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ALHAJI ABDULAZEEZ ALATOYE APPOINTED AS NEW AMIR, AHMADIYYA MUSLIM JAMA’AT NIGERIA (UPDATED)

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The Supreme Head of Ahmadiyya Muslim Jama’at worldwide Hazrat Mirza Masroor Ahmad (May Almighty Allah be His helper) has appointed Alhaji (Barr.) AbdulAzeez Alatoye as the new Amir (National Head) of Ahmadiyya Muslim Jama’at Nigeria.

This was contained in a release signed by the General Secretary of the Muslim Organization, Alhaji Abbas Iromini and made available to our correspondent. Alhaji Alatoye was hitherto the Naib Amir (Deputy National Head) South West region. He succeeds Dr. Mashhud Adenrele Fashola who has been serving in that capacity for the past 15 years.

It will be recalled that the organization held its annual national forum (Majlis Shoora) last month at Tahir Mosque Ojokoro Lagos where representatives across the country participated in the National Executive Officers’ elections.

Alhaji Alatoye, alongside with the newly approved members of the National Executive Committee will resume office on July 1, 2019.

Brief Profile of the New Amir
Born on the 13th of February, 1963, Alhaji AbdulAzeez Folorunso Alatoye had his tertiary education at the Kwara State Polytechnic, Ilorin where he bagged Unique Distinction in Accountancy in 1991. He obtained a Diploma in Law from the Executive Business School, Ikeja Lagos in 2011 and Bachelor of Laws (LLB) from the University of Bradford, the United Kingdom in 2012.

Professionally, he is an Associate Member of the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators (UK); a Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Taxation of Nigeria (CITN); Fellow of the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Nigeria and a Member of Nigeria Taxation Standard Board and Fellow of the Nigeria Institute of Management.

He is the Founder and Senior Partner of Ascension Consulting Services.

His Journey in the Jama’at
Alhaji Alatoye joined the Ahmadiyya Community through the maternal grandfather biat in 1975. In 1981, he personally signed the biat. Since then, he has been holding sensitive posts within the Jamaat. For instance, he was the Tabligh Secretary between 1982 and 1985 and Financial Secretary between 1985 and 1989 of Inisa Jamaat Osun State. At the auxiliary level, he held the post of an Internal Auditor of Majlis Khuddam-ul-Ahmadiyya Nigeria (Youth Wing) between 1988 and 1990.

At the National Level, Alhaji Alatoye was appointed as the Naib Jalsa Officer II (Deputy Conference Officer II) between 2009 and 2019; Naib Amir South West region (2013-2019); Treasurer (2010-2019); Vice Chairman Humanity First Nigeria (2011-2019); Chairman Sad Sala Jubilee Committee (2016-2019); Chairman South West Mosque Building Trust Fund Committee (2016-2019); Chairman Economic Empowerment and Development Committee (2014-2019), among others.

His areas of interest include Tabligh (Preaching), Holy Qur’an and Mosque Building. He is an advocate of honest service to Almighty Allah and Humanity.


NAMES AND PORTFOLIOS OF THE NEWLY APPROVED NATIONAL EXECUTIVE OFFICERS

S/N. NAME POST
Alhaji AbdulAzeez Alatoye National Amir (Head)
Alhaji Abbas O. Iromini General Secretary
Barr. Muhammad Bashir Badr Secretary Tabligh (Preaching)
Alhaj. M.M. Shittu Secretary Tarbiyat (Religious & Moral Training)
Mr. Tajudeen Oladoja Secretary Ta’lim (Education)
Alhaji Mudathir Dada Secretary Isha’at (Publication)
Engr. Imran Adeyemi Secretary Sami’ wa Basari (Audio-Video)
Alhaji Hassan Sunmonu Secretary Umur Kharijiyyah (External Affairs)
Alhaji Muslihu Ali Secretary Umur Amma (General Affairs)
Mr. Abdul Rahman Adetunji Secretary Dhiyyafat (Hospitality)
Mr. Mudathir Adefarati Secretary Mal (Finance)
Alhaji Dauda Kehinde Sokunbi Add. Secretary Mal (Finance)
Mr. Shakirudeen Abdus Salam Secretary Wasaya (Wills)
Mr. Abdul-Hakeem Akintobi Secretary Ta’limul-Quran & Waqf-Ardhi
Mr.Nafiu Taiwo Ajimoti Secretary Tahrik-Jadid
Mr. Abdul Ganiy Babalola Secretary Waqf-Jadid
Mr. Muhammad Tirmiziy Ajibike Addl. Secretary Waqf-Jadid & Nau Muba’in (For New Converts)
Builder Bashirudeen Asimiyu Towolawi Secretary Jaidad (Properties)
Alhaji Muslihudeen Ademoye Secretary Waqf-Nau
Prof. Abdur Rahman Abdullah Secretary Zira’at (Agriculture)
Mr. B.O. Ghazal Secretary Sanat-o-Tijarat (Industry and Trade)
Mr. Issa A. Shokunbi Muhassib (Accountant)
Alhaji Muheeb Lanre Idris Amin [Treasurer]
Mr. Hussein King Internal Auditor

Caring for Hungry Humanity – How Islam Addresses Challenges of Sustainable Food Security

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An untold pathetic story that has continued to linger on in my memory occurred over a decade ago during my times in the villages and towns situated in the east of Kogi State, Nigeria, preaching the message of peace to the people as an Islamic Missionary. It was a case of a young lady who became pregnant from a premarital relation she had with a poor man. She had no option than to courageously bear the pregnancy through nine months of hunger and malnutrition.

The worst, however, was to happen on the day of her delivery. Though she had been lucky to have a safe and successful child delivery experience; but, the joy was not to last long. Just few moments following the delivery, while still lying on bed in the labour room, her cry from the pangs of child-birth was quickly sequenced by that of the agony of hunger as she cried out in her Igala language: Ebi a pu’mi (I’m hungry). Me du ujeun mi agba (give me food, please)! Unfortunately, as loud as her cry of anguish vibrated, it could not draw food from the poor father of her baby; neither could it get from her or his families, nor from even the people around her at the clinic. Consequently, the poor girl gave up the ghost!

The disturbing fact is, from the continent of Africa, to Asia, South America and the rest continents that lie beyond, millions of similar cases are occurring round the year in a global world populated by millions of acutely hungry humanity. Specifically, around 9 million people die every year of hunger and hunger-related diseases. This is more than from AIDS, malaria and tuberculosis combined. A child dies from hunger every 10 seconds. Poor nutrition and hunger is responsible for the death of 3.1 million children a year. That’s nearly half of all deaths in children under the age of 5. The children die because their bodies lack basic nutrients. (1)

What is hunger and who is hungry? Why are people hungry?  How fatal are the effects of hunger in the world? What are the challenges militating against food security in the world? What approaches and measures does Islam offer mankind in the bid to address the challenges of food security for the hungry world? This piece sets about to examine all this.

