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THE UNIVERSAL RELIGION

6 EAST AFRICAN TOUR (On August 26,1988 Hazrat Mirza Tahir Ahmad, the Supreme Head of the Ahmadiyya Movement in Islam, left London on a tour of Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania and Mauritius in which countries Ahmadiyya Muslim Missions are well established. He was accompanied by his wife, Hazrat Sayyeda Asifa Begum Sahiba and officials of his entourage). The first stop on the Journey of Hazrat Mirza Tahir Ahmad to East Africa was Paris. On 27th August he arrived at Nairobi airport, Kenya, where he was met by the missionary Incharge Mr. Jamil-ur- Rahman Rafiq and other officials of the Community. On the same day he travelled to Mombassa on the east coast. While there he attended a reception which was attended by local dignitaries. Later he held a question and answer session. Before returning to Nairobi fifty two people accepted Ahmadiyyat, the True Islam. Back in Nairobi Hazrat Mirza Tahir Ahmad met most of the members of the Community in the mission house. He gave instructions that information should be collected about Sahabis (close lifetime followers of the Promised Messiah, Holy Founder of the Ahmadiyya Movement) who had come to live in Kenya; and also that a history of the Movement in Kenya should be prepared. At a reception held at the Inter Continental Hotel, Hazrat Mirza Tahir Ahmad said that the future of the world lies in Africa. Allah has granted Africans many good qualities. He also launched the distribution of the Kesquine translation of the Holy Quran a copy of which he presented to the honourable Germia M. Niagra, Minister of Environment and Natural Resources who said in his address that the visit of the Head of Ahmadiyya Movement to Kenya was a very timely source of blessings and that everything he had advised seemed as if they had been spoken by the voice of God. He expressed his apprecill;tion of the Kesquine translation of the Holy Quran. Before leaving Nairobi for Kasumu on 30th August, Hazrat Mirza Tahir Ahmad visited the National Museum and Snake park which are attractions for all visitors. At Kasumu he met all the members in the mosque and in the evening attended a reception which was also attended by the District Commissioner. Following a short address he conducted a Question and Answer session. EAST AFRICAN TOUR 7 Next day he visited Shianda where the Ahmadiyya Community has recently built a mosque. One person donated the land while another person provided the expenses required for construction. This mosque is unique in East Africa in as much as the electricity is provided by the sun. Addressing a gathering in the mosque Hazrat Mirza Tahir Ahmad said that mosques are built for the purpose of gathering to worship Allah the One True God. He said that after seeing a beautiful mosque some people think about its architectural beauty but do not dwell on the object of its construction which is for the glory of God. When someone builds a house in your area you feel that you would like to visit the person. If he is a rich person it is not possible for everyone to do so. This privilege is mainly available only to rich relatives and friends of the owner. Where a mosque is concerned it is open for everyone to visit. Different kinds of people go to the mosque. Some offer prayers but their hearts are not attached to the mosque. Their visit would not forgive them their sins. The purpose of going to a mosque is not to establish contact with the building but with God through earnest prayer. Some people go to the mosque only in times of calamity and distress whereas they should go for the purpose of creating the love of God in their hearts which brings them His help and succour. After offering prayers Hazrat Mirza Tahir Ahmad gave a generous sum for the purchase of sweets for Ahmadi and non Ahmadi children. Later he declared open a homeopathic dispensary and also laid the foundation stone of a new mission house and also of a school to be built adjacent to it. Approximately eight hundred people attended the ceremony including regional chiefs and police officers. He advised the ladies on the importance of giving proper training to their children. Before returning to Nairobi eighteen people accepted Ahmadiyyat. On September I Hazrat Mirza Tahir Ahmad visited the National Park and afterwards attended a press conference convened at the Hilton Hotel. Later he visited the Ahmadiyya cemetery in which some Sahabis lie at rest along with other members of the Community. He offered a prayer for all the deceased and then called at the house of his maternal uncle, the late Sayed Mahmuddullah Shah Sahib where he also offered prayer. A non-Muslim lady journalist who has written a thesis on Islam, met him in the evening. After Isha Prayer (last prayer of the day) thirteen persons joined the fold of Ahmadiyyat, all from the Kekuyu tribe. It is worth mentioning that recently the Quran has been translated into Kekuyu language by the Ahmadiyya Movement. 