Asif M Basit
When speaking of time and space, the Khalifa of the time is in a different dimension. Our mindset is trapped in the concept of clocks and calendars, whereas the Khalifa is given another wavelength by his Lord. If the wavelength of the Khalifa and his Jamaat were to be the same, then there would be no Jamaat or Khalifa.
Rah-e-Huda began broadcasting live on Saturdays and to this day, it continues to be broadcast on MTA.
In May 2009, it began airing live and after a whole year, in May 2010, the callous killing of over 80 Ahmadis occurred in Lahore – an event that will live on in not just the Jamaat’s history, but the history of the world. It was the first time that so many Ahmadis had been martyred on the same day. It was during those days that Rahe-Huda would take on another format – current affairs. Ahmadis from all over the world called in and expressed their emotions.
In the days that ensued, ministers, senior officials and think-tanks were approached to express their views. Their interviews were then played during the programme. There was hardly a single political figure who refrained from speaking on our programme. When I would approach them, I realised that they had one of three options; either to speak to us, decline an interview or to become enraged and slam the phone shut. But in each scenario was the Jamaat’s victory.
The reason for this is that either they would express their disgust at that event, or they would accept that a tragic event had occurred, or they would helplessly become enraged. It is interesting to note that those who apologised from speaking to us, did so very reluctantly.
For example, the then minister for communications would repeatedly postpone it for another day, until one day, he finally replied, “Brother, forgive me. I cannot participate in this interview. I submitted the matter to the higher authorities and wasn’t given clearance.” I enquired as to whom he was referring to, to which he replied, “You know quite well who stands above a federal minister.”
It was all recorded with their permission and during the course of such calls, they would be reminded that the call was being recorded but would not be aired without their consent. Many interviews have been stored away of so-called religious scholars and ministers who used such profane and vulgar language that did not behove an educated person.
But, in keeping with our promise, we did not air those interviews, including their use of profanity or their apology, without their permission. What I am trying to say here is that Huzooraa initiated a programme in May 2009 and for a whole year, that programme grew from strength to strength, which ultimately served as a major platform for covering the situation of Ahmadis during those days.
With Huzoor’saa close attention, a programme was prepared to talk about the current affairs of the time and became a means of talking to external notables. It was this very programme that would later be broadcast live from the home of the Promised Messiahas, Qadian, and to this day, continues to be broadcast very successfully. How God Almighty stands by what the Khalifa has said and strengthens his plans can be understood from the above, which is one example of many.
There are so many occasions where God Almighty reinforces the desire of the Khalifa, some of which we witness and others, which exclusively remain between Allah and Huzooraa.
In previous articles, I have already alluded to how I was fortunate enough to research certain topics for Rah-e-Huda. It was only a result of Huzoor’s prayers and the blessings of God that hidden archives concerning Rev Pigott, Henry Martyn Clark and Colonel Douglas were discovered.
When those belonging to the East London Mosque started a propaganda of their mosque being the first in London, with Huzoor’s permission, all archives were searched and many clues were found in support of the Fazl Mosque being the first in London.
(A research article is available on this topic by the name of London’s First Mosque: A Study in History and Mystery on The Review of Religions’ website)
This task was also one the fruits which were borne out of Rah-e-Huda.
One day, during a mulaqat with Huzooraa, I presented a similar matter concerning some research that was being conducted. Huzooraa enquired, “Where do you store all this material?” I replied that it was being kept in an allocated storage cabinet in Baitul Futuh. Huzooraa was satisfied on hearing this. Many books would be required for research from London’s universities and those books are in free access to students studying in those universities, but there is a membership fee of approximately £200 per year for external visitors.
Huzooraa would always very lovingly approve this amount and other costs that were required. Many books would need to be purchased either online or from various bookshops. While writing these words, my heart is filled with gratitude for Huzooraa because, out of his sheer love and generosity, he would always accept this unworthy servant’s every request to purchase books.
Most of the time, I would not even have mentioned the price and cost involved, when Huzooraa would immediately grant permission. Those who reside in the United Kingdom are already aware, but for those who reside abroad, I should explain that there is a scarcity of space here in London.
