By Fahim Anwer
Imagine that you are living in the early days of Islam. There is a wind of change spreading at an unprecedented rate across the Arabian Peninsula affecting the hearts and minds of many in the region. Men and women are transforming overnight from people worn down by centuries of superstition and savagery into enlightened and reformed individuals. Yet there are many who still cling to the old ways; fighting tooth and nail to keep hold of the grip of power and prestige formed through deep rooted tribal systems. In this world might is right and slavery is common. Those that have joined this new ideology that is being spread are shunned and ridiculed. There is widespread abuse in Mecca upon those that cannot afford to leave the city. Abuse that is both verbal and physical and not limited to men but to women and children as well. A people tortured in ways unimaginable and inhumane, completely stripping them of their dignity and honour.
Just a few hundred kilometers north in a city called Medina, a large number of Muslims under the guidance and leadership of their beloved Master, the Prophet Muhammad (saw), have made their new homes in a city that has welcomed them. Yet they cannot forget the abuse that is occurring in Mecca. Many suffered themselves, but were fortunate enough to escape whilst others have family members still in the city of Mecca. Stories reach their ears every day of the abuse and torture their loved ones have to face on a daily basis. These are very hard times.
The Battle of Badr is still fresh in Muslims minds. The Holy Prophet (saw) made the call to arms to defend their new home and 313 souls bravely responded. Muslims, both young and old, marched over a hundred kilometers to face an army three times their size. With one horse between them, wooden swords in place of metal they could not afford, and other rudimentary weapons, they were surely marching towards their own massacre. Some of those that remained behind in Medina must have thought about this and decided to play it safe and not join a venture they thought doomed. How could the Muslims have even thought about winning, surely the strategy was just to survive? But those 313 did not care about the odds. They had the Hand of Allah on their side and the Chosen beloved of Allah as their leader. These were believers charged with a faith more powerful than the memories of the years of abuse and suffering they and their fellow Muslims were made to endure in Mecca; they now had the chance to stand and defend their rights against their oppressors. The army facing them was filled with seasoned war veterans carrying a superior arsenal of weapons, better armour and many times their number. Despite all this the Muslims still came back to Medina victorious.
This victory stirred the flames of this new religion further. Those that stayed at home during the battle were at a loss. How could they have forsaken the Holy Prophet (saw) in his greatest moment of need? They were filled with shame and dishonour and were now determined to make amends. They determined that whenever the call came from the Leader of the Faithful to defend Islam and the Oneness of God they would stand up and be counted amongst the defenders of the truth against the swords that were being raised against them. From this moment, the Victory of Islam was sealed. The Believers were galvanised and their spirit and zeal became infectious. Hundreds became thousands and victory followed victory. The days of abuse and maltreatment were to come to an end in the Arabian Peninsula and the beauty of the Word of Allah was spreading like a spring breeze across the continent.
Now, compare those early days with present day Islam Ahmadiyya. Thousands of Muslims are being abused and tortured in parts of the world for believing in the fulfillment of the prophecy about the Messiah and Mahdi; many tortured in despicable and humiliating ways. The oppressors against Islam Ahmadiyya are on the offensive and there is a dire need to defend Islam. The Imam Mahdi (as), chosen by Allah as the Arbiter of this age and the greatest servant and lover of the Holy Prophet (saw), has issued the following call to arms:
“… It is with the pen that Islam is being attacked. That is why it is necessary that the pen should be used to rebut the attacks. God the Almighty says in the Holy Qur’an that you should make preparation to defend yourselves with the same kind of weapons as the opponents happen to use. Think of the preparations that the opponents of Islam are now making. They are not lining up the armies. They are publishing magazines and books. We also should, therefore, pick up our pen and answer their attacks with magazines and books.”
And just like 1400 years ago, when a few hundred Muslims stood up and were counted on to defend Islam at its greatest time of need, inspiring thousands more; so now there are thousands of people standing up, once again, to defend Islam, but this time it is with the pen and the keyboard rather than the sword and the spear. These people have taken the responsibility to defend Islam in its prevailing moment of need.
With this opportunity of responsibility in front of all of us, we should not shy away from it either, rather we should embrace it. Through Majlis Ansar Sulatanul Qalam, we have a chance to adopt the path of the early heroes of Islam through the guidance and wisdom of the Promised Messiah (as) and his beloved Khalifatul Masih (aba). It is time to stand up and be counted.