Hunger – Meaning, Causes and Global Fatalities

According to United Nation’s Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO), food security exists when all people, at all times, have physical, social and economic access to sufficient, safe and nutritious food that meets their dietary needs and preferences for an active and healthy life. Undernourishment or hunger exists when caloric intake is below the minimum dietary energy requirement (MDER). The MDER is the amount of energy needed to perform light activity and to maintain a minimum acceptable weight for attained height.(2) In politics, humanitarian aid, and social science, hunger is a condition in which a person, for a sustained period, is unable to eat sufficient food to meet a basic nutritional needs. (3)

Well into the 21st century, hunger pandemic has continued as the gravest health crisis worldwide. And there is tendency for it to become worse, most particularly, now that the world begins to face the effects of the Covid-19 pandemic, especially, the agronomic backdrops. In fact, as restrictions on movement already devastating the incomes of the vulnerable, disallowing food from getting to those who need it or they getting to where food is, making over 368 million of global children to miss meals and snacks because schools have been shut down, and hindering the delivery of seeds and farming tools to farmers in many countries, there is possibility that the global hunger pandemic would grow and threaten the lives of the more vulnerable sections of our global human family.  Altogether, an estimated 265 million people could be pushed to the brink of starvation by the end of 2020. (4)

Though, earlier, about 2 billion people have been freed from hunger since 1990, when the United Nations set the development goal to halve the number of people suffering from hunger by 2015. However, in 2019, the United Nations reported that after nearly ten years of progress, the past three years have seen an increase in the number of people suffering from hunger. (5)

It is regrettable that, while global hunger statistics had earlier showed progress, in recent years, the positive development has stopped.  Particularly, since 2015, we have seen an increase in hungry people globally every year: 2015: 784 million; 2016: 804 million; 2017: 821 million; and 2018: 822 million. Globally, 822 million people suffer from undernourishment. More so, the statistics of undernourishment people in the world has also seen an increase: 2015: 10.6%; 2016: 10.7%; 2017: 10.8%; and 2018: 10.8%. It is also important to note that, of the 822 million undernourished people in the world, 113 million face acute hunger, meaning they are in urgent need of food and nutrients. (6)

Furthermore, in Nigeria, 27% of families experience foodless days. In India, it is 24%; in Peru, 14%.(7) One in every nine people goes to bed hungry each night, including 20 million people currently at risk of famine in South Sudan, Somalia, Yemen and Nigeria. Ninety-eight percent of the world’s hungry live in developing regions. The highest number of malnourished people, 520 million, lives in Asia and the Pacific, in countries like Indonesia and the Philippines. In sub-Saharan Africa, 243 million people face hunger in arid countries like Ethiopia, Niger and Mali. And millions of people in Latin America and the Caribbean are struggling to find enough to eat, in places like Guatemala and Haiti. (8) “Even in England and the United States of America”, observes Hadhrat Mirza Tahir Ahmad (rt), “There are hundreds of thousands of people without shelter and those who have to dip into dustbins to find some scrap of food to satiate their hunger.” (9)

Hunger is a perilous cycle that passes from one generation to the next: Families who struggle with chronic hunger and malnutrition consistently go without the nutrients their minds and bodies need, which then prevents them from being able to perform their best at work, school, or to improve their lives. People suffering from chronic hunger are plagued with recurring illnesses, developmental disabilities and low productivity. They are often forced to use all their limited physical and financial resources just to put food on the table. (10)

Challenges of Food Security

Why are millions of people finding it difficult to secure food to eat and beat both the “apparent” and “hidden” types of hunger – starvation and malnutrition?  The straightforward answers are, as many food experts would maintain, in the hungriest countries, families struggle to get the food they need because of several issues: lack of infrastructure, frequent war and displacement, natural disaster, climate change, chronic poverty and lack of purchasing power. More so, there is the challenge of food wastage. In fact, up to one-third of the food produced around the world is never consumed. Some of the factors responsible for food losses include inefficient farming techniques, lack of post-harvest storage and management resources, and broken or inefficient supply chains. (11)

More so, bad governance and inaccessibility of food also constitute some of the challenges. Furthermore, people living in poverty — less than $1.25 USD per day — struggle to afford safe, nutritious food to feed themselves and their families. As they grow hungrier they become weak, prone to illness and less productive, making it difficult to work. If they’re farmers, they can’t afford the tools, seeds and fertilizer they need to increase their production, let alone have the strength to perform laborious work. The limited income also means they often can’t afford to send their children to school or they pull them out to work to help support the family. Even if children are lucky enough to go to class, their malnourishment prevents them from learning to their fullest. (12)

How Islam Addresses the Challenges of Food Security

As a global religion of life, Islam recognizes the necessity of sustainable food security for all mankind to enable them eat to live healthily, actively and productively. In this context, Islam proffers the following approaches and measures towards ensuring that humanity secure food, particularly, for the most vulnerable – the needy, the poor.

Assurance of Earth’s Capability of Maximum Food for Humanity

The world’s population is projected to rise to around 10 billion by 2050 — up from more than 7 billion today. That means there will be over 2 billion more people who need food by 2050. Making sure there’s enough for everyone to eat will be an increasing concern as the population multiplies. (13)

However, regarding the above concern, the Qur’anic declaration of earth’s capability to afford maximum food for humanity is preeminently reassuring. Allah says: “He placed therein firm mountains rising above its surface, and blessed it with abundance, and provided therein its food in proper measure in four days – alike for all seekers.” (Qur’an, HA MIM Al-Sajdah, 41:11).

Commenting on the above verse in his Qur’anic exegesis, Hadhrat Mirza Bashirudeen Mahmud Ahmad (ra) expounds: ‘The words, “provided its food in proper measure,” signify that the earth is fully capable pf providing food for all the creatures that live on it. The expression, “Alike for all seekers” may signify that the foods which God has provided in the earth are equally accessible to all seekers who try to get them according to the laws of nature. It may also mean that all the physical needs and requirements of man have been adequately met in the foods that grow out of earth. So the fear that the earth may not someday be able to grow sufficient food for the fast increasing population of the world is groundless.’ He concluded with a quote from Professor Colin Clark, Director of the Agriculture Economics Research Institute of Oxford University, who forecast that, “The world can provide food, fibre and all other agricultural requirements for 28 billion people.” (14)

Our earth can feed 28 billion people! This reassurance is further accentuated when read in the light of the following expert projection documented in a journal article titled, How Many People can the Earth Feed: “A combination of improved agronomic practices (above all, higher efficiencies of fertilizer and water use), lowered postharvest waste, and healthier eating (mainly reduction of fat intake) could provide adequate nutrition for an additional 3 billion people without any increase in existing inputs. Furthermore, realistic mobilization of new productive inputs could secure enough food for yet another 2 billion people. Consequently, there appear to be no insurmountable obstacles to feeding the global population of about 10 billion people expected by the end of the middle of the twenty-first century. (15)

Various governments must continue to device mechanism to reduce food loss and waste. In a food research article published by World Resources Institute, the writers maintained that, approximately, one-quarter of food produced for human consumption goes uneaten. Loss and waste occurs all along the food chain, from field to fork. Reducing food loss and waste by 25 percent by 2050 would close the food gap by 12 percent, the land gap by 27 percent and the GHG mitigation gap by 15 percent. Actions to take include measuring food waste, setting reduction targets, improving food storage in developing countries and streamlining expiration labels. (16)

Declaration of the Four Basic Amenities

The Qur’an declares: “It is provided for thee that thou wilt not hunger therein, nor wilt thou be naked. And that thou wilt not thirst therein, now wilt thou be exposed to the sun.” (Qur’an, TA HA, 20:119-120)

In his Islam’s Response to Contemporary Issues, Hadhrat Mirza Tahir Ahmad (rt) noted that ‘Islam establishes minimum rights in the form of four-point charter by defining the basic needs which a state should procure:  Food, clothing, water and shelter… Governments have both national and international responsibilities. These responsibilities on the national level are to fulfil the basic needs of each member of society by ensuring that all are fed adequately, clothed, and provided with water and shelter. The international duty…..is to fully participate in pooling resources to meet the challenges of widescale natural disasters or man-made calamities and to help such countries as are by themselves incapable of appropriately handling the crisis. As such, it is the duty of the state to set the matters aright by transferring back to the beggars and poor people what truly belongs to them. So the four fundamental requirements of food, clothing, water, and shelter, will have preference over all other considerations.’ (17)

It should be noted that many hungry people live in countries with food surpluses, not food shortages. The issue, largely, is that the people who need food the most simply don’t have steady access to it. (18) In this context, it is therefore the responsibility of governments to put in place social security, infrastructure and system that would facilitate food accessibility, particularly, for the poverty-stricken citizens.

Prescription of Feeding of the Poor as a Means of Expiation

Perhaps, among world religions, Islam has the distinction of adopting the prescription of feeding of the poor as a means of expiation of omissions and commissions by Muslims. For example, the penalty for breaking of oath is feeding of ten poor persons with such average food as they feed their families (Qur’an, 5:90). Similarly, a Muslim who is guilty of intentional killing of game in a state of pilgrimage faces the penalty of feeding a number of poor persons as expiation (Qur’an, 5:96). More so, while Ramadan fast is compulsory, it is prescribed upon those who have no capacity to fast to feed the poor for the 30 days of fast (Qur’an, 2:185). Furthermore, a Muslim guilty of Zihar (the pagan custom of calling one’s wife “mother” with a view to cease conjugal relations with her) will have to expiate by feeding sixty poor persons (Qur’an, 58:5), etc. All this is calculated to alleviate the challenge of hunger of the downtrodden in the society.

