Marwan Ahmad Gill, Missionary Argentina
We were invited as the first Islamic community to participate in the book fair hold in Jesus-Maria from 6 to 11 November. Jesus Maria is a small city located in the province of Cordoba and around 750 kilometres from my residence (Buenos Aires).
Jesus-Maria holds historical importance in Argentina as it was one of the first places were the Jesuits arrived in the beginning of the 17th century to establish and propagate the Christian faith in Argentina. It was a historical opportunity for us to introduce Islam and the second advent of Jesusas in the very same place which is named after the first Jesusas and once served Christianity as a door to enter and establish itself in Argentina.
On this journey, I was accompanied by my wife, my one-year-old son and two Argentinian converts, both of whom have accepted Ahmadiyyat within the last six months. On the morning of 6 November, we left Buenos Aires via car and after a long nine hours, we finally arrived in Jesus Maria.
Unfortunately we were not received in Jesus-Maria as we expected! It was already getting dark when we were about to arrive in Jesus-Maria. Just before taking the exit to Jesus-Maria, an attempt by unknown people was made to rob us. Stones were hurled from the side of the motorway at our car and the front window was damaged. Their intention was to damage the car so that we would stop and make it easier for them to rob us. This is a common method to rob people on the motorways. By the grace of Allah and due to the prayers of our beloved Huzooraa, nothing serious happened and we managed to continue the journey safely.
When I reported this incident to the Markaz, I was astonished at how Huzooraa, despite his busy schedule, not only prayed for us, but found time to reply immediately. I would like to take this opportunity to share the comments of Hazrat Amirul Momineenaa, which will be a useful guidance for other missionaries and Jamaat members.
Huzooraa guided me in this regard with the following two instructions:
Travel during day light and always offer Sadaqa before travelling.
By the grace of Allah, besides this small incident, the journey to Jesus-Maria was very successful. A local radio channel and a local television channel covered our participation in the book fair. Furthermore, we had the opportunity to donate the Holy Quran to the local library. It was a very interesting stay in Jesus-Maria as it was, for the majority of the local people, the very first time ever to see and speak personally to a Muslim.
My wife was anyhow very easy to identify due to her veil and we, the men, were wearing t-shirts saying, “I am Muslim – do you have any questions?” to make it easier for people to get into conversations with us about Islam. We were able to remove many misconceptions about Islam, sometimes without even saying anything.
For example, one day, I was with my wife and child in the city centre and I was looking after our son so that my wife could walk around and purchase things easily. After a while, a man came to me and said that he was observing us and was surprised because he had a completely different image about Muslims. He used to think that Islam deprived women of freedom and that Muslim men would oppress their wives, but he observed the exact opposite of his prejudices. So he thanked us for having visited his city and having enabled him to change his erroneous concepts about Islam.
Due to the great interest of people towards Islam during the book fair, the organisers have invited us again in January for another visit. May Allah open and enlighten the hearts of Argentinians with the beauty of Islam Ahmadiyyat. Amin.