The Fourth Condition of Bai‘at

Written by | Ahmadiyya, The Khalifa

The Fourth Condition of Bai‘at (Initiation Into the Ahmadiyya Muslim Jama’at) is:
 “That under the impulse of any passions, he/she shall cause no harm whatsoever to the creatures of God in general and Muslims in particular, neither by his/her tongue, hands, nor any other means.”

As is clear from this condition, one should not cause harm whether by one’s hands or by one’s tongue in a fit of anger, under the pretext of one’s self-respect or honor. Clearly, it is mandatory that one should not harm any Muslim. This has been made obligatory upon us. We have to especially abide by this condition because Muslims associate themselves with our dearly Beloved Master the Holy Prophet Muhammad (sa). We cannot even imagine harming them. In seeking the help of Allah, the Most Powerful and the Almighty God, Who is the Lord of All Powers, against those self-appointed ‘ulema’ who are a blemish on the fair name of Islam—who have exceeded all bounds in their enmity of the Messiah and the Mahdi as of the age—we prostrate at His threshold imploring Him to seize them. We do so because the condition Prophet of Allah had declared them to be the worst of the creation; otherwise, we neither nurse unnecessary grudges against them nor are we angry with anyone. We act upon the commandments of the Almighty Allah. In exhorting us to suppress our anger the Almighty Allah says:

Those who spend in prosperity and in adversity, and those who suppress anger and pardon men; and Allah loves those who do good.” (Al-e-‘Imran 3:135)

It was by virtue of this verse that a slave of Hadrat Imam Husain (ra), won his freedom. It is said that the slave erroneously dropped something hot (it could have been water) on Hadrat Husain (ra). He looked at him angrily. The slave was intelligent and knew the Holy Qur’an as well. He promptly quoted the part of the verse about the suppression of anger. Hadrat Husain (ra) said, “You are right; I suppress my anger.” 

Now the servant thought that though the anger had been brought under control, it would still remain in his heart. It was possible that he would be chastised for some other mistake later. So he quoted the second part of the verse: “…and those who suppress anger. …and pardon men…” (Al-e-‘Imran, 3:135)

Hadrat Husain said, “I have forgiven you.” The slave’s knowledge and promptness gave him immediate benefits. Now he quoted the third part of the verse:  “… and Allah loves those who do good.”

Hadrat Husain responded, “I hereby grant you freedom.” In those days, slaves used to be bought. It was not possible to gain one’s freedom so easily. The slave’s quick-wittedness and knowledge got him freedom from his master who was Godfearing. This is the teaching of Islam. 

Adopt Forgiveness and Forbearance

With regard to moral qualities that relate to the attainment of virtue, the Promised Messiah (as) says: “Of these, the first moral quality is forgiveness, that is, to forgive someone’s sins. The virtue in this is that the person who commits a sin causes harm to someone else and, therefore, becomes liable to be punished or to be put in jail or to be fined or be chastised with direct action. Thus, to forgive him, if forgiveness is appropriate, would be a good deed. In this connection the teaching of the Holy Qur’an is: ‘…and Allah loves those who do good.’” (Al-e-‘Imran, 3:135)  

That is, the virtuous are those who suppress their anger when it is appropriate and forgive when it is appropriate to forgive sins. A bad deed should be requited with an equal amount and in situations where forgiveness of sin is corrective without causing any harm—that is, forgiveness is granted when the occasion warrants and not otherwise—then it merits reward. (Islami Usul ki Philosophy, Ruhani Khaza’in, vol. 10, p. 351) 

There is a famous tradition of the Holy Prophet (sa) that many have heard. Pointing towards his chest, the Holy Prophet (sa) said: ‘Taqwa lies in here.’ That is to say, that pure and matchless taqwa, if it were to be found anywhere, lived only in the heart of the Holy Prophet (sa). Besides taqwa there is nothing else in his heart. So, O people, O community of believers, for you the everlasting instruction is that the example you have to emulate is the model of the Holy Prophet (sa). 

