A sitting with Mirza Waqas Ahmad Sahib at 2019 UK Khuddam Ijtema – Part I

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MKA UK

Mirza Waqas Ahmad Sahib had the opportunity to serve as Sadr Majlis Khuddam-ul-Ahmadiyya UK from 2012 to 2018. During this year’s Ijtema, a special sitting was arranged with him in which Khuddam asked questions, especially about Huzooraa. The result was that Khuddam were able to better understand the honour, grandeur and importance of Khilafat.

For this very purpose, Al Hakam presents the transcript of this conversation so that our readers may also benefit. We are grateful to Mirza Waqas Ahmad Sahib. Fajazahumullah Ahsanal Jazaa.

Question: As Huzooraa is the grandson of Hazrat Sahibzada Mirza Sharif Ahmadra, we first request you to tell us about Hazrat Sahibzada Mirza Sharif Ahmadra.

Mirza Waqas Ahmad Sahib: I first wish to tell everyone why I have come to this sitting. The Nazim-e-Ala of this Ijtema, Yousuf Aftab Sahib contacted me and asked me to hold this session. Initially, I apologised and said I would not be able come. However, he insisted and said that the Khuddam would find the sitting interesting. In reply, I said that during the last six years, I have had the chance to speak to Khuddam a great deal.

A few days later, I received a message from Yousuf Sahib who said that Sadr Sahib also desired that I attend this sitting. I thought to myself that as I have a few months left of being a Khadim, after which I will enter Ansarullah, it is best that I enter Ansarullah by showing obedience to Sadr Majlis Khuddam-ul-Ahmadiyya. 

Now, I will answer the question. Hazrat Sahibzada Mirza Sharif Ahmadra was the third child out of the promised progeny of the Promised Messiahas. He had two older brothers, Hazrat Musleh-e-Maudra and Hazrat Sahibzada Mirza Bashir Ahmadra. Younger than him were his two sisters, Hazrat Nawab Mubaraka Begumra and Hazrat Nawab Amatul Hafeez Begumra.

Hazrat Mirza Sharif Ahmadra was the [paternal] grandfather of Huzooraa. Huzooraa completed his first reading of the Holy Quran under Hazrat Mirza Sharif Ahmad Sahib’sra supervision.

He was a very technical minded person and the paternal side of our family has inherited this characteristic. In fact, most of his progeny have a deep understanding of technical matters.

Hazrat Mirza Sharif Ahmadra was a very quiet and soft-spoken person; he spoke very little. Hazrat Musleh-e-Maudra once said that of the three brothers, Hazrat Mirza Sharif Ahmadra resembled the Promised Messiahas in terms of looks and personality the most.

He had two other brothers as well who were from the first wife of the Promised Messiahas. From them, Hazrat Mirza Fazl Ahmad passed away before accepting the Promised Messiahas while Hazrat Mirza Sultan Ahmad did Bai‘at during the time of Hazrat Musleh-e-Maudra.

Of the promised sons the Promised Messiahas was blessed with from Hazrat Amma Janra, the first to pass away was Hazrat Mirza Sharif Ahmadra. Then Hazrat Mirza Bashir Ahmadra passed away and the last son to survive was Hazrat Musleh-e-Maudra.

Question: Please can you narrate an incident from the life of Hazrat Sahibzada Mirza Sharif Ahmad’sra life.

Mirza Waqas Ahmad Sahib: There are lots of incidents that I have heard. I’ll narrate one that Huzooraa narrated during an interview.

Hazrat Sahibzada Mirza Sharif Ahmadra had an immense amount of respect and reverance for Khilafat. He was the grandfather of Huzooraa, so once he took Huzooraa along with him to meet Hazrat Musleh-e-Maudra. At the time Huzooraa was a young boy and so Hazrat Mirza Sharif Ahmadra told Huzooraa to “go upstairs and seek permission for me to enter. Say that I have come, and I request permission to meet [with Hazrat Musleh-e-Maudra].”

Huzooraa went upstairs and Hazrat Maryam Siddiqa, the wife of Hazrat Musleh-e-Maudra was present. She sought permission from Hazrat Musleh-e-Maudra and then instructed Huzooraa to tell Hazrat Mirza Sharif Ahmadra to come up.

