Staying Faithful to Your Trust
Friday Sermon delivered at Masjid Mubarak, Islamabad, Tilford, UK
‘Entrusting Matters to Those Entitled to Them’
After reciting Tashahhud, Ta‘awwuz and Surah al-Fatihah, His Holiness, Hazrat Mirza Masroor Ahmad(aba) said that God Almighty states in the Holy Qur’an:
‘Verily, Allah commands you to make over the trusts to those entitled to them.’ (The Holy Qur’an, 4:59)
His Holiness(aba) said that it is narrated in a Hadith that any position in which one is entrusted to see matters pertaining to others is a trust. Thus in this way, within the system of the Jama’at (Community), any position or service to which a person is appointed is a trust. Office bearers are appointed at every level, whether locally, regionally, nationally, the local centre or the auxiliaries. Generally, these office holders are selected based on an election. Hence, it is commanded to select those who, in the people’s view, are worthy of holding that office or position.
Selecting Those Most Suitable Individuals
His Holiness(aba) said that there should be no consideration for prior friendships or relationships when suggesting or selecting office holders. Office bearers are selected by members of the Jama’at and the Caliph of the time and this is done after pondering and contemplating as to who the best person for that particular office is. However, sometimes, it is possible that a person’s estimation about someone turns out to be inaccurate, or after obtaining an office, some people change. Instead, the humility, effort and justice with which an office bearer should work, no longer remain. In such instances, the responsibility rests with that office holder, not upon the one who has selected them.
His Holiness(aba) said that we should always strive to select the best among us, and do so through prayer. The intention is always to try and not select those who bring themselves to the forefront in order to hold office. If the Caliph of the Time or office bearers learn of this character in a person, then they are not appointed. This is exactly in accordance with the teachings of the Holy Prophet(sa).
One Should Not Seek Position or Rank
His Holiness(aba) said that once two people went to the Holy Prophet(sa) and said that they should be given a certain position as they were capable of carrying it out. The Holy Prophet(sa) said that those he appoints are helped by Allah, however, those who seek or desire position or rank are not blessed or helped.
His Holiness(aba) said that most certainly, everyone should have the passion and zeal to serve the faith, however, this service should be in whatever way is asked or required of them. It should always be kept in mind that as the Holy Prophet(sa) taught, the best person for a specific position should be selected with the help of prayers. Furthermore, if there is someone who openly seeks or desires a position, then the person making the decision should justly use their right to make the selection.
His Holiness(aba) said that generally, after an election, the results are presented to the Caliph of the time, and he has the authority to approve the name of a person who had the most votes, or to select someone even if they had fewer votes. Sometimes, the Caliph of the time is aware of various factors which other people are not. Then, there are certain elections for which the national central headquarters can give approval, and if there is any change to be made, they seek permission from the Caliph.
His Holiness(aba) said that the aim is always to select the best people, however at times, people must be selected from within a certain pool of people. Those making the selections should always bear in mind that they should try to select those who will do justice to the trust that will be placed on them, not due to any friendship, relationship, or simply because they look around and see that many people have raised their hands during an election.
Fulfilling One’s Duties with Justice
His Holiness(aba) said that this year in certain places, elections will be held for the auxiliary organisations. Those who comprise the electoral bodies should, according to the command of God, justly offer their opinion and present their recommendation to the Caliph of the Messiah. If we fulfil this duty with justice, then we will have a firm role to play in the progress of the Community.
His Holiness(aba) said that those who are already office holders should always remain aware of their responsibilities. They should always understand that God has given them an opportunity to serve, and so they must carry out their work above any personal gain and do so only to attain the pleasure of God. Sometimes, the complaint is received that certain office holders no longer act with humility and become very haughty upon receiving an office or duty. If this is the case, especially with office bearers who are also live-devotees, then this cannot be tolerated. In some places, a life-devotee was appointed as the General Secretary, however, complaints were received about their arrogant behaviour and not even responding to greetings of peace. Such people should reform themselves, and if they have been given an office, then they should bow with even more humility. They have been appointed to serve, not to strike their awe into others.
His Holiness(aba) said that there are also those who do not carry out their work correctly. His Holiness(aba) said that sometimes when he asks for a report about certain things, the files remain in office drawers, and nothing is done until constant reminders are given. Then after six months or a year, a note of apology is sent for not having been able to carry out the task on time. If this is how they treat letters from the central headquarters and the Caliph of the time, then how can it be expected that they will treat everyday people in the right way? Such people must reform themselves, otherwise they will be removed from their posts.
Responsibilities of Office Bearers
His Holiness(aba) said that he would like to draw attention towards the responsibilities of office bearers. First and foremost is to adopt humility. It should be borne in mind that Allah is always watching and in fact, such people are under even greater scrutiny from God. They should work with the mentality that if they have been selected and then approved by the Caliph of the Time, then they must carry out their work to the best of their abilities. If this mentality is adopted, then the true spirit of work will be inculcated, and members of the Community will cooperate. Sometimes complaints are received about members of the Community do not cooperate – certainly, members should cooperate, however, it is also the responsibility of office bearers to establish their examples for others.
