COVID-19 – Part 2
A Personal Account
By Abid Khan
The past year has proven unlike any other in living memory. Covid-19 has disrupted our lives and caused pain and misery all around the world.
During the summer of 2020, it appeared, all too briefly, that things were improving. Yet, as I write these words in the first week of January 2021, the virus shows little sign of abating.
It has been over a month since the UK became the first country in the world to approve a coronavirus vaccine, at which point, I asked Hazrat Khalifatul Masih V (aba) if it meant that Islamabad might soon re-open.
In reply, Huzoor said:
“It will remain closed until the authorities officially declare that it is safe for society to reopen as normal. We will not take any undue risks, rather it is necessary to be cautious. Just because the vaccine has come does not mean everything will be ok in a few weeks, it will take some time.”
Though Islamabad remains closed for now and though our Jalsas and Ijtemas have been cancelled during the course of the past year, the progress of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community has continued to go from strength to strength under the guidance of Hazrat Khalifatul Masih V (aba).
Every moment of Huzoor’s life continues to be spent in the service of Islam and in ensuring that the mission of the Promised Messiah (as) continues to be fulfilled.
Though the pandemic has raged and suspended life as we have known it, with the help of modern technology, the relationship between the Khalifa-Waqt and the members of the Jamaat worldwide remains as strong as ever.
In June, I wrote a diary about the early days of the pandemic. Now, in this second part, I will seek to share certain incidents and memories of the latter part of 2020 in relation to the guidance I have personally received from Hazrat Khalifatul Masih V (aba).
A New Chapter Opens
During a Mulaqat in mid-July, I mentioned to Huzoor that an Ahmadi friend had asked if it was possible for family Mulaqats to resume in the near future.
Upon this, Huzoor said:
“It is not possible for family Mulaqats to resume yet but in a few weeks, I am going to start online meetings with those delegations from abroad that were due to come to the UK in March and April but were unable to do so because of Covid. When these meetings start you should attend.”
I was intrigued by the prospect and extremely grateful that Huzoor had instructed me to attend. Since the first national lockdown in the UK in March, I had been travelling to Islamabad weekly and so I was happy I would be able to attend more frequently. Even more than that, it occurred to me that if the initial online meetings went well, it could be something that continued and expanded in the future. It could enable many more people to have the blessed opportunity to directly meet and interact with Huzoor.
After several weeks of anticipation, the first virtual meeting took place late afternoon on 15 August 2020 with over 220 members of Majlis Atfal-ul-Ahmadiyya from Canada.
As I entered Huzoor’s office, a large television screen was positioned directly opposite Huzoor’s desk, at exactly the same place where people who had Mulaqats in Huzoor’s office would normally be seated.
A chair was placed to the side of Huzoor’s desk and as I entered, Huzoor said:
“یہ کرسی تمہارے لیے ہے۔ بیٹھ جاؤ۔”
“This chair is for you. You may sit down.”
Munir Odeh sahib (Director Production, MTA International) placed before Huzoor a remote control to adjust the volume if needed. With that, he asked Huzoor if they were permitted to connect the video-call and Huzoor signalled his approval.
Almost instantly, the Canadian Atfal, who were gathered at the Baitul Islam Mosque in Peace Village stood as one and, upon seeing them, Huzoor smiled.
The moment Huzoor said “Assalamo Alaikum” was a genuinely spine tingling moment.
A minute or two later, Munir Odeh sahib and Munir Javed sahib (Private Secretary) both left Huzoor’s office and I felt truly privileged to remain at Huzoor’s side during what felt a truly historic moment for our Jamaat. It genuinely felt like history was being written in front of our eyes.
As I watched Huzoor preside the meeting and personally call upon the various children to come forward and ask questions, I kept thinking of the prospect of Ahmadis from all nations and continents potentially having the chance to meet Huzoor through the medium of modern technology.
Most of all, I thought of the Ahmadis in Pakistan, especially those who have not the means to travel, that perhaps they would have now have increased hope of meeting Huzoor.
At the same time, I prayed that Huzoor felt comfortable and at ease. There were a few moments where Huzoor did not hear the questions of some of the Atfal but that was more to do with their strong Canadian accents, rather than any technical issue. At those occasional moments, I was able to clarify the questions to Huzoor.
The highlight of that first meeting, for me at least, was when, in response to a question about when he would next visit Canada, Huzoor said:
“Through the means of this meeting, I feel as though I am in Canada. I can see the Mosque and the exact spot where I was interviewed by a Canadian journalist. I can see the hall where many of you are sitting. It is as if I am with you!”
It was the moment where I thought that this was something that would Insha’Allah continue in the future and be a means of strengthening the bond of mutual love between Khalifa-Waqt and Ahmadi Muslims around the world.
Nonetheless, as the meeting concluded, Munir Odeh sahib and I waited with bated breaths for Huzoor’s own reaction and we both felt a surge of relief and joy when Huzoor indicated his approval after the meeting ended.
I mentioned immediately that we would like to show some parts of the meeting on MTA in ‘This Week with Huzoor’ so that Ahmadis around the world could benefit and also see for themselves how the virtual Mulaqat had transpired.
Upon this, Huzoor graciously said:
“Yes, you can show it. It will be a good thing.”
Travelling the world during the Pandemic
Alhamdulillah, ever since that first Virtual Mulaqat, we have been able to resume the weekly programme ‘This Week with Huzoor’ and have in the past few months had the honour to show Huzoor’s meetings with various National Majlis-e-Amilas, Missionaries, the auxiliary organisations, Jamia and Waqf-e-Nau classes amongst others.
There have been occasional moments during the virtual Mulaqats where there have been some slight technical issues, yet overall, these meetings have progressed smoothly and each week it has felt as though I am travelling with Huzoor to places new and old.
Indeed, a day before his meeting with Jamia Ahmadiyya Indonesia, Huzoor said to me:
“کل انڈونیشین جامعہ کے ساتھ کلاس ہے اسلئے تم کل میرے ساتھ انڈونیشیا کی سیر کر لینا، ادھر بیٹھے بیٹھے۔”
“Tomorrow there is a class with the Indonesian Jamia and so you can visit Indonesia with me tomorrow, whilst sitting here.”
In response, I said:
“جزاک اللہ حضور! اور اللہ کرے آپ کے ساتھ اصل میں بھی انڈونیشیا کے دورے پر جانے کا موقع ملے۔”
“Jazak’Allah Huzoor! And I pray that one day I am able to physically travel with you to Indonesia.”
In each Mulaqat the participants have been blessed with the wisdom, guidance and prayers of Khalifa-Waqt. Jamaat Amilas have been motivated and received the answers to their issues.
Missionaries, including those who have qualified and those who are still studying in Jamia, have received the direct guidance of Hazrat Khalifatul Masih.
With patience and love, Huzoor gives time to all participants to speak to him and answers as many questions as is possible.
