ORIGINAL URDU REPORTS BY ABDUL MAJID TAHIR,
TRANSLATED BY PROFESSOR AMTUL RAZZAQ CARMICHAEL
Khalifatul Masih Vaba Inaugurates Ahmadiyya School of Theology
In December 2012, when the whole of Germany was facing a bitterly cold spell, the hearts of German Ahmadis were warmed by the sight of their beloved Khalifah. After delivering a momentous address to the European Parliament, Khalifatul Masih Vaba visited Germany where His Holiness inaugurated the new building of the Ahmadiyya School of Theology called Jamiah Ahmadiyya, held a class for Waqf-e-Nau youth and presided over many official meetings of internal sub-organisations of the Ahmadiyya Community in Germany to give directions, advice and support. His Holiness met many dignitaries from German society to raise awareness about the true teachings of Islam. In his busy schedule His Holiness found time for ordinary Ahmadi families by doing family Mulaqaat (private audience), and attending Ameen (a ceremony held after the first complete reading of the Holy Qur’an) and wedding ceremonies. The summary of the tour will be presented in two parts.
5th December 2012
His Holiness inaugurated the newly renovated Bait-ur-Rasheed Mosque; the mosque has new minarets erected with the declaration of faith (Kalimah) written at the entrance. After unveiling the memorial plaque, His Holiness addressed the VIPs gathered to celebrate the occasion acclaiming the virtues of Islam and its peaceful teachings (see article in this edition, ‘Can Muslims Integrate into Western Societies?’ for coverage of this event—Ed.).
6th December 2012
His Holiness, Hazrat Mirza Masroor Ahmadaba arrived at the Bait-ur-Rasheed Mosque in Hamburg, Germany at 7:15am and led the Salat-ul-Fajar (formal Prayers at dawn). His Holiness spent the morning carrying out his official duties. This included responding to the correspondence pertaining to different matters associated with the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community, amongst other various tasks. After leading the congregational Prayers of early and late afternoon, His Holinesscarried out his official commitments. In the late afternoon, His Holinessconvened family Mulaqaat (private audience) for members of the Ahmadiyya Jama’at Germany. This was a memorable experience for those who were able to benefit from the blessed company of their beloved Khalifah. They requested His Holiness for prayers for the health of the sick and means of good livelihoods, coupled with other difficulties that they were currently enduring. They also sought His Holiness’s advice and guidance with respect to important business and family matters. Students asked for supplications for success in their exams. These precious moments always leave an everlasting impression on those who are fortunate enough to experience them, and it was no different for the families who gathered in Hamburg that afternoon. Each family had a picture taken with their beloved Khalifah. Students were rewarded with pens, and chocolates were distributed amongst younger children. Later that evening, His Holinessattended the Ameen ceremonies (a ceremony held after the first complete reading of the Holy Qur’an) of 57 children from all over Germany, following which His Holiness led the early and late evening Prayers before retiring for the night.
7th December 2012
Khalifatul Masih Vaba started the day by leading the early morning prayers (Salat-ul-Fajr). It had been snowing overnight and the temperature was -5 degrees Celsius – snow and ice painted the entire town of Hamburg. Notwithstanding these adverse weather conditions, a large number of men, women and children braved the cold and arrived at Bait-ur-Rasheed to offer their morning prayers behind their revered Khalifah. Later that morning, His Holiness attended to various official commitments, before setting off to offer Salat-ul-Jummah (Friday prayers), which had been arranged in Hamburg’s largest sports hall in the neighbourhood of Alsterdorf. A large number of Ahmadis from different parts of Germany travelled up to 650 kilometres to partake in this blessed occasion. The journey to Alsterdorf, which was marred by widespread snow, slippery roads and traffic jams, did not dampen the spirit of these committed worshippers. Their spiritual journey was motivated by a divinely guided inspiration. Nearly three thousand worshippers arrived at this small neighbourhood to attend the Friday Prayers and His Holiness’s sermon was transmitted live across the globe through MTA (Muslim Television Ahmadiyya International). The remainder of the day was spent in more family meetings with the Khalifatul Masih Vaba and other official commitments and engagements. His Holiness retired to his residence after leading the Salat-ul-Maghrib and Salat-ul-Isha’a (early and late evening prayers).
