Address by the Worldwide Head of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community, His Holiness Hazrat Mirza Masroor Ahmad (aba), at the concluding session of the MTA International Conference 2021
The Worldwide Head of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community, the Fifth Khalifa (Caliph), His Holiness, Hazrat Mirza Masroor Ahmad (aba), delivered the keynote address at the conclusion of the MTA International Conference on Sunday, 27thJune 2021. His Holiness (aba) presided the final session from his office in Islamabad, Tilford, UK, whilst the attendees of the conference joined virtually from the Baitul Futuh Mosque in London and several other studios of MTA International from around the world. The conference was attended virtually by over 600 participants from thirty countries and included training on increasing productivity and setting goals for the future. The official transcript of the address delivered by His Holiness (aba) on this occasion is presented below:
After reciting Tashahhud, Ta’awwuz and Bismillah, Hazrat Khalifatul Masih V (aba) said:
‘Alhamdulillah [all praise belongs to Allah], MTA has been able to hold its International Conference this weekend and I hope and pray that all of you will have benefitted from the various programmes and training that have taken place.
In this era, the Promised Messiah (as) was sent by Allah the Almighty to revive the true teachings of the Holy Qur’an and the Holy Prophet (sa) and to convey those noble teachings to all parts of the world. In this regard, the Promised Messiah (as) himself stated that the era of the Holy Prophet of Islam (sa) was the age of the perfection of true guidance and that his era was to be the age of the completion of the propagation of the perfect guidance, through the utilisation of modern technologies and resources that were not available in bygone eras. In short, the great mission of the Promised Messiah (as) was to spread the teachings of the Holy Prophet (sa) to all nations and peoples and to achieve this great objective, Allah the Almighty Himself provided the means.
During his lifetime, the Promised Messiah (as) wrote many books in order to propagate Islam’s teachings and to defend it from the myriad of false allegations and criticisms levelled at it by its opponents. Each one of his books shone a timeless and illuminating light upon the pristine and magnificent teachings of Islam. The Promised Messiah (as) informed the world that only through Islam’s sublime teachings was it now possible to forge a loving and pure bond between mankind and his Creator. Only through Islam could human beings truly fulfil the rights of God Almighty.
Similarly, he taught that it is only by acting upon Islam’s teachings that a believer can fully discharge the rights owed to one’s fellow beings. It was these perfect teachings of Islam that the Promised Messiah (as) presented immaculately in his books, addresses and other discourses. According to the circumstances of his era, more than a century ago, the Promised Messiah (as) devised an outstanding scheme for tabligh [propagation the religion] and utilised various means to spread the message of Islam.
As the print media was by then established and was an efficient means of conveying information and sharing one’s beliefs, the Promised Messiah (as) regularly published articles or statements as adverts in newspapers so that the message and true teachings of Islam could be disseminated far and wide. Furthermore, for the sake of the spread of Islam, the Promised Messiah (as) instructed his followers to gain an in-depth knowledge of their faith and beliefs and to then devote their lives for the sake of propagating and preaching it to others. Most certainly, until his last breath, the Promised Messiah (as) sought to fulfil his divine mission to convey Islam’s teachings not just within his nation, but across borders and continents.
Indeed, history bears witness to the fact that the message of the Promised Messiah (as) reached the United States, Europe and the United Kingdom during his life through an array of media coverage. For example, the open challenges he made to the opponents of Islam were reported upon by famous newspapers in the West. It is not necessary to mention the details of those incidents at this time, but suffice to say, it is clear that the Promised Messiah (as) frequently utilised the print media for the sake of serving Islam and in the cause of imparting its noble teachings to a vast audience.
Thereafter, following his departure from this world, Allah the Almighty established the institution of Khilafat-e-Ahmadiyya. From the very beginning, great efforts were made to continue the mission of the Promised Messiah (as) and to ensure that the teachings of Islam reached all parts of the world. For example, during the time of Hazrat Khalifatul Masih I (ra), a Jama’at [community] missionary was sent to the UK to introduce the teachings and beliefs of true Islam to the British people. Thereafter, during the era of the Second Khalifah (ra), tabligh efforts rapidly accelerated and the message of the Jama’at spread further and further afield and reached several European and African countries, as well as North America and various other nations and islands.
