‘Spend at least an hour playing outdoors’: Amila of Majlis Atfal-ul-Ahmadiyya Canada seeks guidance from Huzoor

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On Sunday, 9 June 2024, the national amila of Majlis Atfal-ul-Ahmadiyya, Canada visited Islamabad, Tilford, UK, and had the honour of a mulaqat with Hazrat Mirza Masroor Ahmad, Khalifatul Masih Vaa.

Upon arrival at the MTA studio, Huzooraa greeted everyone with salaam and invited them to sit down. 

Huzooraa commenced the meeting with a silent prayer, after which all members present had the opportunity to introduce themselves and seek guidance.

Upon learning that some members of the amila had contracted Covid-19 and could not attend the meeting, Huzooraa kindly enquired about their well-being and suggested providing them with homoeopathic medicine.

Tauseef Ahmad Sahib, Muhtamim Atfal, reported that there were 2491 atfal in Canada. Further, when asked about the activity levels of all the majalis, he mentioned that around 50-60% were active. 

Then, all members present had the opportunity to introduce themselves. 

In a conversation with Qasim Ghuman Sahib, the Secretary of Tarbiyat, Huzooraa enquired about the participation of the children in offering salat and their recitation of the Holy Quran. Qasim Ghuman Sahib shared updates on the ongoing efforts, noting that one-third of the children were performing salat five times a day. Upon hearing this, Huzooraa suggested focusing efforts on engaging the others as well.

Naveed Ahmad Chatta, Secretary of Taleem, reported that they arranged various classes for the atfal. Then, speaking with Adnan Hamid Sahib, Secretary of Tajnid, Huzooraa asked if the tajnid records were accurate. Adnan Hamid Sahib replied that 96% of the records were correct and efforts were being made to verify the remaining 4%.

Next, Huzooraa discussed various budgetary matters with Waqar Sheikh Sahib, Secretary Maal. Huzooraa advised, “The Tarbiyat Department should make efforts to instil the habit of offering salat [among the atfal].”

Usman Hamid Sahib, Secretary of Sehat-e-Jismani, reported that 490 children participated in sports. Huzooraa noted that this number was still insufficient. He added that children should spend at least one hour playing outdoors instead of spending time on the internet, saying, “It’s beneficial for both their physical and mental health and well-being.”

Haris Mohar Sahib, Secretary of Sanat-o-Tijarat, reported that they are teaching young atfal various practical skills. This year, for example, they are focusing on first-aid training.

Throughout the meeting, members had the opportunity to ask Huzooraa questions on various matters. 

When asked how one can dedicate more time to Atfal-ul-Ahmadiyya, Huzooraa responded that since various nazimeen-e-atfal have been appointed, they should be actively giving time to the atfal. An amila should be formed for the nazimeen, and they should undertake the same responsibilities that qaids do in Khuddam-ul-Ahmadiyya. “Appoint proactive individuals as nazimeen,” Huzooraa emphasised, adding that it is the duty of Sadr Sahib to select diligent and hardworking individuals. Huzooraa added that the nazimeen should also have na’ibeen with them. 

Next, a question was posed regarding the current world situation and the possibility of Khilafat migrating again. 

In response, Huzooraa said, “God knows best. Even the previous migration [hijrah] was not pre-planned.” Speaking about potential future challenges, Huzooraa added that a time will come when Europe and other Western countries may also oppose the Jamaat. Huzooraa added that, when that time comes, the Khalifa of the time will decide the course of action, and Allah will guide us to a place where the continuous growth of the Jamaat can continue.

When asked how to instil both love and fear of God in children, Huzooraa said that emphasising God’s love and compassion can naturally foster love for Him. 

Huzooraa elucidated that, just as children obey their parents not out of fear but from a desire not to disappoint them, similarly, children should be encouraged to foster a reverence for God that stems not from fear of Him, but from a fear of losing His love or displeasing Him. Huzooraa noted that if we only talk about punishment, children might think God exists solely to punish. Instead, one should teach them about all the blessings He has given. 

“Thus, fear should not be that God will be angry with us, but rather that He may become displeased with us. This sentiment can only arise from a loving relationship with Him. Therefore, first, instil the love of God in their hearts, and a respectful fear [of His displeasure] will naturally follow,” Huzooraa said.

Next, upon being asked if the Khalifa of the time would ever lead salat at the Holy Kabaa, Huzooraa responded: 

“If the opportunity arises and Allah creates the circumstances, then the Khalifa shall lead the salat. This will be decided by the Khalifa of the time.”

The subsequent question addressed the timeline for the Jamaat’s global victory. In this context, Huzooraa was also asked about the status of the interest-based financial system at that time.

Huzooraa said: “When the Islamic system takes root, the practice of interest will automatically fade away.” He further encouraged the questioner to delve into Hazrat Musleh-e-Maud’sra book, The Economic System of Islam [Islam Ka Iqtisadi Nizam], where they would find the answers. Huzooraa emphasised that the Holy Quran denounces interest, and historically, in regions governed by Islamic principles, transactions and businesses flourished without relying on interest. Some Companions were notably affluent through interest-free trade. Therefore, Huzooraa concluded, that with the establishment of the Islamic system, interest will naturally become obsolete. 

