Friday Sermon delivered by Hazrat Mirza Masroor Ahmadaba, Khalifatul Masih V, Head of the worldwide Ahmadiyya Muslim Community, on 28th September 2012 from the Baitul Futuh Mosque, London, UK.
Translated by Amer Safir and Murtaza Ahmad, UK
After reciting Tashhahud, T’aawwuz and Surah Faatihah, His Holiness said:
As I arrived at the Mosque last Friday to lead the Friday Prayer, as soon as I stepped out of the car I observed that a large number of journalists were standing in view. Upon inquiry, Ameer Sahib [national president of the Ahmadiyya Community] explained that they had come here in light of the Muslim reaction to the extremely hurtful film produced in the United States and to observe the response of the Ahmadis. I replied, “That is fine, inform them I am about to deliver a sermon on this topic in which the reaction of the Ahmadis will be expressed.”
Indeed, this is also the work of God the Exalted in that He drew the media in such large numbers there. Furthermore, He placed it in my heart that I should give a sermon on this subject. Initially, I had intended to deliver a sermon on something else, however, only one day previously, my attention was diverted to saying something on this subject. Nevertheless, these are the doings of Allah the Exalted. He makes things happen in whatever manner He pleases and circumstances thereafter testified that the topic addressed had the succour of God with it. Although in a restricted time, only a limited amount can be said, God the Exalted conveyed the message, or the essence of what I had stated, not only to the Ahmadis around the world, but He also caused the message to be widely circulated amongst non-Ahmadis as well.
As I exited the Mosque after the Friday Prayer, Ameer Sahib stated that the media desired to briefly ask me some questions directly. I replied that I had already covered everything in the sermon, and also during the sermon I had observed that the media was standing in the upper section taking photos and videos with their cameras and were recording and listening to the translation. They had heard the message; so what more did they need? However, because the media was already seated in the room and had been informed that I would attend, I agreed to proceed. This was considering that if upholding the honour and dignity of the Holy Prophetsa required additional things to be explained, then I would do so. Further, I thought that, if as a result of this interview, a better message could be conveyed to the world regarding the Prophet’s status and his teachings, it would be something positive, and thus I should go ahead and meet them.
When I entered the room, television reporters in addition to newspaper journalists, including Newsnight from the BBC, another reporter from the BBC, a reporter from New Zealand National Television, French television, as well as numerous other journalists, were all present. The reporter from New Zealand was sitting to my right and had the first opportunity [to ask questions]. He asked, “What message do you wish to convey?” I replied that he had already heard the message as he was listening to the translation of the sermon in which I had expounded on the rank and status of the Holy Prophetsa as being the loftiest, and that his example for every Muslim was worthy of being emulated. As far as the enraged reaction of the Muslims was concerned, in a way it was right, and indeed such a reaction should have been shown, however, it was manifested and expressed inappropriately in certain places. The status that we hold for the Holy Prophetsa in our hearts cannot be perceived by worldly persons. It is for this reason that worldly people do not realise the extent to which we have been deeply hurt by these acts—acts which destroy the peace of the world.
The reporter from New Zealand kept on stressing, that I had said in very harsh terms that such people would be cast into hell; and thus he said that I was no different than others. Although these were not his exact words, his tone seemed to imply this, and he repeatedly asked the same question. I told him that people who utter such profanities concerning the beloved ones of Allah the Exalted and persistently attempt to make them a target of mockery and derision and do not desist in any way no matter what explanation is given. For them the decree of God comes to pass, and a punishment can and does also descend. The reporter kept silent, but it seemed that he had been somewhat scared and frightened by this. He sent his report to New Zealand National Television and it was broadcast on it. It was the first time that a news item was featured regarding the Ahmadiyya Jama’at on New Zealand national TV. The New Zealand Jama’at [i.e. the Ahmadiyya Community in New Zealand] was delighted that they were introduced in this manner, with reference to my sermon and interview. The words of the English translator had been recorded and included in the news item, “[Allah the Almighty] will fill hell with these people.” However the reporter displayed a decency, which sometimes other non-Muslim reporters either do not possess or fail to demonstrate. They could have taken this statement out of context which would then have led to a negative reaction. In order to offset this—or perhaps Allah the Exalted put it in his heart—he included my interview in his report that was broadcast. In the interview I stated, “We do not believe in this type of violence. You will never see any Ahmadi involved in this type of protest.” After including my response in this segment, the news reporter stated that the Community is a minority Muslim Community and are treated badly by Muslims themselves. [Furthermore he said] that in any case, it remains to be seen whether or not the words and message of the Khalifah have any effect upon the other non-Ahmadi Muslims. The report also featured footage of other Muslims reacting violently and Maulawis protesting and raising slogans.