Huzoorra narrated that Hazrat Mirza Sharif Ahmadra went up to meet Hazrat Musleh-e-Maudra in his room. He did not sit next to Hazrat Musleh-e-Maudra on his bed, nor did he sit in front of him on a chair. Rather Hazrat Mirza Sharif Ahmadra stood with great respect and conversed whilst standing with Hazrat Musleh-e-Maudra. It is also narrated that he sat on the floor. Nevertheless, he did not sit beside Hazrat Musleh-e-Maudra out of respect. He then sought permission and took leave.

Huzooraa says that this incident was the first lesson of his childhood about the respect and honour of Khilafat. The reason for this is because Hazrat Mirza Sharif Ahmadra was the brother of Hazrat Musleh-e-Maudra, but still did not sit beside him. He first took permission to enter, then when he was present before Hazrat Musleh-e-Maudra, he stood with great respect and spoke in a very respectable manner. So, Huzooraa says that practically this was his first lesson on respect for Khilafat.

Question: You were Sadr Khuddam-ul-Ahmadiyya UK for six years; how was the experience?

Mirza Waqas Ahmad Sahib: It was a rich experience in every way. Holistically, it was a very good experience. When I was initially given this responsibility, I worried a great deal. Even though it had been nine years since I had come to the UK, I was still worried whether, due to a difference in culture or language, Khuddam might feel a distance from me. However, with the special grace and blessing of Allah, everything panned out to be fine. I really enjoyed the experience. All Khuddam cooperated with great love and affection. They listened to my instructions with great love. So my experience was very good.

What happened was that immediately after I was given this opportunity, I did not even know what was happening. There was pressure from everywhere. Everyone was calling, messaging and emailing me, presenting various problems and tasks that needed to be attended to. There were constant messages being sent to me. 

Nonetheless, what I will say is that Khuddam really cooperated with me in every respect. Everyone listened to my instructions with love and work also went all very well. So, Alhamdolillah, it was a great experience.

Question: How did Hazrat Khalifatul Masih Vaa guide you with regard to this responsibility?

Mirza Waqas Ahmad Sahib: The truth is that everything happened as a result of Huzoor’saa prayers and guidance. When I was given the responsibility of sadr, the first task was to create my amila [working committee]. At the time, I did not know many people, so I just picked up the list of the last national amila and presented it before Huzooraa for approval. Huzooraa saw the list and enquired about every person in the list; their names and professional backgrounds. Huzooraa went so far as to enquire about even the regional qaideen and their backgrounds.

I would tell Huzooraa about those whom I knew and where I did not know someone, I simply said I did not know much about them. Upon this, Huzooraa said, “You should personally know every member of the [national] amila and every regional and local qaid; who they are, what they do and their backgrounds etc. You should know them personally.”

I not only strived for this personally but also instructed the qaideen at the qaideen forum to personally get to know all their Khuddam. In a similar way, during one of the forums, I went across the room and asked each person’s name and told them that I would try my best to remember their names.

After some time, during the days of Jalsa Salana, where the heavy responsibility of Afsar Khidmat-e-Khalq and Sadr Khuddam-ul-Ahmadiyya was upon me and when one’s mind is buried in countless tasks, a youngster suddenly approached me and asked, “What is my name?” Still in shock, I said, “I do not know your name”. He then said, “Okay, then at least tell me who I am?”. I replied by saying, “I do not even know who you are!”. He said, “Okay, then tell me what qiadat I am from?”. I sincerely apologised and said, “Please forgive me! I do not even know this.” He then introduced himself to me and in this manner, I was able to remember his name. Now, Masha-Allah he is part of the national amila, Samar Malik Sahib.

The point here is that it is very important to know each person at a personal level. Huzoor’saa guidance emphasised this point and I tried to act upon it.

Question: With regard to the national Ijtema, do you have any special memories?

Mirza Waqas Ahmad Sahib: I will say regarding the Ijtema that our elders say that if one wants to know how well an auxiliary organisation is working, then there is no better way than to observe their national Ijtema. My observation is that the Ijtema of Majlis Khuddam-ul-Ahmadiyya UK is improving every year.

I was just speaking to Sadr Sahib about how well the Ijtema is running and how good the site setup is this year. The Ijtema is always reaching new milestones. Look at the attendance and the general organisation; by the grace of Allah, we are witnessing continuous improvements. The Ijtema has developed a great deal.