Furthermore, Huzooraa addressed the contemporary banking system, stating that a committee had been formed to thoroughly investigate and research the matter. The aim is, Huzooraa said, to have a solution ready for when the time is ripe. Huzooraa remarked that even in the current system, there are certain aspects that cannot be explicitly labelled as interest. However, because they are intertwined with a system that operates on interest, further research is required to understand the matter thoroughly.

Regarding the current conflict in the Holy Land, a questioner highlighted the current educational focus in schools, which, he said, appears to generate more sympathy for Israel, with Jewish events receiving considerable celebration. The questioner expressed concerns about the lack of attention given to Palestinian children and enquired about the role Ahmadi children could play and whether they should engage in protests in this regard.

In response, Huzooraa underscored that it was not necessary for Ahmadi children to engage in protests against the actions of their schools regarding this issue. He advised that instead of protesting, they should communicate effectively with their school administrations to express a balanced perspective on the injustice that occurred not only against Israeli children but also the continuous injustice against Palestinian children.

Huzooraa emphasised the importance of raising awareness about the plight of all affected children in the conflict and exploring practical ways to support and protect them. He stressed the necessity of teaching compassion towards all suffering children, regardless of their nationality, to cultivate a sense of justice and empathy among Ahmadi children. Parents, Huzooraa said, should also play an active role in this regard.

Addressing the distinction in the efficacy of prayers between regular individuals and those deeply connected with Allah, Huzooraa elucidated that those who maintain a strong bond with Allah often experience a higher rate of answered prayers. He expanded on this by referencing the Holy Quran, noting that even individuals who might not follow God’s commandments as they should or might not fully believe in God, find themselves praying in times of extreme distress. These prayers, driven by immediate need, are sometimes answered, leading such individuals temporarily closer to faith before they revert to their usual ways. Despite this, their prayers can still be answered. Huzooraa emphasised that while God hears all supplications, the prayers of the devout are more consistently favoured with acceptance.

When asked about enhancing coordination between the Murabbi Atfal at both the Markaz and the local amila levels, Huzooraa said that the administration work and planning are to be undertaken by the Nazim Atfal, and the Murabbi Atfal should focus on the implementation. Huzooraa emphasised that the duty of the Murabbi Atfal is to oversee the tarbiyat of the atfal and not interfere with administrative matters. In this way, coordination shall occur automatically. 

Huzooraa added that since the Murabbi Atfal is typically a mature individual, being from Majlis Ansarullah, they should be among those who uphold tarbiyat. Even if the Nazim Atfal is younger, they should still cooperate with them, demonstrating an understanding that true cooperation is essential. “‘Help one another in righteousness and piety’ This is what God commands,” Huzooraa said.

With regards to sex education and LGBTQ, a questioner asked Huzooraa how to safeguard the youth.

In response, Huzooraa said: 

“First and foremost, it is the duty of parents to address their children at home.” Huzooraa mentioned that in the UK, concerns are being voiced that children are too young to grasp the topics covered in sex education, and it is likely that similar discussions will emerge in other regions as awareness increases. The essence is that when certain questions arise in the minds of the atfal, they should be delicately explained that certain topics are not suitable for their age and require a certain level of maturity to comprehend. They should be guided gently rather than strictly.

Huzooraa emphasised that parents must take the lead in addressing this matter and be educated on how to handle it effectively. One effective approach is for the Mohtamim Atfal to create guidelines on this issue and provide them to parents in need of education in this regard. Huzooraa said that he had many times said that parents should strive to befriend their children and approach conversations with them in a friendly and open manner.

Next, Huzooraa was asked about when national office holders, occupied with their duties at the Centre (Markaz), are unable to attend Jamaat events. 

Huzooraa mentioned that if they are extremely busy and unable to attend, they can be excused. However, if they are free, then attending the events is encouraged. It is not acceptable to skip a majlis meeting solely because you are holding an office. Huzooraa added that when he served as Mohtamim, he would also participate in the local majlis’ events.

Next, it was highlighted that most parents, in order to avoid participating in atfal events, mention difficulties in bringing their children and request transportation. The questioner sought guidance from Huzooraa on this matter.

Huzooraa responded, “If they have a genuine reason, then you can consider while assessing your budget, if it is feasible [to provide transportation]. However, if the reason is not valid, then one can only keep reminding them.” Huzooraa emphasised that events should be organised in a manner that facilitates participation for everyone. For instance, Huzooraa suggested holding events of various auxiliaries simultaneously to make it easier for all to attend. Additionally, in light of rising inflation and increasing expenses, Huzooraa recommended considering carpooling as an option.

Then, near the end, Huzooraa graciously called additional members of the delegation, who were not in the meeting and personally spoke to them. In the end, Huzooraa conveyed his salaam and the meeting came to a successful conclusion.

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