Friday Sermon – Khalifatul Masih V – Mirza Masroor Ahmad – Year 2019
In the name of Allah, the Gracious, ever Merciful. All distinguished guests, peace and blessings of Allah be upon you all. First of all, I would like to take this opportunity to thank UNESCO administration for graciously permitting us to hold this event today.
I would also like to place on record my sincere gratitude to all the guests who have accepted our invitation and have to come listen to a person who is neither a politician, nor a political leader nor a scientist but the head of a religious community – Ahmadiyya Muslim community.
The founding objectives of UNESCO are excellent and praiseworthy. Amongst its objectives, what I know are fostering peace and respect, promoting the rule of law, human rights and education across the world. UNESCO also advocates for press freedom and protecting different cultures and heritages.
Another of its stated goals is to eradicate poverty and to promote sustainable global growth and development and to try to ensure that humanity leaves behind a positive legacy from which future generations can benefit. You may be surprised to learn that Islamic teachings require Muslims to work towards fulfilling these same objectives
And to continually strive for the progress of humanity. Such service is based upon the very first chapter of the Holy Qur’an which states that Allah the Almighty is the Lord of all the worlds. This verse is central to the Islamic faith whereby Muslims are taught that God Almighty
Is not just their Lord and Provider but He is the Provider and Sustainer of all humankind. He is the Gracious and Merciful, and so irrespective of caste, creed or colour, God Almighty fulfils the needs of His creation. Given this, true Muslims firmly believe that all humans are born equal
And that regardless of differences of belief the values of mutual respect and tolerance must be firmly embedded within society. A beautiful Islamic principle given in Chapter 2, Verse 139 of the Holy Qur’an is that Muslims should seek to follow the ways of Allah the Almighty and adopt His attributes.
As mentioned, Allah’s grace is all encompassing and He is the Provider and Sustainer for all people including those who deny His existence. His Grace and Mercy remain even with those who continually speak ill of Him or who conduct cruelties in the world. In Islam, the philosophy of punishment or sanction established
By God Almighty is weighted more towards the hereafter. Whilst in this life, Allah the Almighty continues to manifest His Grace and Mercy upon the world. By instructing Muslims to adopt His ways, Allah the Almighty has instructed them to show compassion and sympathy to their fellow creation.
In light of this, it is a religious obligation on Muslims to fulfil the requirements of other people irrespective of religion, culture or ethnicity and to always be kind and empathetic to the emotions and needs of others. Moreover, the Holy Quran has pronounced that the Holy Prophet of Islam (saw) was sent
To the world by God Almighty as a source of unparalleled mercy and benevolence for all humanity. He was the practical manifestation of the compassionate teachings of Islam. After he founded Islam, the Holy Prophet Muhammad (saw), and his followers were subjected to brutal and inhumane treatment by the non-Muslims
Of Mecca which they endured with patience and restrain. Finally, after suffering years of relentless persecution they migrated to the city of Medina where the Holy Prophet Muhammad (saw) formed a covenant of peace between the Muslim migrants, the Jewish people and other members of the society.
According to its terms, the divergent groups pledged to live peacefully, to fulfil the rights of one another and to foster a spirit of mutual sympathy, tolerance and cooperation. The Holy Prophet Muhammad (saw) was elected as the head of the state and under his
Leadership the covenant proved to be a magnificent charter of human rights and governance and it ensured peace between the different communities. The Prophet of Islam established an impartial judiciary for dispute resolution. He made it clear that there would be one law for the rich and powerful and the poor
And weak and all people will be treated equally according to the law of the land. For example, on one occasion, an affluent lady committed a crime and many people suggested that given her high standing in society, it was better to turn a blind eye to her crimes.
The Holy Prophet Muhammad (saw) rejected their advice and made it clear that even if his daughter committed an offense, she too would be subjected to the law and no favouritism or nepotism would occur. In addition, the Prophet of Islam (saw) established an excellent education system
Through which the intellectual standards of that society were raised. Literate and well-educated people were instructed to teach the illiterate. Special measures were put in place to provide education to orphans and other vulnerable members of society.
