The Review of Religions translation team is honoured to translate and present Friday Sermons from the archives, delivered by His Holiness, Hazrat Mirza Masroor Ahmad (aba). Below is the official translation of the Friday Sermon delivered on 27th January 2017.
After reciting Tashahhud, Ta‘awwuzand Surah al-Fatihah, the Fifth Caliph and Worldwide Head of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community, His Holiness, Hazrat Mirza Masroor Ahmad (aba) stated:
In the previous sermon, I highlighted the importance of Salat and its regular observance. I received numerous personal letters from members who expressed their regret and shortcomings. Moreover, I received letters from the many administrative bodies of the Jama’at [Community] and also the auxiliary organisations in which they acknowledged that there is indeed weakness in this regard. They have said that they will devise a strong plan to address this issue and in the future will, insha’Allah [God-willing] try their utmost to remove this weakness. May Allah Almighty enable them to do so and may our mosques present an image of being filled with worshippers in the true sense.
However, the administration should always bear in mind that in order to achieve the best results, one must demonstrate steadfastness. Initially, many of us begin a task with great enthusiasm, but after some time has elapsed, one begins to slacken – which is a part of human nature. If indolence is shown at an individual level, it is no doubt a matter of great concern, however, its consequences are not as dangerous as the grave consequences which result from the administration becoming negligent. If the system that was created to encourage the people becomes lax or demonstrates lack of interest with respect to its responsibilities, then the reformation of the people becomes extremely difficult and the natural indolence which comes about becomes difficult to reform. Thus, auxiliary organisations, as well as the administration of the Jama’at, should devise schemes and programmes to such effect that with the passing of each day, one continues to make progress in those objectives which Allah Almighty has deemed to be the very purpose of our lives, as opposed to showing negligence and weakness. It is the progress of our worship which will grant us true success. This indeed is a highly significant matter and the entire administrative structure needs to work diligently in this regard. Lajna Imaillah [the women’s auxiliary organisation] should also fulfil their responsibility in this regard. To ensure that children are offering Salat at home and to inculcate this habit in them, as well as regularly reminding the men and the youths [of the household] to go to the mosque is the responsibility of the women. If women fulfil their role in this regard, it can bring about an extraordinary reformation.
Similarly, I would like to address those people who say not to remind them or enquire about the state of their Salat because this is a matter between them and God. Many women have complained that if they remind their husbands [about Salat] they begin to quarrel with them. To those people, I would like to say that although this is a matter between them and God, it is still the responsibility of the administration to remind them and draw their attention towards this. Similarly, this is also the responsibility of the wives, in fact it is incumbent upon them to do so. If Salat was not compulsory and was left to one’s own volition in that they would only offer Salat if they so desired, or [if it was enough for them to say] that since they are in deep sleep owing to the fatigue from their day’s work, therefore they should not be awakened for the Fajr prayer [the prayer offered right before, then the Holy Prophet (sa) would never have instructed married couples that whoever wakes up first, should awaken the other for Salat. And if they fail to wake up or show laziness, then one should sprinkle some water on them. In fact, on certain occasions, the Holy Prophet (sa) had issued very strict warnings and in the previous sermon, I presented various Ahadith [sayings of the Holy Prophet (sa)].
Thus, the concept that one is free to do as they please in matters of Salat by saying it is between them and their God, is incorrect. If the system, which one claims to be a part of makes an enquiry about the state of Salat of the members of its Community, then instead of being irritated and enraged, one should cooperate with them. However, if an individual who observes Salat discloses it before others and out of pride announces that he regularly prays in congregation, then this is wrong and incorrect. Nevertheless, the importance of Salat should be clear for anyone, and in order to do this one should make a concerted effort to act upon the instructions of Allah Almighty and His Prophet (sa).
After drawing attention to this matter, I will now present certain aspects of Salat [prayer] in light of the sayings of the Promised Messiah (as) which are of a jurisprudential nature, or matters to which the Promised Messiah (as) has specifically drawn the attention of Ahmadis to act upon.
People often enquire about these matters and therefore it is important to address them. By the grace of Allah Almighty, people from different Muslim sects enter the fold of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community. Certain practices they would adhere to previously are not practised by the Ahmadiyya Community because the Promised Messiah (as) has explained these matters for us. Since we have accepted the Promised Messiah (as) as the Hakm [Judge] and Adl [Just Arbitrator], we will act upon his teachings, which are based on the practices of the Holy Prophet (sa) and his Companions (ra).
One such matter is of Rafa’ Yadain, which is to raise both hands up to the ears every time the Takbeer [Allahu Akbar (God is the Greatest)] is recited, or before every action in Salat. It is these minor issues which have not only caused great divisions and subdivisions amongst the Muslims, rather it has been the cause of conflict, with each sect labelling the other as heretic.