Institutionalization of Capital Levy (Zakat)

To achieve a sustainable social security for the vulnerable sections of the society which will, in turn, ensure their purchasing power, and consequently, facilitate their food security, Islam mandates payment of poor alms by the haves to cater for the haves-not (Qur’an, 24:57). The beneficiaries of this provision are also clearly stated: “The alms are only for the poor and the needy, and for those employed in connection therewith, and for those whose hearts are to be reconciled, and for the freeing of slaves, and for those in debt, and for the cause of Allah, and for the wayfarer – an ordinance from Allah. And Allah is All-knowing, Wise.” (Qur’an, 10:60)

General Exhortations on Feeding of the Poor

The Holy Qur’an emphatically declares that anyone, particularly, a Muslim that neglects or does not urge the feeding of the poor has rejected or denied the essence of religion, “Hast thou seen him who rejects religion? That is the one who drives away the orphan, and urges not the feeding of the poor” (Quran, al-Maun, 107:2-4).

The Holy Qur’an exhorts uplifting of the poor as a necessity for national progress and censures every well-to-do that refuses to channel his wealth towards this path of material and spiritual progress: “And We showed him two ascending paths of nobility. But he did not follow the path of ‘Aqabah’. And what should make you know what the ‘Aqabah’ is? It is the freeing of a slave, or feeding in a day of hunger, an orphan near of kin, or a poor man lying in the dust.” (Quran, al-Balad, 90:11-17) In his The Economic System of Islam, Hadhrat Mirza Bashirudeen Mahmud Ahmad noted on the foregoing verses that, “Feeding of an orphan, near of kin does not mean that one should only feed the orphan who is a relative….There are orphans who do not have relatives. These orphans are so helpless and friendless that at times even the most stonehearted of men would fell sympathy and feed them…The last part of the verse asks why ‘a poor man lying in the dust’ was not fed….However, God expects us to have such sympathy and love that we must seek out the helpless poor who do not even have the capacity to protest and beg at someone’s door…he remains hidden away in sickness and grief; he is friendless with no hope or energy left.” (19)

The Quran assures those who feed the poor of the Bliss of Paradise. It says: “And they feed, for love of Him, the poor, the orphan, and the prisoner, saying, ‘We feed you for Allah’s pleasure only. We desire neither reward nor thanks from you. So Allah will save them from the evil of that day, and will grant them cheerfulness and happiness.” (Quran, al-Insan, 76:9-12) On the other hand, about those who do not feed the poor, it presents a dramatic scenario that would unfold between them and the people of the right hand – dwellers of the Paradise – on the Day of Judgement: “Except those on the right hand. They will be in Gardens asking one another concerning the guilty ones. ‘What has brought you into the Fire of Hell? They will say, ‘We were not of those who offered Prayers, nor did we feed the poor….” (Quran, al-Muddaththir, 74:40-45)

In the canonical Traditions, it is reported that the Holy Prophet Muhammad (saw) emphatically declared that, “Such a person is not a believer who passed the night with filled stomach while his close neighbour remained hungry.(20) In the perspective of the Prophet of Islam (saw), the best of Islam is “that you give food and express the greetings of peace upon the one known or unknown to you!” (21)

Al-Hafiz Yunus Omotayo is a Missionary of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community, Nigeria, and Chairman, Muslim Writers Guild of Nigeria.

 

Converting Foes to Friends – Quranic Principles and Prophetic Examples

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Are you being overwhelmed by the staunchness of the enmity of your enemies, the rivalry of your rivals and the opposition of your opponents? Do you wish to learn how to convert an enemy to a friend, a negative force to a positive one? You’ve got some invaluable lessons to learn from the following Quranic verses if you care to enroll in their school!

Allah says:

“And good and evil are not alike. Repel evil with that which is best. And lo, he between whom and thyself was enmity will become as though he were a warm friend.   None is given (this virtue) except those who are patient, and none is given it except a possessor of great virtues.” (Qur’an, 41:35-36)

Converting Foes to Friends – Dissecting the Quranic Principles

First Principle: Realizing Good and Evil are not Alike

The Quranic statement, ‘Good and evil are not alike,’ infuses a powerful stimulus to our moral conscience, sense and consciousness to objectively engage in comparative valuation and evaluation of the intrinsic aesthetic quality, value and utility latent in every reality, particularly, good or evil. We are here implicitly enjoined to evaluate, appreciate and imbibe the goodness of every good, on the one hand; and to assess, recognize and jettison the badness of every evil, on the other hand.

Similar expressions for comparison are often met with in the Quran. Allah says: ‘the blind and the seeing, the light and darkness, the heat and the shade, and the living and the dead, respectively, are neither alike nor equal.’ [Quran, 35: 20-23] Particularly, regarding comparison between good and evil, it is interesting to note that, in all its ramifications, good represents the Will of God, Who is the Absolute Good and Ultimate Goodness; while evil, on the other hand, is the will and manifestation of the devil. Good represents light and positivity; evil symbolizes darkness and negativity. Thus, to be good is to be godly, positive and creative; while to be bad is to be devilish, negative and destructive. Hence, what is perhaps intended by this Qur’anic axiological appeal is that the understanding gained from such a comparative study of good and evil should inspire and fascinate our human logic, reason and rationality to begin to imbibe, practice and represent goodness in all ramifications and, when encountered with evil, to repel the latter with the former.

Second Principle: Repelling Evil with that which is Best

If you’ve been searching for a viable approach to quench the fire of hostilities and establish peaceful and amiable relationship, then, you’ve, finally, arrived at your destination here.

The Qur’anic instruction: ‘repel evil with that which is best,’ proffers the most viable principle of human relationship and world order for eradicating all forms of hostilities, rivalries and conflicts and establishing in their stead peaceful and amiable relations at all inter-personal, inter-communal, inter-tribal and international levels.  Indeed, as Hadrat Mirza Bashirud-deen Mahmud Ahmad [ra] succinctly maintained, this Qur’anic moral imperative ‘points to a very noble principle inculcated by Islam for the moral progress of a Muslim and also for the establishment and preservation of peace and harmony among individuals and nations.’ [1]

More so, analyzing the various significations the expression: repel evil with that which is best, could have, he writes: 1] … repel evil with good, which means that …. do good deeds so that men may imitate their example and forsake evil…

2] The words repel evil with good also mean that men of understanding do “good” deeds with the object of removing “evil” i.e. they neither insist on retaliation regardless of the nature of the offence or the suitability of the punishment nor do they persist in unqualified forgiveness but follow the course best suited for the eradication evil. They resort to retaliation if it serves the purpose and to forgiveness if forgiveness is calculated to bring about the desired result…

3] The words repel evil with good, may also mean that they do not meet “evil” with “evil”, but always observe justice and never forsake the path of equity and justice in dealing with evil.” [2]

Furthermore, while pin-pointing the three courses of reaction to evil as prescribed by the Quran, namely, to react to evil with equivalent evil i.e. equitable retaliation, or to forgive evil and or to pay evil with kind return, he rationalizes that “He may return evil to the extent and measure of the injury he has received or he may punish the evil-doer if he is in a position to do so but the punishment should, under no circumstances, exceed legitimate bounds. Moreover, the punishment is to be resorted to only if this course is calculated to produce wholesome effect upon the aggressor party. This is the significance of the words, the recompense of evil is evil like it (Quran, 42:41). The Qur’an, however, prefers and recommends that forgiveness should be shown to the evil-doer. This is the meaning of the words, but whoever forgives and amends, his reward is with Allah (Quran, 42:41). But a Muslim who has attained to a very high moral standard is enjoined not only to forgive the person who has done him some wrong but also to do him a good turn in addition. This is the significance of the verse under comment and this is the high moral standard of conduct expected of a Muslim by Islam. Islam enjoins the repelling of evil with evil or with forgiveness or with a kind return, which of the three courses is calculated to conduce to the moral good of the wrong-doer, or the good of the injured person or to the good of human society at large.”  [3]

Converting Enemies to Warm Friends: The Prophetic Examples

At this juncture, it would be fascinating to take a flight to the wonderments of the Prophetic examples of converting foes to friends through the powerful act of repaying evil with good.

