Africa Ahmadiyyat

100 Years of Ahmadiyyat in the Service of Mankind

36 100 YEARS OF AHMADIYYAT IN THE SERVICE OF MANKIND (Sheikh Nasir Ahmad) You are the best people, raised for the good of mankind; you enjoin good and forbid evil and believe in Allah…'(Quran 3:111} Service of mankind is in reality the essence of the teachings of Islam. It has been, to be more precise, the teaching of all revealed religions which were established by God through His prophets. No doubt, God distinguishes between the rights of and duties towards God and the rights and duties towards fellow-beings, but this- distinction is subtle. God stands in no need of any service whatsoever from anybody in the Universe, -if man is asked to fulfil his duties towards God or to observe the rights of his Creator, he is simply .being asked to lead his life in a.way which promotes peace and harmony, a life of good’neighbourly relations, by avoiding all sources of conflict and by emphasizing all factors which generate peace in every sphere of life. This is the reason why the Holy Prophet (peace-be on him) said that one who does not show gratitude to human beings is not grateful to Allah either. Further, it is stated in Islam that a wrong done to a fellow-being will not be forgiven by God unless the evil-doer seeks forgiveness of the person upon whom the injury has been caused. Service to mankind, therefore, is essentially service to God in the sense that although God stands, in no need of service, service can be and should be done to His creation, because the creatures stand in need of service. Such a service of mankind becomes service to Allah, and this in a sense is • the main theme of Islam and of religion in general. Ahmadiyyat is true Islam which represents all the religions in their original purity. That is why service to mankind is writ large on the banner of Ahmadiyyat-as it was writ large on the earlier banner of Islam or Ahmadiyyat at the time of the Holy Prophet, (peace be on him) Ahmadiyyat has to prove its mettle only through service of mankind on a very broad spectrum, in the spiritual realm, the intellectual realm, the social realm, the ideological realm and the material realm. The best service that can be rendered to mankind is contained in the REVIEW OF RELIGIONS 37 Quranic verse quoted at the beginning in which Muslims are called the the best people because they have been raised for the good of mankind. The way to do good to mankind is elaborated in the words you enjoin good and forbid evil. These two essentials, if fulfilled, become service to mankind of the highest order, and a people or a community which fulfils these essentials earns the title of the best people, a title craved for by so many nations in the history of mankind. If Ahmadiyyat (the true Islam) has fulfilled these two essentials during the past hundred, years of its history, then Ahmadi Muslims deserve the title of the best people. With reference to this service of mankind, the Holy Quran says: And let there always be among you a body of men who should invite others to goodness and enjoin virtue and forbid evil. (3:105) This is exactly what the early Muslims did and earned the title of the best people. And.this is exactly what Muslims in later centuries failed to do and forfeited the title of the best people. TRADITION REVIVED . Ahmadiyyat is reviving the tradition of serving mankind through inviting people, to do good, enjoining virtue and stopping others from doing evil. This is preaching in the best sense of the word, and it is this activity which entitles a community to be designated as the best people. Ahmadiyyat embarked upon this task of serving mankind from the very beginning. It lay in the nature of things that, to start with, service of mankind had to take an indirect form, to be later followed by direct service in clear-cut terms. Ahmadi missionaries started disseminating the message of Islam which is contained in the fore— going quoted, Verse: They commenced on the Indian subcontinent and then continued in other parts of the world. Ahmadi Muslims have now taken up this task in 120 countries of the world. KASHMIR The direct service of mankind was soon to follow. It took various forms, as for example ameliorating the conditions of those who were not receiving their due from their masters, restoration of the rights of those 38 REVIEW OF RELIGIONS who were denied basic human rights, providing facilities for basic education to the illiterate and medical care for the sick and housing for those who had no shelter. As far back as sixty years ago, when Ahmadiyyat was still in its infancy, the plight of the Muslim population of the Kashmir State in the pre-partition India occupied the attention of Hazrat Khalifatul Masih H. The people of Kashmir, the over—whelming majority being Muslims under a Hindu Raja, were denied basic human rights. They were living under conditions of near to slavery. They tilled their own land in forced labour without any rights of ownership. They were used as work horses. Hazrat Khalifatul Masih E. played a remarkable and leading role in seeking improvement in the condition of Kashmiri Muslims. In -his capacity as President of the Kashmir Committee he was able to do a lot to ameliorate the condition of the people of Kashmir. Every earning member of the Ahmadiyya Community was urged to pay one pie out of every rupee he earned towards the Kashmir Fund. That was a great service which Ahmadiyyat