Asif M Basit, London
How fortunate we all are to be living in the time of Hazrat Khalifatul Masih Vaa. How privileged we all are to have witnessed the immense scale of success that Allah the Almighty has bestowed upon the Jamaat in this blessed era, and that too against all odds.
We have before us almost two decades of this blessed era, decorated with progress and prosperity of Islam and we know that there are many more milestones of Islam’s glory yet to be witnessed through the leadership of Hazrat Mirza Masroor Ahmad, Khalifatul Masih Vaa.
The night of 22 April 2003 was as eventful as it was glorious. It was to transform the fear of millions of hearts into peace; it was to manifest the historic emergence of a fifth khilafat in the history of Islam; it was to be the first election of a caliph in exile. It was indeed a very momentous night that it brought with it the dawn of a new era of the propagation of Islam to the corners of the earth – one that the world continues to witness with every day of this era.
Hazrat Mirza Masroor Ahmadaa had received the news of the sad demise of Hazrat Khalifatul Masih IVrh in Rabwah. His role as nazir-e-ala meant that he was entrusted with the duty of organising the electoral college to meet in London.
As he left from his home, he told his wife that as soon as the election would happen, he would seek permission from the new Khalifa to return to Rabwah in a week or so. The heavens would have smiled at the innocence of this great man.
It was nowhere in his imagination that as he set his foot out of Pakistan, he would be leaving behind his homeland never to return to it again. He was also leaving behind a life and entering a completely new one – a life which was to be a lifeline for millions of Ahmadis across the world. He was unaware that every moment of his life was to be devoted for the service of Islam.
Like most of you, I too have wondered how this realisation must have struck him. Huzooraa has been very kind to lift the corners of this enigmatic shroud from here and there, always enough to only just give a glimpse into this well-kept secret of his and Allah’s.
I have had the honour to share these brief glimpses with the readers of Al Hakam on various occasions. I am sure that we may not be able to take the intense radiance of the episode if Huzooraa ever decided to one day lift the mantle for a full viewing. One thing we all know is that the night in question was a sunrise of a magnificent era of Islam.
We know that the Holy Prophetsa had prophesied that there would come a time when the sun of Islamic victory would rise from the West. We have seen this manifest in many ways through the Ahmadiyya Muslim Jamaat, but the genesis of the Khilafat of Hazrat Mirza Masroor Ahmadaa in London was a unique manifestation of this oracle of the Holy Prophetsa of Islam.
Hazrat Khalifatul Masih IV’srh migration to and exile in the West had in many ways fulfilled the prophesied Westerly sunrise. That the election of the Fifth Khilafat had taken place in London and it was in London that Hazrat Khalifatul Masih Vaa was passed on the baton of the Jamaat’s progress by Allah took the fulfilment of this grand prophecy to a completely new level of manifestation. Even imagining that Allah’s decree for Khilafat materialised in the West and from here started a zealous era of the propagation of Islam makes one overwhelmed how clearly the Holy Prophetsa had seen the roadmap of his ummah spread over centuries to come.
The Promised Messiahas too had seen in a vision that he stood in London addressing a large audience. This vision was fulfilled when Hazrat Mirza Masroor Ahmadaa, immediately after his election as Khalifa of the Promised Messiahas, addressed thousands of people in the streets of London and millions through MTA.
The central theme of the address was, “Supplicate fervently; supplicate fervently and supplicate fervently to Allah”. This being the first address of Hazrat Khalifatul Masih Vaa in London – to an audience of millions – many more ground-breaking addresses from this very city of London were yet to follow. But this particular short address, emphasising prayers and only prayers, was a stage-setting one for what was to follow.
Allah the Almighty had spoken to the Promised Messiahas about the birth of a son, Hazrat Mirza Sharif Ahmadra in the following words: “Here comes a king!”
This prophecy had been fulfilled in many ways earlier, but the night of 22 April took it to an unprecedented height when Hazrat Mirza Masroor Ahmadaa, the grandson of Hazrat Mirza Sharif Ahmadra, was made the spiritual king of the Muslim nation.