This was all done so that the weak and powerless could stand on their own two feet an advance. A taxation system was established whereby taxes were levied on wealthier members of society and the proceeds were used to provide financial aid for disadvantaged members of society.
According to the teachings of the Holy Quran, the Prophet of Islam (saw), established a code of business and financial ethics to ensure that trading was fair and honest. In an age when slavery was rampant and slave owners treated their slaves mercilessly,
The Prophet of Islam (saw) sought to bring about a revolution in society. Slave owners were ordered to treat their slaves with compassion and respect, and the Holy Prophet Muhammad (saw) repeatedly urged them to free them. Also, under the leadership of the Holy Prophet Muhammad (saw), a system of public sanitation was developed.
A city cleaning program was implemented and people were educated about the importance of personal hygiene and physical health. The roads of the city were expanded and improved. A census was conducted to collect data and to identify the needs of the citizens.
Thus, during the seventh century, under the government led by the Prophet of Islam (saw), astonishing progress was made in Madinah to advance the cause of individual and collective rights. Indeed, for the very first time amongst the Arabs an orderly and civilised society was established.
In many ways it was a model society, in terms of infrastructure services and, more importantly, in terms of the unity and tolerance displayed in what was a multicultural society. The Muslims were immigrants yet they integrated smoothly into the local society and contributed towards success and development.
Moving on, in terms of the teaching of Islam, it is a cause of profound sadness that in today’s world the Holy Prophet of Islam (saw), has been grievously mischaracterised. He has been branded as a belligerent leader, when nothing could be further from the truth.
The reality is that the Holy Prophet of Islam (saw) spent every moment of his life championing the rights of all people and through the teachings of Islam, he established an incomparable and timeless charter of human rights. For example, he taught that people should respect the beliefs and feelings of one another.
They should abstain from criticising what others held sacred. Once a Jewish person came to him and complained about the conduct of one of his closest companions. The Prophet of Islam (saw) summoned him and asked him what had transpired.
He said that the Jew had claimed that the Moses (as) was superior in rank to the Prophet of Islam (saw) and he could not tolerate this and so he had strongly refuted it and said that the Holy Prophet of Islam (saw) was of a higher rank.
Upon this the Holy Prophet Muhammad (saw) expressed his displeasure with his closest confidant and said that he should not have argued with the Jew and should instead have respected his religious sentiments. These were his peerless teachings and in my view, it is deeply regrettable
That the principle of mutual respect which is the means of establishing love and unity has been sacrificed in the modern world, in the name of so called freedom and even in the name of entertainment. Even the founders of religion are no longer spared mockery and contempt.
Even though their derision causes anguish and pain to millions of their followers around the world. On the other hand, the Holy Qur’an goes as far as saying that Muslims should not even speak ill of the idols of others because it will cause them distress and intern they may speak ill of God Almighty.
And consequently, the peace and unity of society would suffer. In terms of fulfilling the rights of the weak and poor, the Holy Prophet of Islam (saw) established various schemes and projects to raise their standards of living and to ensure that they were not deprived of their dignity.
He said that whilst most people afforded a higher status to those who were wealthy and powerful, a poor person who was moral and considerate had far greater value than a rich person who cared not for the feelings of others and merely lived off his name.
Even in small matters, the Holy Prophet of Islam (saw) paid great attention to ensuring that the feelings of under privileged people were protected. For example, he instructed Muslims to always invite the poor and needy to their dinner parties or social gatherings.
If less affluent people were exploited by the rich and powerful, the Prophet of Islam (saw) instructed his followers to help the weaker party attain justice. The Holy Prophet (saw) always sought to eliminate slavery. In this regard to his own followers, the Prophet of Islam (saw) repeatedly advocated
The freeing of slaves and instructed that if it was not immediately possible for them to release them, then the very minimum is to feed and clothe them in the same way they fed and clothed themselves. Another issue often raised is of women’s rights and
It is often alleged that Islam denies women’s rights. Nothing could be further from the truth. Rather Islam established the rights of women and girls for the first time, at a time when women and girls were discriminated against and often looked down upon. The Prophet of Islam (saw) instructed his followers
To ensure that girls were educated and respected. Indeed, he said that if a person had three daughters who they educated and guided in the best way, they would be sure to enter paradise. It is contrary to the extremists claim that the violent Jihad
And the slaughter of non-Muslims will take a person to heaven. Yet, the Prophet of Islam (saw) taught that the way to enter heaven was by educating and instilling moral values within girls. Based upon the teachings, Ahmadi Muslim girls across the world are educated
And are excelling in various fields. They are becoming doctors, teachers, architects and entering other professions, through which they can serve humanity. We ensure that girls are given equal access to education as boys, hence the literacy rate of Ahmadi Muslim girls in the developing world is at least 99%.
