Translated by Amatul Hadi, UK
Over the next few months, The Review of Religions will be providing coverage of the recent tours undertaken by Hadhrat Mirza Masroor Ahmad, Khalifatul-Masih V(aba), Head of the worldwide Ahmadiyya Muslim Community. Here we present the report of the tour by his Holiness to Holland during May 2012. The full reports cannot be covered even if we were to dedicate several editions solely for it. Thus, we only intend to present a brief summary of the tours. Look out in our upcoming Editions for highlights of tours to Germany, United States and Canada.
* Based on the Urdu report of the tour as published in the Daily Al-Fazl, Rabwah, compiled by Mr Abdul-Majid Tahir, Additional Director of Foreign Missions of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community.
Hadhrat Mirza Masroor Ahmad, Khalifatul Masih V(aba) left London on 14 May 2012 for a planned tour of the Netherlands, Germany and Belgium. The Annual Conventions of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community in these countries were to be held in May and June. Hadhrat Khalifatul Masih V(aba) was received by a group of dignitaries of the Ahmadiyya Community in Holland, near the French port of Calais. Among the receiving party were the National President of Ahmadiyya Muslim Community in Holland – Mr Hibbatun-Noor, and the Vice President – Mr Mirza Fakhar Ahmad.
Welcome Reception at Nunspeet
On arrival in Nunspeet, Holland at the Bait-un-Noor Mosque, Hadhrat Khalifatul Masih V(aba) received a rapturous welcome from the members of the Ahmadiyya Community, who had gathered to see their beloved Khalifa and Imam. Children sang songs of praise and slogans of “Allaho Akbar” were raised. The Imam of the worldwide Ahmadiyya Community had a packed programme, which included private audiences with families and individuals. Hadhrat Khalifatul Masih V(aba) also held classes with Waqifeen-e-Nau and met university and college students, who were given a chance to ask questions about any issues or concerns they had and were to benefit from guidance on how they should lead exemplary lives.
18 May 2012 – First Day of Jalsa Salana (Annual Convention) Holland
The 32nd Annual Convention—“Jalsa Salana” of the Ahmadiyya Jama’at Holland, was held on 18 May 2012, opening with the Friday Sermon. As is customary, Hadhrat Khalifatul Masih V(aba) had earlier inspected the activities of the various departments involved in the preparation for the Jalsa, and graced them with his valuable advice on a variety of related issues. After the flag hoisting ceremony, His Holiness delivered his Friday Sermon in Bait-un-Noor Mosque. His Holiness reminded the members of the Ahmadiyya Community to improve their standards of worship, and to be mindful of the rights of others and to benefit from the blessings of Jalsa Salana, by removing any enmities that they might bear against others. Hadhrat Khalifatul Masih V(aba) also mentioned that the number of people attending this Jalsa Salana was the largest to date, in the history of Holland. Guests at this Jalsa had arrived from neighbouring European countries, as well as from Africa and Asia.
19 May 2012 – Second Day of Jalsa Salana (Annual Convention) Holland
On the second day of Jalsa, 19 May, Hadhrat Khalifatul Masih V(aba) delivered his address from the ladies’ Jalsa marquee. Prior to this, Hadhrat Khalifatul Masih V(aba) gave awards to those students who completed their higher education with distinction. In his address, Hadhrat Khalifatul Masih V(aba) reminded the audience that only a true and sincere adoption of the teachings of the Holy Qur’an in our acts and deeds, was the way to show true allegiance to the covenant of Bai’at (initiation), and that this included the observance of ‘purdah’. Hadhrat Khalifatul Masih V(aba) stated that by acting upon the teachings of the Holy Qur’an, women can turn their homes into paradise and thus become the embodiment of the Hadith “Paradise lies at the feet of mothers.”
Meeting with Dutch Dignitaries
That evening, Hadhrat Khalifatul Masih V(aba) attended a meeting including local and national Dutch dignitaries. Among them were Mr. Harry Van Bommel, member of the Dutch Parliament, Mr Van Hemhen, the Mayor of Nunspeet, and two other members of the City Council. Also present was the Minister Councillor of the Romanian Embassy, Mr. Itefan Porojan, the Minister Councillor of Rawandan Embassy, Mr. Guillaume Kavarugnada, as well as the Director of the Public Library of the city of Amstelveen, Mr. Pieter Van Dijk. Reporters from three Dutch newspapers: the daily Trouw, Reformatiorisch Dagblad – a national newspaper, and Leidschedagblad, were also present. A total of 135 Dutch guests attended this event. In his address, the Mayor of Nunspeet – Mr Van Hemhen, extended his good wishes to the Ahmadiyya Community at their annual gathering.
