Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Blessings of Khilafat (3rd Prize winning Essay)

Allah had promised to those among you who believe and do good works that He will surely make them Successors in the earth, as He made Successors from among those who were before them; and that He will surely establish for them their religion which He has chosen for them; and that He will surely give them in exchange security and peace after their fear: They will worship Me, and they will not associate anything with Me. Then who so is ungrateful after that, they will be the rebellious.

(Surah Al-Nur, Verse 56)

The topic on Khilafat and its blessings is very near and dear to my heart as I have seen Khilafat, the Successorship of Prophet Hood, through the eyes of a simple, yet mindful girl while growing up in the Netherlands. The numerous advantages of experiencing such a close-knit Community that was small in the eighties, but in constant desire to prosper within the very safe walls of our mosque; Masjid Baitun-Noor in Nunspeet, Holland is blissfully prospering till this day forward; A beautiful tale and a part of my life which I cherish immensely and I am more than delighted to share. My memory goes back into the days when my parents witnessed the historic arrival of Khalifa-ye-Rabay (The 4th leader of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community; Hazrat Mirza Tahir Ahmed) in 1982 at Nunspeet, when Hazur was traveling from Pakistan to eventually immigrate and seek safety in the UK. The political situation in Pakistan was in such a dire state for Ahmadis, forcing our fourth Khalifa, Hazrat Mirza Tahir Ahmed to leave his beloved homeland. The arrival of Mirza Tahir Ahmed was needed at times when immigrants had settled and such, Hazoor's Khilafat (leadership) and close supervision served as a great guidance to future generations in Europe, establishing their identities in foreign countries whilst keeping the religious & moral values in tact with the on growing blessings of Khilafat.

Khilafat, the continuation of Prophethood with our appointed Khalifa's - successors to this worldwide Community taking leadership, reach out to the corners of the earth with the true message of Islam, but Ahmadiyyat also advocates peace, tolerance, rationality and wisdom amongst followers, trying to change misconceptions about Islam in the West. Ahmadiyyat is the religion of Islam that was revealed to the Holy Prophet (may peace and blessings be upon him) and remains the peaceful Islam that was instilled into people's heart fourteen hundred years ago with love and affection, with logic and reason and surely without violence and terrorism. The bond of brotherhood and the uniqueness of gathering under one unified law-abiding community is crucial to any systematic structure of life, whether it be society in general or religion that is bound to sustain in harmony through unity and unity only.

In today's Muslim world, the agony of a disunified religion is visible amongst different sects of Islam. The disagreements, the hatred and the misconceptions have caused many to suffer and suffocate for the same God we worship and for the very same faith we so dearly believe in. When a foundation of a house isn’t built strong enough, the house will eventually collapse, either with a blow of strong gusty winds or with the pressure of heavy rains making the house, once called ‘home’, fall to its bits one by one. The same blow or push can also enter our lives as trials to challenge us of our strengths and faith, determined not to leave us alone, until we’ve proved ourselves worthy of living in total surrender to a power that’s higher than our realization. We must acknowledge and give in to the natural course of life and feel free of any imperfections we so deliberately try to hide as humans, as citizens to the country we reside in and as followers to our community.

The blessings of Khilafat are like a life saving rope for Muslims throughout the world to hold on to. Our tight grips will ensure us to be saved out of an ocean where confusion lies, where the waves of prejudice swallow us and make us drown into the whirlpool of distrust and separation. A separation so severe that it causes the morale of our beautiful faith to slowly disappear, judged to its entirety by the evil eye of the ignorant. To prevent such evil eye and to eliminate negative influences through media, the launch of Muslim Television Ahmadiyya on August 21st, 1992 in London by our fourth Khalifa Hazrat Mirza Tahir Ahmed, is a blessing one can easily attest to. MTA is a great addition in households where the tunes of pious poems and the preaching of informative subjects are echoing from wall to wall while enhancing our knowledge and intellect. MTA has become an easy replacement for all of the worldly entertainment, seeking spiritual improvement to our health, conscience and life style.

