Hazrat Khalifatul Masih Vaa gives insightful guidance for Jamaat’s workers and speaks of his boundless love for the Community that transcends borders as he reminisces about his past Jalsa duties.
Asif M Basit, London
Jalsa Salana UK is now literally around the corner. Mosques in London, and Islamabad of course, are buzzing with excitement and joy already. New faces are seen around Jamaat’s buildings, where accommodation has been arranged for guests travelling from faraway lands to be part of this spiritual convention.
It is my experience of many years, by the grace of Allah, that in the weeks and days leading up to Jalsa UK, Huzoor’saa love for this special occasion visibly glows on his blessed face. But this year, I have witnessed this glow for not weeks or days, but months.
How many thousands are expected to attend; where they are expected to travel from; what is new and what has changed, etc. These and similar thoughts have shone in his conversation whenever Huzooraa has spoken about Jalsa Salana this year; no wonder because Jalsa, in its full bloom, is returning after a few years of what we now call “the Covid years”.
So, what I have witnessed over these past few months is an ocean of love in Huzoor’saa heart waiting to receive his very dear ones – those travelling to the UK and those unable to do so but will be joining as viewers through MTA.
In one of such cherished moments, a few days ago, he asked me, “Is your department’s marquee ready yet?”
I replied that it was due to be ready in a day or two and that I intended to go and check the next day.
He said, “It has been raining all day today and it seems it will rain tomorrow too, but work is in progress. Let’s see what the weather has for us during Jalsa.”
I said, “Huzoor, at least the recent heatwave has subsided.”
Huzooraa replied, “Yes, here it has. But in Rabwah, the heat is still quite harsh and the temperature these days is around 40 or 42 degrees. I don’t know about others, but I always check Rabwah’s weather.”
Before I proceed any further, I would like to pause here and congratulate the Ahmadis living in Rabwah and other parts of Pakistan. This just shows how a bond of love can make you be with someone without physically being around them. The one person who is loved by millions has such love for those who bear the scorching heat of not only the weather but of persecution as well. How can anyone say that the sacrifice of Pakistani Ahmadis has gone in vain?
One afternoon, Huzooraa phoned me to ask regarding some task that he had assigned to me. I had carried out the work and, in my opinion, was confident that it had been carried out well. But Huzooraa pointed out a certain point where the task had fallen short of completion. I apologised and said that I would tend to it immediately. But I want to share a wonderful piece of instruction that I received for the benefit of all.
Huzooraa said, “Whenever you ask your subordinates to perform a task, you should always check thoroughly at the end to see that it has been executed to the letter. One should never leave it to subordinates and sit back, thinking that since they are obliged to do it, they will do it to the best of their abilities. They might be thinking that it is done and they might be truthful in saying so, but since you receive the instruction directly, only you can tell whether what is being reported as ‘complete’, is actually the desired outcome of the actual instruction.”
After this, Huzooraa asked, “Where are you and what were you doing?”
I replied that I was in my Baitul Futuh office.
Huzooraa said, “I thought you would tell me that since it was raining, I was at home having pakoras with tea.”
I enjoyed this light-hearted comment and said, “Huzoor, Jalsa work has taken over everything and has turned us into labourers.”
Huzooraa said, “Those living here in comfort and ease cannot even imagine what working like a labourer means. It was Jalsas in Rabwah, where people worked like labourers.
“My Jalsa duty was in the Langar Khana, where chapatis were cooked. Clay ovens, blazing day and night, would fill the hall with heat. A certain person who was in charge of our duty would put us to work and wander off. But officials of Jalsa had a very keen eye and would know all those who worked hard and would encourage them in various ways.
“Hazrat Khalifatul Masih IIIrh would join the entire Jalsa workforce for a dinner after Jalsa. Everyone sat on the floor; even Huzoorrh would join the workers in this seating arrangement.
