On 11th September 2022, the Worldwide Head of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community, the Fifth Khalifa (Caliph), His Holiness, Hazrat Mirza Masroor Ahmad (aba) delivered a faith inspiring address to conclude the National Ijtema (Annual Gathering) of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Youth Association UK (Majlis Khuddamul Ahmadiyya). The 3-day event which was held at Old Park Farm in Kingsley was attended by more than 5,700 young men and boys. The official transcript of the address delivered by His Holiness (aba) on this occasion, is presented below.
After reciting Tashahhud and Ta’awwuz and Bismillah, His Holiness (aba) said:
‘With the grace of Allah this weekend Majlis Khuddamul Ahmadiyya UK has been able to hold its National Ijtema on a large scale for the first time since the COVID-19 pandemic began.
Originally, Majlis Khuddamul Ahmadiyya had included a full sports programme in the Ijtema programme, however upon the sad demise of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth, I instructed Sadr Sahib, that the sports and games be scaled back as a mark of respect. I deemed it essential because the Queen was our long serving head of state and she led the nation with great dignity and justice for over 70 years. During her reign, the United Kingdom remained a beacon of religious freedom in the world. Indeed, the Queen herself advocated for true religious freedom and interfaith harmony on many occasions. Thus, we are grateful to have lived under such a gracious monarch. As Ahmadi Muslims we should be particularly appreciative of the fact that we were given the opportunity to establish our Jama’at’s international headquarters after the migration of Hazrat Khalifatul Masih IV (rh) to the United Kingdom during the reign of Queen Elizabeth and have been able to practice and propagate our religion, Islam, freely. In this regard, we will always be grateful to Queen Elizabeth, the British government and this nation.
Furthermore, we pray that our new head of state, King Charles III, continues to ensure that religious freedom and justice for all people remains the hallmark of this nation and that the rights of the people are always fulfilled.
Anyway, I hope and pray that all of the participants will have taken great benefit from the various academic programmes and other events that did take place at the Ijtema.
Today, in this concluding session, I wish to mention some of the fundamental responsibilities and obligations of members of Majlis Khuddamul Ahmadiyya. Above all, you must never forget that the true purpose for which Allah the Almighty created humans was for His worship and in this regard, the primary form of worship is the five daily prayers, that is Salat or Namaz. Anyone who calls themselves a Muslim must pay great attention to ensuring that they protect and guard their worship, which requires them to be regular and punctual in offering Namaz with utmost sincerity. The reason Allah the Almighty has made Namaz obligatory is because a person cannot remain spiritually alive without it. In other words, Salat is indispensable and a person’s faith and spirituality cannot survive without it.
With the grace of Allah, many young Ahmadis are very diligent in offering Namaz and have developed a personal connection with Allah the Almighty. I have observed such a spirit within many young Ahmadis I have met, or it has become apparent through their letters to me. Yet, there is no room for complacency regarding the worship of Allah the Almighty. We must never let our standards slide. We must continuously seek to improve and strengthen our connection with our Creator. Just as our physical bodies require food and air, in the same way, our souls need continuous spiritual nourishment.
Often, people submit and bow down before Allah the Almighty with great fervour and humility when faced with difficulty or when they require something, however as soon as their problems are resolved, their spiritual intensity quickly diminishes and they become lazy and lose focus in their prayers. Their spiritual state changes like the weather; sometimes it is warm, sometimes it is cold, sometimes the wind blows in one direction, sometimes in another. Sometimes after a period of hot weather, there is a torrent of rain or a cool breeze which serves as a source of temporary relief and joy, but is not a lasting pleasure. Thus, just as a person is in perpetual need of air, food and water, in the same way, if a person wishes to remain spiritually alive, they must ensure that they constantly nourish their soul through Salat. Hence, throughout your lives, Namaz should be the one constant companion that you never let go of.
Moreover, Muslims are commanded by Allah the Almighty to come together to offer their prayers in congregation. During the last few years, due to Covid, our mosques were closed or access was restricted and Jama’at members were instructed to offer prayers in congregation at home. Thankfully, the situation has improved and we are once again able to hold our Jalsa, Ijtema and other functions. Government restrictions have ended and in terms of their day to day worldly activities, people have resumed their normal lives to a large extent. At the same time, having developed the habit of praying at home, some people are continuing to do so, rather than coming to the mosque or Salat centre. They should realise that offering Namaz at home was a temporary solution at the height of the pandemic, akin to administering oxygen to help a sick person breathe. Now, as the situation is, Alhamdolillah, much improved, it is necessary to return to the proper means of spiritual salvation as per the command of Allah the Almighty, which requires Muslim men to be regular in offering congregational prayer in their local mosque or Salat centre as much as possible.