Some time ago, the barbeque at national Ijtema would be greatly enjoyed. The reason the barbeque started was because the attendance at Ijtema was not much at the time and there were very few activities that would interest the Khuddam.

This was a long time ago. At that time, Hazrat Khalifatul Masih IVrh suggested to hold a barbeque in which regions could compete with one another. And in this manner, the Khuddam took great interest in this and the initiative was openly welcomed by them. In its time, the barbeque brought with it many benefits. The attendance improved and Khuddam also developed an interest in the Ijtema.

However, when the national Ijtema matured in its organisation and various activities were also on offer, the barbeque was not really needed. What would happen is that the whole of Friday would be spent in purchasing meat etc. and Saturday would be spent in setting up grills and gazebos and organising everything. In this way, two of the three days of Ijtema would go into the barbeque alone.

For this reason, the barbeque was stopped and, in its place, a collective dinner would take place on Saturday. When this collective dinner started, Huzooraa predicted that it would not last a long time. The reason for this was because now, the three days of Ijtema are packed with interesting activities, beneficial events, exhibitions and competitions and there is no time for anything else.

For example, look at this year’s Atfal Gah; there are very interesting activities for even those who are younger than seven. Parents are very happy that their young children can also benefit from the Ijtema. So, through the grace of Allah, improvements are taking place every year. Those who love the Jamaat will most definitely be happy by observing these improvements.

Organisers come and go. It is important that we play our part in the best possible manner and pray for those who are to come. This is how nations reform.

Another lesson that Huzooraa emphasised a lot was, “The leader of a nation is their servant.” In other words, those who lead nations are there to serve their nations. Huzooraa reminded me of this lesson on several occasions. 

The reason I have mentioned this point is because here, in one capacity or another, everyone is in a leading role. Future leaders are also present here and we should all remember this advice given by Huzooraa.

I have seen this spirit developing within Khuddam-ul-Ahmadiyya. Every generation before leaving tells the next generation that now, this is their responsibility. They tell them not to become complacent but to stay occupied in service; to exert maximum effort in serving during one’s time.

Today, I have also witnessed that Sadr Sahib and all his amila are working tirelessly. This is a great sign. Therefore, acting upon this hadith [a leader of a nation is its servant], that Huzooraa instructed to follow, will ensure the progress of Khuddam-ul-Ahmadiyya.

Leaders of nations that do not work themselves and merely sit on stages will in turn halt the progress of their nation. How can they ever progress? 

Last night, I came to the Ijtema site and saw today as well that everyone was working, irrespective of whether they were office-bearers of “higher” or “lower” levels. Seeing this, I was very pleased, that we are all bearing in mind this instruction of Huzooraa. Alhamdolillah.

Question: The theme of this year’s Ijtema is “The Existence of God”. Considering your personal experience, what would you say to Khuddam with regard to this theme?

Mirza Waqas Ahmad Sahib: With regard to narrating personal experiences, Sadr Sahib mentioned some experiences of Khuddam in his speech today. It is better to narrate incidents and experiences of others rather than your own. One begins to deviate towards an undesirable path by constantly narrating one’s personal experiences.

Every Ahmadi has personal experiences and with regard to Huzooraa, they are countless. For a connection with Allah, it is imperative that one constantly strives and never halters. This journey is continuous, and it cannot ever reach a level of complacency.

Huzooraa has continuously reminded us at home about the importance of Namaz. And so Namaz is a huge way to achieve nearness to and a connection with Allah. In fact, it is probably the only way. If one offers their Namaz in its proper manner, then slowly, a connection is established with Allah the Almighty.

The Promised Messiahas has stated that by listening to the experiences of others, one can reach the conclusion that there should be a God. However, the existence of God cannot be known with certainty without personal experience.

In an article for Al Hakam, I mentioned that Huzooraa never allowed us to show any laziness with regard to offering Namaz. If we were, or are, ever lazy, then Huzooraa does say one thing and that is, “Look, I am carrying out my responsibility by waking you up for Namaz.”

Along with this advice of Huzooraa, I would also like to say that practical examples hold great importance. By observing the attention and importance parents give to Namaz, children automatically learn [the importance] themselves.

In our household, we had the practical example of Huzooraa and our mother as well. So, we saw Huzooraa offering Namaz, we observed the acceptance of his prayers and still do so today. In very testing circumstances, we have seen the prayers of Huzooraa being accepted. By observing this, the importance of Namaz was established within our heart.

