Address at Second General Meeting
By Tommy Kallon
President Pan-African Ahmadiyya Muslim Association UK
Ramadhan and the Holy Qur’an
My Dear Sisters and Brothers!
Assalamu Alaikum wa Rahmatullah.
I am once again most humbled to stand before and address you today at this our Second General Meeting and I must say I am delighted to be surrounded by so many brothers and sisters who have spent this day investing in their spiritual progress.
Your presence here today shows me the esteem with which you hold the Pan-African Ahmadiyya Muslim Association UK. Your presence here tells me that you understand that no living body can exist without its spirit. It is indeed the pursuit of that spirituality that I have been emphasising ever since I assumed the mantle of the Presidency of the Pan-African Ahmadiyya Muslim Association UK.
For while I am pleased with all the foundations that we, as an administration, have been laying with a view to increasing our efficiency and proficiency, galvanising our membership and improving our delivery capabilities, ultimately it is our standards of spirituality that does and will remain my primary focus. I believe – and believe on reasonable grounds – that the salvation of our progenies, our society, the continent of Africa and the world in general does to a large extent depend upon us creating a revolution first within our own lives and in the world around us.
As you know, these days the Football World Cup tournament is taking place. After waiting for 4 years for the event, the participation of the teams from Africa has once again left us not only embarrassed and disappointed but also seething with temper and frustration. From in-fightings within teams to players refusing to play for their respective nations or even train until they are paid enormous amounts of money in cash. It brings us to the realisation of how much work we, as an Association, have to do to dispel the darkness of Africa through the light of Ahmadiyyat.
William Shakespeare writes in Julius Caesar, ‘There is a tide in the affairs of men which, taken at the flood, leads on to fortune’. For us there is indeed a tide that comes once a year and affords us a spiritual fortune. Ramadhan indeed represents that tide and we must not fail to make the most of it when it comes. I trust, therefore, that by the grace of Allah you are all enjoying the benedictions of Ramadhan, availing yourself of every opportunity to submit earnest supplications at the threshold of Allah and to invoke His choicest blessings on His Noble Prophet (saw).
Ramadhan is a great Divine blessing which presents us with the opportunity to strengthen our faith and characterise it with sincerity and devotion. Fasting, during this month, is designed to promote righteousness and guard against evil. By abstaining from the lawful, it becomes much easier to avoid the unlawful. Among other things, we learn, through personal experience, what hunger, poverty and discomfort mean to the less fortunate sections of society and we are better able to sympathise and empathise with them. This, in turn, should invoke heartfelt supplications for them.
Particularly during these blessed days of Ramadhan, there should be a heightened emphasis and renewed vigour to recite the Holy Qur’an with greater frequency and focus. There is, of course, a special relationship between this sublime, sacred scripture and the holy, blessed month of Ramadhan, as we read in Surah Al Baqarah:
“The month of Ramadhan is that in which the Qur’an was sent down as a guidance for mankind with clear proofs of guidance and discrimination.” (Ch.2:V.186)
It was during this month that the Holy Prophet (saw) received his first Qur’anic revelation and it was again in this month that he would recite the entire Qur’an (revealed up to then) to the angel, Hadhrat Jibril (as), at least once – and twice in his final year. Indeed the observance of Taraweeh, initiated during the Khilafat of Hadhrat Umar (ra) was established so that believers would benefit from listening to the entire text of the Holy Qur’an being recited during Ramadhan.
A tradition of the Holy Prophet (saw) states that when the Holy Qur’an is being recited, it should be done tunefully so as to honour its Divine source. Even more important, though, is the study of its deeper meanings and wisdom, and acting upon its injunctions in order to achieve what fasting had, in fact, been prescribed for: the attainment of taqwa (Ch.2:V.184).
At a time when the Word of Allah is being misrepresented by others and derided by the opponents of Islam, Ramadhan presents an opportunity for us to reflect upon the Holy Qur’an’s manifest, unquestionable truth, its beautiful, universal message and its profound relevance to our lives.
This is because, my dear sisters and brothers, of all the gifts bestowed upon man by Allah the Almighty, none is more precious than the glorious Holy Qur’an. The light of the Holy Qur’an is as brilliant and manifest today as it was 1400 years ago, as it will be 1400 years hence. The Holy Qur’an nourishes every branch of the human tree. It leads a person out of every kind of darkness into light and enables him to cultivate purity of thought and action. It fulfils to a pre-eminent degree the needs of the human intellect, body and soul.