If an individual offers a funeral prayer led by an Imam of a different sect, then the Maulvi [religious clerics] declare that person’s marriage to be annulled and terminated. These issues are not a thing of the past, but in fact, are being witnessed even today. Recently there was a news report from India which stated that some people belonging to a certain sect, offered the funeral prayer behind the Imam of another sect. Consequently, an edict was issued that the marriages [of all those present] were annulled. Subsequently, all the residents of the village or township went to their religious cleric and formed a long queue outside and all the marriage ceremonies took place again. These people have made religion into a thing of ridicule or a cause of spreading chaos and disorder.
The Promised Messiah (as), who was sent to resolve all disputes said that he was the Hakm [Judge] and Adl [Just Arbitrator] and thus should be accepted, and also presented their solutions. He also deemed it permissible to adopt either option in the case where certain minor differences existed. For example, regarding Rafa’ Yadain the Promised Messiah (as) states:
‘Whether one chooses to do this or not, there is no harm either way for we find mention of both practices in the Ahadith. The same conclusion is reached based on the practices of the Wahhabis and Sunnis, as one sect adheres to Rafa’ Yadain whereas the other does not. It seems as if at one point the Holy Prophet (sa) adopted Rafa’ Yadain, but later abandoned it.’ 
This was not a consistent practice of the Holy Prophet (sa), however, if he practised it for a certain period of time and some people adopted this practice, then it is perfectly acceptable and there is no need to quarrel over this matter.
However, the Promised Messiah (as) adopt that which the Holy Prophet (sa) practised the most often. It is also related in this regard by Hazrat Sahibzada Mirza Bashir Ahmad Sahib (ra) who writes:
‘Hafiz Noor Muhammad Sahib, a resident of Faizullah Chak once wrote to me stating, “on one occasion I enquired from the Promised Messiah (as) about repeating Surah al-Fatihah after the Imam, Rafa’ Yadain and saying Ameen? The Promised Messiah (as) stated that these practices are proven from the Ahadith and should be adopted”.’ Hazrat Sahibzada Mirza Bashir Ahmad Sahib (ra) says in this regard, ‘This humble one would like to mention that repeating Surah al-Fatihah after the Imam was a continuous practice of the Promised Messiah (as), i.e. repeating Surah al-Fatihah after the Imam during the congregational prayer. However, with respect to Rafa’ Yadain and Ameen Bil Jahr [recitingAmeen aloud], I do not believe that the Promised Messiah (as) ever explicitly instructed to do this. If the Promised Messiah (as) had deemed these practices as obligatory then he would have established this through his own continuous practice. However, there is no evidence of the Promised Messiah (as) ever adopting this as a continuous practice. In fact, the general practice of the Promised Messiah (as) was in contrast to this.’
Hazrat Sahibzada Mirza Bashir Ahmad Sahib (ra) further writes:
‘It is my understanding that since there were many parts to the question that Hafiz Sahib asked, the Promised Messiah (as) only addressed the first part in his answer, i.e. in the answer, the Promised Messiah (as) only addressed the issue of reciting Surah al-Fatihah behind the Imam – but Allah knows best.’ 
Then there is another narration which attests to the fact that reciting Surah al-Fatihah behind the Imam is permissible, as opposed to the other aspects [of Rafa’ Yadainand Ameen Bil Jahr].
Sahibzada Mirza Bashir Ahmad Sahib (ra) writes:
‘Mian Abdullah Sanori Sahib (ra) said to me, ‘Initially, I was strictly a Ghair Muqallid [nondenominational Muslim] and would strictly adhere to Rafa’ Yadain and Ameen Bil Jahr, which is to recite the Ameen loudly. Even after meeting the Promised Messiah (as) I continued this practice for some time. After some time, I had the opportunity to offer Salat behind the Promised Messiah (as). When the Salat had finished, whilst turning to me, the Promised Messiah (as) smiled and said, ‘Mian Abdullah, you have adopted this particular Sunnah [practice] long enough’.’ The Promised Messiah (as) was referring to Rafa’ Yadain, i.e. raising up both hands after every Takbeer. Mian Abdullah Sahib further states, ‘From that day I abandoned the practice of Rafa’ Yadain, in fact, I even stopped Ameen Bil Jahr.’ Mian Abdullah Sahib states, ‘I never once saw the Promised Messiah (as) adopt Rafa’ Yadain, nor heard him say Ameen Bil Jahr, nor did I hear him recite Bismillah [In the name of Allah, the Gracious, the Merciful] out loud’.’
Mirza Bashir Ahmad Sahib (ra) further states:
‘This humble one would like to affirm that the practice of the Promised Messiah (as) was just as Mian Abdullah Sahib (ra) has described it. However, from the time of the Promised Messiah (as) and also after him (and even until today), it has always been the practice of Ahmadis that we do not criticise those who adopt these practices. Some recite Ameenout loud, others do not, some adopt Rafa’ Yadain, but the majority do not, (and in fact, now it is not practised at all), except by those who have recently joined and are accustom to it, but even they slowly abandon this practice.’
