weakness that is generally found which is that such matters are discussed at home that are against the dignity of and respect for the Jama’at.

Some well-educated families think that they are highly educated and enlightened and that their Western culture has enlightened their thoughts, and has granted them a license to be critical. Therefore, it is their right that if they see something bad in the Jama’at or in any office bearer, they should express it. Fine, it is a very good thing that members of the Jama’at have a passion and wish to remove the weaknesses in the Jama’at and in its office bearers.

The Jama’at of the Promised Messiah(as) should be seen to be functioning according to his desires. However, we have also been taught some ways of reformation by Allah the Almighty. If you wish to reform an office bearer, then tell him that this or that is wrong or tell his superior officer or inform the Khalifa of the time. If you have done this thing, then you have no right thereafter to discuss it in front of your children or to spread it from one place to other. The commandment of God and His messenger is that you must obey your office bearer unless his order is contrary to the commandments of God.

Some people profess that they are very obedient and have always submitted, but they forget that despite such claims of obedience, they speak against an office bearer in front of the children. When they do this, they are not only moving the children away from that office bearer but are distancing themselves from the administration of the Jama’at. In this way, they are ruining the religion of the children.

Although in this evil, the men play a significant role, but as a guardian and caretaker of the home, a woman should stand firm on such occasions and urge that matters that influence the children at home should not be discussed at home in the children’s presence. If examples of courage and honour for the Jama’at are displayed strictly by women, then the men will be inclined automatically towards reformation or at least they will refrain from talking like this in front of their children.

It is an immense grace of God that Ahmadi women are not lagging behind men as far as taking full part in the work of the Jama’at is concerned. In fact, I feel that in America, women are ahead in some ways. Whatever task they start, they do it with zeal and zest. Lajna Imaillah of America ranks amongst some of the better Lajna Imaillah of the world. Therefore, those who are sitting before me should not think that their position is worrying. Nor should the Lajna of the world or any other Ahmadi for that matter think that American women are in a bad state.

The matter I am discussing here is with reference to a few exceptions. I am speaking about the time when there is the danger of an attack by Satan, or the environment is such that there is no way out, or sometimes the self also puts man in doubt. Perhaps there is an element of those who rarely participate in the programmes of the Jama’at. At any rate, those who understand and comprehend the advent of the Promised Messiah(as), should increase in their faith and continue to asses themselves, for that is also the command of Allah the Almighty:

And keep on exhorting; for verily exhortation benefits those who would believe. (Ch.51:V.56)

Thus these matters draw the attention of those who are weak and also remind the majority who by the grace of Allah are generally in a good condition towards the need to scale to greater heights, because, as I have stated, this matter relating to an Ahmadi woman is not confined to herself, the spiritual life of the future generation relies on it as well. The state of affairs in the home will determine the character of the future generation. It has normally been observed that if the environment is wholesome, then those who are growing up will tread on the ways of good works. If the environment is materialistic, then the inclination will be towards materialistic deeds. Sometimes, evil habits develop amongst the children of good people and they become far removed from the Jama’at; however, this is not common. Therefore, it should be remembered that if there is an exceptional case like this, instead of pointing fingers towards them, one should pray that Allah Almighty showers His mercy on them. This is the purpose of the life of an Ahmadi.  One should prepare one’s life and hereafter and remain concerned about others as well. If this thinking develops in you, where you will be constantly analysing yourself, you will also be helpful to others with your prayers.

This is the unity and oneness of the Jama’at for which the Promised Messiah(as) came. The institution of Khilafat continues to maintain it.

This is the blessing that distinguishes you from others. So always remember this time, and by trying to maintain this oneness, you have to create a paradise in this world for yourself and for your future generations. By bringing back those removed from you or withdrawn from you into the Nizame-e-Jama’at (the administrative system of the Jama’at), we have to create the means of paradise for them. Guide the world to the right paths that lead them to paradise.

In this entire task, ladies can play an active role. If you understand this aspect, then the two paradises described in the Holy Qur’an, that is to say the paradise in this world and the paradise in the hereafter, will be acquired by you for yourselves, the future generations and also the world.

Regarding the tarbiyyat or training of children and in particular that of the girls, it should be remembered ­– and its importance was felt by me as a result of a question of an office bearer, when I emphasised observing the Pardah by the ladies and the girls, grown up girls, this office bearer said and of course he was a man not any Lajna office bearer said that they were trying in their homes and perhaps that the Lajna was also making an effort, but there was a difficulty being encountered regarding dress and the veil ­– I remember responding that unless you instil modesty and chastity from childhood, then your effort once the child grows up, will be fruitful; if you do not do it from the very childhood it would be fruitless. The Holy Prophet(saw) said that modesty and chastity are a part of the faith.

A feeling should be created in girls that they are Ahmadi Muslims. It should be explained why they are Ahmadis, and what was the purpose of the advent of the Promised Messiah(as). An Ahmadi has taken a pledge to fulfil that purpose. There should be a difference between you and other human beings and between you and ordinary Muslims. Despite the clear instructions of the Holy Prophet(saw).

