Mujadid Alf Thani, Hadhrat Shah Wali Ullah of Delhi(ru), has expressed in his writings that a rightly guided Khalifa can be likened to the human heart. The spiritual light of Allah enters the heart of the Khalifa (who is the heart of the Ummah) which is then pumped around the body which is representative of the Muslim Community (Ummah). Each Khalifa has a unique and unparalleled role to play in the world. During their term as Khalifa, they are charged with unique missions which they fulfil on behalf of the Prophet they represent.
This article seeks to outline how, over the past five years, Hadhrat Mirza Masroor Ahmad has impacted mankind and in reflect on a few areas that illustrate Hudhur’s invaluable contribution to the world as a Khalifa thus far.
Matters of the soul and human spiritual advancement are things which cannot be underestimated in terms of human value but should be recognised and respected. Our life here is only a short period of time and it is only through a continuous enhancement in our awareness of our Lord, comprehension of His Tauhid (Unity), and an improvement in good works that we attain a noble status in the next life. In this journey of ours we are blessed to have the Khalifa to guide us in a way which facilitates and advances our journey. Whilst we are each accountable for our own personal actions and choices in life, it has always been the case that we, the Muslims, can be likened to a flock of sheep guided by Allah’s appointed shepherd in the person of a Prophet, Khalifa or Mujadid.
Continuing the Mission of the Promised Messiah(as)
Since Hudhur became Khalifatul Masih he has been spending a great deal of time focusing on the spiritual enhancement of mankind. The recent influx of people entering the Ahmadiyya Jama’at has meant that much of the past twenty years has been focused on facilitating the Jama’at’s tremendous growth through various initiatives which include the Waqf Nau scheme (a scheme which will enable the Ahmadiyya Jama’at to have at its disposal a large number of trained professionals all dedicating their lives to the service of mankind), the opening of additional missionary training colleges, and the advancement of the Jama’at’s global humanitarian effort. When Hadhrat Mirza Masroor Ahmad began in his role as Khalifa, some of these systems of expansion were already in place due to the forward thinking of the late and beloved Khalifatul Masih IV(ru).
Whilst Hadhrat Mirza Masroor Ahmad has continued to expand, develop and consolidate these projects he has also turned the majority of his attention to matters of spirituality. His Khilafat has, thus far, focused upon the moral training of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community. In effect, he has concentrated on ensuring that the mass influx of new Ahmadi Muslims are building their revived Islamic lives as Ahmadi Muslims on the solid spiritual foundations which the Promised Messiah(as) instructed. In essence, Hadhrat Khalifatul Masih V has been tireless in his efforts to relay the message of the Promised Messiah(as). Therefore, for us to better understand some of the spiritual goals of Hadhrat Khalifatul Masih V, it is important that we refer ourselves back to the Promised Messiah(as). In one place he has written:
‘O ye people who consider yourselves members of my Jama‘at! You will be accounted as such in heaven when you truly tread upon the path of righteousness. So offer the five daily prayers in such fear and with such complete attention as if you are actually beholding God Almighty. Observe your Fasts in full sincerity for the sake of God. Let everyone who is assessable to Zakat, pay the Zakat. Let him upon whom the Pilgrimage is obligatory and there is no obstruction in his way, perform the Pilgrimage. Do good in a handsome way and discard vice with disgust.
Bear well in mind that no action of yours which is empty of righteousness can reach God Almighty. Righteousness is the root of all goodness. No action that is rooted in righteousness will go in vain. What God desires from you by way of faith is that He is One and Muhammad(saw) is His Prophet and that he is Khatamul-Aƒbiya’ [Seal of the Prophets] and above all the other Prophet(as). There is no Prophet after him except one who, by way of reflection, is clad in the mantle of Muhammadiyyat, for a servant cannot be considered separate from his master, nor a branch from the trunk.’ (Kashti-e-Nuh, Ruhani Khaza’in, vol. 19, pp. 15-16)
Hudhur has continuously been admonishing mankind to rush towards adopting those righteous practices which would invoke Allah’s Rahmaniyyah (Mercy) and in turn open the ‘gates of spiritual firmament’ for the believers to enter. In this period of great temporal and worldly temptations (Fitn) Hudhur has been in effect offering the Ummah the necessary guidance it requires in order to remain on the path to God and thus save themselves from the punishment of damnation.
