Today, you are all gathered here for the National Waqf-e-Nau Ijtema and some of you may wonder why we hold these events each year. The reason is to remind all of you, the members of Waqf-e-Nau, about the importance of your responsibilities and to train and guide you about how to discharge these duties.
First of all, you should always remember that to merely have your name in the list of Waqf-e-Nau has no value on its own. It is only through your conduct that you can attain the true blessings associated with being a part of this scheme.
At all times, you must strive to fulfil your pledge as members of Waqf-e-Nau and this requires that you raise your moral, spiritual and educational standards and set the very best example for others to follow.
At all times, every Ahmadi man, woman and child is expected to act upon the teachings of Islam, and so if members of Waqf-e-Nau are only following the basic standards, they cannot claim any distinction.
Hence, never forget that you are the people who have pledged your lives for the sake of your faith and so you must strive to instill the highest standards of Islamic teachings and values within yourselves.
Foremost amongst these, as I often say, is to fulfil the rights of Allah, Subhanahu Wa Ta’ala, through His worship and so you must try to constantly improve your standards of worship and try to develop a true and everlasting connection with Allah.
If you are sincere in your prayers, you will come to enjoy your worship and will not find it difficult and this is the standard a Waqf-e-Nau should strive to attain. If you are successful in this, you will not only develop a personal bond with your Creator, but you will also inspire others to follow in your footsteps.
Of course, the most important and chief form of worship is the five obligatory prayers that must be offered each day. Thus, you should be extremely careful that you do not miss any Namaz (Salat). Furthermore, you should offer your prayers in congregation whenever possible and, outside of school or college times, attend your local mosque or Salat centre as much as possible.
We all identify ourselves as Ahmadi Muslims and we are proud of the fact that we have accepted the Imam of the Age, the Promised Messiah and Imam Mahdi(as), who was sent according to the prophecy of the Holy Prophet(sa).
Yet, this pride and satisfaction in your faith will only be deemed praiseworthy and will only be accepted by Allah, if we actually act upon the true teachings of our religion. Just to utter a few words articulating our faith is not enough on its own.
As I said, first and foremost amongst your duties to Allah is to be regular in the five daily prayers. Regrettably, students often use their schools or university studies as an excuse to delay their prayers or even to not offer of them at all.
What they fail to realise is that Namaz is a shield that saves a person from other mistakes, and so by failing to fulfil the rights of worship, they are leading themselves towards others vices and sins and away from Islam.
Thus, you must guard against any form of laziness or weakness in this respect. Apart from offering Namaz, the Promised Messiah(as) has also guided us on the other ways in which we can fulfil the rights of the worship of Allah.
For example, on one occasion, a man came to the Promised Messiah(as) stating that he was prone to many mistakes and weaknesses and he sought guidance about how to overcome his shortcomings. In response, the Promised Messiah(as) advised him that Namaz and Istighfar (seeking forgiveness for one’s sins from Allah) were the best remedies to overcome such weaknesses.
Every person knows his own deficiencies better than anyone else, and so pay great attention to the guidance of the Promised Messiah(as), that the best medicine to overcome negligence in our faith is to be regular in the obligatory prayers and seeking repentance from Allah for our sins.
As you live here in the West and have grown up in a materialistic society, the need and importance of Istighfar is even more pressing, as it is an outstanding means of protecting a person from the evils and immorality prevalent in society.
As I have said, Waqf-e-Nau should be an example for others and so you must offer Istighfar as much as possible so that your spiritual and moral standards continually elevate and improve. Furthermore, the Promised Messiah(as) taught that a person should pray to Allah with the words: ‘O Allah, create a great distance between me and my sins,’ meaning that a person be saved from all wrongdoing and sin.
The Promised Messiah(as) said that if a person sincerely and regularly offered this prayer, it would surely be accepted over time. Thus, as members of Waqf-e-Nau, you should offer this prayer repeatedly so that you can be guided to the right path and fulfil your pledge.
The Promised Messiah(as) also taught that struggling against one’s inner self, which incites a person towards wrongdoing, is also a form of worship. For example, if a person is sleeping at night but wakes up for Fajr and goes to the mosque, despite being extremely tired, he will be the recipient of Allah’s favour.
On the one hand, he will be rewarded for offering his prayer at the correct time and in congregation, whilst at the same time, he will also be rewarded for fighting back against his inner self and prioritising his faith.
Another great responsibility placed upon you is to defend Islam and to respond to the false allegations and unfounded accusations that are being levelled against it on a daily basis. Remember, you are the people whose parents devoted your lives for the sake of your faith before your birth, with the hope and desire that their unborn child would serve Islam and serve the mission of the Promised Messiah(as).