His spiritual coronation took place in a country where a worldly monarchy still prevails – a remnant of an empire that ruled half the world in its high noon. India had been the largest colony of the British Empire and it was there that Christian missionaries and evangelists had landed in huge numbers in the hope to convert the whole of it to Christianity. Their mission had flourished and made Muslims wary of their faith in Islam and hence convert to Christianity. Such was the pinnacle of British Imperialism.
It was at such an hour of Christian supremacy in India that Allah the Almighty raised in the same land a Messiah, the promised saviour of the latter days. This revolutionary advent had taken place in a small, negligible hamlet of Qadian in the Punjab.
It was natural for someone claiming the highest rank of all religions to be asked to show signs of his truthfulness. He was blessed with hundreds of signs, but let’s have a look at a splendid sign that saw fulfilment on the night of 22 April 2003 as Hazrat Mirza Masroor Ahmadaa – a successor of the Promised Messiahas – was made king of the spiritual world.
At the time of his advent, the Promised Messiahas had next to none means of communication and transportation, not to speak of other logistic arrangements required for the grand mission that he claimed to have been commissioned with. He had no wealth, no assets, no printing press and not even a newspaper to facilitate his mission.
Despite being empty-handed in worldly terms, he claimed that he would not only counter the Christian missionary activity, but would turn the tide and send them packing. This claim started to materialise when his writings in defence of Islam started to throw cold water on the evangelical tactics of Christian missionaries; when he defeated them in face-to-face debates and crowds witnessed his single-handed victory. Those claiming to turn India into a Christian empire could not even defend their own fortress. The words of the Promised Messiahas turned out to be the best remedy against the surge of Christology.
Without divine support, this defeat of a mighty religion with a mighty evangelical mission could never have been possible. The Messiah they were facing was sent from God and it was destined for his truthfulness to prevail. Not only were the Christian missionaries sent back to England, but a successor of the Promised Messiahas was crowned in the heart of their own country in 2003.
Exactly a hundred years prior to the election of Khalifatul Masih V, in April 1903, the Promised Messiahas had seen a vision:
“I saw in my dream a swollen river which wound its way along like a serpent from the west to the east and then, as I was looking at it, it reversed its direction and began to flow from the east to the west.”
The surge of the mighty river of Christianity, irreligiosity and atheism that had once flown from the West towards the East, was forced to pack up and go back to the West with the emergence of the Promised Messiah’s Fifth Khilafat in London. Not only this, but Islam saw new horizons of propagation from the West to the rest of the world.
The start of the Fifth Khilafat coincided with the turn of a century and of a new millennium; the century and the millennium that were to bring about energetic floods of atheism. It was for this point – the start of the 21st century – that Peter Berger had predicted back in 1968 that “religious beliefs would be overwhelmed by a worldwide explosion of secularism”. (“A Bleak Outlook for Religion”, New York Times, 25 February 1968)
Berger’s notion became a mantra of the anti-religion schools of thought and gained the status of a prediction; anticipated to manifest in prophetic manner.
Then finally arrived the 21st century and along came the Fifth Khilafat of the Promised Messiahas. Although Berger’s prediction was never entirely fulfilled, but the explosion of secularism was treading almost as he had predicted. This explains the phrase that Hazrat Khalifatul Masih Vaa had emphasised in his first ever address, “Supplicate fervently, supplicate to Allah, supplicate fervently to Allah!”
This indicated that the best way to fight the explosion of secularism was only to be overcome by never facing away from Allah the Almighty. When the world was steadily turning away from God and where being an atheist was rapidly becoming fashionable, Hazrat Khalifatul Masih Vaa told us to find our only hope of success in God; a success against those who were against God.
These words marked the outset of the Khilafat of Hazrat Mirza Masroor Ahmadaa – the successor of the Promised Messiahas – who was to reach out to every part of the world with the message of the One and Only God. In such tumultuous times when the world had literally rebelled against God, Hazrat Khalifatul Masih Vaa called every nation of the world to take refuge in God. From Tokyo in the Far East to Vancouver in the Far West, from Singapore to the USA, from Mauritius to the Scandinavian Peninsula and from the East of Africa to its western lands; nations get to hear his call to the peace and tranquillity of Islam.
The countries where he couldn’t travel to get to, hear his message through satellite television that broadcasts across the globe. World leaders and dignitaries of international influence have heard his message in their audiences with him or when he is invited to speak to parliaments and other bodies of global renown. Thousands have flocked into the fold of Islam through listening to his blessed words and thousands continue to do so.
