Opening Speech at the Annual Prayer Congregation 2002
by Hazrat Ameer Prof. Dr. Abdul Karim Saeed
بِسۡمِ اللّٰہِ الرَّحۡمٰنِ الرَّحِیۡمِ
وَ الۡعَصۡرِ ۙ﴿۱﴾ اِنَّ الۡاِنۡسَانَ لَفِیۡ خُسۡرٍ ۙ﴿۲﴾ اِلَّا الَّذِیۡنَ اٰمَنُوۡا وَ عَمِلُوا الصّٰلِحٰتِ وَ تَوَاصَوۡا بِالۡحَقِّ ۬ۙ وَ تَوَاصَوۡا بِالصَّبۡرِ ٪﴿۳﴾
“In the name of Allah, the Beneficent, the Merciful.
“By the time! Surely man is in loss, except those who believe and do good, and exhort one another to Truth, and exhort one another to patience” (The Quran, 103:1–3).
My dear respected elders, brothers and sisters,
Assalamo alaikum wa Rahmatullah wa Barakatuh
I dedicate this address to our respected elder Mr. Malik Saeed Ahmad and to young Nurullah Mohsin Saqib as well. Mr. Malik Saeed Ahmad is the person who, based on his visions, has been asking me continuously through correspondence to take the responsibility of leading the Jamaat but I had been reluctant to do so. The young Nurullah is the grandson of our esteemed uncle Mr. Abdul Ghafur Saqib. The reason I am addressing him is that I envisage a day when this child will grow up and see the Ahmadiyya Movement free from the fetters of current legal and constitutional restrictions. And it will be then that Nurullah and other children like him will be able to grow up in a free atmosphere. I am also addressing the girls and ladies of the Jamaat who are bringing up our Ahmadiyya treasure. They should educate them properly and look after them with full care and attention. They should present the Ahmadiyya Movement to their offspring with conviction and with a sense of pride.
I have recited Surah al-Asr before you. All of you know its translation and commentary very well. There are several meanings of the word asr which include: age, time, day and night, the time for Asr prayer and any moment in point of time. Recently while studying Hazrat Allama Hakim Maulana Nur-ud-Din’s commentary of the Quran, I found out that Asr also means essence. Allah solemnly puts forward Islam as an essence of all the religions and also alluded to the phenomenon of the fleeting time. Asr can include any span of time, ranging from centuries to a smallest fraction of a moment.
Allah always provides man with an opportunity to take a decision. And if he takes a wrong decision at a particular moment, he suffers gravely. I was also going to take a wrong decision and I am still wondering whether the decision I have made is a correct one. But it gives me great satisfaction when I see that this decision was not mine but of the General Council which has the trust and confidence of the whole Jamaat. If a single hand out of the fifty members had been raised against me, then I might have had an excuse that there are more able persons than me who should be given the chance. But that was the moment of Asr as all the members present gave a unanimous decision in my favour and there was no hesitation at all in anyone’s mind.
I thought that, may be, I would be rejected or would escape from assuming this responsibility if the request of relieving me was turned down by the employing authorities. But nothing happened. The officers concerned said that they would not like to become a hindrance. If Allah had decided it for you, then we are with you, they said. Before attending the General Council meeting, I had decided that if the members of the Council selected me, I would certainly leave my job even if I don’t get a single penny as pension or any other benefits and that would not be a loss for me in any sense.
I did not take this decision for any monetary benefits. This deal is between myself and Allah. Hazrat Allama Maulana Hakim Nur-ud-Din had done the same deal and had not been wasted by Allah. The same was the case with Hazrat Maulana Muhammad Ali, Hazrat Maulana Sadr-ud-Din, Hazrat Dr. Saeed Ahmad Khan, and Hazrat Dr. Asghar Hameed. That is why I have complete trust in Allah that He will never waste me. I need your cooperation and support. You are my strength. A single person can never do wonders alone.
The Holy Prophet Muhammad, may peace and the blessings of Allah be upon him, was the Last Prophet and the most perfect model for mankind. We firmly believe in the Finality of prophethood and that no prophet neither new or of old will come after him. This message should be conveyed to everyone, that the Lahore Jamaat considers him as the Last Prophet. The chain of Mujaddids (ordained Reformers) will continue. Elders of the Jamaat carried on the work of defending and propagating Islam entrusted to them by Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad, Mujaddid of the 14th century and Founder of the Ahmadiyya Movement in Islam. They have fulfilled their responsibility with conviction, sincerity, wisdom and zeal. They are respected and remembered by us in the choicest words. These honourable personalities had not received religious education at any recognized theological institution. Instead, they had obtained their knowledge and deep understanding of Islam through the grace of Allah and love for the Holy Prophet Muhammad. They had open minds and broad vision. Their hearts had been imbued with the spiritual insight blessed by Allah. I also pray to Allah to provide me with the essential knowledge so that I may be able to guide you to the best of my ability.