In my household when growing up, we would sit together as a family and anticipate "Children Class" that was a great entertainment for all ages. "Mota bachcha" would have his innocent mishaps when conversing with Hazur and would challenge himself and others learning "Urdu" in this very comedic class of realism and affection. Urdu was taught not only to the children of the class, but due to the enormous popularity of the program, hundreds and thousands of kids became eager on learning Urdu watching it on their television screens. Soon, a whole generation of growing kids was saved in the hands of our very own Khalifa and wasn't deprived on speaking this beautiful language. In fact, our current Hazur still emphasizes on the importance of learning Urdu for the better understanding of Promised Messiah's books that are originally written in Urdu by himself. Translations have published in countless languages, but to truly understand Promised Messiah's writing, one must learn to read and write Urdu. The sought-after blessing behind this pursuit is that, not only will kids be able to understand religious literature, but the addition of knowing a second language will work in advantageous ways in attaining future accomplishments.

Personally, my ambitious competitiveness to learn and compete with my fellow group members at religious competitions for poems, speeches and memorization of the Holy Quran, has taught me to identify uncommon mistakes in my writing and speech and I have excelled as a student in all aspects of life. The singing of poems was invaluable to the pronunciation of my Urdu language and the in-depth meaning of the verses has helped me understand the innate love for God and His prophets, establishing a deep connection with poetry when expressing my inner-self. Memorizing Surah's in the Holy Quran with translation, either in formal English or formal Dutch, made me pass my dictation at school by making easy efforts and topping the class with excellent grades. I would frown upon the curious faces of my fellow Dutch students who could not understand the "variety" to my palette of intellect at such a young age and as usual they were left bewildered to my seriousness and wise mannerism in comparison to other kids my age. I was called "different" and the difference it was that made me hone my skills even furthermore with the blessings of Khilafat following my every step as a shadow in all other pursuits of life.

By the time I reached my teenage years, my involvement with the community had increased and I felt blessed to participate and volunteer with dedication towards the mosque and the people. During Khalifaye Rabay's visits to Nunspeet Holland, people would line up at the entrance of our mosque and reside at the mosque, sometimes a week or two weeks in advance to help out with the preparations of Hazur's arrival with his family. Hazur would stay in his bungalow overlooking the beautiful woods of Nunspeet where Hazur would relax and vacation; enjoy horse riding, camping, long walks with his crew members, conduct in conversations with farmers and other Dutch residents of Nunspeet. A pictureristique location in a heavenly setting of Hazur's presence and blessings was a celebration Ahmadi families couldn't resist to miss. Urdu Class was loved and excitedly embraced by all the community members of Holland when they planned on making a trip in the summer of 1997.

My sister Madiha and I had prepared a welcome song in English and we sung our hearts out when seeing the sight of Hazur. The song was very much liked by everyone and till this day, the lyrics and the enthusiasm that rushed through my head, is still felt in the every inch of my consciousness. Another song/poem composition took place in my very own room, during my finals at High School when my mom urged me to write a Dutch La ila ha poem. The la ila ha poems are composed in different languages and sung by sisters of our community either at Jalsa's or MTA programs. It struck to me and my mom that a Dutch version of the poem was never composed and written. During the very stressful nights of studying for my exams, I took it upon myself to write a couple of verses and the rhythm of the sounds were automatically revealed to me as I was trying to compose a unique piece. Unique it surely was; our Dutch la ila ha poem became an instant hit with the witnessing eyes of the entire Urdu Class being present from the UK and amongst them our very beloved Khalifaye Rabay listening intently and praising our creativity. Surrounded in nature at a park, the kids sitting on the ground were waving their green la ila ha flags to the tunes of our singing voices. That day I knew heaven had descended to earth. My heart was overflowing with love for my Khalifa and the blessings were in some ways surreal, yet so powerful and glorifying to my soul and existence. I was assured of Ahmadiyyat, of the truthfulness of our religion and more so, I was determined to live my life on the path of Ahmadiyyat. I knew my dedication and utmost love would be rewarded by Allah and the blessings kept on multiplying as the years went by. Blessings have poured down onto our laps in many forms such as the unlimited talent that has our community up and running with the very hard work of our professionals and aspiring achievers.