Prophet Yusuf (as) Forgives Enemies and Reaches Plateau of Self-realization

Our first depot of soul-inspiring narratives revolves around that famous Biblical and Qurnanic protagonist-prophet – Yusuf [Joseph] (as). Reading the Qur’anic narration of the Prophet Yusuf’s [as] deeply soul-inspiring life account, one is always fascinated by the climatic episode in which, in spite of the iniquities perpetrated against him by his step brothers, Prophet Yusuf [as] repelled their evil with good, with the most surprising act of forgiveness through his declaration: No blame on you today, may Allah forgive you, He is the Most Merciful of the merciful. [Quran, 12: 93]  It was by this very noble gesture that he eventually converted his childhood hostile forces to his friends once and for all, as they became deeply remorseful and repentant, falling down before him. It was at that point that his childhood dream found cosmic fulfillment, as they practically prostrated before him and he became the ruler of their minds. It was this climatic event which further defined the noble characters that characterized Yusuf’s [saw] prophetic personality, revealed to humanity his moral and spiritual essence and station and conferred everlasting blessings upon his dynamic life and destiny. Prophet Yusuf’s act of paying evil with good became the catalyst that skyrocketed him to the plateau of self-realization and accomplishment.

Muhammadan Examples

Similarly, the blessed life of the Holy Prophet Muhammad [saw] also proffers us with extremely interesting examples of the act of repelling evil with good to turn enemies to friends and negative to positive.

How Prophet Muhammad (saw) Converts a Criminal-Enemy to an Ardent Admirer

Among such a number of  delicious examples, we find it quite irresistible to begin with the following soul-inspiring narrative. It’s about the thrilling story of the effect of the kind treatment meted out by the Holy Prophet to Thumamah bin Uthal, a  high profile criminal and an avowed enemy of Muhammad and Islam. He had killed a number of Muslims and perpetrated many evils. The following is the interesting encounter between him and the Holy Prophet [saw] when he was eventually captured, brought and fastened to one of the pillars of the Prophet’s mosque at Medina.

“What have you got, O Thumamah?” said the Holy Prophet (saw) to him.

“I have got a good thought, O Muhammad,” he replied. Speaking further, he submitted, “If you should kill me, you would kill a person who has already killed somebody; and if you should set me free, you would do a favour to one who is grateful, and if you want property, then ask me whatever wealth you want.”

He was left till the next day when the Prophet [saw] said to him, “what have you got, O Thumamah?” He said, “what I told you, i.e. if you set me free, you would do a favour to one who is grateful.” The Prophet [saw] left him till the day after, when he [saw] said, “What have you got, O Thumamah? He said, “I have got what I told you.” On that the Prophet [saw] said, “Release Thumamah.” So he [i.e. Thumamah] went to a garden of date-palm trees near to the mosque, took a bath and then entered the mosque and said, “I testify that none has the right to be worship except Allah and also testify that Muhammad is His Messenger! By Allah, O Muhammad! There was no face on the surface of the earth most disliked by me than yours, but now your face has become the most beloved face to me. By Allah, there was no religion most disliked by me than yours, but now it is the most beloved religion to me. By Allah there was no town most disliked by me than your town, but now it is the most beloved town to me. Your calvary arrested me [at the time] I was intending to perform the Umra. And now what do you think? Allah’s Messenger [saw] gave him good tidings [congratulated him] and ordered him to perform the Umra. So when he came to Makka someone said to him, “you have become a Sabi? [Have you changed your religion?] Thumamah replied, “No, by Allah! I have embraced Islam with Muhammad, the Messenger of Allah. No, by Allah! Not a single grain of wheat will come to you from Yamamah unless the Prophet [saw] gives his permission.” [4]

Thousands of Persecuting Infidels Convert to Faithful Followers

More so, another good and historic example can be seen in the event of the conquest of Mecca. This is how Hadhrat Mirza Bashirudīn Mahmūd Ahmad (ra) summarized the story in his Life of Muhammad (saw):

“The Prophet (sa) addressed the Meccans and said: “You have seen how true the promises of God have proved. Now tell me what punishment you should have for the cruelties and enormities you committed against those whose only fault was that they invited you to the worship of the One and Only God.”

To this the Meccans replied, “We expect you to treat us as Joseph (as) treated his erring brothers.”

By significant coincidence, the Meccans used in their plea for forgiveness the very words which God had used in the Surah Yusuf, revealed ten years before the conquest of Mecca. In this the Prophet (sa) was told that he would treat his Meccan persecutors as Joseph (as) had treated his brothers. By asking for the treatment which Joseph (as) had meted out to his brothers, the Meccans admitted that the Prophet (sa) of Islam was the like of Joseph (as) and as Joseph (as) was granted victory over his brothers the Prophet (sa) had been granted victory over the Meccans. Hearing the Meccans’ plea, the Prophet (sa) declared at once: “By God, you will have no punishment today and no reproof.” (5)

Notably, though the Holy Prophet [saw] had marched against the disbelievers of Mecca with ten thousand companions, the Muslims’ apparent overpowering of the military strength of the Meccan disbelievers was not what merely gave the narrative of the conquest its remarkable history, but the noblest act of goodness through the declaration of general amnesty and promise of forgiveness which the Holy Prophet extended to his erstwhile Meccan persecutors. It was this that brought about the subsequent total conversion of the converts who were hitherto avowed disbelievers. The Prophet (saw) announced to them: ‘today is not a day of slaughter. Today is a day of forgiveness. No blame on you today. Go, you are free’. As history relates, hearing such a declaration of amnesty, erstwhile enemies and persecutors who had hitherto decided on self-exile, were encouraged to return to Muhammad (saw), crawling before him with remorse and declaring faith in the religion of Islam. By repelling their evil with good, Muhammad (saw) forever converted hundreds of foes to friends and of disbelievers to believers in a twinkling of an eye!

The Thrilling Story of ’Ikrima’s Conversion

Furthermore, one thrilling example is worth mentioning here. Of those who had been excepted from the general amnesty, some were forgiven on the recommendation of the Companions. Among those who were thus forgiven was ‘Ikrima (ra), a son of Abu Jahl. ‘Ikrima’s (ra) wife was a Muslim at heart. She requested the Prophet (saw) to forgive him. The Prophet (sa) forgave. At the time ‘Ikrima (ra) was trying to escape to Abyssinia. His wife pursued him and found that he was about to embark. She reproved him.

“Are you running away from a man as gentle and soft as the Prophet (saw)?” she said.

‘Ikrima (ra) was astonished and asked whether she really thought the Prophet (sa) would forgive him. ‘Ikrima’s (ra) wife assured him that even he would be forgiven by the Prophet (sa). In fact she had had word from him already. ‘Ikrima (ra) gave up his plan of escaping to Abyssinia and returned to see the Prophet (sa).

“I understand from my wife that you have forgiven even one like me,” he said.

“Your wife is right. I have really forgiven you,” said the Prophet (saw).

‘Ikrima (ra) decided that a person capable of forgiving his deadliest enemies could not be false. He, therefore, declared his faith in Islam. “I bear witness that God is One and has no equal and I bear witness that you are His Servant and His Messenger (sa).” So saying, ‘Ikrima (ra) bent his head in shame. The Prophet (sa) consoled him.

“‘Ikrima (ra),” said he, “I have not only forgiven you, but as proof of my regard for you, I have decided to invite you to ask me for anything I can give.”

‘Ikrima (ra) replied, “There is nothing more or better I can ask you for than that you should pray for me to God and ask for His forgiveness and whatever excesses and enormities I have committed against you.”

Hearing this entreaty, the Prophet (sa) prayed to God at once and said: “My God, forgive the enmity which ‘Ikrima (ra) has born against me. Forgive him the abuse which has issued from his lips.”