There are numerous varieties of plants in this world. Our Jamaat is one such blessed plant which had been planted by our Imam [Leader]in accordance with the will of Allah. It will continue growing whether we do something for it or not. In my view, its growth resembles that of a Chinese bamboo tree. It is said that during its first year, the stem and roots of this tree grow at the same rate. During the second, third and fourth years, the roots go on growing deeper and deeper, but the stem remains at the same height. Then at the 5th year the stem suddenly attains an astonishing height of 80 feet. I hope this plant of the Ahmadiyya Movement which apparently looks small now, due to adverse circumstances, will grow like the Chinese bamboo tree in the not far distant future. What is required is your full cooperation and devotion. To express to you my feelings of responsibility regarding the leadership that you have bestowed upon me, and my state of seeking of help from Allah, I would like to quote some verses of poetry of the Promised Messiah [Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad of Qadian]:
“O Allah help me now with Your blessings,
So that the ship of Islam may survive this violent storm.
“Overlook my weaknesses and shortcomings,
So that the enemy who is accursed may not be happy over this state.
“O Allah! Shower Your blessings on Islam and come to its rescue Yourself,
Hear the supplications of servants on this wrecked ship.
“It is You alone, my Beloved, Who can do something about it,
Otherwise the tribulation is increasing day by day.
“This cool breeze has started blowing now after a long time,
Who knows when this will blow again and spring come.
“Weak are we, O Allah, lift us up with Your hands,
Feeble are we, so remove all the burden from us.”
(Foreword in Urdu to the Arabic book, Ijaz al-Masih, 20th February 1901)
Allah has Himself laid down the foundation of this Movement. Communities are ready to join its ranks. These people will be with you soon. The good news may come from USA, from Egypt, the Middle East and from other parts of the world. You will see that people in great numbers are ready to join us as it has been destined by Allah. Nothing is impossible for Him.
Listen to how the Promised Messiah fervently prays for the devoted members of the Jamaat:
“May Allah be with every devotee who bears hardship for undertaking a journey to join this annual spiritual gathering. May Allah bless him with great rewards and blessings, and have mercy on him. May the Beneficent Allah solve his problems and remove his difficulties. May Allah guard him from sorrows and cure his illnesses and fulfil his noble wishes. Such a person on the Day of Judgment will be among persons who shall be blessed and rewarded. O Merciful and Gracious Allah accept our submissions and grant us resounding dominance over the opponents with clear signs as it is You alone Who has the authority to bestow every honour and ability.”
As far as my personal background is concerned, I am not a student of religion. I am a doctor by profession. When I applied for admission, only holders of at least second division could apply. 1 had hardly managed to secure this minimum required standard as I had spent most of my time in activities like body building, drama, college elections, etc. Therefore, the outcome was not against expectations. I could have missed my admission in case I had secured even one number short of second division; or if I had not been the son of a doctor as I got my admission on seats reserved for doctors’ children.
I started off my medical studies in this manner. However, at that moment, I did make a firm commitment to myself to work hard. And by dint of this commitment, I graduated from Medical College, became a Professor, was made Head of my Department, and obtained a degree of higher studies of MRCP from the United Kingdom and was also conferred honorary Fellowship of the Royal College of Physicians, London and the College of Physicians and Surgeons, Pakistan. I also became Examiner of postgraduate examinations in Pakistan and abroad. I was also selected as Principal of my College but could not continue the post because of my affiliation to the Lahore Ahmadiyya Movement.
You can see how Allah has been kind to me in various ways and bestowed upon me His mercies and blessings. Though I had to face hardships being an Ahmadi, yet Allah specially blessed me with patience and firmness. I can compare my present appointment with my admission to the medical college and hope to shoulder the heavy responsibility put upon me by the General Council. I promise that I will try to succeed in obtaining ‘fellowship’ for the Jamaat as well with the same commitment and hard work which I had made at the start of my medical career. Your prayers and active cooperation will surely help me in discharging my responsibilities to the best of my ability.
