Islam and Women’s Rights
The following is an address given by Hazrat Mirza Masroor Ahmad, to the female members (Lajna) of the worldwide Ahmadiyya Muslim Community on the occasion of the UK Annual Convention held on 26th July 2008.
In earlier times, women were deprived of their rightful status. Even amongst Muslims, who have clear guidelines about the rights of women prescribed in the Holy Qur’an, a wife’s status was, as described by the Promised Messiah(as), like that of a worthless object. Even today in some of the poorer countries of the Third World, be they Christian or Muslim, regard for the status of women is deplorable.
In some cultures and families, women are considered of lowly stature. Even in the West, which claims to be the standard-bearer of women’s right, only until a few decades ago women had no status. Despite raising slogans of liberation for women, even today, the well-educated people of the West oppose women attaining key positions. For example, in the recent American presidential elections, excuses were presented against a potential woman candidate, declaring: how could a woman be the President of USA? They later did their best to cover up this impression but a large part of the American population is not ready for a woman president. Apparently, America is a developed country and is said to be broadminded about freedom and civil rights, but even they could not stand the idea that a woman should be their president and leader of the country.
Islamic teachings are unambiguous. If women are precluded from doing certain jobs, this is not because they are deemed incapable or because their rights are being compromised, but because God has divided the duties between men and women. Some roles are better suited to men and others to women; nevertheless as far as the rights are concerned they are equal. The history of pre-Islamic Arabia shows that women were treated in an appalling manner. Similar attitudes were prevalent in the Western civilisation and to some extent even now: if men can get away with it, they treat women badly. That is why domestic unhappiness and divorce rates are high. In Arabia, women had no rights as wives or as daughters and were treated atrociously.
These accounts of history are frightening. The Holy Prophet(saw) championed the rights of women. He established their rights of inheritance, gave them equal rights. Today the new generation and many newcomers may not even comprehend how it is possible to be deprived of such basic rights.
Therefore, I will briefly explain the customs and traditions of the Arab culture at the time of the Holy Prophet(saw).
In some tribes, the tradition was that close family inherited widows, just like property. Even a stepson could inherit his stepmother. Then it was up to the stepson whether he married the widow or just used her. The stepson had the right to compel this widow to marry whomever he wished. The widow had no say in the matter. God strictly forbade this practice explaining that stepmothers are your father’s wives; hence, they are your mothers and are unlawful for you. This was certainly a filthy and infuriating practice and a ghastly custom. God says in the Holy Qur’an:
And those of you who die and leave wives behind, these (wives) shall wait concerning themselves four months and ten days. And when they have reached the end of their period, no sin shall lie on you in anything that they do with regard to themselves according to what is fair. And Allah is aware of what you do. (Ch.2:Vs.235)
Hence, in this verse women are given freedom to marry after the death of their husbands and on completion of ‘Iddat (the fixed period) and the friends and relatives are also instructed that they should not hinder this marriage. Instead, according to the hadith a widow can choose her own Wali (guardian). Therefore, this is the freedom that was given to women against the customs of that time.
Thus Islam is the first religion to give women rights of inheritance. In the Holy Qur’an daughters are given rights of inheritance from their parents, wives have a right on husbands’ inheritance; mothers have rights on their children’s inheritance, if they happen to die before her. Similarly in some situations daughters and sisters are heirs of their brothers. No other religion established women’s rights like this before Islam.
Husbands have no rights on their wives’ money, or her earnings; this is strictly forbidden.
Men are guardians over women because Allah has made some of them excel others, and because they (men) spend of their wealth… (Ch.4:Vs.35)
Men have been given the distinction because they are made guardians of the household and secondly the household expenses are to be borne by them. If a man does not fulfil his responsibilities then he loses his position of authority. If men do not take part in their children’s training and upbringing, they are committing a sin. The Promised Messiah(as) said that because man sub-stantiates the term ‘guardians over women’ therefore if he is cursed for not fulfilling his obligation he also gives this curse to his family.
Thus, if the guardian does not fulfil his responsibilities and the next generation is at risk of going astray and to ruin, then the wisdom of a woman demands that she should get in touch with the community to protect herself and her children from the curse. However, no lame excuses should be used. Taqwa is the prime condition here as well. A woman should consider this when seeking her rights.
