The Promised Messiah and founder of the Jamaat Ahmadiyya Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad Qadiani’s blessed son, Hazrat Mirza Bashiruddin Mahmood Ahmad (The Khalifatul Masih II and Musleh Mauod) married Hazrat Syeda Maryam Begum on 7th February, 1924. She was the daughter of Hazrat Dr. Abdul Sattar Shah, scion of an eminent Syed family. In his Nikah sermon, Syed Sarwar Shah Sahib, a venerable companion of the Promised Messiah said,
“I am now advanced in years and would soon pass away, But those who live would witness the advent of Servants of the faith born in this wedlock with a Syeda as occurred before. This is my resolute conviction.”
And so this Servant of the faith was born on 18th December, 1928. He grew up righteousness and virtuous under the guidance of his illustrious father and devout mother and with divine blessings. Once, during his childhood, he was asked by a well-know Ahmadi Savant, Maulana Abdul Rahim Nayyer, “Which reward would you cherish most for doing good work?” “Allah – Only Allah” was the 10 year old’s spontaneous answer.
The blessed personage was named Hazrat Mirza Tahir Ahmad. His erudition encompasses wide range of knowledge both spiritual and material. After graduation, he obtained the “Shahid” degree from Jamia Ahmadiyya (Theological Academy) at Rabwah. Then he studied in Europe for two and half years.
After completing his higher education, he dedicated his life to the service of faith. In October 1958, he was given charge of “Waqf-e-Jadid” the department for propagation of the highest grades of virtue and for fostering welfare of Ahmadis. From 1960 to 1969 he was vice-president and then president of Majlis Khuddam-ul-Ahmadiyya in which capacity he displayed remarkable qualities of leadership. From 1979 to 1982, he was president of Majlis Ansarullah. He served as Director of Fazl-e-Omar Foundation in the time of Hazrat Khalifatul Masih III. He was patron of the International Ahmadiyya Association of Architect and Engineers (IAAAE). Allah has bestowed upon him extraordinary talents of speech and writing. The books authored by him gave greatly enriched the repository of Ahmadiyya literature. Some of the well-known titles are: Biography of Hazrat Fazl-e-Omar, Murder in the name of Allah, Maudoodi Islam, What Ahmadiyyat gave to the world, and The Moral Excellence of the Holy Prophet in Wars.
Hazrat Hafiz Mirza Nasir, Khalifatul Masih III passed away on the 9th of June, 1982 and the following day Hazrat Mirza Tahir Ahmad Sahib was elected as Khalifatul Masih IV. Under his able guidance and with divine help, the Jamaat is making great strides. Progress and advancement is evident in every respect – geographically, historically, morally, and spiritually.
Allah says in the Holy Quran,
“He indeed prospers who purifies it” 91:10.
As such purification of soul is regarded the foremost guiding principle for the followers of Allah’s prophets. Hazrat Khalifatul Masih IV has exhorted the Jamaat to achieve this end in various ways some of which are mentioned here.
His Holiness emphasised on the importance of observing congregational Prayer Service. He dealt with this topic in three phases – in Friday Sermon of 1st April 1983 and in various sermons since 8th November 1985. On 17th June 1988, he once again stressed the need for establishing and strengthening communion with Allah through prayers. With Allah’s grace, these dynamic exhortations are producing good results and the general improvement in moral and spiritual standards of the Jamaat in quite evident.
The so-called modern society has shattered the dignity of woman under the illusion of equality. The manner in which Islam has safeguarded the honour and esteem of woman in deprecated and subjected to misplaced criticism. In his question and answer session and Press Conferences, His Holiness not only refuted this criticism, he also enunciated the true status of woman in Islam. He exhorted the Ahmadi women to observe “Purdah” strictly and to safeguard the Islamic values. In his sermon at the annual Ahmadiyya conference of 1982, he warned the Ahmadi women against the perils of western culture and conveyed to them the significance and importance of Islamic Purdah.
In consequence of this guidance, most of the Ahmadi ladies in western countries now meticulously observe Purdah.
Islam has propounded very noble teachings about family life and the Holy Prophet was a model of moral excellence in this respect. Some people do not follow this good example and transgress Quranic teachings. In his Friday Sermon of 14th February, 1986, His Holiness exhorted the Ahmadis to completely root out this behaviour from their daily lives and foster graciousness between kindred and in-laws. In response many families have forsworn their past attitude.
The Ahmadis as a group stand out from others as comparatively free from the shackles of un-Islamic customs and superstitions. Shortcomings do arise at times and His Holiness has particularly laid stress to eradicate them. In his sermons of 8th March, 1985 and 10th May, 1985, His Holiness enjoined the Ahmadis to eschew giving dowry beyond means, exchanging gifts on New Year Day or other similar customs.