8 REVIEW OF RELIGIONS Hazrat Mirza Tahir Ahmad set out for his tour of Uganda on 3rd September and one hour later arrived at Entabe Airport, Kampala, where a great number of Ahmadi men and women had assembled to give him a warm welcome. First he visited the Bashir High School where he addressed the staff, students and other friends in attendance. He expressed his gratitude to Allah for granting him the opportunity to visit Uganda. He regretted that the impediment in the way of national progress was moral degradation. He urged the people of Uganda to revive moral values, develope mutual love and unity and respect one another’s sentiments, wealth and honour; and to use their energies for the development of the country. There was a need for students to be educated especially in matters of truthfulness and honesty. He declared that there would be an expansion of the school building, science laboratory, video room, library and provision for technical education, The school would soon be equipped with the latest methods of instruction and the necessary funds for this project would be provided After evening prayers he conducted a Question and Answer session. On Sept. 4th Hazrat Mirza Tahir Ahmad left Kampala for Jinja. On the way he visited an Ahmadi primary school and he instructed that at this place a Missionary Training College should be established. Further on the route he stopped at Mabiku where a community was estabalished in 1981. Here a beautiful mosque has been built by self-effort endeavours. Addressing those present he said although Ahmadiyyat had been introduced here later than it had been in some other countries yet, by the grace of God, remarkable signs of its attraction are to be seen here. He told the members that as they had accepted the call of the Promised Messiah it was therefore the responsibility of the Movement to look after their needs. He told them that their reformation, progress and redemption from sins depends upon the acceptance of the Messiah of this age. This you have done. You should now become models for Uganda. The solution of the country’s problems lies in the acceptance of Ahmadiyyat the True Islam as has been expounded by the Promised Messiah. He announced that the school would be improved and he donated two hundred and eighty thousand shillings as a gift for the students of the school. He also announced that a survey would be made for the possibility of establishing a small cottage industry in the area. On Sept. 6th Hazrat Mirza Tahir Ahmad met the Prime Minister of EAST AFRICAN TOUR 9 Uganda and also the Minister ofInformation. Later he was invited for tea by Mr. Shoaib Naseer, Amir of Uganda. In the evening he attended a reception party at the Shezaton Hotel, Kampala, which was attended by prominent people from all walks of life. He told them that those who love God also love His creatures; and they keep their love very much to themselves lest it may not become a matter of showing off. If you show your love for mankind you cannot hide it. He said religion can do much in establishing peace. He had observed that Ugandans are good natured and sociable but unfortunately they suffer from two diseases falsehood and stealing. They should make up for the lossess suffered and work for the peace and prosperity of the country. He said that the Ahmadiyya Community is pledged to serve you and that he had already made an appeal in this respect. After the reception Hazrat Mirza Tahir Ahmad was interviewed by Uganda Television for their programme “Guest of the Week”. He said that the purpose of establishing the Ahmadiyya Muslim Mission is to invite the whole world to the One True God and that this task would be accomplished through a person whose advent had been foretold by God. In answer to a question he replied that he felt sympathy for all mankind. Since he had come to Uganda he thought himself as a Ugandan and he would serve and do everything possible for Uganda. He asked how can we claim to love God if we are not ready to serve the creatures of God? He said that it was his duty to provide both the physical and spiritual needs of people and that programmes are under way to provide educational, medical and economical assistance where needed. Before leaving Uganda he met the Minister of Education, Minister of Health and the Minister of State. On Sept. 8th Hazrat Mirza Tahir Ahmad travelled to Tanzania where he was received at Dar-us-Salam airport by the Amir and by about a thousand members of the Community with whom he shook hands. Some Tanzanian dignitaries were also present. A press conference was also held at the airport. His stay was arranged at the Kilmanjaroo Hotel where he sat with members of the Commuinty and held a long session of Question and Answeres. Next day, after Friday prayers, Hazrat Mirza Tahir Ahmad visited Dar-us-Salam University where he met the Dean of the Faculty of Social Sciences who had arranged for him to deliver an address. The