Muslim community embraces free worship, duties of citizenship
Originally published in The Northwestern
“I solemnly pledge that I shall always be ready to sacrifice my life, wealth, time and honor for the sake of my faith, country and nation.”
These are the monumental words that Ahmadi Muslim youth, whether male or female, profess as part of their pledge to their faith all across the United States of America. There are thousands of Ahmadi Muslim youth that reside here in the States and call this great country their home.
I myself was born in Pakistan, the country for which my forefathers gave their blood – the same country, which, ironically, has labeled me a heretic and disowned me simply for my faith. In 1974, Pakistan’s national assembly decided the fate of my faith by making it part of its constitution that we are not Muslims.
My people have been ostracized, beaten, persecuted and murdered, simply because we believe that the Messiah that the Prophet Muhammad had foretold would come to reform Muslims has already come in the person of Mirza Ghulam Ahmad of Qadian. Following his example and guidance, we present, practice and preach the real form of Islam as introduced by the Prophet Muhammad, which supports tolerance, equality, pluralism, love and peace.
Today, many like myself proudly call United States our home, a country where free practice of one’s faith is guaranteed by the First Amendment of the Constitution. When we embraced United States as our home, this great country and its people embraced us as its citizens. When we fast, we pray for this nation, and we give our time, our honor, our wealth, our blood and our lives for its sake. And whether it’s the armed forces, academia, or any other work force, we are proudly at the forefront of service to our country.
In just the last three years, to honor the victims of 9/11 and other senseless acts of violence – and to emphasize Islam’s teachings regarding the sanctity of life – we have been organizing blood drives across the nation under the title of “Muslims for Life.” In these three years, we have hosted 906 blood drives in more than 168 cities, resulting in 33,350 pints of blood collected – which can potentially save 100,000 American lives. We have volunteered at innumerable soup kitchens, donated millions to serve our brethren in humanity and even now we the Ahmadi Muslims are dying to give back, if you are willing to accept.
In the wake of recent events in the Middle East, we have seen the formation of yet another extremist organization that, in the name of religion, perpetrate a great deal of atrocities against fellow human beings. This time around, the terrorists want to use the name of the global Islamic Caliphate (spiritual leadership) to further their plans against humanity.
But let me put the nip in the bud by setting the record straight that the Islamic concept of caliphate that the terrorist organization ISIS is trying to introduce is alien to Islam and has absolutely nothing to with it whatsoever. The true caliphate can only be established by God after the demise of a prophet and just like prophet hood, caliphate is a spiritual office and not a political one.
The rightly guided caliphate was first established after the demise of the Holy Prophet which lasted only 30 years as was prophesied. The second time the rightly guided caliphate was established in Islam was after the gap of 13 centuries with the advent and then passing away of the Promise Messiah, Hadhrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad. Over a century has passed and the world has seen the true and peaceful Caliphate, under whose guidance, millions of Ahmadi Muslims from over 204 nations across the globe live peacefully, spreading the message of peace, love, compassion, understanding and harmony.
But now, let me turn to those who threaten our great nation in the name of Islam, I tell you truly you have nothing to do with the true teachings of Islam. We are Ahmadi Muslims, standing united with our fellow citizens to keep this country safe from those who seek to harm it. We do so in fulfillment of our pledge of allegiance to our faith and to our country.
We are the sons and the daughters of this great nation, the land of the free and the home of the brave.