rendered to a suffering section of mankind. KHUDDAM-UI^AHMADIYYA In 1938 i.e; more than 50 years ago – the spirit of selfless service to mankind was instilled into the Ahmadi youth when Hazrat Khalifatul Masih II called upon them to form the organisation of Khuddam— ul—Ahmadiyya, an organisation which incorporates in its riame the motto of serving fellow-beings. To prepare the Ahmadiyya youth for their noble task of being servants of mankind, they were imbued with the desire to serve mankind through manual work under-the scheme of Waqar-e-Amal or the Dignity of labour, by being trained to do with their own hands works of common welfare such as mending the roads, offering voluntary help in case of an emergency or a catastrophe. Thus the Khuddam—ut-Ahmadiyya have been helping people in distress, offering relief at the time of a flood by bringing food and medicines to affected areas. Ahmadi youth have been known to have risked their lives in an attempt to save people caught in a flood. This sort of help has in no way been restricted to Ahmadi population.- Ahmadi youth were there to rush to the succour of the needy in Bengal in late 50s when the country was affected by heavy floods. In 1957, a railway bridge in Pakistan was damaged by floods to the extent that it was no more safe for trains. The Khuddamul Ahmadiyya rendered invaluable help to the railway by reinforcing the bridge with stones and rocks and making it usable again. This job was done at a time REVIEW OF RELIGIONS 39 when no other help could possibly have been mobilised in time. In the meantime, food and shelter was offered to the stranded passengers who had been caught in the floods. Their next of kin were informed of the situation by sending out telegrams. Summer months in hot countries add to the problems of the travelling public. The youth of Khuddamul Ahmadiyya offer cold drinking water to bus passengers who alight at bus stops. In 19 8 7, the tragedy at the Ojri military camp between Rawalpindi and Islamabad came like a bullet from the blue. The first relief workers to arrive at the scene of catastrophe were the Ahmadi youth who looked after the wounded and the distressed at a time when any government help was not yet in sight. Recently floods in Tanzania caused huge damage in the province of Morogoro. The Ahmadiyya community of Morogoro promised to supply free medicines to help the people in the affected area. In the Swahili language daily newspaper Uhuru of the ruling party, the following news item appeared: The Ahmadiyya Jamaat in Morogoro has swiftly reacted in supplying free medicines to help the flood stricken people of the province of Morogoro. The officer in charge of the Ahmadiyy’a health centre, Dr. Mubarak Ahmad Sharif, stated that he had made preparations to send qualified staff for the purpose of providing medical aid to the flood stricken people in the districts ofUlanga andKilombero who will take medicines with them and treat the people in the affected areas free of charge. IN THE SERVICE OF MANKIND IN AFRICA Only a very brief account can be given of the work done and being done in Africa, work which spans several decades and spreads .to areas thousand of kilometres apart. For centuries the world had been looking down upon the nations of Africa, a continent contemptuously remembered as ‘Black Africa’. Africans were regarded as.less than humans, but good enough to work as slaves for the civilised nations of the West. But-these down trodden nations were the descendants of Syedna Hazrat Bilal, a fact of history which Ahmadiyya did not fail to grasp. Although Africa had for long been the arena of respect of restoring human dignity to the African people, they in fact helped to strengthen the shack/les of their slavery, and the sort of help extended to them made them even more dependent on their so-called benefactors, who in reality were their masters. 40 REVIEW OF RELIGIONS It was through Ahmadiyyat that these nations which had been held backward-, received the message of love combined with a desire to help and serve. Small scale efforts had already begun in the time of Hazrat Khalifatul Masih H,. but in 1970 Hazrat Khalifatul Masih m. gave a tremendous boost to those efforts under a scheme called Nusrat Jehan Scheme. This monumental scheme called for schools to educate the illiterate and for medical clinics and hospitals to heal the sick Africans. During a tour of West Africa, Hazrat Khalifatul Masih HE, received a clear guidance from God while he was in Gambia. He said that AUah hammered into me the importance of spending at least one hundred thousand pounds in those countries, and gave the promise that God would bless it immensely. (Alfazl, 20th June, 1970) This divine scheme carried the message of service to mankind which was to become the prerogative of the tiny community of Ahmadi Muslims, very small in numbers and with very inadequate means at its disposal. The Khalifatul Masih appealed for a fund under the name of Nusrat Jehan Fund and observed: I am not worried as to where this money will come from because if Allah wishes that this money should be spent, then He will also provide it I will get this money, and I am not warned. Further, I require urgently 30 physicians for the work besides school teachers. (Alfazl, 15th April, 1972). Ahmadi Muslims, ever zealous to serve mankind, reacted to this appeal for funds by offering more than double the amount asked for. The result was