“After one Jalsa, I suffered from a severe headache. I had only just laid down to take some rest when our home phone rang. It was Mir Daud Ahmad Sahib on the other side. He was the Afsar Jalsa Salana in those days. He asked why I wasn’t at the reception with Huzoorrh and I told him about my headache. Also, that the person in charge of my duty had not told me if I was meant to attend.
“Mir Sahib replied that whatever the case was, I had worked day and night through Jalsa and should most certainly attend. And so I did.
“Such were the officials. Mir Sahib would not sign off Jalsa-related announcements with his official title of Afsar Jalsa Salana, but would instead write Khadim Jalsa Salana (a servant of Jalsa Salana).
“These are the examples that officials should follow; knowing who works under them and showing appreciation for those who put all their energies into their assigned tasks; officials who think of themselves as being at the service of the people, and not their masters.”
On another occasion, Huzooraa recalled some other memorable moments from the times when he served in various capacities and mentioned an official who was quite strict. I tried to guess the name, but Huzooraa said:
“Well, I won’t say his name because he was actually a pious person. But I will tell you about another incident involving another officer.
“I had taken time off work and had booked an air ticket for travel. Everything seemed good: my leave approved, travel arrangements made.
“But at the last minute, this official told me plainly that there was a lot of work to be done and, therefore, I could not go on leave. I told him that I had made bookings and all other arrangements, but he remained firm that I was not going anywhere.
“I returned to my desk and put my head down to work. After a little while – I don’t know what went through his mind – he came to me and said that I was allowed to travel as I had planned.
Huzooraa also narrated another similar incident:
“Once, when I was working in the offices, I went to collect my paycheque from the accounts office, only to be told by the accountant that he had been instructed not to issue my paycheque for that month. I asked what had happened, to which he replied that he did not know and was given that much instruction only.
“Without arguing, I returned to my office and asked the official what the matter was. He told me that he had issued that instruction because I had not completed one of the tasks that he had assigned me.
“I replied calmly by saying that the task was almost complete and also gave him the reasons why a little part of it was still pending. I also made it clear that since I was a waqif-e-zindagi (life devotee), I would not demand for my cheque.
“So, there are officials of all kinds, just as there are subordinates of all sorts. Based on my experiences, I keep reminding officials not to let a situation arise where someone has to make demands; just as I remind subordinate staff never to forget the spirit of waqf-e-zindagi and not make demands. Allah looks after everything Himself.”
Huzooraa further said, “It surprises me when some waqifeen-e-zindagi make certain demands for certain facilities. Wherever I worked, I never thought of demanding anything at all. Some situations were really challenging, but never did I even imagine making a demand.”
With all these words of wisdom from Huzooraa, I was now seeing the term “labourer” as more of an honorific title than a simple word with a simple meaning. I actually felt ashamed that I had even used this term for myself, only because I had done a little bit of work and that too in the comfort and luxury that I have been provided at home and at my offices by Huzooraa.
But then, had I not said so, this opportunity of filling all my pockets with these pearls of wisdom – and sharing them with the readers – would never have arisen.
I feel confident that my waqifeen-e-zindagi brothers will allow me to say on behalf of myself, and all of them, what I said before Huzooraa:
“Huzooraa! You have kept us so cossetted and endeared that our lives belong to you. May Allah bless us such that we never succumb to ingratitude. May we invest every drop of our time, energy and any skills that we may have in the way of Allah the Almighty – the way that you call us all to. Amin.”
What started with a mention of Rabwah, must end at Rabwah. When Huzooraa spoke about seasonal dishes, he also said:
“With pakoras (bhajis) we would also have puray (pancakes). You know how puray are made, don’t you?”
I replied in the negative, upon which Huzooraa briefly explained the recipe, before adding:
“So when the weather was pleasant in Rabwah, we would have pakoray, puray and some tea. In those simple days, this was more than a luxury to us.”
My dear Ahmadi brothers and sisters living in Pakistan! We salute your sacrifices in the way of your Faith. Your beloved master thinks day and night of your days and nights. What a blessed reward!
May this Jalsa be a huge success and may every Jalsa that follows be a huger success than the previous. May we also never forget the spiritual side of this unique event.