As I have previously stated, through this means, the true message of Islam was conveyed not only to New Zealand, but via satellite to its neighbouring countries, and through their website to large parts of the world. Even if we tried, Ahmadiyyat could not have been introduced and the true message of Islam could not have been conveyed in such a manner. The Ahmadiyya Community in New Zealand should now try to devise a proper plan and endeavour to convey the message of Islam and Ahmadiyyat to all parts of the country. This message may well have been heard in the countries surrounding New Zealand. The Ahmadiyya Communities there should also form comprehensive programmes to convey the true life of the Holy Prophetsa, and the true teachings of Islam to these countries.
The reporter from Newsnight stated that he had seen the film and there was nothing in it to merit such a fierce reaction and such a commotion, from the Muslims. He said that I had delivered a detailed sermon upon this and in some parts I had rebutted it in rather strong words. This [film] was just a light joke!
Inna lillah! – This is the standard of their moral condition. I told him that:
“I do not know how you viewed the film or what your moral standard is. You cannot perceive the status that Muslims hold for the Prophet Muhammadsa in their hearts and the heartfelt love every single Muslim has for him.”
I also said:
“I have not seen the film but the one or two aspects I was informed of by someone who has seen it, are unbearable; yet you say it is nothing. Having heard about the content of the film, I could never watch it. Merely hearing about it makes one’s blood boil.”
I asked him:
“If somebody verbally abused your father, insulted him and used obscene and vulgar language, what would your reaction be? You would definitely react. Is this correct or not? Now a Muslim views the station and rank of the Holy Prophetsa as much higher and no one can attain it.”
He returned to speaking about the film once again. I said, “As I have already asked you, would you be able to endure someone insulting about your father?” He did not answer “Yes” or “No”, rather, he kept silent. Although perhaps this reporter did not report this in the media; nevertheless, my statement, “Would you react if somebody verbally abused your father” was relayed by many other media outlets and was even added on various websites. Moreover, with reference to the sermon and press conference, the viewpoint of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Jama’at was thoroughly conveyed to the world through some websites, online newspapers, commentators as well as a Pakistani English language newspaper. Some commented on the Internet that every intelligent person would say the same thing. What original thing has Mirza Masroor Ahmad said, in particular? One Ahmadi, however, wrote to me and said that:
“I have listened to all the analyses, I have watched all the news reports and I have observed all the statements of the Ulema and the leaders. They have said many things, but not a single one has drawn attention towards invoking Durood (sending salutations and blessings) upon the Holy Prophetsa.”
Thus, it is only the Ahmadiyya Jama’at that has drawn the attention of its members towards Darood. One response that should be demonstrated is that they should invoke more and more Darood upon him. Others have also written that the people whom they label as non-Muslims [i.e. Ahmadis] have displayed the correct Islamic response. So this has been widely publicised, and in this way, the correct response of a true Muslim has also been presented to the world. The world has come to learn of the true message of Islam as portrayed by the Ahmadiyya Community and the Muslim world and the rest of the world have received the message of what the correct response of a true Muslim is and should be. As I have mentioned, it was the special blessing and support of Allah the Almighty, that we received coverage in this manner, because otherwise even if we tried our best, the world would not have come to know the correct Islamic viewpoint presented by the Ahmadiyya Muslim Jama’at nor would we have been able to convey it to the world, on such a large scale. It is the duty of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community and Ahmadis everywhere to further this message and to avail of this media coverage.