After the Mayor’s address, Mr Harry Van Bommel addressed the gathering. He stated that in a world where some religious groups have come to hold extremist views, it is important that we have respect for each other and exhibit tolerance towards others. He added that he had had the opportunity of visiting Pakistan where he was able to raise the issue of the persecution faced by the Ahmadiyya Community, with the Government of Pakistan. He ended his address by saying that he was very pleased to be able to attend the annual gathering in the presence of Hadhrat Khalifatul Masih V(aba) and he extended his good wishes for this event.
This was followed by the keynote address of Hadhrat Khalifatul Masih V(aba). His Holiness told the gathering that this was the first occasion that he had directly addressed a Dutch audience who were not members of the Ahmadiyya Community. Hadhrat Khalifatul Masih V(aba) stated that he was particularly grateful for their attendance as over the past few years, a certain group in Holland has presented Islam in a most terrifying manner . The attendance of the guests at such a gathering where they expected to be enlightened about the teachings of Islam, reflected their broad mindedness and high standards of fairness and justice, which are the foundation of peace, security and reconciliation in any society. After this, Hadhrat Khalifatul Masih V(aba) presented a brief summary of the true teachings of Islam. Hadhrat Khalifatul Masih V(aba) stated that all true Muslims see the holy founder of Islam – Prophet Muhammad(saw), as their Master and Guide who in his lifetime, provided moral teachings in such detail that even the minutiae of life were addressed; it is these, seemingly finer points, that lead to the establishment and creation of a truly harmonious society. For example, the Holy Prophet(saw) counselled Muslims to always offer thanks and express gratitude where appropriate, because he taught that a person who is ungrateful to his fellow man, is ungrateful to God, and whosoever is ungrateful to God, will not be able to truly derive His blessings and rewards. If a true Muslim chooses to adopt a righteous path with the intention and hope of attaining God’s rewards, then his every act and deed should be in accordance with the teachings of Allah the Almighty and His Messenger.
Hadhrat Khalifatul Masih V(aba) then spoke about the two fundamental principles that Islam requires a person to live by. The first is to fulfil the duty of worship that is owed to God Almighty, and the second is to fulfil the rights of God’s creation. These are the primary teachings of Islam. Both of these objectives can only be fulfilled when a person’s heart is filled with purity, sincerity and the desire to do good. God Almighty has great love for his creation and one manifestation of this is that he desires that all people should treat each other with mutual love and respect, so that they can obtain His blessings and rewards. Hadhrat Khalifatul Masih V(aba) then spoke about the beauty of Islamic teachings, illustrating this by the unrivalled example of the Holy Prophet of Islam(saw), both as a victim of persecution and ultimately, as a victorious leader, exercising patience and benevolence at all times. Hadhrat Khalifatul Masih V(aba) explained that the earlier Muslim wars were fought as defensive wars, and never as offensive wars to convert people to Islam. Hadhrat Khalifatul Masih V(aba) very succinctly pointed out that hearts can never be conquered by force, and that it was the extreme kindness and love of humanity of the Holy Prophet of Islam(saw), that eventually won over hearts of even the most vehement enemies of Islam. After a brief introduction to the early period of Islam, Hadhrat Khalifatul Masih V(aba) then enlightened the audience about the divinely appointed founder of the Ahmadiyya Community, Hadhrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad(as) and his followers, who form the Ahmadiyya Community. Hadhrat Khalifatul Masih V(aba) explained that the Divine purpose of the advent of this Reformer of the Latter Days, was to spread peace and love among mankind, and to remove the harmful elements that lead to disharmony in society. This is to be achieved by making people aware of their Creator and bringing them closer to Him. It is the Ahmadiyya Community that is now taking this work forward and trying to spread peace and harmony in the various countries where they reside. Hadhrat Khalifatul Masih V(aba) concluded his address by thanking the guests for attending the event and spending some time with members of the Ahmadiyya Community.