To provide for the household is also a man’s responsibility regardless of the fact that the woman is earning or has property. It is wrong to demand that the earning woman or a woman with property should help to provide household expenses. Allah the Exalted has said that men have been given a distinction. Therefore, now that you have been given the right of a ‘Qawwaam’ (guardian/leader) you should fulfil your responsibilities to your wife and children; it is your obligation. This is why Allah the Exalted states:
…Men shall have a share of that which they have earned, and women a share of that which they have earned… (Ch.4:Vs.33)
This verse makes it clear to men that that they should discharge their God-given responsibility. Now appreciate this, that women used to be treated as an inheritance and had no rights to make their own decisions. However, Islam totally safe-guarded their rights and men were commanded not to look covetously at a woman’s wealth.
In pre-Islamic days slavery was a common practice. Islam ordered men that if they wished to marry a female-slave, they must pay her Haq Mehr (dowry) similar to a free woman. Thus, Islam did not only establish the rights of free women but also of female-slaves in order to develop a pious and progressive society. Such were the rights of women established by Islam. This degree of freedom for women was beyond the comprehension of the Arabs. As I mentioned, women were treated as chattel created solely for men’s pleasure and were inherited and mutually shared. This complete and perfect Shariah (religious law) took women out of the depths of darkness and established their rights, so much so that one who was previously treated as inheritance, was given rights to inheritance.
Allah the Exalted revealed this commandment:
For men is a share of that which parents and near relations leave; and for women is a share of that which parents and near relations leave, whether it be little or much – a determined share. (Ch.4:V.8)
This is the state of equality of men and women in society. As I mentioned, in the West, until quite recently women did not have these rights. In fact, by making a will, according to the law here, a person can deny his/her rightful heirs their inheritance. In Islam, the maximum bequeathal to an heir is one third, and in this way, the rights of others are not denied.
In order to establish all aspects of freedom of women Islam gives women a right which is an amalgamation of many rights. Allah the Exalted states:
O ye who believe! it is not lawful for you to inherit women against their will; nor should you detain them wrongfully that you may take away part of that which you have given them, except that they be guilty of a flagrant evil; and consort with them in kindness; and if you dislike them, it may be that you dislike a thing wherein Allah has placed much good. (Ch.4:V.20)
This is a right given to a woman in instances where, for example, a husband does not treat his wife well, dislikes her, does not fulfil his responsibilities to her, but does not divorce her either because he wishes to benefit from her wealth or pushes the poor woman to a state that she is on her deathbed whilst he schemes to benefit from her wealth after her death.
There is another situation. In Islam, women are allowed to apply for Khula‘ (divorce initiated by the wife) if the husband shows unreasonable behaviour. Men, at times, abuse this by deliberately traumatising women so much that they have no choice but to apply for Khula‘. In such circumstances men would not have to pay Haq Mehr. In such cases, the Qadha [board] takes note of the grievance and tends to issue Khula‘ in the form of divorce so that a woman is not deprived of her right of Haq Mehr. Sometimes men present false statements about women before the Qadha [board] and try to damage their reputation, hoping to avoid paying due rights. Some men even take their wives to court to seize half of their property. Allah Almighty has strictly forbidden this.
Sometimes relatives do not let a widow re-marry so that her husband’s wealth should remain at their disposal. These events happen even today and numerous such complaints are received. The Holy Qur’an warned men 1500 years ago to avoid such sins and safeguard the rights of women. Sometimes relatives force women to marry a certain person amongst their relatives, so that the wealth of her late husband stays within the family.
As I have said earlier, husbands snatch the wives’ property by unfair means. In these countries even legal measures are taken in this respect and at times if the husband dies, his relatives continue with the process.