Always keep in mind that Namaz is the key ingredient for a person to live a moral life. It protects people from immorality and vice and drives them towards righteous and noble acts. It is the foremost means of fulfilling the purpose of our creation and of enabling us to attain the blessings and rewards of Allah the Almighty. Otherwise, without prayer and worship, our claim of being part of a righteous community, of having accepted the Imam of the Age and being firm in faith are rendered meaningless and hollow.
As I have said, the worship of Allah, mainly through Namaz, inspires us towards good and the fulfilment of the rights of Allah the Almighty and of His creation. It is a great favour of Allah the Almighty that He has blessed our Jama’at with many sincere people of all ages, ever ready for any duty, assistance or sacrifice. Whenever called upon, they immediately respond by saying “We are here and ready, Labaik” and present themselves for whatever service or sacrifice that is required for their faith. For example, just recently, thousands of Ahmadi men, women and children presented themselves for duty at the UK Jalsa and set aside their everyday work and routine for the sake of the Jama’at; and to some extent, the same happened during the preparation for this Ijtema. Many did not sleep properly for days, or even weeks, but never once did they neglect their duties or express any sense of frustration or fatigue.
Similarly, when it comes to financial sacrifice in the way of Allah, there are countless Ahmadis worldwide who contribute wholeheartedly whenever any scheme is launched and make great sacrifices in order to play their role in the propagation of Islam. At the same time, it is virtually important to remember that it is not enough to offer temporary sacrifices or to live righteous lives for just a few days, rather, Allah the Almighty desires for a permanent state of righteousness amongst His people and, as I have already outlined, fundamental to achieving this state is Namaz. In this regard, Allah the Almighty states in the Holy Qur’an:
أَقِمِ ٱلصَّلَوٰةَ ۖ إِنَّ ٱلصَّلَوٰةَ تَنۡهَىٰ عَنِ ٱلۡفَحۡشَآءِ وَٱلۡمُنكَرِ ۗ وَلَذِكۡرُ ٱللَّهِ أَكۡبَرُ
“Observe Prayers. Surely Prayer restrains one from indecency and manifest evil, and remembrance of Allah indeed is the greatest virtue.”
In this verse, Allah the Almighty commands Muslims to observe prayer and declares that Namaz is a means of protecting a person from immorality, indecency and all things He dislikes. Hence, to live a moral life and to be free from vice, one must offer the five daily prayers at their appointed time with full diligence and sincerity of heart. The very meaning ofأَقِمِ ٱلصَّلَوٰةَ “observe prayer” is that one must be regular in Namaz and offer it with complete focus and in a state of unconditional submission to Allah.
In this era, a multitude of vices are prevalent in society. Sinful temptations lie at every turn and every corner, seeking to corrupt and destroy the fabric of society. In particular, one major vice that I wish to warn all of you about is falsehood. Falsehood is evident at all levels of society, to the extent that many people, in order to fulfil their worldly desires or interests, lie without thinking and consider their untruths to be very insignificant. Yet, Allah the Almighty and the Holy Prophet of Islam (sa) have deemed falsehood to be a sin of immense gravity and harmful to both the individual and the wider society.
Indeed, in a Hadith it is narrated that the Holy Prophet (sa) stated that there are four habits and characteristics that define a hypocrite; first and foremost, the Holy Prophet (sa) said that deception and falsehood are defining characteristics of a hypocrite; for example, when a person lies and gives false testimony to get his own way. According to the Hadith, the second and the third defining characteristics of a hypocrite are to break one’s covenant or pledges or to break one’s promises and betray the trust placed in him. In today’s world dealings and agreements exist at all levels of society, whether linked to one’s personal affairs, or in terms of professional and business transactions. Regrettably, it is incredibly commonplace for individuals, organisations and nations to make firm promises, declarations or treaties, upon which they later go back on. According to Islam, the scale of one’s promise or pledge is irrelevant. Even if a promise or deal is very small or low level, a person is dutybound to fulfil the terms he has agreed to. Otherwise, according to the Hadith, he is guilty of hypocrisy.