Many people had asked me to become the Amir [Leader] of the Jamaat but I refused as I loved my profession, and worldly allurements and prospects of promotions in this profession and a bright future ahead. I had my professorship, chances of obtaining a high post in international organizations such as the World Health Organization and also chances of obtaining high grades and various other lucrative distinctions and privileges. These were the hurdles in the way of my decision. But when I prayed to Allah for guidance and steadfastness during the blessed nights of the month of Ramadan, I saw a dream in which I saw myself sitting on a huge rock which was rocking violently and it was becoming difficult for me to keep myself steady on it. In the meanwhile, a person approached me from a distance. I thought that he would also request me to become Amir. He asked me angrily as to why I propose others to take the responsibility and do not take it myself. Some other persons followed him and kept on getting on to the rock and suddenly the shaking rock became steady. Then (during the same dream) I related to the people accompanying me a childhood story of a shepherd who took all wise and correct decisions while sitting on a specific rock but the moment he stepped down from it he became like an ordinary shepherd. Then I recited the opening words of verse 26 of chapter 3:
قُلِ اللّٰہُمَّ مٰلِکَ الۡمُلۡکِ تُؤۡتِی الۡمُلۡکَ مَنۡ تَشَآءُ
“Say: O Allah; Owner of the Kingdom, Thou give the kingdom to whom You please.”
At this point I started weeping profusely. Before I could complete the recitation of the verse, I woke up and completed the remaining part of the verse.
When I consulted persons having knowledge about dreams and their interpretation, it was revealed that rock symbolizes a nation or a movement, and sitting on it signifies to hold an important post. The person narrating a story to others indicates that he is likely to get some sort of leadership. The one who recites this particular verse in a dream, he shall be rewarded with the blessings promised in it. So in a way it was a directive given to me that I should accept the responsibility and consequently the state of weakness in my mind had gone away and it provided courage to accept the challenge. Next morning when I woke up, I changed my earlier decision of not accepting the responsibility and here I am standing before you just because of that heavenly guidance given to me through that dream. I request all of you to remember me in your daily prayers, and to have faith that the above prayer really refers to the entire Jamaat. I asked a pious lady who observed Itikaf during the last ten days of Ramadan, for whom did she pray the most during those blessed days? She replied that she prayed the most for me as I had become the Amir of the Jamaat. I hope and am confident that all of you will pray for me like she did.
As a teacher I know that first an objective is determined, then a plan is prepared to achieve it. And then adequate resources and competent persons to implement the plan are selected. The objectives of our Movement have already been outlined by Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad, the Founder of the Ahmadiyya Movement in Islam, in his books, speeches and exhortations and he has impressed upon his followers with full conviction, strong arguments and prophecies that the propagation and preaching of true Islam is our first and foremost objective. Another important objective is to inculcate deep love and devotion for Allah in our daily prayers and to live a life in complete accord with the Sunnah of the Holy Prophet. We should set a noble example for others. Every individual and each Jamaat should be a source of inspiration for others in conveying the message of the Ahmadiyya Movement. Therefore, there is a great need that we should pay special attention towards reforming our own selves and consolidating the Jamaat and putting into action plans for its welfare.
Once we have determined our objectives, the next step is to prepare a viable strategy. In educational language, it is known as Instructional Strategy. All the Jamaats both inside and outside of Pakistan will be part of this strategy. We will assess their needs and problems and will try to plan according to the means available. We should consider the Central Anjuman as the Master gland which provides nourishment and strength to smaller glands in the body to keep the body working and in healthy condition to undertake and accomplish future plans in life. The current situation must be evaluated afresh so that deficiencies in attaining our objectives may be taken note of and steps are taken to remove them.
The task of planning and gathering information has become easier these days through the Internet. During the last one month, I have received numerous e-mails from various Jamaats and individuals from all over the world. I could not have managed to attend to them all. My youngest son helped me by reading them out to me every morning and replied to them according to my instructions, for which I am thankful to him. In this way my contact has been established with Jamaats in South Africa, Fiji, Indonesia, New Zealand, USA, Canada, UK, Australia, Holland, Trinidad, Guyana, Suriname, etc.
On the eve of Eid al-Fitr, I dispatched greetings to all the Jamaats through the Internet. A number of people replied to my greetings and some even sent their suggestions and also asked for help. For instance, the Auckland Jamaat in New Zealand requested for help to make arrangements for Dars-e-Quran [Discourses on the Holy Quran] and that they are waiting for Brother Shaukat Ali of Bangkok to come and do something about it. I suggested to them that instead of waiting for Brother Shaukat Ali, some people should volunteer to do it themselves. They should study the English translation of the Holy Quran by Maulana Muhammad Ali, commentary of part 30 of the Quran by Dr. Basharat Ahmad and Dars-e-Quran by Mr. Naseer Ahmad Faruqui which have now been translated into English, and give Dars based on these sources. We will help in this connection as well.
These days knowledge and information on different subjects are available on the Internet. All our important books, booklets and articles both in English and Urdu are available on our two websites run by the AAIIL of USA (www.muslim.org) and the Holland Jamaat (www.aaiil.org). They keep on adding material and information with regularity. These sources should be made use of. Computers are now available in most of our homes. So, I will request parents to spend at least 15 to 20 minutes of their time everyday at the computer with their children and take advantage of the ongoing material available at these websites. In this way they will be able to keep themselves and their children abreast of matters relating to Islam and the Ahmadiyya Movement.