that the initial work planned to be completed in 5 to 7 years was accomplished within two years. SERVICE TO MANKIND APPRECIATED According to one estimate—figures may not be final —, there are now 2 7 Ahmadiyya hospitals or medical clinics in West Africa, 3 5 secondary and more than 100 primary schools. Ahmadi physicians are becoming very popular and the word has gone around that Ahmadiyya clinics possess the greatest healing power. In the first twelve years of this scheme more than three million African patients had been treated by Ahmadi doctors. About the service to mankind through Ahmadiyyat, the President of Ghana said in respect of his country : The government is fully aware of the services rendered to the people of Ghana by the Ahmadiyya Jamaat. That is why we can say that we are deeply grateful to Ahmadiyya Jamaat for its important contribution towards the reconstruction and progress of this country. (Guidance, November 1971) Mr. Mustafa Sinousi, president of the largest and most influential REVIEW OF RELIGIONS 41 Muslim organisation of Sierra Leone, the Sierra Leone Muslim Congress, who is also a Minister of State, said: I have always been full of praise for and a weE-wisher of Ahmadiyyat, but there are some who do not tike this attachment and love on my part. I tell them that Ahmadiyyat is a truth and it is engaged day andnight in our selfless service for the sake of truth. It is not an easy job to run 12 secondary and 50 primary schools* Only people endowed with sincerity, passion and right motivation can do this. He added: The services of the Ahmadiyya Jamaat in the field of medical care should be written in golden letters. (Alfazl.l9th April, 1980). The President of Nigeria, Sheikhu Shagari, paid his tribute to the services of Ahmadiyyat in his country in the following words: The efforts of the Jamaat in this respect (i.e. establishing schools and hospitals) are worthy of high praise and example to be foEowed by other voluntary organisations. (Alfazl, 3rd March, 1980). In Nigeria, Nusratjehan Scheme was started in 19 71 with an amount of 5.3 million rupees. In 11 years the annual budget of the schools and hospitals had exceeded the amount of 40 million rupees, i.e. about one and a quarter million pounds. In other words, the volume of activities had risen seven and a half times in the first 11 years of the scheme. Recently, on the occasion of the Thanksgiving Centenary celebrations of Ahmadiyyat, the Governor General of Canada, His Excellency Jeanne Salive, sent a message in which he acknowledged: The philanthropic activities, undertaken by the Ahmadiyya Move- ment, and its work with hospitals, clinics and schools in the poorest parts of the world bear eloquent testimony to the invaluable role played by those inspired by faith and spiritual values. May you continue to embrace the future in a spirit of help and optimism. NEW NUSRAf JEHAN SCHEME But the Nusrat Jehan Scheme was not to stop at that. Only 1.5 years ago, Hazrat Khalifatul Masih IV added a new, beautiful dimension to this work by launching the New Nusrat Jehan Scheme. The idea behind this new thrust is to help African nations to help themselves. Highly qualified Ahmadis in all fields of life, doctors, engineers businessmen, industrialists and so on have been asked to share their knowledge with the developing countries of Africa. Specialists are devoting their time free of charge 42 REVIEW OF RELIGIONS surveying different areas of Africa where they can offer their skills so that African nations can stand on their own feet. Ahmadiyyat is entering Africa with intentions quite opposed to the intentions of those worldly powers who have been exploiting African countries under the cloak of aid. This new aid under the New Nusrat Jehan Scheme Is unique because it aims at training the Africans to become independent of any foreign aid which in the long run means ever more shackles for these nations. OTHER SOCIAL WORKS In the early years of the Khilafat of Hazrat Khalifatul Masih II., a hospital under the name of Noor Hospital was opened in which poor patients who could not afford to pay were treated free of charge. On the partition of India, the hospital was re-opened in Rabwah under the name Fazl-e-Omar Hospital, and it is now offering medical care to thousands of persons also from far-off places. According to a recent report, a free medical service has been started in villages surrounding Lahore in Pakistan. Physicians, also lady doctors, dispensers, medical students and Khuddam-ul—Ahmadiyya take part in medical camps. Last year alone, 2 5 male and 11 female physicians took part in this social work, 2 8 camps were organised, 5806 patients were diagnosed and free medicines dispensed. The care of orphans has been a great concern of the Ahmadiyya leadership. In Qadian an • orphanage was maintained but not as an orphanage of the conventional type. In view of the first Centenary of Ahmadiyyat, an appeal was made by Hazrat Khalifatul Masih IV. for the adoption of orphans from different countries, as for example from El Salvador. An appeal was made by Hazrat Khalifatul Masih IV. for a fund to help Ethiopia when famine struck that country a couple of years ago. But also this time the aid was planned on a long term basis so that conditions could be created in which the famine catastrophe should not repeat itself. There is another kind of service to mankind which, too, is unique in its nature. It takes the form of Du’a (prayer) which is a mighty weapon in the arsenal of Ahmadiyyat. Appeals are made from time to time to pray to God Almighty for certain countries and nations such as for Arab nations, Canada, Ghana at the time of a severe drought, Ivory Coast, and for the economic welfare of Sierra Leone. These are a few examples. Whenever such collective prayer of Ahmadis is responded by God, the people concerned are greatly impressed. REVIEW OF RELIGIONS . 