God sent the Promised Messiah (on whom be peace) for revival of faith in the current age in subservience of the Holy Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be on him). He showed us the pristine form of faith and advised us to give up harmful and erroneous innovations in religion. In this age he is indeed the true example of the teachings and the blessed model of the Holy Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be on him) and in this regard his example is also a beacon of light for us. We are fortunate that our forefathers and other companions related traditions of the Promised Messiah (on whom be peace) which reached us. Many of the long term Ahmadis would have directly heard accounts of the Promised Messiah from their elders.
Hazrat Musleh Maud (may Allah be pleased with him) has stated the significance of these traditions in his unique style and has derived counsel and much about the teachings of Islam from even apparently minor, ordinary accounts. Many of these companions lived during the time of Hazrat Musleh Maud (may Allah be pleased with him) and he advised them or their families to collect and collate these accounts because these accounts would provide advice and solutions of many issues for generations to come.
In light of a problem that arose within the Jama’at, Hazrat Musleh Maud (may Allah be pleased with him) drew attention to the importance of collating these accounts. He called even withholding minor accounts of the Promised Messiah (on whom be peace) as communal betrayal. And explained that minor accounts are at times most significant because huge conclusions can be drawn from them. A hadith relates that the Holy Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be on him) eagerly ate gourd/squash pieces cooked in broth and said what a fine thing gourd was. This apparently minor account may be of no significance even to some Ahmadis. However, there was a time when Hindu culture had influenced Muslims in many ways and one of which was that only those were considered pious who did not eat good food. On the contrary if they saw any holy person eating good food they would remark what sort of a holy person would do that!
Likewise, once a Hindu resident of Qadian asked Hazrat Khalifatul Masih I (may Allah be pleased with him) that he had heard that the Promised Messiah (on whom be peace) ate pilao (rice dish cooked with meat) and used almond oil. He went on to ask if it was warrantable to eat pilao and use almond oil. Hazrat Khalifatul Masih I (may Allah be pleased with him) told him it was warrantable in his faith (Islam). The man then said he meant if it was even alright for ascetics and holy people. He was told that yes, in Islam it was warrantable even for ascetics and holy persons. The man went quiet. Imagine the man came up with this great objection that how could one be the Promised Messiah if one ate pilao and used almond oil!
Had Companions of the Holy Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be on him) not mentioned the gourd account a very important matter would have been left unsaid. Another hadith relates that the Holy Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be on him) wore a fine robe to Friday Prayers. If someone was to say that not wearing fine clothes is a sign of a holy person we can present this hadith to them. The Holy Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be on him) was so keen on cleanliness that some Sufi saints, like Hazrat Shah Wali Ullah changed his clothes every day. Hazrat Khalifatul Masih I (may Allah be pleased with him) was very simple of nature and due to his very busy schedule sometimes he forgot to bathe and change clothes for Friday Prayers. Hazrat Musleh Maud says that one day when he was going to study Bukhhri (book of hadith) from Hazrat Khalifatul Masih I the Promised Messiah asked him where was he off to. When he explained the Promised Messiah said he should put one question to Maulawi Sahib from him as well. He said to put to him if it was stated anywhere in Bukhari that the Holy Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be on him) bathed and wore fresh clothes on Friday; but nowadays saintliness is inferred from being unkempt. Islamic Shariah strongly recommends bathing on many occasions and using perfume and forbids to eat food with strong odour before going to the mosque. In short the world has been benefitting from the accounts of the Holy Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be on him) and will continue to benefit. The world will also benefit from the accounts of the Promised Messiah (on whom be peace). It is our duty to get them on record. A young man once said that he was a child during the lifetime of the Promised Messiah (on whom be peace) and his only memory was that he once held the Promised Messiah’s hand who kept holding his hand but after a while he had to attend to something, so he let go of the child’s hand to do what was needed. On the face of it this is minor account but big conclusions can be drawn from it. For example, small children should be brought to gatherings of holy people. It is possible that in times to come some people will be of the opinion that children should not be brought to assemblies of holy people. People adopt such views when worldly knowledge becomes widespread. This tradition would negate such views in future. Indeed, it also tells us that when needed one may let go of another’s hand to attend to something. It is possible that in future people would have the opinion that a holy person does not let go of another’s hand. This tradition would clarify the matter. Of course if needed one may gently let go of another’s hand to attend to something. Hazrat Musleh Maud (may Allah be pleased with him) said that these matters may not hold significance at the time but in future when people will develop varied views many thinkers will jump for joy to find such traditions because they will resolve complex matters.
Hadith relates that once the Holy Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be on him) was in the prostration posture of Salat that his young grandson Hazrat Hassan sat on top of him. The Holy Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be on him) did not lift his blessed head until his young grandson got off. One may consider such an act irreligious but this tradition will make him acknowledge his error with the blessed example of the Holy Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be on him) before him.
Once a Pathan read somewhere that small actions during Salat made Salat invalid/null and void. When reading ahadith he came across a hadith where the Holy Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be on him) picked up his child during Salat only putting him down during raku and sajdah postures. The Pathan opined that the Salat of the Holy Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be on him) was invalid. As if Shariah was formed by the writer of the book he had read and not the Holy Prophet.
Hazrat Musleh Maud (may Allah be pleased with him) says therefore, no matter how minor an account of the Promised Messiah it should be told, even if it is that the Promised Messiah sat down on grass while taking a stroll. He said he remembered once the Promised Messiah (on whom be peace) went to a garden with friends and said, let us eat shahtoot (sub-continental mulberry). They spread a cloth on the garden and ate the fruit, harvesting it by shaking the tree. People in latter times could say only cleaned/washed things should be eaten or someone could say it is not proper to eat together but here we have an example of the Promised Messiah (on whom be peace) eating fruit off a tree. Some accounts can resolve future religious, cultural and political issues.