Many of the meetings have overrun and yet still the feedback received from the participants is that they wished the meetings could have continued even longer.
It is also noticeable how much interest and concern Huzoor has for those who attend.
At the start of almost every meeting, Huzoor has confirmed if the participants are sitting in a Covid-secure environment and complying with the laws and official guidance in their countries. Similarly, Huzoor often asks if those present have been suitably fed.
Recently, a member of Atfalul Ahmadiyya who participated in a virtual Mulaqat, wrote to me that he and the other boys were asked to arrive two hours before the start of the Mulaqat and that the hall they were seated in was particularly cold. He wrote that as soon as the meeting started, he forgot about any discomfort and just enjoyed the blessing of meeting with Huzoor.
Later, I mentioned this to Huzoor. I was looking at the boy’s comment through the lens of his love for Khilafat and how the meeting had left a strong impression upon him and increased his faith. Yet, Huzoor noted the boy’s comment through the lens of his love and concern for the children of the Jamaat.
Thus, in reply, Huzoor said:
“You should immediately contact the Sadr Khuddam in that country and ask him why the children were made to sit in the cold. They should have proper arrangements of heating and look after each of the children with love and kindness.”
With the Grace of Allah, with each week that passes, more delegations and Jamaats are having the chance to meet Huzoor. It is with much anticipation that I look forward to seeing the schedule of which Jamaats are to have the honour of a Mulaqat with Huzoor in the weeks ahead.
Alhamdulillah, the virtual Mulaqats have been pleasing to Huzoor. This was confirmed to me, a few days after Huzoor met with the National Majlis-e-Amila of Mauritius.
During Mulaqat, Huzoor said:
“These (virtual) Mulaqats are having a beneficial effect as I am able to speak directly to Ahmadis in different countries. They are able to explain their issues directly to me and I am able to give my instructions directly to them. It is a means of bringing the Jamaat even closer together and shows how the progress of the Jamaat will continue in all circumstances, Insha’Allah – even in a state of a pandemic.”
In September, I had submitted an article to Huzoor about my late father, Dr Hameed Ahmad Khan, for approval. The article had been written on Huzoor’s instruction and I hoped very much that he would like it.
In the past, whenever I had submitted anything to Huzoor for approval, it had always been returned extremely quickly. However, this particular article remained with Huzoor for a few weeks.
I thought that probably Huzoor had been too busy to review it but a small part of me feared that Huzoor had read it but not liked it.
One afternoon in mid-October, whilst I was working at my desk, I received an email from the Private Secretary’s Office.
Attached was a PDF of the article and on the front page was a long handwritten Urdu note. I recognised Huzoor’s handwriting immediately and, given the significant length of the note, I feared very much that my article had displeased Huzoor.
It takes me a while to read Urdu and especially handwritten Urdu and so I asked one of my staff members to read the note to me. As he did, I was overcome with emotion. Rather than an admonition, Huzoor had gifted me with a truly beautiful letter filled with prayers for my father and for me. Huzoor’s words were fatherly, tender and moving.
Though I would not like to share the rest of the letter, just the first line was more than enough to reduce me to tears.
“Dear Abid, I have now read your article and I apologise for the delay in reading it.”
Which other leader would ever apologise to their servant?
I had no right to expect Huzoor to read the article, never mind that he should ever feel the need to apologise for the delay in reading it. May Allah enable all of us to learn from the humility and grace of our beloved leader.
Later that day, I reported for Mulaqat in Islamabad. As I took a seat in Huzoor’s office all I could do initially was look down. I was humbled by Huzoor’s message and remained overwhelmed by his love and kindness.
After a moment, Huzoor said:
“Did you receive my note?”
There was so much in my heart that I desired to say to Huzoor at that moment. How much his note had meant to me. How I loved him. How I desired to serve him. How I sought forgiveness for my weaknesses and shortcomings.
However, due to my heightened emotions, all I could bring myself to say was:
“Ji Huzoor, I have received it. Jazak’Allah.”
Very graciously, Huzoor then mentioned some aspects of my article.
In particular, he referred to one part where I had mentioned that my father had almost remarried in 1999, a few years after my mother had passed away. At the last moment, Hazrat Khalifatul Masih IV (rh) had intervened and instructed my father not to go ahead with the marriage.
Referring to that time, Huzoor said:
“Your father was advised by certain people close to him to get married but the truth is that if it had gone ahead it would have had very dire consequences for him and for your family. You should thank Allah the Almighty that He saved you from such a trial.”
“Sometimes, even a person’s close family members or loved ones give suggestions that are wrong and not in the interest of the person receiving the advice. Their advice is not always entirely sincere, rather it can be clouded by their own self-interest. That is why where in the Holy Quran it states that a person must bear witness with equity and truth it also applies to giving counsel or advice to others. The Holy Quran requires that a person must put aside all self-interest and personal feelings when giving advice to others. This is the Quranic standard that everyone should strive to uphold.”
A few precious moments
A few minutes later, Huzoor asked me if I had seen a video circulating on WhatsApp showing wild animals living amongst one another in jungles and forests.
I had not seen the particular clip Huzoor was describing and so Huzoor told me to come around to his side of the desk.
Given my fear of causing any risk to Huzoor, I sought to ensure I maintained a suitable distance throughout. Nevertheless, it was the closest I had physically been to Huzoor for many months.
Thoughts came rushing into my head of heavenly moments in the past that perhaps I had taken for granted. My mind’s eye raced through memories of being able to sit or stand near Huzoor on many occasions, in many countries and continents of the world.
On flights in America and Canada, I had crouched down besides Huzoor. On trains in Japan, I had sat next to him for a few moments. I had been blessed to sit with him in his car during a memorable journey through the Channel Tunnel. I had walked with Huzoor as he strolled by some of the most beautiful lakes in the world. However, due to Covid-19, it had been months since I had stood close to Huzoor.
As I was still lost in my thoughts momentarily, Huzoor took out his iPad and opened the YouTube app before using the search feature to find videos of lions, tigers, cheetahs, snakes and other animals vying for supremacy in the natural world.
Huzoor’s enthusiasm and interest in nature was clear to see. We watched several videos and on each one, Huzoor commented with keenness and passion about the bravery, intelligence and fearlessness of the various wildlife.
Throughout, Huzoor’s love for the Creation of Allah the Almighty was visibly apparent.
That afternoon, perhaps, for the first time in the pandemic, I felt as though I was able to spend some personal time with Huzoor.
It was something I greatly cherished and consider as amongst my most prized moments of the past year.
IKEA and a call
During late summer and early autumn, the Covid-19 situation seemed to be much improved, with far less daily cases or deaths compared to the spring. Hence, in late October, whilst our elder two children were at school, my wife and I decided, after quite a lot of consideration and debate weighing up the possible risks, to go shopping at IKEA in Croydon.
