International Bai’at: The concept of Loyalty In Islam
By Rana Atta- ur Rehman mta intl
Sunday! That’s the day when we all sit lines, radiating out from that blessed central point with our hand upon the shoulder of the person in front of us - all of us symbolically touching Huzoor’s hand, and for the lucky few in the centre , actually touching his hand. This Sunday comes once a year, every year, and every year the oath we repeat after our khalifa, remains the same. . That oath is a pact that we make with Allah, a spiritual contract in which we promise to give our loyalty towards Allah.
The word ‘Bai’at’ is an Arabic word which means to sell. In this context, when we the members of the Jama’at Ahmadiyya perform bait at the hands of the Khalifa, we symbolically sell our souls to God through the hands of the man that has been commissioned by him. This is why the spirit of Bai’at it is that of a holy status. Historically, sages and saints of Islam used to give their oath of allegiance to the saint or Sufi that they believed was the man that would guide them to salvation. To completely offer your services to someone and to trust your soul with him takes a lot of courage and thoughtful consent when making such a decision. That’s why the Annual Bai’at means so much to us.
What makes a great leader? His ability to make crucial decisions for the betterment of his followers? Yes. However, he who makes dedicated followers who will face up to anything for the sake of their leader and his word, is actually the great leader. Loyalty is the biggest asset any leader could need, more powerful than money and land. A great leader like the Holy Prophet (saw) didn’t win the loyalty of his followers without showing his loyalty towards God. He refused riches, the most beautiful women of Arabia and, and a kingdom only so that he can continue the mission assigned to him by an unseen power - a mission that had put his life in danger, and lost him his friends and family, and status. Bai’at has always been an emotional event. When the first bait took place, the delegation of Madina offered their sincere hearts in an instant that was filled with love and dedication. These were the same Muslims who gave the assurance to the Prophet that they would fight in for the sake of Islam when needed. The Holy Prophet acknowledged this loyalty of the Muslims of Madina by refusing to return main in his beloved home city of Mecca, even after its conquest.
Eventually the day came when the greatest Loyalty of Muslims was recorded in the Holy Quran itself, when all those Muslim men pledged to lay down their lives for the cause of Islam. The incident is more commonly known as ‘Bait Rizwan’ and it took place 6 years after migration to Madina. God Almighty states :
Surely, Allah was well pleased with the believers when they were swearing allegiance to thee under the Tree, and He knew what was in their hearts, and He sent down tranquillity on them, and He rewarded them with a victory near at hand;
The Promised Messiah (as) was the become the living spiritual reflection of the Holy Prophet (saw). He gained this stature due to his unconditional love and loyalty for the Holy Prophet. He once refused to answer the greeting of Pundit Laikh Ram by saying “How dare you offer me greeting even though you curse my master?”
So while it is easy to sit there on Sunday, and repeat the words of the Bai’at after Huzoor. It is much harder is to actually implement them in our lives from thereon till the day we die. Our spiritual levels vary throughout the year. Off course, it isn’t a simple task to maintain the best of our standards. That’s why we get the opportunity each year to renew this oath. Those who can attend the Jalsa Salana, are truly blessed, and hopefully they realise this. There are millions of people around the world that would die to be in your place. Make the most of it!