Many companions wrote down their experiences and registers were created which Hazrat Khalifatul Masih has narrated in his discourses. Now these accounts are being collated in proper form once again and many minor details are coming to the fore. Some scholars who are composing the accounts tend to favour some accounts and feel that other accounts may have unfavourable effect. When Hazrat Khalifatul Masih reads the accounts for himself he feels this is unnecessary caution.
Hazrat Musleh Maud (may Allah be pleased with him) said these traditions will benefit people in future, for example if people have the view against covering of head the matter could be addressed. No doubt ahadith can found in this regard and it was the Holy Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be on him) who brought Shariah but accounts of a Prophet closer in time verify the accounts of the law-bearing Prophet. It is said these days that matters of fiqah (jurisprudence) that Imam Hanifa practiced are more accurate. Similarly in times to come people will consider those ahadith accurate which the Promised Messiah verified through his practice and ahadith which he did not endorse through his practice will be considered weak or erroneous.
Hazrat Musleh Maud (may Allah be pleased with him) said that it may not be right to publish some of these accounts at present but they should be recorded and preserved. Indeed, Hazrat Khalifatul Masih said even today there may be some accounts which should not be published but they should be preserved and published at the appropriate time in future. For example, the Promised Messiah (on whom be peace) had a revelation: ‘The British Empire will last for eight years; thereafter there will be weakness, disturbance and decline.’ (Tahdkirah, p. 1017). Some people infer this revelation to be about the time following death of Queen Victoria. The British Empire did gradually lose its power, this did not happen suddenly although some signs did appear.
Hazrat Musleh Maud (may Allah be pleased with him) said that he wanted to find a Quranic reference and thought that it would take some time before he could find the verse he needed. He referred to index of the Qur’an and found the verse quickly. He spent a few minutes sincerely praying for the person who had collated it. Nowadays finding references is that much easier through computer programmes. Prayers are made for people who facilitate these programmes. Everything about the Promised Messiah (on whom be peace) is knowledge-based which is important for us, as indeed is the practical side of everything about him. Any Ahmadi who hears about it will benefit from it and will certainly pray for whoever has collated the information.
Hazrat Khalifatul Masih said that when he started relating accounts of companions of the Promised Messiah some families sent accounts of their elders. They should now write these accounts properly and send them to Additional Vakalat Tasneef who may then forward it to the relevant committee formed for collating traditions.
The Promised Messiah (on whom be peace) agonised over progress of Islam from the very beginning and wished Muslims to improve their practices. The most important aspect of improving one’s practices in Islam is observance of Salat. Thus the Promised Messiah arranged for the people of Qadian to offer Salat. This was before he started the Ahmadiyya community. He sent for people to come and offer Salat. Most of the people in the area were farmers and their excuse was that Salat is something for the well-off whereas they had to tend the land, work hard or else they would starve. The Promised Messiah told them if they came for Salat they would get one meal free. About 25 to 30 people came for Salat and to eat for a few days but then became lazy and only appeared at Maghrib time when food was served. The venture had to be closed down.
The Promised Messiah (on whom be peace) was very eager and keen to present the true picture of Islam and God fulfilled this. Hazrat Musleh Maud (may Allah be pleased with him) said that Qadian has four mosques (during his time) two of which are very grand and are filled with worshippers.
Hazrat Khalifatul Masih said now we have mosques everywhere but attention is not given as it should be to fill these mosques. Ahmadis in Rabwah, Qadian and other places in Pakistan as well as rest of the world should fill mosques. Some people also write in criticising that in some mosques sports are organised in the evenings for youngsters and they thus are lured into offering Salat. This is not quite how it is. Others criticise that food is served at functions (at the mosque) so people come to these functions to eat food and offer Salat. This is thinking ill of others. Some mosques have adjacent halls or there are mosques with young missionaries who are themselves keen on sports and gather youngsters. This has resulted positively in youngsters coming to mosques at least twice daily for Salat and mosques are filled. It is therefore wrong to criticise that halls adjacent to mosques provide sports facilities and gather youngsters or that food is served at functions in the mosques and garners people and that is why people come to offer Salat. It is also clear from the practice of the Promised Messiah (on whom be peace) that this can take place and there is nothing wrong in it.
Two funeral Prayers in absentia were announced. Alhaj Yaqub Sahib of Ghana. It is thought he was over a hundred years old. He passed away on 30 August. Hazrat Khalifatul Masih said he used to see his passionnate tabligh efforts when he was himself stationed in Ghana. He was a cheerful and humble person. May God elevate his station and enable his family to continue his pious practices.
Maulana Fazl Illahi Bashir Sahib was a long-serving Ahmadi who passed away on 3 August and his funeral Prayer was delayed due to some administrative misunderstanding. He was born in 1918 and dedicated his life in 1944. Although he was retired he served voluntarily in some way or the other, mostly proof-reading, till his last breath. Maulana Fazl Illahi Sahib served in many countries including Surinam, Guyana, Iran and Mauritius. He laid the foundation stone of our mosque in Kababir. He wrote eleven books in English, French and Arabic. He truly placed his trust in God and gave precedence to faith over worldly matters and had an intense connection with Khilafat. May God elevate his station and enable his family to remain pious.