The Blessed Tour Of Hazrat Khalifatul Masih V (aba) To The United States
A Personal Account | Part 2 | September – October 2022
By Abid Khan
Introduction to Part 2
It’s been several months since I published the first part of my diary of the blessed tour of Hazrat Khalifatul Masih V (aba) to the United States last year. I wrote a significant amount late last year but then, in early December, I became unwell with the flu. Though I recovered soon, I was unable to recover momentum in terms of writing.
Consequently, a few days turned into weeks, into months and I reached a point where I thought that even if I completed the diary, I would feel embarrassed to submit it to Huzoor, before publication. I feared that Huzoor would say “It is too late now”.
However, a few days ago, Huzoor himself mentioned the diary and asked why it was not yet complete. I explained that I had struggled to write and also feared that it was now too late.
Rather than express any anger or displeasure, Huzoor spoke reassuringly and kindly.
“It is not too late and you should still complete it. And don’t think that you have to write a huge volume, just start writing and in a few days it will be complete.”
Huzoor’s kindness and patience was far more than I deserved and enabled me to resume writing the diary.
This second part will include some of my memories and notes for the period of 1 October to 8 October 2022, which included Huzoor’s final day in Zion and the majority of his stay in Dallas.
An inaccurate report
On Saturday, 1 October 2022, as he returned to his residence in Zion after offering Fajr, Huzoor called me for a moment and instructed that I come to his residence later that morning and bring with me the full MTA recording of his interview with the Religion News Service (RNS) that took place a few days earlier.
As instructed, after breakfast, I reported to the guest house at the Mosque complex which served as Huzoor’s residence in Zion. I went up a staircase and entered a small room which Huzoor was using as his office.
I was eager to meet Huzoor and to see how he was, as he had been suffering from flu for the past couple of days. I immediately enquired how Huzoor was feeling.
Huzoor said that flu symptoms remained quite severe. Nonetheless, rather than resting, Huzoor remained at his desk working.
Over the next few minutes, Huzoor watched the entire recording of his interview with RNS, which the journalist had featured in an extended written piece published the evening before.
I was not sure why Huzoor wanted to see it but I had an inkling it might be related to a passage in the article, where the journalist had quoted Huzoor as saying “it is not the victory of any religion” in context of the Promised Messiah’s (as) victory over Alexander Dowie. She had omitted to mention what Huzoor had said subsequently.
In the interview itself, speaking about the victory over Dowie, Huzoor had said:
“And it is not the victory of any religion, actually, it is the victory of to tell the people that who is the true man of God and we should not use any abusive language against each other. We should respect all the religions…”
Hence, the way the journalist had written it ignored the broader point and seemed to suggest that Huzoor was saying that the successful mubahila of the Promised Messiah (as) was not particularly significant.
It turned out that it was the omission by the journalist which Huzoor had noted and thus he had wished to review what he had actually said.
After listening to the original unedited recording, Huzoor said:
“The journalist has omitted the full context of what I said and the way she has written is a mischaracterisation. It makes the victory of the Promised Messiah (as) seem insignificant, whereas, I stated that what transpired with Dowie was a sign of the truth of the Promised Messiah (as) and also a warning for mankind that we should respect the religious beliefs of all people.”
“It is good that we have the recording, which we can play in full on MTA at some point in case anyone is confused by what she has written.”
“The Quran teaches us to speak with wisdom and to care for the sentiments of others which is why I purposely refrained from speaking in a stronger way, yet what I said has been taken out of context.”
Thereafter, Huzoor smiled and said:
“I don’t know whether it was her decision or that of her editors to cut the quote as she has but it shows how media can twist things.”
I mentioned to Huzoor that we would contact the journalist and highlight our concerns. Thankfully, upon later reviewing the full quote, the editor of RNS agreed that the quote did not give a fair reflection of what Huzoor had actually said and amended it.
Thereafter, I was able to spend a few more minutes in Huzoor’s company and mentioned some of my experiences of the past couple of days.
I mentioned that members of the USA Jamaat present in Zion seemed very spiritually charged after Huzoor’s Friday Sermon the previous day.
In response, Huzoor commented:
“I think the point that a lot of people responded to was when I mentioned that after the Victory of Makkah the efforts of Muslims did not cease but actually increased. And, so in the same way, now is not the time for Ahmadis here in Zion and USA to rest but to spread Islam’s message with even greater vigour and fervency.”
Before I left his residence, Huzoor asked me to pour a little kaava (herbal tea) for him from a thermos on his desk. It had been sent by Dr Tanvir Ahmed sahib as a means to relieve Huzoor’s sore throat.
After taking the cup, Huzoor said:
“Today, I will have to speak a lot, as there are meetings with guests and then I have to deliver my address and it will be difficult to speak with such a sore throat.”
At that moment, I wished with all my heart that I could offer some service to Huzoor or to do something that would relieve his pain.
Instead, I said:
“Huzoor, you should drink this kaava as much as possible.”
In reply, his tone suddenly firmer, Huzoor said:
“کیا یہ قہوہ ہے، یا اللہ ہے؟ شِفاء صرف اللہ تعالیٰ نے دینی ہے۔مدد اُسی نے کرنی ہے۔”
“Is this herbal tea or is it Allah? Because it is only Allah the Almighty who will cure me. He is the One who will Help.”
Where I felt embarrassed at the suggestion I had made, I was awestruck by Huzoor’s complete trust in Allah. He would take kaava or medicine because Islam instructs a person to take whatever measures they can but Huzoor’s firm belief and certainty remained that ultimately his health was forever dependent upon the Grace and Mercy of Allah the Almighty, who is the True Healer.
Interview with Chicago Tribune
Over the course of the day, preparations were in full flow at the Mosque complex for the reception and late afternoon guests started to arrive in large numbers.
Prior to the main reception, Huzoor held a media interview, as well as a series of meetings with guests.
The media interview was with Yadira Sanchez Olsen, a freelance journalist, who later published an article about the new Mosque featuring her interview with Huzoor in the Chicago Tribune.
It is interesting to observe how Huzoor conducts interviews. Occasionally, Huzoor starts answering a question in a way that does not seem to directly relate to the question asked. Yet, invariably, by the end of the answer, Huzoor responds to the question itself.
Huzoor has mentioned to me on several occasions that, from time to time, he intentionally answers questions this way so that he is able to use the limited time available to introduce the Promised Messiah (as) and to do Tabligh.
In Zion, Huzoor’s answer to one of the questions posed by Ms Sanchez was answered in a similar fashion.
She mentioned that there was lot of fear in society about crime, poverty, food insecurity and asked Huzoor what message he would give to reduce people’s fears.
In response, Huzoor initially said:
“Why was the Founder of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community sent? He said that the purpose of his advent was two-fold. One, to bring people closer to their Creator and, secondly, (guide others) to discharge their duties they owe to their fellow beings.”
After mentioning the objectives of the Promised Messiah (as), Huzoor said:
“If you are discharging your duties to your fellow beings then there should not be any fear of crime, food shortages or food security or anything else. So, this is the message that we not only preach but we also practice everywhere where we have our community. In Africa, in developing and deprived countries and even in the West – wherever we are – we convey this message and we have established schools, hospitals and other projects to serve humanity and in order to serve people.”
Huzoor’s answer was a lesson for all Ahmadi Muslim people who appear in the media that when they have an opportunity to speak on external platforms they should, wherever possible, seek to introduce the Jamaat and the mission of the Promised Messiah (as).
Thereafter, the journalist asked Huzoor if there was a ‘formula’ for people of different religions to work together towards peace, irrespective of their differing beliefs.
In reply, Huzoor said:
“We believe that we have been created by the One Omnipotent God – Allah – and His purpose for creating us was not that we should seek to hurt, kill or destroy one another. Rather, we believe that all the major religions came from Allah and were originally true. Later, there were some innovations in their teachings and they became distorted. Then, ultimately, it was the prophecy of all the prophets and founders of the various religions that in the latter days a prophet will come, who will combine the teachings of all the prophets. He will keep the true teachings (of all the previous religions) and his teachings will be the final teachings.”
“And we believe that the person who was foretold by the previous prophets is the Holy Prophet of Islam, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him. This is why, until today, the Holy Scripture and Book of Muslims revealed to the Holy Prophet of Islam (sa), the Quran, remains entirely intact without any change whatsoever. On the other hand, the scriptures of other religions have changed in many ways.”
“The Holy Prophet of Islam (sa) foretold that although the Holy Quran will remain intact and in its original form but the followers of Islam will forget its true teachings. At that time, a Reformer will be sent from among his people and we believe that person is Mirza Ghulam Ahmad of Qadian, the Founder of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community and who we believe to be the Messiah and Mahdi of the Age.”
Huzoor further said:
“And the Promised Messiah (as), addressing the people of all religions said, that whether they accepted him or not, whether they accepted Islam or not, it was essential that all mankind lived together amicably, harmoniously and with love and affection. So today, respect and tolerance is the formula for peace and how we can live together in this world and come to fulfil the purpose of our creation. This is the only way.”
As the interview came to an end, the journalist thanked Huzoor for the opportunity to meet and interview him.
In reply, Huzoor said:
“I am sorry that because of the flu that I have, I was unable to hear you properly. I hope, despite that, I have answered your question.”
The journalist replied:
“Yes you have. Thank you so much.”
Meeting with Professor Craig Considine
After the interview, Huzoor met with Professor Craig Considine, a Houston based academic who has written and taught extensively about Islam.
The meeting with Professor Considine and the subsequent one with Dr Katrina Lantos-Swett were wonderful to see. It appeared as though Huzoor was meeting not just with guests or acquaintances but with people who he considered as friends.
Indeed, when Amjad Khan, the National Umoor-e-Kharija Secretary USA, sought to introduce Professor Considine, Huzoor stopped him in his tracks and said there was no need to introduce him as he already knew him very well.
From their side, the respect and sincerity with which both guests met Huzoor was wonderful to see.
As the meeting begun, Huzoor appreciated the work of Professor Considine and took interest in a book he was writing.