The transformation in the lives of the illustrious Companions of the Holy Prophet (saw) illustrates this beyond all doubt. Before the advent of Islam, they were an idolatrous lot, devoid of any concept of Divine Unity, bitterly divided into warring factions, returning crude, beastly responses to their animal urges. The Holy Qur’an refined their cravings into aspirations for the sublime and established them as a community of believers in the One True God.
The perfection of the Holy Qur’an can, therefore, be seen from every point of view – the excellence of composition, the sequence of its subjects, the purity of its diction and, above all, the fruits of its teachings. It regulates everything, from the ceremonies of religion to those of daily life, from the salvation of the soul to the health of the body, from the interests of man to those of society, from punishment in this life to that in the life to come.
It is so perfect and comprehensive yet so simplistic and rational. Never does it seek to impose any doctrine by mere authority. On the contrary, it discriminates between truth and falsehood by its reasoning, establishing every purpose with proofs and conclusive arguments on the rational principles that whatever is born must die, that whatever rises must set and that whatever is corrupt must perish and decay.
Regarding the Holy Qur’an, the Promised Messiah (as) writes:
“The Holy Qur’an is a book which has proclaimed its own matchlessness and has claimed its own greatness, its wisdom, its truth, the beauty of its composition and its spiritual lights… There is no truth outside of it. There is no wisdom that is not comprised in it. There is no light that is not obtainable through following it.” (Essence of Islam, p.361)
One of the conditions of bai’at is that the initiate shall ‘make the Word of God and the sayings of the Holy Prophet Muhammad (saw) his/her guiding principles in every walk of his/her life’. It is quite essential then that one should devote a lifetime to reading and studying the glorious Qur’an, exploring its inexhaustible spiritual treasures and comporting one’s life according to its dictates.
It will not surprise you then that I strongly encourage you to read a portion of the Holy Qur’an daily. Study it and make every effort to comprehend the message of Allah so that it remains a beacon of light for you.
The Promised Messiah (as) enjoins:
“Beware! Do not take a single step in contravention of Allah’s teaching and the Guidance contained in the Qur’an. Verily, I tell you truly that whosoever evades even the least of the seven hundred commandments embodied in the Holy Qur’an, he slams the door of salvation upon himself. Only the Holy Qur’an has opened the real and perfect paths of salvation; all others were only its shadows. Therefore, you should study this Holy Scripture with the utmost attention and deepest thought; and you should love it as you have never loved anything else.” (Kashti-e-Nuh, Ruhani Khaza’in, Vol.19, p.26)
May Allah grant each of us this realisation and enable us to develop an all-consuming love for the Holy Qur’an through devotion and faithfulness to it. Ameen.
In the end, I would like to read out the words with which Hadhrat Khalifatul Masih concluded his Friday Sermon yesterday (4th July 2014):
“May God enable us to derive beneficence from this Ramadan in such a way that high standards of righteousness become a constant part of our life and may we partake of paradise in both the worlds and may our ending be good and we become true models of Islam. May we refute and rebound every attack of enemies of Islam with our words and practice and our devout prayers. Today only the Jama’at of the Promised Messiah (on whom be peace) is going to contend with anti-Islamic satanic forces. Muslim masses do not grasp their scheming, perhaps there is the odd good-intentioned leader among Muslims, and even they do not grasp the situation. They presume that they will be successful by getting outside help! When in reality they are being ensnared in the ploy which will cause their ruin. Our advice has no impact; we are sincerely concerned for them but they are against us! We need to pray for mercy for the Muslim Ummah and also pray for those Ahmadis who are being persecuted. More than anything we should pray to attain true righteousness in this Ramadan so that through it we can experience the opponents of Islam fail. May God bring about a true revolutionary change in us during Ramadan!”
(Quoted from Alislam: http://www.alislam.org/friday-sermon/2014-07-04.html)
With those words I take the opportunity once again to thank you all for your attendance at this meeting today. I pray you have had an informative and inspiring meeting and I solicit your indulgence and understanding for any inconveniences suffered.
I would also like to record my gratitude and appreciation to the General Secretary, Ishaat Secretary, Internal Affairs Secretary and their respective teams for their role in organising and facilitating various aspects of this meeting. I must also thank our Respected Head of Lajna and her entire team for their continued support of all our endeavours from the very inception of this administration.
May Allah adorn them and you all with the ornaments of truth and the garments of righteousness. May Allah so ordain that this blessed month of Ramadhan leaves us all on a higher spiritual plane than where it found us. Ameen.
Thanks for having me. Wassalamu Alaikum.