He further continues by saying:
‘Some people recite Bismillah out loud, but the majority do not. The Promised Messiah (as) would state that in fact all of these practices can be found through the example of the Holy Prophet (sa), however the Promised Messiah (as) adopted those practices which the Holy Prophet (sa) carried out most often.‘ 
Another question which arises is that when one stands in Salat with their hands folded, where should they place their hands?
Sahibzada Mirza Bashir Ahmad Sahib (ra) writes:
‘On one occasion Maulvi Syyed Muhammad Sarwar Shah Sahib (ra) told me that Hazrat Khalifatul Masih I (ra) once received a letter asking whether there was any authentic narration which mentioned folding one’s hands above the navel. (Some people fold their hands below the navel, some at the midriff and some fold them fairly high up. Thus, Hazrat Khalifatul Masih I (ra) received a letter stating then when an individual has made his intention for prayer, how should they fold their hands?) Hazrat Khalifatul Masih I (ra) presented the letter before the Promised Messiah (as) and stated that the Ahadith found in this regard are not free from scrutiny (there have been many debates regarding them; some people deem them to be authentic, while others have questioned their authenticity).
The Promised Messiah (as) stated, “Maulvi Sahib! If you pursue this matter you will certainly find something because, despite the fact that in my early years everyone around me followed the Hanafi school of thought, I was never keen on placing my hands below the navel; on the contrary, my personal disposition was always inclined to place my hands above the navel region. I have experienced on numerous occasions that whenever I had a natural inclination regarding a particular practice, upon researching it, I was always able to find it consistent with the Ahadith, even if I had no prior knowledge of it [i.e. the Ahadith].”’
Thus, the Promised Messiah (as) said to Hazrat Khalifatul Maish I (ra), ‘search for it and you will certainly be able to find it.’ This is because the Promised Messiah (as) had generally observed that if he had a natural tendency towards a particular practice, then he was also able to find a Hadith [sayings of the Holy Prophet (sa)] in support of that.
Maulvi Sarwar Shah Sahib relates that upon this instruction, Hazrat Maulvi Sahib (ra) [Hazrat Khalifatul Masih I] left and in no more than thirty minutes, he came back cheerfully with a book in his hand. He informed the Promised Messiah (as) that he had found the Hadith and in fact, the Hadith he had found was one that was on the authority of Hazrat Abu Bakr (ra) and Hazrat Umar (ra) and also authenticated by Bukhari and Sahih Muslim, therefore it cannot be contested or challenged.
He further stated that this was due to the blessings of the Promised Messiah (as)’s instruction i.e. that he was able to find a Hadith which stated that folding the hands above the navel was the more predominant practice of the Holy Prophet (sa).’ 
Hazrat Haji Ghulam Ahmad Sahib relates, ‘Someone once asked that where should one fold the hands during Salat.’
Certain people confine themselves only to the minutia of a matter. In one instance, the Promised Messiah (as) gave instructions to search the Hadith and said that it will surely be found because his natural tendency was to fold the arms above the navel. However, on this occasion, another person asked the same question but in this instance, it was necessary to clarify what the priority ought to be. Therefore, the Promised Messiah (as) said:
‘The physical postures of Salat are important, however one’s main focus in Salat should be towards Allah Almighty.’ 
Although the physical postures are also important, one should keep their attention focused on God Almighty, which is the primary objective of Salat.
A question was once asked in regards to raising one’s finger while reciting the Tasshahud [declaration of faith] in Salat. A person asked why the index finger is raised when reciting the Atahiyyat [prayer recited when in a seated position in Salat]? The Promised Messiah (as) replied:
‘In the Era of Ignorance, prior to the advent of Islam, people would raise this finger as a gesture for expressing abuse and profanity. Hence, this is known as Sababah, i.e. the finger used to express profanity. God Almighty reformed the people of Arabia and removed this habit and instead instructed them to raise this finger when proclaiming the Unity and Oneness of God. Thus, the wrong connotation of this finger by being associated with profanity would be removed and instead would be known as the finger which represents the declaration of faith.’
The Promised Messiah(as) further states:
‘Similarly, the Arabs used to drink five times in the day, but instead Allah Almighty prescribed the five daily prayers.’ 
A question was asked in regards to reciting Qur’anic prayers whilst in Ruku`[bowing] and Sujood [prostrating]. Maulvi Abdul Qadir Sahib Ludhianvi asked whether it was permissible to recite Qur’anic prayers while in Ruku`and Sujood. The Promised Messiah (as) replied:
‘Sajdah and Ruku`signify states of extreme humility and meekness, however, the Word of God necessitates grandeur. Moreover, it has not been recorded anywhere in the Ahadith [sayings of the Holy Prophet (sa)] that the Holy Prophet (sa) would recite Qur’anic prayers while in a state of Rukuor Sajdah.’ 
