Asif M Basit
It has been mentioned previously that there is a stark difference in the wavelength of Hazrat Khalifatul Masih and the ordinary human. Our mindset remains occupied in trivial earthly pursuits whereas the Khalifa’s goals soar high above the skies. We are constrained by our capabilities in understanding things, but the Khalifa sees things beyond the three dimensions we are accustomed to.
This has been experienced many times during mulaqats. When I have had four or five points to seek guidance on, I would think, bearing in mind their nature, that they would take up a lot of time. But Huzooraa would spend only a few seconds on each item, resulting in the four issues being solved within a matter of minutes.
On the other hand, however, when I have thought to myself that due to the very few items on my list, the mulaqat would be no longer than a few minutes, Huzooraa would spend 10 to 15 minutes on each item, as well as enquiring about other matters and giving guidance on them.
At times, when I have presented short promos to be played on MTA for approval, Huzooraa would tell me to place the DVD on his desk and that if he had time, he would watch it. However, at other instances, when I have presented a 45-minute documentary, Huzooraa has told me to play it and on such occasions, I have placed the DVD into the player that is located opposite Huzoor’s desk and stood to one side as Huzooraa continued his work with the DVD playing.
In front of Huzooraa, on the desk, would be a pile of letters from people around the world as well as official letters requiring guidance and approval. If a 45-minute programme was being played, then in my observation, the total duration of Huzooraa looking up and watching the programme would be no longer than 45 seconds. The rest of time, Huzooraa would be reading the hundreds of letters placed before him.
The astonishing thing is that as this goes on, Huzooraa pauses the programme and gives instructions for certain edits to be made. Initially, at such occasions, I would not watch as attentively as I should, due to having been through the pre-production, production, post-production and reviewing phases. Instead of paying attention, I would satisfy my yearning of observing Huzoor’s blessed countenance. But I then learnt that if I did not pay attention, I would face embarrassment when asked about something.
In any case, wherever Huzooraa glanced up at the television screen, most of the times, there was something that required editing.
A documentary was once prepared in which scenes were shown from a non-Ahmadi Muslim protest. Huzooraa glanced up at the television screen, paused the DVD and enquired regarding an individual in the background:
“He looks just like [so and so]?”
When I looked up, I found that he had a perfect resemblance with the person Huzooraa was referring to. I had been through the footage numerous times during the editing-phase and the colleagues working on the documentary were familiar with the person also. But no one had managed to point that out. When I returned to the office from the mulaqat, I relayed the incident to my colleagues. They all went back and viewed that part of the documentary once again. When they had seen it, they all agreed that the resemblance was uncanny.
Although some may consider it a passing statement, but a lesson can be learnt from Huzoor’s attention to detail. And although the maulvi was not the Ahmadi who he had resembled, considering the responsibilities of my department, I learnt a huge lesson. Here we have our own way of thinking, but Huzoor’s farsightedness is such that it has its eyes set higher than where we can see.
Due to our lack of wisdom and insight, we consider ourselves to be correct, and if the outcome in any of our pursuits is not to our liking, then instead of reflecting over the possible flaws in our pursuit and accepting that our understanding is limited, we look for faults in the outcome. We should be most careful regarding matters submitted to Hazrat Khalifatul Masih. We should acknowledge that our thoughts and expectations are null and void in front of the wisdom of Hazrat Khalifatul Masih. Otherwise, we should reflect upon the wording of the Bai‘at and the respective auxiliary pledges that we make and be concerned for the state of our faith.
More than a century bears witness to the fact that to side with the Khalifa of the time is the solution to our critical problems. Who can say that they would rather take the challenges of life head-on without proper direction and insight? Nobody, including me, can claim to have understood Huzoor’saa farsightedness because we inevitably see the world in our own little bubble.
I now present some incidents where it becomes manifest that Huzooraa envisions the future in a completely different manner to us all. Before I commence with the actual topic, I would like to shed further light on the incident mentioned above. I have already said that despite having piles of letters in front of him, Huzooraa is able to pick out the smallest of details in a programme.
However, I should also mention that Huzooraa does not skim through letters, nor does he merely sign them with his signature. The atmosphere of the office is such that Huzooraa listens to what the person has to say; if there is a programme that requires guidance, then that would play in the background and amidst all that, Huzooraa carefully reads the letters.
It has been observed that Huzooraa not only reads the summaries that have been attached with the actual letter, but also reads the handwriting of the person who has sent the letter and, where necessary, Huzooraa gives further guidance in writing. The personal letters for which summaries are prepared are all composed in light of Huzoor’s words, which he personally writes on the letters. But when such letters have been prepared and are ready for Huzoor’s signatures, they are always presented with the original letter.
Thus, in those blessed moments, one gets the opportunity to see Huzooraa read through not hundreds, but thousands of letters. Many a time, I have witnessed Huzooraa refer to the original letter after reading the letter that required his signature. I have seen it dozens of times when Huzooraa corrects a mistake in the letter and thus, a new version of that letter gets presented to Huzooraa for his signature. The reason for Huzoor’s precision and care in his letters is that whatever is written on that letter on Huzoor’s behalf, whether it is personal or official, is to become a part of history.
