With the recitation of Surah al-Rahman, verses 1-14, and translation, the concluding session of the 15th annual International Association of Ahmadi Architects and Engineers (IAAAE) Symposium of the European chapter commenced in the presence of Hazrat Amirul Momineen, Khalifatul Masih Vaa on 27 April at around 17:45 BST in Baitul Futuh, London.
The theme for this year’s event was Education for Sustainable Development.
IAAAE was established in 1980 during the time of Hazrat Hafiz Mirza Nasir Ahmad, Khalifatul Masih IIIrh to collect and employ the talents of Ahmadi architects and engineers for the progress of the community. The first supervisor of this association was Hazrat Sahibzada Mirza Tahir Ahmadrh.
IAAAE has an impressive track record of serving the Jamaat in various capacities, including the setting up of the simultaneous interpretation system used in Jalsa Salana for the translation of live speeches for the first time in the Jamaat’s history.
In 2004, Hazrat Khalifatul Masih Vaa directed IAAAE to form sub-committees in order to carry out humanitarian aid.
In the exhibition part of the conference, we spoke to the Chairman of the Model Village Committee (which aims to design and construct schools, hospitals and mosques) Khalid Ahmad Kareem Sahib who told us:
“Today’s symposium is about education for sustainable development, so this theme is based around one of the concepts we’re developing at the moment, which is the Masroor International Technical College. The purpose of the college is, rather than our engineers coming from the UK to work over there, we want to help the local people and improve their education and knowledge.”
Khalid Sahib was talking to us inside a 360 immersive experience pod in which the ongoing projects were shown in a unique way to the visitors.
The other committees in IAAAE (which also were hosting exhibitions and talks during the conference) are:
Water for Life: Tasked with providing clean portable drinking water to remote parts of Africa
Alternative Energy: Investigate and provide renewable energy solutions to remote parts of Africa
Architecture: Provides services in the design and construction of sustainable buildings across Africa
Throughout the day, various sessions were held in which presentations were delivered aiming to give insight into the ongoing projects of IAAAE by members of the association.
Patricia Haveman, Founder of the NGO Mundo Younido, delivered a presentation on her work on an international scale. Another interesting presentation was on Islamic sacred buildings and its influence on urban development, as well as a short pictorial walkthrough on the building of the Dar es Salaam Mosque in Tanzania from its design to construction phase.
Akram Ahmedi Sahib, International Chairman of IAAAE, stated in his presentation in the presence of Huzooraa:
“Through your vision, IAAAE has done so well, so what we thought we should give you is that your name should be remembered forever. So, we named the technical college after you.”
The day started for participants at around 8am with breakfast, after which participants were taken through various talks and presentations related to the various projects being run under IAAAE around the world.
Before Akram Ahmedi Sahib’s presentation of the year’s activities, Ataul Mohsin Tahir Sahib of IAAAE presented a report of the day.
In his address to the gathering, Hazrat Mirza Masroor Ahmad, Khalifatul Masih V, may Allah strengthen his hand, said that in recent years, IAAAE had become far more active and the breadth of its work had increased a great deal.
“According to my instructions, which I have been giving from time to time, members of the IAAAE from the United Kingdom and other countries have now initiated many new projects and are working on extensive and complex assignments throughout the world. For example, IAAAE is playing an excellent role in the construction of some of our mosques and Jamaat buildings, as well as continuing to develop and expand its humanitarian projects.
“With the grace of Allah, wherever in the world IAAAE is serving, its members are working in an exemplary fashion and with a spirit of true service and dedication. In this regard, I pray that may Allah enable all of you to continually increase the scope of your work and expertise.”
Huzooraa said that amongst the various projects of the European chapter, one of the largest projects was construction work in Mali and Tanzania. The complex in Mali includes a mosque, various offices, guest house and missionary house. From the photos that were presented to Huzooraa in the report, Huzooraa said that it was clear that the new mosques and associated buildings were aesthetically pleasing and well designed, something that was reflected by comments of those who had travelled and visited the mosque.
Similarly, Huzooraa said, in Tanzania, there was another construction work of a mosque and a multi-storey building of offices and other Jamaat needs there. The complex was built in a developed area and was designed, ensuring that it blended in with the local buildings.
“With the grace of Allah, these building are also providing us with new avenues for tabligh and have increased the awareness of our Jamaat amongst the local people who cannot help but be impressed when they see the new structures and centres. They are seeing how we use our centres to serve humanity and try to improve the lives of those who are suffering, irrespective of caste, creed or colour and to offer a helping hand to the most vulnerable and weakest members of society.”
Huzooraa went on to say:
“Of course, our efforts to serve humanity predate these recent projects in Mali and Tanzania. However, the new complexes have enabled us to further advance our efforts and have made a very positive impression on the local people and are proving a means of spreading the message of the true Islam.
“Furthermore, the humanitarian projects established by the IAAAE continue to progress and develop. For example, you have now completed the construction of 20 model villages, Alhamdolillah. Furthermore, according to the report I have received during the past year, IAAAE has installed 119 new water pumps, which provide clean running water in extremely remote areas, whilst 200 other water pumps have been rehabilitated. Moreover, a lot of effort has been made in providing electricity through the installation of solar panels in deprived areas.”
Huzooraa said that there are many other projects by IAAAE, where people, both fulltime workers and volunteers, show their expertise in the works that they do. In all the spheres IAAAE serves, it proves its need in the Jamaat and in the world. Some of the volunteers, Huzooraa said, do not even claim expenses and work free of charge, bearing their travel expenses and other such costs. Such people are, Huzooraa expressed, working with the same level of devotion as Waqifeen.
Huzooraa prayed that Allah may bless them manifold for this dedication and prayed that each member of IAAAE continued to enhance in their dedication and service to the Jamaat and to humanity so that they may reach the best of standards.
Advising members of IAAAE, Huzooraa said:
“In addition, I wish to remind all of you that it is of the utmost importance that you pay special attention to establishing a true and lasting connection with Allah the Almighty and remain ever-grateful to Him and continually strive to improve the standards of your worship. Your sole focus should not be the material work you are doing, but rather building your personal relationship with Allah the Almighty should always remain your paramount objective. If you sincerely aspire to attain the nearness of Allah the Almighty, you will see how He blesses your efforts and you will come to see the most beautiful fruits of your labour.”
Praying for the members of IAAAE, Huzooraa said:
“May Allah the Almighty enable all of you to grow ever closer to Him and increase your efforts to serve humanity in the best possible way. May you all prove to be great assets for the Jamaat and may the younger generations step forward in great numbers to follow in the footsteps of the older members who have offered years of service. May they learn from the positive examples of their elders and serve with even greater passion, energy and skill than their predecessors so that the work of IAAAE continues to go from strength to strength. May Allah the Almighty continually bless the efforts of IAAAE and may He reward all of you for your sincere efforts.”
Thereafter, Huzooraa led the congregation in dua, after which the event came to a successful close.