Following the meeting, Hadhrat Khalifatul Masih V(aba) was interviewed by a journalist from the national newspaper-Reformatiorisch Daglad,. The journalist referred to the debate regarding the view that the Messiah was the son of God and that it is he who is to return to earth in the latter days, in contrast with the Ahmadiyya view that the Messiah had already come in the person of the Promised Messiah(as). Hadhrat Khalifatul Masih V(aba) replied that it is a God-given law that one who dies can never return to this world, and that the example of John who was described by Jesus(as) to be the second coming of Elijah, should be sufficient to enable a correct understanding of this issue. His Holiness further added that in the face of so much corruption in religions and the bad moral state of societies, a Reformer was needed for the renaissance of religion and for social cohesion – hence it is the belief of the Ahmadiyya Community, that such a Reformer has already come in the person of Hadhrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad(as) of Qadian, India, who claimed to be from God and to be the very Messiah that had been awaited. After this interview, Khalifatul Masih V(aba) met Mr Harry Van Bommel, a member of the Dutch Parliament. This interview, with a photograph of Hadhrat Khalifatul Masih V(aba) and Mr. Van Bommel, received coverage in newspapers. Mr Van Bommel also published the photo with Hadhrat Khalifatul Masih V(aba) on his website.
After this meeting, Hadhrat Khalifatul Masih V(aba) met some members of the local Council of Almere, the city where the new Mosque in Holland is to be built. Hadhrat Khalifatul Masih V(aba) was asked about the danger of a third world war, to which Hadhrat Aqdas(aba) responded by stating that while the second world war was fought mainly in Europe and that China and Japan also took part, the third world war would very likely be mainly fought in Asia and the Middle East, but that western powers would also be involved. Hadhrat Khalifatul Masih V(aba) added that due to the danger of such a war facing the world, we should make every effort to try to convince political leaders to work towards reconciliation and peace.
20 May 2012 – Third Day of Jalsa Salana (Annual Convention) Holland
On the third and final day of the Jalsa, eight people took Bai’at (initiation into the Ahmadiyya Community) at the hand of Hadhrat Khalifatul Masih V(aba). Before the concluding address on the final day of Jalsa, there was the customary award ceremony, where students who had completed their higher education with distinction were presented with awards from Hadhrat Khalifatul Masih V(aba). After this, His Holiness delivered his concluding address in which he reminded the members of the Ahmadiyya Jama’at of the blessings that the Companions of the Promised Messiah(as) derived from their association with the Messiah of the time, and from his prayers. Hadhrat Khalifatul Masih V(aba) gave a few examples of the power and fulfilment of the prayers of the Promised Messiah(as). Hadhrat Khalifatul Masih V(aba) reminded the audience that the blessings of the Promised Messiah(as) were still with the Ahmadiyya Jama’at, and there were many who saw living proof of this every day. Hadhrat Khalifatul Masih V(aba) further added that large attendance at the Annual Conventions of the Jama’at all around the world, is also a living proof of the truth of the Promised Messiah(as). His Holiness concluded his address by reminding Ahmadis that they should always give precedence to establishing a living bond with their Creator, God Almighty, so they too can see the manifestation of God’s love and support, as did the Companions of the Promised Messiah(as). This year’s Holland Jalsa was attended by a group of forty-one new converts from Belgium, including people originally from Morocco, Mauritania, Gambia, Rwanda, the Ivory Coast, Ghana and Belgium itself.
Extensive Media Coverage – “Khalifa of Peace”
The visit to Holland of His Holiness received very extensive newspaper coverage. On 21st May, the Dutch national newspaper Reformatiorisch Dagblad, which has a very wide circulation, published a full-page picture of His Holiness with a report covering one-and-a-half pages. This was the first time in the history of the Holland Jama’at, that a picture of the current Khalifa of the Ahmadiyya Community, was allocated a full page in a national newspaper. This report was entitled “Khalifa of Peace” and covered the special function that was arranged for Dutch dignitaries on 19 May, as well as a general introduction to the Annual Convention of Holland. This report included a brief background introduction to the Ahmadiyya Community and its founder, Hadhrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad,(as) as well as a brief introduction to the Ahmadiyya Jama’at in Holland. In addition, this newspaper mentioned the fact that the Ahmadiyya Community is spreading worldwide due to its efforts to invite people to God, and its attempt to promote peaceful co-existence among people of different cultures and creeds.
A local newspaper, De Stentor, stated in an article that hundreds of members of the Ahmadiyya Community from Holland and abroad attended the Annual Convention, whose guest of honour was their Khalifa. It further added that Hadhrat Khalifatul Masih V(aba) warned the world of the grave dangers it was facing due to the financial meltdown and its ill effects, that are threatening world peace. Another national newspaper, Trouw, published a picture of Hadhrat Khalifatul Masih V(aba) with the Dutch member of Parliament, Harry Van Bommel, together with a detailed report on the visit to Holland by His Holiness(aba).