We arrived at IKEA at 11am and, as we browsed the different aisles and sections, we lost track of time and it was 1pm by the time we finally reached the counter to pay for our goods. As I glanced at my watch, I was slightly concerned we would be late home, as I needed to prepare for Mulaqat.
As we waited in line, I checked Google Maps to see how the traffic was looking and then, just as it reached our turn to pay, suddenly and entirely unexpectedly my phone rang.
The number was ‘Islamabad’.
As I answered the call, I heard the voice of Munir Javed sahib (Private Secretary) on the other end.
After saying salaam, Munir sahib simply said:
“Huzoor wishes to speak to you and so I am going to connect the call now.”
I did not have a second to get ready. I gestured to my wife Mala to pay the bill and I ran out with my phone to the car park in search of better reception and a spot where there was less background noise.
In my haste, I took the trolley with me, filled with several items that had just been scanned but not yet paid for!
Mala later told me she understood from my demeanour that I had received a call from Huzoor but she was worried that the doors would start beeping as I exited the store or that the security guards would stop me. Thankfully, through Allah’s Grace, this did not happen and she joined me outside a few minutes later after having paid the bill.
As the call was connected, Huzoor informed me that he had reviewed the episode of ‘This Week with Huzoor’ due to be broadcast on MTA the following day. It included clips from a virtual Mulaqat of Germany Jamaat’s National Amila a few days earlier.
Having reviewed it, Huzoor enquired why I had not included a part of the meeting in which Huzoor spoke to Germany’s National Umoor-e-Kharija (External Affairs) Secretary about the asylum cases of Ahmadi Muslims to Germany.
I had purposely not included that part of the meeting, as it had seemed more private and internal.
Furthermore, Huzoor had quite firmly expressed his dissatisfaction at the efforts of the German Jamaat and the National Umoor-e-Kharija Secretary in assisting Ahmadis who had claimed asylum in Germany.
Thus, I said:
“Huzoor, I did not include it because I thought it was an internal matter and also because I thought its broadcast might be embarrassing for the Umoor-e-Kharija Secretary and Amir Sahib Germany.”
In response, Huzoor said:
“There are certain Ahmadis in Germany who write to me and they think that I do not know their plight and there may even be some, God forbid, who think that their cases and difficulties are not significant to me and that I have not taken any action to help and support them. This is completely wrong and so to remove this false notion and misconception against Khilafat itself it is important that it should be played.”
“The life of every single Ahmadi Muslim is important and of great value to me and I have repeatedly instructed the National Jamaat administrations to help and support Ahmadi Muslims who take asylum and to guide them. The Ahmadis in Germany should be aware of this.”
Accordingly, we did broadcast the relevant part on ‘This Week with Huzoor’ and much of the feedback I received proved that what Huzoor had said was completely correct.
Several Ahmadis wrote or commented of how they felt extremely reassured and great relief that Huzoor had instructed the German Jamaat to take seriously their plight and knowing they had his support and prayers was extremely comforting and gave them strength for the future.
The conversation continued for around ten minutes and I thought that I had somehow managed to conceal the background noise and commotion of where I was speaking from.
However, after giving the instructions regarding the MTA broadcast, Huzoor said:
“What is all that noise? Are you playing with your children whilst talking on the phone?”
In reply, I said:
“No Huzoor, I am actually out shopping and am speaking to you from the car park!”
After a few more minutes, during which Huzoor even asked what we had purchased, the call ended. The half-hour journey home was enjoyable as my wife Mala and I spoke of how I had run out of the shop frantically and proceeded to have a daftari Mulaqat whilst in the IKEA car park.
An unusual gift
The following Friday I travelled to Islamabad for Mulaqat with a rather unusual accompaniment. I had bought some good quality white coat hangers, which I wished to gift to Huzoor.
I was well aware that it was a rather strange and unusual gift. In fact, I made sure I concealed them well so that people in the Private Secretary’s Office or elsewhere in Islamabad would not notice them.
The reason I had brought the coat-hangers was that over the preceding few weeks, I had noticed that hanging placed upon the coat-stand in Huzoor’s office were basic plastic hangers, upon which I assumed Huzoor hanged his achkan coat. It occurred to me that such basic hangers might cause for Huzoor’s achkan to lose its shape.
When I entered Huzoor’s office, I was surprised to see that the coat-hangers I had seen in previous weeks had now been replaced and instead there was a white coat-hanger that appeared identical to the ones I had brought with me.
Upon seeing this, I tried to conceal the hangers I had brought, which I now considered to be redundant.
In any circumstance, coat hangers were a strange gift to give to Khalifatul Masih but especially now that the basic hangers had been replaced.
Despite my efforts to obscure the bag, as soon as I sat down opposite Huzoor’s desk, Huzoor noticed the bag to my side.
“What have you brought with you?”
Upon this, I explained what I had brought and why I had brought them.
I felt embarrassed but in his unique and special way, Huzoor did not make me feel that my gesture was insignificant or inappropriate. Rather he very graciously expressed his appreciation.
“Jazak’Allah for the gift but I have more than enough hangers at home which I could bring to my office but I tend not to hang my coat here. So you should keep these hangers for yourself and consider them a gift from me.”
Thereafter, Huzoor asked me how much I had spent on the hangers.
In reply, I said:
“Huzoor, they cost £4.50 for a set of 8.”
Upon this, with his beautiful sense of humour to the fore, Huzoor jokingly said:
“As I said, I have more than enough hangers at home and so I can do a better deal and sell you 8 of my hangers for £3.50!”
Upon this, both Huzoor and I laughed and despite my gift being extremely small and insignificant, Huzoor had shown a great deal of affection and appreciation. It was a reflection of his humility and grace.
Courage of our convictions
I would have been more than happy for the Mulaqat to continue in the same vein but after a few minutes, Huzoor returned his attention to the file of letters placed before him and instructed me to present whatever official issues I wished to seek guidance upon.
Upon this, I mentioned how the media was reporting that Pope Francis had given comments in favour of civil partnerships for gay people.
Though Huzoor had appreciated several statements given by Pope Francis in the past, this was a comment that Huzoor expressed his disagreement with.
“Like all people, gay people should have their civil and civic rights protected, however the major religions of the world are clear that such unions are against their teachings. The fact the Pope has made this comment is a manifestation of how society continues to move away from religion and how most of the religions are being guided by the people, rather than religion serving its purpose to guide humanity. Thus, if the media ask us for our comment, you should respond by saying that ‘We follow the Holy Quran and so we cannot endorse civil partnerships’.”
“In dealing with the media, you and all of our Ahmadis who are engaging with the media must be courageous and, at the same time, act with wisdom. There will be people or organisations who will turn against us, who will oppose us because of our firm convictions in the truth of Islam. We must respond with wisdom but we should never fear others, we must only fear Allah. This is what makes the Jamaat of the Promised Messiah (as) unique – that we continue to act upon the teachings of our religion. We stand up for our values and defend our religious principles. Always remember that truth is on our side.”