Great strides were taken as the Jama’at continued to flourish and expand. Yet, due to our limited resources, it was not possible for the message of Ahmadiyyat to reach every part of the world during the early years of the Second Khilafat. Nonetheless, Allah the Almighty continued to bless whatever limited means the Jama’at had manifold. During that early period, the most efficient means of spreading Islam’s teachings remained the print media and the publication of literature.
Then, in 1938, a new chapter in the history of the Jama’at commenced, when, for the very first time, the message of true Islam was delivered through the voice of the Khalifah of the time to a large audience through the means of a loudspeaker. On that historic occasion, the Second Khalifah (ra) delivered an address at Masjid Aqsa in Qadian. At that time, the use of the loudspeaker to amplify his voice was considered a revolutionary means of progress and a remarkable way of conveying the teachings of Islam. However, at that moment, where people were rejoicing over the loudspeaker, the Second Khalifah (ra) prophesied and declared that the time was surely near when the Khalifah of the time would deliver a speech in Qadian, whilst simultaneously his voice would be heard in every nation and every corner of the world.
In the years that followed, glimpses of that blessed future came into view, as the message of the Promised Messiah (as) and the voice of the Khalifah of the time continued to reach further afield. For example, Jama’at missionaries and other representatives appointed by the Khalifah of the time were sent to different countries from where they were able to transmit the message of Islam through the means of the radio. Our missionaries were able to acquire slots on public or commercial radio stations and were thus able to present the perfect teachings of Islam and Ahmadiyyat to a much wider audience. At that time, those radio programmes were considered a great achievement and a source of pride and joy for the members of the Jama’at. I recall that when the missionaries used to send the reports of their radio programmes to the markaz [international centre] they were published with great enthusiasm by the Jama’at newspapers, such as Al-Fazl, and were given a lot of prominence.
If we fast-forward to today, we see how, with the Grace of Allah the Almighty, it is no longer the case that we are dependent upon others to acquire occasional radio slots; rather, in some African countries and here in the UK, we are now able to spread the message of Ahmadiyyat through our very own radio stations and channels. Of course, we are also no longer limited to radio, but through the immense blessings and Grace of Allah the Almighty, we are now able to convey the message of Islam through the medium of television.
When TV first started it was a very limited platform where news and information was broadcast on TV channels at a local level within a country’s borders. However, when Allah the Almighty provided our Jama’at with the inspiration, resources and capability to launch its own TV channel, He also created the means, through satellite, for our channel to broadcast Islam’s exquisite teachings to every corner of the world. Unquestionably, this is a fulfilment of the grand promise and revelation of Allah the Almighty to the Promised Messiah that:
‘I shall cause thy message to reach the corners of the earth.’
Alhamdulillah, with the sheer Grace of Allah, and in fulfilment of this revelation and prophecy, today, 19 MTA studios have been established globally. They are working under the supervision of the central administration of MTA International and according to the instructions and guidance of Khalifatul Masih. As you are all aware, the main international studios are based here in the UK from where the majority of MTA programmes are transmitted.
However, in addition, we have established full studios in Qadian, Ghana, The Gambia, Tanzania, Indonesia, Germany, Canada, USA, Kababir, Mauritius, Bangladesh, Australia and Uganda. Due to legal restrictions, our MTA Pakistan Studios is now less active but, where these unjust and cruel restrictions have sought to hinder our progress, Allah the Almighty has blessed us with a multitude of studios across the world that are each providing new and high-quality content. Apart from the full studios, MTA teams equipped with high quality production facilities have been formed in countries such as Sierra Leone, Nigeria and many other Jama’ats are also working on a smaller scale to produce reports for MTA.
