The below post was sent in to me by by someone. I found it quite thought provoking.
Jazak Allah Khayr al-Jazaa’
By Zen Ahmad
I unlock the gate and enter into the front garden. Every part of my body is shaking. No-one can see it but i am very nervous and equally fearful. But why am I fearful? They can’t harm me and even if they kill me for this, isn’t martyrdom a better option. Every part of my instinct is telling me to turn back. But something still drives me on. My mind is numb. My heart racing now. As i approach the door, it’s beating so fast I can’t tell if it’s beating at all. My hands are sweating as i move the leaflet from left to the right hand. I look up at the door. There is no door bell. Great! Knock! Knock! I sheepishly knock on the door. Someone is inside. I clear my throat. But as I hear the shuffling behind the door, I start to feel light-headed, I can feel my throat choking up again. I am in trouble! I try to pull myself together and clear my throat once more. The door swings open slowly. It’s an old lady. A short crouching figure. She looks up at me and smiles. I take a quick gush of air without her noticing. I smile back, and barely utter, “Good Evening madam [full stop] I am sorry to disturb you [full stop] I’m from the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community [full stop] We are distributing these leaflets [i slowly move my right hand in view, with the leaflet held loosely, for her to see the side with the words, Peace, Equality, Justice and Love, written on it] that contain a message of peace, and information on what is true Islam… something for you to read in your own time [full stop] Would you like to have one?” She looks at the leaflet, then looks at me and with a warm smile replies, “I would. I will definitely read this, thank you”. With those words, i could feel my emotions rising. But with some composure i hand her the leaflet, thank her, whilst simultaneously slightly bowing my head and slowly turning around.
I start walking towards the gate. I try sealing my lips to prevent myself from smiling, but i can’t help it. I can’t stop smiling. The intense walk up to the door, the desired result and the effect on me was a joy quite alien. I felt i could do anything. I was euphoric. If i was a child again i would be running around overwhelmed with happiness. It was like i had just climbed a mountain. I had done it. I distributed a leaflet. I acted on the wishes of my beloved Khalifa. I had delivered a message of Islam, the message of peace to one person. The next experience wasn’t as wonderful, but i was hooked.
I have shared with you a very private moment. I have shared with you a horrific failing within me. I have also shared with you the cure for it, or so that is what i have come to believe. The above was an account of my first leaflet distribution, some 15 months ago. I was a conservative (pardon the pun). Resolved to be reserved, in the preaching of my faith. There is the motive, the words and the actions. We are judged on our motives and actions. Not the words we utter. I can talk all i want, ultimately if i want peace in this world, it is actions that will bring about change (more on this later).
The question that later that night haunted me, was what is the source of my hesitance? I am normally quite a nervous public speaker (well, when you start feeling light-headed, that’s probably overly-nervous), I guess, it’s just not my forte. But you see this reservedness in the proclamation in what one believes, stems from my environment, or part of it anyway. In school, we would discuss God, religion and things concerned. But this would be amongst friends. In the lab, we were taught there is no room for God in Science. Science must stay “pure” of such things, the age of enlightenment came about for a reason, so say the Scientists! In history lessons, God or religion is never mentioned, but if it was it was always associated with violence. God and His religions and His Prophets are for religious education. Time to time in a particular classroom one teacher might dare bring God up, but it was scornfully done. So, though as a youngster i might see the various evidences and come to believe in God and His religions and His Prophets, I was reserved to practice my faith in private, else I must face the scorn of my teachers and friends… some have the courage in born and some must develop it in another manner. Somewhat due to my own temperament, some down to of course my own inner failings, but some down to my environment. Something had to be done. For if this continued, the price of this habit was cowardice!
Generally, I also felt that as a society we are quite conservative and reserved. Maybe, that isn’t true. But that is perception of the life I have in London. Proper conduct, sir. Proper conduct. It is improper knocking on peoples door. It is improper disturbing people on the streets. Not civilized…sir! Not civilized? What does that mean? If people can sell products door to door. If charities can collect money by literally grabbing passer-byes by the arms on the streets, why can’t we sell peace for free?!! No wonder when someone from the Indian subcontinent or the far east visits us, the thing they notice the most is our lack of contact with each other, how relatives living only doors away may only see each other once or twice a fortnight. Being busy has nothing to do with it. How can we proclaim to desire peace if we are not willing to make bonds of friendship and get out of our shells. It is this shyness and absolute belief in a reserved lifestyle. There is “fun”, there is sports, there is science, then there is objectification of men and women, there is drugs and alcohol and all such things, and then in the corner of ones room, there is faith hidden away for no one to see and no one to talk about. Shush! Its improper!
I am not writing all this to have a go at anyone. I am not a mad man, either, I pray. The reason for writing all this is actually to share with you the solution, the cure I earlier mentioned. But I had to put into context and that context may be different for everyone, but I assure you the cure will stay the same, such is the Divine Wisdom bestowed to my beloved Khalifa, such is the nature of the his words.
Next question. Why did Khalifatul Masih V (atba) ask Ahmadi Muslims to partake in leafleting? And not only leafleting by dropping it through a letter box, but by door-to-door knocking?!!
As is the case with all Divine Wisdom, each action has multiple purposes under its guidance. The same goes with this. By getting out there and distributing leaflets containing a message of peace, you rid yourself of any hesitance you may have over time in simply talking about your faith. This applies in anything of course. But in this instance so much is achieved. Apart from the change it brings in you, you have also fulfilled one of the conditions of bai’at that is to spread the message of Islam. By knocking on the door and handing the leaflet in person, you put a face to the message. But alongside it, a scare factor is created within you, which you have to get over. Imagine what our brothers and sisters must feel in Pakistan. They don’t know if they will live or die the next step they take outside the house, (though not even their homes are safe). I wonder if I would have the courage to live in Pakistan and have my life on a swords edge. That fear one feels in going out there and distributing leaflets and putting yourself out there for harm (if that), is only an infinitesimal percentage of what our brothers and sisters must feel in countries like Pakistan and Bangladesh. When i think of them and i think of what i do with the freedom given to me, my head hangs in shame. Shame on me and on all that I possess, if I cannot utilize it for the service of God and His creation!
I am sure we can argue on such trivialities as the superiority of Manchester United over Arsenal. Yet how will such bragging of one sports team over another create peace. Why do you think Ahmadi’s are persecuted? Or why do you think terrorist blow themselves and kill others in the of name of God? Why does racism and sexism or another form such persecution exist? It is lack of education. We all wish to champion this cause of Peace. How do you think the people of Britain are going to be educated about Islam? Television? Internet? Or a young Muslim man knocking on their door to give them a leaflet? Truth is, probably all these methods can be employed and more, but knocking on the door distinguishes us as the champion of peace. Because, the message we give out is that Islam is so important to us that we will leave the comfort of our homes, give up our “precious” time for the service of peace. We will not rest whether it is in the evening or in the morning, we will continue to preach Justice, Equality, Peace and Love. Corny? It is the truth, nonetheless!
This may sound obvious, but I have seen leafleting work miracles on a boy who could barely speak in front of an audience of friends numbering no more than two, to a man who can stand in front of audiences august, presenting arguments that baffle himself, sometimes. That is the transformation I have observed within me. I urge you take hold of this cure Khalifatul Masih(atba) has provided us with, get out their, try it a couple of times, I can assure you that you will see the change in yourself. The question ultimately is, do we have the courage? For me, I am forever altered. I am determined for peace, I am now resolved to preach.