Throughout Hudhur’s Friday Sermons and spiritual lectures he has been fervent in his efforts to establish the teachings of the Promised Messiah(as) which are strictly derived from the Holy Qur’an and blessed Sunnah. One need not search for long to find a reference of this for there has not been a single sermon or lecture delivered by Hudhur in which he has not included some of the teachings of the Promised Messiah(as). In his special message to the world, published shortly after becoming Khalifatul Masih, Hudhur outlined his firm conviction as to the desperate need of the time writing:
‘How Dear is our Lord Who has sent the Promised Messiah (on whom be peace) in this era to reform the world and to establish the Shariah of the Holy Prophet(sa)’ (Alfazl International 23rd May 2003)
If Muslims obediently, adhere to the many instructions of the Khalifa of the Age they will certainly become spiritual human beings and men and women of God. The Holy Prophet(saw) is famously reported to have said:
‘You must follow my Sunnah and the Sunnah of my Orthodox and guided Khulufah.’
It would be no understatement to assert that the greatest impact Hudhur has had on the world has been to re-affirm the mission of the Promised Messiah(as) which is, in essence, to remove innovation (bida’ah) and guide the world back to the Shari’ah (Divine system of law) and Sunnah of the Holy Prophet(saw), the ultimate goal being to create a clear understanding and awareness of Allah and His Tawhid.
Since becoming Khalifatul Masih, Hudhur has delivered over 250 Friday Sermons in which he has, generally speaking, focused on five principle subject areas:
1. Moral teachings and attribute of the Creator;
2. Islamic Creed and spirituality;
4. Affirmation of Nizam-e-Jama’at (the agreed upon system/governance of the Jama’at); and
5. Seerah an-Nabawiyya wal Ashab (the history and lives of the Holy Prophet(saw) and his Companions).
The first Khutbah of Hadhrat Mirza Masroor Ahmad was a beautiful contrast to this in which man, upon reflection, comes to realise that whilst Allah is al-Khabir He is also al-Mujib and, by virtue of this Attribute, He not only hears prayers of sincere repentance but will respond to those prayers with His favours and spiritual gifts. In reference to this Hudhur cited in his sermon the verse,
And when My servants ask thee about Me, say ‘I am near. I answer (Ujeebu) the prayer of the supplicant when he prays to Me’ So they should hearken to Me and believe in Me, that they may follow the right way (Ch.2:V.187).
In effect Hudhur here reaffirmed that through al-Mujib, an attribute closely attached to Allah’s Rahmaniyyah, man can find salvation. In this first Khutbah, Hudhur continuously stressed the importance of prayer to man’s eventual salvation. Such was Hudhur’s great understanding of the value of prayer that despite the intense emotion and sorrow he must have been feeling when he was elected as Khalifa, the first words which rushed to his blessed tongue were Dua, Dua, Dua! One cannot help but observe a similarity between Hudhur’s initial words and admonishments and those of Hadhrat Abu Bakr(ra) who concluded his first Khutbah with the words, ‘Stand up now to pray, may Allah have mercy on you.’(al-Bidayah Wan-Nihayah. 6/305)
The five years which then followed have, in reality, amounted to one consistent extension of this original message of salvation through prayer (for example, Hudhur’s first year of Sermons were predominantly on the subjects of al-Sami’, Hamd, Remembrance of Allah etc…). Hudhur has expanded this subject week after week by advising mankind as to the greatest means for attaining personal salvation. Human excellence is not something attained overnight but demands a relentless and perpetual spiritual development of the inner self (nafs). In his wisdom Hadhrat Khalifatul Masih V has thus been increasing the spiritual level of the Ummah by a periodic raising of the spiritual bar as it were. He has equipped us with the knowledge necessary for combating the lower /com-manding self (Nafs-e-‘Ammarah).
Admonishments and Moral Training
As the Khalifa, Hudhur has spent the entirety of his Khilafat as the Imam of the Ummah. The pulpit, has served as a key platform from which Hudhur has taught and admonished the Muslim community. Another of the greatest impacts of Hudhur’s Khilafat has been the vast knowledge and wisdom he has imparted. One of the initial subjects addressed by Hudhur in his Sermons, lectures and publications was the re-affirmation of the conditions of Bai’at (pledge of allegiance). Throughout these lectures Hudhur succeeded in re-establishing the ten conditions of the Bai’at in the minds and hearts of the believers. It can be thus observed that before admonishing the community for various transgressions on their part, he first set out their duties as Muslims and the principle teachings of Islam. This marks an important part of the Khilafat of Hudhur as it is a clear indication of the just nature of Khilafat. Hudhur opened his first Khutbah on this subject (27th July, 2003), and also begins his book ‘Conditions of Bai’at & Responsibilities of an Ahmadi’, with the words:
‘Some members of the Jama‘at have written to me saying that: ‘We have renewed our bai‘at [pledge of initiation] at your hand and have pledged to abide by the conditions of bai‘at, but we do not have full awareness and knowledge of those ten conditions.’
