Asif M Basit
The topic of Tawakkul alallah (complete trust in Allah) is broad and profound, bearing in it all spiritual truths. This is reason enough for me not to ever attempt to indulge in such a discourse. I am neither acquainted with the depths of the subject, nor do I acquire a status – spiritually or academically – to write on it.
Nonetheless, I feel obliged to share some experiences for the benefit of everyone, for in my opinion, these experiences are the property of members of the Jamaat.
With the sheer grace and blessings of God and as a result of Hazrat Khalifatul Masih V’saa graciousness, I was able to dedicate my life for the service of the Jamaat in 2004. Other than this, there is nothing from my life worth mentioning.
Whatever I intend to mention today would not have been possible had Huzoor-e-Anwaraa not affectionately accepted this humble servant. My weaknesses and flaws are such that I am unable to even meet eyes with Huzooraa. It is only and only due to Huzoor’saa love that he accepts us in his company. When this humble servant presents himself to Huzooraa in those precious moments, there is no instant that can be considered an ordinary one; every moment is a precious memory that I shall cherish forever.
I have had the good fortune of being able to meet Huzooraa regularly since 2004 for daftari mulaqat (official meetings), but I have also had the opportunity to be in his company even before his divine appointment to Khilafat. Back then, Huzooraa was the nazir-e-talim (director of education for Jamaat-e-Ahmadiyya Pakistan).
I remember when the time came to pursue my master’s degree after completing my bachelor’s, I expressed my desire to Hazrat Mirza Masroor Ahmad Sahibaa to seek private education to complete my master’s degree rather than attend university. Huzooraa refused by saying, “The exposure that you will get from attending university will not be possible by sitting at home”.
Each and every word of this guidance proved to be true in every respect. It is a fact that the experiences one encounters when attending university cannot be experienced by sitting private exams. With extremely enlightening teachers and professors and inspiring libraries, universities offer an atmosphere like no other. Whether intentionally or otherwise, students learn a lot from outside lecture rooms. This is the provision that benefits the students throughout their lives.
However, it needs to be said that the exposure one gains from the blessed company of Hazrat Khalifatul Masihaa cannot be achieved through any library, university or scholar. The feeling of that exposure can only be summarised in one word: enlightenment. And what a feeling it is!
If even one word uttered by Huzooraa is not considered extraordinary, then it is due to a lack of understanding because whatever Huzooraa utters eventually comes to fruition. It is difficult to select what to mention and what to leave out. In this chapter, I intend to focus on the subject of tawakkul.
Often, people express the desire to have lived during the time of the Holy Prophet Muhammad, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, or if only they had been alive during the time of the Promised Messiah, on whom be peace. These yearnings are indeed signs of love and affection, but what more can we do other than to call them mere wishes. Nothing can be done about this, but is it not enough to satisfy us spiritually that we are ever so fortunate to be living during the time of Khilafat-e-Ahmadiyya?
We were born in the era in which we witness the vicegerent and successor of the awaited Messiah and ultimately, Prophet Muhammadsa. Thus, a complete reflection of the noble examples of the Holy Prophet Muhammadsa and his servant, Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmadas can be found in the present day in the person of Hazrat Khalifatul Masihaa.
28 May 2010 was the blessed day of Friday and will forever remain a day to be remembered by all Ahmadis, in which cruel enemies brutally attacked Ahmadis in an attempt to cripple the propagation of the Jamaat. Dozens of Ahmadis were riddled with bullets and martyred instantly. Every television channel gave coverage to this cruelty and act of terrorism. There was hardly any Ahmadi in the world whose heart was not torn by this horrific attack.
The time for the Friday prayer had come upon us in London. As is customary, every Ahmadi has the desire to listen to the words of Huzooraa during his Friday Sermons, yet that Friday, the urge was even more so.
Here, in MTA, we thought that under the circumstances, Huzooraa might not travel to Baitul Futuh, Morden and might deliver the Friday Sermon from the Fazl Mosque. Thus, preparations for broadcast were also made in the Fazl Mosque. Huzoor’saa entourage departed from the Fazl Mosque at the usual time and arrived at Baitul Futuh. Huzooraa delivered his Friday Sermon at the customary time.
The serenity, which has always been evident on Huzoor’saa blessed countenance, from which our hearts feel at peace, was displayed even at that moment. So, in this manner, a heavy part of the anxiety that was being faced by members of the Jamaat vanished.