8th December 2012
The day began as per routine with Khalifatul Masih Vaba leading Salat-ul-Fajr at 7:15am. Despite temperatures falling to -11 degrees Celsius and heavy snowfall, nearly a thousand men, women and children attended these early morning prayers. Later that morning, His Holiness blessed various families with Mulaqaat.
In the afternoon, His Holiness travelled to Mahdi-Abad, which is located in Nahe, a municipality in the district of Segeberg in Schleswig-Holstein around 30 kilometres from Hamburg. A native of this municipality was blessed with the opportunity of embracing Ahmadiyyat during the lifetime of the Promised Messiahas. Mahdi-Abad was bought for approximately 600,000 Deusche Mark in 1989. A large number of devotees from surrounding areas came to welcome His Holiness. His Holiness laid the foundation stones for four houses, following which he joined his followers for lunch and led silent prayers. The early and mid-afternoon prayers were offered in congregation. This was followed by an inspection of the local Langar Khana (kitchen). Later that day, His Holiness returned to Hamburg and presided over a class with local Waqifeen-e-Nau children.
Following presentations from various Waqf-e-Nau youth, His Holiness offered his advice to the young children and outlined certain instructions. His Holiness instructed that the central magazine for Waqf-e-Nau boys; Ishmael, should be translated into German in order to enable these children to understand the significance of their pledge to lead their lives as life-devotees. His Holiness presented a Hadith (saying of The Holy Prophetsa) to the class in which the Holy Prophetsa expounded that the life of this world is as transient as the fleeting moments spent by a desert traveller sheltering under a tree during his journey. While the cool respite offered by the shade of the tree against the desert sun is soothing to the traveller, he must not be distracted from his ultimate journey towards God the Exalted. It was by the virtue of this symbolic journey that the Holy Prophetsa led his life. The entire purpose of the life of the Holy Prophetsa was to guide mankind on how to attain nearness to the One God and spread the message of peace, love and harmony amongst all. His Holiness reminded the Waqf-e-Nau that the Holy Prophetsa strived to spread the word of God far beyond what was required of him. So much so that God the Exalted urged His Messengersa to relieve himself of the undue burden he had taken upon himself worrying over those who did not accept God. God the Almighty has made it abundantly clear that accepting guidance is in His Hands alone. The preacher’s task is to merely propagate the message of Islam to the best of his ability. Thus, today this task must be carried on by individuals who have dedicated their lives to the service of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community. His Holiness expressed his grave concern over the reduced number of Ahmadi boys joining Jamiah Ahmadiyya (Institute of Theology & Comparative Religions run by the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community) at a time when there is a pressing need for a greater number of Waqf-e-Nau boys to be trained as missionaries. Reminding the youth that God had ordained upon man the acquisition of the knowledge of truth and spreading it to the whole world, His Holiness stressed that at least 20% of Waqf-e-Nau boys should join Jamiah Ahmadiyya.
Following the aforementioned remarks, His Holiness explained an extract on faithfulness and loyalty towards God from one of the writings of the Promised Messiahas. His Holiness highlighted that dedication and loyalty towards God demanded an innate and consistent sense of gratitude for the blessings we have received. In particular, Waqf-e-Nau children must express a deep sense of gratitude towards their parents for devoting their lives for such an esteemed purpose. He stated that Waqf-e-Nau youth should remain cognisant of not becoming consumed by the luxuries of this world and forget the true purpose of their life. His Holiness reminded these young devotees that loyalty to their faith demands that the blessings of this world – like good schools and education — should enhance their gratitude to God the Exalted and increase their commitment to religion.
While commenting upon a poem by Mirza Bashir-Ud-Din Mahmud Ahmadra, second Khalifah (Successor) to the Promised Messiahas, His Holiness cautioned that electronic media, television shows, internet, chatting online and Facebook would more likely lead one to commit sins rather than draw one towards piety. Therefore, there is an onus of responsibility on all the Waqf-e-Nau to strive earnestly to guard against all such vanity and remain firmly committed to their pledge of loyalty towards God.