Besides education, Islam was the religion that first gave women the right to inheritance, the right to divorce and many other human rights. Furthermore, the Holy Prophet (saw) emphasised the rights of one’s neighbours and said that Allah Almighty had placed such great emphasis upon their rights that he
Came to think that neighbours would be classed amongst the person’s rightful heirs. Thus, the Prophet of Islam (saw) established the universal human rights due to each individual irrespective of their beliefs, social status or ethnicity. I have just spoken about how the Holy Prophet of Islam (saw)
Focused a great deal on the importance of education, this was reflected in the aftermath of the first Battle in the history of Islam. Despite being extremely ill equipped, Muslims were able to defeat the much stronger Meccan army with the help of Allah the Almighty.
Thereafter the Holy Prophet (saw) offered to release those prisoners of war who were literate, on the condition they must first teach the illiterate members of society how to read and right. In this way, many centuries ago the Prophet of Islam (saw) established a very successful model for the rehabilitation and reintegration
Into society of prisoners, which benefitted society at large. It is often alleged that Islam is a religion of violence or warfare, but the truth is that, and is stated in the Holy Qur’an, that permission to fight back was granted to establish and preserve the principle of freedom
Of belief and freedom of conscience for all mankind. The Qur’an states that if the Muslims did not defend themselves against the Meccan army, then no church, synagogue, temple, mosque or any other place of worship would be safe because the opponents were determined to eliminate all forms of religions.
In reality, if the early Muslims engaged in warfare it was always defensive and fought for the sake of establishing long term peace and to protect the right of all the people to live with freedom. If today there are Muslims who have adopted extremist tactics or who preach violence,
It is because they have abandoned Islam’s teachings or are wholly ignorant of it. Where individuals or groups conduct terrorism, it is to gain power or to enrich themselves. Similarly, where countries adopt unjust and extreme policies their goals are invariably linked to gaining geopolitical benefit and asserting their dominance over others.
Their conduct has nothing to do with Islam. Islam prohibits Muslims for aggression and so the Prophet of Islam (saw) and his four rightly guided Caliphs never sought war or violence and at all times sought peace and reconciliation and made countless sacrifices in its cause.
Another allegation levelled against Islam by certain critics is that it is a backward and archaic religion, or one that does not promote intellectual advancement. This is a lazy stereotype that is based on fiction rather than fact. It is a baseless allegation. The Holy Qur’an itself has signified the importance of education
By teaching the prayer that, “Oh My Lord, increase me in knowledge.” Where this prayer is a source of great help to Muslims, it also inspires them towards learning and advancing the cause of human knowledge. The truth is that the Holy Qur’an and the teachings of the Holy Prophet of Islam (saw) inspired
The works of generations of Muslim intellectuals, philosophers and inventors in the middle ages. Indeed, if you look back more than a millennium, we see how Muslim scientists and inventors played a fundamental role in advancing knowledge and developing technologies which transformed the world and remain in use today.
For example, the first ever camera was developed by Ibn Haytham and his revolutionary work was recognised by UNESCO when he was declared as pioneer of modern optics. It is also interesting to note that the word camera is derived from the Arabic word (Arabic).
In the 12th century, a Muslim cartographer produced most extensive and accurate world map of the medieval times which was used for centuries by travellers. Furthermore, in the field of medicine many Muslim physicians and scientists made great discoveries and pioneered many inventions that remain in use today.