At other times it is demanded that the gifts exchanged at the time of marriage are returned. Such demand of return of gifts is a common complaint in matrimonial grievances. The Holy Qur’an establishes women’s rights and goes on to safeguard these rights like no other religion. God Almighty says that all these situations are forbidden and are tantamount to depriving women of their rights. As I said earlier, women have the right to re-marry, of their own choice, after divorce or the death of the husband. As the marriage ceremony of Nikah cannot be officiated without a Wali (guardian) for the woman, in instances where impediments are created, a woman can request the Khalifa of the time to intervene. If the case is genuine then the Khalifa of the time can himself become the Wali (guardian), or appoint a Wali or a Wakil. So Allah the Exalted says in this verse:
… and consort with them in kindness… (Ch.4:Vs.20)
Treat them well, do not look for excuses to be malicious and unkind to them, do not desire their wealth or whatever you have given them. The Holy Prophet(saw) said: ‘The best of you is he who is the best to his wife.’ Then he said: ‘and I am the best to my wives.’ Thus, by his own excellent and blessed model, the Holy Prophet(saw) further drew men’s attention towards women’s rights.
Let it be clear that the use of the term ‘flagrant evil’ in the aforementioned verse does not give men the right to confiscate women’s property. Instead, this term is related to the subject-matter stated in the verses preceding this verse. That is, if a woman is involved in indecent acts she can be restricted to her home. It is not sufficient to just blame her for open flagrance, rather witnesses have to be produced to support the accusation and that is a lengthy procedure in itself. If the person making the accusation is the husband then he is required to take an oath in the name of Allah before he gives his evidence. He has to state that he be cursed if he is lying. Similarly, the wife has the right to refute these allegations and assert her innocence under an oath. Thus, rights of both parties are established. It needs to be understood that the use of the phrase ‘flagrant evil’ is not a licence for men to get their hands on their wife’s property. The word is used here to encourage men to live peacefully with their wives and honour their rights.
Allah Almighty says that it is entirely possible that you may dislike something [in your wives] and Allah has made it beneficial for you. You may dislike a woman but Allah can make her good for you. Therefore unless you can prove open and clear misconduct, do not make her life difficult by accusing her or attempt to deprive her of her property. Do not withhold the rights she has over you. Therefore, Allah the Exalted has admonished men who torment women or threaten them with divorce over trivial errors by upholding her rights in this regard as well.
Therefore, from whatever angle you look, women’s rights are safeguarded in Islam. So extensive is this safeguarding of rights that no Muslim women can be adequately grateful for these commandments in the Holy Qur’an. No other religious book or Shariah watches over women’s rights so well. Not only are the rights established, but men are also advised to overlook women’s mistakes and weaknesses. Men are, moreover, encouraged to treat them gently and with kindness. This kindness should not be limited as a reward for something that pleases them; rather, they have to be kind even if they do not like them. This is how Islam has set the standard of women’s rights at the highest level.
I briefly explained the state of affairs during the pre-Islamic era; to draw men’s attention to this matter under those circumstances, not to mention establishing women’s rights, was the greatest act of kindness of God Almighty and by the Holy Prophet(saw) for a Muslim woman. Seeing his practices and the effort to establish rights of women, the people of Arabia sometimes stumbled. On the other hand, when women realised that there was someone to champion their cause, they became confident.
It is related about Hazrat ‘Umar(ra) that he said his wife interfered in his matters. He chided her saying who was she to interfere in his matters. Arabs could not tolerate a woman advising them. Hazrat ‘Umar’s(ra) wife replied that if the wives of the Holy Prophet(saw) could give him their advice and the Holy Prophet(saw) allowed this, then how could he put a stop to her counsel? Such was the courage that the Holy Prophet(saw) inculcated in women, with his blessed model and his teaching.
Arabs had a very severe attitude towards women. They would easily hit women even over simple mistakes. This still happens, as I said, even in Western countries. Many women write to me about such treatment by their husbands. Out of fear of their husbands some simply write that ‘these are our circumstances, we are tired of daily beatings which have begun to affect the lives of the children and we are only writing to you for prayers’. They say that they do not wish their husbands to find out. These women think that if the husbands find out, they will not reform themselves but instead the women will get beaten more for complaining. Anyway, this was a common tradition among Arabs. The Holy Prophet(saw), who was the greatest champion of women rights, said that women are servants of Allah and not your servants; therefore do not hit them.