Whilst reading every word with care, Huzooraa also carries on with other tasks. This is a capability that can only be deemed God-given, and who better a recipient in this day than Hazrat Khalifatul Masihaa. Praise be to Allah a thousand times over that He has enabled us to see His chosen one with our own eyes in the present day.
Now, let us turn our attention to how we may be thinking one thing, but Huzoor’s divinely inspired vision is set elsewhere.
Al-Hiwar-ul-Mubashar was the first programme on MTA in which viewers were able to send in their questions and receive their answers live. Ahmadis and non-Ahmadis alike had the opportunity to ask their questions. This was a breakthrough in MTA’s history. It was a seed planted by Huzooraa and as a result, Allah caused it to be widely accepted throughout the Arabic speaking world.
When the live broadcast of that programme began, the Urdu-speaking audience also expressed their desire for having such a programme. The feedback received from MTA viewers is always important, but when deliberations were made with regard to such a programme, it was felt that the nature of the Urdu and Punjabi speaking audience (especially when bringing non-Ahmadis and their views on Ahmadiyyat into account) would not be appropriate for MTA, if things escalated.
Thus, such a programme was always considered a “no-go area”. Huzooraa was also aware of the desire of the viewers to have such a programme on MTA. In those days, regular news updates were given on MTA. In addition to this, Huzooraa instructed that a monthly report be given to the MTA viewers on the persecution of Ahmadi Muslims in the form of news bulletins.
In accordance with Huzoor’s instructions, Persecution News began. Abid Waheed Khan Sahib, Mashood Iqbal Sahib and, on occasions, Daud Khan Sahib accompanied me as part of the studio panel. The programme was widely accepted by MTA viewers. During those days, a so-called scholar and television presenter in Pakistan invited Islamic jurists to his show and together, they declared Ahmadis “wajib-ul-qatl” (liable to death). If there is any sense left in the senseless state of Pakistan, then it is the sense of enmity and spite for the Ahmadiyya Muslim Jamaat.
As soon as the fatwa (edict) was relayed among the masses, within only a few days, some of our very dear Ahmadi brothers were martyred in Sindh. Among them was the late Abdul Manan Siddiqi Sahib – God rest his soul – who was a doctor by profession and would spend days and nights in treating underprivileged patients. He was martyred as a result of the fatwa aired on national television.
In Persecution News, the misinformation and false accusations were highlighted and refuted. The martyrdoms that occurred because of the programme were also mentioned. The episodes of Persecution News after that event had taken the path of explaining the beliefs of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Jamaat. Under the instructions of Huzooraa, an email account was created for viewers to send in their questions for the studio panel to answer. In the upcoming episodes, we would answer their questions. With Huzoor’s permission, the duration of the programme was increased and instead of showing it monthly, it was shown on a fortnightly basis.
However, the two-week wait also proved too long for viewers. One day, Huzooraa instructed that the “news” label should be removed and it should be broadcast as a separate programme called Persecution. Due to the change in the programme’s nature, Huzooraa also instructed that alongside lawyers, religious scholars should also be included in the programme.
During those first few shows, we would have Ata-ul-Mujeeb Rashed Sahib and Laiq Ahmad Tahir Sahib alongside Daud Khan Sahib or Mashood Iqbal Sahib. A few days after a show had been recorded, it would be broadcast on MTA. With Huzoor’s permission, the programme now had its own telephone number for viewers to record their questions and have them asked on our programme. The filtering of those questions and remarks left by viewers is a separate story in its own right.
As I mentioned, it was a pre-recorded programme and on the day of broadcast, the number for the telephone line would be displayed on the screen. The following day, I would sit and listen to all the questions and remarks that people had recorded. Although most of the questions were sensible in nature, I would have to listen to a handful of malicious messages, consisting mainly of foul and offensive language, which was always a startling start to the morning.
In any case, the questions were noted down and answered in the following programme. As time went on, the shape and format of the programme completely transformed. The number of questions that we started to receive was more than we could answer in a single programme.
Apart from questions, we were also expected to give updates on the persecution of Ahmadis. Every programme was sent to Huzooraa for guidance and approval. Alhamdolillah, Huzooraa guided us at every step of the way. Huzooraa would sometimes say that such and such answer was not sufficient and should have been answered in such and such manner. Those instructions would be passed on to the panel members. Huzooraa would also give me instructions on how to better the programme in the capacity of the presenter.
For a long time, I began thinking that Huzooraa watched all the programmes in their entirety, from beginning to end. “But at what time?” I could not answer this question. Then, one day, Huzooraa took me by surprise by telling me that at times, he would watch the programme from here and there.
I firmly believe that those moments were precisely selected by God Almighty for His divinely appointed servant to watch because Huzoor’s attention was always drawn towards those parts that required regulation.