The fourth characteristic of a hypocrite, according to the Hadith, is a person who uses foul language or curses when involved in an argument or debate. It can never behove a believer to resort to such foul or provocative language. Instead, a believer should always maintain the highest standards of etiquette and decorum and never depart from good morals. Hence, as Muslims, we must ensure that we are free from all forms of hypocrisy and that our word is our bond.
Never forget that we claim to have accepted the Imam of the Age, the Promised Messiah (as), who was the most faithful servant and devotee of the Holy Prophet of Islam (sa) and as a result, we pledge to be those who always give priority to our faith over all worldly matters. Just a few moments ago, you all stood and solemnly pledged to forever give precedence to your faith over everything else. It is a pledge we make frequently at our events, yet, words alone are futile until and unless they are accompanied by commensurate action.
You may wonder what it means to give precedence to your faith over all worldly matters. In simple terms, it means that when it is time for prayer, one sets aside whatever else he is doing, for the sake of the worship of Allah. Therefore, apart from those exceptional situations where Allah has permitted us to combine prayers, or to offer them later, every Khadim should offer their prayers on time and whenever possible, in congregation. Similarly, you must never resort to falsehood, irrespective of the circumstances. You must never violate the terms of the deals or pledges you made, and nor should you resort to foul language or fail to observe proper manners and etiquette in your dealings with others. These are the essential components and characteristics fundamental to creating a harmonious and tolerant society of righteous people. If you live your lives in this way, you will be those who create a true and lasting bond with Allah the Almighty through your worship and at the same time, you will be amongst those who spread truth in society and serve as a source of enlightenment for humanity.
With regards to acting truthfully, many Khuddam are working professionally or have business interests and so, they must ensure they never engage in even the slightest form of deception in their business or work. For example, when it comes to their tax returns, they should declare their earnings honestly and pay whatever is due to the government. Similarly, whatever official papers or documents they require for personal or business use should be obtained honestly and all declarations should be genuine and true. Similarly, a Khadim must never resort to falsehood in terms of their Chanda. If a person cannot pay at the prescribed rate, they may seek permission to pay at a lower rate, but they must not lie about their financial state, because dishonesty can never lead to the blessings of Allah the Almighty.
Another point I wish to make, especially to the younger Khuddam or Atfal who are still in school or education is that they must be careful who they keep company with. At your age, your friends and those who you spend time with can easily influence you. As has been observed, if you keep poor company, you will pick up bad habits such as lying needlessly, quarrelling or even fighting, instead of acting truthfully and being kind and considerate. Thus, the younger Khuddam and Atfal must be very conscious of their company. Make friendships with people who are sincere, who are honest, and who are not involved in any immoral or senseless activities. Furthermore, as you get older and gain more independence, do not let your guard down. Remain firm in your faith and ensure that you never fight or be abusive to others and do not use vulgar language and speak in a way that provokes others. The older Khuddam must also pay heed to these points. Otherwise, despite having accepted the Promised Messiah (as) and claiming to follow his teachings, you will be violating what he stood for and taught.
Remember, everything the Promised Messiah (as) taught was according to the teachings of the Holy Qur’an and the Holy Prophet (sa). The Promised Messiah (as) has branded falsehood and deception as a grievous sin which lies at the root of many other evils and leads to a multitude of vices and moral failings.
Speaking about falsehood the Promised Messiah (as) states, “In reality, until a person abandons lies, he cannot become pure. Worthless worldly people think that they cannot survive without lies, however, this is preposterous.” Continuing, the Promised Messiah (as) states, “If one cannot survive with truth, then falsehood certainly cannot sustain a person either.” The Promised Messiah (as) further says, “It is a pity that these wretched people do not give God the value He deserves. They do not know that without the grace and mercy of God Almighty, a person cannot survive. Yet, they consider the filth of falsehood to be their god and the means of resolving their difficulties.” He says, “This is precisely why God Almighty has tied falsehood to the filth of idols and mentioned it in the Holy Qur’an.” The Promised Messiah (as) states that where Allah the Almighty has expressed His hatred for idol worship, he has also expressed an abhorrence and revulsion to falsehood and declared them to be inextricably linked. The Promised Messiah (as) further states, “Know for certain, that we cannot take a single step, rather not even a single breath, without the grace of God.” If we cannot take even a single breath without the help and mercy of Allah, then why would any sane person resort to relying upon falsehood?