I thought that I should address this subject on the occasion of the Annual Convention today. Since the subject is long I cannot cover all conditions now but I will only cover a few. I will insha’Allah continue this subject in a subsequent Friday Sermon or some other occasion.’ (Hadhrat Mirza Masroor Ahmad, Conditions of Bai’at and Responsibilities of an Ahmadi.)
Another focus of Hudhur is the blessed Attributes of Allah. He has delivered lectures and sermons on many of Allah’s Attributes in order to mould the community towards becoming a spiritual community. This is perhaps best explained by Hudhur himself who stated:
‘Allah the Exalted, as we know, manifests Himself upon us through His attributes. He also says to His servants that they should colour themselves in His colours and reflect His attributes. Only then will they be deserving of being called His real servants. There is no doubt, that the most perfect example of this commandment of Allah is not to be seen anywhere except in the person of the Holy Prophet(saw).’ (Hadhrat Mirza Masroor Ahmad. 23rd February, 2007)
He has been consistently stressing the importance of, and calling people to, Salat (prayer). In 2008 alone Hudhur has delivered five Friday sermons, on the subject of Salat (prayer) and its importance. Throughout these sermons Hudhur has explained the importance of Salat through various verses of the Holy Qur’an:
Hudhur has on several occasions admonished and sanctioned members of the community when a transgression or lack of faith has occurred. As a reaction to Hudhur’s admonitions, the community has continuously been subject to a process of purification and cleansing. Admonishing and advising some of the ladies of the community about a laxity in adherence to the Islamic principles of the Hijab (spiritual and physical covering) Hudhur said:
‘OK you can use your right to relax and I will use my right. It cannot be that you keep on using your rights and tell me that I should not use my rights. I have to, under all circumstances and by the Grace of Allah, enforce compliance with Allah’s commandments that He has taught us through the Holy Qur’an. Otherwise, as I have stated, the door is open. Whoever wants to leave is free to go. I do not understand the reason behind this complex’. (Hadhrat Mirza Masroor Ahmad. Lajna Annual Ijtema, UK on 19th November, 2006)
Hudhur concluded by saying:
‘Come and join us and by obeying the commands of Allah try to win His pleasure. This is what will make you content and safeguard your future generations. I am hopeful that every decent Ahmadi woman who has even the slightest doubt about any of Allah’s commands will rid herself of it and will become one who is truly “resigned, believing, obedient, always turning to God, devout in worship’” (Ch.66: V.6). May Allah make it so. Amin’
Love of the Holy Prophet(saw)
It is clear from the words and heartfelt sentiments of Hudhur during his defence of the honour of the Holy Prophet(saw) that his only motive for his great Jihad of the Pen is one of deep love for the Holy Prophet(saw). How could it ever have been any different that the Khalifatul Masih could have anything but complete and selfless love for the Holy Prophet(saw). Hudhur is constantly trying to emulate the spiritual master of this age, Hadhrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad(as), who, when discussing the slurs of the opponents of Islam upon the Master Prophet Hadhrat Muhammad(saw) wrote:
‘My heart cries out with tears that if these people had murdered my children before my eyes, and had cut to pieces my sincere friends, and had killed me with great humiliation, and had possessed themselves of all my property, I would not have been so pained and my heart would not have been so hurt as it has been pained and hurt by the insults offered to the Holy Prophet(saw).’ (Hadhrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad. A’ina-e-Kamalat-e-Islam, Ruhani Khaza’in, Vol. 5, pp. 51-52)
During the time of the Promised Messiah(as) there was an intense barrage of filthy attacks on the honour of the Holy Prophet(saw). These were so intense that in excess of 50,000 publications in opposition to Islam were spread across India alone. During the Khilafat of Hadhrat Khalifatul Masih II(ra) a vulgar book was published by the title of ‘Rangila Rasul’ and a filthy article was printed in the magazine Wartamam. During the Khilafat of Hadhrat Khalifatul Masih IV(ru) , the Jama’at duly defended the honour of the Holy Prophet(saw) against the derogatory book ‘The Satanic Verses’ by Salman Rushdie.