Hazrat Sahibzada Mirza Bashir Ahmad Sahib (ra) states regarding this that Mia Khairuddin Sahib Sikhwani mentioned to him in a letter, that the Promised Messiah (as) stated:
‘One should extensively supplicate in Salat and the supplications should be made in one’s own language, but those prayers which have been established by the Holy Prophet (sa)’s own practise should be read in the same manner. For instance, reciting: سُبْحَانَ رَبِّیَ الْعَظِیْم[Holy is my Lord, the Most Great] while in Ruku`and reciting سُبْحَانَ رَبِّیَ الْاَعْلیٰ[Holy is my Lord, the Most High] while in Sajdah, and thereafter one can offer supplications in their own language.’
The Promised Messiah (as) further stated:
‘The Qur’anic prayers should not be recited while in a state of Ruku`and Sajdah because the Holy Qur’an is the pure word of Allah Almighty and possesses great grandeur while the state of Ruku`and Sajda reflect a state of extreme humility, thus one should honour the Divine Word.’ 
Someone once asked the Second Caliph (ra) why it is prohibited to recite Qur’anic prayers while in Sajdah, when in fact, the Sajdah reflects a state of complete humility (and therefore the prayers offered in the state of Sajdah would have a higher chance of acceptance).
the Second Caliph (ra) replied:
‘I was also of the view that it was permissible to recite Qur’anic prayers in Sajdah until I came across a reference of the Promised Messiah (as) in which he had forbidden reciting Qur’anic prayers while in a state of Sajdah and there is also a Hadith in Musnad Ahmad bin Hanbal on the same matter.’
The Second Caliph (ra) further stated:
‘Even if I did not come across the references which opposed my initial view, I still would not deem this as a valid argument, wherein he stated that since the Sajdah is a state of utmost humility, therefore reciting Qur’anic prayers should be permissible. (This does not form a valid argument.)’
The Second Caliph (ra),whilst further elaborating stated:
Imam Malik held the belief that everything that lives in water is Halal [lawful to eat]. Once, someone asked him that swine also live in water, therefore is it permissible to eat it? Imam Malik replied that everything that lives in the water is Halal [lawful] but the swine is Haram [unlawful]. He continually posed this question but Imam Malik replied that he could only say that everything that lives in the water is Halal however the swine is Haram.’
The Second Caliph (ra) further stated:
‘I shall give the same response to this question which is that indeed the Sajdah reflects a state of complete humility but the Qur’anic prayers cannot be read in this state. Supplication humbles a person while the Holy Qur’an elevates a person, hence it is not permissible to recite Qur’anic prayers whilst in a state of Sajdah. It is not permissible for us to act contrary to a practice which has been affirmed by the Holy Prophet (sa) and the Promised Messiah (as), even if we cannot fully comprehend it.’ 
Our duty is to simply adhere to the instructions.
Some people ask that if they join the Salat in the position of Ruku, does that still count as a Rak`at [single unit of prayer]. Generally, everyone knows this and are told this form childhood that if a person arrives late for Salat and joins while in Ruku` then that is counted as a Rak`at. Once it was mentioned before the Promised Messiah (as) whether the Rak`at of such a person is counted who joins the congregational Salat in Ruku`. The Promised Messiah (as) asked the scholars present as to what the stance of the other maulvis [clerics] was and enquired what other Islamic sects have said on this matter. In the end, the Promised Messiah (as) gave his verdict and said:
‘Our belief is لَا صَلوٰۃَ اِلَّا بِفَاتِحَۃِ الْکِتَاب i.e. without Surah Al-Fatiha there is no Salat. Whether a person is offering Salat behind the Imam or individually, in any case, they must recite Surah al-Fatihah [opening chapter of the Holy Qur’an]. They should also recite it slowly so that the congregants can hear it as well as recite it themselves (here the Promised Messiah (as) is now giving instructions regarding the Imam who is leading the Salat). After each verse, the Imam should give enough time so that the congregants can also recite after him. In any case, the congregants should be given the opportunity to hear the recitation as well as recite it themselves. The recitation of Surah al-Fatihah is necessary because it is the Ummul Kitaab i.e. the Mother of the Book. However if despite one’s utmost efforts to join the Salat, one is only able to join in the Ruku` and has missed the earlier part of the Salat, it will still count as a Rak`at for them, even though they could not recite Surah al-Fatihah. This is because it is mentioned in the Ahadith that whoever joins the Salat in the Ruku`, their Rak`at is counted.
The Promised Messiah(as) further states:
‘There are two aspects when dealing with such matters. On the one hand, the Holy Prophet (sa) strongly emphasised that one must recite Surah al-Fatihah in Salat for it is Ummul Kitaab [the Mother of the Book] and the essence of Salat. On the other hand, since the basis of religion is ease, thus the Holy Prophet (sa) stated that if one is only able to join in Ruku` despite one’s utmost effort to join the Salat as quickly as possible, their Rak`at will still be counted. Although one does not recite Surah al-Fatihah, they act according to the exemption that they have been granted for arriving late to Salat.’