These were the early days of Islam, era of the training phase, when men were advised to be kind and soft and show empathy; women became daring and started to become uncompromising at home. At that time, women also suffered from a lack of training, hence this led to a different type of disruption. Women sought to settle old scores. Hazrat ‘Umar(ra), who had an excitable temper, went to the Holy Prophet(saw) and submitted to him that as he had asked them not to hit women, women were getting out of control. He said their defiance was leading to another type of chaos in the homes. The Holy Prophet(saw) replied that ‘if a woman crosses all boundaries, then, according to your traditions, you can strike her gently.’ At that time, the detailed [Divine] commandments about women were not revealed; hence, the Holy Prophet(saw) allowed this. As this was a long-standing tradition in Arabs, they returned to their old habits instead of using this permission in extreme cases only. Then the Muslim women complained about their men to the Holy Prophet(saw) through his wives. The Holy Prophet(saw) said to his Companions ‘be warned of those who do not treat their wives well; they are certainly not regarded good in the sight of God.’ Following this, women’s rights were established and other commandments were revealed in the Holy Qur’an. At this, women were able to breathe a sigh of relief.
Once a Companion of the Holy Prophet(saw) asked him about the rights of women. The Holy Prophet(saw) said ‘feed her as you feed yourself from what Allah the Exalted gives you, clothe her as you clothe yourself with what Allah the Exalted gives you. Do not slap her, do not use foul language with her, do not turn her out of the house’.
These were the commandments of the Holy Prophet(saw). Men are also listening to me. They must judge themselves, and pay attention to their reformation as I have received many complaints about such matters.
Women should also try to perform their dutiesand fulfil the rights of men and when they have firmly adopted the truthful ways then they can demand their rights confidently. Only then can the foundations of a peaceful home and a peaceful society be laid.
The Holy Prophet(saw) has conferred countless acts of kindness on women. He considered women’s emotions in such a meticulous manner when determining their rights, that a believing woman can never thank him enough even if she invokes salutations and blessings on him (Durud) throughout her entire life. In consideration of the emotions of women, the Holy Prophet(saw) said to men that those who travel away from home should return home quickly so that it does not upset the children.
Hazrat Abu Hurairah relates that the Holy Prophet(saw) said that when a person fulfils his needs for which he has had to travel, out of consideration for his family, he should return home soon. The family of a married man indeed are his wife and children.
Today, we see that in some households women are left all alone. When young women come to these countries after marriage, they do not have any acquaintance here. They are confined to their homes all day. Given the climate of these [Western] countries, at times they also suffer from depression. Meanwhile, the men stay outside with their friends after work chatting away. The Holy Prophet(saw) established the rights of women by advising men to give women their due right, give relatives their due right and give children their due right. He strongly disliked the idea of [men] wasting time in idle talk, leaving the wife behind at home. He said one who has daughters should provide them with education, should give them good moral training and on the Day of Judgement, Allah the Exalted would make Hell haram (forbidden) for that person.
This should be looked at in the context of Arab tradition; as mentioned in the Holy Qur’an, the news of the birth of a baby girl used to make them grief stricken and some of them were such that they used to bury their baby daughters alive.
There is an account of a man who buried his daughter alive or threw her in a well. He gave the detailed account of this to the Holy Prophet(saw). He said that he had a daughter whom he loved very much. When the daughter was old enough to understand him and could walk, one day he called her to him. She came to her father because she loved him. He took her to the family well and threw the innocent girl in it. He said he could recall that when he pushed her in the well, he could hear her heart-rending screams. She cried, ‘Father, O my father!’
On hearing this, tears started to flow from the eyes of the Holy Prophet(saw). Another person sitting there said to the narrator that he had saddened the Holy Prophet(saw). The narrator went quiet. However, the Holy Prophet(saw) asked him to relate the incident again. It is reported that even the Holy Prophet’s(saw) beard was soaked with the constant stream of tears flowing down his face.
The Holy Prophet(saw) said that a person who has a baby daughter and does not bury her alive, does not demean her and does not give preference to sons over her shall be given entry to Paradise by Allah the Exalted.