Having reached an age of maturity and understanding, you have yourselves renewed that pledge and have willingly chosen to remain a part of the Waqf-e-Nau scheme. Consequently, you bear vast responsibilities to your faith and great trusts have been placed in you.
In today’s world, people are attacking Islam from all directions and so as Waqf-e-Nau, you should be on the front lines defending your religion. However, this is not the era of the Jihad of the Sword, rather we are living in an age where people are attacking Islam through literature, through the media, through the internet and through other similar means, and so, it is your duty to counter the allegations made against Islam in a like manner.
For example, some atheists have taken the teachings of Islam completely out of context to serve their own needs and so you must have knowledge of your faith so that you can respond to their false claims.
Similarly, people of other beliefs or some politicians and journalists have raised objections against Islam and have deemed it to be a religion of extremism. In this respect, the tragic reality is that, to some extent, their complaints and fears can be understood and are justified.
I do not mean, God forbid, that there is any truth to their assertions against Islam, but there is no denying that the general state of the Muslim world has become desperate and pitiful. Most Muslims have forgotten the teachings of their religion and proof of this is the fact that many of today’s wars and conflicts centre upon the Muslim world.
So-called Muslims are partaking in activities that a person with even a grain of humanity could never comprehend. Terrorist and extremist groups are perpetrating the most horrific and abhorrent brutalities.
Whilst their heinous acts betray Islam in every respect, they continue to indulge in merciless killings, rapes, pillaging and other unspeakable acts. Their evil knows no bounds and it is an immense tragedy and cause of deep sorrow that they continue to perpetrate such evil acts in the name of Islam, despite the fact that Islam is the religion which has placed the greatest value on the sanctity of human life.
Where on the one hand, the extremists are targeting defenceless and innocent non-Muslims, they are also shedding the blood of their fellow Muslims. Undoubtedly, such people are hell-bound because the Quran categorically states that if a Muslim kills a fellow Muslim then he or she is destined for hell.
Similarly, Allah the Almighty has proclaimed that to kill one innocent person is akin to killing all of humankind. In every way imaginable, Muslims are defaming the pure name of Islam and so as Waqf-e-Nau you must understand the weight of responsibility upon your shoulders.
Remember, it has been left to the Jama’at of the Promised Messiah(as) to defend Islam and, as members of Waqf-e-Nau, you must be at the forefront of this effort. It is the task of every Ahmadi Muslim, but particularly those who have dedicated their lives to serve their faith, to stand up and prove to the world that Islam is a religion of peace which bears no reflection to the unjust portrayal that we see every day in the media.
It is up to you to remove people’s fears and misconceptions and to explain to them the perfect teachings of the Holy Quran and the noble character of the Holy Prophet of Islam(sa). This Jihad of spreading the true teachings of Islam will not be easy and so you will have to work extremely hard and be ready to make many sacrifices.
Rather than defend Islam, the so-called scholars and Ulema (religious clergy) of the Muslim world have repeatedly defamed it. They have long issued such ludicrous and ill-conceived Fatwas (religious edicts) or given completely nonsensical interpretations that have opened the door for non-Muslims to mock and ridicule Islam.
With the Grace of Allah the Almighty, many Arab people have come to accept Ahmadiyyat, but when they narrate the horrific examples of the powerful Muslim clerics in their nations, a person is left shocked and speechless.
Instead of wielding their influence with wisdom and truth, such clerics abuse their authority and the trust that people have in them, in the worst possible ways. For example, if a person becomes victim to a mental illness or some form of hysteria, then rather than treat them with compassion or some other treatment, they declare that a Jinn has overtaken the person and it must be forced out of them through merciless beatings or other inhumane methods.
Another belief very much prevalent at the time of the Promised Messiah(as), and which even continues to this day in some remote areas, is that it is entirely permissible to loot or seize the wealth or property of non-Muslims.
This also extends to the belief that it is permissible to kidnap the wife of a disbeliever or to forcibly take a non-Muslim woman to your home without any Nikah (marriage). Illustrating the level of ignorance amongst some Muslims, Hazrat Musleh-e-Maud(ra) once narrated a personal incident of Hazrat Khalifatul Masih I(ra) that occurred during a visit to the Indian city of Amritsar.
Upon reaching Amritsar, Hazrat Khalifatul Masih I(ra) gave four aanay, which is a coin that would be the equivalent of 25p today, to a Muslim and asked him to go and buy some mathai (sweet). When he came back, the Muslim had acquired the mathai, but still had the money as well.