So, search your hearts. Are you making efforts at imbuing yourselves with taqwa by emulating the example of the Holy Prophet (sa)? Do you also have the fear of Allah, and is His love in yourselves? As a result, do you have sympathy for and do you do good towards His creation? 

Now I place before you the tradition in full: Hadrat Abu Hurairah (ra) narrates that the Holy Prophet (sa) said:

“Do not be jealous of one another. Do not quarrel among yourselves. Do not entertain malice against each other. Do not have enmities against one another. None of you should overbid on a contract that has been settled by the other. O servants of Allah, be brothers to one another. A Muslim is a brother to another Muslim. He does not oppress his brother. He does not derogate him nor thinks low of him.”

Then pointing towards his chest the Holy Prophet (sa) said three times:

“Taqwa is in here. It is enough evil for a man to think low of his brother. The blood, property and honour of every Muslim are unlawful for another Muslim.” 

(Sahih Muslim, Kitab-ulBirri was-Silah, Babu Tahrimi-Zulmil Muslimi Wa Khadhlih) 

Do Not Cause Harm to Anyone

It has been stated in the fourth condition that one should not cause harm to another person whether by one’s hand or one’s tongue or through any other means. I will now explain this condition of bai‘at. From the saying of the Holy Prophet (sa) that I have presented before, you should focus on the words ‘do not be jealous.’ Jealousy ultimately develops into enmity. A person who has jealousy in his heart always wants to harm the person of whom he is jealous. Jealousy is a type of disease that while it causes harm to the other person, it also consumes the person who is jealous. It gives rise to many other petty feelings of spite, such as: why the other person has a better business, or more wealth or more talented children. In the case of women, jealousy may arise because of someone’s better jewellery. Even in religious matters—where good deeds must be appreciated and where people should try to move forward in rendering service to the religion—efforts are made to place obstacles in the way of those who are rendering religious service by making accusations against them so that they, too, are deprived of performing service to the religion. 

Then the Holy Prophet (sa) admonishes us not to quarrel with each other. Quarrels take place over petty matters. To give an example, sometimes an officer on duty warns a child who has been mischievous in a gathering that if he were to do it again he would be dealt with firmly or be corrected. The parents, sitting nearby, immediately roll up their sleeves for a fight, and the person performing the duty is put down in a terrible way. Through this action of theirs, they not only broke a condition of bai‘at and spoiled their good manners, they also banished from the minds of their next generation the respect for the organization of the Jama‘at and the distinction between good and bad. 

Then we are directed not to have enmity towards each other. Enmities start from petty matters. Hearts are filled with spite and malice. Some people are always on the lookout for an opportunity to avenge them, while the instruction is not to have enmity with, nor malice for, anyone. Once a Companion (ra) humbly asked the Holy Prophet (sa) to give him simple, but unforgettable advice in a few words. The Holy Prophet (sa) advised him to ‘shun anger’ and then again he said, ‘shun anger.’ When you keep in your mind that you should shun anger, then malice and spite will go away automatically. 

Another habit of ‘injuring or harming someone or making another person’s deal go sour’ is to overbid on a contract concluded by the other. In this saying, we have been asked to desist from such actions. A higher price is offered to acquire a thing only to bring the other person’s business down while no personal gain is achieved from such a bid. This also applies to proposals for marriage. Ahmadis should keep that prohibition in mind. 