The Prophet (saw) then stood up and put his mantle over ‘Ikrima (ra) and said, “Whoever comes to me, believing in God, is one with me. My house is as much his as mine.”

The conversion of ‘Ikrima (ra) fulfilled a prophecy which the Holy Prophet (sa) had made many years before. The Prophet (sa), addressing his Companions, once had said: “I have had a vision in which I saw that I was in Paradise. I saw there a bunch of grapes. When I asked for whom the bunch was meant, someone replied saying, ‘For AbuJahl’.” Referring to this vision on this occasion of the conversion of ‘Ikrima (ra), the Prophet (sa) said he did not understand the vision at first. How could Abu Jahl, an enemy of believers, enter Paradise and how could he have a bunch of grapes provided for him. “But now,” said the Prophet (sa), “I understand my vision; the bunch of grapes was meant for ‘Ikrima (ra). Only, instead of the son I was shown the father, a substitution common in visions and dreams” (6)

Mandela Converts Foes to Friends

Although not of prophetic examples, yet, the following case offers quite relevant evidence of the efficacy of the principle of repelling evil with good to convert enemies to friends even at the political and diplomatic levels.

Interestingly, our modern history presents for us another impressive example demonstrated by Nelson Mandela, an anti-apartheid revolutionary, politician and former President of South Africa from 1994 to 1999. At the heel of his victory in the long-year fight for freedom from the yoke of the Whites’ most inhuman imperialist policy of apartheid imposed on his African countrymen that culminated in his long years of incarceration, he repelled their uncivil and heinous policy with that which is best: forgiveness and reconciliation. The subsequent international popularity which he won, and the exponential national development and progress that have come to the lot of his country are facts which most of us are witnessing, hearing and reading about. Mandela was given over 250 awards, accolades, prizes, honorary degrees and citizenship among which were the Nobel Peace Prize, the US Presidential Medal of Freedom, the Soviet Union’s Lenin Peace Prize, and in November 2009, the United Nations General Assembly proclaimed Mandela’s birthday, 18 July, as “Mandela Day”, marking his contribution to the anti-apartheid struggle. [7]

From the foregoing various examples, a fact that becomes obvious is that, in every case where the principle of repelling evil with good has been applied to every feudal or hostile relation (be it interpersonal friendship or religious or political or diplomatic relations between groups, states and nations), it has always effected the same positive result of converting enemies to friends and negative to positive.

Invariably, therefore, the principle of repelling evil with good represents a powerful approach to successful conversion of any and every negative force to positive, foe to friend and disbeliever to believer. It entails a viable world order and principle of human relations by which every opposition of an opponent or rivalry of a rival and enmity of an enemy can be irresistibly subverted and amicably converted to a warm friendship and peaceful relation. Similarly, “As the preaching of truth inevitably brings in its wake hardships for the preacher,” notes Hadhrat Mirza Bashirudīn Mahmūd Ahmad (ra), the verse of Quran 41:35 “enjoins upon him to bear them patiently and with fortitude, and even to return good for the evil he receives at the hands of his persecutors.” (8)

Patience and Greater Virtues: The Ultimate Principle

Today, to experience a seamless conversion of a foe to a friend, make an attempt to repel evil with good. Become a subject of positivity and goodness, a champion of friendly relations and a creator of a peaceful atmosphere in a social space bedeviled by characteristic mutual animosity and hostilities.

Importantly, however, as you determine to put the foregoing principles and values into practice, do remember the concluding principle enunciated by the Holy Verse: “None is given (this virtue) except those who are patient, and none is given it except a possessor of great virtues.” (Quran, 41:36)

If, from Prophet Yusuf (as), to Prophet Muhammad (saw) and Mandela etc., all had showed incredible examples of long years of patience and higher virtues in their ultimate historic odysseys, then you must be prepared to offer not less to get the desired result. The point to hold dearly is that our foes are only converted to friends by our determined practical engagement with them with greater, higher and superior virtues.

References

  1. The Holy Quran with English Translation and Commentary, 2002, Nazarat Nashro Ishaat Sadr Anjuman Ahmadiyya, Qadian, India, vol. 3, p. 1208
  2. Ibid, vol. 3, p.1208
  3. Ibid, vol. 4, p1824
  4. Zubaidi, Z.A.A., Summarised Sahih al-Bukhari, Arabic-English, 1994, Dar-us-Salam Publications, Saudi Arabia p.802-803
  5. Ahmad, Mirza Bashirudīn Mahmud, (2013), Life of Muhammad, Islam International Publications Ltd, UK, p. 165
  6. Ibid, pp. 167-168
  7. https;//en.wikipedia.org/wiki/nelson_mandela Date accessed: 15/7/2017
  8. The Holy Qur’an with English Translation and Commentary, 2002, Nazarat Nashro Ishaat Sadr Anjuman Ahmadiyya, Qadian, India, vol. 4

2020 EIDUL FITR MESSAGE FROM THE OFFICE OF THE AMIR, AMJN ALHAJ ALATOYE FOLORUNSO AZEEZ

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I bear witness that there is none worthy of worship except Allah. He is one, without any partner.

I also affirm that Muhammad Mustapha (May the peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) is the Messenger of Allah and His servant. We invoke Allah’s blessings on Muhammad and his household and on his true followers until the Day of Judgment.

I wish to congratulate the entire Muslim Ummah, especially my brothers and sisters in Nigeria, for the successful completion of this year’s Ramadan fast. The holy month of Ramadan was observed in an unusual way this year, occasioned by the outbreak of the novel Coronavirus also known as Covid-19. Our condolences go to all those who lost their loved ones due to the pandemic. We pray for the quick recovery of those afflicted and for Allah’s protection on all of us. We urge all Nigerians to faithfully follow the guidelines issued by the government and health authorities. We should seek forgiveness for our sins and beseech the Almighty Allah for His mercy.

We urge all Muslims to imbibe the lessons taught by the Ramadan and to live our lives in practical demonstration of such lessons in order to improve our relationships with our creator.

This is the only way we can claim to be fulfilling the purpose of our creation. The intensity of our prayers during the Ramadan should continue. We should constantly pray for our country, leaders at all levels and all citizens. To create the right environment for the acceptance of our prayers, we should live pure lives, devoid of sinful acts, hatred, disobedience, nepotism, corruption and other vices – most of which were avoided during the Ramadan. Going back to these acts is a vitiation of our sacrifices during the Holy month of Ramadan. We should see our disposition to unrighteousness during the last one month as a template to go through the next eleven months before the next Ramadan.

As Muslims, we are expected to be our brothers’ keeper. We should rededicate our lives to the service of Allah and of humanity. It is against the noble teachings of the Holy Prophet Muhammad (peace be on him) for Muslims to be engaged in rebellion, religious intolerance, corruption in all of its ramifications and arrogant behaviour. Remembering the Day of Judgment and the consequences of our actions here on earth should be enough to keep us off of these vices but unfortunately, we behave as if there is no life after death.

We call on our political leaders and all those who are in position of authority to adhere strictly to the rule of law and to maintain justice. There can be no peace in the absence of justice. Our public office holders should harness our God-given resources to develop the country, rather than concentrating on selfish interests. As citizens, we also owe it a duty to support the government by being lawful citizens and doing all those things that are required of us to develop the country, as the government alone cannot achieve this goal.

We pray for Allah’s guidance on our leaders, His mercy on all of us and the acceptance of our prayers.

Eid Mubarak! Eid Mubarak!! Eid Mubarak!!!

Signed
Alatoye Folorunso Azeez
Amir (National Head)

RAMADAN: ITS IMPORTANCE AND UNIQUE BLESSINGS

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Ramadan is a holy month out of the 12 months in the Islamic calendar. It is the month of fasting (saum) which is one of the five pillars of Islam. Looking down into the history of Islam, Ramadan has been the practice of Muslims worldwide since time immemorial and so Muslims hold this month in very high esteem and deem it fit to always adhere to all practices that are spiritually favorable in this blessed month.

