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Friday Sermon (15-11-2013) - Successful Far East Tour and Blessings of God

16 Nov

Friday Sermon (15-11-2013) - Successful Far East Tour and Blessings of God

Hazrat Khalifatul Masih delivered today’s sermon from Baitul Futuh, London. He said as everyone knows he had been on a tour of Australia, New Zealand, Singapore and Japan for the past several weeks. And as it is his custom to mention the shower of Divine blessings experienced during his tours upon return, today Huzoor briefly spoke about on the subject.

It is impossible to calculate Divine grace or to know its highpoint. When we consider that we are about to touch the height of Divine grace, God immediately removes our misunderstanding. What we had thought to be the height of Divine grace was only the beginning and thus God takes us onwards. This is so in particular when at every step Divine promises made to the Promised Messiah (on whom be peace) which were foretold by the Holy Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be on him) give yet another glad-tiding.

Let alone mentioning the height of Divine grace, Hazrat Khalifatul Masih did not know which grace to start from! He presented a summary of God’s grace and blessings experienced during the recent tour. Some detail of this trip prepared in a report form by Vakeelul Tabsheer has been published in Al Fazl and some may have read it. However, it is impossible to illustrate certain things. The facial expressions of our guests from outside when they give their views/impressions of the Jama’at cannot be precisely conveyed in words by Hazrat Khalifatul Masih or any report. Perhaps it can be viewed to some extent on MTA, perhaps some of it has already been shown. The Press Desk made good arrangement of providing news of the main events of the tour for the English-speaking members of the Jama’at. Indeed, each day gives us a new awareness of Divine grace and corroborates the truthfulness of the Promised Messiah (on whom be peace).

The first stop of the tour was Singapore. In addition to the Singapore Jama’at members, office-holder men and women from the Jama’ats of Indonesia and Malaysia also came to the airport to greet Huzoor. Theirs was an amazing emotional welcome which has perhaps been gauged from some highlights shown on MTA. The Singapore tour lasted ten days where Huzoor met Ahmadis from Indonesia, Malaysia, Brunei, Philippines, Thailand, Cambodia, Vietnam, Papua New Guinea and Myanmar. About two and a half thousand Ahmadis had come from Indonesia. Most of these Ahmadis were not well-off, but were full of loyalty. Some had borrowed to make the trip while others had sold property. Their only concern was to seek prayers for their faith. Among them were people who are homeless for the past year because they are driven out of their homes and are living in temporary shelters, yet they have not abandoned their faith. In fact their faith is further strengthened. Apart from Jama’at engagements of meetings, classes and mulaqats, a reception was held here for outside guests. Non-Ahmadi guests from Indonesia also attended this reception, among them were university professors, scholars, politicians and journalists. Two journalists interviewed Huzoor in which introduction of the Jama’at was presented and matters relating to the situation with the Jama’at there were discussed. 48 guests including academics, former member of parliament and eight members of a Muslim religious organisation came. After listening to Huzoor’s address a professor asked Huzoor to visit Indonesia and give a lecture at his university. Huzoor told him that it would be very well if he could arrange it, but perhaps he did not realise how much commotion would be raised at this prospect.