Then the admonishment is not to oppress anyone, not to think low of anyone, nor to derogate anyone. An oppressor never achieves nearness to Allah. Then, how is it possible that on the one hand one would enter into a pledge of allegiance with the one appointed by Allah to win His favor and on the other one would oppress people by snatching their rights. It is a common practice in our villages not to give brothers their rights, not to give sisters their share of inheritance simply because they have been married to a different family, lest the property move out of the family, There are those that oppress their wives, those that do not respect their rights, and there are wives who do not respect the rights of their husbands. There are many such matters that fall under this category. Many such actions are indicative of the low treatment of others. While you claim to have taken bai‘at and you claim to give up these evil deeds, how can you commit these actions? The clear-cut commandment is that it is not permissible for a Muslim to think poorly of another Muslim under any circumstances. Similarly, the blood, property and honour of a Muslim are made unlawful for another Muslim. So, having accepted the Appointed One of this age, you who act upon Islamic teachings the most, how can these deeds be tolerated on your part, and how can you still be considered a member of the Jama‘at of the Promised Messiah (as)? 

I would now present to you some ahadith that illustrate what the Companions (ra) of the Holy Prophet (sa) did in not taking these matters lightly and what changes they made in themselves after they had accepted Islam. 

Hadrat Abu Dhar al-Ghaffari (ra) used to provide drinking water from his tank. Some members of a family came by. One of them asked the others as to which of them would go to Abu Dharra to hold him by his hair and ask him to render an account of himself. One of them said that he would do it. He went over to Abu Dharra when he was standing near the tank. He started questioning him. Abu Dharra, who was standing at this time, sat down and then he lay down. One of them asked him, ‘Abu Dharra, why did you sit down and then why did you lie down?’ He replied that, ‘the Holy Prophet (sa) told us, “When anger overcomes one of you while he is standing he should sit down so that this anger would subside; failing that, he should lie down.’” (Musnadu Ahmad abni Hanbal, vol. 5, p. 152, printed in Beirut) 

In another hadith the narrator states that: “We were sitting in the company of ‘Urwah Bin Muhammad when a man came by. He started talking in a manner that angered ‘Urwah Bin Muhammad.” The narrator states that when his anger boiled he got up. After performing ablution, he came back to them. He told us that he had heard of a narration passed down by his father through his grandfather, ‘Atiyyah, who was a Companion of the Holy Prophet (sa), that the Holy Prophet (sa) had said:

“Anger comes from Satan. Satan was made from the fire, and fire is put out by water; so when one of you gets angry, he should perform the ablution.” (Musnadu Ahmadabni Hanbal, vol. 4, p. 226, printed in Beirut) 

Hadrat Ziyad Bin ‘Alaqahra, on the basis of a narration provided by his uncle Hadrat Qatbah Bin Malikra that the Holy Prophet (sa) used to supplicate, “O my Allah, I seek thy refuge from bad morals, evil deeds and evil desires.” (Sunan-utTirmadhi, Kitabud-Da‘wat, Babu Du‘a’i Ummi Salamah, Hadith No. 3591) 

I now present before you what the Promised Messiahas said in this regard and what he expects of the members of the Jama‘at. The Promised Messiah (as) says: “The members of my Jama‘at, wherever they might be, should listen with attention. The purpose of their joining this Movement and establishing the mutual relationship of spiritual preceptor and disciple with me is that they should achieve a high degree of good conduct, good behaviour and righteousness. No wrongdoing, mischief, or misconduct should even approach them. They should perform the five daily Prayers regularly, should not utter a falsehood and should not hurt anyone with their speech. They should be guilty of no vice and should not let even a thought of any mischief, or wrong, or disorderliness, or turmoil pass through their minds. They should shun every type of sin, offence, undesirable action, passion, and unmannerly behavior. They should become pure-hearted and meek servants of God Almighty, and no poisonous germ should flourish in their beings…. Sympathy with mankind should be their principle and, they should fear God Almighty. They should safeguard their tongues and their hands and their thoughts against every kind of impurity, disorderliness and dishonesty. They should join the five daily Prayer services without fail. They should refrain from every kind of wrong, transgression, dishonesty, bribery, trespass, and partiality. They should not participate in any evil company. If it should be proved that one who frequents their company does not obey God’s commandments… or is not mindful of the rights of people, or is cruel or mischievous, or is ill-behaved, or is seeking to deceive the servants of God Almighty by speaking ill or abusively of them, or is guilty of imposture towards the persons with whom they have entered into a covenant of bai‘at, it should be their duty to repel him and to keep away from such a dangerous one. They should not design harm against the followers of any religion or the members of any tribe or group. Be true well-wishers of everyone, and take care that no mischievous, vicious, disorderly, or ill-behaved person, should be ever of your company, or should dwell among you; for such a person could at any time be the cause of your stumbling. 

