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Asif M Basit
With the coronavirus pandemic, the world saw an unprecedented phenomenon of lockdowns across the globe. World leaders and the world population were caught up in devising ways to stop its spread and to get rid of the deadly virus that wreaked havoc across the globe. But there was a group of people that was, indifferent of the misery that humanity went through, busy with its lifelong vicious ambition of crushing Ahmadiyyat and erasing its name from the face of the earth.
The anti-Ahmadiyya forces take their ambition as a fulltime occupation anyway, but sitting idly in lockdowns seemed to come in handy and their hateful campaign seemed to know no bounds.
A programme with the name Jawab aap bhi dein (virtually meaning Turning the Tables) was started on MTA with the aim to show how flawed the anti-Ahmadiyya hate campaign was. The aim, as the name suggests, was to ask them about their beliefs and, through their own answers, bring to surface their self-contradictory approach.
When I would get the opportunity to have an audience with Hazrat Khalifatul Masih V, Huzooraa would graciously discuss the parts of the programme that he had had the chance to watch. Huzoor aa would also give guidance on certain matters to do with the discussion.
So that others too may benefit from this insightful guidance, I present some parts of it below. But before doing so, I would like to clarify that any shortcomings noticed in the programme were all due to my lack of understanding of this guidance or not being able to live up to it.
After the very first programme, HuzooR aa said:
“At times, your tone got a bit harsh. You claimed that Ahmadis learn the method of discourse from their Imam, yet your tone got harsh on occasions. Our opponents have gone to every limit to inflict pain on us, but my tone has never got harsh. I have not even raised my voice. A soft tone has better results.”
This naturally left me in great sorrow. While presenting programmes on MTA, the thought that Huzoor aa might at some point watch some part of the programme is one that dominates all other thoughts. Hence, the realisation that an act of mine was distasteful for Huzoor aa left me in great agony.
I sat swamped in sorrow, that I received Huzoor’s message: “But don’t hold back in fear. Be bold.”
I, who had been a dead man walking, came back to life. This seemingly short sentence pumped blood in my veins again. All my fears were gone with this short sentence that might seem short and simple at the prima facie, but has great depth; composed of seven or eight words, it has the great lesson of balance that even a long essay cannot transmit.
In one of these programmes, we were addressing the allegation that Ahmadis had joined the Israeli army and were, consequently, at war with Muslim countries. This, like all other allegations against Ahmadiyyat, is not a new one and has been denied by the Pakistani governments of yesteryears, but to keep their campaign going, our opponents do not hesitate in recycling stale allegations. This time, it was thrown up by a London-based Pakistani journalist and was taken on board by the trash media of Pakistan.
Preparing for the programme, I thought about interviewing the journalist to ask what made him make such a bold claim that was not even based on facts. Why try to create a storm in a teacup?
So, I recorded his interview and played it during the programme. He had no answer so he stubbornly insisted that if I could prove otherwise, he would take back his words. I insisted that he was the one who made a claim, so the onus of proof was on him, not me. The sophistry went on for a bit too long.
Huzoor aa had had the chance to watch a small part of the programme and it happened to be this irritating bit. During an audience, Huzoor aa said:
“You dragged it on for too long. You should have noticed that he was being stubborn and would never agree with you; why stretch it on? I know that Pakistani talk shows have made this style fashionable, but I have never had a taste for prolonged debates. Give him your viewpoint, ask for his and then leave it to the viewer to decide. His point had no grounds and anyone could have easily decided.”
In another programme, a panellist of ours gave such a long opening remark before his actual answer that half the time of the entire programme was lost to it. Huzooraa said:
“Your panel should know how much of an answer is required and how much time they have for each answer. They should plan openings and closings accordingly. It took so long to get to the actual point that you had to speak fast and hastily wrap up the programme.”
Huzoor aa further added, “Every panellist should be told their given time and you should speak slowly and clearly. If the message is not conveyed, then what is the point?”
Enlightening is the message here again. I was glad that despite a lengthy answer from a guest, I had still been able to wrap the programme up within the given time. But I was reminded again of maintaining balance.
Alluding to one of the programmes, Huzoor aa once said:
“Tell your guests that they should bring solid research. The programme has a novel format, so the material presented too should be novel. I have noticed that at times, some very common answers are merely repeated. Your guests should come with well researched material.”
This came as a reminder to us all that there is no room for complacency. Simply picking up ready-made answers and dumping them on viewers is not even an option. We should be after new material and new ways of presenting them.