The Promised Messiah (as) further states:
‘God has made the condition of my heart such that it is naturally averse to anything that is impermissible and I do not wish to commit such deeds. Thus, it is clear that there is no harm if a person is able to complete three parts of Salat [out of the four] and can only partially complete the other owing to extenuating circumstances, in this case, one should act in accordance to the exemption that has been granted. However, one who intentionally shows indolence and is late in joining the congregation, then that person’s Salat itself holds no value.’ 
Furthermore, in regards to reciting the Surah al-Fatihah after the Imam, Hazrat Mirza Bashir Ahmad Sahib (ra) writes:
‘Maulvi Sher Ali Sahib (ra) once narrated to me that the Promised Messiah (as) used to strictly emphasise that it is necessary for the congregants to recite Surah al-Fatihah after the Imam. However, along with this, the Promised Messiah (as) also stated, ‘although I believe that Surah al-Fatihah is essential, I do not regard the Salatof a person who does not repeat Surah al-Fatihah to be invalid. This is because there have been many pious and saintly people in the past who did not consider it essential to repeat Surah al-Fatihah [after the Imam] and I cannot consider their Salat to have gone to waste.’’
Hazrat Mirza Bashir Ahmad Sahib (ra) further writes:
‘This humble one would like to add that the Hanafi [school of thought] are of the belief that the congregants should stand silently behind the Imam and should listen to his recitation without reciting anything themselves. The Ahle Hadith [sect of Islam] however believe that the congregation should also repeat the Surah al-Fatihahafter the Imam. Although the Promised Messiah(as) was in support of this view of the Ahle Hadith, he did not share the view of the fundamentalist Ahle Hadith that one’s Salatis completely invalidated if Surah al-Fatihah is not repeated.’ 
Replying to a question that was submitted by Munshi Rustam Ali Sahib, the Promised Messiah (as) wrote in a letter:
‘Although Salat can be complete without congregants repeating Surah al-Fatihah [after the Imam], precedence should be given to reciting it. If the Imam is quick in his recitation, the congregants should still repeat after him however much they can, even if it is just one or two verses. (If the Imam’s recitation is very fast, the congregants should repeat after him even if they can only manage to repeat one or two verses) but not in a manner which would prevent them from listening to the recitation of the Imam itself (meaning, it should not be so loud that one cannot listen to what the Imam is reciting). If one is unable to repeat after the Imam [due to the speed of his recitation] then that is something which is beyond one’s own control (but regardless of that one must listen to the recitation of the Imam) and though it will be sufficient, of course it will not be the highest form of Salat.’ 
Hazrat Mirza Bashir Ahmad Sahib (ra) writes that Mian Khairuddin Sahib Sikhwani told him in a letter:
‘Once I asked the Promised Messiah (as)in regards to repeating the Surah al-Hamd [Surah al-Fatihah] after the Imam. The Promised Messiah (as) replied, “It is best to repeat the Surah al-Fatihah after the Imam.” I then asked whether one’s Salat counts even if they are unable to repeat it after the Imam. The Promised Messiah (as) replied, “the Salat is counted but it is best to repeat Surah al-Fatihah after the Imam.”’
The Promised Messiah (as) further stated,
‘If the Salat was to be considered invalidated due to not repeating Surah al-Fatihah after the Imam then how did all those righteous saints who belonged to the Hanafi [school of thought] attain such high standards of righteousness? (Many saints in the past did not repeat Surah al-Fatihah as they did not deem repeating it necessary.)’
The Promised Messiah (as) further stated,
‘Salat can be observed in both ways, however the difference lies as to which is superior. Likewise, reciting ‘Ameen’ in a loud voice is given preference over reciting it in a low voice.’ 
Pir Siraj-ul-Haq relates that the Hazrat Maulvi Abdul Karim Sahib (ra) used to narrate that there was a person who used to live in Sialkot or nearby. Every day we would tell him to repeat Surah al-Fatihah after the Imam and presented every possible argument to convince him but he failed to pay heed and would observe the Salat with us but without repeating Surah al-Fatihah behind the Imam. Once, he went to visit the Promised Messiah (as) in Qadian and a discussion began on this very subject. The Promised Messiah (as) simply stated that Surah al-Fatihah should be repeated after the Imam and did not present any argument from the Holy Qur’an or Ahadith to support this. Hearing this from the Promised Messiah (as) was enough for him and he began repeating Surah al-Fatihah behind the Imam without seeking any further explanation.