It therefore should come as no surprise that, in the current era of globalisation and the mass media, there have been numerous publications against the Holy Prophet(saw) during the Khilafat of Hadhrat Khalifatul Masih V. This occurred most prominently on 30th September 2005 when the Danish newspaper Jyllands-Posten published blasphemous cartoons against the Holy Prophet(saw). The response of Hudhur to this was so powerful and unrelenting that his Friday sermons alone were substantial enough to form a book (The Blessed Model of the Holy Prophet Muhammad and the Caricatures). It quickly became clear that Hudhur was greatly pained by the vulgar nature of the publications and that he felt compelled to address the situation and defend the pure and noble honour of the Holy Prophet(saw). Hudhur set out his, and the Ahmadiyya Community’s, clear intentions in a sermon delivered on 10th February, 2006 in which he opened with the words:
‘We should tell the world about the character of the Excellent Exemplar, the Holy Prophet(saw), particularly, with regard to his mercy and love for humanity. We should enlighten the public, in each country, about the noble character of the Holy Prophet(saw), and we should try to become righteous.
We strongly condemn publication of the extremely contemptible, provocative, and blasphemous caricatures of the Holy Prophet(saw). Ahmadiyya Muslim Jama‘at’s reaction to the incident while remaining within the Islamic teachings and its positive results.’ (Hadhrat Mirza Masroor Ahmad. The Blessed Model of the Holy Prophet Muhammad and the Caricatures, p.1)
Over the next five Sermons, Hudhur set out some of the exalted characteristics of the Holy Prophet(saw) and demolished the baseless inferences made by the caricatures. Hudhur also set out, by both his example and instructions, what the appropriate Islamic response to these types of attacks upon Islam must be.
The second most notable defence of Islamic integrity by Hudhur was on 15th September, 2006 when he delivered a Sermon in response to the unfounded remarks made by Pope Benedict XVI during a speech on 12th September, 2006 which he delivered at the University of Regensburg, Germany. Hudhur responded to the Pope’s remarks stating:
‘It was in the news yesterday that during a lecture at a university in Germany, the Pope spoke with reference to another writer about certain Islamic teachings, the Holy Qur’an and the Holy Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be on him) which do not have the remotest connection with Islam. This is their way to most cleverly speak with reference to another person, thus trying to save their own skin yet putting across what they wish to say. The Pope has tried to create a false impression about the Holy Qur’an, Islam and the Founder of Islam (peace and blessings of Allah be on him) by saying certain things…
I thought that the Pope was a sagacious scholarly person and would have some knowledge of Islam; however, he has shown his total lack of knowledge through this. In light of the teachings of the Messiah (on whom be peace) of whose successorship he claims, he should have tried to create peace in the world, indeed [the Messiah] gave the teaching of even treating one’s enemy with decency.’
One of the most recent defence of Islam was in his sermon dated 28th March, 2008. Hudhur brought to the attention of the world that the attacks upon Islam are increasing in their number and veracity. In order to overcome the opponents, it is necessary to call out to the only true Friend of a Muslim, who is Al-Rafiq. A specific attack upon Islam was the provocative film produced by the Dutch MP, Geert Wilders, called ‘Fitna’ (division or trial).
In response to each of these attacks Hudhur championed the cause of Islam and, rather than resort to the more emotional responses witnessed across the world, he suppressed each attack with knowledge and reasoned argument. During Hudhur’s five years as Khalifa he has vigorously taken the lead whenever Islam and human dignity were been attacked.
The Temporal World
As illustrated, the spiritual impact of hudhur upon the world has been consistent and profound. Such progress must be matched and facilitated by an expansion of the temporal machinery required to facilitate spiritual progress. The Holy Prophet(saw) is reported to have said:
‘…the whole earth has been made a mosque for us…’ (Sahih Muslim. Bk.4, No.1060)
By the Grace of Allah, Hudhur has been expanding the number of Mosques across the world with a significant increase in the number of mosques in Europe, Africa and Northern America. The worshiper capacities of the new mosques have also been increasing which is reflective of the rapid growth of the Jama’at. By way of example, the largest mosques in both Western Europe and Northern America are /were built by the Jama’at. In Nigeria alone, there are said to be no less than two hundred mosques.
The expansion of houses of worship has been taking place side by side with an expansion of humanitarian projects. The main efforts of the Jama’at, under Hudhur’s guidance, has been to build new schools and hospitals which indiscriminately treat people free of charge. A big drive has also been made by Hudhur to initiate various agricultural projects in Africa and the Far East. These have mainly centred on developing natural and manipulated ways of bringing clean water and power to areas of the world which have previously been without them. The advancements made in these areas have added benefit to many thousands of people and form an important part of Hudhur’s great drive to serve mankind (Khidmat-e-Khalq).
