An address delivered by His Holiness, Mirza Masroor Ahmad, Khalifatul Masih V(aba), Head of the worldwide Ahmadiyya Muslim Community on 11th June 2013 at an event to celebrate the centenary of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community in the United Kingdom, held at the Houses of Parliament in London. The centenary celebrations were attended by 68 dignitaries, including 30 MPs and 12 Members of the House of Lords, including 6 Cabinet Ministers and 2 Ministers. Various media organisations including the BBC, Sky TV and ITV were also present to cover the event. In attendance, amongst others, was the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change The Rt Hon. Ed Davey MP, the Deputy Prime Minister The Rt Hon. Nick Clegg MP, the Home Secretary The Rt Hon. Theresa May MP, the Shadow Foreign Secretary The Rt Hon. Douglas Alexander MP, the Chairman of the Home Affairs Select Committee Rt Hon. Keith Vaz MP and Member of Parliament for Mitcham and Morden Siobhain McDonaugh MP.
His Holiness said:
“Bismillahir-Rahmanir-Raheem (in the Name of Allah, the Gracious, the Merciful) All distinguished guests,Assalamo Alaikum WaRahmatullahe Wa Barakatohu – peace and blessings of Allah be upon you all.
First of all I would like to thank those friends of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community who, upon the centenary of our Community in the UK, have kindly organised this event within the Houses of Parliament as a means to express their friendship and close relationship with us. I would also like to thank all of those guests, who by attending today, are ensuring that this event proves to be a success and worthwhile. I am pleased that quite a number of you are seated here and are not engaged in any other commitments or meetings.
In response to this gesture, apart from professing my thanks and appreciation, I would also like to say that it is my sincere hope and prayer that all of the departments and people who work within this beautiful and grand building are able to fulfil the rights of serving this country and its people. I also hope and pray that they are able to work in the best possible manner towards fostering good relations with other nations, to act with justice and so make decisions that are of benefit to all parties. If this spirit is adopted then it will reap the very best fruits, which are of love, affection and brotherhood and will lead the world towards becoming a true haven of peace and prosperity.
This desire and prayer of mine is shared by all Ahmadi Muslims, because we believe that it is necessary to have a deep love for one’s country and for humanity at large. Indeed, Ahmadi Muslims believe that love for one’s country is an essential part of faith, because the Founder of Islam, the Holy Prophet Muhammad(sa)has emphatically ordered and taught this. Thus, let me make it very clear that every Ahmadi Muslim who is a British citizen, whether born here in the UK or whether an immigrant from abroad, is completely loyal to this country and has sincere love for it. They desire only the progress and prosperity of this great nation.
The number of people from other nations who now live in the UK is very significant and is estimated to be at around 14-15% of the total population of this country. And so, I cannot continue without mentioning and praising the great qualities of open-heartedness and tolerance exhibited by the local British people, for the way in which they have accepted immigrants as members of the country and allowed them to become a part of the fabric of British society. In this sense it becomes an incumbent moral duty upon those people who have come to settle here to prove themselves to be loyal citizens of this country and so they must support the government in its efforts to tackle all forms of disorder and strife. As far as the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community is concerned, its members act upon this principle in whichever country they reside.
As you are aware, we are currently celebrating the Centenary of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Jama’at in the United Kingdom. These past 100 years prove and serve witness to the fact that the members of the Ahmadiyya Community have always fulfilled the requirement of being loyal to their country and have always steered absolutely clear of all forms of extremism, rebellion and disorder. In reality, the fundamental reason for this loyal and loving approach is due entirely to the fact that the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community is a true Islamic religious community. Our Community stands apart, as we have continually introduced the true and peaceful teachings of Islam to the people of the world and we have always strived for those true teachings to become accepted as the real Islam.
With these few words of introduction, I would now like to turn towards the main theme of my address. Our sect is the standard bearer for peace, reconciliation and harmony, which is why our motto is ‘Love for All, Hatred for None.’ Despite the fact that some non-Muslims know us or indeed have close links to us, they are very surprised that the Ahmadiyya Muslim Jama’at attributes its message of peace and brotherhood directly to Islam. The cause of their surprise and shock is because they see that many other so-called Islamic scholars and organisations act and speak in a completely different way and promote a very different message. To explain this difference let me make it clear that we Ahmadi Muslims believe that, in this era, the concept of a violent ‘Jihad by the sword’ is completely wrong and is to be rejected, whilst some other Muslim scholars promote or even practice it. Their beliefs have led to many extremist and terrorist organisations emerging amongst the Muslims in various parts of the world.
It is not just groups that are emerging but we also find that certain individuals are taking advantage of and acting upon these false beliefs. The most recent example of this was, of course, the brutal killing of an innocent British soldier on the streets of London. It was an attack which had absolutely nothing to do with the real teachings of Islam; rather, Islamic teachings vehemently condemn such acts. Such evil plots demonstrate the clear difference between the true teachings of Islam and the misconstrued teachings, which some so-called Muslims are practicing due to their ulterior motives. I would also like to say that the reaction of some of the local groups is not correct and can destroy the peace of the society.
What evidence is there to support our contention that what we believe with regards to Islamic teachings is correct? The underlying point to consider is that the use of the sword or force is only permissible when a religious war is waged against Islam. In today’s world no one, be it a country or a religion, is physically waging war and attacking Islam on the basis of religion. Thus, it is not justifiable in any way for Muslims to attack any other party, in the name of religion, because this clearly violates the teachings of the Qur’an.
The Qur’an only permitted force to be used against those who waged war and raised their sword against Islam. Another crucial point is that if a citizen seeks to inflict any form of harm on his country or on his fellow countrymen then clearly he would be acting against the teachings of Islam. The Holy Prophet Muhammad(sa) said that whoso sheds the blood of an innocent person is not a Muslim. The Holy Prophet(sa) has deemed such people as weak in faith and to be sinners.
I shall now turn to some other aspects of Islam that prove just how enlightened and pure its teachings really are. I shall explain that the way some so-called Muslim groups present Islam does not represent the real teachings of the religion in any shape or form. It will become clear that their activities are conducted with the sole desire to fulfil their vested interests by falsely using the name of Islam to justify their hate-filled acts.
Islam puts so much emphasis on the importance of religious tolerance that it will be impossible to find such high standards anywhere else. Other people tend to believe that until other religions are proven to be false, they are unable to prove the truth of their religion. Islam’s approach is very different because it teaches that whilst Islam is a true religion sent for all of mankind, the truth is that all prophets of God were sent to all people and nations of the world. This is clearly mentioned in the Holy Qur’an. Allah has said that all prophets were sent by Him with teachings of love and affection, and so all true Muslims must accept them. No other religion so willingly and openly praises every faith and every nation as Islam does. Because Muslims believe that prophets were sent to all people and all nations they cannot ever consider them to be false. Thus, Muslims cannot disrespect, mock or insult any of the prophets of God, nor can they injure the sentiments of the followers of any religion.
Yet, sadly the attitude of some non-Muslims is the exact opposite. They do not spare any opportunity to grievously mock and slander the Founder of Islam(sa) and so gravely wound the feelings of Muslims. We truly desire religious tolerance and mutual understanding, because of the beliefs we hold. Unfortunately however, when certain elements toy with the feelings of Muslims, it leads to some so-called Muslims reacting to the provocation in an entirely wrong and irresponsible way. Their reaction and response has no link to the true teachings of Islam and you will certainly find that no Ahmadi Muslim, however much they are provoked, will ever react in such a negative manner.