Thus, Hazrat Khalifatul Masih I(ra) enquired from him why he still had the money in his hand. In response, the Muslim replied that it was part of the spoils of war. What nonsense! He then explained that after purchasing the sweets, he had distracted the shopkeeper by asking him to get something from the other side of the shop, and whilst he was diverted, he took back the money from the counter.
Hearing this, Hazrat Khalifatul Masih I(ra) was very upset and said that this was stealing. In reply, the Muslim very casually said that it did not count as theft because the shopkeeper was a Hindu and to take the possessions and wealth of a non-Muslim was entirely permissible! Such things are the height of ignorance and a complete violation of Islam’s teachings.
Furthermore, some so-called scholars even claim that an aggressive and violent Jihad in pursuit of conquering lands and people is justified. Indeed, it is on such authority that many extremist groups seek to justify the terrorist acts, beheadings and other brutal acts that they perpetrate.
If such hate-filled and unjust beliefs were part of Islam’s teachings, who in their right mind would ever accept it? Yet, as I said, these are not just stories from the past, but some Muslims are engaged in such brutalities and cruelties today.
Thus, these are some examples of the ignorant attitudes and beliefs that have spread amongst the Muslim world. Who could ever accept such unjust teachings? Who could accept this distorted form of Islam? Surely, no decent person ever would.
However, we Ahmadis know the truth, and we know that the Islam portrayed by extremists or the so-called Ulema (religious scholars) has no link to its true values. The reality is, and always will be, that Islam comprises those magnificent and noble teachings that were practiced by the Holy Prophet(sa), the Khulafa-e-Rashideen (Rightly Guided Four Khalifas after the Holy Prophet(sa)) and the Companions of the Holy Prophet of Islam(sa).
Even following that early period of Islam, many Muslims continued to practice and propagate the original teachings, but as time progressed, vices and bad practices began to develop amongst the Muslim community.
Such wrong acts continued to spread until the majority had forgotten the true teachings of Islam and it was at that time that Allah the Almighty sent the Promised Messiah(as) for the revival of Islam.
Having been guided by him, Ahmadi Muslims are extremely fortunate to have been shown the true teachings of Islam, but it is not enough for you to merely verbally accept the Promised Messiah(as), rather your conduct, especially as members of Waqf-e-Nau, must be exemplary at all times.
It is your duty to spend your lives in the service of Islam by spreading its true teachings and making people aware that Islam is not what is commonly portrayed in the media. It is not a religion that gives license to kill or maim.
It is not a religion that permits any form of compulsion in matters of faith or belief. It is not a religion in which women can be violated, raped or kidnapped. It is not a religion of terrorism and extremism.
It is not a religion of hate and vengeance. It is not a religion that permits deception or falsehood in any form. It is not a religion of immorality or vice. Rather, Islam is a religion that promotes peace and tolerance at all levels of society.
It is a religion that teaches freedom of belief and seeks to build bridges between the people of difference races, nationalities and beliefs. This is the message that you must forever convey, through your words and deeds, to the rest of the world.
Currently, there are, Masha’Allah, around 1086 Waqifeen-e-Nau boys above the age of 15 here in the UK, and if each of you understand and assume your duties to your faith, great things can be achieved.
If you fulfil the demands of your pledge you can be the generation who starts bringing about a spiritual revolution in this society. In this day and age, it is only our Jama’at who can protect Islam and propagate its true teachings.
Unquestionably, this is the duty of all Ahmadis, but the biggest responsibility lies with those people like you who have devoted their lives for the sake of their religion. To do this, it is essential that you understand your faith and have knowledge of its teachings.
Thus, you must study the Holy Quran every day so that you can identify the commands of Allah the Almighty and act upon them. Similarly, you should read the books of the Promised Messiah(as) that have been translated in English, and those of you who can read Urdu, should read the others books as well.
You should also try to connect yourself with MTA, and watch at least 1 hour of any of the programmes on MTA every day. And especially, never forget to listen to my Friday Khutbah (Sermon). In this way, you can connect yourself with Khilafat-e-Ahmadiyya.
The knowledge you will gain from reading the Quran and the books of the Promised Messiah(as) will provide you with the intellectual tools and spiritual ammunition to respond and refute the allegations of those who speak against Islam.
Moving on, I shall now present some special instructions given by Promised Messiah(as) to his followers, which should be followed by all Ahmadis, but particularly those who have devoted their lives to the service of Islam.
