Where stars descend – Chapter 4 (Subduing the ego) – Part II

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Asif M Basit

Click here for Part I

Before my office was shifted to Baitul Futuh in Morden, I was allocated duties in the general office of MTA International at the Fazl Mosque. The biggest blessing there was that I could offer all my prayers behind Huzooraa. Another blessing that we experienced was that after every few months, Huzooraa would grace us with his presence in our office. Those were indeed jubilant occasions for us. Those few moments with Huzooraa in the MTA offices are remembered by all who were present there.

During our conversations, we often recall Huzoor’s words from those occasions when Huzooraa would grace our offices. Upon finding out that Huzooraa was on his way to MTA, we would immediately start polishing the shape of our office and straightening desks and chairs, the scene of which you can probably imagine. Our situation was such that we would hide all the unnecessary objects in a closed cabinet or beneath something. Any loose papers were thrown into an empty file and instant dusting of surfaces commenced. In that moment, we welcomed Huzoor’s fragrance before welcoming Huzooraa.

On more than one occasion, it so happened that Huzooraa would be talking to us but then began walking towards the cabinet that stored all the unwanted items of the last five minutes. Huzooraa would open the cabinet, observe the mess and close it. With that, Huzooraa would instruct us to keep things in order. Huzooraa once said:

“I clean my office myself. I have a brush with which I dust my office in the morning. If I can do it, then why can’t you?”

Other than shame there was no answer to this question. But I made a promise to myself that I would clean my office every day and that everything would be kept in order. Thus, we began to place everything in order and cleaned the office regularly. But during that period, Huzooraa did not visit our office.

Many months passed. Every day, we anticipated Huzoor’s arrival. Maybe today. Maybe tomorrow, or the day after. But the wait turned out to be a long one. To our good fortune, one day, Huzooraa suddenly arrived in our office. I thought to myself, “Today everything is in order.”

Huzooraa entered and out of his sheer compassion, remained in our office for some time. Huzooraa enquired about certain matters. “Who sits there?” “Whose table is this?” “What is this file for?” I was so happy that everything seemed to be going perfectly.

Then, all of sudden, Huzooraa turned towards the small cabinet that stored plastic spoons, chippy plates and tissues. Huzooraa opened it. One of our colleagues had stored a jar of achar (mixed pickles in oil) which he had brought from the langar (kitchen). Although the jar was shut, but many will know that achar has a mind of its own and makes its presence known.

Huzooraa looked at it and said, “If you keep things like this in the office for too long, they begin to give off an odour. We may not be able to smell it due to being accustomed to it, but passers-by can. This is an office of MTA International where external guests also visit. No negative impression should be left on them.”

Thus, Huzooraa gave us a moral lesson in how we should be aware of our responsibilities as a department that is attributed to the Jamaat.

In 2008, on the joyous occasion of the centenary of Khilafat-e-Ahmadiyya, MTA International organised an International musha‘ira (poetry recital). Poets from USA, Pakistan, Canada and other countries were invited. At that time, I too would partake in musha‘iras. Then Chairman of MTA, Syed Naseer Shah Sahib wrote to Huzooraa requesting him to grace the occasion. Huzooraa instructed that we should commence and that if Huzooraa could, he would attend. It was just before the Jalsa Salana period. Huzoor’s 24-hour schedule is busy in normal days, but during the Jalsa period, the schedule intensifies. Thus, Huzooraa could not attend the musha‘ira. Although we can all appreciate the extent of Huzoor’s schedule, but no matter how minute, there is always an element of sadness that Huzooraa could not grace us with his blessed presence.

The following day, as I sat in my office in MTA, Huzooraa entered the office. Huzooraa asked, “Did you read anything in yesterday’s musha‘ira?” I replied to Huzooraa that I had recited some couplets. “Which couplets?” As Huzooraa said this, he pulled a chair towards him and sat down. Normally, I am able to recite my poetry from memory, but on that occasion, my mind went completely blank. I began searching my pockets, but to no avail. I searched my drawers, then the pockets in my bag. Thankfully, I found what I was looking for. Huzooraa then said, “Sunao, kiya parha tha?” (Read what you recited yesterday.)

Thus, I read out what I recited the night before. After I had finished, Huzooraa replied, “I couldn’t come to the musha‘ira yesterday, but at least I have heard your poetry.”

