Prepared from the Review of Religions’ transcript by Iffat Mirza
The Jalsa Salana (Annual Convention) is a key event of the Ahmadiyya Muslim calendar with its origins dating back to 1891, where, under the guidance of the Promised Messiah and founder of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community, Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad (as), a three-day event was held in his home village, Qadian, India, with the purpose of creating an environment where spirituality and religiosity are given the utmost importance.
On December 24, 2021, the community held the 126th Jalsa Salana Qadian. His Holiness Mirza Masroor Ahmad (aba), the head of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community, delivered a live address from Surrey, England. He addressed a variety of issues the modern world is facing, particularly in light of the global Coronavirus pandemic. His Holiness Mirza Masroor Ahmad (aba) spoke of global inequalities and injustices and elucidated the danger of letting these prevail as they pose an imminent threat to world peace. He also highlighted important Islamic teachings as a solution to the societal ills which threaten peace and harmony.
The following is a summary of Hazrat Mirza Masroor Ahmad’s (aba) address (1).
His Holiness began by stating:
“Today is the final day and the concluding session of the Jalsa Salana [Annual Convention] Qadian. Similarly, Guinea-Bissau, a country in Africa, is also holding its Jalsa. They requested to be included in this proceeding, and so scenes from their Jalsa are also being shown occasionally on the screen. By the grace of Allah the Almighty, there are other countries where the Jalsa is taking place, or is going to take place, during this time as well. Nevertheless, as they are holding their Jalsa on the same days as the Jalsa in Qadian, I have mentioned them. I will now turn to the actual subject [of the address].
We claim that it is the teaching of Islam alone that serves as the most excellent teaching that can establish a beautiful society, due to the fact that it has remained preserved in its original form. It is this very teaching, which if truly adhered to, draws one closer to God Almighty, and then, as a result of that nearness, along with the desire and effort to attain the pleasure of God Almighty, it provides unparalleled guidance for a true Muslim in relation to fulfilling the rights of others. It is the fulfillment of these rights which serve as a guarantor for establishing peace and harmony in society.
Nowadays, there is much debate about how long-lasting peace and security can be truly established. The potential for disorder, unrest, and warfare at both the local and international level is ever increasing. Indeed, not even the COVID-19 pandemic, which has left the entire world shaken, has managed to remove the animosities harbored within the hearts of people or purged nations of their pride and arrogance over one another.
People are not paying heed to this warning of Allah the Almighty, and should this same attitude continue to be displayed by people and nations, the ramifications will be incredibly perilous.
Nevertheless, at present, I am going to mention various aspects of Islam’s teaching in relation to peace, which if people were to truly implement, the world would become an abode of peace and harmony. The teachings presented by Islam guarantee the establishment of peace in the world. I will present these various aspects in light of the teachings of the Holy Qur’an.”
His Holiness (aba) quoted the Holy Qur’an to illustrate Islamic teachings on religious tolerance:
“Verily, We have sent thee with the Truth, as a bearer of glad tidings and as a Warner; and there is no people to whom a Warner has not been sent” (2).
Hazrat Mirza Masroor Ahmad (aba) went on to explain:
“Hence, this is a clear distinction between the teaching of Islam and that of other religions. Other religions only consider their teachings to be true. However, according to the teachings presented to us by the Holy Qur’an, it is the duty of every Muslim to acknowledge that prophets appeared in every nation, and if they accept the fact that prophets have appeared in every nation, how then can they say that other prophets are false? At times, adherents of other religions raise, or can raise, foul allegations against the blessed character of the Holy Prophet (sa). However, Muslims address Moses (as), Jesus (as) and the avatars of the Hindu faith, with reverence and respect.”
Hazrat Mirza Masroor Ahmad (aba) also quoted Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad, the Promised Messiah (as), saying:
“In this day and age, the Promised Messiah (as) has addressed these aspects for us in a most beautiful manner. The Promised Messiah (as) states: ‘I do not hold the belief that apart from Islam all other religions are based on falsehood. I believe that just as God, Who is the God of all creation and sees everything, fulfills the physical needs of everything, so too does He fulfill their spiritual needs. It is not true that He has only chosen one people from the beginning of the creation of this world and shown no care for the rest. Yes, it is true that a time comes for one nation and then for another. I do not say this to please anyone; rather, God Almighty has revealed to me that Raja Ramchandra and Krishna were also pious servants of God and had a true relationship with Him. I distance myself from the one who belittles or ridicules them. The example of such a person is like that of a frog in a well which fails to understand the vastness of the ocean. Based on the authentic accounts of their lives, we find that they made great endeavors and efforts to find the true path that leads to God Almighty. One who says that they were not righteous speaks against the Holy Qur’an, as it states: ‘And there is no people to whom a Warner has not been sent’” (1).