The Ahmadiyya Community has built over eight thousand mosques worldwide, including the first mosque in Spain for seven years and the largest mosque in Sydney, Australia. In Toronto, Canada the community built one of the largest mosques in the Western hemisphere. The first overseas mission of the Ahmadiyya Community was established in London in 1913.
The Ahmadiyya Community is also proud to have built the first purpose built mosque in the UK; The Fazl Mosque was established in London in 1924. It is the only mosque in London known as ‘The London Mosque’. The community has given back to mankind by establishing a UK based charitable trust called "Humanity First; serving mankind". With its non-political, non-sectarian approach, Humanity First is an International Relief and Development Agency working on voluntary basis to relief suffering from the surface of the earth that is either conflicted by natural causes or inhumane wrongdoings. Humanity First is working out of nineteen operations spread out over all continents dedicating time and workmanship on projects like; "Water of Life", supplying water pumps all over Asia and Africa, providing clean and safe water for over thirty thousand people. Humanity First continues to help people in need.

Our community is also generous towards students who need supplemental funds to afford their studies such as to cover the cost of their books etc. Grants are provided to those students who fill out the required information and provide transcripts approved by the local Jamaat office holders. The addition of two thousand dollars in the pocket of a student given by the Ahmadiyya Community is very valuable when indeed; the money is used for investment purposes. Only a student can understand the aggravation of being low on cash while keeping his/her head low and deep into the books of theory and subjects. How wonderful it is to have pride in a community that stands strong to its morals and supports those that are the future, the champions of tomorrow's world and the blossoming seed to the Jama'at (Community) we so passionately belong to.

The blessings of Khilafat are clearly visible in the system that is set up for the people that can use the extra help. Such as the Mariam Shaadi Fund which helps families to support their finances when planning to marry their daughter. The Marital Fund is a great way of providing basic needs to families who may be shameful for not matching up to their children's expectations or perhaps their very own. The truth of the matter is that the world we reside in is valued and measured by money and this very 'currency of purchasing' has a certain power to provide for basic necessities which one should never be ashamed of. The Ahmadiyya movement and our beloved Khalifa understand the importance and the burden that may lie upon the family's shoulders when arranging a wedding in today's rising expenses. The Jama'at has simplified and logically approached these realistic issues one can face in life with much care and dignity. The system is based on office holders who carry responsibility and are accountable towards one and other and above all, to Almighty God.

The Waqfe Nau Scheme allows parents to dedicate their children to the cause of Islam before their birth; raising their kids with the highest level of education and the desired expectation to excel in all venues of life. Waqfe Nau kids are given a more detailed curriculum to study and expect to perform with outstanding results for the betterment of their upbringing and to raise young, intelligent minds that will live in the cause of faith and strive to become successful while remaining in humility and Taqwa (Fear of God). Without the self -consciousness of God, one can not comprehend the intensity of God's existence and therefore our placement on earth. Our purpose is to serve the God we know and in return, Paradise awaits us for the good deeds we deliver. Waqfe Nau kids have a strong sense of morality instilled in them and their love for the Community is repeatedly reminded of by competing in fierce competitions and by setting a golden example for fellow Muslims around the world. When we touch upon the subject of "expectations" for our kids, the one thing to keep in mind is not the pressure that is assumingly associated with it, but it is the advanced and higher thought process that supports the actions of these pious kids. The higher the mentality, the more dignified the wisdom, resulting into a pious and moral society full of intelligence and good intentions. With Khilafat as a brick stone to lay on the foundation of the earlier years onto a kid's upbringing, the parents are aware of the countless blessings that they'll experience upon dedicating their child to the True Islam.