Notice how the Holy Prophet(saw) made the ignorant Arabs who were used to treating women as worthless objects appreciate the rights of girls and women. Then, before his demise, the Holy Prophet(saw) gathered the Muslims to give them some final counsel in which he strongly advised them to always treat women with kindness.
Islam and the Holy Prophet(saw) have conferred upon women the greatest of kindness. As I have said earlier, women can never show adequate gratitude for this. Although this due cannot be paid, nevertheless, an effort should be made towards this. How can this be done? Today it is the obligation of every woman to be ever filled with a sense of gratitude for this tremendous favour of Allah the Exalted and His Prophet on Muslim women.
How can this gratitude be expressed? A woman can be grateful for the favour of Allah and His Prophet when she has an appreciation of her duties and obligations, particularly an Ahmadi woman, because on her lies a double responsibility. She has taken the pledge of allegiance of the true and ardent devotee of the Holy Prophet(saw) who, in this age, re-established the rights of women in light of the teachings of the Holy Qur’an and the Sunnah (practice) of the Holy Prophet(saw).
The Promised Messiah(as) said:
‘No other religion has safeguarded the rights of women as Islam has done. It lays down the injunction so succinctly: Just as men have rights upon women, so do women have rights upon men. (Ch.2:Vs.229)
It is said of some people that they treat their wives in a most demeaning manner and require them to perform the lowliest of services. They abuse them and despise them and enforce the injunction regarding the veil with such harshness as to virtually bury them alive.’
Certainly there is the commandment of Purdah for woman and it is important for women to abide by it. However, some people do not even allow their women out of the house or get them to wrap their faces so harshly that it is difficult for them to walk. Therefore, if the head is covered, the Hijab is proper, the attire appropriately covers one’s beauty; then this is the Purdah that every Ahmadi woman should adopt wherein her distinct identity is represented. There should be a distinction between an ordinary woman and an Ahmadi woman; however, on the other hand it is also commanded to avoid the undue harshness. The Promised Messiah(as): says
‘The relationship between a husband and wife should be like two true and sincere friends. After all, it is the wife who is the primary witness of a man’s high moral qualities and his relationship with God Almighty. If his relationship with his wife is not good, how can he be at peace with God? The Holy Prophet(saw) said ‘The best among you is he who is best towards his wife.’ (Malfoozat, Vol.5, pp.417- 418)
‘How can one claim to be pious when he does not behave well towards his wife? He can be only good and pious to others if he behaves well towards his wife. It is unacceptable to get furious or hit one’s wife on the slightest pretence.’ (Malfoozat, Vol.3, p.147)
See how effectively the Promised Messiah(as) directed men to look after the rights of women. As I mentioned, it is now obligatory on Ahmadi women to carry out their responsibilities fully as a sign of gratitude to Allah the Exalted. In the Holy Qur’an, Allah the Exalted has pointed to believing men and believing women towards their duties. Some of these commandments are only addressed to women, while others are addressed to men and women both. Some commandments are only for ‘believers’ (Momineen). These encompass both men and women. Thus it is essential for an Ahmadi woman to abide by the commandments in the Holy Qur’an. Every Ahmadi woman should be mindful of this.
The first thing that is obligatory on you, an Ahmadi woman, is to pay attention to Prayers as a mark of gratitude. Allah the Exalted states that the purpose of the creation of mankind is to worship Him . It is not enjoined that men should observe Prayers and women should not. In fact, women are directed to observe Prayers in the same way as men are.
Observance of Prayer is the best way one can be grateful to Allah the Exalted. It is these Prayers that will also bring your next generations close to Allah the Exalted and make them recognise their God. It is these Prayers that will save you in this world and the hereafter. It is the supplications you make and your alms-giving that protect you from many troubles and problems that men can inflict upon you. Thus, pay a great deal of attention to this matter.
Among the Sahabiyyaat (female Companions) of the Holy Prophet(saw), there were many who outshone men in acts of worship of God. Similarly Allah the Exalted granted the Promised Messiah(as) with righteous women who excelled in the worship of God.