His Holiness (aba) also went into detail to refute all links that have been made between Islam and terrorism. He expanded:
“Another misconception about Islam due to the lack of awareness of its teachings and history, is that Islam is an extremist religion, and due to its teachings of compulsion, it was spread by force at its inception and efforts are still being made to do so today. This allegation is one that has no basis. When one reads the Holy Qur’an, they will find that it negates this concept, and instead teaches to refrain from the idea of compulsion on many occasions, as is stated: ‘And if thy Lord had enforced His will, surely, all who are in the earth would have believed together. Wilt thou, then, force men to become believers?’” (3)
His Holiness continued:
“Hence, if we were to convince the world through force, God Almighty would not have stated that we cannot compel people to accept Islam. Allah the Almighty says that He has the power to make everyone Muslims, but He has not done so. Therefore, if Allah the Almighty has not done this, neither the Holy Prophet Muhammad (sa) has the right, nor his followers, to force anyone to become a Muslim. In fact, one is commanded to preach, to convey the message of Islam and to show others the path. After having shown people this path, Allah the Almighty then states: “And say, ‘It is the truth from your Lord; wherefore let him who will, believe, and let him who will, disbelieve’”(4). Allah, the Almighty God has revealed that this teaching is the truth and for your benefit. It is better that you accept it, but if you wish not to, that is your choice. Allah the Almighty will then judge us on the Day of Judgment and the affairs of this world will have come to an end. No one has the right to compel anyone in this world if they wish not to accept a religion. Hence, Islam does not punish anyone in the world on the basis of religion. It is the erroneous explanations and commentaries of certain scholars that have put Islam in disrepute.”
His Holiness (aba) further linked the question of peace to the necessity of believing in One living God. He stated:
“As mentioned in this verse, one should worship Allah and not associate any partners with Him. This means that one ought to establish the Unity of God; hence, when one truly believes in the Unity of God, they would never commit an injustice against another. At the same time, Allah has outlined a list of people towards whom a believer must show kindness. If one lives their life according to this, it would bring an end to all those means that destroy peace. This list covers all those people who one deals with in society; [it mentions]one’s relationship with their parents and the importance of other relationships as well. In the end, Allah the Almighty has warned that He does not like those who are proud and boastful.
Earlier, it was mentioned with relation to arrogance that Allah the Almighty warns those who are arrogant that the only guarantee for peace and tranquility is in fulfilling the rights of people. We see within society that issues, arguments, and agitations mostly arise when people are angry with one another. Quarrels and arguments arise when one is overcome by anger. Allah the Almighty has guided the Muslims towards one fundamental principle and after mentioning particular traits, [Allah says] that they have been created as a nation that is balanced in all their affairs. Therefore, this principle should be followed in both cases of love and anger. In a state of anger, do not go to the extreme whereby you are not able to forgive, nor in a state of love should one go to the extreme whereby they suffer greatly. In such a state of love, one cannot fulfill their duties in a just manner. Thus, it has been advised that there should be a limit to one’s anger and also a limit to one’s love.”
To conclude, Hazrat Mirza Masroor Ahmad (aba) turned his focus to the specific responsibility Ahmadi Muslims carry to establish peace through their good conduct and fair dealings. He guided:
“After having accepted the Promised Messiah (as) [as the Messiah of this age], may Allah the Almighty enable us to establish good examples for the rest of the world in all of our actions, whilst adhering to the true teachings of Islam. May we truly implement the various guidance I have mentioned in relation to establishing peace and the various other points I have mentioned. Then we ought to inform the rest of the world of this as well, for they are heading towards a pit of destruction because they only wish to fulfill their personal interests. May the world come to realize that true peace can only be established through fulfilling the commandments of God Almighty, as there is no worldly system which can be of true benefit in establishing peace. Hence, this is a huge responsibility upon every Ahmadi Muslim.”
Hazrat Mirza Masroor Ahmad (aba) concluded his address with a silent prayer.
1 Transcript provided by Review of Religions. https://www.reviewofreligions.org/36457/islams-principles-for-establishing-true-peace/[Accessed: January 5, 2022]
2 The Holy Qur’an (35:25)
3 The Holy Qur’an (10:100)
4 The Holy Qur’an (18:30)
Last modified: February 2022