The Promised Messiah(as) has said that a person’s morals and habits should always be in accordance with the commands of Allah, to such an extent that other people attest to their good character and to the fact that they are practical examples of the teachings of Islam.
He continued by saying that if an Ahmadi does not act in this way, he or she would be guilty of setting a bad example for others, which could weaken their faith and thus such Ahmadis would be culpable of defaming Islam, just as others have done.
The Promised Messiah(as) said that only those who, according to the conditions of their Bai’at (oath of allegiance), gave precedence to their faith over all worldly matters, could be deemed as true members of his Jama’at.
Most of you are now mature in age and understanding and so you should seriously reflect upon whether you are fulfilling the conditions of your Bai’at. Moreover, the Promised Messiah(as) said that his followers should avoid taking part in immoral, worldly or vain discussions and practices.
In this era, this includes watching immoral and inappropriate television programmes or films and also includes wasting time chatting on social media or different chat groups. Such practices are harmful and lead to the spread of immorality and other vices, and so if you engage in these bad habits you will not be able to fulfil the pledge you have made as Waqf-e-Nau.
The Promised Messiah(as) also repeatedly emphasised the importance of fulfilling the rights of others. Thus, our Waqf-e-Nau should be selfless in nature and never selfish. You should consider how you can help others and fulfil their rights, rather than worrying about your own needs or entitlements.
Further, a Waqf-e-Nau should never be the cause of pain for others, instead they should always be kind, compassionate and caring. Hence, wherever, and whenever, you can help or assist other people, you should never waste the opportunity.
Similarly, the Promised Messiah(as) taught his followers to offer sincere repentance by seeking Allah’s forgiveness for their shortcomings and to keep in mind that Allah is watching their every move.
You may be able to hide your acts from other people but not from Allah, and so never partake in any activity that is opposed to Islam’s teachings. The Promised Messiah(as) also said that if his followers did not bring about practical changes within themselves, and were not constantly seeking to progress spiritually and morally, there was no benefit to taking his Bai’at and entering his fold.
In fact, he said that the attitude of those people who did not seek to improve, illustrated that they did not believe there was any need for them to accept the Promised Messiah(as). This is something for all Ahmadis to consider and reflect upon and especially for the members of Waqf-e-Nau.
Many of you are now married, or reaching the age of marriage, and so I wish to remind you that you should marry Ahmadi girls and try to fulfil your responsibilities to your wife and family to the best of your abilities.
You should strive to ensure that you remain happily married and you will need to pray for this as well. Within your homes, you should display the very best morals and treat your family with love, kindness and respect.
Furthermore, as a Waqf-e-Nau, it is imperative that you maintain a close link with the Jama’at and that you give as much time as possible to serving it. Those of you who have not yet been called up full-time to serve the Jama’at should nonetheless make sure that you continue to set aside regular time for Jama’at duties.
If it is not possible for you to give time each day, then at the bare minimum, you should set aside one day a week to serve the Jama’at. There may be some Waqf-e-Nau boys who are neither studying, nor working, and so whilst they search for work in their chosen field, they should not sit idly at home.
Rather, they should inform the Waqfe-Nau administration of their situation and serve the Jama’at until they find suitable work. To remain at home wasting time is completely wrong and harmful and so utilise any free time you have productively for the service of the Jama’at.
Similarly, if you are working in a company or elsewhere, you should never forget your duties to your faith and so try to set the best possible practical example for others to see and learn from. In this way, you will be doing Tabligh through your conduct and spreading the message of Islam, even before you come to fulfil your Waqf (life dedication) on a full-time basis.
At the end, I also wish to remind the younger members of Waqf-e-Nau, who are still members of Atfal-ul-Ahmadiyya, of their responsibilities. All of you should pay full attention to your studies at school.
Similarly, you should not waste your time playing computer games or other electronic games, rather when you have some free time go outside and play games or sports and take benefit from the fresh air.
This will benefit your health and well-being in the long term. Additionally, you should be well behaved and listen to your parents. Above all, you must instill the habit of offering your five daily prayers and tell the truth in all matters.
Every day you should try to improve yourself and, apart from your school studies, you should also try to increase your religious knowledge. May Allah enable all of you to understand and act upon what I have said.
And may all of you come to fulfil the demands of your Waqaf in the best possible manner. I also forgot to mention that today, Jama’at Ahmadiyya the Gambia is holding their Waqf-e-Nau Ijtema. And so they are also a part of our Ijtema today through MTA.
May Allah Ta’alah bless you all. Now join me in silent prayer.