Both of my brothers are Waqfe Nau kids and as an elder sister I am proud to have them serve mankind with the true concept of Islam, at an age they fully understand and are able to imply the importance of this beautiful religion into their lives and that of the lives of others. Work needs to get done in order to wash away all the misconceptions, the hatred and the ignorance that is thrown at Muslims as they are to blame for all the extreme terrorist activities this society has blindly pointed its finger to. Without knowledge and confrontation, it is easy to alienate oneself from a world that may seem distant, but so recognizable with the every 'hijab' (headscarf) you spot on a girl's head or when striking a casual conversation with your next door neighbor about his family's preparations for Eid Day festivities.

Muslims are visible, but not under one distinguished organization, they are living in a safety net of their self defined anarchies, but to whose success? Are we really a part of a great faith that underwent challenges and suffering to prove itself in front of disbelievers? The deliverance of a faith that suffered the loss of lives to prove its authenticity, is now not up against its opponents of different religions, it is up against its very own people who continue to live in a disconnected pattern, a broken system that is called the "Tragic Muslim World" or a Shariah (Islamic Law) that has been modified and taken out of context by extremists whom claim to know Islam, whom claim is to utter the Greatness of God whilst justifying their wrongdoings by holding themselves superior to the rest of the world. The Shariah of those is to bend laws to their conveniences and gloat, reeking of self-satisfaction when looking down at the weak and the poor, the illiterate and the pompous.

Abdullah related to us from his father, he from Aswad bin Amir, he from Abu Bakr, he from Asim, he from Abu Salih, and he from Muawiyah, that the Holy Prophetsa said: 'He who dies without [recognizing] the Imam dies the death of ignorance.' Page 96 vol. 4 Musnad Ahmad. This [Hadith] is also recorded by Ahmad, Tirmidhi, Ibn-e-Khuzaimah and Ibni Habban. Al-Harith Al-Ashari gives another version of this Hadith: 'He who dies without [following] the Imam of a Jama‘at certainly dies a death of ignorance.' Hakim reports this from Bin Amr, he from Muawiyah, he from Bazzar, and he from Ibni Abbas. [Publishers: The Need for the Imam]

This Hadith (The Saying of the Holy Prophet) clearly indicates that the person who dies without acknowledging a leader as an Imam, he will die of ignorance. A righteous believer will seek its leader and will prevent on all accounts to die in such misfortune. The Holy Prophet's words count heavily and are incumbent upon every seeker of truth to persist the search for his Imam. Now, the Imam is not just a believer who sees true dreams or receives revelations, or else an every ordinary person would become the Imam. The Hadith is true in its every context but it needs to be acknowledged and well implemented into the thinking of the Muslim World that God has established Prophet Hood to establish spiritual relationship among the Holy Prophet's continuation in Khulafa's (Imams). Therefore the same continuation has taken place with the Promised Messiah and its Imams, a system that is destined to mankind to follow with a structured approach of centralizing one religion with the guidance of leaders. The Imam must possess the following qualities in order to benefit mankind;

The very first quality is moral strength, since Imams come across mean and foul-mouthed people, it is important for them to possess moral strength in all given situations and remain immune to rage of all sorts and kinds, whether it be egoistic or out of vengeance. Secondly, the Imam should have an eagerness to excel in good deeds, meaning in acquiring Divine blessing and his love and knowledge for God. The third attribute that the Imam should have is immense knowledge and the passion to pray for the improvement of such. There are multiple attributes acknowledged and stated in this very interesting book called; The Need For The Imam. However, the need for the Imam plays a crucial role to society's enhancement for morality and peace. This very subject takes me deep into thoughts of the importance of Khilafat and how deprived one must be without the guidance of an Imam.