It is difficult to convey the thoughts running through my mind at the time. It was ordinary poetry, but when Allah the Almighty bestows His bounties upon His servants, He knows no bounds. Huzoor’saa compassion was also beyond words. Huzoor’saa compassion, too, knows no bounds. I was still coming to terms with my joy when Huzoor’saa eyes seemed fixed on something beneath a colleague’s desk. I turned my head towards it and noticed some chronic tea-stains behind the printer. Huzooraa said, “Tell him to at least wipe the tea-stains.”

At such an occasion, Huzooraa was able to spot something seemingly hidden and instructed us to clean even hidden areas. Those stains could possibly have been left with the thought that no one would notice. But Huzooraa noticed and very affectionately instructed for it to be cleaned. Albeit due to the possibility of Huzoor’s unexpected arrival, alhamdolillah we managed to develop the habit of keeping our office clean (although there is still a lot of room for improvement).

This reminds me of another incident. One morning, I arrived at the office and noticed some commotion in the transmission department. I found out that shortly after Fajr prayer, Huzooraa had come to the MTA offices. The MTA broadcast is transmitted on an automated system, so the programmes are played automatically through the system. However, there is always someone on-duty. That day too, someone was seated there, when suddenly, the door opened and Huzooraa walked in. Huzooraa enquired as to why there had been a blank-screen for a few seconds on MTA. The staff member tried to find out to the best of his ability why it had happened but was unable to answer.

Huzooraa returned to his residence, but the individual called the person in charge of his department and informed him of what had just happened. The manager called the chairman and thus, a state of panic ensued. What had happened, how it happened and why it happened; all the details to the investigation were sent to Huzooraa. Huzooraa instructed that the person in charge of transmission should spend the next few days in MTA and monitor the transmission around the clock, ensuring that nothing of the sort would happen again.

The person in charge resided in MTA for some two months and after a thorough investigation, a conclusion was drawn. What we understood from this was that there was a break in the broadcast, which only Huzooraa noticed but took strict notice. The person responsible was oblivious to it, but Huzooraa had turned on the television and happened to be watching MTA when it occurred.

From this, one can comprehend the importance Huzooraa gives to MTA. God Almighty has bestowed us with a grand blessing in the form of MTA, which connects Ahmadis all over the world with their beloved Imam. The wisdom behind Huzoor’saa love and attention for MTA is this very fact. Why should the relationship between Huzooraa and his beloved Jamaat be split for even a few seconds? Such a separation is neither acceptable for the Jamaat, nor for the Khalifa of the time.

There are some other incidents that I wish to share with you, which are a source of guidance in our administrative affairs. Once, I presented a proposal to Huzooraa regarding a task in which our department and another department were to collaborate. Huzooraa carefully listened to the proposal and instructed that it was alright, but I should consult the other department’s head. Huzooraa said, “Actually, write them a letter saying that you would like to meet them personally. ‘Please could you be so kind as to spare some time.’ Then, go and meet them on the agreed date and time and discuss the matter. He will be happy and you will achieve your purpose.”

The individual who I was to meet is a humble and cooperative person anyway. Thus, I wrote the letter in accordance with Huzoor’s instruction. The individual very generously met with me and listened to what I had to say. He agreed to collaborate with us and undertake the desired task. The lesson I learnt from Huzooraa on this occasion was that not only should I not consider myself superior to anyone, I should not even consider myself at the same level, so much so that I should consider myself inferior to everybody, no matter who they are.

On one occasion, Huzooraa told me, “When you meet people, you should greet them open-heartedly, to the extent that the other becomes extremely happy to meet you.” I replied saying, “Huzoor, I do try. But please pray that if there is any shortage then Allah gives me the capacity to express myself more positively.”

Huzooraa very lovingly replied, “Everyone has a different standard of happiness. It is not necessary that the standards that please you must also please another. Thus, you should try your utmost. If someone is pleased by you stopping to say Salaam and talking to them, then you should do so. If someone gets happy by you saying Salaam whilst respectfully bowing your head, then you should bow. There is no harm in pleasing another individual through your actions.”

Alongside this, Huzooraa also said, “There is a difference between pleasing someone and flattering someone. Some people think that if they talk to someone cordially, then the other may consider it flattery. But flattery means to insincerely please someone in order to attain undue favours, whereas to please someone is a good deed.”

