On 21 February 2021, the amila of Lajna Imaillah Nigeria had the opportunity to meet with and seek guidance from Hazrat Khalifatul Masih Vaa.
Hazrat Amirul Momineenaa initiated the meeting with dua. Next, Huzooraa spoke with Sadr Sahiba Nigeria briefly and then began asking the rest of the amila members about their services in Lajna Imaillah Nigeria.
Huzooraa spoke with every single amila member present. We present some of the salient points of the mulaqat.
Speaking with the general secretary, Huzooraa asked how many majalis there were in Lajna Imaillah Nigeria, the total number of Lajna members in Nigeria, how many sent reports and what measures were taken for those who did not send reports. The general secretary reported there were 55 majalis and 50 sent reports. She said those who did not send reports were constantly reminded over phone calls.
Having reported on the total membership of Lajna Imaillah Nigeria, Hazrat Amirul Momineenaa said there should be accuracy in numbers, especially bearing in mind the number of converts that are reported on a yearly basis. If the numbers did not correspond, Huzooraa said, then there should be a proper and thorough study of where the discrepancies were so as to avoid them in the future.
Speaking with secretary talim, Huzooraa asked about the salient objectives of her annual plan, how many surahs of the Holy Quran Lajna were to learn and if any book had been prescribed to read. Secretary talim reported that Lajna were given chapters to learn according to their stage and level while the Promised Messiah’s book, The Will, had been given to Lajna to read and study.
Huzooraa asked if the secretary talim had seen any significant change in Lajna members after they had studied the book. She responded by saying that she certainly did see a change, but at times, not so much as not enough local talim classes were held in which the course was taught.
Hazrat Amirul Momineenaa asked secretary talim how many Lajna members were able to read the Holy Quran, recite it regularly and whether they were learning the translation too. She reported more than half of all Lajna members were able to recite the Quran and were reciting it regularly, while they also read the Quran with its translation. Huzooraa asked if they read the translation in English or Yoruba, to which the secretary replied that both translations were used by Lajna members, while some in the North and East read it in their respective local languages.
Secretary talim reported that her department had started encouraging Lajna members to listen to Huzoor’s sermons and a drastic improvement had been observed. Huzooraa advised to send a summary of each sermon to all members – secretary talim reported that they had started this and sent summaries of the sermon every Saturday.
She reported that the department focused on morals too – this year, the moral being promoted is gratitude, while other Islamic morals and manners of living are emphasised too.
Secretary tabligh reported next. Huzooraa asked her what the annual target for new converts was, to which she replied it was 4,000 new converts. Hazrat Amirul Momineenaa responded by saying, “Allah the Almighty bless you and make you achieve this target”. Huzooraa asked what plan was in place to enable the department to achieve this target. She said they aimed for each Lajna members to convert at least one person to Islam Ahmadiyyat. To this, Hazrat Amirul Momineenaa said:
“First, you should ask your amila members to bring one bai‘at. If amila members, at the national level and the local level and regional level, do tabligh and get one convert each, then you can easily achieve 25% of your target, insha-Allah.”
Addressing secretary tabligh, Hazrat Amirul Momineenaa asked about the method of collecting tajnid as it was very low and not in accordance with convert reports. Huzooraa said that the tajnid and the number of new converts should correspond with each other and such flaws in the tajnid database should be permanently eradicated.
“Do you go to each and every household, from south to north and east to west?” … You should ask all the respective secretaries of tajnid in different majalis to fill the form and go to each and every household and then find out how many Lajna members are living there.”
Secretary tabligh thanked Huzooraa for this advice.
Hazrat Amirul Momineenaa asked the Nasirat secretary about the number of nasirat in Nigeria, to which Huzooraa advised her also to revise these numbers as he believed there were more. Huzooraa said to work hard at the grassroots’ levels and ask respective secretaries to attain the numbers at grassroots’ levels.
Discussing the annual targets set by the department, Huzooraa said to check annual reports given by the majalis to ensure they were accurate and true.
Hazrat Amirul Momineenaa urged the secretary for new converts to also ensure the discrepancies between the number of Lajna converts on her record and the number which the national Jamaat of Nigeria reported were addressed properly so that accurate records could be made.
Huzooraa asked whether the new converts were being included into the Lajna system and what training programme had been chalked out for them. She said new converts were trained in the Holy Quran, the hadith, Salat, prayers of the Holy Quran and also those of the Holy Prophetsa.
Huzooraa enquired about the demographics of the new converts and what religious backgrounds they had converted from. Secretary for new converts reported converts were predominantly Muslim while other converts had converted from Christianity and paganism etc. Hazrat Amirul Momineenaa said:
“You have to teach those who don’t have Muslim backgrounds how to read the Holy Quran and how to offer prayer and what Surah al-Fatihah is. The first thing is that you should teach them should be Surah al-Fatihah – every member, every new convert should know Surah al-Fatihah and the meaning of it.”