More attention is also needed towards imparting religious education to our women and children and also to bring closer ties between members of the Jamaat through marriage and other social activities. The initial work has been started in this regard. A proforma has been issued which will collect the following data of each person and members of the family name, age, education, status of service and other details. I request all of you who are present here to please fill this form and hand it over to the Office. Similarly, all members living throughout Pakistan should make it a point to fill the form and send it to the Central office in Lahore. We will try our best to tabulate all the data thus collected and chalk out plans accordingly.
Another important task is to prepare computerized box of all the Arabic, Urdu and English books available in the Saliha Zahur Ahmad Memorial Library of the Central Anjuman in Darus Salaam. The treasure of knowledge lying in this Library can be made available not only to our members here but also in other cities and countries. The present librarian, our worthy elder Qazi Abdul Ahad, has a computer-like brain and he knows all the books and their details. He helps people with his knowledge. All this information needs to be put into the computer so that whenever anyone anywhere in the world requires a reference, we can supply it to them through the Internet in a very short time. Though most of our important publications are already on the website, yet there are still many books not scanned so far, which we can supply to people by photocopy.
I have deputed some young men to prepare a list of frequently-asked questions and objections about the Ahmadiyya Movement. Detailed answers with references, when prepared, will be made available on the website as well.
Similarly, there is a great need to develop close contact and frequent communication with members of the Jamaat within Pakistan and abroad. This year two of my sons are in the UK for higher studies. We remember them everyday and wish to contact them through the phone or the Internet or to know about their welfare through some letter or otherwise. Why don’t we have similar concern and anxiety for our Ahmadi brothers and sisters scattered throughout the world, that we should be in touch with them, and be thinking about how we can help them? Similarly, they should also be anxious to keep in touch with us, to know of our plans and to help us in implementing them. We should seriously think about this and adopt immediate steps to develop close contact through frequent communications.
We should establish our identity as Ahmadis and should feel pride that we have recognized the Imam of the age who had been prophesied by the Holy Prophet Muhammad, may peace and the blessings of Allah be upon him. It gave me great satisfaction when I saw our youth taking active part in the Annual Prayer Congregation. We should utilize fully their capabilities and zeal for the Movement.
We should make special efforts for organising Dars-e-Quran, the five daily prayers and religious instruction and education in all Jamaats. Today the mosque was full at the Fajr prayer which is a commendable thing. In future if we see rows even outside the main hall, then that would be a sign of progress. Similar progress should be visible in all aspects of the activities of the Jamaat. Mere tall talk or written reports are not enough, some concrete results must be visible. We must see progress with our own eyes. This will give encouragement to the members and workers of the Jamaat to go forward even further.
At the start of my speech, I had mentioned Malik Saeed Ahmad Sahib by name. We should pay due respect to such pious personalities who through devotion and sincere prayers have attained close relationship with Allah. I had met him last year at this very place and had asked him how to attain nearness to Allah. In reply, Malik Sahib had told me to stick to Tahajjud prayers and repeat the Darud Sharif in them. I followed his advice all year and saw the results in my life. His advice benefitted me very greatly and I hope I will find its blessings in the next life as well.
Now I am going to relate another dream of mine, although I do not like relating my dreams to others. However, sometimes it is useful to do so when it concerns others. In my dream, I saw that I am sitting in a beautiful, bright, well-decorated office in Darus Salaam Colony. A number of beautiful evergreen plants are placed all around it, which are of different sizes. Some are big, some average and the remaining are very small. I am watering these plants with a big pot and saying to myself: How cruel are people who do not fear Allah and want to see these plants die which have been planted by the Holy Prophet Muhammad, may peace and the blessings of Allah be upon him. Among the plants I saw some very tiny plants and I was afraid even to sprinkle water over them lest I damage them. Then during my dream I thought that I should consult my wife, who is fond of plants and has experience of looking after them, as to how to take care of these small plants so as not to damage them. This means there is need to nurture the young and we need the whole family especially women to make an effort to save these small saplings from withering away.
The point is that among the followers of the Holy Prophet Muhammad, may peace and the blessings of Allah be upon him, there are some people of strong faith, some have average faith, while the remaining are weak. Among them are also youths and children who will grow in their faith and will in future serve the cause of Islam with greater zeal and devotion. We should plan for their spiritual training. We should also spend all our resources on their proper upbringing in every respect. We will have to save these plants of the Holy Prophet Muhammad [pbuh] from the unrighteous, anti-faith powers who want these plants to wither.