Rohanullah Cheema, UK
On 30 April 2023, Jamaat-e-Ahmadiyya UK had the opportunity to hold its annual Waqf-e-Nau Ijtema for boys at Baitul Futuh Mosque in Morden. This came after a much-anticipated wait, as it had been four years since the previous ijtema took place due to the pandemic.
Preparations for the event started many months in advance, with a National Ijtema committee being formed, led by Usman Ahmad Sahib. The committee worked tirelessly to create a new and unique ijtema that would cater for the needs of waqifeen-e-nau of different ages.
To maximise engagement for the waqifeen, they were split into five age groups. For each of these groups, a tailored programme was prepared and separate activities were organised to cater for their specific needs. Within these age groups, the waqifeen-e-nau were divided into further groups of 20 people and assigned a group leader, who helped engage in conversations and provided direction throughout the day.
The opening session was chaired by respected Luqman Kishwer Sahib, head of the Central Waqf-e-Nau Department. Following this, the waqifeen divided into their groups and took part in different activities and workshops. Academic competitions were organised for all participants to create an authentic Ijtema experience. In addition to this, more effort was put in this year to create an activity zone in Tahir and Nasir Hall where the waqifeen-e-nau had the chance to take part in games and sports which tested and helped develop various skills, such as teamwork and hand-eye coordination. This was thoroughly enjoyed by all participants.
Group leaders assessed members of their groups according to their engagement throughout the day in the workshops and activities. The purpose and result of this was that the waqifeen-e-nau had more opportunities to build relationships and make friends.
Apart from this, the younger age groups were able to benefit from the ‘Islam and Me’ workshop, which focused on contemporary issues. The older age groups took part in tabligh workshops that emphasised the role that waqifeen have to play in spreading the message of Islam and how they can get involved in the various tabligh platforms of the UK Jamaat, such as True Islam UK and Rational Religion.
There were also presentations from the Muslim Television Ahmadiyya (MTA), The Review of Religions and the Central Waqf-e-Nau Department. The waqifeen-e-nau were able to have a session with Rafiq Hayat Sahib, Amir Jamaat-e-Ahmadiyya UK, who shared numerous experiences in his lifetime linked to Khilafat followed by a short question-and-answer session.
In the evening, Hazrat Khalifatul Masih Vaa graced the ijtema with his presence. After leading Zuhr and Asr prayers, he chaired the concluding session. Tilawat and a Nazm were recited with their translations to start the session.
An ijtema report was presented by Dr Anas Ahmad Rana Sahib, Secretary Waqf-e-Nau UK. The total attendance of this year’s ijtema was 1,552, which compares to the 2019 ijtema attendance of 1,394 boys. An additional 168 guests also attended the ijtema this year.
The highlight of the day was the address delivered by Hazrat Khalifatul Masih Vaa, where he reminded the waqifeen-e-nau about their responsibilities and upholding their pledge. He stated:
“As I have said, your pledge is of utmost seriousness and magnitude. In essence, you have affirmed before God that you will be ready for every possible sacrifice and hardship for His sake and will, until your dying breath.” (www.alhakam.org/waqifeen-e-nau-ijtema-uk-2023/)
A constant theme in the speech was the importance of building a living connection with Allah and showing the level of obedience that was expressed by Hazrat Ibrahimas.
“Always keep in view the extraordinary way in which Hazrat Ibrahimas fulfilled his pledge. Similarly, you should look to the Companions of the Holy Prophetsa who displayed incredible levels of faith and devotion. They surrendered all personal desires and were ever-ready to give their lives for the sake of their faith. Similarly, the companions of the Promised Messiahas also showed exemplary standards of sacrifice. Amongst his followers were those who relinquished all material pursuits and worldly opportunities for the sake of their faith. They included exceptionally well-educated people who had gained Bachelors’ and Masters’ degrees – which was extremely rare at that time and for whom there was a huge demand in society. Instead of seeking fame and fortune, they left behind everything and came into the service of the Promised Messiahas. They devoted their lives to the service of Islam and fulfilled their pledges without a second thought for what they had left behind.” (Ibid.)
This is the mindset that Huzooraa urged the waqifeen-e-nau to reflect on and embody in their lives. If not, then their claim of having devoted their lives has not been fully understood. May Allah give us the capacity to fulfil our obligations and exceed the expectation of our beloved Imam. Amin.