address lasted for two hours and was listened to by two hundred people. In the evening he conducted another Question and Answer session in the Ahmadiyya Mosque, Dar-us-Salam. On Sept. 10th, Hazrat Mirza Tahir Ahmad met the Regional 10 REVIEW OF RELIGIONS Commissioner, Dar-us-Salam, in the Kilminjaroo Hotel where afterwards a press conference was held at which he spoke about the object of his African tour. In answer to a question he stated that the most important requisite for establishing world peace is morality. For the sake of their own interests big countries do not care for small countries. The rights of others, equality and justice are not kept in view. Even in Africa moral values are speedily disappearing. He said that unless moral values are maintained it is not possible to establish real peace. Later a Question and Answer session was held and in the evening a dinner party was held in his honour at which many notables were present including Mr. Noon Qasim, Minister of Energy, Commissioner of Labour, Judges, lawyers, doctors and other distinguished persons. On this occasion he said that Africans should take interest in serving their own people and should not follow foreign ideologies. They should all start marching in the same direction and then they would become a big power. On Sept. 11, Hazrat Mirza Tahir Ahmad went to Mikumi where he spent the night. On the following day he laid the foundation stone of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Hospital in Morugoru on which occasion were present the Regional and District Commissioners, members of Parliament and other prominent citizens. He expressed his pleasure at laying the foundation stone of the first Ahmadiyya Muslim hospital in Tanzania. He mentioned the medical and educational services rendered by the Community in West Africa. He said that he also intends to open a Homeopathic dispensary at this place. After evening prayers he conducted a Question and Answer session in the mosque. Later a dinner was hosted in his honour at which the Regional Commissioner said it was a matter of pride that an international religious leader was among them. In his address Hazrat Mirza Tahir Ahmad said that while the basis of every religion is to inculcate mutual love, it is sad that today much hatred is spread int the name of religion. It is not pleasing to God that hatred should be spread in His name. Would a mother like her children to spread hatred for one another?- Then how can it be that God would teach his creatures to spread hatred among themselves in His name? He said that movements which spread hatred in the name of religion are prompted by politicians. He said that during his tour of West Africa he met the President of Sierra Leone who told him that his principle was not to let religion interfere with politics and also that since the Ahmadiyya EAST AFRICAN TOUR 11 Community came to the country it has never interfered with politics. Hazrat Mirza Tahir Ahmad said that this principle is right but incomplete. The second part is that politics should never interfere with religion. On the morning of Sept. 13 Hazrat Mirza Tahir Ahmad left Morogoru for Dodoma where he inaugurated the newly built mosque in which he offered afternoon prayers. Addressing the gathering he said that he was grateful to Allah and to those friends who had come to Join in the function. He stated that no formality is necessary for opening a mosque. Mosques are built for the sake of Allah. the most important of all mosques is the mosque of the Holy Prophet and the foremost place of worship is the Kaaba which is a simple building and not a masterpiece of construction. There was a time when rain used to leak through the roof of the Holy Prophet’s mosque. The opening of a mosque is a time for rejoicing but I am always apprehensive as to what will happen in the future if such occasions are merely restricted to formalities. People would just want ot know who built it and who declared it open. Whenever you think of a place of worship then ask yourself whether or not God is present there. It is a sad fact today that instead of being used as a place of worship some mosques and churches are being used for political activities and the creation of hatred and violence and the purpose for which they have been built is lost to oblivion. The glory of mosques does not lie in their architectural construction but in the presence of God. Hazrat Mirza Tahir Ahmad further said that there exist hundreds of thousands of mosques and churches. People go to them but how can we know whether they are going for worship, or to show off or just as a habit? He said that there is a very easy way of knowing. You know and are effected by the conduct and behaviour of the people with whom you keep company. How, therefore, can it be that a person living in God’s company is not likewise effected? If an immoral and ill mannered person comes away from the church or mosque unchanged then what did he gain from his