After reciting Tashahhud, Ta`awwuz and Surah al-Fatihah, His Holiness, Hazrat Mirza Masroor Ahmad(aba) said that all praise belongs to Allah, for today the Jalsa Salana (Annual Convention) is being held in Germany at a grand scale after a gap of four years.
His Holiness(aba) prayed that may Allah enable all the attendees to achieve the true purpose of Jalsa. They should not be happy merely upon the fact that they have been able to convene again and will be able to meet one another. Rather, the foremost purposes for which the Promised Messiah(as) established this convention is to progress in spirituality, in religious knowledge, to increase in connection and love for God, to completely follow the Holy Prophet(sa) and love him, for the love of the world to diminish and to give precedence to faith.
100 Years of Ahmadiyyat in Germany
His Holiness(aba) said that this year also marks 100 years since the establishment of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community in Germany. The German people are very excited on account of this. Certainly, it is a matter of happiness that the Community was established here 100 years ago. In fact, the actual message of the Promised Messiah(as) even reached Germany during his lifetime. However, in actuality, we must analyse what we have accomplished in the last 100 years. Initially, there were only a few Ahmadis in Germany. Then, as the conditions in Pakistan for Ahmadis worsened, they started migrating to Germany as well. They came to Germany on account of their faith, and so they may practise their faith freely without fear of persecution. Therefore, they should have established a virtuous change within themselves, remained steadfast upon it and established the same virtue in their children. Was this achieved? If so, then this is the true manner in which the 100 years of the Community in Germany can be celebrated. If not, then celebrating in worldly means holds no value. If worldliness and materialism have pulled us away from the religious duties that the Promised Messiah(as) has reminded us of and which our pledge of allegiance warrants, then 100-year celebrations are of no value.
Responsibilities of Ahmadi Muslims
His Holiness(aba) said that he would present certain quotations of the Promised Messiah(as) regarding our responsibilities.
His Holiness(aba) quoted the Promised Messiah(as), who said that one should not become content after simply pledging allegiance, for this is just the shell. That actual essence is what lies inside. If a person who claims to have faith and has pledged allegiance does not possess an understanding of both these things, then they should remain fearful. They should analyse whether they are merely a shell or if there is something inside. They should remember that without the essence, a mere shell holds no value in the sight of God. No one knows when they will die, but everyone can be certain that they will pass on at some point or another, and so they should not rely on mere claims. Until a person does not bring about a sort of death upon themselves multiple times and does not go through stages of progress, they cannot achieve the very purpose of their creation. Such a standard can only be achieved by not allowing worldliness to take over and take precedence over one’s faith.
True Meaning of Giving Precedence to One’s Faith Over the World
His Holiness(aba) said that whilst explaining whether giving precedence to faith over the world means abandoning the world altogether, the Promised Messiah(as) said that he does not want for his people to become lazy. They should certainly be occupied with their businesses, however it should not be that they do not even find time for prayer. They should not forget God. When it is time to work, they should work, and when it is time to pray, they should pray. Look at the example of the Companions, who, no matter what, never forsook God and His worship. Even in the most difficult of times, even during times of war, they never forgot God and His worship. Until the Islamic creed runs through one’s veins, they cannot find true success. If one abandons the Qur’an, then they will face a sort of hell on this earth. If the prescribed remedy of a doctor does not work after a while, then the doctor prescribes a new remedy. However, in the world and particularly in the West, people suffer loss upon loss. They have forgotten about God. The true path to success lies in a connection with God. Being a Muslim, one cannot adopt two paths; they cannot claim faith, but their actions reflect the world.
His Holiness(aba) quoted the Promised Messiah(as), who said that one should not abandon their worldly work or businesses, even the Companions had businesses, however, they did so while giving precedence to their faith over the world. It was for this reason that they never fell prey to the attacks of Satan. Nothing ever stopped them from practising or expressing their faith. Those who wholly become devoted to the world become susceptible to the attacks of Satan. On the other hand, those who remain concerned about the progress of faith are known as the People of Allah and always overcome Satan and his ploys. Just as one progresses in business, God has called striving to progress in faith a sort of business, as He states:
‘O ye who believe! shall I point out to you a bargain that will save you from a painful punishment?’ (The Holy Qur’an, 61:11)
The Importance of Reading the Qur’an with Great Attention
His Holiness(aba) said that whilst stating that the Holy Qur’an should be read with great attention, the Promised Messiah(as) said that the scriptures of previous religions merely present stories, whereas the Holy Qur’an has presented them in an intellectual light. Mere stories cannot furnish the path to salvation. Therefore, one must carefully ponder over the Holy Qur’an, which is full of light, wisdom and knowledge. Without the Holy Qur’an, one cannot establish light and wisdom in their practical life. One should not read the Holy Qur’an as a book of mere stories, rather as a philosophy. His Holiness(aba) said that many have various questions; if they were to read and ponder over the Holy Qur’an, they would find the answers therein.