Professor Considine responded:
“In my next book you will be featured in many ways. I am talking about the dialogue and synthesis of civilisations… I am looking at moments in history where diverse groups of people have come together and taken the best from their traditions. For example, gaining knowledge, tolerance and love.”
In response, Huzoor solemnly stated:
“Which civilisation (are you writing about)? The civilisation which is going to destroy itself using atomic bombs?… I pray your book comes out before the whole world is destroyed… And we should pray that people should not just read it but they should practice it. That is the crucial thing.”
Referring to the world leaders of some of the major powers, Huzoor continued:
“They are very much trigger happy. I thought it was only Mullahs (fanatical clerics) who are trigger happy but the situation has now changed. In fact, the Asian leaders are now trying to calm down the major powers. We pray and you should also pray that the leaders see sense.”
Speaking about his regard for the Jamaat, Professor Considine said:
“Love for All, Hatred for None is so fundamental and essential and a beautiful thing… I have been sharing with some of the leaders here and they ask why do you have this affiliation or connection with the Ahmadiyya Community and it is less about theology and its really just about you make people feel and the love.”
In response, Huzoor said:
“This message (of love) is one that everyone is forgetting. We are all humans, so at least we should respect each other as humans and if we realise how to respect each there then there can be peace, love and harmony.”
Thereafter, Huzoor expressed and explained his view that in the Western world, particularly younger people, were failing to understand that true freedom also imposed some responsibilities.
“Here, people have misconstrued or misinterpreted the word ‘freedom’. Today’s youngsters think that because of ‘freedom’ they are free to say or do everything and what they like. This is why society is now deviating from what it means to be a good human being. We are deviating from those traditions which were good.”
During the meeting, Professor Considine mentioned that he was originally from Boston.
Upon this, Huzoor remarked that it was the Boston Herald which had published the famous report about the mubahila with Dowie declaring that ‘Great is Mirza Ghulam Ahmad, the Messiah’.
“It seems that Boston is quite a fertile land with regards to good people.”
Professor Considine mentioned he had personally been influenced by a 19th century philosopher from Boston, Ralph Waldo Emerson who himself was inspired by the famous Persian Muslim poet, Rumi.
Hearing this, Huzoor encouraged Professor Considine to read Rumi’s poetry but said that translations could never do complete justice to the original words.
As the meeting came to an end, Professor Considine mentioned to Huzoor that he had initially been invited to meet Huzoor in Dallas but was travelling abroad and so had travelled much further to Zion as he did not wish to miss the opportunity to meet Huzoor.
Upon this, Huzoor said:
“I will miss you in Dallas but I thank you for your kind gesture in coming all the way here to meet me. I have been following sometimes your tweets or comments which I appreciate. My press team show them to me from time to time and I like them.”
In response, Professor Considine said:
“That is amazing for me to hear. I will miss you very much too and am so thankful to have had the chance to spend some personal time with you. It’s a great honour for me and know that I love you. There are a lot of people who love you.”
As the meeting ended, Professor Considine expressed his hope that he would be able to visit Huzoor at his home in the UK.
Most affectionately, Huzoor said:
“I will be waiting for you.”
Meeting with Dr Katrina Lantos-Swett
Following the meeting, Huzoor met with Dr Katrina Lantos-Swett, the President of the Lantos Foundation for Human Rights, who has advocated for the rights of minorities for many years, including for Ahmadi Muslims. She was accompanied by her daughter.
Both Dr Katrina and her daughter had visited Islamabad in October 2021 where they were able to join Huzoor for dinner and meet Huzoor’s family.
Upon meeting Huzoor in Zion, Dr Katrina Lantos said:
“For the past week we have been a little bit ‘walking on air’ because it is an extraordinarily special experience to be with you. We feel the light and wisdom that comes from you and somehow our days go better and our weeks go better after we have had the opportunity to be around you.”
Dr Katrina Lantos described the story of the Mubahila of the Promised Messiah (as) and Alexander Dowie as ‘the most amazing story’.
She said that such stories could only inspire ‘confidence of faith’ within Ahmadis and was a manifestation of the success of the Promised Messiah (as).
In response, addressing Dr Lantos, Huzoor said:
“You yourself are also a sign of the success of the Promised Messiah (as)! Because you are helping our community and wherever you go you say the Ahmadiyya Community is a community which preaches and practices love. You are one of our ambassadors!”
In reply, Dr Lantos said:
“Nothing could make me more honoured than to be an ambassador for this amazing community. My heart breaks as I learn the recent developments in Pakistan (regarding persecution of Ahmadi Muslims). It’s horrible and almost beyond description.”
Upon this, Huzoor said:
“The persecution (targeting Ahmadi Muslims in Pakistan) is not only ongoing but has now increased. They now say that pregnant Ahmadi women should be forced to abort their children. They have gone even one step ahead in their cruelties than the Faraayana (Pharaoh) of Egypt. The Pharaoh said that new born boys of the Israelites should be killed but in Pakistan they are saying that all Ahmadi children – girl or boys – should be aborted. All of this is taking place today in what we consider the ‘educated’ and ‘literate’ world.’”
Responding to Huzoor’s comments, Dr Lantos said:
“It is terrible and it makes it all the more impressive and admirable that the community, under your leadership – which is so powerful – does not answer evil with evil and it does not answer hatred with hatred.”
In reply, Huzoor said:
“We are capable of replying in the same way – in fact, we are more organised than others. However, we do not do it (respond forcefully) because it is against the teachings of Islam.”
Upon hearing Huzoor’s comment, Dr Lantos said:
“Many of us look to you for and we wonder how your community finds the strength to move forward despite the attacks and terrible hatred you face and evil and I do think the ‘prayer duel’ give us part of the answer.”
Most beautifully, Huzoor replied:
“So we pray and ultimately we shall also win our prayer duel.”
Thereafter, Huzoor held a group meeting with various dignitaries and guests and a meeting with Congressman Raja Krishnamoorthi (Illinois).
A live broadcast
Just after 6pm, Huzoor proceeded to a marquee erected at the premises for a special reception to mark the opening of the Fath-e-Azeem Mosque.
A moment or two before, Munir Odeh sahib (Director Production, MTA International) asked me to remind Huzoor that the reception was being broadcast live on MTA.
I approached Huzoor as he walked to the marquee and informed him.
With a smile, Huzoor joked:
“If it is being broadcast live does it mean I have to become conscious of the cameras?”
Both Munir Odeh sahib and I responded by saying “No” and I said that we merely wished to remind Huzoor it was being broadcast live.
Very beautifully, Huzoor said:
“جس طرح میں ہوں، اُسی طرح رہتا ہوں، کیمرہ ہو یا نہ ہو۔”
“I remain as I am whether there are cameras or not.”
Fath-e-Azeem Mosque Reception
With the Grace of Allah, on that evening of 1 October 2022, Hazrat Khalifatul Masih V (aba) graced and delivered the keynote address at a special reception hosted by the USA Jamaat to commemorate the inauguration of the Fath-e-Azeem Mosque in Zion, Illinois.
More than 140 guests, including politicians, faith leaders and local residents, attended the reception.
Prior to the address, various dignitaries took to the stage and offered their remarks. During this part of the programme, Huzoor was presented with the key to the city of Zion by the city’s Mayor.
Prior to presenting the key, Billy McKinney, the Mayor of Zion said:
“Blessed to be guided by His Holiness (Hazrat Mirza Masroor Ahmad), the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community has reached out to people of all faiths with the message of peace, justice, universal human rights and service to humanity. So, it’s with deep gratitude for the outstanding services rendered by the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community to the city of Zion and your commitment to furthering the development of the city and improving the well-being of its people, that we present the key of the city of Zion to His Holiness.”
Thereupon, the Mayor presented Huzoor with the key to the city of Zion.
The next guest to address the reception was Joyce Mason, a member of the Illinois State Assembly.
Honourable Joyce Mason said:
“His Holiness (Hazrat Mirza Masroor Ahmad) is a champion of women’s rights, as I can personally attest from spending time with the Ahmadi Muslim women of Zion. The female members of this community command respect and are integral to the life of the community – the building of this mosque is living proof of that. Nearly half of the money raised for construction was from Ahmadi Muslim women. How special is that?”
The comment of the State Representative, a Western elected official, speaking about how Islam afforded women rights and describing Huzoor as a ‘champion of women’s rights’ was extremely powerful. It is often alleged that Islam discriminates against women or curtails their rights.
The fact that Huzoor has spoken on many occasions about the importance of Purdah is something that some of the opponents of Islam criticise in the belief that it is somehow wrong for Huzoor to advocate observing one’s religious teachings.
Yet, having made the effort to get to know Ahmadi Muslim women, the State representative spoke of the reality she had observed first-hand – that Ahmadi Muslim women are those who ‘command respect’ and are ‘integral’ to the Jamaat.
Next to speak was Congressman Raja Krishnamoorthi, who made a light-hearted comment about how people struggled with the pronunciation of his name.
The Congressman also mentioned that Huzoor’s visit to the United States had been officially recorded in the Congressional Record of the United States, a means of recognising something that is considered historic and of great significance.
Congressman Krishnamoorthi added:
“I believe that the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community, one of the finest communities in America and the world, dedicates itself in service to humanity.”
The final guest speaker, Dr Katrina Lantos-Swett took to the stage and spoke with great affection for the Jamaat.
Dr Katrina Lantos-Swett said:
“I know of no other Community of Faith that I’ve ever encountered, who so fully embody the teachings that they profess, who strive in a profound way every day to live the high ideals and the deep principles that are at the very foundation of their life. And I think those of us in this room know, that that spirit, that commitment of course comes from God, but it really also flows from your extraordinary leader, His Holiness.”
Following the guest speeches, Huzoor delivered the keynote address, during which he spoke about the objectives of the Promised Messiah (as), the importance of religious freedom and explained how the Mubahila challenge of the Promised Messiah (as) was fundamentally a great victory for religious freedom and a rejection of hatred and prejudice.
Very powerfully, Huzoor elucidated the peaceful and spiritual objectives of the Jamaat.
