Mustenser Qamar, Missionary, New Zealand
Allah the Almighty promised that He Himself would cause the message of the Promised Messiahas to reach the corners of the earth. In the field of tabligh, we often experience this divine hand at work in miraculous and unexpected ways.
15 March 2020 marked the first anniversary of the terrorist attack on two mosques in New Zealand’s city of Christchurch. Different organisations had made an array of programmes to commemorate this occasion, including a national remembrance service in Christchurch.
We decided that this would be a suitable opportunity to not only visit Christchurch and the two mosques, but also to spread the beautiful and pristine message of Islam to the public in a number of cities and small towns across the South Island of New Zealand in the run up to this commemoration.
A tabligh trip was organised for this very purpose, which consisted of myself, another missionary, Sabahuzafar Sahib and four Khuddam: Mirza Sarfraz Ahmad Sahib, Umair Tauseef Sahib, Hamza Shehzad Sahib and Haris Malhi Sahib.
It is worth noting that all four of the Khuddam joining us were forced to leave Pakistan due to the persecution and limitations of freedom of speech and expression faced by Jamaat-e-Ahmadiyya. Now, enjoying the freedoms in this country, each one of them was eager and passionate to spread the message of true Islam in this country.
During this trip, we wished to engage with members of the public in open and candid discussions about Islam through our “Coffee, Cake and True Islam” and “Meet a Muslim” initiatives. Therefore, in preparation for this, on social media, we advertised multiple public sessions at cafés in different towns and cities on our way to and from Christchurch.
Whilst two of us sat at the cafés to meet and talk to people, the rest of the Khuddam would be out on nearby streets handing out leaflets, holding up a whiteboard with our message written on it and encouraging more people to join us for a hot beverage and a discussion.
Allah the Almighty blessed our meagre efforts and following an initial press release before our trip, an article was published in the largest daily newspaper of the South Island, The Press, which has an estimated 135,000 daily readership. This article was also uploaded on to the Stuff website, which has over two million visitors per month.
Furthermore, an interview was also recorded for a radio broadcaster. However, the most unexpected results and clear signs of divine blessings came in the first two “Meet a Muslim” sessions we had organised.
In the city of Nelson, a journalist, who had seen our advertisement on social media, contacted us and joined our session. This resulted in a second article being published in the regional newspaper the Nelson Mail, which has an estimated 19,000 daily readership.
For the session on the second day in Blenheim, we only had one person whose attendance was confirmed through our online system. Whilst we were grateful for even having one person and having the opportunity to spread the true message of Islam to him, we were also naturally quite disheartened that we were unable to reach more people.
However, the blessings of Allah also showed on this occasion and a journalist contacted us a few hours before, asking to attend. This led to the third article being published in the regional paper, Marlborough Express, estimated 13,000 daily readership.
Therefore, through the immense blessings of Allah the Almighty, though we were only able to meet a very limited number of people through these sessions, Allah the Almighty caused the message to reach hundreds of thousands and multiplied our meagre efforts manifold.
On arrival in Christchurch, we had multiple “Meet a Muslim” coffee sessions arranged and had some interest and questions which warranted individual meet ups too. However, these were the days when the global threat of Covid-19 was increasing.
Only a day before, we found out that the National Remembrance Service scheduled for 15 March 2020 was cancelled. Also, it so happened that one of our sessions, where we had multiple prior confirmations, ended up being the most worrisome. A few people messaged a short while before saying they were unable to attend. Furthermore, whilst we were waiting in the café, another few informed us they cannot make it either.
Sabahuzafar Sahib and I sat at the café hoping and praying that someone would turn up so that our limited time did not go to waste. We were disheartened but decided to wait for the hour that we had allotted and see if anyone turned up. During our time of contemplation and prayer, a lady sitting on a nearby table came to us (probably due to our appearance and the #MeetAMuslimNZ signs we had placed in front of us) and began to converse with us about Islam, citing an article she was reading in the newspaper. This gave us some hope that at least we were able to have a decent conversation with this well-educated lady.
However, little did we know that Allah the Almighty had much more in store. As our time came to an end, both of us were discussing the reach of social media in spreading the message of the true Islam. After the discussion, we decided it would be good if one of us tweeted about our sessions and tagged some journalists and news-outlets in the tweet.
Therefore, Sabahuzafar Sahib began writing a tweet. We also decided it would be a good idea to tag our location in the tweet. Shortly after tweeting, Sabahuzafar Sahib went to freshen up before we would leave the café.
Whilst sitting there myself and continuing to pray, one of the most well-renowned journalists of New Zealand, who we had incidentally just tagged in the Tweet, walked right past our table as though he was looking for someone or something. It seemed to me as though Allah the Almighty had sent him to meet us. After walking around the small café, he sat in the corner by himself and placed an order.
When Sabahuzafar Sahib returned, I told him that this was one of the journalists we just tagged in the Tweet. It seemed for certain that, if not the tweet, something compelled him to come to this very café just minutes after.
Therefore, as we picked up our things, we stopped in front of his table and introduced ourselves. He was extremely nice and listened eagerly as we explained our activities and initiatives. Later, I tweeted our picture with him and tagged him too. He was extremely kind and he immediately re-tweeted Sabahuzafar Sahib’s tweet with a positive comment and shared it with his large social media following. Then shortly after, he also re-tweeted my tweet, further increasing our reach.
It was astounding how, in a short space of time, Allah the Almighty changed our dismay into such a blessing. As we counted Allah’s favours, the next day, he also took screenshots of the tweets and shared them on his Instagram story and tagged us there too. From a meeting with no one, we ended up reaching hundreds of thousands alhamdolillah.
This trip was full of Allah’s special favours. I had contacted a YouTuber from the USA, who was visiting New Zealand for the anniversary of the attacks. His story was shared in the media extensively because he had previously been influenced by right-wing propaganda and had now completely had a turn around. He accepted my invitation to meet over a cup of coffee. I was interested in his story and that’s why I initially made contact.
However, Allah the Almighty had other plans for us. A few hours before our meeting, he asked me if it was okay for a documentary crew to join us. This ultimately led to us having an extended discussion on our paths and sharing our views in front of the camera. The documentary crew was also interested in some deeper aspects of our conversation and wanted us to continue. After a couple of hours of discussion, we are hopeful that Allah will also bless this and whenever a documentary is made and aired, it will become a means of further spreading our message.
We experienced the innumerable blessings of Allah on this short visit. We were given respect by a mayor. We were welcomed and even given an extended and unexpected audience by an MP and his acquaintances. We were able to have many positive discussions with people, which led to Allah changing some people’s previously hostile perceptions on Islam. Even an instance of foul invective and opposition in the streets became a means of furthering the spread of our message.
Without a doubt, when one makes the slightest effort to spread the message of Allah, Allah the Almighty always shows His special support and we experience new ways in which Allah is fulfilling His promise of spreading the message Himself to the corners of the earth.