Moreover, Hazrat Khalifatul Masih Vaba offered the following advice to all Waqf-e-Nau children:
Waqf-e-Nau youth should remain resolute in offering the five daily prayers. During the winter months, schools should be requested to make necessary arrangements in order to offer Salat (the formal Islamic prayer) during break at lunchtime. Salat should never be missed.
They must never leave home without having carried out the recitation of the Holy Qur’an. At the very minimum, one Ruku of the Holy Qur’an should be recited every day. Even if they are getting late for other commitments, their obligation towards religion and God must take precedence.
Waqf-e-Nau children must heed the Promised Messiah’sas call to form a bond of commitment and dedication with him that transcends any other worldly bond. They will be successful in doing so by reading the wealth of literature authored by the Promised Messiahas. Hazrat Mirza Bashir-Ud-Din Mahmud Ahmadra gave glad tidings to all those who endeavoured to read the books of the Promised Messiahas with sincerity and dedication, that Angels shall descend on them and guide them towards acts of righteousness.
His Holiness stated that it was essential for all 15 to 18 year old Waqf-e-Nau to complete their formal course. He noted that it was inconsequential if only 50% of Waqf-e-Nau children had completed merely 50% of this mandatory requirement.
Hazrat Khalifatul Masih Vaba stated that he had outlined several instructions during the National Ijtima (convention) for Waqf-e-Nau in the UK, and those instructions should be translated into German and should be followed. Waqf-e-Nau children everywhere must make every effort to act upon these instructions and continuously strive to elevate their standards of faith and commitment towards their cause.
One Waqf-e-Nau child thanked His Holiness for his visit to Germany and for presiding over their class, and in an innocent and compassionate gesture he requested Khalifatul Masih Vaba to keep warm in the current spell of cold weather. His Holiness very kindly thanked him for this advice. His Holiness advised the children to themselves be up to date with the latest reports of his tours, which are routinely published in Al-Fazl (an Urdu newspaper of the Ahmadiyya Community). Ideally, Waqf-e-Nau youth should be able to read these reports in Urdu on their own, however if that is not possible, they should request someone to read it to them.
In response to a question regarding the global financial crisis, His Holiness stated that individuals and institutions responsible for resolving this crisis must make sincere and concerted efforts. His Holiness said that as he had already noted in his address at Capitol Hill (USA) last summer, that there was no evidence of even a single instance where genuine efforts had been made in order to facilitate economic growth in the least developed and developing countries. His Holiness regretfully noted that developed nations, and now certain nations with a Muslim majority, are driven by ulterior motives when it comes to fostering growth in the developing world.
His Holiness warned that a third world war with devastating consequences might besiege the world, following which people will be compelled to turn towards religion. Therefore, it is essential that we seek protection from such devastation through earnest prayers, and indeed, the pious and the righteous will not be harmed. The Promised Messiahas, alludes to such an eventuality in one of his writings; he described it as being a “fire upon fire”, but stated that all those who believe and put their trust in their Lord will be protected. Khalifatul Masih Vaba,in light of this warning, reiterated his calls for Ahmadi men and women to incline towards righteousness, be regular in offering the daily prayers, form a deep-rooted and personal connection with God so that the righteous may be saved to reform the world. His Holiness said that the Ahmadi men and women carried a huge load of responsibility to guide the world in these latter days. In response to a question from a new convert to Islam, His Holiness explained that while it was possible that certain Ahmadi individuals do not provide good role models for the Community, it was important to focus on raising awareness about the true teachings of Islam rather than concentrating on individual actions.
This class concluded at 7 pm and after a short break at 7:20pm, His Holiness presided over a class with Waqf-e-Nau girls. In the first half of the class, Waqf-e-Nau girls made presentations, and His Holiness praised the arrangements made for the programme. However, His Holiness stressed that it was very important to pay heed to and act upon what had been said that day. He underscored the fact that it was Ahmadi men and women who must be the archetypes of good values, and that they can only attain this by practicing good deeds and shunning evil. His Holiness noted that this was an essential lesson for all Waqf-e-Nau girls to bear in mind.