43 Last but not least, the greatest service of mankind rendered by Ahmadiyyat is in the spiritual realm. Ahmadiyyat has been inviting the whole of mankind towards God, the lost treasure of entire mankind. No other community in- the world is doing this job except the Ahmadi Muslims. In doing that they are carrying on the work for which Prophets were sent and for which man was created. Islam had come to serve mankind. But the s,o-called Muslims of the time of the Promised Messiah had distorted the teachings of Islam to the extent that the world could not conceive Islam as a force in the service of mankind. Lack of the freedom of conscience and belief, denial of basic human rights, belief in the forced conversion of non-Muslims, belief in the penalty of death for apostasy, and so on and so forth, was the picture of Islam presented to the world by Muslims themselves. It was necessary to demolish this horrible structure of Islam so that Islam and Muslims could again be seen as the greatest servants of mankind and as such could earn the title of being the best people. This is a brief, incomplete sketch of the activities in the field of service to mankind. Compared to what has been achieved, the task still lying ahead is enormous and by any normal estimation beyond the resources and capabilities of one single community in the world. Thus there is no room for complacency and Ahmadis are definitely not being complacent. But it is only a beginning. The above mentioned 700% increase in the budget for social work in Nigeria is very encouraging, but time will come when such budgets will appear to be ridiculously small. Yet a seed has been sown. A nucleus has been built which is bound to grow and encompass the whole of humanity in due course of time. This gigantic task will not be accomplished by human beings alone. Invisible powers are working to this end, and Islam will once again emerge as the greatest benefactor of mankind and true Muslims will once again be called the best people in the words of the Holy Quran. Is it not then an irony of fate that this very Community, the essence of the creation, the servant of mankind, is today being made the target of oppression, persecution and torture? Those who had stood up to restore the rights of others, to help the needy, to feed the hungry and to provide shelter to the homeless, are being themselves robbed of their possessions, brutally denied their basic human rights, their houses burnt, property looted, their kith and kin ruthlessly murdered? As our Master and Leader, the Holy Prophet, had prayed to God at the time of the battle of Badr to spare the tiny community of early Muslims, as otherwise no one would be left to worship the Creator, we too, pray to Allah in these words: 44 REVIEW OF RELIGIONS Spare this tiny and helpless Jamaat, the regeneration of Islam, as otherwise no one would be left to serve Thy creation, the whole mankind. Let it be so, 0 Master of the Universe. Almighty Allah, make the teachings of true Islam prevail in practice, and enable this humble community of Ahmadi Muslims to serve mankind ever more. Amen. (from page 17) be rejected by every sane—minded man. XII. Jesus, say the Christians, fulfilled the Law and, therefore they need not follow the Law. Jesus subjected himself, say they, to the yoke of Law and, therefore, they do not stand in need of submitting to it For instance, he got himself circumcised and, therefore they do not need to follow that ordinance. Similarly, we ask them, Jesus bore death, why then do the Christians suffer death? He also got himself baptised, why do they then perform that ritual? He also prayed; why do the Christian then pray? But they do all these things and think them to be necessary, and they find themselvs as subject to death as any other mortal. This shows that the idea of the atonement of Jesus is a false idea. XIH. The Christians say that sin is disobedience to God and that disobedience means rebellion and the punishment of rebellion is hell. As no mortal is perfectly free from sin, therefore all mortals deserve to be cast into hell. It is a queer logic to designate every sin as rebellion. We have an example of it in this world. People disobey the laws of the Government. They are guilty of such offences as fraud, theft etc. But are all offenders treated as rebellious and condemned to transportation for life or hanged by the neck? It is indeed true that rebellion is also one of the offences and it was to this offence that Jesus referred when he said that sin against the Spirit would never be pardoned. But to treat all sins as like is a great mistake. And it is an untruth to say that all men are born sinful. All the world regards children as innocent. Even Jesus said, Suffer little children to come, unto me, and forbid them not, for of such is the kingdom of God (Luke xviii: iv). He did not say that the kingdom of heaven was for those that believed in his Atonement. This shows that the story of the atonement is a mere myth.