“Let it be crystal clear, that the objective of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community is not to conquer lands, seize territories, overcome cities or vanquish nations. Nor in those lands or nations where our teachings and beliefs have been accepted in large numbers have we ever asserted a desire to gain political power or worldly influence.”
“Our only mission and our sole aspiration is to win the hearts of mankind through love and to bring people closer to God Almighty so they become true worshippers of Him and to fulfil the rights of one another.’”
Huzoor further said:
“We have no grievance, quarrel, or enmity with any person or any religion. As for those who stand against God Almighty or seek to destroy His religion, our answer will never be to take up arms or initiate violence of any kind. To the contrary, our only response will be to bow before Allah the Almighty in all humility.”
“Our only weapon is prayer, and we are certain that Allah listens to our supplications. Indeed, the 133-years-history of our community bears witness to this fact.”
Huzoor mentioned that it had been reported in the media that it would be challenging for the new British monarch, King Charles, to fulfil his stated desire to be the defender of ‘all’ faiths and contrasted this with Islam’s inclusive teachings.
“One headline stated that the King’s desire to defend and promote all faiths may prove to be wishful thinking. Whilst some may consider such efforts to foster religious harmony are futile or wishful thinking, in my view, defending all religions and establishing true freedom of religion and belief is in reality the foundation for establishing peace in the world…”
“The Holy Quran is the only divine scripture that not only grants absolute religious freedom to the people of all religions and beliefs but goes further by instructing Muslims and those who enter mosques to protect the religious rights of non-Muslims. It is that heavenly scripture which is the protector and defender of all religions, faiths, and beliefs.”
In the second half of his address, Huzoor went on to speak about the significance of Zion in the history of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community and the Promised Messiah’s (as) mubahila with Alexander Dowie.
Addressing head on the question of why the Promised Messiah (as) used strong words in response to Dowie, Huzoor said:
“Some of you may query why the Promised Messiah (as) used firm language whilst addressing Mr Dowie and question how this squared with his claim of preaching love and compassion. However, there is absolutely no contradiction between the peaceful teachings of the Promised Messiah (as), and his response to Dowie.”
Huzoor further stated:
“The Promised Messiah (as) never once called for any form of violent or extreme reaction. Indeed, when he first became aware of Mr Dowie’s venomous pronouncements against Islam and its founder, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, the Promised Messiah (as) sought to reason with him respectfully and to persuade him to show restraint and to respect the sentiments of Muslims. Conversely, it was Mr Dowie who sought confrontation with Islam and was explicit in this desire. For example, Mr Dowie wrote, ‘I pray to God that Islam should soon disappear from the face of the earth. O God, accept my prayer, O God, destroy Islam…”
“In response to such extreme rhetoric and vitriol, the founder of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community (as), sought to ensure that thousands or even millions of innocent people were not harmed, which would have been the case if Mr Dowie’s desire for religious wars between Christians and Muslims was realised. Accordingly, he challenged Mr Dowie to a prayer-duel. He said that rather than call for death and destruction of all Muslims, he and Mr Dowie should both engage in solemn prayer and pray to God that whichever of them was a liar should die in the life of the other party. This was actually an act of compassion and a means to diffuse the situation.”
Rounding off this particular point, Huzoor said:
“Rather than risk an all-out confrontation between Muslims and Christians, the Promised Messiah (as), asserted that he and Mr Dowie should resort to prayer and leave the matter in the hands of God Almighty. It was a fair and peaceful means to determine the truth. It is no exaggeration to state that it was a magnificent example of restraint in the face of immense provocation and hostility.”
This part of Huzoor’s address had a profound impact on guests attending and also Ahmadis.
I later spoke to several guests who appreciated the explanation and background to the mubahila, whilst many Ahmadi friends in the USA mentioned that they had been wondering how to respond to the question that why did the Promised Messiah (as) use strong language or call for God’s Wrath on whoever be a liar.
With the unique understanding of the Promised Messiah (as) and his intentions that only the Khalifatul Masih can provide, Huzoor explained the Mubahila challenge of the Promised Messiah (as) in a way that illustrated how it was an act of compassion and a means of mutual religious respect amongst the people of different faiths and beliefs.
Concluding his address, Huzoor expressed his hopes and prayers for the Fath-e-Azeem Mosque.
“From the depths of my heart, I pray that this mosque will, God-willing, always serve as a beacon of peace, tolerance and love for all mankind. I pray it proves to be a place where people congregate in all humility to recognise their creator, to bow before him and to fulfil the rights of mankind, for we earnestly believe that we can only be successful and prosperous if we fulfil the rights of worship of God Almighty and the rights of humanity. Ameen.”
“The key of this town is in safe hands”
As he concluded his address, Huzoor also took the opportunity to thank both Congressman Raja Krishnamoorthi for officially welcoming Huzoor through the Congressional record and the Mayor of Zion for gifting him the key to the city.
Most beautifully, Huzoor said:
“I also thank the Mayor and Raja sahib – I don’t remember the (full) name otherwise you will say I did not pronounce your name correctly. (I thank) the mayor for giving me the key of this town and I am sure that the key of this town is in safe hands!”
Those brief impromptu comments offered the audience an opportunity to observe Huzoor’s grace and humour.
Where Huzoor wished to thank the Congressman, Huzoor lightly referred back to his comments about how his name was often mispronounced and this was something that the Congressman enjoyed and the audience members laughed and enjoyed greatly as well.
The comment about the key being in ‘safe hands’ seemed perfect and was so profound. Huzoor has been given the keys to other and bigger cities in the past, yet it was in Zion, that Huzoor did not only thank the Mayor for the gesture but spoke of how it was now secure.
I, and many other Ahmadis, could not help but reflect on Huzoor’s comment.
Huzoor had been handed the key to that city that was founded with a desire to eliminate Islam and where it’s founder spoke in the most demeaning way about the Promised Messiah (as).
Yet now, more than a century later, that city welcomed the Fifth Successor to the Promised Messiah (as) with open arms and, upon receiving the key, Huzoor had remarked so eloquently about it being in safe hands.
A moment with Huzoor
Following the silent prayer, whilst most guests were eating their meals, I noticed Huzoor looking in my direction from the stage and indicating for me to come forward. I proceeded quickly towards him but mid-way I realised I had taken my facemask off for dinner.
I did not wish to approach Huzoor maskless and so I checked my pockets but could not find the mask. I noticed that Huzoor was smiling as he saw me searching a little frantically for a mask!
Thankfully, a Khadim on duty handed me a mask which I quickly put on before approaching Huzoor.
Huzoor asked me if his flu had been noticeable during the address or impacted his speech delivery.
In reply, I said that it had been slightly noticeable during the pre-event meetings but I had not noticed it during the reception. Alhamdulillah, Huzoor’s address had been delivered very smoothly.
“I hope that the guests will have been able to hear and understand what I was saying.”
In reply, I mentioned how I had just spoken to one guest who had been so impressed that he had immediately asked for the transcript of Huzoor’s address so that he could use some of the quotes in his forthcoming works.
Smiling, Huzoor said:
“The Mayor of Zion said to me that I had a good sense of humour! He was referring to the joke about Raja sahib and comment about the key being in safe hands. In reply, I said to him ‘It is because I am not a Mullah!’”
Impact of Huzoor’s address
With the Grace of Allah, Huzoor’s address was greatly appreciated by those in attendance.
During dinner, I was seated with a local Rabbi and his wife. They both expressed sentiments of gratitude at being invited to listen to Huzoor.
The Rabbi’s wife said she had considered Huzoor to be “phenomenal” and “filled with light”. The Rabbi spoke of how he had been specially touched by Huzoor’s comment that “our only weapon is prayer”.
A neighbour called Anthony told me he loved Huzoor’s address, especially the way Huzoor had presented the history of the Mubahila with Dowie and explained it.
“It was a remarkable event where the Caliph addressed and dispelled any fears that might exist in some people’s minds about this Mosque. I love history and so hearing about how the Founder of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community challenged the founder of Zion to a ‘prayer duel’ was incredible and then how his Holiness framed this as a victory for ‘religious freedom’ and tolerance was very inspiring.”
Mary Lou Hildebrand, from the Zion Emergency Services, said that she was extremely impressed by Huzoor’s words and she had found that “there was nothing but sincerity in his message – nothing put on. It’s all sincere and based on how they (Ahmadis) live, how His Holiness lives and how he wants the world to be”.
Having observed that Huzoor was continuing to fulfil his duties even whilst unwell, she added:
“I hope the schedule permits His Holiness to find some time to rest so he can fully recover from his cold.”
Another neighbour, Shauna, said:
“I loved how the Caliph linked what happened more than 100 years ago in Zion with the opening of the Mosque today. It was made clear that the Founder of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community was a man of a peace and prayer and the Caliph follows the same example today. It is why members of your community are able to integrate so well into the wider society. It is a great honour for us that His Holiness has come to a small town like Zion and we feel lucky to be part of your amazing history.”
After listening to Huzoor’s address, another guest, Amos Monk, described the Jamaat as “the best kept secret in the world”. He said Huzoor’s message ought to be “heard by the world… it is the only way we can cure the ills of the world”.
The Mayor of Zion, Bill McKinney, who had presented the key to Huzoor and had the honour sitting beside him during the proceedings and dinner said:
“This was a historic event for the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community and for the City of Zion. It was overwhelming for me to meet His Holiness and this is the first time in my life that I’ve met someone before whom I was speechless and did not know what to say. He has such a great presence.”
Alhamdulillah, in every respect the reception proved blessed and it was apparent from his demeanour after the event that Huzoor was pleased with the event and the opportunity it had afforded to spread the message of Islam to the local people.
Compliments to the chef
As Huzoor left the hall, he was introduced to two Ahmadi brothers, Zeeshan Hamid and Nauman Hamid who had arranged the catering for the reception.
Their family had a history of catering and running Pakistani inspired food restaurants or eateries.
Nauman sahib asked Huzoor if he had liked the food.
In reply, Huzoor said:
“Yes, I tried the fish and the rice and both were very good.”