Furthermore, it was presumed that the entire sermon would be delivered giving details about the tragedy as bullets were fired at our mosques resulting in a massive loss of lives. However, an ordinary person’s understanding cannot reach the level of wisdom that Allah has bestowed upon His chosen Khalifa. Huzooraa guided the Jamaat towards religious and spiritual betterment during the Friday Sermon and towards the end, Huzooraa informed the Jamaat of the attacks in Lahore and asked everyone to pray.
One sentence still echoes in my mind; Huzooraa said that it was unclear whether the attackers had been dominated or were still present in our mosques. This was a very subtle indication that to say anything else in that moment would have been premature. Thus, Huzooraa left it at that and in a manner told the Jamaat not to pay heed to any rumours, nor become a means of spreading them further, whether intentionally or unintentionally, directly or indirectly.
Now, I shall turn to the matter I had desired to write about. Shortly after the atrocity occurred, I had the opportunity to meet Huzooraa. It so happened that a few days earlier, I had written to Huzoor-e-Anwaraa for guidance regarding some matters concerning MTA.
Huzooraa very graciously returned the letter, at the end of which was written:
“For further details, meet me either on Friday evening or Saturday morning.”
It was my intention to make myself available on Friday evening in the private secretary’s office. My plan was that if Huzooraa wished to call me, then I would present the matter, otherwise I would go again on Saturday morning. But that very morning, the devastating incident occurred that shook all Ahmadis to the core.
Like every Ahmadi, I was of the thought that if we could become emotional at this event, then the sentiments of the Imam of our Jamaat could not possibly be comprehended. What would he have been feeling at that moment? Every Ahmadi, who was slaughtered in that event, was a child to him, nay, far beyond that!
Thus, I thought to myself that it would not be appropriate for me to turn up at such an occasion. But then, I became conflicted! How can I make a decision against that which the Khalifatul Masihaa has already instructed? It was in this state of perplexity that I arrived at the private secretariat.
I sought the advice of Munir Ahmad Javed Sahib, Private Secretary to Hazrat Khalifatul Masihaa. He told me to take a seat and that if Huzooraa called me, I could go in, otherwise I should await further instructions or come back the following day. I sat in the waiting room. No longer than a few moments had passed when the private secretary opened the door to Huzoor’saa office and told me that Huzooraa was calling me.
I entered the office with confused anticipations. The champion of Islam was seated as elegantly as always. I took a glance up and noticed that the atmosphere in the office was as serene as always. Huzooraa was comfortably occupied with daily office work. I sat down on the chairs in front of Huzoor.
“Kiya kehtey ho?” (What brings you here?)
This most affectionate and loving question always gives an individual the courage to speak. I can’t imagine how I would have been able to speak otherwise. I mentioned the matter concerning MTA, which I had written to Huzooraa about earlier. Huzooraa very graciously gave guidance concerning the matter as if that was the only issue on Huzoor’saa mind and the focus of his attention.
Who are we and what significance do our issues have compared to Huzoor’saa workload? But it is my experience that whenever we present something before Huzooraa, no matter how petty it may be, this loving and caring individual attends to our requests for help, carefully listening to our problems and thus providing sound direction. When the average man faces two issues simultaneously, he becomes distressed and considers giving up. But the one who is chosen by God to lead His mission and to guide mankind on the right track is the only person capable of managing the thousands of problems that come his way simultaneously. Not only that, but he is also capable of providing the solutions which we had not yet thought of.
At times, it is felt that the problems we share with Huzooraa immediately become his only concern. This in itself is the first sign of satisfaction for us. Even at that unusual hour, I felt this. Huzoor’saa attentiveness and guidance solved my problem entirely. Those who meet Huzooraa regularly know that departing Huzoor’saa office is also a challenging task.
Despite being aware of the value of every minute in Huzoor’saa schedule, it is of course disrespectful to get up on one’s own accord. Then again, to remain seated is also a means of consuming Huzoor’saa precious time. But the loving voice of Huzooraa when he says, “Aur? Bus? Chalo phir” (Is that all? Alright then, off you go) makes this step all the more simple for a person. It was with those very words that I almost left Huzoor’saa office that day.
But that was not the only confusion I faced. The Ahmadis of Pakistan had just faced an unimaginable trial and yet, there I was, leaving the office without any apparent concern. It is common courtesy to pay respects and is customary also. Not only that, but it was a practice of the Prophet of Islam, Muhammad, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him. But this was different. It was paying respect to the one who had lost over 80 children in a single day. And it happened to be on that very same day. God enabled me to summon the courage and say, “Huzoor, I am very sorry about what happened today”.