One Singaporean guest who had served for 29 years in the diplomatic service, as an MP and a minister of the state and was one of the founders of Singapore said that when he was a diplomat in Egypt in 1960s conditions were good there but now there is no peace in the Middle East and a wrong impression of Islam is being given. However, he said he was pleased that the head of the Ahmadiyya Jama’at was giving the world the true and peaceful message of Islam and he commended it. Although this guest is now retired he still commands great respect. Another guest who is a member of the Mosque Council Muslima in Indonesia and is affiliated with the State Islamia University in Jakarta said after Huzoor’s address that the Jama’at should take the arts and sciences of the developed world to the underdeveloped wo rld and thus spearhead in addressing global disunity and poverty. Hazrat Khalifatul explained that his address was on the subject of the current economic state of the world and Islam’s perspective on the matter. The guest said that today no one has the administrative system and the leadership that Jama’at Ahmadiyya has and it presented the true model of Islam. A member of a youth movement said that the message given by Huzoor should reach all Indonesian people so that they may understand the Islamic teaching of peace and harmony. A professor said that it was his wish that those who are opposed to Jama’at Ahmadiyya meet with Hazrat Khalifatul Masih and listen to him so that their hearts may open. An Indonesian journalist who is doing a PhD. in Jama’at Ahmadiyya said that he was deeply moved by Huzoor’s discourse on the economic order based on humanity, justice and peace. An Englishman who has lived in Singapore for 27 years and has accepted Islam said that his employers tried to stop him from attending this event and even threatened to dismiss him from employment, yet he came. He said that although he was a Muslim but had heard the true teaching of Islam for the first time. He expressed his desire to visit the UK and said he will seek further information about Jama’at Ahmadiyya and would like to join the Jama’at. A university professor from the Philippines expressed his thanks for being invited to the event. He told Huzoor that in his estimation only Ahmadis can gather humanity and the way to gather humanity was indeed expressed by Huzoor. A former secretary of education from the Philippines who is a Muslim said that he testified in favour of the Jama’at that it would triumph. He said just as Muslims in the time of the Holy Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be on him) were persecuted; now Ahmadis are being persecuted. And just as [early] Islam triumphed, Ahmadis will also triumph and when this will come to pass, he added he will be part of it. Hazrat Khalifatul Masih said many among these people accepted Ahmadiyyat in their hearts but feared certain organisations.

Next was the tour of Australia. Here, after a brief stay at Sydney Huzoor went to Melbourne which is at a distance of about 800/900 miles. A reception was held in Melbourne in which 220 people from all walks of life came including members of parliament, high-ranking military personnel including a major general representing the chief of army staff, officers of the federal police, local councillors and academics. Following Huzoor’s keynote address at the reception an MP said that the message of the address transcended religion, it was a message of humanity which we all have to adopt. She acknowledged Huzoor’s mention of the qualities of peace, justice, fairness and service of mankind and said that she knew Ahmadi ladies are not only taking this message forward but are also putting it in practice. She also remarked positively about Ahmadi children. Hazrat Khalifatul Masih said such is the world-view of Ahmadis. Each woman and child should enhance this impression. People are ready to listen to us. A member of the Church of Jesus Christ said that each Australian could understand the clarity with which the head of the Ahmadiyya Jama’at had given discourse on peace and it would be excellent if everyone took the message with them. One guest said that he and his wife were looking for the truth for eighteen years and what they heard on the day was nothing but the truth. He said this message should be adorned in hearts. A journalist of the official TV channel ABS said it was a very considered, balanced and fair address based on facts. Another guest said she felt proud to attend such a wonderful event and was very impressed by what was said about establishing peace in the world. She said she very much loved these values and wished that people of her country adhered to these valu es more strongly and she wanted Huzoor to take this message to people because it was very much needed. The lady guest made these remarks with tear-filled eyes. A councillor said that it was evident from Huzoor’s address that he preached what his religion was about. He said in the two hundred year old history of Australia it was very pleasant to listen to a religious leader giving such a beautiful message. It was like a breath of fresh air in Australia. He said it would be great if Jama’at Ahmadiyya raised its profile and took this message further afield. Hazrat Khalifatul Masih said now it was the task of the Australian Jama’at to move onwards and upwards. A Pakistan Muslim guest said that the he had not seen the dignity at any other event with which the programme was conduct. A guest hailing from Kuwait said that he was very impressed with the analysis of the Arab Spring by Huzoor and it was based on truth. He felt it was a fearless discourse and he did no t realise how complete the analysis of the Arab Spring would be. The councillor general of Somalia was present and he said he listened to every single word spoken by Huzoor most attentively and was moved by it. Many people attended this event and everyone gave their impressions but here just a few are mentioned. Hazrat Khalifatul Masih said later on he also met with the guests and felt that they did not just meet with customary politeness but were quite sincere. It looked that they were influenced by what they had heard and in addition to giving their views about the event they also expressed their feelings to Huzoor when they met him.