As far as guidelines from the central departments of the Ahmadiyya Community are concerned, regarding efforts and methodology, I have already instructed for the Friday Sermon to be published. The guidelines and messages that will be conveyed to the branches of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community from the central departments, and then to the members of the Community locally, may take a short while, even a few days. All Ahmadis who are listening to my words should take advantage of this opportunity that has been provided by God the Exalted. First, as I mentioned in the previous Friday Sermon, present the beautiful teachings of Islam to the world through your practice. However, alongside this, the related central office and the Community should promptly give heed and translate the Friday Sermon into their native languages and publicise it widely; it was only a brief sermon. They should also mention this with relation to the press. Convey the Islamic viewpoint to every sensible person. They should also mention that if anyone wants to see the beautiful aspects of the life of the Holy Prophetsa, we can and do provide literature and books based on facts and history. The various website addresses of Ahmadiyya Community Chapters and the address of the central or main website on which literature is available should also be presented.
As I mentioned, I have already provided guidelines. Some have also presented their own suggestions, namely, that through the Friday Sermon and the Q & A session with the press, the worldwide publicity of the viewpoints of the Ahmadiyya Jama’at should be fully utilised to highlight the beautiful aspects of the life of the Holy Prophetsa. Maximum efforts should be made to achieve this. Books on the life of the Holy Prophetsa, which have been translated into English, should be placed in libraries in Europe, England, and English-speaking countries. These books can be provided free if necessary, especially books which have been translated into English, or which have been translated into other languages. Such books should be widely distributed. For example, the book by Hazrat Khalifatul Masih IIra [Second worldwide Head of the Ahmadiyya Community], Life of Muhammad, has been published in English. Similarly, there is the book by Hazrat Mirza Bashir Ahmadra, The Life and Character of the Seal of Prophets, part of which has been translated into English. The Wakalat-ut-Tasneef department should have the remaining parts quickly translated and published.
Life of Muhammad by Hazrat Khalifatul Masih IIra is a short book; however, it has covered all aspects of the Prophet’ssa life concisely. This is actually a part of the Introduction to the Study of the Holy Qur’an and cites both historical and biographical aspects. Almost all, in fact all of it, is part of the Introduction to the Study of the Holy Qur’an. Reading it highlights every aspect of the life of the Holy Prophetsa and this should be widely published. The Wakeel-ul-Isha’at and Wakeel-ut-Tasneef should report the languages that The Introduction to the Study of the Holy Qur’an has been translated into to me. If it is not currently in stock, it should be re-published immediately. I believe the German and perhaps the French translation are available. In any case, a report should be submitted to me. We have to present the beautiful aspects of the blessed life of the Holy Prophetsa before the world. This is our task, and we should discharge this with a concerted effort in every circumstance
Today, only the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community can carry out this task with dedication. For this, efforts should be made for all types of programmes to be formulated to a greater extent than before. Seminars and conventions should be held and maximum numbers of non-Muslims should be invited to these functions. As I mentioned, my previous week’s Friday Sermon should be translated into every language, formed into leaflets and distributed through a campaign, in the same way the peace leafleting campaign occurred. However, this should not take too long. This work can and should be carried out within one week or ten days. This publication work can be easily carried out in large countries. These people are not desisting in their schemes and neither will they. Seeing the general reaction of the Muslims, it appears that they are in pursuit of paining our hearts further. They are spreading their malicious ways from one country to another. Just two days ago, a Spanish newspaper made and published new caricatures, and said it was just a joke. This too was a response to the reaction of the Muslims. Thus, in order to silence such people we have to make thorough and concerted efforts to at least inform educated and decent people, that this wrong approach is destroying world peace. This is required in order to uncover their maliciousness as much as possible, before the world.
