By Kholood Tahir Every year on the last day of Jalsa, we see the international bai’at taking place on the hands of our beloved leader, the Khalifa of the time, Hadhrat Khalifatul Masih V (aba). It is an emotional, heart wrenching moment in which the faiths of thousands of men and women alike are reconfirmed. Never would you ever see this level of faith and passion in the eyes of men in any other possible situation. It is a time of loyalty, of dedicating one’s life for the cause of faith. By taking the bai’at, each and every person present and worldwide sets down their lives and strives to follow one leader to gain nearness to the Lord of All the Worlds: Allah the Almighty. But what is the purpose of bai’at? Is it merely the placing of hands on the shoulder of the man in front of you and repeating the words being spoken out loud?
Bai’at literally means “to sell”, so in this case, to sell oneself for the cause of Islam. Bai’at, also known as the pledge of allegiance is one of the main highlights of Jalsa Salana every year. The passion which is seen through the tears which are shed is proof enough to the fact that bai’at is not a physical but is an emotional and spiritual thing.
Hadhrat Jarir (rh) has narrated in regards to a bai’at taking place in the lifetime of The Holy Prophet (saw) that, ‘’I have given a pledge of allegiance to Allah’s Messenger for to testify that None has the right to be worshipped but Allah, and Muhammad is His Messenger, to offer prayers perfectly, to pay Zakat, to listen to and obey (Allah’s and His Prophet’s orders), and to give good advice to every Muslim.’’
(1) This shows that since The Holy Prophet (saw)’s time till now, we are following the same teachings and have upheld the same purpose for performing bai’at: devoting our lives and pledging our allegiance for the cause of Islam.
Furthermore, The Promised Messiah, Hadhrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad (as) has highlighted that, “This system of bai’at has been established solely to gather a group of righteous people in a Jamaat, so that a weighty group of righteous people should make holy impact to the world. The unity of these righteous people should be a source of blessings, grandeur and positive results for Islam.”
(2) In the three days of Jalsa, thousands upon thousands gather together for one true objective; one true purpose, and one true task: gaining the nearness of Allah. Khilafat has a magnetic grace which keeps us all attached.
Through the leadership of our beloved Khulafa, when we pledge our allegiance we are guided to the right path. When we perform Bai’at and place our hand on the person in front of us, or in the ladies simply repeat the words, we are all connected by spiritual and physical bonds.
This is a chain, a strong and sturdy chain, almost like a spider web. It has the ability to expand unlimitedly. Each bond is just as important and vital as the other. If one bond breaks, the whole chain will fall apart. This is brotherhood. This is Ahmadiyyat. This is Islam.