Anyhow, I will repeat what the Promised Messiahas said, and that is, to establish a personal relationship with Allah, personal effort is required.

Question: You lived with Huzooraa in Ghana and it was a time of difficulty. Tell us more about your experience there.

Mirza Waqas Ahmad Sahib: I was only six years old when we returned from Ghana to Pakistan. How would a six-year-old know of the difficulties present? This too is a sacrifice of parents, that they endure difficulties in such a manner that children are not affected.

Huzooraa lived there for seven to eight years and during that time, West Africa was passing through an extremely harsh drought. Food was scarce and would be located with great difficulty.

Recently, Al Hakam published an article in which my [maternal] uncle, Qasim Shah Sahib related that Huzooraa did not endure those harsh conditions by simply accepting them and doing nothing, rather both my parents used all their means in the best possible manner. My mother would bake bread herself at home, grow vegetables and keep chickens. There was also an avocado tree in front of the house and at the time, we were not aware of its value. In the UK, it is very expensive. We saw it as an average and tasteless local fruit, but still ate it.

Our mother tells us that it was a very difficult time. However, with patience and gratitude, Huzooraa spent his time in a good manner with whatever means were available. So, Qasim Shah Sahib’s article is very good in this manner. Being children, we spent that period in play and did not really feel any difficulty. Children are not aware of how food and clothing are being acquired. This article paints a picture of the conditions and how Huzooraa and my mother endured those circumstances readily, without ever complaining.

Our mother told us that once, milk had run out at home. She told Huzooraa – not by way of complaint, but to bring it to his knowledge – that there was no milk for us children. Upon this, Huzooraa said, “Don’t worry. To date, we have been able to acquire [milk] and we will also acquire it in the future.”

There was a town 150 miles away from where we lived. A missionary who lived there came to know that a delivery of milk had come at a shop. Fresh milk was not readily available and was hard to find. Long-life milk, also known as UHT milk had been delivered to the shop. The missionary intuitively thought that he should buy a carton of milk and deliver it to our house. Therefore, he took the bus, gave us the milk and then returned. Thus, Allah’s blessings were experienced throughout that period.

Question: You have just spoken about parents and children. Please tell us how the tarbiyat [upbringing] of children should be done?

Mirza Waqas Ahmad Sahib: I also have children and just a few days ago, I was thinking to myself whether I should do the tarbiyat of my children or my own. I think that before doing the tarbiyat of another, one should first do their own tarbiyat. In the same manner, before doing the tarbiyat of your children, you should look at your own self.

We want our children to develop attributes like that of saints whereas we ourselves stay the same. The Promised Messiahas has also mentioned that he would advise his children and then pray for them. Then, according to their capacity, they will take heed.

Usually we stay in a world of dreams and desires and think of various ways of how to do tarbiyat of our children. If we reform ourselves first, better results will manifest.

Question: How is the manner of tarbiyat [upbringing] by Huzooraa?

Mirza Waqas Ahmad Sahib: I will tell you this; Huzoor’saa manner of tarbiyat is very practical. Huzooraa does not give lengthy advice, nor can I recall hearing Huzooraa ever do this. Huzooraa acts himself first and then advises in a short sentence. This has always been his way and it is very effective.

A gentleman got married and was worried about how he would turn his wife’s attention more towards religion. Huzooraa advised him by saying that the Promised Messiahas said that a man’s piety and spirituality impacts his wife. And so Huzooraa told the gentleman to focus on his own piety and spirituality rather than giving lengthy exhortations to his wife. Both the wife and children are affected by the husband’s piety and spirituality.

I remember that Huzooraa never gave long and lengthy exhortations or advice. He would certainly narrate stories with morals behind them. For example, when we were children, Huzooraa would narrate how Hazrat Bilalra accepted Islam and as a result, the hardships he had to endure and his display of patience during those testing times. This incident is very close to Huzoor’saa heart.

At the time, we were also in Africa and Huzooraa was sent there to help African people. Huzooraa served in Africa at the educational departments and in agriculture. And so, in the sacrifice of Hazrat Bilalra, Huzooraa would see the sacrifice of that nation. Nonetheless, in terms of giving advice, Huzooraa would be very brief and then show his own practical example.

[To be continued]

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