The basic point is that in order to form a direct relationship with God you must continue to raise the standards of your worship. This is crucial. Then it is also compulsory to act upon the other commandments of Allah the Exalted given in the Holy Qur’an. Every Ahmadi woman should understand that it is her obligation to pay attention to Prayers, and to recite, understand and act upon the teachings of the Holy Qur’an. In fact, if women reflect on the Holy Qur’an and act upon its teachings, they can play a better role in the progress of the Community because the children they will be nurturing in their laps will also be imbued with the same hue as them. Thus you must pay great attention to this.
Sometimes it amazes me when women say or write in their letters that they were drawn to such and such good work, wanted to stay in touch with the Community, wished to attend meetings or wished to act upon the teachings of the Holy Qur’an but their husbands hindered them. As a matter of fact, the majority of these women are those who will stand up to their husbands in worldly matters. Why do they not make a stand for their religious rights? These are but excuses. You must try to avoid these.
If you constantly remind yourselves of the favours that Allah the Exalted has bestowed on you, you will never look for excuses. Remember an Ahmadi woman should always have a sense of honour for the cause of religion. The homes where the honour of religion is upheld will never be without the blessings of Allah. Islamic history is full of accounts where women gave preference to religion and in comparison deemed worldly matters insignificant.
The famous account of the acceptance of Islam of Hazrat ‘Umar(ra) relates that it was a woman who became the source of his acceptance. She was prepared to be killed or injured, and indeed got injured but protected her husband and one who gave teachings of religion. It was the wound and the spilt blood of his sister that softened the heart of Hazrat ‘Umar(ra) and led him to accept Islam. Thus if women have resolute determination they can bring about revolutions.
In this day and age religious education is as important for women as for men. With the grace of Allah the Exalted, the best rewards are given to women and girls who endeavour in this regard. Sometimes I am asked to permit men to deliver a lecture to Lajna as Lajna are not capable. Women should try to achieve these capabilities so that they do not have to rely on men. They should be sufficiently knowledgeable to teach others. As for those members of Lajna and the Jama’ats who have tried, Allah has helped them. In a Hadith the Holy Prophet(saw) said that sometimes a woman’s advice is exactly right and better than a man’s.
At the time of the Treaty/Truce of Hudaibiyyah it was the suggestion of Umm Salamah, blessed wife of the Holy Prophet(saw), that eased his grief due to the fact that his Companions were not obedient to him. Due to their typical Arab temperament, some of the conditions on which the Treaty was signed, were deemed insulting by some of the Companions of the Holy Prophet(saw). After the signing of the Treaty, the Holy Prophet(saw) asked his Companions to go ahead and sacrifice their animals. The Holy Prophet(saw) asked three times but the heartbroken Companions were frozen with grief. They perceived the conditions of the Treaty as a confirmation of their failing. In fact, the Companions of the Holy Prophet(saw) had come to demonstrate skills of their bravery and were eager to do so, but the success the Prophet of God(saw) had realised was still not obvious to the Companions. When the Companions failed to obey the commandment to slaughter their animals, this deeply saddened the Holy Prophet(saw) and in this state of grief he went inside his tent. Hazrat Umm Salamah(ra) understood the situation and submitted to him that the Companions were not disobedient; rather they were in a state of shock and that without saying anything he should go ahead and slaughter his animal and shave his head. The Holy Prophet(saw) did the same. This act of the Prophet stirred the Companions as if they hd awakened from sleep. They began slaughtering their animals and shaving their heads. Therefore, this was a most fitting suggestion by a woman who understood religion and was well aware of the faithfulness and loyalty of the Companions of the Holy Prophet(saw). She had had a deep observation of the fact that the Muslims loved the Holy Prophet(saw).
It was a woman indeed who was the first person to accept Islam, that is, Hazrat Khadijah(ra). She did not only help the Prophet with financial sacrifices in her capacity as his wife, but also as a Muslim. Indeed, those were women who aspired to be part of the blessings of Jihad performed by men. They asked the Holy Prophet(saw) that as they were left behind and looked after the homes while the men went to war, would that entitle them to the blessings as well? When the Holy Prophet(saw) called for financial sacrifice and asked for the mantle of Hazrat Bilal(ra) to be spread, indeed, it was women who piled up donations of their jewellery and valuables on the mantle. It was a woman indeed who was not worried about the death of her father, her husband or her brother. She was only concerned about the safety of the Holy Prophet(saw). Once she saw that the Prophet(saw) was alive and well, she said: ‘I am not worried about the death of anyone else anymore.’
