Tariq Mahmood – Canada
The year is 1921, at the auspicious occasion of Jalsa Salana. The Second Caliph of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community, Hazrat Mirza Bashiruddin Mahmud Ahmad (ra) takes the stage in Qadian, India to equip Ahmadis with arguments in favour of God’s existence. The now 32-year-old Caliph, author of Ten Proofs for the Existence of God, which he had written just eight years prior at the age of 24, delivers a ground-breaking address on the existence of God, known today as as Hasti Bari Ta`la (The Existence of God).
He addresses an audience of thousands of people from all walks of life, ranging from seasoned scholars to hardworking village folk. The unique style of this great orator allows him to make the scholarly works of the Promised Messiah (as) accessible to academics and laypersons alike. With the reviving light of the Promised Messiah (as), he exposes the flaws and fallacious reasoning of the atheists’ antiquated arguments. The speech, now published as a 285-page book, details eight potent arguments for God’s existence.
The Second Caliph (ra) offers an anthropological perspective, citing the fact that every nation in the world believes in a Supreme Being, speaking to a reality beyond coincidence. He then tackles the case of our innate morality as a tell-tale sign of an Intelligent Creator who embedded this ethical code within us. He explains the need for a Creator who is independent from the cycle of creation, thereafter, guiding the reader (or listener if one was lucky enough to be there) to the cosmological and teleological arguments, showing them the logical need for a Creator. He espouses a departure from the land of mere speculation and invites the audience to question their own souls for testimony of God’s existence through miracles. He concludes his arguments with the miracles displayed by God through His prophets, who present extraordinary signs for God’s existence. All in all, he ushers in a new era of conversation about God, adding another brilliant gem to the treasure trove of Jama’at’s exhaustive literature.
Exactly one hundred years after that epoch-making discourse, the world is passing through the challenging year that is 2021. As has been His practice, the Gracious God desired to fuel the faith of the believers once more. So, with Allah’s help and the prayers of the Fifth Caliph and Worldwide Head of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community, His Holiness, Hazrat Mirza Masroor Ahmad (aba), The Review of Religions was honoured to host the first ever global God Summit.
A hundred years after the Second Caliph (ra) took to the stage at Jalsa Salana and proved the existence of God, The Review of Religions, under the guidance of His Holiness, Hazrat Mirza Masroor Ahmad (aba), brought together dozens of people who embarked upon a journey to tackle queries of the mind and heart. As doctors, scientists, and missionaries were decoding the illogical enigmas of the New Atheists, other humble souls from across the globe also told powerful incidents of God’s existence, reminding us that our God is as alive today as He was alive before.
In essence, The God Summit emerged as part of a long-running legacy of discourses like this since the time of the Promised Messiah (as) and was activated and fuelled by His Holiness Hazrat Mirza Masroor Ahmad (aba). Thus, on the 100-year anniversary of this historic speech, the God Summit sought to demonstrate the living God with the guiding light of this address, and the scholastic minaret of the Promised Messiah (as).
Just as the Second Caliph (ra) discussed testimony as proof of God’s existence, so did the God Summit seek to display that testimony with incidents from Ahmadis across the world, that God who demonstrated himself since time immemorial, manifested Himself in this era as well. Just as the Second Caliph (ra) mentioned the triumph and miracles of prophets and their successors, so too did the God Summit showcase the acceptance of the prayers of His Holiness Hazrat Mirza Masroor Ahmad (aba).
The world is testament to the losses of the last two years, not only of life, but of things we took for granted. Last year, the members of the Ahmadiyya Community around the world yearned for Jalsa Salana UK. As we longed for a return to normalcy, we fondly reminisced about the excitement of Jalsa in our own countries, and the remarkable three days of Jalsa Salana UK, the highlight of which is the five addresses by our beloved Imam, may Allah be his helper. Nothing could replace the delight and satisfaction of Jalsa Salana, and the voice of our beloved Imam in his five addresses.
By Allah’s grace, we have been afforded the blessing of Jalsa Salana UK once more. Starting tomorrow, we will again witness the Fifth Successor of the Promised Messiah (as) deliver indispensably important speeches. The longing for normalcy has culminated in the return of Jalsa Salana, and the beloved 3-day event, which dates to the time of the Promised Messiah (as), will be celebrated once more.
100 years since the grand discourse on the existence of God by the Second Caliph (ra) at the occasion of Jalsa Salana, we will once again see the amazing manifestations of God’s grace at the Jalsa Salana UK 2021. The reward of our patience has arrived, and how sweet it is! All praise belongs to Allah, Lord of all the worlds.
About the Author: Tariq Mahmood is a student at the Ahmadiyya Institute of Languages and Theology in Canada and an official member of the Existence Project Team.