Create homes where every child feels equally valued: New Ahmadis from Belgium gather in Islamabad for a mulaqat

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On Sunday, 11 February 2024, a group of new converts and Ahmadis from Belgium had the honour of meeting Hazrat Khalifatul Masih Vaa in Islamabad, UK.

Upon arrival, Huzooraa called Mr Muhammad Wounni to recite a portion of the Holy Quran and its French translation.

Huzooraa enquired as to how many Lajna members were in attendance, to which he was told there were 30 women, of whom 22 were Lajna members, seven nasirat and one small girl. There were also a total of 48 men in attendance.

Huzooraa then turned to a member of the audience, Dr Renaud Quoidbach, who is a new convert and he shared his story of how, over ten months ago, he came across the motto of the Jamaat and felt the overwhelming need to attend the local mosque and meet with the missionary there.

Huzooraa asked him if he had studied any literature prior to his bai‘at, to which he said that he had read various books, including The Philosophy of the Teachings of Islam – a book Huzooraa specifically asked about.

The next member of the audience, Mr Hakizimana Sadala, of Rwandan origin, introduced himself. He resides with his wife and children in Belgium and has lived there for 30 years. He said he accepted Ahmadiyyat in 1982, to which Huzooraa remarked that he was “almost like a born Ahmadi”.

Mr Abdul Hakeem of Benin next introduced himself and expressed his gratitude to Huzooraa for seeing them. He said he accepted Ahmadiyyat only a few months ago, when Huzooraa last visited Belgium.

Huzooraa then turned to the ladies and enquired how their tour was. One of the attendees, the wife of a new convert, appreciated the hospitality and the architecture.

She then asked the first question of the session, about organ donation and the Jamaat’s stance on it.

Huzooraa replied: “Yes, of course we can. We can donate our organs for experiments as well as for organ transplants.”

Huzooraa then said, “Any work, any task, any action that you take for the benefit of other people, you can do it. This is the teaching of Islam.”

Mrs Britt Iqbal then informed Huzooraa that she had accepted Ahmadiyyat in 2022 and it was her first time in Islamabad, UK. She appreciated the beauty of the environment.

Mrs Christianne Dirkx introduced herself and said she performed bai‘at in 2016 and was married with two girls, Noor and Aisha. She was extremely grateful for being in Huzoor’saa presence.

She then asked how Huzooraa made time for his family despite such a busy schedule.

Huzooraa simply replied, “During my lunch and dinner time, for a few minutes, when we sit together and talk.”

Mr Thomas Price, who is half English and half Belgian, then introduced himself and said that he had accepted Ahmadiyyat about a year ago. He expressed his gratitude to Huzooraa for allowing them to meet. He said that he was married to Nusrat Beg Sahiba, who was not able to come along to the UK.

Huzooraa then asked if his acceptance of Ahmadiyyat was a result of his marriage or due to the inclination of his heart, to which Huzooraa added, “I hope you will excuse me if I am blunt in asking such questions. I am asking these questions just for my information, not to undermine you or anybody.” Thomas responded that he did not mind at all and appreciated this.

He then explained that he had had a spiritual journey before accepting the Jamaat: he started off as an atheist and turned to Protestantism, but was then introduced to Ahmadiyyat through his wife, who is a born Ahmadi.

He asked Huzooraa what steps he could take to enable close ones and friends to understand his transition to Ahmadiyyat and how to preach to others.

Huzooraa replied:

“You can explain to them, ‘I was born a Christian’, or whatever religion you belonged to prior to accepting Ahmadiyyat, and ‘after accepting Ahmadiyyat, now I feel more comfortable and my heart is satisfied. And I think that I have a better relationship and contact with the Almighty Allah than before.’ And if you show them your personal experience and your personal impression of Islam and Ahmadiyyat, then they will know.

“Your personal experience is the best way to do preaching instead of involving yourself in so many arguments – the existence of God, the death of Jesus Christ, or the advent of the Promised Messiahas, or the advent of the Holy Prophetsa and the prophecies in the Bible and the prophecies in the Holy Quran. First, you should show your own example.

“If they see your own example and are satisfied with your actions and your deeds and they think that you are now a better person than before, then they will ask you, ‘What is the cause of this change?’ Then you can tell them, ‘This is the cause; this is the Islamic teaching. After having accepted Islam, this is what has helped me transition towards Allah Ta‘ala, towards religion and I have a personal relationship with Allah Ta‘ala. But you will have to develop that personal relationship. Otherwise, you cannot do proper tabligh.”