The Queen’s Diamond Jubilee was recently celebrated here in the UK and also in the Commonwealth. When the Diamond Jubilee of Queen Victoria took place, the Promised Messiahas wrote a book, Tohfa-e-Qaisariyah (A Gift to the Queen), and he sent it to the Queen. Whilst he praised the fair and just government of the Queen, he also conveyed the message of Islam to her. He drew attention towards the establishment of world peace, interfaith relations and respect and reverence for religious leaders and prophets. He also explained in detail the means for peace. At the recent Diamond Jubilee of Queen Elizabeth, a beautifully bound translation of Tohfa-e-Qaisariyah (A Gift to the Queen) was published and sent to her. The related royal department was personally handed this book along with my letter, sent a reply of thanks to me, mentioning that it had been added to the Queen’s collections of books and that she would read it. Whether or not the Queen reads it, we have in any case, made an effort to discharge our responsibility. Today, the state of chaos and disorder in the world is the same as it was in that era. In some respects, in fact, it is worsening. People are significantly transgressing in their persistent attacks against Islam and in their insults to and derision of the Holy Prophetsa. Thus, there is an immense need to disseminate this message of the Promised Messiahas today also. This is why the section [of this book] relating to respect for religions and peace mentions that conferences should be held, and explains the manner in which they should be organised. All such sections should be collated and formed into a leaflet, published and distributed here and all across the world. Work on this should also begin immediately. This leaflet would total two or three pages, or at most four or five pages.
The Promised Messiahas, with reference to the Prophets of God, gives the example of a person who tries to promote a false law and acts as a false representative in the name of a government; the government machinery would come into action and take steps against such a person or group. How then, could it be possible that Allah the Almighty would tolerate something being falsely attributed to Him and give [such persons] a free hand? Thus, when Prophets claim to bring a message from God and their Communities grow, it proves that they have been sent by Allah the Exalted. This is why those who are from God should be respected, so that world peace can be maintained. In this regard, I shall present a section from the book A Gift to the Queen, in which the Promised Messiahas discusses how peace should be established and also the mission of the Prophets. He states:
“Therefore, this law is part of the Eternal practice of Almighty God”
Just as worldly governments do not tolerate anything being wrongly attributed to them, how then can Allah the Almighty then tolerate it?
“This law is part of the Eternal practice of Almighty God; that he does not grant respite to a false prophet. Such a person is quickly seized and suffers his punishment. In view of this, we shall honour and accept as true, all those who claim to be prophets at any time and whose claim was established and a religion became widespread and flourished over a long period. If we should discover mistakes in their scriptures of their religions or should observe the misconduct of their followers, we should not attribute these faults and shortcomings to the founders of these religions, inasmuch as the perversion of scriptures is possible and it is possible that mistakes of interpretation might find their way into the commentaries. But it is not at all possible that a person should fabricate lies against God and claim to be a prophet and then put forward his own compositions as the word of God falsely, and yet God should grant him respite like the righteous (that all of this should be as such, yet God grants him respite) and allow him wide acceptance worthy of the truthful. Therefore, this principle is an ultimate truth and endless blessing and withal lays the foundation for conciliation, in that, we affirm the truthfulness of all prophets whose religion has been well established, has survived for a long time period and has had millions enter its fold. This is a very blessed principle. If all the world were to adhere to this fundamental principle, thousands of disorders and blasphemies which disturb the peace among general public, would be eradicated. It is apparent that people who consider the adherence of a religion to be following a person who in their view is a liar and fabricator, this lays the foundation of many tribulations. They certainly commit the crimes of defamation and speak of the prophets with extremely disrespectful words, going as far as employing abusive language, and disrupt harmony and peace amongst the general public. Notwithstanding that their estimation is wrong and they are transgressors in the eyes of God with regards to the disrespectful views. God who is merciful and beneficent, does not like that a liar should prosper unfairly and then put people in doubt, by establishing his own religion. Nor does He allow that in the eyes of the world a person be raised to the level of true prophets, while he is a fabricator and a liar. Therefore this principle lays down the foundation of love, peace and harmony, and supports moral values. In that we consider all those prophets true who appeared in the world, whether in India or Persia or China or any other country, God instilled their respect and grandeur in the hearts of millions, and made firm the roots of their religion which remained established for centuries. This is the principle that the Qur’an teaches us. In light of this principle we honour all religious founders who fall under this description, whether they are the founders of the religion of the Hindus or the religion of the Persians, or the religion of the Chinese, or the religion of the Jews, or the religion of the Christians. Unfortunately, our adversaries cannot treat us this way and they do not bear in mind the pristine and unalterable law of God, that He does not give that blessing and honour to a false prophet, that He bestows upon the true one. The religion of a false prophet does not take root and does not last long as does the religion of a truthful prophet. Therefore people subscribing to this kind of belief who defame the prophets of other nations by declaring them false, are always enemies of peace and harmony, because there is no greater mischief than abusing the elders of other nations. Sometimes a person would rather die than hear disparaging words about his elders. If we have an objection to the teaching of a religion, we should not attack the honour of the prophet of that religion or mention him in an unseemly manner; rather we should object only to the current practices of that nation.”