Soon after, Zeeshan told me how fortunate and blessed he and his brother felt to have the opportunity to cater for such an event and to be the recipients of Huzoor’s affection.
Zeeshan sahib said:
“It was extremely emotional for me to be able to prepare food for Huzoor and the guests of the Promised Messiah (as) in Zion at such an historic occasion. What I am feeling cannot be described in words. Ever since we met Huzoor I have been in tears and I can’t control my emotions even now. My brother Nauman has also been very emotional. Those loving words of Huzoor have given a new energy and I feel as though I am on top of the world!”
Arab guests meet Huzoor
Outside the marquee, Huzoor was introduced to some Arab guests by Sharif Odeh sahib (Amir Jamaat Kababir).
They were all extremely appreciative of the way Huzoor had elucidated Islamic teachings.
One of the guests, a Palestinian man, said:
“Alhamdulillah I am learning about the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community and very impressed by it. It is a great blessing for me and my wife to be here.”
He mentioned that Sharif Odeh sahib was engaged in Tabligh and preaching the message of Ahmadiyyat.
Upon this, Huzoor smiled and asked:
“So, what is your response?”
The guest replied:
“We say always Alhamdulillah.”
In a light-hearted way, Huzoor said:
“The time to say Alhamdulillah will be when you accept Ahmadiyyat!”
The guest very much enjoyed Huzoor’s comment and said:
“Insha’Allah, one day we will! We have started praying in this regard. And we are learning a lot about Ahmadiyyat.”
Another guest, a doctor from Lebanon, also informed of how he was learning about Ahmadiyyat.
Upon this, Huzoor said:
“I think he (Sharif Odeh sahib) will remain in contact with you and one day he will bring you into the fold of Ahmadiyyat, Insha’Allah.”
In reply, the Lebanese doctor and his wife both said:
Also present at that moment was Dr Firas Harb Al-Banani who, after meeting Huzoor, said:
“Whilst meeting him (Huzoor) it felt as though God has descended from heaven. My prayers and worship were different (in his presence). I felt a special energy entering my body and the concentration, pleasure and humility I felt in my prayers after meeting him were extremely special.”
Alhamdulillah, all those in attendance, whether Ahmadis or guests, felt fortunate to be present at such an historic and momentous occasion.
It was the perfect conclusion to the first leg of Huzoor’s visit to the United States.
Not only was the key to Zion in safe hands but the city itself would now always, Insha’Allah, serve as a reminder of the truth of the Promised Messiah (as) and the spiritual Fath-e-Azeem.
Reflections of the Jaidad Secretary
After the event, I talked to Niaz Butt, a Khadim, who had recently been elected as the National Jaidad (Property) Secretary for the USA Jamaat. He had been a member of the ‘Zion Mosque Committee’ which oversaw the construction of the Mosque. The Committee members had also had the honour of a Mulaqat with Huzoor in Zion.
Reflecting on the Mulaqat and also expressing his determination to be involved in the construction of more Houses of Allah, Niaz said:
“I have been personally closely involved in the construction of two Mosques so far – the Philadelphia Mosque that Huzoor opened in 2018 and this Mosque in Zion. It is my personal goal and ambition for me to serve in the construction of 50 Mosques and so 2 down, 48 to go!”
“It was really wonderful to see Huzoor here in Zion and to have the chance to meet him as part of the Mosque Committee. When met Huzoor he was not fully well as he had flu, yet, at the same time, throughout the meeting Huzoor had this beautiful and illuminating smile on his face. It made me so happy to see.”
Niaz further said:
“It was the second time in my life that I had witnessed Huzoor smile and seem so relaxed. The other time was when we had a family Mulaqat when my daughter was four or five years old and she asked Huzoor how a person can ‘feel’ God.”
Narrating how Huzoor had answered his daughter’s question, Niaz said:
“Upon hearing her question, Huzoor seemed really pleased he answered it in a way that she could understand and appreciate. Huzoor told her that when we pray to Allah and He answers our prayers that is when we can ‘feel’ the presence of God.”
Departure from Zion
The next morning, 2 October 2022, Huzoor came out of his residence at 10.45am and walked around the Mosque complex one final time on this visit to Zion.
Huzoor smiled and waved towards the hundreds of Ahmadis who had gathered to see him off.
All the Ahmadis in attendance seemed extremely spiritually charged.
There was sadness amongst those who lived nearby and who might not see Huzoor again during the tour.
At the same time, there was a sense of anticipation and excitement that, after the blessings witnessed in Zion, now further blessings were sure to follow as Huzoor’s visit to the United States moved on to the next stage.
As Huzoor continued to wave towards the crowd, one African brother sought to outdo all others. With great passion and intensity, he raised naaray (slogans) exhibiting his love for Allah the Almighty and for Khilafat.
Upon seeing and hearing him, Huzoor stopped and asked him affectionately:
“Are you Ghanaian?”
The African brother nodded and, where before it seemed he was raising slogans using the entire capacity of his lungs, now having been shown love and affection by Huzoor, he gained a whole new wind and raised naaray with even greater intensity and passion.
After walking and waving towards all Ahmadis present, Huzoor returned to near his residence to wait for Khala Saboohi (Huzoor’s respected wife) before departure.
As he waited a few minutes, Huzoor called me and I took the opportunity to mention some of the conversations I had had with guests the evening before.
Thereafter, at 11.10am, Huzoor led all those present in a silent prayer before departing for Chicago O’Hare International Airport.
The Khilafat Flight
The Qafila (entourage) arrived at midday to board an American Airlines Flight 2022 from Chicago to Fort Worth Dallas. The flight had been chartered by the USA Jamaat and known as the ‘Khilafat Flight’ with a designated flight number of KF-2022.
Later, Amir Sahib USA informed me that upon learning that the USA Jamaat had chartered a flight, rather than a book a commercial flight, Huzoor had enquired the full breakdown of costs to make sure that the Jamaat’s money had not being spent unduly.
Amir Sahib had given Huzoor a full breakdown of the expenditure and the income generated from the fact that the vast majority of people on board were Ahmadis flying privately at their own expense.
Upon entering the terminal, Huzoor was presented with his boarding pass by Sohail Khan, an Ahmadi raised in Australia. Sohail had moved to the United States a few years for work purposes and now worked as a senior executive at American Airlines.
During Huzoor’s visit to Australia in 2013, Sohail had the honour of assisting with the arrangements for Huzoor’s flights and now had a similar duty for Huzoor’s domestic flights in the United States.
That afternoon, Sohail had the honour to remain in the company of Huzoor in the airport lounge for a few minutes.
Later, Sohail mentioned to me how those moments had been a means of immense healing and comfort for him. He also had the unique opportunity to briefly discuss American football with Huzoor!
“When Huzoor was in the lounge at the Chicago airport there was an American football match being shown on a large screen and upon seeing it I noticed that Huzoor smiled. I mentioned to Huzoor how in Australia we play rugby or Aussie rules football but we don’t wear pads or helmets like the Americans do!”
Continuing, Sohail said:
“In reply, Huzoor said that even though the Americans take precautions there are still a lot of injuries in American football. It was just amazing to have those personal moments of conversation with Huzoor, which I could never have imagined. Especially, after the last few weeks those moments were unforgettable and like a healing balm for my soul.”
I asked Sohail what he meant by the ‘last few weeks’ and in reply he told me that his mother, who was just 65, had suddenly passed away in Australia a week before Huzoor arrived in the United States. He travelled back to Australia but could not reach in time to see his mother before she had passed away. Just two days after her Janaza (funeral prayer) he returned to the United States to get ready for Huzoor’s arrival.
“I wasn’t sure what to do in Australia, whether I should stay with my father and family. I was in a very confused and grief-stricken state. However, my father told me that it was more important for me to return to the USA because Huzoor was arriving and that I must not leave my duty. Even though he was bereaved and in need of support, my father told me that the best gift I could give him was to go and reap the blessings and prayers of Khilafat.”
Visibly tearful, Sohail told me how his father had written a letter to Huzoor for prayers and that he had been able to personally give it to Huzoor and that Huzoor had read it and offered prayers for his deceased mother, for the wellbeing of his father and had offered solace in the way that only Khalifa-Waqt can.
“So yes, those moments in the lounge with Huzoor comparing American football with Aussie Rules were moments I will never forget and a means of comfort and peace at a very difficult time.”
Prior to boarding the flight, Huzoor graciously accepted the request of the local Jamaat for a photo with all passengers.
As Huzoor stood for the photo, one of Huzoor’s security guards mentioned to me that Huzoor’s boarding pass was visible from the pocket on his achkan coat. He suggested I let Huzoor know before the photo was taken.
Upon this, Huzoor smiled and said:
“کیا فرق پڑتا ہے؟ ہم سفر کر رہے ہیں۔”
“What difference does it make? We are travelling.”
It was an example of how sometimes we can become too conscious of how something looks, whereas Huzoor has no time for pretence of any kind.
The flight departed from Chicago at 1.05pm local time for Dallas Fort Worth International Airport. Even though it was a short flight, we were served a ‘gyro’ sandwich from ‘Halal Guys’. It was a bit messy but tasted very good!
Arrival at Baitul Ikram, Texas
At 2.55pm, the plane landed and Huzoor soon disembarked the plane and proceeded swiftly to the arrivals area where he was received by the local Sadr Jamaat Dallas, Hamid Rahim Sheikh, the Sadr Jamaat Fort Worth, Saeed Choudhry and Zaheer Bajwa, who had been the Missionary in Dallas for the past few years.
As we exited the airport terminal, I was immediately hit by the change in weather. It was 30 degrees with bright sunshine and so after several weeks of cold weather in UK and Zion, it felt as though we had suddenly been transported back to the height of summer.
From the airport Huzoor travelled directly to the Baitul Ikram Mosque, which Huzoor was due to inaugurate.
Although known as the ‘Dallas Mosque’, the Mosque is actually situated in Allen, a small city considered a suburb of Dallas.
Throughout the drive, the local police provided a full escort for Huzoor and his entourage. The way the police controlled the flow of traffic in honour of Khalifatul Masih was extremely special to observe.