When Hazrat Khalifatul Masih IVrh migrated to London, the centre also needed to shift. Thus, the major part of the Jamaat’s administration needed to be extended to London. A small room became the official office of a wakalat (directorate), a temporary cabin became the offices for publications and distribution and with time, Allah gave the Jamaat spaciousness and expansion. But no matter how large a space is, with time, it will always becomes too small for this progressive Jamaat.
Bearing this in mind, I would always be hesitant in asking for extra storage space and continued to gather books in our office at Baitul Futuh. Another reason that caused a hindrance in asking for space were certain incidents that Syed Tahir Ahmad Sahib (Nazir Ishaat for MTA) once narrated. Those incidents related to the time when he had the good fortune of working under Huzoor’saa supervision, before Huzoor’s divine appointment to Khilafat.
Once, when he came to Jalsa Salana UK, Syed Tahir Ahmad Sahib explained that he always told his co-workers to never be unreasonably demanding in work-related affairs because the person from whom he had learned the etiquette of Jamaat work never demanded anything. In this regard, he narrated the following incident:
“Once, Hazrat Mirza Mansoor Ahmad Sahib assigned some important work to Hazrat Sahibzada Mirza Masroor Ahmad (may Allah strengthen his hand) and sent him to Lahore. Hazrat Mirza Mansoor Ahmad Sahib provided Huzooraa with the office’s car. When the task was accomplished in Lahore and Huzooraa and I decided to return, the driver informed us that he had been told to run other errands in Lahore and was thus not immediately planning on returning. I requested Hazrat Sahibzada Sahibaa to call Rabwah and request that a car be sent to pick them up. But Huzooraa did not deem it appropriate. Thus, we both made our way to the railway station and began our return journey by railcar. Because we made the decision last-minute, no seats were available and so most of our journey was made on the step of the railcar.”
Syed Tahir Ahmad Sahib related other such incidents, which showed that Huzooraa did not like to make unreasonable demands. This was all borne in mind when I deemed it inappropriate to request for space. At times, I felt that it was actually a justifiable request, but would then ask myself, even if it is justifiable, where will this space be provided? Thus, I would drop the thought. Thereafter, shelves were put up from the ceiling of our small office downwards. I began placing books on the shelves.
Once, while talking of the books in my office, Huzooraa instructed to name it the “Rah-e-Huda Library”. I then said to Huzooraa that there was a slight problem in that people desired to borrow our books. Some of them would be returned while others remained forgotten. Upon this Huzooraa said:
“There is an easy solution to this. Call it the ‘Rah-e-Huda Reference Library’. People will understand that they are not to be taken outside the library. If they insist, then you can explain to them.”
It was a result of Huzoor’saa blessing that I did not need to make such clarifications often. On one occasion, a gentleman desired to take a book, but I had to tell him that the book could not leave the library. I also told him of Huzoor’s instruction that the books were not to be borrowed. After hearing Huzoor’s instruction, he did not mind at all, although he was in need of the book.
But then, I realised that I had used Huzoor’saa instruction as a hurdle to fulfilling his need (which was for Jamaat work anyway). I then thought to myself that Huzooraa may not like it if he knew that someone was being stopped from benefitting from the library. Thus, I enquired as to which portion of the book he required and I photocopied all the relevant pages for him.
The library has since been growing on a regular basis due to Huzoor’saa graciousness. So many shelves were put up to accommodate the number of books that the seemingly large number of books began to look minimal. After his live address to the Bangladesh Jalsa Salana of 2010 in Baitul Futuh, Huzooraa visited the MTA offices. Our office was among those that were fortunate enough to welcome Huzooraa. The moment Huzooraa entered our office, he carefully observed the books in the Rah-e-Huda Reference Library and how they had been set.
One of the MTA office-bearers who stood nearby said, “He has established an excellent library”, to which Huzooraa immediately replied, “It is because I made it happen that he was able to. Otherwise, if it was up to you, it would never have been formed.” With that Huzooraa added, “There should be many libraries; you should establish one as well.”
So fondly do we observe Western institutes and the way each department possesses its own library, but very rarely is our attention drawn to the fact that our Imamaa has his eyes set on goals far beyond that, that every department should have many libraries within it and knowledge should flourish on a widespread scale.
The reason for this is that every department of the Jamaat bears the potential to expand its knowledge and insight. Who can say, after observing Huzoor’saa vision, that religion is a hurdle in attaining knowledge? Huzooraa is himself an ocean of knowledge and his concern is to irrigate the barrenness of our minds.