If there are shortcomings in that nation, we should object to those shortcomings rather than to the prophet himself. Furthermore, he says:
“We should be certain that the prophet whom God Almighty has graced with the honour of acceptance by millions and whose acceptance has continued for centuries, is thus firmly proven to be from Allah. If he were not the beloved of God, he would not have achieved so much respect. It is not the practice of God to grant honour to a fabricator to spread his religion amongst millions and to safeguard the fabricated religion for a long time. Therefore a religion which spreads in the world, takes root and finds honour and long life, cannot at all be false in its origin. Therefore, if anything in that teaching is objectionable then it can either be because…”
The Promised Messiahas has given three reasons why a current day religion may be objectionable; firstly, “…the teachings of that prophet have been altered.” In other words the guidance given by the Prophet has been distorted and changed. A second reason is that, “…because a mistake has been made in the explanation of his teachings.” Their teachings were interpreted wrongly. Thirdly, “It is also possible that we may not be justified in our objections.” That one may not comprehend a matter and raises an objection such as those who criticise the person of the Holy Prophetsa without edifying themselves about his history and who do not study or understand the Qur’an or the accounts of his life. The Promised Messiahas said:
“It may be observed that some priests raise objections about certain tenets in the Holy Qur’an. Even though they believe them to be true and as the teachings of God according to the Torah, therefore such objections are due to one’s own mistake or due to haste.”
Then he wrote:
“In summary, welfare of humanity, peace, harmony, righteousness and fear of God call for adhering to the principle that we do not declare such prophets as false concerning whose truth the opinion of millions of people for centuries has been established and they have been supported by God since time immemorial. I am confident that a seeker of truth whether Asian or European will cherish this principle, and will profoundly regret that he did not believe in it all along.”
Addressing the Queen he wrote:
“I place this principle before Her Majesty the Queen the empress of India and England. (At the time Queen’s government also extended over India); because only this principle can spread peace in the world. This is our principle. Islam is proud to be unique in subscribing to this beautiful and handsome principle. Is it befitting that we malign the sages to whom God has subjugated a world, and kings have been bowing to them for centuries? Is it befitting that we be distrustful of God, thinking that he wants to deceive people by giving the status of the truthful to the liars, making them the sages of millions, giving their religions long lives, and showing heavenly signs in their favour? If God himself were to deceive us, how could we differentiate right from wrong? This is a most important tenet. A false prophet should not achieve the grandeur, expectance and greatness as that of a truthful one. Prosperity should not result from the plans of liars as it does from the activities of truthful ones. That is why the first sign of the truthful is that perpetual support is with them and God plants His religion in the hearts of millions, and grants it long life. Therefore, keeping in view the day of our passing away and the day of our recompense, we should not malign such a great sage. Rather we should garner true respect and true love for a prophet who carries such signs. This is the first principle which God has taught us. Through this we have become inheritors of a great moral code.”