At 3.45pm Huzoor arrived at Baitul Ikram Mosque where more than a thousand Ahmadis had gathered to welcome him. As in Zion, the atmosphere was electric and spiritually charged. Pure sentiments of love for Khilafat was felt in every direction.
Huzoor waved happily at the Ahmadis and I saw Huzoor smile, I thought to myself how for the past few years, due to Covid, Huzoor had not left Islamabad.
I was grateful to Allah that Huzoor was able to observe once again first-hand the love of the members of the Jamaat outside the UK.
During the week-long stay in Dallas, Huzoor stayed on site at the Baitul Ikram complex and so on arrival Huzoor proceeded to his residence for a brief period until the Zuhr and Asr prayers.
Along with Abdul Majid Tahir sahib and Mubarak Ahmad Zafar sahib, I was staying at the nearby home of a young Ahmadi couple, Aasim and Stephanie Ahmad.
Both were extremely gracious and hospitable. Aasim was the local Qaid for the Baitul Ikram Majlis, whilst his wife was a convert to Islam Ahmadiyyat.
A few moments with Huzoor
The next day, Monday, 3 October 2022, family Mulaqat sessions were held throughout the day.
Huzoor also inspected the Mosque complex and unveiled a plaque to commemorate the opening of the new Mosque.
A few minutes before the Zuhr and Asr prayers, Huzoor called me to his office where I presented a short report.
I mentioned that the British Prime Minister Liz Truss and Chancellor Kwasi Kwarteng had done a ‘U-turn’ on one of their flagship tax policies, whereby, due to public pressure, they had reversed their plan to cut the rate of tax for the highest earning members of society.
Hearing this, whilst smiling, Huzoor remarked:
“I told you a while ago that they did not know what they were doing and their policies were unwise.”
I nodded as I recalled how as soon as the new Prime Minister and Chancellor announced their new plans, Huzoor had told me that they were unwise and were likely to cause harm to the British economy.
Huzoor also indicated that he did not think this particular policy reversal would be enough to satisfy the public and expressed his view that the Prime Minister would face more problems and dissent in the coming days.
Sure enough, within days, Liz Truss was forced to offer her resignation and became the shortest-serving Prime Minister in British history.
Huzoor asked me if I had met any of the local Jamaat members.
I mentioned that one person had mentioned to me that Ahmadis were very grateful to meet Huzoor but a few had expressed disappointment that the family Mulaqats were ‘too short’.
Hearing this, Huzoor said:
“Often, Ahmadis who come to meet me are themselves so nervous or emotional that they do not speak at all and for this reason the Mulaqat is short. However, there are others who are more confident and speak freely and those Mulaqats are naturally longer. In fact, there was lady in Zion to whom I had to say ‘Assalamo Alaikum’ three or four times because she kept talking whilst others were waiting for their turn!”
“If anyone said it directly to you that the Mulaqats were not long enough then you could have also mentioned that I have quite a severe flu and so it is not easy for me to speak for long periods.”
Thereafter, Huzoor mentioned his own impressions based on his interactions with members of the USA Jamaat on the trip.
Exhibiting a great deal of love and affection for the local Jamaat members, Huzoor said:
“Before coming to the US, some people had said that the members of the USA Jamaat are distant or hold some grievances, however, all the people I have met or observed have seemed to be very sincere. It seems that there has been a positive spiritual change in many Ahmadis here with the Grace of Allah.”
A blessed instruction
Throughout the day, as Huzoor’s Mulaqats and meetings continued, hundreds of Ahmadis remained on site at the Dallas Mosque complex just wishing to be there in close proximity to Huzoor.
One such person was Dr Amir Malik, an Ahmadi physician, who had recently moved to Dallas from Houston. Having previously met Dr Amir Malik sahib in Houston, where he had seemed very settled, I asked him how he had come to move.
He told me how in the summer of 2021 he had been offered a job in Dallas and was unsure whether to move and so he had contacted Private Secretary’s Office and asked if there was any chance to speak to Huzoor on the phone so he could seek Huzoor’s guidance.
In reply, he received a message that due to Huzoor’s busy schedule during the days of Jalsa Salana UK it would not be possible. Thus, Dr Amir Malik sahib himself took the decision and accepted the job offer in Dallas.
A few days after the Jalsa Salana UK concluded he unexpectedly received a call from Private Secretary, Munir Javed sahib informing him that Huzoor would speak to him the following day.
Mentioning his thoughts upon finding out he was to speak to Huzoor, Dr Amir Malik sahib said:
“Even though, by then, I had verbally accepted the job offer, I thought to myself that if Huzoor tells me not to take it then I will leave it. I decided I’m not going to make the same mistake twice! However, when I spoke to Huzoor the next day he graciously prayed that the move and new job proved to be very blessed for me and my family.”
Out of curiosity, I asked what Dr Amir Malik sahib had meant by ‘making the same mistake twice’.
He replied that in 2008 he was offered what he considered to be an amazing and prestigious opportunity for work in Oklahoma. He said it was the type of job where he could have earned huge financial riches and retired early. At the same time, he also had a much less prestigious and less well paid job offer in Houston.
Explaining what happened, Dr Amir Malik sahib said:
“I had Mulaqat with Huzoor during his visit to the USA that year and I planned to mention both job opportunities. I decided I would mention the Houston one quickly at the start and then spend the majority of the Mulaqat telling Huzoor about the amazing job opportunity in Oklahoma, as that was the one that I really wished to pursue.
“However, as soon as I mentioned the Houston job offer and before I had the chance to say anything else, Huzoor said ‘Accept it’. I did not even have the chance to mention the Oklahoma job opportunity and so when I came out of the Mulaqat I was in a state of confusion and, if I am honest, a little disappointed.”
Dr Amir Malik sahib continued:
“I accepted the job offer in Houston and now, many years later, I realise how it was the best possible decision for my family and the deep wisdom in Huzoor’s instructions.
“At the time my children were young and very impressionable and in Houston they were exposed to the Jamaat, as a lot of Ahmadis live there and there is a Mosque in Houston. In Oklahoma it would have been far more challenging to do their Tarbiyyat and keep them closely attached to their faith.”
Dr Amir Malik sahib further said:
“Similarly, we lived a comfortable life but not the lavish life we might have if we had moved to Oklahoma. Some of my doctor friends who did move their families there became consumed by materialism. So, whilst initially I had been disappointed, I now thank my lucky stars for the guiding hand of Khilafat. So that’s what I meant when I said I will not make the same mistake again – that whatever Huzoor instructed, I would accept without hesitation and without any sense of regret.”
Later in the day, Dr Amir Malik sahib was very fortunate that when Huzoor was about to enter the Mosque for the Maghreb and Isha prayers, Huzoor stopped and spoke to a few members of the Jamaat, including Dr Amir.
Huzoor enquired about the weather pattern in Dallas and if there was ever extreme weather.
Upon this, Dr Amir Malik sahib responded:
“Occasionally there are tornadoes here, whilst Houston is known for hurricanes.”
Hearing this, Huzoor smiled and said:
“So, you left the hurricanes behind and moved here to the tornadoes.”
It was a beautiful example of how Huzoor has the unique ability somehow to remember the personal circumstances of so many Ahmadis and to maintain a personal connection with the members of the Jamaat.
Emotions of Ahmadis
Amongst those fortunate enough to meet Huzoor during the ‘Family Mulaqats’ at Baitul Ikram were Hakeem Onabanjo (36) and Alima Abdul Aziz (25), a Nigerian husband and wife who had migrated to the United States a few years before and lived in Florida.
Speaking about their Mulaqat, Alima sahiba said:
“In 2008, when Huzoor came to Nigeria we saw Huzoor as he walked by but we never had the chance to meet him. So, even though Florida is far away from Dallas we could not miss this opportunity for Mulaqat. The feelings I got when we met Huzoor are unexplainable! When we first entered the room, I said ‘Masha’Allah’ and felt a rush of emotions. We are so happy that Huzoor prayed for us that ‘may Allah bless you’ and we were able to say ‘Ameen’ to his prayers for us.”
Alima sahiba continued:
“I have been writing to Huzoor and seeing him on MTA and now I feel a deeper connection with Khilafat having met him. The love in my heart for Khilafat has increased and I am certain we will see a lot of positive changes and blessings in our lives because of this Mulaqat.”
After listening to his wife’s reflections, Hakeem sahib added:
“It is a true privilege to meet Huzoor for the first time. We really appreciate that Huzoor has come to the United States and we had to seize this blessed opportunity to meet him. I feel already that being in his presence has purified my mind and soul and it has motivated me to do more Jamaat work and to ensure the moral training of our children.”
Another person fortunate to meet Huzoor in Dallas was Mohammad Rizwan Javed. After meeting Huzoor he was extremely emotional as he reflected on the personal struggles and pain he had endured in recent years.
Mohammad Rizwan Javed said:
“I have lived a very difficult life. I was persecuted in Pakistan for being an Ahmadi and so had to flee to the United States to try to build a better life for my family. I came alone leaving behind my wife, three children and my parents. Then, just one week after landing in the United States, I lost my father and soon thereafter, two of my siblings died in young age. My sister was 35 and my younger brother was just 18 when they died.”
Continuing, Mohammad Rizwan Javed said:
“Honestly, today I can say that the last thirteen years of struggle and hardships were wiped away when I met Huzoor. Alhamdulillah! After meeting him, I feel so much relief in my soul and the burdens and pain of the last thirteen years have been lifted. I feel that Allah has given me an even greater reward to all of the challenges, hardships, struggles I have faced. I gained peace of heart today when I met Huzoor and especially when I heard him say that ‘Insha’Allah’ my family will be able to join me here in the USA. I have firm belief that Allah will now enable for me to be reunited with them soon.”
Another person to meet Huzoor for the first time in Dallas was Ahad Ahmad Khan (26).