So these were the women who had understood that the one to champion their rights and herald their freedom was this Prophet of God(saw) who had brought a beautiful teaching that gave them a distinct status. They felt that as long as he was alive, faith was alive and as long as the Living God was with them they had no concern about anything.
There are many accounts of similar nature about the female companions of early Islam. Similarly, during the time of the Promised Messiah(as) there were numerous women who understood this reality and set high standards of sacrifice. There are the sacrifices of Hazrat Ammah Jan(ra) (the blessed wife of the Promised Messiah(as); she donated all her jewellery and savings for thehospitality of Jalsa guests without a hint of complaint or concern. This was not because she wanted to help her husband. Rather because there was a need to serve the guests of the Messiah of Muhammad(saw) and she did not want the guests to be inconvenienced in any way at all. This sense of sacrifice ensued from a true comprehension of faith, steadfastness in belief and feelings of gratitude.
There are many examples of similar sacrifices to be found in the Community. Hazrat Umm-e- Nasir, who was the wife of Hazrat Khalifatul Masih II(ra) and mother of Hazrat Khalifatul Masih III, donated her jewellery for the setting up of Al Fazl [newspaper]. This was before the time of the second Khilafat. At this Hazrat Musleh Mau’ood, Khalifatul Masih II(ra) said that this act of kindness had not only given him means to be able to serve religion and had opened a new episode in his life but had also created a tremendous resource for the entire Community. Why was this so? Well, because she understood the true significance of sacrifice and knew how to make sacrifice. She knew that our honour and our permanent existence were in Islam and Ahmadiyyat. She understood that, even if in gratitude, we sacrificed everything of ours, we would not be able to pay our dues.
These are not just stories of old. Even today, by the Grace of Allah, there are women, young and old, who understand this fact,and who are pious natured and follow Taqwa. They know how to give precedence to their faith over this world; they adhere to their faith despite living in the Western society and know how to maintain their bond with Ahmadiyyat in preference to any blood relation. Recently, a young lady came to see me. She was deeply distressed and emotional. She was intensely aggrieved that her father had committed apostasy. She was not worried that she would not gain anything from her father; her only grief that he had lost his faith. She said with great resolve that she was firm on her religion and vowed to persevere with the grace of Allah. She prayed that in exchange for her father, Allah may grant me an entire nation. Hence, there are girls with such passion in these times and living in these [Western] countries. These girls living in the West, in these times, understand the qualities of Islam and acknowledge the favours that Islam has conferred on them. They appreciate that if they stay in the protection of the Lord of all the worlds, they will have rights that neither their fathers nor any blood relatives can provide them. They know that they have to be devoted to Khilafat for the sake of Allah so that they may always hold on to the ‘strong handle’ and thus remain in the realm of peace and security that Allah the Exalted has promised, with an assurance of safety, to those who hold fast.
Therefore, every Ahmadi woman must remember that in order to be truly grateful to Allah the Exalted, we need to embrace the teachings of the Holy Qur’an. We need to implement the teachings of the Holy Qur’an in our homes and encourage our children to adopt these. This cannot happen until you learn to understand and reflect on the Holy Qur’an so that you know what your rights are and you can focus on the due obligations expected of you by the Holy Qur’an and Islam.
Today, make a resolute pledge that since Allah the Exalted has bestowed a great favour on you by establishing your rights and has granted you the blessing of Khilafat, thus giving you a source of support that champions your rights, therefore in thankfulness of this favour you will be prepared to sacrifice everything for Islam and Ahmadiyyat. Vow that you will continue to make every possible endeavour to establish a strong bond between your children and Ahmadiyyat, true Islam. You and your children will continue to excel in the bond of affection and dedication with Khilafat. You will inspire such passion of commitment in your next generation that they will go on to set examples of sincerity and devotion until the Day of Judgement so that, due to this oneness, the kingdom of Allah the Exalted and His Prophet will ultimately prevail all over the world.
May Allah help us all to do this.