The National Head (Amir Sahib) of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Jama’at Nigeria, Barr. Folorunso Azeez Alatoye has condemned the invasion and destruction of Gaza, a city in Palestine by the Israeli government.
Alatoye during a press conference held today at the Jama’at headquarters in Ojokoro, Lagos State, South-west, Nigeria, on the forthcoming Jalsa Salana (Annual Conference) of the Jama’at, called for immediate ceasefire and allowance for humanitarian aid in Gaza.
The Ahmadiyya leader also commiserated with the people of Kaduna State on the tragic incident of accidental bombs dropped on innocent civilians instead of bandits.
On the annual conference, Alatoye noted that over 40,000 guests are expected across Africa at the Jalsa ground in Ilaro, Ogun State.
The full text below:
BEING THE TEXT OF THE ADDRESS BY THE AMIR (NATIONAL HEAD) OF AHMADIYYA MUSLIM JAMA’AT OF NIGERIA AT THE PRESS CONFERENCE ON 2023 JALSA SALANA OF NIGERIA, HELD AT THE CONFERENCE HALL, NATIONAL HEADQUARTERS, OJOKORO, LAGOS, ON 10TH DECEMBER, 2023
Gentlemen of the press,
As-Salaam Alaykum wa Rahmatullah wa Barakaatuh (May the peace and blessings of Allah be upon you).
It pleases me to welcome you all to this press conference.
All praise belongs to Allah. We beseech Him to send His peace and blessings upon the Holy Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him).
I have the honour to announce that Ahmadiyya Muslim Jama’at of Nigeria will hold the 69th edition of her Jalsa Salana (the Annual Conference), beginning from Friday, 22nd through Sunday, 24th December, 2023, at the Conference Ground, Jamia Ahmadiyya, Ilaro-Owode Road, Ilaro, Ogun State.
For this year’s edition, we have chosen the theme: Taqwa: Pathway to Justice and Peace. The rationale behind this theme is informed by the need to address the current appalling and worrisome state of world affairs, in general, and Nigeria, in particular. The conference, therefore, promises to feature a number of sessions where various scholars will deliver lectures addressing various critical issues and aspects of the theme.
Importantly, Taqwa simply means engaging in acts of righteousness and avoiding evils and sins as inspired by the fear of Allah in one’s heart. According to Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad (as) who is the Promised Messiah and Mahdi and Founder of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Jama’at, (as), “Righteousness means that one must be mindful even of the smallest details of the Divine trusts and covenants and also of all the trusts and covenants of one’s fellow beings, as far as it may be possible. That is, one must try to fulfil, to the best of one’s ability, all the requirements in their minutest details,” (Essence of Islam, Vol. I. pp. 347 – 348). The current Khalifa and Supreme Head of the Jama’at, Hazrat Mirza Masroor Ahmad (aba), also stated that, “Righteousness demands one to lead life in accordance with the commandments of God and this includes looking at the consequence of everything one embarks upon and having firm belief that God is watching over everything one does. https://www.alislam.org/friday-sermon/2015-03-06.html
Of course, as current affairs in Nigeria show, there is no doubt that the state of affairs of individual Nigerians and the nation is at critical crossroads. We have continued to wallow in the whirlpool of lack of peace and security as evidenced in an array of security issues, including incessant cases of kidnapping for ransom, and ritual and other forms of crimes and the conflict of ethnic and religious identity and expression etc. Also, we have continued to be plagued by the persisting issues of political and development economy and the concomitant increase in the rate of unemployment and poverty, which is being further affected by the rate of forex instability and the immediate effects of the fuel subsidy removal.
It is important to emphasize that at the root of all these situations lies the case of the decline in our adherence to spiritual and ethical values. Particularly, there is dearth of fear of God, good conscience and self-introspection. Unbridled pursuit of crass materialism or the greed for wealth, power and fame has continued to drive people to engage in all sorts of corrupt and fraudulent practices at all levels of our human existence.
According to the Khalifa (aba), “All this is due to an absence of Taqwa and values have changed. If progress has to be made, true values have to be recognized. The current situation is extremely worrying… Today, in order to restore the name of Islam, to create peace between the masses and the leadership, Taqwa is needed and no one is interested to pay attention to this. What is needed is that everyone turns to God and reflects as to what should be done when there is a situation of: ‘Corruption has appeared on land and sea…’ (Qur’an, 30:42). Huzur said the Qur’an gives its solution as did the Holy Prophet (saw). (Friday Sermon, February 25, 2011).