A person one asked the Promised Messiah (as) whether one’s Salat is accepted even if they do not recite Surah al-Fatihah behind the Imam. The Promised Messiah (as) replied:
‘The question should not be whether the Salat is accepted or not. Rather the question ought to be whether or not one has to repeat Surah al-Fatihah after the Imam. My view is that it must be repeated [after the Imam]. Whether or not one’s Salat is accepted is a matter known only to God Almighty. Those who follow the Hanafi school of thought do not repeat [Surah al-Fatihah after the Imam]. Thousands of Auliyah [friends of Allah] in the past followed the Hanafi way and did not repeatSurah al-Fatihah after the Imam. How did they become Auliyahullah [friends of Allah] if their Salat was rejected? In certain respects, the Great Imam (Imam Abu Hanifah) and I have similarities and I have immense respect for the Great Imam. Therefore I cannot pass an edict saying that their Salat was not accepted. In that era, all the Ahadith had not yet been compiled and they did not have the same clarity on the matter as we have today. Thus, they were exempt; however today, this issue has been resolved and now if one does not recite it, their Salat will not reach the level of acceptance. My repeated answer to this question will always be that Surah al-Fatihah must be repeated after the Imam.’
[The narrator further states]
‘One day I asked the Promised Messiah (as) that at what point should one repeat Surah al-Fatihah, to which he replied:
“You should recite it whenever you get the opportunity.” I enquired, ‘should it be when the Imam takes a pause [in his recitation]?’ The Promised Messiah (as) replied, “Wherever there is an opportunity, one should certainly repeat it.”’ 
Sometimes Zuhr [early afternoon prayer] and Asr [late afternoon prayer] or Maghrib [prayer after sunset] and Ishaa [evening prayer] are combined and those who arrive late do not know [which Salat is being offered]. In regards to maintaining the order of Salat, the Second Caliph (ra) stated:
‘I have heard the Promised Messiah (as) say that if a person enters the mosque without having offered the Zuhr Salat, while the Imam is leading the Asr Salat, one should first offer the Zuhr Salat separately and then later join the Imam. Similarly, if one enters the mosque without having offered the Maghrib Salat while the Ishaa Salat is in progress, then one should first offer the Maghrib Salat separately and then join the Imam after.’
In the case when prayers are combined and a person arrives late to the mosque and the Salat is already in progress, the Promised Messiah (as) has given an edict that if one realises that the Imam is leading the Asr Salat, then they ought to first offer the Zuhr Salat on their own and then they join the congregation behind the Imam. Similarly, if one comes to know that the Imam is leading the Ishaa Salat, then one ought to first offer the Maghrib Salat separately and join the Imam after. However, if one is unable to determine which Salat is being led, then they should simply join the congregation. In this instance, their Salat will be counted just as the Salat of the Imam. After the completion of the Salat, one should offer the earlier Salat which they missed. For example, the Ishaa Salat is in progress and a person enters who has not yet offered his Maghrib Salat. If they find out that the Ishaa Salat is being offered, they should first offer their Maghrib Salat on their own and then join the Imam once they have finished. If one does not know which Salat is being offered, then they should just join the Imam in Salat. In this case, their Ishaa Salat will be considered complete and they should offer their Maghrib Salat after. The same will apply in the case of the Asr Salat.
Upon this, the Promised Messiah (as) was asked that seeing as it is not permissible to offer Salat after the Asr Salat, thus, if someone unknowingly joins the Asr Salat, how can it be permissible to offer the Zuhr Salat afterwards? The Promised Messiah (as) replied:
‘It is correct that as a rule, no Salat can be offered after the Asr Salat. However, if one fails to offer their Zuhr Salat owing to some extenuating circumstances, it does not mean that they cannot offer it after the Asr Salat.
In this instance, it is permissible to offer the Zuhr Salat after the Asr Salat. If one knows which Salatis being offered then it is not permissible, however, if one does not know [and misses the Zuhr Salat], they can offer it after the Asr Salat.’
The Second Caliph (ra) stated:
‘I have heard the Promised Messiah (as) elucidate this issue not just once, but twice. I recall that the Promised Messiah (as) was asked about this matter on another occasion and he stated, “I have already explained this matter once before that maintaining the order of Salat is essential. However, if one is unable to ascertain which Salat is being led by the Imam, whether it be Asr or Ishaa, then one should just join the Imam in congregation. Their Salat will be counted as the Salat of the Imam. Afterwards, the person should separately offer the earlier Salat which had been missed.”’ 
It was the practice of the Promised Messiah (as) to offer the Sunnah prayers at home before and after the Salat. Sheikh Yaqub Ali Sahib Irfani (ra) writes that it was always the practice of the Promised Messiah (as) to offer his Sunnah and Nawaafil [voluntary prayers] prayers at home and he would offer the Fardh [obligatory] prayers in congregation in the mosque. He continued this practice throughout his life. However, after completing his obligatory Salat, if the Promised Messiah (as) saw that people were late to join the Salat and thus had not yet finished offering their Salat, he would offer his Sunnah prayer in the mosque as there was no way to leave. Also, if the Promised Messiah (as) intended to remain in the mosque after the Salat, he would offer his Sunnah prayers inside the mosque. As this was the practice of the Promised Messiah (as) [to offer his Sunnah prayers in the home], some students, owing to their short-sightedness (i.e. lack of knowledge) assumed that offering Sunnah is not necessary (because they had never seen the Promised Messiah (as) observing them either before or after the obligatory Salat).
