All religions in their diversity have a unique set of religious observances and these beliefs and practices help members to live in harmony.
Pledging allegiance at the hand of the Khalifa (spiritual leader) is one of the many devotional practices within the Islamic tradition.
The exercise which dates back to the times of Prophet Muhammed is a notable hallmark within Ahmadiyya Islam where new followers pledge their allegiance while old members reaffirm theirs.
It is indeed a spectacular sight at the last day of Jalsa Salana where thousands of people form a long chain from the hand of the Khalifa and a million others from across the world connect via satellite proclaiming their devoted pledge in unison while repeating after their leader Mirza Masroor Ahmad.
One is then left to wonder what is the secret behind all this.
ZBC News spoke to Sheikh Muhamad Kaire and Issa Wema at the just ended Ahmadiyya Muslim annual convention (Jalsa Salana).
“You are saying that you are going to purify yourself, you are swearing that you are going to desist from all the previous sins you were committing, be clean and obey the teachings of God and his prophet. Infact in the Holy Quran, God is saying when the holy prophet put his hand on the people who took baiat it was not the prophet’s hand but God’s hand, so God has approved it,” Sheikh Kaire said.
Whenever God sends a prophet, the followers are required to offer him maximum support and maximum obedience.
Whoever is initiated into his organisation or jamaat is required to take a baiat.
Initially a follower who has accepted to get initiated in the fold of the prophet has to hold the hand of the prophet and utter words of allegiance commit himself to that prophet because they are teachers of the world.
The Ahmadiyya Muslim community was established in India in 1889 by Hadhrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmadi and is now under the fifth Khalifa Mirza Masroor Ahmad.
Besides giving spiritual insights, the community champions the spread of world peace under their motto: “Love for All, Hatred for None”.