Necessity of the Pledge of Fealty:
The Movement Split
It is true that one of the sections has succumbed to the traditional weakness in all such cases and has carried things to unwarranted extremes. But this is no reason why those who honestly appreciate the services of the Mujaddid in the cause of Islam should keep back from the Movement. If they sincerely believe in the righteousness of the Movement, they are honour-bound to openly identify themselves with the cause. Fear of opposition or of incurring public odium cannot exonerate them from this moral obligation. Nor must the unfortunate fact that the Qadian section of the Movement has bungled up the whole thing through pious over-zeal, stand in the way. Rather, this makes them doubly honour-bound to come out in the open and take a manly stand by the standard of the Mujaddid. Not only must they be true to themselves and do the bidding of their conscience, but now that a great and noble cause has been grossly distorted at the hands of some of its own adherents, it means another call of duty. They must step forward to save that great and noble cause by adding their weight to the side that has the truth with it. And the only way they can do it is to lend all their moral and material support to the other section, which represents the Movement exactly in the colour it had in the day of its Holy Founder. They must join the Lahore section and be a source of strength to it. The strength of this section will, of itself, exert a moderating influence on the other section of extremism and will bring it round to the true position.
"I bear witness that there is no object of adoration besides Allah Who is One having no associate, and I bear witness that Muhammad is His servant and His Apostle" (ibid. p. 854).
Thus the bai'at consisted of two things: the faith part and the practical part. The faith part was confined to God and the Holy Prophet Muhammad without the least reference to his own person, whereas the practical part was summed up in one sentence: "I will hold religion above the world" (ibid. p. 853).
And this was the chief purpose of the bai'at, the practical pledge to serve the cause of religion. Mujaddids are raised for this sole purpose - the service of religion - and so they want around them men who would assist them in that service. So did the Founder of the Ahmadiyya Movement invite people to join hands with him in fighting the battles of Islam. This was the sole significance of the bai'at he took.
To all such persons who are not quite sure of the utility of bai'at, the Holy Qur'an furnishes clear guidance:
Stand by the righteous ones (9:119).
Here is an emphatic injunction to actively co-operate with all those who stand for a righteous cause. Thus, it is a moral duty to respond to the call of the Mujaddid, the most righteous personality of the time, standing for the most righteous of causes, the defence and propagation of Islam. Those, however, who do not listen to that call shirk an imperative duty and disregard the Qur'anic injunction. In a way they declare a Divine act as vain and idle. God, Who alone knows best how Islam is to triumph, commissions a man for that express purpose. Do those that stand aloof from him mean that they can do without such a one? Surely God is above all vain things and a thorough Muslim is one who submits whole-heartedly to all His besets.
Formal bai'at has a psychological value of its own. It tends, undoubtedly, to strengthen the heart of man bringing him Divine peace and content. We have a concrete illustration of this in the life of the Holy Prophet. At the time of the Truce of Hudaibiya, fourteen hundred Companions, who were already devoted followers of the Holy Prophet and ready to sacrifice their all at his bidding, were required to make a fresh bai'at. This was done under Divine guidance and when done, God expressed His pleasure at it and infused calm and content into their hearts. Obviously, that bai'at was needed in view of the emergency that had arisen. The Muslims were in a critical condition and it was time for unparalleled pluck, and bai'at was necessary. The same was the necessity of bai'at in the eye of the Mujaddid and the same is the necessity today. There is the greatest of emergencies calling aloud to be up against the alarming onslaughts on Islam on all sides, and hence the urgent necessity of the bai'at.
Bai'at is nothing more than a solemn pledge made in public to stand for and by a certain cause. It does not only bring Divine solace to the heart of man, but it also keeps him firm by the cause, in thick and thin. By his very nature, man feels ashamed of going back upon his own publicly declared words. So, when in the service of a high cause he finds himself beset with difficulties and would feel like giving way, this public declaration comes to sustain him. He sticks to it, under trials and tribulations. The service of Islam at the present-day must need entail no small amount of hardship and self-sacrifice. To form a solid band of men, who might uphold the cause of Islam under the most adverse conditions, was, therefore, a bare necessity. And bai'at a solemn public declaration, must obviously be the very corner-stone of any such organisation. Even an ordinary soldier is required, at the time of enlisting, to make an open profession of loyalty to the rule. The soldiers of Islam who must rally round the standard of the Mujaddid are, for the sole reason, required to declare in so many words that, come what may, they would live and die by Islam. "I will hold religion above the world," everyone has to pledge.
2. That I will shun falsehood, adultery, sensual gaze and all kinds of inequity and impiety and perfidy and sedition, disloyalty, and will not submit to carnal passions under the most provocative instigation.
3. That I will regularly perform my prayers five times in accordance with the injunctions of Allah and the Prophet, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, and so far as possible, I will say the Tahajjud Prayers (Voluntary Nightly Prayers), and call for Blessings on the Holy Prophet, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him (Darood), and seek Allahs forgiveness and will crave for His mercy.
4. That I will not inflict any injury on the people generally, and in particular on the Muslims, under any undue provocation by tongue or hand or in any other manner.
5. That I will ever remain faithful to Allah under all circumstances whether in grief or respite, or distress or prosperity, and will be always content with Allah in calamity, and will be ready to bear willingly any disgrace and affection in His path, and will not abandon Him on occurrence of any calamity; but instead will move forward.
6. That I will abstain from following the traditional customs, and indulging in licentiousness. That I will comply fully with the Quranic injunctions, and will follow in every way, the commandments of Allah and the Holy Prophet, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him.
7. That I will entirely shun arrogance, haughtiness, and will spend my life in humility, and meekness, politeness and gentleness in consonance with the Quranic injunctions as contained in verse 63 of Chapter al-Furqan: "And the servants of the Beneficent are they, who walk on the earth with humility," and in verse 37 of Chapter Bani Israel: "And go not about in the land exultingly."
8. That I will keep the Faith, and the honour of the Faith, and my sympathies with Islam, more dear than my life, my honour, and my wealth and my children, and, even more precious than everything dear to me.
9. That I will be compassionate with all mankind for Allahs sake only, and as far as possible, I will utilise my God-given energies to benefit them with Allahs favours.
10. That I will maintain fraternal relations with Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad, exclusively for Allahs sake with the pledge for submission in the right cause till my death, and in this fraternal kinship will be so thoroughly steadfast as to be above all blood relations and connections, and all subjugatory positions.
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