His Holiness advised these young girls that the most vital facet of their devotion was to recognise that their lives had been devoted to the service of Islam even before their birth, and thus the essence of their journey was to appreciate that they were different from others in this unique manner. The purpose of their lives transcended a preoccupation with personal desires and each Waqf-e-Nau girl must strive to lead an exemplary life for others to emulate. Having renewed their pledge of Waqf at the age of 15, each Waqf-e-Nau girl must be able to appreciate the distinction between right and wrong. His Holiness reiterated that Waqfe-e-Nau girls would be deemed to have discharged their duties towards their pledge only if they conducted themselves with dignity and made earnest attempts to live their lives in a pious and humble manner.
Quoting a Hadith enumerating the virtues of obedience, Khalifatul Masih Vaba mentioned the importance of obedience and faithfulness towards the Community, even under difficult circumstances. He noted that a personal disagreement with officeholders should not become a hindrance in serving the Community. The spirit of true obedience to the Community entails conformity in the face of adversity, in spite of one’s personal grievances with colleagues or superiors. His Holiness emphasised that the resolution of all problems lied in forming a strong personal connection with God. He stressed that it is God alone who is our saviour and that relying on earthly sources for help is futile.
Khalifatul Masih Vaba said that the values and conduct of Waqf-e-Nau girls must be exemplary in every respect. He stated that girls who have attained the age of 13 or 14 years old must dress in a modest and dignified manner. His Holiness advised the Waqf-e-Nau girls that they must not get carried away by fashion; there is no harm in being fashionable, but any fashion trends that impact on modesty should be avoided. Reminding his audience that Purdah (Islamic way of covering modestly) is a Divine commandment, His Holiness stated that it was the obligation of every Ahmadi girl who comes of age to cover herself in an appropriate manner. Hazrat Khalifatul Masih Vaba reminded the Waqf-e-Nau girls that they should not let themselves get detracted from Purdah even if they see that the daughters of high officials in the Jama’at do not observe proper Purdah; it is the task of Waqf-e-Nau girls to reform them. Recapping their responsibilities, His Holiness said that Waqf-e-Nau girls need to play a pivotal role in reforming girls of their own age and women older than them. Only then would their pledge of devotion be regarded as true devotion.
His Holiness urged that all Waqf-e-Nau girls should strive to become a true reflection of the teachings of Islam. He stated that articles from Maryam magazine should be translated into German and made available to the girls here. Advising that an earnest and concerted effort must be made in order to gain knowledge of the teachings of Islam, His Holiness furnished the following guidance:
Firstly, the daily Salat must always be offered on time.
Secondly, the Holy Qur’an should be recited daily, and a genuine effort must be made to emulate the virtues contained therein.
Thirdly, in order to fully understand the meaning of the teachings of The Holy Qur’an, the books of the Promised Messiahas must be read with care.
Fourthly, Friday sermons should be followed regularly and acted upon. Moreover, Waqf-e-Nau girls must try and comprehend His Holiness’s speeches delivered for Lajna.
His Holiness stated that he had issued various instructions regarding the use of Facebook, chatting and other similar online activities. He reiterated his advice about not participating in online chat rooms and refrain from using Facebook. He stated that while these activities were not sins in themselves, however, they had a potential to corrupt minds. Similarly, he noted that certain television programmes are most inappropriate for an Ahmadi woman to watch, therefore she must guard against them. His Holiness said that a true Waqf-e-Nau’s duty is to reform the world, and this could not be done without reforming oneself.
In response to a question from one of the girls, His Holiness furnished some guidance with respect to how Waqf-e-Nau girls should conduct themselves in marital relationships. His Holiness stated that they must invest time and energy into cementing their relationships, must never be the initiators of a domestic argument and should never give anyone an opportunity to say that a Waqf-e-Nau girl did not behave well in her marital life. The Khalifatul Masih Vaba stated that he feels personally distressed when marriages in the Community break down. Waqf-e-Nau girls should strive in earnest to make their marriages work. His Holiness noted that he had issued clear instructions with respect to sharing a picture of the girl with the boy’s family whilst considering a marriage proposal. He stressed on the fact that pictures of girls must not be used in a disrespectful manner or displayed on the internet via Facebook and other social media.
In response to another question His Holiness explained that experiencing true dreams is a great privilege and blessing that must not be turned into a source of pride. Instead, should anyone experience a true dream, he or she must engage in Istighfar (Seeking forgiveness) in order to enhance his virtuousness.