After meeting Huzoor, Ahad said:
“It was the very first time I met Huzoor and he asked me what I studied and so I told him I had studied ‘political science’ in college. What’s amazing is that Huzoor already knew what I wanted to ask next! So, without me saying anything else, Huzoor said ‘Do you want to study Law in future?’ In reply, I said ‘Ji Huzoor’ and mentioned that I was going to ask Huzoor what type of law I should pursue. Huzoor laughed and said I should get admission into law school before specialising! However, then Huzoor graciously recommended that I study Human Rights law. I feel really emotional as it was the greatest honour of my life.”
“The Mulaqat and Huzoor’s guidance has had a profound impact on me. It has rejuvenated my interest to study and to serve the Jamaat. Huzoor’s sagacious and thoughtful advice made me realise how much he cares about me as an individual. During the entire Mulaqat, Huzoor kept smiling and asked me questions. His countenance made me think there is really no excuse for me ever to be lazy with any matter of life and also reminded me the immense of importance of smiling and showing love to everyone around me. The spiritual elevation I felt during Huzoor’s visit is something I have never felt before.”
Memories of Huzoor before Khilafat
During Huzoor’s visit to the US, Hafiz Muzaffar Ahmad sahib, Nazir Islah-o-Irshad Muqami from Rabwah attended in Zion and Dallas. Hafiz Muzaffar sahib had the honour to work with Huzoor prior to Huzoor’s Khilafat and so I asked him about his experiences and memories.
Mentioning the period when Huzoor served in the National Amila of Majlis Khuddamul Ahmadiyya Pakistan in the late 1980s, Hafiz Muzaffar sahib said:
“Huzoor, who we would call ‘Mian sahib’ at the time, did not speak a lot but rather chose his words carefully. Whenever he did speak his words had great weight attached to them and were always of benefit. Furthermore, Huzoor was always extremely helpful and cooperative with all other people, no matter who they were. Whatever duties were assigned to Huzoor he would do with diligence and he served as a Khadim with a spirit of absolute sincerity and humility.”
Thereafter, Hafiz sahib mentioned the time when Huzoor became Nazir-e-Ala in Pakistan.
Hafiz Muzaffar Ahmad sahib said:
“In 1997, Huzoor’s father, Hazrat Mirza Mansoor Ahmad sahib passed away and Hazrat Khalifatul Masih IV (rh) appointed Mian sahib (Hazrat Mirza Masroor Ahmad) as Nazir-e-Ala. It was quite a surprise because it was assumed that Sahibzada Mirza Khursheed Ahmad sahib or Sahibzada Mirza Ghulam Ahmad sahib would be appointed as Nazir-e-Ala as they were more senior.
“Here, the revelation of the Promised Messiah (as) regarding Huzoor’s grandfather, Hazrat Mirza Sharif Ahmad (ra), that ‘Allah has appointed him as a leader contrary to expectation’ was fulfilled in the person of Huzoor, as it had been fulfilled in the person of his father.”
Hafiz Muzaffar Ahmad sahib continued:
“Another revelation of the Promised Messiah (as) about Hazrat Mirza Sharif Ahmad (ra) that Hazrat Khalifatul Masih IV (rh) stated was fulfilled in the person of Hazrat Mirza Mansoor Ahmad (rh) was ‘Allah has granted him life contrary to expectation’. After his demise, I wrote an article about Huzoor’s father for publication in Al-Fazl and before submitting it to Al-Fazl I took it to Mian sahib and requested that he review it.
“The next day he returned it and did not change any of the content about his father. The only part which he instructed me to cut was a paragraph towards the end where I had prayed using the words of the revelation that may Allah the Almighty greatly bless the life, status and leadership of (Hazrat) Mirza Masroor Ahmad sahib. This was most certainly due to his immense humility.”
Hafiz Muzaffar sahib told me how his relationship with Huzoor changed after he was appointed as Nazir-e-Ala. Now, Huzoor was the senior most Jamaat office bearer in Pakistan and so Hafiz sahib would seek his advice and instructions both in his work and personally.
Hafiz Muzaffar Ahmad sahib said:
“I always saw that when it came to any matter, Huzoor would act with complete honesty, fairness and justice. I personally experienced this. One year in Ramadan, I was appointed in charge of the Eitikaaf arrangements. After Maghreb prayers, Huzoor noticed that the private living space in the Mosque that I had was a bigger than the others because I had found a place in the corner. Very gently and softly, Huzoor mentioned to me that my space was larger and I realised that there should not be a difference between the living space of the person in charge and others.”
Hafiz Muzaffar Ahmad sahib continued:
“I always found Huzoor to be a wonderful guide and his counsel was always wise. For example, when my daughter graduated from university, my wife desired for her to do a Masters Degree from Punjab University. However, I was of the opinion that it would be better to find a suitable match for her marriage. I mentioned this to Huzoor and he solved the dilemma in the best way. He advised that, according to her mother’s desire, my daughter should get admission at university. However, if during her Masters, a suitable match for marriage came about her education should not stop her from accepting it. So it happened that she took admission for the Masters degree and during the final period of her course she got engaged.”
Meeting with AMMA
On the morning of Wednesday 5th October 2022, after a session of family Mulaqats, the Executive Board of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Medical Association USA (AMMA) had the honour of a daftari (official) Mulaqat with Huzoor.
I was not sure if I should attend this meeting and so after the doctors entered, I entered nervously and raised my hand and asked Huzoor if I should stay. Most graciously, Huzoor permitted me to remain.
The meeting was not long, less than fifteen minutes, yet during that short period of time, Huzoor conveyed detailed guidance to the Medical Association and conveyed his desire for the humanitarian projects and services of the Ahmadi doctors in USA to increase in scope and ambition.
In this regard, Huzoor said:
“With the Grace of Allah, Ahmadi doctors in the United States are relatively affluent and so they should seek to increase their efforts to serve those in need and the poor. Do not limit yourselves just to the United States but look further afield.”
“For example, the Ahmadiyya Medical Association in Australia has provided healthcare services in the Far East, in Malaysia, Thailand and specifically have gone to help Ahmadi Muslim refugees who are stranded there and in great need. They are also contributing to medical equipment to the Tahir Heart Institute in Rabwah. I know that US doctors are serving in Guatemala but do not limit your services to one region but always seek to go further afield. You should offer your time and services in East and West Africa, in Rabwah and elsewhere.”
Huzoor further said:
“Furthermore, it is your duty to guide and provide training to the next generation of Ahmadi doctors, especially those who are Waqf-e-Nau who have pledged to serve the Jamaat in future.”
In terms of administration, Dr Fizan Abdullah sahib, the President of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Medical Association USA asked Huzoor if female physicians were permitted to be part of the executive body of AMMA.
In response, Huzoor said that it was important to have female representation in the executive and that Ahmadi women healthcare professionals and doctors had a crucial role to play in AMMA.
Regarding the criteria for election to the executive body, Huzoor said:
“In terms of who should be elected to the AMMA executive, it is not just the medical or administrative skills that are important. Of course, it is important that they are professionally competent and hard working. However, those in senior positions must also be living their lives in a pious fashion, according to the teachings of Islam.”
“Just because AMMA is a body of professionals does not mean that it should be free from religion. Rather, your religious values should inspire you and guide you every step of the way. It should not be that you appoint or elect people who do not offer Salat or don’t offer any financial sacrifices in the way of Allah.”
Towards the end of the meeting, Huzoor said it was important for the senior members of AMMA to continually acknowledge and value of the efforts of the membership who may not be doctors but who served as nurses, paramedics or in other affiliate roles.
“Never (as doctors) consider yourselves superior to the nurses or those in junior positions, rather you should recognise and appreciate their efforts and essential services as healthcare workers and as part of the AMMA association.”
As the meeting drew to a close, Dr Fizan sahib requested a photo of the executive with Huzoor.
Upon this, Huzoor lightly remarked:
“Yes, I know that having a photo was the real purpose of your coming!”
As the doctors came forward for the photo, one requested if they could remove their masks.
In reply, Huzoor said:
“You are doctors and so if you keep your masks on it will be a good example for others and, as doctors, you should serve as role models.”
A few moments with Huzoor
As the doctors left the office, Huzoor indicated to me to remain in his office.
As I sat down opposite Huzoor, I mentioned that, for the purposes of MTA News, I had been reviewing the footage of Huzoor’s meeting with Dr Katrina Lantos-Swett a few days earlier in Zion and that Huzoor had described anti-Ahmadi extremists in Pakistan as having gone beyond the cruelties of the ‘Pharaoh’ but Huzoor had pronounced ‘Pharaoh’ as ‘Faraayana’.
Upon this, Huzoor smiled and said:
“I think ‘Faraayana’ is the Arabic word for the Pharaohs and so, even though I was speaking in English, at that moment the Arabic word, rather than the English word came to my mind.”
Huzoor instructed me to double check if ‘Faraayana’ as Huzoor had used was used in Arabic for Pharaoh before broadcast. Thus, I asked a native Arab speaker and another person well versed in Arabic and they both confirmed that the word Huzoor had used was the correct Arabic word.
Thereafter, there were still a few minutes till Zuhr and Huzoor reached for an iPad at his desk. After a long morning of non-stop Mulaqats and meetings, I was happy that Huzoor had a couple of minutes to relax.
Even in that moment, Huzoor searched on Wikipedia about a scientific topic that had come to his mind.
Huzoor scrolled on his iPad and told me to search for another term linked to the topic on my phone and then I read out what was written. It was a beautiful few moments but also an example of how the Khulafa never waste any time and rather use their time in a productive fashion.
I also mentioned to Huzoor that a Lajna convert to Ahmadiyyat had requested me to seek Huzoor’s guidance about whether it was essential for her to take an Islamic name after accepting Islam.
In response, Huzoor said:
“It is entirely her choice if she wishes to take an Islamic name. The companions of the Holy Prophet (sa) who were born prior to the advent of Islam did not later change their names. Today, some converts desire to take an Islamic name, whilst others keep their previous names. Some, keep their previous names but choose to add an Islamic middle name. It is entirely up to the individual to choose as they desire.”
Later, I informed the convert and she was extremely grateful that Huzoor had answered her question and decided she would take the third option – that she would keep her birth name but also would add an Islamic name.
