13 Jun Friday Sermon: Jalsa Salana Germany 2014
Hazrat Khalifatul Masih delivered his Friday sermon in Germany today. The German Jalsa Salana commenced with the sermon. Huzoor expressed hope for good Jalsa attendance as the Promised Messiah (on whom be peace) repeatedly drew attention to the blessings of coming to Jalsa. Thus, even if one has to experience inconvenience, one must try ones best to come to Jalsa. Ahmadis living in the West are fortunate that they can hold Jalsa and other gatherings. They should be grateful for this opportunity and in gratefulness they should fully avail of the Jalsa programme. Ahmadis in Pakistan face restrictions in this regard and endure agony and yearn to be able to hold Jalsa and be recipients of its promised blessings. Some visitors to German Jalsa from Pakistan met Huzoor and sobbed with deep emotions at the helplessness they face in Pakistan. Huzoor repeated his advice that Pakistani Ahmadis should turn to God with greater fervour in order to see change.
The Promised Messiah (on whom be peace) said that the objective of Jalsa Salana was to obtain faith with patience and to only seek faith from Jalsa.
Huzoor drew attention of the Jalsa duty-holders to discharge their duty with patience and steadfastness and to seek God’s pleasure. And Huzoor drew attention of the attendees to the fact that coming to Jalsa should be only to learn about faith and work at spiritual development.
The Promised Messiah said that he repeatedly advises to purify one’s eyes and make them as spiritually bright as they are physically bright. He also said that salvation is attained by those who are disenchanted and free from worldly sentiments. He said unless the heart prostrates before God in humility, physical prostration is pointless.
The Promised Messiah (on whom be peace) said that the qiyam (standing posture) of the heart is to be firm on Divine commandments and its raku (bowing with hands on knees posture) was to turn to God and the heart’s sajdah (prostration posture) was to give away one’s self for the sake of God. Praying, he also said that may God purify the hearts of the people of his Jama’at and by extending His mercy and grace may God turn their hearts towards Him.
When our physical eye hurts we go and see a doctor and take pains to make it better and take precautions in this regard. Do we make similar efforts for our spiritual eye? We may pay attention to the discourses of the three-day Jalsa, but once Jalsa is over we go back in the wider world and return to old form. The three days of Jalsa are remedy for spiritually ill eyes and the rest of the time is time for aftercare.
Spiritual sustenance of Jalsa helps us in paying the dues of God and dues of mankind and absence of this causes distress. For example when young women from Pakistan and other places come to Western countries after marriage, they feel homesick and their parents are also worried about them. Their husband and in-laws are unfair to them and on top of that a woman has to face societal scrutiny. People who are unfair in such matters due to their personal egos etc. should fear God. At times office-holders do not fear God and get involved in the unfairness.
We should reflect on the heart-felt words of the Promised Messiah (on whom be peace). Can we honestly say that we avoid all form of evil? Can we say, bearing God Witness that we avoid all foul matters and do not inflict pain on anyone? Do we pay the dues of God and of mankind? Are our hearts cleansed or are we trying to cleanse them? If not, then it is great cause for concern. Do we prostrate in humility which would be accepted by God? The Holy Qur’an has clearly stated regarding those who Pray for display: ‘So woe to those who Pray.’ (107:5) May none of us ever incur God’s displeasure!
We should perform qiyam, raku and sajdah in the manner that God likes and to set models of which the Promised Messiah (on whom be peace) came. Heart’s qiyam is to be firm on God’s commandments which are given in the Holy Qur’an and hold on fast to them so that we do not fall over. The heart’s raku is to turn to God in every matter and not rely on worldly means and the heart’s sajdah is to sacrifice everything for God, to sacrifice one’s ego, one’s false sense of honour and to follow practices that purify the heart. The Promised Messiah (on whom be peace) prayed for God’s grace to turn hearts of his followers and he then said that those who do not make efforts towards this are not from us. May God never make any of us to break these rules, rather, may we all get stronger and stronger in abiding by them.
InshaAllah, Ramadan starts at the end of this month. It is a month of spiritually training our practices. If we connect/link the blessings of these three days with the magnificent blessings of Ramadan, a spiritual revolution could come about. If the three days of Jalsa cannot bring any good change in anyone then it would be as if they never attended Jalsa. In fact, at times such attendance can cause harm.
Hazrat Khalifatul Masih II (may Allah be pleased with him) narrated an incidence from the time of the Promised Messiah (on whom be peace) in this regard. The Promised Messiah (on whom be peace) came to the mosque and people rushed forward to be close to him so that they could avail of his spiritual presence and company. A man came to this gathering and started offering his Sunnah Salat. His Salat became so long and extended that people who wished to get closer to the Promised Messiah (on whom be peace) started to get anxious. Some of them plucked courage and came closer and perhaps in their haste someone’s elbow struck the man offering Sunnah Salat. The man complained and said what sort of a Prophet or Mahdi was he that people of his assembly pushed others. He became very unhappy, apostatised and left. Indeed, this was his own wretchedness. The very same assembly in which people gained in spirituality became a source of stumbling for the individual. His action showed that his qiyam, raku and sajdah were only for display!
Although the Promised Messiah’s assemblies are no more, however discourse are given in light of his teachings, as indeed in light of the commentary of the Holy Qur’an, in light of the blessed model of the Holy Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be on him). We should join in Salat and Tahajjud on time but if for some reason Salat is missed it should be offered standing on by the side and not somewhere that would inconvenience others. Good works are those which are done according to the time and place. Had the man shortened his Salat and sat in the assembly it would have been totally different. Patience and forbearance saves one’s faith from being wasted. Those attending Jalsa should even forgo inconvenience with patience and steadfastness.