An Ahmadiyya Centre has been acquired in Melbourne which was not mentioned in any sermon. The centre is on a seven and a half acre site and came with the building. The building comprises a hall which has a capacity for 3000 worshippers and by coincidence it is almost Qibla-facing. There is also a mission house, a guest house, two residential units, a library, reading room, kitchen, store and a smaller hall. The centre has three parking areas with a capacity for more than 200 cars. Application to acquire the centre was submitted in 2007 but faced a lot of opposition by the locals who did not want it to be changed into a place of worship of Muslims. However, in 2009 the city council unanimously decided to give the centre to the Jama’at. Previously the site was a park and it is now registered as a community cent re and mission house. Opinion of most local people about the centre has completely transformed. The centre was purchased for 800,000 Australian dollars and a further 1.3 million was spent on renovations etc. By performing our traditional Waqar e Aml a saving of about 500,000 dollars was made. The current market value of the centre is at least 5 million Australian dollars.

Hazrat Khalifatul Masih returned to Sydney where Khilafat Jubilee Hall was inaugurated. The Hall has a capacity for 1400 worshippers. It has two storied offices, meeting room and a large kitchen. A member of parliament, Concetta Fierravanti-Wells came to the inauguration in representation of the prime minister. Other guests included federal parliamentarians, other MPs, the leader of the opposition, police officers and councillors. Huzoor’s discourse here was on the teaching of Islam, the Jama’at and the role of Khilafat in the Jama’at. With the grace of God it was very well received. A guest who is a police superintendent said that he was very impressed by the admission of the head of the Jama’at Ahmadiyya that the actions of extremists have brought Islam in disrepute. He said he felt the re sponse given by Huzoor to this criticism via his message of peace was splendid. Another guest Indira Devi said that she garnered some very fine information from Huzoor’s address and would like a booklet on Islam to be better informed about it. She said she is prejudiced about Islam but generally speaking was honoured at being invited. Hazrat Khalifatul Masih said the Jama’at should now keep in touch with her and provide her the reading material she requires. There were many other positive feedbacks of the guests.

Next was a trip to Brisbane where the mosque Baitul Muqeet was inaugurated which everyone saw in the Friday sermon. A reception was also held here which was attended by people from all walks of life including MPs, police officers, doctors, academics, teachers, engineers, people from the church, priests and neighbours. One neighbour who is Jewish was extremely opposed to us but seeing the stance of the Jama’at, with the grace of God he has changed his outlook. Another neighbour, Mr Graham was also opposed to the Jama’at. When his misconceptions were removed he became a friend and now speaks up for the Jama’at. The deputy mayor said at the reception that Jama’at Ahmadiyya excelled at serving humanity and was most helpful during the floods in Queensland. It is generally said about immigrants th at they do not integrate very well but this cannot be said about Jama’at Ahmadiyya. A police commissioner commended Jama’at work and said that the Jama’at was always very co-operative. He said the Jama’at demonstrated high moral courage. A guest who is an MP later told Hazrat Khalifatul Masih that police commissioners have a very high status there and they do not usually attend events and he was amazed to see the commissioner attend Jama’at event. An MP said that he became quite emotional during Huzoor’s address. It was made straight from the heart. He said he observed the faces of the non-Muslim guests during the address and saw them to be receiving it very warmly. Hazrat Khalifatul Masih had a Tabligh conversation with another MP during which he told him what the Qur’an states in relation to science and what the Bible states and the MP acknowledged that the teaching of the Qur’an was higher than that of the Bible. Another gue st, a doctor said that he was very nervous about coming to the reception and was not sure how he will be received. However, he said Mirza Masroor Ahmad allayed all his nerves.

After Australia Hazrat Khalifatul Masih visited New Zealand and inaugurated their first ever mosque. Prior to this the Maori tribe gave a reception in Huzoor’s honour of the stature that is given to heads of state where Lawa e Ahmadiyyat was also raised. Usually the King does not attend these events but he was present this time. Following their traditional rituals Huzoor held talks with him and presented him with Maori translation of the Holy Qur’an. Later, the King came to the inauguration of the mosque. It was not the Queen’s plan to come to the inauguration, but she changed her mind and came.