I must mention here that the urge for research and acquisition of new material that I have seen in Hazrat Khalifatul Masih aa is unparalleled, as is his encouragement. I do not know of anyone as open-hearted, open-minded and open-handed when it comes to researching and acquiring any material to do with the truth of the Promised Messiahas or even anything that can in any way be historically relevant to the Jamaat. Not making the best out of it would be very negligent and unfortunate of us.
During this strange time, disturbingly vulgar videos about some revered personalities of the Jamaat were posted on YouTube. When I got the chance, I said to Huzoor aa that Ahmadis were deeply hurt and were asking for MTA to respond. Huzoor aa replied:
“The great revolution brought about by the Promised Messiahas was through his teachings and his writings. Scholarly allegations and misquoted facts should be addressed for record purposes. Addressing allegations of substandard morals is like dipping our own hands in the same sludge. Why do so?”
Who could be more hurt than Huzoor aa by such uncouth attacks on holy persons of the Jamaat? But then who else is it that stands for the morals taught by the Holy Prophet sa of Islam; the morals that drew the line between the human and the inhuman. These great morals were revived through practical examples by the Promised Messiah as and today, his successor stands as an unmatched model of the same.
This reply of Huzoor aa taught me that not every sorrow is to be expressed before the world. This grief is one of those that Huzoor aa presents only before his Lord, Allah the Almighty.
I recall when he once said to me:
“If I ever showed you the letters I receive from our opponents, you might not even bear to read them. If I start taking such things to heart, how can I continue with my duties?”
See how the lesson of maintaining a balance gets clearer and ever more beautiful: Our tone should never be harsh, yet we ought not to hold back in fear and also not to indulge in matters that result in nothing but negativity.
The whole world knows about the atrocities carried out by extremist Muslim circles in the name of protecting the “Honour of the Prophet sa”. The killing of anyone who appears to be a culprit is not only carried out, but is also highly encouraged.
In doing so, a certain person of Lahore is glorified as a hero who, back in the days of the British Raj, killed a Hindu who had published a seditious book on the Holy Prophet sa of Islam. He was hanged to death for this murder.
This narrative was never around before 1978 – the time when Zia-ul-Haq’s so called movement of Islamisation took birth through such radicalising moves. It was only after the genesis of this narrative that the murder got glorified as a saint, his shrine was built and the ritual of urs has since been celebrated.
During my research, I came across his personal statement that he had given to the Lahore High Court during his trial. He had explained to the judge his primary motive was never to kill the Hindu for his blasphemy. His motive, as he explained himself, was a personal dispute with a friend on an extremely profane matter. He wanted to kill this friend and then commit suicide.
As he bought the dagger, he bumped into another friend who asked what he was up to. On knowing his motives, this friend advised him that this would stigmatise his own character and advised killing the Hindu and then be hanged. This, the friend said, would make him a hero in the eyes of Muslims.
I was shocked to read this never-before-seen fact. I thought it would be a great idea to present these details; the extremist narrative would be destroyed and our approach would sound more credible – the approach of introducing the world to the beauties of the character of the Holy Prophetsa of Islam.
In my eagerness, I presented the whole matter to Huzoor aa. But Huzoor’s reply made me realise that I had forgotten the important lesson of not losing control in excitement. Huzoor aa said:
“What will we attain through laying his personal life bare? Only that we will be highlighting a shameful side of his personality. This is not our way.
“Have you not read the incident from a court case of the Promised Messiah as where Maulvi Muhammad Hussain Batalvi gave testimony against him? The Promised Messiah’s lawyer told the judge that he could reveal certain disgraceful sides of Batalvi’s personal life. The Promised Messiahas immediately told the lawyer not to reveal any personal matter of Batalvi, howsoever disgraceful it may be.
“You see, this is what the Promised Messiah as has taught us. This is the example that we should follow. So, there is no need to go into this.”
This answer alone is a sufficient answer to those who lodge vulgar attacks on the Jamaat’s esteemed personalities. The one person who can hold up the flag of the Honour of the Holy Prophet sa is one who, out of his love for humanity, protects every human being’s self-respect; one who abstains from unveiling personal aspects of the lives of even his enemies; one who teaches his followers to do the same.
The greatest guard to the Honour of the Holy Prophetsa are his supreme morals and it is Hazrat Khalifatul Masih aa who upholds these supreme moral standards in this day and age. This is a claim supported by evidence.
A few weeks ago, our opponents came up with a new scheme, having noticed that searching for the terms “Khalifa” or “Khalifa of Islam” in Internet search engines brings up the name of Hazrat Mirza Masroor Ahmad. They thought this was a grave threat to Islam as people around the world tended to take the “Qadiani Khalifa” as the Khalifa of Islam.
