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Articles Section > Muhammad Ali Keeskamp [The Importance of Propagating Islam] by Nasir Ahmad Sahib

Muhammad Ali Keeskamp
[The Importance of Propagating Islam]:
Address delivered at Stichting Ishaat-i Islam, Hague on 15 October, 2000, by Nasir Ahmad

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And who is better in speech than one who calls to Allah and does good, and says: I am surely of those who submit? And not alike are the good and the evil. Repel (evil) with what is best, when lo! he between whom and thee is enmity would be as if he were a warm friend. And none is granted it but those who are patient, and none is granted it but the owner of a mighty good fortune (41:33-35).

In the verses which I have just recited, Allah has emphasised the importance of the work of inviting people to Islam and has regarded it as the noblest of all works. The Holy Prophet (pbuh) has also stressed the excellence of acquiring knowledge of religion when he said that the two best fields of knowledge are knowledge of religion and knowledge of the human body. We all know that a correct knowledge of religion keeps a man spiritually healthy and similarly, a correct knowledge of the human body ensures health to human beings.

But Allah has pointed out a very important pre-condition for a person who engages himself in the work of preaching and that is, that he should be a person who acts upon what he preaches. That is why Allah admonishes a Muslim who does not act upon what he says, in the following words:

O you who believe, Why say you that which you do not? It is the most hateful in the sight of Allah that you say that which you do not (61:2-3)

This reminds me of an interesting incident from the life of Hazrat Maulana Nur-ud-Din, the most learned and saintly follower of the Founder of the Ahmadiyya Movement, Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad. A member of the Jama’at had brought his son for Hazrat Maulana to advise him not to take too much raw sugar as it was affecting his health. Hazrat Maulana asked him to bring the boy the next day. The person brought his son the next day. Hazrat Maulana simply told him not to take too much raw sugar in future, as it was not good for his health. The person said in surprise: "Hazrat Maulana, this simple advice you could have given my son yesterday, why did you ask me to bring him again today?" Hazrat Maulana explained to the man that as he himself was fond of raw sugar, he did not think it proper to advise the boy yesterday. "Now," he said, "I have decided not to take raw sugar in future."

So brothers and sisters, see how essential it is to act upon what one preaches for only then does one’s preaching go deep into one’s heart.

The next important point emphasised in these verses is that while doing the noble task of preaching, one faces difficulties and abuses and in order to achieve good results, Allah exhorts us to be patient and tolerant and to show utmost humility and kindness to others. This is the way to win over even one’s worst enemies. The Ahmadiyya Movement stands for the defence and propagation of Islam and that is why the Founder of the Ahmadiyya Movement, in keeping with this injunction of the Holy Qur’an, exhorted us to be humble and kind. Listen to his simple but inspiring couplet originally rendered in Urdu:

Pray for those who abuse you and offer comfort to those who hurt you.
When you meet the haughty and proud, be humble.

In my humble opinion, a preacher or one working for the cause of Islam also derives tremendous good out of this noble work, as he becomes more conscious about his own weaknesses and tries to correct them. The Holy Qur’an repeatedly enjoins us to live this life in a way that it may bring lasting peace and blessings for us in the Hereafter as it says:

He indeed is successful who purifies himself and remembers the name of his Lord, then prays. But you prefer the life of this world, while the Hereafter is better and more lasting (87:14-17).

Brothers and sisters, again we find that the Holy Imam of the present time, Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad, in keeping with this injunction of the Holy Qur’an, has laid down an important condition for his followers to always keep religion above the world.

Here I may tell you about a very interesting book in Urdu recently published in Lahore, Pakistan, entitled Masih ki Hindi Injeel which means The Indian Gospel of Jesus. It is a translation of discourses and exhortations of the Prophet Jesus (pbuh) that he delivered during his travels towards the Eastern countries after he escaped death on the cross. About thirty years ago, in the year 1969, a scholarly book about these discourses and exhortations entitled The Crucible of Christianity was published in England. Its foreword was written by the well-known historian and research scholar, Arnold Toynbee.

As you all know, the Prophet Jesus (pbuh) always talked in similes and parables and tried to explain difficult points of spiritual truths and realities in the form of stories. The Indian Gospel of Jesus contains an interesting story about three friends which highlights one’s efforts for worldly gains and its consequences in the life hereafter.

The story runs like this: A person had three friends. Of the three, one was very dear to him. He always preferred him and fulfilled all his wishes and ambitions, and so he was ready to do anything for his friend. At times he risked his own life in order to save his friend and was always on the look-out to serve him in any manner in order to show this friend that he was very dear to him.

His second friend was also dear to him, but this friendship was not so warm in love and affection as compared to the first one. The person showered all sorts of kindness and comfort on him. He spent all his wealth and sacrificed his time and attention for the progress and prosperity of his friend. In fact, this friend of his was always uppermost in his mind. In short, he was the main focus of his attention.

His third friend did not receive much attention and warmth. Rather, at times he would be rude to this one of his friends. Though he loved him to some extent yet it was more or less superficial.

Now it so happened that this person fell victim to some difficult times. The ruler of the country became annoyed with him and ordered him to appear before him to clear his position regarding certain charges levelled against him. As a human being and in this sudden crisis in his life, he became very upset and nervous and in utter dismay and confusion he went to his best friend for help and guidance. He reminded him that he had always been extremely generous and kind to him and at times he put his own life and honour at risk to save him from dangerous situations and that now he needed his help. His friend asked him to say in what way he could help him to take him out of this very serious and difficult situation. The friend said: "I have many friends like you and all are dear to me. I cannot risk my life and honour for you only and leave others for your sake. I can help you a little bit, but that will not be of much use to you."