attendance? The greatest dilemma of our time is that new movements continue to spring up in Islam, Christianity and other religions but still people incline more towards evil. They steal, are untruthful and dishonest yet claim that they belong to a religious society. The fact is that all religious movements that preach violence are not a source of attracting people towards God. On the Day of Resurrection God would ask them how many people they kept away from sin. Religious leaders are responsible to bring people nearer and nearer to God and save them from evil. 12 REVIEW OF RELIGIONS Anybody who has offered his first prayer in this mosque for the sake of God, is indeed the person who has inaugurated it. The mosque is open to everybody irrespective of which Islamic sect they belong. Even Christians may worship the One True God in the mosque. Those who come to the mosque should seek nearness to God and when they leave after offering prayers they should ask themselves whether or not they are better than before they entered. On this occasion those who attended the celebration included the Regional Commissioner, District Chairman, Regional Party Chairman and members of the National Executive Committee. The cost of constructing the mosque was borne by some devoted Ahmadi friends in the U.K. In the afternoon Hazrat Mirza Tahir Ahmad answered many questions at a Question and Answer session. Later he attended a dinner at the Dodoma Hotel. Addressing the guests he expressed his pleasure at being there. He said wherever he goes in the world and meets Ahmadis who accept him as their spiritual leader, there he also feels as though he is one of them. Today Ahmadiyyat the True Islam flourishes in one hundred and fourteen countries. He said Islam stands for love and not for hatred. It is sad that today some Muslim governments on account of their wrong attitudes are considered to represent a religion of violence, punishment and harshness. He said that as a servant of Islam he had assumed the responsibility to make a worldwide proclamation that the message of Islam is one of love and brotherhood. This is the Islam we have learned from the Holy Prophet and the Islam which we preach. In the end he said I have in my heart love for you and to love God’s creatures is my aim and objective. Next day Hazrat Mirza Tahir Ahmad left Dodoma for Darus Salam. On the way he stopped at Morogoru and while there visited the grave of a devoted Ahmadi, Sheikh Amri Obedi for whose departed soul he offered prayer. Later Hazrat Mirza Tahir Ahmad called on the Prime Minister and briefed him on the Ahmadiyya Movement and its activities. He told him Tanzania needs moral re-armament. Without good morals the people are not ripe to accept any ideology. The Prime Minister told him that his tour had been very beneficial for the country and for which he expressed his thanks. The meeting continued for about one hour in a very cordial and friendly atmosphere. Hazrat Mirza Tahir Ahmad presented the Prime Minister with translations of the Holy Quran in several languages which he gratefully accepted. EAST AFRICAN TOUR 13 In the evening Hazrat Mirza Tahir Ahmad delivered his farewell address to the members of the Community in the Ahmadiyya Mosque, Dar-us-Salam. He expressed his thanks to everyone and expressed his appreciation that many people had travelled hundreds of miles from different parts of the country to see him, He prayed that Allah may grant them great reward and be their Helper and Companion in all their religious and worldly affairs. He went on to say that the most important requirement for the country was the establishement of moral values which could only be done by the Ahmadis. First of all they should reform themselves by displaying truthfulness, honesty and good morals and then they should urge their non-Ahmadi friends to do the same. He also referred to the poverty and destitution in Africa and told them that they should work for a total change in the country. They should adopt the teachings of the Holy Prophet remembering that love for one’s country is part of faith. It’was necessary for them to do their utmost for the reconstruction of their country. They should work with their own hands and set an example of the dignity of labour. The last thing he wanted to tell them was that they should work hard and resolve to spread Ahmadiyyat in every corner of the country as that is the only way of achieving world peace. He told them to work harder for the establishment of Islamic values. Today your number is ten thousand and when I come next time it should have increased to one million. LOVE FOR GOD o my Allah! Fill my heart with your love. hence eradicating all base desires and watering my life with all good tendencies. o my Allah! Fill my heart with your love. consuming material desires and sapping all weaknesses which can enslave my willingness to submit wholly and solely to you. (Mariam Hassan Ally)

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