His Holiness(aba) said that a complaint was received about an office bearer who was not offering monetary contributions according to their actual income and also refused to seek remission. If this is the state of the office bearer, then how can they encourage others to offer monetary contributions? If a secretary Tarbiyyat (moral training), does not offer the five daily prayers, then how can they enjoin others to do so? If a live-devotee or missionary does not turn their attention towards offering voluntary prayers, then how can they enjoin others to worship? This is exactly what the Promised Messiah(as) said; that non-Ahmadi clerics advise many things, but they are not backed by their own actions; how then could their words bear any impact? Hence this is cause for great concern for us. We must tread very carefully, for it is only when we heed these things that we will be successful.
His Holiness(aba) said that if Tarbiyyat secretaries were to undertake the moral training of the Community in a loving manner, then they could bring about a revolution. Every office bearer should offer at least two units of voluntary prayer every day for the betterment of their office and for God to bestow His blessings. His Holiness(aba) said that in his estimation, if the Tarbiyyat department were to become active, then the work of other departments would automatically improve by at least 70%. Hence, it should always be remembered that office bearers must establish their examples, especially the Amirs, presidents and Tarbiyyat secretaries, and of course, all other office holders as well. If office holders do not set their own examples then it bears a great impact.
His Holiness(aba) said that in the auxiliary organisations as well, they will have to become active at every level, whether at the President level or the administrative body under them. Sometimes complaints are received about the conduct of the Presidents of Lajna (the Women’s Organisation), especially with new converts. Rather than drawing them nearer, they are causing them to move further away. They tell them that they themselves will reform them, whereas His Holiness(aba) said that in his view, it is actually such Presidents who require reformation. This happens because some people retain offices for long periods of time. The Lajna do not determine who deserves and is capable of holding an office or not. Then, complaints are received when things go awry and people’s faith is tested. If the Lajna do not fulfil their duty of selecting the people who are capable of these trusts, then they have no right to complain.
Leaders Are Those Who Serve Others
His Holiness(aba) said that office bearers are not there to simply sit on stages, rather they are to serve as ordinary workers. A new convert present at the Jalsa recently held expressed her amazement at the fact that the President of the Women’s Organisation was doing discipline duty along with the other women. However, this was her duty to do so and nothing extraordinary. If she were not to serve in this manner, then she would not be doing justice to her trust. People who work with such a spirit become the means of reforming others.
His Holiness(aba) said that every office bearer should bear in mind that, as the Holy Prophet(sa) said, the leader of a nation is the servant of the nation. Similarly, it is the responsibility of office bearers to establish personal connections with the members of the Community in order to foster mutual ties of love. This is, in fact, the reason that they have been made office bearers, so that they may connect with members of the Community. This is the mentality that can beautify the system of the Community, and also draw us nearer to God Almighty. The Holy Prophet(sa) said that if one who is entrusted with the responsibility of overseeing other people is negligent in their responsibilities to them, then God will forbid them from Paradise. This is a great warning and cause for great concern.
His Holiness(aba) said that the Holy Prophet(sa) is also recorded to have said that everyone has the responsibility of overseeing something, and they will be questioned about it on the Day of Judgement. This includes Amirs. Overseeing others refers to the responsibility of helping and reforming others, not to simply rule. Just as a husband oversees the house and a wife oversees the children, it is for their betterment, not to simply exert control over them. If this responsibility is not fulfilled, then according to the Holy Prophet(sa), paradise becomes forbidden. If office bearers are not properly conducting their work and are simply calling themselves representatives of the Caliph of the time in name alone, then they misrepresent the Caliph of the time and are also putting the Caliph at fault. His Holiness(aba) said that if such people do not truly reform themselves, then he has no other option but to remove them from their positions so that he too is not involved in their faults.
Seeking Forgiveness & True Helpers of Khilafat
His Holiness(aba) said that he too does istighfar (seeking forgiveness from God), and such people should also do the same and reform themselves. His Holiness(aba) prayed that may the Ahmadiyya Caliphate always be granted such true helpers who understand their responsibilities and do their work, rather than simply holding an office in name. This is also something that requires attention, for the Holy Prophet(sa) said that a person who is given the responsibility of overseeing the needs of other Muslims, Allah will not fulfil that person’s needs until they fulfil the needs of others. Not only is this the responsibility of the Caliph of the time, it is also the responsibility of office bearers who are representatives of the Caliph in their localities. They should not think that they have done their duty by sitting in meetings. Not only must they plan for the betterment of others, but they must also practically implement them as well. For the purpose of fulfilling worldly needs as well, there is the department of Umoor-e-Amma (general affairs) and San’at-o-Tijarat (trade and industry), and the auxiliaries should do their due work in these departments.