Waqf-e-Nau and Waqfat-e-Nau Classes at Baitul Ikram
After the lunch break, Huzoor held separate male and female Waqf-e-Nau classes at the Mosque.
In both classes, following the participants had the opportunity to ask Huzoor various questions.
One Waqifa, Fateha Ahmad, asked Huzoor why the Quranic prayer of ‘Inna lillahey wa inna illehey rajeoon’ (‘Surely to Allah we belong and to Him we shall return’), which is offered upon someone’s death, is also offered when a person loses a material belonging or possession.
In reply, Huzoor said:
“This prayer means that we are from Allah and it is to Him who we shall return. Thus, whenever you lose anyone or anything or you are in difficulty or facing a problem, this prayer reminds you of the power of Allah the Almighty. It reminds that everything and everyone has to die but Allah the Almighty will forever remain. So this prayer has a very deep meaning.”
“It has happened to me on many occasions and to others as well that when we lose something or have forgotten something we say ‘Inna lillahey wa inna illehey rajeoon’ and immediately or very soon we find that thing or remember what we had forgotten.”
Most beautifully, Huzoor further explained one of the reasons this prayer is offered upon someone’s demise.
“If a person dies, particularly someone close to you or someone you relied upon then you will be grief stricken but this prayer reminds you that Allah is always there no matter what. He will protect and save you. For example, when the father of Hazrat Masih Maud (as) died and the Promised Messiah (as) was very worried, as he did not have a worldly job, he prayed that ‘O Allah, what will I do?’ and after saying ‘Inna lillahey wa inna illehey rajeoon’, it was revealed to him by Allah the Almighty that ‘Is Allah not sufficient for His servants?’”
“So, Allah reassured him that because He was Allah’s servant so Allah would fulfil all His needs. This is how in that time of grief, after praying ‘Inna lillahey wa inna illehey rajeoon’, the Promised Messiah (as) was comforted by Allah the Almighty. So, in essence this is the prayer that gives a person reassurance and comfort at times of distress or worry.”
Later in the class, a Waqifa, Saba Ijaz, asked Huzoor about Sufism and whether Sufi practices or customs could enhance a person’s spirituality or nearness to Allah.
In response, Huzoor explained that Sufism did not exist in the time of the Holy Prophet (sa) or during the era of the Khulafa-e-Rashideen. Rather, it developed later as Muslims entered a period of moral decay and there was a vacuum of spiritual leadership. Following the advent of the Promised Messiah (as) the situation had changed.
“After the coming of the Promised Messiah (as), who, according to the prophecy of the Holy Prophet of Islam (sa), was sent to revive the religion of Islam. There is no need to follow any Sufi or to practice Sufism in this era.”
“Once, in a Friday Sermon I explained the meaning of the Quranic verse of the Holy Quran where Allah the Almighty states ‘Allah is the Light of the heavens and the earth’. Upon hearing it, a new Arab convert to Ahmadiyyat said that he was previously a follower of Sufism but having heard the Sermon he believed that there was no greater Sufi than the Promised Messiah (as). He said there was no longer need for any Sufi in the world after listening to the way the Promised Messiah (as) had explained the teachings of the Quran and because now we were again living in an era of a Rightly Guided Khilafat. Insha’Allah, as long as true Khilafat remains there will be no need for Sufism. It was a requirement of the past, not the present.”
One Waqifa, Amatul Haleem Zayn-Wahab asked Huzoor what his view was on interracial marriages amongst Ahmadis, given the challenges of different cultures and upbringings.
In response, Huzoor said:
“The fundamental point for any marriage is that the Holy Prophet (sa) said that you should try to marry someone who is spiritually and morally good and firm in their faith as a Muslim. So, if this point is prioritised by both sides then challenges of different cultures or races will be overcome and you will live content lives. Furthermore, it is essential to remember that every person has some shortcomings. No one is perfect. Hence, a husband and wife must be tolerant. They should close their ears, tongue and eyes to the imperfections of one another. Avoid speaking ill to one another and then a couple will more than likely enjoy a good married life.”
Speaking about interracial marriages specifically, Huzoor further said:
“If different cultures join together in Ahmadiyyat it will be very good and they should strive above all to establish a true Ahmadi environment within their homes. This is what I believe and according to Islam.”
Subsequently, in the Waqf-e-Nau boys class, a Khadim, Noman Fareed, asked Huzoor why billionaires like Elon Musk or Jeff Bezos were apparently so successful considering it is our belief that prayer and worship of Allah leads to success.
After speaking in depth about the true purpose of a person’s life according to Islamic teachings, Huzoor further said:
“Righteous people will be rewarded in the hereafter, whilst the worldly people will be rewarded for their efforts only in this world. This is why the Holy Prophet (sa) said ‘their right eye is blind’ – which refers to the eye that absorbs and reflects religious light and knowledge. Thus, if you desire only worldly benefits then you can leave Namaz, leave Islam and do whatever you like. But if you believe there is an eternal life after death then you will strive to achieve the love of Allah the Almighty…”
Concluding his answer, Huzoor said:
“So remember, our purpose is not this world. A sincere believer’s purpose is to win the Love of Allah and to gain that you will have to work hard for the enhancement of your spiritual level and strive towards to serve humanity.”
Towards the end of the class, one boy, Rohan Zafar, asked how Huzoor desired for Ahmadis to pray for the Khalifa-Waqt.
Very beautifully, Huzoor responded:
“You should pray that may Allah the Almighty help the Khalifa-Waqt to discharge his duties so that the burden Allah the Almighty has put on the shoulders of the Khalifa-Waqt is properly discharged. Pray that Allah the Almighty gives the Khalifa the strength and (good) health so that he works properly for the cause of Islam Ahmadiyyat. And that whatever plans the Khalifa of the time makes are completed with Allah’s Help in as short as possible time and in the best way.”
Further, Huzoor said:
“And pray that Allah the Almighty gives the Khalifa-Waqt sincere helpers – that is ‘Sultan-e-Naseer’ – those who help the Khalifa-Waqt. Pray for yourself that may Allah the Almighty also make you the helper of the Khalifa of the time. Pray that as a Waqf-e-Nau, you are able to discharge your duties to help the Khalifa-Waqt to fulfil his assignments and tasks and his wishes and plans.”
Inauguration of Baitul Ikram Mosque
With the Grace of Allah, on Friday 7 October 2022, Hazrat Khalifatul Masih V (aba) inaugurated the Baitul Ikram Mosque in Allen, Texas with his Friday Sermon.
The excitement and happiness amongst the local Ahmadis and those who had travelled from further afield to attend was palpable. Many had queued up since Fajr to have the chance to sit inside the Mosque at Jummah.
During his sermon, addressing members of the local Jamaat, Huzoor said:
“May Allah the Almighty enable all those who took part in the building of this Mosque to now fulfil its due rights. I pray that you have built this Mosque purely for the sake of attaining the pleasure and rewards of Allah the Almighty and may you all be the beneficiaries of the words of the Holy Prophet (sa) that whosoever builds a Mosque for the sake of attaining the pleasure of Allah the Almighty, in turn, Allah the Almighty will build such a house for them in Paradise.”
Huzoor further said:
“The objectives associated with building a Mosque for attaining the pleasure of Allah do not end with the completion of the Mosque’s structure. Rather, one can only attain Allah’s pleasure when he follows the commandments of Allah the Almighty and fulfils the rights of His worship and those of His creation. We can only truly attain the pleasure of Allah when we give precedence to faith over the world with complete sincerity and loyalty and when we fulfil our pledge of Bai’at.”
Later in his Sermon, Huzoor prayed:
“May Allah the Almighty enable all of you to be those who offer Namaz with great sincerity and who attend this Mosque with regularity. May Allah accept all of our prayers and worship in the best way. Ameen.”
Drive to Forth Worth
Later that day, at around 6pm, Huzoor departed from Baitul Ikram to visit and formally inaugurate the Baitul Qayyum Mosque in the city of Fort Worth, about 50 miles south west of Allen.
As we approached the Baitul Qayyum Mosque it was clear that we were entering a less affluent and more socio-economically deprived neighbourhood. Rather than the high-rise commercial buildings or large polished homes of Dallas and its suburbs, as we approached the Mosque in Fort Worth, we observed run down ‘Dollar Stores’ or takeaways with generic names such as ‘Donuts’ or ‘Fried Chicken’.
There was some commotion on the roads near the Mosque, either a result of a traffic accident or criminality. Police cars and ambulances lined the road, whilst dozens of people, mostly African-Americans or Latin Americans, looked on anxiously as one individual was carried on a stretcher by paramedics.
It seemed like a scene out of a television show depicting the socio-economic struggles of young people living in deprived American neighbourhoods. I was struck at the stark difference between what were in effect neighbouring towns and cities. It was a peek into the economic and social divides in America that we often read or hear about in the media.
Alhamdulillah, our Jamaat does not seek to discriminate in terms of where we build Mosques. If anything, we tend to build more Mosques and centres in less affluent areas, which enable us to directly serve communities who are vulnerable and in need.
Inauguration of the Baitul Qayyum Mosque & Mulaqat with Jamaat
With the Grace of Allah, Huzoor arrived at the Mosque a few minutes after 7pm where hundreds of Ahmadis had gathered to welcome him. Young children welcomed Huzoor with Tiranay and Huzoor responded by affectionately waving and smiling towards them.
Huzoor was given a tour of the premises by the local Sadr Jamaat. Huzoor inspected the prayer halls, offices, library, a Tabligh room to host guests and a small gym. Subsequently, Huzoor was escorted to a large multipurpose hall where members of the Jamaat had all gathered and were all blessed with an informal group Mulaqat with Huzoor.
Initially, Huzoor enquired how many of the local Jamaat members were asylum seekers who had come from Pakistan via third party countries. Around one third of those in attendance raised their hands.
Addressing the asylum seekers, Huzoor enquired if they were settled and happy. He encouraged them to start working as soon as possible and said that if they were finding it difficult to adjust to life in the USA, they would need to persevere and exhibit determination to adjust to their new lives.