Terrorism in France & and a true Islamic response
In mid-October, tragically, a French teacher, Samuel Paty, was brutally murdered by a so-called Muslim.
This was soon followed by another terrorist attack in Nice, where three people were stabbed to death.
These attacks occurred days after a speech by the French President Emmanuel Macron in which he had described Islam as a religion that was in ‘crisis’.
They also followed on from the republication of horrific and offensive cartoons depicting the Holy Prophet (sa) by the French satirical magazine, Charlie Hebdo.
After it was suggested that the terrorist attacks were a reaction to the reprinting of the cartoons, the French President was quoted as saying that ‘we will not give up our cartoons’.
During the course of the next few weeks, I saw first-hand the balanced manner in which Huzoor responded to these incidents.
In the immediate aftermath of the terrorist attacks, Huzoor instructed the French Jamaat to offer its sympathies and to condemn the violent reaction completely. As the people of the nation were grieving, Islam’s teachings of compassion and sympathy were to be at the fore.
Yet, Huzoor did not, God forbid, ever forget about the grave cartoons published in France that pained the entire Muslim Ummah.
Thus, when an appropriate amount of time had passed, Huzoor turned his attention to condemning the words of the French President in relation to Islam and he defended the honour of the Holy Prophet (sa) in the most appropriate way.
After the first attack, the French Jamaat sent Khuddam to the place where Samuel Paty had been killed.
Due to Covid-19 restrictions, it was not possible for them to go in large numbers, yet even the few who went had a big impact. They walked the streets with a banner proclaiming ‘Love for All, Hatred for None’ and laid flowers at the school where Samuel Paty was attacked.
In addition, they were able to give various media interviews condemning the attacks and the violence in absolute terms. The response to their efforts was extremely positive and the Jamaat received messages of appreciation from non-Muslims and non-Ahmadis alike.
The Best of Planners
Following the second attack in Nice, we were able to publish a statement on behalf of Huzoor within minutes of the attack. We were also able to publish a longer article about how Muslims ought to respond to those who sought to attack the character of the Holy Prophet (sa).
The statement of Huzoor had actually been based on dictation received from Huzoor the evening before. I had also written the longer article based on Huzoor’s instructions a day prior to the Nice attack.
Moments before they were due to be published on our Press & Media website, on the morning of 29 October 2020, the second attack in Nice took place.
Thus, with Huzoor’s permission, the statement on his behalf was slightly modified to include mention of the Nice attacks and thereafter his statement and our article were published in very good time.
Given that the Nice attack was widely covered in the news, we were able to secure significant media coverage on that day.
Alhamdulillah, Huzoor’s statement was published by various national media outlets. In addition, the article we had written about how to defend the character of the Holy Prophet (sa) was also well received by non-Muslims.
Over the next day, I gave Huzoor updates and shared some of the feedback received.
During my Mulaqat the next day, Huzoor said:
“The way everything transpired yesterday – whereby I had already dictated a statement to you condemning the terrorism in France and I had instructed you to write a more detailed article – it seems as though it was all arranged by Allah the Almighty. He knew what was going to happen and that there would be another barbaric incident of terrorism and that this time it was necessary for a statement to go out on my behalf. Hence, everything was ready to go and it had a good effect, whereby many people were introduced to our Jamaat and they learned that Islam has no link to terrorism or extremism.”
It was extremely faith inspiring to hear Huzoor express his belief that Allah the Almighty had personally blessed our humble and meagre efforts.
Certainly, it had felt as though the Help of Allah was with us but to hear that this was Huzoor’s own opinion and view was extremely emotional to hear and left me feeling elated.
I mentioned to Huzoor that some people had actually commented to me that our work in the Press & Media Office was particularly efficient that day!
Hearing this, Huzoor reminded me of the need for humility and for recognising the need for continued improvement.
“Yes it is true that the statements were ready in good time but, as I said, this was due to the Help of Allah. You have mentioned to me that there were some non-Muslims who were appreciative of my statement but the question is whether you contacted them yet? Have you informed the local Jamaats where they live that these are potential Tabligh contacts? Have you arranged the translation of my statement into as many languages as possible? I don’t want or expect that you will just rest on your laurels satisfied. Rather, at every juncture you should be looking towards the next step, looking to the future, rather than thinking about the past.”
“If on social media or through other platforms you see that there are non-Muslims or non-Ahmadis who like our messages or appreciate some aspect of our beliefs then you or whoever runs our official accounts should reach out to such people, either directly or through the local Jamaat in their areas, so that their interest is developed and so they are able to learn more about the true Islam. It is only when you work with this approach and with such passion and devotion that it can be said that you are working efficiently!”
Huzoor’s words were an important and necessary lesson for me.
As Huzoor pointed out, when it comes to our efforts to do Tabligh and to spread the message of Islam we must never sit back idly or be satisfied with our previous efforts.
Rather, Huzoor desires and expects that we always look forward and seek to progress and improve upon what has gone before.
The politics of others
Our Jamaat’s reaction to the terrorist attacks in France, under the guidance of Hazrat Khalifatul Masih (aba), contrasted very much with the reaction of others.
In particular, in immediate aftermath of the killing of Samuel Paty, the Turkish President spoke out against the French Government and called for a boycott of French products in retaliation for the republication of the cartoons.
During a Mulaqat at that time, I mentioned the reaction of the Turkish President to Huzoor.
Upon this, Huzoor said:
“The notion of boycotting France or its products is not a viable option. The world is so inter-connected that such efforts are destined to fail. Millions of Muslims live in France and so what are they to do? They cannot stop purchasing anything and everything in their own country. There were similar calls for a boycott after the cartoons depicting the Holy Prophet (sa) were first published in a Danish newspaper. However, I said at the time, that such responses are emotional and not based on reason.”
Outlining how true Muslims should respond to such provocations, Huzoor said:
“Our response must be to show the true character of the Holy Prophet (sa) and this is not something that I have just started to advocate for in this era. Rather, this was the way of the Promised Messiah (as) following the publication of the book Ummahatul Momineen in which extremely derogatory and filthy language was used to describe the Holy Prophet (sa) and his wives.”
“Similarly, in the time of Hazrat Musleh Maud (ra), another horrific book, Rangeela Rasul was published in order to malign the character of the Holy Prophet (sa). At that time, instead of boycotts or inciting disorder, Hazrat Musleh Maud (ra) said that Muslims should respond by holding conventions and programmes illustrating the noble character of the Holy Prophet (sa).”
Huzoor then offered an insight into what he believed were the underlying motives of the Turkish President.
“The reality is that the Turkish President is playing politics with this issue in order to strengthen his own position and to boost his standing within the Muslim world. It is quite conceivable that he is trying to position himself to become the leader of the Muslim world.”