His Holiness(aba) said that a department in which there are challenges around the world is Rishta Nata (matrimonial affairs), for which a great deal of planning is required, for which the central Jama’ats along with the auxiliaries will have to work together. Again, the Tarbiyyat department also plays an important role in this regard. If our youth are properly trained, then they will adhere to the statement of the Holy Prophet(sa) that when looking for a martial match, rather than giving precedence to wealth, family status or beauty, faith should be given precedence. If this becomes the preference, then both boys and girls will focus on improving the standard of their faith and developing a relationship with God. In this way, we can protect our future generations, otherwise, frail attempts will not help protect against the Dajjal. Hence, every office bearer must reform their own homes and then look to reform the rest of the Community. We must fulfil our pledge of giving precedence to our faith over worldly matters, because it is then that we will be able to combat the Dajjal, protect our future generations, fulfil our pledges and do justice to the trusts given to us. Office bearers at all levels must pay due attention to this.
His Holiness(aba) said that the department of Umoor-e-Amma is very important. However, the perception has arisen that the primary duty of this department is to mete out disciplinary action or give strict warnings. However, this is not their primary duty and, most certainly, they are not to simply give strict warnings. Disciplinary action is only taken as the last resort. If the Tarbiyyat department were to become active, then much of the work undertaken by Umoor-e-Amma in this regard would be resolved. Thus it is very important for Umoor-e-Amma and Tarbiyyat departments to work together on matters. However, Umoor-e-Amma also has the vast responsibilities of creating programmes within the Community for stability of means, rendering guidance to members regarding finding employment and other such matters, implementing work related to serving others, and doing away with small disputes amongst people, among other responsibilities. Umoor-e-Amma does not make any decisions in disputes, however, they do implement the decisions made by Qaza (arbitration council). Also, if someone does not comply with a decision made, Umoor-e-Amma also has the responsibility of lovingly explaining to them that they should not ruin their faith by not implementing a decision on a trivial matter. Such people then waste His Holiness’(aba) time by constantly writing their complaints to him, even though they are in the wrong. Most people do understand when explained. Umoor-e-Amma is not in place to take disciplinary action against people, rather it is in place to save people from disciplinary actions. They should make every effort to this end.
His Holiness(aba) said that sometimes, the actions of certain office bearers create doubt about the system of the Jama’at. Sometimes, if a person submits a request to the Caliph of the Time about a matter, the related office will sometimes raise issue with why they were not directly approached first, rather than immediately reporting on the matter, as they should when they are asked by the headquarters. This then creates doubts in the person. Sometimes those who write to His Holiness(aba) are under the impression that their requests do not even reach His Holiness(aba) because the related office is more concerned with why they were not approached first, and thus they do not take any action on the matter, whereas this then creates doubts in people’s minds even about the Caliph and why their matter has not been reported on to him, as it was supposed to be. In any case this doubt is not a reality, for every letter sent to the Caliph is opened and read, and every request is sent for report to the related country.
His Holiness(aba) assured members of the Jama’at that every letter sent to him is opened, read, and the required steps in relation to it are taken. If there is any delay or discrepancy it is on the part of the local chapters of the Community who then create doubts because of their actions. They make themselves sinful by playing in such a manner with the faith of others. If they show indolence in fulfilling the rights of the members of the Community, not only are they failing in doing their duties entrusted to them, but they are also incurring the dysplasia of Allah.
His Holiness(aba) said that the Holy Prophet(sa) stated that any leader who closes their doors to the needs of others, the heavens become closed for their needs. Thus, office bearers should be fearful of God and be quick to fulfil the needs of the members, or at the very least be swift in providing their report. However, to not reply and leave the request in a corner somewhere is a great crime. We must strive to seek the pleasure of Allah and undertake virtuous deeds.
His Holiness(aba) said that it is by fulfilling these trusts that will bring about a beautiful Islamic society, the establishment for which the Promised Messiah(as) was sent. Office bearers should always remember that they have been elected by the members of the Community so that they may fulfil this trust and so they must do so whilst bearing the fear of God in their hearts, for the sake of attaining His pleasure and to become the true helpers of the Caliph of the time. When this is the mentality, then Allah will bestow His blessings and render His help. If not for this, then we will be straying from righteousness and being dishonest to God, the Caliph and breaking the trust people placed in them thereby becoming a means of testing the faith of others.
His Holiness(aba) said that every Ahmadi pledges to tread with righteousness and to give precedence to their faith over worldly matters, however this applies even more to office bearers; they must fulfil their pledges and trusts, the duties entrusted to them with righteousness and all of their abilities. His Holiness(aba) prayed that may Allah enable us to do so.
Summary prepared by The Review of Religions