One of the girls asked His Holiness why, when a child has done something wrong, the Jama’at places restrictions on the child’s parents as well? His Holiness inquired whether the restrictions being referred to were a prohibition on paying “Chanda” and devoting time to the service of the Jama’at, and she replied in the affirmative. Henceforth, His Holiness explained that if a child or young adult has committed a serious wrong, relevant officials of the Jama’at in his or her region compile a report regarding the incident and forward the report to the UK for His Holiness’s review. The final verdict on the incidence is decided by the Khalifah of the time. The penalties imposed may range from a ban on making financial contributions, to a ban on attending Jama’at functions or at times expulsion from the Jama’at. His Holiness noted that he did not like placing restrictions on Ahmadis, however when it is necessary, he does so with a very heavy heart. He explained that the problem is that the children of a person who is serving as a high-office holder in the Jama’at are engaged in wrong practices, it conveys the impression that the officeholder was unable to reform his/her own household. This raises concerns about the credibility of the officeholder. Therefore, in order for parents to understand and fully appreciate their responsibilities towards their children’s upbringing and conduct, such restrictions must regretfully be placed. His Holiness added that these restrictions are not consequential to his own anger. Instead, they are a means for people to understand their responsibilities and reform themselves. He mentioned that there were instances where the parents were not penalised for their children’s engagement in unbecoming activities because these parents had nothing to with it.
A child from the class requested His Holiness for his pen and His Holiness kindly granted her his pen. His Holiness observed that officials of the Jama’at should take responsibility for their respective offices and take them as great opportunities to serve. Officeholders should take on young Ahmadi men and women as their deputies in order to give them the requisite experience and training, and help them to gain confidence that their talents and abilities are being used well. In response to a question regarding martyrdom, His Holiness explained that whosoever makes a genuine effort to serve Islam, and undertakes a journey towards God, and strives to act upon the teachings of the Holy Qur’an and follows the blessed example of the Holy Prophetsa, acquires the status of a martyr. His Holiness noted that while martyrdom was highly desirable, Ahmadi men and women should strive to become veterans in service to the Jama‘at.
Referring to a Hadith that expounds the virtues of studying the human body, His Holiness advised that the health sciences should be studied. A child from the audience asked how one should react if someone was continually dishonest and hurtful towards oneself, despite their repeatedly forgiving him or her? His Holiness explained that to tell a lie is a major sin and equates to associating partners with Allah the Exalted. You can only try and reform others; that’s all what you can do. If they refuse to improve themselves then it’s their choice.
One of the Waqf-e-Nau girls asked how one could know if one’s repentance had been accepted? The Khalifatul Masih Vaba explained that developing a strong disdain for and abhorrence towards all wrongful acts and sins is a sign for the acceptance of repentance.
A woman from the audience, explaining her plight, stated that she was a teacher and in Germany headscarves were banned for teachers. His Holiness, furnishing guidance on this matter, stated that if she had to teach to a mixed class, she should dress modestly in Islamic attire, and should wear her headscarf immediately upon leaving the classroom. His Holiness added that she should raise the point with the school authorities that wearing a headscarf does not compromise one’s intellectual abilities.
This class finished at 8:20 PM. After this, the Khalifatul Masih Vaba led the evening prayers and graciously attended a Nikah ceremony.
9th December 2012
His Holiness led the Fajr (early morning Prayer) at Bait-ur-Rasheed Mosque. Despite the overnight snowfall, a large number of worshippers arrived at the Mosque to offer the morning prayer. After attending his official duties and daily correspondence, His Holiness left for Kassel, a town located on the Fulda River in northern Hesse, Germany. A large number of devotees gathered in the Mission House compound to bid farewell to their beloved Imam. The sight of men, women and children standing on ice and snow to say goodbye to the Khalifatul Masih Vaba in the early morning hours was heart melting. It captured the curiosity of a number of bystanders, who drove into the Mosque to see why such commitment and dedication was being demonstrated. Owing to the heavy snowfall, His Holiness’s journey was delayed significantly because of slow traffic on the motorway, and afternoon Prayers were offered inside the motorcade, as it was not possible to arrive at Masjid Mahmood on time. Masjid Mahmood in Kassel was inaugurated in September 2007, and it was His Holiness’s third visit to this Mosque. Upon his arrival, His Holiness led the early and late evening prayers following which he shared an audience with the worshippers. Following this brief stop, His Holiness departed for Frankfurt, where he was greeted by a large crowd of enthusiastic men, women and children who chanted slogans as His Holiness arrived. After this long journey, His Holiness returned the greetings of this warm welcome and proceeded to his residence.