Adherents of other faiths may wonder why Muslims hold this month in high esteem because it is glaring that in this special month the remembrance of God Almighty is more intense. Hence, Muslims seek the favors, mercy, and forgiveness of God Almighty in all sincerity.

God Almighty has said in the Glorious Quran that “O ye who believe! Fasting is prescribed for you, as it was prescribed for those before you, so that you may become righteous” This verse of the Holy Quran gives an insight into why Muslims give full attention to this blessed month.

Ramadan is not just an ordinary month but a month that every Muslim brethren always longs for, a month that comes with a special notice. The remembrance of Allah the Almighty is intense, nights become sleepless and are spent at the threshold of The Almighty

In this month, the heart subdues itself to religious doctrines, the doors of unnecessary social gatherings are closed and the heart of man becomes cold from the worldly pursuits. Muslims’ hearts are filled with the love of God.

How then would a man want to miss from the great bounties of such a spectacular month, the doors of heaven are opened and that of hell is closed- a month everyone is mindful of his thoughts, actions, and selfish desires.

Ramadan is a month of spiritual reflection and self-improvement in which the rich remember the poor. No Muslim wishes to miss out of the great blessings embedded in this holy month. Shaitan is chained for he himself fears this glorious month. God Almighty brings Himself closer to mankind and hears the supplications of the supplicants. On one occasion, the Holy Prophet(sa) said, “If you knew the excellences of Ramadan and what Ramadan entails one would always wish that Ramadan should continue till the end of the year”.

Fasting does not mean just refraining from food or drink but also moving far from activities that void one’s fasting. To solely remain hungry from morning until evening is not considered fast. The Promised Messiah(as) has stated, “Through the practice of fasting, God Almighty desires for a person to decrease one form of nourishment and increase in another form of sustenance. A person observing the fast should always be mindful of the fact that observing the fast does not simply mean that one should remain hungry. Rather, one should remain occupied in the remembrance of God Almighty in order to develop a state of inclination towards God and detachment from the world.”

The Promised Messiah (as) states, “Therefore, a fast means that a person should refrain from the physical food that nourishes the body and acquire another form of food that is the means of comforting and nourishing the soul. Those individuals who observe the fast purely for the sake of God and do not do so as a mere tradition, they should remain engaged in praising God Almighty and also seeking His protection.” (Malfuzat, Vol. 9, p. 123)

The Holy Prophet (sa) has also stated that God Almighty does not require for you to simply remain hungry (Sahih Bukhari, Kitab al-Saum, Bab Man Lam Yada’ Qaul al-Zur wa al-amal bihi fi al-saum, Hadith 1903).

Moreover, God Almighty has also stated in the very first verse pertaining to the injunction that fasting has been prescribed so that one may become righteous. However, what is righteousness? It is to abstain from spiritual and moral weaknesses. As I have just mentioned, the Holy Prophet(sa)  has stated that God Almighty does not require for one to simply remain hungry. The observing of the fast should develop a standard of righteousness within a person, through the means of which one is then able to protect themselves from all forms of spiritual and moral weaknesses, otherwise it is meaningless to fast.

Furthermore, the Promised Messiah(as) has elaborated on righteousness on one occasion in the following manner:

“To become truly righteous it is necessary that after having abstained from the more manifest form of sins, such as adultery, theft, usurping the rights of others, pretentiousness, arrogance, scorn of fellow beings, miserliness, one should eschew all low morals and should make progress in high moral values.”

In other words, one should make a concerted effort to abandon these ills. By abandoning these lowly vices, one should then adopt excellent morals.

The Promised Messiah (as) further states,

“One should behave towards his fellow beings with politeness, courtesy and sympathy and should cultivate true fidelity and sincerity towards God Almighty. (This is vital for righteousness and spirituality. One ought to have a true and loyal relationship with God.)

“One should constantly seek occasions of beneficent service.” This encapsulates both the rights owed to God Almighty and fulfilling His injunctions, and also fulfilling the rights owed to mankind. In other words, one should serve in such a selfless manner whereby it would be obvious that indeed, such a person is serving only for the sake of God without any vested interests.

Ramadan is a revered month that comes with enormous blessings. Unfolding the meanings of the last phrase of verse 184 of Surah Baqarah “La’allakum tattakuun”, it is stated that “the real object of fasting is, first, to be saved from harm and suffering, and secondly, to be saved from sin and evil”.(Five- Volume Commentary, vol. 1 p. 237) Fasting also protects one from spiritual and physical harms. And health wise it is beneficial for the body.

The Night of Majesty (Lailatul Qadr) is a rare blessing that comes during the period of one of the odd nights in the last ten days of Ramadan. The Holy Prophet (saw) described it to be better than a thousand months. A night that angels and the Holy Spirit descend, and it is all peace till the rising of the dawn.

Ramadan is a month all Muslims curiously await and the hearts of the believers burn in love for their Creator as they supplicate day and night throughout the noble month. He who fasts really evinces his readiness, if need be, to sacrifice his all for the sake of his Lord and Creator. Fasting indeed affords a wonderful moral and spiritual training ground for humanity.

 

COVID 19: AHMADIYYA MUSLIM COMMUNITY DISTRIBUTES FOOD ITEMS TO THE POOR

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As the world continue to battle with the economic hardship created by the ravaging and deadly Coronavirus Disease, otherwise known as COVID- 19, the Ahmadiyya Muslim Jama’at Nigeria have distributed food items worth millions of naira to the poor and vulnerable within Ojokoro Area, Ijaiye in Lagos State.

The food items were distributed to over 500 families by the Humanity First International Nigeria Branch; a non-governmental organization founded by Ahmadiyya Community saddled with the responsibility of providing humanitarian services to the people affected by natural disasters.

Other activities of Humanity First International include women empowerment, knowledge for life, gift of sight, water for all, medical services, disaster service, food for life, orphan care, among others. The organization has been firmly established in 52 countries.

The Amir (National Head) of Ahmadiyya Muslim Jama’at Nigeria Alh.(Barr.) Alatoye Folorunso Azeez, represented by the Naib Amir (Deputy National Head) Finance and Administration Alh.(Engr.) Mufadhil Bankole at the handing over of the food items to Humanity First, enjoined Nigerians to be law-abiding, obey the stay at home directives and implement all other precautionary measures outlined by the government and health authorities to halt the spread of the pandemic.

He said the continuous provision of palliatives to the poor should be the social responsibility of government at all levels as well as well-meaning Nigerians, groups, and organizations in order to cushion the effects of the outbreak of COVID-19 pandemic which has now affected over 180 countries in the world with more than two million people infected.

The Muslim organisation also donated food items and face masks to the Nigerian Union of Journalists as a mark of recognition of the tremendous works of the media in sensitising and enlightening the public on the pandemic. The items were received by the Chairman Nigerian Union of Journalists Lagos State, Dr. Qasim Akinreti, who later appreciated the kind gesture of the Muslim body.

Alh. Bankole further disclosed that the local branches of the Muslim Community across Nigeria had earlier provided food items and relief materials to the vulnerable at the grassroots.

Ahmadiyya Holds First Aminul Quran for Six Students in Ogbagede

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It was a special Saturday, 29th February 2020 as the Quranic school of Ahmadiyya Muslim Jamaat, Ogbagede graduated the first set of students who have completed the basic reading of the Quran in an historic maiden Aminul Quran event held in the Jamaat’s mosque premises at Ogbagede -Emekutu, Ankpa, Kogi State of Nigeria.

The memorable event, hosted by Missionary Abdul-Hakeem Okewale who doubles as resident Missionary of Ahmadiyya at Ogbagede and tutor of the Quranic school, was graced by many high profile Muslim and Christian leaders including the Circuit President of Ahmadiyya in Igalaland, Alhaji Musa Khalil, Dr. Khalid Bala, the Chief Imam of Emekutu, Alhaj Zakariyya, Imam of Okura, Alhaj Shuaib Musa, Imam of Ogoba, and Rev. Father Stephen Onyewuchukwu, among others.

In his welcome address, Missionary Abdul-Hakeem Okewale Sahib expressed gratitude to Allah for the historic achievements being recorded by Ahmadiyya in the service of the Glorious Quran in Ogbagede, highlighting the various aspects of Quranic knowledge that are being imparted on the students.

