Muhammad Ahmad, Secretary Tabligh, Detroit Jamaat, USA
The Covid-19 pandemic has invariably impacted every country and community across the globe. Some countries have fared better than others and are able to manage the spread of the pandemic.
The United States appears to have suffered the most both in terms of human life as well as economic toll. More than 500,000 lives have been lost, with more than 28 million reported infections.
People have lost their jobs and livelihoods with the closing of countless businesses. Although with the availability of vaccines, there are signs of a light at the end of the tunnel, the toll of the pandemic cannot be understated.
One often-less-talked-about aspect of the pandemic is the emotional toll and suffering from the effects of this pandemic. With most people, especially seniors and the older population stuck inside homes with restrictive policies, the pandemic has been particularly harsh on this vulnerable population. Many have had no physical contact or interaction with loved ones or any other person for months.
By the grace of Allah the Almighty, members of Jamaat Detroit, being part of the worldwide Jamaat-e-Ahmadiyya, has fared well. During the pandemic, members received prayers and guidance on spiritual, emotional and health-related matters directly from Hazrat Khalifatul Masih Vaa.
Huzooraa not only emphasised the importance of prayers, but also highlighted the significance of precautions to avoid getting the virus. Along with this, he advised homeopathic medicines for prevention and treatment.
Locally, the Detroit Jamaat has the blessings of holding the daily dars (religious educational class) via Zoom on a regular basis. Missionary Shamshad Nasir Sahib has been conducting these daily sessions with attendance going up since the start. The virtual arrangements have made it possible for many other chapters from the Midwest region and beyond to benefit from the daily dars. This has provided an opportunity and forum for the Jamaat members, young and old alike, to not only connect daily but also ask questions from Shamshad Sahib on varied topics, inadvertently enhancing their sense of community.
The children have taken a great interest in listening to the dars and participating by asking questions during the question and answer session at the end of each dars.
Seeing the interest from children, Shamshad Sahib divided the daily dars into two parts. In the first part, he delivers his daily dars, while in the second half, he focuses on the moral training of children. To that end, he started a new initiative of listening to various prayers of the Holy Quran, the Holy Prophetsa and the Promised Messiahas.
Each day, Shamshad Sahib would select two or three children and listen to prayers from them. This not only encouraged the children to memorise the prayers, ahadith and poems, but also created an environment of healthy competition among the children.
In addition, converts from all over the US join the dars sessions to share faith-inspiring stories with the rest of the jamaat. This initiative has been going successful and has led to an increase in attendance.
The faith-inspiring journey of American converts – their acceptance of Islam Ahmadiyyat, changes it has brought into their lives and their message for members of the Jamaat – has been a very well-received initiative.
So far, many members from Dayton, Columbus as well as Los Angeles have joined to share their journey to Islam Ahmadiyyat.
Amir Jamaat-e-Ahmadiyya USA, Mirza Maghfoor Ahmad Sahib joined at three different occasions including Khilafat Day and the end of the year tarbiyati programme. In each case, jamaats held questions and answers and members got the opportunity to talk to Amir Sahib.
Many national office-bearers joined virtually to conduct question and answer sessions with members of the Jamaat on various occasions throughout the year. This included secretaries from the tarbiyat, wasaya, tabligh, san‘at-o-tajarat, umur-e-ama, rishta nata and public affairs departments. They all guided Jamaat members in their respective areas.
During the pandemic, the president of the local jamaat has also led various initiatives including an increased emphasis on outreach and regular connection with the members of the community via phone calls and whatever other means could be utilised.
Many mosque projects have been completed during the pandemic. Jamaat members came together and spent long hours over many weekends helping in the completion of these tasks. Projects like the outside mosque beautification, inside painting and mass clean ups inside the mosque have been the key hallmark of teamwork. This has created a sense of brotherhood among the members to connect and work together.
By the grace of Allah, the jamaat has seen the mosque’s minaret go up and get near its completion during the pandemic as well.
Jamaat Detroit also made sure every member had access to homeopathic medicine recommended by Huzooraa. Under the guidance of sadr jamaat, secretary umur-e-ama and qaid Majlis Khuddam-ul-Ahmadiyya, many volunteers helped deliver food and medicine to needy families that were unable to go out due to the pandemic or other health related reasons.
Last year, due to the pandemic, only a small number of members were able to offer Eid prayers at the mosque. Jamaat-e-Ahmadiyya Detroit, however, made arrangements to distribute Eid gifts to each family’s home sharing the happiness of the Eid. Most of the members offered their Eid prayers at home with their families. The summary of the Eid Sermon of Hazrat Khalifatul Masih Vaa along with messages of Amir Sahib were read in each home at the Eid prayers.
By the grace of Allah, with all these local programmes, members of Jamaat-e-Ahmadiyya Detroit felt very much connected during these trying times of the pandemic.
May Allah bless tremendously all the volunteers who have been working tirelessly year around to accomplish so much despite all the restrictions and risks of the pandemic. Amin