Thereafter, Huzoor spoke to some of the local Jamaat office bearers.
Whilst addressing the local Secretary Taleem ul Quran & Waqf-e-Arzi, Huzoor said:
“Due to the fact that there are asylum seekers and some older people in this Jamaat, there will be quite a number who have free time and you should utilise their services. They can do Waqf-e-Arzi and can especially assist you in Tabligh activities. Even if some are not yet fluent in English, they can distribute Jamaat literature or pamphlets. You must seek to raise awareness of Ahmadiyyat and introduce its teachings to the local community. Utilise this new Mosque for Tabligh by inviting the local people and giving tours of it.”
Continuing and addressing all the local Jamaat members, Huzoor said:
“You should never sit idle or rest easy. If you wish to progress you will have to explore new avenues and go out into the public. It should not be that you say it is not possible to do Tabligh or be active until you get certain resources. Rather, you should utilise whatever you have in the best possible way and strive to serve Islam and to spread the message of Ahmadiyyat as much as possible. If the Jamaat members are active and work together then you can introduce the teachings of Islam to the local population in a short period of time. As I said, you must not sit easy or be amongst those who become easily tired.”
During the meeting, the local Secretary Tarbiyyat, an Ahmadi from Ghana, also had the opportunity to speak to Huzoor.
Huzoor enquired from him if there was any particular problem or weakness that the Secretary Tarbiyyat had observed in the Jamaat. In reply, he said that there was a general weakness amongst some members in attending the Mosque regularly for prayers.
Upon this, Huzoor said:
“You will have to be very much persuasive. You must remind the members every day about the importance of Salat in congregation. Send them regular messages reminding them to come to the Mosque. You should ask them that why was it the desire of the Jamaat members to purchase this land and to have a Mosque? It was because they desired to have a place where they could join together to offer congregational prayers. Now, Allah has blessed them with such a place they should take benefit from it. It is for their betterment and the betterment of the next generation – our children – that Ahmadi families should be attached to the Mosque.”
Smiling, Huzoor lightly remarked said:
“Treat them (the local members) in the Ghanaian way – with firmness!”
The local Sadr Jamaat took the opportunity to thank Huzoor for accepting their invitation to inaugurate the Mosque and giving his time to the local Jamaat.
In response, Huzoor said:
“The real way to offer thanks is that this Mosque should be full with Ahmadi Muslims at every prayer. At the very least, it should be full at Fajr and Isha.”
“Most people here can afford the cost of petrol to drive to the Mosque. They do not struggle to go to other places, for example if they wish to eat out. The priority for Ahmadi Muslims should be to turn their attention towards attending the Mosque. As I said, at a minimum at Fajr and also in the evenings after work for Maghreb and Isha, people should be able to come easily. At least 50% of the members should attend regularly. In reality, 100% attendance should occur but keep a minimum target of 50% which can be increased over time. Otherwise, what is the benefit of having this new Mosque?”
The members of Lajna Imaillah also had the opportunity to speak to Huzoor and seek his guidance.
Whilst speaking to the local Sadr Lajna, Huzoor said:
“It is imperative that the Amila members are all active and participate fully in the Lajna programmes and events. If they are active, then the other members will automatically become active and more connected to the Jamaat. The same principle applies to Jamaat, Ansarullah and Khuddamul Ahmadiyya Amila members.”
Huzoor further said:
“It is not obligatory on women to come to the Mosque to offer their prayers but it is essential that they pay great attention to the moral training of their children.”
Before Huzoor proceeded to the Mosque to lead Maghreb and Isha, the Amir Jamaat Germany, Abdullah Wagishauser sahib, approached Huzoor to offer salam. He had travelled to the United States to attend the events in Zion and Dallas and so approached Huzoor to seek permission to return home.
Expressing his sentiments about the visit to the United States, Amir Sahib Germany said:
“Having experienced these blessed days of Huzoor’s tour, I will be going back extremely spiritually charged and motivated.”
In reply, Huzoor said:
“I hope your battery will remain always charged.”
Upon this, Amir Sahib Germany said:
“It will increase!”
Huzoor’s comment was offered in a light hearted and affectionate way but it was certainly something for all of us, who were fortunate enough to be present, to reflect on.
The spiritual atmosphere and joy of those days with Huzoor in the United States were captivating but the real challenge would be to maintain those emotions and feelings of attachment to Khilafat and the Jamaat once the tour ended and everyone returned to their normal lives.
A late night burger and fries!
We returned to the Baitul Ikram Mosque at around 9.20pm, where dinner was served. However, having eaten a lot of food prepared at the Mosque in Zion and Dallas, I suggested to Mubarak Zafar sahib that we try something different.
So, on our way back to where we were staying, we got takeaway burgers and fries from ‘In N Out’, a fast food place which many people had recommended.
It was late by the time we got home and the burgers were no longer piping hot but we enjoyed them a lot. I was a little apprehensive that I had asked Mubarak sahib to leave the langhar food that evening and unsure if he would like the burger. Thankfully, he enjoyed it a lot too.
A few moments with Huzoor
On Saturday 8 October, a special reception was being held to mark the inauguration of the Baitul Ikram Mosque, where Huzoor was due to deliver the keynote address.
Mid-morning, I received a message that Huzoor was calling me to his residence.
Upon entering the residence, Huzoor graciously invited me to his office where he had been revising his notes for his evening address.
Huzoor noticed there was no chair for me to sit on and so said we should go and sit in the lounge. I felt very embarrassed that Huzoor stood up and walked to a different room simply for the sake of my ease, whilst feeling a rush of love at the way Huzoor takes such care of his servants.
Thereafter, Huzoor graciously mentioned to me why he was going to speak about world affairs in his address.
“Apart from introducing the Mosque, I have decided to speak about the state of the world and the threat to world peace. Dallas is a major city and there are some well-known politicians and influential people attending this event and so that is why I am also going to speak about world affairs.”
Upon this, I said that normally Huzoor addressed such issues at the UK National Peace Symposium but it had not taken place for several years due to Covid. Thus, I felt people would be eager to hear Huzoor’s views and guidance on world matters.
In response, Huzoor said:
“Yes, tonight’s speech can be considered in place of the Peace Symposiums which were missed.”
Huzoor further said:
“The situation of the world is getting more dangerous. Even during the past few days whilst we have been in America, the situation in Ukraine and generally in the world, has become even more precarious.”
“May Allah enable us to return home safely and after that we will see what happens next.”
I mentioned to Huzoor that we had received positive feedback to a new episode of ‘This Week with Huzoor’ that had played the evening before on MTA. It had included highlights of the previous week, including Huzoor’s meetings with guests in Zion.
I mentioned that I felt we could have cut down the meetings with guests a little more to make the programme flow more. However, we did not have the time to edit it further.
Upon this, Huzoor said:
“Yes, you did play a bit more than was necessary.”
Thankfully, Huzoor said this he smiled in a reassuring way and without any trace of anger.
I mentioned the visit to Fort Worth the evening before. Alhamdulillah, Huzoor was pleased by the visit.
“It was a good programme where I got to meet many of the local Ahmadis in one sitting.”
Huzoor smiled and said:
“I hinted to the Ghanaian local Tarbiyyat Secretary that it is not always easy to deal with Pakistani Jamaat members!
Upon this, I mentioned that I had noticed that Amir Sahib Kababir, Sharif Odeh sahib, had laughed and enjoyed this comment of Huzoor and that perhaps he could relate!
I mentioned that the Murrabi in Dallas was Syed Adil Ahmad, who was a recent graduate of Jamia Ahmadiyya Canada and a member of the family of the Promised Messiah (as).
I informed Huzoor that Adil had told me how it was the desire of his late father, Syed Waqar Shah who had passed away suddenly in January that Adil and his wife name their unborn child as ‘Taalay’ in memory of Syed Taalay Ahmed shaheed. Waqar sahib and his wife had been close to Taalay’s parents and both families had lived in Abu Dhabi in the early 1990s when Taalay was an infant.
Waqar sahib had not actually communicated this desire to Adil and had only told his wife. Later, she told Adil. However, rather than naming the child themselves, Adil and his wife had written to Huzoor to request a name for their child and had already received a reply.
Huzoor had written to them that if they were to have a boy they should name him ‘Taalay’!
Adil said that due to his father’s sudden death he had not been able to tell him that Huzoor had named their unborn child as Taalay.
Nonetheless, following his father’s death, Adil said it was a source of great comfort to his family and especially his mother to learn that, as he put it, “by some grand design Allah had fulfilled the wish of Abu” through Khalifatul Masih.
With the Grace of Allah, Adil and his wife were blessed with a son, Syed Taalay Ahmad, born on 4th May 2022.
After listening to the narration, Huzoor spoke in an affectionate way about Adil and his family and it was clear that Huzoor was happy that a member of the Promised Messiah’s (as) family, who had grown up in the West, had chosen to dedicate his life to the service of Islam.
Just before Huzoor indicated to me to leave, I mentioned how a senior official from the Canada Jamaat had mentioned to me that he hoped that Huzoor would visit Canada soon and that they desired for Huzoor to travel to various provinces across Canada.
Upon this, Huzoor said:
“You should have said to him that it is no longer as easy as it used to be me for me to travel on such long journeys and travelling such large distances every few days is a cause of fatigue.”
I felt so much love for Huzoor in that moment.
Seeing Huzoor during the travel from the United Kingdom it was apparent that it was not as easy for Huzoor and his family to travel as it was some years before.
Yet despite the natural challenges of advancing age, Huzoor’s efforts to convey the message of Islam to the world and to guide the members of the Jamaat continued unaffected.
In fact, just hours later, Huzoor would go on to deliver a remarkable and powerful address the people of the United States about the truth of Islam and the need of the hour for mankind to turn towards God Almighty.
As I walked out of Huzoor’s residence, I felt privileged to spend that personal time in Huzoor’s company. I looked forward with great anticipation to the evening reception and then the final part of Huzoor’s tour which would be based at the Baitur Rahman Mosque in Maryland.
End of Part 2
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