Many of the surgical instruments were pioneered by Muslim physician; al Zahrawi in the 10th century. In the 17th century, an English Physician William Harvey famously carried out, what was considered as ground-breaking research, regarding blood circulation and the function of the heart. However, it was later discovered that more than 400 years before,
Before Harvey’s research Ibn Nafis, an Arab physician, had already detailed the basic of pulmonary circulation in an Arabic textbook. In the 9th century, Jabir Ibn Hayyan brought about revolution in the field of chemistry. He invented many of the basic processes and apparatus still in use today.
The principle of algebra was first developed by a Muslim, as was much of the theory of trigonometry. In the modern world, algorithms are the basis of modern computing technology and they too, were first developed by Muslims. The contributions of Muslims to intellectual enlightenment is still recognised.
For example, a New York Times article published by their science reporter, Denis O’Brien, mentions, the role of Muslim polymath al-Tusi. The author states, “Al-Tusi published many great works on astronomy, ethics, “mathematics and philosophy, marking him as one of the great intellectuals of his age.”
He states, “Muslims created a society that in the middle ages, “was the scientific centre of the world. “The Arabic language was synonymous with learning and science for 500 years. “A golden age that can among its credits for the precursors to modern universities.” Hence, from the outset, Islam emphasised the immense value
Of learning and pushing the boundaries of human knowledge. Since it was founded in 1889, the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community has always promoted education amongst its members. With the grace of Allah, the very first Muslim Nobel laureate was an Ahmadi Muslim, Professor Dr. Abdus Salam.
An imminent physicist who won the Nobel prize for physics in 1979. Throughout his life, Professor Salam spoke of how Islam and the Holy Qur’an, in particular, was the inspiration and guiding light behind his work. In fact, he used to say that there were around 750 verses in the Holy Qur’an directly related
To science and which enhanced our understanding of nature and the universe. Furthermore, the third Khalifa of our Community desired for a new dawn of great Muslim scientists and academics to emerge. And so, within our Community he started a tradition of awarding gold medals for academic excellence.
Each year hundreds of Ahmadi Muslim boys and girls are awarded gold medals. Certainly, we believe that access to education is key to breaking the cycle of poverty that has plagued economically weak countries for generations. We learn this from the Holy Prophet of Islam (saw)
Who urged Muslims to fund the education of vulnerable members of society, such as orphans. He taught that spiritual advancement was intrinsically linked to serving humanity and so a Muslim could not attain the love of God Almighty just through worship and prayer. Rather, the love of God Almighty required Muslims to serve humanity.
Thus, in Chapter 90 – Verse 15:17 of the Holy Qur’an, Muslims are instructed to work and eradicate hunger and poverty, to fulfil the needs of orphans and to educate vulnerable and poor children so that opportunities open up for them to develop. In all parts of the world the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community
Acts upon these noble teachings to the best of our abilities. We believe that Islam is a religion of love and compassion and so, we serve humanity without making any distinction based on the religion or ethnicity of those who we help. Therefore, in remote and poverty-stricken parts of Africa, we have established
Primary and secondary schools and we have also opened hospitals and clinics. We are providing clean running water in remote villages, which means the children are free to go to school instead of spending their days travelling for miles seeking to collect pond water for their domestic family use.
We have also set up a project of building modern villages which include community halls, access to clean water, solar energy, infrastructure and various other facilities. All of these services are provided to the local people, irrespective of their background or beliefs and, are motivated entirely by our religion.
Where out of human sympathy, we seek to eradicate poverty and destitution. We also consider it to be the key to developing sustainable peace in the world. Only if people have food to eat, water to drink, shelter, schooling for their children
And health care, will they be able to live in peace and escape the deadly clutches of frustration and resentment that lead people towards extremism. These are all basic human rights and so until we do not help people flee poverty and destitution, we will not see true peace in the world.
At the end, I pray with all my heart that mankind forsakes greed and forgoes the pursuit of narrow self-interest and instead focuses on relieving the pain and anguish of those who are suffering in the world. With these words, I would like to once again thank you for joining us here, this evening.
Thank you very much. We end our events with a silent prayer. We raise our hands and others may join us as they wish. I would like to humbly request Huzoor to kindly lead us in the silent prayer. Silent prayer. Ameen.