Among the many facets of his call towards God Almighty, he has emphasised on the rise of natural disasters that continuously and consistently keep striking the world and continue to wreak havoc. He has attributed this rise to the prophecy of the Promised Messiahas to the neglect of the Almighty God. Nations divided into blocs and the rise in their bloody conflicts in the form of wars is another area that he attributes to the misled and misleading priorities of world leaders – lust of power and wealth at the top and God’s rights at the last or altogether nowhere at all.
Hazrat Khalifatul Masihaa has told the world that this rise of unrest, conflict and uncertainty are all reminders that there exists a God that is Almighty and that all powers cannot be conquered by man.
Almost every natural disaster since 2003, that left humanity in pain and suffering, has seen a heartfelt message of sympathy from Hazrat Khalifatul Masih Vaa and also a reminder to the world to return to the shelter of God Almighty. This call is supported by surveys and studies carried out by the likes of Pew Research Centre. One of their surveys in 2015 suggested that the ratio of believing people in the world population will have risen to 87 percent by the year 2050. Also that Islam will have by then surpassed Christianity to become the dominant religion of the world; and that secular tendencies will have significantly fallen by then.
Pew have, in the same research, announced that after the Christ Church earthquake of 2011, New Zealand’s inclination towards religion rose by a significant percentage.
The world may not accept it as such, but we as Ahmadi Muslims see it as a miraculous change having occurred through the divinely guided Khilafat of the Promised Messiahas.
By 2003, the divine scheme of Waqf-e-Nau was 16 years old and so were the children devoted at the first instance under this scheme. Amidst the rife trends of Western secularism, these young Waqifeen-e-Nau were now at the crossroads of their career planning. They stood bare before this pandemic awaiting rescue.
It was right at this turning point that Allah sent for them a shield in the form of Hazrat Khalifatul Masih Vaa. These youth sought refuge in seeing Huzooraa and seeking his advice in group mulaqats (also known as Gulshan-e-Waqf-e-Nau classes as seen on MTA) as well as individual mulaqats. Holding Huzoor’saa hand, these youth sailed through schooling, then their college and university years and made their way into many professions and in a few years’ time, they were ready to be launched for the service of Islam.
Writing these lines, I am in the MTA Programming department office where there are three Waqifeen-e-Nau murrabis working on various projects in service of Islam. The Production department of MTA is next door to my office and there are more than a dozen Waqifeen-e-Nau serving in various technical capacities. The translation department downstairs has quite a few of them and so do all other departments of MTA.
If I go out of the MTA compound and walk around the Baitul Futuh Mosque, there are Waqifeen-e-Nau engineers and architects working on the block that is under construction. Going out of Baitul Futuh and into the central offices of the Jamaat in Tahir House and Islamabad, a great number of these Waqifeen-e-Nau can be found serving Islam in various capacities through the education and training they have had in their respective fields; not to speak of hundreds of them serving as field missionaries, teachers and doctors in all parts of the world.
A large number of these missionaries have had their education and training in Jamias established in Western countries like the UK, Germany and Canada. For these young missionaries to have sacrificed a life of luxury that is almost certain for those living in the West, for them to have denied the lures of the temptress of worldly extravagance and for them to have survived the pandemic of secularism bears witness to the magical touch of Hazrat Khalifatul Masih that can not only change hearts but the lives of those who are blessed with it.
Speaking of these Jamias in the West, there are some very interesting aspects of the story. Jamia Ahmadiyya Canada was the first of these Jamias to be opened by Hazrat Khalifatul Masih Vaa. This was in 2003 and was followed by one in the UK in 2005. This meant that the Sun of Islam was not only ready to rise from the West, but its rays were now ready to spread to not only the West but all parts of the world. This grand manifestation of the grand prophecy was decreed by Allah to happen in the blessed era of Hazrat Khalifatul Masih Vaa.
