By Talat Syam
Each year at Jalsa every Ahmadi Muslim looks forward to the International Bai’at. This initiation ceremony is televised and is watched by millions of members all over the world. New converts who join the Jama’at during the year have a chance to take a pledge of allegiance at the blessed hand of Huzoor-e-Anwar (aba). This is also a perfect chance for Ahmadi Muslims to renew their faith and bring a change within themselves. It is a very blessed occasion which many Ahmadis look forward to, giving them a chance to uplift themselves spiritually and purify themselves.
The Bai’at is performed in the following manner. Hazrat Khalifatul-Masih (aba) stretches out his right hand; people who are sitting close to him put their hands under his blessed hand whilst others put their hands on the shoulders of these people to make a continuous human chain linked with Huzoor (aba). Everyone in the assembly puts their hands on the shoulders of the person in front, thereby the entire gathering is connected with each other leading up to Huzoor (aba). Huzoor (aba) recites a portion of the words of Bai’at in English, he then pauses so the portion is translated into various languages. When the whole text of the Bai’at is completed, Huzoor (aba) recites the Istighfar (seeking forgiveness from Allah) whilst everyone repeats after him. At the end everybody prostrates along with Huzoor (aba).
In the 1880’s, the Promised Messiah (as) wrote Barahin-e-Ahmadiyyah for the defence of Islam which was well received by many Muslims. Upon this publication, a well-known elder Hazrat Sufi Ahmed Jan sahib (ra) insisted that the Promised Messiah (as) take a pledge of allegiance from people. The Promised Messiah (as) replied that he was not commanded by God to do so as of yet. Then on the 1st December 1888 the Promised Messiah (as) published an announcement entitled ‘Propagation’, in which he stated that God Almighty has commanded him to receive a pledge of allegiance from those seekers of truth who wish to acquire true faith and purity.
On 12th January 1889, the Promised Messiah (as) published a pamphlet in which he laid down ten conditions of Bai’at for initiation into the Jamaat. These conditions were in line with the commands of God Almighty and the Holy prophet (sa).
On 23rd March 1889, Huzoor (as) started taking the oath of allegiance at the house of Hazrat Sufi Ahmad Jan sahib (ra) in the city of Ludhiana. Thus he laid the foundation of the Ahmadiyya Movement in Islam. Hazrat Hakim Maulvi Nooruddin (ra) was the first person to have the honour of being the first to give Bai’at.
The first International Bai’at (initiation ceremony) took place in 1993 Jalsa Salana during the caliphate of Hazrat Khalifatul-Masih IV (rh). This is now held every year on the occasion of the Jalsa Salana UK and Germany.