“A Nation Cannot be Reformed Without First Reforming its Youth”

“A Nation Cannot be Reformed Without First Reforming its Youth”
University Ahmadiyya Muslim Societies
By Talib
On the first of April, 1938, the Promised Son(ra) of the Promised Messiah(as) spoke the words found in the title. They are a treasure-trove of wisdom that point the way forward for every sincere Ahmadi Muslim, Khadim and Lajna member. They relate not only to tabligh-the propogation of Ahmadiyyat-the True Islam, but also to tarbiyyat-the development of the true spirit of Islam within ourselves.
There has been much talk in recent posts regarding Ahmadiyya Muslim Students Association (AMSA) with a focus especially upon whether Ahmadi muslims should join non-Ahmadi Islamic societies. The aim of this post is not to bring that discussion into a second forum but rather to bring to focus a separate aspect, that is: why Ahmadi Muslims should join AMSAs. Both myself, my brother and two members of the university staff effectively help to run an AMSA at one of the main London Universities. In the last two years we have put on four events: “Woman In Islam”, “Jesus In India”, “Islam and Terrorism” and “Is God Dead?” In the present year we are, inshAllah, putting on: “Apostasy In the Islamic Republic” (relating to whether Islam condones any worldly punishment for apostasy, in light of a recent event regarding an Iranian pastor), “Jesus In India”, “Arabic-the Mother of All Languages,” “Socrates-the Philosopher Prophet”, “Why Evolution Needs God”, “The Qur’an, the Cosmos and Extraterrestrial Life” and a lecture series on the wonderous book “The Philosophy of the Teachings of Islam”. Similar events are being put on by the AMSA newly set up in Queen Mary’s University of London, and with further AMSAs being set up at Imperial University and possibly King’s College London in the coming year or so, there will, inshAllah, be a plethora of such events. More information on the UCL and Queen Mary’s AMSAs is available here and you can get in touch here.
The above quote of the second khalifa (ra) speaks to me in two ways-overtly and covertly. The overt manner relates to tabligh (i.e., convey a message); the aim of the coming of the Messiah(as) was, in his own words, to:
”…remove the malaise that afflicts the relationship between God and His creatures and restore the relationship of love and sincerity between them (Lecture Lahore; Essence of Islam Vol.4, p111)
We all saw what happened on the streets of London over the summer. The feeling of economic hopelesness, real and genuine though it might have been, was but tinderwood to the spark of realisation that they (the rioters) could get away with brazen lawlesness and if committed in enough numbers, were unaccountable to the law of the country. It was nothing more than a lack of a relationship with God manifesting itself in enmity and indifference towards the suffering of His Creation. If we wish to reform the society of today, there is no other way open to us than to seek to instill the love of God in the hearts of the youth and draw them towards that spirituality that only descends upon the hearts of those who have accepted the Imam of the Age (as), for it is only they who are given to taste of the joy and intoxication of knowing the Unique and Peerless One with certainty of faith (i.e., knowledge, rather than blind faith).
It is in our universities that a good portion of the youth of today are found. It is our universities that provide a most unique opportunity of meeting people from every walk of life and of every persuasion. Nowhere other than a University’s Fresher’s Fayre will you find 10,000 eighteen to twenty one year olds passing by your stall upon which the books of the Promised Messiah(as) and the message of Ahmadiyyat, the True Islam are displayed. We must understand as Ahmadi Muslims that our time, right now, is the one of the most blessed times in the history of mankind. To be in a university of 20,000 people to whom you are the ambassador of Ahmadiyyat-the True Islam by being in the AMSA, is a blessing of such magnitude that I am at a loss to describe it. Ahmadi Muslims should join their AMSAs and work in them, not with a sense of duty, but with a sense of gratitude; not purely with the sense that they are working for the jamaat but rather with thanks to Allah that they have been given an opportunity to help the mission of the Messiah(as). What greater bounty can be bestowed than being one of the thriving branches of our beloved Imam’s(as) being?It is herein, for me, that is found the covert aspect of the above words of the second khalifa(ra). In the Qur’an, Hazrat Ibrahim (as) was called an “ummah” meaning a “nation” or a “people” for it was in him that different nations would derive themselves from and find their common origin in. The Promised Messiah(as) too has been addressed in his revelations many times as Ibrahim for it is in him-the Servant of Muhammad(saw), that is laid the foundation for the coming together of all people into one body. We, as his followers, are the branches of his being, as he has said so many times in his writings. In this sense too, the reference to the “nation” does not simply refer to the general ”Ummah,” but refers also to the Ahmadiyya Muslim community. Reformation is not something that is done once in one’s life; it is a continuous process that happens every time you feel those aches and pains getting up for fajr and every time you go out of your way to choose that which is pleasing to Almighty Allah over that which is displeasing to Him. As such, the reformation of the “nation” refers to us too-that is our noble struggle-our jihad. The Promised Messiah(as) showed us that the jihad of this age is by the pen, not the sword, and by words of sympathy and love, not by words of malice and hostility, so that the light of sympathy for mankind and love for God should attract the world to Islam. Our faith cannot be perfect without this jihad:
Do you suppose that you will enter Heaven while Allah has not yet distinguished those of you that strive in the way of Allah and has not yet distinguished the steadfast? (Qur’an, 3:143)
Those who would have been able to see partially through the darkness and perceive the light of their Creator have had their sight dimmed by the ignorance of this Age and those whose hearts were even weaker in their spiritual sight have been utterly robbed of whatever little they had. There are so many good-hearted people who are yearning for the truth and yet have never heard of the Messiah(as) foretold by the Holy Prophet(saw). If we do not strive to our hardest and do not convey to them the message of Islam in its true form, they shall have every right to hold a grievance against us.
So this is the jihad of our time-striving to spread the message of Islam Ahmadiyyat through winning people’s hearts with love and kindness, as the third khalifa (ra) said.
University AMSA societies provide an opportunity like no other in this respect. They are such opportunities that may come once in a lifetime and will adorn the rest of your life with the beauty of having striven in the cause of Allah.
(Jazak Allah to Talib for taking the time to write this post and sending it into me. May Almighty Allah bless him for this and his efforts)

10 thoughts on ““A Nation Cannot be Reformed Without First Reforming its Youth”

  1. I don’t know if this has been addressed but is there a reason why it is called Ahmadiyya Muslim Students Association AMSA rather than Ahmadiyya Muslim Society (AMSOC)? Most religious based societies are named x society.