These are matters and conditions that I have been urging from the beginning, and it is the duty of every member of my Jama‘at to act upon them. You should indulge in no impurity, mockery or derision. Walk upon the earth with good hearts, pure tempers, and pure thoughts. Not every evil is worth fighting, so cultivate the habit of forgiveness and overlooking defaults, and behave with steadfastness and meekness. Do not attack anyone improperly, and keep your passions under complete control. If you take part in a discussion, or in an exchange of views on a religious subject, express yourself gently and be courteous. If anyone misbehaves towards you, withdraw from such company with a greeting of peace. If you are persecuted or reviled, be mindful that you should not meet stupidity with stupidity, for otherwise you will be counted in the same category as your opponents. God Almighty desires that you should become a jama‘at that should set an example of goodness and truthfulness for the whole world. Hasten to exclude everyone from your company who sets an example of evil, mischief, provocation and ill-behavior. He who cannot dwell among us in meekness, goodness and piety, using gentle words and comporting himself in ways of good conduct, should depart from us quickly, for God does not desire that such a one should dwell among us. He will die miserably, for he did not adopt the way of goodness. Therefore, be alert, and be truly good-hearted, gentle and righteous. You will be recognized by your regular attendance at Prayer services and your high moral qualities. He who has the seed of evil embedded in him will not be able to conform to this admonition.” (Ishtihar (The Announcement), May 29, 1898. Majmu‘ah Ishtiharat, vol. 3, pp. 46–48) 

He further said: “A man should not be conceited, nor indecent, nor illmannered towards the fellow beings. He should act with love and goodness and should not bear ill-will towards anyone for personal reasons. He should behave firmly or gently in accordance with the occasions or conditions.” (Malfuzat, new edition, vol. 5, p. 609) 

Adopt Meekness and Humility

With respect to meekness and humility the Promised Messiah (as) says: “…Seek forgiveness of Allah before the punishment of God comes to close the door of forgiveness. While the laws of this world are feared, why is it the laws of God are not? When calamities have occurred one has to go through them. Everyone should try to get up for tahajjud and to include qunut in the five daily Prayers as well. Repent from everything that would incur the wrath of Allah. Repentance means giving up all evil deeds and everything that goes against the pleasure of God and undergoing a true change and making progress and adopting the way of righteousness. In this, too, lies the mercy of Allah. Make your habits decent. Shun anger, replacing it with gentleness and meekness. Along with adopting good morals you should give charity as well (al-Dahr, 76:9). Which means that for seeking the pleasure of God you feed the poor, the orphans, and the needy, and you say that you perform these acts only for the pleasure of the Almighty Allah, and you fear that extremely terrible Day. In brief, pray, ask forgiveness and keep giving charity, so that the Almighty Allah may deal with you with His Grace and Mercy.” (Malfuzat, new edition, vol. 1, pp. 134–135)

Then he says:

“Friends! Hold fast to this rule: deal with all people with kindness. Kindness increases intelligence, and forbearance promotes deeper thinking. Anyone who does not adopt this way is not of us. Anyone from our Jama‘at who cannot tolerate the abuse and harshness of our opponents is permitted to have recourse to the courts, but it is not appropriate that he should counter harshness with harshness and create a dispute. This is the admonishment we have given our Jama‘at, and we express our displeasure and declare that the one who does not act upon it is not of our Jama‘at.”  

(Tabligh-e-Risalat, vol. 6. p. 170, Majmu‘ah Ishtiharat, vol. 2, p. 472)

Last modified: September 2023

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