“As Ahmadis, we have no desire to accept a false man-made Khilafat or political leadership in the name of Islam. We can only and will only ever follow what Allah the Almighty has commanded which is to obey the Holy Prophet of Islam (sa) in every matter and to hold fast to the teachings of the Promised Messiah (as) who came in accordance with the prophecies of the Holy Prophet (sa).”
It was so awe-inspiring and invigorating to hear the words of Huzoor and to see, once again, how, in this era, it is only the Khilafat of the Promised Messiah (as) that is true and divinely guided.
A message to the French President
No one should ever be under the misconception that Hazrat Khalifatul Masih V (aba) did not feel immense pain and indignation at the way that the character of the Holy Prophet (sa) was being so grievously attacked through the publication of the offensive caricatures depicting him as a terrorist or warmonger, God forbid.
Thus, on 5 November 2020, after the dust had settled on the recent terrorist attacks, Huzoor told me it was now the appropriate time to give a firm response to the non-Muslim world.
“We have spoken enough in favour of non-Muslims. Now is the time to speak up and condemn the unjust treatment of Muslims by elements of the non-Muslim world.”
Huzoor did not say anything further but I immediately had a strong inclination that Huzoor planned to speak about this matter in his Friday Sermon the following day.
I was therefore not surprised when Huzoor addressed the comments of the French President about Islam and the republication of the cartoons in his Friday Sermon the following day.
Huzoor’s defence of Islam was impassioned and masterful.
In a direct response to the French President’s claim that Islam was in ‘crisis’, Huzoor said:
“In a speech, he (President Macron) said that Islam is a religion in ‘crisis’. However, let it be clear, if anything is in crisis it is their own religion – that is if they even adhere to any religion. As far as Islam is concerned, it is a living, growing and thriving religion. God Almighty has ensured that it continues to spread throughout the world, and due to the efforts made by the Jamaat of the Promised Messiah (as), it is spreading to all the corners of the earth…”
“Certainly, it does not behove the President or leader of any country that he should label the wrongful actions of an individual as part of ‘Islam’ and as a ‘crisis’ for Muslims and thereby incite the emotions of people against Islam.”
Regarding the reprinting of the cartoons depicting the Holy Prophet (sa), Huzoor said:
“Unquestionably, publishing such cartoons surely injures the sentiments of any true Muslim. If they continue to publish such hateful things and remain persistent in their actions, then they themselves are inciting others… Whilst remaining within the confines of the law, we always answer and respond to any allegations against Islam and the noble character of the Holy Prophet Muhammad (sa) to the very best of our abilities and will continue to do so.”
Huzoor also spoke about the failure of the Muslim world to show a united response.
“If the Muslim Community desires a permanent solution then the entire Muslim world must unite as one… If all Muslim countries had spoken with one voice, then the French President would have had no option but to apologise and retract his earlier statement entirely. Anyway, here I wished to make it unequivocally clear that Muslims should, at the very least, appear and speak as one in front of non-Muslim countries. See then how much of an impact and a positive change can then result!”
Presenting the translation
After Huzoor’s Friday Sermon, our office translated the portion of Huzoor’s sermon in which he had spoken about the French President and state of the Muslim world and later that day I presented the draft translation to Huzoor for his approval.
As I presented it, Huzoor said:
“You will only have translated what I have said and so why do you need me to check it?”
Thus, in response to Huzoor’s query, I said:
“Huzoor, before publishing, I wanted to ensure that you were satisfied with the translation and that there was no mistake on my part.”
It was quite a lengthy statement and so over the next five minutes, Huzoor read it carefully and then graciously approved it.
Thereafter, Huzoor said:
“The sermon went out live and so I am sure some people will have shared that part of the sermon and done their own translations.”
In response, I said:
“Huzoor, I am only responsible for my department and I did not feel at all comfortable publishing this without your approval because Huzoor’s statement was very strong, direct and could be criticised by non-Muslims who think that free speech should be defended at all costs.”
Upon this, Huzoor smiled and said:
“Theek hai” meaning “Ok”.
Thereafter, Huzoor said:
“I do not fear the reaction of any person or any government to my statement. I am not scared of criticism from anyone – my only objective is to speak the truth. We must have the courage of our convictions. Remember, it is impossible to please everybody. Some people will like my statement, other people will not like it. However, my purpose was to defend the honour of the Holy Prophet (sa) and to make it clear to the Western people that they are not blameless and must act with honesty and the same is true for the Muslim nations.”
As I left Huzoor’s office, I felt that perhaps Huzoor was disappointed in me and thought that I was somewhat fearful of the reaction of non-Muslims to his comments.
It meant that I had an uncomfortable evening, as I kept replaying that part of the Mulaqat in my mind and wondered if I had given this impression to Huzoor.
I left Islamabad that day feeling troubled and with a heavy heart.
Switzerland National Amila Virtual Mulaqat
The next morning, I returned to Islamabad, as Huzoor had a virtual Mulaqat with members of Switzerland’s National Majlis-e-Amila and Missionaries.
The meeting went well Alhamdulillah.
As it drew to a close, Huzoor was asked if, and to what extent, Ahmadi Muslims would be affected if a Third World War was to break out in the future.
In response, Huzoor said:
“It is a natural phenomenon that if, God forbid, another world war takes places that members of our Community will also have to bear the consequences to some extent at least. If we look back to the wars fought during the early period of Islam, Allah the Almighty had promised and reassured the Muslims that they would be victorious, but still, were not some companions of the Holy Prophet of Islam (peace and blessings be upon him) martyred? Thus, the laws of nature cannot be circumvented.”
“In this era, natural disasters or pandemics are coming as a warning from God Almighty for mankind and as a sign of the truth of the Promised Messiah (peace be upon him) but nonetheless some Ahmadi Muslims are also suffering from these catastrophes. However, if we maintain a relationship of sincerity and true fidelity with Allah the Almighty then the numbers of our members afflicted will be much smaller in comparison to others, God Willing.”
Outlining our responsibilities to the world in a beautiful and eloquent fashion, Huzoor said:
“Certainly, it is our duty, as Ahmadi Muslims, to warn other people that the real cause of the myriad of trials and tribulations faced by humanity, such as warfare, is that mankind is moving rapidly away from God Almighty and is failing to fulfil the rights of His Creation. At least then, if in the future a world war occurs, others will remember that there was one Community who had warned mankind of what lay ahead and then they may finally be minded to turn in the direction of God Almighty.”
Hold fast to the truth
Following the conclusion of the meeting, Private Secretary, Munir Javed sahib entered Huzoor’s office to present some matter.
Seeing this, I offered salaam and left the office as discretely as I could. However, a minute later, Private Secretary sahib came out and said that Huzoor was calling me.
As I re-entered, Huzoor asked me if we had received any feedback to the most recent episode of ‘This Week with Huzoor’ which had mostly featured Huzoor’s meeting with students at Jamia Ahmadiyya Indonesia.