Hazrat Khalifatul Masih said that the Maori translation of the Holy Qur’an was done by Shakeel Ahmad Muneer Sahib. He initially translated 15 parts which were published and later completed the translation. He is not a linguist, in fact he is professor of physics but he embarked on this project at the advice of Hazrat Khalifatul Masih IV (may Allah have mercy on him) and learned the language and then started the translation. He is 81 years old. It took him twenty five years to learn the language and finish the translation. He says it took him quite some time to understand the use of plural in Maori and felt that his age was a great impediment in this regard. He worked tirelessly, faced difficulties but carried on. Given his age, it is a great achievement. May God reward him!

Local newspapers covered the Maori translation of the Qur’an and commended it. Hazrat Khalifatul Masih was asked why the Jama’at translated the Qur’an in Maori given that Maori population was not that large. Huzoor responded by saying that it is our task to translate it in every language and take its message to every nation. With the grace of God a Maori person took Bai’at and a couple more are ready for Bai’at. Huzoor said that following the translation, Maori people will come in the fold of the Jama’at.

Next was the reception for the new mosque Baitul Muqeet which was attended by the King and the Queen and many distinguished guests. The total number of guests was 107. Giving his impressions an Anglican priest guest said that all religions should walk together. He said he agreed with what the head of the Jama’at Ahmadiyya said about Islam being discredited by the press. He said each time an act of terrorism takes place the media show images of either a mosque or Muslims observing Salat from which people understand that Islam is connected to extremism. The media covered the Maori event as well as the inauguration of the mosque very well. Another function in New Zealand was in the capital city 800 miles from Auckland. It was organised by MP Kanwal Jeet Singh in the prestigious Grand Hall of the parliament build ing. It was attended by Israeli, Iranian and British diplomats. Huzoor’s discourse there was based on peace and was very well received. Checkpoint is a noteworthy programme of a non-commercial radio station of New Zealand which gave news with reference to our Jama’at during prime time.

The next country on the tour was Japan. A reception was held in Nagoya, which was attended by 117 guests including leader of the Communist party, congressmen, the mayor, members of the provisional parliament, representatives of Shintoism and Buddhism, academics, lawyers etc. Leader of the Communist Party who is also a member of city parliament and also in-charge of camp for the displaced travelled 1000 kilometres to attend the reception. He said that the services given by Jama’at Ahmadiyya following the earthquake and tsunami in 2011 were unforgettable for them. He said he had come to the reception to show his gratitude and also to personally see the Jama’at and meet its head and tell him that his Jama’at and followers practice what he teaches them and serve humanity by acting on his advice. He sa id after listening to Huzoor’s address he is convinced that the secret of world peace is in the teaching of the head of Jama’at Ahmadiyya. Hazrat Khalifatul Masih said that when the true teaching of Islam is explained all decent people accept that peace is associated with Islam. May God make it so that the extremists and the leaders who repy on their power and do wrong also understand this! A famous lawyer guest at the reception expressed sentiments of love and gratitude from the depth of his heart. He said Chaudhary Zafrulla Khan Sahib addressed a conference held in San Francisco in 1951 in which he said that Japan should be dealt with fairly. He had said that Japan was a significant nation because in the future it was going to play an important role in the world. The lawyer said that in appreciation of those remarks they had good ties with Jama’at Ahmadiyya.

Unfortunately today Chaudhary Zafrullah Sahib’s personality is not valued in his own country where he was once the foreign minister. Now his name as the foreign minister has been removed from history text books and children are being taught incorrect history.

The Japanese lawyer guest continued to say that the services of Jama’at Ahmadiyya in wake of the earthquake and tsunami were unforgettable. He said he had seen a beautiful face of Islam on the day. If the world can gather on one hand it is Jama’at Ahmadiyya which has one leader.

Hazrat Khalifatul Masih said all details of the tour cannot be given here. They will be published for English-speaking people as well as in Al Fazl.