Walking on a dark road without a light in sight, is hard when one is trying to reach his destination, but even harder when the light is seen through the blind eyes of ignorance. An easily solved solution to this matter is knowledge and the right surroundings to fully understand the very essence of Khilafat. Blessings are life's gifts that require no payment upfront and aren't refunded once received; as blessings are little joys of miracles and are granted to us to better ourselves as human beings, to look into our souls and find forgiveness towards all the cruelties. The sadness that deprives people from cherishing the challenges in a positive manner, making them feel unsure of life's struggles, is an indication that God is surely testing his people of all obstacles. The misfortunes people encounter, they may encounter by not fully appreciating their blessings when they are there in actuality. Therefore the misfortune or the bad luck is laid upon them to recognize God's Glory and surrender themselves to the natural course of living rather than trying to prevent and hide. God's love must transcend all the negativity of the world, such as a mother's love for her child. An instinctive love that is indescribable to anyone who hasn't experienced the joys of motherhood. The unconditional love towards your child will send every mother to the limits when protecting her child, her sweetheart from the evil of the world. Like wise, Khilafat is a protection for our souls, it feeds us when we are hungry for spiritual uplifting and it grabs us by the finger when we are trying to stand up and walk. Khilafat is like the parental supervision of all forces combined into one entity, a community that unites under one roof with the message of love and compassion.

As for my last personal experience while witnessing blessings of Khilafat in the Netherlands, I was fortunate to become a part of a golden period when our fourth Khalifa, Hazrat Mirza Tahir Ahmed, had the innate talent to connect with the younger generation. Every Imam, every Khalifa obtains their own personality and their own tactics of implementing their teachings for that particular time. Hazrat Mirza Tahir Ahmed-Khalifaye Rabay was gifted in communicating and relating instantly to today's youth which made him even more lovable in the Community. Our current Khalifa's love for the Jamaat is shown through actions and principles and Hazrat Mirza Masroor Ahmed's sense of humor and quick wit puts the vibe in the room into positive radiance, filling our hearts with immense love. My last composition of a poem called; "Punjabi Tappei'n" was a light-hearted, yet funny presentation to the cultural and traditional values we have in our community. From the eating of Pakora's and Samosa's in Urdu Class to the serving of "Daal" at Jalsa's Langar Khana, the lightheartedness was created by singing the poem in Punjabi which made the undertone funnier and laughable.

"Jalse to mai waari, mai kurri Ahmadi yaa'n Jalsay to na Haari"
”I am utterly in love with our Jalsa convention, since I am an Ahmadi girl after all!”

"Jalsa Holland da bara pyaara, Hazur de aawan nal, jag mag hoya jag saara"
”The Jalsa Convention of Holland is so fabulous that with the presence of Hazur it has magnificently lit up the whole place!”

All the poems are captured on video and one day Inshallah I will retrieve this video from Holland and back it up 'visually' with the words of my essay.
The tune to this poem was inspired from a traditional folk song that is usually sung at weddings. The fusion of mixing culture and religion into a poem was at first a bit challenging to reveal, but with everyone's approval and excitement we couldn't hold back onto our creativity and performed with a laud applaud of compliments in front of Hazur, Khalifaye Rabay back in 1998. My sister and I were thriving on the fame and the appreciation that we received was more than any materialistic dream we may have had at that age. Our Jama'at took precedence over all our desires and the blessings became tangible as we could taste the bliss around us. The taste of bliss was in literal form when Hazur, Khalifaye Rabay's (Hazrat Mirza Tahir Ahmed) left-over food was presented to the rest of the crew at some nights, including our humble selves who would be eager to get a bite or just a mere crumb off of the same plate Hazur and his family ate from. The gratefulness on everyone's faces for an opportunity of such small scale, yet containing life's tremendous happiness, was inevitable to every single girl, every single auntie’s expression. The bond of sisterhood in a sphere of epiphany was understood even when everyone was silent. Our prayers weren't.