The Muslims celebrate Eid twice a year. The affluent generally move within the narrow confines of their own circle. In his Eid Sermon of 1983, His Holiness asked the wealthy Ahmadis to go to the homes of their poor brethren to wish them happy Eid and offer them gifts. In compliance of this directive, the delectation of Eid in Ahmadi society has escalated significantly and this is the very substance and philosophy of Islamic festival of Eid.
To derive real profit from the teachings of Quran, one must be righteous. Allah says,
“It is a guidance for the righteous.” 2:3.
In a gathering the Holy Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) pointed his finger towards his chest and said,
“The righteousness should be here”.
Elucidating this Hadith, the Promised Messiah pronounced “Righteousness is a virtue that should be rooted in the heart.” The Khalifatul Masih IV reflected elaborately on this topic in various sermons. The righteousness nourished with the awe and love of Allah is supreme and perpetual.
The preaching of Islam is obligatory for every Muslim. In the present age it is only the Ahmadiyya Movement which is actively engaged in this great effort and this fact is conceded by our antagonists also. Hazrat Khalifatul Masih IV has vastly expanded this programme of preaching and propagation. The Ahmadis by and large are now perceptive to this call and in addition there is a regular cadre of preachers. On the whole, the implementation of the programme in as many as 152 countries of the world.
In the era of the 4th Caliph, the Jamaat has come to exercise considerable influence winning more and more adherents, among them eminent personalities and tribal kings. In 1987, two such kings from Nigeria made the covenant and joined Jamaat. Thus the Promised Messiah’s revelation,
“Kings will seek blessings from thy clothes”
found fulfilment once again. His Holiness bestowed sacred relics of the Promised Messiah on these two kings when they presented themselves during the annual Ahmadiyya Conference in London in 1987.
The Promised Messiah was commissioned by God for rejuvenating Islam and disseminating the Holy Quran. During the time of the 2nd and 3rd Caliphs, translation of the Holy Quran was done in different languages. This work has been considerably accelerated now. Translations in fifty one languages of the world have been completed and published. Translation of 300 selected verses of the Quran in 118 languages of the world have been done. This monumental achievement has no parallel in the last 1400 years.
To achieve the highest grades of excellence and purification, spending in the cause of Allah is proclaimed a virtue of great merit subordinated only to the performance of prayer. It is a measure of the grand spiritual revolution brought about by the Promised Messiah that the Ahmadis are always prepared and eager to spend money in the cause of Allah. Their zeal for such voluntary sacrifices has been ever growing having greatly accelerated in the era of Hazrat Khalifatul Masih IV.
The annual budget of Jamaat has reached 1 billion mark. This figure represents the Obligatory Donations only. There are other categories like Tehrik-e-Jadid, Waqf-e-Jadid, Syedna Bilal Fund and Propagation of Quran Fund. Hazrat Khalifatul Masih IV journeys many countries each year. This is to oversee, streamline, extend and accelerate the multifarious activities of the Jamaat. The countries graced by him are Africa, East and West, Far East, Europe, America and Canada.
Only one and half month after becoming Khalifa, His Holiness travelled to Norway, Sweden, Denmark, Switzerland, Holland, UK and Australia. He inaugurated the “Basharat Mosque” the first ever to be built in Spain in 750 years. He addressed 18 press conferences wherein he provided erudite interpretation of Islamic teachings.
For seven weeks in 1983 (Aug. 22 – Oct. 14) he visited Singapore, Fiji, Australia and Sri Lanka. Laying the foundation stone of “Bait-ul-Huda” mosque and Mission House at Sydney was a momentous event of this tour. He also addressed a crowded press conference at the University of Canberra where he expounded the beauty of Islamic values. In December 1984, he undertook a tour of Holland, Germany and France. Plans for establishing big centres were discussed.
In September 1985, His Holiness again visited European countries. New Missions in Holland, Belgium, West Germany were declared open. A sprawling and spacious centre, “Nasir Gardens” was inaugurated. His Holiness travelled to seven European countries, opened five new missions and examined the prospects of establishing another four. In addition to question and answer sessions, four press conferences were addressed.
From Mid August to 7th October, 1986, His Holiness visited Canada, Holland, West Germany, Switzerland, Italy and Spain where he met eminent personalities and also the press. During the tour, foundation stone of the first Ahmadiyya Mosque in Canada was laid.
The same year he graced the Annual Khuddam-ul-Ahmadiyya gathering in Frankfurt and also visited Belgium and Holland. In 1987, he travelled twice to European countries, USA and Canada. This was indeed a history making tour as many new Missions were inaugurated. He met a cross section of eminent persons and conveyed to them the Islamic teachings in a most persuasive way. He was hailed in many cities of America where the day was declared “Mirza Tahir Ahmad Day”.
