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The Lahore Ahmadiyya Movement for the Propagation of Islam (A.A.I.I.L. - Ahmadiyya Anjuman Isha'at-e-Islam Lahore)

Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad of Qadian (the Founder of the Ahmadiyya Movement; the Mujaddid (Reformer) of the 14th Century Hijrah; and, the Promised Messiah and Mahdi) <Please read his biography in the 'Biography' section>

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Books Section > Call of Islam by Maulana Muhammad Ali > The Necessity of the Pledge of Fealty

The Necessity of the Pledge of Fealty:

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The Movement Split into Two:

The fact that the Ahmadiyya Movement has split into two sections constitutes, with some, an argument against the Movement, whereas, in fact, this should have served as an additional testimony to its truth. Obviously, if it were a man-made movement, the split must have meant its death-knell. But planted as it was by the hand of God, the division into two only tended to accelerate its speed manifold. The activities of the Movement, instead of slackening, have enormously multiplied, and this is no small testimony to the righteousness of the cause. In its early days, Islam, too, was rent into sections. Besides, there were internecine political strifes as well. But Islam was not a whit impeded in its onward march on that account. And the reason was simple enough: It was a thing of Divine origin. It is only history repeating itself in the case of the Ahmadiyya Movement. A divided house has even here meant added momentum and greater progress.

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.

The Necessity of the Pledge of Fealty:

There is quite a large number of people who admit the truth of the Ahmadiyya Movement but see no particular reason why they should formally make such declaration and take the pledge of fealty. The Founder of the Ahmadiyya Movement, they contend, was a righteous servant of Islam. He may have been a mujaddid, a Messiah, or a Mahdi, but why must they acknowledge him as such? True, the acceptance of a mujaddid is not to be taken in the same sense as that of a prophet. Every prophet demands a twofold confession of faith - faith in the Unity of God and faith in his own prophethood. But a mujaddid never asks for a profession of faith in his own person. Even the extremists of Qadian will tell you that the text of the pledge which the Founder took from the members contained no mention of the Mujaddid's supposed prophethood. The only pledge which was asked for was: "I will hold religion above the world" (Izala Auham, p. 85). Profession of faith in the Unity of God and in the prophethood of the Holy Prophet Muhammad was required in the way of Faith. The very opening words of the bai'at were:

"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.

An Appeal:

Better late than never. Even now I would call upon every Muslim to volunteer for the service of Islam and enlist in the force of the Mujaddid. Let not petty objections stand in the way. Men of Hazrat Abu Bakr's and Umar's eminent position could not escape the perverted vision of the carper. Their greatness extorts the need of recognition even from those opposed to Islam, yet there are Muslims who are not ashamed of picking holes in them. If the 'ulama are today finding faults with the Mujaddid in small things, it is due to their own perverse mentality, and in doing so, they are only stepping in the shoes of slanderers of all good men. It has never been the way of good people to speak ill of those who stand for upholding the cause of Truth. As to objections, there can be no limit to them in this world. All you want to test is whether the work done is good and noble. If you find the work such, small things that are wholly due to misunderstanding, prejudice, dull vision and numerous other causes, must not stand in your way. Do not make mountains out of these mole-hills, and manfully walk over them. It is easy enough to pick a loop-hole, but real solid work requires some doing. If the Founder of the Ahmadiyya Movement is not the mujaddid of the fourteenth century, where is another to fill that place? Or, do you presume that the Holy Prophet's authentic promise ["Most surely God will raise for this ummah (Muslim community), with the opening of every new century, one who will bring about the revival of their religion" (Sunan Abu Dawud, vol. 2, p. 24).] is not going to find fulfilment anymore? And I conclude with an open invitation to one and all to come and join hands with us in the service of Islam, on the lines and principles explained above.

How to Help:

Should our aims and objections appeal to you as worthy of your moral and material support, I would suggest some ways to help to forward this cause of Islam which is common to us all and, I am sure, dear to us all:

  • Earmark a percentage of your income as monthly subscription.
  • Specify a fixed portion of interest of your zakat for this cause.
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  • Send a donation for any of the objects which you approve.
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  • Commend the cause we stand for in your sphere of influence.
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Ten Conditions of Bai'at:

1. That I declare in all sincerity that from now till I am laid in the grave, I will desist from associating anyone with Allah.

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 Allah’s 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 Allah’s sake only, and as far as possible, I will utilise my God-given energies to benefit them with Allah’s favours.

10. That I will maintain fraternal relations with Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad, exclusively for Allah’s 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.

[Click here for more on 'The Pledge']


Books Section > Call of Islam by Maulana Muhammad Ali > The Necessity of the Pledge of Fealty