In reply, I said:
“Yes Huzoor, we received a great deal of very positive feedback and especially many people commented upon the part where Huzoor referred to the Jamia students as ‘pyaray bachon’ (dear children).”
Upon this, Huzoor said:
“You keep saying ‘bachon’ but when you are addressing children directly the correct form of address is ‘bacho’ and that is how I said it in the class!”
I thanked Huzoor for correcting my Urdu before mentioning that we had published the translation of Huzoor’s statement from his Friday Sermon, which Huzoor had checked the day before.
Hearing this, Huzoor said:
“I still do not understand why you had a reservation with the statement?”
Huzoor’s question confirmed my fear that Huzoor had felt a sense of hesitancy on my part regarding the statement he had given in his Friday Sermon.
Though I felt ashamed by this, I also felt glad that Huzoor had mentioned it, as it gave me the opportunity to explain what was in my heart.
In reply to Huzoor’s question, I said:
“I was not at all hesitant or concerned by anything Huzoor had said, God forbid. My only concern and fear was if I had misunderstood anything or mistranslated any part of Huzoor’s comments. Any reservation was an expression only of a fear about the standard of my translation.”
Hearing this, Huzoor smiled and as I saw his smile, I felt a surge of relief.
The tension and stress I had felt overnight dissipated as the point was clarified.
Most graciously and generously, Huzoor said:
“Masha’Allah, the standard of your translation is very good now and you are able to convey my meaning well.”
It was an extremely humbling comment. The truth is that I have learned to translate Urdu to English only due to Huzoor’s personal training and guidance over the course of many years.
Otherwise, anyone who knows me well is aware that my spoken Urdu is riddled with regular errors and mistakes, as had been highlighted a few minutes earlier when Huzoor corrected my use of the word ‘bachon’.
Immediately, Huzoor added:
“Though, I hope after this compliment you remain humble because arrogance or pride always leads to a person’s downfall.”
Thereafter, Huzoor said:
“ہمیں کوئی ضرورت نہیں ہے کہ کسی سے بھی ڈریں سوائے اللہ تعالی کے۔ ہم نے صرف حق کی بات کرنی ہے۔”
“We have no need to fear anyone except Allah the Almighty. We must only speak the truth.”
Editing over the phone
On the morning of 29 October 2020, I received a phone call from Huzoor during which Huzoor went through that week’s episode of ‘This Week with Huzoor’, which I had submitted to him for approval the day before.
It contained footage from a virtual Mulaqat with the Majlis-e-Amila of the Mauritius Jamaat.
Initially, Huzoor watched the episode in his office and told me to listen over the phone. However, I could not hear entirely clearly and so I played it on my laptop and Huzoor listened to my laptop version through the phone, whilst also listening to certain parts on his own device.
It was a really interesting and enjoyable way to work!
Huzoor went through the programme minute by minute and he asked my opinion whether I felt there was a need for any editing.
Personally, I did not think there was any need for editing but another person serving in MTA, who had viewed the report, had suggested I seek Huzoor’s guidance about a part where Huzoor, whilst discussing a fruit orchard being cultivated by the Jamaat in Mauritius, had said:
“I think you should give more emphasis on (growing) lychees. I like lychees more so you should plant lychees more than any other fruit. And lychees can get you a better income than other fruits.”
Huzoor asked me what was contentious about this statement.
In reply, I said that the person who had mentioned it had done so out of an abundance of caution and not due to any major concern. Perhaps, he thought it might give a wrong impression that Huzoor was suggesting lychees were to be grown only due to his personal preference for them.
Upon this, Huzoor said:
“There is no need to edit out this part. Yes, I mentioned that I like lychees and, at the same time, I also said that I believed it would be the most profitable fruit for the Jamaat because the lychees in Mauritius are exceptional.”
“Remember what I am saying to you now – that I sometimes permit MTA to edit certain words or phrases where there is unnecessary repetition or if there is a grammatical error or a long pause in my speech, yet I never instruct for parts to be edited out of fear of the reaction of others or what they will think of my words. If someone does not like it or agree with my statement that is their problem, not mine.”
With that, Huzoor asked:
“سمجھ لی ہے؟”
“Do you understand?”
With the programme finalised and approved by Huzoor, I assumed that the call would come to an end.
However, out of his grace and kindness, Huzoor continued to speak to me for some time and, rather than work, I was able to enjoy Huzoor’s blessed personal company for a few moments.
Whilst on the phone, Huzoor sent me a photo of a perfectly formed rainbow hovering idyllically above the Mubarak Mosque and Huzoor’s own residence. It was a magnificent photo captured by a young Murrabi working in Tabshir.
Thereafter, Huzoor sent a few further photos, including a photo of the sun rising above Islamabad in the early hours.
That photo was my personal favourite and so after seeing it, I said:
“Huzoor, that particular photo is award winning!”
Upon this, Huzoor said:
“The rainbow photo was also award winning!”
Another photo Huzoor shared with me was a night-time shot of the Mubarak Mosque with a beautiful round light appearing at the very apex of the dome.
It was so perfectly placed that I thought that a round light bulb had been installed at the centre point of the Mubarak Mosque roof.
After I mentioned this, Huzoor said:
“The light you are seeing is not artificial, rather it is Allah’s light illuminating the Mosque!”
I looked closer and I realised that the light was actually that of the moon and as the call ended a few minutes later, I looked again at that particular photo thought of Huzoor’s beautiful comment.
Unquestionably, the light of Allah the Almighty remains forever guiding and protecting beloved Huzoor.
The United States Presidential election 2020
On 3 November 2020, the USA Presidential election took place.
As the day unfolded, I could not help but recall the Presidential election four years earlier when President Trump was elected. Then, Huzoor had just arrived in Calgary for the final few days of a blessed six week tour of Canada.
This year, the USA Jamaat had been hopeful that Huzoor might visit their Jamaat in late Autumn, as it was the USA Jamaat’s Centenary year, and when I first heard about the possibility of such a visit, before the pandemic took hold, I remember thinking it might be that Huzoor would be in the USA at the time of this year’s Presidential election.
Though, it soon became clear that it would not be possible for foreign visits this year, many people were curious about Huzoor’s views on this year’s election, myself included.
Several times, over the course of the past year, I had mentioned the USA election to Huzoor.
Prior to the pandemic, Huzoor had indicated to me that if things progressed as they were then he felt that Trump might be re-elected. However, as the Covid-19 situation in the USA became progressively worse and it was widely opined that President Trump was failing to take adequate measures to stop its spread and even to take it seriously, Huzoor indicated that the election would be close.
On the day of the election itself and voting had just started in the USA, I had a phone Mulaqat with Huzoor.
I mentioned that the final polls continued to suggest that Joe Biden would be elected as President.