With the Grace of Allah, a number of live programmes are now regularly broadcast from Qadian and from the Abdul Wahab Studios in Ghana. Similarly, the MTA Germany Studios has launched some new programmes in German. In fact, apart from our English and Urdu content, programmes are being produced in various languages, such as French, Swahili, Turkish amongst others. Therefore, with the Grace of Allah, the message of true Islam is reaching all parts of the world through MTA.
If we analyse our financial and human resources in purely worldly terms, the truth is that we could never have accomplished all of this on our own. In reality, whatever has been achieved has been the result and fulfilment of that divine promise and revelation that:
‘I shall cause thy message to reach the corners of the earth.’
Each and every day we are witnessing with our own eyes the glorious manifestation of the help and favours of Allah the Almighty. Where initially there was just one MTA channel, now Allah the Almighty has enabled MTA to launch several channels that are broadcasting in different languages across the world. We have MTA-1 World, which is MTA’s flagship channel and is viewed worldwide.
Apart from this, there is MTA-2 Europe, MTA-3 Al-Arabiya, MTA-4 Africa, MTA-5 Africa, MTA-6 Asia, MTA-7 Asia and MTA-8 North America. These MTA channels are available to watch on smart TVs, mobile devices, desktops and MTA’s streaming platforms and applications. Through online streaming, any person, in any part of the world, can access whichever MTA channel they desire and listen, in whichever language they prefer. In addition, MTA is broadcasting on terrestrial television in some countries, such as Suriname and The Gambia. Recently, MTA Ghana also launched on terrestrial television. In these countries, MTA broadcasts alongside the national TV channels without the need for a satellite dish and efforts are ongoing to expand these terrestrial services to other countries as well.
In terms of content, with the Grace of Allah, the programmes broadcast on MTA are informing and enlightening the people of the world of the true and beautiful teachings of Islam. For example, religious, educational and other types of interesting documentaries are now being produced and broadcast on MTA. Also, more content aimed at educating and guiding children is being produced. Furthermore, there are various discussion programmes that aim to educate viewers about religion, as well as contemporary issues. There are programmes in which the books of the Promised Messiah (as) are narrated and explained. Also, the recitation of the Holy Quran is broadcast throughout the day at various times. There are many other programmes, which cater for the moral, spiritual and religious training of the members of the Jama’at and are proving extremely beneficial. MTA programmes are also serving to introduce the teachings of Islam to people outside of our Jama’at in an excellent way. Thus, where MTA is a constant means of tarbiyyat [moral training] for the members of the Jama’at, it is also proving an excellent platform for tabligh.
Moreover, over the past 18 months, a period during which nations around the world have grappled with the COVID-19 pandemic, we have seen and witnessed even more than before the great blessings associated with MTA. During this period, I have not been able to travel on tours and nor have Ahmadis been able to visit me. Yet through the blessings of MTA, the direct contact and communication between Khalifatul Masih and the members of the Jama’at has not only continued but has increased and reached new heights, Alhamdulillah. Apart from the weekly Friday Sermon, which is broadcast live around the world, a new avenue of mulaqat [audience] – the virtual mulaqat – has emerged during this period.
Through these interactive mulaqats, I am able to meet directly with members of the Jama’at from around the world and to hold meetings with office bearers. One day I am meeting Ahmadis from Australia, the next day from Indonesia or the United States, or from Qadian, Europe, Africa, Canada and other parts of the world. Whilst sitting here in Islamabad, the words and voice of the Khalifah of the time are reaching every corner of the world. As we witness these blessings and observe this rapid advancement, we cannot help but recall the prophecy of Hazrat Musleh Maud (ra) that I mentioned earlier, where he said that a time was coming when the Khalifah of the time’s voice would be heard live across the world.
As I have mentioned, each week, the Friday Sermon of the Khalifah of the time is broadcast live to all parts of the world. In addition, many other programmes or events of the Khalifah of the time are also broadcast on MTA. For example, MTA is producing a regular programme presenting the key points, from both a tabligh and tarbiyyat perspective, of the various virtual mulaqats. With the Grace of Allah, this is proving of tremendous benefit to the viewers.