When we take the Bai'at (The Pledge) at the hands of our Khalifa whether it be as converts or as a re-pledge while attending the Jalsa Convention, Bai'at is taken with the ten conditions we promise to adhere. The beautification of the occasion is the simplicity and the proper procedure that is followed for everyone, of all different language speaking countries to be a part of. I become awe-struck every time the Bai'at is taking place on the hands of our Khalifa. The experience of seeing it LIVE at a Jalsa Convention when the ladies' side also puts their right arm onto the right shoulder of the person sitting in front, we all become connected even though the segregation of gender, men and women in different halls- does not take away the enormity of the event. While television screens are set up at the ladies' side to witness it live, the emotions of that particular moment, knowing that people who weren't a part of our blessed community before have accepted Ahmadiyyat, the True Islam, into their lives makes the occasion even more so special. At last, the analysis on the Holy Quran and the Holy Prophet (saw) in perfect alignment with the continuation of Khilafat;

The Holy Quran was the knowledge and the Holy Prophets(saw) was its true personification.
It was not merely the grandeur and majesty of the eloquence of the Holy Quran, or its erudite style, that overawed the hearts in such an extraordinary manner. Rather, it was the practical example of the Holy Prophets(saw), his unique moral qualities, accompanied by the constant manifestation of heavenly signs, that made an indelible impression on the hearts of his Companions. Since Islam was very dear to God Almighty and He wanted it to live to the end of time, He did not wish that it should become, like the other faiths, a relic of outdated legends and myths. In every age this blessed religion has had living exemplars who, by their enlightened knowledge and example, made people remember the time of the Holy Prophets (saw), to whom the Holy Quran was revealed. In our own time, and in keeping with this His practice, God Almighty has raised the Promised Messiah (as) among us, so that he should be a witness to the age.
(The Need for the Imam, page 58-59)

The passage above states the exact importance and brings out the logic that I certainly hope to have conveyed. Khilafat has surely had an interesting road to pave and it still has an entire future to carve out; a future where there is place for Ahmadis to perform pilgrimage to Mecca and not be restricted by their beliefs, a future that holds faith in Pakistan's political policies towards Ahmadis in un declaring Ahmadis non-Muslim and giving them their rights of expressing freedom of speech and religion, a future where there is no imprisonment & persecution of innocent followers, a future of pious and peaceful living and hopefully the future holds a fast growing number of Waqfe Nau kids becoming the gem that shines even in the piles of dirt, when it remains unclear to see the logic and determination is tested severely. May the upcoming generations be born with golden hearts of good intentions and souls that are made of angelic material beating down the evil of society; Prospering towards a more progressive, a more accepted concept, staying true to its originality is what the world is hopeful for an Islam that carries solutions to problematic issues with the guidance of the Holy Quran, Ahmadiyyat and Hadith.

Blessings of Khilafat can be instilled anywhere in the world as long as the household holds a moral standard of righteousness and obeys the simple rules of modesty and morality within the beautiful teachings of Islam. It is not necessary to obtain blessings from one particular country or it should not be used as an excuse to escape oneself from responsibility, since the country you reside in may come with its complexities and lack of modesty, but the main objective should remain to live in the cause of faith, live in humility and taqwa to attain life's joys.

Muslim Television Ahmadiyya is a great source of welcoming blessings into our very home as it creates an environment for kids and adults to learn. The technology of today may change in rapid speed, but the advantages to the Ahmadiyya Movement are even more attainable as the world and its knowledge has embraced an electronic way of creeping into people's minds, such as with the internet and the Ahmadiyya website, one can not be far away from a Friday Sermon or the Holy Quran as all literature, all the needed information is captured just a click away to our conveniences.

The Ahmadiyya Movement has quickly adapted to the growing changes of technology and it surely is a blessing to see that volunteer work has delivered resources of high performance and efficiency on International level. The quality of work is praiseworthy and surprisingly professional looking. The impression one gets when browsing onto the official website is that of admiration and sincere interest. The availability of literature and sermons is of great use and can be listened to anywhere in the world, thus a blessing that is hidden in the chaotic world of Internet generally creating destructive minds, however alislam.org is a mental relief to those who are in quest for rational reasoning from a logical standpoint and declarations, on atop of my lungs;

Love For All Hatred for None!



Anonymous said...

Love your writing as well as your husband's websites. Best wishes to you both!

Naila said...

Thank you very much! :)