10th December 2012
Khalifatul Masih Vaba spent the morning attending to his official duties after leading the early morning Prayers. His Holiness met with the Majlis Amila (Executive Council) of Khuddam (Men between the ages of 15-40 years) and Ansar (Men of 50 years of age or older) of Germany. His Holiness stressed the importance of offering Salat regularly in congregation and listening to the Friday sermons. He expressed his disappointment at some unfortunate incidents where arguments had developed during Jama’at meetings and inappropriate language was used. His Holiness observed that this was a consequence of lack of appropriate Tarbiyyat (or moral training) and the issue needed to be addressed. Moreover, His Holiness encouraged officeholders to raise awareness in respect to making financial contributions to the Tahrik-e-Jadid scheme. He mentioned that it was more important to increase the number of contributors as opposed to the amount of the contribution itself. He advised Ansar to increasingly take part in this blessed scheme. Khalifatul Masih Vaba said that Ahmadi teenagers should be integrated into the system of the Jama’at. He stated that it was essential to help these young men understand that they must look towards becoming exemplary leaders for the world to follow, rather than chasing the world themselves. His Holiness observed that if such matters were explained and inculcated in young Ahmadi boys from an early age, they would receive the moral training needed for them to possess the aforesaid high spiritual aspirations. His Holiness reiterated the significance of investing time and energy in saving the next generation of Ahmadis. Khalifatul Masih Vaba noted that he had issued instructions to Khuddam in Canada and the UK to make badges bearing the following message, “It is not possible to reform a nation without the reformation of its youth.” Wearing such badges will increase their self-worth and broaden their understanding of real issues.
His Holiness outlined many useful ways in which Ahmadis could integrate into German society. Some of these included organising charity walks for elderly men. His Holiness noted that such charity walks with male participants in their 80s would create a positive image of the Jama’at within the local community. His Holiness instructed that 80% of the funds raised from these charity walks should be donated to local charities, with only 20% being given to Humanity First (Humanity First is an international charitable trust). His Holiness encouraged a healthy competition between Ansar and Khuddam for fundraising and publicity for charity walks. His Holiness suggested that during football tournaments, people living in care homes could be invited and transport could be provided for them. Moreover, His Holiness advised that awareness should be raised with respect to cycling and people should be encouraged to cycle.
His Holiness directed that Ahmadis from every Majlis should arrange to meet with their local Mayor and seek permission to introduce the Jama’at to the local authorities. During such meetings, efforts should be made to remove existing misconceptions about the image of Muslims and Islam. Similarly, Hazrat Khalifatul Masih Vaba advised that seminars on the teachings of The Holy Qur’an should be arranged in an effort to raise awareness.
Khalifatul Masih Vaba instructed that comprehensive training programmes should be put in place in order to train new converts from Germany, Tunisia and Serbia. These programmes should enable these converts to effectively integrate into the system of the Jama’at and mainstream Ahmadis within three years. His Holiness advised that lectures should be arranged in various universities and delivered by young local Ahmadis. He stated that these German Ahmadis, who are perceived as locals by the community, would be able to engage more effectively with local students and thus have a stronger impact. Finally, His Holiness issued instructions for enhancing the Community’s regional leaflet campaign. He stated that this should be conducted in a reasonable and pragmatic manner, whilst remaining sensitive to and considerate of the lifestyle of the local population; the leaflets should not be distributed at a time that will cause inconvenience for people. Khalifatul Masih Vaba stressed that it was essential to establish a friendly collaboration amongst your neighbours and colleagues.
This meeting finished at 12:30 pm. This was followed by a His Holiness’s visit to the local MTA studio and offices. He then led the afternoon Prayers. His Holiness spent the evening doing family Mulaqaat. After this, His Holiness led the evening Prayers before returning to his residence.
Edited by Ayesha Malik, Hibba Turrauf and Tariq H. Malik