“From the very beginning, they should pay chanda Tahrik-e-Jadid and Waqf-e-Jadid. Ask them to pay … even if it is one naira, 10 nairas, five nairas – it is nothing for them, they can easily pay, right? So in this way, they will become habitual of paying chanda.”
The secretary for new converts confirmed she would act on this guidance, insha-Allah.
Huzooraa spoke with secretary khidmat-e-khalq (service to humanity) and asked about her plan and what charities were being supported. She reported their projects included visiting the aged, helping widows and orphans, amongst other things. Huzooraa asked about the support orphans received and if they supported individual orphans or orphanages. Secretary khidmat-e-khalq said both individual orphans (including Ahmadi orphans) and orphanages were assisted.
Speaking with secretary sehat-e-jismani (health and wellbeing) Huzooraa asked how many Lajna members participated in sports. She reported that she was aware of a definite 2,073 Lajna members who exercised. Huzooraa asked, “Including yourself?” to which secretary sehat-e-jismani laughed and confirmed that she too exercised. Huzooraa advised her to ask amila members to exercise too.
Secretary san‘at-o-dastkari (industry and handicraft) had set up a small display to show Hazrat Amirul Momineenaa some of the craft products Lajna members had made. These included handbags, hand sanitisers and perishable products. Huzooraa asked if these products were sold and whether those women who made them were given any amount. Secretary san‘at-o-dastkari said the products were sold, especially the perishable ones, at their events and the women who made them were paid and encouraged to start their own businesses too. Hearing the report, Huzooraa remarked “Really? Masha-Allah, you are doing very well.”
Addressing the secretary for student affairs, Hazrat Amirul Momineenaa said:
“Encourage every girl to get higher education.”
Hazrat Khalifatul Masihaa asked secretary ziafat what food had been prepared for Lajna members. She said bean stew had been prepared and during the conversation, she enjoyed Huzoor’s comments about other African cuisines.
Huzooraa asked secretary ishaat whether a magazine of Lajna Imaillah Nigeria existed and if any books were to be printed. She responded by saying that a quarterly magazine was published and they had printed the book Garments for Each Other and were in the process of printing the book Paradise Under Your Feet. Huzooraa appreciated the work.
Speaking with muavina sadr who coordinates the buildings and maintenance of Lajna Imaillah Nigeria’s properties, Huzooraa asked if the Lajna hall, which he saw being constructed in 2004 had been completed. Muavina sadr said it had been completed and they were seated in that very hall. She reported the majlis was also building a Lajna bakery, amongst other projects.
Huzooraa enquired from secretary Waqf-e-Nau the total number of Waqf-e-Nau they had. She said the total number was 271 – some of whom are students, while others are working as doctors, bankers, lawyers etc. Huzooraa said, “Masha-Allah, they should help the Jamaat as well.”
Once everyone introduced themselves and their services in Lajna Imaillah Nigeria, secretary talim asked Hazrat Amirul Momineenaa about purdah, or the Islamic dress code. With a smile, Huzooraa said:
“Nowadays, because of Covid, everyone is observing purdah – so nowadaysm, there is no such problem.”
Secretary talim and the amila members enjoyed this observation of Huzooraa. Huzooraa further said:
“The minimum requirement of purdah is that you cover your head, your hair, and your chin and your cheeks … This is what the Promised Messiahas has told us and is the minimum requirement a woman should follow. But at the same time, with this type of purdah, you should not do any make-up. If you have on any make-up – you are using lipstick or eyelashes or mascara or something of that sort – then you should at least cover your face as some of the Lajna members are doing now.
“Otherwise, if you are not doing any make-up, this is the minimum requirement as you are now and that is enough for Lajna members. And their dress should also be not very tight. If you are fulfilling this requirement, it is enough for you.”
Hazrat Amirul Momineenaa then asked if Sadr Sahiba Lajna Imaillah Nigeria wanted to say anything. She took the opportunity and said:
“We really appreciate you granting us an audience, though we were so anxious because we did not know the type of questions you are going to ask us … So I am taking this opportunity to say Jazakallah Khairan to you and that you remember Nigeria in your prayers.”
Huzooraa responded by saying:
“I remember Nigeria in my prayers, yes. I have been receiving your reports. Whenever I receive your reports, I pray for you.
“And as I have told your secretary tajnid and secretary nau mubai‘at [new converts], they should try to update their tajnid list, because your tajnid list does not tally with the number of the new converts. So, ask amir jamaat how you can update this tajnid.
“You have a big task ahead of you and insha-Allah, I hope Lajna can do it. And if Lajna initiates it and takes the step, then men will also try to be active. You have to push the men, don’t wait for the men to push you.
“My expectations of Lajna are more than the men, so you have to fulfil my expectations.”
Sadr Sahiba and amila members responded by saying “insha-Allah” and asked for Huzoor’s prayers.
At this, Hazrat Khalifatul Masihaa said “Allah the Almighty bless you all in every respect”, conveyed his salaam to all amila members and the meeting came to a close.
(Report prepared by Al Hakam)