Sometimes, some people are impatient at Jalsa which causes harshness and even aggression is displayed. Later, when disciplinary action is taken it causes people to stumble because their ego takes over and rather than be a source of beneficence Jalsa becomes a source of harm for their faith.
With the grace of God today Jalsa is held all over the world. Followers of the Promised Messiah (on whom be peace) belong to many ethnic backgrounds and races and thus guidance is spreading in the world. If one wretched person loses his faith, hundreds come into its fold.
Huzoor related an example of this. Our missionary Sahib in Sierra Leone wrote that a chief Imam was and is an opponent of the Jama’at. Our local Mu’alim (tutor) invited him to our Jalsa. Although the chief Imam did not come, the deputy Imam did. He wanted to see why Ahmadis incurred so much expense to hold Jalsa. However, on the very first day when he came to offer Tahajjud with others and saw them offer their Salat with heart-rending humility, his heart melted and he realised that Ahmadis were truthful. When our missionary Sahib asked for his comments the deputy Imam said that he was most impressed with the members of the Jama’at and the traditions of the Jama’at and was now an Ahmadi! He returned to his area and started doing Tabligh. The Imam expelled him but the deputy Imam said that he would leave everything for the Jama’at. Due to his Tabligh many joined the Jama’at. Thus one Jalsa made one Ahmadi and because of his efforts, hundreds more became Ahmadi. The name of this deputy Imam was Sheikh Adam and he changed it to Sheikh Adam Jalsa Salana! By changing him God created new heavens and new earth! Those of us who were born as Ahmadis should also be concerned about such matters. If we have come to the West because of persecution of the Jama’at in Pakistan, then it behoves us to become ambassadors of the Jama’at here and not to lose ourselves in the world!
Huzoor said the world of Ahmadiyyat is now competing in good and everyone should endeavour not to be left behind. In early years cities used to compete with each other, now countries compete in doing good!
Next Huzoor addressed those who have hospitality duty during Jalsa. Huzoor said that it should be remembered that the Promised Messiah (on whom be peace) was given the revelation of: ووسع مکانک (And enlarge your house) (Tadhkirah, p. 65. 2009 edition) because he used to receive guests even before his claim and he used to be most hospitable to them. He received this revelation many times and this revelation is also for his followers. Our hospitality is going to extend, as indeed it is extending. As the Jama’at is growing in Germany, the hospitality will also grow. The followers of the Promised Messiah (on whom be peace) should not tire of this. The Promised Messiah (on whom be peace) was extremely generous and God had told him not to tire of the visitors and guests. This is also applicable to the Promised Messiah’s followers; those who were around him and those who were to come later. We have to enlarge our hearts for the guests.
People who come during the presence of the Khalifa of the time and eat at the Langar Khana should be particularly taken care of. Indeed, they should also be looked after during normal times. The Holy Qur’an has given us a model of hospitality in the person of Hazrat Ibrahim (on whom be peace). One should not wait and ask guests if they should be offered something or not and one should not worry about spending to serve guests and should look after their comfort. Indeed, the Holy Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be on him) paid emphasis on hospitality and was most pleased when his followers looked after guests. The Promised Messiah (on whom be peace) used to go after guests who left displeased with the workers at Langar Khana. These matters are not only for reading, listening and enjoying, rather, they should be put in practice by us.
Huzoor drew attention of the German Jalsa management to appreciate the significance of hospitality. One aspect of which is to serve food to the Jalsa attendees. One dish and bread is served to approximately 32,000 guests at Jalsa. They should be looked after and served food with respect. Conversely, there should be no wastage but this does not mean to feed people leftovers in hot weather and risk them falling ill. The other aspect of hospitality is for normal times. The Promised Messiah (on whom be peace) used to provide service to people according to their liking. Jalsa management should take note of this. We receive guests from outside Jama’at and they are impressed with our level of hospitality. German Jama’at is building mosques and food is served at the functions held at the inauguration of mosques. Although the refreshments served on these occasions are adequate, the seating arrangement is not good according to Huzoor. Huzoor is informed that Germans are used to sitting on wooden benches. Huzoor said they very well may be used to this but our standards should be better. Huzoor instructed that the budget should allocate decent seating arrangement for guests. He said our ways, which we have been taught, should be visible. Although serving tea as refreshment is fine but it should be accompanied with food that is preferred by German people. Food served at banquets should be in accordance to their taste and with few spices.
In this regard Huzoor had noticed the food served at the inauguration of our mosque in Munich. He said while the food served at the head table, where the dignitaries sat, was a little better but whatever was served to the 250, 300 esteemed German guests that Huzoor could observe, appeared to be a half-hearted effort. Huzoor said good hospitality is very important at such functions. It is the responsibility of the management of the country to provide good hospitality. Although the function was very good but attention needs to be paid to what was lacking.
Huzoor said it should be remembered that it is obligatory to provide good hospitality to guests during the days Huzoor is present. It is the duty of the ziafat team and the local Jama’at. Any kind of emotional hurt should be avoided. It is the right of a guest that he is looked after. It is extremely ignoble to be hospitable and then gossip. Huzoor alluded to the fact that something on these lines was experienced by those who are travelling with Huzoor. Huzoor said right now he was only indicating to the matter and hoped that people would understand and get the message. They should realise their error and engage in Istighfar (seeking forgiveness from God). May God give sense to all workers!
Huzoor also said that everyone should be alert and vigilant as regards security. May God make the Jalsa successful in every way!