Under the auspices of Hudhur, the great and peaceful Jihad of the Pen has been tirelessly maintained. In addition to the countless books which have been published a team was also established by the name of Sultan al-Qalam which comprises of a group of writers and researchers who respond to the great injustices committed across the world against Islam and humanity. The initiative has become so successful that various smaller teams of writers have been established across the world and the just voice of the Jama’at is now more coherently heard on local, regional and national levels.
Hudhur himself has published several books which address wide ranging issues with the main subject of his books pertaining to matters of spirituality and the spiritual path one must tread in order to become a believer. Hudhur’s publications have thus far been:
• Conditions of Bai’at and Responsibilities of an Ahmadi.
• Islam – A Peaceful Religion.
• The Blessed Model of The Holy Prophet Muhammad(saw) and the Caricatures.
• A Response to the Pope’s Remarks about Islam.
• Masha’le Rah (5 volumes)
• Khutubat-e-Masroor [Sermons of Hadhrat Mirza Masroor Ahmad) (Urdu)
• Exemplary Compassion of The Holy Prophet(saw)
The role of MTA (Muslim Television Ahmadiyya) should also be included amongst the initiatives of Hudhur which have most impacted the world. Hudhur has developed MTA, which was established under the auspices of our beloved Khalifatul Masih IV(ru), and enhanced both its target audience and quality of broadcasting. There has been vast development in both these areas across the world but with specific impact in the Middle East and North Africa with the launch of MTA 3 Al-Arabiyya, devoted to presenting true Islam to the Arab world.
With increased numbers of Ahmadi Muslims across the globe there is a great need for Murabiyan (plural of Murabi meaning ‘one who trains and nurtures others in matters of spirituality). In response to this need Hudhur has increased the number of Missionary Training Colleges across the world. Additionally, Hudhur has regionalised these colleges by creating new colleges in both Europe and Northern America. The obvious benefit of this is that having been trained in specific regions, the trainees will be able to better integrate and meet the needs of the local communities.
Hudhur has also been able to carry out two world tours and dozens of additional visits to central Europe, Northern America and Africa. During his tours Hudhur has been able to impress the Islamic principles upon world leaders of various capacities. It is also appropriate to mention that each of Hudhur’s visits have been soaked with immense love and affection. In each place visited the local Ahmadi Muslims have been greatly affected and inspired by the love and affection shown to them by Hudhur which they have duly reciprocated. This is a unique feature of each of the previous Khulafas and is more visible in the modern era due to the global village in which we live.
All of these beneficial and noble initiatives require a great deal of financial input. The vast costs have, by the grace of Allah, been met by the contributions of Ahmadi Muslims across the globe.
Hudhur has been able to meet many of the growing costs of the Jama’at by prompting the blessed scheme of Wasiyyat established by the Promised Messiah(as). This scheme asks the individual to willingly make a covenant that they will become more devout in their belief both spiritually and financially. The financial aspect of the scheme calls upon the individual to pledge one tenth, one fifth or one third of their monthly income to the Jama’at. In light of the growing needs of the Jama’at it is very likely that the increased number of Musiyan (plural of Musi) will greatly facilitate the progress of the Jama’at over the coming years.
As we enter the centenary year we have much to reflect upon from the past one hundred years. More specifically, over the past five years of the Jama’at, marking the first part of the Khilafat of Hadhrat Mirza Masroor Ahmad, there has been great progress of the Jama’at. Perhaps the past five years should be looked upon as an indicator of the future responsibilities to come. It is evident that the future years look likely to see further increases of people entering the fold of Islam through Ahmadiyya, an expansion of our humanitarian efforts, an increase in demand for scholarly publications and an even greater drive to build mosques. All of this will require of the community greater steadfastness, more people dedicating their lives and time to the service of the Jama’at and an increase in financial sacrifices.
Over the past five years the global Ahmadi community, under the guidance of Hadhrat Mirza Masroor Ahmad, has been focused on adding strength to its spiritual and physical foundations. The impact of Hudhur’s training and drive for financial and physical sacrifice would be most powerfully felt over the years to come. The crucial preparation being made now would undoubtedly go a long way to safeguard the future, God Willing.
Ultimately, Hudhur’s most powerful impact, or piece of advice, with which he has affected the world over the past five years, and will continue to impact the world over the years to come, was his initial, and continued, call for Dua, Dua, Dua. (Prayer, Prayer, Prayer).
May Allah strengthen his hands. Amin.