Bilal Secunder Sahib, son of Hafiz Ehsan Secunder Sahib, Missionary-in-Charge Belgium, introduced himself and said he was an orthodontist and that his wife was of Moroccan descent. Huzooraa enquired about his brother, who then stood up and said that he was studying cybersecurity.

Bilal Sahib then asked about Huzoor’saa views on boycotting Israeli companies or companies that support Israel.

Huzooraa replied:

“If you feel comfortable boycotting these companies, then you can do it. There is no harm in it. I have no objection to it.

“But if you don’t purchase anything [from them], what will happen? If you yourself are not using their products, then how will it affect them? Until and unless governments take action, especially [Muslim-majority] governments, against the products of Israel, then they can actually affect their economy to some extent and the production and profit of Israeli companies. Otherwise, a single person’s action will not have any significant effect on their products or their businesses. But if you feel comfortable, you can do it.”

Huzooraa remarked that a significant portion of the global business market appears to be influenced by major corporations and entities associated with Israel. He suggested that this influence extends to political leaders and nations, particularly those who position themselves as advocates for justice but are connected with or receive support from these business interests for their political advantage. According to Huzooraa, this relationship appears to limit their willingness to openly criticise certain actions of the Israeli state, even if they privately disagree with them. He noted that within the context of these observations, if members of the Jamaat choose to boycott products associated with Israel as a form of protest against its policies, such a decision would be considered acceptable.

Huzooraa asked, “Is it written on the products that ‘This is an Israeli product’? Nobody knows. […] So you will first have to make a list of all the products that are being made by Israelis […], then make it public for Ahmadis and other Muslims to know that these products are Israeli products and they should not take them. Then, of course, it will have a significant effect on their business; otherwise, there is no use.”

Mr Abdullah Al-Yemini then introduced himself in Arabic and said that he was from Yemen and requested prayers on behalf of the Ahmadis of Yemen, especially those who were imprisoned in the way of Allah.

Huzooraa said that he is kept informed about the situation of Yemeni Ahmadis and he reminded members of the Jamaat to pray for them. Huzooraa prayed for them, that they may be freed soon. Allah knew best what the captors’ intentions were. In any case, Huzooraa said, we should pray for them as they are in distress. Huzooraa said to extend his “Assalamu alaikum” to them if he was to ever get in contact with them and extend his prayers for them.

Another Mr Abdullah said that he was from Belgium and that he accepted Islam Ahmadiyyat this year. He asked how he could be a better Muslim.

Huzooraa said:

“Some people asked the Holy Prophetsa, ‘May we be excused from offering the five daily prayers regularly, or may we offer some prayers and leave some?’ The Holy Prophetsa said, ‘There is no religion without worship.’ So the basic thing in order to be a good Muslim is that you offer your five daily prayers. Make it a point that you will never leave any obligatory prayers.

“And if you are offering the five daily prayers, obviously you will try to learn about the wording of the prayers that we have been taught to recite during the prayers by the Holy Prophetsa, and the foremost is Surah al-Fatihah, which is the first chapter. So try to learn Surah al-Fatihah, which you recite in your prayer, after you say ‘Allahu Akbar’. And when you know the meaning of Surah al-Fatihah, that is a comprehensive guideline for us to practise. If you practise the commandments, the orders and the requirements given in Surah al-Fatihah by Allah Ta‘ala, it is the basic guideline that can make a person a good Muslim.”

Mr Nazeem Vandenbroek, son of Mr Rizwan Vandenbroek (the first Belgian Ahmadi), expressed his gratitude to Huzooraa for the hospitality and to the missionary and organising team for arranging the trip. He asked what the best way was to build a relationship with God so as to feel His presence.

Huzooraa said:

“Allah Ta‘ala says in the Holy Quran, ‘I have created men and jinn’ – rich people and the poor or ordinary people – ‘for the sake of worshipping Me.’ If we are worshipping God according to the commandments given to us by Him – that is, the five daily prayers, as I have already said – and know the meaning of them, then we can have a good relationship with Him.

“In Surah al-Fatihah, ‘Alhamdu lillahi Rabbil-alameen…’, there is one verse, ‘Ihdinas-sirat al-mustaqeem’, ‘O Allah, guide us on the right path’. When you repeat this [over and over] and it is coming from your heart, then Allah Ta‘ala will guide you and you will feel the presence of Allah. And when you are in the sajdah position, prostrating before Allah, bowing before Allah, then cry to Allah, ‘O Allah, show me Your presence.’ Then you will feel something and you will see the sign. That is what so many people have experienced.”

A gentleman of Moroccan origin then expressed his gratitude to Huzooraa for allowing them to meet him and he said that such was the beauty of Ahmadiyyat that people from all over the world and different faiths could gather under one umbrella.