Usually, this sort of a comment follows with a predictable gesture and response. But Huzooraa very courageously and with utmost dignity said:
“Yes, it is very sad. Only God knows what they [the opponents of the Jamaat] have in store for the future. We cannot predict what they will do in the future. But they are writing their devastating fate with their own hands. I have said this before as well.”
How blessed we are! This champion of God waves the standard of truth high in the sky as he combats falsehood. Come what may, this champion of Islam has his eyes set on the victory of God. He stores in his heart the grief of all the blood that has been shed. But he does not merely carry that grief with him. He stands before his Lord with his grief. A tragedy may occur, but Huzoor’saa vision assesses what needs to be done further; what is about to happen and the means through which falsehood can rear its ugly head again. He ponders over how he can elevate the truth so high that the world may see it. He is concerned about how he can give strength to his followers so that they too can move forward with him and focus on the victory of truth as their sole concern.
These are not fears, rather they are possibilities that God Almighty has appointed his chosen one with. He has set such a high standard of tawakkul [trust in Allah] that it is a noble example for every member of his Jamaat, nay every Muslim in the world, rather every human being alive. Huzooraa mentioned the details of that event in the weeks to come with utmost courage. The world may know it as courage, but we know it as tawakkul, which holds in it the noble reflections of the Holy Prophetsa and the Promised Messiahas.
Later, at the occasion of Jalsa Salana Germany, Huzooraa expressed his sentiments of the Lahore attacks. Upon Huzooraa expressing his sentiments, Ahmadis became extremely moved. But just imagine if Huzooraa had openly expressed his emotions and feelings; the hearts of all Ahmadis would have been shredded to pieces. We would not have been able to bear it. Thus, Huzooraa portrays the perfect example of tawakkul today.
When Huzooraa presents himself before God and openly expresses his emotions, it is a spectacle that remains solely between Allah and His beloved servant. But the mere thought of it shakes our souls to their core. Then there is another incident.
On 26 September 2015, the complex adjacent to Baitul Futuh Mosque, Morden caught fire. Initially, it was thought that there had been some carelessness in the kitchen, as a result of which the alarms were triggered. On that occasion, I was out filming in London with Syed Mir Mahmood Ahmad Nasir Sahib. We were filming those areas where Hazrat Mirza Bashiruddin Mahmud Ahmad, Khalifatul Masih IIra resided or delivered lectures during his tour of 1924.
On our way back, I received a text message from one of my colleagues, Qaasid Muin Ahmad, that the fire alarm had been triggered. (The MTA offices and studios are located in the Baitul Futuh complex.) It had happened many times before, where the fire alarm was set off either as a drill or due to smoke caused by the food regularly being cooked at Baitul Futuh. But I then received a message that the entire complex, including the various administrative offices, kitchen, MTA offices and libraries had all been evacuated as the fire began to spread.
Now, I began to realise the gravity of the situation. Having dropped off Syed Mir Mahmood Ahmad Sahib at the Fazl Mosque guest house, I set off for Baitul Futuh. When I got there, I was grasped by a scene that caused my heart to shudder. Waves of black and white smoke were rising into the sky as the front part of the building was completely charcoaled from the inside and out.
Wherever I could, I parked my car and proceeded towards MTA colleagues who stood there in shock. Every individual, whether Ahmadi or one of the neighbours, stood in horror. There were offices inside, official records and most important of all, MTA’s archive library, in which countless videos and footage of our Khulafa were stored. The MTA equipment, which amounted to hundreds of thousands of pounds, was all kept there. The images of my office began to appear before my eyes. Hundreds of letters from Huzoor-e-Anwaraa spanning the last seven to eight years, in which his guidance at every step, in his own handwriting, were all stored in that very complex.
Each and every word of Huzooraa is precious to us, but there lay a precious treasure trove of guidance on a daily basis. The thought of those letters stuck in mind as I watched the smoke rise higher and higher. On a few occasions, when the smoke blew big puff s in the air, I saw shreds of paper floating among the ashes in the sky above, as a result of which my heart began to sink. I prayed to God, “Ya Allah! Don’t let these letters be those written by your beloved one!”
I was tormenting myself as the thought arose many a time to have those letters scanned and preserved but with that the response was always, “Insha–Allah, some day.”
(To be continued…)