The guest lecturer, Hafiz Yunus Omotayo, who spoke on the miracles in the Qur’an, declared that the Holy Qur’an is the greatest and everlasting miracles given to the Holy Prophet Muhammad (saw). He specifically quoted the Holy Prophet (saw) who said, “None among the earlier Prophets who have not been given signs through which humans believed in the truthfulness of their message. But revelation (the Qur’an) is the sign which has been given to me and with that, I hope to get the largest of followers on the day of resurrection.”

Speaking further, he dissected the various aspects of miracles in the Quran which range from the beauty and inimitability of its composition, among other literary miracles, to the scientific miracles relating to biological, embryological and astronomical facts contained in the Holy Book, and so on. Making reference to Quran 17:89 which challenges mankind, both high and low, to produce the like of the Quran if they could, he noted that it is all these miracles and the inability of a man to produce the like of them that prove the uniqueness, virtues, and glory of the Quran.

A special feature of the event was the melodious recitation of the Glorious Quran by each of the graduands which were coordinated by Missionary Abdur-Raheem Bello. Other interesting highlights include educational presentations by the students which include chanting of Qaseedah [poem] and Salat practical demonstration, among others.

The Circuit Missionary for Ahmadiyya Muslim Jamaat, Igala Circuit, Missionary Abdul-Qadir Ibrahim, delivered the closing remark where he highlighted the various peaceful preaching (Tabligh), moral educational (Tarbiyya) and humanitarian activities being carried out by Ahmadiyya in Igala land, stressing that the message of peace and love being propagated by Ahmadiyya represents the reformed and enlightened teachings of Islam for the people of our time.

The six graduands are Yusuf Onu, Abdul Wahhab Bamaiyi, Fadlullah Okewale, Muhammad Akubo, Juwaeriya Adejoh, and Sharifah Akubo

Other Ahmadiyya Missionaries at the programme were Missionary Uthman Yahya, Missionary Abdul-Ghani Abdul-Hameed, Missionary Khamis, Missionary Habeeb, and Missionary Zakariya.

Saudi Arabia bans prayers at mosques over coronavirus fears

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Move will also include weekly Friday prayers in a country that has reported more than 270 coronavirus cases.

Based on reporting by Aljazeera

Saudi Arabia has suspended the holding of daily prayers and the weekly Friday prayers inside and outside the walls of the two mosques in Mecca and Medina to limit the spread of coronavirus.

Earlier, on Tuesday, Saudi Arabia had suspended congregational prayers in other mosques in the country except Masjid al-Haram and Masjid an-Nabawi, in Mecca and Medina respectively.

Authorities had placed restrictions on praying inside the mosque in Mecca. On Thursday, the government suspended prayers outside the two holy mosques.

“The Presidency and the security and health authorities decided to suspend the presence and prayers in the outer squares of the Grand Mosque [Masjid al-Haram] and the Prophet’s Mosque [Masjid al-Nabawi] starting tomorrow, Friday,” the country’s official SPA news agency quoted Hani bin Hosni Haider, a spokesman for the General Presidency of Mecca’s Grand Mosque and the Prophet’s Mosque in Medina, as saying.

Saudi Arabia recorded 36 new infections on Thursday, bringing its total to 274 with no deaths so far.

It has taken drastic measures already. In addition to closing mosques, it has halted international flights, suspended the Umrah year-round pilgrimage to Mecca, shut down schools, malls and restaurants, and asked people to stop going to work.

Meanwhile, Saudi Arabia’s King Salman said the kingdom will take measures to curb its spread and urged citizens to work together to confront the pandemic.

“We are living through a difficult period in the history of the world, but we are fully aware that it will pass despite its cruelty, bitterness and difficulty,” the 84-year-old monarch said on Thursday in a five-minute televised address.

Amid volatility in regional markets and plunging oil prices, the world’s top crude exporter has prepared a 50 billion riyal ($13bn) package to help small and medium-sized enterprises cope, and has cut its state budget by nearly five percent.

 

Latest instructions from Hazrat Khalifatul Masih regarding coronavirus

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On 20 March 2020, towards the end of his Friday Sermon, Hazrat Khalifatul Masih V, may Allah be his helper, issued instructions pertaining to the recent outbreak of coronavirus.

This morning [21 March 2020], in my mulaqat, Huzooraa gave insightful remarks regarding the current state of the world, the views of experts and the reaction of the general public.

Huzooraa said:

“Some Ahmadis have referred to this illness as plague. Some say that this is a sign, similar to that of the plague. Prior to the time when the plague broke out, Allah the Almighty informed the Promised Messiah, peace be upon him, regarding it. Thus, the plague served as a sign [from God].

“Then, prior to that very outbreak of plague, Allah the Almighty informed the Promised Messiahas that his followers would be protected. Thus, the plague became a sign in this manner also.

“Although, at that time, the Promised Messiahas said that it was possible that a few persons in Qadian could contract the illness – and some actually did contract the plague – however, God Almighty foretold to the Promised Messiahas as to the timeframe and manner of its outbreak. Thus, its spread was a sign.

“In spite of this, the Promised Messiahas continued to pray for the world generally that it be saved from this epidemic and beseeched Allah’s mercy.

“Neither was this coronavirus foretold, nor have I ever expressed that this is a sign that has appeared.”

After saying these words, Huzooraa paused. I was about say something, when Huzooraa continued:

“Look, in 1918, influenza broke out and even spread to India including Qadian. Countless people lost their lives. We find mention of precautionary measures prescribed by Hazrat Musleh-e-Maudra, for example, drinking cinnamon infused water etc. As a matter of fact, Hazrat Musleh-e-Maudra himself also contracted influenza and with great severity.”

Thereafter, Huzooraa proceeded towards his bookshelf and picked out the fourth volume of Tarikh-e-Ahmadiyyat. Immediately, Huzooraa found the passage he was searching for. Huzooraa said:

“Hazrat Musleh-e-Maudra, in fact, even wrote down his will elaborating what should be done, in case the worst was to happen to him.”

Huzooraa read out the relevant passage that spans over two to three pages. An extract from this passage is being copied below:

“An unparalleled example of The Jamaat’s service during the Influenza of 1918

After World War I, in 1918, an epidemic of influenza broke out; it was as if this outbreak caused more havoc in the world than the battlefields of the war itself. India was also greatly affected by the influenza eruption and saw deaths at an unprecedented level in a matter of days.

During the outbreak, through the guidance of Hazrat Khalifatul Masih II, may Allah be pleased with him, the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community provided great aid, service and relief for the wider public to encounter the consequences of the epidemic. Regardless of race, religion or creed, the community provided help and relief to people from every background.

Ahmadi Muslim doctors and medics not only voluntarily helped the populace in Qadian, India but from town to town and village to village they ensured medical help reached even the most isolated and deprived. Other members of the Ahmadiyya Community stepped forward and served as nurses etc.

The poor were assisted by the community through financial means and provision of supplies and food were distributed. In the days of the influenza outbreak, Ahmadi Muslim volunteers (which included Hazrat Sahibzada Mirza Bashir Ahmad) painstakingly toiled night and day, despite great difficulties, and served those in need. In some instances, when volunteers were scarce, Ahmadi volunteers who had fell ill themselves, continued to grit through and serve the ill. They would endure the pain themselves and continue treating others until their illness would cause them to drop; they had sacrificed their own rest and treatment for others.

This service was such that both friend and foe commended the sacrifice and efforts of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community. Through articles and speeches, everyone applauded and recognised the great example the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community set through their constant hard work, sacrifice and efforts in aiding those in need during the influenza outbreak of 1918.”

(Tarikh-e-Ahmadiyyat, Vol. IV, p. 208-209)

Huzooraa continued:

“These epidemics will keep happening. It is absolutely wrong to declare every such outbreak to be a divine sign. It is also wrong to say, as some do, that Ahmadis will never contract these illnesses or, for that matter, to say that ‘sincere’ Ahmadis will not catch it.