Next Hazrat Khalifatul Masih gave some information about the media coverage of his tour. Representatives of Indonesian publication Tempo, interviewed Huzoor. 100,000 copies of this magazine are published each week. In addition two newspapers from Western Java with large circulation also published the interview. In Australia the electronic and print media covered Huzoor’s tour. The national TV channel ABC as well as ABC radio interviewed Huzoor as well relayed news of his tour which was listened all over the country. In fact the radio channel is also heard in the pacific islands and has 1.5 to 2 million listeners. ABC News is listened in 46 countries so has an audience in excess of 10 million. They interviewed Huzoor and later informed him that they had very good feedback which amazed them. They said they woul d be happy to interview Huzoor for longer duration on his next trip. Newsline is a prestigious programme of ABC TV and Huzoor’s interview was broadcast in this programme. The interviewer is a famous journalist who interviews visiting heads of states and prime ministers and is listened to very seriously. Huzoor’s interview was viewed by 10 to 15 million people. In New Zealand the King’s reception was covered by TV1. It has 600,000 viewers. The inauguration ceremony of the mosque was also broadcast. The news of the inauguration was also published in newspapers including Sunday Star which has a readership of 500,000 and Manukau Courier which has 194,000 readership. Online Media is the most popular website of the country which has 450,000 hits. It gave the news of the inauguration of the mosque. In Japanese print media a Christian newspaper with a readership of more than 20 million printed Huzoor’s photograph and gave the news of his tour saying leader of Islamic sect Ahmadiyya was visiting from London. It also gave the news of our first mosque and said that the leader of Jama’at Ahmadiyya has said that regardless of religion and nationality, everyone was welcome to the mosque.

In summary, the various interviews given to journalists covered teachings of Islam, the advent of the Promised Messiah (on whom be peace), the concept of war in Islam, Tabligh activities of Jama’at Ahmadiyya, agitation in Muslim countries and its solution, how can real peace be established in the world, status of Hazrat Isa (on whom be peace) and the relationship between the Jama’at and Khilafat. In short vast areas were covered and the viewpoint of the Jama’at was put across. If all the viewers, listeners and readers of all the publications, TV and radio were to be combined, the message reached 35 million people. God is facilitating the introduction of the beautiful teaching of Islam in every region of the world and people are finding out about the Promised Messiah (on whom be peace). This is acc ording to the pronouncement made by the Promised Messiah (on whom be peace) that this age is the age of the accomplishment of publication based on guidance. The media coverage is a practical testimony by God because it was not possible for us to arrange such extensive coverage in the four countries. In fact, the message and introduction of Jama’at reached 46 countries, in which Pakistan is included. For those who have sense, just this is sufficient proof of the truthfulness of the Promised Messiah (on whom be peace).

The Promised Messiah (on whom be peace) said ‘Now, in obedience to the direction: ‘And as for the bounty of your Lord do relate it to others.(93:12) I do not see any harm in declaring that the Merciful God has, through His grace and bounty, bestowed all these characteristics on me in abundance. He has not sent me empty-handed, nor has He appointed me without any accompanying signs. He has bestowed all these signs upon me which are being manifested and will continue to be manifested. God Almighty will go on manifesting these signs until the truth is cle arly established.’ (1zala-e-Auham, Ruhani Khaza’in, vol. 3 - Essence of Islam, vol. 4, p. 58)

May God enable us to understand our responsibility and fulfil it!

Next Hazrat Khalifatul Masih announced that would lead three funerals in absentia after Friday Prayers. These were funeral Prayers of Shaheed Bashir Ahmad Kiyani Sahib who was martyred in Karachi on 1 November, Mian Abdul Sami Umer Sahib, grandson of Hazrat Khalifatul Masih I (may Allah be pleased with him) who passed away at the age of 69 due to heart problems and 17 year old dear Muzzamil Ilyas Sahib who was student of Jamia Pakistan. He passed away suddenly on 9 September. May God elevate the stations of the deceased and grant steadfastness to the bereaved.

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