Other Muslims have not believed the Promised Messiah(as) while you believe in the Promised Messiah(as) and abide by the teachings of the Holy Qur’an and follow in the footsteps of Prophet Muhammad(saw). So understand this difference. Understand your significance. Protect your chastity and modesty.

So, if these matters are inculcated in the minds of  the girls, then they will have such a feeling. If up to the age of 10 or 12 years, you go around the markets and parades with your girls dressed in jeans and blouses, then the concept of chastity and sanctity will fly out of the window. Then, if you force them when they reach the age of 13 or 14 years, then their reaction will be like the reaction of those around them. If there is an absence of the concept of chastity amongst the girls, it is the fault of the parents. Therefore, remember this essential point, which is to instil chastity and modesty right from the outset. After 5 or 6 year of age, make them wear a long shirt or long skirt over their jeans.

Remind them about the importance of chastity. Then, when they mature, they will pay attention to the veil and hijab. They will avoid friendships with boys in their schools and colleges. Otherwise, you will rue and regret but it will be a bit pointless at that time.

Training and reformation is the great responsibility of a mother, especially an Ahmadi mother. This is why a woman has been granted the right of leading towards paradise. Sometime men affectionately take the side of their daughters unnecessarily.

Such men should remember that this pampering is not affection; it is like throwing your children into a pit of destruction. On such occasions, mothers should stand up and say that they cannot allow their generation to be destroyed by such coddling.

There are some young married girls who having got married in Pakistan and, having got accustomed to wearing the veil in Pakistan, not only discard the veil upon their arrival here, but also wear jeans, blouses and skimpy scarves on their heads. Men play a key role in promoting this attitude. To these ladies, I say that in other worldly matters you manage to have your ways with men, but why do you not have any sense of honour when it comes to matters of faith?

Thus, always remember that in the pledge of offering every form of sacrifice, the foremost is to offer the sacrifice of Jihad (struggle) of the self.  If in petty matters you will indulge in worldly concerns, then the capacity to offer sacrifices will also diminish. Thus, for the sake of yourselves and your children, give due importance to every command of Allah the Almighty. Do not treat these commandments like the deaf and blind.

At the moment, women of Pakistani origin are in the majority. You are looked upon as role models. Therefore, it is important to continue to closely assess your own conditions.

Not only integrate the local Ahmadi women with yourselves but, by bringing about wholesome changes in yourselves, become examples for them. Otherwise, as I always say, I should make it abundantly clear to you, that Allah the Almighty is not the kinsman or relative of anyone amongst you. If these newcomers will attain those high standards of righteousness, then they will achieve that high status of establishing and fulfilling the purpose of the advent of the Promised Messiah(as) .

The indigenous women should not think that I want to keep my fellow nationals in a higher position than them. No, if this thought exists in any mind, it should be removed. My beloved are those who are the beloved of the Promised Messiah(as), the Holy Prophet(saw) and Allah Almighty, those who understand their status whether they are Pakistani or African or European. When I draw the attention of Pakistani ladies, it is because their forefathers accepted the Promised Messiah(as), and sacrificed everything for his sake.

They should not become such that they cannot stand next to the newcomers. I am aware that newcomers have reached such standards that have left some of the earlier ones far behind. It is also an obligation for true believers fixed by Allah the Almighty that they should take others with them.

Therefore try and help one another and join each other, because the progress of the Jama’at depends on this help and cooperation.

A certain number here belongs to Waqifin-e-Nau girls. They should remember that they have a role to play. There should be a difference between them and an ordinary child. They are among those who, realising the sacrifices of their parents and their pledge at the age of maturity, have devoted themselves to earning the pleasure of the Khalifa of the time and that of Allah the Almighty. Some amongst you will be pressed directly into the service of the Jama’at, although there is a percentage that will not be directly required to serve the Jama’at in any department. However, in view of your pledge, you should be mindful that you have to have a comprehensive understanding of the teachings of the Holy Qur’an.

Try to acquire a thorough understanding of Jama’at’s literature, as far as possible. Make yourself exemplary for others in your practical life, in your discourse and in your moral values and bring such a revolutionary change within you that it becomes the instrument for bringing about a change in future generations.  Always remember that your worldly desires should never stand before the commandments of God and His prophet(saw). You should be exemplary in your  connection with khilafat and in obedience, in your speech and in all matters.

With these few words I conclude with the prayer that may Allah enable you to protect your faith and perform good and virtuous deeds.

May both elderly women and young girls bring about such changes among themselves that they not only elevate the dignity of the Jama’at but also spread the message of Ahmadiyyat that was given to us by the Muhammadan Messiah to this nation, so that these people who are critical of Islam and of the Holy Prophet(saw), seeing the beauty of it, gather under the banner and standard of the Holy Prophet(saw). Allah enable you to do that. Now we shall offer silent prayer, please join in silent prayer.