It may seem a challenge to some, but in my humble experience, I have seen that this piece of advice has many benefits. People begin to meet you with love and accordingly, that love springs forth which Allah the Almighty has taught us as:

رُحَمَآءُ بَیۡنَہُمۡ

“Tender among themselves” (Surah al-Fath, Ch.48: V.30)

the Holy Prophetsa has described as:

اَلْمُؤْمِنُ مِرْآۃُ الْمُؤْمِنِ

“A believer is the believer’s mirror” (Sunan Abi Dawood, Kitab al-Adab)

and the Promised Messiahas has explained as:

دیکھ لو میل و محبت میں عجب تاثیر ہے

ایک دل کرتا ہے جھک کر دوسرے دل کو شکار

(Observe the wonderful effect of meeting and greeting; where one heart bows, the other submits.)

A friend of mine, who is also the head of his department, would oft en complain about an individual working in his department that at times, they would attend work for months, but suddenly would disappear the following few months without any contact. This was all due to mental pressure the individual was suffering from. He said that he had had enough of that person and would request Huzoor’s permission to relieve them of their duties.

Apparently, there seemed to be nothing wrong with it, as every head of department likes to see the best of those working with them and does not like uncertainty on their part. However, I did not make any remarks.

One day, that friend of mine narrated the events that occurred in his mulaqat and said that he had submitted to Huzooraa that the individual in question had not attended work for many weeks, but was receiving their monthly allowance and there was no knowing when they would arrive and when they would not attend work. Thus, he requested Huzooraa to relieve him of this duty.

But Huzooraa replied, “I am aware of his mental state. You are not giving him the allowance out of your own pocket! How he attends, when he attends, let him. He will get better.”

I am a witness that after only a short period of time, the individual began attending work regularly, got married and now happily attends work. These are the facts that tell us that Hazrat Khalifatul Masih should not be considered merely a head of an international organisation. God Almighty has commissioned him with the task of managing and guiding the Jamaat. God has Himself chosen him, then breathed into him the spirit of purity whereby He strengthened him. This individual is prayer personified. We all seek prayers from our Imam (and if we don’t, then we should), but how extraordinary is it that even a complaint before him can turn into a prayer for us and act as an elixir to heal our moral, spiritual, mental and physical weaknesses. How can we not accept that this man is prayer personified! His relationship with Allah is beyond our understanding; we cannot comprehend it.

So, instead of trying to comprehend it, why not try and become a part of the prayers that he submits to Allah every day.

The science of organisational behaviour has reached such a stage where students now obtain PhD degrees in it. But no school or university teaches the basic principle of taqwa for sharpening administrative capabilities. If taqwa is taught anywhere, then it is in this very institution that we know as Khilafat-e-Ahmadiyya.

Whilst reading this article, my friends and acquaintances may (either openly or discretely) say that despite countless opportunities to better myself, there is no difference in me. I humbly submit that the purpose of this article was not for me to claim that I have perfected myself. The sole purpose was to show how Huzooraa pointed out such sublime matters that were beyond my comprehension and had Huzooraa not shown the right track, I may not have realised that what I was doing was wrong. Huzooraa is our guide and he guides us so that we may follow the path he wants us on.

May Allah give us the potential and strength to follow the path Huzooraa wishes to see us on and may we continue to do so. Amin

3 COMMENTS

  1. Alhamdulillahr- Rabbil “Alamiin. I have read part one and two of the article. It creates heart trembling while shedding tears on realizing how the vicegerent, beloved Imam Ayyadhullah Taala guides to all spheres. It is really a learning piece

  2. Dear Respected Asif Basit sb, thank you for these precious golden nuggets. They are of value to all of us and in every atmosphere (at home, at work or school, and in our jamaat duties). I have learned so much. Jazak’Allah!

    May Allah grant Huzoor a long healthy life, Ameen.

  3. MashaAllah, Allah has blessed you the opportunity to remain so close to Hazoor. On reading this article i am imagining your feelings at that time when Hazoor is in front of you and you are reciting your poetry. How much blessing you have…mashaAllah. Also Alhumdolillah for the MTA which connect us to our beloved Hazoor.
    May Allah bless our Hazoor with long life, Ameen.
    میری بھی آرزو ہے اجازت ملے تومیں
    اَشکوں سےاک پروؤں غزل آپ کےلیے

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