The First Caliph (ra) once addressed this matter in a Darsul Qur’an [formal lecture on the Qur’an] and stated, “It was a practice of the Promised Messiah (as) that immediately after offering the Fardh Salat he would go into his home – and I also do the same. However, many children, out of their lack of knowledge, have begun the habit of leaving the mosque immediately after the Fardh Salat and I do not think that they offer the Sunnah prayers (I have observed that at times this occurs even today). They should realise that the first thing the Promised Messiah (as) would do upon returning home was to offer the Sunnah prayer and I also follow this practice.” Hazrat Khalifatul Masih I (ra) then asked, “Is there anyone here who can personally testify that the Promised Messiah (as) followed this practice (of offering the Sunnah prayer immediately upon returning home)?” Upon this Hazrat Sahibzada Mirza Bashiruddin Mahmud Ahmad (ra), who as usual was present in the Dars, proclaimed in a loud voice, “Without a doubt, it was always the practice of the Promised Messiah (as) to offer the Sunnah prayers at home before leaving for the mosque, then he would offer the Fardh prayers at the mosque, and return home and immediately offer his Sunnah prayers again. He would attend to other work only after completing his Sunnah prayers.” After this Hazrat Sahibzada Mirza Bashir Ahmad Sahib (ra) also attested to this. Thereafter, Hazrat Mir Nasir Nawwab Sahib (ra), Hazrat Sahibzada Mir Muhammad Ishaaq Sahib (ra) and then also an old devoted companion of the Promised Messiah (as), Hafiz Hamid Ali Sahib (ra), all affirmed their eyewitness testimonies. 
Someone enquired from the Promised Messiah(as) whether Imamat [leading the congregational Salat] can be taken up as an occupation. In some places, there are Maulvis (clerics) who lead the Salat only to earn money. The Promised Messiah(as) stated:
‘If someone offers Salat behind one who has taken up Imamat as an occupation, then I have doubts as to whether their Salat can even be considered complete, for it is clearly evident that such people have taken up Imamat merely as a profession. Thus, they do not go to actually lead the Salat five times a day, rather they consider it as a shop which they open at these fixed times. Their families and progeny rely on the livelihood earned from this ‘shop’. As a result, people go to the extent of taking their cases to court to contest appointments and dismissals from this post [of Imamat]. To force the case in their favour in Imamat the Maulvis lodge appeal after appeal. In short, this is not Imamat, rather this is a despicable means of unlawful earning.’ 
Cases are lodged by those who insist on being the Imam themselves of a particular location. Prolonged disputes then ensue and this occurs even today. Further expounding on whether it is appropriate to offer Salat behind one who has taken up leading Salat as an occupation, the Promised Messiah (as) says:
‘In my opinion, it is not appropriate to offer Salatbehind those who lead it merely as an occupation. They lead the Salatmerely in view of earning their weekly salary and bread. They will leave it if they cannot attain this. If livelihood is earned with pious intentions, it becomes a form of worship in itself. When a person becomes accustomed to his work and fulfils it with a determined resolve, then it no longer is a difficult task, rather it becomes easy.’ 
The Promised Messiah (as) states that it is completely wrong and forbidden to offer Salat behind one who one who denies and labels the Promised Messiah (as) as a disbeliever (Kafir). The Promised Messiah (as) states,
‘Those who label me as a disbeliever and reject me shall perish. Therefore, it does not behove any member of my community to offer Salat behind such unworthy people. Can the living offer Salat behind the dead? Remember that Allah Almighty has informed me that it is completely forbidden to offer Salat behind one who deems me a liar, heretic and rejects me. Rather your Imam should be one from among you. This is indicated in one aspect of a Hadith of Bukhari which states:
[Your Imam will be from among you].’ 
With regards to the impermissibility of offering Salat behind non-Ahmadis, someone once asked the Promised Messiah (as) why he had forbidden his followers from offering Salat behind those who did not accept him. The Promised Messiah (as) said:
‘Those people who, out of haste and ill-thinking, have rejected this community which has been established by Allah Almighty and completely ignored the countless signs and remained heedless of the difficulties faced by Islam, such people acted in an unrighteous manner. Allah Almighty states in the Holy Qur’an:
اِنَّمَا یَتَقَبَّلُ اللّٰہُ مِنَ الْمُتَّقِیْنَ
That is, God only accepts the Salat of the righteous people. Hence, it has been forbidden to offer Salat behind those whose own Salat will not even attain a status of acceptance.’ 