In many places, the Holy Qur’an enjoins us to uphold Taqwa, justice and fairness in all our affairs. It says, O ye who believe! Be steadfast in the cause of Allah, bearing witness in equity; and let not a people’s enmity incite you to act otherwise than with justice. Be always just, that is nearer to righteousness. And fear Allah. Surely, Allah is aware of what you do (Qur’an, 5:9). “And if the people of those towns had believed and been righteous, We would have surely opened for them blessings from heaven and earth; but they disbelieved, so We seized them because of that which they used to earn.” (Qur’an, chapter 7 verse 97). “And he who fears Allah, He will make for him a way out, and will provide for him from where he expects not,” (Qur’an, 65:3-4). “And fear Allah that you may prosper,” (Qur’an, 3:131).
As the Khalifa (aba) has also declared, “The basic lesson that the Founder of the Ahmadiyya community (as) has given us is that peace cannot be established without justice. And justice cannot be established without forming a relationship with the Higher Being. A relationship with the Creator of this world is a prerequisite for justice,” (https://www.alislam.org/articles/recognition-of-creator-required-for-world-peace/).
Unless they consider this, they will continue to increase in worldly greed. Taqwa is attained by connecting to God, indeed Taqwa is attained by adopting the ways shown by the Holy Prophet (saw). (Friday Sermon, February 25, 2011).
Speaking further, he said, “Today, the world is in desperate need that it should adopt this attitude at every level, of recognizing its Creator and fulfilling the rights due to His Creation. The people of the world should not only be concerned for their own rights, but should also look at their own obligations and be concerned for the welfare of others. This principle should apply at an individual level, a national level and an international level. It should be adopted by national leaders and should also be observed by the major nations of the world. Without this any effort that takes place will only have a temporary effect, and will not guarantee permanent peace.” (https://www.alislam.org/articles/recognition-of-creator-required-for-world-peace/)
By the grace of Allah, over 40 thousand participants are being expected from across the country, including political, traditional and religious leaders, among others.
The Conference will also feature special daily and night prayer sessions for the prosperity, development, peace and security of Nigeria, innocent people of Palestine the world and humanity in general. We condemn any act of violence against civilians whether by Hamas or Israel. We call for immediate ceasefire and allowance for humanitarian aid in Gaza.
We also join in calling for the two states solution where no one country will be a police force to the other. We call on the USA to stop supplying ammunitions to Israel for the extermination of the Palestinian race. All these will be impossible without the fear of God or devotion to righteousness. We commiserate with the people of Kaduna State with the accident that happened on the day of their Maulud Nabbiy in which the military accidentally dropped bombs on innocent civilians celebrating instead of the bandits. May Allah grant us peace in Nigeria.
Conclusively, as the Khalifa (aba) has declared, “In expounding the objectives of Jalsa, while the Promised Messiah (on whom be peace) spoke of worship, Tabligh (preaching), Taqwa and many other aspects, he specifically mentioned paying the dues of people, in particular compassion for mankind. If genuine sympathy for mankind is generated, the fulfilment of dues of people is accomplished. The Promised Messiah (on whom be peace) drew attention to worship, devotion to God and Taqwa and along with this and with similar intensity, he drew attention to gentleness, brotherhood, humility and meekness… We come to the Jalsa for spiritual development and while we keep worship and remembrance of God in view here, we should also pay attention to mutual love and friendship and sympathy. (Friday Sermon, June 1st, 2012).
In this light, the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community urges the political class to reduce, moderate the ostentatious lifestyles and make sacrifices to the people, as the economic situations in Nigeria is becoming unbearable.
While we believe in hope, cheering news on revival of the refineries in Port-Harcourt and coming on stream of Dangote refinery at the end of December keep Nigerians’ hope alive for reduction in prices of petroleum products. The Ahmadiyya Muslim Community, therefore, urges Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) and Dangote Group to ensure that refined petroleum products get to the people at affordable prices.
Long live Federal Republic of Nigeria.
Once again, I welcome you all.
Assalamu alaikum warahmatullahi wabarakatuhu
Alatoye, Folorunso Azeez
Amir (National Head), Ahmadiyya Muslim Jama’at of Nigeria.