Huzooraa said that this was a revelation vouchsafed to the Promised Messiah, Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmadas, by Allah that he should gather mankind, ‘ala dinin wahidin, under one religion. This is what he came for and this is what Prophet Muhammadsa prophesied, that a time would come when the faith of people would be contaminated and Muslims would turn away from their religion and would remain Muslim only in name. The scholars and well-wishers of Islam at the time of the advent of the Promised Messiahas called out for the need for a Messiah to unite mankind. Thus, this is the purpose of Ahmadiyyat – to gather all sects of Islam under one banner and to gather people from all religions and faiths too, be they Jews, Christians or atheists.

Huzooraa then permitted the ladies to ask any more questions they had.

Mrs Ghizlan Albashalim from Belgium commenced her submission with heartfelt gratitude towards Huzooraa and the organisers, who facilitated the trip. She conveyed a poignant message from female new converts unable to attend, some hindered by documentation issues, others by health constraints, requesting prayers for their well-being and extending their salaam to Huzooraa.

In response, Huzooraa prayed for them. He then enquired about the attendees’ breakfast arrangements in the morning.

Mrs Ghazlan proceeded to ask a question regarding the role of Ahmadi women in public engagements beyond the internal circles of the Jamaat. She sought guidance on whether Ahmadi women are permitted to address or organise events that cater to external audiences.

Huzooraa provided a comprehensive directive, affirming that Ahmadi women are indeed permitted to participate in external events, provided such engagements serve the purpose of benefiting the public and disseminating the true teachings of Islam Ahmadiyyat. He emphasised that it would be more suitable for mature, grown-up women taking the stage to articulate Islamic teachings if they are asked to speak too. However, Huzooraa advised caution regarding mixed-gender gatherings, saying, “It would be better if the function is of women. If it is a mixed gathering, then we should try to avoid it.”

Huzooraa further elaborated, “I prefer that you hold some functions and invite other people and even you encourage other Muslims or other people too to [attend] some seminars and you also speak in them.”

Next, Mr Shan Qamar said, that in Western countries, children as young as three or four years old are asked whether they are boys or girls. If a girl responds as a boy and the parents do not affirm this, the authorities can take custody of the child. He asked how parents or future parents could protect their children from this.

In response, Huzooraa said, that training and tarbiyat should begin at home, and children should be taught within their households that they are created by Allah as either a boy or a girl. Sometimes, due to the influence of their environment, either at school or at home, children may come to think like this. For instance, in our Asian societies, girls are sometimes given less preference than boys, leading some girls to believe that becoming a boy would grant them more importance. This is the wrong approach.

Huzooraa said that parents should, from the beginning, instil the right teachings, emphasising that Islam grants equal rights to both boys and girls. The Holy Prophet Muhammadsa even stated that if someone has three daughters and he raises them well and provides them with a good education, he will enter Paradise. Such teachings should be imparted to children from a young age at home.

Huzooraa said that this is a considerable challenge for parents today, requiring them to be more vigilant and careful in creating a home environment where every individual, boy or girl, is valued equally, ensuring no child feels compelled to feel that changing their gender would bring them more importance. This involves explaining the Islamic perspective from an early age. With a proper upbringing at home in this way, external influences will have no effect.

Huzooraa explained, that the recent legal changes here in the UK, initially allowing primary school-going children to self-identify their gender, faced opposition, leading to the age being raised, possibly to the secondary school level, requiring parental consent. This awareness is growing here and hopefully will in Europe as well, God-willing.

Huzooraa said the crux of the matter is that the reproductive system Allah Almighty has created is perfect for the propagation of the species. If a girl claims to be a boy or vice versa, they cannot acquire the organs specific to the other gender. A boy claiming to be a girl will not gain a uterus and cannot bear children, and vice versa. Any physical changes would only be superficial, possibly through hormone treatments to alter appearance, but the fundamental reproductive capabilities would remain unchanged. Despite advancements in medical science, no man has been able to give birth to a child, and those who wish to have children in such situations often have to adopt from others. This is yet another deception, an attempt to defy the natural order established by Allah the Exalted.

These deceptions, Huzooraa said, are part of the Dajjal’s schemes, attempting to oppose Allah’s natural order. Allah has already warned against such attempts to alter humanity.

Towards the end of the mulaqat, Huzooraa enquired about the participants’ food arrangements.

Amir Sahib then requested Huzoor’saa permission for group photos with the participants, which was granted, leading to separate photos for men and women.

Huzooraa then conveyed his salaam to everyone and the mulaqat came to a successful end.

(Report by Al Hakam)

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