Upon this, Huzoor said:
“Regardless of what their polls say, I think the election is 50-50 and the result may not be clear immediately. Regardless of who wins, the outlook for the United States does not look positive. If Biden wins, Trump will not accept the result and his supporters will be aggrieved and some of the more fanatical supporters might even come out onto the streets. It will mean more division and hatred amongst the opposing sides. On the other hand, if Trump wins, he will claim it as a vindication of his policies and will feel emboldened to implement harsh policies targeting immigrants and minorities.”
Three days later, on Friday 6 November, the result of the election had still not yet been announced.
The results were coming in at a drip-feed rate, though it had by now become fairly clear that Biden would more than likely be declared the eventual winner.
During Mulaqat that day, I was able to listen and benefit from Huzoor’s analysis of what was transpiring.
“I think it is possible that the announcement of the election results is purposely being done very slowly. For one, this will give the State Governors and law enforcement agencies time to prepare in case there is any disturbance or unrest. Further, there may even be an element of revenge whereby some anti-Trump officials are purposely drawing out the process to test the nerves of Trump knowing that he will be hating this slow defeat.”
Huzoor’s analysis of events was extremely insightful.
On the night of the election, Trump was leading in various swing-States and it seemed he might be re-elected. Then, over the course of the next few days, Biden pulled ahead and was eventually declared as President-elect. So it was, initially at least, much closer than the polls were suggesting.
The delay in announcing the result, also certainly provided a period of cooling off for the most impassioned people who might well have come out on the streets if the result had been announced in favour of Biden on the first day.
Though, in the weeks that followed, the consistent and repeated claims of President Trump and some of his supporters that there had been an election fraud meant that ultimately, violence and civil disorder was tragically witnessed at the home of the United States Congress at Capitol Hill on 6 January 2021. The scenes that were broadcast across the world shamed America.
Complete trust in God – the example of Huzoor’s grandfather
It was early December 2020, when I mentioned to Huzoor during a Mulaqat that MTA News had been working on a new documentary about Hazrat Mirza Bashir Ahmad (ra), the son of the Promised Messiah (as), and that it was now almost ready.
I mentioned how one of the people we had interviewed, an elder from the family of the Promised Messiah (as), had narrated that Huzoor’s paternal grandfather, Hazrat Mirza Sharif Ahmad (ra) would spend whatever money he had quite freely.
She further narrated that this was something that concerned Hazrat Mirza Bashir Ahmad (ra), who feared he might end up in debt.
Upon this, Huzoor said:
“I do not know to what extent Hazrat Mirza Bashir Ahmad (ra) was concerned but I know that Abba Jaan (Hazrat Mirza Sharif Ahmad) was extremely generous and also he had outstanding levels of trust in Allah the Almighty. He remained always certain that Allah the Almighty would fulfil his financial requirements.”
Narrating an incident about his grandfather, Hazrat Mirza Sharif Ahmad (ra), Huzoor said:
“The farm manager of land owned by Abba Jan narrated to me that once he handed over a considerable amount of income from the sale of sugar cane to Abba Jan. An impoverished, small-scale farmer observed this from a distance and so as Abba Jan was leaving, the farmer came out onto the road and stopped him. He mentioned his dire financial circumstances and that his daughter was soon to be married and he had nothing to pay for the marriage expenses. On hearing this, and without a second thought, Abba Jan took out all the money he had with him – about 600 rupees – which was a very substantial amount at that time and handed it to the man. This was just one incident from amongst many in his life reflecting his great generosity and there were many other similar examples like this.”
Thereafter, Huzoor said:
“Similarly, Abba Jan came to the UK in the 1940s for some work and during this time he hired a secretary. Bills were adding up and one day the secretary informed Abba Jan that there was no money available to pay the bills. He was very concerned and worried but Abba Jan very calmly said to him ‘Do not worry, Allah will provide whatever we need.”
Smiling with great affection as he narrated this incident about his grandfather, Huzoor said:
“Later, as he walked outside on the street, an unknown gentleman saw Abba Jan and was extremely overawed and affected by his face and charisma. He pointed at him and started loudly repeating the word ‘Saint! Saint!’ With that, the gentleman handed Abba Jan an envelope as a gift for him. Abba Jan handed the envelope to the secretary and said that it would cover the bills he was worried about. When he opened the envelope, he was shocked to see that there was exactly enough money to pay whatever bills were outstanding. This is how Allah the Almighty provided for the needs of Abba Jan!”
The ‘Caliph of Islam’ controversy
Over the past few months, the situation for Ahmadis in Pakistan has become even more difficult.
Members of the Jamaat have been targeted and a concerted effort has been made to censor any publication or programme of the Jamaat.
Since December, new attempts have been made to try to delegitimise the Jamaat in the eyes of the world and to coerce internet platforms such as Google to remove any reference of Islam with our Jamaat.
No doubt, Huzoor has been pained and greatly concerned by the rising persecution and this is illustrated by the way Huzoor has recently repeatedly requested Ahmadi Muslims to pray for their brothers and sisters in Pakistan and Algeria.
Nonetheless, Huzoor’s trust in Allah the Almighty is total and it is clear that Huzoor considers that it is only through Allah’s Help and Mercy that we will Insha’Allah prevail.
Recently, a new campaign was launched by opponents of the Jamaat who were angered by the fact that when the term ‘Caliph of Islam’ or ‘Khalifa of Islam’ was searched online, Huzoor’s name and public profile was listed at the top.
A few weeks ago, I requested Huzoor’s permission if we could contact Google and certain other social media companies.
I was concerned that if we did not register our complaint it would mean that they would assume that we had no answer to the allegations of the opponents about us.
In response, Huzoor said:
“Yes, you can contact them and inform them of who we are and what are our beliefs and the persecution we face. You should particularly make it clear to them that if they bow down to the extremists they themselves will be complicit in the persecution of innocent Ahmadi Muslims.”
I also mentioned to Huzoor that Majlis Khuddamul Ahmadiyya UK wished to launch an international social media campaign highlighting the blessings of Khilafat-e-Ahmadiyya.
They sought permission to use the term ‘Caliph of Islam’ in their campaign, which was a term that Huzoor had in the past instructed us to avoid in the Markaz.
Upon this, Huzoor said:
“They may do the social media campaign but they should not use the term ‘Caliph of Islam’ or ‘Khalifa of Islam’. Just because the opponents are trying to have this term disassociated with my name does not mean that I am going to start using it. I have told you before that my title is ‘Khalifatul Masih’. I have never claimed leadership of the Muslim Ummah. If because of the fact that everything I say and do is based on the teachings of Islam and the Holy Quran, some non-Muslims call me the ‘Caliph of Islam’ that is their right but it is not something that I say or that we should ourselves promote.”