Accordingly, today, it is the duty of Ahmadi youth to lead a campaign and movement against all forms of falsehood and deception, and they must personally lead by example. Every Khadim and Tifl should pledge that they will never tell a lie, because falsehood is equivalent to shirk – associating partners with Allah the Almighty. On the one hand, we proudly say we are the community and people of Allah the Almighty and bow down sincerely before Him, yet, at the same time, there are some amongst us who continue to rely upon falsehood to achieve their means and desires. Let it be clear that those who rely on falsehood should not expect the help of Allah, as He will not accept their supplications. As I said, the time is now for every Khadim and every Tifl to pledge that they shall never utter any falsehood. The time is now for you to lead a movement to uphold the truth and become those who worship Allah in the best way and whose morals and standards are of the highest order.
If our youth can reject all forms of falsehood and remain forever truthful, then all other good morals will automatically be instilled within them. For instance, when a person forsakes falsehood, they can never be prone to deception, nor can they break their pledges and nor can they curse or use profane language. Rather, he or she will embody those moral values which are the building blocks for a harmonious and peaceful society. Indeed, falsehood and failure to fulfil one’s promises and covenants are the root causes underpinning the widespread injustice and disorder witnessed in today’s society, be it on a small scale within the domestic environment, or on a larger scale in the broader community. Consequently, you must ensure that you never lie or deviate even and inch from the truth. Only if we can reach those virtuous standards that free us from the shackles of hypocrisy can we come to fulfil the demands of our pledge to give priority to our faith over all worldly matters. If all Ahmadi youth reach such heights, they will inspire an immensely positive transformation of society, and fulfil the real expectations of a Khadim, as outlined by Hazrat Musleh Maud (ra) when he profoundly stated that the reformation of nation cannot be achieved without the reformation of its youth.
Always remember that these enlightened words of Hazrat Musleh Maud (ra) are not just to display on banners at Ijtemas or other Khuddam events. Some years ago, I instructed Majlis Khuddamul Ahmadiyya to produce badges bearing this slogan and the underlying purpose was that they should serve as a constant reminder of those timeless words of Hazrat Musleh Maud (ra). Yet, no matter how many banners or badges we produce, they will be meaningless and irrelevant until our youth actively seek to reform themselves with the firm intention of playing their role in bettering their nations. Thus, every Khadim and every Tifl must strive to reform and better themselves whilst considering it their personal mission to guide their nations and their people.
Every Ahmadi has a duty and a responsibly to spread the message of the true Islam through Tabligh. So all of you, whilst seeking the help of Allah, must endeavour to play your individual role in serving the mission of the Promised Messiah (as) by elevating your spiritual and moral standards. There should never be any discrepancy between what you say and what you do. Practice what you preach. Otherwise, you will be guilty of falsehood, which the Holy Prophet (sa) declared a sign of a hypocrite. Accordingly, every Khadim, Tifl, office bearer, in fact all Ahmadis, must seriously reflect upon the words of Hazrat Musleh Maud (ra). You must ensure that these precious words serve not just as an impressive sound bite or slogan, but that they are always acted upon and genuinely reflect the moral state of our Ahmadi youth. Indeed, this slogan presents each Khadim with a target and a challenge; it should inspire you to play your role, changing the world for the better. Your every step must take you further along the path of righteousness, as your spiritual advance and reformation directly correlates with the success and progress of our Jama’at.
I also wish to say to the younger Khuddam who have just taken their first step into Khuddamul Ahmadiyya, that they should not think this is an age of mere recreation or fun. You have also reached an age where your thought processes and conduct should be maturing daily. For quite some time, I have been mentioning the early history of Islam in my Friday Sermons, during which I have narrated the incidents of many young boys from that era, no older than you, who were able to offer extraordinary sacrifices for the sake of Islam and achieved great successes. This was all because they understood their purpose and the challenge that lay before them. They understood that it was up to them to fulfil the purpose of their lives through the worship of Allah and it was up to them to manifest the highest of morals at all times. They understood their value and worth as young Muslims. They understood the purpose of their creation and this ensured they played an outstanding role in transforming a society defined by immorality and ignorance into a pure and righteous community, the like of which the world had never seen before and one that will forever serve as a beacon for all mankind.
In this era, having firm faith in the truth of the claim of the Holy Prophet (sa), it is now up to all of you to ensure that a firm adherence to the truth defines every aspect of your life, whether in your personal dealings, your promises, your proclamations, or any other sense. You must keep your tongue free from immoral or ignorant speech. Instead, Allah’s praise and remembrance should always be at the tip of your tongue. From this day forth, you should seek to think and act maturely and understand your status and the true magnitude of your responsibilities. I mentioned earlier how you have all pledged to give precedence to your faith over all worldly matters and this is not something to ever take lightly.