    AMSA certainly sounds a lot more professional.

  2. Some students might think that that extra work to run an AMSA might impinge on their studies. However that should not be the case. While studies are a priority a student can always squeeze in AMSA activities and other Jamaat work. Thousands of Ahmadis are good students and also active in Jamaat work. It is a balancing act and with prayers and good timemanagement it can be done. 

    Every Ahmadi student should realise that being an Ahmadi Muslim student at a University is a blessing. You are an ambassador of Ahmadiyyat to that University. I can tell you that the person who wrote that blog entry, he and his brother started the AMSA last year – just two students. Uptil now they have organised four lectures and plan to have many more. They are both medical students – you can well imagine how hard it is to do anything else when you are in medical school. However they give on average 1/2 to 1 hour on AMSA activities daily and it does not impinge upon their University studies. And I know in personally that they study till 4 in the morning. 

    In Queen Mary also the AMSA has been started by a medical student, and he is also a Nazim Student Affairs in the regional Amla. If the students with most difficult studies can form AMSAs and organise lectures then other Ahmadi students can too. 

  3. Assalamo alaikum
    It is indeed a timeless quote by the founder of Majlis Khuddamul Ahmadiyya. That reformation of the youth is what ALL the collective efforts of the Jama’at are aimed at leading to. From Ijtema’s, local classes, hikes, blood donations, tree planting, homeless feeding, caring for the elderly etc etc etc.

    Each activity in its own way will hopefully play some little part in nurturing the youth to be active, compassionanate, moral, upstanding citizens of the countries in which they reside.

    If these activities can teach the youth to be always on the look out for ways and means of benefitting the society around them then they have gone some way to achieve their goal.

    In the current climate where it is seen to be “unfashionable” to be a righteous good moralled citizen it is the need of the hour for upstanding youth from all persuasions to come out and make their country’s better places for everyone.

    May God Almighty guide all our youth in a direction that benefits society at large.

  4. Very inspiring article. When I started uni I specifically went to freshers fare to try and find an amwsa, but there weren’t even any Ahmadis in my uni let alone an amwsa 😦 For those of you lucky enough to have a large and enthusiastic Ahmadi community at uni, for all the above reasons mentioned in the article, join the amsas, get involved in the events and make the most of this once in a lifetime opportunity! It’ll strengthen your iman, you will learn loads and its a great tabligh opportunity.

  5. AA,

    We Ahmadi Muslims have been given a gift by Allah, the gift of spiritual sight. If we do not share this gift with the world, which everyone has the right to, then we will be held accountable.

    There is a reason why Allah, the Wise, sent prophets to their respective people in the past and then sent one prophet to the whole of mankind. To unite humanity under the banner of Islam.
    We are entrusted with this responsibility as the followers of this blessed most perfect prophet to share this message and promote harmony, and we must remember this everyday – how many of us can say that we are doing this?
    Allah the Almighty in His Infinite Wisdom, deems us worthy of such a task, Alhamdolillah.

    For those who have finished studying and have and are now working may find spreading the message a little harder.

    Where students are open to debate, I find that professionals are a bit reluctant to engage in any sort of dialogue to do with religion.

    We must practice what we preach. Simple things such as displaying good etiquette can be part of tabligh. Smiling, saying hello, holding one’s temper and speaking gracefully are all part of acting as an ambassador to one’s faith.

    I always mention a jama’ah event that I have been to or a project I’m working on to stir up conversation and steer it to Islam. I think people generally avoid asking questions about faith so as not to offend, but I always reassure them that I love answering such questions.
    I certainly am not scholarly, neither to I profess to be knowledgeable, but by constantly praying, reading the Holy Quran, listening to Huzur’s (atba) sermons and speeches, making full use of Alisam.org and Jama’ah literature and of course watching MTA, I think we can feel well equipped to at least answer the basic questions.

  6. AA

    MashaAllah, you have done a great job! I think you hit the nail on the head when you said:

    “There are so many good-hearted people who are yearning for the truth and yet have never heard of the Messiah(as) foretold by the Holy Prophet(saw). If we do not strive to our hardest and do not convey to them the message of Islam in its true form, they shall have every right to hold a grievance against us.”

    I think this is the most heartbreaking thing, when you see your family or friends being lead astray by others.


  7. Great read. Ahmadi Muslim students in Universities are the ambassadors of Ahmadiyya Islam there and they have to play their role in engaging with other students about the true teachings of Islam. The battle of hearts and minds of the youth is happening at this moment in these Universities.

    So to those Ahmadi Muslim students who are reading this and studying at University level, they should be part of AMSA. If there is no AMSA they should form one. And that AMSA should not die when the student leaves, the torch should be kept alight by the new students who join.

    Let us hope this post does not become a raging ocean of comments as the last one. That we I fear we might lose the main message of the article.

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