Until now, all of this was related to the programmes of MTA, but later, I would begin receiving research-related work from Huzooraa, which was not related to MTA in any way. For example, the Promised Messiahas once wrote in a letter to Hazrat Maulvi Nuruddin, Khalifatul Masih Ira that an Englishman had accepted Ahmadiyyat who was an appointed judge in the Madras Presidency. His name was written as “Jaan Veit” (in Urdu) and it was written that he would meet Hazrat Khalifatul Masih Ira in Kashmir.
Huzooraa instructed that I find out who this Englishman was. The moment I received the instruction, the search began. There was a clue in the letter that the individual in question was a judge and thus was in the British Indian judicial service. Without any further clue about him, I reached the Indian Office records in the British Library. It is incumbent upon me to mention a difficulty that arose and its solution, because this will prove how Allah the Almighty helps those who set out for research that is exclusively for the Jamaat.
As individuals, we are nothing, but when we set out with the intention of fulfilling Huzoor’saa desire, God Almighty paves ways for us to complete the assigned task. The difficulty was that although the first name was obvious, the last name was written as ویٹ and it became a challenge to search in English. There were many surnames in English which matched the pronunciation of the last name. I could not understand how to take this further.
Then, it struck me. I began a search in the judicial staff list of that time and place. There, I was sure to find a matching name. I began the search and found that a certain name repeatedly appeared for many years: Ernest John Somber White. He was an appointed judge. I then noticed that the year he was supposed to have been in Qadian, he had taken leave. According to the Promised Messiah’sas letter, the location he was transferred to was the place I later began to see his name with.
Such accomplishments cannot be made until the Khalifa’s approval is not with the task. Thus, every item was submitted to Huzooraa and Huzooraa examined the research material before making a verdict.
Thereafter, I began receiving instructions to search for a priest and a senior official in British India. After thorough research, a report would be presented to Huzooraa, to which Huzooraa would instruct me to archive the research material.
Then, I began to receive historic documents and relics from Huzooraa that people had sent to him, with instructions like, “Sanbhal kar rakh lein” (Store it securely) or, “Mahfooz karlein” (Archive it). A robust storage facility was thus acquired, storing all such items.
It has been mentioned above that the East London Mosque began a propaganda to prove that their mosque was the first in London. A thoroughly documented research-article was written, in which it was proven that the Fazl Mosque was in fact London’s first mosque.
During that time, I needed to meet a certain professor who was considered an authority on the history of Islam in Britain. His name is Prof Ronald Geaves. In those days, he resided in Liverpool. I went to meet him and hear his views on the matter, but to my surprise, he expressed his obliviousness. He said, “I am aware that the Ahmadiyya community has been active in Britain for a long time, but I am unfamiliar with this being the first mosque.”
With Huzoor’saa permission, he was invited to London. He was shown the Makhzan-e-Tasaweer pictorial exhibition and was surprised to find that the mosques of the Ahmadiyya Jamaat had reached the ends of the earth.
That very evening, he was able to meet Huzooraa in his office. He explained that he was aware of the early activities of the Ahmadiyya Community, but was completely unaware of how far the Jamaat had reached. He said that he was familiar with us, mainly due to the Lahori Ahmadiyya faction and the Woking Mosque.
He then said, “But today I have seen this mosque and the historical documents related to it. I have come to the realisation that a major part of the history of Islam in Britain has been kept from me”.
Upon this, Huzooraa asked, “Does this mean a new chapter in one of your books?” He replied, “No, Your Holiness; that means a whole new book.”
With that, Ron began his research on the Ahmadiyya Movement’s role in the history of Islam in Britain. During his research, Ron visited Qadian and Rabwah in accordance with his desire to view the archives kept in both places.
Under the instruction of Huzooraa, Chaudhry Hameedullah Sahib, Wakil-e-Ala formed a committee in Rabwah whose role was to provide Ron with all the required material. There, he would study the material from dawn till dusk and because most of the material was in Urdu, Mirza Usman Ahmad Sahib and Isfandyar Munib Sahib would search for relevant material and provide it to Ron. He brought back copies of all the material he had collected in Rabwah.
In Qadian, Muhammad Hameed Kausar Sahib was also of great assistance to Ron.
