Monday, August 24, 2015

100 Years of Silsila Ahmadiyya in Mauritius

The Ahmadiyya Movement in Islam, founded by Hadhrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad (as) of Qadian, originated in British India in the latter half of the 19th century. At a time when the spiritual crises of the Muslim world was graphically reflecting in the dismal political fortunes of the Muslim Ummah everywhere, Hadhrat Ahmad (as) announced his Divinely-ordained mission as the promised Massih of the Later Days and as the Al Imam Al Mahdi of the Fourteenth century of the Islamic Era, to rejuvenate the Faith.

Muslims, who accepted his spiritual claims and enrolled themselves in the Anjuman, have come to be known as the Ahmadi Muslims. Although they constitute a miniscule minority within the larger Muslim population of 1.7 Billion, the different denominations of Ahmadis- including the Jamaat-e-Ahmadiyya Qadian and the Lahore Ahmadiyya Anjuman- are now found in almost all parts of the world.

The birth of the Ahmadiyya Movement in the Indian subcontinent and the story of its remarkable spread abroad over the course of the last century represent an important Chapter in the religious history of our times. This episode from the modern, living history of man is a standing testimonial to the continuing spiritual appeal and religious vitality of Islam as a way of life. 

Ahmadiyyat expanded and revitalized the spiritual horizon of Muslims and others through its very outlook on important spiritual questions that troubles modern minds. By bringing Divine Revelations back to the realm of individual spiritual experience and to the agenda of religious debates as an enduring, unstoppable path to the Divine, Hadhrat Ahmad (as) unveiled spiritual treasures long considered closed and forbidden.  Islam’s original call of “Laa Ilaah Illallah” -(There is no deity, but Allah)- get revitalized every time Allah (swt) raises His Messenger with the Message and to be a practical model to the people of his times.       
In an illuminating essay, published as a special Book by the Jamaat Ul Sahih Al Islam International to commemorate the centennial of the Silsila Ahmadiyya in Mauritius, Hadhrat Khalifatullah Munir Ahmad Azim Saheb (atba), provides a fascinating glimpse into the early days of Ahmadiyyat in the Mauritius island located far away (from India), in the vast Indian Ocean. He portraits the devout souls of the Island who, despite all the hurdles of time and space, searched out for the vital signs of a living faith in the message of Ahmadiyyat and embraced it without hesitation, when they  recognized the veracity of the promised Massih (as). 

As it happened, Mauritius was among the first countries out of India, where the message of Islam as taught by Hadhrat Ahmad (as) reached to be embraced by sincere truth seekers. As early as 1907, during the very lifetime of the promised Massih (as), a noble soul in Mauritius spread the noble message of Ahmadiyyat among his people. The Silsila Ahmadiyya Mauritius was officially formed in June 1915 with the advent of the first official missionary of the Jamaat, Maulvi Sufi Ghulam Muhammad Saheb B.A., a distinguished companion of the promised Massih (as) to preach the message of Ahmadiyyat and the veracity of the promised Massih (as).

It is of historic record and of special note of spiritual significance for us that the noble grandparents of the Khalifatullah Hadhrat Munir Ahmad Azim Saheb (atba) of Mauritius were among the guiding lights of Ahmadiyyat in Mauritius from its very early days. The paternal grandparents of the Khalifatullah (atba) hail from India, like many others of their generation who migrated during the British times. They- Abdullah Azim Saheb and Salarby Sakassim Rustom Saheba (most commonly known as Banu Rustom) embraced Ahmadiyyat after they received it from their colleague, Noormamode Nooraya Sahib, the first Ahmadi Muslim of Mauritius in 1912. The spiritual strength of the early believers allowed them to tide over the burning trials of severe opposition and unbridled hostility of those who differed with them.   

The book narrates the story of the Ahmadiyya movement in Mauritius through a description of the contributions and struggles of the early Ahmadi missionaries in the Island, without hiding the episodes involving the differences among Ahmadis in the ebb and flow of time. The book, further, provides a brief account of the new Divine Manifestation in Mauritius through the advent of the Khalifatullah Hadhrat Munir Ahmad Azim Saheb (atba) and its spiritual and historic significance in the history of Ahmadiyyat.. The Divine Manifestation in Mauritius provides continuity to the message of Ahmadiyyat through the raising of a Messenger of Allah with Divine revelations in the New Century. As such, the record requires serious attention and copious study by all sincere truth seekers.

All Ahmadis believe that Divine revelations are a great blessing on the community and that it will continue to emerge in the centuries to come or till the Day of Judgement. And that what matters in true spiritual conception is the Divine Decree in this regard and that believers are under an obligation to be on alert to Divine blessings on offer whenever that happens, especially with the advent of a new century when the renewal of Islam takes shape, as per the great prophecy of the Holy Prophet of Islam (sa). In short, what it means to be a Muslim keeps changing in every age with the renewal of Islam through Divinely-inspired souls.

At a time when Ahmadis are still largely organized under a temporal leadership of ‘Khilafat’/ under a man-made chief entitled ‘Khalifa’, with the advent of a Divinely-raised Khalifatullah (atba), what is on trial for common Ahmadis is the very meaning of being an Ahmadi in our times.  Those who are truly mindful of Allah (swt) among the Ahmadis shall not and cannot be enamoured of their religious chieftains, howsoever lofty they may place them in the secular order of things. For all such sincere truth-seekers, the book of Centennial reflections on the Silsila  Ahmadiyya in Mauritius is a compulsory reading.

The Book can be accessed here