The person became very upset and went to the second friend. This friend of his was always uppermost in his mind and he spent much of his time, wealth and attention in providing all possible comfort to him and in building up his future to be sound and prosperous. The person asked his second friend about how he was going to help him in a situation when he needed his all-out support and help. The friend said: "My dear friend! I am in great difficulty myself. How can I spare my time and attention to solve your problem? I am afraid in this situation you may consider me as if I am not your friend because I am not in a position to offer you any help. Still, I can go along with you to a certain extent, but cannot go a long way beyond my limits."

Now the person had no alternative but to go his third friend, towards whom he paid very little attention in his good days; rather at times he injured his feelings by being rude and indifferent to him. He pleaded with him in these words: "O my friend, it is true that when I was rolling in wealth and honour I did not care for you and did little to strengthen the bond of friendship with you. My dear friend! I am ashamed of what I did to you in the past. Today I am left with no friends to help me. You are the only friend left and my fate totally depends on your support. Please, let me know in what way you can help me in getting out of this difficult situation." The third friend said: "Do not worry. I will help and support you in all possible ways. Whatever little you gave me during your time of prosperity, I invested it in business and by the grace of God it yielded me tremendous wealth. I consider all this wealth of mine as your trust. I am sure with this much wealth and my pleading your case before the king, he will be pleased and will know the real truth about your loyalty and nobility."

After listening to the comforting words of his third friend, the person said to himself: "Should I express my astonishment at the way my third friend has extended all-out support and encouragement to me, in spite of the fact that I had always been rude and indifferent to him, or should I express my sorrow and disappointment regarding my two friends for whom I spent all my wealth, love and affection and for whom at times I even risked my life to save them and establish their honour and prosperity - friends who have now turned their backs upon me at this crucial time of my life?"

Prophet Jesus (pbuh) explains the parable in this way: The first friend is one’s wealth. The second friend is one’s children and members of one’s family, and the third friend is his good deeds which will bring him ultimate peace and happiness in the life after death. The sudden coming of the crisis in the life of the person is death which comes suddenly, and worldly wealth and relationships at that time fail to offer any help or respite. The king is the Lord before Whom one appears after death to account for what he has done in the life in this world.

So brothers and sisters, good deeds are always a life-assurance for both lives; that is, the life on this earth and the life hereafter. May Allah give us wisdom and courage to pay more attention to this most important aspect of our lives.

I am extremely pleased that the Stichting Ahmadiyya Ishaat-i Islam, Hague, has organised this auspicious occasion to honour and pay tribute to our extremely respected elder, Brother Yahya Muhammad Ali Keeskamp. About his life and achievements you have just heard a very well-prepared document by our learned brother, Muhammad Abdallah Hans Drost, so I need not go into these details.

Brother Yahya is truly a man of faith and a man of action as depicted in the verses recited by me in the beginning. He is a worthy spiritual disciple of his namesake, the late Hazrat Maulana Muhammad Ali, and like him, has been constantly serving the cause of Islam since he came in contact with the Ahmadiyya Movement in Indonesia in 1935. He has been writing articles and publishing periodicals in Dutch presenting the beauties and rational interpretation of the teachings of Islam as expounded by the Founder of the Ahmadiyya Movement. It is a great honour for me to be present here this afternoon to witness such an inspiring person performing the opening ceremony of a library which will always stand as a constant tribute to his love for knowledge and his dedication to the cause of Islam. Any criticism against Islam or the Ahmadiyya Movement makes him restless and he replies to it at the earliest opportunity in a very logical and authentic way.

It is not a secret to tell you that he has a valuable treasure of books on Islam in Dutch published by the Lahore Ahmadiyya Anjuman in Indonesia and books written by other leading Muslim and Western scholars. I am sure Stichting Ahmadiyya Ishaat-i Islam will very much like to arrive at a mutual agreement with him as to how the readers of this library can derive benefit from this treasury of books collected by him.

At this point I will also like to pay my best regards to Sister Attiya, a worthy life-partner of our brother, Yahya Muhammad Ali Keeskamp. The word Attiya means "a gift". And undoubtedly she has proven herself to be a gift of Allah to Brother Yahya Muhammad Ali. She entered the fold of Islam at the hand of our missionary in the UK, the late Dr. Nazir-ul Islam. Since her marriage, she has been sharing the task of serving the cause of Islam along with her husband. May Allah keep both of them in health and happiness.

Today Brother Yahya Muhammad Ali Keeskamp also completes 87 years of his life – a life truly dedicated to the cause of truth. May Allah grant him many more years to continue this noble task of guiding people to the path of truth and righteousness.

On my behalf and on behalf of the Central Anjuman in Lahore, Pakistan, I extend my profound felicitations to Brother Yahya Muhammad Ali on his literary achievements and well-earned honour as a selfless servant of Islam. May Allah bless him and his wife. May Allah also bless everyone present here and enable us to contribute our share to the cause of Islam. Remember, as Ahmadis we have pledged ourselves to hold religion above the world.

O Lord! Accept our supplications as You are the Most Gracious in Hearing and in Knowing.


Articles Section > Muhammad Ali Keeskamp [The Importance of Propagating Islam] by Nasir Ahmad Sahib


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