A time of realisation and reckoning
True leadership is increasingly rare, but there is one shining exception writes Farooq Aftab
وَ مَنۡ یُّطِعِ اللّٰہَ وَ رَسُوۡلَہٗ وَ یَخۡشَ اللّٰہَ وَ یَتَّقۡہِ فَاُولٰٓئِکَ ہُمُ الۡفَآئِزُوۡنَ
“And whoso obeys Allah and His Messenger, and fears Allah, and takes Him as a shield for protection, it is they who will be successful.” Holy Quran, Chapter 24, Verse 53
Today, as we lie in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, every person has been affected to some extent and experienced some form of discomfort or difficulty.
A world where everyone is so closely connected without any form of hindrance on movement or access has been turned upside down. At such a time, even governments and politicians have been found wanting in terms of leadership and governance. The status quo has changed – everything we took for granted seems to be a distant memory.
In these challenging times, the aforementioned Quranic verse, which states “…and takes Him as a shield for protection…” reminds us that if we want to be successful then we need to obey Allah and His chosen ones.
Moreover, the Founder of Islam, the Holy Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) has said:
’Verily the Imam is a shield…’’ (Sahih Al-Bukhari. Vol.1, Bk.4, No.830)
For Ahmadi Muslims, our shield is Khilafat. We are led by Hazrat Mirza Masroor Ahmad (aba), Khalifatul Masih V. For years, His Holiness has been counselling and preparing us to reform ourselves, to set our records straight and have a living relationship with Allah to truly profit from His Mercy, Grace, Benevolence Protection and to succeed.
Why is this relevant? Well today, when we are all affected by the pandemic, we have seen the very best and worst of human beings.
From the outstanding tales of heroism of our key workers to the depths of animal like behaviour of individuals motivated only by selfishness, greed and contempt for humanity.
In the UK, we all heard the stories of stockpiling, panic buying etc which, given the uncertainty, has been to some extent at least, understandable, but at the same time, we also saw profiteering and immense greed shown by individuals, which absolutely is not. Individualism has been apparent and some are sensing that it is a game of survival of the fittest.
Leadership at every level was lacking with many unaware of how to deal with such a situation. The exception, I believe, were Ahmadi Muslims.
As an Ahmadi Muslim myself, I am witness to the fact that Hazrat Khalifatul Masih V (aba) has been guiding us for many years about the basic requirements of humanity. Apart from spiritual guidance, he has furnished Ahmadi Muslims with an array of practical guidance for their betterment and wellbeing.
For many years, His Holiness has not only been talking about world affairs but providing practical everyday solutions. We have repeatedly been instructed to stock essentials for situations like the one we now find ourselves in – to prevent any form of panic or disarray when crisis occurs.
Simply put, not only has Hazrat Khalifatul Masih been preparing us spiritually but also looking after our physical needs. The question that arises is whether we are paying heed to his words.
Abdullah ibn Umar reported that the Holy Prophet (pbuh) said:
“Every one of you is a shepherd and is responsible for his flock. The leader of people is a guardian and is responsible for his subjects. A man is the guardian of his family and he is responsible for them. A woman is the guardian of her husband’s home and his children and she is responsible for them…” (Ṣaḥīḥ al-Bukhārī 6719, Ṣaḥīḥ Muslim 1829)
This is a truly empowering Hadith and reminds us that in whatever field of life we are in, whether it’s in our families, workplaces, or anywhere else, we each have a responsibility. We are each a shepherd in our own rights but, collectively, Ahmadi Muslims, belong to the flock of Islam and our collective shepherd is Khalifatul Masih.
Our shepherd has been explaining to us that Islam is a complete way of life and it is the way of life that brings about true peace and happiness, in this world as well as the Hereafter.
It is apparent that the current pandemic is a time of realisation and reckoning for humanity to wake up and do our utmost to fulfil the rights of God and His people. Perhaps an apt reminder that we derive lessons from this, make good our mistakes, better ourselves and forge a truly living relationship with God Almighty. In doing so, we can hope to live in a peaceful and heavenly world.
Recently many would have seen the personal written account of Ibrahim Ikhlaf (National Tabligh Secretary UK), in which he shares his experiences of being affected by COVID-19. In part 2, he mentions how he was honoured to receive a telephone call from Hazrat Khalifatul Masih.
One of the things His Holiness said to Ibrahim Sahib was that:
“Every instruction of the Khalifa should be obeyed”.
Furthermore, in a speech delivered over a century ago, the Second Khalifa of the Promised Messiah (as), Hazrat Mirza Bashir-ud-din Mahmood Ahmad (ra) said:
“You have someone who has true sympathy for you; who truly loves you; who considers your pain and suffering to be his own; and who is always praying to Allah for you.”
Let us truly appreciate this divine blessing through our actions and deeds. By doing so we will be recipients of Allah’s Grace, Benevolence and Protection.
Let us not overplay words but let our actions speak louder so that we better ourselves and truly become deserving of Allah’s Grace and Mercy by achieving true success and prosperity.
Farooq Aftab is a member of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community
 Blessings of Khilafat, by Hazrat Mirza Bashir-ud-Din Mahmood Ahmad, Khalifatul Masih II, page 6