Our opponents took it to the social media and urged all Muslims to bring to the knowledge of the likes of Google and Wikipedia that this information was not true and, thus, should be removed.
I wonder why our opponents overlook the fact that all such efforts against the Jamaat have always benefitted none else but the Jamaat itself. As they swarmed the Internet with their vicious intentions, the name of Hazrat Mirza Masroor Ahmad aa reached even those who were not aware of him; even more, the search-storm twinned Huzoor’s name with the title of “Khalifa of Islam”.
As all this went on, I had the chance to speak to Huzooraa on the matter. Huzoor aa said:
“A Khalifa is made only by God, not an Internet search engine. I have never claimed to be the Khalifa of the Muslim Ummah. My seal reads ‘Khalifatul Masih’. So does the letterhead that I have used to write to world leaders recently. The world knows me as a Khalifa and all they have heard from me is the message of Islam. I am doing my job and the opponents can carry on with theirs; does it even make a difference?”
When this social media campaign of our opponents reached its apex, the world got to observe a strange phenomenon. Who doesn’t know that every Ahmadi loves Hazrat Khalifatul Masih aa to the level of complete devotion? But that every Ahmadi, young or old, is an unsheathed sword for Khilafat is something that shone like the bright sun, as the vicious scheme unfolded.
Members of Khuddam-ul-Ahmadiyya got mobilised. Living in England, I got to see Khuddam-ul-Ahmadiyya UK’s activities in this regard, so I am an eyewitness to that. It was a call for the Jihad that we most strongly believe in and every khadim, every tifl and every member of the Jamaat stood firm to safeguard Khilafat-e-Ahmadiyya from this attack – a practical expression of every Ahmadi’s pledge.
The mass media of the Jamaat became alert and availed this opportunity of educating the world about the true concept of Khilafat; all armed with the weapons of proof, evidence and historical facts to fight the war of discourse.
Our opponents saw no way out but to wrap up their scheme and slip away.
This whole episode was a clear sign of the fact that Khilafat and the Jamaat are two bodies for one soul, alhamdolillah.
We started preparing a special episode of Jawab aap bhi dein. The idea was to leave aside the rogue tactics of our opponents and tell the world about the true concept of Khilafat; to bring to light the sanctity of this institution that strives to propagate the message of the Holy Prophet sa of Islam.
The programme was to go live in the evening and I had a mulaqat the same morning. I saw it as a blessed opportunity and requested Huzoor aa for his blessings and prayers for the programme. I was lucky to be able to tell Huzoor aa which questions we were going to ask our opponents in the programme.
When I had finished, I thought that the mulaqat would now come to a close. But as Huzoor aa spoke, I realised that it had not. Huzooraa said:
“Why do you not openly challenge them? Tell them boldly and clearly that the only way that Khilafat is now possible is through the Khilafat of the Promised Messiah as. Feel free to challenge them and tell them that:
“‘If all the leaders of the Muslim countries and the entire Muslim Ummah unanimously agree upon an individual as the Khalifa and associate themselves with him by means of Bai‘at, then the Ahmadiyya Muslim Jamaat will most certainly be prepared to consider accepting such a Khalifa and associating with him through Bai‘at along with the entire Ummah.’”
Huzoor aa paused while I saved these blessed words with my pen. Then I heard his voice again:
“Also tell them very clearly that they cannot do this. They cannot do so. They simply cannot ever do so!”
The feeling of the moment cannot be captured in words, so I will not even try. The words of the God-made Khalifa were glorious. They were majestic. They were full of faith and conviction.
I presented this challenge at the end of the programme in the same words. I was only repeating the blessed words of my Holy Master. I must admit that I could not convey them in the same way. I should also say that no one in the world can ever repeat them as I heard them when they were delivered by Hazrat Khalifatul Masih aa.
It was the talismanic grandeur of these words of Huzoor aa that our opponents, who had been euphoric for the past many days, fell flat before this challenge.
This challenge from Hazrat Khalifatul Masih V aa will live as a great proof of the truthfulness of Khilafat-e-Ahmadiyya to the final day of this world, just as will live Khilafat-e-Ahmadiyya.
No khilafat will ever be formed. Why? Because “they cannot do so. They simply cannot ever do so!”
Long live Khilafat-e-Ahmadiyya!
(For the convenience of historians, I must write here that this challenge by Khilafat-e-Ahmadiyya was presented to the rest of the Muslim Ummah on 20 December 2020.)