Upon his return to the UK, Ron expressed his desire to meet Huzooraa. When the time for his mulaqat came, Ron sat on a chair in front of Huzooraa while I took a seat behind Ron. He narrated his experiences of his journeys and informed Huzooraa of his research. He sought guidance from Huzooraa in various matters.
For instance, he enquired regarding the background of the split of the Lahori Jamaat and other such matters.
“I wanted to mention to you that I became rather concerned about the protection of the materials because of the instability of Pakistan. Who knows which direction that country is going! So many of those materials are only in paper-form and they need to become electronic. I became rather worried about them. I think there should be a project to send them here for safety.”
Huzooraa carefully listened to what he had to say and then turned to me and said, “Make a note of this.”
In the following mulaqat, Huzooraa instructed me to make a proper plan as regards the matter related to the security of the Jamaat’s archives. Accordingly, I made a plan and proposed it to Huzooraa. The plan was made according to the conditions of that time, bearing in mind how to securely bring the material here and archive it in the UK.
Until then, it was sufficient to accommodate expenditures in our MTA financial budget. If anything beyond that was required, then it would be sought from Wakalat-e-Mal as and when required. But the plan Huzooraa instructed me to make included a financial budget also. Huzooraa saw the proposed plan and enquired:
“Where will you store all this? You will require storage cabinets, printers and other necessary appliances. Your small office will not be sufficient to accommodate all this.”
With that, Huzooraa wrote on the letter, “A separate department; a separate office” and marked the letter to Abdul Baqi Arshad Sahib, Chariman Al-Shirkatul Islamiyyah (ASI), who also oversees the management of Tahir House, Deer Park Road.
Thus, under Huzoor’saa supervision, the department, which would later be called the Ahmadiyya ARC (Ahmadiyya Archives and Research Centre), has been fully functioning in its own office in Tahir House from October 2014.
All these happenings that I have written about above show that the Khalifa’s sight is set on the activity of the entire Jamaat.
No one can say that they are more concerned than the Khalifa or that they have more understanding in a matter than the Khalifa. At times, people propose their plans to Huzooraa, but appear anxious as to whether Huzooraa had even received the proposal and read it. I have heard some people say that Huzooraa may have forgotten about it. I have only mentioned two incidents above. But I have witnessed and experienced on countless occasions that Huzooraa never forgets anything. Huzooraa remembers everything, but when to practically bring that proposal to the implementation-phase is up to Huzooraa.
In most cases, I have seen that Huzooraa does not like to make abrupt decisions. As is the law of nature, Huzooraa prefers to bring thoughts, plans and decisions through a course of evolution and then to make a firm verdict. When the verdict has been reached, Huzooraa, in exact accordance with what Allah has said in the Quran, manifests the best example of tawakkul ‘alallah (faith in Allah) in making the decision.
During the MTA International Forum in the spring of 2011, while addressing the staff, Huzooraa said:
“I want to make some changes in the administrative structure of MTA so that work can be done in a more organised and befitting manner.”
The entire staff began awaiting the administrative changes. Bearing in mind the conviction Huzooraa had in his words, if it had been an ordinary man who had said it, we would have seen a shuffle-around within a few days. The MTA staff began thinking that the change would occur within days.
But many days passed. Days turned into weeks, weeks turned into months and months turned into two entire years. The restructuring would occur in the spring of 2013, when Huzooraa completely transformed the MTA administrative structure.
How can we not accept that our mindset and Huzoor’saa wavelength belong to two different worlds? We are those who prefer things to be done quickly, whereas Huzooraa is the dearest one alive to Allah, Who is never hasty in making decisions; Who has taken man through a series of evolution; Who waited for man to reach that stage of mental and perceptive evolution where he could accept the Khatamun-Nabiyyin, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him. And when the Ummah of that noble Prophetsa deteriorated, God Almighty waited 14 long centuries to send the awaited Messiah, through whom the Ummah would be restored to its original state.
As dwellers of this earthly life, we cannot begin to imagine the world where decisions are made by the verdict of God in a divinely spiritual state, about which the Promised Messiahas said:
وہاں قدرت، یہاں درماندگی فرقِ نمایاں ہے
(The difference is plain; He is Omnipotent and we are loaded with powerlessness.)