His Holiness(aba) said that once one ponders over the Holy Qur’an and learns about the commandments of God, then they should also develop a relationship with God. This connection is established through worship. The greatest form of worship is Salat (the daily prayers). Thus, an Ahmadi should analyse themselves and consider the degree to which they have established their prayers. The Promised Messiah(as) states that if one wishes to avoid calamity, they must establish a connection with God and bring about a change within themselves as God states:
‘Surely, Allah changes not the condition of a people until they change that which is in their hearts.’ (The Holy Qur’an 12:12)
Righteousness & Establishing a Connection with God Almighty
His Holiness(aba) continued quoting the Promised Messiah(as), who states that the root of true faith is belief in God, which constitutes having righteousness. A person who fears God is never wasted, rather, they are rendered help from the heavens. If God supports someone and protects someone, then the entire world could get together, but they would not be able to harm that person. Though worldly means should be used, they should not be relied upon, rather the Creator of those means should be relied upon.
His Holiness(aba) further quoted the Promised Messiah(as) that if someone sees something beautiful, they will remember it. However, if they see something unpleasant, then this will also remain in their mind. However, if they have no connection with it, they will not remember it. The same is the case with those who have not found pleasure in prayer. They wonder why they must abandon their sleep to wake up early and offer prayer. A drunkard does not stop drinking until they become intoxicated. A person of understanding can use this example, in the sense that one should continue on praying so that they may find the true pleasure in prayer. Just as a drunkard has a goal, one’s entire focus in prayer should be to find that pleasure in prayer.
His Holiness(aba) said that we must analyse the state of our prayers. If we safeguard our prayers, then we are doing justice to our pledge of allegiance, otherwise, it is a matter of great concern.
His Holiness(aba) continued quoting the Promised Messiah(as), who said that the relationship of a leader and a follower should be like that of a teacher and student. Just as a student benefits from their teacher, so too should a follower from their leader. But, if a student maintains a relationship with their teacher but does not progress academically, then it is of no benefit. So too is the case with a follower. If a believer does not strive to progress, then they fall. There was no one more complete and perfect than the Holy Prophet(sa), yet he still prayed, ‘O my Lord, increase me in knowledge.’ How then can we rely on our own knowledge? Initially, a child studying geometry will look at different shapes in bewilderment, however, as they progress in knowledge, they look at those same things to have great meaning. One who has pledged allegiance has done so by abandoning that which is vain, but if they do not progress in their knowledge, then what benefit with their pledge render them? Some people’s faith falters because they do not progress in knowledge, or they come up with their own explanations. If we pay attention to religious knowledge, then our faith in God will also increase.
The Way to Recognising the Truth
His Holiness(aba) quoted the Promised Messiah(as), who said that unless a person searches with a true heart, they will not recognise the truth. Such has been the case with the opponents of the Promised Messiah(as) for over 130 years. The Promised Messiah(as) said that it was foretold that the Messiah who was to come would be called a fabricator, ignorant, and to have brought a new religion. However, those who ponder and wait, find that the truth manifests itself. Some do not understand the requirements of prophethood and, in their ignorance, utter falsities. His Holiness(aba) said that the same is done today when certain people read the books of the Promised Messiah(as) and level false allegations. In any case, our duty is to try and save them and convey the message of the Promised Messiah(as) not only to Muslims, but to the entire world. Even after 100 years, we have not been able to convey the message of Islam to all of Germany. We must ponder over this.
Conveying the Message of Ahmadiyyat to the World & Establishing the Unity of God
His Holiness(aba) further quoted the Promised Messiah(as), who said that it is our duty to convey the message of Ahmadiyyat to the world, including the West, where a man has been taken as God. One should not be intimidated or impressed by the perceived advancements in Europe or the West. Rather, one should always remember that we have not accepted Ahmadiyyat to attain the world, rather, we have done so to establish a living connection with God.
His Holiness(aba) continued quoting the Promised Messiah(as), who said that the purpose of his advent was to establish the unity of God, morality and spirituality. We must analyse whether our greatest desire and goal. There should be nothing greater for us than having a connection with God. Where we build mosques, we must also populate them. Ahmadis should also always be striving to attain the highest standards of morality. His Holiness(aba) said that when he goes to various mosque inaugurations, people express the great morals they have seen from Ahmadis. However, not only should these high morals be exhibited, rather subsequently, the true Islam Ahmadiyyat should also be introduced. Then, true spirituality is established when one reaches the highest standards of fulfilling the rights of God and the rights of His creation.
Goals for the New Century
His Holiness(aba) said that the Amir of the Community in Germany asked him what their goal should be for the next century. Firstly, have the few things presented in light of the Promised Messiah’s(as) writings been achieved? Many have expressed that they are hearing about the true teachings of Islam for the first time. This means that exhibiting good morals or spreading pamphlets has not achieved the task yet of spreading the message of Islam Ahmadiyyat. Thus, the guidelines for the next century are the very aspects presented in light of the Promised Messiah’s(as) teachings. The Community in Germany should enter the new century with a renewed determination to give precedence to faith over the world in order to achieve our true purpose, and to raise the next generation to have a connection with God. His Holiness(aba) prayed that may Allah the Almighty enable us to do so.
Summary prepared by The Review of Religions