Once, Huzooraa asked, “How many takes do you record one programme in?” I replied, “Normally, we don’t need to stop. If anyone needs to cough or if there is a technical error, we stop, otherwise it is recorded in one take.” Huzooraa instructed, “The next programme should be recorded in a single take.”
This instruction of Huzooraa was relayed to the team and appropriate arrangements were made so that it could be recorded in one take. In the next mulaqat, I informed Huzooraa that we had managed to record the programme in one take, to which Huzooraa replied, “The next programme should be recorded in the same manner.” We did so accordingly.
The third time, Huzooraa instructed that we did the same and we obeyed again. After the third programme, I informed Huzooraa, “Huzoor, we managed to record last night’s programme in one take also.” Huzoor replied, “Then why don’t you broadcast the programme live?”
We had all considered it a “no-go area” and therefore we had never brought it into consideration, so much so that when Huzooraa instructed us to record the programme in one take thrice, even then it did not cross our minds that Huzooraa was preparing us to broadcast the show live. I immediately responded, “Insha-Allah the next programme will be broadcast live.” Huzooraa replied, “No. The national Ijtema will be held next Saturday. People will be occupied in that. You will need a strong team for a live programme. When the ijtemas have ended, form a team and commence with the live programme.”
How Huzooraa is able to maintain a clear picture of the calendar of events is beyond me. Only God knows how Huzooraa retains all such information. But just ponder how Huzooraa first prepared us for a live programme, then gave an instruction to broadcast the programme live, then thought that a strong team would be required and Huzooraa cared for the fact that no hurdle should come in the way of formulating a team.
The biggest lesson that can be learnt here is that we should work with complete consciousness and give precedence to mindfulness over passion. The programme had taken a different shape to what it started off as and, under Huzoor’s instruction, it began airing with the name Rah-e-Huda.
One difficulty in the live programme we could foresee was that we had already experienced how people recorded their obscene messages for us on our voicemail, so how could we be sure that they wouldn’t do it live? If they ever called on the live programme and repeated what they had said on the voicemail, it would indeed be a great cause for concern for the Jamaat.
I presented this hesitation to Huzooraa, but he very calmly replied, “Nothing of the sort will happen. Start the programme.” And thus, Huzooraa sowed the seed for the live programme. But Huzooraa was well-aware of the season in which he was to sow this seed; he knew exactly when this “plant” would gain fruition; he knew how to grow it and when to leave it in the open air.
But even when Huzooraa left it in the open air, it was always under his supervision. Before and after each show, Huzooraa would equip us with guidelines and instructions. If ever Huzooraa felt that an answer was not up to the mark, Huzooraa would instruct that the answer be given
again in accordance with what Huzooraa explained and thus, the answer would be given afresh on the following show.
Once, someone called in and asked, “In Islam, only two forms of journeys have been made compulsory – Hajj and Jihad. From where have you sought permission to make Jalsa Salana a compulsory journey?” Accordingly, our scholars answered the question.
The following day, I had a mulaqat. In that, I informed Huzooraa of the questions that had been asked during the programme, including the above. Huzooraa listened to this question rather attentively and enquired about the answer we gave. I gave a summary of the answer. Huzooraa then turned his chair towards the set of Ruhani Khazain – the compilation of books of the Promised Messiahas – which is located on Huzoor’s left [in the Fazl Mosque office]. He picked out a volume of Majmu‘a Ishtiharat, turned a few pages and said:
“The answer to this has been mentioned here. The same allegation was made during the time of the Promised Messiahas, in reply to which Huzooras published an entire announcement.”
Huzooraa read out the entire text to me, which consisted of two full pages. The speed with which Huzooraa read it out was remarkable. Despite the speed, everything was clearly read out. Huzooraa pronounced each word as it ought to be and nothing was ambiguously read; it was not how we read out passages in a hurry and eat our words. Having read it all out, Huzooraa said, “This is the reply to the allegation.”
I really wanted to ask how Huzooraa had reached that passage so quickly. The amazement with which I left the mulaqat that day is pretty much the same today. However, this was not an exclusive event; I have witnessed events like this several times.
Once, when I sought guidance regarding a qaseedah (Arabic poem) of the Promised Messiahas, Huzooraa immediately turned his chair towards his books and reached for the book Al-Qasaaid-ul-Ahmadiyya. Huzooraa immediately found the qaseedah in question and showed me the couplets for which I had sought guidance. It would be fair to say, judging from the state of Huzoor’s books, that they have been referred to extensively.
The Promised Messiah’sas books especially seem as if Huzooraa studies them every day. Huzoor’s personal copy of the Holy Quran is annotated with thousands of flags and points and the folds on many pages show that the one who possesses the most knowledge of the Holy Quran in this day is truly the biggest admirer of the Quran also. This fact is proven in every Friday Sermon, speech, Waqf-e-Nau class and sittings in Jamia Ahmadiyya.
So these were the foundations of Rah-e-Huda.
(To be continued…)