Exactly 100 years before the opening of Jamia UK in 2005, the Promised Messiahas had a revelation in the words مسیرالعرب. The revelation was reported by Al Hakam Qadian on 10 September 1905 and had the following words of the Promised Messiahas explain it:
“This can mean: Travelling among the Arabs. This might be an indication that I might visit Arab countries. 25 or 26 years ago, I saw in a dream that someone was writing my name. He wrote half of it in Arabic and half in English. Migration is also a characteristic of prophets but some of the dreams of a prophet are fulfilled through him in his own time, and others are fulfilled through a descendant or a follower of his. For instance, the Holy Prophet, on whom be peace and blessings of Allah, was given the keys of the treasuries of Caesar and Chosroes and these countries were conquered in the time of Hazrat Umar”.
A hundred years from this revelation, English speaking missionaries were trained to propagate the teachings of the Promised Messiahas and to make his name known among the English-speaking world. From a time when evangelist missionaries would travel from the West to the East to a time where Ahmadi missionaries were now being trained in the West to take the message of Islam to the corners of the Earth, it is a faith inspiring series of events. Is this not what they call “turning the tables”? It is indeed a great miracle.
Then came the year 2007 and Hazrat Khalifatul Masih Vaa launched a 24-hour satellite television channel for the Arab world with its entire contents being in the Arabic language. It came at a time when even the mention of Ahmadiyyat was completely and brutally banned in the Arab world, not to speak of sending a missionary there. There was no way of getting the message of the Promised Messiahas to the Arab belt when this channel came into being.
The reviving message of the Promised Messiahas was in the air of the world and could reach every single household through satellite television. The Promised Messiahas
translated مسیرالعرب (Masir-ul-Arab) as “walking in the Arab lands”. What better could be the interpretation and then the manifestation of this revelation than what we see through MTA Al-Arabiyya. This too is a miraculous manifestation of a revelation that we are witnessing in the blessed era of Hazrat Khalifatul Masih Vaa.
Out of the many events that speak volumes about the victory of Ahmadiyyat, some ought to be highlighted here. The prophecy about Pigott and Abdullah Atham remained a great ammunition for the opponents to fire towards the Jamaat. They claimed that these two men did not die as prophesied by the Promised Messiahas. But when the grandchildren of both Pigott and Dr Henry Martyn Clark (the brains behind the debate with Atham) were discovered in England, when they visited Hazrat Khalifatul Masihaa and when they came to the stage of our Jalsa and spoke to millions of Ahmadis, directly and through MTA, it was a moment of great victory of the Promised Messiahas. Both proclaimed that while their grandfathers had vanished in thin air and turned into a bygone chapter of history, the community founded by the Promised Messiahas continued to flourish into a global phenomenon. They were awe-struck to know that the person they had met was a successor of the Promised Messiahas – a life continuous of the Promised Messiahas. Hence saw closure two great controversies that had lay open for over a century.
Those who know Hazrat Mirza Masroor Ahmadaa from the days before he became Khalifa, will recall that he never was known as a speaker. If, owing to his official responsibilities, he had to speak before an audience, his speech would be very brief and not more than a few hundred words.
But as soon as he assumed the office of Khalifatul Masihaa, he found himself having to speak to large audiences in large settings – added to this the media coverage that extended the scale of audience to larger scales. He is invited to speak at international platforms and his speeches and addresses have had global media coverage. Always calling to the peaceable message of Islam, he has come to be known as the ambassador of Islam throughout the world. His words have seen audiences rise to their feet to pay tribute through standing ovations.
At MTA archives, we have hundreds of hours of footage of such addresses and the comments of world leaders and dignitaries that follow the events. Most cannot help admitting that they had never known this beautiful side of Islam before. His message of individual, national and international justice is seen by the world as a hallmark of his teachings. The shortest description of how this global audience see him can be summed up in three words:
“A fair man.”
The Al Badr newspaper of 11 September 1903 has it that the Promised Messiahas stated on that day:
“I uttered a sentence in my dream today: A fair man”.
This is again going a hundred years back from 2003.
Enormous literature to propagate the message of Islam, publication of the Holy Quran in all major languages of the world (and some less spoken ones also), a trail of mosques across and up and down the globe and much, much more in the service of Islam. What better manifestation of the Sun rising from the West!
We hope and pray that Allah enables us to truly appreciate that we are living in a very blessed time: the time of Hazrat Khalifatul Masih Vaa.
May we always be able to be thankful to Allah for this great blessing. May Hazrat Khalifatul Masihaa live long and may the Jamaat continue to stride towards new horizons of success and prosperity.