In the Holy Qur’an, Allah the Almighty states,
وَأَوۡفُواْ بِٱلۡعَهۡدِ ۖ إِنَّ ٱلۡعَهۡدَ كَانَ مَسۡـُٔولاً
“And fulfil the covenant; for the covenant shall be questioned about.”
In this verse, Allah the Almighty categorically states that each person will be held accountable for their pledges and covenants. So, do not be under the misconception that standing here and repeating the words of the Khuddam pledge or the words of the Bai’at is sufficient. Rather, you should understand the significance of this undertaking you have made openly before the world and in the presence of the Khalifa of the time. You must strive every minute of every day to fulfil it knowing that one day Allah the Almighty will hold you accountable over the fact that you openly proclaimed that you would give precedence your faith over all other things, and He will hold you accountable over you pledges of complete loyalty and fidelity with the Khalifa of the time and with the Jama’at of the Promised Messiah (as). Thus, you must strive to fulfil this pledge for the sake of your faith, country and nation by reforming yourselves by adopting righteous deeds by fulfilling the rights of Allah and His creation and by manifesting the highest morals at all times. This is the duty and the obligation of every single Khadim.
May Allah the Almighty grant you the ability to be those who safeguard their prayers and who exhibit the best moral qualities and virtues. May you be those who forever hold fast to the truth and have a hatred for all forms of falsehood. May you be those who fulfil your pledge and promises, no matter how small or how big. May you work hard and strive determinedly in all good endeavours. May you fulfil the pledge you have made to spread the teachings of Islam to the corners of the earth. May you be filled with the sincere passion and ardent desire to fly the flag of the teachings of the Holy Prophet of Islam (sa) and the Promised Messiah (as) in every part of the world. May you be those whose tongues remain pure and may your conduct be of the highest order so that you become noble examples of truth, sincerity and virtue for the rest of mankind to learn from. Surely, if and when you reach such a standard, you will be those who bring about a moral revolution in society. You will be the ones who hold aloft an eternal lantern of truth lighting up the world and lifting it out of darkness.
As I said, Islam’s early history bears witness to the fact that young teenagers were those who accomplished truly monumental and magnificent achievements. So, never underestimate yourselves or think you are too young to bring about a spiritual and moral revolution change in society. Whether you are fifteen, twenty, thirty or forty, or of any other age, grasp every opportunity to serve Islam as though it is your last. Without any shadow of a doubt, every Khadim, according to their age, knowledge and experience, can serve the cause of Islam and the mission of the Promised Messiah (as) so long as they fulfil the rights of Allah’s worship and fulfil the rights of His creation and be those who never forsake the truth and who fulfil their promises and pledges. May Allah the Almighty grant you all the ability to do so. May Allah the Almighty enable all of you to be shining stars of Ahmadiyyat and be those who can fulfil the true purpose of their creation. May Allah continue to bless Majlis Khuddamul Ahmadiyya in every respect. Ameen.
Now join me in silent prayer…’
[After the silent prayer]
‘There is one announcement, please. The Isha’at department of Majlis Khuddamul Ahmadiyya United Kingdom was given the blessed opportunity to translate and publish the first half of Mash’al-e-Rah Volume 1. The book covers the initial years of Majlis Khuddamul Ahmadiyya, from the very first address at the inception of Khuddamul Ahmadiyya in 1938, delivered by Hazrat Khalifatul Masih II (ra). This English translation comprises of 26 addresses and 12 poems in total. I have named this collection “Beacon for the Youth” in English. May Allah enable this to become a beneficial source of material for the Ta’lim and Tarbiyyat of our youth. Ameen.’
There is an announcement about the Salat Hub mobile application; Majlis Atfalul Ahmadiyya UK has made the Salat Hub mobile application. The Salat Hub website was launched last year and now the mobile application introduces new ways to help learn Namaz and its translation. There are interesting activities in the app that users can save their progress and unlock new levels of Salat learning as they progress. Children can attain badges as well. All the badges are based on Arabic words mentioned in the Holy Qur’an with a brief explanation of each word. Jama’at members of all ages can use the app. It is currently available on iOS App Store and will be available soon for Android, Insha’Allah. May Allah enable this to become a beneficial source of learning and improving the understanding of Namaz. Ameen. So, Khuddam and Atfal should benefit from this app. May the peace and mercy of Allah be upon you.’