Turning to God
A few days later, after further efforts were made by the Pakistani authorities, including the Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA), politicians and even members of the Pakistani judiciary to try to ban any association of Islam with Ahmadi Muslims and to have MTA and Jamaat websites banned in Pakistan, I received a call from Huzoor.
Initially, I assumed it was a normal phone Mulaqat in which I would present a news briefing to Huzoor and any other updates that I had. However, Huzoor wished to give guidance regarding the latest persecution.
After giving some instructions, Huzoor referred specifically to one prominent individual who was using his significant platform to coerce the Pakistani Government to increase the persecution inflicted upon our Jamaat.
Speaking about the individual, Huzoor said:
“On the one hand that person claims to be acting for the sake of defending the honour of the Holy Prophet (sa) and of Islam. However, the way he is ‘defending’ Islam is not by upholding its teachings or acting according to the instructions of the Holy Prophet (sa). Rather, I have been informed on good authority that he personally is extremely corrupt and is always on the lookout for handouts and bribes, instead of acting with even an iota of honesty or integrity.”
Learning this new information, I instinctively said:
“اللہ رحم کرے” – that “May Allah have mercy.”
Upon this, Huzoor said:
“Why do you say Allah have mercy on them? The time for mercy to be bestowed upon such people has now passed. Rather, you should pray that Allah has mercy upon us and that He may destroy those who have transgressed all bounds in their cruelties and injustices. We will never take up arms or respond violently but we should pray that Allah does justice on our behalf so that the cruelties of the opponents and their evil ways are brought to an end.”
Huzoor’s response startled me. The power and strength of Huzoor’s words left my heart racing.
With that, Huzoor said:
“چلو بس یہی کچھ باتیں کرنی تھیں۔ اللہ حافظ۔”
“Anyway, these were a few things I wished to say to you. Allah hafiz.”
I continued to ponder over Huzoor’s words overnight.
The following day, Huzoor delivered an extremely powerful message at the conclusion of his Friday Sermon on New Year’s Day in which he spoke of how humanity was failing to heed the lessons of the Covid-19 pandemic and that mankind continued to move further away from its Creator.
Huzoor once again mentioned the persecution of the Jamaat and how those persecuting us claimed to uphold the honour of the Holy Prophet Muhammad (sa).
“These people, who persecute us, are defaming the name of that revered person who was given the title of ‘Mercy for all mankind’. In reality, Ahmadi Muslims are the ones who are sacrificing their lives for the sake of upholding the honour of the Holy Prophet Muhammad (sa)… These materialistic people can inflict injustice against us by using worldly governments and wealth, however they should remember that we believe in that God Who is an excellent Protector and an excellent Helper’.”
After receiving Huzoor’s guidance directly and listening to his Friday Sermon it became clear that though the Jamaat would continue to seek redress and remedy through whatever legal means were available, Khalifa-Waqt was, in reality, looking solely to the heavens. It is in Allah alone who he trusts and sees as the Protector of Ahmadi Muslims.
Later that day, I also mentioned a query I had received from an Ahmadi who had wondered if Huzoor was set to launch a Mubahila challenge given the cruelties being inflicted in Pakistan.
In response Huzoor said:
“Hazrat Khalifatul Masih IV (rh) did a Mubahila challenge to General Zia because he was personally dictating and ordering the persecution of Ahmadi Muslims. The current Prime Minister of Pakistan is himself, in many ways, powerless and being controlled by the extremist elements. Thus, the conditions are not the same and so it is not the time for a Mubahila.”
Huzoor’s answer to the query was clear. Though it was certainly a time for every Ahmadi Muslim to turn to seeking the Help of Allah the Almighty with fervour and seeking that those who persecuted us were stopped, it was not one leader or one individual orchestrating the campaign against the Jamaat.
Rather, there were many extremist and corrupt clerics and politicians who were fuelling the fire of persecution against our Jamaat to line their own pockets and to serve only their own interests.
The appropriate time
During the pandemic, we have seen how through the virtual Mulaqats that the opportunity of Ahmadis in different parts of the world to meet the Khalifa-Waqt has opened up.
At the same time, Ahmadis living in the UK or for whom travelling was possible saw their ability to visit the Markaz and to pray behind Huzoor and to meet him in person suspended.
It has been a difficult and devastating experience for many.
I have heard of Ahmadis who have travelled hundreds of miles just so they could reach the outer gate of Islamabad where they were comforted by breathing the same air as their beloved Khalifa and to have the knowledge – that though they were unable to see him – at least they were near him fleetingly. After a few minutes engaged in prayer and reflection, they returned to their cars and drove back home content.
On a personal level, I have had the opportunity to meet Huzoor fairly regularly during the pandemic and have been blessed with more opportunity to speak to Huzoor on the phone than I could ever have dared to dream or imagine. Yet, with every day that passes, the yearning for that daily in-person meeting, to feel the nearness of Khilafat continues to increase.
Towards the end of 2020, there was a shortcoming in some work I had submitted to Huzoor pertaining to MTA. I was extremely embarrassed at the error but, at the same time, very grateful that Huzoor noticed it and brought it to my attention in time before the programme was broadcast.
After months of wondering if and when it would be appropriate to ask Huzoor if I could resume coming to Islamabad on a daily basis, after the error, I finally had the courage to at least hint to Huzoor what was in my heart.
I submitted to Huzoor that, though I was always prone to mistakes, having the daily opportunity to meet Huzoor was a means of covering many of my shortcomings.
With a smile, Huzoor said:
“روز ملنے کے لئے تو نہیں یہ غلطیاں کرتے؟”
“Are you making mistakes purposely so that you can come again on a daily basis?”
“بے شک کئے جاؤ، ملنا اپنے وقت پر ہی ہے۔”
“You can continue (to make mistakes) – we will meet at the appropriate time.”
Though I had desired for Huzoor to respond by permitting me to come to meet him regularly, in my heart, I knew that Huzoor would not be persuaded by my submission.
In every matter, Huzoor’s decisions are based on what is in the better interests of the Jamaat and not swayed by emotion.
Nonetheless, Huzoor’s words gave me comfort.
In the past few weeks, Covid-19 has been raging again in the United Kingdom and in other countries and it is easy to get despondent and to wonder if ever things will return to normal.
Yet, in Huzoor’s words I felt a sense of hope that the time will come when we see those daily blessings and joys to which we had all become so accustomed to and perhaps had come to take for granted
There will be a time, when Insha’Allah our Mosques are full again. Our Jalsas and Ijtemas will resume and be graced by the presence of Hazrat Khalifatul Masih and thousands upon thousands will join at his hand for Bai’at.
Where the virtual meetings of Hazrat Khalifatul Masih will Insha’Allah outlast and outlive this period of isolation, so too, Insha’Allah, will the Jalsas, Ijtemas and tours of Khalifa-Waqt all across the world.
Until then, Huzoor’s words act as a source of comfort and hope.
“ملنا اپنے وقت پر ہی ہے۔”
End of Part 2
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