The Promised Messiahas also said that conferences should be held in which people of different faiths present the excellences of their religions. As we observe, Islam is currently the foremost religion of the world in terms of actually being practised. It is the second largest religion of the world in terms of population. Thus, undoubtedly other religions should respect Muslims. They should make an effort to discharge the right of respecting the Holy Prophetsa or otherwise chaos and disorder will be created in the world. When we extend respect and honour to the religions of the world and when we consider their elders and Prophets as being sent by God, it is due only to the beautiful teachings provided to us by the Holy Qur’an and taught to us by the Holy Prophetsa. In spite of the fact that the opponents of Islam use offensive and irreverent language against the Holy Prophetsa and create crude and obscene caricatures of him, we do not respond by using wrong or disparaging comments against the prophets of any other faith. Yet, Muslims are blamed for disturbing world peace, whilst it is those people who perpetrate such acts to disrupt world peace, and attempt to inflame the sentiments of Muslims. When passions flare up they say, “Look, Muslims are extremists; all manner of action should be taken against them.”
As I explained in the previous week’s sermon, the opponents of Islam have been emboldened to act in this manner, by the fact that the Muslims are disunited. However, we Ahmadi Muslims, whom God the Almighty has united upon the hand of the Promised Messiahas as one, should show the world the path of guidance, and the ways of peace and security. The message of the Promised Messiahas, which I read out earlier, should be widely publicised. The people of the world should come to learn the true message of Islam. Worldly people are completely unaware of the station of the Holy Prophetsa that we hold in our hearts; that true Muslims hold in their hearts. They are oblivious to how beautiful the teachings and the blessed model of the Holy Prophetsa are. They cannot even envisage how much love and devotion a Muslim has for the Holy Prophetsa.
Not only 1400 years ago, was ardent love for the Holy Prophetsa expressed, by Hassan bin Thabitra, in the following couplet of poetry that he recited upon the demise of the Holy Prophet:
“O Muhammadsa you were the pupil of my eye. Now that you have passed away I am blinded. I care not if any one dies now; I feared your death alone.”
In this age the Promised Messiahas has also inspired deep love and devotion for the Holy Prophetsa in our hearts. Depicting this profound love and affection, in the long Arabic Qaseedah, he says:
“A group of people has seen you whilst the whole nation has been informed about you. That full moon that has captivated me!”
“They weep fervently upon remembrance of your beauty, Yearning and aching from the misery of separation.”
“And I see the hearts desperately in anxious in agony; And I see the tears flowing from the eyes.”
The last line of poetry in this long Qaseedah which most, even children have memorised, reads:
“My body yearns to fly to you, so intense is my desire that it has soared high, Would it that I had a power to fly”
These were the lessons of love and devotion that the Holy Prophetsa taught us. Yet worldly people assert, “What is the harm in light humour and jokes?” When moral standards sink to such a low level and instead of improving they fall to their lowest ebb, it is then that world order is also ruined. As I stated, it is our duty to make maximum efforts to convey the various aspects of the blessed life of the Holy Prophetsa to the world. For this, the short but concise and very comprehensive book The Life of Muhammadsa, or the section of The Introduction to Study of the Holy Qur’an, containing the biography of the Prophetsa, should be read by every Ahmadi. Virtually all aspects of the life of the Prophetsa have been mentioned in it, or it can be said that the important aspects have been covered. Further, in accordance with your interest and intellectual capacity, Ahmadis should read the other books on the life of the Holy Prophetsa also. Through different means such as contacts, articles and leaflets, you should make the world aware of the blessings and compassion of the Holy Prophetsa. May Allah the Almighty enable every single Ahmadi to discharge this most important responsibility. May He grant wisdom to the world, that such people who unjustly mock, deride and demonstrate enmity in this manner, may be rebutted by a category of intellectual and wise persons, so that the world be saved from disorder, chaos and the wrath of God. May Allah the Almighty facilitate this.”