“These epidemics cannot always be made a yardstick for one’s level of faith. The will that Hazrat Musleh Maudra wrote during the Influenza outbreak started with the words: ‘I, Mirza Bashiruddin Mahmud Ahmad, son of Hazrat Masih-e-Maud…’

“So it is Hazrat Musleh Maudra writing the will and mentioning that he is the son of the Promised Messiahaa. He contracted the illness and that too very severely. This clearly shows that contracting a certain illness is no criterion for one’s faith.”

After this, Huzooraa paused again. However, I felt as though Huzooraa would continue this subject further, and so, after a second’s pause, Huzooraa said:

“Find this reference and publish it in Al Hakam so that everyone may read it and all misconceptions may be removed. If this [coronavirus] was a sign, then first and foremost, I would have announced it that it is a sign.

“For a long time now, I have been issuing instructions to take precautionary measures and medications; even when the virus had not spread outside China. If I had deemed it to be a sign, then I would have stopped everyone from taking precautionary measures.

“I have said it before and continue to say that people should follow the precautionary measures being prescribed to them by experts through authorities in respective countries.

“I have told Amir Sahib [UK], Sadr Khuddam-ul-Ahmadiyya [UK] and Humanity First that during these days, whatever is possible for the welfare and help of people should be done.

“Once you publish this extract from Tarikh-e-Ahmadiyyat, the other countries around the world will also come to know this and the amirs and sadrs of those areas can plan schemes according to this.”

This discussion came to a close with the following words:

“Instead of trying to prove it a sign at this time, Ahmadis should follow the precautionary measures advised to them for themselves, their families and mosques.

“Observing precautionary measures, they should help whoever they can. To please Allah, it is essential that one takes care of His creation and most importantly, beseech Allah the Almighty’s mercy for their own sake and for the sake of mankind.”

‘OUR SPIRIT OF SACRIFICES NEEDS TO IMPROVE’ – AMIR, AMJN

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The Amir (National Head) of Ahmadiyya Muslim Jama’at Nigeria, Alhaji (Barr.) Alatoye Folorunso Azeez has called on Muslims globally to enhance their level of spiritual, physical and financial sacrifices in the way of Almighty God, thereby displaying the good qualities of the early companions of Prophet Muhammad (May the Peace and Blessings of Allah be on him).

Delivering his Friday sermon at Tahir Mosque, Ojokoro Lagos, the Muslim leader emphasized that Muslims had been ordained in the Holy Qur’an to spend their time, wealth and honour as sacrifices for the progress of Islamic religion and for the betterment of humanity.

Barrister Alatoye enjoined the Muslim faithful to learn from the qualities and characters of the companions of the Holy Prophet(saw) – an on-going Friday sermon titled “Men of Excellence” by the Supreme Head of Ahmadiyya Muslim Community, Hazrat Mirza Masroor Ahmad(May Allah be his Helper).  He requested all Muslims to emulate the spirit of sacrifice displayed by the companions.

He said: “There are avalanches of lessons to learn from the early companions of the Holy Prophet(saw).  These include, among others, the spirit of sacrifice, unbridled love for the Holy Quran and the Holy Prophet(saw) and love for mankind.  Today, the mind-set of Muslims on sacrifice have changed.  The spirit of sacrifice is decreasing on a daily basis.  People no longer donate like before.”

“As instructed by Almighty God in the Holy Quran, we must change our views on sacrifice, going forward.  We must sacrifice our life, time and wealth in the way of Allah.  We should stop hiding our wealth and property. Rather than creating an atmosphere of hatred, fighting, misunderstandings and chaos after our demise, why not sacrifice our wealth in the way of Allah?  Let us exercise our faith in terms of financial, spiritual and moral sacrifices.”

Tabligh Expeditions not only for Missionaries

Alhaji Alatoye equally called on all members of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community to improve on Tabligh expeditions (Preaching activities) of the Muslim organization.

He said it was incumbent on all members of the Community to preach to people in a polite, amiable and excellent way, thereby winning more converts.  He reiterated that Tabligh activity is for all members and not just for Missionaries.

“All companions of the Holy Prophet(saw) took preaching as a matter of priority.  We have no excuse not to preach.  This should be our primary assignment.  All members must be involved in preaching and not just the missionaries.  The reason why we cannot preach is that we refuse to learn.  We should devote time for the learning of the Holy Quran and the sunnah of the Holy Prophet(saw).”

“Our preaching methodology must be redefined.  Let us engage ourselves in the excellent recitation of the Holy Quran and talk to people in the most excellent and polite way.  The Holy Prophet(saw) invites people to Islam with good characters and behaviours.  He also showed love and affection to the entire humanity and observed Salat regularly.  These are the good qualities of the companions which must also be displayed by us all.”

“Above all, we should demonstrate unflinching support and love for the Holy Prophet(saw) and for the Khalifah.  Some of us love our family members and wealth more than the Holy Prophet(saw) and the Khalifah.  We should remember we will leave everything behind in this world.  Let us all prepare for the hereafter.  Let us love the Holy Prophet(saw) over everything and emulate his good deeds.  May Allah make it easy for us.”

CORONAVIRUS : Ahmadiyya Head Advises on Precautionary Measures

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Following the outbreak of the Coronavirus, the World Head of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community, the Fifth Khalifa (Caliph), His Holiness, Hazrat Mirza Masroor Ahmad has instructed Ahmadi Muslims to adopt all measures recommended by health authorities to help curb the spread of the virus.

Speaking at the Baitul Futuh Mosque in London, during his Friday Sermon delivered on 6 March 2020, His Holiness said that it was appropriate to avoid large gatherings during the current outbreak and instructed Ahmadi Muslims to refrain from attending their Mosques if they developed any symptoms associated with the coronavirus.

Hazrat Mirza Masroor Ahmad said:

“It is very important to act upon the precautionary measures that are being announced [by the health authorities]. Large gatherings should be avoided and those coming to the Mosque should also take special care. If anyone shows any signs of a slight fever, flu or body-ache, sneezing or other symptoms then they should not come to the Mosque. Mosques have rights upon the people that visit them. It is the right of the Mosque that no one should attend who can affect other attendees of the Mosque with a contagious illness. Those with contagious diseases should especially take care to avoid Mosques.”

His Holiness also advised that people should be extremely conscious of hygiene at all times. He said that hands should be regularly washed and said that Islamic teachings if followed properly, established a very high standard of cleanliness.

Hazrat Mirza Masroor Ahmad said:

“Doctors are advising that hands should be washed regularly and hand sanitizers should be used. If one’s hands are dirty, they should avoid contact with the face until clean. This should be followed but, regardless, for us as Muslims, if someone prays five times a day, they will wash themselves properly five times a day through ablution and amongst other things, will be running clean water through their hands and nose, which ensures personal hygiene is maintained at all times and will reduce the need for hand sanitizers that are already reported to be in short supply.”

His Holiness said that Islam emphasizes that within a Mosque, one should avoid all things that negatively affect others and uphold its rightful etiquette. In fact, His Holiness said that the Holy Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessing be upon him) said that anything that smells bad should not be brought into the Mosque.
His Holiness also said that some governments and organizations have now advised members of the public to avoid shaking hands with others. In light of this, His Holiness said that whilst shaking hands increases a bond of brotherhood between people, it is better to avoid it under the current circumstances.

His Holiness also noted that whilst Muslims have often been criticized for avoiding shaking hands with the opposite gender, many people, in general, are now preferring to not shake hands with other people and are questioning the Western conventions of greeting through physical contact. He said when Muslims avoid handshakes they do so politely so that the feelings of the other person are not hurt but now in the wider public people are abruptly rejecting the extended hands of other people.

His Holiness also urged Ahmadi Muslims to pray for the world and said that the world should realise that it must turn towards its Creator.

Hazrat Mirza Masroor Ahmad said:

“Allah the Almighty knows best how widespread this virus will become. It has been seen that in this era since the advent of the Promised Messiah (peace be upon him) there has been an exponential increase in pandemics, earthquakes, storms, and natural disasters. If this virus is a sign of the displeasure of God, then there is a great need to turn towards God in order to safeguard oneself from the effects of the virus.”

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