Opinion: The weight of our letters

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Last Updated on 1st February 2021

Ahmad Kamal, Student, Jamia Ahmadiyya Ghana

It is no secret that we do not write letters as much as we used to. Until recently, it was the most popular and effective form of communication between two parties, miles apart. But as society and technology advanced, letter writing also declined.

With the introduction of Internet-based email, text and messaging apps, the messages that would take months to deliver, now take a split-second. The sheer efficiency of email overthrows the art of letter writing. Efficiency is the most valued commodity of our generation.

Strangely though, Ahmadi Muslims all over the world still write letters to our beloved Khalifa. We still send emails and text messages very much like the rest of the world, but when we need to communicate with our Khalifa, we literally put pen to paper.

For us Ahmadis, sending a handwritten letter is the next best thing to having a personal mulaqat with our beloved Huzooraa. Without any doubt, mulaqats with Huzooraa form the crowning moments of an Ahmadi’s life. We deeply cherish our time with Huzooraa and we replay such precious moments in our heads and hang our pictures with him in our homes.

Sadly, we cannot all meet Huzooraa as much as we would love to, but on the bright side, there is no limit to the number of letters we can send. Not just in times of adversity, but Ahmadis write to Huzooraa all the time. We humbly request Huzoor for his guidance, prayers and even for naming a new-born baby.

Hazrat Mirza Masroor Ahmad, Khalifatul Masih Vaa has repeatedly stressed the importance of establishing a relationship with the institution of Khilafat.

Hazrat Mirza Bashiruddin Mahmud Ahmad, Khalifatul Masih IIra, describing the relationship between the Jamaat and their Khalifa, said:

“You have someone who has true sympathy for you; who truly loves you; who considers your pain and sufferings to be his own, and who is always praying to Allah for you.” (Blessings of Khilafat, p. 6)

So even if, to the rest of the world, writing a letter can seem outdated, for us, it is an opportunity to develop a connection with the one who is closest to Allah in this day and age. The handwritten letters we send evince a feeling unlike any other. They confirm the importance of this relationship and show that an element of deeper connection is present.

We are now accustomed with emails and texts and because they are no longer new; our minds dull over them as we process the information contained within them whilst multitasking. This might probably be the reason why our correspondence has become so distracted. So, when it comes to sharing one’s true thoughts and deepest gratitude, nothing gives you more intimacy and genuineness than a handwritten letter.

Thus, to establish a bond with the beloved, a handwritten letter is ever so vital – the paper that was sitting on your desk, now sits on another’s. That very paper that you held is now in their hand. These letters create a connection that modern forms of communication will never approach as these letters engage our senses in a way that technology cannot.

Of course, emails and texts are fantastic for quick exchanges of information, but when it comes to writing a letter as a form of correspondence between two parties, the impact of messages in letters last far longer as compared to the alternate versions offered by the world. Why? Because a letter is arresting. We all have unread e-mails in our inboxes, but we seldom leave a letter unopened.

I do not remember a time when I had not immediately left everything to read the letter I had just received from Huzooraa. A letter from Huzooraa commands my full attention for I know that they’re not just mere fleeting words; rather, they are permanent reminders of his love.

It is not obligatory for an Ahmadi to write letters to the Khalifa, but if we yearn for a special bond with the divine institution of Khilafat, we must persist in writing our letters. These aren’t just mere letters, but also serve as a physical testimony of our love. Even the faintest ink is greater than the strongest memory.

We must treasure the letters we receive from Huzooraa because those fragile pieces of paper contain powerful words and prayers that are worth reading again and again.

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