There were two men who performed the bai’at [oath of initiation]. One of them asked whether or not it was permissible to offer the Salat behind non-Ahmadi Muslims. The Promised Messiah (as) stated:
‘They call us kafir [disbelievers]. If we are not kafir then the allegation of disbelief rebounds back on them. One who calls a Muslim a kafir becomes a kafir himself. Hence, it is prohibited to offer Salat behind such people. Then as for those who remain silent, they are also included among them (some people say regarding those who are silent that they do not say anything [against the Promised Messiah (as)]). It is not permissible to offer Salat behind them either, because they harbour some sort of opposition against us within their hearts, due to which they do not join us.’ 
Although they do not speak out, they have rejected us and oppose us in their hearts which is why it is not permissible to offer Salat behind them.
Whilst speaking about the impermissibility of offering Salat behind non-Ahmadi Muslims, the Promised Messiah (as) stated:
‘Be patient and do not offer Salat behind those who are not part of your community. This is better for you and your piety, Divine support and ultimate victory lies therein. In this also lies the progress of the Community. Look, when one becomes displeased and angry with another in this world, they cut off their ties with their opponents for a period of time, however, your grievances and displeasure towards them is purely for the sake of God Almighty. If you remain associated with them, God Almighty will no longer look upon you with His special favour. When a pure community distinguishes itself from others, it is then that it is granted progress.’ 
May Allah Almighty enable us to become sincere members of this Community as desired by the Promised Messiah (as).
At the end, I would like to also make an appeal for prayers for the Ahmadis in Algeria. This is a new Jama’at [Community] and the majority are new Ahmadis; however, they have resolute faith. Nowadays the government is being very severe and harsh and are needlessly lodging cases and sending them [Ahmadis] to jail. God forbid, they allege that they [the Ahmadis there] are the same as Daesh. Whereas in reality, anywhere and in any country, it seeks to find those who are peaceful and law-abiding, [they will find that] it is the members of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community. However, their intention is simply to blame us and so they try to equate us with them [i.e. Daesh]. Often the police have forcibly entered the homes and tried to uncover our women from their purdah [veil]. For example, just recently they told one woman to remove her veil. She replied, ‘you can take my life, but I will not remove it and nor will I renounce Ahmadiyyat.’ The judges there are acting unjustly and are going beyond all limits. One judge said to an Ahmadi, ‘if you relinquish belief in Ahmadiyyat, I will let you go immediately.’ He replied, ‘I will die but never will I leave Ahmadiyyat nor my faith, because this is true Islam which I have discovered.’ The judge responded, ‘very well, since you have said this I will sentence you to life imprisonment and you will die in prison.’ He replied that he could do as he wished. Thus, these are the difficulties they are currently enduring.
May Allah Almighty bring about ease for the Ahmadis there. May He grant them steadfastness. May He rebound the evil upon the perpetrators who are enemies of Islam and Ahmadiyyat. And May He give refuge to all Ahmadis from those who perpetrate cruelties.
 Al-Badr, 3rd April 1903, Vol. 2, no. 11, p. 85
 Seeratul Mahdi, Vol. 1, pt. 3, p 564, narration no. 592
 Seeratul Mahdi, Vol. 1, Pt. 1, pp. 147-148, narration no. 154
 Seeratul Mahdi, Vol. 1, Pt. 1, p. 92, narration no. 115
 Ashab-e-Ahmad, Vol. 10, p. 246, New Edition, referenced in Fiqh-ul-Masih, p. 77
 Al-Badr, 20th February 1903, p. 66, Vol. 2, no. 9
 Al-Hakam, ‘4th April 1903, p. 11, Vol. 7, no. 18
 Seeratul Mahdi, Vol. 2, Pt. 4, pp. 166-167, narration no. 1243
 Al-Fazl, 16thApril 1944, pp. 1-2, Vol. 32, no. 88
 Al-Hakam, 24th February 1901, p. 9. Vol. 5, no. 7
 Seeratul Mahdi, Vol. 1, Pt. 2, pp. 334-335, narration no. 361
 Maktubat-e-Ahmad, Vol. 2, p. 467, Letter no. 20, Addressed to Munshi Rustam Ali
 Seeratul Mahdi, Vol. 2, pt. 4, p. 153, narration no. 1210
 Tadhkiratul Mahdi, Pt. 1, pp. 179-180
 Al-Fazl, 27th June 1948, p. 3, Vol. 2, no. 144
 Seerat Hazrat Masih Maud (as), Sheikh Yaqub Ali Sahib Irfani, pp. 65-67
 Fath-e-Islam, Ruhani Khazain, Vol. 3, p. 26, Footnote
 Al-Badr, 9th January 1903, p. 85, Vol. 1, no. 11
 Tofah Golarwiyah, Ruhani Khazain, Vol. 17, p. 64, footnote
 Al-Hakam, 17th March 1901, p. 8, Vol. 5, No. 10
 Al-Badr, 15th December 1905, p.2, Vol. 4, No. 45
 Al-Hakam, 10th August 1901, p. 3, Vol. 5, No. 29