In January 1988, he set his foot in West Africa for the first time. This tour of six countries spanning over five weeks was highly successful. Tumultuous welcome greeted him everywhere, Gambia, Sierra-Leone, Liberia, Ivory Coast, Ghana and Nigeria. Various Presidents, Ministers, Parliamentarians and Paramount Chiefs met him. The President of Sierra Leone was with him for half an hour. He offered him the use of his personal helicopter and also assigned Police Personnel for his security. Throughout the country, the government made arrangements for his stay. Likewise the government of Liberia provided him use of two Chauffeur-driven cars as well as a Police Squad for security duty. There was meeting with the President and Vice President of Ghana. In almost all these countries, Radio and TV gave ample and appreciative coverage to His Holiness’s activities. Medical and educational institutions provided by the Movement for the benefit of the people were highly praised.
Returning from his tour, His Holiness proclaimed:
“I perceive Light not Darkness in this continent. Many outsiders came here and exploited the people. The wealth of Africa was used elsewhere. Allah has inspired a plan in my mind that the Ahmadiyya Movement would procure funds elsewhere in the world but utilise here in Africa.”
His Holiness created an exclusive department and charged it with fostering the renaissance and revival of the African people. He also urged Ahmadi doctors, teachers and specialists in other fields to offer themselves for service in Africa.
Same year in March/April, His Holiness visited Frankfurt and Glasgow. In August/September, he travelled to East Africa and Mauritius. This was the first time ever that an Ahmadi Khalifa had travelled to this part of the world. He visited Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania besides Mauritius. This was, again a very successful visit. Some mosques were inaugurated. Various Ahmadis got the opportunity of meeting with exalted personage and benefiting from his sublime discourses.
All these tours by the head of the world-wide Ahmadiyya Movement strengthened and uplifted the spirituality and created awakening among the Ahmadi masses. These were instrumental in dispelling the wrong notions about Islam held by a section of the educated classes. On occasions, the critics were confounded when His Holiness expounded the correct interpretation of Islamic teachings and were impelled to embrace Islam there and then. In the course of his African tour, hundreds of persons got initiated in Ahmadiyyat.
Whenever any prophet of Allah comes, he and his followers are opposed and derided. It has been the same with Jamaat Ahmadiyya the followers of the Promised Messiah ever since its inception. In 1974 the government of Pakistan embarked on their persecution which reached most cruel dimensions with the promulgation of Zia-ul-Haq’s Ordinance XX in 1984. The Ahmadis were tormented and persecuted continuously and life was made unbearable for them. But they displayed amazing steadfastness and spirit of sacrifice. In the face of such horrible oppression they stood firm like a rock. Their fearless resolve stems from their unshakeable faith that they hold fast the rope of Allah in the form of Khilafat. Under the guidance of Khilafat the machinations, intrigues and campaigns of derision are met with fortitude, highest grade of virtues and beneficence, reminiscent of the earliest Muslims.
The tortures perpetuated on peace loving Ahmadis grew ever harsher. Some two dozen Ahmadis are martyred. The Holy Founder of the Ahmadiyya Movement is subjected to slander and blasphemous allegations. Profane and foul language is used against other venerable persons of the Jamaat. Such dirty propaganda is spread throughout the world. The Jamaat does not posses enough resources to reply. Yet our Imam, Khalifatul Masih administered cogent refutations to the “White Paper” brought out by the government of Pakistan. This refutation was contained in a series of 18 booklets issued from London, and later published in one volume.
All efforts of their reformation having failed, all precepts fallen on deaf ears, warning of Divine punishments unheeded and having exhausted every other avenue, the Khalifatul Masih IV, on 10th June, 1988, now challenged all their TOP leaders for a “Mubahala”. Let the matter be judged by Allah, The Best of Judges.
One month after the challenge of Mubahala, Maulavi Aslam Qureshi who had gone underground capriciously, reappeared. It had been alleged that he was abducted and then murdered, and the name of the Head of Ahmadiyya Community was maliciously implicated. Aslam Qureshi’s appearance was an ignominious disgrace for the opponents.
The admonitory destruction of General Zia-ul-Haq on 17th August, 1988 (only nine weeks after the challenge of Mubahala) is the manifestation of another Grand Sign for the Truth of Ahmadiyyat.
Blessed are those who take heed of divine signs, recognise the Reformer of the Age and come together under the banner of the Holy Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) and those who are steadfast in their allegiance to the institution of Khilafat. May Allah shower His Blessings on them. Ameen!