Many people send their feedback that, having watched the mulaqats, their faith and bond with Khilafat has strengthened or that they have learned new points that will aid their moral and spiritual development. Others write that they have learned about the administrative system of the Jama’at through these programmes, whilst some write that they had long-held questions in their hearts that were answered during the mulaqats.
People also write that they have come to better understand the vision and views of the Khalifah of the time on particular issues, whether they be religious or contemporary matters. Many also write how these programmes have motivated them to personally reform and improve themselves and to strive to increase their service to the Jama’at and to play their role in ensuring that the unity of our Jama’at only ever increases.
Consequently, both from a spiritual and administrative perspective, MTA is playing a great role in conveying and amplifying the voice of the Khalifah of the time. It is eliminating distances, removing barriers and, above all, ensuring that the Jama’at of the Promised Messiah (as) remains united at the hand of Khilafat and that Ahmadis across the world follow exactly the same religious teachings and beliefs. From one corner of the world to the next – from Asia to Europe, from Africa to the Americas, from the Far East to the various islands of the world, from the East to the West, from the North to the South – the teachings of the Promised Messiah (as) and the instructions of the Khalifah of the time are reaching all nations and peoples through MTA.
Accordingly, all Ahmadis should be grateful to those who are serving in MTA. This includes the permanent workers and staff, who are serving with great passion and sincerity. Whatever allowance or salary they are given is minimal compared to what they would earn if they worked in worldly environment. Furthermore, in our various studios around the world, there are hundreds or even thousands of volunteers who, despite not being paid staff, are working tirelessly and with great devotion.
If one considers the time, effort and skills they are contributing, it is no exaggeration to say that they are saving the Jama’at millions of pounds each year through their efforts.
It costs around five or six million pounds to run MTA annually and sometimes even more, and the majority of this is spent on satellite costs, as well as other necessary running expenses. At the same time, we save a similar amount through the efforts and service of our volunteers. I recall how once, at an event in the United States, I was sitting with the Lieutenant Governor of a State and the topic of MTA came up in our discussion. I informed him that MTA is a 24-hour religious channel that broadcasts globally and that it is distinct from other channels because it neither receives any state funding nor any commercial funding through advertisements.
Upon hearing this, the Lieutenant Governor was visibly shocked and startled. He asked me how we could run a 24-hour global multi-channel without any income from advertisements. Indeed, for worldly and material people it is surely impossible to comprehend how MTA can not only survive as a global channel, but actually thrive without any form of commercialisation. Yet, they do not realise that MTA is a manifestation of that grand promise of Allah the Almighty vouchsafed to the Promised Messiah (as) that, “I shall cause thy message to reach the corners of the earth.”
Indeed, it is Allah the Almighty Himself Who has instilled within the members of the Jama’at such passion and commitment to sacrifice their days and nights for the sake of MTA and to play their role in its continued progress. So, I reiterate that both the permanent staff of MTA and every volunteer, wherever they are serving, are all deserving of our sincere appreciation and prayers. No matter what is asked of them they continue to serve and do so with a smile on their faces and with great dedication. Certainly, my heart is filled with gratitude for all of you.
May Allah the Almighty reward you and may He enable you to continue to serve with humility and selflessness. May He enable all of you to play your role in spreading the message of the Promised Messiah (as), which, in reality, is the message and teaching of the Holy Qur’an and the Holy Prophet of Islam (sa). I also always pray that you remain humble and never allow even a trace of arrogance or pride to enter your hearts. Never think that the success of MTA or the Jama’at is contingent upon your skills or your time or that you are deserving of praise or material reward.
Most certainly, if you remain forever sincere and devoted and serve with true humility, you will attain the very best of rewards from Allah the Almighty Himself. May Allah the Almighty enable you to always fulfil the expectations of the Khalifah of the time, and may you always increase your service to MTA, whether you are working here in the markaz, or in any of our studios or teams across the world.
May Allah the Almighty bless you with the best of rewards and enable you to always serve the mission of the Promised Messiah (as) to the very best of your abilities – Ameen. Jazak’Allah. [may Allah reward you].’